Thursday 31 December 2015

Start Your Family History Week 2015 - Day 6

For those of  you with Scottish ancestry, getting started is easier than you think. Scotland was the first country to digitize and make their records available online. The records contain a remarkable amount of information. For those of us fortunate enough to have ancestors with Scottish heritage, genealogy research is a fairly easy task. But first, you need to know where in Scotland your ancestors lived.

If you don't know this, try reaching out to others. One great site to use for connecting with others is GenesReunitedThis is by far the best place to connect with others that are researching your same ancestors. Upload your Gedcom and let the smart match filters connect you with distant cousins around the world. The subscription for the year is £20.20 ($32 usd). You will only need the basic membership so that you can be matched up with others and discover where your ancestors lived.

Another way to try and learn where in Scotland your ancestors were from is FamilySearch. Check the already submitted genealogies, Making sure that you always check the actual records for yourself to make sure you are connecting yourself to the correct family. 

Once you have found your ancestors, you are ready to move on to the website where you can actually view the documents.  The ScotlandsPeople website. This is the website for the records of the General Registrar's Office (GRO). Their website is the repository for all official documents: birth, marriage, death, census, wills and testaments. 

This website is the ONLY place where you can see images of original documents. The other websites only provide indices or transcriptions, which limits the amount of information you can get regarding your Scottish ancestors. 

Happy Connecting!

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Starting Your Family Tree Week 2015 - Day 5

Uploading your tree

To upload your tree to any website, you first need to create a GEDCOM file.

A GEDCOM is a database designed to allow you to share family history database files with other researchers who may or may not have the same genealogy software program as you. 
A GEDCOM can be opened in any genealogy software program. And best of all, you can even merge the GEDCOM from a fellow researcher into your own database (genealogy software) if you have ancestors in common.
♦ GEDCOM files can easily be shared with others via e-mail attachment or on a disk.
♦ GEDCOM files can easily be uploaded to lineage-linked databases like Ancestry, FamilySearch, GenesReunited.

♦ GEDCOM files can be converted for use in genealogy companion software programs and utilities that will create things like specialty charts (family group records, pedigree charts, genealogy reports), books, scrapbooks and web sites.

To create a GEDCOM:

Open your family tree software program. 
Click on "File" to see the drop down menu
Click "Export File"
A folder will open for you to save your GEDCOM. 
In the Save file as drop down box, choose gedcom. 
Name your file, click save 

Next go to the website where you want to upload your tree. Use the links and instructions on the website to upload. When you get to the part where you browse for your file, find the gedcom on your computer and upload from there, just like uploading a picture or an attachment. 

Sit back and watch the website do the magic in matching you up with others researching your ancestors. but BEWARE that not every one has learned to be as accurate in documenting their sources as you have learned to be this week. Nor have they all checked the actual documents to make sure that the information is correct, so ALWAYS make sure that you check the facts by searching for the actual document to get the correct information. 

Happy matching!

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Five Weeks to RootsTech 2016!

In five short weeks, I will be in Salt Lake City to attend RootsTech 2016. This will be my first time at RootsTech and I am looking forward to the experience. I am thrilled to be attending RootsTech in the capacity of Ambassador. 

As an Ambassador, I will be blogging daily, live tweeting (find me on Twitter @genealogytours) to share my experience with those of you who can't attend. I will be attending some of the sessions, hanging out in the Exhibition Hall, presenting as part of a panel and, hopefully, conducting a few interviews. 

I am looking forward to connecting in person with my genea-buds that I really only know via social media, so watch for some shameless selfies. 

I hope to be able to spend some time in the Family History Library's British Isles Collection. 

I am looking forward to connecting with cousins and distant cousins. Family really is central to life. 

And most of all, I am looking forward to drinking in the whole experience. 


Start Your Family History Week 2015 - Day 4

NOW you are ready to do some research online. Start with the free websites. FamilySearch really is the best place to start. 

