Wednesday, December 23, 2009

History of Genealogy?

Hello All -

An interesting thought came to mind today - when did the history of genealogy come to be? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is in The Bible, where we find the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (also known as "The Begats"). Genealogy has been around pretty much since the beginning of time.

I found a great article from the "Family Chronicle" magazine that explains the history of genealogy and family history. Very interesting reading in my opinion. Here is the link to the

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas

Hello All -

Scotgen wishes everyone a very happy Christmas and a wonderful and blessed New Year in 2010.

Top 10 Genealogy News Stories for 2009

Hello All -

Here is a link for the top genealogy stories of 2009 according to the website Genealogy in Time.

Friday, November 13, 2009

For The Genealogist In Your Life

Hello All -

Well, it is that time of year again - Christmas shopping on the brain. Here are some ideas for either yourself or another genealogy-mad person this year.

Here is a great site for mugs, tshirts, etc. called JMK:

Another good site for research supplies is a UK company called Family Tree Folk:

How about some genealogy books or software or CDs - Amazon (USA and UK) is a good place to start. and

There is also the Canadian company called Global Genealogy:

There is also the UK company S & N:

Another good idea is the Genealogy Calander offered by Genealogy Daily:
or from The Family History Store at:

How about a years subscription to a genealogy magazine or family history society. I will not name them all here, but such as Your Family Tree (UK), Family Tree Magazine (US), National Genealogical Society, the Scottish Genealogy Society, or any of the many local county family history societies.

These are just some ideas, but I am sure that there are other items out there that you might have your heart set on. There are many places to look now online for everything family history you can think of. I have just given a very surface mention off the top of my head of some places to look - just use the shop that you know and trust, especially when online shopping.

Something May Not Seem Right....

Hello All -

I saw this cartoon recently and thought it was quite funny, but too true when it comes to doing research. This is something that doesn't seem right - was an ancestor baptized before he was born? Do you have an ancestor that shows a birth that was after the mother's death date, or was shown to be born when the mother was in her 70s?

These are just a few examples of what to look out for. If it doesn't make sense than it probably isn't right. It is best to go back and check the facts, and also to see if there was just a simple typo from someone recording the information.

I have seen this quite often online on websites that allow people to upload their family histories for public viewing. Many times a simple typo or other mistake in researching can cause others to fall into the same mistake and it keeps getting spread to other people research the same family. A newbie family researcher can easily fall into this trap of using these mistaken trees.

I encourage anyone who puts their family tree online to please be very sure that your information is correct and you have followed the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard) in performing your research. Always reference your work as well; that way others can go and check too - they can see where you got your data from.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

For the True Geneaholic

Saw this on Geneamusings blog, and thought it really funny. If only.... I think the UK version of this model would be to have somewhere to put your tea kettle and mug.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Issue of Discover My Past Scotland Out

Hello All -

The new issue of Discover My Past Scotland is out now. This issue's
contents are:

Village life in Scotland - a century of changes
Back to school - Learn from our ancestors' records
University challenge - On course at Strathclyde
Family history - for children
Meet the experts - Help is at hand for your research
Spotlight on East Renfrewshire
Expert Q&A
Family history newsround and events
Plus: Homecoming Update, high quality photographs for you to order, as well as direct weblinks to facilitate your online research. ALSO ONLINE NOW: our 44-page Discover My Past Scotland issue commemorating The Gathering 2009.

If you haven't subscribed to this emagazine yet, you should definitely do so. So far, this is the only genealogy magazine (electronic or print) that is exclusively about Scottish family history.
However, it is a bit annoying that you can't print the articles - the only drawback that I have found regarding it. Hopefully in the future the publishers of DMPS will make it possible to print out the articles.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nice Video for Beginners

Hello All -

There is a nice short video for those beginning or wanting to get started in family history found at The National Archives UK website. It is presented by Dr. Nick Barratt, who is well known in the UK genealogy community. The content is mainly England and Wales, but it is still a good video to watch for getting started with the basics in family history for the budding researcher.

Friday, September 18, 2009

British Newspapers Online

Hello All -

There is a new website for British newspaper archives. The website is by the British Library.
There are several newspapers from Scotland on the site, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, just to name a few. To view the website just click on the link below.

Until next time

Friday, September 04, 2009

A Good Handy Dandy Genealogy Dictionary Online

Hello All -

I bet some of you out there have never thought about looking at a genealogy dictionary before. Well there is a really good one online at the website found here:

It is probably a good idea to have a specific genealogy dictionary or glossary to use for your reference in doing any sort of research. I know that there are several other good regular dictionaries out there such as Websters or Oxford, but to have a source that gets to the main types of words or phrases found in genealogy/family history is important. It sort of is an all-in-one resource to have, instead of looking at this dictionary, then this other book, etc.

The one that I have linked to above is a good one to have online, but there are other ones that you can buy in book form.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Which? Computing September 2009 Issue

Hello All -

The latest issue of Which? Computing magazine has some good articles and reviews of genealogy software and online research tools. This magazine is the UK version of Consumer Reports in the US. I haven't really seen if you can get this magazine (Which? Computing) in any retail newsagent. I think it is only by subscription, but I can't be certain. Which? is known for its unbiased and independent tests and assessments. You don't have to worry too much about a hidden agenda when reading their publications. If you can't find it in a shop, then possibly check with your local library to see if they have it, or you can visit the Which? website at I think it is well worth a read.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

BBC Radio 4 - Tracing Your Roots

Hello All -

Thought you might like listening to a family history radio program from the BBC on their
Radio 4 called "Tracing Your Roots." It has programs that you can listen to from September 2007 to November 2008. The presenter is Sally Magnusson who does a good job. It is very good listening, and gives a good instruction on British family history and genealogy in general.
Click on the link below to go the the webpage, and then click on the date you want to listen to - it will tell you what the episode is about. Hopefully, they will make some new programs for 2009.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Some Pics from the International Genealogy Festival in Glasgow

Hello All -

If by chance you were not able to go the International Genealogy Festival in Glasgow in late July, their website has some photos of the goings on during the event.

Please be sure you let them know that you would like to have another festival again next year. They have a comment page for you to voice your opinion. It would be great to have it again, as there are so few genealogical events in Scotland. Maybe next year it will be bigger and better than ever - sort of a Scottish version of the Who Do You Think You Are Live event in London.

Genealogy and Identity Theft

Ever wonder about how safe your identity is on the internet. With so many genealogy and family history sites now, it is wise to be very wary and cautious about your information online. I don't want to be a scare-monger, but just want everyone to be careful as well as enjoying themselves online. Here is an interesting article from "Family Tree Magazine" newsletter by Diane Haddad in their latest edition:

Q. I've looked at several social and family networking sites, including Geni. My concern is identity theft. If you share data about yourself and your family, you’re a target. These sites don’t even have secure connections. I don’t want to place myself and family at risk. Do you have any suggestions?

A. If you use social and family networking sites with a modicum of caution, it’s unlikely you’ll increase your risk for identity theft. Information you might enter into a social networking or family tree site—your name, your ancestors’ names, your hometown, and even your address and phone number—is already easily available through print and online phone directories, as well as other public records. Plus, most identity thieves want your financial information and social security number, not just your name and address (or your ancestors’ names). They'd rather spend their time stealing your mail or wallet, going through your garbage, or hacking stores’ computer systems. So the best way to protect your identity is to shred old bank and credit card statements, send mailed payments from the Post Office, guarding your wallet, and being careful with account information.

