Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas & Happy 2013

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and the best of luck in hunting down the elusive ancestors in 2013!!

Pat xo

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Free Webinars

I notified you readers of this event last year, and the Southern California Genealogical Society is offering 25 more from Dec. 2012 to Dec. 2013. Have a look, choose which sessions you want, register, add the event to your calendar so you don't forget , and enjoy!!

Copy and paste this URL

VERY cool!!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Impact of LAC cuts to Inter-library loan

There is an excellent article in today's Ottawa Citizen newspaper ... by a citizen of Ottawa who actually 'gets' what a disastrous decision this is.

As someone recently asked me "And where is the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society in all this?" We can hope they are being proactive. No, I guess that would be 'reactive' as the decisions have all been made... almost a year ago. What a shame!

Newspaper article at

Oh, and by the way, LAC has announced it will be digitizing an indexed version of the 1906 Canadian census. GREAT! That will make the fourth 'group' to have done this. We don't need money wasted on more of the 'done'. We need NEW!! Lord help us ...

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!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Harper Government ENDS Inter-library Loans!!

And yet again the Harper government continues to neglect it's citizens history!!

This past spring, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) announced plans to cancel their interlibrary loan (ILL) program due to budget cuts.

The ILL service will be coming to an end in December 2012. Note the following key dates:

- November 16, 2012: End of renewals on materials currently out. All items loaned after this date will be non-renewable.

- December 11, 2012: End of loan requests, location searches, and ILL-related photocopying services.

Since this will affect primarily Prairie History Room patrons [genealogists], requesting any materials, mainly other provincial newspapers, from LAC, library patrons will need to get their requests in before December 11. Materials they currently have out, will not be renewed after Nov. 16.

The above has been confirmed by me this morning. I cannot tell you how distressing this will be for those of us who have used this highly successful program over the years. LAC is one of the few institutions who can actively collect newspapers from other provinces. Shame on you Prime Minister Harper!! Shame on you public libraries for not fighting this ridiculous decision! I often wonder if our library board members ever use the library?

Friday, October 26, 2012

1911 Census England & Wales FREE

Until 18 Nov. 2012 you can view the 1911 England & Wales census free of charge at

Just copy and paste the above URL and search away! This is a very important census as it is right before WW1 and so includes thousands who never returned. Enjoy!!

Happy Weekend and Happy Searching,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Library Vertical Files: an overlooked resource

Vertical files are folders containing material grouped by subject. If you're looking for information of significance for the local community, and sometimes beyond, a quick check of the local library's holdings of vertical files may be productive. They are rarely comprehensive, usually made up of clippings from newspapers and magazines, but you may find other material including, as I did with Wiggins, a several page unpublished manuscript.

Unfortunately, budget constraints mean that fewer libraries now compile vertical files but most still maintain their legacy collection. They are little publicized.

Even if your ancestor was not sufficiently prominent to merit a vertical file for him or herself they may have played a part in a company or event documented in such a file. The reference librarian in the community where an ancestor lived can be your best friend in searching out these resources.

Thanks to John D. Reid for this reminder. You can visit John's blog at

Friday, October 19, 2012

Film Rescue International

Film Rescue International based in Indian Head, Saskatchewan, is the only Canadian company and one of only a handful worldwide that specializes in developing antique, expired and obsolete film. These old unprocessed still and movie films are lost and found time capsules and through the work of skilled technicians at Film Rescue International these precious images are brought back to life. Film Rescue International also uses latest technologies to digitally scan and then computer enhance the film, providing the best possible images that may have otherwise been lost forever. Their clients are from all over North America and beyond and have included major police departments, coroners' offices, museums, historical societies and thousands of families. Clients can receive prints of the still images along with digital copies on compact disc or via the internet. Product and services include old still film developing, disc film scan and print, old movie film developing, home move transfer.

Contact Robyn Jensen

Current Products and Services

Old still film developing, disc film scan and print, old movie film developing, home movie transfer.

This is a truly amazing company!! And it's not only just Canadian, it's in small town Saskatchewan and yet it's reputation is world wide! See their website for additional information at
Phone 800-329-8988
Fax 306-695-2999

You can also follow them on Facebook at >
And see what they do here >

On YouTube search examples of their work "Film Rescue International".

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

19th Century Handwriting Guide

I just discovered a good handwriting guide at FREEBMD website. Have a look at
and learn some great tips about interpreting what the old writing really says.

Happy Searching,

Sunday, October 14, 2012

England & Wales FREE 1911 Census

Until 02 Nov. 2012 you can have free access to the 1911 Census of England, Wales, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Registration is required for access by providing a name and email address. WHAT a great opportunity! Copy and paste the following URL and get searching!!

Happy Searching!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Choosing Password(s)

Here is a very informative article about choosing your password(s) and all that makes for a good one! Just copy and paste the following URL

Hope everyone is having an awesome Thanksgiving weekend. I also hope you've managed to find a few minutes to really think about what/who you are thankful for ... and then tell that person ... before it's too late.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

DNA Testing for Genealogy

This is not an area I feel confident speaking on, so I have found some reliable [I believe] articles that are written in a language we can all understand. Just copy and paste the following link which allows you to read through all four posts.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

An IRISH Story

The Eagle has landed

In 1725 a very poor widow called Jane Houston was \"just about\" managing to live in Ballyboley, County Antrim { Her less than useless husband had managed to drown himself in a ditch one night, while returning home very drunk} and at a time of severe famine in the north of Ireland was finding it hard to survive with her four young sons. She managed to stay alive and even married again but eventually decided to take her family to America. Under the Ulster custom of Tenant Right she was entitled to be paid for the improvements she had made to her small farm and this provided enough for the passage money to the New World from the port of Larne.

