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!

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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Family History Month - KPL Genealogy Fair

On Saturday, November 5th, I will be speaking at the Kitchener Public Library's Genealogy Fair. This is one of my favourite Genealogy events. A full day of speakers, a marketplace and it's all available for FREE!

This year's Keynote speaker is Jen Baldwin of FindMyPast. Jen will be speaking about engaging the Next Generation in genealogy and helping to spark the interest in people of all ages who share a passion for genealogy research. 

Check out the rest of the program: http://www.kpl.org/genealogy-fair

Hope to see you in Kitchener!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Family History Month - RootsTech

Once again I have been chosen to be an ambassador for RootsTech. However, at RootsTech 2017, I will also be a speaker and an exhibitor.

RootsTech is an incredible experience and can be a bit overwhelming. But it is definitely worth attending. The air is electric. The exhibit hall is huge and the talks are endless. But the best part about RootsTech are the connections that you make. With other researchers, with vendors, with speakers. Those last long after the week is over. 

Plan to attend in RootsTech in 2017. Plan to spend extra time in Salt Lake City so you can do research in the Family History Library. Wander through Temple Square. Drink in every aspect of the week in SLC. 

One of the Keynote speakers will be LeVar Burton! That alone is worth the trip!

The Featured speakers for Family Discovery Day are Kalani Sitake, Hank Smith and Vai Sikahema. Family Discovery Day is a FREE day for families to come and learn about the importance of researching family history and documenting the stories of our ancestors. 

Check out the rest of the program! https://www.rootstech.org/

Hope to see you in SLC!

*disclosure: As a RootsTech Ambassador, I receive free admission to the conference in exchange for sharing my experience on social media. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Family History Month - Telling the Stories

Having just come back from the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit, I was once again reminded of how important it is to tell the stories of our ancestors. Jennifer DeBruin gave a moving and inspirational opening plenary where she shared the stories she has written about her ancestors and how she has become more intimately connected to them and their plight as a result. Then, Lynn Palermo gave us the "how-to" of putting the stories together. 

Both ladies were clear that we need to choose one ancestor and start with their story. It becomes too easy to become overwhelmed and the best way to start is to narrow yourself down to one person. One who has really spoken to you. No doubt you know their story inside and out and would be only too happy to share it at any genealogy or family gathering. 

Don't fret over writing. This story is a personal journey and one that you are likely only to be sharing with family and other descendants of the person you are writing about. If you can come into a genealogy meeting and tell me the story, you can write it! It's that simple. Take pen to paper and write as if you were telling me the story. 

Monday, 24 October 2016

Family History Month - Using Poor Law Records Webinar

Using Poor Law Records for Scottish Genealogy Webinar
Mon, Dec 5, 2016 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM EST

Poor relief in Scotland required a process of application and given that specific criteria needed to be met, not everyone who applied actually received poor relief. However, the applications are an absolute treasure trove of genealogical information and can give a fantastic "peek" into the lives of y our ancestors.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Family History Month - Working to Preserve History

There is a big crowd-sourcing project underway to assist with preserving the names of local towns, villages, estates, farms and streets of 1900 Scotland. And best of all, it is incredibly easy to use. Here's a walk through:

Warning: this project can be highly addictive!

Click on: http://gb1900.org/

Click "Login"

Scroll down the page and click on "Sign Up"

Fill in your email address, create a password, fill in your name and you are ready to go. 

Return to the home page

Read through the tutorial. It is not lengthy and is really easy to follow. 

Return to the home page. Scroll to the bottom and enter the area of Scotland where your ancestors lived. Even if they didn't live there in 1900. 

Wait for the map to load

Zoom in

Click transcribe at the top of the page. 

Click on any word on the map. Then in the pop up box, type the word that is visible on the map. The transcription program is case sensitive, so pay attention. Then click "done" You will see a brown location balloon appear.

If you see a green location balloon on the map, it means someone has already transcribed the word and that transcription needs verification. If you click on that green balloon and then type in what you see, the program will check to ensure your typing matches the other person's typing, and the green balloon will then turn purple. 

Purple balloons mean that the word on the map has been transcribed AND verified. The transcription is complete. 

If your area is all completed, find a new area to transcribe. 

Well, what are you waiting for? Enjoy your new black hole of genealogy fun!

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Help with Old Handwriting

Old handwriting can be difficult to read (although studies show that those of us who spend hours pouring over old documents trying to decipher what has been written are better at memory retention than those who don't). Penmanship was only available to the educated - clergy or teachers, usually. And in those days, uniformity was more important than legibility. Don't despair. Here are a couple of websites to assist with "cracking the code" on Scottish Handwriting.http://www.scottishhandwriting.com/

Friday, 21 October 2016

Family History Month - Selkirk Settlers

In July 1803, three ships, the Dykes, the Polly, and the Oughton sailed to Canada with eight hundred former highland crofters and headed to Prince Edward Island. The Polly arrived in the harbour of Orwell Bay, Prince Edward Island on Sunday, August 7th, 1803, carrying 250 adults and 150 children. Most of these passengers were from Skye. The Dykes, which also brought Lord Selkirk, arrived in Charlottetown two days after the Polly. Most of the passengers on the Polly were from Mull. The Oughton arrived on August 27th, 1803, carrying another 40 or 50 passengers, this time from Uist.

The land given to these new settlers consisted primarily of evergreen forest. Each family was given between 50 and 150 acres for a nominal fee. The lots were laid out so that four or five families were grouped together. The new immigrants quickly cleared their lands, built their houses, and settled into their new lives. Being able to working the land once again became somewhat of a tonic for them. They were a self sufficient community within a year of the first settlers arriving. Later generations moved to the Bruce County area of Ontario, setting up communities along the Saugeen River near Paisley as well as along the coast of Lake Huron from Southampton to Kincardine.  Yet others moved to Assiniboia, Saskatchewan and founded settlements in that area.

Having used his land on the southwest shore of PEI for the initial settlers, Selkirk was eager to continue to pursue his original desire to find land in Upper Canada. He was eventually able to purchase land in Southern Ontario, near the junction of Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, in what is now Wallaceburg.

Selkirk was able to purchase 116,000 square miles in the Red River Valley and along the Assiniboine River in Manitoba and what is now Northern Dakota – an area five times the size of the whole of Scotland. Selkirk purchased this land at a cost of 10/s ($26.50 in today’s currency).

If you have ancestors who were Selkirk Settlers, here are some resources to assist you in your genealogy research:

Passenger List reconstruction for ship Polly:

Passenger List reconstruction for ship Dykes:

Passenger List reconstruction for ship Oughton:

Passenger List reconstruction for ship Spencer: