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.




It's Time for OGS to Re-Invent Itself

Last week I learned from President Alan Campbell that the Waterloo branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is going to become an "eSociety". The branch is struggling with membership and viability and has approached the OGS regarding closure.

In typical OGS fashion, they have stuck their heads deep in the sand and come up with what they think is an acceptable solution. In reality, it merely prolongs the demise.

In the past handful of years, OGS has seen the actual closure of the Haldimand branch, the Norfolk branch and now the Waterloo branch, but in an effort to save face they have called the first two branches "inactive" and now they are going with the idea of an online presence for the Waterloo branch. But, apart from themselves, who are they kidding? 

In the last handful of years, has anyone come forward to re-activate either Haldimand or Norfolk? No. It is a classic case of  "out of sight, out of mind" Few people even remember there were branches in these communities. 

With the eSociety, there will be no newsletter, no meetings, no mailing address. So, what's the point of this new method of survival? WHY would anyone want to be a member? Certainly not for the reduced membership fees of $4 a year. What am I getting for that? A website? Really? 

The OGS has within its bylaws, the ability of a branch, upon closure, to donate their assets (books, family histories, CDs, maps and such) to a local museum, historical society, library or like-minded society. At least in this instance, people get to access the physical resources and they get help from live people. This is exceptionally important for people new to either the field of genealogy research, or to the local resources. 

But by making the branches inactive, OGS doesn't have to admit failure. They can still boast that they have XX branches. Even dead in the water branches. 

I think, and have told Alan and the Board, that OGS is doing an incredible disservice to their Special Interest Groups by making this defunct branch an eSociety. The SIGs have a $5 membership (well, actually a $68 membership - more on that later) and for that, we slog tirelessly behind the scenes to produce regular email blasts with our members, newsletters for our members, webinars, symposiums, host tables in marketplaces and God knows what all else. By hosting a website for the defunct Waterloo branch, OGS is telling their other SIGs that we are only worth $1. That smarts. 

OGS recently sent membership renewal notices. And the "behind the scenes" activity on social media has lit up with private messages, emails and texts with "Are you renewing?" "I don't think I will renew this year" "What is the point of renewing?" This is not a new phenomenon this year. It is an annual happening. In reality, if people saw value for their money, there would be no agonizing about renewal. None. 

OGS makes it impossible for their branches and SIGs to be financially viable. Their membership fees are extortionate. In addition, people who want the grassroots assistance or grassroots resources have to add on a membership to the branch or SIG where that help or those resources are. So, as I said earlier, to belong to the Scottish SIG, for instance, and only the Scottish SIG, the membership is $68. But the SIG only gets $5 of that. We are the ones who produce the resources, the webinars, the symposiums (yes we charge for those, otherwise we would be somewhere between destitution and prostitution to provide the things our members actually want). We can NEVER raise our fees because OGS raises theirs. We will always be beholden. 

There is so very much that is intrinsically dysfunctional about the OGS. Too much for a blog post, and really, too personal for the worldwideweb. In not recognizing their dysfunction, there will never be active change. They will continue to stick their heads as deep in the sand as they can. And pretend that they are a major player who is supportive to their branches, their members and the genealogy community at large. If they want to remain viable as a major player, they need to acknowledge the deficiencies, look closely at what isn't working and make active change. It is time for OGS to re-invent itself.