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!

Monday, 31 December 2012

Scottish Graveyards Project

If you are looking for links to graveyards in Scotland, this website might be of  help to you:


I Can't Find My Immigrant Ancestor

Finding our ancestors who left Scotland and emigrated to Canada, America, India, South Africa, New Zealand or Australia can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be. FindMyPast has a database of those leaving the UK.

 They have now extracted those records and placed them on a separate website, Ancestors On Board. Also in this database are businessmen or diplomats who may have traveled regularly between the UK and other points in the Commonwealth.

Although stand-alone, the website links you back to FindMyPast UK to view the image of the ships passenger list. This is a pay-per-view site and each image is 5 credits to view.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Fife Headstone Transcriptions Added to Deceased Online

Deceased Online has added headstone inscriptions for 18 cemeteries in Fife dating back to 1753. These include:

  • Auchterderran Churchyard and Bowhill Cemetery, Fife
  • Ballingry Churchyard and Cemetery, Fife
  • Beath New Cemetery, Fife
  • Beath Old Cemetery, Fife
  • Burntisland Cemetery, Fife
  • Burntisland Churchyards of Kirkton and St Columbas, Fife
  • Crombie Churchyard, Fife
  • Culross Churchyard, Fife
  • Culross West Kirk and Culross Abbey, Fife
  • Cupar Churchyard and St James Cemetery, Fife
  • Douglas Bank Cemetery, Fife
  • Ferryport On Craig Cemetery, Fife
  • Forgan Churchyard, Fife

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

FindMyPast Has a Christmas Gift for You

As a promotion, FindMyPast.co.uk is giving out 50 free pay-as-you-go credits. This free offer runs from December 26th until Janury 2nd. To activate, click the button that says "claim your credits now" and then use the code: SNOWFLAKE. It's as simple as that.

Happy Hunting

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Deceased Online Adds Headstone Collection for Angus and Dundee

Deceased Online has also a new range of Headstone Collections, including 31 burial sites in the Angus region and another 6 cemeteries in Dundee City. You can search under the 'headstone collections' option. http://www.deceasedonline.com/

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Giving the Gift of Memories

I remember as a teen, my "aunt" opening up a gift on Christmas. It was a china mug and her response was "just what I need - another dust collector" While her comment seemed callous at the time, I soon came to realize that after a certain age, gifts become less meaningful.

There comes a time when we all realize that after we are gone, the only thing that will remain are the memories that we have created and with that in mind, I always strive to give meaningful gifts to my elderly aunts, uncles, cousins, friends. Everyone looks forward to the annual heritage calendars. Other gifts that have been meaningful have included heritage scrapbooks, family recipe books (along with memories about the items contained within), or DVDs of old photos or home movies.

It can even be as simple as an old, treasured photograph, scrapbooked in a frame that creates the warmth and wonder of the memories associated with it.

Give some thought to the elder people (or the genealogy-minded) in your family or friendship circles and help to re-create fond memories for them this holiday season.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Deceased Online Adds Ayrshire Records

From their announcement:

Scottish transcriptions collection increases to 16 Ayrshire burial sites
•Deceased Online continues to grow its collection of Scottish memorial inscriptions (SMIs) with the addition of thousands of records in 14 cemeteries, burial grounds and churchyards in Ayrshire
•There are now 16 burial sites with SMIs, dating back to 1611, in the registration county of Ayrshire (comprising East, North and South Ayrshire councils) and these are listed here
•In total, there are now SMIs from over 200 cemeteries, burial grounds and churchyards across Scotland
•SMI data includes photographs of memorials and headstones as well as their carefully transcribed inscriptions


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Scottish Handwriting

Michael J Leclerc of Movaco's blog has written a great post on Scottish Handwriting. So good, in fact, I wanted to share:


Give the Gift of Heritage

If you are looking for a special gift for your genealogy sleuth this Christmas, why not give them the gift of connecting with their ancestral heritage. Take them to Scotland. Allow them time in the archives to research their roots. Tour their villages, town, graveyards. Learn the history and culture. Create a memory of a lifetime. Help your genealogist search their roots and discover their heritage.
Non-genealogy partners travel for half price.


