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Beautifully illustrated family history books with a difference by a frequent contributor to the UK family history press. I write for Family Tree Magazine UK; Discover Your Ancestors Online Periodical and Bookazine; Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. The publishers of my family history books are Pen and Sword Books and The History Press. I tweet (and retweet) thought-provoking content designed to help you tweak your approach to (your family) history at @RuthaSymes . Do follow me.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

My Ancestor Came from Edinburgh 1800-1810

Edinburgh Diary 1800-1810

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If your nineteenth-century ancestors lived in Scotland’s capital city, these are the events through which they lived, in which they might have participated, and which – at the very least -  would have informed their everyday conversation.

    Edinburgh Castle from the Grassmarket. Edinburgh Castle – scene of many celebrations in the first decade of the nineteenth century. From Black’s Picturesque Tourist of Scotland, Adam and Charles Black, 1856

1800 The Napoleonic wars together with a poor oat harvest all over Europe cause food shortages in the city. On April 25th, the Lord Provost and Magistrates issue an address suggesting that people eat as little oatmeal as possible and make wheat and barley-meal the staple of their diets.

1801 An earthquake shocks the new town on September 7th. Strangely it is not felt in the old town. No one is killed at the moment of impact but a few days later a barn to the west of the city collapses killing two shearers who were sleeping inside it.

1802 On June 4th, the sixty fifth birthday of the King George III is celebrated with a salute of guns from Edinburgh castle and from the battery at Leith

1803 A new, more secure, arrangement is made for the mail from Edinburgh to Glasgow to be taken by mail cart with a driver armed with a cutlass and pistols.

1804 Many city improvements are underway. The Bank of Scotland building is finished; the Cathedral of St Giles is opened to public view and a large number of beautiful houses and shops are being built on the north and south sides of the city.

1805 Lord Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar is celebrated in the city. On 5th November many people go to church wearing mourning in respect of Nelson’s memory and it is decided to erect a monument to commemorate his achievements.

1806 On 9th August a thunderstorm starts at 2pm and lasts, without intermission, until 8pm. A great deal of damage is done in Edinburgh and Scotland generally by the incessant rain.

1807 A tunnel under the Firth of Forth at Queensferry is proposed by James Miller M.D. and William Vazie – one of many schemes over the years to enable better communications from one side of the firth to the other.

1808 The foundation stone for the new Gaol of Edinburgh is laid on September 3rd. Large crowds turn up to watch the ceremony.

1809 The Golden Jubilee of the accession of George III is celebrated on 25th October (this being the first day of the fiftieth year of his reign). The day’s festivities are punctuated by the ringing of bells and the salute of guns. The foundation stone of a series of military buildings (to be known as ‘King George III’s Bastion and Military Works’) are laid at Leith.

1810 A chest which has lain for some thirty years in an old church at Leith is opened and found to contain a bronze life-size statue of George III. It is placed in Edinburgh City Chambers.

Keywords: Europe, European, ancestors, ancestry, Caledonian, Scotland, Scottish, nineteenth century, genealogy, family history 

[This article first appeared in the now obsolete Discover My Past Scotland]