Wednesday, December 31, 2014

MY Genealogy Do-Over: thoughts!

OK so this is my fourth re-write for this post! sigh. I am trying to keep this very short and succinct which seems impossible. The whole thing deals with Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over and the red do-over button that has literally taken over social media. If you're not seeing it ... well lucky you!!

I have nothing but admiration for Thomas, whom I only know through his many genealogy endeavors online. In fact when he first began talking about this Do-Over I had already begun my own a few months earlier. I know so much more now that when I began, and I realized that I needed to improve my source citations, and my organization which is why I began by purchasing Legacy 8 software. I know my research is really, really good so no problems there. Anyway, I decided to join in Thomas's Do-Over which actually begins Jan. 2nd. What's the problem? Wellllll

So many people have begun posting their ideas, their numerous self-created spreadsheets, their tracking methods, their file folders and sub folders and sub-set sub folders, their blogs, articles, software developments & comparisons, Evernote, OneNote, Evidentia, etc etc etc that I'm truthfully sick to death of it all and it doesn't even officially begin until Friday! OMG folks! If I had, or have, to learn all these complicated methodologies I would throw all my twenty years of work [including 57 binders of documents] straight into the nearest burning barrel ... and in small town Saskatchewan that's not a long walk. haha

So I am standing up today in saying that this hype has gotten waaaaay out of hand! I was thinking this is not what Thomas envisioned either, except he is the one promoting many of the bloggers ideas. Well no matter. We are all capable of making our own decisions. Remember when your Mom said "If Tommy jumped off the bridge would you do it too?" haha

KISS = keep it simple stupid [or sweetheart]. That's how I plan on doing this. I want my do-over simple, straightforward, careful, and correct. I want anyone to be able to pick up my work, read it, understand it, and be able to continue it and improve it if possible. I want my family to enjoy their family! If my work becomes super complicated to understand, even if I'm long dead, that trip to the burning barrel will still take place!!

So for me I'll stay within the Genealogy Do-Over group - at least for a short bit. I will attempt to pick up good ideas that will fit within my needs. BUT if the over hype continues I'll be dropping out as I could be actually working towards my goal and not spending all my time reading long convoluted ways that will do nothing for me except slow me down.

So that's my rant for the day! And it's taken way too much time to write, but I'm concerned that many of you are feeling overwhelmed by this whole thing. Obviously we all need to follow the good solid foundations of genealogy research and recording. After that, just get at it! Go slow, read carefully, one word at a time, and just do it.

And if I could sum my Do-Over in one word it would be REVIEW!! Read it all again, carefully. I'll be back at it once we get where we're going for the winter. In the meantime I'll be doing a lot of skipping this over hype stuff. Jeez .............


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Scotland Valuation Rolls - Browse for FREE until Jan. 6th

OK so this is big, even though you'll still have to pay if you want to see the full details, there is a LOT of information available using just the browse (free) function. You can search 1875 - 1905 (every 10 years), plus 1915, 1920 and 1925. If you have any idea where your family lived it is helpful, naturally. Even if you're just beginning, or trolling to see where the surnames existed at specific timeframes, this is very helpful.

One of my most amazing finds is how much property some of my 'poor' folks owned. The browse function will show you if they were the owner, or occupier (renter or tenant) as well as how much tax they paid, or how much rent they collected, and their occupation.

It's a very interesting way to kill off a few hours!!! Hahaha and who knows how much you might find. I have also purchased numerous entries for ancestors and learned lots of tidbits - even who one of the elusive females married including his name, occupation and address. NOW I can spend some money and search for that marriage. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh ... and no need to figure out dinner as there is still plenty of turkey in the fridge.

Pat I almost forgot to tell you where! Look for the Valuation Rolls on the left side.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

So the day before Christmas has arrived. Every single year it seems to sneak up on me. I don't mean that I'm unaware of the calendar. I just finding myself, on Sept 25th, Oct 25th, and Nov 25th, saying things like: Wow, 3 months today [2 months today] [1 month today] is Christmas! And the next time I blink ... it's here. I don't suppose I'm alone in this. Hahaha

So my readers and friends it is my pleasure to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and of course all the best in 2015. Here's hoping we all uncover some wonderful genealogy finds ... or at least one little tidbit that's been hiding.

Cheers to you all, and stay in touch!
Pat xo

FREE Ancestry UK


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*Access to the records in the featured collections will be free from 12:01 am GMT on 24 December 2014 until 23:59 pm GMT on 26 December 2014. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using an paid membership.

To see a full list of the records in the featured collections (and it is a hell of a lot!) visit

Happy Searching,

Monday, December 22, 2014

Are You Missing Me?

Well that would be nice [haha], and in fact to those of you who have emailed me and I've not gotten back to, my apologies and I do really LOVE hearing from you! BUT 'tiss the season! Piano recitals, gymnastic performances, Christmas Concerts, family cookie decorating parties, friends invitations, and a bit of sleep now and then ... it's been busy. Plus I've had my lovely little granddaughter for several days, and I love her to death BUT she is a lot of busyness. She's seven. And my kids just let me know that they think it would be a great idea to come to Mom's for Christmas! WOW!! That's just super and I'm thrilled. Now with only a couple days to prepare ... let the preparations begin?! Sheeeeeeshhhhh.

So while I have been able to keep myself up to date with all the new stuff coming down the pipeline, there has been zero time to post any of it. I guess it's a case for you guys of 'you get what you pay for'? Haha .. Just kidding.

I may get a chance to plunk in the odd item here and there, but then I'm sure you are all busy too. I do remember having one Christmas when I was all alone and very lonely, totally broke, and with nothing free to do [this was long before the Internet which I couldn't have afforded anyway] and too depressed to do it anyway, sooooo for anyone who can invite some lonely person in, or out, for a coffee, a little visit, or a meal ... please know how much that might mean. For those of you lucky enough to at least have the Internet you are never totally alone. Dig around in my site and try out some of those old posts you may not have had time to search thoroughly. Think of a word, or term, and type it into the Search box on my homepage ... or just scroll through the posts on the bottom right side by month.

And I'll hopefully talk to you soon. Thanks to all who have let me know you missed me!!


Friday, December 12, 2014

And What Have YOU Been Missing?

Experienced researchers know to look forward and backward when viewing images online or on microfilm. But if you've already found the one entry you wanted, why would you waste time doing that? Trust me, there's a REAL good chance you're missing the most amazing details. Have a look

The Devil's in the details!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

USA 75 Best Websites

I've had time to have a pretty good look at a lot of the links included. I have ancestral ties to half a dozen States. I think there is a lot of very helpful links here. Here's hoping you find some help!!

Happy Searching!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

'Searching' This Blog

Seems my 'Search' function was .... well, not searching! I accidentally discovered this just now. I believe I've fixed it. Any problems with this site please just let me know.

NO, that does NOT mean I have answers to all your questions. Nor can I fix all your problems. Hahahaha

Today is the 10th day of December 2014, and I woke to find it is +2C outside! What????

Happy Searching!

Scandinavian Researchers

I have never taken any of these courses, but even without signing up [and I'm not suggesting you do, or you don't] there is some good information here along with helpful links. Good luck


Monday, December 8, 2014

What is YOUR Favorite Christmas Show(s)

OK so I'm currently watching "It's A Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart ... definitely one of my Christmas favorites. I also love "Scrooged" [Bill Murray], "National Lampoon's Christmas", and the "Grinch Who Stole Christmas". Oh yeah, and there's the old ones my Mom loved, and that became favorites of mine too ... such as 'anything' by Bing Crosby like "White Christmas" etc.