First search through the "records" rather than through the genealogies that have been submitted. The records will be far more accurate since the information is extracted from the documents. Search for the missing pieces of the people you already have in your tree. Then start branching out sideways (filling in the details for all of the children of your ancestors). Then you can start searching backwards. 

If you are researching Canadian genealogy, the Library and Archives Canada website is also free!

Remember to document the details of where you got your information, just like you did when you started your tree. This really is a key piece of producing an accurate family tree. 

Next, sign up for the free trials at Ancestry and Find My Past.

Be careful that you cancel these subscriptions on day 14 so you won't be charged for subscriptions that you might not want or need. 

Have fun with these sites. Look for records that you might not be able to access otherwise. Take advantage of the breadth and scope of records available. If you feel that you might enjoy a subscription for a year, then by all means, treat yourself. 

TOMORROW you will be ready to upload your tree. NOT yet, though. Just search for records, add details to your current tree and document the sources. 

Happy Searching!

Monday 28 December 2015

Start Your Family Tree Week 2015 - Day 3

At this point, you may want to start collecting photographs. You will want photographs to enhance the memories you have collected:
  1. Childhood photos
  2. School photos
  3. Family group photos
  4. Wedding photos
  5. Photos of people engaged in activities that were an important part of their lives - dance, sports, music
  6. Family pets
  7. Photos taken at celebrations - Birthdays, weddings, Christmas, Easter, summer vacations
Be sure to label all of the photos so that future generations will be able to easily identify not only the people in the photograph but the occasion when the photo was taken. 

An easy way to gather photos from others is to scan their original photos. This makes it easy for people to share with you because they can keep their originals. You can then add the photos into your family tree software and attach them to the appropriate person. Or you can store them in folders on  your hard drive or in a cloud based storage system so that you can easily find them when you need them. 

My favourite tool for scanning is the FlipPal Scanner. It is lightweight, portable and durable. The photos are automatically saved to an SD card and then you can easily and quickly transfer them to your computer so you can work with them to add to your tree or to place into folders. 

Happy Scanning!

Sunday 27 December 2015

My Top 5 Blog Posts for 2015

This blog is much narrower in scope than my Scottish Genealogy Tips blog, so I have chosen the top five blog entries for 2015, again based on Google Analytics.

5.) Another Successful Genealogy Tour Comes to an End

4.) New Resources for Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip to Scotland

3.) Bye Bye Birmingham But First a Tour of the Back to Backs

2.) Mort Safes, Mort Houses and Watch Towers

1.) Meandering Around Linlithgow with Mary's Meanders

My Top 10 Blog Posts for 2015

Looking back on this blog for the year 2015, the top 10 blog posts, according to Google Analytics, are:

10. Everything I Need to Know to Be Successful in the Genealogy Community, I Learned in Kindergarten

9. It's Time!

8. Symposium 2015 A Huge Success

7. A Look Back At Family History Month

6. Old Scottish Releases Records From Across Scotland

5. 2015 The Year in Review 

4. Lloyd's Register of Ships 1764-1899

3. Top 10 Genealogists Are Well....NOT CANADIAN

2. Vote for Your Rock Genealogy Rock Star(s)

1. Has Ancestry Dot Com Made Us Lazy As Researchers

Start Your Family History Week 2015 - Day 2

Now that you have the details for the first five generations, you are ready to round out the stories for as many of the ancestors as you can. 

Information to add to round out the family history:

  • What schools people attended
  • Where they worked
  • Where they met their spouses
  • Where they lived, who they lived near
Next add memories:

What family members they were closest to growing up?
Did they have any pets? 
Did they share a bedroom or have their own? 
Did they have any special interests? (Dance, sports, music lessons)
Where did they vacationed as kids?
Who their friends were as kids?
How they celebrated special occasions like Easter, Birthdays, Christmas?
What things did the family like to do together? (Play games, sing, go bowling)

Feel free to add in your own questions. As the family historian, it is up to you to record the memories of the past so that future generations might know their stories. 

