Monday 25 June 2012

Sharing Treasures with Flip Pal

One of the things I had hoped to do while I was in Scotland was retrieve some old photgraphs. These were not just for me, but for me to share in the family newsletter and with anyone who might be in the photographs or whose family might have been in the photograph. My uncle is reluctant to pass over old photos in case he doesn't get them returned. Knowing that he didn't  have to part with his photos made it far easier for him to share.

Both my eldest aunt and my uncle were ready when I arrived with my Flip Pal. My aunt had a box of old photographs of her family and of her siblings. My uncle had taken out his photo albums and was able to share old photos that way.

One of the joys of the Flip Pal is that I could scan the photos at my aunts, load them into my laptop and then share the photos with my uncle when I went to visit him.

Neither aunt nor uncle have computers but both marvel at what can be done with them. My favourite photo from this part of my trip was the look on my aunty's face when she and my uncle saw, for the first time, a photo that my eldest aunt had of my grandfather.

 And here is the treasured photograph:

 I believe this was taken just prior to my grandfather's marriage to his first wife, Sarah Costello. Sarah died in childbirth with their sixth child.

Stone Masons - True Artists

While I have always enjoyed the old buildings in Scotland, I was particularly taken this trip with the sheer artistry of the stone masons.

Note the detail in the lace of Queen Victoria’s dress on this statue atop the
Doulton Fountain in Glasgow Green

 More of the artistry around the Doulton Fountain - a tribute to the British Commonwealth

 Representing Canada

Street lamp on the Mound in Edinburgh

Forecourt fountain at Holyrood Palace

Knotted rope around window at Wallace Monument

Ceiling of the old Abbey at Holyrood Palace

Jenners Department Store in Edinburgh

Unfortunately with the more common use of cinderblocks, poured or pre-moulded cement or even glass and steel, these artisans have become an extinct breed. However, their legacy lives on in the monuments that they have created. 

Sunday 24 June 2012

Creating Photo Book Backgrounds Using Flip Pal Scanner

Now that I am back in Canada, it is time to create a memory book, or a scrapbook. I use both traditional scrapbooking and digital scrapbooking. I find the digital books are so much quicker, easier and less expensive and are great when there are not a lot of photos to scrap.
One of the things I enjoy using my Flip Pal scanner for is creating my own backgrounds. Granted, most photobook programs come with pre-loaded backgrounds, but often then don't work for the themes I want to create in my digital scrapbooks.
Using Flip Pal opens up my options and makes the books far more personal as well. Here's how it's done:

This is a roll of wrapping paper I had purchased while in Scotland

I cut a small swatch to scan (I could have flipped the scanner over and scanned a larger portion, but this was left over from my traditional scrapbooking)

Ready to scan

Scan complete!

 Then once the photos were saved into the computer, it was time to crop them. I use Microsoft Office Picture Manager for ease of use, but there are dozens of photo editing programs. Use the one you are most comfortable with

I also scanned a couple of little gift tags that I had picked up along the way

This is the one I chose for my background

Then, in the photobook program, simply add the photo you have chosen for your background and click. I use PhotoInPress because of my comfort level with it and the quality of the books they produce, but you can use any photo book company that suits you.

To make the pics stand out against the back ground, and look separate from the background, I added a border to the photos. The possibilities of setting backgrounds with your Flip Pal mobile scanner are as endless as your imagination. So, start scanning!!

Enjoy the memories and keepsakes that you make with your Flip Pal. If you don't yet have a Flip Pal (they are a fantastic product - easy to use, incredibly portable, and durable), simply click the icon on the right hand side of this blog - the one that looks like this:

You can order your Flip Pal from that link. And, to make it even sweeter, Flip Pal is having a Summer Solstice Sale (until June 30th). Here are the details:

Summer Solstice Sale
Monday, June 18 – Saturday, June 30
Use Promotion Code: SSFP6A
Save $15 when you purchase a Flip-Pal mobile scanner! (Please place items in your shopping cart first before using the promotion code.)

