Saturday, 31 October 2015

A Look Back at Family History Month

For most of us in the world of genealogy, every month is family history month! However, October is specially designated in certain parts of the globe and there are special incentives and encouragements to get researching, or to start documenting the stories. 

I have had an incredibly busy, but also very productive, month. Let's have a look back:

Oct 2/15: While not specifically family history related, I attended the OOR CLUB luncheon meeting at the Duke of York Pub in Toronto. This is the monthly meeting of a group from the Scottish Studies Foundation. In addition to meeting and eating, there is a speaker. The October speaker was none other than Rory Sinclair, piper for Clan Sinclair, and president of the St Andrew's Society of Toronto. Rory gave a fascinating two part talk. The first was on the history of tartan. The second was on the history of bagpipes. I thoroughly enjoyed both parts of the talk and look forward to attending the Club again next month, when I am the speaker. My talk is entitled "Within These Walls" and is a virtual walk around the walled city of Old Town Edinburgh. 

October 3/15: As chair of the Scottish SIG, I hosted a webinar on the SIG's behalf. This was the first in a series of webinars that will take place on the first Saturday of each month all through the school year. Our speaker was Shirley Sturdevant who gave an incredibly informative and motivational talk on Gathering Oral and Family Histories. 

Oct 7/15: I presented a webinar on Navigating the ScotlandsPeople Website. It was very well attended and I received some fantastic reviews afterwards. 

Oct 13/15: I met with a family to gather information to create a family history book from the research that their wife and mother had spent a lifetime doing. 

Oct 14/15: I headed to Montreal where I gave a talk to a group at the Dorval Library on Scotland. This was a virtual tour of the country and was very well attended. 

Oct 15/15: After returning from Montreal, I gave a webinar on some of the Lesser Known Databases for Scottish Genealogy Research

Oct 18/15: What a day this turned out to be! I had lunch with Kathryn Lake Hogan ( and Mike Quackenbush ( We were sharing our frustration with the lack of opportunities for Canadian genealogists to share their skills and expertise. Out of that, the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit was born. We, in the following 5 days, pulled an entire conference together. Complete with 7 speakers, vendors, a venue, a pre-conference event at the Ontario archives AND sponsors! This Summit is designed to showcase Canadian genealogists and their expertise in various parts of research that involves our ancestors, Irish research, French-Canadian research, English research, Canadian research, Loyalist research, Scottish research. All of the areas where our stories as descendants began. 

Oct 20/15: I took part in an online presentation to look at different design concepts for the new ScotlandsPeople website now that the contract for same has been awarded to CACI. Some fantastic things coming!

Oct 23/15: The announcement about the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit was made!! Then I headed into Toronto to meet Kathryn Lake Hogan and Jennifer Alford ( a late breakfast. After breakfast, Kathryn headed to meetings and Jennifer and I toured the amazingly beautiful and historic Casa Loma. 

Oct 26/15: Scottish Genealogy Research 101 ( launched by Family Tree University. This is a 4 week, intensive course on Scottish genealogy research. I wrote the program and now get the honour of instructing. 

Oct 27/15: I presented a brief webinar on Researching Scottish Death, Burial and Lair Records. 

Oct 29/15: I headed to Detroit to attend the Scottish American Leadership Conference where I will be a panelist and get to network and collaborate with other partners in this dynamic community. 

Behind the scenes of all of this, I blogged, completed and submitted an article for In Depth Genealogist, proofed and ordered the second edition of my book, "In Search of Your Scottish Ancestors", and pulled together a one day Symposium on Scottish Genealogy to take place in Winnipeg in April.

A busy but fulfilling month. Onward November. 

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