Section 1: Choosing a Local Woman – or Women!

First steps


Bring the unit together for an initial discussion session, asking them to suggest names of women commemorated in your area. Emphasise that the Women of Scotland website aims to provide an information resource of national importance. Girlguiding Scotland, through the Big Name Hunt, is making a vital contribution to this.

You may find it helpful to give your unit a week's notice so they can do some homework in advance of the session. Encourage them to look out for the following:

  • Statues or busts
  • Street names – ask them to look at local road maps
  • Building names
  • Dedications
  • Commemorative plaques

Perhaps you could introduce a competitive element, awarding a small prize for the longest list of (valid) suggestions.

Check out the website

Before you start, look at the Memorials map to see if any memorials have already been recorded in your area. Each memorial is flagged by a blue marker, which you can click on and look at the details recorded about the memorial and the woman celebrated.

If a woman has strong local links, there may be more than one memorial to her name in the area. Check to see whether all of these have been recorded – you may find that some have been overlooked. You may also find that the information recorded about the woman is wrong or incomplete. Putting this right is every bit as valuable as discovering a brand new memorial.
If there are no memorials recorded in your area, check out those that exist in other locations. These will help you to understand the kind of details required when you come to add your own information to the website.

Look for the unusual

Your area may contain one or more conspicuous memorials to well-known women, such as a statue of Queen Victoria in a local park, or a fountain dedicated to St Margaret. These should be recorded, but please encourage the unit to seek out less obvious memorials with a strong local association, explaining that these will add much greater value to the Women of Scotland website.

If you find your first set of suggestions is limited or uninspiring, you may need to look further afield, commissioning unit members to engage in some active research, by looking through some of the sources on the website, visiting the local library or inspecting some of the memorials in local churches. You could also ask a local history expert or archivist to come and talk to the unit and make some suggestions.

Refine your list

Depending how productive your first or subsequent sessions have been, you'll end up with a list of women's names, some well-known, others less so, who have all been commemorated in some way in your area. Make sure you have eliminated duplications and then decide with the unit which memorials you want to follow up. Some younger members may wish to concentrate on one or two memorials under a leader's active supervision, others may prefer to split up and work on their own initiative.

Section 2: Out on the Trail »