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: