Wednesday 25 April 2018

Are You Interested in Researching in Glasgow?

Do your Scottish ancestors hail from Glasgow, or Lanarkshire? Are you interested in researching your Scottish roots in the archives and family history societies in Scotland? 

There is ONE space left for the Glasgow 2019 tour. This will be allocated on a first come first serve basis

Looking for more information? Here's the link:

Monday 23 April 2018

Join Us on a Celtic Cruise!

There is still space available on the Celtic  Genealogy Cruise. I am working with service providers to get people the opportunity to go to their ancestor’s churches, graves or homes that might be near any of the ports we dock in. These will be personalized tours. I am hoping these will be available in Dublin, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh. This would be in place of research time since we are only in port for a day. Watch this space for updates in that regard. 

The cruise gives you a chance to visit your ancestral homeland by sea, much like your ancestors did. Pre-cruise training is available now to help you be prepared for your time in the research centres. For those not interested in genealogy, but interested in the cruise and visiting the ports we dock at, we would love to have you along with us as well. There will be lots of history, lots of scenery and loads of fun. 

If you are interested in the Cruise but not quite sure, you may want to join the Celtic Genealogy Cruise Interest group in Facebook: 

To book your cabin, the down payment is 20% of the cabin fees. Fees include taxes. The balance is due in April 2019. Terri can work with you on a payment plan to help your budget. Here's the link to book:

It's Almost Time!

I will be heading to Scotland in just over a week to meet with my two tour groups, one in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow. Ahead of both tours, I will be in spending the weekend in Inverary.

As always, I will be blogging daily while I am in Scotland. You can follow my time there through this blog and enjoy a virtual visit to your ancestral homeland.

Sign up to get new posts to your email inbox. 

Friday 20 April 2018

Last Few Hours to Register!

Looking for help to research your Irish Ancestors that came from Scotland? Look no further. Join us for the Irish ViC (virtual conference) TOMORROW, April 21. Learn from experts in the comfort of your home. Relax, listen and be energized to further your Irish research

Fintan Mullan provides a raft of opportunities for finding your Scottish ancestors who were enticed to the Plantations of Ulster in the 1600s. 

Gillian Hunt shares the treasure trove of information available in the various church records in Ireland. She doesn't limit her talk to just church of Ireland but covers all of the churches. So many opportunities to find your Irish ancestors.

Trying to learn more about your female ancestors in Ireland? Fiona Fitzsimons shows how it is possible to re-create the social history of women by consulting various documents. This is one presentation you won't want to miss!

Confused about Irish Land records? Chris Paton will help you make sense of it all. A great resource for Irish research.

Can't get to Ireland to research your Irish ancestors? No worries, Maurice Gleeson helps you find as much as you can from the comfort of home by sharing online resources for you to consult.

Following each presentation, the presenter will be available in the Irish ViC Facebook group to answer any questions that you might have on the information that they have presented.


Monday 16 April 2018

FREE Genetic Testing for Adoptees!

At RootsTech, MyHeritage launched their new venture, DNA Quest. This is a Pro-Bono service to provide adoptees free DNA kits. Professional genetic genealogists will then work with the adoptee to reunite them with their biological families, offering emotional support as well as the genetic testing and matching. 

Initially this venture was only made available in the US but with the overwhelming response and the overwhelming request from other countries, the project is now open worldwide. 

Here is the website to apply for adoptees to apply for their free DNA kits:

Online Resources for Irish Research

Can't get to Ireland to research your Irish ancestors?

No worries, on April 21 as part of the Irish ViC (virtual conference) Maurice Gleeson helps you find as much as you can from the comfort of home by sharing online resources for you to consult. 

Not yet registered for the Irish ViC (virtual conference)? Here's the link to register: 

Sunday 15 April 2018

Using Church Records for Irish Research

Join us on April 21 for the Irish ViC (virtual conference) where Gillian Hunt shares the treasure trove of information available in the various church records in Ireland. Gillian doesn't limit her talk to just Church of Ireland but covers all of the churches. These records provide so many opportunities to find your Irish ancestors. 

Not yet registered for the Irish ViC? Here's the link:

Saturday 14 April 2018

Discovering Irish Land Records Irish ViC

Counties? Parishes? Townlands? Confused about Irish Land records? 

Join us on April 21 for the Irish ViC (virtual conference) where Chris Paton will help make sense of it all.

Not yet registered? Here’s the link:

Sunday 8 April 2018

The Irish ViC is Just a Fortnight Away!

Moorshead Magazine is offering 25% off all of their special issue magazines for ViC attendees. This includes the pre-ordering of the the yet to be released Irish Research Issue authored by Maurice Gleeson. The issue will be available May 1.

Global Genealogy is offering a 20% discount on all purchases made during the ViC. They are the North American distributors for Chris Paton's books. He has authored several on Irish Research.

Check out all of the great resources to assist you in preserving your family history with Shop the Hound

One lucky recipient will win a FREE annual subscription to Findmypast!

Photo preservation, conversion from slides, movies, photos to digital, guaranteed storage with guaranteed privacy. Check everything that Forever has to offer to family historians.

The market place will open next week. Presentations will be released one at a time throughout the day according to the schedule below. Q & A opportunities will be available through the Facebook group where the presenters will be available directly following their presentations.

The ViC takes place on April 21, but you will have access to the presentations and hand outs until midnight (eastern) on April 24th so that you can go back and revisit the presentations as many times as you need This also allows you flexibility in the event you can't dedicate the whole day, or for those in the Southern Hemisphere who will be able to watch during actual waking hours. The Facebook group will remain open and if you are not able to access the live Q & A, you can read through the questions that were asked by others.