The Houston boys grew up in New York and like many other Ulster immigrants they moved south and west. One went down through the Alleghenny Mountains to Virginia. Samuel Houston married Elizabeth Paxton, and in 1793 at Timber Ridge Virginia, their fifth child, Sam Houston was born. The Houstons moved on to Tennessee in 1807, and it was there that Sam Houston would come into contact with the Cherokee Indians.

At that time the dictator of Mexico, General Santa Anna led an army of 5,000 men north to solidify Mexico\'s control of the vast Texas territory which was being defended by a scattered force of American settlers. Sam Houston became the Commander In Chief of this settler army. Once the powerful Mexican army arrived in the settlement of San Antonio, it found itself confronted by a force of 182 men, mostly of Ulster-Scots descent who had taken up defensive positions in the ruined church at the Alamo.

They were led by the brave young Colonel William Travis and among them were Jim Bowie whose family came from Aughnacloy and Davy Crockett whose roots were in the Strabane and Donegal, both sons of Tyrone. For the next 13 days they repulsed repeated assaults, delaying the advance of the Mexican army, until they were finally overrun by the superior force. The Mexicans paid a high price for taking the Alamo loosing 1600 killed in the process. The Alamo defenders bought precious time for the remaining American forces to consolidate and prepare for an offensive strike.

The defenders of the Alamo were to all perish before Houston could reach them, but subsequently his forces defeated the Mexican General Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, and thereby secured the independence of Texas. Sam Houston, direct descendant of the Houstons emigrants of Ballyboley,now a hero, was to become the first President of Texas and passed into American folklore. Santa Anna was defeated and the future of Texas was secure as part of the Union.

In his honor a small village was renamed, Houston, and was to grow into a city in the 20th century with the discovery of oil and in time became America\'s Space Centre. As Apollo touched down on the moon\'s surface the waiting World received that now infamous message
\"Houston, Tranquility base, the Eagle has landed\" so the very first word ever spoken by a mortal man from the surface of another planet was the name of a poor widow woman from Ballyboley in County Antrim.

Quite a journey

Thanks to Ulster Ancestry at for the above.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Unpuzzling Your Past - Fall 2012

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.

Students continually express their gratitude and appreciation to Pat. They do this in words, and by continuing to enroll in Pat's more and more advanced courses. They realize her knowledge is vast, and that she goes 'above and beyond' for her students. They also realize that her notes alone are worth many hundreds of dollars - and appreciate that they can continue to refer to those notes, forever! Pat clearly loves what she does ... and it shows. Instructor Pat Ryan MCCSG. Contact her 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 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. 18, 25, Oct. 02, 09 .............. 7:15 - 9:15pm

Friday, August 24, 2012

Making Special Characters

Need to make an "o" with an umlaut? There are lots of special characters we can make on our English keyboards at Happy Searching, Pat

Anglo-Celtic Connections: Free access to Ancestry immigration records

Anglo-Celtic Connections: Free access to Ancestry immigration records

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Research Swedish Church Records FREE this weekend

Every year, at the end of August, we gather to the Swedish Genealogical days. Learn more about the genealogy days ( ArkivDigital is one of the major exhibitors and we are celebrating this year's genealogy days with an offer for everyone: "Free access to ArkivDigital this weekend!". During this weekend (Saturday August 25th until Sunday August 26th 2012, CET) we offer everyone free access to our image database. Take this opportunity to familiarize yourself with Swedish Genealogy research and what we have to offer. Happy Searching Everyone! Pat

Friday, July 27, 2012

Canada Rowing

The son of one of my students is representing Canada in Rowing! That rowing team won Canada's first medal in 2008! GO DAVID CALDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We're all pulling for you buddy. Pat


Just watching the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics, and grating zucchini. Next up: muffins, cake, and medals!!

Gooooooo CANADA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another Fabulous TV program

I just finished watching a fab show on History Channel named "Curse of the Axe". I did a search and found it's on again later, once. It really is very very good and shows how archaeology and family history are closely tied. Give it a try. You'll learn about Canadian history, and you'll enjoy it!! And please let me know what you think? Happy Searching, Pat

Scotland's Forgotten War

BBC Scotland news presenter Jackie Bird presents a documentary tonight entitled Scotland's Forgotten War, which looks back at the Korean War of the 1950s. Accompanying the film is a short article available at In the programme Jackie meets many veterans who describe the apathy they received on their return home - "We were only young... we'd start to talk about our war and be told: 'Away lad, that was nothing... I was at Dunkirk'. So we just stopped talking about it." She also accompanies veterans on a trip to Korea. Scotland's Forgotten War will be broadcast at 22:35 on BBC Scotland (the channel is available on the Sky platform if you don't live in Scotland). It will also be available for the next seven days on BBC iPlayer. UPDATE: If the Korean War, with no victory, can be so forgotten today - with 1090 UK dead, more than Afghanistan, Iraq and Falklands combined - then how will history remember Afghanistan and Iraq six decades from now? Absolutely. An absolutely brilliant programme, well worth checking out on the BBC iPlayer. (with thanks to Chris Paton) Happy Searching! Pat

WOW! Has the World Changed!!

Today, we take for granted being able to watch Wimbledon or the Olympic Games as they happen across an ocean. That only became possible on 10 July 1962, 50 years ago today, with the launch of the first Telstar satellite.

Isn't that amazing? Today we take Skype for granted and grumble if it fails us.

Enjoy your days. They pass all too quickly. I've had three funerals in the past 10 days.

Happy Searching,

Sunday, July 8, 2012

England - history from feudal times

There is a series of TV programs on PBS right now (July 2012) called "Michael Wood's Story of England". It covers one village in England - not an area of family research for me - BUT well worth watching as it gives a snapshot of what all of England was like from feudal days. It also shows the massive variety of records possibly available for your English ancestors no matter where they lived. It's a fascinating show. Do a search of whatever television provider you use. I'm just watching the second show, but am impressed enough to have sought out each show and have now set the PVR to catch them all.

