Friday, 4 December 2015

Give the Gift of Heritage This Christmas

Give your Scottish genealogy researcher the ultimate gift - the gift of heritage. Register them for a Genealogy Research Trip to Scotland. These 10 day tours allow protected research time in Edinburgh, time to visit the area of Scotland where your ancestors lived, the chance to connect with your Scottish ancestors and the ultimate gift of understanding your own Scottish heritage. 

These tours sell out quickly. The May 2016 tour is SOLD OUT. There are only 5 spaces left on the Sept 2016 tour. The fees include hotel, breakfast, research fees, transportation to and from the research facilities and a ceilidh to celebrate your heritage. DON'T MISS OUT:
 http://www.genealogytoursofscotland.ca/

Monday, 30 November 2015

Join Me in Barrie

On Saturday, December 5, I will be speaking at the monthly meeting of the Simcoe County Branch of the OGS. I will be giving two talks:


  • Navigating the ScotlandsPeople Website
  • Tracking Your Scots Emigrant Ancestor


The meeting starts at 2pm and is held at the LDS church in Barrie (79 Ferris Lane)

If you are in the area, come join us for an afternoon immersed in Scottish genealogy research techniques. 


Sunday, 15 November 2015

Thank You Uxbridge!!

What a great day on Saturday! I was invited by the Uxbridge Genealogy Group to give two talks on Scottish genealogy research. 

The talks took place in the Old Quaker School house of the Uxbridge Historical Centre. The room quickly filled with eager listeners. 

The first talk was on Navigating the ScotlandsPeople Website. The code for 20 free credits was a big hit! I had people come up at the break and say that they had been using ScotlandsPeople for some time and still managed to learn something new.



There was a break to give people a chance to network, and me a chance to sell some of my new books. Then it was onto the second talk, Lesser Known Databases for Scottish Genealogy Research. 

All too soon, the day was over. People were eager to get home and put the new information to work. I could picture the fibre optic cables lighting up with all of the Scottish Genealogy Research that was taking place yesterday afternoon and on into the evening. 

It was a wonderful day with wonderful people. Thank you Marian Bellamy for the invitation to speak to the Uxbridge Genealogy Group!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Researching Scottish Death, Burial and Lair Records Webinar

Researching Scottish Death, Burial and Lair Records Webinar
Tuesday, Oct 27, 7pm

Very few Scots could afford headstones. This makes searching for monumental inscriptions very frustrating. You won't find an inscription because there isn't one. It now becomes necessary to research burial and lair records. This webinar will give you some ideas of where to look and who to contact to access the information for your ancestor.

To register:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/researching-scottish-death-burial-and-lair-records-tickets-18811398399

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER FOR TOMORROW'S WEBINAR

LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER FOR THE NAVIGATING SCOTLANDSPEOPLE WEBSITE WEBINAR

The website that provides you with actual images of the Statutory records for Scottish research is ScotlandsPeople. This is a pay-per-view site using credits. If you don't know how to use the website effectively, you can waste a lot of credits, spend a lot of money and endure a lot of frustration.  In this lecture, you will learn:

·         How to get the most success out of your ScotlandsPeople searches
·         How the credit system works
·         How to narrow down your search
·         Using the information on the documents
·         Which records are most likely to be your ancestors
·         Where to find past search results
·         Where to get help
·         What to do when you can't read the documents

All those who attend the webinar will receive 20 free credits to use on the site (a $10 value). If you can't make the webinar's live event, you can register and pay and then will be given 30 days to view the recording. This will also give you the 20 free credits. This in-depth webinar is just $14.95

To register: 