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Do You Have Covenanter Ancestors?

From the National Library of Scotland Blog: 

“During the seventeenth century, the Scottish Covenanters were fighting for their religious freedoms against the King in London. Many were martyred for their cause and monuments to those who died can be found in many areas of Scotland.  

If you are looking for specific Covenanting ancestors, the ‘Scottish Covenanter Genealogical Index’ by Isabelle McCall MacLean (2007) may be of interest. There is also the ‘Register of the Rev. John MacMillan: Being a Record of Marriages and Baptisms Solemnised by him among the Cameronian Societies’, edited by Rev. Henry Paton (1908). This latter title is a record of the marriages and baptisms of Covenanters during the period 1706-1751.”



Monday, 3 December 2012

New Record Sets Added to Hebridespeople.com

The new records are for families connected with the Isles of Harris, Berneray and St Kilda. 

From the announcement: 

The database also allows access to two further unique features - family
notes and family sheets. These take the researcher beyond research
into individual persons to research into whole families. The family
notes give a summary of the family history. They are based on the 1851
census as a datum-line, working back as far as possible – usually to
the generation born in about 1750/60, and forward as far as 1920. The
family sheets are hand-written work-sheets, compiled by Bill Lawson for
each family, showing the lines of descent in the male line, together
with cross referencing of the female line to their spouses’ family
sheets. There is also a gazetteer available, with a summarised history
of each township for those less familiar with Harris.” 

This is a pay-per-view site where you purchase and then redeem credits to view the documents.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Scots In Jamaica

If you have Scottish Ancestors who emigrated to Jamaica, you will be interested in this book by David Dobson. Jamaica was a place where Covenanters and Jacobites were once banished to. In the late 1700s as part of the Clearances, highlanders began emigrating, especially those from Argyll. Jamaica was seen as a land of opportunity for merchants, physicians and clergy.

The book includes a number of resources to use in your search for your Scots-Jamaican ancestors as well as ships lists for those who were transported or who emigrated to Jamaica.

The book sells for about $20 and is available through your local bookstore, or through Amazon.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

13 Scottish Cemeteries Added to Deceased Online

Deceased Online has added 13 cemeteries and burial grounds from Scotland 

These include:  

  • Churchyard and Cemetery, West Lothian (1662)
  • Adambrae Cemetery, West Lothian (1932)
  • New Calton Burial Ground, Edinburgh (1746)
  • Invergarry Cemetery, Highlands (1957)
  • Cromdale and Advie, Morayshire (1768)
  • Old Monklands Cemetery (1632)
  • Biggar Churchyard and Cemetery, South Lanarkshire (1700)
  • Larkhall, South Lanarkshire (1900)
  • Lesmahagow Churchyard, South Lanarkshire (1622)
  • Stonehouse Churchyard, South Lanarkshire (1651)
  • Stonehouse Old and New Cemeteries, South Lanarkshire (1876)
  • Strathaven Cemetery, South Lanarkshire (1676)
  • St Mary's Churchyard, Dunblane, Stirling (1833)
  • Abercorn Churchyard and Cemetery, West Lothian (1662)
  • Adambrae Cemetery, West Lothian (1932)
The date in brackets is the earliest readable year for that particular cemetery. Have a look and see what ancestors you can uncover: https://www.deceasedonline.com/


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Historic Hospitals Admission Records Project

This website provides access to 120,000 admission records to four children’s hospitals. Although three of the hospitals are in London, the database also contains records from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow. 

Records are fully searchable and free to access. However, many of the details are limited to registered users of the site only. Registration is free. Once your registration is confirmed, you can search by any number of fields. Information provided for each record includes: date of admission, name, disease, registration district (if known), length of stay, year of birth, age at admission, normal residence (if known), admitting physician, what child was admitted for, disease group, outcome of the disease (cured, well, not relieved, dead), date of discharge as well religion, name of parent and occupation of parent if these were known. 

The website also contains historical information on the hospital itself, as well as a small biography on each of the primary doctors and nurses. There is a gallery with some photographs but none appear labelled.  