I'd love to hear your choices!! Click on the 'comments' or 'no comments' below this post ... please?!! Let's have some fun?!


Find A Grave INDEX - an early Christmas present from Me to You

WOW!!!! As I work on this upcoming online course to help you to learn how to use to its fullest ... I keep coming across new and wonderful goodies. BUT today I found such a great one that I cannot, in good conscious, keep just for the course!

For anyone who has never used Find A Grave (silly you), I've just found that has indexed the entire site . One of the beauties of the familysearch website is the optional spelling [meaning it will pick up all those wild and crazy spelling variations that cause us so many brick walls]. This feature has also been incorporated into this new index. I've already solved numerous problems that have plagued me for ages.

Be sure to look for the direct link to Find A Grave from your matches. There could be much more information available, including photos, biographies, stories, and even entire families along with female married surnames [found one of those just now!]

Could I just remind you to send a little "Thank You" to the volunteer who did the work please? It's easy. And it takes all of us helping out in various ways, so perhaps you'd like to help once the snow is gone ... in your own little area of the World? Something to consider. It also feels good.

The source citation is at the bottom of each match. Be sure to include it so you never forget where you found it!!!!!!

An Index has also been created for BillionGraves

So this is an early Christmas present to all my friends out there who follow my blog. Maybe I'll meet you in class one day!! :-) in the meantime, Feel free to send presents!! Hahaha

Happy Searching,

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Lost Cousins FREE

For those of you who have not discovered my previous posts, or are new here, the December issue of Lost Cousins newsletter is out now. Have a look through his website, and sign up for his free newsletter. PS. it's mainly aimed at British ancestors, but often includes reduced offers, and sometimes 'stuff' about USA, Canada, and Australia.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Family History Centres - What's in each one?

So what is a Family History Centre? It's an arm of the largest genealogical library in the WORLD ... the one in Salt Lake City. And there are 4,700 FHCs in 134 countries! One of the best happens to be in Regina SK!!

I just found the answer to 'what's in each one?' - no matter where you are in the World - for the one closest to you: see the address, contact info, hours, AND what's in their inventory. Wow! Here ya go

For a couple decades I've taught a course on using the Mormon records, all part of Our last class - for those in Saskatchewan - always took place AT the Regina FHC. That is still part of my plan for 2015. The website is so totally different than a couple years ago, it requires a brand new course. And as much as I love the changes I'll be glad when they stop the major ones ... so I too can stop constantly making changes! :-)

Cheers and Happy Searching!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Money Exchange Rates Just Bit Me in the Butt!

So guys I purchased the newest Legacy 8 Deluxe as it was time to really do it right, with the most advanced software. AND when it was half price it was the right time. So at slightly less than 19 bucks I hit the purchase button. Guess what? That 19 bucks turned into $41.40 Canadian. Blood Hell! Our loonie SUCKS! And *that* was 50% off? I went for the disc, as well as the download + book because I've purchased just the download in the past. Worked great. Until I purchased a new computer and could not load the software as I didn't have the disc.

Anyway, something to really keep in mind as we shop over the border, or online. It's still not horrible as I'm excited to get at it, BUT ............ I'm pissed at our exchange rate! Of course I could have taken time and checked the exchange before I purchased. Sigh. Sometimes a deal is not really a deal. WHEN will I learn? OK maybe I'll love this new version and over the long run it won't matter. It will still be a deal? Haha ... well we'll see.


FindAGrave vs BillionGraves

Wow! So check out this website to see what's happening between these two companies as it could be amazing differences for all of us

Things are getting so interesting.

Google Search TIPS

I've written about these tips numerous times, but for anyone new here, and just for a reminder check them out here

Such simple tips really *can* solve problems for you. Oh yeah, and they're totally FREE ... as is Google!


Monday, December 1, 2014

$1000.00 Genealogy Prizes - Cyber Monday only

Here is a fantastic opportunity to enter for FREE genealogy prizes, but it's today only [cyber Monday]. This comes from Santa Thomas MacEntee. Over $1000.00 in prizes including My Heritage, Ancestry etc.

Thomas is also giving away the handout AND recording from his last Genealogy Bootcamp. He and Lisa Alzo produce these Bootcamps, periodically and they are two of the best in the world of genealogy. You can also follow both, or either, of them. Read on.

Good Luck! If you win, let me know please, so we can celebrate together!!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cool Stuff About YOU

I've just been playing around in Google Dashboard. Frankly I'm pretty amazed at what's in there ... about me. I'm not bothered by it, but decide for yourselves. The easiest way to get there is just Google "google dashboard".

Just came in from shovelling. It's VERY cold.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Genealogy Black Friday Sales 2014

OK guys, here's your genealogy opportunities

I did notice that Legacy 8 Deluxe is listed above at 50% off. So I had a look at the Legacy website and found sales on all kinds of things. You won't find this without going in through the special link so here it is AND the Legacy products are one day only - today!

Also, for those new to this blog I will say again how much I love Legacy [and I've used buckets of other software programs]. Anyone can download a FREE version of Legacy and read about it here and here In case you decide you'll like the Deluxe version later you do not have to start over. The two versions will merge. No muss, no fuss. And no, I have no affiliation with Legacy.

Who knows what else you might stumble across by just poking around the websites?

Hope you find some bargains!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

FREE: DNA & Other Stuff on a Wintry Day

So the weather advisories are out for today and tomorrow. What a great couple days to stay inside and listen to some FREE webinars/podcasts on a variety of topics from DNA easy explanations, to Top Tips, to the Top 101 DNA websites. If you poke around you'll find lots more to read and listen to while the wind blows, and the snow snows. Winter *does* have it's good side ... if you're a genealogist at least! :-) I am sooooooooo glad I can't run the snowblower!! Hahaha

Happy Reading, Happy Listening, Happy Learning!

LAC - Bloody Hell

"Auditor General: Federal archives sitting on mountain of unsorted documents"

OK this is something many of us have been aware of for quite some time. THANKFULLY it is now public and Canadians can see how shameful this is. I don't get involved in politics, but our federal government 'should' be soooooooooo embarrassed. Alllll those lovely records .....

Happy Searching,

Teaching Kids Good Lessons at Christmas

I don't know about all of you Grandparents [or parents, aunties, etc], but my little Granddaughter Macy has waaaaaaaaaaay more toys than any child could ever play with. The ones she has outgrown just sit there.

Many of you will be aware of the 'Elf on the Shelf' that comes out at Christmas time. Today I found this really great site [thanks Linda T.]

So basically the Elf is encouraging kids to choose a toy(s) they no longer play with and donate it/them. You can print the letter, mail it, email it, or just share it on Facebook if your little person {or their parent] will see it. Good lessons in there I think?


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Genealogy/Technology Black Friday Deals

Thanks to Thomas MacEntee for this
Just be sure to pay attention and READ so you buy on the appropriate day.


Scanners vs Digital Cameras for Genealogy

OK, first of all I'm no expert so all I can give you is my own experiences. I have been using a digital camera since they first hit the market. I've had three different cameras. I've have three different scanners. I doubt I'll ever go back to scanners; however, I have never used any of the brand new ultra scanners such as FlipPal. If you're interested, just Google 'flip pal'. They're easily available and coming down in price.

There are lots of articles regarding digital cameras too - again just Google it. Right now I'm using a Nikon CoolPix P510. It takes awesome pictures, with a 42x wide optical zoom I've been able to get some super 'close-ups' of, for instance, a flock of sheep that were waaaaaay up a mountain in Austria - you can actually see their eyes staring right back at me from that distance. Kind of weird, but cool at the same time. Haha But what do I use it for in genealogy?

