Monday 21 December 2020

Gift Yourself This Year


You have made your lists, shopped, wrapped, delivered at a distance. Christmas is going to look very different this year. We will be shuttering this year so that we can gather next year. Again and again. 

Since we are all in a holding pattern, waiting for a glimpse of normal to return as we see the vaccines roll out, self care is more important than ever. 

Gift YOURSELF this year. Join us for learning, for the chance to gather virtually and for something we love doing to take our mind off of the anxiety of the world around us. 

The January ViC is going to be fun. It is going to provide opportunities to learn about our Scottish ancestors. It is going to show us some of the struggles that they lived through. And it is going to show us new resources for researching them. 

Gift yourself. It's called self care. And it really is important right now that we do things that bring us joy, that fulfill us and that provide a distraction from the worry. 


Tuesday 15 December 2020

Meet the Speakers for the January 2021 ViC

The next Scottish ViC virtual genealogy conference is scheduled for January 22 & 23, 2021. We begin Friday afternoon with Anne Daly taking us on a virtual tour of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. We reconvene Saturday morning for the rest of the presentations. Meet our speakers: 

Anne Daly of Mary's Meanders is passionate about Mary Queen of Scots and the drama that surrounded her throughout her life. Anne will take us on a virtual journey through the most turbulent years of Mary’s life by visiting the places that played a pivotal role in her story. Our journey begins in Mary's place of birth, Linlithgow. 

Andrew Armstrong is a Scottish genealogist based in the Scottish Borders. His specialization is family history in southern Scotland: Dumfries and Galloway, and the Borders. His interest in the Border Reivers is perhaps not surprising, given that he shares a surname with some of the most notorious Reivers who flourished in the 16th century. Andrew will be presenting on the Border Reivers. 

William Roulston has been Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation since 2006. He was awarded a PhD in Archaeology by Queen’s University Belfast in 2004. He has written and edited a number of publications on different aspects of Irish and in particular Ulster history. He is a Member of Council of the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland and is the Convener of the Reformed Presbyterian Church History Committee. William will be presenting on the Scots in Ulster 

Margaret Fox is the Archivist at Traquair House, Peeblesshire. Traquair House is Scotland's most southerly Jacobite stronghold and is also Scotland's oldest inhabited house. Prior to retirement, Margaret worked as an archivist at the National Records of Scotland. Margaret will give a fascinating presentation on the Scottish Borders Criminals in the High Court Records

Harvey Kaplan graduated MA in History at the University of Glasgow and is Director and co-founder (1987) of the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre. He has lectured locally, nationally and internationally and contributed numerous articles on Scottish Jewish history and genealogy to journals, magazines and books. The SJAC is located at Garnethill Synagogue in Glasgow. Harvey will present on the genealogical resources available through the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre 

Donna Moore has a Masters Degree in Community Learning and Development, a Masters in Gender Studies and is currently undertaking a PhD in creative writing. She facilitates creative writing workshops and GWL’s Drama Queens and loves women’s history, particularly the history of women’s suffrage. Donna will give a presentation on the Women's Suffrage Movement in Scotland and how these times might have impacted our ancestors. 

Wednesday 9 December 2020


The schedule for the January 2021 Scottish Virtual Conference is now confirmed


3:30 pm  We will have a virtual tour of the places associated with the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. These include, Linlithgow Palace, Holyrood Palace, Stirling Castle, Falkland Palace and Lochleven Palace. This will be done live and the tour will be led by Anne Daly of Mary's Meanders.

 SATURDAY  JANUARY 23                                              

9:00 am  Andrew Armstrong will teach us about the BORDER REIVERS and will give us some assistance in how to research our Border families          

10:15   William Roulston of the Ulster Historical Foundation will be presenting on the SCOTS IN ULSTER                                                        

11:30    LUNCH                           

12:15 pm  Margaret Fox will be sharing some of the stories she uncovered while researching in the High Court Records. She will share these stories of BORDERERS BEHAVING BADLY                                                   

1:45  Harvey Kaplan will be telling us about the history of the Jews in Scotland and the record collections available at the SCOTTISH JEWISH ARCHIVES. Because the ViC is on a Saturday, Harvey is unavailable to join us but has given his contact details for any questions that you would like him to address.                                                            

2:45  We round off the day with Donna Moore of Glasgow Women's Library will tell us about the WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT IN SCOTLAND 

To Register: 

*All times are Eastern Time (North America)

Saturday 5 December 2020

Scottish Virtual Conference January 2021


The next virtual conference is on January 22-23, 2021. We will be starting on the Friday afternoon again with a virtual tour of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots with Anne Daly of Mary’s Meanders. Anne is a wonderful storyteller. The tour will take us to Linlithgow Palace, where Mary was born, to Holyrood House where Mary lived and her husband was killed, Edinburgh Castle where her son James was born and Lochleven Castle where Mary was imprisoned. In addition we visit her holiday home at Falkland Palace and Stirling Castle where she was ensconced until she was 5 years old. 

Talks on Saturday include: 

  • The Border Reivers – presented by Andrew Armstrong
  • The Scots in Ulster – presented by William Roulston (this is for those who have “Scots-Irish” ancestors)
  • Borderers in the High Court Records - presented by Margaret Fox
  • An Introduction to the Scottish Jewish Archives – presented by Harvey Kaplan
  • Women’s Suffrage in Scotland – presented by Donna Moore 

To register:


Wednesday 2 December 2020

Testomonies of Transitions: Voices From the Scottish Diaspora Audio Book

Following our virtual conference on the weekend, Professor Marjory Harper has sent me the information regarding her new audio book, Testimonies of Transitions: Voices From the Scottish Diaspora. A ‘teaser’ can be watched on her YouTube channel at: 

Hearing the emigration stories in the voices of the emigrants themselves is so incredibly evocative and so much of their stories mirrored my own emigration story. 

The audio book can be purchased from Amazon at:





Sunday 15 November 2020

Changes to November ViC Schedule

The day was starting to run quite late. So, we are going to start on Friday afternoon. The Jacobite History in Edinburgh presentation will now run at 3:30 pm on Friday, Nov 27th. This is eastern time. Robert will be available afterwards to answer any questions that you might have. 

There will only be the one presentation on the Friday. Then we will gather again on Saturday and start our day at 8:30 with Gillebride MacMillan giving us a Gaelic lesson. This presentation will be live. 

Following Gillebride, we will have the presentation by Professor Marjory Harper with her wonderful presentation where we actually hear from Scots who left Scotland. 

And we round the morning off with Lorna Steele from the Highland Archive Services. 

The afternoon will begin with Alison Diamond who is the archivist for the Duke of Argyll. 

Alison will be followed by Alexander Thomson who will tell us about the Highland Scots who left Scotland through the port of Cromarty and will tell us about the ships they sailed on.

And we finish up the day with British Military expert, Paul Nixon who will help us learn more about our ancestors who were in the Scottish regiments. 

To register:

Friday 6 November 2020

Less Thank 3 Weeks to Register for Scottish ViC

Registration for the ViC ends on November 26th. That’s less than three weeks away. We have an amazing line up of presenters and topics and I am so excited to bring this level of education and talent to you

  • Gillebride MacMillan will teach us Gaelic
  • Professor Marjory Harper will share the voices of the Highland Diaspora
  • Lorna Steele will share the resources available through the Highland Archive Services
  • Sandy Thomson will tell us about the Emigrants left from the harbour at Cromarty
  • Alison Diamond give us a glimpse into the  records held within private collections and estate papers
  • Paul Nixon will help us track our Scottish ancestors who were in the military
  • Robert Howie will give us a lesson on the amazing Jacobite history of Edinburgh 

Access to the recordings are available for 6 weeks to allow you to revisit or to accommodate time zone issues. If you are on the east coast or in Aus or NZ you can join us during waking hours and return to watch the other presentations later. 

To register:


Sunday 1 November 2020

Voices from the Scottish Diaspora: Highland Emigration to Canada in the Twentieth Century


Recently I had the honour of recording the presentation that Professor Marjory Harper is presenting for the November ViC. I was mesmerized. Actually hearing the voices of those who have emigrated, I was acutely aware that so much of what they were saying mirrored my own family's emigration story. 

The ViC is just a month away. Registration for the November ViC ends on Nov 26th. This allows me to ensure everything is ready for the 28th. The syllabus will be sent out ahead of the ViC so that you can read through and prepare questions for the presenters. 

If you haven't yet registered but want to, you can do so here: 

You will have access to the presentations for 6 weeks.

Tuesday 20 October 2020


Karly Kehoe, who was going to give a talk on the Highland Scots who emigrated to Nova Scotia has had to pull out of the ViC. She is scheduled to host another conference on November 28th and will also be taking a leading role in that other organization. 

I am absolutely thrilled that I have been able to fill the open space with Professor Marjory Harper. Marjory is one of the leading authorities on Scottish emigration. 

Marjory's talk will be on Voices from the Scottish Diaspora: Highland Emigration to Canada in the Twentieth Century

There will be a change to the schedule for the day to accommodate another speaking engagement that Professor Harper has that day. 

Marjory Harper is a Professor of History at the University of Aberdeen and a senior researcher at the Centre for History, University of the Highlands and Islands. Her main research interests are in Scottish emigration. She has published 12 monographs and edited collections, and over 100 articles. Two of her books have won international prizes, including the University of Guelph’s Frank Watson Prize. Her most recent book, based on oral testimony from around 100 interviewees, is about to be published as an audio book.



Saturday 3 October 2020

Are You Ready to Return to Scotland to Research Your Scottish Ancestors?

I am so hopeful that by late 2021 we will once again be able to travel safely and without the need to quarantine upon arrival. I am so looking forward to getting back home, and to seeing the new and exciting things that the participants of the 5 planned tours are going to learn about their Scottish ancestors through research. 

There are 5 back to back tours scheduled for the fall of 2021*. These include:

The Scottish Borders Tour - this tour is FULL
Edinburgh Tour - Sept 19-25   3 spaces left
Orkney Tour - Sept 26 - Oct 2  this tour is FULL
Edinburgh Tour- this tour is FULL
Glasgow Tour - October 10-16 4 spaces left

*in the event that we still can't travel due to COVID, your deposit will simply apply to the new dates. The deposit is otherwise non refundable and non transferrable

January Scottish ViC Registration is Now OPEN!

Registration is now open for the January ViC. While there is a focus on Borders research  we also look at the Scottish Jewish Archives and the Scots in Ulster. Many of the Reiver families were sent to Ulster. We will look at Women's Sufferage and our treat is a virtual tour of the places associated with the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. 

  • Hannah Bell with present on the Borders Archive Services
  • Margaret Fox will present on Scottish Border Cases in the High Court
  • Andrew Armstrong will present on the Border Reivers
  • William Roulston will present on the Scots in Ulster
  • Harvey Kaplan will present on the Scottish Jewish Archives
  • Donna Moore will present on the Women's Suffrage Movement
  • Anne Daly will take us on a virtual tour of Mary Queen of Scot's life

Again I am thrilled with the level of new topics and the calibre of speakers for the ViC.

You can register for just the January ViC for $74cad or for both Nov AND January for $143. Look for the SAVE ON TWO registration to get the discount. 

Thursday 24 September 2020

'Draft' Schedule for November 28th ViC


Most of the presentations for November's ViC have been recorded so I have been able to set a draft schedule. There may be some minor adjustments to the timing, but these will really be minor.  

Here's the program as it stands now: 

8:30 - Gillebride MacMillan will get us started with an introductory Gaelic lesson 

9:45 - Lorna Steele's presentation will give us a look at the wealth of resources available through the Highland Archive Services 

11:00 - Alison Diamond will share the resources available within the Argyll Estate Papers 

We will take a lunch break following Alison's Q&A 

1:00 pm - Alexander Thomson will start the afternoon telling us about the Emigrants who left Cromarty and about the ships that they sailed on 

2:10 pm - Karly Kehoe will tell us about the Highland Scots who arrived in Nova Scotia 

We will take a short break after Karly's presentation 

3:30 pm - Paul Nixon will help us round out the afternoon with his presentation on Scottish Regiments 

5:05 pm - we finish up with Robert Howie of Historic Edinburgh Tours taking us on a virtual tour of Edinburgh and the sites associated with the Jacobites 

Access to the recordings of all 7 presentations will be available until January 10th. 

