Bill Lawson Publications

Specialist Books & Genealogy Research Material for the Outer Hebrides

The Old Schoolhouse
Taobh Tuath (Northton) - Isle of Harris HS3 3JA - Scotland
Telephone: 01859 520 488 / Fax: 01859 520 488
E-mail: lawsonbil@aol.com

Books - Genealogy Research - Events and Walks - Location and Maps - Links

NEW WEB SITE: HebridesPeople.com is full of the extensive resources gathered by Bill Lawson

50TH BOOK LAUNCH
Bill at book launch
Book launch on 7 September 2006 for the 50th publication by Bill Lawson (pictured far right). The new book is the latest in the series of Croft Histories of island villages and relates to the families of Liurbost in Lochs. (More details below)

About Bill Lawson BL, ASGRA, FSA(Scot)

Bill Lawson was born in Stirling and grew up in Ayrshire where he attended Prestwick High School and Ayr Academy. He came to Harris as a young student and fell in love with the island and its history. Bill studied Law at Glasgow University and trained as a Chartered Surveyor. He taught Law in Paisley for 18 years. All those years his holidays were spent in Harris and it was then that his interest in the genealogies of the Western Isles started.

Aware that the older people, the bearers of the genealogies, were getting fewer and fewer, he began to compile family histories from their knowledge and also from the records at Register House in Edinburgh. His work expanded to the emigration areas of North America and Australia. Bill learnt Gaelic which was essential for his work in gathering the genealogies.

In 1981 he became the Project Leader of the Integrated Development Programme, a European-funded programme for the Western Isles. This gave him the chance to move to the Hebrides and when the programme was finished he settled in the village of Taobh Tuath (Northton) in Harris, where he took over and renovated the village school and schoolhouse.

There he started his company, Co Leis Thu? (who do you belong to?) and for 12 years, he and his wife, Chris, operated a family history tracing service. During this time, Bill also spent a number of years on the Crofters' Commission.

The genealogy research service has now been passed on to Northton Heritage Trust which is based at Seallam! (a purpose-built Visitor Centre in Taobh Tuath).

Seallam! and Northton
Bill Lawson

As Bill is a consultant to the Trust, this arrangement allows him to continue with new research into the emigration areas in Canada and Australia and also allows him to write and publish from his base in Harris.

The family records compiled and hand-written by Bill Lawson amount to something in the region of 30,000. They enable many people looking for their "roots" to regain a connection once again with the Western Isles.

Through Bill Lawson Publications (founded in 1989), Bill has written over 70 books on the genealogies and the history of the Western Isles (click here for book list).

He wrote his first book, Croft History of Sheshader, as a gift for his wife who comes from Sheshader in Lewis and belonged to a family renowned for its knowledge of genealogies, particularly Chris's mother, Mairi Uilleim Dhomhnaill, who came to live in Taobh Tuath.

50TH BOOK LAUNCH
Comunn Eachdraidh Ceann a Tuath nan Loch hosted a book launch on 7 September 2006 for the 50th publication by Bill Lawson. The new book is the latest in the series of Croft Histories of island villages and relates to the families of Liurbost in Lochs.
Jean MacLeod of the historical society said that they had worked with Bill Lawson on four Croft Histories and that she was delighted to see this book appear as the 50th title. In his foreword to the book, Murdoch MacLeod remembers as a child meeting Bill when he came to stay across the road from his family home. This was Bill's first holiday in the Western Isles. It was therefore appropriate that the 50th book should be about the village where the relationship with the islands began. Murdoch tramped the moors with Bill and acted as interpreter in an entirely Gaelic speaking community. Bill stayed in a house called Esperanza - a memory of Patagonia as the family of Domhnall 'an Sheoic had lived there for a time. Pictures from this time appear in the book as well as many photographs of villagers.

Current Work/ Forthcoming Titles

In the Croft Histories series, the following are in preparation:

If you would like to be notified when any of these new books become available, please email lawsonbil@aol.com.

Lecture Tours
Bill Lawson has lectured extensively in the Hebrides and in Scotland, as well as the USA and Canada. In November 2003 he was one of the speakers at a gathering in Pinehurst, North Carolina, of Carolina Scots. In May 2004, Bill lectured at Niagara and Thunder Bay in Canada; and in 2005 he was in British Columbia and Edmonton.

Other Events
Bill also offers guided walks and slideshows - click here for details.

Books - Genealogy Research - Events and Walks - Location and Maps - Links

© Bill Lawson Publications
www.billlawson.com