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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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Gift From Forces War Records

Your pre-Christmas gift from Forces War Records - Original 1914 Princess Mary’s box with gift cards inside.

The Princess Mary Christmas gift box was given to all members of the armed forces on Christmas day 1914. These small boxes, made from silver for Officers and brass for all others, typically contained an ounce of tobacco, a packet of cigarettes, a lighter, a Christmas card and photograph from Princess Mary, some also contained sweets. Amazingly, it took until 1920 to deliver all 2.5 million!
So here’s our pre-Christmas gift to you – an original tin containing a selection of gift cards from Forces War Records:
1.            12 months free membership
2.            Discount when you hire a professional researcher
3.            Free Family Historian Software

Become a full member between 4th Dec and 11.59pm 11th December, 2016 and this could be yours. (winner selected at random) Why not give the gift cards as Christmas presents.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016


Using Poor Relief Records for Scottish Genealogy

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 your ancestors.

Please register for Using Poor Relief Records for Scottish Genealogy on Dec 05, 2016 7:00 PM EST
To register:

Registering does not guarantee a space, so make sure you log on early on the 5th. 

See you online!

Friday, 11 November 2016

I Remember the Brave Men

A song that my kids learned in elementary school resurfaces in my mind at this time every year:

I remember the brave men who fought for our country
I remember the brave men who died far away
I remember the brave men who truly loved Canada
And because I remember, I stand and I pray

Today I remember the brave men in the Woodcock Family who fought for our country, who died far away and who truly loved Canada. The Woodcock's served their adopted country of Canada for generations. 

First was Bertram Woodcock. Bertram's parents were the brave couple that left the destitution and over crowding of Birmingham for a new life in Canada. Bertram served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He signed up on December 10th, 1915 and died two years later on 21 January, 1917 in Calais. Bertram is buried in the Hersin Communal Cemetery

Bertram's headstone in Calais

but is also memorialized on his mother's headstone here in Brantford. Bertram is listed on the wall of honour at the cenotaph in Brantford

Bertram is listed on the wall of honour

Bertram's brothers Edgar and George also served. They were fortunate enough to survive the war. 

George Henry

George Henry's son, my father-in-law, Harry was a gunner in WWII. Harry served with the 54th Battery of the 56th Field Artillery Regiment. Harry was a gunner and flew in the Lancaster and saw active duty in England and Europe. Harry was part of the liberation of Holland and was honoured to return to Holland for the 50th anniversary celebrations. 

young Harry

Harry in Holland for the 50th anniversary celebration

Today I had the honour of attending the Remembrance Day Services at the Cenotaph. I could feel the spirits of the lost soldiers blowing in the wind that rustled the leaves as we stood for TAPS and as the memorial wreaths were laid. After the ceremony, my son and I pinned our poppies to the wreath that was laid to honour the brave men who fought alongside Dad. 

Rest peacefully Harry. And thank you. Thank you for serving your country and for helping us to live in a free world. 

Monday, 31 October 2016

Family History Month - Using Magazines for Genealogy Research

Most of us who are researching our ancestors are aware of the value of using newspapers for our research and how they assist us in understanding the social history of our ancestors. But few of us are aware of the value of using magazines for genealogy research.

The National Library of Scotland is a national deposit library. As such, they receive copies of everything published in Scotland. That includes magazines. These magazines might be from your ancestor's place of employment, their social club or organization, their trade guild, their church, their regiment or their athletic club. 

Magazines like these often include:

  • obituaries
  • promotions
  • recognition for achievements
  • club celebrations
  • board of directors
  • election results 

and perhaps best of all: PHOTOGRAPHS! 

The thousands of magazines available at the NLS are only available in-house but they are well worth looking through. You just never know what you might discover about your Scottish ancestor.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Family History Month - LAC Resources for Scottish Immigrant Ancestors

For those who have ancestors that left Scotland and emigrated to, or passed through, Canada, there are some resources available through Library and Archives Canada. These resources include: 

  • Glasgow Juvenile Delinquency Board - Girls Industrial School, Glasgow, RG 76, volume 119, file 22468, microfilm C-4782. File includes a list of children sent to Saint John, New Brunswick, between 1895 and 1906.
  • Fifteen Parish trainees from Glasgow allocated to Toronto, 1927, Glasgow Training Scheme. RG 76, volume 323, file 310968, microfilm C-10236.
  • Alexander McOwen, Virden, Manitoba - Special immigration agent to Scotland, 1904-1906, RG 76, volume 337, file 350610, microfilm C-10247. File includes list of names.
  • Mackay Brothers, booking agent lists, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1915-1922. RG 76, volume 362, file 453045, microfilm C-10264.
  • Mackay Brothers & Company, booking agent lists, Aberdeen, Scotland, 1910-1921. RG76, volume 564, file 809010, microfilm C-10644.
  • Group of 27 labourers sent from from Leith, Scotland, 1906. RG 76, volume 367, file 484243, microfilm C-10268.
  • Party from Stornoway sent out by the Queen Alexandra's Unemployed Fund, 1906. RG 76, volume 377, file 522409, microfilm C-10275.
  • J. Bruce Walker, Commissioner of Immigration, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Letters from successful "Scotch" ploughmen, 1908-1911. RG 76, volume 548, file 805711, microfilm C-10633.
  • H.W.J. Paton, Aberdeen, Scotland, booking agent, farm hands and domestics, lists, 1908-1921. RG 76, volume 538, file 803839, microfilm C-10627.
  • Alexander Wyllie, Glasgow, Scotland. Bonus claims, lists, 1907-1909. RG 76, volume 415, file 601089, microfilm C-10302.
  • D. Cumming, Glasgow, Scotland. Bonus claims, lists, 1907-1915, 1918. RG 76, volume 426, file 629453, microfilm C-10309.
  • D. McFarlane, Glasgow, Scotland. Booking agent, lists, 1907-1923. RG 76, volume 435, file 652806, microfilm C-10315.

Unfortunately these records are all on microfilm and must be ordered via LAC. Fees are $.40 per photocopied page. They can email the pages to you or send them via regular post. 

To order: https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/copies/secure/005010-5100-e.php

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Family History Month - Recalling Memories

In a recent conversation, the question was asked: 

What were the sleeping arrangements like when you were growing up?

My father was one of eight siblings. They lived in a two bedroom miner's row house. Four girls were in one room, four boys in the other. Beds were shared.

My mother was one of 20. And while they were not all home at the same time, her and her siblings talk of sleeping "head to toe" One person slept north/south on the bed and their bed-mate slept south/north. Some slept across the bed as that gave more room. They often slept three or four to a bed. 

In both instances, there would often be times when kids who were not siblings joined in on and bunked down wherever they landed. 

My granny used to love coming to Canada for her holidays. Three weeks, six weeks, three months, six months. She always started out at my aunt's house up the street, but within a few days, was at my mother's doorstep, bags in hand. I honestly can't recall where I ended up sleeping while Gran was visiting, I just know that when she was staying with us, my room became hers. It was never stated, it was understood. 

I recall, too, spending a week at our neighbour's cottage. There were three families sharing a three bedroom cottage. My mum, my aunt's family and my uncle's family. The adults all had bedrooms. The rest of us (about 10 kids) slept on floors, sofas and cots in the living-room or kitchen. Sleep was fairly elusive as my mum and her brother spent the night calling out to one another and sharing stories, memories and jokes. But the memories are of laughter, love and spending the night wherever we could find a flat surface. 

What were the sleeping arrangements like when YOU were growing up? 

Friday, 28 October 2016

Family History Month - Evoking Memories

There is a Chinese proverb that states, "A family with an old person in it has a nugget of gold". That is especially true for anyone researching their family history. As any beginning genealogist knows, our older relatives have a wealth of family history to share. It is vital to tap into this resource and knowing how to get the information is the key to unlocking this treasure trove of your family's history.

One of the best ways to evoke a memory is through photographs. The visual sparks a recollection of the event, the people, the joy, the laughter, the surrounding details. If you can spend time with an older relative going through old photographs you will unleash a torrent of memories. The opportunity will allow you to identify those in the photo, the reason the photo was taken and sometimes tidbits of information about some of the characters in the photo. One of the lovely things about the elderly is that their filters relax as they age. Things that were once taboo to speak of with others may now get shared quite freely ("she was always such a tart, you know")

As you are spending time with family over the holidays, at reunions, family celebrations, take advantage of the opportunity to sit and speak with the elderly relatives. If photographs aren't available ask questions that will evoke memories for them. If you are at a wedding or christening, ask about weddings or christenings of long ago.