Wednesday 31 December 2014

New Records Released!

January 1 sees a whole new set of records released on the ScotlandsPeople website. Births for 1914, Deaths for 1964 and Marriages for 1939 will all be made available.

Happy Searching!

Farewell, Scotty!

This  morning,  I lost my uncle. Well, technically, he is my first cousin once removed. My mum's cousin. But to me, he has always been Uncle Bob. 

Bob and his family lived an hour from us. We managed a get together about once a month, or every six weeks. It was always a weekend stay. To my benefit, he has three daughters so I always had cousins to hang out with when the parents were doing their parent things - visiting, chatting, reminiscing. 

As families do, we grew apart when the kids grew up. His daughters moved out west. Bob became a part time snow-bird. Thanks to technology, we kept in touch via e-mail. 

Bob was thrilled when he got his first copy of Crawford Connections, the family newsletter. Our occasional phone calls and emails were filled with me sharing what I had uncovered in my research. He was totally fascinated. And in awe when he was able to receive photos of his parents that he had never seen before. 

Bob had battled cancer of various organs for more than 16 years. In the past couple of years, this worsened and he spent more and more time in Ontario. This allowed us to re-kindle our relationship. 

I love my Uncle Bob. Always have. He was a brusque, tough-looking cop. He had quite a bark. And as a kid it certainly made me take notice and behave. But his bark was far worse than his bite. He was a big softie at heart, especially where kids and animals were concerned.

I often sit and smile as I think about my childhood/teenage visits with Bob. Being Scottish he had a deep connection to anyone with a Scottish accent. He didn't need to know them. He simply needed to hear them speak, and they were instantly a friend. He invited them home for a meal, much to the chagrin of my aunt. 

I recall our family drives. In the days before seatbelts. Bob at the wheel. Dad in the passenger seat. One of us girls in the middle. Then my mum, my aunt and the other four kids in the back seat. My brother and Bob's youngest daughter rarely got a seat unless it was on someone's lap. Instead they stood in between the front seat and the back seat. For hours. No snacks. No dvds. No electronics. And they didn't dare misbehave or they were quickly chastised. Sometimes by their mother, sometimes by the other mother. 

I have had the pleasure of re-connecting with Bob and with his girls over the past 18 months. I loved taking photos to show him. Recalling stories and memories with him. Sharing a laugh. I am so grateful to his daughters for allowing me to be a part of his journey. The cancer changed Bob, as it does. And yet, I still loved him. And was still able to enjoy him. These visits, too, will become fond memories in the years to come. 

And now, the memories are all that we have left. Bob has gone to join his ancestors. My mum and dad included. There will be no resting in peace. There will be a big family gathering, a ceilidh of sorts, as his ancestors and forebears join together to meet him in the spirit world. It will be full of laughter. Full of love and full of all things Scottish. 

Farewell, Scotty. I love you my pal. 

Thursday 18 December 2014

Poll Tax Records Digitized

ScotlandsPlaces has added 88 new newly digitized volumes of Poll Taxes for the years 1694-1698.

More records are being promised shortly, so stay tuned for updates. 

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Thursday 27 November 2014

Scottish Institute 2015


OCTOBER 18 - 25 2015

Announcing  a specialised learning and researching opportunity in 2015:
The Scottish Institute

This Institute is a small group experience, limited to 15 registrants. The Institute is for Professional and Semi-Professional genealogists who may or may not conduct research for clients with Scottish ancestry.

The week will offer speakers on several topics including:
  • The holdings of the GRO 
  • The holdings of the NAS 
  • Land Records
  • Palaeography
  • National Health archives
  • Highland Records and Resources
  • Maps, newspapers and other resources at the NLS
  • Court records
  • Ancestral tourism
  • Scottish Genealogy Network 

The week culminates with a joint Professional Development Day with members of the Scottish Genealogy Network. This day of workshops will be followed by social networking with our colleagues in Scotland which will provide you with the opportunity to make important connections on the ground in Scotland.

The week is well balanced with 20 hours of learning and 20 hours of research.

More information is available at:

Questions not answered on the website can be directed to me at:

Scottish Institute 2015


OCTOBER 18 - 25 2015

Announcing  a specialised learning and researching opportunity in 2015:
The Scottish Institute

This Institute is a small group experience, limited to 15 registrants. The Institute is for Professional and Semi-Professional genealogists who may or may not conduct research for clients with Scottish ancestry.