Registration is just $79cad for the day.  

You can register here:

Monday 7 September 2020



The Argyll Papers provide a wonderful glimpse into private Estate records. This fascinating collection might be able to shed light into the lives of your ancestors who lived in any of the lands owned by the Duke of Argyll.

Archivist Alison Diamond shares the history of the collection and then shares with us the various records that might be helpful specifically to the family history researcher. You can hear a snippet of her talk here:

Listen to Alison Here

Alison is one of seven presenters for the November 28th Scottish ViC. Other presenters and topics: 

  • Lorna Steele and the Highland Archive Service
  • Sandy Alexander and the Cromarty Emigrants
  • Paul Nixon and the Scottish Regiments
  • Karly Kehoe and the Highland Scots in Nova Scotia
  • Gillebride MacMillan will give us a lesson on Gaelic
Access to the recordings is available for 6 weeks following the ViC. 

Saturday 5 September 2020

Learn About the Highland Archive Services


The Highland Archive Services are a bit unique in that there are actually FOUR centres. The Highlands cover a very large land mass and as such, the records are spread across a number of miles. To be able to secure the large variety of collections, the Highland Archive Services have four centres rather than the usual one per council area.

The four centres are: 

  • Inverness (top left)
  • Lochaber in Fort William (bottom left)
  • Nucleus in Caithness (top right)
  • Skye in Portree (bottom right)

Each centre has a unique and diverse set of collections unique to the area in which they are situated but they also have common record sets such as Poor Relief, Schools, Valuation Rolls etc.


Highland Archive Service Community Engagement Officer gives this presentation and it is stellar. Here is an example from the presentation:


Lorna's presentation is just one of seven that will be shown on Saturday November 28th as part of the Scottish ViC's Highland Research Day, Saturday, November 28th, 2021.

Access to recordings is available for 6 weeks following the ViC. 


Monday 24 August 2020

A Chapter Closes on the Family History

Sadly, on Friday, August 21, we lost the matriarch of our family. While the loss in terms of relationships is immense, the history that has now been closed for us being able to tap has been closed off as well. 

Flora was the living, tangible link to her grandparents, my great grandparents. She knew them. She could share their quirks, the way they related to each other, to their siblings, their children and ultimately to her and her siblings. Listening to her helped me to understand so much about our family and our family's history. 

Flora was the eldest daughter of my grandparents. When she was young, she was very closely connected to my grandfather's children by his first wife, Sarah. Those girls loved having a younger sister and they spoiled her. She remained connected to them their entire lives and in recent months, when she wasn't feeling confident about her future, she would say how much she missed them and the feeling of safety that they surrounded her with. 

Flora knew everyone's emigration story because she was the anchor in the storm. Everyone started their new life in Canada in the safety of her home. She housed them. She fed them. She shuttled them. She assisted them in finding a job and she never once complained. Nor did she push them to move out once they were "on their feet"

In later years, Flora was the arrival point for family coming to visit - many at her expense. Again she housed them and fed them. We all gathered at her home the night they arrived and again the night before they left. While they were visiting, Flora allowed all of us to gather at her home as frequently as we wanted. She never complained about the added work, the added people or the added expense. She just took it all in stride. Coming from a family of 19 siblings meant that some summers, she hosted visitors from May until September. 

Flora inspired my love of cooking. Flora inspired my love of baking. Flora inspired my love of words (oh those endless games of scrabble!). But most importantly Flora taught all of us what it means to be a family. And that lesson is immeasurable. 

I know that there was a great big welcoming committee waiting in Heaven for her arrival. Her parents, her siblings, her cousins and her beloved husband. That brings me a measure of comfort. 