Friday, 2 October 2015

Navigating the ScotlandsPeople Website Webinar

Don't Miss the October 7th Webinar

The website that provides you with actual images of the Statutory records for Scottish research is ScotlandsPeople. This is a pay-per-view site using credits. If you don't know how to use the website effectively, you can waste a lot of credits, spend a lot of money and endure a lot of frustration.  In this lecture, you will learn how to get the most success out of your ScotlandsPeople searches. 
  •  How the credit system works
  • How to narrow down your search
  • Using the information on the documents
  • Which records are most likely to be your ancestors
  • Where to find past search results
  • Where to get help
  • What to do when you can't read the documents
All those who attend the webinar will receive 20 free credits to use on the site. If you can't make the webinar's live event, you can register and pay and then will be given 30 days to view the recording. This will also give you the 20 free credits. This in-depth webinar is just $14.95

To register:  

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Lesser Known Databases For Scottish Research - Halton-Peel Branch OGS

On Sunday, Sept 27th, I will be speaking to the Halton-Peel branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society on Lesser Known Databases for Scottish Genealogy Research.

The meeting takes place at the Oakville Public Library on Third Line at 2 pm. If you are in the area, drop by for some learning, networking and great craic! Hope to see you there. 

http://www.haltonpeel.ogs.on.ca/

BHC Day Saturday Sept 26 & 27

This weekend, Sept 26 - 27, the British Home Child Group International (http://britishhomechild.com/) will be at Fanshawe Pioneer Village in London as part of the Doors Open Event. 

People will be on hand to assist you with your genealogy research. There will be an open mic so that you can share the story of your BHC ancestor with others in attendance. There are LOTS of door prizes to be won and the event is FREE!

The cafe at the Pioneer Village will be offering a three course meal for $14 on both Saturday and Sunday. 

Sandra Joyce will be launching her new children's book "Trees and Rocks, Rocks and Trees"

Claire Halstead will be on hand on Sunday to talk about the Child Evacuees.

Former Home Boys George Beardman and Cecil Hewitt will also be on hand on Sunday. 

This is a family event and we look forward to seeing you there. 




Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Lesser Known Databases for Scottish Genealogy Research Talk

I will be at the Halton-Peel branch of the OGS on Sunday, September 27th at 2pm. I will be speaking on: 

Lesser Known Databases for Scottish Genealogy Research
Beginner/Intermediate Level

Description: There comes a time when you have done all of the online researching you can do using the standard databases. In this workshop you will learn of lesser known databases to assist in breaking through your brick walls. These include:

  • FindMyPast
  • Deceased Online
  • British Newspaper Archives
  • Emigration Databases
  • Military Databases
  • Poor Law Records
  • Medieval Ancestry
  • Local, Offline resources

Abstract: Scotland is a world leader when it comes to preserving their national history and national memory. Archivists all over the country are working to conserve, preserve, digitize and make available records that can be used for genealogical research. This lecture will assist you in learning where you might find information on your Scots ancestor that will help you to fill in their story and add to your understanding of their social history.

The meeting takes place at the Oakville Public Library 1415 Third Line in Oakville.

Hope to see you there!


REMINDER for Scottish Genealogy Research Webinar TOMORROW Night

Sept 23: Scottish Genealogy Research Basics
7:00 pm Eastern

This 90 minute webinar will get you well and truly started on your researching your Scottish ancestors. In addition, you will learn about a number of resources that are helpful in researching Scottish ancestry. Included are:

- where to start
- why the ScotlandsPeople website is critical to your research
- why geography is important
- Old Parish Records vs Statutory Records
- Census Records
- Records of Corrected Entry
- Citing Sources
- Scottish Naming Pattern
- Scottish Marriages
- National Archives and what is available for Scottish genealogy
- National Library and what is available for Scottish genealogy
- Local Archives for genealogy research
- University Archives for genealogy research
- Using Newspapers for genealogy research
- Scottish Family History Societies

Cost for 90 minute webinar: $19.95

To register:
 https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/in-search-of-your-scottish-ancestors-webinar-tickets-17823308997

If you are not able to attend the "live" event, you can register and pay and you will then get up to 30 days to access the recording of the webinar. 



BIFHSGO Conference 2015 Was a BLAST!

Just back from the 21st annual conference of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa. This year's conference themes were: Scottish Research, Technology in Genealogy and Photography. 

