Wednesday 30 October 2013

Pipes & Sticks on 66

I have just been contacted by Trinni Franke regarding a movie that is to be released at Cineplex theatres across Canada on November 14 and again on December 1. The movie, Pipes & Sticks on 66 follows five "rock stars" of the piping world as they play a concert along the iconic Route 66 in the USA. 2400 miles!

The film stars Scottish pipers Willie McCallum, Stuart Liddell and Angus MacColl as well as drummer Jim Kilpatrick. Rounding out the quintet is American percussionist Mike Cole.

For a trailer and for information on the Cineplex nearest you that will be screening the movie, click here:

You can also follow the group on Facebook at:

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Two New Record Sets Released Today

Today was a busy day for launching records on both sides of the Atlantic. ScotlandsPeople released the 1920 Valuation Rolls. Like the other Valuation rolls, the images are 2 credits to view. A word of warning, the images are quite light, but seem to be more legible when you zoom in.

On this side of the Atlantic, Ancestry launched the now fully indexed 1921 Canadian Census. Apparently in an agreement with LAC, these will be free to anyone who logs on from a Canadian IP address. You need to have an account. You can create one for free.

Happy Searching!

Saturday 26 October 2013

1920 Valuation Rolls to be Released Monday

Monday October 28th will see the 1920 Valuation Rolls made available online at ScotlandsPeople Start saving your pennies for the credits!

Friday 25 October 2013

November is NaNoWriMo Month

November is National Novel Writing Month and is a great time to get started on writing your family history. While your family history is not a novel, you can get prompts and
support through the NaNoWriMo website. The goal is to have the story written in 30 days. What a great incentive to get that story written and ready to give out as a Christmas gift!
Here's the link:


Monday 21 October 2013


The May 2014 genealogy research trip in Scotland is now full. A waiting list is available pending cancellations. To be added to the list please contact:

The next scheduled trip is May 4- 13 2015

For more information check out the website's Tour Dates and Pricing page:

Plan now to give yourself the gift of heritage in 2015.

Saturday 19 October 2013


Although it is still 6 months away, the May 2014 Genealogy Research trip is nearly full, with only one space remaining.

Is a genealogy research trip on YOUR bucket list? If you have always wanted to return to your homeland, walk where your ancestors walked, research in the various archives in Scotland, pay tribute to your ancestors at their grave, this is your chance. Give yourself the gift of heritage and book now before it is too late:

You know you want to.......

Argyll Estates Papers to be Digitized and Made Available Online

Anyone with ancestor in Tiree knows how invaluable Keith Dash's website is. He has painstakingly transcribed estate census records, OPRs and more to make tracing our Tiree ancestors easier:

Keith has recently announced a new joint project that is taking place to digitize the Argyll Estate Papers with the goal of having these made available online in the future. It is anticipated that this will be a two to three year project. This is a joint project of the Argyll and Bute Council, Argyll Estates, and Dunollie House (in Oban). The Argyll Estates take in more than just Tiree, of course, and include Coll, Mull, Morvern, Kintyre, Cowal, Glencoe and points in between. Very exciting news for family historians with Argyll roots!

Here is the announcement from Keith's website:

Saturday 12 October 2013

Index of Scottish Blacksmiths

This website is a personal index of all of the UK, however, there is a page specifically dedicated to Scottish blacksmiths. Click on the letter of the surname you are searching for:

Dictionary of Scottish Architects

The Dictionary of Scottish Architects is a database of biographical information and job lists for all architects known to have worked in Scotland during the period 1840-1980, whether as principals, assistants or apprentices.

Looking for Your Trade Union Ancestor?

The largest collection of UK Trades Union records is available through the Modern Records Centre in Warwick. Few unions deposited their membership records with the Centre, but other records of genealogical significance are available, such as accident reports, compensation records and the like.

Saturday 5 October 2013

Jacobite Rebellion Ships Lists

Between 1650 and 1775, thousands of Scots were banished to the Americasfor their political or religious beliefs or for crimes that they had committed. One example of this were the Jacobites who were expelled between 1715-1745. 

