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!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

History Will Be Made Today in Scotland

The world will be watching Scotland today to see what will happen in the referendum for separation. Regardless of today's outcome,  it really is a privilege (not afforded to many countries) to watch democracy in action. Today Is Referendum Day - Decision Day - A Momentous in Scotland's History

For the first time ever, the people will undertake the democratic process and vote for the future of their country. Regardless of what side you stand on, take a moment and recognize the importance of being a witness to history in the making. Think about it. All of the emotions of this referendum vote are the same that your ancestors also felt at various times in Scottish history. Or American History. Or Canadian History. However, for them, their fate was to be decided by war and the physical abilities of their men. THEY stood the chance of not only losing their way of life, but also their husbands, fathers, sons, brothers. Think about their raw fear. Just like the fear of the NO camp in this referendum. Think about the men's excitement for change and a new way of life that propelled them forward knowing they were fighting for what they believed in so passionately. Just like the excitement of the YES camp in this referendum. Change WILL occur regardless of which camp wins today. If it is a YES vote, the future will finally be in the hands of the Scottish people. If it is a NO vote, notice has been sent to Westminster that their ways of governing will no longer be tolerated by the Scottish constituency. 

The Scots are a hail and hearty lot. They will survive whatever the outcome. In time they will all adjust. But as descendants, we need to really drink in the historic importance of the referendum. And, as with all of the other life altering world events we have lived through, (JFKs death, Princess Diana's death, 9/11, Iraq/Afghanistan wars, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis....) it is important that we document our thoughts, feelings, fears, excitement, not on social media where it becomes lost in the fervour, but in our journals, in letters, in diaries so that OUR descendants may know how this historic moment affected us on a personal level.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Scottish Genealogy Research Talk in Kingston

If you have Scottish ancestors and want to learn more about doing Scottish genealogy research, come along to the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson Street, at 10:00 a.m on Saturday.

We will learn about online resources to use, various records sets that will be helpful, naming patterns and much much more.

I am looking forward to the day. If you are out and at the meeting, be sure to come up and say hello!

Belonging - British Home Child Book Release!

Author Sandra Joyce (The Street Arab) has written a sequel to her story about her father, Robert James who was a British Home Child. In this second book, Belonging, Sandra documents her father's struggles to fit into the world of adulthood following a childhood of indenture.

Belonging is being released on September 28th, British Home Child Day in Canada. The release will take place at the British Home Child Event at Black Creek Pioneer Village, where Sandra will also be present.

The book retails for $23.95 and covers an important piece of Canadian history.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS)

Looking for photos of buildings or monument that used to exist or that have changed over time? Wondering why a monument was erected in the first place? Here is a terrific resource:


Planning A Genealogy Research Trip to Scotland? Prepare a Research Plan

If you are at the point where you think a trip to Scotland might be the best way to further your Scottish genealogy research, it is important to create both a research plan and an itinerary in order to have a successful trip.  

Traveling to the home of your ancestors takes planning. It is not enough to show up in the village where  your ancestors lived, head to the local pub and start asking questions. You need to do some research ahead of time. Learn about what repositories are available, what archival materials they hold, who can access them and what identification is required to access the repositories. Remember many archival records are held offsite, so plan for retrieval times as well.  

Here is an example of a genealogy research plan for use in preparing for your genealogy research trip to Scotland:

Remember, the more preparation you do at home before you go, the greater your chances of successful research in Scotland

Friday, 5 September 2014

They Came From Scotland

One of the key issues in tracking your Scottish ancestor often involves the gap between finding them in the Canadian records (BMD-Census) and being able to locate them in the Scottish records. While this may seem like a daunting task, it is often less of a challenge and more of a reward if you understand what brought them here in the first place. To do that, we need to understand a little bit of Scottish history. Not back to the beginning of time, just back to the beginning of emigration to the Americas.

Penal Transportation: 

Following the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, over 4000 Scots had been captured and imprisoned. Needless to say this presented a problem for the English in terms of the resources required to house and feed them, so a decision was made that the prisoners should be sold. Some were sold to coalmines, some were sold as weavers, some to the linen trades. However, these numbers were relatively small compared to the enormous number of men captured. Soon people began petitioning to have the men transported to the colonies. In fairly short order, 150 of the healthiest men were gathered, taken to London and then shipped on the Unity to New England, arriving in Massachusetts. For a list of Scottish Prisoners of War from the Battle of Dunbar and subsequent listing of men who were transported, this website is incredibly helpful: http://scottishprisonersofwar.com/unity-prisoners/ 

Several weeks after the sailing of the Unity, another 270 were led aboard the “John & Sara” and set sail for Boston. The ship’s list of the John & Sara has been transcribed and can be found at: http://www.us-roots.org/colonialamerica/main/john&sara.html

Monday, 1 September 2014

New Records Added to Hebrides People Website

The website Hebrides People has added Lochs Parish to their main data-base. The database now includes Lochs and Stornoway parishes (basically the whole eastern side of Lewis) as well as Harris. This brings the database's the total number of ...entries to sixty-three thousand!

Most emigrants from Lewis ended up settling in Eastern Townships of Quebec, near the border with the USA, moving onto to Bruce County, Ontario (Kincardine to Goderich)