Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Brick Walls - We All Have Them

We all love to do our genealogy research. It's interesting. We learn a lot about other things in the process. All of a sudden we come to a grinding halt on at least one person we are researching and want to bang our heads against the "brick wall." Ouch. How do we get past that and why would we want too?

YouTube has some interesting videos to watch. Let me share one in particular with you.
"10 Top Tips for How to Bust Through Your Genealogy Brick Wall" from RootsTech2013 with Dave Obee through Genealogy Gems Podcast.
He takes a real case from a real person and shares some wonderful advice with her. Check it out and see if any of his tips help you. I've tried them all over a period of time with some of my "easier brick walls."
1 Create a timeline - every piece of concrete information that you have about the person.
2 Understand the geography - people moved around.
3 Find every possible record
4 Understand how records were created - sometimes people were missed on a census even though they were there.
5 Newspapers - read every local story
6 Tap into local knowledge - they know more about local sources and how to use them.
7 Go there, if you can, in person
8 Look for negative proof - this is a biggie if you are researching a common surname. Basically finding the right information through eliminating others.
9 Collaborate with other researchers - make sure to document information and ask questions about sources. Don't just copy what they have.
10 "oops, I think I missed one", but how about - use an expert for ideas and on-line resources.

The information given was related to some Canadian and American resources, but I think it is useful for any country.

If you've read any of my previous posts you already know I think timelines are very important and I've shared a few of them. At the moment I am researching how I can create them more effectively i.e. would an excel spreadsheet be better than a word document.
I used #6 - tap into local information - on a recent trip to Scotland and as a result I have a reliable source of information to visit on my next jaunt over "the puddle." The site has some on-line information available but most of their sources have to be seen in person and copied there.
#9 - collaborate with other researchers - happens to me often. e.g. I had some information about a distant cousin of my spouse, on one of my trees on Ancestry. A direct descendant saw what I had and contacted me to tell me more about that person, which helped me fix a mistake of my own making. She shared information about the spouse, other family and what one of her main original sources is.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Clarice Elizabeth Ann Palmer Obituary

The family, with great sadness, announce the passing of Clarice Elizabeth Anne (Lindsay) Palmer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on August 13, 2018. Predeceased by her parents William and Clarice (Jackson) Lindsay, her husband Frederick Charles (Ted), sister Jean, brother Bill, brother-in-law Arthur (Hap) and sister-in-law Eileen. Elizabeth lived a life surrounded by loving family and friends here on Prince Edward Island, in Alberta and in her home province of Newfoundland. She will be remembered by many around the world through her association with the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program and hosting of International students studying at UPEI. Elizabeth will be especially remembered by friends Joan Rankin and Mary Follet, her 'Sam's' breakfast club, River Ridge friends and Edinburgh Drive neighborhood families. She lived a life of community involvement with Spring Park United Church, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Rotary International and Beta Sigma Phi, among others. Her passion for high school band music was matched by her passion for salt fish and brewis, picking berries, culinary adventures and family gatherings. She lived through war, the loss of her mother at an early age, finding love in Corner Brook, NL, the raising of 4 beautiful children, oh so many car ferries, service to her community, the early passing of her spouse then the ultimate joy of grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was happiest at the 'cabin' by the river, on the beach, at a picnic, planning the next pot of soup and with family around the table. Among those that will celebrate her life and continue her legacy are her sons Bob, Terry and Andrew, daughter Kim, adopted daughters and son Dana, Sherrill, Roberta and Lee, grandchildren Becky, Ben, Jeff, Ryan, Tamara, Morgan, Tyler, Jessica, Nathan, Aric, Vanessa, Danielle and Dylan and 12 beautiful great grandchildren. Her Newfoundland family Dave and Gwen Alcock, Bill and Marliese Janes-Alcock will very much miss her spirit and love. Resting at Belvedere Funeral Home for visitation Wednesday 4-7 p.m. The funeral service will be held at Spring Park United Church on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. Interment later in People’s Cemetery, Charlottetown. Memorial donations may be made to the Spring Park United Church or the Rotary Club of Charlottetown. 
Posted in on August 14, 2018

Elizabeth was the youngest child of my grandpa's oldest brother William. She helped me on a couple of occasions to unravel some of our family tree. I met her sister and brother-in-law, when I was a teenager, on one of their visits to Scotland. My dad has a photograph album dedicated to a visit my grandparents made to Newfoundland a few years before my great-uncle Will died. Elizabeth was a very late, but much loved baby, for her parents. Her siblings were about 20 and 15 when she was born, so quite an age gap. Being on Facebook has been a fun way for me to get to know her descendants, my cousins, better. My one regret is that we were not able to visit with her during her lifetime.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Returning to blogging

It's been a long time since I blogged. Family issues became more intense and time consuming. My youngest daughter had to deal with some severe health issues, with me as her primary round-the-clock caregiver. While I continued on doing genealogy as my "stress buster," blogging took a back seat.

I am now a grandma :) Two wonderful little girls who live nearby. The youngest has put us on a steep learning curve since she has Spina Bifida. She was on the receiving end of in-utero surgery to close up her spine. Only time will tell what her needs will be as she is still very much a young baby, born 6 weeks early. Big sister is very helpful and blossoming into her own wonderful interests.

I have made some visits to Scotland and had some interesting conversations with my dad about his army days etc. I'm also trying to get other family members to share stories with me.

It's been fun connecting with cousins in Australia, USA and Canada over the past wee while. That helped with some "unknown to me line" discoveries. Plenty of "where did they disappear too?" research has happened. New updates on internet sites has also furthered my research. One thing that has not changed - my furthest back direct lines. I'm still stuck with that so I have been researching other twigs and branches.

I'm looking forward to writing again and sharing my discoveries. I hope you will come along with me as I continue to learn about Our Scottish Heritage.

Carol H.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Walking a Different Path - Helen "Nellie" Howie

I had a goal of posting at least twice a month for this year and fairly quickly into the year that went out the window due to family health issues that needed taking care of, some of which is still ongoing. I've been using my genealogy research as my "stress buster". Nought like compiling data to keep the brain in focus :)

Anyhoo, what about Helen Howie? I've been researching her, on and off, for a while now. She was my great-grandma's niece and one of the number of relatives with ancestry from the Isle of Bute. She left Scotland in 1907 to work for the Campbell family in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I was trolling through some records and found a retired "Nellie" Howie in Saskatchewan in the 1960's and though I paid attention to that information I kept getting the distinct impression that it was not right.

I had come to a grinding halt and did not know what to do next so I thought I would research the family she worked for during a good chunk of her adult life. 'Tis a good thing I don't have to actually go to all the places they lived or visited, I'd be bankrupted by now! Very interesting family with some famous Manitobans in there. I was able to find the right retired "Nellie" Howie living down the street from "her" Campbells in Winnipeg, so success with that part but I am still trying to track down her death date.

Here's a wee time line for her (since I loooooove doing time lines)
Parents - Thomas Howie and Helen McKellar
married 1875 in Rothesay, Bute, Scotland
1879 - birth of Thomas Howie jr.
1880 - Helen born in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
1891 - census - 90 Eglinton Street, Govan, Glasgow, Lanarkshire
1898 - father dies
1901 - census - 52 Bridge Street, Govan, Glasgow, Lanarkshire. Single. Shop Assistant
1906 - mother dies
1907 - departure from Glasgow, Lanarkshire to Montreal, Quebec, Canada
1910 - brother Tom departs from Glasgow for Manitoba.
1916 - census - 253 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Single. Domestic Servant in John & Alice Campbell household.
1920 - holiday to Rothesay, Bute to visit aunt Annie Kay.
1921 - census - 253 Wellington Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Single. Domestic. In John & Alice Campbell residence.
1935 - Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
1940 - USA census - Colby, Kitsap, Washington, USA. Lodger in Millichamp household. Single. Alien. Residence in 1935 Winnipeg, Canada.
1958 - Dominion Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Retired.
1962 - 40 Dominion Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Retired.
1968 - 40 Dominion Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Retired.

There's gaps that still need filling and questions that still need answering but progress is still being made. As for her Campbell "family" I created a tree on and in another post I will share some resources from that.

Family History Day - Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is hosting a Family History Day at their Haywood Lane building, 364 Haywood Lane, Nashville, TN 37211 on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 9.00 am - 3.30 pm. Bring your own lunch. The event is free to the public but you can reserve a spot at

This is actually a "mini RootsTech" with videos from the 2014 RootsTech Conference held earlier this year. We will be "hosting" 8 classes which will be presented twice.

My Tree is Full, What Next? by Carol Brennan Moss

Classes - 10.00 a.m. and 1.15 p.m.
Using Tools and Organization for Creating a Valuable Family History Blog by James Tanner
Effective Database Search Tactics by Kory Meyerink
Getting the Most Out of Ancestry by Christa Cowen
Finding Family and Ancestors Outside of the USA With New Technologies by Daniel Horowitz

Classes - 11.15 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.
FamilySearch and Beyond: New Resources for Members by Diane Loosle
Put Family in Family History: Fun Family History Activities by Jen Allen
5 Ways to Do Genealogy in Your Sleep by Deborah Gamble
Basic Online Resources for the Beginning Genealogist by Lisa Alzo

