Step AWAY From Your Computer!

Having just returned from leading another very successful genealogy research tour in Scotland, I am in awe, once again of the experiences that my tour participants were able to enjoy in their ancestral homeland.

Perhaps my favourite story belongs to Beth. Beth and her daughter asked my colleague, Ian Walker to assist them with learning more about their Glasgow ancestors. The magic occurred when Beth, valuation roll in hand, mentioned to Ian that she would like to find her grandmother’s childhood home, Lochiel. Ian managed to find the street, but none of the homes seemed to have the name Lochiel. As luck would have it, a woman on the street, Patricia, was unloading groceries from her car. Ian asked if she happened to know which house might have been Lochiel. Sadly, she didn’t but her husband likely did. He has a website about the houses on the street. Beth, her daughter and Ian were invited in to meet Bob. Bob wasn’t able to pinpoint the house either, but asked Patricia to ask neighbour Kevin if he might know.

Not only did Kevin know, he was living in the house!! Kevin invited Beth and her daughter  in for a tour of Beth’s granny’s home. The house had been renamed to Lochiel Lodge after Beth’s grandmother had lived there and is now simply a number on the street. Beth continues to stay in touch with Bob and plans to visit him and Patricia next April when she returns to Glasgow for more research.

Photo courtesy of Ian Walker, Borders Journeys. Posted with permission.

Photo courtesy of Ian Walker, Borders Journeys. Posted with permission.

Another ancestral tour included a visit to Inverallan Cemetery and Duthil Churchyard which held the headstones of several of my participant, Dale's ancestors. Dale and his wife were also able to visit the MacGregor croft where his third cousin-once removed, now lives. A great deal of family information and stories were shared.

Photo courtesy Ian Walker, Borders Journeys. Posted with permission

Photo courtesy Ian Walker, Borders Journeys. Posted with permission

My participant Karen has ancestors from Crieff. In our pre-tour discussions, I mentioned to Karen that the Innerpeffray Library is the oldest lending library in Britain and still has their original borrower's registers. Karen contacted the library ahead of time to arrange a visit. When she arrived, the staff handed her to borrower's register that showed her ancestor's names and the books that they had borrowed from the library. Then, they handed her the books her ancestor had read!

My participant Yolanda had an ancestor who had been transported to Australia at age 16. Because he had a history of offences, he was sentenced to 14 years instead of the usual 7. Yolanda had been to Edinburgh before and had gone to see where her ancestor had lived. This year, however, Robert, a colleague who is an amazing historian, took her and her husband on a personal tour to the part of Edinburgh her ancestor had lived and gave her detailed information about the social history of the area at the time when her ancestor had lived there.

A couple of participants went to church services at the churches where their ancestors had been baptized, married, or had their children baptized. They were treated like long lost relatives when they arrived for service!

Others find amazing details in the records that fill answer questions about the lives of their ancestors. They move beyond the births, marriages and deaths and dig into the tax records, the Kirk records, the court records or the poor law applications.

All of my participants feel a sense of fulfillment, a deeper connection to their ancestors and to their own personal history.

You, too, can connect on a level you didn't know possible if you just step AWAY from your computer!







About Christine Woodcock

Scottish born, Canadian raised, Christine Woodcock is a genealogy educator with an expertise in the Scottish records. She enjoys sharing new resources to assist others in their quest to find and document their heritage. Christine is also a lecturer, author and blogger. She is the Director of Genealogy Tours of Scotland ( and enjoys taking fellow Scots “home” to do onsite genealogy research and to discover their own Scottish heritage.

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