Hugh Tornabene, a volunteer for the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild has uncovered the passenger lists for the ships that were used to transport the Jacobites. He has transcribed the lists for the 10 ships that arrived in the Americas. There are another 8 ships that went to the Caribbean (Barbados and the Leeward Islands). 

Here is the website to view the transcriptions of the 10 ships (there are 13 lists, with two of the ships having made the voyage more than once) that Hugh has transcribed:

Friday 4 October 2013

Food Friday

While I was in Edinburgh, at the Scottish Association of Family History Societies in Galashiels in May, the Lothian Archives had stacks of postcards free for the taking. One of them is a recipe from the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh for an Invalid Fruit Tart. Here it is:

1 large or 2 small apples
1 piece of stale sponge
1 gill milk (translates to 5 oz)
1 egg
1/4 oz granulated sugar
1/2 oz castor (sugar not oil)


  • Wipe, peel, core and slice the apple
  • Put into a pan with dessertspoonful sugar and a little cold water
  • Stew until apples are pulp
  • Beat yolk of egg with one teaspoonful sugar
  • Add the milk
  • Put apple pulp into a pie dish
  • Cover with strips of sponge cake
  • Soak with the custart
  • Bake in a cool oven until slightly set
  • Fold the castor sugar into the stiffly beaten egg white
  • Heap on to pudding and dredge with sugar
  • Cook slowly until slightly brown

~ with thanks to Lothian Health Services Archives LHB1/89/4/1

Thursday 3 October 2013

More Records From Maxwell Ancestry

The Maxwells continue to be busy finding, indexing and making available obscure records to assist in our family history research. These pertain in particular to the Borders area. I love the use of smaller databases for rounding out the history and social history of our ancestors, and I give a huge 'hats off" to Maxwell Ancestry for taking this on.

First, they made prison records available

Then it was Sheriff Court Paternity records

Now it is OPR entries that have not made it onto the scotlandspeople website. (non-Church of Scotland entries, Kirksession entries not under the usual headins of baptism, banns or burials)

The link to the OPR indices is:
Scroll down to the OPR search options.

The indices are free to search. There is a small fee to get a full transcription of the record you are interested in.

Best of luck with discovering more about your Borders ancestors!

Wednesday 2 October 2013 Stops Sale of FamilyTree Maker Software in CD Format

Global Genealogy has an article about stopping the production and distribution of the CD format of their FamilyTree Maker software. It will only be available as a download - directly from of course.

I understand that we live in a tech world, but this one just reeks. Or maybe it's the straw that has finally broken this camel's back.

Ancestry is on the fast track to a worldwide monopoly on genealogy. First they take over the digitizing and indexing of the 1921 Canadian census. Yes, it will be free - as it would have been if LAC had managed the indexing. For now. Once the 1921 Canadian census is indexed by name, Ancestry makes the money on the backs of Canadians. Not cool since for every other census, we have had free access to these records. I'm not opposed to paying for records. I get the cost involved in scanning and the manpower involved in indexing. Not to mention the cost of the bandwidth to make the records available online. It's the principle on this one that irks me.

Then Ancestry "paired up" with FamilySearch to digitize/transcribe/index their records. That have always been freely available and we are told will continue to be on the FS website. But not on Ancestry. And there isn't a genealogist on the planet that hasn't found major transcription errors - even more so when the conglomerates fast track the process in order to have the the records first.

Next it was the purchase earlier this week of Find-A-Grave. Another free resource that is about to cost genealogists, thanks to Ancestry's quest for a monopoly.

Now they are discontinuing our option of purchasing a hard copy (CD) of our genealogy software. On the face of it, this seems inoculous. The software will still be available. By download. Directly from Ancestry. So, they are taking the middleman out of the consumer equation. No money for the distributor. No option for the consumer. And likely no option of paying for one copy and being able to install it in all of your devices. It will probably be a set fee for either one download or three downloads, but what happens when you upgrade your computer? Or when it crashes and you have to re-install?