Happy writing!

Scottish Genealogy Boot Camp - Discount Ends Today

Webinar Date: January 23, 2016

Use code BOOTCAMP at checkout. Make sure you use the caps lock. No spaces.

This genealogy boot camp will give you an in-depth look at how to begin your Scottish genealogy research.
This webinar will be held in two parts.

The first part is 90 minutes in length and looks at Scottish research, where to look for the records you are seeking, as well as a detailed look at the ScotlandsPeople website and will walk you through the use of the site in a way that will help you to get results that are of importance to you and to use the information you get in your research to help narrow the results, meaning fewer wasted credits for you.

The second half is an hour and gives a detailed look at the local libraries and archives in Scotland and what they have to offer you as you search for your Scottish ancestors.

FREE CREDITS will be available to everyone who attends. Handouts will also be available so you don't need to worry about taking detailed notes.!/Scottish-Genealogy-Boot-Camp-Live-Webinar-JAN-23-2016/p/57663364/category=15642145

Saturday 26 December 2015

Start Your Family History Week 2015 - Day 1

Getting Started

Find a chart - a good old fashioned paper chart. Here is one from the National Archives:

Print it out and using your pencil, enter yourname, date and place of birth, date of marriage. Enter the name of the document you used to confirm the information (memory doesn't count). Your birth certificate and marriage certificate. Here's an example:

Surname, First Name, Middle Names, Date and Place of Birth, Certificate Name and Number

Doe, Jane, Francis, 29 October 1973, Hamilton ON, Province of Ontario, Registration of Birth 0004321

Then add in the same information for your spouse and any children you have. Include the documentation that you used to confirm the details.

Now it is time to start working backwards. Fill in the same information for your parents and your spouse's parents. Fill in any of siblings of yourself or your spouse - the children of your parents and parents-in-law. Again, fill in all of the details from the documents that you used to confirm the information that you have added into your charts.

Next move back to your grandparents, filling in all of the details for them and their children. Again, make sure you document the details of the records you used to confirm your information.

Finally, move back one final generation to your great grandparents. Add all of the details on their births, marriages, children, and marriages for the children, dates of death, etc. Remember to cite your sources. The details of the documents that you used to verify the information.

If you are speaking to relatives to ask their dates of birth and marriage, don't be shy about asking for a copy of the certificates so that you can use them to verify the information. Explain WHY you want the document, so that the person knows you aren't going to use the information inappropriately.

Once you have these 5 generations (your children, yourself, your parents, your grandparents and your great grandparents), you are ready to buy a family tree software program to add the information to your computer. This will give you loads of room for expansion. Don't forget to add the details of the documents in the software program. Usually there is a space for this called source citation. 
The icon may look similar to this: 

Happy tree building. 

Thursday 24 December 2015

2016 - The Year Ahead

After reviewing what has been a very busy yet very productive year, I turn to look ahead to what 2016 has to offer - so far!

Throughout the year, I will continue to blog, to write for In-Depth Magazine and to be the editor of British Connections, the quarterly newsletter for ISBGFH.

January: The year starts out full of promise with a planning meeting for Canad to host the Scottish North American Leadership Conference in 2017. 

February: The big news this month is RootsTech. This will be my first time at RootsTech and I will be there in the capacity of an Ambassador. I look forward to meeting up with and interviewing some of the genealogy colleagues I only know via the internet.
I will also be hosting the Scottish SIG webinar from RootsTech. Our guest speaker is Maurice Gleeson

March: The guest speaker for the March webinar is Anne Fraser who will be sharing information on the Highland Archives resources. Time will be spent updating handouts and slide presentations for next month. 

April: April's webinar showcases the Glasgow Archives in a presentation by Irene O'Brien. On April 8 I am off to Winnipeg to do some research in the Manitoba Archives. Then I will be presenting a full day of workshops on the 9th before flying out to BC. I will be presenting a full day of workshops to the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society on April 10 then get to spend some down time with cousins and my auntie. Once I return, I will be presenting a webinar for the Ontario Genealogical Society

May: I will lead the first of two genealogy research trips in Edinburgh. I hope to get to see some areas of Scotland I haven't been to before and of course, I look forward to catching up with colleagues, aunts, uncles and cousins. 

