Sunday 27 April 2014

The Battle of Bannockburn: ”Scotland Then and Now” Symposium

The Battle of Bannockburn: ”Scotland Then and Now” Symposium    
21 June 2014
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto:
Muzzo Family Alumni Hall – AH
121 St. Joseph Street
Toronto, ON, Canada


~Prof. Graeme Morton –  “The National Story Since Bannockburn”

~Brigadier General Julian Chapman –  “The Mechanics of War in 1314”

~Dr. Mairi Cowan - ” ‘The Saints of the Scottish Country Will Fight Today’”

~Prof. Andrew McDonald - “Bannockburn, Barbour’s ‘Bruce,’ & the Reign of Robert I”

~Prof. Barbara Murison - “Bannockburn: a Talisman for Scottish independence?”
Tickets: $20.00 In advance


20th Annual BIFHSGO Family History Conference

The 20th Annual BIFHSGO Family History Conference takes place September 19 - 21, 2014.

This year's conference will focus on three main topics:

 •English family history;
 •Immigration from the British Isles, including Home Children; and
 •Genetic genealogy.

 Conference Program: 

Review the highlights in the conference brochure to find topics and speakers of interest to you.


  • Dr. Lucille Campey - emigration historian, author of numerous books on British Isles emigration to Canada who will launch her latest book Ignored but not forgotten - Canada's English Immigrants at the conference.
  • Gail Dever - BIFHSGO webmaster, social media expert and blogger at Genealogy à la carte.
  • John Dickenson - a former professor at Liverpool University who now researches Canada’s Home Children, especially their involvement in the First World War.
  • Dr. Janet Few - freelance researcher and prize-winning author specializing in the south-west of England who will give a streamed-in presentation on North Devon immigrants to Canada.
  • Paul Jones - retired publisher, “Roots” columnist for Canada’s History magazine who speaks frequently on offbeat topics at family history events.
  • Debbie Kennett - an avid genetic genealogist, author of DNA and Social Networking (2011) and The Surnames Handbook (2012). Debbie is Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London.
  • Paul Milner - an internationally recognized speaker specializing in British Isles research, author of Discover English Parish Records and Genealogy at a Glance: English Research.
  • Gary Schroder - long-time president of the Quebec Family History Society and a frequent guest on Quebec radio and television promoting family history research.
In addition, speakers at pre-conference seminars on September 19 will include, from Library and Archives Canada, Paul Marsden and Sylvie Tremblay.

Online registration is available at:

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Looking For Scottish Nursing Archives?

Nursing archives are held by the Royal College of Nursing Archives, Scottish Board. Their documents are not available online, but you can write to them at 42 South Oswald Road, Edinburgh EH9 2HH

Nursing records for Western General Hospital (Edinburgh) are at:
Centre for Research Collections
Edinburgh University Library
George Square Edinburgh

Royal Gartnavel Hospital (Glasgow):
And other Glasgow based hospitals are at:

Friday 18 April 2014

It's Almost Time

It is almost time for the annual genealogy research tour to Edinburgh. In the final days, last minute preparations are being made. It almost feels like the old Christmas song, having made my list, I find myself checking it twice:

  • Make sure that my Family Tree is up to date. Making it portable. I have it on my laptop that I can access the information in Scotland.
  • Make a list of all of the documents I already have copies or originals of. This will prevent me wasting time searching for information I already have.
  • Knowing I will be able to see births newer than 100 years, marriage records newer than 75 years and death records newer than 50 years, Iwant to make a list of the more recent records to look at while in Edinburgh.
  • Know what each repository has in its collections to assist me further with my research.  
  • Write out my brick walls and thinking about what I want to find out to help break these down.
  • Make sure that my passport is valid and up to date.

  • Remembering to pack my NLS card, my NAS readers ticket and my Glasgow library card.
  • Pack extra batteries, camera cards, power cords, USB sticks and and other accessories that I might need for pictures, accessing my family tree and of course, blogging.
  • Pack adapters for the change in electrical voltage in Scotland.

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

Sunday 13 April 2014

Thank You Toronto!

What a great day yesterday! I was fortunate enough to be part of the Toronto Branch (OGS) Workshop "Scotland & Its People"

The day was very well organized and lots of information was offered and shared.

Dr Kevin James from the University of Guelph's Scottish Studies Program gave a condensed history of Scotland, helping to put our genealogy research into perspective. His second talk was a brilliant overview of reasons for Scots emigrating.

Sheena Tait made her maiden voyage to Canada to speak on Scottish History and it's impact on Genealogy Research (parish records, poor law records, estate records etc). Her second talk gave an overview of the Scottish agricultural labourer and provided some of the social history aspects for our farmer ancestors. And Sheena's final talk provided resources that would allow us to gain a better sense of being able to visualize what our ancestors' lives were like.

James FS Thomson from the Toronto branch gave two workshops. The first was on the website ScotlandsPlaces, the sister site to ScotlandsPeople, where documents other than statutory records are available - tax records, gazeteers, ordnance maps and so much more. His second talk was on conducting Scottish research from the GTA and the resources that are available locally.

Linda Reid, also from the Toronto Branch, gave a wonderful and fascinating talk on using Lair records to break through genealogical brick walls.

Krista Barclay gave us a fascinating look at Scots who had initially settled in Ontario and who subsequently migrated to North Dakota as a response to the Homesteaders Act.

Marian Press gave a very informative talk on resources for local history and social history to assist us in gaining a better understanding of our Scottish ancestors.

And I gave a talk to a very enthusiastic group on preparing for a genealogy research trip to Scotland.

It was a full day. Full of learning. Lots of chances to network and some great craic. Many of us  missed out on lunch because we didn't want to have to miss out on any of the talks to go out and grab a sandwich.

Thank You Toronto!

Thank You Fairfax!

The last weekend in March I had the great pleasure of speaking to the Fairfax Genealogical Society. What a great group of people!

The first talk was to their general membership meeting on the Thursday evening. We had a great time talking about Turning Family Trees into Family Treasures. We looked at creating family history books, family newsletters and other creative ways to share your research.

One woman commented that she is good at research and at organization, but not at writing the story. We were able to recognize that if she can find a new piece of the genealogical puzzle, and come to the meeting and explain to me how that has changed her understanding of her family history, or has filled in the details, then she is able to write the story. She simply needs to write as if she were speaking.

The four remaining talks were all on Scottish genealogy and were part of the Spring Conference. Basic Scottish Research, Lesser Known Databases for Scottish Research, Tracking Your Scots Emigrant Ancestor and Preparing for a Genealogy Research Trip to Scotland.

It was great to be able to share hints and tips, give away credits to ScotlandsPeople and to share stories with these wonderful Scots descendants.

Thank You Fairfax!

Tuesday 1 April 2014

April 2015 Tour 40% Full

Although still a year away the April 2015 tour is popular and is filling quickly.

As a result of several talks and two conferences, this tour is filling quickly. It is anticipated that by June, this tour will be fully booked.
The April 2015 tour dates are April 19-28.
If you are interested in joining us, please book soon so as not to lose out. A spot can be held for 14 days after which time, a deposit is required. Your spot is not guaranteed until payment in full has been received.

Scottish Quaker Records

From Maxwell Ancestry:

An index to Scottish Quaker births and marriages in Scotland from 1656 to 1873. Download your free indexes from their website:



 Happy Searching!