Sunday, May 23, 2021

Scots in Canada! The Scottish Indexes Conference

This weekend I was at the 10th Scottish Indexes Conference - not only to learn and enjoy, but also to talk about 'Scots in Canada'. 

The next Scottish Indexes Conference will be 10 July 2021 and you can register starting - now (free)! 

If you are doing Scottish genealogy and are not taking advantage of Scottish Indexes, do go there today and see all they offer - no charge, no need to login in. The latest news is that they've added another 107,729 records to their 'Criminal Database' - a research 'gold mine', as we say in British Columbia. And check out the Learning Zone where there's information on all the databases, and read the blog too.


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My Drummond cousin, William, in Saskatchewan, Canada, about 1915.

'Scots in Canada' is a topic 'close to my heart'. 

My own Scottish ancestors came in the 1830s/1840s and settled in the areas that became Victoria and Simcoe County in Ontario. (Scott/Gilchrist/Carmichael)  And many other Scottish relatives came as well, as did William's father, Alexander Steele Drummond, born in 1878 in Edinburgh.  

I will say it was very very hard to choose which Scottish-Canadian topics not to talk about at the Conference. Scots have been coming to Canada for a long, long time. Some think the first might have come with the Vikings (or even been 'Viking'). 

For this Scottish Indexes Conference, I wrote up a web link/book list - it's only about the topics I chose for this talk. But I hope it will be useful to some. 

I've received questions since, and expect to answer them all in the next few days. Let me know if you don't hear from me :-)  Or if you'd like a copy of the list. 

This is a holiday weekend here in Canada as it is in Edinburgh, Scotland. In Canada, we're celebrating both the birthday of Queen Victoria and of our own Queen Elizabeth II - and the start of summer! 

Happy Victoria Day, everyone! 







Sunday Strays - Unidentified girls at the beach - old fashion swimsuits...

 A lovely summer? photograph - no information at all with it. 


The location looks faintly familar to me. Please let me know if you have a guess! 




Saturday, February 27, 2021

RootsTech Connect 2021 - Evening 1 and Day 2!

 Homeland Heritage presentation series entry page. That Contact button is the entryway to chat rooms, or to contact attendees, vendors, or all those relatives that have been found for you. You won't get lost. On screen, there are menus, a FAQ page and a help button too. Screenshot, Mdr, 27 Feb 2021.

RootsTech Connections 2021 has been a great conference so far. This free online experience brought together in record time by FamilySearch in response to the pandemic has brought genealogists, new and not, together in a comfortable, accessible learning space. 

Everyone involved certainly rose to the challenge and exceeded our expectations. It's interesting to see how the pieces were put together and to see how presenters, vendors, exhibitors and attendees are using and even stretching the spaces. 

2021 Attendees: 501,203 people from 226 countries!  

The Main Stage streams have been translated into 11 languages and there are classes in almost 40 languages, including ASL. To search for class sessions in a specific language, go to this RootsTech Connections page. All English sessions can be auto-translated. 

After opening in the evening, Thursday, the 24th, I explored the Expo Hall, eager to see 'what's' new'.  I watched several presentations, met up with attendees visiting the 'Surnames and one-name studies' Chat Room which the Guild of One-Name Studies set up, and I had a good listen to some of the 12 finalists in the RootsTech Song Contest

After the first song I heard, I said, "Surely nothing could beat that one', but not so! All different; all moving. Don't forget to vote for your favourites!

All in all, the first night I stayed up at RootsTech till early 

Today, Friday, the 25th, I mainly sat in on classes, dropped into the Guild Chat Room several times, and explored the Expo Hall again. 

Then I headed off to attend the regular Guild of One-Name Studies Friday Pub Chat. Never a quiet moment there! Today, for example, we talked about copyright/rights, DNA, FamilySearch, My Heritage, Legacy Family Tree software - and as always, Jaffa cakes.

As a nice break, I was then able to attend the 21DayConnect⁩ Desktop Diner, sponsored by the Family Connections Experiment. This is an example of an innovative way to extend the virtual conference and encourage face-to-face discussion. 

I was in two different rooms - all had fun menu titles. The first was "Eat Your Vegetables—Ethical Considerations" with RootsTech presenter Lynn Broderick. Most of the discussion concerned DNA testing.  

The second room was with Thomas Macentee, always ready to answer questions and demonstrate tips. I saw the other day someone somewhere commented that they never leave one of Thomas' talks without something new and I say the same. (Sorry, if you said that let me know. I'll be happy to give you credit.)

Later in the day, I roamed around the Innovators Portal. I'll probably say more about that later. It is one of my favourite places at RootsTech. 

But I will tell you some of my overall Conference favourites so far. 

On the Main Stage presentations, Sunetra Sarker's Keynote discussion was broad-ranging and insightful. 

Some class sessions have been grouped into series. In the Homeland Heritage series, I quite liked "Heritage Discovery in London" by Russell Lynch AG®. A useful reminder of the genealogical and personal value on the ground research brings to family history. 

I enjoyed these two very well-presented sessions. Each left me impatiently thinking of further research to do. I recommend them to all: 

"Girls Must Feed Pigs: Things Our Ancestors Thought and Said" by Darris G. Williams

"Documenting Underrepresented Family Stories" by Larissa Lam and Baldwin Chiu

In the Expo Hall, I first decided to explore the FamilySearch booth and since I've been considering working more in FamilySearch, I watched the group of FamilySearch Memories demos with Denis Francesco Modugno and Jenny Yazzie. 

Clearly, I've been missing out. Denis demonstrated finding recipes there! That's one thing I have lots of and this would be a great place for them.

A look at a few recipes in the FamilySearch Memories section. Screenshot, Mdr, 27 Feb. 2021.


In no particular order, my other favourites in the Expo Hall were Goldie May, a genealogy research assistant, available in a free version or, with a subscription, additional functions. I was very taken with this, especially as it is set up for collaboration. And if you, like me, have families who filled out the 1900/1910 USA censuses, check out the way Goldie May can help you 'find' missing children in 1900 and 1910.

I was also intrigued with the amazing interactive digital family trees that Bright Branches offers, featuring art, photographs and what I'd call 'special effects'. My kids might like these. (And they have big TVs.)

Lastly in the Innovators Portal, my favourites were these four: 

Goldie May -described above -  Richard K Miller

Color Restoration - My Heritage 

Computer Assisted Indexing - FamilySearch  (converting hand writing into searchable text)

Connections Idea Generator - Family Connections Experiment


I have been tweeting as have many others. Hashtag #RootsTechConnect  

I wasn't able to attend #Rootschat tonight but check out the RootsTech Connect discussions there. 

See you all tomorrow. Bright and early! Don't forget your lunch.