June: The first tour continues on into the first week of June. 

July: The month starts off with the Kincardine Scottish Festival. This is always such a fun time. Mid month is the Cambridge Highland Games

August: Still busy on the Highland games circuit with the Fergus Scottish Festival. In addition, I will be hosting and speaking at the third annual Scottish SIG Symposium. And I hope to get to the One World One Family conference as well. 

September: The second genealogy tour to Scotland takes place this month. Once again, I look forward to sharing in the genealogical journeys of those researching their Scottish ancestry. 

October: It's finally HERE! The Great Canadian Genealogy Summit takes place Oct 21-23. 

I look forward to seeing what else gets added into the year. It is always such an adventure. And I am so terribly grateful to be living my dream. 

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Reminder - A New Year Brings New Records Online

Every year on January 1, a new set of records become available on the ScotlandsPeople website. On January 1, 2016, you will be able to view:

1915 births
1940 marriages 
and 1965 deaths

These are the main ones every  year, but of course, ScotlandsPeople will continue to upload new records throughout the year. One record set scheduled for early 2016 is the 1930 Valuation Rolls.

Here's the link for checking while you are waiting for the hangover to subside on New Year's Day:

2015 - The Year in Review

This time of year we often find ourselves reflecting back on the year. I sometimes feel like lots is being done but it is hard to remember it all in heat of the deadlines and to-do lists. As I look back, I realized just how much fun and productive the year actually was:

I have had the great pleasure of writing for In-Depth Magazine for another year.

What a great group of writers and an even better production team! I love writing for them. It always makes me stretch, and then to grow. About twice a year I think "Well, that's it. That's all I've got" And yet the ideas keep flowing, the writing keeps happening and the learning keeps me growing. So, THANK YOU Terri O'Connell, Jennifer Alford and Shannon Combs Bennett.

In addition to writing, I did some guest blog posts for Geneosity. This was a wonderful opportunity and one I am terribly grateful for.

My position as Editor for British Connections, the quarterly newsletter of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH) saw the production of four newsletters. I continued as editor for the monthly eNews for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO), producing 12 issues over the course of the year.  And I finished up as the editor for the Hamilton branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, producing 4 issues for them.

Over the winter months (Jan, Feb & Mar) I managed weekly or bi-weekly webinars on Scottish genealogy research. These are always a great way for people to be able to learn and grow in their genealogy research skills, from the comfort of their own homes, and without the need to worry about the great Canadian weather.

Also in late January, I was able to attend the Tattoo in Toronto and had a great time connecting with the Scottish Diaspora in the exhibit hall. The emotion and stories that were shared were both humbling and humorous.

In early April, I attended the VisitScotland luncheon for what they refer to as "Scotland Week" but the rest of North America refers to it as "Tartan Week" Again, a great opportunity to network.

Mid April I was off to the UK. First to Birmingham to take in WDYTYA Live. It was fantastic to catch up with colleagues. Such great craic.

It was also a humbling to pour over the admission registers of  Middlemore Homes at the Birmingham Library. Four of my husband's ancestors were relinquished to BHC organizations, the first two to Middlemore. Equally humbling, and educational, was the visit to the Back-to-Back Museums.

Unfathomable how our ancestors not only lived but also survived.

From Birmingham, I was off to Edinburgh to lead a group of tour participants in their genealogical journey to find out more about their Scottish ancestors and about their own Scottish heritage.

In May, I spoke at the OGS conference in Barrie, enjoyed hanging out with genie buds and making new connections. I was also honoured to speak to the Genessee County Genealogical Society in Batavia. What a great group!

In June I was invited to speak at the Niagara County Genealogical Society in historic Lockport. I also spent time in June and July developing a course for Family Tree University.