Well, in a word 'everything'! I use the macro close-up for taking shots of pictures, and all documents. Trust me it works! Even a whole page fits nicely and is totally readable. Plus I can zoom in if there is anything difficult to read. I've had success at figuring out writing that I could not read on the hard copy. I also have been using my camera(s) to take pictures of microfilm screens. That takes a bit of practice, but I love it because there's no paper to deal with. I download the photos to my hard drive, and can then 'play' with them using any kind of photo editing program ... even just the program that came with your computer.

The other thing I love about using my camera is the ability to share with anyone via email, or any other method of technology. But what prompted this post is something I was reading this morning from Ol' Myrt's blog. Here is the post . Be sure to have a look around while there.

Happy Scanning or Photographing!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanks Regina Branch SGS

So what a lucky girl I am. OK I've worked for twenty years, literally non-stop, to get here, but this was payback.

Tonight I was honoured to speak to the Regina branch of the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society at their AGM ............ and I had sooooooooooo much fun!! I got to renew numerous old acquaintances, and make some new, wonderful, and very talented genealogy friends. And I believe we all learned some new 'stuff', as we laughed, and thought our way through some family history challenges. Only once did I have to get out my 'spanking stick' to quiet things down!! What a hoot!! Hahaha

I have always felt this is the most important part of getting together with like minded people. No one can know everything, about anything, all the time. Take a minute and think your way through *that*.

And in my humble opinion it should always be about sharing. I love what I do. I share what I am able. And I keep my mind open to always take the often overlooked opportunity to learn from others as well. What more could we ask for? Thanks everyone!

Happy Searching All,

Monday, November 24, 2014

Canadian Passenger Lists - HINTS

Manifest Markings: What was "British Bonus Allowed" on Canadian Passenger Lists?
Understanding the Term "British Bonus Allowed" on Canadian Passenger Lists 1890-1906
British Bonus Allowed

The British Bonus was a commission paid by the Canadian government's Immigration Branch to steamship booking agents in the United Kingdom and in European countries for each suitable immigrant who purchased a ticket to sail to Canada. The immigrants themselves did not receive the bonus, although those who settled on western homesteads did receive a separate monetary bonus upon proof of settlement.

As such, the "British Bonus" was a subtle marketing tool used by the Canadian government; it served to encourage steamship booking agents to recruit desirable settlers (farmer, domestics, etc.). The laws of the time in many European countries forbade open encouragement of immigration by any foreign country.

The British Bonus came into effect through the passage of an Order-in-Council on September 27, 1890. It provided the following provisions.

To pay a limited amount, not exceeding in any case $50.00, to the class of "returned men" (not exceeding fifty) to Europe toward recouping their expenses on sufficient proof furnished of success in bringing immigrants to Canada.
To pay a bonus to Steamship Agents in the United Kingdom, of $5.00 for each adult settler on land, of 18 years and over, on certificate of booking and shipping such settler to Manitoba, the Northwest Territories of British Columbia, and, on certificate of a Dominion Lands Agent, to be furnished as proof of such settler.
To pay a bonus of $10.00 to each homesteader, the head of a family, and $5.00 for each member of such family at the adult age of 12 years and over, with an additional $5.00 to any such member of a family who might within six months after arrival in Canada become a homesteader on settlement on land in Manitoba, the Northwest Territories of British Columiba, proof being furnished of such settlement by the certificate of a Dominion Lands Agent.

While the arrangement above was in place, many suggestions were received by the Department recommending that the regulations be altered so that a bonus would be payable when the immigrant arrived in Canada instead of when he took up land. It was finally agreed to pay of bonus of $1.75 on adults and half that amount on children from the British Isles arriving in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This system remained in effect until April 1, 1906 with the exception that in later years it applied to immigrants to eastern as well as Western Canada. In the year 1904-05, 146,266 immigrants arrived at Canada of which the British bonus was paid on 28,835.

The stamp "British Bonus Allowed" was stamped against the name of applicable passengers on manifests. Other, similar, notations included "C.G.E.A. which was the abbreviation for the Canadian Government Employment Agent (these agents received a commission from the government for placing newly-arrived immigrants with employers who were seeking labourers or domestics; and "Continental Bonus" which was established in 1882 and were similar to the British Bonus but applied to emigrants from the European mainland.

Read more:


Black Friday Sales for today

Not sure how long these sales will last, maybe today only, but with these prices worth jumping on if there's something you've been looking for [genealogy and technology]. There's even a couple free ebooks.

Happy Searching,

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Maps - US

Fantastic maps from the US Digital Map Library right down to the township level


Praire Town Images

This is an amazing work in progress showing images of old Saskatchewan and Alberta towns. Read the 'About' section to see what is included and other details.

Interesting to see if there is a year on the image, and then compare it to what year your ancestor(s) arrived to see what they saw. Yikes!! And so many of them who arrived to these 'images' were coming from locations already having paved streets, electricity, and the convenience of running water. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh myyyyyyyyyyyyy.

Happy Searching!

FHL Discontinues Photo Duplication

For those who have been taking advantage of free photo duplication services from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, you will be sorry to learn that the service will be discontinued by 5th Dec. 2014. It's too bad, but I can imagine they were totally swamped with requests.

The official explanation is “As more microfilm and books are digitized and added to, and more links are made available to partner sites that already have this information digitized, the need for photoduplication will decrease. FamilySearch is attempting to digitize as many resources as possible and make these available online. If the film or book has been digitized, you can print your own copies directly from the web site, if printing the image is not restricted by the copyright holder.”

So there you have it.

Cheers on this snowy morning!

Friday, November 21, 2014


I have taught classes, and written about, using Last Will and Testaments for genealogy purposes. I think a common belief we share is that our 'Will' is private and will only ever been seen by the people mentioned in it. Right? Ha!! WRONG!!

As long as a 'Will' has been probated it becomes available to anyone who knows how to search for it. In most cases it will cost you a very small amount [like under 10 bucks].

So now why would you ever want to spend money searching for an ancestors 'Will'? And who left a 'Will'? Probably only the rich, right? WRONG!!

I have numerous 'Wills' of ancestors ... from Scotland, England, USA, and Canada ... mostly from the 1800s. I'm sure there are others I could get, from other countries, and other timeframes. But WHY do I want them?

Think about why WE write a 'Will'. To ensure our possessions are left to those we want to inherit. We are no different than our ancestors who had the same desires. Property was, and may still be, the biggest of our assets. Then there are numerous other 'things', least of which will be our genealogy research. Have you thought about who will inherit all your work? And have you made note of that in your 'Will'?

One of the things we all have in common is the multiple times same names are used over and over from generation to generation. So if your ancestral families had numerous kids, and all those kids named *their* kids the same names [to honour their parents/grandparents etc], they would need to be very specific about which kid got what [ie. who were their parents?]. To do that they almost always named every one of their children in a 'Will' - often in birth order. For the female children the name of the husband would be included, often with the couples current address and even with his occupation, and of course his surname! Now isn't *that* an awesome way of finding our invisible and lost females ancestors?

If you're like me, pretty much all my families were from modest means. They were labourers, coal miners, small farmers, weavers, grocers etc. Following them through records has shown they obviously had very little cash so what was there to leave? Well let me tell you my friends.

