Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from the past two weeks.

The National Archives blog had three posts that were interesting. The first is called “Distress in the cotton districts 1863” which looks at the effects of the American Civil War on the cotton industry in North East England. This is of particular interest to me because I have family from Cheshire and Lancashire who were involved in the cotton industry. This post looks at the civil unrest caused by the shortage of raw cotton.

The next is “Is that all there is?” In this post the National Archives explain what they are doing to fix what they call “hopeless Wikipedia articles,” these are articles with little or no information.

The last post is “Olympics – PE kits and tuck boxes” it looks at a website called The Olympic Record. Here you can download records from the National Archives relating to the Olympics.

The Family Recorder blog has a post called “Those Places Thursday – The State of the Poor” which looks at a “useful source for family and local history” called “The State of the Poor, or An History of the Labouring Classes in England, from the Conquest to the Present Period; in which are particularly considered, Their Domestic Economy, with respect to their Diet, Dress, Fuel and Habitation; And the Various Plans which, from time to time, have been Proposed and Adopted, for the Relief of the Poor” by Sir Frederick Morton Eden. This document was published in 1797. This resource sounds very intriguing.

The Irish Genealogy News blog has a post called “Tipperary & Limerick witness statements released” which looks at the Tipperary and Limerick Witness Statements taken from the Bureau of Military History (1913-1931). These are personal accounts of the movement for Independence in Ireland.

What were your favourite blog posts in the last two weeks?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Share This:

366 Days of Genealogy – June

Once a day on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page a new post is shared. There is a theme for each month and June’s was writing and documenting your family history. You will get bonus posts relating to the theme but only on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page these will not be posted on the monthly blog review.

June 1

Since we did oral history last month we are going to look at writing and documenting your family history this month. Writing our family history is something we all put off. Remember one thing – the research will never be finished so start writing today.

June 2

There are several useful books on the subject. The first is “Writing and Publishing Your Family History” by John Titford. This is a publication from England.

June 3

Another one is “You Can Write Your Family History” by Sharon Carmack

June 4

“Writing Family History and Memoirs” by Kirk Polking will help with both your family history and when you start to write your own stories.

June 5

Don’t forget about adding more than names and dates to your family history. “Bringing Your Family History to Life through social history” by Katherine Scott Sturdevant provides guidance to help you find out more about the time in which your ancestors lived.

June 6

“Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century A Guide to Register Style and More” was edited by Michael J. Leclerc and Henry B. Hoff and published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

June 7

Don’t forget about citing your sources. “Evidence Explained” by Elizabeth Shown Mills is the main reference for this.

June 8

Are you afraid of the blank page? Don’t be. My Aunt, an author and teacher, always told me that the writing process starts with the editing. Start putting the words on paper and the rest will follow.

June 9

There are blogs that will help guide you through the writing process. The first is “Create your Life Story helping you record a lifetime of stories.”

June 10

You might also want to check out the blog Family History Writing.

June 11

I think the name of this blog says it all.

June 12

Are you thinking of writing your own memoirs? This blog might help.

June 13

The Heart and Craft of Life Writing is an interesting blog.

June 14

Writing your family history can take many forms. A lot of people write their family history in the form of a blog. It is usually free to start up and you can write something as long or as short as you want. The good thing about this is that it is not as daunting as a book. It is a story and each time it can be different. Write enough stories and you will have your book.

June 15

Some people like to keep family up to date with their research and family history stories via a newsletter. Stark County District Library in Ohio has a guideline for doing this online. They provide a bibliography of books to help you with the process.

June 16

One book that I like is “Start Your Own Newsletter from Scratch” by Jim Terhune. It was published in 1996.

June 17

If you share your newsletter with extended family you never know what new information may come from it. A story you write or documenting some research you have done might jog their memories.

June 18

If writing the history of your whole family is too daunting then why not start with you? You know your own history better than anyone and have most of the documentation and memorabilia that relates to your life. The first rule in genealogy is start with you!

June 19

You can write your own life story with the help of websites who will guide you through the process.

June 20

Writing your family history doesn’t always have to mean writing a book. You could scrapbook your family history and write journal entries. Again you can start with you and your family, and then move on to other generations. Martha Stewart has several ideas.

June 21

You might decide to do a digital scrapbook. You can find a guide on PDF here.

June 22

Does your family have a lot of recipes that have been handed down through the generations? Writing a family history cookbook could be another way of documenting your family history.

Gena Philibert-Ortega has just written a book called “From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes

June 23

If you are going to produce a family history cookbook you could make every recipe you want to include in the book and take a photograph of it. Write down the memories and stories that are associated with the recipe. Then write a small biography of the ancestor who originated this recipe. If you don’t know the original ancestor then the ancestor who is most associated with the recipe.

