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


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:


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:

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. 


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. 


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.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

FREE February Webinar for Scottish Research

Step Away From the Computer 
Feb 20, 2017 7:00 PM EST 
Your Scottish ancestors are waiting for you to find them. But in order to do that, you need to step away from your computer. There are thousands of records available in Scottish repositories that can enhance your Scottish Genealogy research. Few of these are digitized or available online, but all of them can give you a much clearer understanding of the lives of your ancestors. This talk will assist you in understanding the types of records that exist, where they are located and how to access them

The Week That Was

Where HAS the week gone? One minute we were getting ready for all that RootsTech had to offer and all of a sudden I was on a plane, returning home!

RootsTech really is a whirlwind of activity. And this year, adding an exhibitor to my roles at the conference meant absolutely no spare time. But what an awesome experience!

Tuesday night was the media dinner. The five semi finalists for the Innovator Showdown were announced.

Wednesday was set up day in the Expo Hall. The booth was empty when we arrived - no tables, no chairs, nothing. We had quite a long wait to get everything we needed to in the end this set our schedules back by quite a bit.

On Wednesday afternoon, I had the pleasure of speaking on Underused Databases for Scottish Genealogy Research. The room was quite full and the talk went well, with lots of great questions.

Because of where we were positioned in the Expo Hall, it was good that I had had the chance to speak. It let people know I was in the Expo Hall and they then made the effort to come and find the booth.

Wednesday evening was the Welcome Party. It was great to see everyone that I only get to see in person once a year.

Thursday started off with the Opening Keynote with Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch. Steve's talk was about food and the memories that food evokes. Following Steve, we had the great pleasure of listening to the Property Brothers, Drew & Jonathan Scott. The duo spoke of family relationships and their pride in their Scottish heritage.

After the talk, I was one of 10 Ambassadors that had the opportunity to interview the brothers. This was a bit chaotic and far less informative than previous interviews where there were only a handful of people and we actually had the chance to interact with the guests.

After the conference was over for the day, I had the chance to enjoy a special get together sponsored by FindMyPast as a thank you to their Ambassadors. 

Thursday evening was the most wonderful experience. We had the immense pleasure of listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Rogers and Hammerstein. 

Friday was a bit of a whirlwind with Ambassador interviews. I had the chance to join my business partner, Kathryn Lake Hogan for an interview with Anna Broome and Tara Claborn of Forever.com. This was followed by a sponsored luncheon where Glen Meakem, Founder and CEO of Forever, was the speaker. Then it was on to another interview with Kathryn. We managed to get caught up with Ben Bennett and Gail Rivett of FindMyPast. 

Friday night was the much anticipated After Party, sponsored by MyHeritage. This is always such a fun night. And a great way to wrap up a really busy week. 

Saturday was BUSY. SO BUSY. It was Family Discovery Day, where an estimated 30,000 people descended on the Salt Palace Convention Centre. There wasn't one second of down time to breathe or even to take a bathroom break. 

And then it was all over! Just like that. 

We are already planning for next year and although beyond exhausted, we are all deeply satisfied at everything we saw, heard, learned and for all of the connections that were made. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

RootsTech Is Off To A Great Start

This week is one that genealogists look forward to all year. This week is RootsTech. The largest genealogy conference in the world, when thousands of genealogists from across the globe gather in Salt Lake City to learn, share, network and enjoy. 

Salt Palace lit up at night

The week started off in fine form tonight with the Media Dinner. This dinner is sponsored by Family Search and serves as both  welcome and a thank you from FamilySearch to the RootsTech Ambassadors. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to be chosen to use our social media channels to share our experiences with the genealogy community. 

Signs lead the way

Well over 100 RootsTech Ambassadors, Media and FamilySearch staff and volunteers gathered at the Salt Palace for an incredible meal, a chance to connect and celebrate and to get an overview of the week ahead. 

Thomas McEntee, Christine Woodcock, Dave Lambert

Team CanGen Summit - Christine Woodcock & Kathryn Lake Hogan

The In-Depth Genealogist team. 