Well worth a look. http://hharp.org/



Saturday, 17 November 2012

BIFHSGO Call for Papers - Conference 2013

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) is seeking proposals for presentations at its 19th annual conference, September 20-22, 2013 to be held in Ottawa at Library and Archives Canada. The focus for 2013 year will be on Ireland. Proposals for other presentations besides those on Ireland are also invited as well as proposals for pre-conference workshops or seminars on Friday, September 20, 2013. Details on writing the proposals can be found at www.bifhsgo.ca under the Conference heading. Please send your proposals to conference@bifhsgo.ca before January 31, 2013.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Upcoming Scottish Genealogy Events

If you are in the Hamilton ON area, the Hamilton Branch of the OGS will be holding their WISE group meeting (Welsh, Irish, Scottish, English) onWednesday, November 21 at 7 pm at the Public Library, Main branch.

If you are in Simcoe County, the Simcoe County OGS branch will be hosting James Thomson on Saturday December 1 to talk about the British Resources available through the Toronto FHC. The meeting takes place from 2 - 4 pm at the LDS church in  Barrie. 
For more info: http://www.simcoebogs.com/Events/ev_meetings.htm
If you are in the Montreal area, QFHS is having a "Genealogical Day in Scotland" event on Saturday December 1 from 10 - 3 pm at their History Centre and Library. For  more info: http://www.qfhs.ca/events.php

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

FindMyPast Adds Newspapers

FindMyPast has added British Newspapers (1710-1950) to it's extensive database collection. The images are 5 credits to view if you do not have a subscription. I was able to get the article relating the the mining accident that killed my 3X great grandfather and his only son, aged 18. The images can be saved to your computer in PDF format.

Here's the link:

Monday, 5 November 2012

Interim Report from IIJG on Scottish Jewry

The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy in Jerusalem has published an interim report of its research into the demographic and genealogical profile of Scottish Jewry.

From the website:  

“One extraordinary aspect to emerge is extremely high turn-over of Jews in Scotland throughout the 19th century – in any given decade a majority of the Jews in the country moved on elsewhere, either within the UK or to foreign parts, only to be replaced by gradually increasing numbers of new immigrants.”
Here's the link to the report:



Forces War Records Launches Online Digital Library

Forces War Records announces launch of online digital library of books, newspapers and magazines, some more than a hundred years old. 

“The library holds a huge catalogue of interesting documents, many of which chronicle the movements of regiments, ships and other units during the world wars and beyond”.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Theatre Ancestors?

If you have ancestors who worked in the theatre, you may find this  database from the National Library of Scotland of  interest:


The database contains an extensive collection of programmes, playbills and posters.

The Empress Of Ireland

The RMS Empress of Ireland was commissioned by CP Steamships to undertake the cross Atlantic voyage, moving passengers between Great Britain (Liverpool, England) and Quebec City in Canada.  The Empress of Ireland was built in Glasgow by the Fairfield Shipbuilding Company (Govan) and was first launched in 1906. Information about The Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company archives can be found on the National Archives website: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/searches/subjectView.asp?ID=B6299

The Empress of Ireland was one of several ships of its time moving immigrants from the British Isles to their newly anticipated lives in Canada. They also took many of those same immigrants back home to conduct business or visit family left behind. These large ocean liners allowed the less affluent to travel abroad at reasonable cost.  

Between the time of its launch in 1906 and the fateful sinking on May 29th 1914, The Empress of Ireland had completed 95 round trips crossing from Liverpool to Quebec City (or on occasion Halifax).  On May 29th, 1914, her first run of the season, and her 96th voyage overall, The Empress of Ireland left the port of Old Quebec and sailed along the St. Lawrence on her way out to sea. It was 2 a.m. on a calm, somewhat foggy night. The pilot ship had just left the larger vessel, which was still fairly close to shore. Captain Henry Kendall was aware of another ship plying the same river, but in his estimation, the other ship was several miles away. What happened next is up for speculation, depending on whether the information is relayed by CP Steamships or the Norwegian Company, but in fairly short order, the two vessels collided, with the SS Storstad, a coal-bearing cargo ship ramming the Empress of Ireland mid-ship and causing the passenger ship to break apart, take on water and within 14 minutes, sink to the bottom of the river. 1,012 lives were lost that fateful night: 840 passengers and 172 crew members. This makes the sinking of the Empress of Ireland the worst marine disaster in Canada 

