Monday, November 14, 2011

Brick Wall Crumbling

After seventeen looooooong years of searching, a couple bricks are beginning to fall in my McNIECE research! I still have lots of work to do, and it's not a slam dunk yet, but at least I finally have a specific location in Ireland to begin. I am so excited. It's been a long dry spell with this group, and lots of dead-end paths taken, and dark back alleys ventured down, BUT it just makes this all the more exciting! Yarwooooeeee!!! And the best part is I now have a brand new part of Ireland to learn - Mayo and Sligo - as the rest of my family came from County Down. I LOVE TO LEARN, and then to teach.

Thanks for listening!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011 ROCKS!

Some REALLY astounding facts, and maps, showing the differences between what FamilySearch is providing and what Ancestry is providing. So sorry for the long URL that you must copy and paste into your browser, BUT it's well worth the look!! Thaks to Chris Paton and his Ancestry Insider blog for this.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Scottish Irish English Course

So U Think U'r Scottish course begins Oct. 18th. It is primarily geared to Scottish researchers, BUT so very many of our Scottish ancestors moved around within the British Isles (mine certainly did!) this course includes numerous hints, tips, and secrets including lots of relatively unknown (but awesome) web links for all BI countries.

The full description of this course is found on the right side of this blog under SEPTEMBER archive, then titled So U Think U'r Scottish. There is still time to register, but I keep the numbers low (even though it's an online course) so I have lots of time to interact and assist each student.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!! What a great time to do some interviews?


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Atlas of Canada

Here is a cool resource for over 1,000 Canadian maps. (copy and paste the link into your browser).

There are dozens that are useful to genealogists including maps from 1901 that show the origin of the population by region. The maps are colored to show ethnic blocks such as pink is English, green Irish, blue Scottish, yellow German and pink French.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fall 2011 Courses

Full descriptions of each course offered Fall of 2011 is now available. The first course will be Unpuzzling Your Past. Scroll down and look on the right hand side of this page for the titles "Who Do U Think U R?", "Unpuzzling Your Past", "So U Think U'r Scottish?", and "New". If you do not see the title you're interested in, click on August also from the right side - Unpuzzling Your Past is in August. Blogs archive information by the month so some course info will be found in August and some in Sept. depending on when I entered the content. Courses begin Sept. 2011.

Where oh where did July and August go? Hope you all had a wonderful summer and are ready to get back to the FUN of finding those elusive ancestors!! I look forward to meeting my new (and returning) students!! I LOVE FALL.



Pat's father was born in Scotland and her family believed they were Scottish through and through, but there were many surprises in store as she began her Scottish research.

The Scots are a tenacious lot, vitally interested in, and knowledgeable about their ancestral lines. Scotland was one of the first countries to recognize and embrace the importance of good, affordable Internet resources. To that end there are many, many helpful websites to access knowledge as well as trusted records. We will be examining these websites, along with some instruction as to how to use the sites to your best advantage. Some of the sites (that offer actual documents) are pay for view, but the costs are low, and well worth it. And there is no commitment required from students to purchase anything. It is entirely up to each individual.

Of course, the very basics of Scottish research will also be taught. Things like civil registrations, censuses, Statutory Records of births/marriages/deaths, OPRs, and wills and testaments are documents we need, and have easy access to online. If you want to see a digitized copy of an entry it will likely cost you a couple bucks.

As everywhere, the availability of records will depend on the timeframe and administrative division within Scotland that you need. But, rest assured, Scotland is easily the nicest country to research in! Their records are phenomenal, and the amount of information is spectacular. For instance, did you know (after 1855) from a birth registration you can find: the baby's name, address/place of birth, date and time of birth (hour and minute), the name and occupation of the father, the MAIDEN surname of the mother, as well as the location and date of the parents marriage? Isn't that incredible? AND you can obtain all that information for about two Canadian dollars as well as getting a copy of the original entry made in a book that long ago! When Pat purchased her father's birth registration, waaaaaay back before the Internet, it cost her $35.00 .... quite a difference to the $2.00 of today! AND today every search and result is instant, on your computer, and not waiting for months for snailmail. Instant gratification is awesome and saving dosh ain't bad either!!(grin)

So we will be going on a journey into Scottish records for sure. One thing that is almost always missed in Scottish courses is the history - not necessarily the history of the country, but the history of the people. Why did they have that occupation? Why did they relocate? Why did they do many of the things they did? And what aboot (yes, I wrote aboot not about) the language? It is impossible to understand some of the wordings on old documents unless you understand the language(s) as there were many languages in various parts of the bonny old country. And what about their names? We find nicknames, name translations, name changes, variant or interchangeable names, "to" names, maiden names, naming patterns, name spelling variations, name abbreviations and two or more people of the same name. Yikes! And if you don't type the name exactly as it's entered in a computer database, you may never find your ancestor. So we will also take a journey through the people's history and you will come to understand how religions, politics, geographies, wars, traditions, and the policies of the 'famous' affected each and every one of our ancestors. And by examining the way people lived their daily lives, we come across ideas or suggestions of record types we may never have considered using!

This is a very comprehensive course that covers much of Scottish history. As we learn the history, and find those elusive records, we can marry the two (history with records). This helps us begin to understand what life was like when our Scottish ancestors lived at various stages throughout history. How history affected them AND how *they* affected history! It's an amazing journey and Pat looks forward to working with each of you on the trip of a lifetime.

You can register, or inquire about the course by emailing or phoning 695-2241. There are people from various provinces already registered so don't wait too long as Pat keeps numbers low in this course to allow her time to work with individuals.

This is a totally online course, delivered through emailed lessons and assignments. The nice thing with online courses is that you can do them at your leisure so if life gets in the way, you can work on the course when YOU have time and not miss anything.

The lessons will be emailed Oct. 18, 25, Nov. 01, Nov. 8th. $160.00


Using the Internet, access the largest genealogical library in the World. This course has been totally re-written for Fall 2011 to reflect the newest and most advanced search methods possible.

Brand new in 2011 - the new familysearch website helps you identify your ancestors by letting you search millions of indexed and/or browseable records - thousands of which already have the images online and FREE! With the new release of FamilySearch, you have access to 2.1 billion records. This number increases weekly as millions of new records are added to FamilySearch each week.

This course always fills quickly. Pre-registrations are now being accepted for the Nov. 2011 course. Even though this is an online course, Pat still keeps the number of students low to allow her to be available to assist individuals. Email Pat at or call 695-2241 to register or for additional information.

How Does The Course Work?
Session 1: using an Internet connection and your home computer you will follow the first four emailed lessons that will teach you how to access the World's largest genealogical library, located in Salt Lake City Utah. Following step-by-step detailed instructions, provided by your instructor, you will perform real searches from the 1700's & 1800’s plus a whole lot more. Locate ancestors and their families using a wide variety of record types from numerous localities around the world. If you do not have a home Internet connection you can do this research from a library computer. You will already now have enough knowledge to begin to research your own ancestral and collateral families!

Session 2: the next four lessons take you deeper into the records. You will learn to examine and understand the results of your Session 1 lessons. It is great to find records to search, but it is imperative that you understand: what you have found; where the record came from (i.e. it's source); the reliability of that source; what you can do next; & how to find even more. Following this session, you will receive another four emailed lessons.

Session 3: the next four lessons teach you some significant research methods that few people know or understand.

Session 4: you will receive your last set of four emailed lessons that will enable you to use ALL the tools available from the NEW Family History Library web site which catalogues the largest collection of genealogical records in the World. The NEW sites is totally different from the original website and offers thousands of images of actual records, all for FREE! This is expanding every single day. You will learn how to search through: Historical Records, records organized by location, and through submitted family trees. You will also find Research courses, video courses [all FREE], and learn to use the Research Wiki, Blog, and how to find and read through thousands of family books!

All sixteen lessons come with detailed, easy to follow instructions - even if you are not entirely computer literate. You can anticipate spending approximately three to six hours completing each set of lessons. The outline for this course may change slightly as more and more new features become available, practically on a daily basis! For instance, there are brand new classes you can participate in which are geared for specific topics/locations/subjects. And best of all these classes are totally FREE and excellent!!!!

Following the completion of this course you will be aware of how to open up even more research doors which will allow you to perform combination searches you would never have believed possible! And the best part is that you can do these searches knowledgeably, effectively, and inexpensively.

Do as much research as possible BEFORE you make that visit to your ancestral home. This will allow you to spend your time and vacation dollars enjoying the sights, sounds, smells, and joys of your homeland, ensuring you are walking in your ancestors footsteps ... and only doing specific research there when and if you choose to.

Having returned from visiting Scotland and Northern Ireland for a month [and Germany, Austria, Czech Republic previously], Pat is glad she followed her own advice and had her research well under control before traveling. She was able to visit her ancestors homelands, locate their personal home addresses, and literally walk in their footsteps. She also saw and experienced the churches where ancestors births and marriages were performed - some back to the late 1600s. Cemeteries were easily located, as were family monuments. There is no feeling to compare this to - and tears were shed, and shared. Pat did manage to spend some time in archives and libraries, and learned how to research the records only available locally. She is excited to share with you the various record types you *should* be looking for - most of which have been filmed by the LDS church.

