Wednesday 31 January 2018

Staying Connected to the Pages You “Like”

Facebook has once again changed the algorithms that determine what shows up in your news feed. The gurus have decided that if one of your posts sparks a debate and gets lots of comments then you must want to see more of that. So the algorithms will be pushing posts from your friends and family to the forefront of your news feed and the pages that you like will be pushed down on the list.

The change has been, once again, to regulate the big corporations that use free Facebook feeds as an advertising avenue. So companies, corporations etc will be way down in your postings. Facebook doesn’t want you spending lots of time on shopping sites, travel sites etc. They want you to like the free stuff from friends and family. In many ways this feels like a return to the mundane and mindlessness that was once Facebook. But you can still have control over what pops up in your feed. Here’s how:

From your home page, go to the top right corner and look for the little down arrow next to the big ? mark in a circle:

Click on the arrow and scroll toward the bottom of the drop down menu to the line that says “News Feed Preferences”

Click on that line and at that top of the page that opens you will see “Prioritize who to see first” 

Click on that and everyone and everything you follow. Simply click on the things you want showing up in your newsfeed then click the blue box that says “DONE”   

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Virtual Conferences - Are They the Way of the Future?


Conferences are an important learning experience. They bring like minded people together. They give us the chance to learn from the best in the biz. They give us new energy, new ideas and show us new resources. 

But conferences are expensive. Not the registration fees. They tend to be quite reasonable. But for most of us, we have to add in travel costs, accommodation costs, time away from work, family, friends. 

I have some incredibly talented colleagues in Scotland. I've had the pleasure of listening to them and have always learned from the experience. Even when their talk is on a topic I already know. They bring a different perspective or a different strategy and from that comes the learning.

I have been very fortunate that three of my tour groups have been in Scotland when the Scottish Association of Family History Societies were holding their annual conference. And I have also been fortunate that two other groups were in Scotland when the Scottish Genealogy Society was holding their monthly meetings. The experience has been one I've wanted to replicate for other people who are researching from afar. 

And this weekend, it happened! 80 people learned from five speakers on five topics pertaining to Scottish genealogy. We gathered together around our computers. Listened to a presentation, then there was a flurry of interaction while questions were asked and answered. Then it was on to the next presentation. The day flew by.  

The day was exhausting in that our minds were overflowing. But the day was incredibly energizing in that our minds were overflowing. New ideas, new resources, new strategies. And best of all, we were all in our comfy clothes, tea, coffee or hot cocoa in a mug and if we had to leave for a few minutes, no one was being disturbed in their learning. If we didn't want to hear the questions, we could pass that by and not feel like we were being rude to the speaker. 

The ViC included a virtual marketplace with vendors and exhibitors showing us how their products or services could enhance our genealogy research and not once did we have to stand in line. 

The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. It has helped me to realize that virtual conferences are a great way of moving forward. Less expense, less disruption to our lives and still an incredible learning experience. 

Here's some of the feedback:

What about YOU? Would you be willing to attend a virtual conference? Let me know in the comments below

Dundee Industrial Schools Admission Indexes

Between 1855 and 1916, the Dundee Industrial Schools took in children from all over the country. The Admission Indexes are available online at:

These are listed alphabetically and are also separated into Boys and Girls. The information provided includes:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Birthplace
  • Residence
  • Admission Date
  • Father's Name 
  • Mother's Name

The lists and fully downloadabe and  can be found at:

Monday 29 January 2018


I have received quite a bit of interest in a Glasgow tour for 2019. As such, I have put a tour together for May 16-24th, 2019. May 16th is the day of arrival and May 24th is check out. 

Bookings are open now. 

Here is the link for more information. Please also note that air travel or travel from the airport to the hotel are not included. 

Saturday 27 January 2018

Place Names Around Grantown-on-Spey

Scottish genealogist, Chris Halliday, has just released his new book:

'Place Names Around Grantown-on-Spey'. 

Over 1000 place names and walks, many not on current Ordnance Survey maps covering Grantown and the parish of Cromdale, Inverallan and Advie.

The book can be purchased on Amazon

Friday 26 January 2018

Announcing the Irish ViC - virtual conference!

For those with Scottish ancestors who crossed the water to Ireland for a generation or two, I have organized an Irish ViC (virtual conference). 

