Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Scottish Ancestral Tourism

Hello All -

It has been a long time since I last posted on this blog.  Things have been busy on this end of things, so not much time to blog.  I read recently in Dick Eastman's blog (a must read for any genealogist and family historian) about the need for Scotland to refocus its attention to ancestral tourism.  There is an article that Dick links to in his post from the Scotsman Newspaper online.  It can be found here:

An interesting statistic from the above Scotsman article shows a very promising and untapped resource in people of Scots ancestry.  The article states, " The study found ancestral tourism in Scotland is worth more than £400 million a year but that the market still had untapped potential. The £2.4bn figure is based on Visit­Scotland converting 20 per cent of the 50 million people with Scots blood around the world into potential visitors.  Of these, 4.3 million are said to be already interested in taking on planning a holiday in the next two years while more than five million are waiting to be attracted from key areas.  Of the 50 million, the Scottish Government estimates 9.4 million are American, 4.7 million Canadian and 1.5 million Australian."

This is a staggering bit of information.  I know in my own professional genealogy research for clients, many of my custom comes from these countries.  You can also add, New Zealand and South Africa to the list.    I know that many people visit Scotland every year, but out of all those how many come for researching their ancestry themselves, or after doing research into their family want to come to visit where their ancestors lived and worked.  To some this is a trip of a lifetime and being able to see and walk the same streets as ones ancestors can be a little emotional if not educational.  Seeing names, dates, and places on a sheet of paper is one thing, but being able to come to Scotland and have an "ancestral experience" makes it all come alive.

I have a few friends and colleagues who do engage in the Scottish Ancestral Tourism market.  If you are interested in going on an Ancestral Tour of Scotland, I can highly recommend the following folks to you:

Marie Dougan of Ancestral Consultants (West Lothian):

Steven McLeish of Scotia Roots (West Lothian):

Frances Black of Scottish Ancestor (Fife):

Until Next Time . . . .

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Potential GRONI Digitization Implications for Scotland

Hello All:

There are some "rumblings" out in the genealogy world about the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) planning to digitize their birth, marriage, and death records by the end of 2013 (source being in Sept. 2012 YFT).  If this comes to pass, which I really hope it does, it will have huge benefits for those in Scotland.  It is a given how great this will be for those in Ireland itself.  The records would be Births 1864-1913, Marriages 1845-1938, and Deaths 1864-1963.  The intention is to have this potential GRONI digital records be similar to the ScotlandsPeople website.  We all know how wonderful a site that is.  It has really shown the way of how to do things - England/Wales should take note.  At this point there has been no announcement about pricing, but I hope that it would be in line with ScotlandsPeople.

What I mean when I say the digitization of the Northern Ireland vital records having implications for Scotland is that many Northern Irish migrated to Scotland throughout its history.  There is no counting how many times during research for clients in the Scottish records that an ancestor was from Ireland (particularly Northern Ireland).  Usually things would have to stop at the point once the Scottish records have been exhausted, and the need for an Irish researcher would have to take over from the point left.  If this project of digitizing goes forward in earnest research can "jump" across to Northern Ireland from Scotland within a blink of an eye, and without leaving your house or office.  This will help bridge the gap in Scottish research as well as for Irish research.

It must to stressed that this potential digitization is for Northern Ireland only.  The Republic of Ireland seems to have digitized its civil registration records, but they have not made them online to the public.  Hopefully they will do so soon.  These records too will be a great benefit to all, especially those in the USA who have numerous Irish immigrants.

Another bit of Irish digitization news is that the Irish Military Pensions are in the works of being digitized too.  The company Eneclann has been awarded the project.  It is expected to be completed in early 2015.  These records are for those veterans and or their dependents who served duty from April and May 1916 to the end of September 1923.

A big congrats to Northern Ireland for wanting to get this done.  I really hope that it isn't just talk, but will go full throttle to get it completed and online to the public.  It isn't just a benefit for those in Ireland, but for the UK and the world.

