Thursday, February 21, 2013

My top 10 things to do from the 3rd Genealogy Cruise

I am hopeful of breaking down some brick walls from the information and knowledge gained on the 3rd Unlock the Past genealogy cruise.

Jill (Geniaus), Helen (From Helen V Smith's keyboard), Louis (Behold Genealogy)Alona (Lone tester HQ)Linda (Mad about Genealogy), Lee-anne (Pear Tree Cottage) and Shauna (Diary of an Australian Genealogist) have already written blogs about their time on the genealogy cruise.  Unfortunately I had difficulty getting connected to the internet while on board and when it did connect, it was so slow that I gave up.

It is going to be a very busy few days of researching as I have a page of "things to do" and revisit.

The top 10 things on my list (in no particular order);

1.  Review the catalogues and research guides for various websites (Public Records Offices, Archives, Scotlands People, Family Search, Find my Past, Ancestry etc).  This might sound very basic but I have tended to jump in and start searching immediately but several presenters pointed out that there is alot more material available, including search tips to enhance research. Additionally missing records will be highlighted, perhaps showing why I cannot locate a particular ancestor. Sometimes we forget the benefits of going back to basics

For example, a search on Denbighshire, Wales in the catalogue of shows the resources and records, which are available (and therefore those records that are not available).

2.  Search for the deaths of my missing Scottish female ancestors by maiden name rather than married name.  I didn't realise that females retained their maiden name in Scottish records. Additionally many names in Scotland are interchangeable so I will search again by both names eg. Donald/Daniel, Grizel/Grace, Peter/Patrick, Jean/Jane, Elizabeth/Isabel, Nancy/Agnes and ensure that I am using the "Wildcard" option.

3.  Search the Scottish Valuation rolls and Irish Land records (landlords and tenants).

4.  Further research on my Scottish ancestors based on the naming patterns often used by the Scottish
     1st son - Father's father
     1st daughter - Mother's mother
     2nd son - Mother's father
     2nd daughter - Father's mother
     3rd son and daughter - after parents
Back to my first point, I today found that if I had previously read the information contained in Scotlands People then I would already have known this!

I have been using Scotlands People for years but Jan Gow highlighted some very useful tips and hints, including that searches in Scotlands People can be converted to an Excel spreadsheet and then results sorted by name.  This will enable me to keep an alphabetic list of all searches completed previously to avoid duplication (and paying extra money for searches that have already been done).

5.  Purchase the Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers, showing the location of both the new and old parishes in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  Additionally, it shows the location of original registers and those that have been indexed.

6.  Write to the relevant County Archives in UK to see if they hold Workhouse Admission, Settlement or Removal Records for my missing ancestors.

Paul Milner and Linda Elliott both suggested this as a method to breakdown my brickwalls.  From what I understand, the parish of birth was responsible for the welfare of the citizens even if they moved to another parish.  If a person moved parishes, they would need a certificate from their birth parish, which was provided to the parish of residence.  Therefore records may be held by both parishes.

7.  Write to the National Library of Wales to hopefully obtain copies of Wills and Probates for my Jones ancestors (wish me luck).  Paul Milner advised that the Wills and Probates have all been indexed but are not yet online.

8.  Obtain a qualification in genealogy and speak to my local history group about potentially presenting seminars to beginners in the area.  I have been thinking about it for some time but Helen's enthusiasm convinced me to make a start on studies now.  Jan Gow also encouraged me to join Toast Masters to enhance my confidence and public speaking ability.

9.  Look into DNA Genealogical Testing.  This was an interesting topic discussed at the dinner table.

10.  Retire my old scanner for the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner.  I had been concerned about the stitching but Jill, together with the examples of scanned documents, convinced me of the benefits.  No more lugging my laptop and large scanner when I visit relatives to scan photos and documents.

My cousin and I climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge prior to getting on Voyager of the Seas (in the background)
I am definitely interested in attending a future cruise. The proposed 2015 cruise is looking good to me!


  1. Sharon, I like the approach you have taken with your cruise report. I need to follow your example and write a list of what actions I need to take as a result of my learning on the cruise.

    It was a fantastic experience.

    1. Thank you Jill. Hopefully I can break down some brick walls before I go back to work on Monday!

  2. Hi Sharon. I'm enjoying the post-cruise blogs and yours has some great ideas for me to follow up on. The Grace/Grizel thing had me tossed. I didn't find my Grace's baptism in Scotland until I started looking for Grizel when told it was a synonym.

    1. I am hopeful that I can find more information now that I know about the naming pattern and synonyms. Fingers crossed!

  3. This must have been a great trip, judging by your enthusiasm. While I don't have a need for Scottish research, what you learned about it sounds like it will produce some good results for you. And about that stitching trick - I got a Flip Pal for Christmas and my first time stitching was like a little miracle. It took 8 scans to capture a document that I printed years ago. I expected it to be a mess, but it turned out amazingly well. So easy. And I'm no Geek, nor do I play one in the blogosphere.

    1. It was a great trip and over too soon. We only attended the sessions that really interested us so we had free time for relaxing and enjoying the cruise too. In hindsight, I should probably have attended more of the presentations. Next time!

      I am eagerly waiting for the Flip-Pal scanner to arrive. They sold out on the boat as it was so popular.

  4. Hi Sharon,
    It was great to meet you on the cruise, and so pleased I was able to suggest some ways to break down those brick walls or at least be able to climb over them !!
    I have a to do list from the cruise, plenty to do during the winter months.

    1. Thank you Linda. Your help was very much appreciated. I shall let you know if I am successful :)

  5. I love your Top 10 style, as well as your 'to-do' points. I do have many of those too. There was literally so many ideas to take away with you wasn't there. I have NEVER filled a notebook as much in genie talks as I did through this cruise. I was wonderful to finally meet you in person, and so glad that you enjoyed it.

    1. It was great to meet you too. Sorry that I didn't get more time to spend chatting.
      In hindsight I should have attended more sessions but Linda often felt unwell in the conference centre. There will always be a next time!
      I have been jamming as much research as possible (from hints provided) into the last few days prior to going back to work tomorrow.