My 3X great grandfather, Johnston McNIECE, had 13 children and never owned a full quarter section of land. And guess what? He left a SIXTY-SEVEN page 'Will'!!!!!!! He named every child, every marriage, AND every location they lived in at the time he wrote his 'Will'. He also included some details about his wife - one Martha JONES babt 1826 in New York USA. Looking for a Jones b. NY in the early 1800s is like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. But that's a story for another day. Haha. Johnston made sure to mention any 'assistance' a child had already been given. He also listed alllllll his assets - the good wagon, the wagon, the good harness, the harness, etc. etc. - and to whom each was to go to. It was a gold mine of information and cost me less than 4 bucks.

I have another one from a 3X great grandmother from Scotland. She also listed all her children, whom they married, where they lived etc. What was totally startling was that she named the father of one of her grandsons. Not too exciting? Well, that child was illegitimate. AND the son of my 2X great grandmother. AND my great grandfather! In no other record is that available. I can say that with surety as I've searched them all from birth to death.

I could continue, but hopefully you've gotten the idea by now. But where and how do you find 'Wills'? Ah ha! That will be one part of an upcoming course I'm working on that will be ready for Fall 2015. AND it will be an online course, so no matter where you live, you can register and participate at your leisure. More about this later. In the meantime, remember the importance of 'Wills'.

To get your started, for those with British Isles roots, have a look here

Happy Searching!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How to Use This Blog

I don't know if everyone knows how to use this site so here goes:

1. If you want to see older articles, click on 'Older posts' [down a bit and slightly right] or simply scroll down and watch the right side of your screen. Hint: if you have changed the size of your font you won't have this option until you make your font smaller.

2. If you want to have all new posts delivered to your email box, click on 'Subscribe to PastRelations' etc top right hand side of screen.

3. If you are looking for a specific topic, enter your search term in the box under 'Search this blog'.

4. If you would like to become a Follower of this blog [I would appreciate it] scroll to the bottom and click on 'Join this site'.

That's it, that's all. If you're having problems with the site, shoot me an email [you can't click my address as I don't want a ton of spam].

Hope you are enjoying my efforts AND
Happpppppy Searching!

IrishArchives 1800s

This is possibly the largest site of Irish databases for the 1800s I have ever seen, FREE, although I am discovering some of them are links to 'pay for' sites [like Ancestry] most are not! I certainly have not had time to search through much, but I wanted to share this quickly before I lose it [the link, *and* my brain]. Hahah Have a look guys and please let me how you make out?

Happy Happy Searching!

Scottish Extant OPRs

Anyone who has ever heard me speak knows that I'm always 'baggin' on people to READ, READ, READ. One of the reasons I encourage (badger!) folks is to see what is available in that database before just plunking in a surname, hitting search, getting no matches and never returning to that website again. There are buckets of reasons why you may not be getting matches - perhaps the years you're looking for were never included, or were lost; perhaps the area you're looking for was never included, or was lost; perhaps it includes surnames that only begin with a certain letter and the rest were lost or are yet to be included; and on and on it goes. Soooo always read the Help or FAQs section so you are searching like an expert, and not a beginner!

Thanks to Chris Paton for the following article that he wrote on his British Genes blog.

NRS relocates Extant OPRs guide to new website
Posted: 16 Nov 2014 09:37 AM PST

One of the most useful research guides that the National Records of Scotland provides is a guide to the coverage for its Church of Scotland register collections, which it provides on a dedicated page called Extant OPRs. It tells you when looking for records from a parish what still survives by way of baptismal, marriage and burial records for the Kirk, the records for which were called in upon the creation of the General Register Office for Scotland (in two stages, in 1855 and 1885), they being noted as state records. A series of appendices also notes the following:

Appendix 1: kirk session records (our reference CH2) containing pre-1855 birth, death and marriage entries

Appendix 2: kirk session and other material found in the Old Parish Registers

Appendix 3: miscellaneous records containing entries from non-conformist churches relevant to the Old Parish Registers

For a few years this guide has been accessible via the ScotlandsPeople website under the Help & Resources tab. However, for a long time, there was a major issue with this guide in that unless it was viewed using Internet Explorer as the web browser, the numbers allocated to the parishes did not line up on the site to the list of the holdings available alongside. If using Firefox or Chrome, for example, everything displayed on the page was offset by a line, making it quite confusing for folk who weren't too familiar with Scottish geography to know that something may have been wrong when consulting the resource.

Thankfully, as part of its drive to make the key web platform for its NAS and GROS services, the Extant OPRs guide has now been relocated to a new address at , and now works fine with any browser. As before, it is still also accessible from the ScotlandsPeople page, again, from the Help & Resources tab. In addition, the guide, previously compiled in 1975, has been revised, though at present I am not sure how extensive the revisions may be. The various files remain accessible in PDF format, which can be downloaded to your computer.

From what I can see, all other resources remain available as they were on the ScotlandsPeople site, but this definitely gets a big thumbs up as one of the most useful resources available on the site, and now presented in a much clearer and user friendly way.

Well worth bookmarking the page!

USA Thanksgiving Recipes

OK so this is not necessarily genealogy, unless you think of the many recipes our Mom's or Grandma's made that just shout 'comfort' food to us. The US is also made up of immigrants who brought their own recipes, same as Canadians. So you can choose a State, or even just an area populated by your family ethnicity, and maybe you will find a recipe that reminds you of *that* special food. If you're recipes are like my Mom's they read like this: Flour, butter, eggs, cream. Bake. That doesn't help me!! haha Have a peek


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Louis Riel Hanged Today

What a sad day in Regina history - my opinion only. Riel was hanged on this day 1885 [Nov. 16].


Irish Radio Genealogy - FREE

Well this is a first for me. I've just finished listening to one of the programs, and am now listening to the second - there are currently 12 different topics. Amazing programs. Lots of choices and all delivered by experts. Back to my headphones now.

I'm having company for the game and dinner today. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, what oh what do I have in the freezer? Hahaha

Happy Listening!

Darned Census Enumerators: Harmonica Shea

This is a true, and also pretty funny example. Offers some insight as to how details get mixed up, AND why we have trouble finding some people in old records. I'm still chuckling!

Happy Searching,

Prairie Locator - FREE

Now here's a handy little site Thanks Shannon Cherknowski for alerting me to it.

Convert any Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba Legal Land Description to GPS Co-ordinates for FREE. WHAT a help this will be to nail down the actual physical location! WooHoo!!

I'm planning to offer a course in Fall 2015 that will help you study, search, locate AND learn to read your homesteaders land files and also locate the associated maps & books. The course will take place AT the Saskatchewan Archives in Regina. A few genealogists use the Archives for homestead files, but you won't believe what else they have!! Anyway, keep this in mind as that particular course is VERY limited in the numbers of people I can accept. It's all hands-on and you spend all your time searching for your own ancestors ... with my help. If there is interest from enough out-of-town folks let me know. I am thinking of a 'special' offering for you!

Cheers ... on this very blustery day,
Pat [Go Riders!?]

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Irish Magazine Online - FREE

I've written about this before, but I'm picking up new readers all the time so this is for you.

The newest FREE issue is now available featuring Fermanagh. Although each magazine features one specific county there is a ton of info on lots of other Irish challenges that could be very helpful for each of us.

So for this months issue and to see all other back issues or to subscribe to all FREE issues


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

SK Historic Newspapers Online

This is an amazing project! So for anyone who thought they had some spare time, or worse for those who have busy schedules, here's a great way to spend many, many hours. :-)

The project is far from complete, but what an opportunity for us to read these old newspapers from the comfort of our home computer. Some days it hits me how far we've come in a short time. This is one of those days. Obviously not everything is, or ever will be, online. BUT can you reflect on what we DO have?! It's mind blowing.

