Monday, March 28, 2016

Celebrate National Tartan Day on April 6

Tune up those bagpipes and shake out those kilts. Get ready for National Tartan Day on April 6.
Sean Connery with members of the United States
Air Force Reserve's Pipe and Drum Band
in Washington, DC. Tartan Day, 2004.

National Tartan Day commemorates the Scottish Declaration of Independence, from which the American Declaration of Independence was modeled, and recognizes the contributions of Scottish Americans to the United States. Each year since the initial proclamation in 1998, major cities hold parades featuring bag-pipe bands playing Scottish music and people dressed in kilts with the tartan patterns that represent their Scottish clans.

The 2008 Presidential Proclamation signed by George W. Bush said, in part:
Americans of Scottish descent have made enduring contributions to our Nation with their hard work, faith, and values. On National Tartan Day, we celebrate the spirit and character of Scottish Americans and recognize their many contributions to our culture and our way of life.

Scotland and the United States have long shared ties of family and friendship, and many of our country's most cherished customs and ideals first grew to maturity on Scotland's soil. The Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence signed in 1320, embodied the Scots' strong dedication to liberty, and the Scots brought that tradition of freedom with them to the New World. Sons and daughters of many Scottish clans were among the first immigrants to settle in America, and their determination and optimism helped build our Nation's character. Several of our Founding Fathers were of Scottish descent, as have been many Presidents and Justices of the United States Supreme Court. Many Scottish Americans, such as Andrew Carnegie, were great philanthropists, founding and supporting numerous scientific, educational, and civic institutions. From the evocative sounds of the bagpipes to the great sport of golf, the Scots have also left an indelible mark on American culture.

National Tartan Day is an opportunity to celebrate all Americans who claim Scottish ancestry, and we are especially grateful for the service in our Armed Forces of Scottish Americans who have answered the call to protect our Nation. (George W. Bush, National Tartan Day, 2008 : A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America, 4 April 2008.)

Here are some ideas for celebrating and honoring your Scottish heritage:
  • Search the free Scottish records on
  • Head to the local Family History Center to search their premium sites for free:
  • Read a book about the Scottish peoples in America. Here are some examples:
    • Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America by Jim Webb
    • The Scotch-Irish: A Social History by James G. Leyburn
    • Scots and Scotch Irish: Frontier Life in North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky by Larry J. Hoefling
    • Scots Irish in Pennsylvania & Kentucky by Billy Kennedy
    • How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in it by Arthur Herman
    • Scotland: The Story of a Nation by Magnus Magnusson
  • Make some Traditional Scottish recipes from the Rampant Scotland website.
  • Find your Clan and the your clan's tartan by visiting the Clans, Tartans, Regiments page of the Rampant Scotland website.
  • Watch a Webinar on Scottish research:
    • Free Scottish research webinars sponsored by the Family History Library in April are:
      • Key Scotland Websites on April 18
      • Incredible Scotland Maps & Gazetteer Online Resources on April 19
      • Scotland Census Records on April 20
      • Scotland Civil Registration Records on April 21
    • Scottish research webinars on Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Viewing these webinars require a paid subscription, but you can buy a one month membership for about $10 and have unlimited access to the webinars and the syllabus.
I am sure there are dozens of other activities you can do to celebrate. How will you celebrate? Tell us in the comments below what you plan to do.

Happy Tartan Day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

University of Arizona Library Tour Returns After Four Years!

Main entrance to the main library of the University of Arizona, Tucson.
Our popular tour of the University of Arizona main library is back! The UA Library holdings include:
  • County histories from every U.S. state
  • Books covering most European countries
  • Historical newspapers from 27 states in microfilm or digital formats
  • Historic maps, township maps, Civil War maps, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
  • Special collections including rare books and photographs
  • City directories
  • Biographies
  • And much, much more...
This two-hour tour takes you from floor to floor, describing in detail the collections valuable to genealogists that are located in each section of each floor and how to access them. The library's holdings are so vast, that we have many participants of past tours return again and again. The last time we offered this event was in May 2012. Don't miss your chance to learn about the resources available to you right in your own backyard!

The UA Main Library tour is scheduled for Saturday, May 14. Advance registration is required and must be received no later than May 4. Attendance is limited and fills up quickly due to the popularity of this tour. Visit our U of AZ Library Tour webpage for details and registration.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Genealogy Jamboree in Cumberland Gap, TN

The Cumberland Gap Tennessee Genealogy and History Group is holding its 6th annual Genealogy Jamboree from June 9-11, 2016.

The Jamboree will feature demonstrations by crafters and military re-enactors. Participants will see blacksmithing, butter making, chair caning, basket weaving, soap making, apple butter making, and more, as they were done by our pioneer ancestors.

Lectures by renowned national, regional, and local speakers and storytelling will be available all three days.

This three day event is free to the public and parking is free in the town of Cumberland Gap. Visit the Cumberland Gap Genealogy Jamboree website for more information and to register.

Friday, March 11, 2016

March 12 is Genealogy Day!

Back in 2013, Christ Church Limerick and Irish Ancestry Research Centre (IARC) declared the second Saturday in March as Genealogy Day. During this one day event, the public was given free access to church registers from many denominations and family history research advice from various history and genealogical societies.

Given the origin of Genealogy Day, celebrating it in the month of March is fitting since the U.S. President declared March as Irish-American Heritage month. One can argue that to a genealogist, every day is Genealogy Day. But this gives us an excuse to cater to our desires. Here are some ideas of how you can celebrate National Genealogy Day:

  • Start a blog. The most popular free blogging platforms are Google's Blogger and Wordpress. Both have a very short learning curve and are easy to use. Basically, if you can use a word processing program, you can have a blog.
  • Write a story about one of your ancestors. The story is the best part of family history. And the story is what will keep your children and grandchildren interested in their roots.
  • Publish your tree online. Creating an online tree will allow others that are researching your lines find you and opens the doors for collaboration. There are many websites that will host your family tree for free. They include (in no particular order):
  • Add a story or picture to your FamilySearch Family Tree.
  • Spend the day at the local Family History Center. These are staffed with enthusiastic volunteers just waiting to help you find your ancestors. If you live in Tucson, there are two FHCs open on Saturdays: 500 S. Langley Ave. (open 10am-5pm), and 3530 W. Magee Rd. (open 9am-1pm). Or go to Find a Family History Center and type in your city and state to find the closest FHC to you.
  • Help someone else start their journey into the wonderful world of family history research.

The activities you can do to celebrate Genealogy Day is endless. Tell us in the comments what you plan to do this day.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Little Bit of Everything Workshop & Seminar

PCGS is sponsoring a special two-day event featuring Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, and Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA. Both Sayres are professional researchers, educators, authors, and lecturers. Both develop, coordinate, and teach courses for university-affiliated programs in genealogy, and they lecture regularly at national and regional genealogy conferences across the United States.

On Friday, November 4, 2016, the Sayres will present a two hour workshop:  

Maps! Wonderful Maps!

Maps enable genealogists to understand more about an ancestor's migration, community, and occupation. In this two-hour hands-on workshop, students will learn about traditional and online resources for finding historical, topographical, birds-eye view, and other maps, how to interpret the maps’ symbols and notations, and how to correlate other information with map data to place an ancestor in time and place. In on-line demonstrations, students will see some of the myriad sites for finding and downloading appropriate maps. For hands-on exercises, students will be provided with hard copies of maps, documents, and other tools to be used in correlating deeds, censuses, newspaper articles, or other documents with maps to solve genealogical problems using various kinds of maps, from deed plats to land ownership maps to panoramic maps. Demonstrations and exercises will include a mix of rural and urban problems and solutions.

A full day seminar will follow on Saturday, November 5. The Sayres will lecture on four topics covering a little bit of everything:

Enough is Enough! Or is it?

Tips and a step-by-step case study help attendees learn how to decide when adequate research has been conducted to meet the goals of a project. This session covers determining what other sources might be available, analyzing, and organizing research to ensure that a reasonably exhaustive search has been conducted.

Apps Galore for Genealogists

Learn about some of the many iPhone or iPad applications that will increase productivity for a genealogist. The speakers will discuss and demonstrate applications for the iPhone (or other smartphone) and iPad, from eBooks to genealogy programs to deedplatting to GoogleEarth, and beyond that to apps that help organize our busy lives—from accounting to contact management to file sharing. Live demonstrations from the iPhone andiPad will be shown on the projector, enabling attendees to see the usefulness of these apps for themselves.

Capital Treasure

This presentation features four brief case studies that demonstrate the wealth of records that can be found in the Washington, DC area or on websites of repositories such as the National Archives,  Library of Congress, Bureau of Land Management General Land Office, National Park Service, and Civil War Trust. Cases show how to find records of birth, marriage, and death for a burned county in which all such records were destroyed; how to learn how a Civil War veteran was shot to death in his old age; how to locate detailed facts about a person’s life from a simple land record; and why numbers of Union Civil War soldiers are buried at a site far from where they fell.

The Civil War—A Valuable Genealogical Resource

More than 3 million men fought in the Civil War (2,213,363 Union and 1,050,000 Confederate). The eligible military population (ages 18–45) in the 1860 census was about 4.5 million men. When compared to other eighteenth- and nineteenth-century wars the greatest probability of a military-aged individual serving is in the Civil War. The enormous quantity of extant records combined with the broad scope of the war make this event a unique and extraordinarily rich genealogical resource.
The workshop and seminar are priced separately, but there is discounted pricing for registration at both events. Registration deadline is October 22, 2016. Early Birds receive additional discounts if registration is received before May 1, 2016.

Participants may reserve a room at the La Quinta Inn & Suites for a discounted rate of $79 per night just by mentioning PCGS.

Visit the PCGS website for more information and to register.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Do It the Write Way: A Special Two-Part Writing Workshop

Image: Clipart ETC (
This special two-part writing workshop will give attendees some tried and true techniques to bring their family history to life and create a fascinating story anyone would want to read. Our instructor, Rondie Yancey, will help you flex your writing muscles to create something of lasting value for you and your family.

