Friday, December 31, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bellevue History and Genealogy Group

I've mentioned on a few occasions that I am a member of the Bellevue History and Genealogy Group. We meet most Friday mornings at the local YMCA in the Fifty Forward Center. It's free and all are welcome. I am the "baby' of the group :) I recently taught a class on how to use time lines in your research and will share some of that at a later date.

Our hard working group leader, Bob Allen, lines up speakers 3 times per month and we do computer/brick wall research on the remaining Friday. Let me introduce you to his relatively new web site. If you live locally or are interested in middle Tennessee research you will definitely find what he has to share interesting.

For those of you interested in Scottish research I hope you will continue, or start, to look at the resources in my side bar. I do update it as needed and have found everything there to be helpful to my own research over the years.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I almost missed it.

Darn it I almost missed giving all my Scottish buddies happy St.Andrews Day greetings. Hope you had a great day.
Unlike St. Patricks Day, here in the USA St. Andrews Day kind of slips by without much fanfare, maybe because of Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving and appreciating our ancestors

"The First Thanksgiving" by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris.
I hope you enjoy Thanksgiving tomorrow and pause for a moment to give thanks for the ancestors who went before us and in their own ways helped to create the lives we each enjoy now :) Without them we would not exist.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The National Museum of the American Coverlet

You never know where your genealogy research will take you. Most of us Scotties of humble origin can safely say "we have weavers in our ancestry". Mine are not too far back either :) There are very few places in the USA that specialize in the history and art of weaving but this is one of them
It has a very narrow, but fascinating, focus ... the coverlet... and if the photographs are any indication it should be an amazing place to visit. Thanks go to Laszlo and Melinda Zongor for creating this museum located in Bedford, Pennsylvania.

The coverlets date from the 1700's, 1800' onwards. Wouldn't it be fun to visit and find out if there are any Scotties in there?

So if you are researching your weaving heritage in Scotland where could you go either on-line or in person?
There's the Verdant Works in Dundee and
The World Heritage Village at New Lanark
Weavers Cottage at Kilbarchan
to name but a few.

Being a weaver was a hard life and one that should be given more respect (IMHO).
Linen weaving was a major industry in rural Scotland from the 1750's.
If you have children doing genealogy/family history research (or not) here's a fun puzzle

The International Wool Textile Organisation has an interesting potted history of wool and weaving at its web site

I guess I would get a finger wag from some others for not mentioning tartan. I learned something new today ..... or it got lost in the fog that is known as my memory ........ Bannockburn, just a robust walk from where I grew up, was known as the Capital of Tartan Weaving !!!!!! (I definitely live under a rock)

Clackmannanshire was the heart of the textile industry during the 19th century. Water from the Ochils was used to power the looms. If you visit the Mill Trail Visitor Centre in Alva you'll find out about the story of the woolen, tartan and tweed industries. Nice to see the powerloom shed being used instead of abandoned.

A nice site to visit for a potted history of weaving in Scotland is

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October is National Family History Month

On this side of "the puddle" October is national Family History Month.

What a great time to be starting your research or adding to what you already have. Maybe you need to organize family papers. Or how about all those photographs lying around in boxes.

Daughter #3 needed a large three ring binder to put all her information together. Her old binder was too small for everything. She spent a few hours over the weekend organizing what she had and adding new items from her drawers. Our next task is to type up some stories to go with the photographs.

Daughter #2 is doing a class assignment on Genograms for her Family Relations degree. I know most of the causes of death and some of the quirky inter family relations on my side of the family but realized that the same is not true for my husband's side. Phone calls will have to be made to my wonderful m-in-law :)

Daughter #1 is actually being paid to do some genealogy research and organizing. She is enjoying this relatively new venture and learning much from it.

I will be spending part of this month learning how to make a power point presentation for a class I am teaching next month on Timelines. I'm also going to write a long overdue letter to one of my cousins thanking her for family information she sent me a few weeks ago.

My m-in-law gave us some of hubbies childhood info. We should probably sort that out and put it with the rest of his papers and books. She also joined Facebook and has been adding a considerable # of photographs with stories so that other family members can access them.

So give some thought to what you might do this month. Doesn't have to be anything fancy or hugely time consuming. Just organizing your own personal papers in one spot would be a huge start. If you put them in a large envelope and there is ever a huge crisis, you can just pick it up and walk out the door.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Celebration of Family History

From my e-mail box - "All nine videos from the widely acclaimed “Celebration of Family History” that was presented at the Conference Center in April as part of the National Genealogical Society annual gathering are available to view online at These are inspirational videos that you will want to share with family, friends, and ward members. Details on how to order a DVD of the entire event will be coming shortly."