Suite Summer Solstice Sale
Monday, June 18 – Saturday, June 30
Use Promotion Code: SSS6A
Save $25 when you purchase a Flip-Pal mobile scanner with Creative Suite Craft Edition DVD! (Please place items in your shopping cart first before using the promotion code.)

Thursday 21 June 2012

Wills and Testaments Now Available for 10 Credits on ScotlandsPeople

Formerly, if you wanted to get a will or testament from Scotlands People you had to "order" the dcoument and then pay according to the size of the document (usually upwards of £10). 7 years ago, the wills and testaments were all digitized and were made available on the ScotlandsPeople website for £5 ($8).

The Wills and Testaments will now be available through the usual credit system. Currently, the cost to view and download the images is 10 credits. About $4.

More on Wills and Testaments from the Scotlands People website:

"The wills & testaments index contains over 611,000 index entries to Scottish wills and testaments dating from 1513 to 1901. Each index entry lists the surname, forename, title, occupation and place of residence (where these are given) of the deceased person, the court in which the testament was recorded, with the date. Index entries do not include names of executors, trustees or heirs to the estate. They also do not include the deceased's date of death, or the value of the estate."

And here's the link if you want to search:

You will find Wills and Testaments on the menu bar on the left hand side of the page.

Good luck with your Scottish research!

Friday 15 June 2012


Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries . Taphophilia involves epitaphs, photography, brass rubbing, art, and history of (famous) deaths.

A Taphophile or Tombstone tourist describes someome who travels to visit cemeteries for the enjoyment of looking at old and unusual stones or to find the graves of famous people. The term has been most notably used by author and biographer Scott Stanton as the title of his 2003 book and his former website  on the lives and gravesites of famous musicians. Tombstone tourists are usually more interested in the historical aspects of cemeteries or the historical relevance of its "residents"

Monday 11 June 2012

The Death of Library and Archives Canada and the Complacency of Canadian Genealogists

The Harper Government has made sweeping changes to Library and Archives Canada which affects everyone interested in pursuing family history, Canadian history or who wishes to preserve Canada’s national memory and national archival documents.

The mandate of LAC is as follows:

•To preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations;
•To be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada;
•To facilitate in Canada cooperation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge; and
•To serve as the continuing memory of the government of Canada and its institutions. (LAC website, “about us” page)

The Harper Government has made the following cuts:

  • The elimination of 21/61 archivists and archival assistants dealing with nongovernmental records
  • Reduction of 50% of digitization and circulation staff
  • Elimination of inter-library loans
  • Elimination of the National Archival Development Program (the program to preserve the national memory of Canada)
  • Significant number of reductions of staff dealing with conservation and preservation of materials 
The result of the Harper Government’s steamrolling is as follows:

  • 450 LAC staff have lost their jobs
  • The Canadian Council of Archives in Ottawa has been closed
  • Other smaller archives will be forced to close
  • Critical documents will be thrown out or shredded, thereby creating an abyss in the history of our nation
Mr Harper has reduced Library and Archives Canada to The Government Archives of Canada. Through Mr Harper, the LAC has been reduced to preserving government documents and records (his personal filing cabinet for everything that happens in parliament, essentially). This is against the LAC mandate.

The “leader” of the LAC, Daniel Caron, is not an archivist, he is not an historian, he is not a librarian. Daniel Caron is a human resources specialist, a treasury board specialist, a bureaucrat who is apparently all too willing to downsize his staff in order to save money, rather than fulfil the mandate of the LAC  - to save the documentary history of the nation to whom he is accountable.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers are up in arms (rightfully so)
The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Canada have expressed concern.
The National Graduate Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students have expressed concern.
The Association of Canadian Archivists riled the masses at their recent conference in Whitehorse.