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City:
The Family History Library contains a variety of records that can help with family history and genealogical research. First there are vital records; these include birth, marriage, and death records from both government and church sources. The library collection also includes census returns; court, property, and probate records; cemetery records; emigration and immigration lists; printed genealogies; and family and county histories. The Family History Library’s computer system also contains several large databases. You can access these databases, which have over 1,000,0000,000 (1 BILLION) names ... using the Internet. The Family History Library’s collection concentrates on records of deceased persons who lived before 1930. All records are obtained legally with the approval and cooperation of the government and local authorities who have jurisdiction over the records.
• The collection includes over 2.5 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records; 742,000 microfiche; 300,000 books, serials, and other formats; and 4,500 periodicals.
• The Ancestral File database contains approximately 35.6 million names that are linked into families.
• The International Genealogical Index database contains approximately 600 million individual names. An addendum to the International Genealogical Index contains an additional 125 million names.
• The Pedigree Resource File database contains over 36 million names that are linked into families.
• Records available are from the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
• In 2000, the collection increased monthly by an average of 4,100 rolls of film and 700 books.
• A majority of the records contain information about persons who lived before 1920.
• Approximately 242 cameras are currently microfilming records in over 40 countries. Records have been filmed in over 110 countries, territories, and possessions.
• About 100,000 rolls of microfilm are circulated to Family History Centres each month!
• Recently, certain census records are now available to be searched, for FREE, on-line! There are also forms, charts, maps, videos, guides and other research helps available.

The Family History Department maintains a climate-controlled, underground storage facility to safeguard master copies of all it's microfilm records. The storage facility, built literally into a mountainside, is located about 25 miles from downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.
You or your ancestors need NOT be members, current or past, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (often referred to as Mormons), to find records about your ancestors in the FHL. The Church or it's members will never contact you for religious reasons.

With the new release of FamilySearch, you have access to 2.1 billion records. This number increases weekly as millions of new records are added to FamilySearch each week.

This course is an absolute ‘must’ for all genealogists. Class size is very limited and always fills quickly. Completion of Unpuzzling Your Past would be MOST beneficial and is strongly encouraged. Pat Ryan MCCSG

This course is totally online and begins Nov. 15th. $160.00

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Unpuzzling Your Past

Celebrate and preserve your own history by building your family tree. At some point in life, people feel compelled to learn more about the individuals in their family who came before them. What makes genealogical research even more interesting is seeing the impact that your ancestors had on history, and on your own life. And just what did you inherit from your ancestors? Your physical appearance, likes or dislikes, health, even your occupation may be traced back to your ancestors. Every person is a part of history. Just by living their lives, they created history. What about you? You, too, are creating history, even as you live it. While you are a descendant of the past, you are a parent of the future.

Records are history's best storytellers. It is therefore necessary to develop research skills and become a good 'detective'. It is also a great deal of fun! These classes are designed to develop your research skills & teach you to think like a researcher. The classes enable you to decide what records to search for, why you need each of these records, how to find them, and then how to use them.

Unpuzzling Your Past is the course you SHOULD start with - whether a beginner or a seasoned researcher! You won't believe what you've been missing! You will NEVER regret building a strong foundation!! What if you had to prove a major event in *your* life? How would you do it? With records. Your ancestors also created records. They did many of the same things you do. Later in their lives they may have married and had children. Some of them hunted for gold, others worked in mills or farmed, still others left their homeland to make a new life in North America. If you had to prove your ancestors had these experiences, that they actually lived, how would you do it? Well, you would become a family history detective.

This class is suitable for beginners and the advanced who’ve hit that ‘brick wall’. This is a good 'starter' class, and the one you should start with, but it is also designed to assist more experienced researchers who are at a stand-still with their current 'brick wall'. I will say again - You will NEVER regret building a strong foundation!!

For most of us the great fun of genealogy & family history research is in the thrill of the chase - the search for new details. We gather reams of photocopies. We have copious numbers of binders full of hard copy. We have too many notes scribbled on too many scraps of paper, and we carry impossible numbers of facts/dates/locations in our heads. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the amount of information we have collected or inherited. Sometimes we have nothing. Obviously the more we know, the more we have to work with. BUT, Pat started with her parents and grandparents names, two locations (on two different continents), a couple unconfirmed dates, and that was it!! It *is* possible.

This course has been thoughtfully developed to help those with too much or too little information. If your research has progressed over a long period of time, do you still have some spaces you've had to leave blank or are uncertain about? Learn how to start, organize, document and cite your source(s) properly. Discover those missed clues or miscellaneous errors, and learn about new sources recently made available to the public (including many on the Internet - some that are available only on the Internet). Learn how to do all this in the most cost effective manner possible! There are times when you must pay for an official search. There are many *more* times when you can perform that search yourself, if you just knew how. This course will teach you those 'how's'.

Experienced genealogists
Take a look at all the work you've done or inherited and think of what you might yet accomplish! Is part of the reason you do family history research so it will be preserved, passed on and added to? Is your work clear, concise and presented in an organized, understandable format? Will the next person who looks at, or inherits it, be able to understand exactly what you found, and exactly where you found it? Will they be able to, and want to, continue your work? Do you have any recorded information, but are unable to remember where you found it or who told it to you? Have you been given any names, dates, locations but you have no idea where that information was found? If you knew, you could go back to those records, double check for accuracy and perhaps add some new details the original researcher, or story-teller, missed, misread or misinterpreted!