Me and my genealogy twin

Here's to the week ahead. It will be full of opportunity, full of learning, full of networking and most of all, full of fun and celebration.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Researching Scottish Inmate Ancestors Webinar on YouTube

A webinar held a couple of weeks ago on researching Scottish inmate ancestors, Criminals, Lunatics and Paupers, is now available on my YouTube channel. I have not monetized the channel so make no royalties or commission from any ads associated with the videos you view.

Here is the webinar:

Monday, 30 January 2017

RootsTech is Next Week! Wait! WHAT?

One week today I will be flying out to Salt Lake City to enjoy all that RootsTech has to offer. The camaraderie, the learning, the networking, the researching, the food, the shopping and yes, even the chaos. 

Although the planning has been in the works for sometime, suddenly it seems surreal that the time is actually here. NOW. I've been making my list for some time, but now I need to check it twice and make sure everything is ready for next Monday - bright and early. 

  1. Valid Passport - ⇃
  2. E-ticket - ⇃
  3. Hotel Reservation information ⇃
  4. Presentation ⇃
  5. Lots of Goodies to hand out in the Expo Hall ⇃
  6. RIBBONS ⇃
  7. Packing Cubes ready to be filled ⇃
  8. App downloaded ⇃
  9. Schedule - besides go, go and GO! this one is a bit fluid
  10. Tartan - being shipped - fingers crossed
  11. Chargers, cords, camera and cards ⇃
  12. Flexibility and a sense of adventure ⇃⇃⇃
As an Ambassador, I will be blogging from RootsTech and look forward to sharing the frenzy of the week with you. 

First up will be to meet up with my twin genealogy sister and head to the hotel to await the rest of our roommates. Monday night is our annual Commonwealth Dinner, organized by Jill Ball. Can't wait to see everyone! 

Friday, 27 January 2017

RootsTech Live Streaming Schedule Announced

The long awaited announcement for the live streaming schedule for this year's RootsTech has been made. This allows people who can't make the trip to Salt Lake City to benefit from some of the talks.

Here's where you can find the line-up of talks and add them into your schedule for the week of February 8 - 11th. 


Sunday, 22 January 2017

Lots to DISCOVER at RootsTech

Traditionally, the Saturday of RootsTech has been Family Discovery Day. This day allows free admission to introduce families to the world of Family History. It is also the day where hundreds of LDS families descend on the Salt Palace Convention Centre to learn as much as they can about researching their family history, one of the tenets of their faith.

The Expo Hall is a buzz of activity. The classes are full of people, full of energy and full of excitement. Many of the classes on Saturday are geared specifically for the LDS families. Line ups are long. Crowds are heavy and yet the air is full of energy, fun and excited anticipation.

New this year to RootsTech is the opportunity for families - well anyone really - to enjoy the new DISCOVERY Centre at the Family History Library. The new display is on the main floor of the library. As an Ambassador, I will get to enjoy a VIP tour prior to the official opening. From the RootsTech website:

"With touch screen monitors and computers, individuals and families can learn about their unique identity, create their personal story, and explore family roots in exciting, interactive ways."

This really does bring Roots and Tech together in an innovative and engaging way.

If you are planning to attend RootsTech next month, be sure to schedule some time to research in the Family History Library and to take in the new Discovery Centre on the main floor.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Going to RootsTech? Lace Up Those Boots!

In just over two weeks, the largest Family History Conference, RootsTech, will be taking place. And let me tell you, it will be a whirlwind!

If you are planning to go to RootsTech, Lace up those boots, get ready to hit the Salt Palace at full tilt and enjoy everything that the conference has to offer. It is an amazing time of learning, buying, researching, buying, networking, buying, researching, sharing and enjoying 4 days immersed in all things genealogy.

Pack you chargers, pack your bank card and most importantly, pack your stamina. Here's the line up of what the week will look like:


The Conference begins with the Innovator Showdown. Ten semi-finalists are competing for top prize. These ten innovators who have worked hard to support, foster and inspire the family history industry will be introduced to the media and to the ambassadors at the Media dinner on Tuesday night. The winners will be announced before a live audience on Friday at 10:30.

If you are going to RootsTech, make sure to wander along Innovation Alley to visit all of the semi-finalists and learn about their offerings to make your family history research easier and more productive.


