David Scrimgeour is a 59 year old Scot who first settled in West Yorkshire in 1976. Having spent over 30 successful years in IT sales, in 2012 he decided that it was time for a complete change of career, aspiring to become an author and publisher.
He has been a keen family historian for around twenty years and has always looked for stories around those ancestors he had found, rather than just their names and dates. It was while studying for his Post Graduate Diploma in Genealogy, Palaeography and Heraldic Studies with the University of Strathclyde that David first became aware of the vast array of original records housed in the West Yorkshire Archives Service Stanley Royd Hospital collection. Over the course of the next two years much time was spent poring over the records and the results can now be seen in Proper People.
"My original idea was to produce a research guide to the records of the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum (Stanley Royd Hospital) collection, targeted at family historians, explaining what the different record types contain, how to find an ancestor, and so on. I thought I would enhance my writing with some case studies to illustrate the fantastically rich material to be found in the patients' case notes so started writing about a few particularly interesting folk. It almost seemed as if every time I turned a page in the case notes, some nearly 200 years old, another great tale would emerge. I finally realised that these case studies were going to be of far more interest to historians than a research guide which would only serve the few individuals able to visit the archives themselves. Proper People enables readers to browse the patients' case notes through my eyes from the comfort of their own homes."