Thursday 30 January 2014

British India Society Records on FindMyPast

FindMyPast, in Partnership with FIBIS and the British Library, has digitized 2.5 million records to assist you in finding your British India Society ancestors.

Have a look:

Scottish Genealogy Learning Opportunities

The roster of talks for the upcoming year is starting to get underway. I have noticed a number of talks, conferences and workshops where various aspects of Scottish Genealogy will be discussed. So, if you are looking for some inexpensive learning or are hoping for a genealogy get away, here are some opportunities:

March 28 & 29:
Fairfax Genealogical Society Spring Conference
Fairfax Virginia

April 14
Toronto Branch OGS
Scotland & Its People
North York Public Library

May 24
Windsor Museum

August 22
Scottish Symposium
Springhills Marriott Vaughan

September 13
British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa

Saturday 18 January 2014

Tiree Gathering 2016

For those with Tiree ancestry, a gathering is planned for May 23 - 27 2016. More details as they become available. The last gathering in 2006 was very successful and this one promises to be even better!

Monday 13 January 2014

Before You Go....Create a Research Plan

If you are planning a trip to Scotland for Homecoming 2014 and hope to carry out some genealogy research, you will find better results if you create a research plan before you go.

  • Decide which repositories you want/need to visit. Visit their websites. Learn what hours and days they are open then plan accordingly. 
  • Consider travel and time constraints. What else will you be doing while in Scotland? How many days or hours do you have to dedicate to your genealogy research? Are the repositories open on the days you have free? Be realistic about time. It may take time for the records to be retrieved and brought to you. Keep that in mind when you are planning your time.  
  • Create an Itinerary. Where else do you want to visit? Do you want to see the village, town or city your ancestor lived in? How will you get there? How long will that take? 
  • Create a Travel Plan. Prioritize what you want to see, what records you want to get. If time is limited then decide to work at only the top three. If time allows, you can get to the next items on your list.  
  • You may want to consult a professional genealogist before you go. This will help you to better plan your time and keep you focussed on exactly what it is that you hope to achieve during your quest to learn more about your ancestors.
Planning ahead will help you to make the best use of your time in Scotland. And ultimately that will make your quest to discover your ancestors and your own Scottish heritage more fulfilling.

If  you are going planning to go to Scotland to do family history research and you would like to do so in an organized way, sign up for a group genealogy holiday through Genealogy Tours of Scotland:


Tuesday 7 January 2014

Getting Ready for a Genealogy Research Trip to Scotland?

This year has been deemed Homecoming 2014. It is a year full of activities and events that will inspire the return of thousands of the descendants of the Scots Diaspora to return to their ancestral homeland.

Walking in the footsteps of your ancestors is awe-inspiring, humbling and deeply fulfilling. But traveling to the home of your ancestors takes planning. It is not enough to show up in the village, 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. Here's a checklist of sorts to help you be better prepared:

Ø      Make sure that your Family Tree is up to date. Make it portable. Have it on a laptop, iPad, or tablet so that you can access the information in Scotland. If you want, you can print off Family Group Sheets or create a spreadsheet and write down what you are missing and hope to find when you are in Scotland. 

Ø      Make a list of all of the documents you already have copies or originals of. This will prevent you wasting time searching for information you already have. Remember, you will be able to see births newer than 100 years, marriage records newer than 75 years and death records newer than 50 years, so you will want to make a list of the more recent records you want to have a look at while you are in Edinburgh. 

Ø      Know what each repository has in its collections to assist you further with your research. 

Ø      Write out your brick walls and think about what you want to find out to help break those down. Do you need to look at parish records, voters rolls, apprentice records, maps, directories, newspapers? This will help to focus and guide your research time. 

Ø      Make sure that your passport is valid and up to date. If you are traveling from Canada, the US, or Australia, you do NOT require a visa. Your passport is all that you will need and it must not expire before you return to your country of origin.

Ø      Pack extra batteries, camera cards and other accessories that you might need for those pictures of old homesteads, churches, schools, village signs or headstones. 

Ø      Purchase adapters for the change in electrical currency in Scotland 

Ø      Pack power cords, USB sticks and other accessories you might need for your computer while you are in Scotland. Laptops can be taken into the repositories.  

Ø      Pack pencils. Pens are not allowed in the repositories.




Navy Records Online

The Navy Records Society's searchable database of  archival "charts, portraits, cartoons, logs, letters, diaries, battle plans, sketchbooks, photograph albums (and) videos" is available to members of the Navy Records Society at:

Membership is £20 per year.

Sunday 5 January 2014

Angus Macleod Archive

I love Scotland. And not just because it is my homeland, but they have always been forward thinking. Part of the legacy of the Scottish Enlightenment. Scotland is the world leader in digitizing, organizing and making archival records available to the public. Here is one example, a family trust in Lewis has a wealth of social history and genealogical records: