Wednesday, 26 December 2018

2018 IN REVIEW



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

SEEKING INTEREST IN A GENEALOGY TOUR TO THE SCOTTISH BORDERS


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

Seeking Interest in a Genealogy Tour to Orkney

Do you have Orcadian 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 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

Get the Full Conference Experience - From HOME



The Scottish ViC allows you to get the full conference experience from home.

There are presentations on a scheduled basis, live Q&A and the opportunity to engage with the speakers, a virtual marketplace, a syllabus and door prizes.

You can join the Scottish ViC Facebook group to connect with others who are attending.

As a bonus, you don't need to leave your home. You don't need to travel. That means  you don't have to pay for travel or hotel. You don't have to pay for meals. You aren't wasting time at the airport or train station.

There is the opportunity to break between presentations and a longer break for lunch. Unlike a conference where you attend in person, the presentations are available for several days afterwards, so you don't have to get up early, don't have to stay up late and won't miss out on the presentations! It's a win-win-win! 



Thursday, 6 December 2018

Another New Resource for Scottish Research


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. 


Scottish Settlers to Lanark County Ontario

I recently received the GlobalGenealogy newsletter and was thrilled to see new resources for those researching their Scottish ancestors. The first is a book about the Settlers of Lanark County Ontario, later known as the Lanark Settlers. This was a huge settlement of Scottish immigrants, primarily from the lowlands of Scotland. 


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

Scottish ViC Schedule is Now Confirmed


SATURDAY JANUARY 26th 2019


The schedule of the presentations for the Scottish ViC is now confirmed.

The day will begin at 8:30 am and end at 5:30 pm. Times are eastern time.

8:30 am - Opening Keynote
                 Kevin James
The Highlander and the Lad O' Pairts: Patterns of Scottish Migration to Canada

9:40 am - Irene O'Brien, Sr Archivist, Glasgow City Archives will share the incredibly detailed information available within the Poor Law records. These records really help you to build the social story of the lives of your ancestors.

10:50 am - Margaret Fox, retired archivist, NRS, will show us the various records available within the High Court of Justiciary. The High Court records are also incredibly detailed in the information that they provide not only about your ancestor and their circumstances but also from witnesses.

Following the live Q&A with Margaret, there will be a break for you to get lunch and refresh for the afternoon sessions.

1:15 pm - Genealogist Emma Maxwell will share the amazing finds within the Sheriff Court Records, focusing on three specific subsets of these records. This presentation will make you feel as though you are privy to a personal WDYTYA episode when you see what is contained within these records.

2:10 pm - LivingDNA CoFounder David Nicholson will give a comprehensive overview of LivingDNA and how the test can not only show your ethnicity to Scotland but to specific regions of Scotland, helping you narrow down which McDonalds might actually be yours.

3:00 pm - NLS Enquiries Assistant Elaine Brown will show us how to make the skeleton of your ancestors' lives dance by supplementing the civil records with the vast Family History Resources within the NLS holdings. Again, the details contained within the records can be astounding.

4:15 pm - Genealogy Educator Christine Woodcock will share some Online Resources for Scottish Research including some of the less well known websites where you can learn more about your Scottish ancestors. We will look at websites for specific locations, occupations, social history and more.

The day will wrap up by 5:30 pm

Registration allows access to the presentations as they become available on Saturday January 26th. This access will continue until midnight (eastern) on Thursday January 31st, 2019.

Handouts are downloadable. They will be made available a week before the conference.

The Marketplace will open on the 26th and remain open until midnight on the 31st. Look for some amazing specials.