Saturday 30 April 2016

In Depth Genealogist Magazine Sale for NGS

To celebrate attending the NGS Conference in Ft Lauderdale next week, the
In-Depth Genealogist Magazine is having a sale. For the ridiculously low price of $25usd, you get 12 digital issues per year PLUS access to the last two years of archived issues. The subscription is $2 per issue. You can't beat that for value. 

Offer runs May 4-8, so don't wait or you will miss this incredible value. 

I am honoured to be a writer for IDG and have a regular column Searching Your Scottish Roots. You can read current and past articles when you subscribe. 

Come and visit me in the Exhibition Hall at NGS, I will be in the booth right across the aisle from IDG. 

Genealogy Tours of Scotland is Heading to NGS 2016

Genealogy Tours of Scotland will have a booth in the Exhibition Hall at NGS (National Genealogical Society's Conference) in Ft Lauderdale. 

I will be in booth 521 - across from Findmypast. Come and visit. Enjoy mini presentation on Scottish genealogy. Get free resources or order books and quick guides online.

For those not able to attend the conference, I am having an NGS special in my store. FREE shipping on all purchases. 

Canadian prices on the website are slightly higher to match the equivalent price in US dollars. If you are Canadian and buying through the website, you are still ahead of the game by saving the shipping. 

Friday 29 April 2016

Viewing Images on the ScotlandsPeople Website

I am always getting emails and FB messages about not being able to view the images on the ScotlandsPeople website. Here is how to make it work seamlessly:
  • Log in to your account:
  • At the top on "My Details" 
  • Scroll down the page to where you see a boxed in message
  • Scroll past that and you will see the option to choose how you view the image. 
  • Click the drop down arrow then choose "direct download" 
  • This will download the image as a jpeg
  • Click "update your details"

Sunday 17 April 2016

New Irish Record Release for 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising

Findmypastreleases a new record set to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland. The records are FREE to search from April 17 - 27, 2016.

From the press release:

Findmypast launches online today the most complete collection of British War Office records  relating to the Easter Rising and Irish War of Independence from 1916-1921. The collection, digitised from original records held by The National Archives in Kew, reveals the struggles of life under Martial Law in Ireland, and demonstrates how events under the occupying military served to galvanise support for the rebels.  

Totaling more than 75,000 records, the collection will be free to access for ten days at Findmypast.iefrom today, 17 April, in advance of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising on 24 April 2016.
More than 3,000 people were injured or killed in a conflict which saw three civilians killed for every one rebel. The records reveal the impact that the conflict had on men, women and children across Ireland. There are eye-witness accounts, interviews with civilians and reports of the trials of the leaders of the Rising and their sentences of execution.

The once classified records shine new light on the subsequent period of Martial Law in Ireland which was declared by the Lord Lieutenant in 1916, including the War of Independence, when the British military assumed control of the executive, judiciary and legislative arms of the entire country.. The contents of the collection provide a picture of what life was like for ordinary citizens in Ireland during this turbulent time.

The 25,000 search and raid records show the efforts of the military and police to discover arms, ammunition and seditious material through thousands of raids as well as their search for individuals associated with Sinn Féin, Irish Citizen Army, Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Army. Members of the public accessing the records on Findmypastwill find the names of the thousands of people who were detained and interned in prisons in Ireland, England and Wales and tried by courts martial, including the names of prominent nationalists and elected officials.

Military correspondence between the barracks in Dublin and the War Office in London grants new perspectives on the motivations and fears of the British Army leadership. The movements and actions of several key nationalist figures are also documented, including those of James Connolly, Eamon De Valera, Thomas Ashe, Joseph MacDonagh, Arthur Griffith, Padraig Pearse and Francis and Hannah Sheehy Skeffington and Countess Markievicz.

Key items from the collection include:

  •  Daily situation reports sent by the British Army from Dublin to London between 24 April and 12 May 1916 documenting events during the uprising
  •  A reportfrom the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief confirming the execution of iconic Irish socialist and rebel James Connolly, who owing to injuries sustained in the conflict had to be strapped to a chair before being shot 
  • Court martial reports sentencing prominent nationalist, politician and suffragette Countess Markievicz to two years in prison for “assisting and promoting crime and murder” 
  • Witness statements from civilians caught up in the Rising 
  • Documents authored by Michael Collins seized from a safehouse used by the nationalist figurehead 
  • Details on raids of pubs such as the Brazen Head, hotels, nationalist club houses such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians and thousands of homes 
  •  An urgent and secret warning from Sir C Spring Rice, British Ambassador in America, of gun running in Ireland 
  •  A telegram to the Prime Minister to report the expected surrender of the rebels from the Lieutenant General John Marshall
  •  Internment files including the personal letters from prisoners or their relatives testifying to their innocence 
  •  Details on the hunger strikes of interned prisoners 
  • Secret documents that reveal the British Military’s own concern with some of the behaviour of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC)

The collection was digitised in partnership with The National Archives in London and contains documents from their WO35 series, War Office: Army of Ireland: Administration and Easter Rising Records. Totaling more than 110 million records, Findmypast has the largest Irish family history collection available online.

Brian Donovan, Head of Irish Records at Findmypast, comments:
“These records constitute an extraordinary resource which will transform the search for answers about our ancestors' activities during 1916 and the years that followed. While those who fought were small in number, the war impacted on the lives of ordinary people in many ways. We’re extremely fortunate to have these records to help us make some sense of it.”

Saturday 16 April 2016


Today is the 270th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles in Scotland's history. Over 1500 men were killed in less than an hour. This was a decisive defeat for the Jacobite forces. And was the beginning of change that led to mass emigration to the American Colonies, the West Indies and eventually to Canada. 

Leanach Cottage on Culloden Battlefield is the only building remaining from the time of the battle. It continued to be occupied up until 1912. The cottage did have barns, but they were burned down by government forces when 30 or so Jacobites who had been wounded but not killed were found seeking refuge in the barns. The gov't forces barricaded the men in the barns and set the barns alight, killing the men and razing the barns to the ground.

In the aftermath of Culloden came the Act of Proscription in 1747. This was an attempt by the English government to do away with the Highland way of life.  The Act banned the wearing of tartan, or Highland dress except for army uniforms. It further banned the carrying or owning of broad swords, durks, pistols, guns or any other "warlike" weapon. Government officers were authorised to search houses and arrest anyone who had proscribed weaponry in their possession. 

Many who were arrested were then banished to the colonies for a period of 7 or more years. 

The Act wasn't repealed until 1782 and by that time, the Highland Clearances had begun with tenant farmers and crofters being moved off of the highland estates to make way for more economical and lucrative sheep farming. 

Friday 15 April 2016

May 2017 Tour 30% SOLD OUT!

Although it is still over a year away, the 2017 Edinburgh tour is already 
30% sold out!

When You Join a Genealogy Tour of Scotland, You Get:

Pre-tour webinar on Scottish Genealogy Research
Pre-tour webinar on Planning For a Research Trip to Scotland
Pre-tour assistance to make the most of your time in Scotland
Pre-tour package of information to assist with your research planning
¨ 9 nights in a centrally located hotel where you will get the sense of living in Scotland
¨ Breakfast every day
¨ A Family History Talk at ScotlandsPeople Centre
¨ A Family History Talk at the National Library of Scotland
¨ 5 days of dedicated research time where staff are expecting you and are ready to assist
¨ Transportation to and from the research facilities
¨ Time to visit the area where your ancestor lived in Scotland and assistance to plan this
¨ Time to research in a local archive, family history society or library
¨ The chance to experience a Ceilidh and indulge your Scottish heritage
¨ Transportation to and from the Ceilidh
¨ Optional historic evening guided tour of Greyfriar’s Cemetery
¨ The opportunity to connect with others researching their Scottish roots
¨ A great way to connect with your Scottish ancestors
¨ Memories to last a lifetime
¨ A deeper sense of belonging
¨ A better sense of who YOU are as part of the Scots diaspora

            Why not join a tour to research your roots and discover your heritage?

