Wednesday 29 May 2019

Just TWO Spaces Left for September 2020 Edinburgh Research Tour

The very popular Edinburgh research tour is almost FULL with just TWO spaces left. This is the second Edinburgh Tour for 2020, and takes place Sept 13-19, 2020, just ahead of the Scottish Borders Tour.
The Edinburgh tour allows research at The ScotlandsPeople Centre, the National Archives, the National Library and the Scottish Genealogy Society. Each of these facilities have records for the whole of Scotland, making Edinburgh the ideal location for researching your Scottish ancestors.
As with all of the Genealogy Tours of Scotland, this tour will fill on a first come first serve basis and then will be closed, ending the opportunity for taking part. 

Monday 27 May 2019


This is the last opportunity for the Orkney Research Tour May 24 - 31, 2020. 

I have two spaces left for research (non researchers are welcome and do not take away from the research spaces available). However, the hotel is releasing the two remaining rooms TOMORROW so after that I can guarantee neither space nor price.

The Orkney tour includes three full days of research at the Orkney Library, which houses both the Orkney Archives and the Orkney Family History Society. People are also welcome to head along to the Tankerness Museum in Kirkwall where there is a very large photo collection.

In addition to research, there will be two full days of sightseeing. One day on the west side of the mainland where the neolithic sites are located (Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar Standing Stones, the Stones of Stenness and Maeshowe chambered cairn).

And one day on the east side of the mainland which includes the Churchill Barriers and the Italian Chapel.

As always these two remaining spaces will go on a first come, first serve basis.

This tour is a once in a lifetime and will NOT be repeated in future years. 

Saturday 25 May 2019

Ancestral Tourism Fosters Kinship

One of the lovely by-products of an ancestral tour is the kinship. In almost every single group I have led, two strangers leave as friends, and remain friends long after the tour ends. They share research stories, life stories and support each other in ways I never could have imagined. 

I, too, have been incredibly blessed by kinship. Tour participants return on future tours or return to Scotland on their own and contact me to share their experiences. They have become friends and I never could have imagined how enriched my life has become as a result. 

We are all kin in that we are part of the larger Scottish diaspora. We are kin because we share a hunger to uncover as much as we can about our Scottish ancestors and to embrace our Scottish heritage. And we are kin because we have shared time together in our ancestral homeland. Researching, sightseeing, learning and bonding. 

I truly do have the best job in the world. 

Thursday 23 May 2019

A Busy Week of Research

It is almost impossible to believe that today was our last day of research together. The weeks seems to have flown by. 

On Monday, the group was divided into two smaller groups for research at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society. Again, each tour participant was paired up with a volunteer to start digging into different strategies for discovering their family history in the West of Scotland area. 

Tuesday was our first full day at the Glasgow City Archives. We were given an overview of the records by Dr Irene O'Brien, senior archivist at the GCA. Then some of the participants went to the registrar to consult the ScotlandsPeople database and the rest of the group had the amazing opportunity to consult original records. What a fantastic experience that is! 

Wednesday saw a return to the Mitchell to once again consult original records at the archives, or to consult the ScotlandsPeople database. Some also went across the corridor to consult the special collections held at the Mitchell. 

On Wednesday evening, we enjoyed dinner together as a group. We walked down to the Buttery where we enjoyed a lovely meal and a nice, relaxed evening. It was a wonderful respite from a very busy week, and a chance for us to enjoy each other's company. 

Today we were back at the Mitchell with most using the ScotlandsPeople database until that department closed, then moving over to the archives. In the evening, we went to listen to a talk about the maps that are held at the Mitchell. We also learned about the changes to Glasgow over the last couple of hundred years as they are shown in the series of maps held by the library. Again, being able to consult original records was a wonderful experience. 

Tomorrow is our last breakfast together, then we are off on separate adventures. Some are heading to Europe or England, some are heading to meet up with family and others are staying to explore more of their ancestral homeland. I will be heading back home. I will be taking new information and new documents with me as well as a better understanding of the world my great grandfather grew up in. I will once again be sharing the news about the richness of the resources available for genealogy research in Scotland.
And while I will be taking back some wonderful memories, I will be forever blessed by the relationships that were developed during our time together as a research group. 

Monday 20 May 2019

Govan Old Stones

I have been a supporter of the Govan Stones for a number of years now. Last night, there was an open house of sorts including a couple of talks, so we headed over to Govan from the Necropolis. The Govan Old Church is generally open for a couple of hours in the afternoon, so having the opportunity to show the stones to the tour participants was an added bonus. 

Glasgow Necropolis

Yesterday afternoon, the group enjoyed a guided tour of the Glasgow Necropolis. The cemetery was planned and financed by the Merchant's House of Glasgow. Architects David Hamilton and John Bryce designed other parts of the cemetery. 

