Tuesday 1 August 2023

Bicket Family Reunion - 5th -7th August 2023 - not just for Bickets !


Bicket Reunion in Kilmarnock 5-7 August 2023



Long-standing readers of the Kilmarnock Standard may remember articles about the Bicket family tree appearing first in 1969, and then again in 1981. Since then ork on the family tree has continued, and as a result there will be a family tree reunion at CentreStage in Kilmarnock on 5-7 August 2023. 

The organizers would be happy to welcome others who are interested in attending.  Please check with bicket@one-name.org.

Saturday 5 August will be the main day, when group photos will be taken.

Stuart Wilson, a local historian, will be giving a couple of talks during the reunion.  On Saturday 5 August he will be talking on ‘Why your ancestors left Scotland’.  There will also be short overviews of many of the branches by their members. 

It is planned to visit local places associated with various ancestors on Sunday and Monday.

There have been a few well-known Bickets from this Ayrshire tree. 

One of them, Sir Alexander Bicket (1853-1931), worked for the Kilmarnock Standard in 1870 when he was 17, before heading to Liverpool and making his name in the tugboat business there.  His great-grandson is Harry Bicket OBE, the conductor.  Thomas Walter Bickett (1869-1921) was governor of the state of North Carolina in the USA from 1917 through 1921.  Welton David Becket (1902-1969) founded one of America’s largest architectural firms.  And there are still many descendant Bickets, Bicketts, Beckets, Becketts and Bichans in Ayrshire, throughout Scotland, and throughout the world, including Canada, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand.

Bicket family tree research started using deep DNA testing in 2018.  The result has been the identification of 27 different branches of this tree which originated in Ayrshire.  21 of these branches all descended from a single individual born around 1400. There are five genetic branches which can only trace themselves back to the north of Ireland (Antrim, Down, Sligo, and Mayo), but they are genetically clearly part of the Ayrshire tree.

There is more information about the family on https://bicket.one-name.net.


Tuesday 9 May 2023

From Kilmarnock to Formosa - Thursday 1st June 2023

Kay Park Church extends an invitation to anyone who is interested in little known aspects of Kilmarnock's history to attend a very special event. Dr David Liu, will travel from Taiwan to tell the story of "Kilmarnock to Formosa (Taiwan)". The connecting link between these two places was Dr David Landsborough III, who was related to a former minister of the then Henderson Church (now Kay Park Church). In 1896 Dr Landsborough established Changhua Christian Hospital in Formosa. This link with Kilmarnock is very precious to Taiwanese people who continue his work to this day.

On Thursday, 1 June, at 7 p.m. you can meet Dr Liu at Kay Park Church and be inspired by the mission outreach of our Kilmarnock fore-fathers.

Monday 20 March 2023

Last talk of 2022-23 session and AGM

 The last talk of this session will take place on Thursday 23 March at 7.30pm when Ian Matheson will be in attendance. Ayrshire College Kilmarnock Campus as usual.

The AGM will take place at the start of the meeting.


Tuesday 17 January 2023

KDHG mentioned in a motion in Scottish Parliament

Following on from our work to help get the Red Wheel installed at Troon Harbour, the group has been mentioned in a Motion in The Scottish Parliament this week.

Thursday 22 December 2022

National Transport Trust Red Wheel at Troon

The latest National Transport Trust Red Wheel Heritage Site was unveiled at Troon on 19th December. KDHG President Gary Torbett and Troon born and bred Olympian Brian Whittle MSP undertook the honours overseen by John Yellowlees, Honorary Railway Ambassador for ScotRail.

A healthy group of just under 20 attended the brief ceremony and enjoyed light refreshments in the Harbour Bar on whose wall the plaque is mounted. From the site you can see over the harbour and appreciate its size before walking down past the marina to the area still actively used by the fishing fleet and some cargo vessels. The Arran ferry will decant to Troon for 2 years from June 2023 which makes the recognition of this site quite timely.

The plaque reads; 'TROON HARBOUR - Opened in 1812 as the terminus of the Kilmarnock & Troon Railway - a coal carrying plateway that was the first in Scotland to use steam locomotives and to carry passengers.'

The Red Wheel which was unveiled at Kilmarnock station on November 2021 reads; ' KILMARNOCK & TROON RAILWAY - Opened 1812 as a horse drawn, 4ft gauge plateway - the first in Scotland to carry passengers. Converted 1846 to a contemporary railway'

Both ends of this historically important railway are now commemorated in some style. 

More information on Red Wheels can be found HERE and on the Kilmarnock & Troon Railway HERE

Thanks to all members of KDHG who contributed to this project, as well as those who contributed via article on Facebook and LinkedIn. Thanks to the Mortons at The Harbour Bar who kindly agreed to have the plaque on their wall and for seeing to the installation as well as provision of refreshments.


Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2023

Merry Christmas to all our members and friends. Hopefully 2023 will be a happy and peaceful time for you and your families. 

Thursday 22 September 2022

The Rise and Fall of Kilmarnock by Eddy Burns

 An interesting video has appeared in the Ed Explores Scotland series on YouTube in which Eddy Burns travels to Kilmarnock - not too happy with Scotrail- and offers some thoughts on the 1970s redevelopment of the town centre, a topic we will explore on our first talk on 6th October. Grab a coffee and have a watch (link below). Hopefully it will inspire you to come along to our meeting !

The Rise and Fall of Kilmarnock