Thursday 29 August 2013

British Home Child Day Activities

Come out to the Aultsville Train Station just west of Upper Canada Village Saturday, August 31st to see great-great-grandchildren of Home Child Mary Scott-Pearson Brownell cut the ribbon on the British Home Child Museum. Also grandchildren of former MPP Jim Brownell will be there. Thanks to Jim and his colleagues in the Ontario House of Legislature, September 28th is Brisith Home Child Day in Ontario.

As well, work is being done with the Black Creek Pioneer Village to get a "permanent" display set up on the British Home Children (for a six month period initially) and Black Creek will also be hosting events for British Home Child Day in 2014. Stay tuned for details as they become available....

240th Anniversary of the Arrival of the Ship Hector.

Pictou United Church in Pictou, Nova Scotia invites you to join them for their
"Worship with a Celtic Flair" as we celebrate the 240th Anniversary of the Arrival of the Ship Hector. 


Sunday, September 15th at 10:30am
featuring storytelling, highland dancing, Celtic music, bagpipes and Gaelic singing.

Pictou United Church is located at 47 James Street, Pictou , Nova Scotia
for more information please call the Pictou United Church Office: 485-8081

New Highland Records Being Shared Online

The Highland Archive Centre is starting to digitize records and make them available online. This includes school records. It's the type of website where you will want to keep checking back. Here's the link:

Anyone with Cromarty Ancestry?

I recently came across an interesting website for viewing old photos of Cromarty. Take a look:

Monday 26 August 2013


Following a couple of talks on Scottish Genealogy, spots on the May 2014 tour are booking up very quickly. In fact, only 5 spots remain. If you are interested in joining us for the trip to Edinburgh to research your Scottish Ancestors onsite, and have the opportunity to gain access to records not available online, visit the website.  

For more details or to book your place:

Friday 9 August 2013

Dr Lucas' Diaries

With genealogy seems to come a renewed love of all things history related. To that end, the Stirling Council has started a blog with posts from the 19th century diaries of one Dr. Thomas Lucas. Dr Lucas was a surgeon in Stirling. His diaries are from 1808-1821 and give a wonderful insight into the life of a prominent surgeon in Georgian Stirling. Dr Lucas was also a member of the Merchant Guild and a property owner.

The Council posts an entry on the anniversary date of the original diary entry, so that for each entry in 1813, a blog post will occur on the same date and month but 200 years later (2013).

Diary entries for earlier years are available under a separate tab.

The diaries can be accessed at:

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Coldingham Prisoner Index

If you have ancestors from the borders and from Coldingham or Greenlaw in particular, you may want to have a look at this index of prisoners from Viv Dunstan's website:

If you find your ancestor in this index, then please do not contact Viv, but rather, contact Emma and Graham Maxwell of Maxwell Ancestry as they are the keepers of the original database.

Friday 2 August 2013

Season 4 of Who Do You Think You Are

TLC has taken over the production of WDYTYA after NBC failed to renew the program. And TLC has decided to run the series during the summer. Smart marketing on their part. This is guaranteed to take over the ratings wars during a time normally filled with reruns or occupied with repeating news stories.
I don’t think there has been a time since the original Dallas series (you remember, “who shot JR?”) that I have been so obsessed about a tv schedule. This season’s WDYTYA line-up was first touted by the genea-sphere as “mundane”, “cookie cutter”, “run of the mill” choices in celebrities. But the first two episodes have proven to be anything but.
The series started off with the southern sweetness of Kelly Clarkson. Her youth and celebrity stand to open up the world of genealogy research to a younger audience. Kelly was able to show young adults why knowing who your ancestors were is important. It’s not just dusty books, yellowing documents and old photos. It’s about knowing who you are and how some of your traits came to be. I loved that she hugged every archivist or genealogist that she came in contact with. And I loved her innocence, honesty and down-to-earth greeting with her 3x great grandfather at his grave “S’up?” Her pride in her true American Hero, her great-great-great grandpa was heart-warming. And the message that she was able to share with others is that her raw determination and gumption are inherited family traits.
And what could possibly top the Christina Applegate story? Christina’s initial quest was to bring peace and closure to her father who has lived his entire 70 years not knowing who his mother was. The truth was that Christina’s grandparents were young and immature. A truth faced by many. The outcome, was rather circuitous however, in that although custody of her father had been awarded to his mother, he ended up being raised by his paternal grandmother.
Two of the most emotional scenes were Christina’s father seeing a photo of his mom for the first time. Imagine being 70 years old and not knowing what your mother looked like. And then at the burial site. Hallowed ground. An unmarked grave. No indication of a life having been lived or worthy of being remembered. Thankfully, Christina’s father changed that. With those three heart-warming words on her tombstone:  “I found you, Mom”
I can’t wait until Tuesday night to see what the next episode brings. Chelsea Handler was raised in a Jewish neighbourhood by a Mormon mother of German descent. Wonder what stories she will uncover?

Thursday 1 August 2013

Using Facebook for Genealogy

On the face of it, Facebook can seem very frivolous and intended only for the “me” generation. Most of us don’t care who is drinking a latte, standing in line at the show or enjoying a drink in the sun. It is easy to say “not for me” But you can make Facebook into a very useful tool for genealogy. Here’s how: 

First you need to have a Facebook account. You can sign up here:

Once you have an account, make sure you have your privacy settings where you want them. You can do that under privacy settings. To get there, go to the upper right hand side of your home page. You will see your name, a lock, and then what looks like a gear or wheel. Click on that and a drop down box will appear. Click on Privacy settings. Click on edit beside each area and set your settings to your comfort level. For the most part, you may want to set most things to “Friends” only.  

With that done, return to your “home” page. At the top, you will see a search bar. Here’s where you will find the genealogy groups or pages of interest to YOU. Use search words like: Genealogy, Scottish genealogy, or any other term you think might help you find the info you are seeking. Watch to make sure you click on the top few and not the “search on the web” or you will be taken to web pages that are not part of Facebook.

When you find a genealogy page or group that is of interest, you simply “Like” the page or send a “join group” request. Once you have done this, new posts will start to appear in your news feed on your home page. Hover your mouse over the “Like” button and choose “show in news feed” If at some future point you choose not to belong anymore, you can hover your mouse over the “Like” button and “unlike” or “leave group” 

Here are some links to pages to get you started: 

Blair Archival Research:

Lothian Health Services Archives:!/lhsa.edinburgh
A number of the Scottish Family History Societies also have Facebook Pages. These include:





Work away at the search bar to see if YOUR family history society has a Facebook page. 

There are also a number of genealogy groups, few of which are specific to Scottish genealogy. The one exception would be the two groups dedicated to British Home Children:  

Families of British Home Children / British Child Migrants:

British Home Children Advocacy &  Research Association:

What’s the difference between a page and a group? Well, generally,  pages are more for businesses or organizations. To get the information posted,  you simply need to “like” the page. Groups are a collective of like-minded individuals who share a common interest.  

Usually groups are more controlled and require approval of membership. You will see a “request to join group” button and once the moderator of the group approves you (almost a given so long as you are real and not a robot trying to spam the group) then the information posted will show up in your news feed.  

You can also broaden your interests to include other aspects of your Scottish heritage: newspapers, archives, sports clubs, towns and villages, local schools and businesses you are aware of in Scotland. One man I follow posts nothing but amazing photos. He warms my heart daily with visual reminders of my homeland. Get creative in the search bar. You never know what hidden gem of a resource you might come across.