Until Next Time . . .

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Professional Genealogists Have the Gift of the Gab

Hello All -

I am sure you are wondering what the post title is about.  There is a new group out here in Scotland for those in the genealogy profession (researchers, archivists, etc.) to meet up and have a good ol' natter.  It is called Scottish Genealogy Network.  It has been running since about March of this year.  It got started up by those who were attending the Who Do You Think You Are Live in London this past February.  I didn't attend this time, so I was a bit out of the loop.  I noticed a post regarding it on LinkedIn and jumped at the chance to attend their meeting.  There is nothing currently like this for professional genealogists and family historians in Scotland - it is an idea whose time has finally come.

This past meet up was in Stirling.  This month it will be in Perth.  The group is very informal and I think that those who attend like it that way.  It is a good chance for those of us in the professional to meet each other and "talk shop."  Most of us in the genealogy profession work by ourselves (self employed) without too much contact with others in the field.  However, once a  month those of us working in Scotland can get together.  You know of peoples names and faces, but you don't necessarily get a chance to speak in person to them.  This monthly meeting is a good chance to do that.

Speaking for myself, I had a great time.  There is nothing like meeting up with those who share your profession and being able to talk about all sort of topics associated with working day to day in genealogy and family history.  It was hard to tear myself away from it all, but I had to go in order to get back home in time.  You can easily loose track of time as all the conversations can be interesting and educational as well as a good laugh.  The topics of discussion can range from DNA, genealogy books, client research, and even general non-genealogy topics such as the Olympics.  The meet up is usually the last Saturday of the month and the locations are different each time.  There would be some travel involved, but it isn't too far and it is only once a month.  It is well worth it in my opinion.

If you haven't been to one of the monthly meetups and you are in the genealogy/family history profession in Scotland (you don't have to be a researcher) please join in.  It is very informal and a really good time.  As I mentioned earlier in this post, the next meeting is in Perth on the 25th August.  This time around we are planning on taking a quick tour of the A.K. Bell Library in Perth - it will mainly be the local studies/archives area of the library if able to do so at the time.  We are to meet at the library's main entrance at 1:00 pm, then have a quick tour about, then meet over at the Salutation Hotel for our informal get together.  It sounds like a really good outing. 

If you need any further information and details about this month's get together or about the Scottish Genealogy Network (SGN) in general just contact Chis Paton by email:  christopherpaton  at 

As I mentioned before, these get together's are very informal and friendly.   All are welcome who are in the genealogy/family history profession in anyway shape or form.  If you wish to read other blog posts about our group please view the links below:

Here is Kirsty Wilkinson's blog:

Here is Chis Paton's blog:

Until next time . . .

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Couple Good Shows to Watch

Hello All:

There are a couple of shows that I have seen the past week that look really interesting genealogically speaking.  If you are interested in Dundee research then there was the show "The Great British Story: Dundee" on BBC last week.  You can still watch it on BBC IPlayer or on "catch up" on your tv.  It shows Deacon Blue singer Ricky Ross tracing his Dundee ancestors as well as doing a bit of local Dundee history.  He even meets up with two cousins at the end that he didn't know about, which always a good thing.  If you want to watch it online just go to the link here:

The second programme that seems really interesting is called:  "Turn Back Time: The Family."  It is also on BBC.  It is interesting in that it not only takes modern day families to live a week in various periods in the past, but it has them living in the way their own ancestors lived.  For example, in the first week the families were living during the Edwardian period.  One of the modern families lives a wealthy life in Barkshire, but in the Edwardian period one of the ancestors of family lived as a general labourer during that time.  It was very stark and real to them - life as they hadn't experienced before.  Next week the families will go forward in time to the roaring 20s, and as last episode they will be following in the footsteps of their ancestors who lived during that time.  If you missed the first episode you can catch it on BBC IPlayer or "catch up."  You can watch online at:
The second episode of the programme can be seen on Tuesday, 3rd July on BBC 1.

