Sunday, 30 December 2018

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr - Onwards and Upwards for 2019!

So there goes 2018.

For many reasons, 2018 was the year from hell on a personal front that I want to quickly forget, with serious challenges I never dreamed I would ever have to deal with, but it was also a year of great opportunities and achievements - not least of which the fact that my eldest son has now started at university in Dundee, and is having a ball!

Throughout the whole of 2018 I worked as a caseworker for an Ayrshire based member of the Scottish Parliament, Ruth Maguire. This was a thoroughly enjoyable and challenging role combining research skills and day to day problem solving for constituents on a variety of issues, providing a real insight into some of the very serious challenges faced by people from all walks of life. There were many highlights in dealing with the local authority and our local health board, and some light moments and personal delights (including hearing a speech I had drafted in Gaelic delivered within our Parliament at Holyrood!). After twelve full on months I have now decided to move on, but I want to express a huge thank you to Ruth for being such a fab boss – Ayrshire is incredibly lucky to have her fighting its corner, and I look forward to chapping doors for her again soon.

Throughout this year I also continued my genealogy work, delivering many articles for Family Tree, Who Do You Think You Are? and Discover my Ancestors magazines, teaching Scottish themed courses through Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd, and giving occasional talks to societies across the country. I am currently working on a much needed second edition of my Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet book for Pen and Sword, with a lot of developments having happened since the first edition appeared way back in 2013. This blog also recently received its 6 millionth page view, but there's still more to be done!

The one major casualty of 2018 was client research, following a necessary decision to switch to full time work in February from what had been initially a part-time position. As of mid-January 2019, however, I will be returning to full self-employment as a genealogist for the foreseeable future, and itching to get stuck back in again. If you have been trying to secure my services on this front for the last few months, my sincere apologies that I was unable to take on the work, but I will soon be available for anyone who requires any research to be carried out in Scotland. My Scotland's Greatest Story research service details are available at

I am also toying with a few new innovations for 2019, the first of which I can announce now – the new The GENES Blog account on Twitter. Until now I have been tweeting from @chrismpaton, but I tend to tweet as much about politics these days as I do genealogy, and so have now decided to split my online presence on each front. The new account is accessible at @GenesBlog ( – feel free to sign up!

On top of this, I am toying with putting together a short Irish genealogy course, or courses, as well as a few other ideas, but more on that soon... :)

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr / Athbhliain Faoi Mhaise Daoibh (Happy New Year), and onwards and upwards for 2019 – only one life, and fortune favours the bold!


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

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