Viv's Home Page


Welcome to my home page! Here you can find out about my interests, both work-related but also more fun things like family history. If you want to contact me then please read this page first.

Work and related matters

I've completed both a taught postgraduate Masters degree (Cultural and Urban Histories 1650-1850) and a PhD ("Reading habits in Scotland circa 1750-1820" - online PDF) at Dundee University. Previously I studied history and classical studies at the Open University, and before that computer science (undergrad + postgrad in the Persistent Programming Research Group) at St Andrews University. A list of publications co-authored both during my time at St Andrews and more recently as a single-author historian is available.

I am currently converting my PhD thesis into more academic journal papers. I am an Honorary Research Fellow of History, University of Dundee. My academic research interests are Scottish social, cultural, urban and reading history, particularly in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

I also have a dedicated blog for musings on academic issues.

Genealogy and Family History

I have been tracing my family tree for over 30 years now. Most of my known forebears come from the south of Scotland and I am researching many families. I recently started a dedicated blog to recount some of the interesting family stories I found, from all ancestral branches. I also run a one-name study of the surname Cavers and have a rapidly growing collection of references to that surname, and have a Cavers blog associated with that.

Over the years I have started many genealogical indexes, e.g.

Further details of these and other indexing projects are available.

I have been involved for a long time with the GENUKI project which aims to provide an online information resource for UK and Irish genealogists. Since 1995 I have developed GENUKI pages for the following Scottish Border counties: Berwickshire, Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire and Peeblesshire. I still maintain the GENUKI pages for the first three of these counties.

I am also developing a one-place study for Coldingham parish in Berwickshire, based on past research that I have done into the parish and its inhabitants, particularly before civil registration started in 1855. Similarly I am developing a one-place study for Melrose parish in Roxburghshire, again based on extensive past research I have done, and focusing in particular on the pre-1820 period.

Another interest of mine is the application of computers to genealogy and family history. Together with my husband Martin I designed a genealogical browser GenMVD for the Psion 3 series of palmtop computers. I have also written a number of articles on this subject.

Vivienne S. Dunstan
Dundee, Scotland
Last updated 3rd November 2017