The three different streams allowed for attendees who were across a broad spectrum of topics, making it about more than just the country their ancestors emigrated from. It also allowed a nice variety of speakers. 

I had two in-depth pre-conference seminars on the Friday. The were just too much fun. We spent the morning really digging in to the basics of Scottish genealogy research. In the afternoon, we walked through the website for Scottish research, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk This included some live searches for the last half hour or so. 



On Friday evening I was treated to dinner by Ed Zapletal of Moorhead Magazines (Internet Genealogy http://www.internet-genealogy.com/ and Your Genealogy Today http://yourgenealogytoday.com/) and his wife, Lynne. It was a great night with lots and lots of laughter as well as great food. 





I had the chance to hang out with Thomas McEntee between sessions on Saturday. We had a blast. 



Saturday night was a pay-as-you-go dinner which took Thomas and I by surprise. We patiently waited at the venue after the conference ended, being told that the dinner was an hour later. We arrived, what we thought was 15 minutes early to find there were only two seats left (at different tables and on opposite sides of the room). This meant we didn't get a chance to visit with people we had hoped to catch up with during the conference. Not only were we seated with a table of unknowns, many people in the room were already eating!



After dinner, I headed over to the airport to await the arrival of Chris Paton who was coming up from his gig in Toronto. I knew I was early, but was looking forward to some down time and the chance to read. No sooner in the door of the airport than I received a message from Chris that his flight was delayed by half an hour. No...wait...hold that thought....now delayed 45 minutes. Every time I looked at the arrival board, the time got later and later. In the end, it was 75 minutes delayed. Not to mention the 25 minutes waiting for the luggage to be unloaded. While I often feel very connected to Chris through social media, I rarely get a chance to see him, so it was nice to have the chance to get caught up with him even if it was around a luggage carousel. 



Sunday was another full day and once Thomas and I were finally able to drag Rock Star Chris Paton away from his adoring public, he made the very astute observation that it was "Beer O'Clock" The three of us found a lovely, homey wee pub a block or so away from the hotel and enjoyed a cold one, a wee nosh and some brilliant, brilliant craic. 


Thank you Ottawa. Thank you BIFHSGO. Thank you to my colleagues for making the weekend such a fun time and for making the conference such a terrific one. 


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

BIFHSGO Conference 2015

Later this week I will be heading to Ottawa to take part in the annual conference of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa. Each year, the conference features a different country from the British Isles, and this year the focus is on Scotland. In addition to Scottish research, the conference will feature topics on Technology and on Photographs - both as they relate to genealogy. Something for everyone.

The BIFHSGO conference is well run, has a variety of topics on offer and has a large marketplace. Online registration is closed, but you can arrive in person and register onsite.

I will be leading two pre-conference seminars on Friday. These are three hour sessions where we will delve into specific topics in Scottish research.

Friday morning focuses on getting started with your Scottish genealogy research.

In Search of Your Scottish Ancestors: 
Search Your Roots-Discover Your Heritage

While many people want to know more about their Scottish heritage, they often don’t know where to begin. Knowing where to look is usually where we falter. Fortunately, researching our Scottish ancestors is a fairly easy task. This seminar will get you started with researching your Scottish ancestry and will help you make the most of your research. Topics include: starting your search, the ScotlandsPeople website, the Scottish naming pattern, Scottish marriages, Catholic parish records on ScotlandsPeople, Scottish family history societies, Using Scottish Libraries and Archives, Scottish newspaper research, Scottish clans, and Connecting with others researching their Scottish ancestry.

The afternoon workshop is a walk-through of using the ScotlandsPeople website.

Dinnae Waste Yer Credits, Then:
Navigating the ScotlandsPeople Website

ScotlandsPeople is the website that provides you with actual images of the statutory records for Scottish research. This is a pay-per-view site using credits. If you don't know how to use the website effectively, you can waste a lot of credits, spend a lot of money and endure a lot of frustration. In this seminar, you will learn how to get the most success out of your ScotlandsPeople searches. Topics include: how the credit system works, how to narrow down your search, which records are the most relevant, where to find past search results, how to trace female ancestors, where to get help, and what to do when you can't read the documents.

