Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Happy New Year for 2020!

So that's another year passed, and we're heading into 2020 - thanks to all who have read this blog and apologies for occasional disruptions in service, it has been yet another fairly busy year!

In addition to having two books published, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (Second Edition) and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records, I have had one of my busiest years ever on the client work front, with many fascinating commissions including a house history for a property in Ayrshire dating back to the mid-17th century, and several Brexit related queries concerning the location of Irish records for passport applications.

I have also led four Scottish themed courses for Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd (www.pharostutors.com) throughout the year, written countless articles for publications in Scotland, England and Canada, and given many talks, including one in Manchester and another at my former university in Glasgow (Strathclyde), which was a lot of fun.

In addition, I spent a couple of months in the middle of the year working yet again as a caseworker, this time for a member of the UK parliament, following last year's 12 month stint working in a similar role for a member of our Scottish Parliament. This is a job which at times can be emotionally demanding in dealing with some very serious problems faced by people in everyday life, and as we move into 2020, I would again point you to a post I put up before Christmas with links to many organisations and people in Scotland and rUK who can help in crisis situations – you can find this at https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/2019/12/support-helplines-over-festive-period.html. (In fact, I might just add a new page to the top of this blog and make that a more permanent feature.) On the personal front I have been caught up for the last two years in a fairly horrendous situation of my own, which has certainly taken its toll, but which should thankfully be hopefully resolved in the next few months. Partly as a consequence of this I have recently moved to Irvine, and am thoroughly enjoying life in my new home, with my family and with many good friends nearby.

So, 2020 then, what's the craic?!!! Well, I have recently turned down the offer of another caseworker position, which I may well regret, and have instead decided to go full pelter again on the genie front, which I certainly won't! On that front, I am currently proofing my next book, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, to be released in April, and am already in the middle of writing my next book, Sharing Your Family History on the Internet, which is turning into a lot more fun than I was expecting!

These will be followed by two Irish themed books, one specifically for the north and the other on an all island based subject which I hope will be of interest. The first of these will be delivered towards the end of this year, for publication in 2021, with the next on the cards for writing in 2021.

On the research front I have a few clients ongoing through my research service (www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk), with the Christmas rush as a recent priority for some clients meaning a few delays for others, which I will try to resolve in the next month or so. One thing I am hoping to push a bit more is house history work in Scotland, because the records are just so much fun to dissect, but I'll be predominantly continuing with Scottish based family history research, with occasional forays into Ireland. Check my website for rates, T&Cs, etc.

I am also heading back overseas for the first time since 2017, and then some! In July I am very much looking forward to visiting Illinois for the Celtic Connections conference; you can see my list of talks at www.celtic-connections.org/ccc_speakers.html, along with a note of other speakers' offerings - it's going to be a great event! Then in September I am heading back to Kelowna, British Columbia, for a conference organised by Kelowna & District Genealogical Society (www.kdgs.ca). I have not spoken to this society before, but I did fly to Kelowna on my way to an event in Vernon a few years back, and it's a wonderful part of the world.

Then in October comes the biggie, where I will be teaching the week long Irish strand of the ISBGFH's 'British Institute' in Salt Lake City, which will be fun. Keep an eye out on the society's site at https://isbgfh.org for further details in due course. Although I have been working as a genie now for 15 years, you may be surprised to know that this will be my first trip to Salt Lake City as a genealogist – the one and only time I have been there before was when working on a documentary series for Scottish Television in 1999, so I am finally hoping to work out the lay of the land there in genealogy terms this time. I am also currently discussing participation in a couple of other major events, which should hopefully be confirmed and announced soon.

Also on the tuition front I will be continuing with the two Pharos Scottish themed courses (originally written by Sherry Irvine), Scottish Research Online and Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the OPRs, with the dates listed at www.pharostutors.com/coursesmainsd.php. And I'll keep trying to bring you news as and when I get it! (If you want to share any stories, or announce events you might be organising in Scotland, the rest of the UK or Ireland, drop me a note at chrismpaton @ outlook.com, I'm only too happy to oblige).

All that is left for me to say now is to enjoy Hogmanay, and I will see you on the other side - Happy New Year / Bliadhna Mhath Ùr / Athbhliain Faoi Mhaise Daoibh!

PS: Thanks to MyHeritage for my Christmas blanket!


Order Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Tracing-Your-Irish-Family-History-on-the-Internet-Paperback/p/16483. and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Tracing-Your-Scottish-Ancestry-through-Church-and-State-Records-Paperback/p/16848. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

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