The week will offer speakers on several topics including:
  • The holdings of the GRO 
  • The holdings of the NAS 
  • Land Records
  • Palaeography
  • National Health archives
  • Highland Records and Resources
  • Maps, newspapers and other resources at the NLS
  • Court records
  • Ancestral tourism
  • Scottish Genealogy Network 

The week culminates with a joint Professional Development Day with members of the Scottish Genealogy Network. This day of workshops will be followed by social networking with our colleagues in Scotland which will provide you with the opportunity to make important connections on the ground in Scotland.

The week is well balanced with 20 hours of learning and 20 hours of research.

More information is available at:

Questions not answered on the website can be directed to me at:

Saturday 15 November 2014

First Ever National Genealogy Conference for Canada!

JULY 17—19, 2015
At historic Pier 21, 
Halifax, Nova Scotia


Conference topics and activities will include:

 DNA testing in Genealogy
 History of immigration into Nova Scotia
 Recording family history through photography, digital filing and citing sources
 Best practices for beginner & intermediate genealogists
 Tour of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
 Visit to the Titanic Graveyard

Come be a part of this inaugural event!


For more information or to ask any questions:

Monday 10 November 2014

Call for Presentations for the BIFHSGO Conference 2015

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) is seeking proposals for presentations at its 21st annual conference, September 18-20, 2015 to be held in Ottawaat Library and Archives Canada. 

The three themes for the conference will be Scotland, Photographs in Genealogy, and Technology (including hardware, software, apps, websites, databases, social media, DNA analysis tools etc.).

Proposals on these three themes for lectures at the conference on the Saturday and Sunday are sought as well as for workshops or seminars on the Friday. 

Details on writing the proposals can be found at under the Conference 2015 heading. Please send your proposals to  before January 31, 2015.

Sunday 2 November 2014

British Institute 2015 Registration Now Open For Members

In 2015, the International Society of British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH) will celebrate 15 years of providing the British Institute. They have a terrific line-up of lecturers/tract leaders for their 2015 British Institute, being held September 21-25, 2015 in Salt Lake City. Members only registration is now open.  

Members save $100 on their registration by registering before Feb 28, 2015. 

To register for the Institute before March 1, you need to log in to the Members Only area of the website. 

Membership to ISBGFH is only $25 per year so you can still save $75 on your registration to British Institute by purchasing your membership here: 

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Scottish Covenanters

At the Battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679, over 1200 covenanters were taken prisoner and taken to Edinburgh. Approximately 400 of these prisoners were held in the Covenanters Prison in Greyfriars Churchyard. 

Here they were kept out in the open, exposed to the elements for the winter months. They were kept under guard by tyrant George "Bluidy" MacKenzie. 

The prisoners were given 4 ounces of bread and water each day. Those that died under these conditions were buried in the part of the kirkyard reserved for criminals. Those that survived the winter were either executed come spring, or shipped off to Barbadosas slaves.  Of those who were executed, some 100 were burned and their ashes buried under the Martyrs Memorial. 

Although quite weathered, the inscription reads:

Halt passenger take heed what thou dost see
This tomb doth shew for what some men did die
Here lies interr'd the dust of these who stood
Gainst perjury resisting unto blood
Adhering to the Covenants and Laws
Establishing the same which was the Cause
Then their lives were sacrificed unto the Lust
Or Prelatist's abjur'd though here their dust
Lies mixt with murders and other crew
Whom justice did justly to death pursue
But as for this in them no cause was found
Worthy of death but only they were found
Constant and steadfast zealous witnessing
For the prerogatives of CHRIST their king
Which truths were feared by famous Guthrie's head
And all along to Mr Ranwick's blood
They did endure the wrath of enemies
Reproaches torments deaths and injuries
But yet they're these who from such troubles came
And now triumph in glory with the LAMB

From May 27th 1661 that the noble Marquess of Argyle suffered to the 17th of Febr 1688 that Mr James Ranwick suffr'd were executed at Edinburgh about an hundred of Noblemen Gentlemen Ministers & others noble martyrs for JESUS CHRIST. The most part of them lies here.

This Tomb was erected anno 1706.

