Friday, November 23, 2012

Legacy genealogy software

I have been using Legacy genealogy software - the Deluxe version - and I can honestly say I LOVE IT better than any other that I've used over the years. Anyway, right now there is a sale!! For anyone still looking this might be worth considering. Have a peek at

And I am not affiliated with Legacy, nor will I receive anything for this posting ... just so you know.

Happy Black Friday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Irish Researchers

A month of presentations by Irish experts is now available digitally. Unfortunately we can't hear the presentations, but we can see their overheads. I've not been through them all, but the ones I've looked at vary in depth. Still, it's free and Irish researchers need all the help we can get!

Have a look at [just copy and paste the URL]

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Got A Minute To Waste?


Don't tell me your age; you'd probably lie anyway - but the Hershey Man will know!


This is pretty neat.

It takes less than a minute .
Work this out as you read .
Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out!
This is not one of those waste of time things, well OK it is, but it's fun.

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than once but less than 10)

2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)

3. Add 5

4. Multiply it by 50 -- I'll wait while you get the calculator

5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1762 ..
If you haven't, add 1761..

6... Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.

You should have a three digit number

The first digit of this was your original number
(i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).

The next two numbers are

YOUR AGE! (Oh YES, it is!!!!!)

Saving Memories Forever

This is a new online service that helps families records, save, and share memories "one story at a time!"

The website is at

There is also an App ... you'll find all this on the above website. As with anything, you should read the Quick Start Guide located at

I soooooooo wish I had recorded my parent's voices, as well as my brother's. Too late for that, but I might put something on myself so my descendants can 'remember' what I sounded like. I'll have to think of some memory I'd like to share.

What a great tool for those of you with living folks to interview, or just chat with. There is a free version or a premium version for $3.99 a month of $40.00 per year. The premium version gives you more features.

If any of you try this, I'd love to hear what you think please! Email me at

Missing From the Census?

There is a very important article written by Audrey Collins available at

Just copy and paste the URL into your own browser.

Trust me, it's well worth reading!!

Thanks to John D. Reid from his blog Anglo-Celtic Connections

Friday, November 9, 2012

Free Access - Military Records WW1 - 9-12 Nov. 2012

I just received the following from

"For Remembrance Weekend, we feel that everyone should have the chance to discover the war heroes in their family. That’s why we’ve made our most popular military records free free* for everyone to use, from 9th-12th November.
The free* collections are our World War I Service, Pension and Medal Index Cards. These are especially useful for three huge reasons:

1) Between them they cover just about every soldier in the British Army during WWI

2) They provide an incredible level of detail about these remarkable heroes, particularly the Service and Pension Records.

3) Everyone should all be able to find a relative somewhere within them.
Millions of young men from all over Britain signed up to fight in WWI. Every family in the country was affected – so if you don’t have a hero in your tree it just means you haven’t found them yet. So here’s your chance!
Try searching for any male relative who could have been aged between 14 and 40 around 1914. Then look for results labelled Service or Pension Records. They provide personal information like address and next of kin, which you can use to check you have the right person.
The Service and Pension Records also reveal your relatives’ ranks and regiments, the different places they fought, and their regimental numbers. You can use these details to spot them in the Medal Index Cards, and discover the different awards they earned. Perhaps the medal is still kept in your family somewhere?
Don’t miss the opportunity to find some of your bravest relatives. Start searching now - just copy and the paste the following URL into your browser."

I am in the midst of a massive winter storm today. A perfect day to do genealogy.
Happy Searching Everyone!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Michigan Preserving Records

How ironic! After just posting the disturbing news that Library and Archives Canada is continuing to make digital access to our ancestors records UNAVAILABLE to those of us not living in Ottawa, I find it heartening to see that other more progressive and informed governments are moving forward. Michigan U.S.A. is an important area for me as it is the 'home' of my maternal line. YAY Michigan. Boo LAC.

"The State of Michigan has joined the effort to preserve records with historical value. Officials say Michigan is the first state to sign a contract with Tessella, which specializes in digital preservation solutions, technology, consulting and research.

Officials say the move provides significant cost-savings. Details of the agreement were not disclosed.

You can read more in an article in the Detroit News at:"

COME ON Canada ... wake up and join the 21st Century!

Scottish Wills & Testaments 1902 - 1925

Today on ScotlandsPeople website we can now search for this new group of wills and testaments! Yay ........... except my great grandmother died in 1926. Anyway, there goes the rest of my morning as I'll be poking around to see what I can find.

If you've never used wills before you won't believe what you've been missing! They are very important documents that often list entire families, including the 'girls, who they married and where they're living. And SP has an introductory price that is extremely reasonable! Plus it's instant gratification as you can pay and read right now! Just like the casino ... only so much better.

ScotlandsPeople is at As always you'll be wise to read through the About, Help, and FAQs before you start spinning the wheel or poking the buttons. Happy Searching!!

