Sunday 19 February 2017

New eCourses Launched!

After two years in the making, I have finally created and launched two online eCourses for Scottish genealogy research. These courses will allow you to learn about researching your Scottish ancestors from the comfort of your home or office. 


In this beginner level course, you will learn:
  • places to reach out to others researching your ancestors
  • using the ScotlandsPeople website
  • citing your sources
  • legitimacy, irregular marriages and the Scottish naming pattern
  • building a genealogy toolbox for Scottish research

The first 25 people who register for this course can receive a 10% discount by using the coupon code "getstarted10" at checkout. 


In this second level course, you will learn:
  • strategies for breaking through brick walls
  • records available in Scottish libraries and archives
  • court records
  • asylum records
  • poor law records
Both courses use a combination of text and video for a well rounded learning experience. 

MyHertiage After Party at RootsTech

One of the highlights of RootsTech for the past two years has been the After Party that is sponsored by MyHeritage. This takes place on the Friday night and is a fantastic way for the Ambassadors, Sponsors and Vendors/Exhibitors to unwind. There are glow sticks, photo booths, party games, appetizers, drinks and best of all Karaoke. It amazes me how galvanizing the Karaoke stage is for the attendees. 

Thanks to Daniel Horowitz and his team for another fantastic night of fun and friendship. Already looking forward to next year's After Party!

Check out the video!

Saturday 18 February 2017

A Conversation with FindMyPast

While at RootsTech, I had the pleasure of attending as a RootsTech Ambassador. This allows me access to the Keynote speakers and the top level executive for the major sponsors where I can arrange interviews with them. 

On the Friday afternoon, Kathryn Lake Hogan and I had the chance to catch up with Gail Rivett (Chief Marketing Officer) and Ben Bennett (Executive VP, North America and International) of FindMyPast. We interviewed Gail and Ben last year and were thrilled to be able to catch up with them again this year. We chatted for nearly an hour! 

Kathryn Lake Hogan, Gail Rivett, Ben Bennett, Christine Woodcock
The big news that was announced at RootsTech this year was the release of the Immigration to a New Country records, which are actually from the Treasury Records at the National Archives in London. 

Another big announcement from FMP at RootsTech was the addition of the Catholic Heritage Records from the Archdiocese of New York, Philadelphia and Boston. More records will be added over time.

From my conversations with Audrey Collins at the Commonwealth Dinner, I learned that FindMyPast has also digitized the Treasury Records for the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Ben tells me that these will be available on FMP later this year. How exciting is that?

We had some interesting discussion about the search interface on the FMP website. And the categorization of the records to countries. There has been lots of upset in Canada with the Canadian records all being lumped under North America. Ben tells me that FMP is well aware of the issues and that there is a large investment in time and resources this year to fix the problems. When FMP was set up, it was set up in the UK. Initially all of the records available were UK records. Then FMP crept into the US market and a new category of records was added "North America" With expansion of acquisition of records from other countries, the records are basically in three categories "UK", "North America" (which currently includes Canada, but not Mexico) and "The Rest of the World" Changes are coming to better differentiate between the various countries, with the larger contributors of records getting their own categories. Another change coming is the search interface itself which will allow searching using additional fields like "Maiden Name" or others in the household. I can't wait to see the changes as they happen.

*Disclaimer: I am an Ambassador for FMP. This allows me a free subscription in exchange for opinions about the website, record sets and subscriptions. All opinions are my own and are not reflective of either FMP or of my relationship with FMP. My opinions do not imply endorsement by FMP.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

FREE February Webinar for Scottish Research

Step Away From the Computer 
Feb 20, 2017 7:00 PM EST 
Your Scottish ancestors are waiting for you to find them. But in order to do that, you need to step away from your computer. There are thousands of records available in Scottish repositories that can enhance your Scottish Genealogy research. Few of these are digitized or available online, but all of them can give you a much clearer understanding of the lives of your ancestors. This talk will assist you in understanding the types of records that exist, where they are located and how to access them

2018 Edinburgh Tour Dates

May 7-16, 2018

At the request of participants, the Edinburgh Tour is once again a 10 day tour. 
  • pre-tour preparation webinars
  • pre-tour preparation package
  • assistance to plan a visit to your ancestral part of Scotland
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 7 full breakfasts
  • Overview of records in each facility
  • 5 full days of research
  • daily research fees
  • daily transportation to research facilities
  • optional evening tours
  • evening at the Taste of Scotland dinner and show

To book your spot:

The Week That Was

Where HAS the week gone? One minute we were getting ready for all that RootsTech had to offer and all of a sudden I was on a plane, returning home!