The link should take you to part 1. The rest are on the right hand side of the YouTube screen. A really interesting potted history and behind the scenes look at what happens with the records at the granite mountain.

Friday, June 18, 2010

FamilySearch visiting the East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville

An invite from my mailbox that I thought some of you might be interested in attending.

FamilySearch will be visiting the East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville, Tennessee on June 23 at 1:00 P.M. to present FamilySearch indexing and inviting local participation in the Tennessee County Marriages project that is just coming online. This project will allow participating volunteers to help provide free and open online access to historical marriage records from counties across Tennessee.

FamilySearch sees this as an opportunity to meet and interact with local indexers as well. You are invited to attend this meeting to learn more about FamilySearch indexing and the launch of the Tennessee County Marriages project.

FamilySearch will also discuss Confederate Pension Records and other projects that may have local and regional interest.
Seating is limited. Please call Knox County Library at 1-865-215-8809 if you have questions or to confirm your attendance.

East Tennessee History Center - Auditorium
601 S. Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37902-1604

Date and Time:
Wednesday, June 23, 1:00 P.M


Knox County Library
East Tennessee Historical Society

Monday, June 7, 2010

500th posting

Well it would appear I have made it to the 500th posting on one of my other blogs. I am surprised.
If you have a moment swing by and enter.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Getting sidetracked is easy to do :)

Our local, very good, genealogy group meets on Friday mornings. I am the baby (age-wise) of the group and have a really good time interacting with everyone.
Today we had a visitor who told us about growing up in Nashville from the 1920's thru the 40's. All very interesting stuff. While I was listening to him it struck me that some of what he was relating was not to far different to what I experienced growing up in Scotland.
He brought a friend who it turned out used to live a few houses down from where we are currently located. She shared some interesting info about the history of our sub division so I am going to side track myself for a while and go find out more. Some of her "then" neighbors are some of my "now" neighbors :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The list's the thing - AOC "discovers" genealogy :)

If you like lists then this site might be of interest to you. It has a posting about genealogy links, mainly US, and they seem to have covered most of the more popular ones with a few more thrown in for good measure :)
Scroll down past Thinkers to May 27th and watch out for this -
"Are you interested in learning about the history of your family? You can find out a whole lot just by searching online. Here, we’ll take a look at 50 of the best resources for genealogy research on the Internet."

They have it nicely split up into categories -  general, search, family facts, communities & tools, BM&D, and data & archives.

I dare you NOT to take a look at some of the other lists e.g. Beating Writers Block and Really Cool Bookstore Blogs :) Interesting.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm an antique, who'da thunk it !!!!

Remember this "bonnie baby" photograph from a previous posting?

Well here's the dress :)

It's still in really good condition after all these years. It's companion came to a soggy, chew a hole through it, end. Mother caught me in the act before it got completely eaten.

I was a wee bit of a holy terror in that runaround contraption. The photograph was taken on a visit to my great aunt and uncle's home (the Robertsons). There was a bit of a slope in the garden and I decided to try it out :) Got caught, darn it !!!! Aaaaah the rush of the wind through my hair :)

In the US anything over the age of 50 is considered an antique. Not sure if that also applies to people but I'm willing to run with it ..... mmmmm, maybe walking briskly might be better.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sometimes you just have to have a "serious" sense of humor.

A few postings back I mentioned I was looking at info about my great uncle William Lindsay. I needed to confirm some information with my cousin. Well she did and I was right but I totally did not expect what she told me.

William did marry twice. Wife #2 was his son-in-law's mother : ) So daughter and spouse became step-brother and sister. Good thing I was not drinking anything at the time !!!!!!

Her letter answered a number of questions and also raised a few more so this writing back and forth may take a while. Methinks it might be easier to hop on a plane and visit for a week or two. (DH wants to drive.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

A good but often under-utilized site over here belongs to Castle Garden. was launched in 2005 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Castle Garden as an immigration center.
What's a garden got to do with Scottish genealogy? Quite a lot actually.
Most people know about Ellis Island but what they don't know 90 odd% of the time is that Castle Garden was the precursor to it's more famous cousin.

(photograph - Castle Garden)

CG started life as a fort built to defend New York harbor from the British during the war of 1812. It was open to the public from 1824-1854(?) and saw use as a beer garden, restaurant, exhibit hall, theater and opera house. It became the immigrant processing/receiving center for the Port of New York from 1855-1890. (The local populace were not very happy about that turn of events.) From 1890-1892 immigrants were processed through the Old Barge Office.