Following is the email I received from ScotlandsPeople this morning.

"Launch of the Scottish Wills and Testaments, from 1902 to 1925
We're delighted to announce that the Wills & Testaments for 1902 to 1925 are now live on the ScotlandsPeople website! With this latest addition of records, researchers can now access 1 million Scottish Wills & Testaments, covering the period 1513 to 1925.

How many new records are there and how many people does it cover?
The new records, 392,595 in total, document the last wishes of 267,548 individuals who lived and died in Scotland between 1902 and 1925. The collection also includes the wills of Scots who died outside Scotland, but still had assets in the country. As inventories of moveable estate (savings, cash, furniture, stock, etc) are also included, you can discover the fine details of people's worldly possessions during this era.

The new records include both poor and the rich
People from all social classes are included in these new records - from famous industrialists and philanthropists such as Andrew Carnegie and George Coats, to the impoverished inmates of the nation's poorhouses. With more than 35 millionaires included in the records, you can learn how the members of this Scottish 'Rich List' ultimately chose to distribute their wealth.

Conversely, the simpler and cheaper procedures for recording wills that were introduced by the Small Estates Act of 1894, ensured that more estates below £500 were also included.

Learning more about major historical events and your family tree by reading the Wills and Testaments
The new records also highlight the effects of major historical events on people's lives, with the wills of World War One soldiers, suffragettes and people who perished on the Titanic and Lusitania included in the collection.

In addition to helping general historians with their research, the new records will also be invaluable to genealogists, who can use these documents to learn more about family relationships and living arrangements, as well as the close friendships that their ancestors enjoyed. If there were any debts, it’s likely that you will learn about these, too. In short, these documents offer a wealth of information for family history researchers and can help to fill in gaps, as well as potentially opening up new lines of ancestral research.

Some highlights - Andrew Carnegie, Sir John Murray, Thomas Millie Dow and World War One 'Jocks'
To give you a taste of what these new records contain, we've chosen some highlights from the 1902-1925 Wills and Testaments. For example, you can read about the self-improvement philosophy and Calvinist work ethic (using the carrot of lower rents, etc) that Andrew Carnegie wished to impress on his tenants.

Alternatively, the records can also reveal endearingly quirky aspects of a person's character - such as Sir John Murray naming his son, John Challenger Murray, in homage to the Challenger expedition that he (Murray Senior, that is) led in 1872. Another example of quirkiness finding its way into a record, is the sketch plan of a house that appears in the will for the Fife-born, 'Glasgow Boys' artist, Thomas Millie Dow.

Two pages from the Will of Andrew Carnegie
Page one from the Will of Sir John Murray
A sketch plan from the Will of Thomas Millie Dow

On a more poignant note, this new collection of online Wills and Testaments also contains some very moving letters written by 'Jocks' who served on the Western Front. For due to the extreme circumstances that arose from 1914 to 1918, the personal letters of soldiers might be accepted in lieu of a formal will. The latest release of documents includes the testaments of more than 9,000 Scottish soldiers of all ranks, out of a total of 148,000, who died in the First World War.

The Will of William Sutherland, Gunner in the 315th Royal Field Artillery (died 4 April 1918) The Will of John MacDowall, Lance-Corporal in the 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards (died 29 September 1915)
Over the coming weeks, we will be highlighting further examples of interesting wills and testaments, so please keep an eye on the email newsletter and our Facebook / Twitter pages.

Who will be interested in the 1902-1925 Wills and Testaments?
These new online records will be interesting both to genealogists and historians in Scotland, and to the Scottish diaspora across the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the rest of the world. To browse or search these new records, just visit the the Wills and Testaments page on the ScotlandsPeople website.

All the Best,
The ScotlandsPeople Team

Reaction to LAC ending Interlibrary Loan

Thanks to John Reid for the following that was posted this morning to his blog This is just so shameful. I'm sickened.

"CBC News is running a story Library and archives interlibrary loans soon eliminated which includes reaction and comment on LAC terminating ILL service.

Shirley Sturdevant, president of the Ontario Genealogical Society reacts that key information only available at the national library would not be digitized in time and "People will have to drive, fly, take trains, hire researchers in the Ottawa area to do that research for us."

Comments posted are:

As someone who works for Library and Archives Canada, I have say that it is disheartening to not only lose our ILL service but also to have to listen to LAC officials tell Canadians that they will somehow be better off at the end of all of these cuts. First, despite what LAC spokesman Marc Comeau states it is highly unlikely that LAC has digitized 25 million items. They may have 25 million e-resources available but they certainly didn't digitize those items themselves. Big difference. Second, even if LAC could go from 25 million digitized items to 60 million digitized items in 2 years (which they can't because they have just finished gutting the team responsible for digitizing those items) what kind of access are those items going to have. Are the bibliographic records going to magically appear in Amicus? As always, the devil is in the details. It's one thing to digitize items, it's another to provide proper access to those items. Anyone who attended CLA 2012 and had to sit through Daniel Caron's opening address is all too familiar with the con job that LAC is trying to pull on both its employees and on Canadians.