Newspaper are a wonderful source of not just BMDs, but to give us the full picture of what life was like in an area at a particular time. It's family history and not just genealogy and that's what makes our ancestors REAL. HINT: I have found it easiest to use the Browse the Collection option.

Happy Searching!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Swedish FREE for the weekend

Another offering for this weekend? Sheesh!! Anyway, for Swedish researchers

Happy Searching!

Don't Be Alarmed

Whenever a website is FREE the traffic overwhelms the servers and the speed slows d.o.w.n, sometimes to almost zero, at times taking the servers right down for a bit. Remember it's FREE so try at off-peek hours (off peek at least for the USA and the UK).


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Poland Krakow 1880 Census online

Anyone who believes the message boards are for 'other people' and there's nothing there best take another look. Thanks to Thomas McEntee for posting this
Krakow Census 1880 online (instructions)

Postby logan » Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:26 pm
About two-thirds of the Krakow Census of 1880 is now viewable online for free, with (handwritten) name indices, thanks to Poland's National Archives in Krakow and National Digital Archives. I do not know whether the rest will be similarly available.

I do not have time now to provide detailed instructions, but perhaps someone else can (feel free to reply to this post to share any tips publicly). The general procedure is to first check the two name indices, which are roughly alphabetized by surname of the head of household:

When you find an index entry for a person of interest, record the two numbers next to it in the "Lizcba domu" and "Dziel. miasta" columns (e.g., 50 and VIII).

Then, visit, which has links to groups of census images, and find the link that includes "Dz." followed by your "Dziel. miasta" number (Roman numerals) and has a "nr" range including your "Lizcba domu" number (Arabic numerals). For example, if your numbers are 50 and VIII, the link you want is "Spis ludnosci 1880, Dz. VIII, nr 25-67, T. 19."

After following that link, search for a census image that looks like a spreadsheet and has your "Liczba domu" number (e.g, 50) in the top right. There might be several with the same "Liczba domu" number, and one or more should have information about the person/family of interest.

Along the way, you will need to enlarge thumbnail images (by clicking on them), and possibly enlarge even further (by clicking on the icon that looks like a white rectangle on a black circle near the bottom right of the first enlargement). Fully enlarged images can be saved to your computer ("Download" link below the image).

Good grief ............ HOW is a person ever to get anything done with all these new and exciting genealogy sites being made available???? No, not complaining, but those boxes downstairs are just going to have to wait a bit longer - well they've been there for almost 6 years so what's the rush? Hahaha

Happy Searching!

Irish Census ca1659

OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! Spent a little time searching through this census last night. Like so many people I don't know for sure if my Irish ancestors have always been in Ireland, or if they originated in Scotland, England or elsewhere. Sooooooo, this is nothing conclusive BUT I did discover 11 GILMORE entries listed as 'Irish' in this census AND in the same area of County Down, NI that my Grandfather was born in 1872. Oh man, now all I want to do is really get thinking about how to get back there. With all the traveling I've been lucky enough to do, Ireland is by far my favorite! Just too bad its winters aren't warm. :-(

Anyway, now that I've rattled on, for anyone who is still reading here is the link

Now I'm delving back into it to see who else I can find.

Happy Searching!

FMP - FREE weekend!

From midday, Friday November 7th to midday on Monday, November 10th (GMT), you’ll be able to access from FindMyPast:

• Birth, death and marriage records from the USA, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand

• Travel and migration records from all over the world

• Millions of newspaper pages from countries that include Germany, France, China, Denmark, Ireland and the USA

• Military records from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, as well as our WW1 collections to ensure that everyone has the chance to trace their family this Remembrance weekend.

There is no need to do anything to your account, just sign in as normal over the weekend and you’ll be able to explore our record sets from around the world.

In addition, you can tune in to our free Remembrance Weekend Live Broadcast at 3pm on Saturday, November 8th (GMT), where some of our family history experts will be giving you advice to help you make the most of your research.
To find out more about the Free Weekend and our Live Broadcast, visit today.

A few years back I found my Scottish grandmother and her son [my Dad] on a ship bound for Canada. I had already found them arriving in Canada, so I debated on spending the money to also buy this one [their departure port records]. I finally coughed up the dough and purchased the record from FindMyPast and was totally surprised to find different information when comparing the two ships manifest records [what most call 'ships passenger lists']. Nothing contradictory ... but additional info I would not have had otherwise.

This is a great opportunity to try the site out without spending even that 1 pound I wrote about a couple days ago. What have you got to lose when it's "FREE"!! Hahaha

Happy Searching!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

More FREE Stuff

Mark your calendars for these! Spectacular FREE webinars in 2015. Huge variety of topics. Have a peek


Monday, November 3, 2014

FindMyPast - HURRY

Until Wednesday Nov. 5th you can get 1 month access to FindMyPast for only 1 British pound!! WOW!!! I just bought mine so I know it works, but you need to be quick and go through this site

I LOVE a bargain!! Hope you get in. These offers sometimes appear, but boy do you have to be fast as they've only given us a day.

***** it's important to always read the fine print! If you do you will learn that this subscription will 'auto renew' each month ... SO, if you only want the 1 pound for 1 month you need to go into your account on FindMyPast and remove the check from the autorenew option. It's very simple to do, but if you don't you can expect to be charged the full price for each month. Have you ever heard me say "Read, Read, Read?" hahaha


Hungarian Genealogy - Austro Hungarian Empire

Thanks to FamilyTree University for the following:

"What do you get when you mix together a mishmash of ethnicities, a powerful political union and an exodus of emigrants, then let it stew for several generations? I'm referring, of course, to the genealogical goulash cooked up by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. By the time Eastern European immigrants were flocking to America between 1880 and 1920, Austria-Hungary had swallowed up the center of the Continent-including areas of present-day Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine.

As a result, the 1.4 million Americans who claim Magyar ancestry share their Hungarian roots with people whose ancestors came from all over Eastern Europe. They also share a number of genealogical challenges: confusing geography, unfamiliar languages, and surname and place name changes."

Tips for Researching Hungarian Roots

Among the biggest difficulties you'll encounter in conducting Hungarian research is translating complicated names and places. That's because tracing your family in Hungary relies on two key pieces of information-the immigrant's original name and the ancestral town or village. Here an excerpt from Hungarian Genealogy 101 for decoding names.

An immigrant's name is often your first stumbling block when you begin searching for records, especially online. You may think certain surnames are unique-Balog, Horváth, Kovács, Nagy, etc.-but in reality they might be as common in Hungary as Smiths and Johnsons are here, making surname searches of databases and indexes cumbersome or even impractical. You can find a list of the most frequent Hungarian surnames here

To use Hungarian records, you need to know your ancestors' original name in the old country-which might have changed multiple times after their arrival in America. Ask your living relatives for all possible spellings, and be wary if your Aunt Mary insists, "Our name has always been spelled this way" or "Our name was changed at Ellis Island." The Ellis Island story, though common in many families and popular lore, is a myth. So whatever your family tells you about ancestors' names and name changes, ask for documentation whenever possible.

Most immigrants changed their names themselves to be more American: Anglicizing the spelling, choosing an English equivalent or picking a new name entirely. This also applies to first names. Uncle John might've been János in the old country; Great-grandma Elizabeth, Erzébet.

Learning Hungarian naming customs will go a long way in helping you sort out your ancestor's correct, original name, especially when it comes to searching in Hungarian parish registers. For instance, there is usually just one given name and one surname. Hungarians commonly put their family names before their given names, the reverse of most Western cultures.