Wednesday morning is dedicated to current innovators and to future innovators. Classes and labs are on offer including one on the current and future trends in Family History. Genealogy sessions and labs are offered starting on Wednesday afternoon, including my session on Underused Databases for Scottish Research.

But RootsTech doesn't end when the Salt Palace closes at the end of the day! On Wednesday evening, there is the 80s themed Welcome Party to come attend at the Marriott. These evening activities allow for fun and friendship with others who are attending the conference.


Things really start to pick up on Thursday. FamilySearch CEO, Steve Rockwood, will start off the day, followed by Keynote Speakers Drew and Jonathan Scott of the Property Brothers. After the opening General Session, the Expo Hall opens. This is where the need to strap your laces comes in. The Salt Palace is HUGE. HUGE. There will be a lot of walking and the need for time management in order for attendees to get from the classes to the Expo Hall then back to classes and back to the Expo Hall. In addition to vendors and exhibitors, the Expo Hall is a place to catch some free wifi, grab some nourishment,  see what is new or improved at the Demo Stage, seek help or advice at either the Coaches Corner or at the Heirloom Show and Tell. Come see what's new along Innovator Alley and watch history come to life at the Discovery Zone.

Genealogist Tami Osmer Mize has once again put together an incredibly useful map of the Expo Hall to allow you a visual of who you want to see and where you can find them.


Friday is a replica of Thursday with a change of players for the morning's General Session. Here we will get to hear from genealogist and tv personality Kenyatta Berry (Genealogy Road Show) followed by LeVar Burton.


The conference culminates on Saturday with Family Discovery Day. This morning's General Session speakers are CeCe Moore and none other than Buddy Valastro. The Expo Hall gets a whole lot busier when LDS families and youth descend to learn as much as they can about family history.

The entire week will fly by. The memories, however, will last forever. You will come away inspired, energized, feeling more connected and more determined to work on your family history. The exhaustion will subside in a few days. The connections will be enduring.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - Kindex

Kindex is an archival app. Kindex allows you to gather records into a single digital archive, transcribe and tag records. It is also allows you to search and share their archive. Kindex rescues your family history stored in boxes and allows family members of all ages to index them.  

Kindex is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - JoyFLIPS

JoyFLIPS is an app that allows you to scan, curate and share the thousands of photos. It also allows you to share the stories of the photos through speech or text so that the story behind the photos can be passed down to future generations. Speech is converted to text which is fully searchable. The app also automatically adds documents from FamilySearch and old newspapers to add genealogy to the photos and stories. 

 JoyFLIPS is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - Emberall

Emberall is an app that allows you to capture video interviews of stories given by family members. These videos then get stored on the cloud, freeing up valuable space on your phone for you to conduct further interviews. 

Video allows you to hear the person, see them, feel their emotion and really experience depth to their stories. 

Emberall is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017. 

Monday, 16 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing

CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing takes crowd sourcing to a new level by making indexing a more seamless for genealogy societies and special interest groups. CSI basically automates the role of Project Manager for any crowd sourced indexing project. It sets up the project, the fields that need to be transcribed and tracks what has been done and what is yet to get done. The actual Project Manager can see the progress being made and deal with any problems as they arise. 

CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - Cuzins

Cuzins is an app much like Ancestry's "We're Related" app. The good news for Cuzins, though, is that you don't need a subscription to Ancestry in order to play along. Cuzins uses names and trees submitted through FamilySearch for it's database and matching filters. Let Cuzins show you who you might be related to. 

Cuzins is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - Old News USA

Old Newspapers USA is an app that will allow you to search newspapers and find articles about your ancestors right from the palm of your hand! By adding in some basic information, you will get search results such as obits, marriage announcements and social page articles. You will also get suggestions of other newspapers to check. The app automatically zooms right into the article or announcement so no need to scour the entire page to find what you are looking for!

Old Newspapers USA is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017. 

Friday, 13 January 2017

Ready To Turn That Family Tree Into a Family Treasure?

Are you ready to turn your family history research into a family treasure? Something that can be shared, shown off and kept safe for future generations? Dear Myrtle and I chatted about just this very thing on her Wacky Wednesday this week. Here's the link to the recording: 

Still have questions? Give me shout and I will be happy to answer them!

