General Register Building of the National Archives of Scotland

“Every birth, death, and marriage is recorded in these color-coded leather-bound books.”

While you might never get there in person, it would be nice to see what the place looks like. The Atlas Obscura web site has pictures and a description of the building that will be of interest to any genealogist researching Scottish ancestry.

The article states:

“These millions and millions of pages contain MacDonalds, Stewarts, Campbells and Murrays, along with almost as many variant spellings. They may just look like names in a book, but each is a memento of a life begun, ended, or joined to another on Caledonian soil.”

You can view the pictures and description at


Founders, Fishermen, and Family History Cruise Features Genealogy and History

The following announcement was written by Gena Philibert-Ortega:

Sail from Boston to Nova Scotia in August 2019

28 February 2018 – Gena Philibert-Ortega’s Founders, Fishermen, and Family History cruise sponsored by MyHeritage will set sail August 10-17, 2019, from the Port of Boston, Massachusetts. Sailing on the Holland America Line ship ms Veendam, additional stops planned are Portland, Maine; Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Genealogists Gena Philibert-Ortega, David Allen Lambert, Daniel Horowitz, and Tami Osmer Mize will provide educational presentations, technology demonstrations, and consultations. In addition, a pre-cruise day (August 9, 2019) at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society includes an opportunity to learn more about the Society holdings and allows time for research. Additional events are being planned, including special presentations and a tour at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

NGS Opens Registration for a Guided Research Trip to Madison, Wisconsin

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) National Genealogical Society:

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 15 FEBRUARY 2018—Explore the Wisconsin Historical Society Library and Archives—one of our nation’s most extensive repositories—and the Max Kade Institute, a notable source of German and German American research materials. Sign up today for the National Genealogical Society (NGS) guided research trip to Madison, Wisconsin, 6–10 August 2018. Registration is limited to thirty participants.

The Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) Library and Archives’ genealogy and history collections are national in scope, including records of people who lived or passed through its territory as well as throughout the U.S. Its collection of newspapers, journals, magazines, and union and guilds publications from around the country is only surpassed by the Library of Congress. The Society’s Draper collection of 491 volumes (ca. 1775-1815) concentrates on the area known as “Trans-Allegheny West,” including the western Carolinas and Virginia, some portions of Georgia and Alabama, the entire Ohio River valley, and parts of the Mississippi River valley.

Genealogy Tours of Scotland Announces a 2019 Celtic Genealogy Cruise

The following announcement was written by Genealogy Tours of Scotland:

Visit Your Ancestral Homeland by Sea
May 4 – 16, 2019
Aboard Crown Princess

Are you ready to learn more about your Celtic Ancestors? Join us for a Celtic Genealogy Cruise, where we combine genealogy travel with research opportunities, chances to consult with local genealogists who can assist you with your brick walls, and loads of fun ways to connect with your Celtic heritage.

The cruise starts and ends in Dublin, Ireland. Ports of call include:

A Brief Update from Beijing

As mentioned in an earlier article, I am now in Beijing, China. I arrived yesterday after what was a very long airplane ride. I am now in a hotel room and have caught up on a lot of missing sleep. This morning (Chinese time) I connected via the hotel’s wi-fi network to the Internet.

As I expected, the “Great Firewall of China” blocks a lot of web sites, including Google, Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, CNN, and many other sites. At first, I couldn’t even check my email for new messages. However, I then enabled a software VPN (virtual private network) that I always use, both at home and when traveling. Voila! Every web site I have tried since then has now worked normally, just as expected. I can check email and surf the web as I please.

Last Chance (?) to Sign Up for an 8-Night Eastern Caribbean Genealogy Cruise

This may be your last opportunity to sign up for an 8-night genealogy cruise, hosted by Gary and Diana Smith. Other speakers will include Donna Moughty, and some guy named Dick Eastman who writes a genealogy newsletter. If you would like to join this fun group of genealogy cruisers, you might want to mark April 15-23, 2018, on your calendar. While 2018 sounds like a long time in the future, it is only 6 months from now. This is the time to be making cruise ship reservations!

The 2018 Eastern Caribbean Genealogy Cruise will be on board the Celebrity Equinox and will sail the Eastern Caribbean. It holds 2,850 passengers. The Equinox was voted the “Best Overall Cruise (Large Ship)” by the Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards in 2015. You can learn more about the Celebrity Equinox at

Go Ahead Tours, Ancestry Collaborate to Launch New Tour Portfolio

I mentioned this briefly in an article last week at Now Go Ahead Tours has released an announcement that contains many more details:

This unique portfolio of tours will offer experiences that will take travelers on a journey into their personal histories

September 11, 2017 (CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS) – Go Ahead Tours and Ancestry today announced a new portfolio of tours that will take travelers on a journey into their personal histories. These exciting trips combine Ancestry’s proprietary DNA technology and access to expert Genealogists with Go Ahead’s high-quality international travel experiences. The new portfolio of heritage trips will launch this fall with itineraries in 2018 to Ireland, Italy, and Germany. New tours featuring additional destinations will be announced in early 2018 with first departures in 2019.