What a glorious day, again, here is Saskatchewan!! Worked outside this morning and am now rewarded with something interesting and educational on TV in my lovely cool house.

Happy Searching!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

With Thanks to the IrishTimes. com

The following article was written by esteemed Irish research John Grenham. I can't think of anything to add except to say "AMEN!"

"I recently had a long conversation with a veteran member of the Irish Family History Foundation, the umbrella group for the heritage centres behind the biggest Irish genealogy website, The sense of outrage and persecution felt by IFHF members is extraordinary. It is largely directed at the Irish public service –civil servants, National Archives, National Library and others. And I had to tell him that, as far as I knew, the feelings were reciprocated, and just as intensely.

The situation reminds me of nothing so much as a very bad marriage breakup, with each side blaming the other and pouring out tales of monstrous injustice to long-suffering friends. And like a marriage breakup, two simple facts have to be accepted by each side for the situation to change. First, what’s done is done. Nobody has a monopoly on truth or grievance. Or, indeed, genealogical records. And second, without some cooperation, however arms-length, everyone suffers, particularly the innocent. Which is to say, ordinary researchers.

There is no shortage of areas where some collaboration could sow the seeds of tolerance. For example, the IFHF could use some of its surplus to help digitise the records of National schools, or the Valuation Office, or the Registry of Deeds. But one area stands out. The IFHF centres have no images of the church records they have transcribed. And they are currently lobbying hard to stop the National Library making digital images of Catholic parish register microfilms available online. So the centres have transcripts but no images, the Library has images but no transcripts, and researchers are stuck with the dilemma of putting blind faith in the accuracy of the transcripts or manually combing through years of images. A compromise is hardly rocket science.

In the immortal words of Helen Lovejoy, “Won’t somebody please think of the children?”

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Steaks are ready!

This might be a 'woman' thing, but here's what happens to many of us, I suspect.

It's meal time which includes a BBQ. Man grabs meat [prepared by his woman], flings it on BBQ, and later, smiling ear to ear, announces 'suppers ready' when he takes it off! He also accepts all the 'congrats' for a GREAT MEAL. So where did the appetizers, salads, soup, potatoes/rice/noodles, veggies, dessert come from ............ sitting on that gorgeous table in that cleaned, scrubbed, and beautifully decorated house?????? OMG, have we women really made progress???? Wonder if our ancestor females shared these 'feelings'? I'm betting they did.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Foundlings - 1700s to the 21st Century

London's Foundling Museum tells the tale of the 25,000 children who passed through the Foundling Hospital between its foundation by Thomas Coram in 1739, and it's closure in 1954. Foundlings were often given surnames that related to the place where they were found, such as Chappell or Bridge, and a Google search for 'foundlings surnames' reveals that similar naming patterns occur in other countries.

If you're having trouble finding your ancestor's parents, it's worth considering whether he or she may have been a foundling?

I imagine that, like me, you thought that foundlings were a thing of the past. But I recently learned that in Germany there are today around 200 places (Babyklappen, or baby hatches) where desperate mothers can leave their babies - the first opened in 2000 in Hamburg. Most of the abandoned babies (and there have been about one thousand so far) will never know who their parents were. How sad.

Happy Searching,

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Canadian Genealogy Records from Ancestry FREE June 28 - July2, 2012

Search Canadian Genealogy Records Free Through July 2
Thanks to Diane at Family Tree Magazine.

In honor of Canada Day, which celebrates the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North American Act uniting three colonies into the country of Canada, is offering free access to 40 million historical records today through July 2.

The free records cover the years leading up to and following Confederation and come from some of the largest collections on, including:

Canadian passenger lists and ocean arrivals: These name the masses of people who arrived by ship at port cities across Canada

The 1871 Census of Canada: This was the first census Canada conducted as a nation. It reveals household members, ages, jobs, parents' birthplaces and more.

Birth, marriage and death records: These come from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Military records: These come from the War of 1812 and World War I, as well as lists of officers from 1832 and 1863 to 1939.

Visit to search the free databases. You'll need to register for a free account to view your full search results.

Happy Canada Day Everyone!! And as always, Happy Searching!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fall 2012 course - FamilySearch Family Tree

Classic FamilySearch is No More Without fanfare last Monday June 18, 2012 FamilySearch turned off the home page of its website, redirecting traffic to the current home page. (The old catalog remains available, however.) Some users are not pleased with the retirement. Elaine Lee said, “Please can you tell me WHY you have RUINED a perfectly good website. I have used this website for 12 years and now find it so confusing.” First released to the public in May 1999, the site was an instant success. The traffic load in the first few days was overwhelming and crashed the website. For many years, site navigation was enabled via four color-coded menu pages; the home page was green. In later years, a search form was added to the home page and color coding was eliminating. This home page design continued until it was shut down Monday. In December 2010, this original website became It was replaced with the current (not to be confused with newfamilysearchorg, which will be replaced by FamilySearch Family Tree). The original site was characterized by a search experience still favored by many individuals. The search strategy was simple: enter an individual’s name. If too many results were returned, add another piece of information to the search. Repeat until the result set was reasonably sized. Back in February, FamilySearch gave users an opportunity to express their feelings about retiring the original site. Rochelle Edwards said, “Very disappointed to learn I can no longer access the old site. It was so much easier than the newer version (which I find extremely difficult) and can no longer find things which I could so easily find on the old site.” I call the old site’s search paradigm “exact search.” Not all users found it intuitive. Beginners often entered both birth and marriage information, precluding results of both types. The current site implements a new search paradigm. Some users like it and some don’t. Mike Fisher said, “Forget about the old site. The new site allows much better user defined search parameters. I find what I want, not what the old site allowed me to see. Plus the bonus of no patron submissions.” For anyone unfamiliar with familysearch. org it is a website run by the Mormons featuring records held in the world's largest genealogical library situated in Salt Lake City. These records are BY FAR the most economical and fastest way of researching families no matter what part of the world your ancestors came from - once you learn how to use the website and the records! I have been teaching courses on using this website, and associated records, through all it's many changes since 1999. Fall of 2012 will see me teaching the course again, reflecting recent updates. I'll be writing it 'on the fly' which means that the course will teach what the website offers at that particular time, with all it's changes - what's new and improved will be the focus as well as as many 'work-arounds' as I can find. This will be a totally online course with practical lessons emailed directly to you over a four week period mostly in October 2012. You can be 'anywhere' in the world so long as you can receive email and connect to the Internet you can learn from this course. Specific dates etc. will be announced soon on this blog. Anyone wanting more information or wishing to pre-register can send me an email at Happy Searching! Pat

