Electric Scotland is a large site with
over 30,000 web pages. It is also a site that has evolved over many years
and many changes have been made to the menu system to accommodate all
the information we put on the site. So here we provide what we hope will
be some helpful information on using the site. We have also prepared a
series of small videos to introduce you to parts of the site so if you'd
like to view these click here!
Alastair McIntyre has
created a series of short videos
explaining what you will find in each section of the site.
There are three basic methods of
At the top of each page of the site you'll find our menu which will lead
you to the major sections of the site where we collect material related to the menu
description. To demonstrate how deep our menus can go let us say you were
looking for information on the Clan MacDonald.
Click on Clans and this will take
you to our section entitled "Scottish and Irish Clans & Families". Looking
down that page you will see a link
Histories of Official Clans and if you click on
that it will take you to a page which lists all the official clans.
Looking down that list you will find MacDonald. When you click on
that link you will be taken to the index page of the Clan MacDonald. Why
another index page? Well on that index page we provide links to the
Clan History and other useful synergy links but also to any Clan MacDonald web sites elsewhere on the
web. In this case if you click on Clan History you will find
another index page <gulp>. In this case it is because we have so
much information on the clan that it really needs to be broken down into
sections as there are various branches of the clan. So before you can get
to read the actual history you will have gone through 5 menus to get
Essentially as we are such a large site we
really have no alternative but to create a larger layer of menus to guide
you to all the material we carry. We have in fact received a very high
rating for our site navigation from respondents to our annual
questionnaires so hopefully this means most of you will have no problems
in finding what you are after.
The problem about browsing is simply that it
might not be obvious where to look for an item you are interested in.
For example, you might want to know if we have any information on Scots
words as you are going to a Burns supper and want to try and understand
some of the words of a poem. Rather than guess where to look you would be
better using either of our two site search engines and I'll now tell you how to use
3. Google Site Search Engine
As many of you will use Google for your web searching you will be pleased
to note that Electric Scotland
also has a Google site search engine. This search engine is now in the
header of our site so can be accessed on any page. You'll note that it
defaults t searching our site but if you wish to use it to search the web
then simply check to web option and it will then search the web instead of
just our site.
Searching for a Name
Many visitors arrive on Electric Scotland looking for information on a
Scottish or Irish name and also want to see if there is a clan affiliation
with it. Can I just say here that spelling of names can be a bit of
a nightmare but do at least start by using our site search for the name.
Should you not be able to find anything then consider some options.
You should be aware that many Highlanders that emigrated to America were
Gaelic speaking and hence spelling of their names was often incorrect. This
has led to a whole variety of spellings so be prepared to check any
you can think of. Try saying the name out loud and imagine any other
spelling the name:-
If a name is not found look under other possible spelling variations such
"Leslie" or "Montgomerie" for "Montgomery". "Gil" may have been "il" or "el" " Mc " and " M' " are simple
"Mac". A name that once began with
may now begin with "r" and the final "c" of "Mac" may have been duplicated
second "c" or a "k" (MacOmber-MacComber; MacIntosh-Mackintosh).
Since Gaelic requires sound changes when "Mac" is prefixed, try pronouncing
new name aloud substituting a new first letter on the second part of the
and you may hear the original...
"b" or "m" for a "v" MacVean to MacBean, MacVickle to MacMichael.
"p" for an "f" MacFall to MacPaul
"d" for "g" or "t" MacGonell to MacDonell, MacLout to MacLeod
Gaelic "f" becomes silent after "Mac"; try reinserting it - MacLetcher to
Note that the most populous two-thirds of Scotland were under the
feudal, not the clan, system. The majority of Scots were not "Highlanders"
Gaelic speakers and did not historically wear tartan. I say this because
many visitors are looking for clan affiliations but although your name may
be Scottish it need not be associated with a clan. [See
Clans, Families and Septs for an explanation]
We do try to default to Mac for names that start with that prefix but you
will find references to other spellings of Mc and M' under a number of our
historical documents so do try these other spellings as well. Note
that these spellings are simply abbreviations of Mac and do note denote
anything else such as Scots-Irish descent.
We get many queries on whether your name has a tartan assigned to it.
We provide through the House of Tartan and the Scottish Tartan Society
several search engines to help you locate that tartan. The page can be
located by clicking on Tartans in our main menu.
House of Tartan provides
three search facilities and the first one you'll see is where you simply
need to enter your name or the first four characters of the name and it will
try and find it. You can also use the drop down menu under the search
box to select variations of the tartan.
The second search facility is
where you simply click on the first letter of the name and it will bring up
a page with all the tartans listed under the letter. So if you were a
Drummond simply clock on the letter D and it will list every tartan starting
with that letter.
The third search facility
lets you view all the tartans for your name but also gives you the
opportunity to view products in your tartan that you can purchase online.
Toward the foot of the page
you will also find the search engine of the Scottish Tartans Society and
again you simply need to enter your name to find your tartan. The results
page will list all the tartans its found and you simply click the link to
view the tartan. This search engine also provides a thread count.
For those doing extensive genealogical research you are always advised to use our site
search engine as that will reveal any information that we have on the site.
Like the Clan MacDonald search we did above you will notice it found over
750 pages with that name. As we publish lots of historical books,
documents, articles and biographies on the site a name may well be mentioned
in them that will provide you with further information.
While this is a history site we have done our
best to collect information that may be useful to those starting out on
searching for their family roots. Over the years visitors have contributed
various articles or pointed out good resources and we've gathered them all
together under our Genealogy page which is located on our main menu.
You should also read the many articles in the Family Tree part of the site
as the Family Tree is the largest genealogical publication in the
You can also make use of
our FREE Family Tree software by visiting our
ScotGenealogy.com web site.
We have many books on the site which detail histories over various time
frames. You can in fact get an appreciation of what Scotland was like at a
particular time by referring to these texts. For example, if you were
reading about your clan and found an interesting period between 1600-1625
then you might like to read our Domestic Annals of Scotland for that
time period as it will give you a good idea of what was going on
domestically during that period and might help to explain why certain events
Some of our online books are quite extensive
and you can see a list of those books under our Books section by clicking on
the Books link in our menu. When you arrive at that page click on the
link Read Books Online. You will then be presented with a list of all
the books we have added to the site for you to read.
What content we carry
You'll already know that we carry a huge amount of history on Scotland,
Scots and people of Scots descent. What you might not know is that we
also carry a major collection of poems and stories from not only
famous poets and authors but also ordinary, or perhaps not so ordinary, folk
out there in the big wide world who are kind enough to share their own work
with us. We also have huge collections from a couple of individuals like
Donna Flood who writes poems, stories, articles, genealogy picture books
and lots more. Margo Fallis has supplied us with hundreds of
children's stories. Jeanette Simpson has written some marvellous
articles on subjects such as learning about tea to contributing lots of
ideas on making presents for friends and relatives to cooking and crafts for
Kids. Francis Kerr Young with his range of poems and stories and
Peter Logue with his short stories and lots of others. Our Kids
section holds colouring books, jigsaws, games and lots more. The Family
Tree brings you loads of genealogy information as well as bringing you
news from the various clan societies around the world. The Flag is a
publication of the Scots Independent Newspaper and while bringing you a
weekly newsletter of political matters in Scotland also provides a fabulous
resource of real audio recordings in the Scots language of poems and stories
and special tributes to Tartan Day and other events as well as a great
collection of Scottish songs, recipes and Scots humour (wit). We have a
collection of Scots Humour, our own Food and Drink section and
even a wee Gardening section. We devote a section to the Bible
with various helpful areas within that. We even carry a Calendar
where you can find lists of events in Scotland and also around the world.
Should you be a regular visitor to the site then by clicking on the
What's New menu link you will get a page where we add details of what we
add to the site each day. We'd certainly advise that you login each
week just to see what's new but you can also subscribe to our FREE weekly
e-mail newsletter and we'll send you an update each week. You can get to our
subscription form for this by clicking on Newsletter in our menu
where you can also read old copies of the newsletter.
We get many requests for adding special events to our site such as Highland
Games, Scottish Festivals and other What's On in Scotland. To help with
things such as this we added a calendar for both the Family Tree and the
Scots Independent Newspaper. You can reach these calendars through our
Lifestyle menu which is really a catch all section for areas of the site
that don't readily fit into any other section. Click on View our Scottish
Events Calendar link to reach the menus. This graphical link is also
available on our index page. The Scots Independent carry events domestic to
Scotland whereas the Family Tree carry events of an International nature
such as Highland Games in the USA or Canada.
How to submit articles and family genealogy
We accept historical articles and
family account of individuals and families and there are a number of ways to
We have a Mini Bios section
of the site reached through our Clans menu where you can use our form
to submit an account or indeed you can email the account to us. Should you
wish to include pictures with the account then you would need to email
Alastair (see his contact email address below).
You may also submit
historical articles, recipes, stories or anything that you think would
contribute to Electric Scotland and our visitors. You may use our
Feedback form or email your contribution to Alastair. Please note that
we only use PC's here with the Windows operating system so when you send
contributions please ensure you use appropriate ways to send us the
information. Should you be sending a large article or wish to send us
a series of articles it might be best to send a short submission and we can
get back to you to let you know if we were able to read it ok.
We have a special
Add Url page where we provide further assistance on
how to add information to Electric Scotland.
We have also launched a
where you can add your own family tree and add notes and pictures to it.
It is worth noting that due
to the dimensions of our site some pages may not print out all on one
sheet of paper and of course some of the right side of the page may be
missing. To help you print out pages properly we have a "Printer
icon on all pages in our left border. By clicking on this you will be
taken to a page that strips out our top, left and bottom borders which
should allow you to print the pages properly. In the event this doesn't
work for you then we'd suggest setting your printer up to print in
Landscape mode instead of Portrait.
Those of you that have the
Norton Security product with the firewall enabled won't be able to use
this facility. However if you first go to your Internet browser
security and make
www.electricscotland.com a trusted site and then go to your Norton
Firewall product and tell it to let
come through then all should work fine. Note that after having done
this you may need to clear your browser cache to get everything to work
properly. At this time only the Norton product with the firewall software
is know to cause problems. Should you still have problems then contact the
Norton/Symantec tech support people and ask for assistance.
You should note that we have
thousands of pictures throughout the site. The vast majority of the
pictures are thumbnailed to a smaller size for faster loading of the page.
Where you see a faint blue line around the picture then that will be a
thumbnail image. Simply click on the picture to see a larger version. Note
also that some browsers will reduce the image if you can't see it all on
the screen. In this case a graphic will normally appear on the bottom
corner of the picture which means if you click on that you will see the
picture at its true size.
Also note that some
browsers such as AOL default your graphics to low resolution to make the
pictures load quicker. Problem is that you will not see the true quality
of the picture as it may be reduced to 16 colours. Check your browsers
default settings for displaying graphics if you suspect you are not seeing
a high quality picture.
There are various ways to contact us or our contributors. Firstly, the
Contact Us menu will give you lots of background on Electric Scotland as
well as providing contact information for ourselves and our major
contributors, The Family Tree and the Scots Independent Newspaper.
Should you wish to make suggestions or ask questions you can also use our
Feedback form again reached through our main menu. Finally, many of our
articles come from visitors to the site and where possible we include their
email address along with their article or where they contribute several
articles we may include it on an index page that we've created for them.
Check at the bottom of the page to see if we provide a link back to an index
page. (For example at the foot of this page we provide a link to return you
to our home page) You can also email Alastair McIntyre (the owner of the
site) at Alastair McIntyre
Tips on Spelling
As this site publishes antiquarian books from a whole variety of sources
you will find spelling of words in old Scots, modern Scots, UK English,
American English and other varieties. This is not to say that we don't
have spelling mistakes on the site but as you can see due to the many
sources and contributors we have spelling is a problem depending on where
you are based. We also OCR many books onto the site and while every care
is taken to proof each page we will miss words. The main purpose of the
site is to make available antiquarian books that are often difficult to
find or are in rare book collections at libraries.
Scotch and Scots
We get a number of emails in
telling us that it's Scots when referring to people and Scotch when
referring to whisky. Today this is perfectly correct but in the olden days
it was not and as we are dealing with antiquarian books you will find
Scotch often used when referring to the people. The word whisky is a
more modern term when referring to the drink.
Symantec / Norton Security Products
We'd like to say our main recommendation is to delete it as it causes
untold problems. The anti-virus product works well but if you use the
Security product with the firewall or their anti-spam product then you'll
have problems with the site. For example you will be unable to use our
Printer Friendly script and you'll likely not be able to use our
antiquarian book search engine as their products hide this from you as it
thinks this is an advert and thus blocks it from your view. Any graphics
on the site that just happen to match the size of standard adverts are
also blocked even if they are not adverts. We'd like to offer advice on
how to get around these problems but we feel that as Symantec causes these
problems they should be the one to give you support on how to get around
Helping Electric Scotland
What we do is find antiquarian books that explains various aspects of the
history of Scotland, the Scots and people and places of Scots descent.
This means that not only do we constantly look for good antiquarian books
but we also constantly work on scanning the pages or ocr'ing them to put
them on the site for everyone to read.
You can help by helping us
find books about Scots anywhere in the world that are usually over 75
years old. Copyright is different in various countries of the world but
usually at worst this means the book is "out of copyright" 75 years after
the authors death. One major American publisher actually says on their web
site that if the book is 75 years old then don't bother to contact them as
you can use it anyway you want.
We do purchase such books
but obviously the price has to be commensurate with the quality of content
of the book. So if you spot a book that looks to be well worth the price
and explains aspects of the Scots that we don't already cover on the site
then feel free to contact us and let us know something of the book and how
we might go about purchasing it. Of course if you would like to
purchase it for us and donate it to the site that would also be most
helpful :-) We most often pick up books from antiquarian and second hand
books shops but we've also discovered the odd gem in a boot or garage sale
or even at a Highland Games.
Should you have time on
your hands and are good at the keyboard you might volunteer to either scan
in or type in a book for us. At time of writing this we are working on 9
books some of which are three and six volumes. We also have 21 books that
we are still to start on. So perhaps you can see that this is all
very time consuming and so helping us with this work would be most
Be aware however that once
started you do need to keep working on it. If for some reason you decide
that it is just too much work then we'd appreciate you telling us that and
returning the book to us. There is no harm in admitting defeat :-) And it
is certainly a lot of work publishing a book for the site so don't be too
eager to get started until you have a good think about how much time you
might need to devote. Some books that have been put up for us have taken 2
years to complete.
We're also keen on getting
books about Scots settlers anywhere in the world and the more detailed the
account the better. Should you have an account in your family of your
families own experiences we'd love to get an article in from you. We have
no restrictions on size of articles and you can also send in pictures to
go along with it.