The wreck of the passenger ship lies in 40 metres of water. The artefacts that were recovered by the dive team hired by CP Steamships are now to be brought back to Canada and housed at the Museum of Civilization in Hull. http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/ottawa/Museum+Civilization+finally+acquires+Empress+Ireland/7461001/story.html

There was a Marine Court of Inquiry launched into the accident and some of the transcripts from that inquiry can be found at: http://ied.dippam.ac.uk/records/38706 

There were 64 witnesses called at this inquiry. The blame was placed with the Storstad. The results of the inquiry, presided over by British Admiralty Judge, Lord Mersey were that the Court ordered the Norwegian Company to pay Canadian Pacific's damage claims.  

Memorials for lost lives have been erected in Rimouski where many of the victims were buried, as well as in Toronto. http://torontocemeteries.blogspot.ca/2012/05/today-in-history-empress-of-ireland.html 

If your ancestor was one of the passengers who lost their life that fateful night, the following websites may be of interest to you: 

Crew List for Empress of Ireland


Monday, 29 October 2012

Book Review

Susan Davis, Communications Director of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa(BIFHSGO) has graciously prepared a review of my new book:

Woodcock, Christine. In Search of Your Scottish Ancestors: Search Your Roots; Discover Your Heritage, Ontario. 2012. 56 pp. ISBN 978-0-9917500-0-9 Paperbound.
When Christine Woodcock told me she was publishing a book on researching in Scotland, I immediately wanted a copy. Still feeling a bit timid about crossing the pond to look for my Angus, Glendinning and Bell ancestors in Scotland, this how-to book is a welcome addition to my bookshelf. 

Packed with useful information, it is organized into a series of chapters that takes you from starting your search to providing advice on ancestral tourism. Written in an informative but friendly manner, the book is based on Christine’s first-hand experience as a researcher and educator. Each year, Scottish-born Christine, leads a group of family history researchers on Genealogy Tours of Scotland. 

In her chapter, Important Things to Remember, Christine reminds us to Beware the Ear of the “Hearer” and shares her challenge of getting past the heavy Scottish brogue to find her gggrandfather Henry Fowler. After years of research and a new strategy, she finds him listed as Henry Fuller. “Once I saw the name, it made perfect sense. I could literally see him standing at the door and the census taker asking, “Surname?” and my great-great-grandpa answering “Fooluhr.”” 

Christine gets you thinking about cluster genealogy research and your ancestors’ social circles in her chapter Who are the People in the Neighbourhood? One of the research examples she shares is her
ancestors and their neighbours who were miners working for the same coal company and living in company housing. Deep family connections were made when three of 10 Crawford children married three of 11 Fowler children. She also devotes a chapter to the Selkirk settlers. 

Very familiar with the various Scottish records, Christine provides insight into how to access the various records online with an extensive list of lesser known online databases and a handy list of the local resources provide by Scottish family history societies. She provides a primer on using ScotlandsPeople.
Printed in a booklet format, In Search of Your Scottish Ancestors is easy—to read, understand and put to use. It is also a convenient size to carry about. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do some research on Mary Ann Angus, my gggrandmother who left Aberdeen as a teenager in the 1860s to settle in Canada with her family.
For more information about Christine, her book and her tours, visit her website: http:www.genealogytoursofscotland.ca


Thursday, 25 October 2012

To Be or Not to Be – Clan Gathering 2014

The story about whether or not there will be a clan gathering in 2014 has played out with all of the drama of a soap opera with changes being made daily over the past week.  

2009 was the first Homecoming and such a rousing success that Tourism Scotland has decided to do it all again in 2014. The year 2014 has been and will continue to be designated as Homecoming.  

But the challenges have begun. Homecoming 2009 was held in Edinburgh. A city well versed in hosting the masses. The basic infrastructure is already in place. The city knows how to deal with medical emergencies.  Security and safety responses can be put into place. Transportation is already in place. To host the various clans planning to attend the Homecoming, Tent cities were erected. Hotels were prepared for a brisk business. The event was well planned for, well managed and ended as a resounding success.  

