Sunday, 9 August 2020

Thanks to all who attended Celtic Connections chat session!

A big thanks to all who tuned in yesterday for the Q&A session with myself and US based genie Paul Milner, as part of the Celtic Connections virtual conference, currently available online until the end of September. We had an enjoyable hour answering a range of questions on Irish and Scottish subjects - pictured below is myself from my humble abode in Irvine, Ayrshire, a few minutes before we got under way!


A big thanks also to Gigi Hickey and Mary Wickersham behind the scenes, and to Thomas MacEntee and Dave Miller for hosting the proceedings and keeping things moving along!
 
The conference is still cracking on, with plenty more chat sessions to be held in the next few weeks with other speakers, and many presentations available for watching at your convenience - full details are available at www.celtic-connections.org. I've already watched some of my fellow presenters' presentations, and there is some excellent stuff there for Irish and Scottish research!


Enjoy!

Chris

My next 5 week Scottish Research Online course starts August 31st - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Writing Your Family History course

From genealogist Gill Blanchard, a forthcoming course for those who may wish to preserve their family history by recording it in a narrative form:

Writing Your Family History
E-Course
W: www.pastsearchlearning.co.uk
(formerly writingyourfamilyhistory.co.uk)
E: gblanchard@pastsearch.co.uk

Starts Friday 11 September 2020
Ends Week ending Friday 4 December 2020
12 Weeks. 5 Lessons. Weekly Live Discussions.
Cost £150

Tutor: Gill Blanchard
Author and Professional Family Historian
MA. Biography and Creative Non Fiction (UEA)

This is a practical writing course spread over a twelve week period that guides participants through the process of bringing their ancestors to life. The aim is on producing an entertaining family history that other people want to read. The lessons enable students to choose the most suitable format for them, decide what to include and how, and find and add relevant context. The tutor provides personalised and in-depth feedback throughout the course.

Students are encouraged to move beyond a basic ‘John begat William and Jane begat Mary’ chronicle; learn how to integrate relevant social and local history materials and to deal with repetitions, missing pieces and anomalies in their writing.

The course lasts for twelve weeks and is comprised of five lessons. The first four lessons are posted online at fortnightly intervals, with an extra week after lessons four and five to allow additional time for reading, writing, critiquing and feedback. Each lesson includes writing exercises, focussed guidance, useful tips, writing examples, links to useful resources and background reading. There are regular live online discussions with the tutor and other students. A dedicated learning hub can be used at any time throughout the course to share work, ask questions and post news.

This course is aimed at those who have completed a body of research into their family history and are ready to start writing.

Lesson 1 Starting Out
When to stop researching.
Format and what to include.
Planning.
Introduction to the Writing Craft.
Introduction to Adding Context.
Writing exercises and feedback.

Lesson 2 Expanding a Family History Biography
Structuring a family history continued.
Dealing with repetition and anomalies.
Adding background context.
Writing exercises and feedback.

Lesson 3 Bringing your Family History to Life - Building Background Material
Social and local history context continued.
Creating authenticity.

Lesson 4 Developing a Family History Further
Focussed work using local histories, biographies, autobiographies, letters, memoirs and oral histories to build context.
Writing exercises and feedback.

Lesson 5 Introduction to Publishing, Layout and Production and Review
Editing and layout.
Printing and publishing.
Reviewing progress.
Writing exercises and feedback.

(With thanks to Gill)


Chris

My next 5 week Scottish Research Online course starts August 31st - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Controlling stake in Ancestry.com bought by Blackstone Group Inc.

A 75% stake in Ancestry.com has been purchased by Blackstone Group Inc, for US $4.7 billion.

I have absolutely no idea if this is a good or a bad thing - but it is certainly something worth documenting.

The full story is on Bloomberg at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-05/blackstone-said-to-reach-4-7-billion-deal-to-buy-ancestry-com


Update: Ancestry has issued a statement at https://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2020/08/05/blackstone-to-acquire-ancestry/

(With thanks to Paul Chiddicks and Debbie Kennett via Twitter, and Dick Eastman at https://blog.eogn.com/2020/08/05/news-flash-ancestry-com-sold-to-blackstone-in-a-4-7-billion-deal/)

Chris

My next 5 week Scottish Research Online course starts August 31st - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

ScotlandsPeople resumes certificate ordering service

Although the National Records of Scotland (www.nrscotland.gov.uk) and the ScotlandsPeople Centre (https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/visit-us/scotlandspeople-centre) remain closed to public access, they are now taking birth, marriage and death certificate orders online once again.

From the NRS website:

We have opened our online certificate ordering service on ScotlandsPeople and further information can be found below. Due to increased demand and restricted working arrangements our normal 15 working day target may not always be met. We will endeavour to process applications and issue certificates as soon as we can.