On Saturday, I will be sharing ideas for Tracking Your Scots Emigrant Ancestor:

Learn the importance of Understanding Emigration in the Historical Context of Scotland, the  Passenger Vessels Acts of 1803 & 1842, the role of Colonial Societies, and both Online and Offline resources for tracking Your Scots Emigrant Ancestor.

And on Sunday, I will be highlighting some of the Lesser Known Databases for Scottish Genealogy Research:

Scotland is a world leader when it comes to preserving their national history and national memory. Archivists all over the country are working to conserve, preserve, digitize and make available records that can be used for genealogical research. This lecture will assist you in learning where you might find information on your Scots ancestor that will help you to fill in their story and add to your understanding of their social history.

Genealogy Tours of Scotland will have a table in the Marketplace throughout the conference. Please drop by to say hello, share your stories and ask for some ideas on where to turn next in your quest to trace your Scottish ancestor.


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Searching Your Scottish Ancestry Webinar

Sept 23: Scottish Genealogy Research Basics
7:00 pm Eastern

This 90 minute webinar will get you well and truly started on your researching your Scottish ancestors. In addition, you will learn about a number of resources that are helpful in researching Scottish ancestry. Included are:

- where to start
- why the ScotlandsPeople website is critical to your research
- why geography is important
- Old Parish Records vs Statutory Records
- Census Records
- Records of Corrected Entry
- Citing Sources
- Scottish Naming Pattern
- Scottish Marriages
- National Archives and what is available for Scottish genealogy
- National Library and what is available for Scottish genealogy
- Local Archives for genealogy research
- University Archives for genealogy research
- Using Newspapers for genealogy research
- Scottish Family History Societies

Cost for 90 minute webinar: $19.95

To register:
 https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/in-search-of-your-scottish-ancestors-webinar-tickets-17823308997

If you are not able to attend the "live" event, you can register and pay and you will then get up to 30 days to access the recording of the webinar. 


Monday, 24 August 2015

Second Tour for 2016 is Filling Fast

Our Genealogy Research Tour for May 2016 sold out almost a year in advance.

A second tour for Sept 2016 has been added. But this second tour is filling quickly. 

Is traveling to Scotland to research your family history on your bucket list?
As any family history researcher will tell you, there is great excitement when you find your ancestor in a document. Tangible verification of their existence. And there is a sense of wonder when you see their signature. It is almost as if you could reach out and touch them.

Multiply that by infinity when you walk the streets they walked, see the houses they lived in, the factories they worked in, the churches they worshiped in. Feel the deep and lasting connection to them as you stand at their gravesite.

These moments provide a deep sense of affinity for your ancestors. A deep appreciation of their battles and struggles. A sense of pride as they overcame in order to carry on.
All of this culminates in an irreducible sense of belonging as you come to understand not only their story but also your own history. How you came to be.

If you are ready to experience a sense of being whole, connected, belonging to your Scottish ancestors, join us on our next Genealogy Tour in Sept 2016.

This tour is filling fast and, although still more than a year away, is already 30% full. Don't miss out. Book now at: www.genealogytoursofscotland.ca

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Scottish Genealogy Research Webinar

Wednesday Sept 23, 2015
7 pm EST
Beginner/Intermediate Level
90 minute webinar
$19.95

While many people want to know more about their Scottish heritage, they don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, researching our Scottish ancestors is a fairly easy task. Knowing where to look is usually where we get tied up.

This talk will get you started in researching your Scottish ancestry as well as how to make the most of your research.

