Wednesday, 23 December 2015

2015 - The Year in Review

This time of year we often find ourselves reflecting back on the year. I sometimes feel like lots is being done but it is hard to remember it all in heat of the deadlines and to-do lists. As I look back, I realized just how much fun and productive the year actually was:

I have had the great pleasure of writing for In-Depth Magazine for another year.

What a great group of writers and an even better production team! I love writing for them. It always makes me stretch, and then to grow. About twice a year I think "Well, that's it. That's all I've got" And yet the ideas keep flowing, the writing keeps happening and the learning keeps me growing. So, THANK YOU Terri O'Connell, Jennifer Alford and Shannon Combs Bennett.

In addition to writing, I did some guest blog posts for Geneosity. This was a wonderful opportunity and one I am terribly grateful for.

My position as Editor for British Connections, the quarterly newsletter of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH) saw the production of four newsletters. I continued as editor for the monthly eNews for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO), producing 12 issues over the course of the year.  And I finished up as the editor for the Hamilton branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, producing 4 issues for them.

Over the winter months (Jan, Feb & Mar) I managed weekly or bi-weekly webinars on Scottish genealogy research. These are always a great way for people to be able to learn and grow in their genealogy research skills, from the comfort of their own homes, and without the need to worry about the great Canadian weather.

Also in late January, I was able to attend the Tattoo in Toronto and had a great time connecting with the Scottish Diaspora in the exhibit hall. The emotion and stories that were shared were both humbling and humorous.

In early April, I attended the VisitScotland luncheon for what they refer to as "Scotland Week" but the rest of North America refers to it as "Tartan Week" Again, a great opportunity to network.

Mid April I was off to the UK. First to Birmingham to take in WDYTYA Live. It was fantastic to catch up with colleagues. Such great craic.

It was also a humbling to pour over the admission registers of  Middlemore Homes at the Birmingham Library. Four of my husband's ancestors were relinquished to BHC organizations, the first two to Middlemore. Equally humbling, and educational, was the visit to the Back-to-Back Museums.

Unfathomable how our ancestors not only lived but also survived.

From Birmingham, I was off to Edinburgh to lead a group of tour participants in their genealogical journey to find out more about their Scottish ancestors and about their own Scottish heritage.

In May, I spoke at the OGS conference in Barrie, enjoyed hanging out with genie buds and making new connections. I was also honoured to speak to the Genessee County Genealogical Society in Batavia. What a great group!

In June I was invited to speak at the Niagara County Genealogical Society in historic Lockport. I also spent time in June and July developing a course for Family Tree University.

July saw the start of the Highland Game circuit with a weekend at the Kincardine Scottish Festivalfollowed by a day at the Cambridge Highland Games. These were educational opportunities to share resources with those interested in tracing their Scottish roots.

August was another Highland Games opportunity with a weekend at the Fergus Scottish Festival.

Here I was able to run an "Ask the Experts" session. Such fun. Later in August was the second annual Scottish SIG Symposium. What a great opportunity to share, teach and network.

In mid-September, John D Reid ran the Rock Star Genealogy Awards and I managed to take silver in the Canadian category. 

Then I was off to Ottawa for the BIFHSGO conference where I gave 4 talks and spent time in the marketplace. Perhaps the best fun was hanging out with Thomas McEntee and Chris Paton.

Later that month I was able to attend the BHC Day at Fanshawe Pioneer Village in London, then I headed to Oakville to speak to the Halton-Peel branch of the OGS.

October saw the start of two separate Winter Webinar series. The first for the Scottish Special Interest Group of the Ontario Genealogical Society features different presenters each month. The other, my own series of webinars for winter learning opportunities.

Mid October, I was off to Montreal to speak to a group of travelers interested in Scotland as a destination. Late October saw me heading to Detroit to attend the Scottish North American Leadership Conference.

I was also honoured to be the instructor for the Scottish Genealogy Research online course for Family Tree University in late October.

And, perhaps the most ambitious endeavour, I teamed up with genea-buddies Kathryn Lake Hogan and Mike Quackenbush to plan, develop and organize the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit scheduled for October 2016.

November was equally busy. I was invited to be the speaker at the Oor Club monthly meeting of the Scottish Studies Foundation. Then I was thrilled to give two talks at the Uxbridge Genealogy Group meeting mid month. This was my last hurrah before being hospitalized and mildly sidetracked for a week. I was discharged just in time to be able to present via webinar to the Hamilton branch of the OGS monthly meeting.

December started out with two talks at the Simcoe County branch of the OGS.

It has been a year of tremendous opportunities. I am already looking forward to what 2016 has to offer.

Before the year ends, however, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay!

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