Five speakers, five topics: 

Making Irish Online Sources Work for You, presented by Maurice Gleeson
Sources for Finding Seventeenth Century Families in Ireland, presented by Fintan Mullan
Using Church Record for Irish Family History, presented by Gillian Hunt
Finding Women in the Irish Records, presented by Fiona Fitzsimons
Finding Your Irish Ancestors in Scotland, presented by Chris Paton

All five presentations for $79cad

Register HERE

Thursday 25 January 2018

Discounted Deposit for Celtic Cruise

Princess is Having a Sale!

Princess cruise lines has just announced that from today until January 30th, they have reduced the required deposit to just $100usd ($125cad). That's all it takes to book your cabin! Final payment for the balance of your cruise is not due until February 1, 2019 - a full year from now! And Terri will happily work out a payment plan for you so that you don't have to panic between the time of your deposit and the time your full payment is due.

Ports of Call:

Dublin - research and consultations
Belfast - consultations
Glasgow - research
Inverness - research
Edinburgh - research

We also have shore excursions in the works for Dublin (The Emigration Museum), Belfast (The Titanic Centre), Glasgow (Loch Lomond), Inverness (Culloden) and Edinburgh (Outlander Day, Historic Walking Tour, Shopping or sightseeing on the Royal Mile) for those who won't be researching or consulting in these ports.

Thursday 18 January 2018

Limited Cabin Space for International Travelers

We have had a great deal of interest in the Celtic Genealogy Cruise and already have some bookings. We are delighted with the interest, but wanted to share some limitations to help you as you ponder and plan for the cruise.

We have secured a block of cabins and the cruise line has given us a group discount. As stated previously, once those cabins sell out, any additional cabins will be at the current market rate at the time we ask for the additional rooms. We are not there yet, so no need to panic.

However, we have a small number of cabins specifically for Canadian travelers that are offered in Canadian dollars. Once those are gone, they are gone.

We also were able to secure 5 cabins for international travelers - those from outside of North America. Once those go we can not get any more this year and international travelers will need to wait until 2020 to join the cruise. We have taken a booking for one of the international cabins and have one person who is considering booking an international cabin. At this moment, we have 4 cabins left for anyone from Australia, New Zealand, Europe or other countries who wish to join the 2019 Celtic Genealogy Cruise. If you are from one of those countries, you may wish to kick your planning up a notch so as not to miss out.

Saturday 13 January 2018

Just a Fortnight to Go!

The Scottish ViC is just a fortnight away. There are only a handful of spaces left for this first ever virtual conference dedicated to Scottish genealogy research. 

We have a great line up of speakers and topics, handouts, prizes, giveaways, free credits for ScotlandsPeople and discounts from our vendors. 

The ViC is scheduled to start at 8 am eastern time on January 27th. but once you are registered, you have access to the presentations, handouts, discounts and giveaways until midnight on January 30th (est). This allows for people across the pond, and across the world to take part when they are awake and ready to learn. So, whether you are in North America, the UK, Europe, Aus, NZ or parts not mentioned,  you can still take part during normal waking hours. 

All prizes will be drawn by the vendors at the end of the first day but EVERYONE will be entered. You do not need to be online at the time to win. The vendor will contact you directly. 

If you are struggling to find your Scottish ancestor, register while there are still spaces available and learn about what records you can consult to break through those stubborn brick walls.

Tuesday 9 January 2018

Next #GenChat: Ancestral Tourism

Have you traveled to the country your ancestors were from? If not, are you interested in going? Join us for the next #genchat on Friday, January 19th to share ideas, experiences and to learn from others. Hope to see you online!

Monday 8 January 2018

Interested in a Celtic Cruise but Wavering?

Are you interested in joining the Celtic Cruise in May 2019, but still unsure? Why not join the Celtic Cruise Interest Group on Facebook. Post your questions, meet others who are interested but unsure and maybe even find a cabin mate to lower your costs!

See you online!

Sunday 7 January 2018

Researching Family in the British Isles Mini Institute

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) has partnered with the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH) to conduct a four day program of researching family in the British Isles.  ISBGFH conducts the British Institute held annually in Salt Lake City to provide week-long education by well-known genealogists on the British Isles.  On 13-16 August 2018, the ISBGFH has arranged for several presenters to provide an overview of researching British Isles topics at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.  These presentations will explore DNA, Scotland, Ireland and England research.  London based genetic genealogist Dr. Maurice Gleeson, MB, will present on DNA and Irish research, Christine Woodcock, from Genealogy Tours of Scotland, will discuss Scottish research, and Frank Southcott, President, ISBGFH, will explore the English records.