Personally I am tiring of Ancestry's drive for a monopoly. I believe in consumerism. Including a healthy sense of competition. This isn't happening the the world of genealogy consumerism.

Historic Newspapers Offers 40 Free Credits on FindMyPast

Old newspapers are the best way to round out your understanding of the social history of your ancestors. They give you a glimpse into the times in which your ancestor lived.

FindMyPast is offering a £5 voucher (worth 40 credits) when you make a purchase from Historic Newspapers.

Historic Newspapers offers the largest collection of original newspapers from the UK dating back to over two centuries. These make wonderful unique, commemorative gifts for the family historian, history buff, special friend or relative or for that hard to shop for person.

Historic Newspapers also has special collection editions including Victorian Era newspapers, Napoleonic Era newspapers and my personal favourite, the Jack the Ripper Collection.

With every purchase from Historic Newspapers, you receive a free decade book. These are reproductive copies of top stories from the decade corresponding to or closest in decade to the year of the original newspaper purchased. The decade books span 1920-1990.

Here is the link to the Historic Newspapers website:

Here is the link to claiming your 40 credits from FindMyPast with purchase:

Happy shopping; Happy reading!

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Using Google+ For Genealogy

Google+ is Google’s social platform. It rolled out in 2011. It started in Beta, of course, and was by invitation only. I was fortunate enough to be given an invitation and have to say I LOVED what I found. Google+ seemed to be far more intelligent than Facebook. Of course that was primarily because of the Beta testing and also because of the way I had (have) set it up. I only use Google+ to connect with fellow genealogists. I connected with 250 of them in the first two months! 250!  

Here’s the how-to: 

You need a Google account, of course. If you have Gmail, then you already have a Google account. I love Google because of its simplicity, so the one sign in for all things Google is ideal for me.  

Once you have your account set up, you can start finding people that have similar interests. To do this, use the Google search bar at the top of the home page. Type in “genealogy” then add those people to your circles.  

Circles are groupings of people. You can group people into similar interest groups.
Genealogy, photography, writers, horse lovers, whatever you choose. No one can see what your circles are called, so make them user friendly for yourself.  

The Google+ settings are more privacy friendly than Facebook. I can decide for each post who sees the information. I can choose to leave some people out (like my employer). Now you are ready to start posting. The nice thing about the genealogy piece is that most people use the Google+ platform to link to their blog posts, announce training they are running, webinars that are upcoming, and other things that are generally of interest. When you create a post, you choose at the bottom of the post WHO you are going to share the information with. If you want to speak with someone privately, just type their name in there rather than the name of the circle. This will still show up in your “stream” (the equivalent of a Facebook news feed) so you don’t have to go looking for the private conversation under some other tab or column. Do yourself a favour and DON’T check the box that offers for you to also share by e-mail since that essentially spams the same group of people. They will pick up your post in their stream. They don’t need it again in their already full inbox.  

Google+ also has video-conferencing built in. These are called hangouts. They are really cool. I remember when this was first launched there was a record for the longest on air hangout. It went on for nearly 50 days! Hangouts are a great way to connect when people are co-presenting a webinar, organizing a conference or sharing family tree info on the same ancestors. The maximum number that can be in on a video hangout at one time is limited to 10. But the nice thing is it is free. And it has better connectivity, with less down time, than Skype. If you don’t use the video part, you can have up to 100 people. Free! 

Since Google discontinued the use of Google Reader, the idea is for people to join Google+ and read blogs from the posts that are entered there. Google has also changed the way the page is laid out and it is now a double column screen. I personally find this more distracting making it harder to concentrate on one post at a time. My genealogy circle is now over 1200. Who would have thought?  

Google+ is a great way to connect with other genealogists, to share ideas in more than 140 characters and without the ideas getting lost in Facebook drivel. Give it a try. Find me, circle me, add me to your genealogy circle. Make sure that you have "genealogy" in your profile and I will add you to my genealogy circle as well!