Ordering a Certificate

Customers can order a certificate using Certificates and Copies on our ScotlandsPeople website.

Certificate ordering will be available online Monday to Friday between 9 am and 4.30 pm.

We have removed our priority ordering channel and we will do our best to complete orders as soon as we can however this may not be within our usual timescales.

We can only process online orders and will not be able to process those received by any other contact channel.

For further details, including information on priority orders, visit https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/about-us/service-status.

Historic births, marriage and death records are available on the ScotlandsPeople website (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk), with images for births available if over 100 years old, marriages over 75 years old and deaths over 50. For more recent records you will need to use the certificate ordering service, until such times as the ScotlandsPeople centres re-open, where £15 for a day pass will secure unlimited access to the records to (almost) the present day.

(With thnaks to @mishjholman via Twitter)


Chris

My next 5 week Scottish Research Online course starts August 31st - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Lockdown measures reimposed in Aberdeen City

The Scottish Government has reimposed lockdown measures in the city of Aberdeen, following a spike in coronavirus cases in the last few days.

As part of the measures, the Government has advised that nobody from outside the city should travel to Aberdeen for now, and residents within the city should restrict their movements to within 5 miles.

People in Aberdeen City are asked not to meet other households indoors or travel more than five miles for leisure or recreational purposes. People can continue to travel for work, or education purposes. Visiting in hospitals and care homes will return to essential visits only.

The full announcement is at https://www.gov.scot/news/local-restrictions-introduced-in-aberdeen/, and measures will be reviewed in seven days.

Aberdeen and North-East Scotland Family History Society was due to re-open its premises on King Street at the start of this week (https://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/2020/07/aberdeens-king-street-family-history.html).If you were planning to visit, you might be advised to contact the society - details are at www.anesfhs.org.uk.

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Archives (https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/libraries-and-archives/aberdeen-city-and-aberdeenshire-archives/planning-your-visit-archives) remains closed just now, but are active via Facebook at www.facebook.com/aberdeencityandshirearchives/.

Here's hoping this passes soon.


Chris

My next 5 week Scottish Research Online course starts August 31st - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

No. Not in Scotland.

I read an article last night from Rootstech in 2017 which nearly made me scream from a Scottish genealogy point of view! The article was part of a three part series on pre-1800 'British' research. It contained some classic tips, such as to look at probate records after 1858, and discussed why pre-printed baptismal records after 1813 were much more helpful because of pre-printed forms.

No. Not in Scotland.

Scotland and England may have been in a political union since 1707, but genealogically both countries have remained very independent with the creation of laws and genealogical documents generated thereof.

There are some very key differences....!
  • The Scottish Reformation was in 1560. It had nothing to do with Henry VIII.
  • The state church - the Church of Scotland - was Presbyterian and not Anglican, as in England, Wales and Ireland.
  • Scottish civil registration started in 1855, not 1837 as in England.
  • The civil courts handled divorces from the Scottish Reformation onwards. No Act of Parliament was required for a Scottish divorce, as in England.
  • There is no 'probate' process in Scotland - the equivalent process is called 'confirmation' here. It has been handled by the civil courts since the 1560s.
  • This confirmation process was for moveable estate only prior to 1868. There were separate processes before this for inheriting heritable estate, including the jury based Services of Heirs procedure, or the issue of a precept of clare constat by a subject superior.
  • 1858 was just another year in Scotland.
  • As was 1812. Rose's Act never applied to Scotland.
  • As was 1753. Lord Harwicke's Act never applied to Scotland. It cheered Gretna up though!
  • The most common form of irregular marriage was perfectly legal in Scotland until 1940. One form even continued to exist until 2006.
  • Scotland has no bishops transcripts.
  • Scotland has no manorial records. We do have some lovely sasines and estate records though. 
  • I mean, properly lovely!
  • I forgot to mention. Scotland also had feudalism in play until 2004.
  • You can be prosecuted by a Crown court - the Court of the Lord Lyon - for the illegal use in Scotland of someone else's coat of arms.
  • The Scottish poor law system was revamped from 1845, not 1834.
  • And Scotland did not have workhouses. We had poorhouses.
  • Scotland's censuses did start in 1801, as with England. But from 1861 onwards it has been handled by the General Register Office for Scotland, now the National Records of Scotland. Unlike in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the 2021 Scottish census has been postponed until 2022. 
  • Next year, Scotland looks forward to the release of the 1921 census. In just over ten years time, Scotland will also look forward to the release of the 1931 census, which happily sits in our national archive, currently closed to access. England's equivalent was destroyed during the Second World War.

I could go on...!

Suffice to say, if you want to research Scottish ancestry, you need to see what the Scots did to preserve their ancestry through the records they kept, and to understand that 'British' genealogy only applies to some categories, such as military records and colonial records as kept at TNA in London.


If you'd like to find out a bit more, my recently released book Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records is a recommended starting point! Available from https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Tracing-Your-Scottish-Ancestry-through-Church-and-State-Records-Paperback/p/16848 - and currently on offer at just £10.49 +p&p!


I hope it helps...!

UPDATE: Just for good measure - here's my pal Audrey Collins' FamilySearch video on why England and Britain are not the same thing! See https://www.familysearch.org/help/helpcenter/lessons/what-is-britain (We'd probably haggle on some of wording of some of it, but it makes the relevant geographic points!)

(With thanks to Audrey via Twitter!)

Chris

My next 5 week Scottish Research Online course starts August 31st - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

PRONI to re-open on August 24th with appointment based service

From the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (www.nidirect.gov.uk/proni) in Belfast:

We are delighted to announce that PRONI will re-open to the public on the 24th of August.

We are re-opening with an appointment only service to enable us to adhere to social distancing guidelines and ensure the safety of our visitors and staff.

You must book an appointment in advance, and this can be done via the link below.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/114502558234

You can find full information on the appointment system and current rules and regulations on our website

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/appointment-system-how-visit-proni

We look forward to seeing everyone again!


COMMENT: Please be aware that the self-service microfilm area will NOT be available in this first phase, but microfilms can be pre-ordered for consultation in the Reading Room. See PRONI's guide for details.

Chris

My next 5 week Scottish Research Online course starts August 31st - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

How to use PRONI's online catalogue

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (www.nidirect.gov.uk) has uploaded a handy wee video to help explain how to use its online catalogue, one of its greatest research tools. It is available via its YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/SF3uEA_lW8Q and is presented below for convenience.

  

Note that whilst this will allow you to look for items from home prior to a visit to Belfast, the actual catalogue itself looks very different onsite at PRONI - it documents the same records, but is arranged very differently, as you might glimpse from the image below. You will need a member of staff to show you its working on a first visit, as well as a Visitor's Pass to help you order up documents for consultation (see https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/preparing-visit-and-registration).


There are also some digitised materials that can only be viewed on site at PRONI through the catalogue, such as many digitised church records holdings (see https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/publications/proni-guide-church-records).

Increasingly though, some record sets are accessible from home through the catalogue. For details on how to use the recently added Tithe Applotment Books, for example, see my blog post at https://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/2020/03/pronis-digitised-northern-irish-tithe.html.

Happy hunting!

Chris

My next 5 week Scottish Research Online course starts August 31st - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Ancestry updates World Archives Project keying tool

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has released a new version of the keying tool for its World Archives Project (WAP) crowdsourcing initiative:

Recently we released a new version of the keying tool that addressed the following items:
  • New Ancestry login requirements. The new sign in process will lead you to Ancestry to enter your username and password. If you encounter issues signing in to the tool open a new browser session and sign in to your Ancestry account to ensure you are using the correct username and password. If you are still not able to sign in please contact us at worldarchivesproject@ancestry.com.
  • Fixing the Online Help and project page links. Previously when Windows users clicked on the links for the project page or message board they were often lead to a blank page – this issue has been corrected. If you encounter issues accessing the project page or other support articles please email worldarchivesproject@ancestry.com

You can download the new version of the keying tool here, https://www.familytreemaker.com/AWAP/

There are still items that we are working on, most notably are your Records Keyed and Reviewed counts. We appreciate your patience as we work with our development team to bring our statistics back online.

(Original story at https://blogs.ancestry.com/worldarchivesproject/?p=3056)


Chris

My next 5 week Scottish Research Online course starts August 31st - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

MyHeritage search engine redesigned

From MyHeritage (www.myheritage.com):

We are pleased to announce that our search engine for historical records has been redesigned and improved. Searching our treasure trove of 12.5 billion historical records is now easier and more intuitive than ever before!

We redesigned the search engine to improve the user experience. Our main goals in this initiative have been the following:

  • Provide faster performance to allow users to run more searches in less time
  • Allow users to edit the search while viewing the search results, and run it again, to make it easier for them to locate the records they need
  • Display more results on each page
  • Simplify the experience by unifying simple search and advanced search into one search form that is simple to use and powerful in capability

Additionally, our search engine will automatically suggest typical filters in global searches, and more relevant filters that will enable you to narrow down your searches within the current category or collection you are searching in. We’ve also added icons under the record name to clearly distinguish between a historical record and a family tree record.

More improvements are in store over the coming months, including applying the new design when browsing our collections from mobile devices and more as described in the blog post. Stay tuned!

For furtehr details visit https://blog.myheritage.com/2020/08/the-myheritage-search-engine-for-historical-records-just-got-better/

(With thanks to Daniel Horowitz)


Chris

My next 5 week Scottish Research Online course starts August 31st - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.