Fast forward. The new venue is to be Stirling. A city with a population 1/5th the size of Edinburgh. A quite sleepy little city with lots of history, lots of scenery and a fraction of the tourists. The event was slotted to happen at the same time as the Stirling Highland games in July. Shortly after the announcement was made, calls started flooding in from the clans wanting to know about tent rentals. No doubt, panic set in and plans were suddenly in need of reconsideration. Back to the planning table. An announcement about scrapping the idea of the Gathering happening in Stirling, and reported on in the Scotsman.  

But millions of £s in tourism were at risk. As well as Scotland’s reputation. So, the idea of locating the tented city to Bannockburn in June seemed to make more sense. A decision was made to have the clans arrive close to the time of the celebrations for the 700th anniversary of the famed Battle of Bannockburn. The National Trust took over planning details. All seemed well.  

Then, Stone Mountain 2012, the largest Highland Games takes place in the US and confusion erupts. Here are two articles that ran almost simultaneously, the first on Oct 20th announces the move to Bannockburn. The second on Oct 21st announces the Chiefs’ dismay that the entire idea of a clan gathering has been put on ice.

Somewhere along the way, someone realizes the tight timelines involved in getting the whole thing off the ground and mentions that 2015 might be a better choice. And the press has a hay day. Of course, Tourism Scotland has designated 2014 and if there is to be a Clan Gathering, it will coincide with the other events planned throughout 2014, the Year of Homecoming II. So in an attempt to quell the rumours and settle the nerves, this announcement came out yesterday:

Of course, this one needs to be read with a grain of salt since it is from the same source who reported on Sunday that the whole thing was off and perhaps postponed to 2015.  

Unfortunately, the Irish are putting the Scots to shame in that their celebrations for Homecoming 2013 are well organized and well underway, also putting them on target to be well attended. If the Scots don’t get their act together shortly, they may well miss out on millions in tourism revenues.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Discover Your Scottish Roots Talk

For those of you in the Kitchener area, I will be a speaker at the Second Annual Genealogy Fair on November 3 at Kitchener City Hall. I will be speaking on Researching Scottish Ancestry and will have copies of my new book, In Search of Your Scottish Roots available for sale that day.

The Genealogy Fair is a great event and is free. Other topics for the day include:

Deciphering German Script
Care of Genealogy Documents
Census Surfing
Researching UEL
Using Archives Online
Genealogical Research in Ireland
Researching Czech Parish Registers

The Keynote address will be given by Kevin James, Professor of History, Centre for Scottish Studies, University of Guelph.

There will also be a Marketplace.

This really is a great day. I hope to see you there. If you get the chance to attend, be sure to say hello!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

In Search of Your Scottish Ancestors

I have just finished a new book, In Search of Your Scottish Ancestors. Filled with information to assist you in your research, including lots of online resources to search.

Here is the Table of Contents:
  • Starting Your Search                                                             
  • Scottish Marriages                                                          
  • Scottish Naming Pattern                                                     
  • Important Things to Consider                                            
  • Cluster Genealogy  
  • Lord Selkirk Settlers  
  • Online Sources for Selkirk Genealogy  
  • Scottish Clans
  • Connecting With Others  
  • Online Resources  
  • Local Resources  
  • Not Everything is Online  
  • Ancestral Tourism
    Preparing for a Genealogy Research Trip 

The book sells for $7 (plus shipping) and can be purchased on the website's home page at

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Family Ephemera

I might have to marry my cousin! I received some pictures from him this morning. He received a CD with over 200 photos from an estranged cousin in Scotland. The cousin in Scotland was the inheritor of all of the family photos and papers. Family History is totally alien to him, as in fact are most family ties. The rest of us were all of the belief that whatever treasures had remained were now lost to us. Fortunately he has had a change of heart and at the very least has scanned and passed the items on.
Among the pictures was this treasure - my paternal grandmother's certificate of merit for school. She was 13 and the certificate is dated 1902. I love that it says "I certify that Maggie Haddow's character and conduct have been entirely satisfactory" She went on to be a teacher!

