Oct 21, 2021

AGRA Press Release: The Dr John Burt Bursary for AGRA Associates

The following announcement was written by AGRA (The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives):

Dr John Burt

Dr John Burt was an Associate of AGRA, who made a great impact with his enthusiasm and willingness to get involved. His sudden death earlier this year came as a great shock to all his colleagues, who very much wished to find a way of remembering him and his contribution to AGRA and to genealogy. We are therefore pleased to announce that Council has decided to institute an annual bursary award of £250 in his memory. This is to be payable to an AGRA Associate progressing to full membership, and will go towards the expenses of furthering their genealogical education.

Antony Marr, AGRA Chair, said: “John made a tremendous contribution to both AGRA and the wider genealogy world. We are all saddened at his death.

“This bursary is a fitting tribute to John, providing a lasting legacy to his passion for furthering genealogical knowledge.”

Dr John Burt, M.B., Ch.B., B.A., Cert. Archaeol., M.Sc., F.S.A.Scot., Q.G., was a retired general medical practitioner. Known as Jack by family and friends, he followed in his father’s footsteps working for nearly 30 years as a local GP in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. Educated at Edinburgh Academy and obtaining his medical qualifications at the University of Aberdeen, John was a keen climber having reached the summit of all the Munros in Scotland and even gained a Blue Peter badge as a child.

He had a passion and huge knowledge of military medals which he had been collecting since childhood. Researching the men named on Fife War Memorials enabled him to give knowledgeable talks on the First World War – a war both of his grandfathers had fought in and survived.

John loved researching and learning and relished the challenge of tackling a new project. He published a book on Pictish stones in the 1990s which remains the only work of its kind to date.

Following his retirement from medical practice he gained an M.Sc. in Genealogy, Palaeography and Heraldry with the University of Strathclyde. Researching the case notes of individuals in Roxburgh District Asylum for his dissertation enabled him to write two books for genealogists and historians on mental health in nineteenth century Britain, which were published by Pen & Sword History: ‘Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots: A History of Insanity in Nineteenth Century Britain and Ireland’ (2017) and ‘Madness, Murder and Mayhem: Criminal Insanity in Victorian and Edwardian Britain (2018).

John endeavoured to make a positive difference to the lives of others through his work and research and was well-loved and much respected by both the medical and genealogy communities. It is therefore fitting this bursary will go towards making a positive difference to genealogists.

FURTHER INFORMATION: For further information please contact Jane Roberts, on tel 0771 4203891 (09:00-17:00 hrs) or via

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