This is our first time doing a local genealogy event in this format so we are looking forward to seeing you there and giving us feedback.
I am "hosting" the hour long Using Tools and Organization for Creating a Valuable Family History Blog by James Tanner at 10.00 and 1.15. He shares a lot of excellent general information in this presentation, particularly in the second half.
So come "Connect Your Family - Past, Present, and Future" on Saturday 26th April.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Homecoming Scotland 2014

Scotland is hosting a plethora of events this year - The Commonwealth Games (23 July-3 August) and The Ryder Cup (26-28 September) being a couple of them.
Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow has started and will run through February 2nd.
Close to my home will be Bannockburn Live in June, celebrating the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. I used to walk to the site fairly regularly via one of the wee back roads.
The Forth Road Bridge is 50 years old this year and there will be a festival 4th thru 13 September. A new one is being built to accommodate the heavy traffic and should open in 2016.
The Highland Homecoming in September and October will feature the World Sheepdog Trials and the Royal National Mod.
John Muir, the founder of America's National Parks, was a Scotsman. The John Muir Festival 17-26 April will be along the new John Muir Way between Dunbar and Helensburgh.
There will also be lots of Heritage events. Pick a region that you have family in and find out what's happening. In my previous post I wrote about Aberdeenshire. Their heritage event will be at Haddo House and Country Park 8th-10th August
I am also looking at how to involve children in family research and the Education Scotland site at is excellent.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Routes to Your North East Roots

If you have ancestry in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire this web site might be useful for you
To quote their blurb "The purpose of this website is to give you an initial steer on your journey, acting as a directory to the organisations and institutions in the City of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire which hold original records or secondary sources of information that you may find useful in the quest for your ancestors."
As an example - I found an interesting case study about researching lighthouse keepers in the Stories of North East Families section which led me to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses in the resources section.

The Taylor family case study

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses has a large collection of archives related to the work of the Northern Lighthouse Board in Scotland and the Isle of Man.
Light keeper service records
Visitor books from various lighthouses
Returns books, including meteorological, light, supplies and letter books, from various lighthouses
Personal memoirs and oral history testimony from keepers and their families.
Photographic archive including all lighthouses in Scotland and the Isle of Man

If you want to visit the museum they recommend you plan ahead. Visit for more details.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

William Robertson Lindsay - obituary 1914

1914 Obituary
WILLIAM ROBERTSON LINDSAY was born at Pitlour, Fifeshire, on 18th May 1849.
He was educated at the public school in Inverkeilor and at Arbroath High School.
In 1866 he commenced his apprenticeship in the shops of Messrs. Pearce Brothers, Lilybank Foundry, Dundee, the latter part of which he spent in the drawing office of the same firm. Subsequently he was promoted to be chief draughtsman, a position he held for 10 years.
In 1885 he joined the firm of Messrs. Hick, Hargreaves and Co., Engineers, Bolton, as their chief draughtsman, a position he vacated in 1889 to take over the situation as engineering manager for Messrs. W. B. Thompson and Co., Limited, Lilybank Engine Works and Foundry, Dundee.
In 1895 he started in business as consulting engineer in Dundee. During the latter part of his life he carried on an extensive practice, which was of a varied description, embracing steam-engines, boilers, textile mills and factories in the jute and flax trade and the machines pertaining thereto.
His death took place in Dundee on 24th September 1914, in his sixty-sixth year.
In 1884 he organized the Dundee Mechanical Society, now the Dundee Institute of Engineers, and was elected the first president.
He was elected a Member of this Institution in 1891.

Found at (a link to the 1914 Institute of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries.)

I think I struck gold with this obituary. It confirmed some information that I already have and gave me some new details to look at. I was able to use this in a class I helped teach recently about writing your family history.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hiring a Schoolmaster

School Board of the Parish of Drymen - 7 March 1891

Minute of meeting of the School Board of the Parish of Drymen, held in the Public School Drymen on Saturday the 7th March 1891 at 3-30 p.m. convened by circulars addressed to the members of the Board.
Mr. Brown Chairman
Mr. Fraser
Mr. Edmond
Mr. Archibald
Mr. Bauchop
The minutes of last meeting were read approved of and signed.
The meeting being chiefly called to draw a short list from the testimonials of the teachers applying for the Mastership of Drymen School which had been under the consideration of the Members of the Board for over a week, the Board agreed that each member should lay before the Clerk (according to his judgement) the names of the four best candidates and in order of merit, it was found in summing up that there were the names of nine candidates in the list but ultimately the Board resolved to reduce it to the following seven candidates as a short list viz.
Mr. William Erskine - Bainsford P. School Falkirk
Mr. Chas. G. Greig - Ladyloan P School Arbroath
Mr. Jas Harvie - Thomson St. P. School Dennistoun Glas.
Mr. William Martin Burt - Lesmahago (cannot read the last previous two words very well)
Mr. John Hall - Hutchisons Grammar School Glasgow
The Board instructed the Clerk to write to the foregoing Candidates to know if it would be convenient for them to come to Drymen School on Tuesday the 17th so that the Board might have an opportunity of seeing their teaching.