The TECH in RootsTech - QRoma Tag

QRoma Tag is an iOS app that allows you to share stories directly onto your photos. As the developer says, it is the new "writing on the back of the photo". By entering your photo into the app, and speaking about the photo, the app creates metadata that becomes fully searchable and allows the story of the picture to always be part of the picture. By telling your story about the photo, including where and when it was taken as well as who is in it, the metadata gets attached to the photo directly, where it can be stored and shared for generations to come. 

QRoma Tag is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech. 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - RootsFinder

RootsFinder is designed to engage the future generation in family history and genealogy research. This cloud based program has the features and some of the functions of social media like Facebook and Google images, making the app user friendly to youth of all ages. RootsFinder makes sharing to social media easy and seemless, is fully integrated with FamilySearch and allows well sources information for the more serious or advanced genealogist. 

RootsFinder is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - Double Match Triangulator

Double Match Triangulator combines two different people's Chromosome Browser Results files from FamilyTreeDNA to provide Double Match and Triangulation data that can be used to help determine genealogical relationships. 

No need for creating spreadsheets, this app does it for you! The colourful mapping helps you to see the matches and to identify the triangulation groups of people you share a common ancestor with. 

Double Match Triangulator is one of the semi-finalists in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - Champollion 2.0

Champollion 2.0 is one of the semi-finalists in the Innovator Showdown. 

Champollion 2.0 is a powerful program that provides active help for everyone who works with historical documents. It has received very positive reviews in France.

Champollion 2.0 makes text and image interact with each other, changes lighting of the background and the clarity of the text in contrast. You can number the lines in the document, and annotations, crop images, and compare original images to the processed images. It also makes the document fully searchable.

Champollion currently only works with Windows.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Preserving Your Roots with Tech at RootsTech - Forever

Forever.com is a gold sponsor of RootsTech 2017. 

Forever offers guaranteed, permanent online media storage. In addition, Forever offers media conversion, digital scrap-booking and the opportunity to share everything with your family. You can even leave your account to future generations. Your account is guaranteed for 100 years beyond your lifetime, with guaranteed back up and media migration services in the future. Collect, curate, and celebrate your family memories for generations with Forever! 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

2017 - The Year of History Heritage and Archaeology

VisitScotland has deemed 2017 to be the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. The year is set aside to celebrate the richness of Scotland's intriguing history, impressive cultural heritage and fascinating archaeology.

Scotland is an ancient land with a rich and tumultuous history. 

Culloden Moor

The Scots diaspora have settled worldwide and continue to honour their Scottish heritage. 


The ancient land occasionally gives up some of its long buried secrets, making a perfect stage for archaeologists across the nation. 

Skara Brae
How are YOU planning to celebrate the year of History Heritage and Archaeology?

Adding Tech to Your Roots - Ancestry

Ancestry is a platinum of RootsTech 2017.

Ancestry is a leader in family history. Ancestry pioneered online family history research. Ancestry provides access to databases, tree hosting, tree building and tree matching on a subscription basis. Ancestry's DNA test is now the fastest growing consumer genetic database in the world.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Putting Your Ancestor's Lives into Perspective

Victorian Slums, BBC Documentary

This documentary series gives incredible insight into the poverty and desperation that led our ancestors to relinquish their children to homes such as Barnardos or Middlemore for a better life. It really was a matter of survival. Even those that might have been mistreated here in Canada were at least alive - something that likely wouldn't have happened had they remained with their families. 

Middlemore actually did an experiment of sorts. Followed 40 kids sent to Canada and 40 who stayed in Birmingham. The 40 BHC did very well and the vast majority stayed with the families they lived with beyond their 18th birthday. Of the 40 in England none fared well. They either died or were in prison.

For many of our ancestors, leaving their homeland, it is easy can also see how surviving the trip over wasn't as much of a hardship as it would have been for us. They were already living in dank, dirty, overcrowded quarters with little to eat. At least the promise of a fresh new life lay on the other side of the voyage. As scary as that might have been. 

