Friday, 8 May 2020


As we continue to manage our new reality and as we continue to spend a great deal of our time in our homes, Sean is once again offering a way for the Scots Diaspora to remain connected. Many of us will be missing out on Highland Games, Celtic Festivals, Concerts and perhaps even travel this year. The Scottish Banner provides a wonderful way for us to stay connected to one another while managing to stay safe until we can all meet again in person.

Here is the link to YOUR free issue:

Please feel free to share with others in your Scottish community. And please, when we get back to whatever our new normal is, consider taking out a subscription as a thank you to Sean for keeping us connected during these very difficult times. 

Tuesday, 14 April 2020


I was scheduled to be in Madison Wisconsin on Saturday April 18th for a full day of talks on Scottish genealogy. With Covid -19 and the subsequent lockdown on travel, the Wisconsin Historical Society has decided to host the day virtually instead. And that means that more people can attend since there isn't any need to travel.

So, if you are interested, I will be presenting 4 talks during the day on Saturday, April 18:

  • Getting Started Researching Scottish Ancestors
  • Brick Wall Busters for Scottish Research
  • Step Away from Your Computer - Researching in Libraries and Archives in Scotland
  • They're Away to America - events that led to mass emigration from Scotland to America

All four talks will be live with a chance for Q&A after each one. There will be breaks scheduled throughout the day. The registration fee is $40usd - all proceeds to the Wisconsin Historical Society. Access to the recordings will be available for 30 days after the live presentations. 

Monday, 6 April 2020

Free Webinar April 16th

With societies cancelling in person presentations, I have been asked to provide a webinar to the Canadian Interest Group of the Minnesota Genealogical Society. I will be presenting on Researching HBC and Western M├Ętis Ancestors

The webinar will take place on Thursday, April 16th, 2020 at 7 pm CT. For more information or to register:

Saturday, 4 April 2020


In lieu of the Tartan Day Parade in NYC, the celebration of our Scottish heritage is going online. I received this email from the University of Glasgow:

On Monday 6 April, Tartan Day is going online, with proud Scottish-connected North Americans sporting their finest tartan and raising a toast to Scotland.

As our team can’t travel to celebrate with you, we’ll be taking part as well. Please join us online on 6 April:
  • Take a photo or video showing your Scottish spirit: wear your tartan, raise a glass of your finest whiskey, quote some Burns...Get the whole family involved, the more the merrier and kids (and pets!) are most especially encouraged to participate! 
  • Post to our Facebook page, tag us @UofG_Alumni on Instagram and Twitter or on LinkedIn using #uofgtartanday and #tartanday.
  • If you would prefer to email us something we can share, please hit reply.
Throughout the day we will be celebrating across all our channels:
  1. @UofGlasgowAlumni on Facebook
  2. @UofG_Alumni on Instagram
  3. @UofG_Alumni on Twitter
Other Scottish Universities will be taking part so let’s keep up our strong Glasgow reputation for being the best represented at Tartan Day!

We’ll be sharing too and can’t wait to connect with you in celebration. Even though we’re far apart, we will be together in Scottish spirit!

*with thanks to Jessica, Catherine and Georgia, The International Team

Friday, 3 April 2020

It's OK Not to Be OK

We are living through a world crisis. We are scared, worried and somedays, paralyzed. What we are experiencing is grief. Grief at the loss of our “normal” We have lost our daily routines that gave order and meaning to our days. We have lost physical contact with our loved ones. The people who can help us feel whole just with a hug or sitting closeby. Some of us are grieving the loss of income. And unfortunately, some might be grieving the loss of a life of someone close to us as they have succumbed to this dreaded disease. It really IS ok not to be ok. 

I recognized earlier this week that my grandparents lived through the Spanish Flu pandemic. They had far less information. They didn’t know about social distancing. They didn’t have the scientific community or the advanced health care that we have now. I’m sure they were terrified and kept praying it would stay away from their loved ones.

