Friday 28 August 2015


The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa is hosting its 21st annual conference Sept 18-20 at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa. The focus of this year's conference is Scottish research. Other prominent topics are Technology and Genealogy and Photographs and Genealogy. 

Friday sees pre-conference seminars.

AM SEMINARS (9:00 - 12:00):


MAUREEN TAYLOR                              
Learn to help identify family photographs using ten easy steps, like researching photographers, dating costume clues and comparing facial characteristics. Topics include: 
  • · What Photographs Can Tell You about Your Family
  • · Exploring wrong information in the family album
  • · Family relationships
  • · What was important to your ancestors
  • · Identifying the Images
  • · Basic photographic history for genealogists
  • · How to find out when a photographer was in business
  • · What clothing has to say
  • Techniques to Date and Interpret Your Family Photographs

While many people want to know more about their Scottish heritage, they often don’t know where to begin. Knowing where to look is usually where we falter. Fortunately, researching our Scottish ancestors is a fairly easy task. This seminar will get you started with researching your Scottish ancestry and will help you make the most of your research. Topics include:

  • · Starting your search
  • · The ScotlandsPeople website
  • · Scottish naming pattern
  • · Scottish marriages
  • · Catholic parish records on Scotlands-People
  • · Scottish Family History Societies
  • · Scottish clans
  • · Connecting with others.

FRIDAY PM SEMINARS (1:30 - 4:30)


During this hands-on workshop you will use some of your own family history to create a visual timeline of two or more families. The timeline can be used to show overlapping events of the families, highlight critical areas of missing information and set the families’ personal events in relation to local and/or world history.

You will become familiar with the basic elements of Excel and PowerPoint and in
particular the mechanics of displaying information in an organized manner. Hopefully, creating the timeline will also uncover some previously unknown or not obvious element in your family story. Some registrants will have the opportunity to present their Excel timeline spreadsheet or PowerPoint slide show to the other participants.

Requirements: Bring a fully-charged laptop and power cord with Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint (or very close equivalent) with you. You will also need to bring information on two or three families in your family tree covering the same 50- or 100-year span over one or more countries. Information can include, but not be limited to birth, baptism, marriage, death, immigration, war service, occupation(s) and census records. Digital images of as many supporting documents as possible and digital photographs of the family members will also be important.


ScotlandsPeople is the website that provides you with actual images of the statutory records for Scottish research. This is a pay-per-view site using credits. If you don't know how to use the website effectively, you can waste a lot of credits, spend a lot of money and endure a lot of frustration. In this seminar, you will learn how to get the most success out of your ScotlandsPeople searches. Topics include: how the credit system works, how to narrow down your search, which records are the most relevant, where to find past search results, how to trace female ancestors, where to get help, and what to do when you can't read the documents.

Speakers for the main program of the conference include:

Thomas McEntee
Chris Paton
Maureen Taylor
Christine Woodcock
Janet Few
Sher Leetooze
Shirley-Ann Pyefinch
Gloria Tubman
Gail Dever
Dena Palamedes


Wednesday 26 August 2015

Scottish SIG Webinar Series - Gathering Oral and Family Histories

Saturday, October 3
1:00 pm Eastern

Gathering Oral and Family Histories

In this webinar, Shirley Sturdevant will assist you in gathering and recording your family histories, including the oral stories that have been passed down to us. In Scottish heritage, many of our traditions are passed down orally: superstitions, nursery rhymes, old Scots words and phrases, holiday customs.

Length: one hour
Cost: $14.95
To register:

If you are not able to attend the "live" event, you can register and pay and you will then get up to 30 days to access the recording of the webinar. 

Searching Your Scottish Ancestry Webinar

Sept 23: Scottish Genealogy Research Basics
7:00 pm Eastern

This 90 minute webinar will get you well and truly started on your researching your Scottish ancestors. In addition, you will learn about a number of resources that are helpful in researching Scottish ancestry. Included are:

- where to start
- why the ScotlandsPeople website is critical to your research
- why geography is important
- Old Parish Records vs Statutory Records
- Census Records
- Records of Corrected Entry
- Citing Sources
- Scottish Naming Pattern
- Scottish Marriages
- National Archives and what is available for Scottish genealogy
- National Library and what is available for Scottish genealogy
- Local Archives for genealogy research
- University Archives for genealogy research
- Using Newspapers for genealogy research
- Scottish Family History Societies

Cost for 90 minute webinar: $19.95

To register:

If you are not able to attend the "live" event, you can register and pay and you will then get up to 30 days to access the recording of the webinar. 

Monday 24 August 2015

Second Tour for 2016 is Filling Fast

Our Genealogy Research Tour for May 2016 sold out almost a year in advance.

A second tour for Sept 2016 has been added. But this second tour is filling quickly. 

Is traveling to Scotland to research your family history on your bucket list?
As any family history researcher will tell you, there is great excitement when you find your ancestor in a document. Tangible verification of their existence. And there is a sense of wonder when you see their signature. It is almost as if you could reach out and touch them.

Multiply that by infinity when you walk the streets they walked, see the houses they lived in, the factories they worked in, the churches they worshiped in. Feel the deep and lasting connection to them as you stand at their gravesite.

These moments provide a deep sense of affinity for your ancestors. A deep appreciation of their battles and struggles. A sense of pride as they overcame in order to carry on.
All of this culminates in an irreducible sense of belonging as you come to understand not only their story but also your own history. How you came to be.

If you are ready to experience a sense of being whole, connected, belonging to your Scottish ancestors, join us on our next Genealogy Tour in Sept 2016.

This tour is filling fast and, although still more than a year away, is already 30% full. Don't miss out. Book now at:

Symposium 2015 a HUGE Success!

Symposium 2015, an annual event sponsored by the Scottish SIG of the Ontario Genealogical Society was held in Brampton on Aug 21.

By all accounts and all of the feedback we have received, the event was a huge success. We have new people eager to sign up as members of the SIG. And many new genealogy friendships and connections were made.

Lots of new initiatives were announced at this year's Symposium:

  • The Scottish Studies Program is going to create a Genealogical and Family History Institute.
  • Symposium 2016 is already planned and confirmed for next year. 
  • The SIG will be hosting a series of Webinars with experts from Scotland as our guest speakers. 

We are looking forward to the coming year, and all that is possible in the world of Scottish Genealogy Research. 

Scottish Studies Chair Announces New Genealogical and Family Institute at Symposium 2015

James Fraser, the new chair of the Scottish Studies program at the University of Guelph was one of the speakers at this year's Symposium, which is sponsored by the Scottish SIG of the Ontario Genealogical Society. 

Towards the end of his talk, James announced a new initiative of the Scottish Studies Foundation, that of a new Genealogical and Family Institute at the University of Guelph. While still in the planning stages, the potential for this new Institute is vast. 

To assist with the development of the new Institute, the University will begin a crowdfunding campaign in December of this year. 

The Scottish SIG looks forward to working with the Scottish Studies program in supporting them in the further development of the new Genealogical and Family Institute. 

Saturday 15 August 2015

Lloyd's Register of Ships 1764 - 1899

Word comes today of a FANTASTIC new resource! Lloyds Register of Ships. 

This is an online, fully searchable database. The Lloyds list tried to document ALL merchant vessels that were over 100 gross tonnes, self-propelled and sea-faring. Classification of ship didn't matter. The weight and the fact that the ship was sea-going was the criteria. 

The registers started in 1764 - almost a full decade before ships lists were required under the Passenger Vessels Acts of 1842 & 1849 

The Register tried to document all ships WORLDWIDE. The original registers are with the National Archives in London

Scottish SIG Symposium

The Scottish Special Interest Group of the Ontario Genealogical Society is hosting its second annual Symposium on Scottish research. 

This year's Symposium is on Friday, August 21 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Brampton. 

There is a full day planned. Speakers include:

D Bruce McCowan - St Andrew's Church History
Dave Naylor - DNA for Genealogy
Melissa McAfee - Scottish Special Collections, University of Guelph
James Fraser - Proving/Disproving a Family Myth
Christine Woodcock - Navigating the ScotlandsPeople Website

Fees include the full program and lunch. Each registrant will receive 20 free credits for the ScotlandsPeople website

Registration closes on Tuesday, August 18th.

Here's the link:

Scottish Genealogy Research Webinar

Wednesday Sept 23, 2015
7 pm EST
Beginner/Intermediate Level
90 minute webinar

While many people want to know more about their Scottish heritage, they don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, researching our Scottish ancestors is a fairly easy task. Knowing where to look is usually where we get tied up.

This talk will get you started in researching your Scottish ancestry as well as how to make the most of your research.

Topics Include:

  • Starting Your Search
  • ScotlandsPeople Website
  • Scottish Naming Pattern
  • Scottish Marriages
  • Catholic Parish Records on ScotlandsPeople
  • Scottish Family History Societies
  • Other Websites/Resources for Scottish Research

Register at:

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Help Available in the Heritage Tent at Fergus Scottish Festival

Genealogy Tours of Scotland will be in the Heritage Tent at the Fergus Scottish Festival this coming weekend. The tent will be near Clan Avenue and will have lots of people on hand to assist you with your genealogy research. 

The Wellington Branch of the OGS will be in the tent as well and will be onhand to answer questions about genealogy and will be able to help you with your research. 

Genealogy Tours of Scotland will be offering assistance specifically on the ScotlandsPeople website, so don't be shy, come along and get help to find your Scottish connections. 

The Heritage Tent opens at 9 on Saturday and Sunday. Drop by. Share the stories of your Scottish ancestors and, if interested, ask for some research help. 

See you in Fergus!