– learn how to copy and paste all types of data from a website into Word
and Excel (or similar programs). Also learn how to copy photographs, maps
or picture files onto your local hard disk. (Select the area………right mouse
- organize your web
browser “favourites” and make a library of sites with titles you
understand and recognize (not just what it was saved as). Set them up
logically in a folder tree structure by location/type. You will collect
many as you go forward. This will save you hours of time.
– if you don’t already have and use an ad blocker and a spy-ware package,
get some and use them as necessary. I use “Pop-up Stopper (free)”,
“Ad-Aware 6(free)”, and “SpyBot Search and Destroy (free)”. If you’ve
never used one of the spy ware packages before – brace yourself – you’ll
be amazed at the garbage that exists on your hard disk, and a lot of it
slowing your system speed. Go here for the free software mentioned above
(and lots more – all have been voted by worldwide users as the best free
You will find that your computer system will run much better if - every
week you go into your browser’s tools menu and manually delete all
cookies, all saved web pages, and clear your history.
This can be made easier if you put Shortcuts to the various programs of
that ilk into an easily-identified (eg “Maintenance”) folder on the Desk
Mak siccer (Make sure) that you keep your anti-virus software up-to-date
or you may feel sicker.
The free version of this program is another gem I recommend highly. It
allows you to create a pdf file from any print job imaginable. This is
great for capturing large amounts information to an electronic file or to
allow sharing of documents over the net and in emails. The resulting file
is compact and fully compatible with Adobe Reader.
Version 3 – By Mirek – GET THIS PROGRAM! – You can selectively capture
ANYTHING that you see on your monitor and save it as a graphics file or
paste the clipping into other files or emails – FANTASTIC TOOL and works
flawlessly! - Even when the right mouse button has been deactivated at a
website. Put this one on a hot key! It’s free.
– By BlueFive Software – GET THIS PROGRAM TOO! – An area magnifier for
small areas of the screen. There are many such programs as this out there
but I’ve found this the simplest and the smallest memory hog. You’ll find
it great for viewing maps and small print. Put it on a hot key too. It’s
– Also by BlueFive Software – Another free tool – For reducing the size of
any graphics file, picture or clipping you have. Saves space and memory.
This was used a lot in creating this document after grabbing the image
World Time Clock
– handy little program by Johannes Wallroth – simply displays in a very
small widow 5 different clocks which are user selectable. I find this
useful to see the time at several locations in the world. Maybe you might
too-if you converse with afar on a regular basis, or are trying to figure
out when something was sent or posted. It’s down the page a bit under
“downloads”. And it’s totally free.
Are you unhappy with
the current version of a piece of software or looking for the older free
Ya gotta see it and try
some of this stuff.
The few of the better
Not all freeware – but
there are a few gems:
Pop Peeper - A great
unlimited number of addresses email notification freeware program that I
A bunch of handy
freeware programs from Moonsoftware
My favorites being
1- Bookmark Wizard – a
fantastic little program that will make a compact organized HTML page from
your Internet Favorites list. Great for sending your links selectively by
cutting and pasting what you want from the listing produced into an email
or just send the whole file to a friend. Love it!
2- ClipClear – do you
find your computer a tad slower after cutting and pasting numerous files
and pictures, or after running memory intensive graphics programs? That’s
because you’ve loaded up your memory chips with a bunch of whatever. This
utility clears it and you’ll be faster.
3- CopyUrl – save the
time of loading a favorite website from your Favorites list to get the
address to paste into an email or such by using this. Has a few cool
options too – and will do multiples.
4- FileTargets – Copy
and move files quicker to your other folders via added menus selections.
Much better than “send to”.
AM-DeadLink by Martin
Aignesberger – another little program I find handy. It scans your entire
internet Bookmarks list and reports which ones are dead-links (or other
errors) then lets you selectively delete them if you wish. It is a quick
way of housecleaning useless links or prompting yourself to update your
files. Avoid the wasted wait time waiting while the browser times out only
to discover a link is bad while surfing. This program will check 500 links
in a few minutes if you’re on high speed. It has a few other options too.
FreeNote by MG
Shareware - Yellow stickees (or any colour you wish) for your computer
FreeRip – could be used
to put your audio CD’s on your hard drive. Free.
WordWeb -It includes a
comprehensive English thesaurus and dictionary, and can be used to look up
words from within most programs. Free.
Some notes to read regarding
Naturalization and tracing your family tree.