Although the series is set in London, it was the same situation in all of the large industrial cities - Birmingham and Glasgow included. While the series starts in the 1860s, the reality is that while times changed and things looked up for some, for the very poor, life simply became more desperate.  It's hard not to let our 21st century emotions colour our view of the reality of our ancestor's lives and the times they were living in. It becomes really important to keep their lives in an historical perspective.

Adding Tech to Your Roots at RootsTech - Find My Past

FindMyPast is a platinum sponsor of RootsTech 2017

FindMyPast has an unrivaled collection of British and Irish records. In addition, they are accumulating a growing collection of records from the US and has started to add Canadian records as well. 

FindMyPast provides access to records and provides the only online access to the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), an invaluable collection of local histories and genealogies from a wide variety of locations and times from the US and around the world.

Friday, 6 January 2017


Free webinar for Scottish research
Monday January 16, 2017
7:00 pm eastern


If your ancestor is listed as an 'inmate' in the records, whether in a poor house, an asylum or a prison, they will have left paper trail detailing the circumstances of their lives at that time. In this webinar, we will look at the records that are available, the information they provide and how to access them.

To register:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

See you online!

Adding Tech to Your Roots at RootsTech - FamilySearch

FamilySearch is a platinum sponsor of RootsTech 2017. FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch provides free resources, record access, learning tools, support, tree hosting and tree building services. Come and see all that FamilySearch has to offer to genealogists of all skill levels. 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Adding Tech to Your Roots - MyHeritage

MyHeritage is a platinum sponsor for RootsTech 2017.

MyHeritage is the fastest-growing website for discovering, preserving, and sharing family history. As technology thought leaders, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s accessible and instantly rewarding. MyHeritage provides an online tree building and tree sharing platform as well as record matches and is now venturing into the realm of DNA testing for genealogy. 

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ScotlandsPeople releases latest Birth, Death and Marriage records

Entries from important statutory records have been released today onto ScotlandsPeople; the family history website operated by the National Records of Scotland.
Digital images of 110,000 birth entries from 1916, more than 47,000 marriage entries from 1941 and 64,000 death entries from 1966 are now available for members of the public to search, view and save, no matter where they are in the world.
Three entries give details relating to the lives of three Scots of note. These are: 
  • The birth of Jessie Grant Kesson (nee McDonald) (1916 – 1994), who wrote The White Bird Passes. Born in Invernesson 29 October 1916, Kesson rose from humble beginnings to become an acclaimed author receiving honorary degrees from both the University of Aberdeen and the University of Dundee.
  • An entry detailing the birth Jack Milroy (1915 -2001), the Scottish comedian, who was born James Cruden on 28 December 1915 in Govanhill, Glasgow. Being born so near to the end of the year, Jack’s birth was not registered by his father until 17 January 1916. Jack Milroy was best known for his double act with comedy actor Rikki Fulton. Jack played Francie in the famous comedy duo Francie and Josie.
  • The death record entry for Alexander Carrick, RSA (1882 – 1966), one of Scotland’s leading monumental sculptors of the early twentieth century. Carrick’s extensive body of work includes war memorials include those at Fraserburgh, Berwick and Killin in Perthshire. 
The 1941 marriage records reveal the details of those wed in wartime Scotland including one couple whose union was cut tragically short by the Clydebank blitz in 1941. They were married from just one month. 
Alexander Clarkson and Margaret O’Donnell, were married on 12 February 1941 in a civil ceremony by the Registrar in the district of Old Kilpatrick. Sadly, Margaret was killed when the Benbow Hotel where Alexander and Margaret were residents was hit by a bomb on the evening of 13 March, leaving only the shell of the building.

Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:
“The releases of these records give us a richer understanding of Scotland’s story and our people. The marriage certificates from the early '40s in particular provide further insight into the consequences of the Second World War, and how it affected the things we take for granted today.
“I’d encourage anyone interested in finding out more about their local history or genealogy to have a look at the wealth of records now available as part of our new ScotlandsPeople website. No matter where you are in the world, you can instantly find out more about your own personal story.”
The new version of the ScotlandsPeople website launched in September 2016; it has experienced an average 3.4 million site views a year and around 1 million unique users since its launch in 2002.
Since September, visitors to ScotlandsPeople can now search statutory record indexes including birth, death and marriage certificates for free. Users are now only charged if they wish to view or download a record image.