The Necropolis is to the east of the Cathedral and houses 50,000 bodies. Only about 3500 graves have headstones and there are 32 mausoleums. Architect Alexander Thomson designed many of the tombs.

The Necropolis is a "Who's Who" of Glasgow's elite as well as some of Scotland's elite. Some of the key players in Scottish history have monuments here but are buried elsewhere. 

Sunday 19 May 2019

Edinburgh Tour 2020 30% THIRD FULL

SEPTEMBER 13-19, 2020

The ever popular Edinburgh research tour is already 30% FULL. This is the second tour that was added for 2020, and takes place Sept 13-19, 2020, just ahead of the Scottish Borders Tour.

The Edinburgh tour allows research in National Records. The ScotlandsPeople Centre, the National Archives, the National Library and the Scottish Genealogy Society all have records for the whole of Scotland, making Edinburgh the ideal location for researching your Scottish ancestors.

As with all of the Genealogy Tours of Scotland, this tour will fill on a first come first serve basis and then will be closed, ending the opportunity for taking part. 

Saturday 18 May 2019


image courtesy of

How fun and exciting is THIS news? From Mayflower400: 

Mayflower 400 UK have today announced the launch of the Mayflower Self-Guided Tours app, an innovative and informative free app that provides users with easy to follow self-guided tours of the UK towns, cities and villages connected to the Mayflower.

App users will enjoy free, guided walks and driving tours of each of the villages, towns and cities connected to the Mayflower, which include Plymouth, Southampton, Rotherhithe, Dartmouth (Devon), Harwich (Essex), Boston (Lincolnshire), Scooby & Babworth (Nottinghamshire), Austerfield  and Doncaster, Immingham (North East Lincolnshire), Gainsborough (Lincolnshire), Worcestershire and Leiden (Holland).

The app makes use of GPS to notify users of nearby places of interest, allowing visitors to follow in the footsteps of the Mayflower Pilgrims and explore all the stops on the Mayflower trail at their own pace, learning about the history of the Pilgrims journey through England and Holland and their final voyage on the Mayflower.

Charles Hackett, Chief Executive Officer - Mayflower 400 comments: “We've launched the app in the build-up to the Mayflower 400 anniversary year to help visitors get the best possible experience from visiting the sites that tell the stories of the Pilgrims' origins. The app has been designed to take people on a Mayflower journey, telling the stories behind the places the Pilgrims were from and where and why they travelled.

“It will help people to discover iconic places on the Mayflower trail - including the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth and the famous Mayflower Pub on the cobbled streets of London as well as sharing the stories of the Separatists including Brewster, Bradford and Clifton in their home towns and villages. There are excellent tour guides across the Mayflower destinations who can provide personal informative and insightful guided tours that really bring the story to life – the app provides visitors with the opportunity to take a tour in their own time.”

The Mayflower Self-Guided Tours app also offers access to each of the walking guides offline, so that users can take the tours in their own time and in any order. To download the free Mayflower self-guided tours app to your device, visit  

What a fabulous way for a family, couple, individual or small group of friends to enjoy the rich history of the Mayflower story as well as the Mayflower400 events!!

East End Walking Tour

This afternoon, we went to the Glasgow Women's Library for a guided walking tour of the East End of Glasgow. The tour was incredibly informative and rich in history, highlighting the role of women in Glasgow's history. The tour also helped us to put the lives of our Glasgow ancestors into perspective and to help us understand the times in which they were living. 

The external walls of the elevator are decorated with book titles

Domestic school for girls

Drying Green at Glasgow Green where women would
take their washing to dry

Old Central Police Station

Glasgow Tardis

Sir Billy

Learning about the Saracen Head
We ended our tour at the Weaver's Cemetery on Abercrombie Street.  

Martyr's Memorial

The Glasgow Women's Library walking tours are wonderful opportunities to learn more about the women who played important roles in the history of not only Glasgow but also of Scotland. The tours are also a great way to support the work of the library. 

Thank you to our incredible tour guides: 

Mary-Alice, Sue, Kristin and Beverly

Lanarkshire Research

Friday was our first full day together and we hit the road running. We headed into Motherwell by train where we went to the North Lanarkshire Archives. Here, the full group were given an overview of the collections and then it was time to "hit the books". 

Half of the group stayed to research in original records and the other half walked over to the Lanarkshire Family History Society. We started our time with tea, then each participant was paired up with a volunteer and the research began in earnest. 

At 1:00, it was switch over time with the two groups trading places. The morning group started their time at the Family History Society not with tea, but with lunch. Then, once again, each participant was paired up with a volunteer and they were off and running.