And, yet, through this entire maelstrom, the Canadian genealogy community has remained silent. Complacent. Appearing uncaring. In the US, when RootsTech decided not to allow anyone other than technology buffs to grace their marketplace, the US genealogy community rallied within minutes and within a couple of days, RootsTech saw the error of their decision and reversed it. When the US made changes to the access and availability of the SSDI, the US genealogy community again rallied and even formed an “Occupy Genealogy” movement.

Major reductions and access to our national memory, to our national history, to the records of our ancestors and their struggles is being reduced and in time, perhaps eliminated. Here’s how the Canadian Genealogy Society has responded:

The OGS, the largest provincial genealogy society’s mandate is:
  • To promote genealogical research
  • To set standards for genealogical excellence by encouragement and instruction in effective research methods
  • To make available to those whose ancestors are from Ontario, the knowledge, diversity and comprehensiveness of the genealogical resources in Ontario
  • To share expertise in other geographic areas
If you go to their website, and manage to navigate your way to their “advocacy” page, you can see that they are sort of concerned and are letting you know that there is an issue. They aren’t terribly concerned, but they understand that YOU might be, so they have offered to let you sign an online petition. The petition belongs to another organization – not OGS.

All of the other provincial genealogy societies have mandates to serve the genealogical communities of their provinces. All of them are silent on the LAC issues. Ok, so maybe the provincial bodies, who should be uniting in this cause will be more outraged when the cuts make their way to the provincial archives. As for a united front, a driving force, a leading contender in the preservation of LAC as a NATIONAL archive, the Canadian genealogy community is silent. Complacent. Appearing uncaring. And Harper can get away with changes that will affect ALL Canadian genealogy researchers.

To their credit, the Niagara branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society are outraged. They have placed the concerns on their homepage. I encourage everyone to visit their homepage, to click on the Save LAC box, to take action, to be informed and to be anything other than complacent. If Niagara is willing to take the lead, let’s jump on their bandwagon. Let’s start a letter writing campaign. Let’s inundate our MPs with postcards of protest. Let’s fill their inboxes with e-mails of concern. Let’s unite and let’s be outraged together. But, let’s be outraged. Not silent, complacent, uncaring.

Niagara OGS webite:

For a list of MPs and their addresses & e-mail addresses:  Fill in your postal code to find the information for your local MP

E-mail Stephen Harper:

Friday 8 June 2012

BIFHSGO Conference 2012 - It's All About Scotland This Year!

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa has finalized the details for their annual conference which will run from September 14 - 16 at the Library & Archives Canada. This year's theme is Scottish Genealogy with Keynote speaker Chris Paton and guest speaker Patricia Whatley. In addition, there will be sessions on Selkirk Settlers, Scottish Poor Law, DNA and genetics, Writing for Publication, and using cloud technology such as Dropbox & Evernote.

The fees are $80/person for members if you register before 10 August. There are two buffet lunches on Saturday and Sunday for an additional $15 each. There are also pre-conference seminars on the Friday. The cost for these is $25 each.

Registration and conference information is available at:

Family Search Now Has the 1841 Census Indexed

FamilySearch has the 1841 Scotland census indexed. The index is freely available at:
Once you find your family, you will need to go to the ScotlandsPeople website to view the actual image
Good Luck with your Scottish Research!

Flip Pal Is 10% Off For Father's Day

If you are looking for a portable, lightweight scanner, Flip Pal is having a sale. The dates are June 7 - 11. It is a 10% discount when you purchase the scanner making it just $134. It ships from the States and takes about 10 days to arrive.

Click on this link :
"shop" and add to cart. At checkout, enter father12 in the promo code box to get your discount.
If you want to see what you can do with the Flip Pal, here's my blog post:

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Interview for Celtic Life

What I Learned On My Research Vacation

Over the 10 days of my research vacation, I amassed huge stack of certificates, MIs and headstone photographs. I have a better sense of the area where my ancestors lived, having driven out to see the villages listed on the documents. Now that I am back home, it was time to start making sense of it all in a way that was tangible, meaningful and in a way that can be shared with future generations.

