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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Saturday, 30 April 2016

In Depth Genealogist Magazine Sale for NGS

To celebrate attending the NGS Conference in Ft Lauderdale next week, the
In-Depth Genealogist Magazine is having a sale. For the ridiculously low price of $25usd, you get 12 digital issues per year PLUS access to the last two years of archived issues. The subscription is $2 per issue. You can't beat that for value. 

Offer runs May 4-8, so don't wait or you will miss this incredible value. 

I am honoured to be a writer for IDG and have a regular column Searching Your Scottish Roots. You can read current and past articles when you subscribe. 

Come and visit me in the Exhibition Hall at NGS, I will be in the booth right across the aisle from IDG. 

Friday, 29 April 2016

Viewing Images on the ScotlandsPeople Website

I am always getting emails and FB messages about not being able to view the images on the ScotlandsPeople website. Here is how to make it work seamlessly:
  • Log in to your account:
  • At the top right.click on "My Details" 
  • Scroll down the page to where you see a boxed in message
  • Scroll past that and you will see the option to choose how you view the image. 
  • Click the drop down arrow then choose "direct download" 
  • This will download the image as a jpeg
  • Click "update your details"

Sunday, 17 April 2016

New Irish Record Release for 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising

Findmypast releases a new record set to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland. The records are FREE to search from April 17 - 27, 2016.

From the press release:

Findmypast launches online today the most complete collection of British War Office records  relating to the Easter Rising and Irish War of Independence from 1916-1921. The collection, digitised from original records held by The National Archives in Kew, reveals the struggles of life under Martial Law in Ireland, and demonstrates how events under the occupying military served to galvanise support for the rebels.  

Totaling more than 75,000 records, the collection will be free to access for ten days at Findmypast.ie from today, 17 April, in advance of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising on 24 April 2016.
More than 3,000 people were injured or killed in a conflict which saw three civilians killed for every one rebel. The records reveal the impact that the conflict had on men, women and children across Ireland. There are eye-witness accounts, interviews with civilians and reports of the trials of the leaders of the Rising and their sentences of execution.

The once classified records shine new light on the subsequent period of Martial Law in Ireland which was declared by the Lord Lieutenant in 1916, including the War of Independence, when the British military assumed control of the executive, judiciary and legislative arms of the entire country.. The contents of the collection provide a picture of what life was like for ordinary citizens in Ireland during this turbulent time.

The 25,000 search and raid records show the efforts of the military and police to discover arms, ammunition and seditious material through thousands of raids as well as their search for individuals associated with Sinn Féin, Irish Citizen Army, Irish Volunteers and the Irish Republican Army. Members of the public accessing the records on Findmypast will find the names of the thousands of people who were detained and interned in prisons in Ireland, England and Wales and tried by courts martial, including the names of prominent nationalists and elected officials.

Military correspondence between the barracks in Dublin and the War Office in London grants new perspectives on the motivations and fears of the British Army leadership. The movements and actions of several key nationalist figures are also documented, including those of James Connolly, Eamon De Valera, Thomas Ashe, Joseph MacDonagh, Arthur Griffith, Padraig Pearse and Francis and Hannah Sheehy Skeffington and Countess Markievicz.

Key items from the collection include:

  •  Daily situation reports sent by the British Army from Dublin to London between 24 April and 12 May 1916 documenting events during the uprising
  •  A report from the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief confirming the execution of iconic Irish socialist and rebel James Connolly, who owing to injuries sustained in the conflict had to be strapped to a chair before being shot 
  • Court martial reports sentencing prominent nationalist, politician and suffragette Countess Markievicz to two years in prison for “assisting and promoting crime and murder” 
  • Witness statements from civilians caught up in the Rising 
  • Documents authored by Michael Collins seized from a safehouse used by the nationalist figurehead 
  • Details on raids of pubs such as the Brazen Head, hotels, nationalist club houses such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians and thousands of homes 
  •  An urgent and secret warning from Sir C Spring Rice, British Ambassador in America, of gun running in Ireland 
  •  A telegram to the Prime Minister to report the expected surrender of the rebels from the Lieutenant General John Marshall
  •  Internment files including the personal letters from prisoners or their relatives testifying to their innocence 
  •  Details on the hunger strikes of interned prisoners 
  • Secret documents that reveal the British Military’s own concern with some of the behaviour of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC)

The collection was digitised in partnership with The National Archives in London and contains documents from their WO35 series, War Office: Army of Ireland: Administration and Easter Rising Records. Totaling more than 110 million records, Findmypast has the largest Irish family history collection available online.