(photograph- Old Barge Office)

Once Ellis Island opened up,  Castle Garden became New York City's Aquarium 1896-1946. Like many areas of historic note it was scheduled for demolition but the public ranted and, while the building was saved, it lay empty for many years.

(photograph - postcard of the old New York Aquarium)

Now known as Castle Clinton National Monument it serves as the visitor center for New York's National Parks and Monuments at Battery Park.

The Daily Times published an interesting article about Castle Garden on August 4th 1855.

Ruth Coleman wrote an informative piece about the history of Castle Garden and other immigrant information

Ellis Island c.1935

You can also find an interesting potted history at

Castle Garden is a free look-up site and I have been able to find a number of records (indexes) of family members who came from the motherland to the new one which then led me to other resources. The records are not complete due to a fire destroying some as they were being transferred to Ellis Island but it is still a valuable source and worth looking at.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scottish Death Record

I was going to share a photograph of my girls standing beside their g-g-grandfathers grave site in Scotland, but I cannot find the disc with the photograph so here's something that's still related to him.

John Hall was the schoolmaster in Drymen, Stirlingshire and also the registrar for BMD's. I have a goodly # of certificates showing his work. He was always praised for his penmanship and for any researcher his clarity and neatness (on the whole) is a jewel.
What is so different about this particular page?
Entry #1 is the death record for his wife Petrina Hall. That had to have been hard to write.
Entry #3 is the death record for Margaret McEwan. She was my grandma Hall's aunt.
I definitely "lucked out" with this image when it showed 2 relatives from different sides of the family, on the same page written up by another relative.
There is some irony in the whole "relative being town registrar" scenario. When John Hall died the registrar was...... his daughter. His death was registered by my grandfather.

here's the transcripts of all 3 entries.
Page 1. 1930. Deaths in the District of Drymen in the County of Stirling.

No. 1(I'm going to leave out the headings for the columns)
Petrina Hall. Married to John Hall. Schoolmaster (retired)
1930. March Twelfth 7h. 15m. p.m. Ormonde, Drymen.
66 yrs.
Neil MacKellar. Bath Attendant (deceased)
Helen MacKellar m.s. Hutson (deceased)
Cerebral Haemorrage (3 years) as certified by John MacKinnon MB (?) Drymen
John Hall. Widower (present)
1930. March 14th at Drymen.
John Hall. Registrar.

No. 2
Mary McGregor. Married to Donald McGregor. Blacksmith.
1930. March Sixteenth 3h. 35m. p.m. Drumbeg Smithy.
79 yrs.
James McAllister. Blacksmith (deceased)
Martha McAllister m.s. Maitland (deceased)
Cerebral Haemorrhage (10 years), Heart Failure (10 days).
as certified by Maud E.D. MacKinnon MB, Ch.B, Drymen
Donald McGregor. Widower. Present
1930. March 17th at Drymen
John Hall. Registrar.

No. 3
Margaret McEwan. Single
1930. May Thirty-first. 11h. 50m. am. Drymen
71 yrs.
Duncan McEwan. Weaver (deceased)
Margaret McEwan ms Clydesdale (deceased)
Mental depression with gradual heart failure 1 year
as certified by Maud E.D. MacKinnon MB Ch.B, Drymen
Duncan McEwan. Nephew. Ivy House, Drymen
1930. June 2nd. at Drymen
John Hall. Registrar

Drymen Parish Church and ariel views showing the cemetery. My relatives are now buried on the left hand side of the church on higher ground. Some of them had to be moved because of an overabundance of water in the hollow :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010's Top 100 Genealogy Sites recently published their 2010 recommendations. Lots of great blogs, some I am familiar with, others not. Definitely worth taking the time to look at, and learn from.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rescuing Flood Damaged Family Collections

It's been a sobering sight over the past few days seeing the physical lives of many, many people sitting on the sidewalks waiting to be picked up and hauled away. Obviously a concern for some is going to be - how to rescue personal, family items damaged by water.
The Tennessee Department of State has a good section covering basic information with links to other resources.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fun project - Matrilineal line

Here's a fun project for all you ladies out there - follow your matrilineal line - female line on mother's side - as far back as you can. This is how you get your mitochondrial DNA. I have not been tested so I have no idea what my Haplogroup is.