Social networking sites are designed to help people find you, which is why anyone can search them. But since most of us do want a certain amount of anonymity, sites usually have privacy options. You can choose to display only your name, or you can limit who can access your profile. If you’d rather not be found at all, of course, stay off social networking and family tree sites. Other tips for using these sites:

You’ll have to supply your name and e-mail address when you register for a site, but you may not have to provide your phone number or mailing address.

Familiarize yourself with the site’s privacy statement and its privacy features. Make sure you're not displaying any information you don't want displayed.

For courtesy’s sake, don’t post names, birthdates, hometowns or photos of living people unless you have their permission.

Making online purchases is generally safe (look for the “https” in the URL, which symbolizes a secure payment system), but don’t enter your credit card information for a site to keep on file just in case you make a purchase. Once you make a purchase, though, the site may save your credit card number.

If you log into your social networking or family tree profile from a public computer (such as at a library), leave the “remember me” or "save password" box unchecked and be sure to click the log out link when you’re finished, so the next user can’t access your account.

Facebook is pretty good at cracking down on spam messages, which may carry computer viruses or spy software, that may be sent to your Facebook inbox. But to be safe, don’t open or forward suspicious-looking messages (for example, those with subject lines like "You won’t believe this video!”) on any social networking site.

Don’t use your mother’s maiden name (or another word someone might easily figure out) for a password on any site.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Another Thing I Noticed on TV

Hello All -

Just remembered about another thing that I noticed while watching the tv show "Who Do You Think You Are?" last night. I noticed that David Mitchell was looking at the website He stated or the narrator stated (I can't remember exactly) that he had made a post (at least I am assuming it was the same website that he was shown being on) for more information on one of his ancestors. And someone responded to his request as seen in the show. These forums do work, all it takes is one person to view it that knows what you are looking for.

I was sitting watching the show and said to myself hey I know that site. I wonder if Marilyn knows anything about this (Marilyn is the site admin. of the website).

Until Next Time

A Bit of A New Look

Hello All -

Just a brief mention that you might have noticed I did a small change to the blog. It is still The Scottish Genealogy Blog, but to make things a bit more snappy I shortened the title to ScotGen -everything else is the same. Also, I have changed my webpage url to and the email contact has changed as well.

Just thought I would give a quick update on the changes.

An Interesting Find While Watching TV

Hello All -

I was watching the latest episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" on BBC last night. This episode was with comedian David Mitchell. During the episode David goes to see the vestry home of one of his ancestors the Forbes family of Sleat in Skye. The former home was sold by the Church of Scotland to a private owner. The owner showed David into her home and pulls out a 1852 (if I remember correctly) kirk session book that she found in the old house.

The earliest date of the Sleat kirk session records for Sleat parish is 1882 at NAS. This book found in the home by the private owner is about 30 years earlier. My colleague Chris Paton has also noticed this in his current blog post at I agree wholeheartedly with Chris. I would hope too that the current home owner who is in possession of this kirk session book would let the NAS have a copy of it for themselves. I was thinking this when I was watching the program. I said to myself that document looks to be an original, but maybe the Archives has a copy of it. It looks very likely that the archives don't have it according to their catalogue.

I am such a bit advocate for private citizens who do happen to have old papers and documents to have the Archives take a look at them to see if they need them or not. I did this recently with my husband's documents that he purchased at the Baras 10 years ago. They were late 1600s and early 1700s sasine records for a family in Ross and Cromarty. These were original documents written on vellum, which looks like were in someones loft or basement for ages. I took these 6 documents to the NAS while I was doing research there to let them have a look at them just in case they did not have a copy in their possession. However, it seems that they do have a copy as well. I am glad I went to let them see it, because you never know if they have the documents or not. I know that there would be someone that may be a descendant of those people mentioned in these documents that would like to see these documents for their research.

I really hope that someone will alert the NAS or other archive to this kirk session book, or perhaps someone can contact the owner of the document to take it to the Archives to let them look at it. They can take a copy of it, and give the original back to the private owner. It will be a win-win situation all around. I am sure someone's ancestor is in that book, and the person reading the details found in the book will be a bit shocked at the goings on in it. You wouldn't be pulled up in front of the kirk session unless you needed a good talking to for something. The same can be said in US church minutes as well, but not all ancestors were angels as we sometimes find out.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Don't Rely Too Much on the Internet for Your Research

I saw this image/poster California Genealogical Society and Library Blog

What a great image, and how true. As most of you know I am a big advocate for technology in genealogy; however, I am also still "old-fashioned" when it comes to the traditional methods. The internet is a great tool, but it doesn't have the complete resources as the archives, libraries, and other repositories have. Especially if you are looking in the local area for your ancestors. Your local library or archive or courthouse, etc. will have more of what you need to find that ancestor.

In order to be a good and well educated genealogist/family historian, you need a mix of the old and the new. In my opinion going to the local libraries and archives, and doing the searching of the books, manuscripts, documents, etc. in person makes for a much better researcher. There is nothing like sitting in a hard wooden chair and desk and going to get the books or other documents you need - just spending a good amount of time searching and being able to talk to people in the facility about the various sources and your own project that you are working on. Who knows maybe you might bump into a relative researching one of your families too.

The bottom line is that the internet doesn't have it all. More and more information is being included everyday online which is good. But, it is vital that you do the "legwork" at a library or archive too. As the poster illustrates - the internet is just the tip of the iceberg. In the end you will be a much better and experienced genealogist.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Mitchell Library in Glasgow videos

Hello All -

Found a great site about the archives at The Mitchell Library in Glasgow. There are six parts of this video. It is very informative about the various sources available at the library. If you get a chance go to see their archives in Glasgow. The Mitchell Library is probably the best archive for the Western area of Scotland apart from Edinburgh's archives.

The link to view these videos is listed here:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

STV Interview with Dr. Bruce Durie

Hello All -

In conjuction with the International Genealogy Festival happening at this very moment in Glasgow, STV (the Scottish ITV channel in UK) has done an extended interview with Dr. Bruce Durie, one of the organizers of the festivals, and considered one of the premier authorities on Scottish genealogy (at least in my opinion). Check it out at the link below.

If you haven't gone to the festival yet, there is still time, it goes on until Friday evening. If you are in the Glasgow area pop in and see what's happening.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Message From Marilyn Morning Of TalkingScot.Com

Hello All -

I was asked by Marilyn Morning from the Talking Scot website to pass this message along to you all. Here is the message below:

Dear TS member:

We are contacting you to confirm that TalkingScot is ALIVE!! The company who owned the server shut it down giving no prior warning to those whose sites were stored there. The TalkingScot Administrative group has confirmed that ours is not the only web site affected - there are several others leaving posts to the same effect on the web.. It came as a surprise to everyone, not just Talkingscot. We have been successful in engaging the services of a new server host for TalkingScot. It is now down to how long the rebuild from backup materials will take. One of the AG members will post a note;topicseen#new as soon as we're up and running.

In the meantime, please feel free to share this e-mail with any of your TalkingScot connections, as we will be unable to contact ALL of the 3,000 plus members immediately. We are looking forward to being back online as soon as possible and we thank you for your patience and support.

TalkingScot Administration Group

Friday, July 10, 2009

GenealogyWise - Facebook for Genealogists

Hello All -

I saw this on the newsletter from Family Tree Magazine (USA) - GenealogyWise social networking site. It looks very interesting. I have had a quick look at it, but not enough to give a thorough opinion just yet. Here is a excerpt from the article below:

"FamilyLink Launches "Facebook for Genealogists"
Posted by FamilyLink has launched a new social networking site especially for genealogists called GenealogyWise. Randy Seaver, whose Genea-Musings blog clued us in to the quiet launch of GenealogyWise, has posted some screenshots and thoughts.

FamilyLink likely invited a small group to join so the site will already be lively when an official announcement goes out. GenealogyWise does appear to be buzzing with activity. Similar to Facebook, you create a profile, find friends, set up groups, upload photos and invite people to events.

There’s also a discussion forum, blog and video areas any GenealogyWise member can contribute to, a genealogy search (this links you to the World Vital Records subscription site), a store (also goes to World Vital Records) and a chat area.FamilyLink is also owner of World Vital Records, the We’re Related and MyFamily Facebook applications, interactive history site, and several other ventures. Interestingly, FamilyLink has another genealogy social network, FamilyHistoryLink, launched in 2007 as FamilyLink (it was renamed when the company took FamilyLink as its corporate name). FamilyHistoryLink still wears a beta label and looks dated in comparison to GenealogyWise. "

It will be interesting to see if this will take off. There are already a numerous number of genealogists and family historians using Facebook. At the moment GenealogyWise is in its infancy, so it is hard to say. There is the possibility that too many social networking sites can cause folks to stay away - they can't keep up with all these sites all the time. However, I think it is a good idea to have a social networking site just especially for genealogists. Whereas Facebook is there for just about everyone and anything of interest.

Here is the link for GenealogyWise if you want to see more about it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

YFT Poll on Genealogy Software

Hello All -

The British family history magazine, "Your Family Tree," has in their latest issue (June 2008) the results from their poll regarding genealogy software. Here are the results:

The poll questions is: What is your family history software of choice?


46% - Family Tree Maker
28% - Family Historian
14% - Other
7% - Legacy
5% - Roots Magic

I am not really surprised by the results of the survey. Family Tree Maker has always been the top dog in software for family history. I am a bit surprised by the low results for Legacy and Roots Magic. One of the reasons could be that in the UK FTM and Family Historian are more widely available to the public (shops always stock FTM and FH). Legacy and Roots Magic are not as well known in the UK, but they are advertised in the UK genealogy magazines. Also, Family Tree Maker has been around much longer than the others, so it has a well established niche in the market. Family Historian does well in UK because it is a British program, and is widely available in this country. It is also a good program to work with too. Version 4 is just become available, and has lots of new and improved features. I must admit that I have not worked with Family Historian myself, but I do not doubt its popularity and quality.

I would like to see the results of this poll question in the US, and in other countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. I wouldn't doubt that FTM would still be top of the list in these countries too.

I use Legacy and Roots Magic myself, and in my opinion they will become more popular, and will give FTM a run for its money in the future. The quality of these two programs is fantastic, and are excellent in publishing books and reports. They also have great add on programs that you can buy that are tailor made for Legacy and RM, such as Family Atlas, Genelines, Gensmarts, etc. Also, they have good websites for users and program news - Legacy has one of the best in this department. They really try hard to get their customers to learn the ins and outs of their program by producing cd tutorials and books. I mentioned previously that they just published on their website an online seminar of how to work with Legacy. I think if people give a try to Legacy or Roots Magic they will really like them.

However, as I have mentioned before on this topic, pick the program that is right for you and what you want out of it - publishing books, webpage creation, etc.

Let's see how things go next year if the same poll is taken - I think it might be a bit more spread out between the main contenders - FTM, FH, RM, and Legacy. Legacy and Roots Magic might just take a bit more share of the pie.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Family History As A Play?

Hello All -

I found this quite interesting - someone writing a play about family history/genealogy. The play is called "Making Up History: Searching For Annie Moore" written by Alia Faith Williams. I have copied the links of the play found on Roots TV - it is in four parts each being around 15-18 minutes long.

There were many Irish and Scots who immigrated to the US and Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which is the time period of this play for Annie Moore coming to Ellis Island from Ireland to make a new life for herself.

I think it is a great idea for create a play about family history, why not? Family history and genealogy doesn't have to be boring and academic, it can be fun and creative as well. One of the best things about family history is making it come alive - ancestors were more than dates, names, and places.

Until Next Time.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Scottish Handwriting in Old Documents - Some Quick Tips

Hello All -

I am sure it has happened sometime along the line whenever you have been doing any research into your Scottish ancestors - those pesky old documents with the funny hand to read writing.
To help you out a bit, there is a website dedicated to help in this. It is is a product of the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN).

The website has online tutorials to help you get to grips with reading these old documents with the funny handwriting. There is an interactive tutorial and a coaching manual. Palaeography, studying old handwriting, is a skill that is worth trying to learn. If you are fortunate enough to find documents regarding your ancestor(s) before say 1770ish in Scotland, then this website will be quite helpful to you in learning the basics.

Also, it helps to learn a bit of latin too. Most of the Scottish documents found before 1750 are in latin. You don't have to get too learned in the language (only if you want to), just be able to recognize a few important words such as Father, Mother, born, died, married, son, daughter, etc.
A good idea would be to take a sheet of paper of latin words and their english translation with you when you do any research in a repository - sort of a cheat sheet. An excellent website on learning latin words and simple phrases in genealogy is found at the website:

Another very simple and quick tip on helping to read the handwriting on documents (for example ones found in the Statutory Registers after 1855) is if you have trouble making out a word in a document, say for example a death record, look at the words around the word you are having trouble with. Look at the letters and see if they look the same as the word you are trying to make out. This may help in making sense of the word. Of course you don't have to worry about such bad handwriting from the Registrar until after the early 1900s, when the documents were starting to be typed with a typewriter.

Just think, there is always someone out there with worse handwriting than you.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Legacy Software Seminar Online

Hello All -

I talk a fair bit about technology for genealogy research. This post is no exception. If you are thinking about software programs for your family history and are not sure about which one is best for you, Legacy Family Tree has an online seminar on their website. This seminar gives an overview and tips and tricks about the program.

I have just started using Legacy 7 Deluxe edition myself, and after using some of the other program out there I can wholeheartedly recommend it. I have just newly received it, so I am still learning about how the program works completely. However, from what I have learned so far, Legacy is a very user friendly program. It arranges things in a straightforward manner (I was able to work with it without looking at the manual). One of the features that I really like is their book publishing report. The program pretty much does it all for you - you just can do some appearance changes here and there to suit your preferences and it does the rest. The book will create its own table of contents and index, which is really nice.

I am also a fan of Roots Magic, which is another very good and user friendly program. But, I think Legacy has got a slight edge for me right at the moment.

To view the seminars online just go to Legacy's website at
They are in three different versions, so one of them will work for you.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Interview Questions To Get You Started

Hello All -

If you are looking to get started into researching your family history, one of the first steps is to interview family members. In the Family Tree Magazine (USA) newsletter, there is a good article on some good questions to ask your relatives to help get you started. There no doubt will be more questions that will come to mind, as well as follow up questions from the ones you have asked. But, here are 20 questions to get you going on the right track.

