AN AUSTRALIAN who was carrying out
genealogical research said it felt like 'Christmas had arrived’ when he
discovered two local heritage organisations.
Peter Butters wanted to find out more about his
great-great-grandfather, James Young, who lived in Elgin in the mid-1800s, but
emigrated to Australia in 1853. James' father had been Alexander Young, who was
Provost in Elgin in 1839.
Mr Butters discovered the Moray Burial Ground Research Group's (MBGRG) website, and contacted webmaster Lindsay Robertson to find out
whether he could help supply any more detail.
"James was a sawyer in Forres who married there in 1849, but
who travelled to Australia with his family and purchased a residence, so he
obviously had some form of financial assistance:” Mr Butters said.
"Not having any contact with Elgin, I began an internet search, and I
believe I was fortunate to find Lindsay at the Moray Burial Ground
Research Group, because right from the outset he was extremely helpful
and interested, which was an absolute bonus to me.
While the infrastructure is paramount, so much of an
organisation's reputation relies on the attitudes and abilities of its staff.
And for me this is personified in Moray."
Lindsay was able to send him a photograph of Alexander
Young's gravestone, which is in the grounds of Elgin Cathedral.
MBGRG member Ruth McIntosh said: "The stone had been recorded many years before,
but had been badly worn, resulting in the information recorded at that time
Keith and Helen Mitchell, founder members of the group,
struggled for a long time to make sense of the inscription, but through various
means and checks on site, they finally managed to get a great deal more out of
the inscription, although pieces of it are still illegible"
The stone states that Alexander Young died on September
17, 1859, and was a banker in the town.
As well as providing a transcript, Mr Butters was pointed in
the direction of Moray Heritage Centre and shown its LIBINDX resource.
Information accessed there showed that Alexander was also a
bookseller; and the town's Provost between 1839 and 1840. Old newspapers held at
the heritage centre contain his obituary, a copy of which was sent to Mr
"As with my experiences with Lindsay, their staff were so
professional and helpful with their resources, and efficient and quick in
mailing out purchases. I was in awe.
No exaggeration, my treatment from Moray has been exceptional, to the degree
that several years down the track, I hope to visit,” Mr Butters said.