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. 

Monday 6 April 2020

Free Webinar April 16th

With societies cancelling in person presentations, I have been asked to provide a webinar to the Canadian Interest Group of the Minnesota Genealogical Society. I will be presenting on Researching HBC and Western M├Ętis Ancestors

The webinar will take place on Thursday, April 16th, 2020 at 7 pm CT. For more information or to register:

Saturday 4 April 2020


In lieu of the Tartan Day Parade in NYC, the celebration of our Scottish heritage is going online. I received this email from the University of Glasgow:

On Monday 6 April, Tartan Day is going online, with proud Scottish-connected North Americans sporting their finest tartan and raising a toast to Scotland.

As our team can’t travel to celebrate with you, we’ll be taking part as well. Please join us online on 6 April:
  • Take a photo or video showing your Scottish spirit: wear your tartan, raise a glass of your finest whiskey, quote some Burns...Get the whole family involved, the more the merrier and kids (and pets!) are most especially encouraged to participate! 
  • Post to our Facebook page, tag us @UofG_Alumni on Instagram and Twitter or on LinkedIn using #uofgtartanday and #tartanday.
  • If you would prefer to email us something we can share, please hit reply.
Throughout the day we will be celebrating across all our channels:
  1. @UofGlasgowAlumni on Facebook
  2. @UofG_Alumni on Instagram
  3. @UofG_Alumni on Twitter
Other Scottish Universities will be taking part so let’s keep up our strong Glasgow reputation for being the best represented at Tartan Day!

We’ll be sharing too and can’t wait to connect with you in celebration. Even though we’re far apart, we will be together in Scottish spirit!

*with thanks to Jessica, Catherine and Georgia, The International Team

Friday 3 April 2020

It's OK Not to Be OK

We are living through a world crisis. We are scared, worried and somedays, paralyzed. What we are experiencing is grief. Grief at the loss of our “normal” We have lost our daily routines that gave order and meaning to our days. We have lost physical contact with our loved ones. The people who can help us feel whole just with a hug or sitting closeby. Some of us are grieving the loss of income. And unfortunately, some might be grieving the loss of a life of someone close to us as they have succumbed to this dreaded disease. It really IS ok not to be ok. 

I recognized earlier this week that my grandparents lived through the Spanish Flu pandemic. They had far less information. They didn’t know about social distancing. They didn’t have the scientific community or the advanced health care that we have now. I’m sure they were terrified and kept praying it would stay away from their loved ones.

In dealing with grief, it really is ok to not feel ok. Yes we have all kinds of free time, but we may lack the motivation to do any of the projects that are on our “when I get time” lists. I remember my grief counsellor telling me that grief is a full time job. If I accomplished just one thing each day, I was doing ok. It didn’t have to be anything big. It could be loading the dishwasher, throwing a load of laundry in or going for a walk. Literally one day at a time.

Self care is crucial during times when we feel out of control. Take just 30 minutes each day to take care of YOU. Go for a walk. Read some fluff. Watch mindless comedy. Plan an vacation you likely won’t take. Just remove yourself from reality and ground yourself in something that feels good. That feels normal.

Call in the troops. Phone a friend. Use Facebook video chat, zoom or whatever other tool you have to connect virtually and socially. A belly laugh with a friend or a good cry with a cousin can go a long way to helping rejuvenate our spirits. Reach OUT. 

Turn off the news. It is a constant bombardment and adds to our stress and our loss of control. It heightens our grief. Step away from social media. Turn off notifications. When you do reach out to connect, spend more time on good news stories than on current news stories. Find pictures of animals enjoying life, of babies laughing or of kids saying the darnedest things. Choose uplifting.

We will come out of this. We will find a new normal. Like any loss, things won’t be what they were before but we will carry on. Please feel free to connect with me.

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay focused on taking care of YOU.