June 24

A good book on the subject of creating a family history cookbook is: “Meals and Memories: How to Create Keepsake Cookbooks” by Kathy Steligo. This was published in 1999.

June 25

You could start writing your history by picking the ancestor you feel the strongest connection to and write their story first.

June 26

Is there an ancestor who accomplished a lot during their life time? Start to write their story.

June 27

Write the story of an ancestor who was involved in major world events such as war, natural disaster, economic downturn, a mass exodus or something different like winning a sporting event.

June 28

If you have a black sheep in your family you could start writing their story. Remember that if there are people still alive who might be adversely affected by this story to keep it private to spare their feelings.

June 29

Do you have an ancestor who led an everyday normal life like the rest of us and you don’t know where to start? Augusts’ 366 Days of Genealogy might be able to help.

June 30

The important thing to remember is to start now and not put off writing your family history until tomorrow.

To get a new tip each day all you have to do is “Like” Blair Archival Research.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Share This:

Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

The University of Glasgow Library blog has a post called “Matriculation Index images on Flickr.” This is a set of images from the ledger of information on graduating students in the 19th century. The person who entered the names into the ledger got creative with the letters for each section.

Chris Paton of the British GENES blog has a post called “New book due soon – Discover Scottish Land Records.” This guide to Scottish land records will be a must have for anyone’s library. Congratulations on the new book Chris! I can’t wait to get my copy.

The FamilySearch blog has a post called “Capture Your Knowledge in the Research Wiki.” This post helps you to add your own knowledge to the Research Wiki at FamilySearch. The Wiki Support team is available to answer your questions. What information can you add to the FamilySearch Research Wiki?

The National Library of Ireland blog has a post called “Conserving our Newspapers” which takes you through the process of bringing an old newspaper back to life. There are pictures to show you the process and a before and after shot of a newspaper that has been revived.

Dick Eastman had a post this week called “Barking Up the Wrong Tree.” This is something we have all done and a lesson for new genealogists to learn before they make the same mistake.

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Share This:

Ancestral Atlas a Hidden Mapping Gem

Have you heard of Ancestral Atlas? It is a mapping website. It is free to register and you can upgrade to a subscription for £20.00. When you subscribe you have access to history map layers for England, Wales and Ireland; historical boundary maps for the USA; all new licenced data added to the site; Life Maps functionality and other benefits.

The map is world wide and you add events related to your family history and where they happened. If my Great Great Grandmother was born at 23 York Street in Dublin then I can go to that place on the map and upload the information of her birth. You can decide to keep the information private or share the information. You must register to add your own information.

There is a link for quick help where a box pops up and it has information to help you add a new person, edit an existing person, viewing the location of the people/events in your people list, adding an event when you know the location, and many other options. You have the choice of printing this help page so that it is close at hand when you are entering your information. There is a page of FAQ’s to help you with any questions you may have.

When you look at the map for the place you are interested in you will see little blue balloons and if you click on them then you will get information that someone uploaded regarding a person linked to that place.

You can filter your search by given name, family name, start year and end year.

Visit the website and see what Ancestral Atlas is all about.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Share This:

Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

John Reid of the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog had a post this week called “Historic Canadian photographs from TNA” TNA has put about 1,000 pictures relating to Canada on their Flickr page.

Chris Paton of British GENES blog has a post called “Why paper archives won’t disappear soon” which links to a video by the BBC program Click called “Why tech can’t break the hold of paper.” You can watch this video from North America.

Lisa Alzo of the Accidental Genealogist has a series called “Sojourn in Slovakia: The Sequel” where she shares the stories of her recent research trip to Slovakia. These posts make me think it is time I went back to the home country and had a research adventure.

Marian Pierre-Louis of Marian’s Roots & Rambles had a though provoking post this week called “Lesson Learned: Be Careful Making Assumptions.”

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Share This:

Happy 4th of July!

To all my readers in the United States – Happy Fourth of July! I hope you are all enjoying the picnics, barbeques and family gatherings. Tonight will be the big night for fireworks.

While you are enjoying all the family gatherings why not sit down with one of the senior members of the family and have a chat. See what stories they might have to tell. You may find out something new about the family.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Share This:

Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

Eneclann had a post called “Jonathan Swift and genealogy” this week. This is in honour of the fifth Swift Satire Festival in Trim Ireland. Helen Moss takes a look at “what Jonathan Swift might have made of genealogy and discusses his own much talked about family history.” It makes for very interesting reading.

