Welcome to Scottish Genealogy Tips And Tidbits

A wee bit of info to help you in your journey to discover your Scottish Ancestors and maybe even crack a brick wall or two!



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Friday, 7 April 2017

NEW eCOURSE - SCOTTISH GENEALOGY BOOT CAMP

I have launched a new online course for Scottish genealogy learning. These eCourses use a combination of text and video to enhance your learning experience. 




BOOT CAMP is a three week, intensive learning course that covers:

  • Getting Started
  • Using the ScotlandsPeople's Website
  • Legitimacy
  • Scottish Marriages
  • Scottish Naming Pattern
  • Filling Your Scottish Genealogy Toolbox
  • Digging Deeper
  • Beyond ScotlandsPeople
  • Brick Wall Busters
  • Researching in Local Archives
  • Resources at the National Archives of Scotland
  • Resources at the National Library of Scotland
  • Court Records
  • Asylum Records
  • Poor Law Records
  • Preparing for a Genealogy Research Trip to Scotland

You do not need to have any prior experience researching Scottish ancestors, but should know what part of Scotland your ancestors were from. 

To register for this course, the Beginner's Course or the Digging Deeper course, visit the website at:

https://www.genealogytoursofscotland.ca/courses.html


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

NEW! Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors Magazine

I have been working behind the scenes to create a special issue for Moorshead Magazines (Internet Genealogy, Your Genealogy Today) on Scottish Genealogy Research. The issue will be on its way to the printer this week and will be available on May 1. You can pre-order the issue and have it delivered to your email inbox (PDF format) or your home mail box (hard copy issue) for May 1.




The issue includes articles on Getting Started, Researching in Scottish Archives, Breaking Through Brick Walls, the Scottish Naming Pattern, Researching Scottish Occupations, Scottish Emigration Resources and much more.

The PDF is just $8.50 and the hard copy issue is just $9.95 (plus shipping)

Here is the link to pre-order YOUR copy:
https://your-genealogy-history-store-cda.myshopify.com/collections/tracing-your-ancestors-series/products/tracing-your-scottish-ancestors-available-in-print-and-pdf-format?variant=41129930951

Monday, 13 March 2017

What Qualifies as a Genealogy Specialty?

Some colleagues and I were discussing areas of specialty. It came about as a result of the article in the APGQ about having a genealogy niche.  My area of specialty is very much a niche. Not only is my base limited to Scottish genealogy but within that, I have niched again into Ancestral Tourism. My niche is about helping others locate their Scottish ancestors while researching using the records IN Scotland.

I give talks and webinars about the different records that are available both online and off. Mostly off. This limits me when being chosen for Conferences. The topics - while plentiful - are limited in scope and don't appeal to the larger audience. Sure I can add in the usual talks on Google, Social Media and even Getting Started but so can hundreds of other genealogists. So I stay limited. If I don't get picked, I don't get picked. Sometimes I'm dismayed but mostly I decide to attend the conference any way, but to attend as an exhibitor/vendor and allow those who are interested to find me.

I am a teacher. I understand the adult learner. I am relaxed and generally very dynamic - unless this is talk 4 or 5 on the same day. Then I know that my audience is just as worn as I am so I keep it short and sweet.  Who doesn't like being dismissed early? And I've yet to hear anyone feeling short changed.

So, what qualifies someone as being a specialist in a specific area of genealogy? Here are my thoughts

1.) The most critical, of course, is a knowledge of the record sets. An intimate knowledge.  What is available? Where it is available? Is it accessible? And what benefit it will be for a family history researcher?

2.) If you are a specialist in any given country, it really is important for you to know the history of the country. That allows you to know what records certain events generated and whether those records might still exist. It lets you know what genealogical value the records might contain.

3.) If you are a specialist who also does client research - that is, researching other people's family history - then you also need to know the basics of methodology, the genealogical proof standard, source citation, and effective report writing. I don't do client research. For a whole lot of reasons. Mostly to do with wanting to teach rather than research. So I would never offer to give talks or webinars on any of the requirements listed above. Ever. Yes, I know them. Yes, I use them in my own research. But I don't even begin to pretend to be as qualified in any aspect of client research as my colleagues who are. I don't want to take away from their expertise nor do I want to provide a less than stellar product to people who are paying good money for my work. I am honoured to be connected to some amazing genealogists who do client work and I am only too happy to pass people along to them. It shows the client that I care enough about them to want them to get expert input and it allows my colleagues to enjoy doing what they do. It is a win-win for all of us.

So, being in a niche, how do I keep from going stale? I am constantly looking at new presentations. But I keep them aligned with my niche. 
  • ·      Is the presentation about Scottish research?
  • ·      Does the presentation showcase Scottish records?
  • ·      Will the presentation assist people who are researching their Scottish ancestry? 