Here is the excerpt from the magazine article:

"The best tactic for oral history interviews is to ask open-ended questions (rather than ones with yes or no answers), and to focus on people's memories and experiences. It's much more interesting-for you and the interviewee-to talk about the stories and emotions behind the events in your family's past. Use these questions as a springboard for planning your interview:

What's your first memory?

Who's the oldest relative you remember (and what do you remember about him or her)?

How did your parents meet?

Tell me about your childhood home.

How did your family celebrate holidays when you were a child?

How did you meet your spouse?

Tell me about your wedding day.

Tell me about the day your first child was born.

What were your favorite school subjects?

Tell me about your favorite teacher.

Tell me about some of your friends.

Describe your first job.

What did you do with your first paycheck?

What was your favorite job and why?

Who are some of your heroes?

Where were you when you heard that President Kennedy was shot? (Add or substitute other important historical events.)

What is your experience with or opinion of computers? (Add or substitute other modern conveniences, such as television, microwaves and cell phones.)

Tell me about some of your favorite songs (also books, movies and television shows).
Tell me about some of the places where you've been happiest.

What haven't we talked about that you'd like to discuss in the time we have left? (This is a good way to begin wrapping up the interview.)"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Gathering 2009 Edinburgh

Hello All -

If you are looking for something to do this summer in July, why not go to Edinburgh to The Gathering 2009 in Edinburgh. It is from the 25th July to the 26th July at various locations throught the city. You will need to view the website for all the details as there is too much to mention here to give it justice. The website is

There will be a genealogy/family history tent there. The programme is called Scotland Lives. Here is an excerpt from the website describing the event.

"Scotland Lives!
There will be book readings and signing sessions by international best-selling authors, talks on heraldry and genealogy, as well as a retail area with fiction and non-fiction titles from Scottish authors published by Birlinn Books. The programme is as follows:

Visitors can find out more about their ancestry through Scotland's People whose experts will be offering advice on how to access one of the largest online sources of Scottish genealogical information and trace their family tree. The Scottish Genealogy Society and Family Tree DNA will also be present.

There will be an opportunity to find out more about heraldry through The Heraldry Society of Scotland and the Scottish Armigers Society who maintain the oldest continuously-maintained official record of Arms in the world.

Part of the Highland Games and Scottish Festival weekend events. Admittance to this event is with a Gathering 2009 Passport or a Highland Games and Scottish Festival ticket only."

It looks like July in Scotland will be a good place to be for Scottish genealogy - you have The Gathering 2009 in Edinburgh and also the International Genealogy Festival in Glasgow. More details on this one can be viewed at their website:

So mark your calendars: International Genealogy Festival 21-24 July in Glasgow
The Gathering 2009 25-26 July in Edinburgh

Friday, May 15, 2009

National Library of Scotland Online (Maps & Books)

Hello All -

I thought I would give a plug for the online digital archives of the National Library of Scotland today. I was having a look at their website and thought their digital library is an excellent tool to be used as a social history resource for anyone who is thinking about writing their family history as a book.

I am very big on maps. I always like to put them in my research reports for my clients. In my opinion, it gives a better picture of an ancestor - where they lived, what was around them at that time in history, etc. It is also interesting to see more modern maps and compare them to the older ones. There are many cases where an ancestors residence is no longer there, or has totally changed in its appearance. For example, a particular family on our side had a farm not far from where we live (you could actually see the area from our back window), but when you see it now, there is nothing but houses there - there is no trace of that farm anymore. But if you saw a map of that area about 100 years ago, you would see the farm plainly with no houses anywhere near it (just open fields).

A great place to find old Scottish maps online is at the National Library of Scotland in their online maps collection. You can view them at this link

The National Library of Scotland also has a digital library. It can be viewed here The digital library has quite a good number of online publications from their collection. It can be good social history resource for looking more in depth at Scottish history and life. A good family history should have elements of social history to make your ancestors "come alive." Ancestors should be more than just a name and a date and a location - how did they live, what was it like in their town or village at that time, etc.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Some Genealogical Humor on a Saturday

Hello All -

Thought this was quite funny - a bit too real as well.

Murphy's Law of Genealogy

The records you need for your family history were in the courthouse that burned.

John, son of Thomas, the immigrant whom your relatives claim as immigrant ancestor, died on board ship at the age of twelve.

The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor participated when the platform collapsed turned out to be a hanging.

Records show that the grandfather, whom the family boasted, "He read the Bible at four years and graduated from college at sixteen," was at the foot of his class.

Your grandmother's maiden name for which you've searched for years was on an old letter in a box in the attic all the time.

When at last you have solved the mystery of the skeleton in the closet the tight-lipped spinster aunt claimed, "I could have told you that all the time."

You never asked your father about his family because you weren't interested in genealogy while he was alive.

The family story your grandmother wrote for the family never got past the typist. She packed it away "somewhere" and promised to send you a copy, but never did.

The relative who had all the family photographs gave them to her daughter who had no interest in genealogy and no inclination to share.

A great-uncle changed his surname because he was teased in school. He moved away, left no address, and was never heard from again.

Brittle old newspapers containing the information you desired have fallen apart on the names and dates and places.

The only record you find for your great-grandfather is that his property was sold at a sheriff's sale for insolvency.

The portion of the index you need is continued in the next issue, only the publisher died prior to publication.

When you find the obituary for your grandmother, the information is garbled. Her name is exchanged with her daughter's, the whereabouts of her sons is unknown, the date for her father's birth indicates he was younger than she was.

The only surname not found among the three billion in the Mormon Archives is yours.

The vital records director sends you a negative reply, having just been insulted by a creep calling himself a genealogist.

The 4 volume, 4,800 page history of the county where your great-grandfather lived is not indexed.


The document containing evidence of the missing link in your research invariably will be lost due to fire, flood, or war.

Your great, great, grandfather's obituary states the he died, leaving no issue of record.

The town clerk you wrote to in desperation, and finally convinced to give you the information you need, can't write legibly and doesn't have a copying machine.

The will you need is in the safe on board the "Titanic."

The spelling of your European ancestor's name bears no relationship to its current spelling or pronunciation.

That ancient photograph of four relatives, one of whom is your progenitor, carries the names of the other three.

Copies of old newspapers have holes which occur only on last names.

No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, always rented property, was not sued, and was never named in wills.

You learned that great aunt Matilda's executor just sold her life's collection of family genealogical materials to a flea market dealer "somewhere in New York City."

Ink fades and paper deteriorates at a rate inversely proportional to the value of the data recorded.

The 37-volume, sixteen-thousand-page history of your country of origin ISN'T INDEXED.

The critical link in your family tree is named "Smith."- - - - - - - -

Copyright 1983 Gibbs Publishing Co., P.O. Box 112, Napoleon, OH 43545

The Scotsman Online Archive

Hello All -

The Scotsman newspaper online now has a searchable database for their newspaper archives.
They offer every issue from 1817 to 1950. To access this archive please view here:

Another good source for your Scottish research available online.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Interview with Cyndi Howells on Roots TV

Hello All -

Another good interview by Dick Eastman on Roots TV with Cyndi Howells - the woman behind the list. See the interview here:

If you are new to genealogical research (even if you are not and are a more seasoned pro), Cyndislist is the place to go ( This website is in my guess the main website that most all folks who are interested in family history have saved on their favorites list, and with good reason. Cyndi Howells has done a great service for the genealogical community - she has created a website that is possibly the main portal for almost all websites involving family history. This such a great tool to use when wanting to locate websites for almost anything you can think of - countries, organizations, computers, researchers, web blogs, booksellers, the list goes on and on.

