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!!