Brian Donovan, Head of Irish Records at Findmypast, comments:
“These records constitute an extraordinary resource which will transform the search for answers about our ancestors' activities during 1916 and the years that followed. While those who fought were small in number, the war impacted on the lives of ordinary people in many ways. We’re extremely fortunate to have these records to help us make some sense of it.”

Saturday, 16 April 2016


Today is the 270th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles in Scotland's history. Over 1500 men were killed in less than an hour. This was a decisive defeat for the Jacobite forces. And was the beginning of change that led to mass emigration to the American Colonies, the West Indies and eventually to Canada. 

Leanach Cottage on Culloden Battlefield is the only building remaining from the time of the battle. It continued to be occupied up until 1912. The cottage did have barns, but they were burned down by government forces when 30 or so Jacobites who had been wounded but not killed were found seeking refuge in the barns. The gov't forces barricaded the men in the barns and set the barns alight, killing the men and razing the barns to the ground.

In the aftermath of Culloden came the Act of Proscription in 1747. This was an attempt by the English government to do away with the Highland way of life.  The Act banned the wearing of tartan, or Highland dress except for army uniforms. It further banned the carrying or owning of broad swords, durks, pistols, guns or any other "warlike" weapon. Government officers were authorised to search houses and arrest anyone who had proscribed weaponry in their possession. 

Many who were arrested were then banished to the colonies for a period of 7 or more years. 

The Act wasn't repealed until 1782 and by that time, the Highland Clearances had begun with tenant farmers and crofters being moved off of the highland estates to make way for more economical and lucrative sheep farming. 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Thank You Kelowna!

After a full day of talks at the Henderson Library in Winnipeg on Saturday, April 9, I headed to the airport and flew out to Vancouver. A quick sleep and it was time to head to the airport once again. This time I was headed for Kelowna where I was going to be speaking to the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society. 

There were only 5 of us on the flight, so we were asked to sit at the back of the plane for proper weight distribution. A short 37 minutes after take-off, we were touching down in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. 

The room was full of researchers eager to learn about researching their Scottish ancestry.  Two talks in the morning, a bowl of hearty beef and barley soup and three talks in the afternoon. We had a great time sharing resources and stories.

After the workshop was over, my hostess, Claire Burns-Smith took me on a lovely drive around Kelowna to see the beauty of this city. Mountains, a lake and total serenity. Then it was time to meet up with some others for a lovely dinner and some terrific conversation. All too soon, it was time to return to the airport for a flight back to Vancouver. 

Thank you K&DGS for a day of fun and learning. The day was incredibly energizing. I wish you well at your Fall Conference 

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Thank You, Winnipeg!

What a fantastic day in Winnipeg! 35 of the Scots Disapora descended on theHenderson  Library for a full day of talks on Scottish genealogy research. As always, when the Scots Diaspora gather there is GREAT craic. 

We learned how to get started on our Scottish research, how to navigate the ScotlandsPeople website to get successful results, some of the lesser known databases that help us flesh out the story and finished with planning for a successful genealogy research trip to Scotland. 

Along the way, we shared stories, asked questions and had some great laughs

And best of all, I get to do it all over again tomorrow in Kelowna! 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

New In Brief Guide for Scottish Genealogy

Just in time for Tartan Day!

IDG Introduces their Newest of In-Brief Research Guides:
Researching Your Scottish Ancestors by Christine Woodcock

UTICA, OH, 5 APRIL 2016—The In-Depth Genealogist (IDG) is pleased to announce the publication of An In-BriefGuide to Researching Your Scottish Ancestors by Christine Woodcock. Christine writes the column “In Search of Your Scottish Roots” for The In-Depth Genealogist’s digital magazine, Going In-Depth.

Within the In-Brief guide you will find the following helpful topics: Important Dates to Remember, Types of Documents Available Online, Useful Information within the Documents, Tips for Success, Archives, Libraries, Family History Societies, and much more.

PDF download is just $2.47!