Thursday 14 April 2016

Thank You Kelowna!

After a full day of talks at the Henderson Library in Winnipeg on Saturday, April 9, I headed to the airport and flew out to Vancouver. A quick sleep and it was time to head to the airport once again. This time I was headed for Kelowna where I was going to be speaking to the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society. 

There were only 5 of us on the flight, so we were asked to sit at the back of the plane for proper weight distribution. A short 37 minutes after take-off, we were touching down in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. 

The room was full of researchers eager to learn about researching their Scottish ancestry.  Two talks in the morning, a bowl of hearty beef and barley soup and three talks in the afternoon. We had a great time sharing resources and stories.

After the workshop was over, my hostess, Claire Burns-Smith took me on a lovely drive around Kelowna to see the beauty of this city. Mountains, a lake and total serenity. Then it was time to meet up with some others for a lovely dinner and some terrific conversation. All too soon, it was time to return to the airport for a flight back to Vancouver. 

Thank you K&DGS for a day of fun and learning. The day was incredibly energizing. I wish you well at your Fall Conference 

Saturday 9 April 2016

Thank You, Winnipeg!

What a fantastic day in Winnipeg! 35 of the Scots Disapora descended on theHenderson  Library for a full day of talks on Scottish genealogy research. As always, when the Scots Diaspora gather there is GREAT craic. 

We learned how to get started on our Scottish research, how to navigate the ScotlandsPeople website to get successful results, some of the lesser known databases that help us flesh out the story and finished with planning for a successful genealogy research trip to Scotland. 

Along the way, we shared stories, asked questions and had some great laughs

And best of all, I get to do it all over again tomorrow in Kelowna! 

Thursday 7 April 2016

Itinerary for Glasgow Research Tour Confirmed!

Our Itinerary is Confirmed!

The itinerary for the Glasgow tour is now confirmed - well mostly.

Friday April 21, 2017: Day of arrival. We will meet in the lobby of the Glasgow Marriott at 6 pm for a meet and greet and to talk about the week ahead.

Saturday April 22, 2017: Following breakfast, we will meet in the lobby at 8 am for our trip to Fife where we will take part in the Scottish Association of Family History Societies annual conference. There will be 4 speakers, including Irene O'Brien of the Glasgow Archives, lunch, tea/coffee and a marketplace.

Sunday April 23, 2017: I am waiting to hear back from the Glasgow Necropolis regarding a guided tour of the cemetery. The guides are a volunteer group and I am not likely going to be hearing from them for about another month. That afternoon at 4pm, there is an Evensong at the Glasgow Cathedral that we may wish to attend as a group.

Monday April 24, 2017: Following breakfast, we will meet in the hotel lobby at 8:45 and then travel to the Mitchell Library for a full day of research. The Library houses the Glasgow City Archives, the Genealogy Centre and has a hub for the ScotlandsPeople database.

Tuesday April 25, 2017: Following breakfast, we will meet in the hotel lobby at 8:45 and then travel to the Mitchell Library for another full day of research.

Wednesday April 26, 2017: Following breakfast, we will meet in the hotel lobby at 8:45 and then travel together to the University of Glasgow Archives where we will enjoy a full day of research. The University Archives hold the Scottish Business archives as well as a number of other records.

Thursday April 27, 2017: Following breakfast, we will meet in the lobby of the hotel at 9:45 and then travel together to the Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society for a full day of research using their records.

Friday April 28, 2017: Following breakfast, we will meet in the hotel lobby at 8:45 and then travel to the Mitchell Library for another full day of research.

Saturday April 29, 2017: Following breakfast, the research tour comes to an end. We will leave with certificates, a better sense of what records exist for family history research, perhaps a few less bricks in our brick walls and most of all, memories of time spent in our ancestral homeland.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

New In Brief Guide for Scottish Genealogy

Just in time for Tartan Day!

IDG Introduces their Newest of In-Brief Research Guides:
Researching Your Scottish Ancestors by Christine Woodcock

UTICA, OH, 5 APRIL 2016—The In-Depth Genealogist (IDG) is pleased to announce the publication of An In-BriefGuide to Researching Your Scottish Ancestorsby Christine Woodcock. Christine writes the column “In Search of Your Scottish Roots” for The In-Depth Genealogist’s digital magazine, Going In-Depth.

Within the In-Brief guide you will find the following helpful topics: Important Dates to Remember, Types of Documents Available Online, Useful Information within the Documents, Tips for Success, Archives, Libraries, Family History Societies, and much more.

PDF download is just $2.47!

Declaration of Arbroath 6 April 1320

It is almost 700 years since the Declaration of Arbroath was created. This event is celebrated every year in North America by the Scots Diaspora as a day to honour their Scottish heritage. April 6 has officially been deemed 'Tartan Day' in both Canada and the U.S. 

As for the original declaration, it was entered into parliament on the 6 April 1320 and recorded as: 

1320, 6 April, ‘Arbroath’
Record of Assembly
6 April 1320
Letters: ‘The Declaration of Arbroath’; letter of the barons of Scotland to Pope John XXII

To the most holy father in Christ and lord, the lord John [XXII], by divine providence supreme pontiff of the holy Roman and universal church, his humble and devout sons Duncan, earl of Fife, Thomas Randolph, earl of Moray, lord of Man and of Annandale, Patrick Dunbar, earl of March, Malise, earl of Strathearn, Malcolm, earl of Lennox, William, earl of Ross, Magnus, earl of Caithness and Orkney, and William, earl of Sutherland; Walter, the steward of Scotland, William Soules, butler of Scotland, James, lord of Douglas, Roger Mowbray, David, lord of Brechin, David Graham, Ingram Umfraville, John Menteith, guardian of the earldom of Menteith, Alexander Fraser, Gilbert Hay, constable of Scotland, Robert Keith, marischal of Scotland, Henry Sinclair, John Graham, David Lindsay, William Oliphant, Patrick Graham, John Fenton, William Abernethy, David Wemyss, William Mushet, Fergus Ardrossan, Eustace Maxwell, William Ramsay, William Mowat, Alan Murray, Donald Campbell, John Cameron, Reginald Cheyne, Alexander Seton, Andrew Leslie, and Alexander Straiton, and the other barons and freeholders and the whole community of the realm of Scotland, send all manner of filial reverence, with devout kisses of his blessed feet.

Most holy father and lord, we know, and we gather from the deeds and books of the ancients, that among other distinguished nations our own nation, namely of Scots, has been marked by many distinctions. It journeyed from Greater Scythia by the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long span of time in Spain among the most savage peoples, but nowhere could it be subjugated by any people, however barbarous. From there it came, 1,200 years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea and, having first driven out the Britons and altogether destroyed the Picts, it acquired, with many victories and untold efforts, the places in the west† which it now holds, although often assailed by Norwegians, Danes and English. As the histories of old time bear witness, it has held them free of all servitude ever since. In their kingdom 113 kings of their own royal stock have reigned, the line unbroken by a single foreigner. Their high qualities and merits, if they were not otherwise manifest, shine out sufficiently from this: that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, our Lord Jesus Christ, after his passion and resurrection, called them, even though settled in the uttermost ends of the earth, almost the first to his most holy faith. Nor did he wish to confirm them in that faith by anyone but by the first apostle by calling (though second or third in rank), namely the most gentle Andrew, the blessed Peter’s brother, whom he wished to protect them as their patron for ever.