Only you know how much time, expertise, money, frustration, and intense happiness you will or have invested in researching and preserving your family history. Wouldn't it be terrible if it was all disposed of because it's value was not readily apparent? It happens every day. How many precious old photos, books or other memorabilia have you seen in second hand shops or garage sales? Your talents and your hard work need to be preserved and your descendants will thank you - after all, how much would you appreciate even one piece of well documented research?

If you are just getting started, congratulations, as you have no bad habits to break and this class will teach you all the good habits. For those of you who have spent decades doing research, isn't that research worth the investment of a little more time in order to preserve it for future generations? Do not despair if you're body of work needs attention - you are certainly not alone - but Do Not Delay any longer. Get into this class - quick! Student enrollment is kept low to accommodate student/instructor interaction. Students work on their own family research.

These courses are not designed to be the cheapest in the world - we all know that you usually get what you pay for. They *are* designed to be the BEST. Pat is most concerned with giving you the best and most recent tools available [including those on the Internet], and equipping you with the knowledge you need to take your research as far as you'd like. She also believes in having fun, and there is always much laughter shared by all. Additionally, following each one of the four class sessions, you will receive a set of complete and comprehensive notes covering the details taught and discussed in that class. This means you will not have to attempt to take notes during the class. Instead, you can devote your full time and attention to listening, learning, participating, and sharing in your own successes. By the end of the Unpuzzling Your Past course, you will have about 75 pages of notes filled with the most important details discussed. Additionally your notes contain live hyperlinks to all the websites we dealt with during the course. This is so helpful because you just need to click on the hyperlink and you are taken directly to that website! No chance of making an error typing some of those very long URL's (location addresses) into your web browser.

Students continually express their gratitude and appreciation to Pat. They do this in words, and by continuing to enroll in Pat's more and more advanced courses. They realize her knowledge is vast, and that she goes 'above and beyond' for her students. They also realize that her notes alone are worth many hundreds of dollars - and appreciate that they can continue to refer to those notes, forever! Pat clearly loves what she does ... and it shows. Instructor Pat Ryan MCCSG. Contact her or 695-2241 or 533-3941. You can pay your registration fees at the office inside the front doors at 3860 Buckingham Drive East.

Arcola East Community Association Multi-Purpose Room (upstairs)
Sept. 20, 27, Oct. 4, 11 .............. 7:15 - 9:15pm


Who Do U Think U R?
So what's all this genealogy fuss about? Why do we care who our ancestors were, or where we came from? I suppose the answer is slightly different for each of us, but we human beings have many things in common. And speaking of humans - anyone ever attempt to follow a registered dog or horse pedigree? Now those breeders could teach us a thing or two about keeping and proving pedigrees!!

Genealogy - A Popular Hobby
Genealogy is the #1 hobby in the world! Well that claim, and other numbers thrown around, may or may not be accurate. But what I *am* sure of is that genealogy is VERY popular on the World Wide Web. Just do a search for "genealogy" and see how many hits you get! As of today I get 231,000,000. That's 23 MILLION folks, and I'd say that qualifies as popular. WHAT an awesome time to be doing genealogy!!!

So What's All The Fuss About?
That has always been a certain segment of the population who were absorbed by family history, some from a very young age. Ahhhhh, how I wish I were one of them. I was probably like most of you, waiting until anyone who could answer my questions was long gone. And I only listened with feigned interest to the few stories that were told around my home. Most of the 'oldsters' answered family history questions with "What do you want to know about that old stuff for?" or "Best just leave it all in the past" - " Let sleeping dogs lie".(sigh) What really got millions and millions of people interested was the TV show called "Roots", and the interest has grown incredibly since then.

What Do We All Have In Common?
So this is what most of us have in common - we waited too long to become interested. Is all lost? Is there no way of finding answers? Is there no way of sorting fact from fiction? Would anyone have fibbed to us? Or have we simply misinterpreted details?
One of our greatest challenges is sorting fact from fiction. There is almost always an element of truth in those old family stories, but be prepared to not hold on to them too tightly! Let's learn the truth as it's *always* much more interesting than fiction.

Never Hopeless!
Anyway, "NO" it is not hopeless! I can promise you it will not be as easy as the ads on TV say - "you don't need to know what you're looking for"! (if only that were true!) But if you do learn the proper steps to take, in the proper sequence, it is definitely possible ................. AND ................... what great fun you are in for!!!!!

You Are A Descendent Of The Past, You Are A Parent Of The Future!
Celebrate and preserve your own history by building your family tree. At some point in life, people feel compelled to learn more about the individuals in their family who came before them. I have students of all ages in my courses. The cool thing is that we can learn from each other!

What makes genealogical research even more interesting is seeing the impact that your ancestors had on history, and on your own life. And just what did you inherit from your ancestors? Your physical appearance, likes or dislikes, health, even your occupation may be traced back to your ancestors. Every person is a part of history. Just by living their lives, they created history. What about you? You, too, are creating history, even as you live it. While you are a descendant of the past, you are a parent of the future.