Hungarian surnames usually derived from common sources such as trades (tailor, miller), human characteristics (white, small), ethnic origins, place names or the like. For example, Szabó, Mihály could translate to Michael (or Mike) Taylor. If your ancestor was nobility, his title would appear before the surname: gróf Gábor Lajos would be Count Louis Gabor.

While common in other parts of Europe, patronymics-the practice of creating last names from the name of one's father, usually the father's given name, or from the paternal side of the family-generally weren't used in Hungary.

One naming practice to keep in mind for your female ancestors: Women often don't appear by their own name, but by adding the suffix -né to her husband's. For example, Great-grandma might show up as Kovács Mátyásné (equivalent to Mrs. Mátyás Kovács) instead of Anna Kovács."

Course Details: Hungarian Genealogy 101
Date: 11/17 - 12/12
Length: 4 weeks
Price: $99.99
Instructor: Lisa A. Alzo
Register NowLearn more in Hungarian Genealogy 101!

PS. I have never taken a course from here so I cannot personally recommend, but I do know the instructor Lisa A. Alzo and she is GREAT!

Cheerio on a still brown day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Virtual Genealogy Sessions - update

I watched the first session for today (Wed) and the presenter was very good, AND his knowledge was fantastic!

I'm watching the second session now. In the chat group someone from NARA has indicated that the sessions will remain on YouTube, even after they will be archived on the NARA Fair site by end of November 2014. So it's all good news!!

Hope some of you are participating and learning. I've used NARA site often over the years, but this morning found some new information regarding my SIEGERT great grandparents who sailed from Germany to USA 1879. Very cool and *always* something new to learn, if we just take the time AND realize we don't know everything!! haha


Monday, October 27, 2014

Virtual Genealogy Sessions FREE

Starting tomorrow until Thursday you can 'attend' 17 FREE virtual genealogy sessions from your personal computer! Can it get any better? If you've not been using YouTube here's your chance.

The National Archives [USA] Virtual Genealogy Fair will run Oct. 28, 29, & 30th, 2014. There is full information here For those not able to listen live, the sessions will be archived by the end of Nov. 2014!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

USA Land Patents

For anyone who had ancestors living, and farming, in the USA you definitely want to be looking at this website commonly referred to as BLM GLO

You know how I nag about reading everything before you begin using a database??!! This site is no exception. There is definitely a learning curve, but it's well worth the effort.

Happy Searching,

Google Street View Moving into Europe!

Remember that session I did on Maps ... yesterday? Well here is brand new news as of today! This is why it's an exciting time to be a genealogist; and why it's impossible to keep up. Haha

This is really great news!! Even though it's only for Luxembourg, there should be more to come soon. See for yourself


Ontario Land Patent Early Maps - Online FREE

Thanks to Andrew for sharing this with me.

"The Archives of Ontario has put hundreds of maps online that pre-date the Ontario county atlases of 1878 (the McGill digital ones). They are the hand-written patent maps for townships in the province with landowner names, and some date from the early 1800’s or before. I was interested in seeing that aboriginal names for local lakes in the area of Ontario were used on the map – had never seen that before. (Those lakes now bear boring names like “Long Lake” and “Stony Lake.”)"

"The maps are terrific and may be useful to mention in your workshops"

So now I have shared with you!! Collaboration is wonderful, right?

Pat [I just finished the last bit of yard clean up for 2014, and it really feels and looks like Fall today. Shoot. Ever the optimist, this just means that it's only a couple months until the days start getting longer! Enjoy everyone.]

Do You Know a Good Genealogy Speaker?

There is a proposed genealogy conference, Halifax, 2015. The organizers are looking for suggestions from genealogists across Canada for speakers. So if you know of anyone you would like to suggest have a peek at Click on "Post a Comment" towards the bottom to send your suggestion(s).

So I admit I would LOVE to go!!! And here ends my shameless self-promotion!!


Friday, October 24, 2014

Pennsylvania Death Records

Pennsylvania was one of the 13 colonies, and yet it has lots of challenges for researchers. Today Ancestry has released a database with ALL publicly available death records until 1963. Marriage records are still held at the county level so are not included with the PA State Archives records.

I have a Mary Ann PROUDFOOT (as always the surname has been recorded with various spellings) who married Porter B. VanWORMER around the early 1840s probably in Meadville, Crawford Co, PA. The VanWORMER line is well documented, but Mary Ann was born ca 1826 in England so any, and all new record types available for this area are welcome news to me!! Obviously I will not find Mary Ann's death record [she died abt 1852], but perhaps I can locate another family member who lived longer and created more records. By following *that* person I may learn her parents names and where in England they came from. It's what we do, right? :-)

The database is named Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906 - 1963 and can be accessed if you have an Ancestry membership, or perhaps through your local library Ancestry edition.

Every little record helps!


I'm Being Interviewed!

Dan Reynish, CBC radio, is doing an interview with me tomorrow morning, Sat. 25 Oct,2014 around 7:45am. We'll be talking about genealogy and my Maps presentation at RPL a little later tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!!!!


Maps, Maps, and more Maps!

I did a full two hours last Saturday at Regina Public Library on Census. It was a blast!

Tomorrow, Saturday 25 Oct, 2014 I'm doing another two hours at RPL on "Maps, Maps and more Maps!" Come join us if you can from 10am - 12 noon. The presentation will be in the film theatre downstairs ... main branch downtown Regina. Lots of room, lots of comfy seats, lots of free coffee and cookies. Oh and it's FREE!! :-)

Remember you cannot do genealogy without maps, atlases, and gazetteers! Come see why!!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Down Survey of Ireland 1656 - 1658

This is an amazing site ... for those of us researching Ireland.

"Ireland in the 1650s lay in ruins. Twelve years of calamitous warfare had destroyed the country's infrastructure and resulted in the death of over 20% of the Irish population."

"Taken in the years 1656-1658, the Down Survey of Ireland is the first ever detailed land survey on a national scale anywhere in the world. The survey sought to measure all the land to be forfeited by the Catholic Irish in order to facilitate its redistribution to Merchant Adventurers and English soldiers."

The maps survived, have been digitized and made available FREE VERY COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, October 20, 2014

1916 & 1921 Canada Census Forms [blank]

Anyone who has been unable to locate a blank 1916 Canada Census Form, here ya go

And a blank 1921 Canada Census Form here

Thanks Bruce for finding these and sharing with me!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ancestry Genealogy Toolkit

For those of you who have trouble working your way through Ancestry website [and let's face it, who doesn't?] here's a brand new help!! I haven't had a chance to try it, but is sure looks promising!


Monday, October 13, 2014

National Archives UK

Lots of people are unable to effectively use sites such as the National Archives of the UK. Follow this link to see what is available organized as research guidance under various topics.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Searching!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

RAOGK replacement

Recently I was telling my class about RAOGK [Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness] which is no more. Today Lisa Louise Cooke pointed out that Facebook groups is filling that void. Truthfully I never thought of using Facebook in this manner, but it's a GREAT idea!! Lisa has even explained, and shown, how to go about it.

I know some of you may not be on Facebook, and are nervous about using it. Take a deep breath, have a look at Lisa's message, and give it a try! Lisa is a friend of mine and she is totally trustworthy. I've written, and spoken, about her podcasts and her website in the past. Great advice from a great girl.

Here ya go and hope you learn something new, and have some fun at


Dating Old Photos - FREE book

Thanks to the National Genealogical Society! Get help with dating 19th Century pictures. Oh how I wish I had even one of any ancestor, but some of you may have so take a look. It's FREE!!

