Wednesday 26 December 2018
As 2018 comes to a close and 2019 begins to dawn, it is time to take a look back over the past year. Although it was less busy than 2017, I still managed to pack quite a bit in.
January was the first ever Scottish ViC. This was the first virtual conference dedicated to Scottish research and turned out to be an amazing day of learning. The day flew past and attendees were delighted with the amount of information that was shared.
February saw me #NotatRootsTech and before it was over, I had my hotel booked for 2019. It is a huge expense and a full week of non stop activity. But boy did I miss the chance to connect with my peeps.
March was a fairly quiet month as I moved from my home of 24 years into a smaller place with less yard. However, I still managed to present to the Uxbridge Genealogy Group. What a great night with a great group of people.
April was the start, for me, of the conference circuit as I headed to Washington DC for the Fairfax Genealogical Society's Conference. In addition to presenting 4 talks on Scottish research, I managed to re-connect with previous tour participants.
May was the annual Genealogy Tour to Scotland, with two back to back tours. The first was in Edinburgh and the second was in Glasgow. I had repeat participants in each tour as well as three people who were in both tours. It was an amazing experience.
June was the launch of the Virtual Genealogical Association, moderating three webinars a month.
June and July saw me at home more, which allowed me to get back to my love of creating family memory books and helping others to do the same.
August was another busy time with conferences. First up was the Celtic Connections Conference in Boston. This one was so much fun. I managed to get to Saugus Iron Works where many of the Scottish Prisoners of War from Dunbar were indentured.
Immediately after the Celtic Connections Conference, I was off to Philadelphia for a "mini" institute. The ISBGFH partnered with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to provide a week of genealogy learning. Each day saw a different topic: DNA, Scottish, Irish and English. This was my first time in Philly and I was completely taken with the history.
September saw me off to Denver to deliver a Seminar for the WISE Colorado Group. Another fantastic group of people.
The fall has been busy with webinars for the ISBGFH as well as helping others to create family memory books. I have enjoyed being home more but definitely missed not going back to Scotland with a fall tour.
On top of the bigger activities and events, I edited newsletters, held webinars, wrote articles, blogged and planned future tours and webinar series.
I am already looking forward to all of the amazing opportunities to share my passion for Scottish genealogy and preserving family history in 2019.
Saturday 22 December 2018
Do You Have BORDERS Roots?
Last month, I sent out a poll asking people about specific localized regions that might be of interest for a future genealogy tour. In addition to the three choices I listed, people were invited to let me know where THEY might like to have a tour.
Based on the results of the poll, I will be seeking interest in three specific areas for a future tour. Like the Highland tour, these will likely be a one-off rather than ongoing.
The second place that came through with strong interest was the Borders. If I get enough interest, I will organize a tour for 2020.
The main archives are in Hawick where there is a ScotlandsPeople Hub. Accommodations in Hawick are somewhat limited so we would likely stay in Melrose as our base. The Borders Family History Society is located in Galashiels.
This research trip is specific to the Borders region – the counties of: Berwickshire, Peebleshire, Selkirkshire and Roxburghshire. It does NOT include Dumfries and Galloway or the Solway Coast.
In addition to research time, I would offer the opportunity to see the major points of interest in the Borders: Sir Walter Scott’s Courtroom and his home, Abbotsford, Melrose, Jedburgh or Dryburgh Abbies, The Textile Towerhouse. There would also be time to spend a day or half day wandering around the towns associated with the Borders – Kelso, Roxburgh, Melrose, Selkirk and Peebles.
The tour would likely be a week in length. Getting to and from Melrose would be the tour participant's responsibility.
If you have an interest in researching, or indeed just touring the Borders, let me know and if I get enough interest, I will begin the planning process. I would need about 12-14 people to make this work.
Monday 17 December 2018
Do you have Orcadian roots?
Based on the results of the poll, I will be seeking interest in three specific areas for a future tour. Like the Highland tour, these will likely be a one-off rather than ongoing.
The first place that came through with strong interest was Orkney. If I get enough interest, I will organize a tour for May 2020.
The days are 18 hours long in Orkney in May, with several hours of twilight after sundown. The main archives are in Kirkwall, so that would be our base. The Orkney Family History Society is located within the Archives.