The most holy fathers your predecessors gave careful heed to these things and strengthened this same kingdom and people, as being the special charge of the blessed Peter’s brother by many favours and numerous privileges. Thus our people under their protection did heretofore live in freedom and peace until that mighty prince Edward, king of the English, father of the one who now lives,† when our kingdom had no head and our people harboured no malice or treachery and were then unused to wars or attacks, came in the guise of friend and ally to invade them as an enemy. His wrongs, killings, violence, pillage, arson, imprisonment of prelates, burning down of monasteries, despoiling and killing of religious, and yet other innumerable outrages which he inflicted on the said people,† sparing neither age nor sex, religion nor order, no one could fully describe or fully understand unless experience had taught him.

But from these countless evils we have been set free, by the help of him who though he afflicts yet heals and restores, by our most valiant prince, king and lord, the lord Robert, who, that his people and his heritage might be delivered out of the hands of enemies, bore cheerfully toil and fatigue, hunger and danger, like another Maccabeus or Joshua. Divine providence, the succession to his right according to our laws and customs which we shall maintain to the death, and the due consent and assent of us all have made him our prince and king. We are bound to him for the maintaining of our freedom both by his right and his merits, as to him by whom salvation has been wrought unto our people, and by him, come what may, we mean to stand. Yet if he should give up what he has begun, seeking to make us or our kingdom subject to the king of England or to the English, we would strive at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own right and ours, and we would make some other man who was able to defend us our king; for, as long as a hundred of us remain alive, we will never on any conditions be subjected to the lordship of the English. For we fight not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, but for freedom alone, which no good man gives up except with his life.

Therefore it is, reverend father and lord, that we beseech your holiness with our most earnest prayers and suppliant hearts, that recalling with a sincere heart and pious mind that, since with him whose vicegerent on earth you are there is neither weighing nor distinction of Jew and Greek, Scotsman or Englishman, you will look with paternal eyes on the troubles and anxieties brought by the English upon us and upon the church of God; that you will deign to admonish and exhort the king of the English, who ought to be satisfied with what he has, since England used once to be enough for seven kings or more, to leave in peace us Scots, who live in this poor little Scotland, beyond which there is no dwelling-place at all, and who desire nothing but our own. We are willing to discharge fully to him (due regard having been paid to our standing) whatever will bring about peace for us. It truly concerns you to do this holy father, who sees the savagery of the heathen raging against the Christians, as the sins of Christians have indeed deserved, and the frontiers of Christians being pressed inward day by day; and you must see how much it will tarnish you Holiness’s memory if (God forbid it) the Church suffers eclipse or scandal in any branch of it during your time. Then rouse the Christian princes who for false reasons pretend that they cannot go to the help of the Holy Land because of wars they have with their neighbours. The truer reason that prevents them is that in warring on their smaller neighbours they anticipate a readier return and weaker resistance. But He from whom nothing is hidden well knows how cheerfully we and our lord the king would go there if the king of the English would leave us in peace. We profess and testify this to you as the vicar of Christ and to all Christendom.