Until Next Time . . .

Friday, January 27, 2012

Go To RootsTech From Home

Hello All:

2nd-4th February in Salt Lake City it will be the 2nd conference of RootsTech.  I haven't been myself, but I have heard really good things about it from some of the particpants while I was at WDYTYA in London last year.  This year it is said to be better than previous.  Which is normally what happens as the conference organizers learn from what worked and what didn't, and what sort of new ideas to implement.

Well, like most of you (especially here in the UK and other countries outside of the USA), I will not be able to go.  But, there is good news.  RootsTech will be live streaming some of their classes & keynote addresses online.  These classes from what I have read in other online sites regarding the conference are those that are in Room 151.  You will need to look at the RootsTech website for the schedule to find which classes are involved to be shown as a live stream.  What is important to remember is that the times are US Mountain Time (in the UK that would be 7 hours behind - example, session is at 2 pm in Utah it will be 9 pm here in UK).  And another important fact is that it is all FREE (and you can watch in your pjs & slippers).

Here is a link to a copy of the schedule found on the RootTech website:

The RootsTech website doesn't have on their website yet on how to access online live streaming, but just keep an eye on their website for information on how to do it (

Until Next Time . . .

Thursday, January 12, 2012

We Now Have a Facebook Page

Hello All -

I know that I am always a bit slow with these type of "techie" things, but I have set up a Facebook page for McNicholl Genealogical Services.  You can click on the Facebook button on the left hand side of the blog(under the Geneabloggers link) to go to our FB page.  Please take time to "like" our page.  I update the page from time to time, so please watch this space as new things get posted on the FB page (as well as this blog).
I thank everyone in advance for taking the time to see the page.

Until Next Time . . .

Reminder of Our Special Discount

Hello All -

Just thought that I would give a reminder of our 15% special discount offer on research until the end of 31st January 2012.  If you haven't taken advantage of this savings please don't hesitate to do so - there is still time left to enquire.

Until Next Time . . .

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Family History New Year's Resolutions

Hello All -

A new year and now a new post for the blog.  Hope everyone had a good Christmas and is recovering from all the festivities.  Now that it is the start of a new year, it is also the start of the traditional thoughts of resolutions.  I am sure that many of you have thought about what sort of resolution(s) you may do for this new year.  Resolutions involve all sorts of personal issues, and this also includes our family history/genealogy.

In the February issue of YFT they have an interesting pie graph of those who responded to their forum question regarding what people's new year's family history resolutions would be.  Here is the breakdown of the numbers according to their survey:

30% - Be more organized
22% - Other (breaking down brick walls was a popular answer)
16% - Spend more time on your tree
8% - Publish your research
8% - Get round to backing up your research
8% - Visit an ancestor's grave
8% - Visit more archives

These numbers are very interesting.  I am a bit surprised regarding the single digit number on "visit more archives."  I thought that one would be a bit higher, but if you don't have the time to do such things then it makes things a bit harder to be a high priority.  I think that the low number of back up one's research is also a bit disappointing.  To me this is a very important thing to do.  I have had it happen to me before of not backing things up from the computer and then suddenly everything is gone.  All it takes is one virus, etc. to ruin hours and years of hard work. 

If you are not working on your family history at present, please make sure that you save/copy your work onto a disk or other safe method.  That way things will not get lost, and if something does happen, at least you can put it back onto your computer easily with your backup disk or other format used.  While you are working on your research, try to make it a habit to save your work at the end of each day if possible.  I know it can be a bit of a pain to do it and you can forget to save things, as I find myself thinking that way too.  However, the possibility of a loss of data can be a big motivator.

It is good that some people are having resolutions regarding their genealogy/family history, and thinking about their research work.  All the replies shown on the survey mentioned above are important and will help to make a better genealogist.  Which is what all of us strive to do in some way or another.

Until Next Time . . .