The Auckland City Libraries “Kintalk Whānau Kōrero: family history blog” has a post called “PapersPast just keeps the heritage newspapers coming!” It seems that the digitization of newspapers in New Zealand has had another boost with the release of “The New Zealand Herald (1863-1884) and the last batch of “The Auckland Star (1927-1945).” It is great that some National Libraries are taking on the challenge of digitizing their newspaper holdings. My wish would be that Library and Archives Canada would do the same thing.

The National Archives UK blog had two posts this week. The first is “Planning a Visit” which provides tips for planning a research trip to almost any repository. The next is “A view from the counter” which was written by Sally Hughes who works in the book shop at the Archives. I love to visit bookshops in archives, museums and galleries. They carry interesting and very different items than other shops.

The Irish Story blog has a post called “The Irish Civil War – A brief overview” which provides a succinct overview of the conflict. This is important for any Irish researcher to understand even if your people left before the civil war happened.

British GENES has a post entitled “The tragedy of modern Irish genealogy” which looks at a post written for the Irish Times Irish Roots blog by John Grenham. I like Chris Paton’s suggestion to have them meet in Bewley’s to hash out their differences. As Chris said “there’s no better place to wake up and smell the coffee.”

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Share This:

Genea-Musings Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – My Genea-Bucket List

Randy Seaver issued a challenge on his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun this weekend. He challenged you to write your genea-bucket list. I have never responded to one of Randy’s challenges before. This one is a little late because of our Canada Day long weekend but here is my Genea-Bucket List. Once I started I couldn’t stop!

“What is on your Genealogy Bucket List? What research locations do you want to visit? Are there genea-people that you want to meet and share with? What do you want to accomplish with your genealogy research? List a minimum of three items – more if you want.”

1. Attend genealogy conferences in Canada, England, Ireland and the United States every year.
2. Go to Ireland to do research every year.
3. Go to Salt Lake every year to research in the Family History Library.
4. Write the family history for all 25 surnames that I am researching.
5. Go to Scotland to do research and visit the places connected to my family.
6. Write articles for genealogy magazines.
7. Visit the places connected to my family in Ireland. This would be a very long trip.
8. Visit Australia and New Zealand to do research and see where my family lived.
9. Break through some of the stubborn brick walls.
10. Meet my cousins in the southern United States, Australia and New Zealand.
11. Find some items connected to my ancestors that I have found referenced in museums.
12. Research and complete some local history projects.
13. Speak at a major US genealogy conference.
14. Scan my family photos.
15. Conduct more interviews with well-known genealogists/bloggers.
16. Take a genealogy cruise.
17. Conduct research trips to Ireland. There is a trip set up for February 2013. You can read more here.
18. Inspire someone in the next generation of my family to be interested in family history.
19. Read a new genealogy book every month. This one is harder than it seems.
20. Create genealogy podcasts.
21. Write more books relating to genealogy/family history.

I am passionate about all things genealogy so this is a long list. There are many places, people and research repositories that I want to visit. My excitement was building thinking about doing all these as I was writing the list. They say when you write things down and put them out into the atmosphere that they have a good chance of happening. Fingers crossed.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Share This:

Touring the Research Trail in Dublin: An Irish Family Odyssey

Gone as far as you can with your family history in North America? Want to go further in Ireland? Experienced researchers will love this opportunity to tour the research trail in the Dublin area in the company of Ruth Blair, professional genealogist, author and lecturer who specializes in Ireland. Local genealogical professionals will help you navigate the repositories, with free time to pursue your own research and interests. We’ll help you regroup if you’ve hit that metaphorical brick wall! This is a special opportunity to uncover those hidden and fascinating facets of your own family history abroad.


• We will be in Dublin Ireland from February 26 to March 6, 2013
• Delve into genealogy research at the National Archives, National Library of Ireland, and Church of Ireland Representative Church Body Library;
• Search the General Register Office, Land Valuation Office, and Registry of Deeds;
• Research trip coincides with the timing of the “Who Do You Think You Are? Live” family history show in London, ideal for touring before meeting the research group in Ireland. Take advantage of this opportunity in London to also visit the National Archives at Kew or the Society of Genealogists;
• Research plan preparation, onsite research assistance, and daily consultations in Dublin.


For more information or to register, please contact Ruth Blair at:
or 905-808-3963

Or on the web:

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Share This:

Happy Canada Day!

Today is Canada’s 145th Birthday.

In five years we will be celebrating our 150th birthday. Canada 150 is a program to help people write and share their family and community histories as a way to preserve and promote our history.

What projects can you think of that will help preserve our nations history for it’s 150th birthday?

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Share This: