Sunday, January 17, 2010

Digging Up Your Roots Episode 3 at Noon, 17th Jan.

Hello All -

Just a reminder to listen to the next episode (episode 3) of Digging Up Your Roots today at noon
on BBC Radio Scotland.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy to Receive the Happy 101 Award

Hello All -

Just received the Happy 101 Award. Many thanks to Earline Hines Bradt of Ancestral Notes blog for the honour.

The responsibilities of receiving this award include naming ten things that make you happy and then passing it along to ten friends. Ten things that make me happy are (in no particular order):

1. Being a genealogist and all that goes with it

2. My family and friends

3. Working on the computer (doing family history of course, other things too)

4. Books/Reading - nonfiction

5. Cooking - not French Chef quality, but good homecooking

6. Hill Walking in the Scottish countryside

7. Taking day trips in the car

8. My faith

9. Being from Texas and my southern roots

10. Being in Scotland in the Summer months and not in Texas

The ten people I would like to honor with this award are - ones that I think have not been honoured yet (please excuse me if the award has been given to you already):

Thank you again for the award - it makes me very happy.

Family Tree Going Back to Medieval Kings and Adam & Eve?

Hello All -

I was having a look on one of the many genealogy blogs that I like to read, and found a great entry about family tree going back to Adam and Eve and Medieval genealogy in general. What a great thing to discuss. So often I have found online genealogies on the various websites that let folks upload their trees, and have found the William the Conqueror and all the various medieval Kings and Queens and then all the way back through to Biblical times to end up with Adam and Eve. Myself personally, I do have my own view of being an Adam & Eve descendant, but I will not share it here.

The blog that I was reading was from Genealogy Star by Mr. James Tanner of Mesa, AZ. He makes such great points on this issue and he has a few good links on the topic too.

One of the links was to the ProGenealogist blog regarding the issue of medieval genealogy.
This is an excellent post for those interested in medieval lineages in Britain.

Now for my two cents worth:

I cannot agree more with the issues discussed from just the two web links I mention above. As mentioned in the links, these type of medieval family trees were made originally for nobility and royal families. It is very unlikely to be proven, unless it can be documented, that John Doe or Jane Doe is a direct descendant of William the Conqueror, etc.

It is so important to be careful with things like this. It is extremely difficult to trace yourself back to such royal families, etc unless there are the sources to prove it. I really wish that those few people who have put their family trees (those who claim to have medieval royalty, etc. ancestors) on these public upload sites would seriously review their content and amend it - unless they have the documentation to back it up.

This content keeps getting copied from one place to the next, and doesn't get vetted. I know that the web is a public place to share all sorts, but lets be responsible about it. I am all for putting a person's researched family tree online. It is a great way to share your information with potentional relatives who share the same families. But, only put it online once the research has been done to a good standard and proved with the documentation supplied. Mistakes can be made in family history, but that is ok as no one is perfect. Even the most recognized genealogists in the field make mistakes. The main thing is if a mistake if found correct things as soon as possible especially if it is online.

This should be the case for all genealogy put up online for the whole public to view. It is in a sense irresponsible and careless genealogy to just put trees online without any regard to its accuracy. It is not my intention to hurt anyone's pride or feelings - it is just as a professional genealogist myself I want everyone who pursues genealogy either as a pastime or a profession to do things the proper way. I have discussed this on various occasions on this blog, and feel that it is vital to do family history research by the best of standards. This means doing research by the GPS - genealogical proof standard.

I can see how some people just starting out in doing family history would fall into the trap - it is very easily done. But, I think once a person has matured in their research capabilities and become more familiar with the methods and techniques of sound research than they will know that these types of online trees are suspect. It can be very attractive to be descended from famous historical figures (medieval, biblical, etc.), but in my opinion it is best to just let your ancestor be who they are - famous or not. All ancestors have their own sense of importance in one way or another; they may not be flashy but they belong to you.

I don't know how many of you have seen this (it is an old piece posted in 2000), but thought it a very good satire by Roy Stockdill:
(Note: please understand that Mr. Stockdill's intent of his old post was for a laugh and should not be taken seriously).

I hope that I haven't stepped on any toes here, but I have to vent on the issue.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Digging Up Your Roots - Episode 2 online

Hello All -

If you happen to have missed episode 2 of Digging Up Your Roots on BBC Radio Scotland you can listen to it (also if you did hear it on the radio you can listen to it again) on the Radio Scotland website:

The 3rd episode will be on this Sunday at noon on Radio Scotland. This episode will feature
Pickling in rum, a mysterious death in the USA and inheritance battles - Bill Whiteford and Bruce Durie explore how death can shed light on an ancestor's life.

If you haven't been listening to this series I would encourage you to do so. It is not very often that you get a Scottish genealogy programme on radio or tv. It is also very educational and interesting to hear the readers stories.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mitchell Library Workshops & Talks

Hello All -

Just a word to let you know what is happening this month of January at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow genealogy-wise:

Family History Tours

Come along and learn more about our library resources for family history.

14 Jan 2010
2.30pm – 3.30pm

Family History Advice

Getting a bit stuck with researching your family tree? Not sure where to go next? Why not book one of our advice sessions. Sessions are free, last 30 minutes and are available on the dates below. To book, please phone 0141 287 2999.

20 Jan
2pm - 4pm

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Diggin Up Your Roots BBC Radio Scotland

Hello All -

Just in case you may not know, but BBC's Radio Scotland has just started their new series of Digging Up Your Roots. The first episode was last Sunday 3rd January. However, if you missed it, you can still hear it online at
There are only 4 days left to listen to it online - the BBC iplayer only plays shows for about a week after they have aired. I think they also have it as a podcast too.

The next episode is this coming Sunday 10th January at 12:05 pm. Some of this show's features will be: A Jacobite prisoner who married a Cherokee Indian and a Scottish Earl and his Italian musician. Bill Whiteford and genealogist Bruce Durie tell tales of Scottish migration.

Golden Rules of Genealogy

Hello All -

First of all let me wish all of you a very happy New Year and I hope it will be a good 2010 for everyone. To get a good start to the new year, I want to touch again on sound family history research.

For my first post of the new year, I thought I would mention a great idea I found from another genealogy colleague online called "The Golden Rules of Genealogy" by Lisa Lee of Got Genealogy?. I thought this was a fantastic idea. I think that the "rules" given by Lisa are a good rule of thumb for all who wish to research their family history - it is simple and to the point.
You might even want to print these rules out and have it handy to look at when needed - especially when going out to do research.

I know that I tend to go on a bit about this sort of topic (sound research techniques), but I find that it is so very important - it is the back bone of any kind of credible research. I know that everyone wants to get it right when doing their research on their family, and you can if you follow good, sound research techniques. The rules that Lisa lists are easy to remember and follow, and once you get the rules into practice it will become second nature.

To view Lisa's "Golden Rules of Genealogy" please view her website at