July saw the start of the Highland Game circuit with a weekend at the Kincardine Scottish Festivalfollowed by a day at the Cambridge Highland Games. These were educational opportunities to share resources with those interested in tracing their Scottish roots.

August was another Highland Games opportunity with a weekend at the Fergus Scottish Festival.

Here I was able to run an "Ask the Experts" session. Such fun. Later in August was the second annual Scottish SIG Symposium. What a great opportunity to share, teach and network.

In mid-September, John D Reid ran the Rock Star Genealogy Awards and I managed to take silver in the Canadian category. 

Then I was off to Ottawa for the BIFHSGO conference where I gave 4 talks and spent time in the marketplace. Perhaps the best fun was hanging out with Thomas McEntee and Chris Paton.

Later that month I was able to attend the BHC Day at Fanshawe Pioneer Village in London, then I headed to Oakville to speak to the Halton-Peel branch of the OGS.

October saw the start of two separate Winter Webinar series. The first for the Scottish Special Interest Group of the Ontario Genealogical Society features different presenters each month. The other, my own series of webinars for winter learning opportunities.

Mid October, I was off to Montreal to speak to a group of travelers interested in Scotland as a destination. Late October saw me heading to Detroit to attend the Scottish North American Leadership Conference.

I was also honoured to be the instructor for the Scottish Genealogy Research online course for Family Tree University in late October.

And, perhaps the most ambitious endeavour, I teamed up with genea-buddies Kathryn Lake Hogan and Mike Quackenbush to plan, develop and organize the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit scheduled for October 2016.

November was equally busy. I was invited to be the speaker at the Oor Club monthly meeting of the Scottish Studies Foundation. Then I was thrilled to give two talks at the Uxbridge Genealogy Group meeting mid month. This was my last hurrah before being hospitalized and mildly sidetracked for a week. I was discharged just in time to be able to present via webinar to the Hamilton branch of the OGS monthly meeting.

December started out with two talks at the Simcoe County branch of the OGS.

It has been a year of tremendous opportunities. I am already looking forward to what 2016 has to offer.

Before the year ends, however, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay!

Wednesday 16 December 2015


January 23, 2016

Use code BOOTCAMP at checkout. Make sure you use the caps lock. No spaces.

This genealogy boot camp will give you an in-depth look at how to begin your Scottish genealogy research.
This webinar will be held in two parts.

The first part is 90 minutes in length and looks at Scottish research, where to look for the records you are seeking, as well as a detailed look at the ScotlandsPeople website and will walk you through the use of the site in a way that will help you to get results that are of importance to you and to use the information you get in your research to help narrow the results, meaning fewer wasted credits for you.

The second half is an hour and gives a detailed look at the local libraries and archives in Scotland and what they have to offer you as you search for your Scottish ancestors.

FREE CREDITS will be available to everyone who attends. Handouts will also be available so you don't need to worry about taking detailed notes.!/Scottish-Genealogy-Boot-Camp-Live-Webinar-JAN-23-2016/p/57663364/category=15642145

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Scottish Diaspora Tapestry Exhibition Coming to Scarborough

Canada’s multicultural diversity will be celebrated in Scarborough, Ontario, from September 17 - October 1, 2016, in a very special way. Ordinary Scottish folk including coalminers, trades-people, farmers and farm servants carried their strong work ethic, social institutions and values around the world. In their adopted communities they made new friends, learned together, and shared ideas, perspectives and dreams.

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry ( will be on a North American tour in 2016. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Scarborough will host the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry Exhibition from September 17 to October 1, 2016.  The first Presbyterian congregation in Toronto, St. Andrew’s celebrates their bi-centennial in 2018.

The Scottish families of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Scarborough, are modestly featured in the excellent new “coffee-table” book "The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry". More information is at:

Almost twenty descendants of Scarborough’s Scottish settlers volunteered many hours to stitch these two panels for the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry. The theme of the Scarborough panels is the relationship between the Scottish immigrants and the Scarborough forest.