One area I chose to focus my research was on my paternal grandmother's family of origin. My paternal grandmother has always fascinated me. Perhaps because I never really knew her, having been only a toddler when she passed away. Although I have taken the Haddow line back to 1680, I have a deep yearning to know more about Maggie and her family.

This photograph has been a source of inspiration. Maggie is in the back row, behind her mother - the woman seated on the right. 

When the 1911 census was released, I learned that the little girl in the front, holding the basket, is in fact my aunt. My dad's eldest sister. But what of the other women? Thanks to being onsite at Scotlands People Centre and being able to view documents not yet available online, here's what I have learned:
Two years after their marriage, my paternal great grandmother, Mary (McCabe) Haddow gave birth to a daughter, Jessie. Following the Scottish Naming Pattern, Jessie was named for her maternal grandmother, Janet (Jessie) Lawrie. Baby Jessie was born on December 21st, 1882 at the home of her parents in Mid Calder. 
After she left school, Jessie worked as a postal runner. She later married James Sneddon on September 11, 1908 in Mid Calder. James was from Pumpherston, a nearby village. At the time of their marriage, James was a Shale Miner and Jessie was a postal clerk. James and Jessie had a son, George who was born December 6th 1908. 
The 1911 census is unique in that it asks the length of the marriage (in this case, two years), the number of children born alive, (the 1911 census for James and Jessie states that there were three children born alive) and how many of the couple’s children are still living. The 1911 census for James and Jessie states that only one is living. This would be young George. This sent me looking at death records for infants. I found that James and Jessie had a set of twins, Walter Haddow Sneddon and Agnes Miller Sneddon, who were born prematurely on March 1, 1910. The young babies died 2 hours and thirty-five minutes after they were born. This must have been devastating for the young family.  

On May 31, 1911, Jessie gave birth to another daughter, Mary McCabe Sneddon.

Jessie died at age 72 on May 22nd, 1955. She died at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh (right behind the hotel I was staying at). The cause of death listed on her death registration is Myocardial Infarct (heart attack) that she had suffered five months earlier as well as a pulmonary infarct (a lack of oxygen to the lung resulting in tissue death).

After 47 years of marriage, they are buried together with their infant twins in Mid Calder Cemetery. (photo courtesy Scottish Genealogy Society). Jessie is not in the above photo. I believe this photo was taken just prior to the marriage of my grandparents, and by then Jessie was married with a young family.

As for the other sisters, Walter and Mary’s second daughter was Maggie. Maggie was born 10 August 1888 in Kirknewton, Mid Calder. Maggie is my granny. Her history has been well documented for future generations.

Walter and Mary’s third daughter, Elizabeth Brown Haddow, was born on 24 August, 1890. Elizabeth is seen on the 1891 census, along with her parents and her sisters Jessie and Maggie. Elizabeth married Thomas Porteous Nathaniel on December 2, 1910. Thomas was an engineer (journeyman—meaning he had completed his apprenticeship) from Pumpherston. Elizabeth and Thomas had three children: Dunlop (born 1912), Henry (born 10 March 1916) and Walter Haddow (born 1920). Elizabeth died January 25, 1963 at Bangour Hospital. She was 72. Elizabeth’s cause of death was bronchopneumonia. Her usual residence is listed as 15 Retham Park Pumpherston. The informant of her death (to the registrar) was her son, Henry.

Walter and Mary’s fourth daughter, Mary McCabe Haddow was born 30 March 1893. Mary is seen in the 1901 census along with her older sisters, Jessie, Maggie and Elizabeth as well as with her younger sister, Jeanie. Mary never married. She was known to have had at least one child, daughter Molly (Mary). There is some speculation that she may have had other children as well. Mary died at the age of 70. She was a retired housekeeper at the time of her death. The informant of her death was her daughter, Molly Haddow. Their usual residence was 23 Main St Mid Calder. Molly continued to reside in the home after her mother's death.

