Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Genealogy in the Sunshine - day 2 report

The second day of the Lost Cousins ( hosted Genealogy in the Sunshine in Portugal should perhaps have been more accurately described as Genealogy in the Rain, as we had a bit of a downpour - but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of those attending! In the morning I participated at a brick wall brainstorming session with Else Churchill and John Hanson, before having a spot of lunch with the family.

I missed John's first talk in the afternoon on using censuses, but caught up with Debbie Kennett's talk on autosomal DNA tests. This was somewhat towards the more advanced user level, so whilst I understood enough of the talk to get me geared towards taking the Ancestry DNA test that is still waiting for me in my study back home, parts of it were a wee bit beyond me - though Debbie did stress that some of the options she was discussing on how to use the results were geared towards more expert users. Certainly what can be done with the results is impressive, with one example of a genetic family tree that somebody had created identifying DNA segments from many generations of ancestors way back into the early 19th century.

Else then gave an overview talk on the use of English and Welsh probate records on what was the most famous patron saint's day of the year, that's right, Saint Gertrude of Nivelle's Day (cats apparently!), and then I gave the final talk on Irish land records.

In the evening, whilst most of the delegates attended a 'Safari Supper', I ran an online chat session with students on my current Pharos course (Scottish Research Online) before chilling out with my wife and kids and a bottle of wine to toast both Saint Gertrude and of course, Saint Paddy! One note on Saint Paddy's Day is that this is the first year in a very long while where there was seemingly no big release of an Irish records collection by any of the major vendors, which was a tad disappointing - although about 5 minutes before I was due to do my talk Claire Santry did blog an important and useful update on the forthcoming Griffiths Valuation field books which have been digitised by the National Archives of Ireland, which I was able to inform those attending my talk about (and to credit her for!). Be prepared to be very depressed/amused as to why they have yet to go online - see Claire's post at!


For details on my latest book Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, and my other genealogy guide books please visit To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at

No comments:

Post a Comment