Cheers (in the sunshine this morning!! ;))

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

RPL FREE Genealogy Programs 2014

For anyone interested, the Regina Public Library Prairie History Room, is offering some new genealogy programs in October and November. You can read all about them here

These programs are FREE!! Maybe I'll see you there?


Monday, October 6, 2014

Surname Secrets

Did you realize that each surname holds secrets? Have a peek here


Jobs That No Longer Exist

We often come across occupations and wonder what that job entailed. We find occupations listed in numerous documents created about our ancestors. Possibly the best known document types is the census. This is just a short list, but you can always just 'Google' the term for others not listed here


German - American Genealogy

Some links here you may find useful.

My German ancestors were Frederick Hermann SEIGERT & Christina Johanna DOST who left Mildenau Saxony Germany in 1879 and settled in Forestville Sanilac Michigan USA.

Happy Searching,

Top 300 Irish Surnames Explained

No explanation necessary! :)

Happy Reading


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Melfort 2014 - major success!!

Yesterday I did a full day of presentations for the Saskatchewan Genealogical Branch at Melfort Sask. It was a major success! There were folks from Melfort and area, as well as many people from Prince Albert, Yorkton, and even Swift Current. Thanks to all who attended and for the tireless work of the many volunteers who organized this event. It is always a pleasure to rekindle old friendships, and I sincerely enjoyed the participation of my old and new friends!

It was a long day for me, but a pleasant one AND we didn't see one drop of rain OR one flake of snow!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh .... Perfection.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Melfort SK, 4 Oct, 2014

So I am off to spend a full day of 'playing genealogy' at Melfort Saturday 4th of October!! Playing for them, work for me!! :)))))))

I understand there are folks coming from far and wide so it should be fun. I have asked people to bring along their laptops or tablets so they can work within the websites I'm going to teach them. We will be studying LAC & maps/atlases and gazetteers. I know lots and lots of even experienced genealogists who struggle using the LAC website. And I never tire of saying "You cannot do genealogy without using maps, atlases, and gazetteers" so here's my chance to show why!!

Looking forward to renewing old acquaintances and making new ones.


Annoying Browser Toolbars

Here is a great site that explains how to get rid of those annoying browser toolbars that often we download, accidentally. This is really useful information!!


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

1875 Scottish Valuation Rolls - FREE index searches

ScotlandsPeople is now offering free index searches on the 1875 Valuation Rolls.

Here is an awesome tip - I just learned this too!! Thanks to Chris Paton for sharing this on his blog British GENES.

"The 1875 valuation rolls index is free to use. As you know the index does not tell you who owned the property if your relative was a tenant, a good way to do this is to go to the box marked Place and put the name of the street or farm name etc. in, this will tell you who owned the property

For example I know my relatives lived at Broomhill in the Parish of Cawdor Nairnshire. I got to the county, put in Nairnshire, then parish Cawdor, and Place Broomhill. It states there are 5 entries. I then click to access the index and it tells me that Earl Cawdor owned all the properties and the the names of the tenants including my relative Charles Macarthur who rented the farm."


Monday, September 29, 2014

Translation Tools

Hope these help!

This is an automated process so not all translations will be perfect.


LIVEMOCHA for language learning

Let me hear your experiences?


Thursday, September 25, 2014

TV Genealogy Program

Watch for "Finding Your Roots" which airs on PBS Sept. 2014. I just watched the first one and it was very, very good. In my opinion it's much improved from the "Who Do You Think You Are" series. They are not flying all over the place to get records they could have gotten from their own home computers for one thing. For another there are none of those annoying commercials and repetition after each commercial. Anyway, it's certainly worth searching for the "Finding Your Roots" series!!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Classes - Fall 2014

Unpuzzling Your Past - Fall 2014

TAKE THE BEST JOURNEY OF YOUR LIFE - STEP BACK INTO 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.

I know Ancestry runs these wonderful ads telling you all you have to do is enter one name and your whole ancestry will appear before your eyes. Hahahahaha ... if only it were that simple!! Ancestry is only one resource we use. It can be very helpful, although it is rather expensive, but it's impossible for any one resource to 'do it all'. Oh yes, and there are numerous other places to use first that are FREE! Anyway I couldn't resist mentioning this ... just in case you think it will be that easy. It is not, but it is so much more fun to find 'stuff' all by yourself AND to know that what you've found is actually YOUR family and not just someone with the same name.

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, and by staying in touch throughout the years sharing their success stories. 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 has completed numerous genealogy certification courses, and has been teaching courses since 1999. Contact her by email or call 695-2241 or her cell 533-3941. You can pay your registration fees at the office inside the front doors at Jack McKenzie School, 3838 Buckingham Drive East IF you miss the Community Association registration date. McKenzie School is Regina, on the corner of Buckingham & Windsor Park Road. It is however, a very good idea to contact Pat before the course begins, either by email or phone. Cheers!

Jack McKenzie School Multi-Purpose Room (upstairs)
Sept. 16, 23, 30, & Oct. 07 .............. 7:15 - 9:15pm

Saturday, July 26, 2014

FREEBIE Alert - UK records

Ancestry UK is offering FREE access this weekend at

Happy Searching,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Comparing UK National Archives

Chris Paton has written an extensive blog about the differences of three of the UKs national archives here

Great article. Although he is upset, he might feel better about theirs if he had to deal with Canada's national archive!! just saying.


Irish Names

This is an amazing book! You can read it online and it's free. Some of the pages are in Irish. It will keep you occupied for ages ... for good or for bad.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

British Researchers

For anyone who has not already joined LostCousins, or at least subscribed to the free newsletter, here ya go I continually learn something, or am reminded of something I've not tried for a while when reading his newsletter. It's a good read. AND I admit to having not yet entered my family data here, but it's on my ever growing list of things to do. Gigantic sigh. The list gets longer, but the time gets shorter. Something's got to give.


Irish School Records

This is very cool, and I've missed a few housecleaning hours immersed in this website. Thanks to Chris Paton.

"80% of its school records holdings from counties Dublin, Donegal, Mayo and Waterford, about 64,000 items in total, and comprising of a collection of folklore compiled by schoolchildren in Ireland in the 1930s.

It's a real gem, with some interesting holdings - one school child from Raphoe in County Donegal, for example, recalls how his granny used to describe the "stiffy lifting" or theft of corpses from graves in the local cemetery for medical students to experiment on.

To access the records, indexed by school and location, visit


German Researchers

There is a lot of help on this website ... you'll just need to be patient, do a little reading , and poke around. It's free so have a look.


Friday, July 11, 2014

CWGC - archive explanation

Thanks to Chris Paton for the following explanation regarding the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

"The archives consists in the main of three sets of documents and in many cases not all sets will be present. The documents can be downloaded as JPEG’s

Grave Registration

This is the most common document, which can consist of two parts:

The Register for the cemetery or the memorial, if your relative is commemorated on a mem
orial such as the Menin Gate at Ypres or the Thiepval Memorial on the Somme this likely to be the only document. This is the original register and may show if there was any additions to the register or in one case I looked at for the Thiepval Memorial it had the details crossed out showing that the body had been found later on and where it was now buried.