*with thanks to D. Bruce McCowan for the information regarding this exciting event. 

Friends of the Argyll Papers Launches Website

Back a couple of months ago, the Duke of Argyll won a grant from the Heritage Lottery fund towards the preservation, conservation and digitization of the Argyll estate papers. This will provide a wealth of genealogical data for anyone with Scottish ancestors from Argyll, including the western Isles. 

This extensive collection of papers is being catalogued and made available to researchers in Cherry Park, the building near Inverary Castle which houses the vast collection of estate papers. 

You can stay up to date on the progress of the work being done to preserve, conserve, catalogue and digitize this vast collection through the website of the Friends of the Argyll Papers:

University of Guelph Scottish Studies Genealogy Repository Website Launched

News today that the Scottish Studies program at the University of Guelph has launched their website for their new initiative, a Genealogy and Family History Institute. 

To be called Genealogy Research Repository, the website description states:

The Repository will be an important research tool for anyone interested in the history of the Scottish Canadian community, be they academic historians, genealogists, research students, population scientists, journalists, heritage workers, writers, or any Canadian proud of their Scottish ancestry and heritage.

The website can be viewed here: 

Donations to the campaign to build the Genealogy and Family History Institute can be on the webpage as well. 

Sunday 6 December 2015

Thank You Uxbridge! Thank You Simcoe County!

Three weeks ago, I had pleasure of giving two talks to the Uxbridge Genealogy Group ( Unfortunately I wound up in hospital after I got back, so haven't been able to post a public thank you. 

We had a great day. People were really enthusiastic and had lots of great stories to share. 

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of giving two talks to the Simcoe County Branch of the OGS in Barrie ( The talks were well attended and again, lots of great stories were shared. 

I am always so excited to share resources and information with people who are of Scots descent. They are always such a fun group. 

Perhaps the best part of each event were the free credits to practice what they learned about using the ScotlandsPeople website. 

So, thank you Marian and thank you Dave, Sandy and Nancy for two super Saturdays in the last month! 

Saturday 5 December 2015

Sharing Family Photos and Sparking Memories

Perhaps the best genealogy tool I own is the FlipPal Scanner. It is light-weight, fully portable, and durable. This little scanner allows me to scan photos in seconds. I can take it to Scotland without having to worry about remembering adapters. The scanner runs on batteries. I can scan original photos and leave the original with the owner. People are only too happy to share if they can keep the photo they treasure. This allows me to scan 300 photos in just over an hour.

I have been able to visit one aunt and scan her photos, pop the SD card into my laptop to transfer the pictures and then share them with everyone else I visit on my trip. 

Remember in the days when the old photos were taken, copies weren't readily made and shared. Some of the photos I have scanned are being seen and shared for the very first time, thanks to FlipPal. 

For US orders there is free standard shipping on all orders over $149.

I guarantee your genealogy or scrapbooking enthusiast will LOVE this under their Christmas tree.

Friday 4 December 2015

Old Scottish Releases Records from Across Scotland

An independent Genealogy research company - Old Scottish Genealogy and Family History, run by Penny Lewis and Fergus Smith - have released 150,000 free historical records from across Scotland.

These are records held at the National Records of Scotland. Some of the records include:  rolls of male heads of families, baptismal and marriage registers, Kirk Session records and Poor Law records.

Here is the link to the website:

Give the Gift of Heritage This Christmas

Give your Scottish genealogy researcher the ultimate gift - the gift of heritage. Register them for a Genealogy Research Trip to Scotland. These 10 day tours allow protected research time in Edinburgh, time to visit the area of Scotland where your ancestors lived, the chance to connect with your Scottish ancestors and the ultimate gift of understanding your own Scottish heritage. 

