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!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Creating Photo Book Backgrounds Using Flip Pal Scanner

Now that I am back in Canada, it is time to create a memory book, or a scrapbook. I use both traditional scrapbooking and digital scrapbooking. I find the digital books are so much quicker, easier and less expensive and are great when there are not a lot of photos to scrap.
One of the things I enjoy using my Flip Pal scanner for is creating my own backgrounds. Granted, most photobook programs come with pre-loaded backgrounds, but often then don't work for the themes I want to create in my digital scrapbooks.
Using Flip Pal opens up my options and makes the books far more personal as well. Here's how it's done:

This is a roll of wrapping paper I had purchased while in Scotland

I cut a small swatch to scan (I could have flipped the scanner over and scanned a larger portion, but this was left over from my traditional scrapbooking)

Ready to scan

Scan complete!

 Then once the photos were saved into the computer, it was time to crop them. I use Microsoft Office Picture Manager for ease of use, but there are dozens of photo editing programs. Use the one you are most comfortable with

I also scanned a couple of little gift tags that I had picked up along the way

This is the one I chose for my background

Then, in the photobook program, simply add the photo you have chosen for your background and click. I use PhotoInPress because of my comfort level with it and the quality of the books they produce, but you can use any photo book company that suits you.

To make the pics stand out against the back ground, and look separate from the background, I added a border to the photos. The possibilities of setting backgrounds with your Flip Pal mobile scanner are as endless as your imagination. So, start scanning!!

Enjoy the memories and keepsakes that you make with your Flip Pal. If you don't yet have a Flip Pal (they are a fantastic product - easy to use, incredibly portable, and durable), simply click the icon on the right hand side of this blog - the one that looks like this:

You can order your Flip Pal from that link. And, to make it even sweeter, Flip Pal is having a Summer Solstice Sale (until June 30th). Here are the details:

Summer Solstice Sale
Monday, June 18 – Saturday, June 30
Use Promotion Code: SSFP6A
Save $15 when you purchase a Flip-Pal mobile scanner! (Please place items in your shopping cart first before using the promotion code.)

Suite Summer Solstice Sale
Monday, June 18 – Saturday, June 30
Use Promotion Code: SSS6A
Save $25 when you purchase a Flip-Pal mobile scanner with Creative Suite Craft Edition DVD! (Please place items in your shopping cart first before using the promotion code.)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Wills and Testaments Now Available for 10 Credits on ScotlandsPeople

Formerly, if you wanted to get a will or testament from Scotlands People you had to "order" the dcoument and then pay according to the size of the document (usually upwards of £10). 7 years ago, the wills and testaments were all digitized and were made available on the ScotlandsPeople website for £5 ($8).

The Wills and Testaments will now be available through the usual credit system. Currently, the cost to view and download the images is 10 credits. About $4.

More on Wills and Testaments from the Scotlands People website:

"The wills & testaments index contains over 611,000 index entries to Scottish wills and testaments dating from 1513 to 1901. Each index entry lists the surname, forename, title, occupation and place of residence (where these are given) of the deceased person, the court in which the testament was recorded, with the date. Index entries do not include names of executors, trustees or heirs to the estate. They also do not include the deceased's date of death, or the value of the estate."

And here's the link if you want to search:

You will find Wills and Testaments on the menu bar on the left hand side of the page.

Good luck with your Scottish research!

Friday, 15 June 2012


Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries . Taphophilia involves epitaphs, photography, brass rubbing, art, and history of (famous) deaths.

A Taphophile or Tombstone tourist describes someome who travels to visit cemeteries for the enjoyment of looking at old and unusual stones or to find the graves of famous people. The term has been most notably used by author and biographer Scott Stanton as the title of his 2003 book and his former website  on the lives and gravesites of famous musicians. Tombstone tourists are usually more interested in the historical aspects of cemeteries or the historical relevance of its "residents"

Monday, 11 June 2012

The Death of Library and Archives Canada and the Complacency of Canadian Genealogists

The Harper Government has made sweeping changes to Library and Archives Canada which affects everyone interested in pursuing family history, Canadian history or who wishes to preserve Canada’s national memory and national archival documents.

The mandate of LAC is as follows:

•To preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations;
•To be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada;
•To facilitate in Canada cooperation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge; and
•To serve as the continuing memory of the government of Canada and its institutions. (LAC website, “about us” page)

The Harper Government has made the following cuts:

  • The elimination of 21/61 archivists and archival assistants dealing with nongovernmental records
  • Reduction of 50% of digitization and circulation staff
  • Elimination of inter-library loans
  • Elimination of the National Archival Development Program (the program to preserve the national memory of Canada)
  • Significant number of reductions of staff dealing with conservation and preservation of materials 
The result of the Harper Government’s steamrolling is as follows:

  • 450 LAC staff have lost their jobs
  • The Canadian Council of Archives in Ottawa has been closed
  • Other smaller archives will be forced to close
  • Critical documents will be thrown out or shredded, thereby creating an abyss in the history of our nation
Mr Harper has reduced Library and Archives Canada to The Government Archives of Canada. Through Mr Harper, the LAC has been reduced to preserving government documents and records (his personal filing cabinet for everything that happens in parliament, essentially). This is against the LAC mandate.

