Hebridean Connections is different from most historical and genealogical sites because records of people, places, stories, historical events and so on are all interlinked. This means you can navigate from one record to another using the links at the right-hand side of each record, and you can carry on doing this almost indefinitely. For those of you who have used the old Hebridean Connections site, all the information on that site has been transferred to this one and the links work in the same way.
The records in Hebridean Connections are classified into different types, such as ‘People’, ‘Crofts and Residences’, ‘Historical Events’ and so on. In addition, the ‘Record Types’ list that appears when you click on ‘Browse Records’ includes ‘Image Details’ and ‘Sound Files’. These provide you with access to complete lists of the images and sound clips held in the system.
Although the distinction between types is normally obvious, there are some grey areas. For example, does a church built in the 19th century belong to the ‘Buildings and Public Amenities’ record type or the ‘Historical/Archaeological Sites’ record type? If in doubt when searching, we suggest that you try both possibilities. Alternatively you can choose the ‘All Records’ option in the ‘Browse Records’ menu.
Browsing the records
If you are not searching for any particular information, simply click on ‘Browse records’ at the top of the home page, select a record type and click on any record that arouses your interest. We would suggest ‘Stories, Reports and Traditions’ as a good starting point for users with a general interest in the history of our islands. Then you can either navigate from one record to another using the links on the right-hand side of the record page, or return to the list of records to find something new.
Searching for records
If you are looking for particular information, simply enter text into the search box on the home page. Searching is not case-sensitive.
You can also search individual record types by choosing a record type from the list in the ‘Browse Records menu’. If you are looking for a person, selecting ‘People’ from the menu gives you more search options. For example, you can narrow your search by the person’s date of birth, within a range such as 1850-1860. You can also find people who lived in particular places. Just enter the place name in the ‘Lived at’ box, and all records related to people who lived at that place will be shown.
Viewing individual records
Each record consists of a title, a description (which may in some cases be blank) and a record summary. The summary includes details that vary according to the type of record and the amount of information available, Most of these details are self-explanatory but please note that the ‘BK reference’ field is used as an internal reference by some of the historical societies that also maintain Brother’s Keeper databases, while ‘Subject ID’ is a unique number allocated to each record by the Hebridean Connections system itself. The ‘Record Maintained By’ field specifies which society is responsible for the record, using codes that can be found in the list of societies on the home page. The ‘HC’ code is used for records that are managed centrally by Hebridean Connections.
In addition, every record is linked to one or more other records, and the links are listed on the right-hand side of the page. You can use these links as a way of navigating through the site. You may occasionally come across records that are waiting to be reviewed for publication, which means you may not be able to see recently added details. Finally, some records have hyperlinks within the description field that take you to other records in Hebridean Connections or to external sites.