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