These tours sell out quickly. The May 2016 tour is SOLD OUT. There are only 5 spaces left on the Sept 2016 tour. The fees include hotel, breakfast, research fees, transportation to and from the research facilities and a ceilidh to celebrate your heritage. DON'T MISS OUT:

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Scottish Studies Genealogy and Family History Institute CrowdFunding Campaign

The Scottish Studies Program at the University of Guelph has started it's crowd funding program, as was announced at the Scottish SIG Symposium in August, to launch their Genealogy and Family History Institute. One of the ideas for the Institute is for it to be a repository for people to bequeath their family history which the Institute can digitize, house, preserve for future generations. 
For those interested in donating, here is the link:

Monday 30 November 2015

Join Me in Barrie

On Saturday, December 5, I will be speaking at the monthly meeting of the Simcoe County Branch of the OGS. I will be giving two talks:

  • Navigating the ScotlandsPeople Website
  • Tracking Your Scots Emigrant Ancestor

The meeting starts at 2pm and is held at the LDS church in Barrie (79 Ferris Lane)

If you are in the area, come join us for an afternoon immersed in Scottish genealogy research techniques. 

Friday 27 November 2015

75% Off World Subscription for Find My Past

In honour of the American Thanksgiving, FindMyPast is offering a 75% discount on their world subscription. 

Simply enter the code THNKSGNG15 for a 75% discount on our 12 month World subscription giving you instant access to billions of family records from across the globe (code expires 11/30/2015).

Click Here to get your discount. 

Monday 23 November 2015

Registration Opens TODAY!!

Registration for the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit is now OPEN!!

Full registration includes the Opening Keynote on Friday night, a full day of workshops on Saturday, the closing Plenary on Sunday. Also included are your breakfast and lunch on Saturday, coffee and pastries Sunday morning, free access to FindMyPast for the weekend, a free course registration to NIGS, access to the marketplace and loads of time to network and share with others. 

Program choices include:
  • French Canadian research
  • Canadian Research
  • Irish Research
  • English Research
  • Scottish Research

Options to add-on are:
  • Bus between the hotel and the Ontario Archives for a full day of research. 
  • A hands on workshop with the Dominion Genealogist for those looking to work on their UEL application. 
For those coming from a distance and looking to stay at the hotel, the Summit has secured a reduced rate for the newly renovated rooms. The rate is $135 per room per night. You can register directly from the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit website.

Thursday 19 November 2015

Military Service Appeals Tribunal Records Now On ScotlandsPeople

New Records release on ScotlandsPeople. Military Service Appeals Tribunal records relating to the Appeal cases of 5,820 men seeking exemption from military service between 1916 and 1918.

The records cover the Lothians & Peebles, Ross & Cromarty, Sutherland and Lewis areas of Scotland. All others were destroyed. 

The records are searchable by name, address, grounds, and occupation. Until Dec 3, the index is free to search and are only 10 credits to view. After Dec 3, the documents will be 20 credits to view.

Note that you will have to download each page individually. The documents are in jpeg format rather than pdf which would allow you to download the entire record in one go, regardless of number of pages. 

Sunday 15 November 2015

Thank You Uxbridge!!

What a great day on Saturday! I was invited by the Uxbridge Genealogy Group to give two talks on Scottish genealogy research. 

The talks took place in the Old Quaker School house of the Uxbridge Historical Centre. The room quickly filled with eager listeners. 

The first talk was on Navigating the ScotlandsPeople Website. The code for 20 free credits was a big hit! I had people come up at the break and say that they had been using ScotlandsPeople for some time and still managed to learn something new.

There was a break to give people a chance to network, and me a chance to sell some of my new books. Then it was onto the second talk, Lesser Known Databases for Scottish Genealogy Research. 

All too soon, the day was over. People were eager to get home and put the new information to work. I could picture the fibre optic cables lighting up with all of the Scottish Genealogy Research that was taking place yesterday afternoon and on into the evening. 

It was a wonderful day with wonderful people. Thank you Marian Bellamy for the invitation to speak to the Uxbridge Genealogy Group!