Topics Include:

  • Starting Your Search
  • ScotlandsPeople Website
  • Scottish Naming Pattern
  • Scottish Marriages
  • Catholic Parish Records on ScotlandsPeople
  • Scottish Family History Societies
  • Other Websites/Resources for Scottish Research


Register at:

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Help Available in the Heritage Tent at Fergus Scottish Festival

Genealogy Tours of Scotland will be in the Heritage Tent at the Fergus Scottish Festival this coming weekend. The tent will be near Clan Avenue and will have lots of people on hand to assist you with your genealogy research. 

The Wellington Branch of the OGS will be in the tent as well and will be onhand to answer questions about genealogy and will be able to help you with your research. 

Genealogy Tours of Scotland will be offering assistance specifically on the ScotlandsPeople website, so don't be shy, come along and get help to find your Scottish connections. 

The Heritage Tent opens at 9 on Saturday and Sunday. Drop by. Share the stories of your Scottish ancestors and, if interested, ask for some research help. 

See you in Fergus!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

SECOND TOUR ADDED FOR 2016

A second, smaller group genealogy research trip to Scotland has been added for 2016.

With the popularity of the Spring 2016 tour and it being SOLD OUT 11 months in advance, a second, smaller sized group tour has been added for 2016. 

Spaces are limited to 10. Spaces will fill quickly with the majority being filled over the remainder of the summer. I anticipate that by mid October ALL SPACES WILL BE GONE. 

No further tours for 2016 will be added. 

If you are interested in a group trip to Scotland to research your family history and to spend time in your ancestral homeland, BOOK NOW while space is available. 

Following the 10 day research tour, you will return home with your newly found documents, memories and deeper sense of your own Scottish heritage.

Here's the link:  http://genealogytoursofscotland.ca/

Spring 2016 Genealogy Research Tour to Scotland ITINERARY NOW CONFIRMED

Monday May 30: This is a day of arrival. Today is a bank holiday in Scotland. While all of the banks and government buildings will be closed, the heritage sites, museums and tourist attractions will be open as are most of the stores.

We will meet in the restaurant area of the hotel at 6:30 pm for a meet and greet and to talk about the week ahead. There will be an opportunity to sign up for optional walking tours of Edinburgh during the week. Each tour is £8 and the fees will be payable upon sign up. Non-researchers are also welcome to join us for the meet and greet and to attend the walking tours with us.

I will also have information of things to do during the weekend if you are planning to travel to the area where your ancestors lived before or after the genealogy tour.

Tuesday May 31: Following breakfast, we will meet in the hotel lobby as a large group for 8:45. From here we will taxi to ScotlandsPeople Centre where we will enjoy a Family History session followed by research time. Laptops and tablets can be taken into the research room. WiFi is not available.

You will need money to put on an account to pay for your downloads or print outs. Downloads are 30p Prints are 50p. Any money not spent will be returned to you at the end of the day.

Please have a username ready so that the staff can set up your account. You can give this to me at the meet and greet on Monday evening. If you are going to download, please make sure you have a USB drive with you (they are available in the shop if you forget). Pencils only, please, no pens. There are lockers available for your coats, bags etc. These require a one pound coin (£1) which will be returned to you when you open the locker back up.

There is a cafe onsite and there is a terrific little pub next door for lunch.

Wednesday June 1: Following breakfast- we will meet in the hotel lobby as a large group at 9:45. We will taxi to the maps building of the National Library of Scotland.  Here we will get an introduction and will be able to then explore the maps that are available. Additional staff will be available for assistance. You may wish to bring your laptop or tablet as the number of computer stations is limited. Wifi is available.

Those who are signed up for the tour of Greyfriars Kirkyard will meet in the hotel lobby at 6:45. From here we will walk over to the Kirk yard gates to meet with the tour organizers. This tour is approximately 90 minutes. It is NOT a ghost tour, it is an educational/historic tour. It will be outdoors, so dress appropriately. There is some walking but it is not on difficult terrain.  