Here's my matrilineal line so far.
me (still living, obviously)

mother (still living)

grandmother - Jeanie McEwan 1897-1981

great grandmother - Janet McGechie 1853-1933 (sitting, holding granddaughter Betty)

2nd g-grandmother - Isabella Scott 1829-1891
3rd g-grandmother - Janet Gardner 1779-?
4th g-grandmother - Christian McIlquham - (dates unknown)

People you do not want to know how many times I  tried spelling matrilineal correctly and the variations I got therein :)
Mmmmm I wonder if I am supposed to revert to my furthest back matriname - I think it's pronounced "MickIlam" but I could be wrong.
From what I can gather the McIlquham surname is not all that common in Scotland and can for sure be traced back to the 1550's in the highlands, though not by me and my line :) Like all names it has a meaning - son of St. Thomas servant - darn back to patrinames !!!!!
References to the surname at ScotlandsPeople show
1841 - 20
1851 - 12
1861 - 11
1871 - 20
1881 - 22
1891 - 28
1901 - 31
1855-2006 records
births - 231
marriages - 72
deaths - 181
OPR records - 1538-1854
b&c - 217
b&m - 151
d&b - 27
wills & testaments - 13
Note the big discrepancy between b,m,d's and census. I bet the census takers had a big headache trying to spell that surname :)

Given that I have an aunt and female cousin here's their matrilineal line .
granddaughter - (still living)
daughter - (still living)
mother - (still living)
grandmother - Jessie Colville 1899-1984
g-grandmother - Julia Stewart 1865-1942
2nd g-grandmother - Ann Lyell 1837-1912
3rd g-grandmother - Julia Ogilvie 1801-1878
4th g-grandmother - Isabella Samson (dates unknown)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Taking care of family photographs

If you live anywhere near any kind of river, stream, pond etc. make sure your photographs are not stored in your basement.
I live in one of the towns that has been impacted by flooding over the past few days and a neighbor's friend found all her family photographs floating above the furniture in two bedrooms in her basement. I'm told it was quite a sight to behold :) She is currently trying to dry them all out.
So how do you save photographs that have been caught in a flood?
If you have negatives and they are safe just make more copies.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's all in the translation

At some point a goodly number of us run into languages other than our native one when we are researching. What to do, what to do?
It does not hurt to learn some of the basic words like, birth, marriage, death, family, mother, father, daughter, son, etc. The internet to the rescue aka GOOGLE. You can copy and paste words, phrases etc. and get fairly good translations. Some web sites will let you translate sentences and paragraphs.
The photograph shows my late-father-in-law's genealogy ("Etterkommere etter Ole Eriksen Trones - Familiene Busch, Trones og Lindgaard" by Hermund Pederson). Both of his parents were from Norway and the book tracks 3 descendent lines of a common ancestor (1671 to 1996). There is a very interesting potted history at the beginning of the book. I have a basic idea of what it says (I learned some written Norwegian in high school) but plan on translating it properly, using on-line resources.
Other alternatives if you don't have access to a computer.
1. Talk with the language departments at your local university or high school and find out if anyone would be interested in translating for you. You may have to pay for the service or do some kind of trade.  2. Your local LDS Family History Centers might have people proficient in other languages.
3. Learn the language yourself. In our part of the world Spanish is useful, all my children are learning it and I am trying :)
4. Find out if the paperwork you are looking at has already been translated.
5. Buy a language dictionary.
6. Advertise for help in your local newspaper.
7. Ask at your local library if they know anyone fluent in the language you are researching.
8. Do any native immigrants live near you?
9. Ask at any of your group, school or church activities.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

J.J.Elbert M.B.E., M.B, CH.B, D.T.M.&H. - the missing link uncovered

British Medical Journal 16 December 1972 Obituary Notices. page 677

Dr. J.J. Elbert, who was in general practice in the City of London, died on 9 November after a short illness. He was 58.
John Jacob Elbert was born at Worcester, Massachusetts, on 12 September 1914 and educated at Rothesay Academy, where he won the dux gold medal, and at Glasgow University, where he graduated in medicine in 1937. After a house appointment at Altrincham Hospital he joined the R.A.M.C. on the outbreak of the second world war and was posted to West Africa as regimental medical officer to the 6th Battalion of the Nigeria Regiment, Royal West African Frontier Force. On arrival in India his battalion was detached to form part of General Wingate's force, the Chindits, and Dr. Elbert served with distinction in the 1944 Chindit operations behind the enemy lines in north Burma. He was mentioned in dispatches and appointed M.B.E. for his part in organizing the reception and evacuation of sick and wounded Chindits from the jungle airstrip at "Aberdeen" (Mawlu). After the war he joined the Colonial Medical Service as a Government medical officer in Nigeria and served for more than ten years in the Eastern Region, attaining the rank of senior medical officer. When the region was granted self-government in 1957 he retired from Government service and went into private practice at Port Harcourt. at the outbreak of the Nigerian civil war in 1967 he had to abandon his practice, and when at last he was able to return to Port Harcourt it was to find his house in ruins and his property pillaged. After a period of service with the International Red Cross in the war-stricken areas he returned to England and in 1969 joined a practice as third partner.
In jocular allusion to his unconcealed delight in the good things of life John Elbert used to say that for him the best was barely enough. Whatever he undertook, in work or play, he tackled with energy and the resolution never to accept any standard but the best. He prided himself on being a good doctor; any patient could be sure of his undivided attention, but for his African patients he had a special affection and was rewarded in turn with their liking and trust. The news of his early death will be received with deep sorrow both in Britain and in Nigeria.
He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

