It has been a very busy spring for speaking engagements. It started in April with a full day workshop at Heritage Mississauga where I presented “Irish Research from a Far” and “Taking Your Irish Ancestors Back over the Pond.” Before I finished the day they had booked me again for October when the subject will be Scottish research.

The next week I was at the Ontario Genealogical Society Region III Annual Meeting in Cambridge. My topic there was “Why Can’t I find it Online? Other resources to help you with your research.”

A couple of days later I presented “A Brick Wall Chisel: The Cluster Research Project” at the monthly meeting for the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.

Then it was a little time for me, well sort of, because I attended the National Genealogical Society Conference in Las Vegas. I was an official blogger and we had a great time. Since we were so close to Salt Lake City we took the opportunity to go and do some research in the Family History Library for a few days. A few days wasn’t long enough.

The week after I got home I presented “I Want to Research my Family History – Where do I Start?” at the Milton Senior Activity Centre.

Jane Watt representing Halton Peel Branch Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2013

The following week I was off to the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference where I presented “Scottish Research from a Far,” “Maiden Aunts of the Twentieth Century: A forgotten generation of women” and “A Brick Wall Chisel: The Cluster Research Project.”

Brooke Skelton representing Waterloo Region Branch Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2013

Last week was my last lecture of the spring speaking tour. I presented “Why Can’t I find it Online? Other resources to help you with your research” at the Quinte Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society in Trenton Ontario.

Quinte Branch OGS Trenton Ontario at the Quinte West Public Library

Now that summer is here I am already booking for the fall speaking tour. I will be presenting a full day Scottish workshop at Heritage Mississauga in October and in November I will be at the Hamilton Branch OGS General Meeting and the topic will be “The Genealogy GPS: How the Genealogical Proof Standard can help your research.”

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

As an FGS Ambassador we are provided with blogging prompts each month. Here are the responses to the questions we have been asked for June/July.

Deciding on the conference schedule depends very much on my selection of lectures which changes several times over the months prior to the conference. When the program first comes out I go through it and mark all the lectures that appeal to me. A few months later I will go through it again in a little more detail and narrow some streams down. Then a week or so before I leave I go through it for a final time and try to narrow it down to one lecture per stream.

Once I have narrowed the lectures down to hopefully one per stream, if not I hope that at least one of them is being recorded, then I decide on what exhibitors I want to visit during the conference. This can depend on what is of interest to me at the moment, new programs that have come out that I want to learn more about, new databases being released by the larger companies and sometimes it has to do with where the conference is being held and if I have any family connections to the area.

How I keep track of when and where I need to be usually starts with the small brochure that is included in our registration bag. I circle things and review the next day’s happenings the night before. In 2012 the FGS had an app that was very useful. I had it on my IPod Touch and could check at an instant where I needed to be. It made things very easy. I haven’t heard anything about this year’s app yet.

My schedule can change during the day at the conference because sometimes you are presented with an opportunity you can’t say no to or you meet up with some new friends and decide to try something different. Don’t schedule the whole conference before you go, be open to anything that may come up during conference. You never know what you might learn or who you may meet.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved 


“Journey through Generations” – A Conference for the Nation’s Genealogists

June 10, 2013 – Austin, TX. Discounted early-bird registration for the 2013 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference will continue only until July 1. Early registrants receive a $50 discount for the full four days, or a $20 discount for any single day. Details at FGS Conference.

The conference will be held 21-24 August 2013 in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the Grand Wayne Convention Center. This year’s conference theme is “Journey through Generations,” and the local hosts are the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) and the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana (ACGSI). Platinum sponsors are FamilySearch, and

The conference offers opportunities for all who are interested in researching their family history, with over 160 educational sessions on records, strategies, and tools for genealogists at all levels. The exhibit hall features over 70 vendors offering a wide range of genealogical products and is open and free to the public.

Luncheons, workshops and special events provide additional opportunities for networking and learning. Make sure the get your tickets to these conference “extras” early to guarantee your spot.

See you in Fort Wayne in August!