Walter and Mary’s fifth daughter, Jeanie McCabe Haddow was born on 18 January, 1899. Jeanie never married. She worked as a canteen manageress (perhaps at the school where Molly also worked). Jeanie died on December 21st 1960 as a result of breast cancer. The doctor noted that the breast cancer had re-occurred after radiotherapy. Jeanie was 61 years of age. She died at home and the informant (to the registrar) was her niece Mary (Molly) Haddow.

The youngest of Walter and Mary’s daughters was Katie Clark Haddow. Katie was born on April 8th 1901. Katie never married. She worked as a domestic. She died on July 31, 1979 of gastric carcinoma at Bangour Hospital. Her usual residence was 23 Main St Mid Calder - the same home as her sister Mary and Mary's daughter Molly.

Walter died at his home on Bank Street in Mid Calder on 24 February 1927 as a result of tuberculosis. He was 64 years of age. The informant of the death is son in law James Sneddon (husband of Jessie). James and Jessie were by this point living at 3 Robertson Ave in Edinburgh. Mary McCabe Haddow died on 19 March, 1945 at her home on Bank Street in Mid Calder. She was 84 and her cause of death was cardiovascular degeneration. The informant of her death was daughter Jeanie. Walter and Mary are buried with their unmarried daughters: Jean, Mary and Kate in Mid Calder cemetery.

(photo courtesy Scottish Genealogy Society)

As a genealogist, I believe in sharing. Not just with other genealogists, but also with family. In order to share what I learned on my research vacation, I prepared and presented this "newsletter" to my paternal cousins so that they may also have the story and so that their descendants will know from whence they came:

Friday 1 June 2012

New Scottish Burial Records Added to Deceased Online

News today from Deceased Online that they have added 120,000 burial records for Scotland:
  • "Additional records for approximately 120,000 Scottish burials, mostly in rural burial grounds and cemeteries, are now available on
  • This set of records comprises headstone and memorial photographs and transcriptions from 99 cemeteries and burial grounds from Argyll to the Scottish Borders including Banffshire (Moray), Clackmannanshire, Edinburgh, Fife, The Lothians, Lanarkshire and North Ayrshire
  • The oldest records date back to 1526
  • There are now records for over 250 Scottish cemeteries, burial grounds and crematoria on Deceased Online and we will upload records for 150 more in the next few month"
This is important information for those with Scottish ancestors since many were too poor to have been able to afford a headstone, therefore making searching or reading Monumental Inscriptions unfruitful. Some of us will also have ancestors who were buried in common ground, with no records or markers. The only records are the burial records, generally from the Old Parish Records.

    Part of Edinburgh Castle Belongs to Nova Scotia

    Nova Scotia has a long historic link with Scotland, and not only in name. As early as 1624, King James I (King James VI of England) offered a number of baronetcies to his loyal landowners. These land grants were in what is now Nova Scotia. In order to fulfill the qualifications of receiving crown land, the receiver was to stand on his plot of land and declare allegiance to the King. The distance involved called for some creativity and so King James VI & I declared a portion of Edinburgh Castle as “Nova Scotia” so that the potential landowners could stand on this “portion of Nova Scotia” and declare their allegiance without having to travel to the Americas. On the wall, just outside the main gate of the Castle, is this sign:

    The sign reads: “Near this spot in 1625 Sir William Alexander of Menstrie Earl of Stirling received sasine or lawful possession of the Royal Province of Nova Scotia by the ancient and symbolic ceremony of delivery of earth and stone from Castlehill by a representative of the King. Here also, the Scottish Baronets of Nova Scotia received sasine of their distant baronies.”
    Of course at this time in history, Nova Scotia incorporated parts of southern and eastern Maine as well as lower and western New Brunswick, especially along the Fundy Coast.

    So, the next time you are in Edinburgh, be sure to visit the Castle and see Nova Scotia while you are there!