Also, there is always something new to find on the list. It is always worth a look to see what new links there are. If you haven't viewed cyndislist, please do - you will be using it constantly.

John Grenham Interview on Roots TV

Hello All -

I recently briefly talked about Irish ancestry in my St. Patrick's Day post. On that theme, there is a great interview by Dick Eastman who is interviewing John Grenham.
Please view the interview here:

John Grenham is one of the top experts in Irish genealogy and family history. His book "Tracing Your Irish Ancestors" is in my opinion the bible of Irish family history publications. He also writes extensively for the Irish Times - at

One of the main reasons why as a Scottish genealogist it is of interest to know about John and his work is because of the vast amount of Scottish ancestors that came from Ireland (mainly what is now Northern Ireland). His book(s) are extensive in their knowledge and material content - each edition of his book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors gets bigger every time with new pages.

If you don't have a copy of John's book or any of his other publications, go out and get them. It is one definitely for your bookshelf - help beat the credit crunch and buy genealogy books.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Improvements For Genealogy Software

Hello All -

You probably have guessed that I am big on genealogy software - I tend to talk about it quite a bit. On Roots Television there is a good presentation by Mark Tucker of

It can be viewed here

Mark has 10 good ideas about how genealogy software can be improved. I agree wholeheartedly on his "wishlist."

Just as an aside - Mark has a brilliant Genealogical Proof Standard map on his website. You can see it here

This GPS map is worth printing out and keeping near you when you are doing your research.
Mark also has a slideshow about working with the GPS, which can be viewed here

Mark has done a good job of offering important resources on his website. In my view it would be voted as my website of the month -

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Scotlands People Interactive Experience

Hello All -

Just thought I would mention about the neat feature found on Scotlandspeople website - their interactive experience for beginning researchers in Scottish genealogy. This can be found at the following link

I had a wee shot at it to see what it was like. It is quite a good little tool to help people get started in their research of their ancestors in Scotland. The website will give easy to follow instructions on what to do at each page. It is a step by step process that the site walks you through. It starts at the very beginning of ones research with yourself and working backwards. It also is a good way to learn what the records are in Scotland and what information they have. It is quite a fun thing to do. I think budding family history researchers will get the bug when they play with this interactive tool.

Even if you are a well seasoned genealogists and you know the research process, I think it is worth trying the site out just to see what it is like. I think it would be definitely worthwhile to play around with it for the beginner just about to start their research. It will give a bit more confidence in the actual nitty-gritty aspects of doing the searching in the Centre in Edinburgh.

A good idea that the Centre has this on their site.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Importance of Backing Up Your Computer Files

Hello All -

Well, I have had a time of it with my computer - one day working fine, the next totally malfunctioning. To cut a long story short, my computer wouldn't work no matter how hard I tried to fix it, so had to buy a new cpu. And unfortunately, the new cpu has Windows Vista on it (it actually isn't all that bad, but some of my software was not compatible with it). Because of Vista I had to buy a new printer with software that was compatible. On the bright side though is that my genealogy software programs worked fine and no trouble installing.

One of the main and biggest things to worry about when this sort of thing happens is to have your info saved and BACKED UP. I don't know how to stress this enough. It isn't really enough to have your family history info saved on your computer. Invest in a backup system such as a removeable stick that fits into your USB port. They are really getting cheaper now adays. You can buy a 2 mb one for less than £15.00. Also, you can back up your info on a cd disk.

I was a bit fortunate that we have an older computer as a back up just in case we need it - we were able to get back our information off of our old hard drive by extracting it and putting it onto a USB stick and put the info onto the new cpu. I don't really recommend this way of doing things. I was a bit lazy in backing things up regularly. It is a valuable lesson learned the hard way.

In a nut shell - everyone make sure to back up, back up, back up..... Computers are a mechanical object and can break down on you at anytime when you don't expect it (can be through a virus attack or mechanical malfunction, etc.).

Sunday, April 05, 2009

2009 Genealogy Software Review

Hello All -

I thought I would make a mention regarding the new genealogy software review for the 10 most popular software programs on the market at the moment. If you are looking to buy a software program for your family history, it is best to look around and find one that suits your needs and wants. Also, if you are a beginner with computers, it is also best to find a program that is not too hard to work. In this case I would probably stay away from The Master Genealogist, in my opinion. This program has a steep learning curve, and is not suitable for the beginner. For the budding genealogy software user, I would probably go for Rootsmagic or Family Tree Maker. They are both easy to use and are not too involved. Plus they offer a great number of features to do most anything you would like to do with your family history research.

Please note that these are just my opinions, and it is best to find the right program for you - my opinions are founded in my experience in working with these programs myself. Here is a website that is very good at giving a good overview of the 10 most popular genealogy software.

I would also look at the actual websites for these software programs to see more about what they offer. Also, look around for other reviews for these software programs. I would keep an open mind when looking at the reviews on the actual software programs websites themselves as they are trying to sell you their product - definitely look at objective reviews without any agenda behind it (such as the link above).

I would recommend for any family historian/genealogist to definitely get a genealogy software program. It is so worth the money, and an essential tool in your research (as well as keeping things organized, etc.).

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Taking The New Scottish Death/Burials Index for A Spin

Hello All -

Well, I have just given the new Scotlandpeople's new death and burial index for a test drive. I must warn everyone that these indexes do not have much information on them. The index itself even says it in a warning link for those who are about to use it.

It works the same as the rest of the indexes. It even has the downloadable image file as well, which is great. Not too much else to say really. It just works like the rest of the database. It is another good addition to search, even though there is not much info to obtain from it. Many people did not register the burial/death. Likewise many parishes didn't bother either. Hence, don't be disappointed if you don't find much. These records are what they are, and they are very sparce.

Just thought I would let everyone know what it is like working with it. Even though it doesn't have much in the way of genealogical information, it is still a good resource that can be used.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pre 1855 Scottish Deaths and Burials Go Online

Hello All -

On April 01, 2009 (Wednesday) the Old Parish Registers of deaths and burials will go online at the scotlandspeople website. However, if you are researching at the facilities in Edinburgh they will not be available until later one in the year. Here is the news about it all from the scotlandspeople centre website:

Launch of Scottish Old Parish Register Deaths and Burials online, 1 April 2009
The Old Parish Register deaths and burials are being launched at on Wednesday 1st April.Why are these records not available at the ScotlandsPeople Centre at the same time?

Users of the ScotlandsPeople Centre system will be aware that there have been problems with the system sometimes slowing down or even freezing due to overload issues. At the moment the system is cleared and re-booted each night to clear the memory but this is not a long term solution because some of the problems still persist.

To sort our overload problem, our specialist computer staff need to alter the search facility and make it more efficient. This work should be complete by the Summer 2009.

Whilst our IT staff are resolving these problems, there are no resources available to add these records to the system.

One of the outcomes of the proposed system changes will that it will be possible to search for a marriage prior to 1929 using both the bride and groom’s name, which will be an improvement.
Access to the microfilm for the Old Parish Register deaths and burials will continue to be made available to day search customers.

When will these records be available at the ScotlandsPeople Centre?
At this stage we can only say that we expect that the records should be available at the ScotlandsPeople Centre by December 2009.

Hopefully this is not an "April Fools" joke.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fake Family Histories - Watch Out

Hello All -

As part of my new series on helpful hints in family history and genealogy research, I wanted to focus on the fake genealogies that are out there lurking about.

One of the main famous culprits is Mr. Gustav Anjou. He did many fake family histories for well to do clients, charging thousands of dollars. I have even come across his work in doing my own family research - even saw it reproduced by an unsuspecting person in an online forum about 3 or 4 years ago. This is very dangerous, especially now with so much information found online - rootsweb, familysearch, genforum, etc.

Please be very careful in doing your research. If you come across anything by Mr. Anjou as a source for any information found on your family be very doubtful of the accuracy of it. Don't even use it, in my opinion - find things that can back it up. If you are working in your local library or state archives and you look at previously written family histories that have been produced check the sources they used.

Here are some helpful websites that deal more in detail of this problem.

Here is an example of Gustav Anjou's research found on a website at
(Note that the author of this website even states how suspect the information is, which is very responsible on their part in my opinion).

Fordyce History and Genealogy By Gustave Anjou for Samuel Fordyce, Esq., St. Louis, Mo.

Editor's Note: Most of the information found in this document is not documented and it is generally considered to be suspect if not fabricated by the author.

The Irish and American Genealogy of the Fordyce's of Greene and Washington Co.'s Pa. compiled by Gustave Anjou for S. W. Fordyce, Esq.

This family is really of Italian origin, as the name itself indicates -- Fordyce -- man of the South, although some authorities claim that the name means -- man of wisdom -- as Forsyth means a man of peace, Forlong -- a man of the sea - Sforza (Duke of Milan, man of force, con. Fortis, strong, whence Le Fort, the strong.

It appears that at an early period in Scotland and the Fordyce of Gast and Culsh, Co. Perth, have long occupied a prominent position, intermarrying with the best families. Among the latter branch we find many judges, and men of prominence, as e.g. Arthur Dingwall Fordyce, LL.D., Judge of the commissary Court of Aberdeen; Sir John Fordyce, Lieut. Gen., William Fordyce, Member of Parliament for Co. Aberdeen; David Fordyce, Author of dialogue concerning education in 1745; Dr. Geo. Fordyce, F.R.S., author of several medical works during 1794, both of London, etc.

It is likely that all these Fordyces had a common origin, although it has not ben possible to properly connect them.

The Irish branch of the family, with which we have to deal, evidently came over from Scotland, settling, as did many other Scotch-Presbyterians in the Province of Ulster, from which many families later on emigrated to the New World.

The progenitor of the Irish family of Fordyce, from which descend all the Fordyce's of Washington and Greene Co.'s Pa. was one
I. Hugh Fordyce b. in Drumasole Co. Antrim, Ireland, in 1527. marrying July 3, 1552, Mary Conyngham, of Kilbirnie, Co. Ayr, Scotland, daughter of Patrick Conyngham, of that ilk and this would tend to indicate that Hugh, himself, or his father, had come from Scotland, presumably from Ayrshire. What his father's name was we do not know, as yet. (Conyngham Coll. 69) Children: Mary, Sarah, Martin of whom presently, Hugh, John.

II. Martin Fordyce b. February 20, 1557, married March 21, 1599, Sarah Bryson of Clogh Co. Antrim. (Clough Records 11. 5) Children: Martin, John, Samuel of whom presently.

III. Samuel Fordyce b. May 19, 1602, marred October 1, 1631, Abigail Gallagher. Children: Samuel, Abigail, William, John of whom presently, James.It was during Samuel's time that the first blow was openly leveled at the permanance and prosperity of the Presbyterians in Ulster Province in 1631. Ministers were suspended from the exercises of the ministerial functions. Even the Fordyces had to remove to another country to find peace. In 1635 the entire country was pronounced duly forfeited to the crown, patents to land were subjected to rigorous examination, and many had to take out new patents. Among the latter was Samuel Fordyce, who was fined 200 pounds. (McLeland Papers. B. 89.)

IV. John Fordyce b. Nov. 8, 1643, married April 7, 1668, Mary daughter of Hugh Bane whose son Hugh Bane emigrated to Washington Co., Pa., in 1784 in company with Samuel Fordyce and his children. (There seems to be an error here as other records show some of the Samuel Fordyce children were born in Morris County, N. J. Of whom later, in this genealogy) Record of John above. Bane's Children: Mary, John, Hugh, Peter of whom presently.

V. Peter Fordyce b. May 8, 1680 in Amroy, Antrim, Ireland, married first in August, 1700, Mary France. Marriage license, Ulster Province. Children: High, of whom presently, John, James, who emigrated to Nova Scotia, Descendants settled in McLain Co., Ill.

VI. Hugh Fordyce married Jan. 4, 1732, Amelia Souter Hervey, (Souter Coll. Gen'y Mss. A. 52) Children: Samuel of whom presently, Jas. Hervey, Isaac and Justus left no descendants. (Note, N.L.F.: The above record of the three brothers of Samuel does not seem correct according to New Jersey records.)

VII. Samuel Fordyce b. Oct. 17, 1734, in Amroy, Antrim, Ulster Province, Ireland. Married, Feb. 4, 1755, Elizabeth Huggins of Clogh, Antrim, Ulster Province. (McLeland Coll. XXI, 163.) He emigrated in 1784 the wife and children to the new world where he had from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, March 30, 1796, a warrant of land consisting of 200 acres in Washington Co. Pa. Pa. Archives, 3d S., Vol. XXVI, p. 558. Children of Samuel Fordyce and Elizabeth Huggins:
1. James b. Nov. 8, 1756.2. Catherine b. Aug. 23, 1757.3&4 Mary and Elizabeth, b. June 7, 1758.5. William b. March 22, 1759.6. Abraham b. Jan. 3, 1760.7. Samuel b. Dec. 1, 17608. Abigail b. Sept. 7, 1765.9. Jacob b. Nov. 16, 1763.10. John b. Sept. 16, 1765. -- Sept. 17, 1775, Family Bible. McLeland Coll. XXI. 163 All mentioned in their father's will.

Note - N.L.F.: Another child, Isaac, was not mentioned in father's will. Howard L. Leckey, in the Tenmile Country and Its Pioneer Families, and a Bible in the possession of Mark Headley, Garards Fort, descendant of Mary Fordyce, and Headlee, give the birth of Mary and Elizabeth Fordyce and their younger brothers and sister as having been born in Morris Co. N. J. Strykker's New Jersey and the Revolution. has a record of Samuel, Isaac and Abraham having served in the Revolutionary War. It would seem that they emigrated to America before 1784.

VIII. For the family of John, tenth child of Samuel, and Elizabeth Garard Fordyce see Life and Times of Rev. John Corbly.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Hello All -

Since it is St. Patrick's Day today, I thought I would place some interesting informative web sites here to look at. These links are mainly focused on the Irish migrating into Scotland. However, the Irish did make a huge mark on immigrating to other countries as well - mainly US, Canada, Australia, and NZ. The Northeast areas of the US (such as NY City and Boston) are well known for its Irish communities. The areas of the American South and Pennsylvania during the colonial times (18th and 19th centuries) were heavily immigrated by the Ulster Irish or Scots-Irish (Northern Ireland now).

