Welcome to Scottish Genealogy Tips And Tidbits

A wee bit of info to help you in your journey to discover your Scottish Ancestors and maybe even crack a brick wall or two!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

And The Winner Is....

The winner of my 2019 RootsTech Pass Giveaway is Anne Farrar! Congratulations, Anne! I look forward to seeing you in Salt Lake City. We will have to meet up and take a photo of the two of us together. 

Didn't win? No worries. Here are some other giveaway contests to enter: 

When you get to RootsTech, look for me in the RootsTech app and let's connect!

Monday, 12 November 2018

The APP is Here

The RootsTech App is ready for download!

The app allows you to view the conference schedule, familiarize yourself with the speakers, make a list of vendors and exhibitors to visit in the Expo Hall. The app also allows you to connect with others who are attending the conference. 

The RootsTech mobile app is a great way for you to keep up to date with all that is happening before and during the conference. It will become your "go-to" to keep you organized and on schedule when you are at the conference. 

If you have a previous version of the app, you can simply update. If this is your first time, head to your app store for either iOS or Android and download. Play around and get familiar with the app before the conference. 

Look for me in the attendees list and let's connect!

See you in Salt Lake City for the largest family history conference, February 27th- Mar 2, 2019. 

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Saroo Brierley at RootsTech 2019

The first celebrity keynote speaker for RootsTech has been announced. Friday's special speaker is Saroo Brierley. Many will know about Saroo from his book, A Long Way Home, or from the movie based on his book, Lion

At age 5, Saroo was sent from India to Australia where he was adopted. His adoptive mother helped to keep his memories alive and as he got older, Saroo used Google Earth to remember his homeland and other technology to eventually reunite with his birth family. 

This promises to be a talk that will require hankies and it is most likely that there won't be a dry eye in the house as we listen to Saroo's riveting story of finding his family of origin. Here is a sneak peak:

To register for RootsTech: https://www.rootstech.org/

Friday, 9 November 2018

Scottish ViC Line up

Scottish ViC (virtual conference) 
Saturday January 26th, 2019 
After having had the opportunity to attend several talks and conferences in Scotland with my tour participants, I made the realization that the topics presented over there are quite different to the topics those same speakers might offer in North America. Clearly, the needs of the researchers in Scotland is different, thus the different focus of the topics by the speakers. My tour participants have greatly benefitted from that level of learning and in a desire to offer that same level of learning to others in North America and Australasia. 

From this desire evolved the Scottish ViC. This is the only virtual conference dedicated to Scottish research, and to offer topics others would not normally have the chance to learn about.
The virtual conference starts at 8:00 am (Eastern) with presentations being delivered in pre-recorded webinar format. Presentations are made available on a scheduled basis, just like talks at an in-person conference. After one presentation ends, another becomes available. Immediately following each presentation, the presenters will be available in the closed Facebook group for the ViC for a live Q&A. Questions can also be emailed for those not comfortable with Facebook.
The presentations will remain available until midnight (eastern) on January 31st. This allows people in different time zones to be able to watch the presentations during normal waking hours.  In addition to the presentations, there is a virtual marketplace in which vendors offer special discounts on their products or services to the attendees which might enhance or benefit their genealogy research.
This year’s speakers and topics:

                      Keynote address: The Highlander and the Lad o' Pairts: 
                      Patterns of Scottish Migration to Canada 

presented by Dr Kevin James, Scottish History Professor of the University of Guelph’s Scottish Studies Program

Genealogy in the High Court of Justiciary 

presented by retired archivist Margaret Fox. Margaret formerly worked as an archivist at the National Records of Scotland and has an intimate knowledge of these records.

Using Sheriff Court Records for Genealogy Research 

presented by genealogist Emma Maxwell. Emma and her husband Graham have indexed thousands of records at the National Records of Scotland and made these indexes freely available on their website, Scottishindexes. Scottishindexes will be offering a discount to attendees of the ViC.

Genealogy Gems in Scottish Poor Law Records 

presented by Dr Irene O’Brien, senior archivist at the Glasgow City Archives. Glasgow has, perhaps, the richest collection of poor law records in the country and Dr O’Brien has an intimate knowledge of how these records can help reconstruct an ancestor’s life.

An Introduction to LivingDNA

by co-founder David Nicholson. LivingDNA differs from the other DNA companies in that they can pinpoint the region of Scotland in your DNA. LivingDNA will also be offering a discount on their kits.