Lost in London

Tracing ancestors before civil registration and the census presents a real challenge to family historians. In London, the problems can be even greater, where the population doubled between 1801 and 1841 and boundaries were often redrawn. Administering the area was complicated, and the records are now spread around several record offices. This FREE podcast explains how to make the most of the capital’s diverse collection of records.Copy and paste the following URL Happy Searching! Pat

British Listed Buildings Online

Welcome to British Listed Buildings, an online database of buildings and structures that are listed as being of special architectural and historic interest.

As well as reading the official listing data for each building, you can also view the location on a map, and, where possible, see it in Google Streetview and Bing Birds Eye View. You can also add your own comments, information and photos and view comments and photos submitted by other users of the site.

You can browse for listed buildings by country, county and parish/locality for England, Scotland, and Wales.

Happy Searching!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Scottish emagazine FREE online

The latest issue of the Scottish Council on Archives happens to be a family history edition. It is Broadsheet Issue 15, and it's FREE! Copy and paste this link It's an interesting read.

Happy Searching,

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How to Find the Genealogy Sessions from California

Anyone interested in sitting in on the remaining free genealogy presentations, today is the last day, scroll down the right side of my blog to Blog Archive and click on Free Genealogy Presentations June 9 & 10, 2012. Once in that posting, choose your sessions, then copy and paste the link(s) into your browser and follow the instructions. See you there! Happy Searching, Pat

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Free Webcasts - after Sat. June 9, 2012

I have had a wonderful day today watching genealogy presentations from the comfort of my own home. The first one I watched in my PJs; the second one while eating my lunch; the third one with a wee glass of vino. There were a couple technical glitches, but the presenters handled it all with good humour and worked around the challenges. I especially appreciate this as I've been in that position more times than I can count. Deep breaths all around.

All three sessions that I had chosen to watch were very good. The great thing about this little 'hobby' of ours [yours and mine] is that there is *always* new things to learn, and I learned again today.

Can't wait for tomorrow as I'm registered for three more sessions! I'm also thankful it's turned out to be a rainy weekend here so I don't feel guilty about sitting inside, head phones on, just enjoying these webcasts!! Hope you get a chance to tune in too.

Happy Searching,

Free Presentation

I just finished watching the first session given by Warren Bittner. It was GREAT!! Can't wait for the next! Is anyone else attending?


Free genealogy presentation

Got it! Forget the first lecture. Sign in to the second one. All is working perfectly!! Pat

Free genealogy presentation

If anyone is trying to log in to these sessions, as I am, there appears to be technical problems. I guess we just keep trying and hope they get it fixed soon. Technology is soooooooooooo awesome .............. when it works!!

Pat at 9:23am, Sat June 09.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

FREE genealogy presentations June 9 & 10, 2012

I blogged about free sessions from Southern California Genealogy Society early Spring this year, and they're doing it again this weekend! It's like going to a conference, for free, for two days!! Pick your sessions, register [copy and paste the appropriate link below], and have fun!! See you there?

Here's the official announcement:
In keeping with SCGS's tradition of delivering exceptional genealogical education over the Internet, we are proud to announce that the 2012 Genealogy Jamboree will offer ten streamed sessions over two days, Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10.

Streamed sessions will be delivered at no cost to the viewing audience. As speakers permit, sessions will be archived and made available for viewing after Jamboree through the SCGS webinar archive. While we are not charging to view the sessions, we greatly appreciate the support of the genealogical community in making contributions to offset the expense of bandwidth, speaker honorarium, equipment, camera operators, etc. SCGS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

There are a limited number of viewing "seats" available for each session. For that reason, we will go off air in the time between classes and will ask viewers to register for each individual session. We appreciate everyone helping to "share the wealth" with other family historians around the world.

The sessions and registration links follow:

Saturday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. PDT
SA-011 - Warren Bittner, CG, MS
"Beat the Children with a Fresh Birch Stick so the Animals Don't Get Worms" Reading for Historical Context. Register at

Read to put your ancestors into their own world on their terms. Learn how to find books about the social, cultural, political, occupational, and religious lives of your ancestors.

Saturday, June 9 - 10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT
SA-020 - Lisa Louise Cooke
Projects That Will Captivate The Non-Genealogists In Your Life. Register at

Learn creative ways to capture the imagination of your non-historian friends and relatives, while honoring your ancestors. The joy in genealogy isn’t just climbing your family tree, but building bonds with current and future generations, and this class will show you high tech and low tech ways to do just that. You are guaranteed to be inspired!

Saturday, June 9 - 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. PDT
SA-021 - Steve Luxenberg
Genealogy from the Inside Out: Tracing the Mysterious From a Single Clue. Register at
When a family secret alters our understanding of the family tree, when we learn about a hidden relative (or a hidden marriage, or a hidden divorce, or a hidden cause of death), how do we pursue it? Steve reveals how he assembled the paper trail that led through burial records, birth certificates, hospital records, immigration documents and wartime records, and assembles them into a coherent paper trail. This session is more of a “how-to-think” than a “how-to.” Beginners, intermediate and advanced researchers will come away with new ideas for unearthing what had been hidden.