Records are history's best storytellers. It is therefore necessary to develop research skills and become a good 'detective'. It is also a great deal of fun! These classes are designed to develop your research skills & teach you to think like a researcher. Pat is a certified record searcher, researcher, and instructor. Her classes enable you to decide what records to search for, why you need each of these records, how to find them, and then how to use them. And, perhaps because of her Scottish background (grin), she has learned how to do this in the most economical way possible! (big grin) Genealogy *can* be a very expensive hobby unless you know the secrets.

Pat's courses are organized in a specific sequence for an important reason. The knowledge gained in one course will give you the tools and wisdom needed to proceed, with confidence and understanding, to the next course. Following these suggestions offers you your greatest chance of successfully tracing your ancestors and subsequently doing the 'genealogy happy dance'.

Of course this is Pat's suggestion only, but she really doesn't want to see you overwhelmed in a course you weren't quite ready for. These classes are very different that any you may have previously taken. They are comprehensive, loaded with detail, and have been described by many students as 'intensive', but fun. Obviously you will be the best judge of where your skill level is at. Alternatively, you are welcome to discuss your needs with Pat by email or calling 306-695-2241.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fall 2011 Courses

I can't believe where the summer is going, sooooo fast, but it's time to start thinking about Fall classes. Below is the list of upcoming courses I'm offering this Fall. I'll be posting additional information about each course in the near future so stay tuned. Pre-registrations are always encouraged as the courses fill quickly. You can contact me: or 533-3941 or 695-2241.

UNPUZZLING YOUR PAST - Using the Internet
This is the course you should start with - whether a beginning genealogist or a seasoned researcher. You won't believe what you've been missing until you begin using the most up-to-date methods I teach! Learn to locate free reliable records - many available only on the Internet – once you’re taught where to find them and how to use them to their full potential. Extensive Internet use. Students work on their own family research. Pat Ryan MCCSG

Sept 20 AECC multi-purpose room 7:15 – 9:15pm
Sept 27 AECC multi-purpose room 7:15 – 9:15pm
Oct 04 AECC multi-purpose room 7:15 – 9:15pm
Oct 11 AECC multi-purpose room 7:15 – 9:15pm $160.00

I will also be offering this course in Indian Head, fall 2011. Dates to be posted here soon. Anyone interested should contact me asap so I can figure out appropriate dates/times.

An intensive specialty course delivered online designed to teach you the very specific why’s and how’s of researching your ancestral British Isles homeland. Without leaving your home, and at your convenience, find your family records online: 400+ years old. The core components deal with Scottish records, but this course is valuable for researchers of all British Isles countries. Completion of Unpuzzling Your Past would be MOST beneficial. You should also plan to register in The NEW FAMILYSEARCH.ORG course. Pat Ryan MCCSG
Oct 18, Oct 25, Nov 01, Nov 08 emailed lessons $160.00

Use the Internet to access the largest genealogical library in the World! Perform searches for your families and locate actual documents, mostly all for FREE! This course is an absolute MUST for all genealogists. This is a totally on-line Internet distance education course with no classroom sessions. Work on this course when it’s convenient for you. Completion of Unpuzzling Your Past would be MOST beneficial. Pat Ryan MCCSG
Nov 15, 22, 29, Dec 06 emailed lessons $160.00

While the Internet is a magnificent tool for the 21st Century genealogist, I suspect we can all agree that it can be frustrating and, at times, overwhelming. Or do you continue to end up at sites that want money? Do you understand Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts, Webinars, ezines, Facebook, and Twitter AND how these FREE websites can help you further your family history research? Can you find the BEST of the BEST websites, dedicated to your specific area of research? This course offers hundreds of links, separated and easily searchable by YOUR area of interest! I have been compiling, monitoring, and tracking these sites for over three years so you rest assured you really will be pointed in the right direction. Most sites are free, many are obscure and not easily found, and some ‘official’ sites are pay-for-view or subscription based … but well worth the small cost. You will be amazed at what you can find, from your own home computer, any time you wish to search!! Completion of Unpuzzling Your Past and New would be MOST beneficial. Pat Ryan MCCSG

Jan 09 emailed lessons & work at your own speed $160.00

Monday, August 8, 2011

FREE credits at ScotlandsPeople

Ancestral Scotland ( is offering 30 free ScotlandsPeople credits, worth £7, to overseas residents in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. The credits can be used at to view Scottish vital and census records (about 4 digitised records and two LDS 1881 census transcriptions views - wills and Arms not included). WooHoo!!!!!!!!!!! FREE!!!!

Get going and Happy Searching everyone!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Upcoming Workshop

The Saskatoon Branch of the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society is hosting a one day workshop Fall 2011. The workshop will take place in a computer lab, so you can work along with me on one of the lab computers. Come join us for a day of learning and fun!! I would imagine that space is limited so don't wait too long to register.

Full details at (copy and paste the previous link)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Free, with registration, UK records from Ancestry

From June 30th through July 8th, 2011 is offering free, with registration, access to more than six million UK historical records through the England and Wales National Probate Calendar, 1861-1941 and the Andrews Collection.