Rest peacefully, Flora. We will take it from here. We will work to continue to honour your life by sharing the stories and the memories. 

Wednesday 19 August 2020






If you ancestors were from the Highlands or Western Isles of Scotland, you won't want to miss this learning opportunity.

  • Highland Scots in Nova Scotia
  • Highland Archives
  • Argyll Archives (at Inverary Castle)
  • Cromarty Emigrants and the Ships That Took Them
  • Highland Regiments
  • Learn Gaelic
  • A Jacobite Tour of Edinburgh

7 presentations, live Q&A, detailed syllabus, access to the recordings for 6 weeks. All for just $74cad. 


Wednesday 12 August 2020

Come Learn the Language of Your Highland Ancestor at the Scottish ViC


I am thrilled to announce that a seventh session has been added to the Highland Research Day on Saturday, November 28th. This session will be an introductory lesson on the language of your Highland Ancestor(s). 


Gillebride MacMillan will be presenting a live introductory lesson to Gaelic! Gillebride is a native Gaelic speaker, from South Uist and many of you may know him from the Outlander series where he played Bard Gwyllyn. Others of you will know Gillebride from various Celtic Festivals where he is often found singing the songs of his forebears. 

Gillebride is the Head of Celtic & Gaelic Studies at The University of Glasgow.  

Register here:

Wednesday 5 August 2020


                  The first in a series of three virtual learning day


SATURDAY NOV 28th, 2020

8:30 am - 5:00 pm (eastern)

Gillebride MacMillan is one of the most distinguished Scottish Gaelic singers and educators. A native Scottish Gaelic speaker from  South Uist in the Outer Hebrides, Gillebride is a regular performer at music festivals in Scotland and throughout the world. He is an experienced and much sought-after Gaelic teacher and is also the Head of Celtic & Gaelic Studies at The University of Glasgow. Gillebride starred as ‘Gwyllyn the Bard’ in the SonyStarz TV adaptation of Outlander and will feature in the forthcoming ‘Clanlands’ series with Outlander stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish. Gillebride will be giving us an Introductory Lesson in Gaelic, the language of our highland ancestors. 

Lorna Steele is the Community Engagement Officer for the Highland Archive Service, whose four archive centres contain historic documents, covering a third of Scotland’s landmass and dating from the 1200s to the present day.  Her role involves connecting a diverse range of audiences, from school pupils to prison inmates, with these fascinating documents. Lorna will give a presentation on the holdings of the Highland Archive Service

Archivist Alison Diamond, the archivist for the Duke of Argyll, will provide an overview of the records available in The Argyll Papers collection to assist you in researching your Scottish ancestors from the Argyll estate and lands owned by the Dukes through time.

Dr. S. Karly Kehoe is the Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canada Communities. Her primary research areas are religion, migration, and minority identities in the British Atlantic, but she is also interested in sustainable development and rural change in Nova Scotia and the Scottish Highlands. She co-edits the Histories of the Scottish North Atlantic book series with Edinburgh University Press and is the board chairperson of the Gorsebrook Research Institute for Atlantic Canada Studies. Dr Kehoe will give a presentation on the Highland Scots in Nova Scotia.

Sandy Thomson is a retired Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. He lives in Cromarty, about twenty miles north of Inverness, and is an active member of Cromarty History Society. His principal research interest is in 19th century Highland history. Sandy's presentation will be Cromarty Emigrants and the Ships that Took Them

Paul Nixon is a British military historian and author; the proud great-great- grandson of a Crimean War colour-sergeant, and the grateful grandson of a First World War veteran. Paul has a forensic knowledge of British Army regimental numbers and is the driving force behind the British Army Ancestors website. Paul's presentation will be on Scottish Regiments.

Robert Howie was born in Edinburgh and has lived there all his life.  He holds an honours degree in education and has held various promoted posts as a teacher in Edinburgh.  He still teaches part-time while focusing on his business.  Robert undertook business placements with Edinburgh World Heritage and with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland. Robert will lead us on a Virtual Jacobite Tour of Edinburgh 

Access to the recordings will remain open for 6 weeks following the day of presentations

 Register here:


Saturday 1 August 2020

The Scottish ViC Has EXPANDED!

The annual Scottish ViC (virtual conference) has expanded! In response to a poll of past ViC attendees, the ViC will be divided into three separate one-day events.


Saturday November 28, 2020:



  • Lorna Steele will present on the holdings of the Highland Archives
  • Alison Diamond will present on the records held by the Duke of Argyll at Inverary Archives
  • Karly Kehoe will present on the Highland Scots of Nova Scotia
  • Alexander Thomson will present on the Cromarty Emigrants and the Ships That Took Them
  • Paul Nixon will present on Scottish Regiments
  • Robert Howie will be giving a virtual tour of Edinburgh highlighting the places associated with the Jacobites

Access to the recordings will remain open for 6 weeks following the day of presentationsRegistration opens Saturday, August 1, 2020. Pre-Pandemic pricing of just $74cad.

Saturday January 23, 2021:



  • Andrew Armstrong will present on the Border Reivers
  • Margaret Fox will present on Scottish Borders Criminals in the High Court Records
  • Hannah Bell will present on the holdings of the Scottish Borders Archives
  • The Ulster Historical Foundation will present on the Scots in Ulster
  • Harvey Kaplan will present on the holdings of the Scottish Jewish Archives
  • Donna Moore will present on Women’s Suffrage
  • Anne Daly will give us a virtual tour of the turbulent life of Mary Queen of Scots

Access to the recordings will remain open for 6 weeks following the day of presentationsRegistration opens Thursday, October 1, 2020. Pre-Pandemic pricing of just $74cad.


Saturday April 10, 2021



  • George MacKenzie will give a presentation on Records Management
  • Irene O’Brien will give a presentation on Crafts and Trades Records
  • Margaret Fox will give a presentation on Registers of Deeds
  • Emma Maxwell will give a presentation on Court of Session Records
  • Tahitia McCabe will give a presentation on Methodology for Scottish Research
  • Michelle Leonard will give a presentation on DNA for Scottish Research
  • Nick Card will give a presentation on the Archaeological Dig at Ness of Brodgar

Access to the recordings will remain open for 6 weeks following the day of presentationsRegistration opens Friday, January 1, 2021. Pre-Pandemic pricing of just $74cad.


For more information or to register:


Monday 6 July 2020

North Lanarkshire Archives Presents....

The Local Studies Officer Margaret McGinty and the Archivist (Wiebke McGhee) from North Lanarkshire Archives are going to be giving presentations online during July and August. Given that these are my ancestors "home" archives, I can not wait to take part. 

Here is the line up: 

16 JulyFamily History Research: A Beginners’ Guide presented by Margaret McGinty 

July 23 - Poems, Songs and Stories from North Lanarkshire Archives presented  Wiebke McGhee 

July 30 - The Pox, the Flu, and the Measles: Coping with Epidemics Through the Ages presented by Margaret McGinty 

Aug 6 - How to use North Lanarkshire Archives for Family History presented by Wiebke McGhee 

The talks all begin at 2 pm on the date they are scheduled to be presented. They are free to attend but registration is required. 

Sunday 14 June 2020

The Tour That Should Have Been - ORKNEY

Following the planned Edinburgh tour that was scheduled for this year - before we were all placed into a worldwide time out, I had planned a tour to Orkney. I love Orkney. The landscape, the sea, the history, the people and the much more relaxed pace of life. I was really looking forward to introducing others to this beautiful corner of the world. 

A small group of us had planned to travel together from Edinburgh, stopping at Arbroath to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. One of the tour participants has ancestral ties to Arbroath so it was going to be an opportunity to connect with and learn more about one of her ancestral towns. 

A visit to the Abbey, 

a wander around the shoreline

 and lunch at the Brewhouse 

where we could enjoy a plate of Smokies. 