Saturday, June 9 - 2:00-3:00 p.m. PDT
SA-038 - Kerry S. Bartels
National Archives Website Microfilm Catalog, Archival Databases, and Guides. Register at
Participants will learn about the National Archives Microfilm Catalog database, guides to the holdings of the National Archives, and use of electronic databases mounted on the National Archives website.

Saturday, June 9 - 3:30-4:30 p.m. PDT
SA-047 - D. Joshua Taylor
Printed Legends and Missing Footnotes: Dissecting 19th and 20th Century Compiled Genealogies. Register at
Discover the methods used to create a compiled genealogy and how to ensure its contents do not lead you down the wrong trail.

Saturday, June 9 - 5:00-6:00 p.m. PDT
SA-048 - Barry J. Ewell
30 Second Genealogist: How to Find Genealogy Answers You Want Now. Register at
Find, access, and explore genealogical resources quickly. Develop, expand, and sharpen your genealogy research skills. Discover clues to trace and explore your family ties. Quickly identify which record collections to search first. Learn to find and use specific country, state, and county records... And much more. Source for the presentation is

Sunday, June 10 - 8:30-9:30 a.m. PDT
SU-003 - Warren Bittner, CG, MS
Complex Evidence: What is it? How Does it Work? Why Does it Matter? Register at
See a Complex Evidence Case Study. Learn why complex evidence is the only way to establish identity or prove relationships.

Sunday, June 10 - 10:00-11:00 a.m. PDT
SU-019- Kerry S. Bartels
Military Records at the National Archives. Register at
The National Archives holds military records documenting service to the United States from the American Revolution to the present day. This session will identify and describe the vast array of documentation for different time periods including examples of those that are rarely used.

Sunday, June 10, 12:30-1:30 p.m. PDT
SU-023 - Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGS, IGSF
Historical Research Methodology: Engaging the Process to Find All the Answers. Register at
Many genealogists miss opportunities to find consequential documents for advancing their research because they do not follow a standard research methodology, namely the “historical research methodology.” Special care is given in this lecture to emphasize the importance of some rather fundamental basics which, when used together, make for a powerful data-gathering methodology.

Sunday, June 10 - 2:00-3:00 p.m. PDT
SU-030 - Laura G. Prescott
Diaries and Journals: Finding and Using these Valuable Resources. Register at
This lecture explains the advantages of using diaries, letters and journals in compiling and comprehensive and appealing genealogy. Opinions and observations written by our ancestors or someone who knew them add a personal dimension to names, dates, and places. We'll explore a few examples of the different types of journals and diaries available, where to find them, and how to apply what you find to your research and your family history.

Happy Searching!

Monday, June 4, 2012

What Was Your Ancestor's Dollar Worth?

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at Genealogists often find references to money in old deeds and other documents. Even U.S. census records frequently recorded estimates of a person's real estate. The natural question is, "I wonder what that would equal in today's dollars?" There is a Web site that can answer this question.

S. Morgan Friedman's Inflation Calculator can convert a U.S. dollar amount for any year from 1800 through 2001 into the equivalent amount, adjusted for inflation, in any other year of that range. In other words, if you find that your ancestor purchased land for $400 in 1805, the Inflation Calculator will tell you that the money he spent is equivalent to a purchase of $5735.65 in 2010.

The Inflation Calculator only goes up to the year 2010, the last year for which inflation statistics are available. This should be sufficient for genealogy purposes. The pre-1975 data comes from the Consumer Price Index statistics published in the Historical Statistics of the United States (USGPO, 1975). All data since then is from the annual Statistical Abstracts of the United States. You can access the Inflation Calculator at:

Canadians will find a similar Inflation Calculator for the years 1914 through 2012 at the Bank of Canada's Web pages at:

Happy Searching,

Friday, June 1, 2012

Explore the Wonders of the World

Technology is just so great .... when it works. Today is a wonderful example of technology working very well indeed. From Google's homepage, click on 'Wonders of the World' [it's below the search bar]. You can tour 'wonders' from many different parts of the world without ever leaving your home. For me it was fun to 'stroll' around many places I've been to including the fantastically beautiful city of Prague Czech Republic. I can almost taste their beer and schnitzel again. ahhhhhhhhhhh. It also wets my appetite to visit so many other 'wonders of the world' I've not yet seen. Maybe some of your ancestors lived within these sites, or may have passed through on their way to who-knows-where? Enjoy your visits and, as always, Happy Searching! Pat

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Regina Public Library Needs Your Support!

Most of you will remember this board, a short time ago, deciding to shut down several branches, AND then happily disseminating the world renown, one-of-a-kind, collection of the Prairie History Room located in the downtown branch. If you have never used this collection you are doing yourself a major disservice, no matter where your ancestral roots are. Anyway, buckets of concerned citizens fought that judgement, spoke at numerous meetings, etc. etc. and we WON!

NOW, this (basically) same old board of backward thinking individuals - seemingly led by a very outdated (and I'll say arrogant and 'worse than useless'!)leader are again attempting to impede forward thinking. The hard working, extremely knowledgeable staff of our Regina public libraries are very being poorly treated. Would any of us accept what their board has offered if it were our jobs on the line? I doubt it.

I am anything but a union supporter, never have been, never will be, BUT this is a case where this board is soooooooooooooooo incompetent they need to be turfed so we can become progressive. What good is our magnificent library resources without the expertise of those workers we depend on to guide us to what we need. And now that I'm ranting, how about what the federal government is doing to our archives? ENOUGH!!!! Each person, living in this county of Canada, has family information stored in our (provincial) archives. For more information on the changes at Library and Archives Canada, go to This is insanity at it's worst.