9:00 - Fintan Mullan presents Finding 17th Century Families in Ireland

10:15 - Gillian Hunt presents Using Church Records for Irish Genealogy Research

11:30 - Fiona Fitzsimons presents Finding Women in the Irish Records

12:30 - break

1:00 - Chris Paton presents Using Irish Land Records for Genealogy Research

2:15 - Maurice Gleeson presents Making Online Resources Work for You


Friday 6 April 2018


One of the most exciting parts of coming to Fairfax was knowing I was going to have the opportunity to reconnect with five of my past tour participants. Four of these women were with me last spring and met one another in Glasgow. 

Sitting in the corner of the restaurant was not unlike sitting at our corner table in the hotel restaurant in Glasgow. Lots of chatter and lots of laughter. 

Patricia brought the photo book she had created of our time in the highlands. It really was a fabulous way to wander back through our days together. 

Before long, two hours had passed. Thank you. ladies for sharing your lives, your family history stories and most of all your friendship. 

Thursday 5 April 2018

Time in the Capital

Since I had a full day free, I decided to head into the Capital. The hotel provides a free shuttle to the Metro line and from there it was a 20 minute ride into the city. 

Signs of spring were evident in the newly tended gardens, and of course in the blossoms on the trees. 

Passing historic and important buildings, I was soon standing in front of the Capital Building. So often we see politicians on the steps of the Capital Building but most don't realize just how many steps there are! 

Around the back and down the stairs I was in a security line. The lines moved quickly, efficiently getting people safely into the building. Down the stairs and into throngs of people lined up for timed tours. The staff in the hall asked where I was from and when I told him "Canada" he sent me over to a reception desk to get a pass to visit the House and Senate. Over I wandered to learn that the house was closed for another 45 minutes. No problem, I went to have a bite to eat and wandered around the statues and plaques. 

Back to the desk to learn it was to be another half hour. I decided I was going to leave when the woman behind the desk decided to take me on a mini tour. Although we saw some of the same things as those on the timed tours, I was also introduced to a great many people who worked in the Capital Building. 

Finally it was time to visit the House and Senate. However, after learning that there was going to be a minimum of 90 minutes waiting in lines, I decided I wasn't interested enough to deal with crowds and was fed up standing. 

Another walk along the National Mall to the Metro Station. While I hadn't planned to spend time in the Capital Building, it was a new experience and for me. 

In many ways, Washington is like any big city. And in so many ways, it isn't. Here are some of the things I learned about Washington:
  1. It sounds just like New York. Screaming sirens and honking horns are continuous. And interestingly no one is fazed by them. 
  2. In reality, getting from Point A to Point B is always a minimum of three times further/longer than it looks.
  3. There are more police on Capital Hill than Brantford has in its entire fleet. 
  4. Some of the most impatient drivers on the planet drive here. 
  5. Regardless of the number of times you visit, there is always something new to see.

Blown Away

April is finally here and with it comes the Fairfax Genealogical Society Spring Conference. Fairfax is one of my favourties. A great group of people and a chance to get caught up with some of my genealogy peeps. This year is made all the more special because the night before the conference starts, I will be meeting up with five of my past tour participants. A mini reunion of our time in Scotland. These women have lived with me for a brief time as we have toured or researched in Scotland. They have seen me at my best. They have seen me when there have been more glitches than rewards. And they are still excited about meeting up. It's a bond few genealogists share with their consumers.

I decided to fly in a couple of days early so that I could spend a day playing tourist in the Nation's Capital. The trip to the airport was fairly uneventful. Apart from arguing with Google Maps about where exactly Park and Fly was located. 

I managed to get checked in, through security and decided food was next on the agenda. I made a valiant attempt at getting a bagel from the Great Canadian Bagel but after 10 minutes of what might have been a comedy of errors had I not been hangry, I packed in the idea and headed to the beer truck instead. 

The boarding call came, we all boarded the plane. After a few rounds of musical chairs to allow people traveling together to sit together, we were ready for our safety story. The plane was absolutely rocking on the tarmac thanks to the gale force winds. And I mean rocking. The plane backed up. Waited. Then returned to the gate. The flight deck came on to tell us we had returned because Washington had grounded all of their flights and we couldn't land due to the high winds. We were going to deplane. Cell phone notifications came in like a cacophony as all of the passengers who had signed up for alerts received notice that the flight had been rescheduled to 4 pm. 90 minutes. Fortunately I didn't have connecting flights to worry about and could finally get some real grub. 

Back to the gate and back out on the tarmac. The winds had definitely increased in their speed. As I lifted my computer bag, the wind caught it and it very nearly landed in Washington without me. I had visions of standing on a cliff in Caithness in September. Literally digging my toes into the ground so as not to land in the sea. 

Back on board. Away from the gate. Onto the runway....well, almost. We parked on the shoulder and the flight deck came on once again to say we still didn't have permission to land in Washington but she hoped to have that in fifteen minutes or so. Twenty minutes later and we were on our way down the runway. 

Have you ever stood and watched a hawk play in the wind? Up, down, left, down, up, right, down. That's what take off was like. In fairly short order we were above the worst of it and on our way to Washington. 

In what felt like no time, the recording came on to tell us to prepare our seat backs and trays for landing. Again we were through the winds. We hit a pocket of turbulence that sent us into a fairly quick drop. Our stomachs didn't follow quite as quickly. The kids on the flight broke into hysterics. Suddenly the landing had become a rollercoaster ride! 

Why do landing always take hours longer than we expect? Finally we were on the ground, at the gate and off the plane. 

And now to get ready to play tourist.