In addition to research time, I would offer the opportunity to see the major points of interest on Mainland Orkney: Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar Standing Stones, Stenness Standing Stones and the Italian Chapel. There would also be time to spend a day or half day wandering along the streets of Stromness where the HBC ships recruited men to work at York Factory in Manitoba. And of course, plenty of time to visit Kirkwall where the magnificent St Magnus Cathedral is dominant.
The tour would likely be a week in length. Getting to and from Kirkwall would be the tour participant's responsibility.
If you have an interest in researching, or indeed just touring Orkney, let me know and if I get enough interest, I will begin the planning process. I would need about 10-12 people to make this work.
Thursday 13 December 2018
Thursday 6 December 2018
In my last post I alluded to more than one new resource. And here it is! Another new book about Scots who initially settled in along the Ottawa Valley in Ontario but then migrated to Utah after converting to Latter Day Saints. Their travel takes them through Nauvoo Illinois, Council Bluffs Iowa and then along the Mormon Trail.
There are several surnames listed in the book's 32 page index as well as some 50 family tree charts contained within the book.
Click here for the index showing the surnames listed within the book.
And click the link to GlobalGenealogy where the book can be purchased in either print or PDF formats. Global ships internationally.
The book is entitled Narrative of a Voyage to Quebec and the Journey from Thence to New Lanark in Upper Canada
Several ships brought these settlers into Ontario with the largest groups coming in 1821 and 1822. The book gives a first hand account by one John McDonald. Interestingly, I read a first hand account of the passage across the sea by the same John McDonald when I was in the National Records of Scotland in May of this year. 9 days of rough seas and seasickness. I honestly can't imagine. I suffered seasickness for 2 hours and was ready for the knackerman.
McDonald gives a bit of a negative spin based on his own experiences, but given that his writings were contemporarily written, give a wonderful insight into the settlement scheme which allowed Scots to have land - something that never would have been a possibility had they remained in Scotland. The settlement itself was very successful and the book shows us the obstacles that the new settlers faced when they arrived in Ontario (then Upper Canada).
The book is available in print or PDF download from GlobalGenealogy. Global ships internationally.
Sunday 2 December 2018
Tuesday 13 November 2018
Didn't win? No worries. Here are some other giveaway contests to enter:
When you get to RootsTech, look for me in the RootsTech app and let's connect!
Monday 12 November 2018
The app allows you to view the conference schedule, familiarize yourself with the speakers, make a list of vendors and exhibitors to visit in the Expo Hall. The app also allows you to connect with others who are attending the conference.
The RootsTech mobile app is a great way for you to keep up to date with all that is happening before and during the conference. It will become your "go-to" to keep you organized and on schedule when you are at the conference.
If you have a previous version of the app, you can simply update. If this is your first time, head to your app store for either iOS or Android and download. Play around and get familiar with the app before the conference.
Look for me in the attendees list and let's connect!
See you in Salt Lake City for the largest family history conference, February 27th- Mar 2, 2019.
Saturday 10 November 2018
At age 5, Saroo was sent from India to Australia where he was adopted. His adoptive mother helped to keep his memories alive and as he got older, Saroo used Google Earth to remember his homeland and other technology to eventually reunite with his birth family.
This promises to be a talk that will require hankies and it is most likely that there won't be a dry eye in the house as we listen to Saroo's riveting story of finding his family of origin. Here is a sneak peak:
To register for RootsTech: https://www.rootstech.org/
Friday 9 November 2018
As with any conference, there will be a marketplace where vendors will offer products or services will assist family historians with their research.
The registration fees are just $99 canadian, which translates to about $65 usd.
Wednesday 31 October 2018
As an Ambassador for RootsTech in 2019, I get the honour of giving away a four day pass to the event!
As a prize winner, you will get a FREE 4 day pass allowing you access to:
- over 300 sessions
- Keynote and General Session
- An AMAZING exhibition hall
- evening events
All you have to do to win is enter the draw! Simply navigate over to the right hand side of this webpage and find the header ROOTSTECH PASS GIVEAWAY. Enter your name and email address and then cross your fingers!
Prize will be drawn November 12, 2018.