“We are thrilled to team up with Ancestry to introduce this special way for travelers to experience a destination in a new light,” said David Henry, VP of Marketing at Go Ahead. “So many of our customers travel to connect with their heritage, and this was our inspiration to collaborate with the team at Ancestry. These trips will help our customers explore their family story with even greater insight and visit the places where their ancestors once walked.”

Genealogy Travel with Go Ahead Tours and AncestryProGenealogist

Genealogy cruises have become quite popular and several have been described in this newsletter in recent years. (See for some of my past articles about genealogy cruises.) Now a new player is has partnered with Go Ahead Tours to launch heritage-geared tour offerings, led by an expert genealogist and based on your own DNA test.

AncestryProGenealogists and Go AheadTours will offer tours of Ireland, Italy, and Germany in 2018 to start. AncestryProGenealogists’ experts will lead the personal history charge, which is based on an AncestryDNA kit travelers take before departure. Each tour’s genealogist will discuss travelers’ DNA results with them before the trip, and can assist in building a family tree to use on the tour. During this consultation, travelers will have the option to add on site or home visits to specific villages or towns their ancestry searches lead them to—for an added price.

You can read more about these DNA tours at

Announcing an October 2018 Genealogy Research Trip to Dublin or Belfast, Ireland

The following announcement was written by Donna Moughty:

Sarasota, FL — Donna Moughty, a professional genealogist and specialist in Irish research, will again be taking a group of researchers to Ireland in October of 2018. The Belfast Research Tour from Oct 7-13 will visit the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, the Ulster Historical Foundation, the Linen Hall Library and the Ulster American Folk Park and Mellon Library for Emigration Studies. The Dublin Research Tour from October 14-21 includes the National Library of Ireland, National Archives, General Register Office, Valuation Office and Registry of Deeds. In both cases, other repositories can be scheduled as needed.

Announcing the 14th Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise (Alaska 2018)

The following announcement was written by Unlock the Past:

Adelaide, South Australia, 17 May 2017 – Unlock the Past Cruises announces its 2018 cruise – an opportunity to discover more about your family history while in great company and visiting great destinations.

The Alaska cruise, 7-14 September 2018 on Royal Caribbean‘s Explorer of the Seas will leave from Seattle, visiting Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia over 7 days.

The conference program will feature 40–45 talks in three streams from an international team of 12–15 speakers. No talks will occur when in port or during scenic cruising. An optional full day extra seminar is being considered the day before the cruise to offer additional value to the many who will travel from a distance. This will feature leading North American speakers and a different program.

The featured presenters on the cruise are:

On the Road Again

By the time you read these words, I should be either en route to or have arrived in Massachusetts. I will be attending the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium’s conference in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The event is sponsored by a long, long  list of participating genealogy societies. You can see the list at: Past NERGC conferences have attracted 800 or more attendees. I suspect this year’s event will be at least as popular.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Show at the NEC in Birmingham, England Next Month

One of the largest genealogy events in the world will be held in a few weeks in Birmingham, England. I believe it is the largest genealogy conference in the UK and is the second-largest in the world. (RootsTech in Salt Lake City appears to be the largest.) This show typically attracts about 13,000 family historians and others with an interest in history and in researching their family trees.

You can see my report from last year’s Who Do You Think You Are? Live! event at

Who Do You Think You are? Live! will be returning to Birmingham’s NEC from Thursday April 6 to Saturday April 8, 2017, and budding genealogists as well as experienced family historians are invited to attend. They will have the chance to discuss their family history research with a range of genealogy experts and industry leaders.

The event will also see more than 130 of the top exhibitors and local family history societies descend on the NEC from all over the world to share their expertise and provide access to their billions of genealogy records.

Winter Genealogy Cruise is a Success

Diana and Gary Smith annually organize one of the more interesting genealogy cruises of the year. While a bit smaller than some of the other genealogy cruises, it is noted as being one of the friendliest. The camaraderie amongst the “cruisers” needs to be seen to be appreciated. Luckily, I was one of the genealogists on board and had a chance to talk with most everyone while at sea. This year’s cruise ended last week and the genealogists on board all seemed to be wearing smiles when they departed the Celebrity Silhouette.

Photo courtesy of Harry Benson.
Click on the above image to view a much larger version.

Announcing the Unlock the Past Holy Land Tour and Genealogy Conference

The following announcement was written by Unlock the Past:

Adelaide, South Australia, 8 March 2017 – Unlock the Past announces another innovative event – a Holy Land tour and associated genealogy conference (Israel).

10-day Holy Land tour – 23 October – 1 November 2017

This is organised in partnership with the Israel Travel Centre. It is a general Holy Land tour timed around, and taking in, the 31 October centenary commemoration of the Charge of the ANZAC Light Horse on Beersheba on 31 October 1917.

The general tour will visit many places of Christian/biblical interest, as well as later Christian and general history – Caesarea built by Herod the Great, the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Jerusalem (2 days and 2 nights), the Dead Sea, Masada (the last stronghold of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans) and Abrahams Well and Visitor Center, Beersheba … and more.