If you have covenanter ancestors:

Friday 24 October 2014

2016 Tour Now Booking

The April 2015 Genealogy Research Trip is Fully Booked. The itinerary is confirmed and can be viewed here:

Dates for the 2016 tour are set. The tour runs from May 30 - June 8. This tour is already starting to fill up. Spaces on these tours is limited to 15 researchers so that you get a better experience and to make the research in the archives more manageable for you.

If traveling to Scotland to conduct family history research is on your bucket list and 2016 is your year, don't wait to book or you may be disappointed.

Your tour fees include:

  • pre-tour preparation package
  • pre-tour webinars
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 9 breakfasts
  • protected research time
  • onsite overviews and talks
  • 3 full days of research at Scotland's People Centre
  • Full day of research at the National Library of Scotland
  • Full day of research at the NLS Maps Reading Room
  • Daily research fees
  • Evening at the Scottish Experience Dinner show
  • All ground transportation for research
  • Time to visit the area where your ancestors lived (additional travel fees not included)
  • Opportunity to visit the local family history society where your ancestors lived
  • Optional evening guided tours of Old Edinburgh and Greyfriars Kirkyard (additional fee)

For more information:

If you have unanswered questions:

Thursday 23 October 2014

April 2015 Tour Itinerary Now Confirmed

Sunday: This is a day of arrival. We will meet in the restaurant area of the hotel at 6:30 pm for a meet and greet and to talk about the week ahead. There will be an opportunity to sign up for optional walking tours of Edinburgh during the week.

Monday: Following breakfast, we will meet in the hotel lobby as a large group for 8:45. From here we will taxi to ScotlandsPeople Centre where we will enjoy a Family History session followed by research time.  

Tuesday: Following breakfast we will again meet in the lobby of the hotel for 8:45. From here we will taxi to ScotlandsPeople Centre for a full day of research. 

Those who are signed up for the tour of Greyfriars Kirkyard will meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30. From here we will walk over to the Kirk yard gates to meet with the tour organizers. Payment is payable directly to the tour organizers.  

Wednesday: Following breakfast- we will meet in the hotel lobby as a large group at 9:45. From here we will taxi to the maps building of the National Library of Scotland.  

Those who are signed up for the tour of Old Edinburgh will meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30. From here we will walk over to the Greyfriars Kirkyard gates to meet with the tour organizers. Payment is payable directly to the tour organizers.

Thursday: Following breakfast- we will meet in the hotel lobby as a large group at 9:30. From here we will walk over to the National Library of Scotland. You will require a library card. This will take time to process the group. At 10:30, we will enjoy a talk on the resources available at the library followed by a tour of the library. The rest of the day will be available for research. If you require a taxi to get to the NLS, one will be ordered for you.  

Friday: This day is set aside for you to research in the local archives or Family History Society in the region where your ancestors lived. You may also choose to sightsee, shop or take a day trip instead.  

Saturday: Following breakfast, we will meet as a large group in the lobby of the hotel for 6:45. From here we will taxi to Stirling where we will enjoy a full day of learning at the Scottish Association of Family History Societies conference. Those who have made plans to stay overnight in Stirling will be on their own to get to the hotel they have booked. The rest of the group will be taken back to the hotel in Edinburgh.

Sunday: This day is set aside for you to research in the local archives or Family History Society in the region where your ancestors lived. You may also choose to sightsee, shop or take a day trip instead.

Monday: Following breakfast, we will meet in the hotel lobby as a large group for 8:45. From here we will taxi to ScotlandsPeople Centre where we will enjoy our final day of research.  

At 6:20pm, we will meet in the hotel lobby as a large group. From here we will taxi to Prestonfield where we will enjoy the Taste of Scotland Dinner and Show.
Tuesday: today is check-out day. I wish you safe travels as you return home with your newly found documents, stories and most of all, memories.

Thursday 16 October 2014

1798-1799 Consolidated Tax Schedules Now Available

National Records of Scotland have released the Consolidated Tax Schedules for 1798-1799. These are available on the ScotlandsPlaces  website.

From 1798 onwards taxpayers were no longer taxed individually for taxable items. Rather all of the taxes were consolidated into one payment.  

Unfortunately, only the consolidated schedules counties which begin with the letters A-M survive. There are no schedules available for Nairnshire, Orkney, Peebles-shire, Perthshire, Renfrewshire, Ross-shire  and Wigtownshire.