The HSP program is designed to be attended either on a given day and topic or in its entirety.  It is an in-depth overview of British Isles research and enhances attendance for those who may desire to attend the British Institute where morning instruction and afternoon independent research are conducted in the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City on a country topic.  More information is available on the British Institute at

The HSP curriculum for each day involves 4 presentations of one hour and fifteen minutes each.  Monday, 13 August 2018, Dr Gleeson, MB, will explore advances made in DNA and how it can be applied to your British Isles research.  Christine Woodcock will discuss the uniqueness of Scottish research on Tuesday, 14 August 2018.  Dr. Gleeson will return on Wednesday, 15 August 2018, to present on the ever increasing resources available on Irish research, and Thursday, 16 August 2018, Frank Southcott, will examine English genealogical resources.  

Click HERE for Course Descriptions 

The cost of the four day program will be $299.  Individual program days are available for $99 per day.  Limited consultation slots will be available on DNA, Scotland and Ireland during the program for $125 hour.  

Turning Your Family Tree into a Family Treasure In Brief Guide

January 8, 2018 | Utica, OH
EmailTerri O’Connell for contact details, review copies, photos, and an author bio.

IDG Introduces their Newest In-Brief Research Guide:
“Turning Your Family Tree into a Family Treasure” By Christine Woodcock

The In-Depth Genealogist (IDG) is pleased to present their newest in-brief research guide in the research series by writer, Christine Woodcock, entitled “An In-Brief Guide to Turning Your Family Tree into a Family Treasure”. Christine wrote the column “In Search of Your Scottish Roots” for The In-Depth Genealogist’s digital magazine, Going In-Depth. Scottish born, Canadian raised, she is a genealogy educator with an expertise in Scottish records. She enjoys sharing new resources to assist others in their quest to find and document their heritage. Christine is also a lecturer, author and blogger. She is the Director of Genealogy Tours of Scotlandand enjoys taking fellow Scots “home” to do onsite genealogy research and to discover their own Scottish heritage.

As the family historian, you have collected a cornucopia of research documents: bits of scrap paper, newspaper clippings, photos, obits, e-mails and other assorted bits of “research”. What can you do to preserve these documents and the stories they tell for future generations? Turn your family tree information into a treasured family heirloom, a family history book. In this In-Brief, Christine shares tips on how to start, develop the content, interview relatives, share your own story, and determine your book format. There are also recommended websites, publishers, and resource books within the guide.

“An In-Brief Guide to Turning Your Family Tree into a Family Treasure” is available now as a PDF ($2.75). Pre-orders of the printed laminated guide, 8.5” x 11” ($9.95 + shipping) are through The In-Depth Genealogist Store (  IDG has published fifteen guides which are all available as 4-page PDFs and laminated print versions. Subscribers to the digital magazine, Going In-Depth, receive a 10% discount on purchase of each guide. 

Saturday 6 January 2018

Join Us on a Celtic Genealogy Cruise

Our cabins on Crown Princess are reserved for the Celtic Genealogy Cruise and ready to be booked!
The cabins will be booked by genealogist and travel agent, Terri O'Connell (some of you may know Terri from the Unlock The Past Cruises or from Gena & Jean's Cruises).

The conference for learning ahead of the cruise and the shore excursions, including research trips will be booked through me.

Ports of Call:
  • Dublin
  • Belfast
  • Greenock (Glasgow)
  • Inverness
  • South Queensferry (Edinburgh) 
  • Le Havre France
  • Southampton
  • Guernsey
  • Cobh 

Terri is ready for your info. Just head to the website and click on the button that says "More Cruise Details" which is on the How it Works Page.

We anticipate filling up quickly once the cruise opens up to my general mailing list and once the blog post goes out. Once the spots are gone, any additional cabins will be subject to availability and at current market prices, not at our group booking rate.

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Celtic Genealogy Cruise!

Details are still being worked out, but the Celtic Genealogy Cruise will run May 4-16, 2019 departing from and returning to Dublin. 

Ports of Call include:

  • Dublin
  • Belfast
  • Glasgow
  • Inverness
  • Edinburgh
  • Southampton
  • Le Havre, France
  • Guernsey
  • Cobh

Research opportunities will be available in Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh. For those who don't have ancestors to research in any given port, there will be shore excursions of an historic or social historic nature. 

The focus of the Celtic Genealogy Cruise is going to be to offer research opportunities while in port. The learning that normally occurs on a genealogy cruise will take place ahead of time so that you are well prepared for your journey. 

Consultations will be available throughout the cruise. 

More details will be shared once they are confirmed.