The England and Wales National Probate Calendar, 1861-1941, just updated, includes information on the wills of more than 9,000 people who died in Canada.

The Andrews Collection is a card index compiled in England from the 1790s until about 1970; a collection of notices from newspapers and various official sources, such as the London Gazette. Approximately 250,000 cards detail announcements of births, marriages, obituaries, and deaths abroad; notices of wills, unclaimed estates, and filings under the Colonial Probates Act of 1892 (which recognized probates from courts in British possession).

Thanks to John Reid for pointing this out.I was able to locate a will for my husbands great great grandfather! Hope you have luck too.

Happy Canada Day everyone!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Preserve Your Roots Conference

If you have not already done so, get yourself registered for the Regina Family History Conference 'Preserve Your Roots'. It is on Sat. 04 June 2011, offers over twenty presentations, and will set you back a whopping $15.00 which includes lunch and a nutrition break. Amazing!! Hope to see you there.

Check it out at

weather musings

As I sit here on another gloomy overcast day, missing the sun and warm weather, and feeling very sorry for all us in the same boat, I just remembered something. When we returned from Germany, mid June 2006, our Regina neighbours were just beginning to plant their gardens. When we returned from Scotland, mid June 2007, our Regina neighbours had not yet planted their gardens ... or were replanting... and we were more tanned than they! sheesh. So my friends, my garden is planted - onions and radishes well up - and it is not yet mid June. Is this good news? Darned if I know. I just want sunshine and heat AND no mosquitoes. The only good thing about this weather is I get more genealogy work done on these ugly days. When served lemons ...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Some of you already know that I'm writing a new course for this Fall of 2011 that will point you to the best of the best on the web. It will include Webinars, Podcasts, and tons and tons of links sorted by (usually) geographical content.

As a sneak preview, and for anyone interested in using (for FREE at your local library) follow this link (copy and paste the following link into your browser)

I've just finished listening to the archived version of this webinar and I think it's really very well done. Those of us who have used Ancestry for eons can still learn some new tricks. Those of you who may not be as familiar, or may be brand new, will learn a ton of new tricks!! And all for free guys!! Enjoy!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sask Archives

I've been asked to pass along this message, and I really hate to do it. As of 13 June, 2011 the Sask Archives buildings in both Regina and Saskatoon will only be open Mon. to Fri. 10am - 4pm with no retrieval services between 12 - 1 or after 3:45pm.

I suspect this has to do with reduced budgets yet again, but I worry that it will mean even less opportunity for researchers to use the facilities. People who work Mon - Fri are already shut out.

I am thankful we have a provincial archives, two archives actually, and every archivist or assistant I've had the pleasure to work with over the past 25 or so years has been extremely knowledgeable and helpful. BUT I don't think it's much of a stretch to see that reduced hours will lead to reduced access to the records we need and/or reducted numbers of patrons ... and that is NOT right! What can we do? Who do we talk to?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Horrendous weather seems to have and continue to plague most of North America and beyond which is why I am encouraging you to think about the following copied from "Genealogy Gems: News from the Fort Wayne Library No. 86, April 30, 2011". REALLY important stuff!!

Many have heard the acronym LOCKSS, which stands for Lots Of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe. And that is the best way to prepare for a disaster when it comes to your genealogical documents. With the ease and low cost of scanning and digital technology, and the high quality of the scanned images, think very seriously about creating a digital archive of your family photograph albums and other important family documents.
And then don’t store that digital archive right next to your computer, or even in the same house! Send it to a relative in another town, or create a space for your family history on and post your digital documents there. You can also consider what many thousands of people are doing--using cloud storage such as Mozy, Dropbox, and Carbonite. Most offer significant storage space at a reasonable cost.
Prepare to preserve your family treasures before disaster strikes.

Researching for a client

Today, as I continue to suffer through an ugly head cold, and stare at (wait for it) SNOW outside, I am enjoying myself doing research for a client. I don't do as much client research as I once did as I've gotten picky and only take on cases in my area of expertise that interest me. Now I'm having even more fun, and am very productive which makes it ... even MORE fun!! Not to mention producing quality research, quick, which makes my clients happy too!!

I love teaching and speaking at conferences, but it's really good to work on a new project again. This one picks up on another researcher's work that ended in 2000. Even I am blown away by the amount of records we now have access to, unavailable waaaay back then! I've quickly uncovered a couple errors that sent them down the wrong path and ultimately caused this huge brickwall. And don't we ALL have those? It's a good reminder to review work we've done in the past and compare it with the many new resources we have. Maybe one of YOUR brickwalls will also come tumbling down? You won't know ... unless you try!!!! Best of luck and Happy Searching Everyone.achoooo! xcuse me please?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Free Canadian Marriages + England & Wales Marriage Indexes

From today, Good Friday, until April 30th, 2011 ... free ... at Ancestry! Happy Searching Everyone!! [copy and paste the link]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wee Meltdown