Here's the link:

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Declaration of James Stuart Proclaming Charles Stuart as Regent 1743

Another stunning document to view yesterday from the University of Guelph's Scottish Collection is the 1743 Proclamation of James Francis Edward Stuart making his son, Charles Edward (Bonnie Prince Charlie) King Regent. The issue being, of course, that James was not recognized as the current King, his father having been deposed by William of Orange. 
James, in his continuing attempt to restore the name of Stuart to the throne, proclaimed that his charismatic son, Charles, was now to be the King of Scotland, England and Ireland. It was Charles who led the failed Jacobite uprising of 1745, when 1500 of his men were slaughtered within 15 minutes at Culloden.

The Proclamation reads:  

"Whereas We have a near prospect of  being restored to the Throne of Our Ancestors, by the good Inclinations of Our Subjects towards Us; and whereas, on Account of the present Situation of this Country, it will be absolutely impossible for Us to be in Person at the first setting up of Our Royal Standard, and even sometime after; We therefore esteem it for Our Service, and the Good of Our Kingdoms and Dominions, to nominate and appoint, as We hereby nominate, constitute and appoint Our dearest Son CHARLES, Prince of Wales, to be sole Regent of Our Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of all other Our Dominions, during Our Absence. It is Our Will and Intention That Our said dearest Son should enjoy and exercise all that Power and Authority, which according to the ancient Constitution of Our Kingdoms, has been enjoyed and exercised by former Regents. Requiring all Our faithful Subjects to give all due submission and Obedience to Our Regent aforesaid, as immediately representing Our Royal Person, and acting by Our Authority. And We do hereby revoke all Commissions of Regency, granted to any Person or Persons whatsoever. And Lastly, We hereby dispense with all formalities, and other Omissions that may be herein contained; declaring this Our Commission to be as firm and valid to all Intents and Purposes. as if it had passed Our Great Seals, and as if it were according to the usual Stile and Forms. Given under Our Sign Manual and Privy Signer, at Our Court at Rome, the 23d Day of December 1743, in the Forty third Year of Our Reign. J.R."

Of course, the Kingdoms were not James' to grant to his son or to anyone else for that matter. The rest, as they say, is history.

1332 Charter for Granting of Land to Robert Menzies from David de Strathbogie

What a treat yesterday to be able to visit the Scottish Collection in the Archives at the University of Guelph. The University has the largest collection of Scottish documents outwith Scotland. This is a charter for feudal land from 1332. It delineates who the land has transferred to. The charter is for the land, not the landowner. The document is written in Latin. The owner of the land at the time of this charter was David de Strathbogie, born 1309. He was the son of David de Strathbogie who had been the constable of Scotland but lost his title when he switched allegiance to the English. Had he not done so, he would have been the Earl of Atholl. The lands that the charter covers are: "Cranachcrochin, Achmore, Kinknock, the two Rothrolges and Achnethrosck" The witnesses are a "who's who" of Scottish peerage and include Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, Robert The Steward and Patrick de Dunbar. These feudal thanages were later translated to Royal Baronies.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Thank You Niagara Celtic

I was honoured once again to be asked to speak at the Niagara Celtic Festival. This festival takes place at Krull Park in beautiful Olcott, New York. The park is on the south shore of Lake Ontario and has lots of room for all of the activities, vendors, speakers and performers. This is one of the best Celtic festivals going and always very well organized.

In addition to the heavy events and clan tents, there is a Celtic College where speakers can share storytelling, teach family history or show people how to play celtic instruments. There are food vendors, performers and artisans,. There are dog shows and pony rides. There is, quite literally, something for everyone at the Niagara Celtic Festival. I am already looking forward to next year!

The Genealogy Season of Meetings is Off to a Great Start

The season of genealogy and historical society meetings has started once again and this year it has started off with a bang.

I was honoured to be first on deck at both the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa on September 13th and again at the Kingston OGS Branch on September 20th.

The first talk at the BIFHSGO meeting was on Tracking Your Scottish Ancestors who emigrated. Unfortunately we ran out of time before the break. Next up was learning about preparing for a Genealogy Research Trip to Scotland. Both talks were loads of fun and the attendees provided great craic. Perhaps the best part of the weekend was the opportunity to spend time with Sue Davis, the Communications Director who has become a dear friend. It's always so good to catch up.