We learned we COULD make a difference a few years back. We CAN fight the government and win! But if we stand back, and stay quite, we deserve what we get ............ and that will be much much less that what we need. Say goodbye to our history Canada, and goodbye to each provinces history, and each family and persons history. The information stored in archives is unique, one-of-a kind, data and will never ever be found by us without the expert knowledge of the trained and dedicated archivists that are willing, but unable, to assist. Thank you PM Harper.

To write the Regina library board, and PLEASE do, go here .... go here, write your concerns and send to all those decision makers involved. And don't forget to share your concerns with the Leader Post!! Let's see if they have the intestinal fortitude to print what sooo very many of us are thinking! Speak up guys or suffer the consequences.

I'm just spitting mad! Please help?

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Many of you know of my major brick wall problem with my Mother's side of the family, the Irish McNiece's. I have struggled with them for a couple decades, and while the struggle continues, I am making strides ............ FINALLY!!!

Many of you also know how I preach and nag you about 'Review', 'Review', 'Review'. Today, I began in earnest to review that line. Guess what? Because I am now so much better than I was 20 years ago at reading old handwriting, deciphering clues, and really 'working' my research analytical skills I believe I have uncovered a long missed clue that will definitely open up new areas of interest. One tiny word, almost illegible, is proving to be [a] SMOKING GUN. OMG ........... I am VERY excited!!

Sometimes it's a blessing in disguise to have a cold, wet, dreary May day that keeps you inside. Yahooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Searching,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

English Equivalent of Foreign Given Names

Many of you have heard me speak about name variants - where one given (first) name may have other interchangeable names ... like Elizabeth who can also be known as Liz, Eliza, Beth, Liza, Elly, Betty and so on. Every nationality has their own 'variants'. This is something that is worth studying. I know from experience with some of my Irish/Scottish ancestors as my not-knowing cost me two years of wasted time, and effort, not to mention FRUSTRATION!! And this is within the realms of the English language.

And then there are names that translate into a 'different' name in another language. I just discovered this web site that may be useful to you. Have a peek at

You cannot find them if you do not know what name you should be looking for.

Happy Searching,

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Hope all Mothers have a wonderful day, close to their children, and their Mothers.

For those us not that lucky, here's to remembering our children [and all their antics] and to remembering our Mothers [and all their love and patience]. I'll be marking the day by visiting my Mother's grave, something I don't do often enough anymore. Happy Mother's Day to my Mom.... and to all my direct female ancestors, without whom, I would not be.

Happy Searching,

Friday, May 11, 2012

1911 England & Wales Census FREE searches has the 1911 Census of England and Wales complete & fully searchable for FREE until Monday night 14 May, 2012. You need to register for a free account. Start at

Also there have been updates to the death and marriages indexes post 1915.

So there goes *your* weekend of planting and cleaning the yard!! Y'er welcome.

Happy Searching!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Only Safe Storage is L.O.C.K.S.S.

Are your family history documents/photos etc. safe in case of an emergency?

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

A friend wrote to me about the situation with Megaupload, an online file storage service. He knows that I am interested in making sure everyone performs sufficient backups to protect genealogy data and other data from hardware failures, software failures, and human errors.

Megaupload was recently shut down by the federal government. The company provided file storage services and had a great method of allowing one user to share files with others. The problem was that Megaupload had both customers who used the service legally as well as some customers who used it illegally. Some unscrupulous users found that Megaupload was a great way to share movies, music, and other files that were protected by copyright. Despite repeated warnings from the government, Megaupload ignored the problem and allowed all users to share files as they wished, both for legal and illegal purposes.

I won't go into all the legal issues with Megaupload as there are hundreds of detailed stories already available on the web that describe the company's difficulties in detail. There's no sense in my duplicating the hundreds of articles already available. Start at to learn more about Megaupload's services and legal problems.

With the service shut down, no Megaupload customers can retrieve their files, not even those who used Megaupload for purely legitimate purposes.

In his email, my friend suggested that cloud storage is not to be trusted. My friend's attitude of "I won't use it because it might disappear" reminds me of an old folk tale about throwing the baby out with the bath water.

In a way, he is right. Indeed, no ONE method of storing files should ever be trusted to remain available forever. Megaupload, Mozy, Carbonite, Backblaze, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and any of the other cloud-based storage services could disappear at any time. Of course, so could your hard drive or the external drive you use in your home or office. Any method of storing files is subject to all sorts of problems.

There is an easy and effective solution, however: L.O.C.K.S.S.

L.O.C.K.S.S. is an acronym for "Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe." I know of no requirement that says we must preserve information on only one copy. In fact, with today's ridiculous cheap prices for hard drives, it doesn't make sense to me that anyone should ever trust one copy. Or two copies. Or even three copies.

We are free to make all sorts of copies, something that is easy and cheap today. Even better, we can store those copies in all sorts of locations: in the closet, in the basement, at a cousin's house, or in data centers in Rio de Janeiro, Capetown, and Mumbai. In fact, we can store any file in seven or more different data centers in seven or more different locations around the globe. What are the odds that ALL the copies will be destroyed? The price for all this? Peanuts.

I don't hesitate to store my backups in the cloud. However, I will never store my only copy on one cloud service. All my important files are backed up on at least two different cloud services (and three or four would be better) as well as additional copies on my computer's hard drive, an external hard drive, various flash drives, and whatever storage media is available, both at home and in the cloud. I also keep another copy on a laptop computer stored in my motor home. If I had a separate workplace, I would also store a copy of my personal files there, probably on a CD or DVD disk kept in a desk drawer or something similar.

Who cares if one storage service gets shut down by the government or is destroyed by an earthquake or flood or hurricane or other disaster? Who cares if my local copy is destroyed by a defective hard drive or by a burst water pipe in the upstairs bathroom?

