Thursday 31 May 2012

More Valuation Records Coming to Scotland's People

After making the 1915 Valuation Rolls available on Scotland's People, the people at NRA did a survey to see what years would next be most helpful to researchers. The overwhelming response was 1905 - to show information on their ancestors between the census years of 1901 and 1911. Scotland's People are in the process of digitizing those records now and we  hope to see them online in the next year or so. The hope is that they will continue to go back every 10 years, offering people a valuable tool in keeping up with their ancestors between census periods.

The Importance of Viewing Images

It is so important to actually view the records and not just an index or transcription. Upon viewing the registration of death for a great aunt, I learned that the informant was "Mary Haddow, daughter" This great aunt had never married. Had I not viewed the death record, I would not have read the informant and might never have known Mary Sr had an illegitimate daughter!!

Friday 25 May 2012

Leaving My Paper Trail For My Descendants

It is interesting to me how I view things differently since I have been smitten by the genealogy obsession. What used to be routine and in some ways mundane has become a legacy for future generations. As I was filling out the landing card on my way to Scotland

and again as I was filling out the Canada Customs card en route to Toronto

I was aware that I was leaving my paper trail for future generations to discover. By filling out required government documents, I am helping my descendants trace my story 100 years from now. While they may not know the purpose of my visit, they will be aware that I went home for a period of time. Will they be thrilled to find the document? To see my own handwriting? Will they wonder what the purpose was? Will they check the documents against others to see if perhaps I had gone home for a wedding or funeral? Certainly, the documents will add pieces to their puzzle, but will they also add more unanswered questions? Will the documents pique curiosity? One can only hope.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Our Last Day

Hard to believe today is our last day. I have been here nearly three weeks and the kids have been here nearly a week. It has also been nearly a week since Amber left. We have had a jam packed week: The Taste of Scotland Show, Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh & Stirling Castles, the bus tour, Britannia, the cruise down the Forth, the Falkirk Wheel and the Wallace Monument. Not to mention shopping shopping and more shopping.

Today was the Salisbury Craggs, better known as Arthur's Seat. As soon as Christopher saw Arthur's seat from the tour bus, he said he wanted to climb it. So, today was the day. We did some quick shopping this morning then took the bus down to Holyrood. Christopher was gung-ho:

"Mom, there's a bench up here" (NOT)

I was a bit surprised that the path is so steep right off the hop. I had imagined it to have a more gradual slope to it.

Pit stop to re-charge

And mom gets left on the shelf

And Heather is off to try and catch up with her brother

I sat for a few minutes and then I was ready to head out again. I made it about 3/4 of the way up then sat and waited for the kids to come back down. Christopher had taken my camera to the top to get some pictures

Once we got back down, we decided it was time to treat ourselves

Then it was back to the hotel to get ready to go and have one last visit with Cathy & Dod. The kids were really looking forward to seeing them.

We were back to the hotel in time to Skype daddy for the last time. In less than 12 hours we will be back home in Brantford!! It has been an amazing experience and I have really enjoyed being on my own schedule and being able to work on family history, travel to ancestral haunts and to share my homeland and family with Amber and then again with the kids.

Our Last Day in Quartermile

Sadly, we needed to check out of the hotel in Quartermile today. I had pre-booked us into the Old Waverly when we were supposed to be returning from Orkney. Since the pre-booking is pre-paid and non-refundable (the downside of using Expedia), we had no choice but to pack up and head to Princes Street. While the Old Waverly may have some prestige, it has little else in the way of functionality or useful amenities for todays traveller. The nearest parking is 8 blocks away - up and down a hill - in a car park in the city centre. There is no drop off zone - although the host thought perhaps I could pull into the bus zone and run round the corner and up 20 steps to ask the concierge to come and assist us unload.

The other hotels we have stayed at have been "apartHotels" meaning they have kitchenettes. Not the Waverly. The WiFi is not free - which it is nearly everywhere else on the planet. No public access to computers. Breakfast is not included and the fee for the breakfast is not a nominal charge, but rather a nice £12. Shell shock at being in the City. However, we are in the heart of it here, so that must mean something.

Before we left Quartermile, we went to the National Museum:

Then we went to the Castle and Heather bought herself two lovely kilts. Both in Heather purple. One plaid the other tweed.

There is always something to see in Edinburgh:

Monday 21 May 2012

Falkirk and Stirling

One of the places that has been on our list for this trip is the Falkirk Wheel. We finally managed a sunny day and the temps climbed into the double digits with a predicted high of 16. It was still a bit chilly in the wind, but no complaints from this group!

After breakfast we headed out to Falkirk. My one pet peeve for driving in the UK is the serious lack of signage. It is impossible to know what street you are on and the motorways aren't signed until you are nearly upon them. So, after a bit of a scenic tour, we managed to find the road we wanted and were finally on our way to Falkirk.

The Wheel is an engineering masterpiece and was built as part of the Millenium Link to link the Union Canal to the Forth & Clyde Canal. It replaces the need for 8 flight locks. The wheel is perfectly balanced and works on a rotation basis with one side going up as the other comes down. Both sides are always equally weighted.

From Falkirk, we decided to head over to Stirling to see the Castle. On our way to the castle, we stopped at the Wallace Monument. We climbed the 246 steps to the top of the tower.

Then it was off to see the Castle.

Tomorrow we move to the Old Waverly Hotel on Princes Street. Then before we know it, it will be time to go home. 

Sunday 20 May 2012

Dynamic Day

The day started out with me wondering if I should go back to bed and start again...... however, once we left the hotel, all was soon forgotten and we were once again immersed in all that there is to see and do in Edinburgh. We walked down to Grassmarket. The Royal Mile was closed off to traffic for the Hearts parade. We caught the tour bus down to the bridges but on our way, we stopped at Dynamic Earth. We had been here 5 years ago - the last time the kids were in Edinburgh - and had enjoyed it. We had an amazing time. It really is one of the best educational attractions.

We went into the time capsule back millions of years to the beginning of time

We learned about volcanic formations and their impact on the ever changing earth. We learned about dinosaurs, glaciers, and the rain forest.

And we were treated to a 3D movie

We had a great couple of hours before it was time to head out to our next adventure - a trip down the Firth of Forth to see the bridges from the water.

Then it was back to the hotel to check on the laundry, to grab a bite to eat and to recharge ourselves.