The Kingston talk was on Basic Scottish Research. The weekend was amazing. On Friday evening, the Executive treated me to a meal at Sir John's Public House. This building was once Sir John's law office. The hotel was located right on the water and provided a constantly changing canvas. And, best of all, genealogy serendipity kicked in and I was reunited with a neighbour from my childhood days! Not only great neighbours but also great friends of the family.

How has your season started? I hope you are learning lots of new strategies to try to find those elusive ancestors.

1875 Valuation Rolls Released on ScotlandsPeople

Yesterday saw the launch of the 1875 Valuation  Rolls on ScotlandsPeople. These will assist you in locating your ancestors between the 1871 and 1881 census years. As an introduction, viewing the index pages will be free until the end of the year (December 31). To view the record itself will cost 2 credits.

Here's the link:

Immigration and Settlement Records on Ancestry

If you look under the Immigration and Settlement Correspondence section on Ancestry, you can now find  a collection of letters from individuals requesting information or assistance to emigrate to Canada. These records date back to 1817 when soldiers began returning from the Napoleonic Wars. They were returning to a work force that was already over taxed due to displaced highlanders as well as the shift of need for worker skills due to the industrial revolution. This caused many people to look to the new world for a chance to change their circumstances and perhaps better their prospects for the future of their families.

Here is the link:

Thursday 18 September 2014

History Will Be Made Today in Scotland

The world will be watching Scotland today to see what will happen in the referendum for separation. Regardless of today's outcome,  it really is a privilege (not afforded to many countries) to watch democracy in action. Today Is Referendum Day - Decision Day - A Momentous in Scotland's History

For the first time ever, the people will undertake the democratic process and vote for the future of their country. Regardless of what side you stand on, take a moment and recognize the importance of being a witness to history in the making. Think about it. All of the emotions of this referendum vote are the same that your ancestors also felt at various times in Scottish history. Or American History. Or Canadian History. However, for them, their fate was to be decided by war and the physical abilities of their men. THEY stood the chance of not only losing their way of life, but also their husbands, fathers, sons, brothers. Think about their raw fear. Just like the fear of the NO camp in this referendum. Think about the men's excitement for change and a new way of life that propelled them forward knowing they were fighting for what they believed in so passionately. Just like the excitement of the YES camp in this referendum. Change WILL occur regardless of which camp wins today. If it is a YES vote, the future will finally be in the hands of the Scottish people. If it is a NO vote, notice has been sent to Westminsterthat their ways of governing will no longer be tolerated by the Scottish constituency. 

The Scots are a hail and hearty lot. They will survive whatever the outcome. In time they will all adjust. But as descendants, we need to really drink in the historic importance of the referendum. And, as with all of the other life altering world events we have lived through, (JFKs death, Princess Diana's death, 9/11, Iraq/Afghanistan wars, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis....) it is important that we document our thoughts, feelings, fears, excitement, not on social media where it becomes lost in the fervour, but in our journals, in letters, in diaries so that OUR descendants may know how this historic moment affected us on a personal level.

Monday 15 September 2014

Scottish Genealogy Research Talk in Kingston

If you have Scottish ancestors and want to learn more about doing Scottish genealogy research, come along to the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson Street, at 10:00 a.m on Saturday.

We will learn about online resources to use, various records sets that will be helpful, naming patterns and much much more.

I am looking forward to the day. If you are out and at the meeting, be sure to come up and say hello!

Belonging - British Home Child Book Release!

Author Sandra Joyce (The Street Arab) has written a sequel to her story about her father, Robert James who was a British Home Child. In this second book, Belonging, Sandra documents her father's struggles to fit into the world of adulthood following a childhood of indenture.

Belonging is being released on September 28th, British Home Child Day in Canada. The release will take place at the British Home Child Event at Black Creek Pioneer Village, where Sandra will also be present.

The book retails for $23.95 and covers an important piece of Canadian history.

Sunday 7 September 2014

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS)

Looking for photos of buildings or monument that used to exist or that have changed over time? Wondering why a monument was erected in the first place? Here is a terrific resource:

Planning A Genealogy Research Trip to Scotland? Prepare a Research Plan

If you are at the point where you think a trip to Scotland might be the best way to further your Scottish genealogy research, it is important to create both a research plan and an itinerary in order to have a successful trip.  