Learn More and Stay Connected

• Visit or subscribe to the FGS Conference Blog
• Like the conference on Facebook
• Follow the conference on Twitter and hashtag #FGS2013.
Visit Fort Wayne

About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and represents the members of hundreds of genealogical societies. FGS links the genealogical community by helping genealogical societies strengthen and grow through resources available online, FGS Forum magazine (filled with articles pertaining to society management and genealogical news), and Society Strategy Series papers, covering topics about effectively operating a genealogical society. FGS also links the genealogical community through its annual conference — four days of excellent lectures, including one full day devoted to society management topics. To learn more visit FGS.

Here are my favourite blog posts from the last couple of weeks.

The British GENES blog has a post entitled “National Records of Scotland website now up and running” which is great news. There is a lot of overlap from the other websites but it is a start.

Chris has another post called “1926 Northern Irish census – officially dead.” It has been confirmed that the census was destroyed in the Second World War. This is so sad as it is the first census after the partition.

There are two blog posts from the FGS Conference News Blog about the upcoming FGS Conference in Fort Wayne Indiana. The first is called “FGS 2013 June Conference Checklist” this is a list of things to make sure you do in June before the August FGS conference. The other is called “4th Conference Hotel Added” they have now added the Hyatt Place Fort Wayne to the list of conference hotels. This means that there is a lot of interest in this conference so start making your plans. I am an FGS Ambassador for the conference.

John Grenham’s Irish Times column has a post entitled “An opportunity missed?” which looks at the value of the Minister of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht announcement that the General Register Office indexes will be available online for free. It makes for interesting reading.

The Irish Genealogy News blog has three posts of interest. The first is “National Archives re-indexes online census.” The National Archives of Ireland says they have corrected about 12,600 errors in its online census database that were submitted by users. The site has been updated with the index corrections. Then she put an update which says that the person doing the corrections has moved on and they are on hold again until someone new can be found. I went in when the updates were first announced and noticed the index errors on my 2X Great Grandmother’s name had not be fixed. Then I see the blog update, so fingers crossed it won’t be long now.

The next post is “PRONI marks G8 summit with online exhibition.” I went in and check out the exhibition and it was interesting. Irish documents relating to each of the G8 countries. I so wanted to enlarge the 1864 Canadian passenger list page.

The last post is “Modesty (should) prevent me, but…” A shout out goes to Claire Santry for her mention in John Grenham’s Irish Roots column in the Irish Times. Well done Claire!

The Ancestry Insider has a post called “ Search Futures” which looks at some upcoming search features.

The We Tree Genealogy Blog had a post entitled “Simplifying Your Online Genealogy Life.” She shares how she simplified her online presence.

Anglo-Celtic Connections has a post called “ Bonanza” which lists all the new military and other Canadian records that have just been released. These are early records so they are very valuable.

What were your favourite blog posts? Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

Genealogy Insider – Genealogy News Corral

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

For immediate release

Over 2.5 million court registers added to

Records dating back as far as 1842

Leading Irish family history website has made an additional 2.5 million court records available to search online in its Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912 record set, which exposes the petty crimes Ireland’s residents committed and how they were punished.

The additions feature forty-four new courts in nineteen counties around Ireland. A further fifty-five courts have been supplemented with records from additional years. This brings the total Petty Sessions Court Registers on to over 12 million records.

Notable new courts that have been added are the Limerick City Children’s Court and two courts with pre-famine records – Moynalty, Co. Meath and Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. As well as that, for the first time, seven new courts from Co. Longford have been added, bringing online over a quarter of a million new records for the county. Also well represented with totally new courts are Laois (five) and Cork (four).

Being drunk in a public place, being drunk in charge of a cart, failure to pay rent and allowing livestock to wander on the road are among some of the most common misdemeanors that our ancestors found themselves in court for. Although most defendants got away with a fine, the variety of cases heard gives a real flavour for life in Ireland at the time.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager of, said “We are really excited about this add-on to our Petty Sessions court records. As usual, the stories you can find in them really paint a picture of what life was like in towns and villages in Ireland at the time. From harrowing stories in the Limerick City Children’s Court to amusing ones in Longford’s seven new courts, there is something for everyone in there”.