But if your holiness, giving too much credence to the tales of the English, will not give sincere belief to all this, nor refrain from favouring them to our confusion, then the slaughter of bodies, the perdition of souls, and all the other misfortunes that will follow, inflicted by them on us and by us on them, will, we believe, be imputed by the Most High to you. Therefore we are and will be ready, and in these [letters] we are bound, to obey you as his vicar in all things as obedient sons; to Him as supreme king and judge we commit the maintenance of our cause, casting our cares upon Him and firmly trusting that He will inspire courage in us and bring our enemies to nothing. May the Most High preserve you to his holy Church in holiness and health for many days to come. Given at the monastery of Arbroath in Scotland on 6 April in the year of grace 1320 and the fifteenth year of the reign of our aforesaid king.
[Endorsed:] Letter sent to the supreme lord the pope by the community of Scotland.
[Tags and sealing]†
[1] Seal of [Duncan,] earl of Fife.
[2] Seal of [Thomas Randolph,] earl of Moray.
[3] Seal of [Patrick de Dunbar,] earl of March.
[4] Seal of [Malise,] earl of Strathearn.
[5] Seal of [Malcolm,] earl of Lennox.
[6] Alan de Callander.
[7] Seal of [William,] earl of Ross.
[8] Seal of [Magnus,] earl of Caithness.
[9] John de Inchmartin.
[10] Seal of [William,] earl of Sutherland.
[11] Seal of Walter the steward of Scotland.
[12] William de Soules.
[13] Seal of James, [lord] of Douglas.
[14] Seal of Roger de Mowbray.
[15] Seal of David de Brechin.
[16] Seal of David de Brechin.†
[17] Seal of Ingeram de Umfraville.
[18] Seal of John de Menteith.
[19] Seal of Alexander Fraser.
[20] Seal of Gilbert de Hay.
[21] Seal of Robert de Keith.
[22] Seal of Alexander de Lamberton.
[23] Seal of Henry de Sinclair.
[24] Seal of John de Graham.
[25] Thomas de Meneris [?Menzies].
[26] Seal of David de Lindsay.
[27] Seal of William de Oliphant.
[28] Seal of Patrick de Graham.
[29] Seal of John de Fenton.
[30] Seal of Thomas de Morham.
[31] Seal of William de Abernethy.
[32] Seal of David de Wemyss.
[33] Seal of William de Muschet.
[34] Roger Mowat.
[35] [Blank.]
[36] Seal of Fergus de Ardrossan.
[37] Seal of Eustace de Maxwell.
[38] Seal of William de Ramsay.
[39] Seal of William de Mowat.
[40] Seal of Alan de Moray.†
[41] Seal of Donald Campbell.
[42] Edward de Keith
[43] Martin ...bel [? Campbell].
[44] Seal of J. Cambrun [?Cameron]
[45] Seal of Reginald Cheyne.
[46] Seal of Alexander de Seton.
[47] Seal of Alexander de Lescelyn
[48] Seal of Alexander de Straton.
[49] [Blank.]
[50] David de Graham.
[51] John Duraunt.[1]

 Declaration of Arbroath, Scottish Barons, Public Domain, Copyright Free

[1] The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707, K.M. Brown et al eds (St Andrews, 2007-2016), 1320/4/1

Friday 1 April 2016

It's Tartan Week!

April 6 marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. In North America, this is commemorated by Tartan Day. A day for those of Scot's Diaspora to indulge in their heritage, pay homage to their forebears and generally just enjoy themselves. Celebrations take place for a full week leading up to and including April 6. While I won't have the chance to partake in any of the celebrations, or enjoy any of the parades, my week is full of Scottish heritage. 

Today was the first of these. I attended the Oor Club meet and greet of the Scottish Studies Foundation. This is a monthly gathering, a bit of a fundraiser, always an informative speaker and some great craic. Today's speaker was Jo Ann Tuskin. I know Jo Ann from the Clans and Scottish Societies of Canada, where she is the secretary. She is also the secretary for the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada and she is the secretary of Clan Munro. Jo Ann gave a fantastic talk about the Loyalists in the Toronto Area. Jo Ann is a teacher by profession, but she is also a teacher by birth. She has an amazing gift for sharing information in a way that brings the story to life. She adds in little tidbits of curiosity that tie our world into the talk and suddenly we are hooked and desperate to hear more. 

Jo Ann Tuskin, UE 

Tomorrow, I get to host the monthly webinar for the Scottish Special Interest Group (Scottish SIG) of the Ontario Genealogical Society. Our presenter is Dr Irene O'Brien, Senior Archivist at the Glasgow Archives. 

Monday is the VisitScotland Breakfast at the University Club in Toronto. Always a great place to network. 

Thursday I am presenting a webinar for the Ontario Genealogical Society

Friday, I head to Manitoba where a number of Selkirk Settlers started their lives in Canada. Saturday is a full day of talks on Scottish Genealogy at the Henderson Library in Winnipeg. Then I head to BC where I will be giving a full day of talks for the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society.

How will you be celebrating?