Thursday June 2: Following breakfast- we will meet in the hotel lobby as a large group at 9:00. From here we will walk over to the National Library of Scotland.
In order to access the records, you will require a library card. Please register online before the trip so that this will be a more seamless process. You can register here: http://www.nls.uk/

Getting the cards will take time to process for the group. Please have a piece of photo id ready to show the registrar as well as a piece of id (mail, drivers licence) that has your address on it. At 10:00, we will enjoy a talk on the resources available at the library.

The rest of the day will be available for research. The NLS is three blocks from the hotel, however, if you require a taxi to get there, one will be ordered for you. 

Those who are signed up for the historic walking tour will meet in the hotel lobby Details regarding the time to meet will be available at the meet and greet on Monday evening.

This tour lasts 2 hours. It is outside so please dress appropriately. There is quite a bit of walking involved. There are some hills and cobbled streets. It is also an historic/educational tour about some of the old closes, buildings and famous inhabitants of Edinburgh.

Friday June 3: Following breakfast, we will meet in the hotel lobby as a large group for 8:45. From here we will taxi to ScotlandsPeople Centre where we will enjoy a full day of research. 

June 4 & 5 : The weekend is set aside for you to travel to the area of Scotland where your ancestors were from to gain a better sense of their lives and struggles. For those doing the travel before or after the tour, you may wish to spend the time exploring the rich history that Edinburgh has to offer.

Monday June 6: This day is set aside for you to research in the local archives or Family History Society in the region where your ancestors lived. You may also choose to sightsee, shop or take a day trip instead.

Tuesday June 7: Following breakfast, we will meet in the hotel lobby as a large group for 8:45. From here we will taxi to ScotlandsPeople Centre where we will enjoy our final day of research. 

At 6:20 pm, we will meet in the hotel lobby as a large group. From here we will taxi to Prestonfield where we will enjoy the Taste of Scotland Dinner and Show.


Wednesday June 8: today is check-out day. I wish you safe travels as you return home with your newly found documents, memories and deeper sense of your own Scottish heritage.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Heading Back to the Highlands (Games)

This Saturday, July 18th, Genealogy Tours of Scotland will be exhibiting at the Cambridge Highland Games. I will be among the clan tents. 

If you are at the Games, drop by and say hello. Share your genealogy stories, or ask for advice.

Looking forward to seeing you in Cambridge on Saturday, July 18th,

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

2016 IS SOLD OUT!

The May 2016 Genealogy Research Tour to Scotland is now SOLD OUT!! 

If interest warrants we may offer a second, smaller tour which will coincide with the end of the current tour. Dates will be June 6 - 15, 2016

If you are interested, please contact at: genealogytoursofscotland@gmail.com


This second tour will ONLY take place if we manage to sell out all 8 spaces


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Very Last Chance!

Although we are still over 10 months out, there is only ONE research space left for the 2016 Genealogy Research Tour to Scotland in 2016!

First come, first serve! The last research spot is waiting for YOU.

Book now at: http://www.genealogytoursofscotland.ca/

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Heading to the Highlands - Games That Is

This weekend, in Kincardine Ontario, the Scots diaspora and descendants will gather for the annual Kincardine Scottish Festival. Kincardine and the surrounding villages & towns were settled by Scots who emigrated from Lewis, Uist, Skye, Colonsay, Oronsay and Mull. There is a rich Scottish heritage that is deeply honoured in a variety of ways from the nightly lone piper at the lighthouse to the weekly pipe band parade, and then to the annual Scottish Festival. 

Genealogy Tours of Scotland will have a tent on Avenue of the Clans on Saturday. If you are at the Festival, please drop by to say hello and share the stories of your Scottish ancestors. There will be quick guides for purchase and the opportunity to ask questions about your brick walls. 

Let the games begin!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Time is Running Out and So Are Research Spots for 2016's Tour

This is the last chance to sign up for the 2016 Genealogy Tour to Scotland next May. There are two spaces left and they will be gone by the time the Highland Games are over in July, so if traveling to Scotland to do your genealogy research is on your bucket list, don't wait to register or you may be too late. There are no regularly scheduled tours beyond 2016. A special tour is planned for 2017 for participants of previous tours to experience a second level of research in records around the country.