In Search of Your Scottish Ancestors - Second Edition

Hot of the press is the second edition of my book, In Search of Your Scottish Ancestors.

Included in this edition:

Getting Started with your Scottish research
Navigating the ScotlandsPeople Website
Scottish Naming Pattern
Scottish Marriages
Citing Your Sources
Digging Deeper with Scottish Libraries
Treasures Held by the National Records of Scotland
Local Scottish Archives
University Archives

To order your copy: 

And the Winner Is.....

As a RootsTech Ambassador, I get the privilege of giving away a free pass to RootsTech 2016. To be entered into the draw,  you simply had to send me an email telling me you wanted to be entered. 

All entries were submitted to Random Picker. And the winner is...

Jennifer Bennett from Alberta!! Another Canadian is going to RootsTech! 

Congratulations Jennifer and I will be in touch by email to give you the details of how to get your free registration. 

Friday 13 November 2015

Scottish SIG Webinar Presenter for December is Chris Paton!

The first Saturday of every month is Scottish Genealogy Saturday with webinars hosted by the Scottish SIG of the Ontario Genealogical Society. 

December's presenter is Chris Paton who will be discussing the records generated by our ancestors when they fell on hard times. 

The webinars have become hugely popular with those researching their Scottish ancestry. They are a fundraiser for the Scottish SIG's Symposium Fund. If you are not able to attend the live event, you can register and pay and have access to the webinar for 30 days afterward. 

DON'T MISS OUT! Register now:

Monday 9 November 2015

Tracking Your Scots Emigrant Ancestor Webinar

On Tuesday, December 1, I will be hosting a webinar on Tracking Your Scots Emigrant Ancestor. This webinar will look at 

In this webinar you will learn about the importance of Understanding Emigration in the Historical Context of Scotland, the  Passenger Vessels Acts of 1803 & 1842, the role of Colonial Societies, and bothOnline and Offline resources for tracking Your Scots Emigrant Ancestor.

For so many of us, all we know about our Scottish ancestor is that they were "From Scotland." The puzzle then becomes to find out where in Scotlandand what it was that brought them to North America. To do this, it becomes important to understand emigration from Scotland in terms of the historical context of the country at the time that your ancestor left.

From the early 1600s, Scots began their emigration to the new world. Initially this entailed the New England States and the Maritime Provinces of Canada. From there, many migrated west or over the border between the two countries. If your Scots ancestors were among the early immigrants from Scotland, this lecture will assist you in learning more about them and what it was that brought them to the new world.

In this session you will learn about:

*      Understanding Emigration in the Historical Context of Scotland
*      Online Emigration Databases including Covenanter indices, Jacobite rebellion & Prison ship lists, Selkirk Settler ship lists, re-created ship lists
*      Passenger Vessels Acts of 1803 & 1842
*      Colonial Societies
*      Offline Resources

 To register:

Join Me in Uxbridge

On Saturday, Nov 14, I will be speaking at the meeting of the Uxbridge Genealogy Group where I will be giving two talks. 

The morning talk will be on Navigating the ScotlandsPeople Website and the afternoon talk will be on Lesser Known Databases for Scottish Genealogy Research.

The talks take place at the Uxbridge Historical Centre and Archives 7239 Concession Rd 6 in Uxbridge. Admission is $5. 

All people who register and attend the talk will receive 20 FREE CREDITS on the ScotlandsPeople website, courtesy of ScotlandsPeople. 

To register, contact Marian at

See you Saturday!!

Sunday 1 November 2015

I'm Going to RootsTech and You Can Too!

In early Feb 2016,  I will be in Salt Lake City where I will be attending RootsTech. This will be my first time and I am so excited. I have sat back for years and watched posts from colleagues who have attended. My turn is now. And, as a RootsTech Ambassador, I get to give away a free pass! That means that YOU can go to RootsTech too!

All you have to do is send me an email. That's it! Email me. All I need is your name and email address to enter into RandomPicker and on Nov 15th, RandomPicker will choose a winner of the free RootsTech pass.