 Maggie, aged 21. By now she was a teacher

The school Maggie attended and later taught at

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Photos of the Red River Settlement

Library and Archives Canada now has photos of the Red River Settlement online. They can be viewed at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lac-bac/sets/72157631407101076/

Shale Mining Records Online

Shale Mining was once a very busy industry, employing thousands of men and women in Scotland. Although few records still survive, the Almond Valley Heritage Trust is working to preserve those that did. They are also adding digitized images of the available salary records, tenancy records, employee cards, apprenticeship records, accident records and other materials. The website also includes maps of the shale villages in West Lothian as well as photographs of the various miner’s houses.

The Almond Valley Heritage Trust have digitized a number of books on Shale Mining and made these available on their website along with a list of the various jobs within the shale mining industry. This is definitely worth a look for those with shale miners in their family tree.  http://www.scottishshale.co.uk/HistoryPages/Occupations/index.html

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Free Access to 1911 Census

Ancestry is offering free access to their 1911 census records for England, Wales and the Isle of Man from now until November 2.


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Forces War Records Adds New Records

Forces War Records has added 40,000 names to its searchable database. These new records are for the Home Guard, affectionately known as Dad's Army.

The search will give you the rank, battalion, age, medals and date of death. Forces War Records allows a free search up to and including the index, but to view the actual record you will require a subscription.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Two Newly Discovered Letters on Document Red River Settlement History

2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the Red River Settlement by Scots who were assisted in settling what is now Winnipeg Manitoba by Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk. In honour of this anniversary, the National Archives of Scotland have unveiled two letters that were found in the papers of  Lord Melville. 

From the NAS website:
" New details about a Scots settlement in Western Canada have been revealed on its bicentenary, in two letters held by the National Records of Scotland (NRS). 

The rare documents have been unveiled by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop on the 200th anniversary of the Red River Selkirk Settlement in Manitoba. The settlement - which has now grown to become the city of Winnipeg - was founded during the Highland Clearances by Thomas Douglas, the fifth Earl of Selkirk.  

The papers have been discovered by Scottish archivists in the Melville and Dalhousie collections, which were acquired on behalf of the public by NRS."

 To read transcriptions of these two letters, click here:

Saturday, 22 September 2012

BIFHSGO One Week Later

It’s hard to believe that one week has passed already since the BIFHSGO conference. This year’s focus was on Scottish genealogy and featured some wonderful speakers.
I did not take in the Friday workshops, choosing instead to use the Friday as a travel day.

Late Friday afternoon, the heavens opened up and the torrential rains began, which set the mood for learning about Scottish ancestry. The conference officially opened on the Friday evening. The Don Whiteside Memorial Lecture was given by Vic Suthren, who spoke on the War of 1812. I have to admit that interest in this portion of Canadian history has always eluded me. However, Vic’s talk was really the first time I have understood the war and its impact in creating Canada as a formidable nation. As Albert Einstein once said, “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” and that was certainly the case for Vic’s lecture. His knowledge is so vast and his depth of understanding so great that he was able to explain the importance of the war in terms that even I was able to understand and follow along with. Having grown up in Hamilton, I was fascinated by Vic’s comments about the Battle of Stoney Creek. As well, friends of mine are descended from John Chrysler and so the battle of Chrysler’s farm was also a fascinating point for me.

At the reception following the talk, I was able to meet many of the people I have come to have regular e-mail contact with. It was great to be able to put faces to the names.

Saturday morning was quite chilly and I was instantly regretting leaving my jacket back at home. The Plenary was given by Chris Paton. I have heard Chris talk before, and knew that much of what he was going to say would be what I have already heard, but I always enjoy a refresher as well as Chris’ sense of humour. He started out by having us all say a big “hello from Ottawa” to those back in the UK, which he recorded and has placed on his blog http://britishgenes.blogspot.ca/2012/09/bifhsgos-2012-conference-report.html. Chris presents his information very well and, like Vic, knows his subject so well that it makes the rest of us feel that we too can do research in the Scottish records. As part of the Q&A, Chris referenced the “Poor Law” records. His Irish accent had it sounding more like “Purr Law” and I saw people scrambling to write down this rich, new, never-heard-of-before resource! I was poorless with laughter. After several requests to repeat the name of this new resource, Chris switched tactics and responded with “skint” Of course, few understood that one either!