Who was hired? My great-grandfather John Hall. He stayed there till he retired in 1926.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fun Genealogy Activities for Children

A few days ago (Thursday) I had the opportunity to share some ideas about getting young children interested in family history and genealogy. As usual I had more ideas than time so I plan on sharing some of my thoughts here (over a period of time).

One thing I learned is that there is not a whole lot available on-line and some of it was not really for children. Some things that looked interesting had broken links.

The main thought I shared right at the start was keep any activities short and fun. Most children have short attention spans (as do many adults nowadays). It is also good to ask them what they would like to learn. This part would be useful after introducing the subject.

Children often like gory details so a trip to a cemetery can be fun IF the adult chaperones keeps their own anxieties about "dead bodies rising out of the graves and becoming zombies" to themselves :)

Some cemetery ideas
Get permission ahead of time to do grave marker rubbings.
Count the number of headstones with the same surname.
Count the number of baby headstones
Take photographs of fancy inscriptions
Find the oldest head stone
Find the oldest dead person
Scavenger hunt - you will have to work out ahead of time what you want the kids to look for e.g. specific letters of the alphabet, fruit carvings, skull and crossbows.
Bird watching
Get permission to tidy up some plots - i.e. pull weeds
Find out if there are historical cemetery tours geared toward children.
Did your family live close to the cemetery - take photographs of the house. We did this one when we visited Scotland. My children had a great time looking at the family headstones and visiting the houses of the people mentioned.

If you decide to go at night remember to take flashlights. You can stand around an ancestors grave and look at the stars. They may have looked at the same ones all those years ago.

Rainy day activity
Instead of a visit to a cemetery go on-line to and ask your children to find a deceased relative. Some names have photographs and obituaries, other just dates. You never know it may take them on a journey of discovery and they can share the information with other relatives.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Death in the Family

I am back in Scotland due to the death of my mother Margaret Lindsay nee Hall, and will be here for a while. She had been sick with cancer for a while but actually died suddenly and peacefully from something else at Forth Valley Royal Infirmary, Larbert on Monday 9th July. The funeral service will be on Monday 16th at St.Ninians Old Parish Church and cremation at Falkirk. Her remains will be interred next to her mother Jean Hall.
She was ever a lady, diginified but with a silly sense of humor, stubborn, hard working, extremely talented at all she attempted. Totally devoted to her family and much loved by many people. She dedicated most of her life to the Girl Guides being on numerous committes and holding many leadership positions. and was also a member of the Tuesday Group (church). Professionally she had worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland in many capacities and was always quietly efficient.
Mother was an only child and raised with much fondness by my grandparents. They were a close knit little family and grandpa was very protective of the two ladies in his life till his sudden demise in 1965. He steered mother toward banking, and while it was not her first choice of career, she did well with it. While working at Drummonds in London she met my father and for us the rest is personal history :)
She loved her back stone walled garden and devoted numerous hours to tending it and making it beautiful. Dad increased his flower photography skills as a result. She spent even more hours chatting to everyone that passed by while she was in the front garden :) She also welded a paint brush with great ease and spent many an hour painting walls in our home.
She loved to get grubby in the dirt but was always immaculately dressed when leaving through the front door. (I don't have her fabulous dress sense unfortunately.)
Strict but fair and caring as a mother, caregiver to our father through his many health battles, much adored grandmother and loyal friend to those that knew her well. She will be missed but we know she is at peace with the Lord and enjoying the eternities with her beloved parents and son David.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Tribes of Galway

I mentioned Eyre Square in my last posting. We noticed a number of banners with coats of arms and surnames on them and wondered what they were. Our tour bus guide told us what they represented.

From the mid 13th onwards 14 merchant families basically dominated the area through politics, commerce and social life. The families were Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'Arcy, Deane, Ffont, Ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martyn, Morris and Skerrett. The families traded with continental Europe. "The Tribes of Galway" was a derogatory term given by Oliver Cromwell but it was later adopted as a mark of defiance.

I have to say that the banners are a very colorful and striking way to introduce non-locals to the history of the town. The doorway to the old Browne family resident is now preserved as a monument on Eyre Square.
If you want to find out more about each family visit

Later on our tour the bus guide told us that the number 14 shows up in other areas of Galway. 14 roundabouts and 14 childrens playgrounds being two examples he cited.