I did not know he existed until today. I was researching other members of his family, specifically his sister Laura Serepta Elbert and his mother Sarah Leitch. His great grandmother was my great great grandmother's sister and it has bothered me for quite a while that this family was being "elusive". I found a family tree on which turned out to be wrong but I did a bit of digging and got everything sorted out via census records, ships manifests, marriage records, newspaper articles, BMD records and a few other odds and ends :)
All of this because I wanted to know what had happened to his dad and what his first name was. His dad's  name was also John Jacob and he died in 1920, Sarah had emigrated to the USA in 1913 after marrying him then returned to Rothesay at some point after John sr's death where she died in 1965.
All of John jr's sisters died in Scotland (which I already knew).
It was Sarah's application for a passport in 1921 that "sealed the deal" so to speak because it confirmed a lot of information I had already run across but had not quite connected all the dots yet.
As for the unknown wife and children in the obituary they showed up in a ship's manifest.
What was the big link for everyone? A house address in Rothesay that covered 4 generations of the family and showed up in numerous pieces of paperwork.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Census records

If you have read some of my previous posts or know me personally then you already know that I love census records. Great place to start if you are looking for information. You still have to follow up on all the information contained therein but what a slice of history to peruse.
The census records for Great Britain, and yes Scotland is part of that entity, were taken on the following dates (Sunday/Monday except for 1939).
1801 thru 1831 - statistical information only. Usually households were not broken down or names etc. given. There is some debate as to the dates for the 1801 census but the other 3 were taken on the last weekend of May.
1841 - 06/07 June
1851 - 30/31 March
1861 - 07/08 April
1871 - 02/03 April
1881 - 03/04 April
1891 - 05/06 April
1901 - 31 March/01 April
1911 - 02/03 April
1921 - 19/20 June (will be available next year at some point. Still covered by 100 year privacy law)

For other dates and some concise information about what was included in each census visit

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Busy little beaver - Lindsay genealogy Newfoundland

If you are researching Newfoundland families this is THE site to go to aka Newfoundlands Grand Banks Genealogical & Historical Data.
I've visited the site a few times over the past 3 or 4 years but this time round I ploughed my way through almost everything and came up with a bucketful of information :)
Found links to birth, marriage, death, burial, census, obituary records for a number of family members.

Almost none of the information can be found at or, by the way, but they did prove useful when I had to look in England.

So now I know when my great uncle William Lindsay moved to Newfoundland, where he lived, when and where he got married, information about his wife and her family in England, and that he might have been married twice (or he had a child with exactly the same name as his wife, or there was another person with exactly the same name as his wife). I also looked further into the spouses of his children and that was very interesting. One ancestor had the names of her parents, paternal grandparents and g-grandparents on her marriage record and there is a tie in to the very first family that settled Indian Burying Ground.

So to all the volunteers who run the NGBGHD site - THANK YOU - you are doing fabulous work. I will be back to hunt some more :) Now I just have to confirm some of the information with one of my cousins.
Overlooking the mill, Cornerbrook, Newfoundland.

If you are interested in finding out more about the history of Newfoundland has some good short articles and photographs.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Miners of Wabana, Bell Island

I was looking up some information and as usual I got sidetracked when an obituary popped up for one of my Lindsay cousins in Canada. This led me to information about his wife and some of her family members which got me to thinking some more about my great -uncle William Lindsay (my grandpa's older brother). He emigrated to Canada and spent most of his life in Newfoundland. I already knew he worked on Bell Island so I thought I'd find out more. My dad told me that when his grandfather died most of his engineering tools went to William and some to my grandfather.
The "Bell Island Submarine Miner" (1954-1959) is a fund of information about the people that worked there - their births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, club activities, mining activities, photographs etc. The cartoons for the regular safety features are hilarious.
I came away with a feeling of community after reading the articles and was impressed with the references to retired workers and their families. Whoever wrote the articles paid a great deal of attention to details and as such has left a good set of historical documents.
So what info did I find -
reference to a visit from the former Superintendent William Lindsay Sr. and Mrs. Lindsay October 1954 and where they were currently living (Cornerbrook) and a birthday greeting for him. (Nov 1954 edition).
An article about his promotion to "Foreman in charge of all Surface Mechanical Equipment & Compressors" effective Aug. 10th 1954 (Sept. 1954 edition)with reference to his previous position "Compressor Foreman".
A reference to Mrs. William Lindsay of Cornerbrook deceased April 25th 1959.
There is also a book available "The Miners of Wabana - The Story of the Iron Ore Miners of Bell Island" by Gail Weir which is from the Canada's Atlantic Folklore ~ Folklife series.
Personally I have a great deal of respect for anyone who mined for ore 3 miles under the ocean. Tough job. The first mine shaft opened in 1895 and the last mine shaft closed in 1966.
Based on some other information I have William was associated directly with Bell Island for about 40+ years.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Looking after your records