For those of you who were with me on Sunday at Edmonton Conference, I can now explain my wee meltdown. It didn't last long, and it did take me by surprise. Sunday was 17 years to the day since my Mom passed away. When I was looking at a gift from her bridal shower, 1932, it all sort of flooded over me. I offer no apology. I just wanted you to know. AND, "THANKS" so much for all the understanding nods, moist eyes, and empathetic smiles in my audience. Guess we all miss our Moms and it sneaks up on us from time to time.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Time Eaters

So now it's Tuesday, and I have been bogged down with work that happened while I was in Edmonton. Specifically, my hometown in Sask. is producing a new local history book and I am responsible for writing and submitting my family's story. Should be easy right - because I have it already done in a nice orderly fashion! Ya right!! It's a case of do as I say, not as I do I'm afraid. groan So, I've been working frantically on this as the deadline is within days.

I will also be speaking at the Family History Centre in Regina at their one dayer this June and they need descriptions for the sessions I'm doing. Not difficult, it just takes time. I'll blog more about this later, but I always enjoy speaking there. It's my way of giving back as they have been very good to me over the years. For 15 bucks you get a full day of genealogy presentations offered simultaneously, PLUS you get lunch and goodies at break times! WHAT a deal!!

Indian Head is having it's first annual easter egg hunt this Sat., followed by pictures with ... ta da ... the Easter Bunny of course. This will be tons of fun because my wee granddaughter, Macy, is bringing her parents here for a sleep-over this weekend. I'm a pretty decent cook, but baking has never interested me ... BUT, for Macy I am attempting to make and decorate Easter cookies. We have an awesome bakery here, so I have a back-up plan should the baking not be what I hope. big grin

I will indeed write more about my Edmonton trip and the conference shortly. I will also be posting the courses I'll be offering this Fall. Some will be totally online, so for those of you who do not live close-by, you can take certain courses without leaving your home. Those courses will be delivered via email and you don't need any extra technical knowledge or downloads to 'attend'. This is something I've been doing for quite a while, but this year I'm including a course on Scottish research so all you Edmontonians [is that a word?] can join in the fun and the learning just using the Internet and your computer. I won't even be able to tell if you do the lessons in your PJ's!!

Lots coming up guys so stay tuned!! Now, back to the grind. At least the sun is shining!! Take care all.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

I am the luckiest person alive! I have just returned home from attending the Alberta Genealogical Society Conference held in Edmonton where I was also a Presenter. I cannot begin to express to you what a classy conference this is/was! I know I should wait until I've had a good sleep to compose this blog, but what the heck .......... shooting from the hip is permissable ... when it's your OWN blog, right guys? grin

I have been lucky enough to have been an invited 'speaker/presenter' at this conference a few years back. It was an AWESOME experience!! AND, 2011 was even better!!!! The organizers (primarily Adele and Shannon) have truly outdone it all. There was NOTHING, repeat NOTHING, they could have improved upon. OK, in all honesty ... the Banquet presentations did run a tad long (read in L....O....N....G){the opinions here are mine alone}. The only reason I mention this is to (hopefully help) make this event even better which is no easy feat following this years extravaganza!

OK, so (as a speaker we possibly notice (and appreciate) different 'things' than those MOST important people who come as 'attendees' - after all, without attendess there IS no conference. I can tell you that I have (almost always) been treated VERY well by every group who have invited/sponsored me. I am soooooooooo fortunate!! But the Alberta (Edmonton) group do all of this with such class that I really feel it should be commended. I will certainly write more in days to come ... but I do need rest first. And time to clear my head. I am on such a HIGH after this conference. Isn't that just the best stamp of approval anyone could put on such an event? I certainly hope so!!

So, PLEASE stay tuned as i'll blog more ... probably tomorrow ... about the details. The speakers, the venue, the people, the presentations, the FOOD, did I mention the people?, the quality of it all just leaves me head swimming! So, please check back in and read more lucid information later!!

THANK YOU soooooooooooooooo much Alberta!! And especially Adele and Shannon + Wayne & Cory!! Oh yeah ............ and a HUGE shout out to the wonderful little lady who taught me now to tie the 'Granny' knot in my shoelaces!!! As I said .......... more tomorrow.

Love yu all,
Pat xo

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Family History Survey Results

The following has just been posted to a blog belonging to Chris Paton. It's pretty interesting so thought I'd share.

I am off to speak at the conference in Edmonton tomorrow, Friday Apr. 15th. Yesterday it was flooding over the #1 highway we had to worry about - today it's snow! WHAT a country!! Anyway, enjoy the following.

Family history survey results
Posted: 13 Apr 2011 08:46 AM PDT
Myles Proudfoot is a Cincinnati based market researcher and genie who has just published the results of a fascinating survey on family history on his Family History 21ster blog at

1050 people took part, ranging from complete amateurs to long term professionals. Their only common denominator was a strong leaning to the use of social networks, and with 39% claiming to work for a family history society or organisation in some way.

Some of the results are very revealing. For example, the average age of those starting their research is 35.8 years - that's the average age mind - so any pretence that family history is a hobby only pursued by the retired gets slightly knocked on the head! Only 34.9% of respondents were in fact retired. Two thirds of respondents described themselves as addicts, and the average length of time people have pursued their research is just over 18 years.

Of the many reasons asked why people started their research, I was heartened to read that only 3.9% answered it was because of a TV programme - I've long been of the opinion that shows such as Who Do You Think You Are were commissioned because of the upsurge in interest in family history, they did not create that interest. Interestingly the main reason, claimed by over 31%, was the continuation of someone else's research, followed by almost 27% of people wishing to preserve the memory of a deceased relative.

Two thirds of respondents described themselves as amateurs, and one third do work on their trees every day. Over 87% stated they did their research from home, with a third having never attended a family history society meeting or conference. Just under 80% try to tackle their trees on all fronts at the same time, rather than pursue individual research lines.

On the most common sites (bear in mind this is a worldwide survey), 14% of people have used ScotlandsPeople. Ancestry and FamilySearch came first and second, though oddly FindmyPast does not seem to be on the list of offerings there. Three quarters of users subscribe to a commercial family history records site, with just over 40% having paid subscriptions to family history sites. In terms of gaining info on new resources or techniques, the top three methods are books (overwhelmingly), family history conferences and blogs, with one to one instruction and podcasts bringing up the rear.

On the social networking options, overwhelmingly the top resource used is Facebook, with Twitter in second place. Almost three quarters (72.8%) have never hired a professional genealogist, and three quarters of respondents to the survey were women. 45.7% of respondents had Scottish ancestry, in third place behind Irish (57%) and English (71.9%). [Well, it's quality rather than quantity that counts! lol]

The full survey - all 25 pages! - is available through Myles' site. It has to be remembered that this is a worldwide survey, but let's face it, here in Scotland we're not exactly Ireland when it comes to online accessibility and resources (OK, I know it's getting better!), so much of this will apply. An interesting snapshot.

Ordinarily I welcome comments on my blog, but in this case, can I suggest you read the survey and then make your comments on Myles' blog? He's put a lot of work in, it seems only fair that he should get your comments - and he desperately wants them!

(With thanks to Myles Proudfoot)

My new book: "Tracing Your Family History on the Internet" by Chris Paton, on sale now, RRP £12.99, but £10.39 from Pen & Sword (

Sunday, April 10, 2011

British Newspaper Archives FREE

Copy and paste the above link to register for FREE access to the Gale News Vault, which searches (among other things) the British Newspaper Archives! I've had great success using this on other occassions, and am about to begin again. Happy Searching all, and hurry as access is only free for a few days during National Library Week.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

False Advertising?

My son and I were enjoying watching his daughter, my 3 1/2 year old granddaughter, browse a recent flyer. She picked out a 3 wheeled scooter, but Daddy showed her the one beside it as he thought it would be better for her. She looked at that picture and said "But there's already a kid on it!"

Apparently, even with all the research marketing groups do, they do not understand that little kids believe EXACTLY what they see!! It was too funny, but reminded me how easy it is for genealogists to miss-interpret what we see and/or read in/on documents. We can learn big lessons from the most unlikely sources!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Saskatoon Conference

I sadly had to back-out of an agreement I had made with the Saskatoon branch of SGS to speak at their conference Apr/May 2011 due to the lack of a reliable Internet connection while I was in Punta Cana for two months early this year. It is the first time I've not been able to honour a committment, but I did give them enough time to fill the time slots. Still, I am sad. Trust all will have a great time at what looks like should be a great conference!

New genealogy search engine

Hey Guys! There is a brand new search engine designed specifically for genealogists. I've been playing with it for a while and think it is definately something worth watching. It was designed by Cliff Shaw, well known in genealogy circles. Give it a go at

Sure wish I knew what Mocavo stands for as it's much easier (for me) to remember if I can relate it to real words.

Happy Searching!! Let me know how it works for you please?

Edmonton Alberta Conference

Arrived back in Saskatchewan March 16, my birthday! Quite a long day of flights, and not happy to see so much snow, but then it got worse as we got 5 freakin inches of snow Sunday night. Anyway, I know no one feels sorry for me so I'm suckin it up.grin

I am really looking forward to speaking at the Alberta Conference which you can read all about at Conference is April 15 - 17th inclusive, 2011 in Edmonton!! Hope to see you there as I'll be giving three presentations, plus I've agreed to join a panel of four 'experts' who will be grilled by the audience at the Saturday night banquet addition named "Stump the Panel". Should be great fun!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Punta Cana Dominican Republic

Sheesh!! We have had poor Internet connections here since our arrival Jan 18th which explains why i've not been able to keep up this blog. It seems to be improving, but I probably won't be doing much until our return late March.

Sorry you have had such crappy weather in good old Sask!! You probably don't want to hear this, but every day here begins with 26C and hits 30C with Humidex feeling more like 34Cish. When possible we've been keeping up with news at home, so just STAY WARM everyone. It's good genealogy weather eh? grin