New courts have been added to the following counties: Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Laois, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford and Westmeath.

To find out if you have ancestors who had their day in court visit

In the Irish Times on 4 Jun 2013 there is an article called “Newly discovered images of Edwardian Dublin’s Herbert Park Expo.” Lantern slides were found that include the expo and several other areas around Ireland such as Belfast and Newtown County Mayo. The Expo was a World’s Fair and one of the images is of a building with Canada written on it. I wonder if that was the Canadian exhibit at the Expo. These are lovely images.

The Church of Ireland Representative Church Body Library have digitized these images and made them available on their Archive of the Month page for June.

After you have viewed a slide show you can view the images again and find labels attached. Not many can identify the people in the images but they are interesting and focus on a particular time in Ireland.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

This is another long list of favourites. I have been busy getting ready for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference this weekend. Happy reading everyone.

Irish Genealogy News has several posts of interest. The first is “Too many histories…” Hedge School debate online.” It is the latest podcast from the Hedge School.

The next post is “More Church of Ireland transcriptions go online.” This is the latest release to the Anglican Record Project. The last post is “So what? So plenty!” which is about the Irish Government’s intention to put the civil registration indexes online.

The British GENES blog also has several posts of interest. The first is “Republic of Ireland’s GRO indexes to go online at” The next is “1895 Scottish Valuation Roll now online.” The last post is “Scottish Online Catalogue Project” which is going to be a wonderful resource for people researching Scotland.

Chris’ other blog is Scotland: Walking in Eternity and here he had a post called “The Tourist’s Matrimonial Guide Through Scotland.” This is a wonderful post and provides a warning to tourists about Scottish marriage customs.

The “Are My Roots Showing?” blog has a couple of good posts. The first is “Evidentia and Mastering Genealogical Proof” where she looks at how the program Evidentia has been adapting to the release of Thomas W. Jones’ book “Mastering Genealogical Proof.” The second post is “My Digital Filing System for Genealogy (Windows).” This came about via the new group on Facebook called “The Organized Genealogist.” I think we are all looking for ways to organize our collections and doing it right the first time.

Dick Eastman had a post called “Save Library & Archives Canada: How Ordinary Citizens can Make an Impact.” If you want to make an impact then check this out.

The Genealogy Canada blog has a post called “Want to track down descendants of immigrants who were on the Empress of Ireland.” If you had people on the Empress of Ireland when it went down in the St. Lawrence River on 29 May 1914 then you need to read this post.

John Grenham’s has a column entitled “Genealogy in Time” where he looks at the ranking system of genealogy websites. He starts with Genealogy in Time which is a Canadian website and says it is ranked as the fifth largest family history website in the world.

GeneaPress announces that “Southern California Genealogy Jamboree: Free Live-Streamed Sessions Announced.” Sign up now to attend the free live streamed sessions from Jamboree.

The Genealogy’s Star blog had a post called “2,000,000,000th Holding Record goes into” If you haven’t used then you need to go and check it out.

The Anglo-Celtic Connections blog had an interested post called “The First 20 Hours – How to Learn Anything.” It is an interesting video.

The last blog post is from a blog I follow not because of genealogy but because of a general interest. They had a post this week that crossed general interest with genealogy. The post entitled “Simply Divine” is about St. Werburgh’s Church in Dublin. This is of interest to me because in the late 1700s my family worshiped there and one collateral ancestor is buried there. I enjoyed the brief history but what really caught my attention was the photographic essay of the church. The last time I was in Dublin the church was closed so I never got to go inside. This helps make up for a missed opportunity but it also makes me more intent on getting in to see it the next time I am in Dublin.

What were your favourite blog posts?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

Genealogy Insider – Genealogy News Corral

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

In honour of Memorial Day MyHeritage is offering free access to their military records until May 28th.

You can read more about the free records on the MyHeritage blog.

Conferences are fantastic and everyone should attend at least one a year. I know sometimes it is difficult to get to them because of distance and the cost involved. These days we can get a lot of information from the conference on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and sometimes live streaming.

The FGS Conference this year is in Fort Wayne Indiana which has the Allen County Public Library. It is is one of the largest genealogy libraries around. I was able to attend the conference the last time it was in Fort Wayne and got to research at the APCL for the first time. You wouldn’t believe all the research possibilities!

Genealogy conferences provide a lot of networking opportunities and the chance to meet new people. I always meet at least five new people at every conference I attend. The fun part is meeting the bloggers I follow on a regular basis in person. Putting a name to the face and having a nice conversation about genealogy without the noticeable glaze over that you get from family and friends who aren’t interested in your passion.

Besides being able to do some research at the ACPL the lectures offered by FGS this year are great. I am not representing a society but I still find the society lecture series informative. This year I am looking at “Creating Master Databases from Local Genealogical Resources” and “Creating a Virtual Cemetery Project.”

The methodology stream holds a lot of interest for me as well. This year I would like to learn more about DNA. Of course you always want to see speakers like Elizabeth Shown Mills and Thomas W. Jones not to mention Paul Milner. Since I am from Canada I am interested in lectures on the Border States such as Ohio, New York and Michigan. It can also be the lure of a great story even if I have no interest in the area of research.

All these are on offer this year at the FGS Conference in Fort Wayne Indiana. Have you registered yet? Why not go in and see what is available on the program schedule. Don’t forget to start working on your research plan for the ACPL.

See you in Fort Wayne!

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

This week’s favourite blog posts cover a couple of weeks because I was away at the NGS conference in Las Vegas and then took several days in Salt Lake City to do some research.

Abroad in the yard had a post called “Century Chest’ time capsule reveals pristine 100 year-old artefacts and messages for the future.” This was a very interesting post about a time capsule found in an Oklahoma church.

Randy Seaver from Genea-Musings has a post called “Changes to the Evidence Analysis Process Map in GPS.” Looks like there are some changes coming and I am sure more discussion.

This is not exactly a blog post but a friend sent me this link to a newspaper report from The West Australian Regional Newspapers called “Genealogist finally has the answers.” Now I just wish the Family History Society of Rockingham and Districts recorded this presentation so I could know how it turned out.

The Mocavo Genealogy Blog has a post called “Tracking Your Genealogy Library: iBookshelf” this is about an app in iTunes to help you keep track of your genealogical library.

Chris Paton of the British GENES blog is “amused by a small archival storm over in the United States” in the post called “Cataloguing conundrums!” He also has several other posts. The first is “TNA adds digitised naturalisation and denization papers.” These records cover the period from 1801 to 1871 and can be searched at The National Archives in Kew.

Irish wills calendars 1858-1922 now online” is an announcement from the National Archives of Ireland and the addition of this record group to their genealogy platform. It is free to search and view.

WW1 Lantern slides found in Belfast church loft” is about the discovery of 77 lantern slides depicting Belfast soldiers from the First World War. If your ancestor is on one of the 77 slides then what a treasure.

The last of the British GENES posts is “Who Do You Think You Are Live 2014 – change of dates” they have changed the dates for the show next year starting on Thursday 20th February and going to Saturday 22nd February.

The Irish Genealogy News Blog has several posts of interest. The first is “Follow the decade of 100 years ago on Century Ireland.” This post looks at a new website that tells the story of “Ireland’s most tumultuous years: 1912-1923.” It is worth a look.

The next post is “17th-century Ireland revealed in 300-year-old-maps” This is about the Down Survey website and the maps from 1656 to 1658.

The last post is “1926 Irish census moves closer to release?” What I don’t like is the question mark at the end. There may be problems with the private members bill to amend the wording of the Statistics Act.

I am very pleased it is a long weekend in Canada because that means that the Canadian Lib Genie (aka Elise) got to post on Librarians Helping Canadian Genealogists Climb Family Trees. Her post is called “Baptism record that appears to solve mystery of Samuel de Champlain’s birth arrives in Canada.” This post makes me want to take a trip to Ottawa to the Museum of Civilization to view the document and others that mark the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s trip up the Ottawa River to the Ottawa Valley.

What were your favourite blog posts?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

Genealogy Insider – Genealogy News Corral

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved 

« Older entries § Newer entries »