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Bruce Durie's New Book Out Now

Here is a description of Bruce Durie's new book taken from Amazon. I have not yet got the book yet, but it should be good. I have met Mr. Durie and he is very competent authority on Scottish Genealogy. Not to forget that he is also the head of the University of Strathclyde Genealogy Department.
"Scotland has possibly the most complete and best-kept set of records and other documents on the planet. Given both this and the extraordinary worldwide Scottish diaspora (approximately 28 million people can claim Scottish ancestry), the lack of a thorough guide to Scottish genealogy is a significant gap. Bruce Durie's book bridges that gap with authority and provides a sense of the excitement of the historical chase. Scottish Genealogy covers not only sources and records (physical and electronic) but is also firmly based on established genealogical practice, with worked examples which will enable family historians everywhere to exploit the rich resources in Scotland. Bruce Durie disabuses the reader of the many canards which have accompanied the recent upsurge in interest in family history - notably that it's 'all on the internet', that there is such a thing as a 'family coat of arms', and that everything written down must be true. He shows researchers how to get beyond the standard 'births, marriages and deaths and census' search and how to dig deeper into genealogy. Authoritative and entertaining this is a reader-friendly reference and guide to genealogy and family history.

Bruce Durie has had a varied career ranging from research scientist to Head of External Affairs at Kingston University. He now writes, and runs an e-business consultancy and an e-publishing company. He is the author of several local history books, including A Century of Glasgow, A Century of Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy and East Fife in Old Photographs. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, he lives near Glasgow. "

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wizard of Id Comic - The King's Family History

I saw the mention of this comic on Eastman's website, but he didn't put the actual strip on his site (just a link to it). I have put the strip here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Credit Crunch Genealogy Research

Hello All -

With the economy in a bad state in most places now days, I thought I would focus on low cost family history research. Here are some links to articles and ideas on budget genealogy.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Genealogy Software Program

Hello All -

Just saw that there is a new genealogy software program out. It is called My Blood Line.
It can be used for PC and MAC. It looks quite interesting, and has some good features. I have not tried it myself. To find out more about this new program see their website at

Monday, February 09, 2009

Homecoming Scotland 2009 Ancestral & Heritage Events

Here is the Homecoming Scotland 2009 Ancestral and Heritage Event Guide taken from their website www.homecomingscotland2009.c0m
I chose these events as it would more of an interest to the family historian and genealogist.

Ancestral and Heritage Events in 2009 at a glance:

You may be planning to come home to Scotland to research your family history, or your attachment to Scotland may be emotional rather than simply genetic. Whatever your relationship, 2009 is the year to visit with some 300 festivals and events signed up to participate in Scotland’s year of Homecoming! Within the packed programme, there’s a wealth of ancestral-related events ranging from clan gatherings to heritage themes and explorations of how Scots abroad have shaped their countries and communities.

Read on for a wee taste......This is Who We Are Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dumfries, Jan 24 – Nov 2009 This photographic exhibition demonstrates the strong influence of Scots abroad when they travelled and named 1000 Canadian towns after their homeland.

Famous Scots Edinburgh, Jan 26 – Dec 31In 2009, a series of exhibitions will illustrate the results of genealogical research into the family histories of six famous living Scots.

Scottish Tides Polish SpringPerth, February 1 – April 30Celebrate the comings and goings of Scots and Poles through the centuries through theatre, music and visual art.

.The Scottish Family History Fair and SAFHS Conference Aberdeen, April 25This event will appeal to anyone interested in their Scottish roots, whether they are experienced genealogists or have yet to start researching their family history.

.Meet Your Ancestors in Clackmannanshirethroughout Clackmannanshire, June 1 – Nov 30 (TBC)Discover your roots and meet some of the people who helped to shape Clackmannanshire.

Return to the RidingsScottish Borders, June 1 – 8 AugustHomecoming year extends the invitation to Border Scots throughout the world to return to their Ridings.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor. Routes to your Scottish Roots Stirling, Jun 19 - 21A family history conference that focuses on Stirling records and sources but which contains information and tips that could equally be applicable anywhere in the world.

A Home Away from Home: The Scottish Emigration Experience Edinburgh, Jun 26 – Oct 11Follow the experiences of the ordinary Scots who over the centuries left their homeland to find a better life abroad.

Dumfries Family History Homecoming Fair Dumfries, June 27Exploring local heritage with a day of stalls, heritage groups, talks and a local library and archive service.

North East Clan Fortnight Aberdeen City and Shire, July18 – August 3A unique programme of Homecoming celebrations in the North East, including conferences and clan gatherings.

International Genealogy Festival Glasgow, July 21 - 24A celebration of Scots Genealogy, Family History and Heraldry with a major exhibition, lectures, historic walks and visits and much more!

The Gathering 2009Edinburgh, July 25 - 26Be a part of history; join clan members from around the world to witness Scotland's largest ever Highland Games in the inspiring Holyrood Park.

The Scottish Diaspora Forum Edinburgh, July 25The first Scottish Diaspora Forum, held in the Scottish Parliament, will explore the rich potential of the global Scots family.

The Clan Ross Gathering Tain, 12 – 13 AugustRosses from home and abroad are invited to meet with Chief David Ross of Ross and Balnagown and immerse themselves in the culture and heritage of Ross.

Island Emigrants – Conference on Emigration from the Outer Hebrides Isle of Harris, 10 – 12 SeptemberMeet with islanders and descendants of emigrants from the Hebrides to all parts of the world over the last 250 years.

Clan Scott Society Gathering Scottish Borders, 24 – 27 SeptemberThe first ever international gathering of Clan Scott at its ancestral home, Bowhill, in the Scottish Borders.

Angus and Dundee Roots Festival Angus and Dundee, 26 September – 5 OctoberA packed programme for people whose ancestors came from Angus and Dundee to visit and find out more about their ancestral homeland.

Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of RunningLoch Ness, 4 OctoberAs part of Homecoming Scotland 2009 the Marathon and Festival of Running is introducing a Clan Challenge. For more details, contact Rachel Phillips.

Highland Homecoming – ur beatha dhan dùthaich!Inverness, 15 – 31 October 2009
One of the highlights of the Highlands' contribution to the Homecoming Scotland celebrations takes the form of a fortnight-long series of events that will explore and celebrate the way Scots have shaped countries and communities around the world.

A major event of Highland Homecoming is ‘Scotland's Global Impact’, a three-day conference to be held in Inverness between 22-4 October 2009 that will bring together prominent academics, historians and other experts to throw new light on the impact of movement to and from our country.

Appealing to anyone with an interest in Scottish ancestry and the global role Scots have played in shaping our world, the conference themes include a focus on early migration patterns to and from Scotland, as well as assessing the trends in contemporary population movement; examining our ancestors’ desire to travel from Scotland to North America, Australia, New Zealand and beyond; and looking at the role of the Scots in the military at home and abroad from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Hear about the peoples who made Scotland, and contrast this with our current migration patterns. Discover the connected lives and legends of Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns. Explore the long distance relationships Scotland holds with New Zealand and Australia. And hear how Scottish soldiers have contributed to campaigns both fighting for their own territory and for that of their allies. Visit now to find out more and to register your interest.Featuring speakers including Professor Ted Cowan, Professor Tom Devine, Professor Jim Hunter, Professor John Mackenzie and Dr Tony Pollard.