L.O.C.K.S.S. will always preserve your data in any situation. "Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe."

Happy Searching!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ancestry 6 month subscription

Looks like Ancestry is offering a six month subscription to the Canada World Membership for $49.00 until May 20th at 11:59 (ET). Be sure to note the following: "Membership will be renewed automatically at the end of the 6 month subscription period and your payment method will be debited at the rate of $77.70." unless you cancel of course.

Happy Searching!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Melfort: ducks, geese, coyotes, moose, showers & genealogy

I had a most wonderful time in Melfort, Saturday, 05 May, 2012. There was a very knowledgeable group of genealogists assembled at the gorgeous Kerry Vicker Centre, and we worked together to learn, exchange ideas, and have some fun complete with laughs. Thanks to all who attended, and a special shout-out to those who drove distances to attend. Also to those who provided lunch, snacks, and all the fabulous home baking that kept up our energy levels throughout the day. Another special "Thanks" to Ron and Marg for hosting my hubby and I overnight so I could be well rested and able to talk, non-stop all day Saturday. Outside the centre, on a short break, we found a duck had built her nest in the midst of a rather small bush. Small shelter or not she laid 9 beautiful eggs. Sure hope they survive! Then there were the overflowing sloughs all the way up, and the equally overflowing fields covered with snow geese and a few ducks. What an amazing sight! And lots of coyotes in plain sight, which is quite normal for us as our home backs a large clearing so we're used to seeing coyotes and foxes all year round. I love it! Now for the most exciting - on our drive home we saw a very large moose standing right beside the highway, seemingly unmoved by the traffic. I'm so thankful she didn't venture onto the road! It was my first moose sighting EVER so I shall always remember the Melfort conference!! grin Man are they HUGE! And lastly I have to mention this - I got to remove my dressings and have a shower Sunday morning!!! YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Those of you there will know what I'm talking about. It's been an awesome weekend. We really need to get out and experience more of our massively huge province with the friendliest people anywhere!! Thanks so much to you all. Pat xo

Filing System for genealogy documents

The filing system I was telling you about on Saturday, 05 May has a very long URL which may not work when you copy and paste it into your browser, so try this - do a Google search for "genealogy filing system familysearch" and you'll end up at the correct page. I can hardly wait to get started on my own filing now!! Unfortunately that can't begin until the carpet gets laid in our family room as everything is now piled ceiling high in my office! Hope some of you will try this system and hope it helps!! Let me know how you make out please? Pat

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Registry of Deeds - IRELAND

Recently I posted something about searching the Registry of Deeds. Here is an interesting comment by John Grenham, very well respected Irish genealogist. It explains this record type and also explains why I have never had any luck using these records, but what I *really* love is his "But, but, but ..." sentence that sums up all genealogical research!! Amen!! Valiant deeds John Grenham Most people will know of the Registry of Deeds as part of the current property registration system (see, but its records actually go back more than 300 years to 1707. The first century and a half of its existence produced a veritable goldmine of material for local and family historians. So why isn’t it more used? There are good reasons. It was originally founded to provide legal defence for the huge transfer of property from Gaelic to Anglo-Irish that took place in the seventeenth century, so its historic records deal almost exclusively with the Anglo-Irish. Very, very few Catholics or Dissenters are recorded. In addition, self-evidently, the records concern the propertied classes, so they cover only those Anglo-Irish who were relatively wealthy: a minority of a minority, in other words. And the records themselves are resolutely eighteenth-century, intensely convoluted, copied out on parchment by scribes standing at lecterns, then bound into back-breaking, tombstone-sized volumes and only indexed very roughly. But, but, but … If there is even the remotest chance of finding something in these records, research is a must. The actual process is a rare experience. The Registry’s historic records are located on the top floor of the King’s Inns, one of the great eighteenth-century public buildings of Dublin. The people recorded in the deeds built the rooms where you now search them. And the search itself requires much climbing up and down ladders carting giant volumes and inhaling 200-year old dust. All that’s missing is the powdered wig. This is research as it should be. Over the years at least four failed attempts have been made to digitise and abstract the records, because the Mormon Family History Library has a complete microfilm copy. The only current attempt is the Registry of Deeds Index Project, a valiant volunteer effort to abstract the family information and put it online ( Look at what remains to be done ( It is the work of many lifetimes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

5,002,440 for BNA 29 April 2012

One of the resources I talked about during my 'newspaper' presentation at RPL recently was the BNA - British Newspaper Archive.

The British Newspaper Archive just hit a milestone, passing the 5 million page mark. That's 5 million down, 25 million to go.

They claim "thousands of new pages are scanned for you every day." 6,448 pages were added since the previous day.

If you haven't tried the BNA why not register and receive 30 free credits?! Searching is free. Read through the Help & Advice section.

I have had wonderful successes for England, but not so for Scotland and Ireland.

Happy Searching and enjoy your free 30 credits!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Irish Petty Sessions & Registry of Deeds

FindmyPast Ireland ( has announced that three million more Irish petty session records will be released in May, with an additional ten million in the following months. They've also highlighted an article on the Irish Registry of Deeds, and how it can help with your research - see There are an estimated 600,000 deeds in the Registry between 1708 and 1830, and a further 1.5 million recorded between 1830 and 1929.

Incidentally, there is an online project that has partially indexed some of these deeds at - an update on the site last week shows that the site now has 90,0005 names indexed from 11,162 memorials of deeds.

My folks never did own land so I've always been out of luck with these records; however, whenever something new becomes available to search I still hold my breath and hope. It's always worth a try!!

