New Genealogy Guides for England and Scotland

News Release from FamilySearch:

SALT LAKE CITY-FamilySearch announced today the release of two new free research tools that will help those with British and Scottish roots to find their ancestors. The research guides, Finding Records of Your Ancestors, England, and Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Scotland feature easy-to-follow instructions, colorful graphics, and removable worksheets. Free copies can be viewed, downloaded, or printed online at FamilySearch.org.

The guides will help take the guesswork out of British and Scottish genealogical research by simplifying the process and giving users a specific, proven strategy to use. In an inviting workbook style, the guides show users which records to search, what to look for, and what tools to use. The steps and tools needed to navigate British and Scottish historical records to find ancestors are colorfully outlined.

Finding Records of Your Ancestors, England and Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Scotland, are the latest additions to the popular series of free online publications. The guides are designed for those who have already gathered some family history information about their British or Scottish ancestors and are ready to search public and private records-they are must-have reference tools for researchers of British or Scottish genealogy.

The guides explain different types of records in England and Scotland and instruct the user when and how to use specific records. Real-life case studies allow readers to see for themselves how the research process works. Expert search tips, including tips on how to use the Family History Library Catalog, are included. Also included are maps, key dates in British and Scottish histories, and guides for reading respective genealogical records.

Other guides in the Finding Records of Your Ancestors series include African American, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Jewish, Mexico, Norway, and Sweden.

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world’s largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at FamilySearch.org or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

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New Genealogy Guides for England and Scotland

News Release from FamilySearch:

SALT LAKE CITY-FamilySearch announced today the release of two new free research tools that will help those with British and Scottish roots to find their ancestors. The research guides, Finding Records of Your Ancestors, England, and Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Scotland feature easy-to-follow instructions, colorful graphics, and removable worksheets. Free copies can be viewed, downloaded, or printed online at FamilySearch.org.

The guides will help take the guesswork out of British and Scottish genealogical research by simplifying the process and giving users a specific, proven strategy to use. In an inviting workbook style, the guides show users which records to search, what to look for, and what tools to use. The steps and tools needed to navigate British and Scottish historical records to find ancestors are colorfully outlined.

Finding Records of Your Ancestors, England and Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Scotland, are the latest additions to the popular series of free online publications. The guides are designed for those who have already gathered some family history information about their British or Scottish ancestors and are ready to search public and private records-they are must-have reference tools for researchers of British or Scottish genealogy.

The guides explain different types of records in England and Scotland and instruct the user when and how to use specific records. Real-life case studies allow readers to see for themselves how the research process works. Expert search tips, including tips on how to use the Family History Library Catalog, are included. Also included are maps, key dates in British and Scottish histories, and guides for reading respective genealogical records.

Other guides in the Finding Records of Your Ancestors series include African American, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Jewish, Mexico, Norway, and Sweden.

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world’s largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at FamilySearch.org or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

Daniel J. MacARTHUR and Martha JOHNSON


Source: MacArthur, Daniel J. and Martha Johnson. Photograph. C. 1863. Original photograph believed to be in the possession of Nancy Masten Peugh, Manton, Michigan. 1999.

This is one of my paternal 3rd-great-grandparent couples, Daniel J. MacARTHUR and his wife, Martha JOHNSON. Daniel was born 7 June 1827 in Glengarry Co., Ontario, Canada to first-generation Canadians of Scottish descent. Martha was born 20 October 1844 in Ingham Co., Michigan. Her mother’s family, the MASSEYs, brings the only ancestry located south of the Mason-Dixon line to my family tree, from Kent Co., Maryland. This photograph may have been Daniel and Martha’s wedding portrait. They were married 27 February 1863, probably in Montcalm Co., Michigan. However, it appears that Martha may be with child, and it is know that their eldest son, Henry A. McARTHUR, was born 11 December 1865 in Clinton Co., Michigan. Since Daniel was serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, it may be that they did not get an opportunity to have a photograph taken until the war was over.

Besides Henry, who died in 1944, Daniel and Martha had six other children: Daniel Thomas (1867 – 1945); Catherine A. “Kate” (1869 – 1956); George Clinton “Clint” (1871 – 1936); my ancestor Mary E. “Mae” (1875 – 1959); William Edward “Will” (1880 – 1973); and Arlie Mae McARTHUR (1884 – 1971).

Daniel served in Company I of the 1st Regiment of Berdan’s Sharpshooters out of Michigan. Near the close of the war, he was furloughed due to illness and sent home to recuperate. During that time the war ended, and for whatever reason either he did not report back to his unit or no record was made or kept of his return. At any rate, when he later applied for a veteran’s pension, he was denied, although he appealed unsuccessfully several times.