Family History Resources Available at the National Library of Scotland 

presented by Enquiries Assistant Elaine Brown. Elaine has a rich knowledge of the resources that can help to build the social history of your ancestors and the wealth of resources available at the National Library of Scotland to assist you with your family history research.

Online Resources for Scottish Genealogy

presented by genealogy educator Christine Woodcock. The resources offered in this webinar are some of the lesser known websites and resources that will help to move your research forward.
 As with any conference, there will be a marketplace where vendors will offer products or services will assist family historians with their research. 
A list of vendors can be found at: https://www.genealogyvic.com/virtual-vendors.html

 The registration fees are just $99 canadian, which translates to about $65 usd.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018


As an Ambassador for RootsTech in 2019, I get the honour of giving away a four day pass to the event!

As a prize winner, you will get a FREE 4 day pass allowing you access to:

  • over 300 sessions
  • Keynote and General Session
  • An AMAZING exhibition hall
  • evening events

All you have to do to win is enter the draw! Simply navigate over to the right hand side of this webpage and find the header ROOTSTECH PASS GIVEAWAY. Enter your name and email address and then cross your fingers! 

Prize will be drawn November 12, 2018. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Why Is the Fee So High?

The Scottish ViC is the only virtual conference dedicated to Scottish genealogy. It can be attended from anywhere in the world. Access to the presentations remains open for 5 days to allow for time zone challenges so that people can watch during normal waking  hours. 

I started the ViC after attending several talks and conferences with my tour groups in Scotland. What I learned most from these presentations was that the information shared by the speakers was far different than the information shared, perhaps by those very same presenters, when they are in North America. Clearly the needs of the researchers are different. Thus the focus is different. 

However, most of the people who have been on a tour with me, especially those who have been repeat participants, need a different focus in their learning as well. And they are not alone. Loads of people researching their Scottish ancestors can benefit from the different focus. The most practical way to make that happen was to bring the presentations to them. Thus the birth of the ViC. 

I value my relationships with my colleagues in Scotland. Many have become friends. I am grateful that they are willing to help me to help others learn about researching their Scottish ancestors. I know what goes into a presentation. Hours of work. Writing, creating a powerpoint, finding just the right graphic, knowing how much information each slide should warrant, editing, practicing and promoting. It was a no-brainer for me that I would pay my colleagues for their willingness to share their knowledge, for their time and for their talents. 

We have become so used to everything being free in the genealogy world that we forget the work involved behind the scenes.  So many want to advance their research and their learning without having to pay for doing so. It's the only profession and one of the few hobbies where free is the expected norm. 

I am not a millionaire. And so, to be able to provide a high quality program, to recoup some of the payments made (for the presentations, for the handouts and for taking the time to be available for a live Q&A) and for a fraction of the cost of the webinar platform, I need to charge a fee. I see no shame in that. None. 

What I do find puzzling is why some people find it offensive to be asked to pay for a conference. They wouldn't balk for an in-person conference, so why do they balk at paying for a virtual conference? The presenters still have to work to put the presentations together. The benefit is that virtual conferences are an absolute bargain for anyone attending. No travel, no accommodation, no meals, no time away from family, work, or other obligations. Even on the day. If you need to leave for a couple of hours, you can pick the presentations up again when you get back. It's a win-win. I'd love to have you join us at the Scottish ViC!

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Connecting Through Shared Memories

I love my cousins. And I sure have lots of them. So much of my childhood and early adulthood was spent in their company. Weekend visits, family birthdays, holiday dinners, vacations. My mum and two of her sisters lived close by. One aunt was a block away, the other about 20 minutes away. Rarely a day  went by when I didn't have cousins around. 

My mum's cousin lived an hour away. Those visits were extra special because we got the whole weekend together. Summers were spent together as aunts, uncles and Granny came from Scotland to visit. And then our week at the cottage. Mum and dad rented a cottage from our neighbours and EVERYONE showed up at some point. Sometimes for the duration. 

As we got older, we tended to go our separate ways. And with parents aging we have had the chance to re-connect. Two years ago, I reconnected with my cousins who moved out west. It was like we had never been apart. Spending time with them is my happy place. Mostly for the laughter and the shared memories. 

Two weeks ago, I was at a Celebration of Life for an uncle. And had a chance to re-connect with other cousins. Although the event was sad, the time together wasn't. We spent lots of time looking at old photos and recalling times spent together as kids. 

Really, once people leave our lives, all that we have left are the memories. I am so incredibly blessed to have shared memories with my cousins. I love my cousins.