Happy Searching,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Females + Last Will and Testament

Last week I was speaking at the Regina Public Library on our Mystery Women and the challenges they present. I was able to show a myriad of examples of record types that reveal our mystery women using their maiden surnames. It is true that we often follow the males to find the females, but there are buckets of records available detailing our female ancestors simply by following ALL the collateral family members. One of the more interesting record types (for any kind of research) is a person's last will and testament. William Shakespeare died 23 April 1616. He left a three page will in which he says ‘I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture’. So now I wonder who got the best bed? If you want to read his, and other celebrities, final documents for free, go to Happy Searching! Pat

Friday, April 20, 2012

RPL PHR Presentation - Newspapers

On Saturday, 21 April 2012 I am doing a two hour presentation in the film auditorium on using newspapers to further your genealogy and your family history. For those of you unable to attend, I decided to post my hand-out for this session here, on my blog. Copy and paste the links into your browser. Enjoy!!

Newspapers do more than provide genealogical researchers with birth, marriage and death announcements. They are often a “window into the past” by helping to explain what life was like at a specific point in time. Today, more historical newspapers are being digitized and made available for users to search for articles more easily.
• Why use newspapers?
- obits & BMDs:
- don’t forget to look for the anniversary or memorial of a BMD & check the recent online condolences set up by many funeral homes
- local history, social columns, ads, auction sales
- understand how your families fit into history
- look for your own birth or marriage notice
• Use what you find as clues. Be prepared to either prove or disprove the contents which will, almost certainly, have come from a secondary source
• Where Do We Find Newspapers?
- public libraries
- archives
- universities
- genealogy/family history societies
- the Internet

FREE Websites
Regina Public Library Prairie History Room
• Complete run of the Morning Leader/Leader Post newspaper (microfilm) - 1883 onwards; note: last 3 months worth of newspapers are kept behind the reference desk
• Regina Standard (microfilm) - 1891 to 1906; Regina Daily Post (microfilm) - 1928 to 1930; and Western Producer (microfilm) - 1924 to 2000
• Historical Directory of Saskatchewan Newspapers, 1878-1983 (print) - 1984
• Saskatchewan Newspaper Indexes (print) - 1935 to 1981 (includes Regina Leader Post, Moose Jaw Times Herald, Prince Albert Daily Herald, Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Western Producer. Note: this index does not include birth, marriage and death notices.) This index is also available from
• Leader Post newspaper index (print) - 1883 to 1943
• Newspaper directories and indexes for other Canadian provinces can be found in the library catalogue by using the keywords newspapers and indexes in the subject field.
• Use the library edition of Ancestry or Heritage Quest to search for newspapers

Sask Archives Board [newspapers, Threshold]

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society [1514 11th Ave. Room 110 for 750,000 obits, onsite]

Legislative Library [] search SK Leg onsite

Library Archives Canada [newspapers]

Family History Library Catalogue [catalog]

Local History Books [PHR] often have newspaper articles of interest included

Directories (under various names [Henderson Directory for SK] exist for all parts of the world. Allows you to locate your ancestor in a specific location at a specific date as well as giving occupation and family information.

Google Books

Google Searches: Do try other provinces, states, and countries for newspaper collections held in local libraries, archives, genealogy societies, and even government repositories

Cyndi’s List

Pay for View
Genealogy Bank [USA]

London Gazette [Edinburgh and Belfast too]

British Newspaper Archives

One ‘tool’ is never enough to do any job! Use newspapers to find information that will lead you to a different record type, and then another, and another, and another, and so on.

One last thought - remember to add your source citation to every clipping you take - name of newspaper, date, page! Happy Searching Everyone,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Illinois State Archives databases

It's not often you see a website that has a "database transcription policy." VERY interesting!! See for yourself, and Happy Searching!! Copy and paste the following


Monday, April 16, 2012

Washington State Digital Archives

If you have a long lost relative in Washington State, USA, check out their digital archives at

Included are several databases: BMDs, land, and miscellaneous. Some searches will reveal other family information ... free!

Thanks to Michael John Neill for telling me about this. Good luck everyone.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Upcoming Speaking Invitations

I have been 'quiet' for quite some time. We were in Dominican Republic again for the winter, and our Internet access was infrequent and unreliable. Next year should be better, although I may still be 'quiet' as I enjoy the peace of the beach.

I will be speaking at the Regina Public Library Sat. April 14th (Finding Female Ancestors), and 21 April (Newspapers). Check the RPL Prairie History blog for details as I believe you should pre-register. Both sessions are free.

05 May, 2012 I have the pleasure of giving a full day presentation at Melfort Sask. Details

Location: Kerry Vickar Centre
206 Bemister Ave East, Melfort
May 5, 2012: 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
$50 registration fee includes lunch and two coffee breaks
Please contact, by April 15th, Lorne Kish at 752-3035 or
Lois Neighbour at 752-3136 /e-mail
for more information. Send registrations by mail to
Box 279, Melfort, SK, S0E 1A0

I understand Prince Albert folks will also be attending so it should be a busy, packed day. Come on along and join in the fun!!



I have just returned from wintering away, only to be hit my a major winter blizzard! Ah me, such is life. But I have some good news for you below.

Ancestry offer free access to US records

Until midnight (London time) on 10th April you can access 750 million US records free at the site when you follow this link [].Copy and paste the link, without the brackets. The datasets in this offer include the entire 1930 US Census, World War 2 Draft Registrations, numerous birth, marriage, and death indexes, plus migration and other indexes.

On some previous occasions Ancestry have only allowed access to the transcriptions, and not to the images - I'm glad to say that this time you can see both.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

End of the present TNA catalogue

The National Archives at Kew will formally launch its new online Discovery catalogue at the end of January. Discovery will completely replace the old online catalogue by March 31st 2012, at which point the Documents Online service will also be replaced with a new documentary delivery service. A beta version of Discovery has already been up and running for nine months.

For more on the development visit

Holidaying in Punta Cana again, but still trying to keep you informed!!

Cheers all,