Legacy Genealogy Cruise 2017 announced: Pacific Coast – September 22-29, 2017

Genealogy cruises are some of the most enjoyable trips I have ever taken. Now the long-time cruise experts who produce Legacy Family Tree software have announced they will hold a cruise September 22-29, 2017 along the Pacific coast:

legacy-genealogy-cruise-2017The 14th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, to be held September 22-29, 2017, departs from Seattle, Washington aboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas ship and will feature top genealogy speakers including members of the Legacy Family Tree staff. We will cruise the Pacific Coast and visit the following ports:

  • Seattle, WA
  • Astoria, OR
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Victoria, British Columbia

Genealogy Classes at Sea
While at sea attend classes taught by some of genealogy’s finest educators, Legacy Family Tree webinar speakers, and Legacy developers. In addition to the classes, you will benefit from the small-group sessions and lots of time to learn from each other.

Online Map Guides You On an Epic Tour of Nearly 50,000 U.S. Historic Sites

If you ever wanted to visit every interesting historical site in the U.S., a map created by University of Waterloo professor William Cook and his team of researchers, will guide you on a tour to each one using the mathematically shortest route possible.


It uses Google Maps to figure out the shortest route to see every single site listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It may take you a while to visit each site, however. The shortest possible route covers 217,605 miles—or somewhere between eight and nine laps around the equator.

Check it out at

2017 Eastern Caribbean Genealogy Cruise Early Booking Special has been Extended

I wrote earlier (at and at about Gary and Diana Smith’s 3rd annual genealogy cruise to the sunny Eastern Caribbean on February 26 to March 5, 2017. I will be on that cruise and certainly am looking forward to it. I have been on the Celebrity Silhouette before and loved it.

The earlier article mentioned the cruise line’s Early Booking Special for anyone who signs up for the cruise before August 31. The special stated that an early sign-up special was available until August 31st. That has now changed. The special has been extended to October 31, 2016.

You can read a flyer describing the cruise by clicking here.

Take a Genealogy Cruise to Alaska with HB Genealogy Cruises

hbgenealogycruisesGenealogy cruises are very popular and for good reasons. They are educational, they are fun, and they also provide a great experience for family members who are not interested in genealogy. Unlike a genealogy conference in a major city’s conference center, I have never heard a complaint about a cruise from non-interested family members who accompany a family member on one of these family history conferences on the seas.

For more information about the benefits of genealogy cruises, see my earlier article, Genealogy Cruises versus Convention Centers, at

HB Genealogy Cruises, sponsored by Heritage Books, has been in the cruise business for several years under the guidance of Craig Scott. The company is now offering its 4th Annual Genealogy Conference & Cruise, this time from Seattle, Washington, to British Columbia, to several ports in Alaska, and back again. The cruise will take place on September 17 — 24, 2017, roughly one year from now. I will suggest now is the time to start planning!

A Journey of Genealogy on Board the Queen Mary 2

Genealogy cruises are very popular but now there is a new player in the the game: Cunard.

qm2_in_nyA bit more than two years from now, on 4 Nov – 11 Nov 2018, the newly Remastered Queen Mary 2 will sail from Southampton, United Kingdom to New York City. For the first time ever, Cunard has collaborated with, the largest online family history resource in the world, to offer guests the opportunity to trace their family trees while on the remastered Queen Mary 2.

Ancestry’s experts will demonstrate how data drawn from the largest online collection of family history records can help trace your family’s past. Find out how AncestryDNA can introduce you to living relatives you never knew existed and reveal your ethnic mix across 1,000 years.

2017 and 2018 Unlock the Past History & Genealogy Cruises Announced

If you have never been on a genealogy cruise, you have missed a lot of fun. (See my earlier article at describing the advantages of cruises.) I believe Unlock the Past Cruises is the most active organizer of genealogy cruises. Based in Australia, Unlock the Past Cruises sponsors cruises in nearly all parts of the world, attracting genealogists from many different nations.

The following announcement was written by Unlock the Past Cruises:

utplogoSignificant international genealogy conferences at sea

Adelaide, South Australia, 2 September 2016 – Unlock the Past Cruises announces its latest cruise schedule for the next two years.

2017 cruise (now booking) – Papua New Guinea (13th cruise)
This exciting 10 night cruise out of Brisbane to Papua New Guinea and its islands opened for bookings earlier this year. It is a completely different kind of itinerary to one of the emerging and exciting new cruise destinations. It offers a great balance of conference (during the 4 days at sea) and places to visit during the 5 days in ports and/or around islands – great sightseeing and fascinating shore excursions.

It will feature a special WWII Pacific war stream within our usual wide ranging conference program to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Pacific war coming to Australia and New Guinea in 1942. The war in this region was very much part of the greater Pacific war. American ships were sunk in Australian waters. Almost 1 million American and Canadian service personnel, including 100,000 African-Americans, passed through Australia from 1941 to 1945.The conference program will be headed by Dr Tom Lewis, one of Australia’s foremost Pacific war historians and authors, supported by other recognised experts.

For details see the PNG cruise at

2018 cruise (provisional) – Alaska (14th cruise) NEW