Traveling to the home of your ancestors takes planning. It is not enough to show up in the village where  your ancestors lived, head to the local pub and start asking questions. You need to do some research ahead of time. Learn about what repositories are available, what archival materials they hold, who can access them and what identification is required to access the repositories. Remember many archival records are held offsite, so plan for retrieval times as well.  

Here is an example of a genealogy research plan for use in preparing for your genealogy research trip to Scotland:

Remember, the more preparation you do at home before you go, the greater your chances of successful research in Scotland

Friday 5 September 2014

They Came From Scotland

One of the key issues in tracking your Scottish ancestor often involves the gap between finding them in the Canadian records (BMD-Census) and being able to locate them in the Scottish records. While this may seem like a daunting task, it is often less of a challenge and more of a reward if you understand what brought them here in the first place. To do that, we need to understand a little bit of Scottish history. Not back to the beginning of time, just back to the beginning of emigration to the Americas.

Penal Transportation: 

Following the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, over 4000 Scots had been captured and imprisoned. Needless to say this presented a problem for the English in terms of the resources required to house and feed them, so a decision was made that the prisoners should be sold. Some were sold to coalmines, some were sold as weavers, some to the linen trades. However, these numbers were relatively small compared to the enormous number of men captured. Soon people began petitioning to have the men transported to the colonies. In fairly short order, 150 of the healthiest men were gathered, taken to Londonand then shipped on the Unity to New England, arriving in Massachusetts. For a list of Scottish Prisoners of War from the Battle of Dunbar and subsequent listing of men who were transported, this website is incredibly helpful: 

Several weeks after the sailing of the Unity, another 270 were led aboard the “John & Sara” and set sail for Boston. The ship’s list of the John & Sara has been transcribed and can be found at:

Monday 1 September 2014

New Records Added to Hebrides People Website

The website Hebrides People has added Lochs Parish to their main data-base. The database now includes Lochs and Stornoway parishes (basically the whole eastern side of Lewis) as well as Harris. This brings the database's the total number of ...entries to sixty-three thousand!

Most emigrants from Lewis ended up settling in Eastern Townships of Quebec, near the border with the USA, moving onto to Bruce County, Ontario (Kincardine to Goderich)

St Andrews Society of Montreal Archives

For those with Scots ancestors first settled in Montreal, the records of the Montreal St Andrew's Society, who assisted more than 60,000 Scots immigrants, can be found here:

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Symposium Success!

The first ever Scottish Symposium hosted by the Scottish Special Interest Group of the Ontario Genealogical Society was held in Vaughan on Friday August 22, and by all accounts it was a rousing success!

The day started off with Piper Rory Sinclair leading the procession of speakers into the hall. Once the speakers were in and seated, Rory played a medley of Old Scottish Tunes and then asked the audience to name the songs he had played. It was a brilliant start to the day.

The opening welcome address was given by Anne Moir, president of the Toronto St Andrew's Society who gave an overview of the Society and its roll in assisting Scottish immigrants in settling in the Toronto area.
Our first lecture was on Basic Scottish Research and was given by James FS Thomson. James is always very thorough and provided a number of very helpful, very useful places to research in our attempts to find out more about our Scottish ancestors.
Our next speaker was Linda Reid who talked about a Scottish Pedigree and how she has used DNA to assist her in her genealogical research. Linda also provided a terrific amount of information for us to use in our quest to find our Scots ancestors.
photo courtesy L-D Crawley
Before we knew it, it was lunch time.
photo courtesy L-D Crawley
This gave the participants time to browse the marketplace.

photo courtesy L-D Crawley

photo courtesy Sandra Joyce
 And then it was time to return to the big hall for the afternoon lectures. First up was Dr Kevin James who spoke about why our ancestors left Scotland and things to consider when trying to understand what compelled our ancestors to leave their homeland and make a new life for themselves in Canada.

photo courtesy L-D Crawley

 Next up was Ruth Blair who gave us some very useful information of searching for our Ulster Scots ancestors.
photo courtesy L-D Crawley

Another short break and it was time for the last lecture of the day. Christine Woodcock gave us an overview of various online and offline databases to consider in searching for our Scots Emigrant Ancestor.

Our next SIG event will be a bus trip to the University of Guelph Library and Archives to see their very large collection of Scottish documents and books. This will likely take place in the spring. We are already looking forward to the trip.
One great thing about any gathering of the descendants of the Scots Diaspora is that when they get together there is ALWAYS great craic!

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Scottish Symposium

Just two days until the inaugural Scottish SIG Symposium, held in Vaughan. 
We have a full day planned for those researching their Scottish roots. 
Speakers and topics include:

Basic Scottish Research - James F.S. Thomson
A Scottish Pedigree - Linda Reid
Scottish Emigration - Dr Kevin James
Scots-Irish Research - Ruth Blair
They Came From Scotland - Christine Woodcock

Also on hand are the following vendors:

Global Genealogy 
Moorshead Magazines
Highland Life 
Flip Pal
British Home Children Research and Advocacy

We look forward to seeing you in Vaughan on Friday!

Friday 1 August 2014

Thursday 31 July 2014

38th Ottawa Battalion's Journey from Bermuda to the Somme

Pinhey's Point Foundation is hosting a lecture on Aug. 22 about the 38th Ottawa Battalion's journey from Bermuda to the Sommeduring the Great War (and currently have an exhibit on this subject on view at Pinhey's Point Historic Site).  

Many Ottawans are descended from members of this locally-raised regiment (now the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa).  
For more information:



Fall Colloquium - Pinhey's Point Foundation


Colloquium, exhibit and tours

Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27, 2014 

Stiff Bros., stereoview of Earnscliffe, c1872. LAC PA-012694.

“Twelve years ago, the number of stone houses did not exceed 25, all except two or three of the coarsest rubble work: now they may be counted by hundreds.  Hitherto the prevailing material has been cut limestone….  Black Trenton, with Nepeansandstone dressings, for gentlemen’s houses, chiefly in the Tudor style, is much in vogue, and the effect is very pleasing.”   ~Dr S.C. Sewell, 1864 

A dozen stone villas combined a revolutionary floor plan with fashionable Tudor style.  Their distinctive and unusual ‘pinwheel’ plan originated in Englandwith the father of the Gothic Revival, A.W.N. Pugin.  The English architects who came to Ottawa in the 1850s to compete for the Parliamentary contract brought this form with them.  The houses they designed for the leaders of local society, including the Pinhey, Hill, and Christie families, did much to vitalize the residential architecture of the dawning capital. 

Lectures by Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin, University of Kent Schoolof Architecture
                 David Jeanes, Vice-President, Heritage Ottawa
                 Ian Badgley, Archaeologist, National Capital Commission 

                         For information:



Tuesday 29 July 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - David Hume

This tomb belongs to one of the important Scottish Game Changers:  David Hume

David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist known especially for his ph...ilosophical empiricism and scepticism. 

 David Hume's aim was to found the 'Science of Man' - the study of human nature by scientific means. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment.

A statue of Hume stands on the Royal Mile.


His tomb, which is quite grand, is in the Old Calton Cemetery in Edinburgh


Tombstone Tuesday - William Miller - "Wee Willie Winkie"

This monument stands atop a hill in the Glasgow Necropolis.

William Miller is perhaps best known for his children's nursery rhyme:
Wee Willie Winkie rins through the toon,
Up stairs an' doon stairs in his nicht-gown,
Chappin' at the window, crying thru the lock,
"Are the we'ans in their bed, for it's now ten o'clock?"

Monday 28 July 2014

Ancestor Trading Cards - Engaging the Next Generation

A great activity to engage kids in family history is the use of trading cards. This is also a great activity for youngsters at family reunions. They can, on their level, share ancestor information with cousins while the adults share research details, databases, scandals and whatever else they choose to share at family reunions.

The advantage of the Ancestor Trading Cards is that they are short and sweet. They offer key information, include a picture and a bit of biographical information, and are easily manipulated by school aged kids. The cards can be sorted according to surname or matched up with parents, spouses or children. For your brickwalls, you can leave a clue to see if the kids can brainstorm what they think might have happened or where an answer to the question might be found.  

These Ancestor Trading Cards are easy to make and take. An interactive online trading card generator can be found at:

You can add in that this person is an ancestor, and the generator will walk you through some questions that will allow details of their life to be filled in on the card.

Or you can create your own cards with any card creator software program. There are a number of free downloads available for this purpose.

Happy creating!