This year's event had a record turn out, with some 266 delegates, the norm for a Scottish session apparently being about 200, and with some forty walk-ins (i.e. not having pre-registered), which is apparently fairly unusually high also. It meant for a great crowd, so before I divulge more, here's a quick chance to meet some of them and to hear a special Transatlantic message!
I arrived in Ottawa on Wednesday evening and was met at the airport by Joanne Payne, who was helping to run the event this year, and who kindly got me to my hotel. I had no idea that we were so close to the province of Quebec, it being just on the other side of the river, but Joanne pointed out a few sites for me on the way. Ottawa is the national capital of Canada, and so many of the buildings were Government based - a quick look at a map showed that my hotel was actually surrounded by embassies on several sides!
|Drinkies with Pat Whatley|
|Library and Archives Canada|
|Robert Currie, killed in action in 1918|
|War of 1812|
|Genie on a mission...|
On Sunday I had a later start, so I first went to hear Pat Whatley's talk on the Scottish poor law, providing a historical overview on its history and some of the records likely to be encountered. There was a quick break and then I did my first session on the history of the churches in Scotland, and how to find relevant records for all denominations, by far my favourite talk. The biggest laugh, apart from my pointing out Charles I's head before he lost it, was when I showed an image of the Swedish flag and the Borg to illustrate the New Jerusalemites (aka the 'Swedenborgians'!). The session went down well, and after a few more Q&As it was lunch once more. In the afternoon I attended Lucille Campey's interesting talk on the Scots in Ontario, which discussed the migration patterns of Scots emigrating to the province across time. The day ended with me giving a final closing plenary, this time on how I researched the Mount Stewart Murder, a useful case study to pull together much I had discussed in terms of research sources in my other sessions. One question which slightly threw me at the end of this was whether I had ever considered the use of a psychic to work out who the killer was! No, I haven't, but it did give me a chance to tell the audience about my wonderfully dotty spiritualist great great grandfather, who created an experiment in Belfast in the 1920s to photograph ghosts at a funeral, which got a few more laughs!
A great conference, and all credit to the organisers for its smooth operation and great attendance, with particular thanks from me to Ken McKinlay, Joanne Payne and John Reid for their assistance, as well as to those who chaired the individual sessions and did the microphone running etc. It was also great to catch up with other bloggers and tweeters, such as Christine Woodcock (http://scottishgenealogytipsntricks.blogspot.co.uk) and Elizabeth Lapointe (http://genealogycanada.blogspot.co.uk)- Elizabeth's four page guide on the War of 1812 is an absolute gem, so thanks for the copy of that Elizabeth!
|Hitler's car at the Canadian War Museum|
A great event, and I hope conference attendees enjoyed it as much as I did - thanks BIFHSGO!
A few more snaps...
|Lucille Campey's presentation on Scots settlement in Ontario|
|A reading room in Library and Archives Canada|
|View to Gatineau in Quebec|
UPDATE: Interviews carried out for local Ottawa radio show The Gaelic Hour (CJLL 97.9 FM) by Austin Comerton with Lucille, Pat and myself are now online at www.thegaelichour.ca./archives2012.html - click on the link marked 16 SEP 2012. The whole thing lasts for about 40 minutes. (With thanks to Austin)
Scottish Research Online - 5 weeks online Pharos course, £45.99, taught by Chris Paton from 26 SEP 2012 - see www.pharostutors.com
New book: It's Perthshire 1866 - there's been a murder... www.thehistorypress.co.uk/products/The-Mount-Stewart-Murder.aspx (from June 12th 2012)