Living in one of the southern states subjects us to humidity, pollution, mold, and dust (amongst other icky things). Here's a really good concise article about looking after your records.
I'm off to a lecture about libraries and Andrew Carnegie :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Malta Family History - Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial (Floriana)

I had a cousin, James Ford Billett,  that I knew died during WWII but I did not know where. I was researching some of his family members today and ran across this site which gives a list of all the names inscribed on the memorial. How did I know it was the right person? It also listed his parents and his uncle and where they were from.
James Ford Billett, 1051615, Sergeant, Royal Air Force (V.R.) 18 Squadron, died 26th December 1941, age 22 years. Son of Albert and Marion Billet, and nephew of Mr. D. McEwan of Drymen, Stirlingshire.
2,301 names are on the memorial from RAF, RCAF, RAAF, RNZAF, SAAF and BOAC.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Just because I can - OWOH - another giveaway

A while back I participated in the One World One Heart giveaway. I decided to have another drawing. This time I will be offering 5 hours of assistance with your research. I have pulled a few names and will be contacting them sometime during the next 2 or 3 weeks :)

I've been busy recently teaching classes and helping others with their research. Lots of fun. I love helping others get started. Everyone always feels like they have been able to accomplish something positive. Recently I've been helping people who have been given lots of family history from other family members and each one has felt overwhelmed to say the least. What to do with it all, how to store it, how to organize all the family names etc. My first piece of advice is usually DON'T TACKLE IT ALL AT ONCE.

When organizing items use the "work for 15 minutes chunk" principle. Start 4 stacks - one for each grandparent name - pick up a piece of paper, find the appropriate name and put it in the stack. DO NOT read everything else, you will get side tracked. That part comes later :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Following the paper trail - Accountants

Do you have an accountant in your Scottish family? I do.
Here's some resources that might be of use.
1."The Incorporated Accountants Year Book by Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors." available on Google Books. Go to the index to find the name you are interested in then jump to the page indicated for more information.
My g g uncle shows up in  the 1904-05 edition.  Gives the name of his company (in his case partnership), where it was located and when he was admitted as an associate. In the 1907/08 edition he shows up as a Fellow without a partner at a different address.
The Society (Scotland) was founded in 1885 and merged with the Institute of Chartered Accountants (England & Wales) in 1959.
2. "History of The Society of Incorporated Accountants 1885-1957" was written by A.A. Garrett  and published by Oxford University Press in 1961.
3. "The Society of Accountants in Edinburgh 1854-1914: A Study of Recruitment to a Profession" by Stephen P. Walker was published by Garland Publishing in 1988.
4. The main online site is It has an INDEX section called Accountancy Ancestors covering 1874-1965. It was last updated in August 2009.
The searchable index is set up as follows:-
Obituaries by surname
Obituaries by Accountancy Firm
Other Illustrations
First World War
It's a work in progress being done by volunteers and is in the form of an excel spreadsheet. It was all pulled from information held by the ICAEW Library & Information Service.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Australia revisited

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis know that a number of my relatives relocated to Australia. Every so often I piddle around on the computer looking for more information. Such was the case yesterday. Up popped a site I had never seen before and low and behold some information about my cousins and the ship they sailed on was there.
Welcome Walls is an interesting project being constructed in Fremantle and Albany. If your relatives landed in either place they might show up.
The entry I was interested in showed where my cousins sailed from and when, the name of the ship, where they landed, who was in the group and the profession of the head of household. Interesting for me. That led me to doing some research on the ship which led to some fascinating dairy entries of other people traveling during the same time period. This also led to a death notice and a military record.

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's all about the box

My daughter headed out to school today with a large box filled with items for an art project. She had been gathering things for a couple of weeks based on her theme. Never ceases to amaze me what seemingly unrelated objects can be gathered then combined together to make a work of art.
Genealogy can be like that, especially when you are first starting out. You might have lots of "odds and ends" scattered round your house, many seemingly unrelated. Some items may be complete mysteries because they have never really been looked at. So get yourself a box, and start gathering items. Take your time, maybe a few weeks. GATHER DON"T SORT !!!!!
Some things to gather.
BMD certificates
family stories
personal items e.g. baby clothing, small toys
newspaper articles
favorite recipes
magazine articles
I have a cardboard slimpick wallet folder that is old, worn and very much used. It has travelled many places with me and been used for many different family history projects. I am currently using it to gather information for project but it started out as my basic genealogy info carrier in the early 80's and became my "lightweight briefcase" for such when I moved "across the puddle" in 1987. It sits in a plastic tub with some bulky items and comes in very useful if I need to grab something for classes.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fab 40

Family Tree Magazine has released its current top 40 genealogy/family history sites. Very interesting.
Top Scottish genealogy blog belongs to Chris Paton's Scottish Genealogy News and Events.  Very well deserved. I've been reading his blog for quite a while now. Always very informative.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


It's kind of hard to do on-line genealogy and watch the Olympics ski jumping at the same time :) Swiss guy (Simon Ammann) just made jumping history for his country. Woohoo :) Such an elegant looking sport.
ScotlandsPlaces. Interesting site to go to when you are researching places (which I am).  The blurb for the site reads "Bringing authentic information and images together to help you discover places in Scotland."
It's divided up into each shire (pre-1975) showing a map, description, with photographs and general information. I found an ariel photograph of my great-grandparents house :)
The shire I am researching also has information about Farm Horse Tax 1797-1798, Medical Officer of Health Reports 1891 and Land Ownership Commision 1872-3.
When you click on a photograph you will be taken to an individual page. The information there is variable. Some will be very basic, others will give you quite detailed information.
Photographs are copyrighted and cannot be used for anything other than personal or teaching tool use.

Monday, February 15, 2010

OWOH - Magic Carpet Ride - and the winner is ..........

Bev Coffaro #880

Congratulations to Bev. She has been notified and responded. She is a novice at genealogy so is looking forward to getting started.
Since a goodly number of you participated I have some other surprises in store but y'all are going to have to wait till another time to find out what that is all about :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

A fascination for all things Scottish

I've lived on this side of "the puddle" since 1987 and have rarely met a native that is NOT interested in Scotland and it's history. Many are fascinated by the clearances, Scots-Irish connections and the history of early Scots migration.
Myra Vanderpool Gormley wrote a good overview "Migration Patterns of Our Scottish Ancestors" for American Genealogy Magazine that was re-printed in  She writes of the whys, where from to where to, and the early Scots contribution to the fledgling nation. Interesting reading and a good jump off point for more in depth studies of various settlements.
Another interesting, and much longer article "Scotland's Mark on America" by George Fraser Black can be found at You need to take your time reading this one. Lots of information to sift through.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I have mixed feelings about Poorhouse records. It's great that the places existed to provide relief for those that needed them but when I run across death entries e.g. my g-g grandfather in Glasgow,  I have to wonder why he was there and not living with a family member. His wife had died a year or two before and at that point he was working. He had children and grandchildren living in the area so I have had to ask myself if there had been a family rift or people had just lost contact with each other.
On the other hand I had ancestors who ran the poorhouse in Dundee and are well documented. When they died they were missed greatly by the local community and family.

A good site to visit for histories of Poorhouses/Workhouses in Scotland is

Just as an example - the East Poorhouse in Dundee, which was run by some of my ancestors gives maps, information about when it was built, photographs, 1881 census records.

The site also gives a good overview of the 1845 Scottish Poor Law Act and the differences between Scotland and England/Wales when administering relief. The drawing shows a Model Poorhouse Plan for Town Parishes, 1847.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

OWOH - Magic Carpet Ride - update

This  event is proving interesting. Lots of people to meet and interesting things to learn about. Lots of countries visited on my little supersonic carpet. I've even met someone from Scotland with the same surname as my grandmother :)
Our lovely crystal cookie jar - picked out specially for the occasion -  is filling up at a respectable rate. I will be announcing the winner of the drawing on 15th February. 10 HOURS OF GENEALOGY/FAMILY HISTORY ASSISTANCE.
The rest of the items in the photograph are just to make things more interesting to look at. The bonnie wee baby looking adoringly at her mother is MOI, aged about 1 month :) (That was taken a looooong time ago.) The tartan book in the background is entitled "Scottish Songs" and was a gift to my grandmother from her sister-in-law in 1917. The double photo frame shows (we think) two different images of my great grandmother with her mother and grandmother.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Writing a short story and Who Do You Think You Are?