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Just 2 Research Spaces Left for May 2016 Genealogy Research Tour to Scotland

Eleven months out and the 2016 Genealogy Research Tour to Scotland is nearing capacity. Only TWO research spaces remain.

As any family history researcher will tell you, there is great excitement when you find your ancestor in a document. Tangible verification of their existence. And there is a sense of wonder when you see their signature. It is almost as if  you could reach out and touch them. 

Multiply that by infinity when you walk the streets they walked, see the houses they lived in, the factories they worked in, the churches they worshiped in. Feel the deep and lasting connection to them as you stand at their gravesite. 

These moments provide a deep sense of affinity for your ancestors. A deep appreciation of their battles and struggles. A sense of pride as they overcame in order to carry on.

All of this culminates in an irreducible sense of belonging as you come to understand not only their story but also your own history. How you came to be.

If you are ready to experience a sense of being whole, connected, belonging to your Scottish ancestors, join us on our next Genealogy Tour in May 2016.

Only 2 research spaces remain, so book before you miss out on this life-changing experience.

Book now:  https://www.genealogytoursofscotland.ca/


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Fairfield Shipyard Museum

After my tour around Govan Old Parish Church and seeing the Govan Stones, I wandered a bit further down Govan Road to what was once the offices of the Fairfield Shipping Company. The offices have had a major refurbishment and are now a museum in honour of the shipyard that once proudly stood there.




Fairfield was the first to combine the works of the ship builders and the engine fitters into the same shipyard. It is built on land that was once a farm, named Fairfield. It was the largest shipyard on the Clyde and built more ships than any of the others. 

While Fairfield did some work for Cunard, they were likely best known for their Empress line - Empress of Britain, Empress of Scotland, and the ill-fated Empress of Ireland. 



Fairfield also partnered with the Canadian Pacific Railway and their ships were the links to the west for many immigrants. Included in these immigrants were British Home Children.


During both world wars, Fairfield build naval ships and submarines as well as air craft carriers in more recent years. 

I was fascinated with the opportunity to see and hold a "riveter", having an ancestor who worked as a riveter. The weight of it was astounding and one can barely imagine standing holding it for hours and hours on end, not to mention the kick-back one would experience every time it "fired" No ergonomics in those days and repetitive strain injuries were a way of life 

A fascinating glimpse into a once illustrious industry, the Fairfield Shipping Museum is open daily from 2 pm - 5 pm. It is a short walk from the Govan subway station. 



Sunday, 3 May 2015

Govan Old Parish Church and the Govan Stones

After watching the Time Team episode on Govan and the ancient Kingdom of Strathclyde, I decided that a visit to Govan Old Parish Church to see the Govan Stones was in order. 

I ventured out on April 26th in the chucking rain and was not disappointed. What an amazing history this church has. 

During an excavation, a number of ancient stones, dating back to between the 9th and 11th centuries, were uncovered in the church yard. It is thought that these stones are so large and elaborate because they originally were carved to commemorate the lives of some of the more powerful kings and families in the ancient Kingdom of Strathclyde. 

The church has done an amazing job of showcasing the 31 stones, which are displayed throughout the church, with storyboards explaining the carvings and thoughts behind their meaning. 






Perhaps the most impressive part of the collection are the 5 Hogback stones. These date from the 11th century and are relics from the time when Viking lords were settling in the area. The stones are thought to be in the same shape as the Viking longhouses. The stones are referred to as Hogbacks because the curved carvings look similar to a pig's back. 



This historic display of old gravestones, including the very rare Hogbacks is open to the public every day from 1:00 - 4:00 and only a couple of blocks from the Govan subway station. The display is free to view, although a donation is a terrific idea. The guides are very knowledgeable and eager to share the rare display with others. 

If you have an interest in: grave slabs, old stones, graveyards, ancient history, vikings, archaeology, Scotland, Glasgow or old churches, I highly, highly recommend a visit. 


Tombstone Tuesday: St Cuthberts Cemetery Edinburgh

One of my favourite things to do when I visit Edinburgh each year is to wander around the old cemeteries. I try to pick ones I have not yet wandered through so that the history of the cemetery is new to me each time. Although I must admit, a trip to Edinburgh wouldn't feel complete without a wander through Greyfriars. It has become an annual pilgrimage. And my preference now it to take the guided tour offered by Historic Edinburgh Tours where I can learn the stories behind the people interred. 

One cemetery I have wanted to wander through for some years now is St Cuthberts. My initial fascination with St Cuthberts was my first sighting of the guard tower, watching over the burial sites and protecting them from the notorious grave robbers and body snatchers. 


St Cuthberts is on Princes Street at the far end of the West Gardens. It takes in an amazing expanse of land and while situated on the very busy Princes St, it is surprisingly tranquil. 

Like most of the old cemeteries in Edinburgh, St Cuthberts is the final resting place of some of the elite in Scotland's history. 

I am always in awe, as I wander amongst the headstones, of the wealth of genealogical information that can be gleaned from the old headstones. In the days when paying tribute was the most important part of a headstone and estates and families weren't charged per letter or per word:










Meandering Around Linlithgow with Mary's Meanders

On April 26th, I had the pleasure of meandering around historic Linlithgow with Anne and Emma from Mary's Meanders. Anne is a wealth of tidbits of information that really bring the history of Linlithgow to light. 




The tour is a guided walking tour that takes in the outside of the Palace, the churchyard,





 the newly unveiled statue of Mary, Queen of Scots 



and the gloriously serene Linlithgow Loch. 



The history of the Royal Stewarts and their use of the Palace as a leisure home is rich and lengthy, dating back to the 14th century. 

Both James V and his daughter, Mary were born here at the Palace. James in 1512 and Mary in 1542. One can easily imagine the palace and peel (park) in its heyday bustling with men fishing in the loch or hunting in the adjacent woods. Ladies chattering in the parlour. 

Sadly, the palace was burned by the Duke of Cumberland and his men in 1746 following the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden. 

In addition to the Palace, Linlithgow has a deep history of its own as a royal burgh. 



Nearby Blackness served as the burgh's port and was once a busy hub for merchants trading across the Atlantic in such commodities as tobacco and leather. The port was later moved to Bo'ness and then even further afield to Glasgow. Sadly, the trade went with the port and the towns suffered as a result. 


Linlithgow is also ideally situated on the Union canal. With the opening of the canals following the building of the Falkirk Wheel, this is once again used for leisure by locals and passersby alike. 



Whenever I visit a new place, I am always interested in learning more about the place, the people and the history. Mary's Meanders is a terrific way to learn about this once bustling city while leisurely enjoying the sights of history and the pace of life as it is today. 

If a leisurely historic walk doesn't fit your fancy, Mary's Meanders also offers Outlander tours, ghost walks an Outlander dinner and show event. To book the tour of your choice:

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Calling All OUTLANDER Fans!

Mary's Meanders, a guided tour group in Linlithgow, Scotland, are hosting a special Outlander Day on May 21st. This is a full day event which will take you to several of the locations around Linlithgow where the show was filmed. These include:

As well as touring the filming locations, you will be entertained by a ceilidh and perhaps a wee dram to keep you going!

Booking information is available on the Mary's Meanders website at:
http://www.marysmeanders.co.uk/outlander-tours-2015/

Glasgow Cathedral

Having made several trips now to Glasgow, and wandering all over the east end, drinking in the history, I finally made the jaunt up the hill to see Glasgow Cathedral. The current Cathedral has been around since 1197. The Cathedral has been a place of Christian worship for over 800 years. 








Of particular interest are the lower chapels 


Children's Chapel



Nurse's Chapel




the tomb of St Mungo, Patron Saint of Glasgow, who died in 603. 




and St Mungo's Well, a sacred place of pilgrimage to early Christians