The next session I attended was Lucille Campey’s talk on the Selkirk Settlers. Earlier this year, I put together a family history book for a family whose ancestors were Selkirk Settlers in Belfast, PEI, having come from Colonsay. Last month, I wrote a couple of articles on the Selkirk Settlers for magazines as well as a blog post on the online resources available for researching Selkirk ancestry http://scottishgenealogytipsntricks.blogspot.ca/2012/08/selkirk-settlers-online-resources.html
Lucille is very much an historian and her talk was very much a history lesson. Throughout her talk, I kept thinking that Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk, received a raw deal in terms of how his UK peers would remember him. Lucille felt exactly the same way. Thomas Douglas really should be credited for bringing Celtic Culture to Canada. His desire for communities to transport their entire way of life to their new homes in Canada really was very innovative and was part of the reason for the success of the new colonisations. Lucille documented the path of the Selkirk Settlers from their start in Belfast, PEI, through Baldoon in Southern Ontario and then onto the Red River Valley in Manitoba. She portrayed a wonderful picture of both Lord Selkirk and of the hearty Scots whom he had assisted in re-settling in Canada.

Following lunch, my first session was “What’s New at FamilySearch” with Shirley Ann Pyefinch. I had the honour of attending a different workshop by Shirley Ann the previous month and once again was delighted with the wealth of information Shirley was able to share as well as how organized her presentations are. In both cases, after listening to Shirley Ann, I was eager to get home, get to my computer and get started on the various resources she provided.

My last session of the day was “McDNA” by Jane Buck. I have to admit, the whole DNA for genealogy purposes has never really interested me. However, Jane was a very dynamic presenter and I thoroughly enjoyed her talk. I left thinking “maybe…”

I opted not to attend the informal dinner Saturday evening, going instead to Byward Market for dinner. When I got the bill and realized they had charged me $8.25 for a draft, part of me was in awe at the audacity that allowed them to charge so much. Certainly, one could never afford to be an alcoholic in Ottawa!

Late Saturday night, I decided to give the first session Sunday morning a miss allowing me a bit of time to pack up and get organized and check out of the hotel. I was sorry to have missed Patricia Whatley’s talk on Scottish Poor Law.

I started my day with Ed Zapletal’s presentation on "Writing for Publication". I have enjoyed working with Ed in the past and have to say that I learned a great deal from him at this workshop. It really does make a difference having someone who knows their subject do a presentation. My particular interest in attending the workshop was in learning about copyright and I left feeling much more confident and knowledgeable. At one point, Ed was talking about copyright on pictures taken from the internet and that just because they are in the public domain does not mean they are not subject to copyright laws. Ed gave three websites where pictures can be accessed and each of these websites provides information on how to cite the source. As an example, Ed chose a photo of Sir John A MacDonald from the Library and Archives Canada Collection. My maiden name is McDonald (we were Mac at one point) and my son has repeatedly asked if we are related to Sir John A. Of course, everyone believes they have a connection to a famous ancestor, but I have been honest and stated “no, probably not” However, the photo that Ed used took me by surprise. It looked remarkably like my paternal grandfather. I can’t recall a whole lot of what Ed said about using these photos, as I was fascinated with the detail of Sir John A’s facial features and his classic “McDonald nose”. After that I decided I was going to contact my cousin in Aus and ask him for a DNA sample! Fortunately he works in a bio-chem lab, so will be more accommodating than the males on my maternal side.

After lunch, I was the session chair for Lucille Campey’s talk on the Scots in Ontario. This was a fascinating look at migration patterns as well as the UK governments strategic placement of the new colonisations in Ontario. Once again, I was taken in by the fascinating history as well as the new resources that Lucille discussed in her talk. History was never really a subject that grabbed my interest in school, but genealogy has changed my outlook, especially when history and ancestry are tied together in such a fascinating way.

The last talk of the conference was given by Chris Paton. I heard Chris’ talk last year on the murder of his three times great grandmother and the double sadness behind this event. (“There’s Been a Murrdurr”) so opted to get a head start on the long drive home.

The conference was very well put together, delivered some terrific lectures and was thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you to BIFHSGO and to the conference organizers.