The “leader” of the LAC, Daniel Caron, is not an archivist, he is not an historian, he is not a librarian. Daniel Caron is a human resources specialist, a treasury board specialist, a bureaucrat who is apparently all too willing to downsize his staff in order to save money, rather than fulfil the mandate of the LAC  - to save the documentary history of the nation to whom he is accountable.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers are up in arms (rightfully so)
The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Canada have expressed concern.
The National Graduate Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students have expressed concern.
The Association of Canadian Archivists riled the masses at their recent conference in Whitehorse.

And, yet, through this entire maelstrom, the Canadian genealogy community has remained silent. Complacent. Appearing uncaring. In the US, when RootsTech decided not to allow anyone other than technology buffs to grace their marketplace, the US genealogy community rallied within minutes and within a couple of days, RootsTech saw the error of their decision and reversed it. When the US made changes to the access and availability of the SSDI, the US genealogy community again rallied and even formed an “Occupy Genealogy” movement.

Major reductions and access to our national memory, to our national history, to the records of our ancestors and their struggles is being reduced and in time, perhaps eliminated. Here’s how the Canadian Genealogy Society has responded:

The OGS, the largest provincial genealogy society’s mandate is:
  • To promote genealogical research
  • To set standards for genealogical excellence by encouragement and instruction in effective research methods
  • To make available to those whose ancestors are from Ontario, the knowledge, diversity and comprehensiveness of the genealogical resources in Ontario
  • To share expertise in other geographic areas
If you go to their website, and manage to navigate your way to their “advocacy” page, you can see that they are sort of concerned and are letting you know that there is an issue. They aren’t terribly concerned, but they understand that YOU might be, so they have offered to let you sign an online petition. The petition belongs to another organization – not OGS.

All of the other provincial genealogy societies have mandates to serve the genealogical communities of their provinces. All of them are silent on the LAC issues. Ok, so maybe the provincial bodies, who should be uniting in this cause will be more outraged when the cuts make their way to the provincial archives. As for a united front, a driving force, a leading contender in the preservation of LAC as a NATIONAL archive, the Canadian genealogy community is silent. Complacent. Appearing uncaring. And Harper can get away with changes that will affect ALL Canadian genealogy researchers.

To their credit, the Niagara branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society are outraged. They have placed the concerns on their homepage. I encourage everyone to visit their homepage, to click on the Save LAC box, to take action, to be informed and to be anything other than complacent. If Niagara is willing to take the lead, let’s jump on their bandwagon. Let’s start a letter writing campaign. Let’s inundate our MPs with postcards of protest. Let’s fill their inboxes with e-mails of concern. Let’s unite and let’s be outraged together. But, let’s be outraged. Not silent, complacent, uncaring.

Niagara OGS webite: http://www.ogs.on.ca/niagara

For a list of MPs and their addresses & e-mail addresses: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode  Fill in your postal code to find the information for your local MP

E-mail Stephen Harper: pm@pm.gc.ca

Friday, 8 June 2012

BIFHSGO Conference 2012 - It's All About Scotland This Year!

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa has finalized the details for their annual conference which will run from September 14 - 16 at the Library & Archives Canada. This year's theme is Scottish Genealogy with Keynote speaker Chris Paton and guest speaker Patricia Whatley. In addition, there will be sessions on Selkirk Settlers, Scottish Poor Law, DNA and genetics, Writing for Publication, and using cloud technology such as Dropbox & Evernote.

The fees are $80/person for members if you register before 10 August. There are two buffet lunches on Saturday and Sunday for an additional $15 each. There are also pre-conference seminars on the Friday. The cost for these is $25 each.

Registration and conference information is available at: http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=22

Family Search Now Has the 1841 Census Indexed

FamilySearch has the 1841 Scotland census indexed. The index is freely available at: https://familysearch.org/search/collection/show#uri=http://familysearch.org/searchapi/search/collection/2016000
Once you find your family, you will need to go to the ScotlandsPeople website to view the actual image
Good Luck with your Scottish Research!

Flip Pal Is 10% Off For Father's Day

If you are looking for a portable, lightweight scanner, Flip Pal is having a sale. The dates are June 7 - 11. It is a 10% discount when you purchase the scanner making it just $134. It ships from the States and takes about 10 days to arrive.

Click on this link :http://flip-pal-affiliates.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=543
"shop" and add to cart. At checkout, enter father12 in the promo code box to get your discount.
If you want to see what you can do with the Flip Pal, here's my blog post:

Friday, 1 June 2012

New Scottish Burial Records Added to Deceased Online

News today from Deceased Online that they have added 120,000 burial records for Scotland:
  • "Additional records for approximately 120,000 Scottish burials, mostly in rural burial grounds and cemeteries, are now available on www.deceasedonline.com
  • This set of records comprises headstone and memorial photographs and transcriptions from 99 cemeteries and burial grounds from Argyll to the Scottish Borders including Banffshire (Moray), Clackmannanshire, Edinburgh, Fife, The Lothians, Lanarkshire and North Ayrshire
  • The oldest records date back to 1526
  • There are now records for over 250 Scottish cemeteries, burial grounds and crematoria on Deceased Online and we will upload records for 150 more in the next few month"
This is important information for those with Scottish ancestors since many were too poor to have been able to afford a headstone, therefore making searching or reading Monumental Inscriptions unfruitful. Some of us will also have ancestors who were buried in common ground, with no records or markers. The only records are the burial records, generally from the Old Parish Records.