Then it was going to be onto Aberdeen for the 7 hour ferry to Kirkwall. In addition to the research time at the Library, Archives and Family History Society, we had plans to tour the mainland. Time at the Neolithic sites of Skara Brae, Stones of Stenness and Ring of Brodgar, and a visit to Maeshowe. 

Time at Orkney Brewery, the Broch of Gurness and a trip across the Churchill Barriers to see the magnificent Italian Chapel. 

We were looking forward to spending time in the ancient city of Kirkwall and the less well known but every bit historic town of Stromness. 

I had planned to take the  overland route back to Glasgow, staying in Kingussie so I could visit the Highland Folk Museum and Stanley Mills. 

The Orkney tour has been rescheduled to May 2021. 

Saturday 13 June 2020

The Tour That Should Have Been

In the world we left behind, before a global pandemic changed our lives and made them unrecognizable, I would have just returned from another set of tours. 

I was scheduled to fly to Dublin ahead of this year's Edinburgh research tour. I have never been to Ireland so was really looking forward to seeing the city and learning more about the history. 

I was booked for a two night stay at the Temple Bar. I was also booked for a night of Irish Storytelling  and was really looking forward to this. I had plans to visit the archives at Guiness Storehouse. I first blogged about the archives many, many years ago. 

I had hoped to see Kilmainham Gaol, Glasnevin Cemetery, the Jeanie Johnston, the Famine Museum, Epic and many other sights that were of interest to me as I was planning my time in Dublin. 

From Dublin, I was flying into Edinburgh ahead of the tour group and was looking forward to catching up with colleagues, visiting family and getting settled back at "home". 

The Edinburgh tour was going to have a bit of an early start as a few of us had registered for a class at the Scottish Genealogy Society. In addition to 5 full days of research, we had 5 full evenings scheduled as well - 2 evening talks by local archivists, a tour of the Anatomical Museum and a guided historic tour of the Canongate. And we were to wrap up with a group dinner at the Dome. 

I had my research list ready for both the NRS and the NLS. I had plans to visit cemeteries, make a quick side trip to Fife to get some photos for a friend with ancestral ties to a coastal village and, most importantly, get caught up with my clan - the tour participants who have been with me time and time again, and were coming back for even more. I was looking forward to hearing about their discoveries, discussing research ideas, enjoying points of interest in the city, sharing laughs and creating memories. 

I would have blogged every day to keep those of you unable to join us up to date with our adventures. I would have posted to Facebook to share my journey with family, friends and colleagues. And by now, I would be basking in the wonder of it all while creating a scrapbook to hold those memories dear. 

The Edinburgh tour has been re-scheduled to April 2021, with a back up date in Sept in the event we are once again under travel restrictions. Stay tuned....

Friday 8 May 2020


As we continue to manage our new reality and as we continue to spend a great deal of our time in our homes, Sean is once again offering a way for the Scots Diaspora to remain connected. Many of us will be missing out on Highland Games, Celtic Festivals, Concerts and perhaps even travel this year. The Scottish Banner provides a wonderful way for us to stay connected to one another while managing to stay safe until we can all meet again in person.

Here is the link to YOUR free issue:

Please feel free to share with others in your Scottish community. And please, when we get back to whatever our new normal is, consider taking out a subscription as a thank you to Sean for keeping us connected during these very difficult times. 

Tuesday 14 April 2020


I was scheduled to be in Madison Wisconsin on Saturday April 18th for a full day of talks on Scottish genealogy. With Covid -19 and the subsequent lockdown on travel, the Wisconsin Historical Society has decided to host the day virtually instead. And that means that more people can attend since there isn't any need to travel.

So, if you are interested, I will be presenting 4 talks during the day on Saturday, April 18:

  • Getting Started Researching Scottish Ancestors
  • Brick Wall Busters for Scottish Research
  • Step Away from Your Computer - Researching in Libraries and Archives in Scotland
  • They're Away to America - events that led to mass emigration from Scotland to America

All four talks will be live with a chance for Q&A after each one. There will be breaks scheduled throughout the day. The registration fee is $40usd - all proceeds to the Wisconsin Historical Society. Access to the recordings will be available for 30 days after the live presentations.