Okay so it's February and many people's thoughts turn to romance.
Do you know how your parents met? Has it been written down?
It's a great way to start of your family history and guess who might like to read this "tale of romance" ....... your kids (if you have any) :)
If you have children have you told them yet how you and your spouse met ?
When I asked my mother how my grandparents met I was somewhat shocked to discover that she had no idea. She had asked but they did not tell ...... just grinned at each other :)
My dad's parents met through her sister and his best friend dating each other.

If you like to scrap book you can "pretty up" the story with items that date from the time they met.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" which is mighty popular in the old homeland hits the tiny screens here in March. It'll be interesting to see if it an exact replica or if a US twist is done to it. If this gets to our local channels I am going to be one happy camper and we have TIVO if it is aired at a silly time :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow Day Activities

It's been a few years since snow has fallen in abundance in middle Tennessee so when it started falling on Friday morning I was not expecting too much. However ....... 4-5" by the middle of Saturday (maybe more) was not to shabby and looks crisp, sparkly, and lovely.
Then the phone calls and e-mails started :) This is cancelled, that is cancelled, put this one on hold, we'll be re-arranging the date, we will be closed etc. etc. etc.
There is no church today and I was scheduled to co-teach the 5th Sunday lesson about Genealogy and Family History to prepare for the next few weeks of Sunday School lessons.
So what's a person to do with that block of free time? I decided to visit a genealogy blog (while listening to General Conference DVD's) which turned into a blog hop and it's all Sue's fault Her blog is very simply laid out but once I got into the links section it took me all over the place and proved quite fascinating.
So here I sit listening to Elder Scott and his beautiful talk about genealogy and temple work and reading (about dust bunnies at) I confess it was the title of the blog that got me hooked and I will be visiting again.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Scottish Miners

There's a long tradition of mining in Scotland. Dangerous and labor intensive work. A number of my ancestors were miners so when I found I was happy to see a decent site related to the subject.
Early miners, and their families, were "bound" to the colliery and owner by an Act of Parliament set in 1606. This basically meant a miner could not move from one colliery to another without written consent from his "master". If he did try he could be reclaimed within a year and a day.
Owners of mines could also apprehend those they considered to be beggars and vagabonds and put them to work in the mines.

Mining was not initially an underground profession. In it's formative years coal was quarried above ground and often near salt-pans. Often the whole family was involved in the mining process with the older members hewing the coal and the younger carrying it away in baskets.
Young children did not receive much in the way of formal education, usually being removed from school between the ages of 7-9.
There's an interactive museum, The Scottish Mining Museum, at Newtongrange near Edinburgh which I've been told is an interesting place to visit. Look in the links section of the web site for lots of information and places to contact.
The largest collection of coal mining records can be found at
The photograph is from "The Industries of Scotland Their Rise, Progress, and Present Conditions" by David Bremner (1869).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

National Trust Names

So here's a fun activity.
Most people associate The National Trust with historical buildings and gardens but did you know you can name search?
Click on the link, search for a surname, pick the year and surname. What happens next? Try it and see. I loved it. Might be a fun page to add to my family history project.

Monday, January 25, 2010

One World One Heart Event - Magic Carpet Ride

There is a super worldwide event going on over at A Whimsical Bohemian and I have decided to join in. Starts today and runs through 15th February.
One World One Heart is the brainchild of Lisa Swifka who, in 2007, had the idea to host an event linking bloggers together. It has grown with each year and attracts a diverse group of people willing to share their talents and get to know each other.

Have you ever wanted to find out more about your ancestors but don't know how, or where, to start?
Let me help you with a gift of 10 HOURS OF ASSISTANCE.
I'll help you get started and show you some ways to organize your information.
You need a computer available to do this.

All you have to do is leave a comment for a drawing AT THIS POST ONLY with your e-mail address so I can contact you. The winner will be announced on 15th February.

Genealogy has taken me on my own "Magic Carpet Ride" over the years. I've found, and been found by, relatives in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, South Africa, England, Ireland, and other places round our wonderful planet. It's been a joy to interact with them and learn more of my heritage along the way. I recently met one of my New Zealand cousins when we were both in Scotland at the same time !!!!!! Fabulous experience.

So journey on over to and join in the fun. Then hop on your magic carpet and explore some wonderful sites.

Update - Hi all thanks for visiting. My entry is now closed. The winner will be announced on Monday afternoon.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Census 2010

Happy New Year and welcome to a new decade.
To kick things off it's time for another US census to happen. Short form.
13 "Portrait of America" buses started touring today (4th January) with information and will show up at events until April.