If you are one of those people who got scared to death by their high school English teachers—FEAR NOT!! We will prove to you that You CAN write and share the family story you have been researching all these years. If you can talk, you can write an interesting and informative story your family will love to read. So...

Part One, "Getting Started," will be held on Saturday, April 23, 2016. You will leave this workshop with a good start to your story. You will come to Part Two, "Polish Up," on Saturday, May 28, 2016, with a draft of your finished story and will receive editorial feedback to help you polish it into a finished product.

Workshop participants may find the Microsoft Word Workshop, scheduled for Saturday, April 30, 2016, particularly useful in preparation for Part Two, "Polish Up." See our blog post Registration now open for Microsoft Word Workshop for details.

The cost for attending the workshop is $15 for PCGS members or $20 for Non-Members. For those workshop participants that choose to enter our 2016 Write-On! writing competition, the contest entry fee will be waived  See our blog post Our Second Annual Write-On! Writing Competition Has Begun for more information about the Write-On! writing competition.

Advanced registration is required and must be received no later than April 9, 2016. Visit our website homepage at or the PCGS Calendar for additional details and to register.

Our Second Annual Write-On! Writing Competition Has Begun

Pima County Genealogy Society (PCGS) is accepting entries for our 2nd annual Write-On! writing competition.

This year's competition has two categories:

Category 1 - Biographies. Memoirs and biographies where the major portion of the facts are from personal memories, interviews, family oral traditions, etc. No, or few, historical records are used in research.

Category 2 - Family History. A family history or biography that has been researched and documented through historical records.

Cash prizes and certificates will be awarded to the winners in each category. In addition, a grand prize of one year membership to PCGS will be awarded to the winner with the most points overall.

Submissions must be received by the Contest Coordinator by June 20, 2016. Awards and public announcement of the winners will take place during the PCGS general meeting on Saturday, August 10, 2016.

The entry fee is $15 for PCGS members or $20 for non-members. Contest entry fee is waived for paid registrants of the 2016 Do It the Write Way two-part workshop.

Visit the PCGS website for competition rules, judging criteria, and registration information.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

War of 1812 Records: Preserve the Pensions Project

Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, presented a very informative and interesting webinar today on Legacy Family Tree Webinars. She described the types of records that should be searched to find vital information on your War of 1812 Soldier. The webinar is available for viewing FREE at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Visit their website and look for War of 1812 Records: Preserving the Pensions by Rebecca Whitman Koford. I love free, don't you?

Donate to War of 1812

Did you know that for every dollar you donate to the Preserve the Pensions project, will match that donation?  But wait...the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) has agreed to match every donation made within 24 hours of the broadcast of the War of 1812: Preserve the Pensions webinar. If you donate $20, FGS will match it making it $40. Then Ancestry will match that, making $80. Where else can you get $80 worth for only $20? The webinar was broadcast at 12 noon MST on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. To take advantage of this generous offer, you will need to make your donation by noon on Thursday, March 3. Visit to be added to the Honor Roll. You can even donate in honor of your War of 1812 Soldier!

Don't miss the Best Deal Ever! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Free Irish Records Online, and That's No Blarney!

Image by SatyrTN via Wikimedia Commons
Each year since 1991, the President of the United States has issued a Presidential Proclamation designating March as Irish-American Heritage Month (Wikipedia, Irish-American Heritage Month). This year's Proclamation reads, in part:
As we celebrate Irish-American Heritage Month, we recognize the Irish people's contributions to our country's dynamism, and we reaffirm the friendship and family ties between our two nations. For centuries, sons and daughters of Erin have come to America's shores, adding to our rich vibrancy and putting their full hearts into everything they do. From building our country's cities as preeminent architects and earnest laborers to building our national character as people of great joy and cherished culture, Irish Americans have endured intolerance and discrimination to find a place for themselves and their children here in the United States. While remembering the great Irish Americans of the past, we celebrate what forms the foundation of the lasting Irish-American story -- a shared embrace of hard work and humility, fairness and dignity, and a mutual quest to secure a freer and more peaceful future. (White House Press Release: Irish-American Heritage Month, 2016, February 29, 2016)

The Library of Congress has published a series of webpages about Irish Immigration. On those pages, we learn that the Irish began immigrating to the United States in the 17th and early 18th centuries during our Colonial days. At that time, the Irish population in America was second only to the English. The second big wave of Irish immigration began in 1845 with the Potato Blight. It is estimated that as many as 4.5 million Irish arrived in America between 1820 and 1930.

We celebrate the contributions made by the Irish in our country by honoring their heritage during the month of March to coincide with the popular St. Patrick's Day celebrations on March 17.

American genealogists of Irish descent have even more to celebrate this month—Findmypast is offering free access to Irish records during the first week of March.Findmypast launched 10 million new Irish Catholic Parish Registers on their website today. To celebrate, they are making all 110 million Irish records free for everyone from March 1-7, 2016. To get started, go to their Ireland Records page. As an added bonus, Findmypast has committed to make the Irish Catholic Parish Records free to search forever! Read their news release 10 million new Irish Catholic Parish Registers released on Findmypast.

So hurry on over to Findmypast to search for your Irish ancestors. May the luck of the Irish be with you!