What do I stay away from? Pretty much everything else. 
  • ·       My husband's family were from England. I rocked that research but my knowledge generally is limited to the area where his ancestors lived. So I don't talk on English records. I defer to colleagues who do.  
  • ·       My husband's parents were first generation Canadian. I also rocked that research but don't use the records enough to present on Canadian records. I do share where people can find things that may assist them finding their Scottish ancestors who have emigrated to Canada, but those are the basic records. Beyond that, I pass them off to the teachings of my colleagues who specialize in the Canadian records.

I    If I'm constantly having to ask my colleagues about their area of expertise in order to put a presentation together, then I need to concede it is not my area and I need to pass the presentation off to them. Similarly with client work. If I don't know the history of the country, the records that are available, where those records are available or what genealogically relevant information they contain, I need to pass that off to someone who does know. 

I'm interested to hear from my colleagues who have a specialty or niche on what they think qualifies someone to claim the specialist status. Post your comments below.




Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Join Me At Jamboree!

I'm thrilled to be speaking at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree later this year. I am part of the Jamboree's British Isles and Ireland track and will be giving three talks:

Breaking Through Brick Walls

Step Away From the Computer

Underused Databases for Scottish Genealogy

I will also be in the Exhibitor Hall when I am not speaking and would love to have you drop by to say hello. 

The Jamboree runs June 8-11 and is being held at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel. 

Click HERE to register

Sunday, 19 February 2017

New eCourses Launched!

After two years in the making, I have finally created and launched two online eCourses for Scottish genealogy research. These courses will allow you to learn about researching your Scottish ancestors from the comfort of your home or office. 

INTRODUCTION TO SCOTTISH GENEALOGY


In this beginner level course, you will learn:
  • places to reach out to others researching your ancestors
  • using the ScotlandsPeople website
  • citing your sources
  • legitimacy, irregular marriages and the Scottish naming pattern
  • building a genealogy toolbox for Scottish research

The first 25 people who register for this course can receive a 10% discount by using the coupon code "getstarted10" at checkout. 


DIGGING DEEPER IN
SCOTTISH GENEALOGY RESEARCH


In this second level course, you will learn:
  • strategies for breaking through brick walls
  • records available in Scottish libraries and archives
  • court records
  • asylum records
  • poor law records
Both courses use a combination of text and video for a well rounded learning experience. 


MyHertiage After Party at RootsTech

One of the highlights of RootsTech for the past two years has been the After Party that is sponsored by MyHeritage. This takes place on the Friday night and is a fantastic way for the Ambassadors, Sponsors and Vendors/Exhibitors to unwind. There are glow sticks, photo booths, party games, appetizers, drinks and best of all Karaoke. It amazes me how galvanizing the Karaoke stage is for the attendees. 

Thanks to Daniel Horowitz and his team for another fantastic night of fun and friendship. Already looking forward to next year's After Party!

Check out the video!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

A Conversation with FindMyPast

While at RootsTech, I had the pleasure of attending as a RootsTech Ambassador. This allows me access to the Keynote speakers and the top level executive for the major sponsors where I can arrange interviews with them. 

On the Friday afternoon, Kathryn Lake Hogan and I had the chance to catch up with Gail Rivett (Chief Marketing Officer) and Ben Bennett (Executive VP, North America and International) of FindMyPast. We interviewed Gail and Ben last year and were thrilled to be able to catch up with them again this year. We chatted for nearly an hour! 

Kathryn Lake Hogan, Gail Rivett, Ben Bennett, Christine Woodcock
The big news that was announced at RootsTech this year was the release of the Immigration to a New Country records, which are actually from the Treasury Records at the National Archives in London. 


Another big announcement from FMP at RootsTech was the addition of the Catholic Heritage Records from the Archdiocese of New York, Philadelphia and Boston. More records will be added over time.

From my conversations with Audrey Collins at the Commonwealth Dinner, I learned that FindMyPast has also digitized the Treasury Records for the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Ben tells me that these will be available on FMP later this year. How exciting is that?

We had some interesting discussion about the search interface on the FMP website. And the categorization of the records to countries. There has been lots of upset in Canada with the Canadian records all being lumped under North America. Ben tells me that FMP is well aware of the issues and that there is a large investment in time and resources this year to fix the problems. When FMP was set up, it was set up in the UK. Initially all of the records available were UK records. Then FMP crept into the US market and a new category of records was added "North America" With expansion of acquisition of records from other countries, the records are basically in three categories "UK", "North America" (which currently includes Canada, but not Mexico) and "The Rest of the World" Changes are coming to better differentiate between the various countries, with the larger contributors of records getting their own categories. Another change coming is the search interface itself which will allow searching using additional fields like "Maiden Name" or others in the household. I can't wait to see the changes as they happen.

*Disclaimer: I am an Ambassador for FMP. This allows me a free subscription in exchange for opinions about the website, record sets and subscriptions. All opinions are my own and are not reflective of either FMP or of my relationship with FMP. My opinions do not imply endorsement by FMP.