Daniel and his wife and family lived all over the lower peninsula of Michigan, from the northwest to the southeast and every county in between, it seems. I’m still putting together a timeline to show his many residences in chronological order for my research purposes. For most of his life, his occupation was listed as a farmer, except for the time when he was listed as a shoemaker on his daughter Kate’s birth record. Martha died in 1897, and Daniel outlived her by 22 years. Although he married late in life (age 35), he lived long enough to see some of his great-grandchildren. He and Martha are buried in the Phillips/Danley/Hill Cemetery, Fulton Twp., Gratiot Co., Michigan.

Daniel J. MacARTHUR and Martha JOHNSON


Source: MacArthur, Daniel J. and Martha Johnson. Photograph. C. 1863. Original photograph believed to be in the possession of Nancy Masten Peugh, Manton, Michigan. 1999.

This is one of my paternal 3rd-great-grandparent couples, Daniel J. MacARTHUR and his wife, Martha JOHNSON. Daniel was born 7 June 1827 in Glengarry Co., Ontario, Canada to first-generation Canadians of Scottish descent. Martha was born 20 October 1844 in Ingham Co., Michigan. Her mother’s family, the MASSEYs, brings the only ancestry located south of the Mason-Dixon line to my family tree, from Kent Co., Maryland. This photograph may have been Daniel and Martha’s wedding portrait. They were married 27 February 1863, probably in Montcalm Co., Michigan. However, it appears that Martha may be with child, and it is know that their eldest son, Henry A. McARTHUR, was born 11 December 1865 in Clinton Co., Michigan. Since Daniel was serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, it may be that they did not get an opportunity to have a photograph taken until the war was over.

Besides Henry, who died in 1944, Daniel and Martha had six other children: Daniel Thomas (1867 – 1945); Catherine A. “Kate” (1869 – 1956); George Clinton “Clint” (1871 – 1936); my ancestor Mary E. “Mae” (1875 – 1959); William Edward “Will” (1880 – 1973); and Arlie Mae McARTHUR (1884 – 1971).

Daniel served in Company I of the 1st Regiment of Berdan’s Sharpshooters out of Michigan. Near the close of the war, he was furloughed due to illness and sent home to recuperate. During that time the war ended, and for whatever reason either he did not report back to his unit or no record was made or kept of his return. At any rate, when he later applied for a veteran’s pension, he was denied, although he appealed unsuccessfully several times.

Daniel and his wife and family lived all over the lower peninsula of Michigan, from the northwest to the southeast and every county in between, it seems. I’m still putting together a timeline to show his many residences in chronological order for my research purposes. For most of his life, his occupation was listed as a farmer, except for the time when he was listed as a shoemaker on his daughter Kate’s birth record. Martha died in 1897, and Daniel outlived her by 22 years. Although he married late in life (age 35), he lived long enough to see some of his great-grandchildren. He and Martha are buried in the Phillips/Danley/Hill Cemetery, Fulton Twp., Gratiot Co., Michigan.

Happy Birthday, Bobby Burns!

Like any person of Scots ancestry, the bagpipes are the music of heaven to me. When I was a teenager, I worked at a summer camp, where I met several new friends who attended a high school here in Spokane where the mascot is a Highlander. One of my new friends played the bagpipes and would practice them at camp. He taught me how to dance a few steps of the Highland Fling while he played…what fun! Now that I’m an adult, my children attend this same high school, and every public event, whether an all-school assembly or Parent Night, begins and ends with the Pipe and Drum Band marching into/out of the auditorium while playing Scotland the Brave with the Highland Dancers accompanying them. It sends chills up and down my spine every time I hear it!

Needless to say, I was thrilled when I came across the non-genealogy blog, Piping Girl. During this month of January, she’s been blogging about the Burns Supper, traditionally held around this time of year as a commemoration of the January 25th birthday of Robert Burns, Scotland’s famous poet. She also wrote about the Kirkin’ of the Tartan, and I was interested in learning that Peter Marshall, U.S. Chaplain, revived this tradition in the United States. (He was also the husband of one of my favorite authors, Catherine Marshall, who wrote Christie among many other titles.)

If you are a Scots descendant, or merely interested in Gaelic traditions, you’ll want to check out Piping Girl’s blog. Perhaps you’ll even be able to find a Burns Supper to attend in your community!

Happy Birthday, Bobby Burns!

Like any person of Scots ancestry, the bagpipes are the music of heaven to me. When I was a teenager, I worked at a summer camp, where I met several new friends who attended a high school here in Spokane where the mascot is a Highlander. One of my new friends played the bagpipes and would practice them at camp. He taught me how to dance a few steps of the Highland Fling while he played…what fun! Now that I’m an adult, my children attend this same high school, and every public event, whether an all-school assembly or Parent Night, begins and ends with the Pipe and Drum Band marching into/out of the auditorium while playing Scotland the Brave with the Highland Dancers accompanying them. It sends chills up and down my spine every time I hear it!