RootsTech really is a whirlwind of activity. And this year, adding an exhibitor to my roles at the conference meant absolutely no spare time. But what an awesome experience!

Tuesday night was the media dinner. The five semi finalists for the Innovator Showdown were announced.

Wednesday was set up day in the Expo Hall. The booth was empty when we arrived - no tables, no chairs, nothing. We had quite a long wait to get everything we needed to in the end this set our schedules back by quite a bit.

On Wednesday afternoon, I had the pleasure of speaking on Underused Databases for Scottish Genealogy Research. The room was quite full and the talk went well, with lots of great questions.

Because of where we were positioned in the Expo Hall, it was good that I had had the chance to speak. It let people know I was in the Expo Hall and they then made the effort to come and find the booth.

Wednesday evening was the Welcome Party. It was great to see everyone that I only get to see in person once a year.

Thursday started off with the Opening Keynote with Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch. Steve's talk was about food and the memories that food evokes. Following Steve, we had the great pleasure of listening to the Property Brothers, Drew & Jonathan Scott. The duo spoke of family relationships and their pride in their Scottish heritage.

After the talk, I was one of 10 Ambassadors that had the opportunity to interview the brothers. This was a bit chaotic and far less informative than previous interviews where there were only a handful of people and we actually had the chance to interact with the guests.

After the conference was over for the day, I had the chance to enjoy a special get together sponsored by FindMyPast as a thank you to their Ambassadors. 

Thursday evening was the most wonderful experience. We had the immense pleasure of listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Rogers and Hammerstein. 

Friday was a bit of a whirlwind with Ambassador interviews. I had the chance to join my business partner, Kathryn Lake Hogan for an interview with Anna Broome and Tara Claborn of This was followed by a sponsored luncheon where Glen Meakem, Founder and CEO of Forever, was the speaker. Then it was on to another interview with Kathryn. We managed to get caught up with Ben Bennett and Gail Rivett of FindMyPast. 

Friday night was the much anticipated After Party, sponsored by MyHeritage. This is always such a fun night. And a great way to wrap up a really busy week. 

Saturday was BUSY. SO BUSY. It was Family Discovery Day, where an estimated 30,000 people descended on the Salt Palace Convention Centre. There wasn't one second of down time to breathe or even to take a bathroom break. 

And then it was all over! Just like that. 

We are already planning for next year and although beyond exhausted, we are all deeply satisfied at everything we saw, heard, learned and for all of the connections that were made. 

Wednesday 8 February 2017

RootsTech Is Off To A Great Start

This week is one that genealogists look forward to all year. This week is RootsTech. The largest genealogy conference in the world, when thousands of genealogists from across the globe gather in Salt Lake City to learn, share, network and enjoy. 

Salt Palace lit up at night

The week started off in fine form tonight with the Media Dinner. This dinner is sponsored by Family Search and serves as both  welcome and a thank you from FamilySearch to the RootsTech Ambassadors. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to be chosen to use our social media channels to share our experiences with the genealogy community. 

Signs lead the way

Well over 100 RootsTech Ambassadors, Media and FamilySearch staff and volunteers gathered at the Salt Palace for an incredible meal, a chance to connect and celebrate and to get an overview of the week ahead. 

Thomas McEntee, Christine Woodcock, Dave Lambert

Team CanGen Summit - Christine Woodcock & Kathryn Lake Hogan

The In-Depth Genealogist team. 

Me and my genealogy twin

Here's to the week ahead. It will be full of opportunity, full of learning, full of networking and most of all, full of fun and celebration.

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Researching Scottish Inmate Ancestors Webinar on YouTube

A webinar held a couple of weeks ago on researching Scottish inmate ancestors, Criminals, Lunatics and Paupers, is now available on my YouTube channel. I have not monetized the channel so make no royalties or commission from any ads associated with the videos you view.

Here is the webinar: