Conference Lecture Abstracts

Saturday 15 September, 2012

Chris Paton – 9:00 – An Introduction to Researching Scottish Family History

Although Scotland and England have been joined at the hip for over 300 years, since the Act of Union of 1707, Scotland has always maintained its own state church, education system, and most crucially, a very separate and distinctive legal system. In virtually every sphere of record-keeping, Scots did things differently to the rest of the United Kingdom. This introductory plenary session will provide a broad overview of the key areas for research within your Caledonian ancestry.

Lucille Campey – 10:45 – Lord Selkirk and the Settlement of Scottish Highlanders in Canada

Since 2012 is the bicentenary of the founding of Red River (the future Winnipeg), it is a fitting time to reappraise the importance of this notable settlement. Lucille will also discuss Baldoon (renamed Wallaceburg) in Ontario and Belfast in Prince Edward Island—the two other settlements, founded by Scottish Highlanders, which owe their existence to the Fifth Earl of Selkirk. This lecture will highlight the role played by Lord Selkirk and his Highland recruits in the early development of Canada.

Tony Band – 10:45 – Dropbox, Evernote and Online Digital Notes

Genealogy research is changing rapidly! From three-ring binders and notepads to laptops, cell phones and other devices, the ongoing technology revolution has changed our methods and approaches. In this lecture, Tony will examine several online note-taking resources that genealogists of all types can use to transform their research as well as easily share with others. Resources he will evaluate include Dropbox, Evernote, Google Docs, SkyDrive, and various other web services.

Chris Paton – 13:30 – Scottish House and Land History

There are various records that can be used to trace the history of property and land in Scotland. From the twelfth century to the year 2004 the country was feudal in nature, with historic land records that are not only substantially different to those from the rest of the United Kingdom, but are considerably more detailed. This presentation will not only decode the jargon of Scottish feudalism, it will also show you how to trace records for land inheritance, property transactions, valuations, taxes and rentals.

Shirley-Ann Pyefinch – 13:30 – What’s New at

Shirley will outline the changes and updates that have occurred on the website.  Whether you are a beginner or an advanced researcher you can learn how to maximize the new features of this valuable genealogical resource.

Jane Buck – 15:15 – McDNA: Genetic Applications to Scottish Clans

Jane will review the on-going discoveries being made through the application of DNA technology to Scottish clans. Scottish clans were among the first genealogical groups to begin using DNA and currently have some of the largest and most well-organized DNA projects. This, combined with Scotland's unique history of surname use and the well-documented clan genealogy, has led to some of our most insightful geographical and DNA studies. Jane will take an in-depth look at what these studies have revealed and show how our understanding of Western European migrations has been reshaped by these discoveries.

Tony Bandy – 15:15 – Online Books: Are These Really Good Resources?

In this lecture, Tony will examine online e-Books and their related sites, seeing if they can have a place in your everyday genealogy work.  From sites to formats, he will talk critically, giving you both the advantages and the disadvantages of using these in your research. Finally, time permitting, he will also talk about these resources in the light of the new wave of e-Book readers and other digital reading options.
Sunday 16 September
Patricia Whatley – 9:00 – The Archives of the Scottish Poor Law: a Resource for Family History Research
In 1843 a Commission of Inquiry into the “practical operation” of the Old Poor Law was launched, as the law no longer met societal needs. The result was the Poor Law (Scotland) Act of 1845, which changed the public face of such legislation. Both the “old” and “new” Scottish Poor Laws produced distinctive records—parochial board minutes, kirk session records, poorhouse registers—that are rich resources for family history. Patricia will discuss their nature, extent and location, and how best to access them from a distance.

Lucille Campey – 9:00 – Seeking a Better Future: The English Pioneers of Ontario and Quebec

This lecture is based on a recently published study of English emigration to Ontario and Quebec. A mass of detailed information relating to pioneer settlements and ship crossings has been distilled to provide new insights on how, why, where and when Ontario and Quebec acquired their English settlers. Shirley will challenge the widely-held belief that emigration was primarily a flight from poverty and demonstrate that the ambitious and resourceful English were strongly attracted by the greater freedoms and better livelihoods that could be achieved by relocating to Canada’s central provinces.

Chris Paton – 10:45 – The Godly Commonwealth

From the Reformation of 1560 until the mid-nineteenth century, the Protestant-based Kirk was Scotland’s shepherd, moral guardian and disciplinarian, its records today providing one of the key resources for genealogical research. But in trying to establish a Calvinist Godly Commonwealth on earth it defied the Stuart monarchs for well over a century, and through its democratic and Presbyterian zeal constantly split into denominational factions over seemingly endless points of doctrine. By the time of its greatest “Disruption” in 1843, its ancient enemy, Roman Catholicism, was once again back in force, thanks to the Irish Famine. This session looks at 300 years of Scottish ecclesiastical history, explores its implications for the family historian and provides a basic strategy to help search for the relevant church records for family history research.

Ed Zapletal – 10:45 – Writing for Publication: Pitching Your Family History Story to Editors

The growing popularity of family history research has brought about an increase in the number submissions to magazines and journals in recent years. The Internet provides many alternative ways to publish family histories through family websites and blogs, and social networking has become a huge force in the genealogy community through sites like FaceBook, Google+, Twitter and others. Still, there are many people out there who are shy about submitting their work for publication because they are unsure of the process and requirements for making a successful pitch to an editor. Ed will explain how to attract the interest of potential publishers of your story.

Lucille Campey – 13:15 – The Scots in Ontario: a New Look at the Data

Using wide-ranging documentary sources including census data, the lecture takes a fresh look at where Scots settled in Ontario. Lucille will discuss when and why people from particular areas of Scotland ended up where they did in Ontario, thus providing possible clues to genealogists wishing to locate the geographical origins of their Scottish ancestors. 

Jane Buck – 13:15 – New Avenues in Genetic Genealogy

Jane will cover how DNA testing works and how it can be used to trace anthropological origins and reunite families. She will also demonstrate how recent scientific breakthroughs, specifically microarray technology and autosomal DNA testing, have greatly expanded the possibilities of making genealogical discoveries. All topics discussed will be useful for both beginners and experienced researchers.

Chris Paton – 15:00 –The Mount Stewart Murder

The subject of Chris Paton’s latest book, the Mount Stewart murder is not only the story of the longest unsolved murder by a modern British police force, it is also the tale of the brutal killing in 1866 of one of his direct ancestors, his three times great-grandmother Janet Rogers, nee Henderson. In this session he tells the story of a Victorian Scottish murder and its subsequent investigation, and explores not only how he uncovered this tragedy, but also the bitter sting in the tale, which concluded the story some two decades later.