Needless to say, I was thrilled when I came across the non-genealogy blog, Piping Girl. During this month of January, she’s been blogging about the Burns Supper, traditionally held around this time of year as a commemoration of the January 25th birthday of Robert Burns, Scotland’s famous poet. She also wrote about the Kirkin’ of the Tartan, and I was interested in learning that Peter Marshall, U.S. Chaplain, revived this tradition in the United States. (He was also the husband of one of my favorite authors, Catherine Marshall, who wrote Christie among many other titles.)

If you are a Scots descendant, or merely interested in Gaelic traditions, you’ll want to check out Piping Girl’s blog. Perhaps you’ll even be able to find a Burns Supper to attend in your community!

Resources for Irish Genealogical Research from a Beginner’s Perspective

We don’t have much Irish heritage, my husband and I. Both of us have ancestral lines that resided in Ireland for a couple of generations. A closer look at these families indicates that all but one–which came from France–immigrated from Scotland: the typical Ulster Scots. After a few generations, the families moved on to North America; my husband’s to Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia, and mine to Ontario. His arrived during typical Scotch-Irish migration periods of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, while mine came over during the 1830s.

I also have an adoptive line from Ireland. My paternal grandmother’s adoptive mother, Nellie May CONCIDINE, was a second-generation American, whose paternal grandfather arrived from Ireland in New York State sometime before 1849, perhaps residing first in New Jersey. I haven’t yet been able to get them “over the ocean,” so to speak, so I’m not sure from which county they hailed.

Am I ready to do Irish research? No. There are too many generations between us and our Irish-born ancestors for me to delve into this with any quality results. I’ve long ago learned the rule of genealogy to start with myself (or my husband) and work backward through time, pausing to dig as deeply as I can to extract all possible clues before moving on to the previous generation.

However, I can educate myself along the way, so when I do feel prepared to tackle these challenges, I will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools. One way is to read everything I can get my hands on about Irish genealogy, research, and history. I should also look at Scottish resources, to help me better understand the history, culture and migration patterns of the Ulster Scots. The genealogy room of the Spokane Public Library’s downtown branch is stocked and staffed by members of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society, and its collection holds a wealth of publications, especially on Irish genealogy. That will be a great place to start. Also, this past year, I acquired three books that I believe will be helpful in my quest.

The first is General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland Based on the Census of Ireland for the Year 1851 (1861; reprinted in 2000 by the Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland). It is a 968-page chart of all the towns and townlands in Ireland, showing the county, barony, parish, and Poor Law Union of 1857 that each comes under, as well as listing their acreage, the sheet number of the ordnance survey maps, and volume and page number of the 1851 census on which each can be found. So, for instance, I can look up my SAYERS’ ancestral home of Letterkenny, County Donegal, and find out that in 1851 (two decades after they left for Canada), this townland of a little more than 410 acres was situated in the Barony of Kilmacrenan, and in Conwal Parish, with a Poor Law Union of the same name. It can be located on Sheet 53 of the Ordnance Survey Map, and its information can be found in Volume III, page 126 of Part I of the 1851 Townland Census. All this information will be useful for when I start looking for various records and need to know what government units covered the area.

Another interesting older reference work is Handbook on Irish Genealogy: How to Trace Your Ancestors and Relatives in Ireland by Donal F. Begley of the Irish Genealogical Office (1970; reprinted in 1984 by Heraldic Artists, Ltd., Dublin). This 165-page book consists of six chapters: “Tracing Ancestors and Relatives in Ireland,” “Records and Record Repositories,” “Irish County Maps” (from Samuel Lewis’ 1837 A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland), “Irish Parish Registers,” “Preliminary Research in Home Country,” and “Emigrant Passenger Lists to America.” It is followed by lists of record repositories, pedigrees in printed books, published family histories, common elements in placenames, and useful addresses, as well as a comprehensive index.

My last resource is (A Genealogist’s Guide to) Discovering Your Irish Ancestors: How to find and record your unique heritage by Dwight A. Radford & Kyle J. Betit (2001, Betterway Books, Cincinnati, Ohio). This is one of those newer helpful genealogical guidebooks laid out with icons in the margins listing “tip,” “important!” or “reminder,” and has internet and bibliographic resources in every chapter.

I’ll also read articles on Irish and Ulster Scots genealogy in the magazines I subscribe to, such as Internet Genealogy and Family Tree Magazine. Online resources I can use include Cyndi’s List of genealogical links for Ireland and Northern Ireland and for Scotland, FamilySearch’s Research Outlines for Ireland and Scotland, and searching Google Books for online Irish and Scottish publications. There are a number of researchers I know whose brains I can pick for more ideas, such as fellow members of my genealogical society and other genea-bloggers. One of my favorite new genealogy blogs is the Irish Roots Cafe blog by Michael O’Laughlin, who also hosts a website and podcasts, as well as publishes many books on Irish research.

When it comes time for me to really start digging up my Irish roots, I don’t think I’ll be hurting for good resources!