Dumfries and Galloway FHS Fair 2009

Hello All -

As part of the Homecoming Scotland 2009, the Dumfries & Galloway Family History Society is hosting a family history fair and exhibition on 27 June 2009 at the Dumfries Academy in Dumfries. Please see the link to find out more information.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Genealogy Search Basics Video Tutorial

Hello All -

Being a bit of a tech nerd, and being a big advocate of online resources as well as using modern technology and techniques for genealogy research, I thought I would incorporate genealogy/family history tutorials found online (normally found on You Tube) in my blog.

One of the biggest search engines out there is Google, and I use it as my homepage for Internet Explorer. In this video tutorial that I have chosen to start out with is demonstrating how to use online search engines such as Google in your family history research. It is almost a given that in doing your research gathering that you will use a search engine - it is just one of those tools that is automatically used without even thinking about it.

Apart from doing initial interviews with family members or friends that knew your family, and maybe having found vital documents (such as birth, marriage, or death certificates) in your family's possession, using search engines is a way of doing further research on your family tree (you should go to do research at archives and libraries most importantly if you are able). Using search engines such as Google is just another tool to use in your research, and it shouldn't be the only method. Also, you should be careful about the information that is found online - it may not be reliable or accurate. Be cautious and wary if things don't seem right.

Hope you enjoy the tutorial I have picked, and it will be informative for you in your family history research.

I will try to have further tutorials in future blog entries, so please come back again.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Genealogy Book of the Month

Hello All -

Here is another one of my ideas. Choosing a genealogy/family history book of the month.

And the winner is ....
The Scottish Family Tree Detective by Rosemary Bigwood

This is a Scottish genealogy blog after all, so the first book should definitely be one about Scottish family history. It is a very thorough book that involves all aspects of Scottish genealogy. I have it in my collection and would highly recommend it to anyone. This book is available from Amazon and most major British booksellers (W H Smith, Waterstones, etc.).

Find out next month what the next pick will be.

Genealogy Website of the Month

Hello All -

I had mentioned previously in my blog about hoping to put some new ideas into this blog. Well here is the first item. My Genealogy Website of the Month (this is just my opinion of what I think is a good website).

And the winner is.....

I know that was an easy one to pick. Many of you probably already use this great resource. However, for those who haven't yet, I would encourage you to use it. It does cost money as it is a subscription service. But, they do offer a 2 week free trial. There are also a few subscription choices depending upon your budget. Because I work as a professional genealogist, I use the Worldwide service (excellent choice for those who need to find things in different countries).
Ancestry is always updating their databases, so you can always look forward to something new to look at.

Next month I will nominate another great website, so stay tuned.

Monday, February 02, 2009

1911 Scottish Census News

Hello All -

Some of you may have heard that the 1911 Census returns from England and Wales are now in the process of being made public. However, you may not know what is happening in regards to the Scottish Census for 1911. Here is an excerpt from the General Registry Office of Scotland website about what is happening with the 1911 census for Scotland:

The position in Scotland regarding access to the 1911 Census differs from that in England and Wales. The Census in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament and Administration. Scottish legislation (Section 38 and 58 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002) exempts personal Census records from disclosure until after a 100 year closure period.

So, while 1911 Census information for England and Wales is being made available, the same does not apply to information in the Scottish 1911 Census.

The Registrar General for Scotland believes that this strikes a balance between the interest of the records to family historians and the privacy of the people recorded by the Census, some of whom will still be alive. People who completed the 1911 Census were promised confidentiality. Although that is a long time ago, it is important not to call into question the validity of the equivalent promise on modern Census forms. That could deter people from filling in the Census form, reducing the response rate and making the Census results (which are so important for many aspects of Scottish life) less accurate.

The Registrar General for Scotland plans to release the Scottish 1911 Census information just after the date of the 2011 Census (27 March 2011), by which time the 100 year closure period will have ended.

Friday, January 30, 2009

New Ideas For The Blog

Hello All -

I was thinking about what things I can do to add to this blog. I thought what would be a good thing to do would be to have a monthly feature to focus on the great things that are out there in the genealogy world. For example a Genealogy Book of the Month, a Genealogy Website of the Month, etc. This is of course just my opinion for what I think is good and should be focused on.

Keep a look out for these new features....

Thursday, January 29, 2009

USA Version of Who Do You Think You Are Coming Soon

Hello All -

I just happened to blog about this the other day, and just found out that the NBC Network will be airing the US version of Who Do You Think You Are. Here is an excerpt from Eastman's website about the program:

"Who Do You Think You Are?," a very popular British television that has since been exported to other countries. Each country produces their own shows, featuring local television personalities and stories. Now NBC will bring the television program to American viewers, starting April 20. The program will air on Mondays at 8 p.m.
"Who Do You Think You Are?" will feature American celebrities, including Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and Susan Sarandon, as they unearth their family trees. Kudrow's company, Is or Isn't Entertainment, will produce the programs, along with the U.K.'s Wall to Wall Productions.
The series will examine a star's family tree and uncover stories about love, secrets and triumphs in his or her family's past, while also weaving the family story into the larger narrative of American history."This show personalizes history and turns it into a gripping narrative," Kudrow says. "The most striking thing about the show is the realization of how connected we all are."

This is what the NBC website states about the upcoming show:

From producer Lisa Kudrow comes a new series that is unlike anything on U.S. television. Based on the popular BBC documentary series, Who Do You Think You Are? takes viewers on an inspiring and personal journey into the past of America's best-known celebrities, sharing their emotion and surprise as they uncover stories of heroism, tragedy, love and betrayal that lie at the heart of their family story. At the same time, the series celebrates the making of our great nation and the people who traveled here in search of freedom and opportunity.One-hour alternative series
Archive of celebrity ancestry info.
Ability for users to get started on a personal search into family history

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Series of Who Do You Think You Are? Starts

Hello All -

The new series of the popular family history program "Who Do You Think You Are?" is starting soon on BBC. The first episode starts to air 02 Feb 2009, 21:00 on BBC One. The first episode focuses on Rory Bremner. Here is a brief excerpt of the other celebrities involved from the BBC website.

In this series:
Rory Bremner tracks down people who saw his father in action during the Second World War
Fiona Bruce ploughs through trade directories and journals to find a family rogue
Rick Stein reads business letters describing the hardships faced by a missionary relative
Zoë Wanamaker examines FBI files about her father
Kevin Whately searches through burial records and parish registers to find an ancestor active in the Civil War.

There is talk of an American version too. Here is a excerpt from the "Who Do You Think You Are Magazine":

American Version of Who Do You Think You Are? In Production
It’s good news for American genealogists as US television network NBC is currently working on their own version of Who Do You Think You Are?
Co-executive produced by Friends actress Lisa Kudrow, the show researchers are currently looking into the family trees of interested celebrities to see if they make for compelling stories.
"I think at the heart of every American is the burning desire to understand who you are and where you came from," says Craig Plestis, head of alternative programming at NBC. "We hope this series will inspire our viewers to investigate their own intriguing past.”
The show’s format has proved popular worldwide with the program being exported to Canada, Australia and Poland. However, the American version will not air on US screens until late 2008 at the earliest.