As you mentioned in your last post Mairiuna, Glasgow was chosen as the European City of Culture and I would like to emphasis a bit more on this “European” cover by telling you that since the extension was given to the building in the 70′-80’s, The Mitchell Library, one of Glasgow’s landmarks, now houses Europe’s largest public reference library with more than one million items available for reference!
Only lately did The Mitchell Library start to loan books and other documents.
I was so impressed by the atmosphere inside the old walls of the library when we last visited, that it stroke my imaginary for ever.
Being very spacious, the different areas of the library on it’s five levels, offer such a calm retreat from the agitation of the city that one tends to want to stay there all day long!
Not only do you have access to food and drink at the cafeteria but more importantly, you gain access to food for thought…and believe me, there is more than you can digest!
A little bit of history? Here goes.
It all started with a thought in Stephen Mitchell’s mind back in the late 18th century.
Born in Linlithgow, Scotland, on September 19, 1789 (same birth day as my Dad, so it’s easy for me to remember) he was raised in a family well established in the tobacco industry.
When his father died, Stephen Mitchell took over the business, never married and finally retired with a move to Moffatt in 1859 until his passing day in 1874 after an accidental and mortal fall.
Funded by his estate, his will called for the creation of a public library in the city of Glasgow, “with all the modern accessories connected therewith”.
His name was to be given to the establishment and under no circumstances were books to be excluded from the reference categories due to restrictive opinions, religion matters or politics dissensions.
The Mitchell Library was opened to the public in November 1877 with approximately 15,000 volumes.
We will have to go back to this great library Mairiuna on our next visit to Glasgow, because it also holds the Glasgow City Archives and is considered one the world’s best resources for researching family history.
Since I am myself in the works of tracing my Scottish ancestors, I am convinced it will benefit my quest.
My preliminary investigation into my family ancestral history starts with my grandmother ( on my father’s side) , Elisabeth Mitchelson.
Born in 1888, she was the first child of J.M.V.Mitchelson (Scottish) and Célanire Pelland Martin (French Canadian) who got married in 1881 in the city of Berthier, Province of Quebec, Canada. They also had a son, Roméo in May of 1894.
As of today, my genealogy tree goes as far as my grandmother’s grandfather, but much more to be found and verified.
Remember Mairiuna, how many graveyards we explored and searched to find tombs with the name “Mitchelson”, or “Mitchell”, and any other derivative names?
But that is…by itself, another story
I will come back to it eventually, and share my progress.
Talk soon !