Wednesday, February 10, 2010

'Forgotten' Genalogy News and Views

In my haste with my last post, I forgot to include some additional, and I think, important information. So the 'forgotten' in today's post title refers to me and, I hope, is not a sign, with an upcoming birthday, of things to come.

In mentioning Lisa Louise Cooke's podcasts, I failed to mention that Lisa will be speaking at the Ontario Genealogy Society's annual conference, this year being held May 14 - 16 in Toronto, Ontario. This year's program is themed "Essentials, Innovations, and Delights" and includes an opportunity to join a pre-conference program on Thursday, May 13th. On-line registration is available and a pretty impressive line-up of speakers will be presenting. I've attended these conferences in past and can assure you that they are fun and informative - and, of course, this year you have a chance to meet Lisa!

I also wanted to recommend another podcast series, this one from the National Archives of the United Kingdom. This podcast is particularly beneficial if you have British ancestors as it provides a series of presentations based on the Archives records collection. My ancestors are almost entirely from north of the border in Scotland but as I've learned, there are 'British' records that from time to time include Scots. I have found the podcasts of particular interest to me though as they do a terrific job of setting historical context that give just that little bit of a better glimpse into what life might have been like for my ancestral family. While you may find some presentations a bit academic, many are filled with great British humour. If only the National of Archives of Scotland would do the same!

And finally, I'm a big fan of Scotlands People, the portal into Scotland's genealogical records. I know from discussion with archivists that making record indexes searchable on-line and providing access to record images on a pay-as-you-go fee basis is seen as a model to be copied. Such a system not only provides ease of access to the records but provides revenue for the archives operation. My research has certainly benefited and many a family mystery has been solved by being able to retrieve, view, and save electronic images of Scottish family records. Unfortunately, I've found that the search criteria available from some record types are too broad, resulting in too great a number of results. I've used the website for several years and the criteria really hasn't changed. For example, the criteria for births includes only: surname, forename, sex, year range, county, and district. If you aren't certain of the location, you may find yourself using a lot of pay-as-you-go 'credits' viewing documents that are not the one you need. I'd love to see parent's names added to this criteria. It's doable and would certainly be helpful.

It's likely that I've forgotten something else but if I have, it will just have to wait!

1 comment:

  1. ScotlandsPeople is a great site and I definitely wouldn't have been able to trace a lot of my Scottish ancesteors without it. Unfortunately as you say the search facility is not perfect and that combined with my growing obsession with genealogy can lead to it being rather expensive as I seem to be forever buying credits. However it is still the best place to find and view your Scottish family records.