Grave Registration Form which gives the name of the burial place, its map reference, the Regimental Number, Name, Rank and Initials, Date of Death, Cross Erected or Grave Registration Unit Date, Plot Row & Grave Number

If the Grave Registration Form is present and your relative is buried in a cemetery the other document likely to be present is the “Headstone” document which shows

a) The burial place, its map reference
b) Plot Reference

Then for each headstone:

1st Line Badge Design No and Layout No
2nd Line Number & Rank
3rd Line Initials, Name and Honours
4th Line Regiment
5th Line Date of Death (In any instances where the entry “None” appears in line 6 the age will be omitted from the Headstone and the date of death centred laterally)
6th Line Age
7th Religious Emblem (Centre of Stone) this could be a cross or the Jewish Star for Jewish personnel
8th line to be stencilled on the foot of the headstone below ground level, the plot number, row number, grave number

The second page shows what text if any was to be entered on the stone for unknown soldiers “ Known unto God”, where the family had requested text to be added it shows the text and the name and address of the relative

Concentration Document (Exhumation and Reburials)

This document was created when bodies were removed from burial plots or cemeteries that could not be maintained or controlled by the Imperial War Graves Commission / Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It shows the name of the cemetery of reburial , plot number and grave number for that cemetery.

It shows the name of the cemetery or the map reference for where the individual was originally buried if a cross had been erected, the name of the individual if known and their regimental particulars, the means of identification and were any effects forwarded to the base. For my own research it showed that Cyril Broom a 2nd Lieutenant in the 10th Battalion H.L.I. who was killed on the 15th July 1915 was originally buried in Salome Churchyard German Extension, a cross had been erected and he was indentified by this and his officer’s uniform. Cyril was then reburied in Rue Petillon Military Cemetery at Fleurbaix. In another example, Robert Speedon Macfarlane 2nd Lieutenant 15th Battalion H.L.I. killed on the 3rd July 1916 on the Somme front, was buired not in a cemetery but in an unnamed burial plot which is identified with a map reference, a cross had been erected and he was identified by his uniform and boots and he was then reburied at Serre Road Cemetery No 2."


QUICK - one month British Newspaper Archive for 1 British pound

Offer ends 20 July 2014. Use promotion code SUMMERSALE and choose 1 month from

if the above link does not work, go to the homepage

This is an amazing offer!! Great searching everyone.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

US Census - FREE for July 4th weekend

The title says it all and extends until July 6th, 2014. If you've already searched the Federal Censuses, try the others listed on the site

Happy Searching!!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

British Children's HOMES

"The Children's Homes website aims to provide information on all the many and varied institutions that became home for thousands of children and young people in Britain. These establishments range from orphanages, homes for those in poverty, or with special needs, through to reformatories, industrial and approved schools, training ships, and hostels. As well as details of each home's location, history etc. the site includes hundreds of historic images of the buildings and their inmates."

Thanks again to Peter Higginbotham for this website Be sure to follow directions as there is a lot of information available for places within the British Isles as well as Canada, Jamaica, and Australia. You will never know unless you look.

Happy Canada Day Everyone!
and isn't it wonderful to finally see the sun again?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Finding Your Ancestors FAN Club

FAN Club means 'friends, associates, neighbours' and I've used this type of research often when locatin any records about my ancestors was totally unproductive. Trust me, it works! So, following is an article found in FamilyTree Magazine.

Genealogy Brick Wall Busters: 10 Places to Find Your Ancestor's Family, Friends and Neighbors
Posted by Diane

Our ancestors tended to move with and marry into particular groups of people, and tracing those "clusters"—even if the people aren't in your direct lines or even related—is a key strategy to break through genealogy brick walls. It can help you discover maiden names, places of origin, and other documents mentioning your ancestor.

Our Cluster and Collateral Research 101 Family Tree University online course, taking place July 7-Aug. 1, gives you a blueprint for solving genealogy problems with this type of research.

Where can you find names of those in your ancestor's cluster? Here are 10 places to start looking:

Home sources: Study old letters, diaries, address books, funeral cards, etc.

Census records: Check out household members and neighbors.

Witnesses to marriage certificates, wills and naturalization records, and those who provide testimony in court records and pension applications

Sponsors on baptism and confirmation records

Land records: Note who the neighbors are.

Traveling companions on passenger lists: Examine the entire list for people from the same place, or people who show up in other records as neighbors, witnesses, etc.

Rosters and newsletters of your ancestors' clubs. This example is a founding members list from a 1902 history of the Covington (Ky.) German Pioneer Society.

Newspapers: Look for names of family and friends in obituaries, wedding announcements and other articles.

School yearbooks

City directories: Use the listings by street in the back [or front] of some books to learn neighbors' names.

Hope everyone is dry after this crazy weather pattern dumped buckets of rain on us!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Is the Site Down or Is It Just ME?

Ancestry, Rootsweb, and FindAGrave are all down as of about 3pm today Monday June 16th.

Here's a great site to let you see if it's any site you're trying to get into, or if it's just you.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Ancestry Discontinues some services

This was announced a short time ago. Anyone who subscribes to these services will be affected, but this one that's causing the biggest stir is the DNA section. Read at


Genetic Genealogy Ireland

The most excellent presentation given at Southern California Genealogical Jamboree over the weekend about Pinpointing Your Irish Origin ... the entire presentation can be found at which has live links!! OMG it just keeps getting better and better!! I've been studying Irish research for about twenty long years. This is THE best I've ever seen! Even for someone like me, there is lots of try out here. Who cares about meals and housework!!! haha


More FREE Genealogy Videos & Webinars

I've been watching the webinars from Legacy ever since they began. They're free and presentations are done by very professional genealogists although, to be fair, some are better than others. Or it may just be that I listen better some days! haha

Anyway, if you're using or are considering purchasing the Legacy genealogy software they have a bucket of videos on their website, a few are even FREE at

AND for anyone who has been missing all the fabulous webinars from Legacy [this Wednesday is GERMAN INTERNET RESEARCH], check them out Be sure to read (nag nag nag) across the top where you can find the upcoming and archived webinars. They are free usually for about two weeks under the 'archived' tab. You can also purchase a yearly membership if you so chose. READ all about it! :)

For anyone nervous about attending a webinar ... don't be!! Just follow the VERY easy directions, and be prepared to not only be entertained, but to LEARN for FREE!!! How could you not be interested?

Happy Learning!

Live Streamed Sessions NOW

Thanks to Shannon Cherkowski for sharing this!! The jamboree sessions from Southern California Genealogical Society that ended yesterday ... now has make sessions available for those of us who forgot!! THANK YOU!!!! IDon't know how long this lasts, so maybe don't delay folks.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

FREE Webinars + slides

Shoot ............... I forgot to register for the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree free webinars! Today is the final day, so we can still catch some, BUT I did find where at least some of the presenters slides are displayed. The one I looked at showed all kinds of links (Irish) so I'll be spending my day there.

Today's webinars are at

Presenter slides are at

So it's nice out this morning here in southern Saskatchewan, but this afternoon is supposed to be cloudy. Take your choice, and enjoy whatever you decide to do today. You will never again be this young!! :)


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

27 Million Old Newspaper Images - FREE

I have talked about this site numerous times, giving the link from my presentations. I may have mentioned in here in the past! BUT it's important enough to mention again. All this incredible work is being done by one individual AND he's beating the companies charging for their services.

It is called Old Fulton Postcards, and I seriously encourage you to give it a try! Even though Fulton is in New York USA, I have found numerous articles that mention my relatives - even detailing a rail trip in the early 1900s from NY to Lumsden Saskatchewan!!

Read more here and then search ... for FREE!!


USA online Death Indexes & Records

This is a truly great site, all done for free and by one individual, Mr. Joe Beine Every State is listed with numerous links within each.