Genealogy Tours of Scotland Newsletter December 2014

 

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Learn about our genealogy research trips to Scotland

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MAY 2014 TOUR ITINERARY NOW CONFIRMED Day 1: Today is a day of arrival. It is a bank holiday. Banks, post offices and other government buildings will be closed. Tourist attractions and museums are open. We will meet in the hotel meeting room in the evening. Ian Walker of Borders Journeys will join us for those who wish to finalize their trip details with him. Day 2: Following breakfast, we will be taken to Scotland’s People Centre. Here we will enjoy a Family History Event, which is not only an introduction to the facility but also a workshop on Scottish Research as well. Coffee and tea will be provided during this event. You are free to research for the remainder of the day. Day 3: For the next two days, the group will be split into two. One half of the group will return to ScotlandsPeople Centre for a full day of research. The other half of the group will make our way over to the Scottish Genealogy Society. Here, we will take part in a Family History event to learn about the resources available at the Society and to assist in moving forward in our Scottish research. The SGS has MIs, burial records, census indices and directories. Day 4: Today will be a reverse of yesterday. The group that went to the Scottish Genealogy Society yesterday will enjoy a full day of research at ScotlandsPeople Centre. The other half of the group will make our way over to the Scottish Genealogy Society for a Family History Event and tour of the Society. Tonight we will meet as a group for a Ghosts and Graveyards Tour through City of the Dead Tours. This tour explores the rich history of the old town, and includes a tour of the underground vaults as well as a late night tour of Greyfriars Graveyard. The Graveyard part of the tour takes us within the confines of the covenanters prison. This area of the graveyard is normally locked. This tour is optional. For those wishing to join us, the fees will be covered. Day 5: Following breakfast, we will walk over to the National Library. Here we will be shown a presentation on what the Library has to offer then given a quick tour. You will require a temporary library card in order to research here. The card is free. The weekend is open for anyone wishing to travel to their ancestral part of Scotland, or simply just to sightsee. Day 8: Arrangements can be made for you to attend the genealogy society in the area where your ancestors lived to provide you with the social history details you won't necessarily get elsewhere. If this is at a distance, you might want to also spend the weekend in the area to gain a better sense of who your ancestors were and then attend the local genealogy society on the Monday, prior to your return to Edinburgh. If you choose to stay locally, you can return to ScotlandsPeople Centre, the National Archives or the Scottish Genealogy Society. Or you can head to Glasgow to the Mitchell Library and the Glasgow Archives. Day 9: Following breakfast, we will return to ScotlandsPeople Centre for a full day of research. The evening will be spent at the Taste of Scotland Show Day 10: Following breakfast, we will check out of the hotel so you can transfer back to Glasgow airport or move on to your next stop in Scotland. We are Scottish not because we were born in Scotland but because Scotland is borne in us

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Pre-Tour Preparation Checklist • Make sure your family tree information is up to date. Make it portable so that you can access it in Scotland. The repositories all allow laptops, iPads and tablets. Make a list of all of the documents you already have copies or originals of. This will prevent you wasting time searching for information you already have. Remember, you will be able to see newer records so you will want to make a list of the more recent records you want to have a look at while you are in Edinburgh. Write out your brick walls and think about what you want to find out to help break those down. Do you need to look at parish records, voters rolls, apprentice records, maps, directories, newspapers? This will help to focus and guide your research time. Make sure that your passport is valid and up to date. If you are traveling from Canada, the US, or Australia, you do NOT require a visa. Your passport is all that you will need and it must not expire before you return to your country of origin. Pack extra batteries, camera cards and other accessories that you might need for those pictures of old homesteads, churches, schools, village signs or headstones. Purchase adapters for the change in electrical currency in Scotland. Pack power cords, USB sticks and other accessories you might need for your computer while you are in Scotland. Laptops can be taken into the repositories. Pack pencils. Pens are not allowed in the repositories. • • • • • • •

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Give Yourself the Gift of Heritage Most of us are at a stage of our lives now where we can focus less on family and work and more on ourselves. To some it has been a long time coming. So, now that time is less of a constraint, why not give yourself the gift of connecting with your ancestral heritage? Come to Scotland. Take time in the archives. Research your roots. Tour your ancestral villages, towns, graveyards. Learn the history and culture. Feel more connected, more rooted. Create a memory of a lifetime. Bring a friend or partner along to share the journey. Non-genealogy partners travel for half price. http://www.genealogytoursofscotland.ca/ FINAL FEES ARE DUE Just a reminder that full and final payment for the May 2014 tour is due no later than January 5, 2014. As per our terms & conditions: "Full payment must be received by January 5, 2014. If full payment is not received by that date, the "reserved" spot will be considered forfeited and will result in the space being offered to those on the waiting list. Deposit will also be forfeited. Deposit is not transferable. Any future reservations will include another full fee, including the deposit." Before You Go: Create a Research Plan To get the most out of your tour experience, it helps to know what it is you hope to find when you are in each of the various repositories. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. What have you already learned about your ancestors (identities, relationships, dates and places) What do you hope to learn? (What questions are still left unanswered?) Make a list of the documents you hope to obtain or view while you are in Scotland. Where, specifically, will you find the records that you have listed above? Make a chart or a spreadsheet to ensure you have the most success you can while on your research journey. Other than documents, what do you hope to do, where do you want to go to really gain a sense of who your ancestors were and to connect with your own Scottish heritage? View of Edinburgh from the Castle Esplanade. Calton Hill is in the background on the right and the North British Hotel is in the foreground (now the Balmoral)

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Things You Need to Know About ScotlandsPeople Centre: • • • • • • Lockers are available for your use. You will require a £1 coin which will be returned once the locker is opened. Pens are not allowed, you must use pencils only You may take your laptop or tablet into the search areas Food and Drink are not allowed in the research areas. There is a café onsite and there are several places to eat within a few blocks of the ScotlandsPeople Centre. If you find an image that is too light, too dark or otherwise illegible, you can have it re-digitized. Simply fill out the form and hand it to the Family History Supervisor in the search room. Your new scan is generally ready in about an hour. The facilities are non-smoking and smokers must leave the grounds Things to Know About Visiting the Historical Search Room: If you choose to conduct research in the Historical Search Room, upstairs in ScotlandsPeople Centre, there are additional things you need to be aware of: • • Bags are not allowed in the Historical Search Room You may take your laptop or tablet into the search areas, but when using the Historical Search Room, computer bags, laptop bags and tablet bags MUST be left in the lockers on the main floor Many of the archival documents are held off-site. It becomes necessary then to order ahead of time so that you won’t be disappointed that you won’t get to see the records you are looking for. There is a limit of 12 documents per searcher per day. The Historical Room Supervisor will advise you of what is required when viewing an original document. This must be strictly followed for preservation reasons. If you wish to photograph a document, original or digital, you must seek permission from the Historical Room Supervisor. There will be forms for you to sign. • • • •

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What to expect on your visit to the Scottish Genealogy Society: •Monumental Inscriptions •Headstone Photos •Burial Records •Old Parish Registers (microfilm) •Census Indexes •Publications from all Family History Societies The Scottish Genealogy Society also has a number of books that contain vital research information. The SGS focuses on assisting you with your research prior to civil registration in 1855. Get back to basics and get tucked into the microfilm or microfiche! The Scottish Genealogy Society is entirely volunteer run.

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The National Library of Scotland The NLS is a national deposit library. It is a reference library and not a lending library. At the National Library of Scotland, you can access: • • • • • • • National and regional newspapers Old maps (these are housed in a separate building) Historical clubs and society records, Business records, Emigration lists, Trades directories, Post office directories In order to enter the search rooms, you will require an NLS card. These are made up at the Registration Desk and are free of charge. The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of the past centuries ~ Rene Descartes

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Historic Newspapers http://www.historic-newspapers.co.uk/ I love old newspapers. The smell, the colour, the information contained within. One of my favourite moments when I travel to Scotland is visiting the National Library of Scotland and knowing the article I want has not yet been digitized. I wait with baited breath for the arrival of “the book”. A large, stuffy, oversized creation. It is bound in cloth and sealed with a knotted ribbon. Like a finely leaded crystal, it is carried in and laid upon its rest. I savour the opening. Carefully tugging on the ribbon, gently creaking back the cover, drinking in the scent and finally, finally, seeing the old pages. I scan, I read, I smile, I utter my amazement at my finds. Last year I was contacted by Tom Walker of Historic Newspapers. He was seeking assistance in promoting his company, Historic Newspapers. Would I be kind enough to view an historic newspaper and give a review? Our wires got crossed and a year later, Tom contacted me again. A short time later, an original 1888 copy of the North British Daily Mail arrived. All beautifully dressed in a red box. The paper is over-sized, discoloured with age (and wisdom?) yet not brittle. That wonderful scent of old ink is still there. It is even better than new car smell! The adventure could now begin. I scanned. The price: One Penny! WOW. Just WOW. I can’t begin to tell you the genealogical gems contained within old newspapers. Information you could never imagine. Finding the information needs good detective skills, and what genealogist doesn’t have that? There are few sensational headlines the way we know them today. Major news stories are often enclosed in small hidden boxes on back pages or within the classifieds. But once found, the feeling of satisfaction is indescribable. And the knowledge of having another piece of the puzzle filled in helps chip away at those long standing concrete walls. In addition, the old newspapers give a first hand glimpse into the social history of our ancestors. We learn more about the times in which they lived. The important issues that concerned them on a daily basis. We see what their cost of living was. The items they coveted. What they did for entertainment. The laws of the times. The volume of information is almost endless. I encourage everyone who has not used an old newspaper as a genealogy resource to do so. You may not find your own ancestor, but the learning and depth of understanding you gain will be immeasurable. You don’t have to use Tom’s services (you can use the British Newspaper Archive, which is also included with a subscription to FindMyPast or GenesReunited). But if you do decide to use Tom’s services, he is offering subscribers to Genealogy Tours of Scotland newsletters a 15% discount. To get this discount, simply use the code 15TODAY when checking out. And if you do decide to use Tom’s services you can then wait with baited breath for the original to arrive… Reprinted with permission of Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches

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