Over ten years ago, LAC catalogued its 200th reel of microfilm for newspapers. Newspaper on microfilm are the most-requested item because of LAC's unique collection. About 1 /100th of the newspapers in the collection have been digitized and these by companies who charge to view entire articles.

Britain, Australia, the U.S.A., Finland and New Zealand all have strong government-supported digitization projects for historic newspapers. Genealogical communities in Canada should be incensed about the lack of digital access to Canada's newspapers.

With cuts to important staff who oversaw digital projects and to specialist positions (such as the newspaper specialist), it appears apparent that Caron is cutting some deal with a company for access to LAC resources in exchange for digitization. At least that would be a step in some direction instead of the do-nothing attitude under Caron's "reign". And if you think this is only the Canadian government's fault, think again. Caron has been left in place to encourage the demise of Library and Archives Canada as both a library and an archives.

Also the article mentions that Library and Archives will hold a roundtable Thursday, 8 November, via teleconference to discuss the upcoming changes. It will only include library associations and the top institutional borrowers."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Be Careful - Cyndi's List

Cyndi's List has long been a 'go-to' site for all genealogists. It is amazing this has happened, but should poke us in the eye and provide a reminder to 'be careful' online! Below is what Cyndi has posted on her facebook page at

"Be sure to read the blog article on copyright below. I've spent the last two days documenting and laying the foundation for a lawsuit because my entire web site was copied and put on another person's for-profit site. This has been gut-wrenching and heart-breaking. I'm exhausted and upset. And in the end it hurts all of you too because I didn't get any other work done on Cyndi's List during this time.

This makes me wonder if people really understand what it is that i do. I spend 12 to 14 hours a day working on maintaining the site. By myself. I've had some help here and there over the past 16 years. But this site was literally built by hand, by me. I visit each web site, determine a title, description and categorization. I attempt to keep up on new trends. I do what I can to fix broken links. And last year I spent $40,000 of my own money to upgrade the site in order to make it easier to maintain and easier to use. The site is free for all of you to use. And thanks to you very generous people who donated money, 39% of my expense has been made up. I'm still working to pay off that bill.

I am a single mother. This is my sole source of income and I am not rich. I keep the site free for you to use, but earn the money on advertisements and commissions. I can't afford to spend a lot to maintain the site or to fight big legal battles. When I found that this person had just TAKEN 16 years worth of my blood, sweat, and tears I was absolutely stunned. I still am.

Thanks for taking the time to read my venting. I'm going to go create a new category now..."

Scottish Clans and Septs

The following was written by Alastair McIntyre on his blog at -Newsletter-2nd-November-2012. I totally agree with him!!

"I mentioned last week that I was going to do more research into the Septs question and I did get several emails in about this. As a result I have reworked my page on the Septs to reflect the new information I have received which you can see at: but here is my account...

I find that many lists that are provided by individual clans and clan societies are questionable.

Where a name is listed as a Sept rarely is there any information as to why that name is listed as a Sept. Often the Clan Chief does not know this information either having simply accepted the list when inheriting the chiefdom. Where there might be a connection due to the people of the name living in clan lands, in most situations like this, there are many people of that same name that never lived on these clan lands. This means that listing a surname as a Sept of a clan can be very misleading.

I personally feel that the Clan or Clan Society has the responsibility to make clear why a name has been listed as a Sept of their Clan. Where they are unable to do so then they should list the name as "no historical information" so that we know there is no information as to why that name was listed as a Sept. To my knowledge not one Clan or Clan Society has done that or made any effort to be transparent about their Sept list and instead just provide a list of names.

I would also make clear that just because your name is listed as a Sept under a Clan name doesn't mean that you are related by blood to that clan. And as mentioned above your ancestors may not have had any association with the clan as they never lived on the clan lands or had anything to do with them.

I thus think the time has come when we must hold all clans to account to provide a meaningful Sept list. Instead of simply listing the names they must list them in such a way that they tell people why that name is a Sept and where they don't have the information they should make it clear that no information is available. They can thus list Septs in such a way...

Name - Reason why this name is a Sept.
Name - Inherited list but no evidence of why the name is a Sept.
Name - No historical information available.

Let us also remember that last week I provided names associated with MacGregor. In that list it was clear due to circumstances that MacGregors often had to change their name but looking at the list you could see a lot of names that were already in use. That means there is simply no way you can claim all people of that name were Septs of the clan.

And let us not forget that the more names you can mention as a Sept of your clan then hopefully the more paying members you are going to get. And thus this is probably going to mean that most clans will not provide clarity on their Sept lists. We should thus hold these clans and clan societies to account to become more transparent on their Sept lists."

If you want to wear a particular tartan, go for it, just remember it's all in fun!