Eleanor McNab, secretary of the Islay Family History Society, wrote the following article for the Ileach: The Islay Family History Society (IFHS) was established in October 1991. The aim of the founding group was to encourage and support research into family history, by locals and anyone with an interest in the genealogy of Islay, and to create a resource base of information and photographs relating to Islay and the people of the island.
In the early days funds were raised to meet ongoing costs by running coffee evenings and displays, which have always been popular and well supported. Further funding came from donations and memberships from those using the facilities, and the office has been open to the public regularly over the Summer months with local researchers encouraged to come along at other times. Additional support has come from local charitable funders and Diageo and Laphroaig Distillery have been particularly supportive in development of the well resources family history centre at Islay House Square.
In recent years the pattern of genealogical research has changed, with more and more information becoming available on Scotlandâ€™s People and other websites. This has resulted in a decline in numbers using the resources of the centre and has made it more difficult for volunteers to add value to the work already done by our clients which has, in turn, resulted in falling income. The Committee has also faced real difficulty in encouraging new recruits, prepared to give the ongoing commitment required to keep the Society running and the Centre open over the Summer.
Sue Visser wrote the following text on the Islay Genealogy List: At an Extraordinary General Meeting on 23 January 2013 it was decided to dissolve the Society. The records however will be maintained and made readily available to future researchers and they believe this will be achieved by passing them on the the care of the ICCI (commonly referred to as the Gaelic College) in Bowmore. As of March 31st, the IFHS will close its doors at Islay House Square. The Gaelic College is open 50 weeks of the year and it is believed that the records will be more accessible to locals and researchers tracing their Islay ancestral roots.