Having returned to further education in my late twenties I found myself not knowing what I wanted to do with my English Studies and Scottish History degree, so I volunteered with Edinburgh City Archives, and I enjoyed the work very much. As a result I embarked on the distance learning Archives and Records Management MLitt run by the University of Dundee. After a years study I took a break to have a baby, and found my finances somewhat stretched.
The Patrick Cadell Bursary has allowed me to continue studying, at a time when I would not otherwise have been able to. In September 2012 I enrolled in the Skills and Resources for Family and Local History in Scotland module, also with the University of Dundee. This module explored many of the routes that can be used when carrying out family and local history research, including burgh records, ecclesiastical, school, and trade records. I found court records particularly interesting as I had no previous experience of these. Using documents and resources like these can make a family tree so much more than just births, deaths and marriages, they help give us an picture of how people lived and the everyday events that shaped their lives. Also, for those interested in local history their evidential value cannot be underestimated.
Because it is a pre-requisite of the course that you work or volunteer in an archive, I now have a greater understanding of the types of records held at Edinburgh City Archives and I have consulted records for coursework that I might otherwise not have come across.
I am currently working at Edinburgh City Archives, providing maternity cover for one of their archivists. I have been able to use a great deal of what I learned on the course and apply it to the research I am carrying out for remote users and also use it to advise visitors to the search room. I have found this course immensely valuable and am sure I will continue to use it as a guide throughout my career.
Without the help of the Patrick Cadell Bursary and the Scottish Council on Archives I would have found it very difficult to continue with my studies. As a result I am one step closer to completion of the course and becoming a fully qualified archivist. I am immensely grateful to the Patrick Cadell Bursary and the Scottish Council on Archives for this help.