Saturday 20 October 2018
Wednesday 17 October 2018
The Scottish ViC is the only virtual conference dedicated to Scottish genealogy. It can be attended from anywhere in the world. Access to the presentations remains open for 5 days to allow for time zone challenges so that people can watch during normal waking hours.
I started the ViC after attending several talks and conferences with my tour groups in Scotland. What I learned most from these presentations was that the information shared by the speakers was far different than the information shared, perhaps by those very same presenters, when they are in North America. Clearly the needs of the researchers are different. Thus the focus is different.
However, most of the people who have been on a tour with me, especially those who have been repeat participants, need a different focus in their learning as well. And they are not alone. Loads of people researching their Scottish ancestors can benefit from the different focus. The most practical way to make that happen was to bring the presentations to them. Thus the birth of the ViC.
I value my relationships with my colleagues in Scotland. Many have become friends. I am grateful that they are willing to help me to help others learn about researching their Scottish ancestors. I know what goes into a presentation. Hours of work. Writing, creating a powerpoint, finding just the right graphic, knowing how much information each slide should warrant, editing, practicing and promoting. It was a no-brainer for me that I would pay my colleagues for their willingness to share their knowledge, for their time and for their talents.
We have become so used to everything being free in the genealogy world that we forget the work involved behind the scenes. So many want to advance their research and their learning without having to pay for doing so. It's the only profession and one of the few hobbies where free is the expected norm.
I am not a millionaire. And so, to be able to provide a high quality program, to recoup some of the payments made (for the presentations, for the handouts and for taking the time to be available for a live Q&A) and for a fraction of the cost of the webinar platform, I need to charge a fee. I see no shame in that. None.
What I do find puzzling is why some people find it offensive to be asked to pay for a conference. They wouldn't balk for an in-person conference, so why do they balk at paying for a virtual conference? The presenters still have to work to put the presentations together. The benefit is that virtual conferences are an absolute bargain for anyone attending. No travel, no accommodation, no meals, no time away from family, work, or other obligations. Even on the day. If you need to leave for a couple of hours, you can pick the presentations up again when you get back. It's a win-win. I'd love to have you join us at the Scottish ViC!
Thursday 4 October 2018
I love my cousins. And I sure have lots of them. So much of my childhood and early adulthood was spent in their company. Weekend visits, family birthdays, holiday dinners, vacations. My mum and two of her sisters lived close by. One aunt was a block away, the other about 20 minutes away. Rarely a day went by when I didn't have cousins around.
My mum's cousin lived an hour away. Those visits were extra special because we got the whole weekend together. Summers were spent together as aunts, uncles and Granny came from Scotland to visit. And then our week at the cottage. Mum and dad rented a cottage from our neighbours and EVERYONE showed up at some point. Sometimes for the duration.
As we got older, we tended to go our separate ways. And with parents aging we have had the chance to re-connect. Two years ago, I reconnected with my cousins who moved out west. It was like we had never been apart. Spending time with them is my happy place. Mostly for the laughter and the shared memories.
Two weeks ago, I was at a Celebration of Life for an uncle. And had a chance to re-connect with other cousins. Although the event was sad, the time together wasn't. We spent lots of time looking at old photos and recalling times spent together as kids.
Really, once people leave our lives, all that we have left are the memories. I am so incredibly blessed to have shared memories with my cousins. I love my cousins.
Tuesday 2 October 2018
While the saying "away with the fairies" actually refers to someone who is not quite right in the head, or off in La-La land, the belief in and fear of fairies has led to the Scots being one of the most superstitious group of people, perhaps on the planet.
I always understood my dad's logic "if I see you do that again, I'll knock you into next week" My mum's logic was far less rational and rife with superstitious beliefs. No real explanation was offered, just the fear of death if I didn't comply.
This is a key component of any hogmanay celebration. A dark haired man was thought to bring good luck. In fact, it is more likely that one didn't want a fair haired, fair skinned man walking through the door as that was a throw back to the days of the Viking invasions and one certainly didn't want a Viking coming through the door.
A gift of a wallet, purse or piggy bank was always to be accompanied by a coin to ensure that the receiver of the gift would not suffer money woes. An empty wallet might invite debt or loss of income.
The list of superstitious beliefs goes on and on. It really is a wonder I am not a full blown neurotic.
Monday 1 October 2018
https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2018/10/01/national-family-history-month/) it does allow us to focus our thoughts and celebrations on our ancestors during the month of October.
Family History month in Ontario coincides with Foster Family Recognition week. Which is all that is left of what used to be Family Awareness month. In the late 1980s, all of the 1990s and most of the first decade of the millennium, October was a month to celebrate families. Attractions offered special events, cities proclaimed the recognition for family awareness and many of their recreation departments offered events for families to attend together. The OACAS (Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies) declared a Foster Parent Recognition week during October to celebrate the special role that these families have in the raising of the province's children. That then evolved into Child Abuse Awareness Month.
Then along came Dalton McGuinty, Premiere of Ontario from 2003-2013. A number of groups were lobbying for a statutory holiday between Christmas and Easter, to break up the long, cold hibernation of Ontario winters. McGuinty caved in 2008 and in doing so, called the day "Family Day" That then stopped Family Awareness Week in October. The new stat holiday was set aside as a day for families to spend time together. Snow-tubing, skiing, or simply shovelling.
While the focus on time spent as a family shifted from a full week in October to a single day in February, that hasn't stopped any of us from focusing on families or family history at other times during the year.
In North America most family history/genealogy societies to continue to focus on family history during the month of October - after the relaxation and time spent with family in the summer, and before the rush of the Christmas season.
I will continue to do the same.
In October in Canada, we have the added focus on Thanksgiving, a day in which families often come together. Time spent at fall fairs, visiting apple orchards and pumpkin patches or gathered around the dinner table. Unlike the US Thanksgiving, our holiday was created to celebrate and be thankful for the harvest. Not on the arrival of pilgrims. And since most Scots descend from farmers, this is also a fitting time for Canadians of Scots descent to celebrate and give thanks for their Scottish ancestor(s) grasping the opportunity to enjoy a better life in a new land.
What about you? How are you honouring and celebrating your family - past and present - this month?
Thursday 27 September 2018
Reflecting back on my 7 years in the Ancestral Tourism business I have been so blessed. Blessed to be able to share my homeland with others in the diaspora. Blessed to be able to facilitate them learning more of their own story by uncovering the stories of their Scottish ancestors. Blessed and humbled to hear and see the emotions evoked when people have visited homes, graves, churches of their ancestors. But most importantly, blessed to be able to facilitate a deep connection to and love of Scotland in other members of the Scots Diaspora.
If you have Scottish ancestry, consider giving yourself the gift of a lifetime, a gift of rootedness, a gift of feeling whole. Join me in Glasgow for a genealogy research tour with opportunities to research at the Mitchell Library, the Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society and the Lanarkshire Family History Society.
For more information: https://www.genealogytoursofscotland.ca/glasgow-2019.html
Friday 21 September 2018
For more info: https://www.genealogytoursofscotland.ca/home.html
Thursday 20 September 2018
February will be here before we know it. And along with February comes....ROOTSTECH! I am thrilled to once again be both an Ambassador and Speaker at RootsTech.
Although it still feels like it is months away, it really isn't. Before we know it, we will be giving thanks, celebrating Christmas and the new year will be upon us. Before the rush of the season begins, take time to look at the schedule and make your selection of classes to attend.
Earlybird registration ends October 12th, so take advantage of the savings as well.
Click to REGISTER
Now start planning who to catch up with, what vendors to visit and what you are going to need to pack.
Tuesday 4 September 2018
Roughly half of the men imprisoned in the Cathedral died in captivity. Two mass graves containing the bones of some of these men was uncovered in November 2013. More about these men can be found on here: https://www.dur.ac.uk/archaeology/research/projects/europe/pg-skeletons/
The rest of the prisoners were sold or transported to the colonies. The first 150 of these men were taken to London where they boarded the Unity and made their way to Boston Mass. 62 of the 150 men were indentured to the Saugus Iron Works.
These Scottish prisoners were instrumental in the birth of the Iron and Steel industries in North America. For the most part, they were well treated, being given housing, food, beer, clothing and tobacco. Most of the men worked as wood cutters. After the closing of the Iron Works, some of the men went north to Maine where they worked in saw mills.
Saturday 1 September 2018
Seven presentation for $99. All presentations will be available from January 26th, when they are released on a timed schedule until January 31st at midnight (eastern) to allow for time zone challenges.