In dealing with grief, it really is ok to not feel ok. Yes we have all kinds of free time, but we may lack the motivation to do any of the projects that are on our “when I get time” lists. I remember my grief counsellor telling me that grief is a full time job. If I accomplished just one thing each day, I was doing ok. It didn’t have to be anything big. It could be loading the dishwasher, throwing a load of laundry in or going for a walk. Literally one day at a time.

Self care is crucial during times when we feel out of control. Take just 30 minutes each day to take care of YOU. Go for a walk. Read some fluff. Watch mindless comedy. Plan an vacation you likely won’t take. Just remove yourself from reality and ground yourself in something that feels good. That feels normal.

Call in the troops. Phone a friend. Use Facebook video chat, zoom or whatever other tool you have to connect virtually and socially. A belly laugh with a friend or a good cry with a cousin can go a long way to helping rejuvenate our spirits. Reach OUT. 

Turn off the news. It is a constant bombardment and adds to our stress and our loss of control. It heightens our grief. Step away from social media. Turn off notifications. When you do reach out to connect, spend more time on good news stories than on current news stories. Find pictures of animals enjoying life, of babies laughing or of kids saying the darnedest things. Choose uplifting.

We will come out of this. We will find a new normal. Like any loss, things won’t be what they were before but we will carry on. Please feel free to connect with me.

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay focused on taking care of YOU.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020


This morning, I received a lovely email from Sean at the Scottish Banner. Here's what he had to say:

Dear Friends,

During this unprecedented time, we are very anxious of what is happening across the globe. With Scottish events being heavily impacted by postponements and cancellations worldwide, members of our Scottish community organisations cannot get out to attend and celebrate Scotland as we have all enjoyed in the past.

Please find attached the latest issue of the Scottish Banner which you are free to distribute to your membership,  which I hope may play a small role in helping to keep members feeling connected to Scotland in this time of social distancing.

If your group has any general news or is doing anything specifically during this extraordinary time, please share it with us so we can share with our readers and followers as now more than ever is the time the Scottish community needs to stand together and support one another. We host the world’s leading international Scottish events listing and our site is being updated daily, if your group has an event change please let us know so the wider Scottish community can keep up to date.

I look forward to when our community can get back to normal and celebrate our great culture, in the meantime the Scottish Banner stands ready in any way we can to assist and support Scottish community organisations both now and in the future.

Best wishes,

Sean has sent me links for you to download FOUR FREE ISSUES:



MARCH 2020

APRIL 2020

As their motto says, the Scottish Banner is "uniting Scots around the world" Perhaps more now than ever.  

*with thanks to the Scottish Banner team

Monday, 16 March 2020


We are living in extraordinary times. Extraordinary. I don't alarm when it comes to disease. I read, I listen, I study. I have a well informed understanding of how viruses work. This one is working as it should, but the depth and breadth of it is unprecedented. It is being compared to the Spanish Flu and Polio in terms of the impact on a global level.

I am still not alarmed. But boy have I been sobered. Listening to and reading from an ICU doctor in Italy say he had to decide whose life was worth saving because there simply weren't enough resources to save everyone.

Reading and watching the UK government's plans to switch a car manufacturing plant over to making ventilators. And how they have asked hotels to be on standby to convert to hospitals should the need become overwhelming for existing hospitals.

Listening to people in Europe try desperately to get a flight back home. 48 hours on hold on the phone. Airlines not answering. Online being asked to pay in excess of $5000 for a one way trip that was direct and didn't go through any of the countries currently on lock down. People unsure they will get home and not sure where they are going to stay if they end up being quarantined because their vacation place can't renew.

I have made the very difficult and unprecedented decision to cancel both the Edinburgh and Orkney tours that were scheduled for May 2020. It is incumbent on me to ensure that other's don't need to risk their health and well being to go on a research tour. 

I hope that by September, we will be living in a state of new normal that will allow the September tours to carry on.