Regarding Shortcuts on
If you’re like me and
eventually have many various programs and net shortcuts set up and
accumulating upon your “Desktop” I would imagine that you may have noticed
that once the screen becomes a wee bit crowded that it takes quite a
while to refresh the screen, after returning to it from whatever activity.
There is a way to get rid of this – simply set up a folder on your desktop
and then cut and paste the rarely used shortcuts into it - and when you do
need them on those rare occasions - they’ll be there waiting for a click.
This can be done endlessly by subject or such as you may wish. In this
case faster is better.
running in your system tray:
After having installed
a lot of programs you might just find that things don’t quite go as fast
somehow. Check your right hand system tray – every program displayed there
is a “time-sharer”. The fewer, the better for system speed. If you see
some that you do not use regularly – remove them from there, and from your
“Startup”, and access them via the programs menu or the via shortcut
folders I spoke of above.
– record everything, set up a spreadsheet, and put your notes there. Also
copy and paste little bits and pieces of info you see out on the net into
this file. You can use multiple sheets within the workbook to organize the
data. Sometimes it is also useful to make note of the web address where
the info came from – this again is easily done by pasting the address from
your browser within the note(s). Review these notes every once in a while
– a new search idea, amazing revelation, or fresh approach may come to
Use Word, or the like, to paste info and internet addresses into as you
search as a temporary notebook to store info while searching (use paste
special – unformatted text) – this will save backtracking and you can copy
the information to your note file if worthwhile or just blow it away if
– people sometimes marry more than once, plus sometimes a mother’s name in
a death record may be a step mother’s name, plus every once in a while
children may be born before a marriage with the maiden name of the mother
and adopt the eventual husband’s name later.
– Illegitimate children sometimes lie on their marriage records; or have
been given misleading stories as to their origins. Additionally the “happy
couple” may not know the facts, whether “legitimate” or illegitimate”. Do
you know your parents full names?
One person and his relatives did have doubts about his given names, were
they “Arthur William” or “William Arthur”?
Neither! - Actually “Arthur Willie”; but only discovered after his death.
– Some records just plain do not exist now - or never did. Robert Burns’
death record was lost with the destruction of records in Dumfries. Sir
Walter Scott’s birth was never recorded.
– Not everyone with your Surname is related. (I’ve found this good
– Very few of us are related to nobility or “famous” people; but the
family lore may have a grain of truth, leading to greater discoveries.
– Most family trees will have “black sheep” and various skeletons in the
– Age information on Census or death records should be considered only as
“close” – the information may have been provided by someone who was not
related, and had limited knowledge, or was a flat out guess. Birthplace
information on Census lists should not be taken as fact at all times for
the same reasons.
- Use what info you have to help find a person or confirm their identity:
What was your
ancestor’s trade, profession, skill? Family or locality trades?
Census, marriage and death records often indicate the profession, marital
Pay attention to these details, it could give you an alternate way of
searching; but keep in mind that today’s interpretation may not be the
meaning of that era, eg “Gangster (Bookmaker)” in the 1881 British Census;
or have different meanings in different countries.
– search on your surname once a week at Google, Surname Navigator and
Yahoo, new data is loaded daily. Every week you’ll possibly see a new
– Use your local word
processor to compose posts, don’t do it right at the query site. Then copy
and paste the completed post - after your processor checks the spelling
and grammar. You’ll look like a pro, and avoid errors, plus you’ll get to
save the message locally for use, at other sites or in possible modified
queries or messages in the future.
– Data transcribers
tpysos typos too.
– Pay attention to the brothers and sisters of your ancestors, their data
& information could help a lot in your quest.
– Middle names can sometimes point to a grandparent’s given or surnames.
– Read responses to other peoples’ queries – you may learn useful methods,
– When you do find a post or query that is relative -check the poster’s
and the answer’s history of posts – perhaps you may find more useful
information or contacts.
– Use at least a two (+- 2) year buffer when using the 1881 Census of
Scotland to calculate birth dates – in my experience they appear several
years light. 1891 and 1901 are closer. This also applies generally to any
on-line database searches. Then go to 5.
– If you plan to make this your on-going pastime or intend on doing a lot
of research you will find it much cheaper in the long run, and a big time
saver, to purchase the 1881 UK Census which covers Scotland, England,
Wales, Channel Islands etc.(but not Ireland); and perhaps the 1881
Canadian Census. Owning the census opens the way to much more powerful
– A gap larger than 3 or 4 years between children can indicate a
childbirth death; and/or possibly the mother’s death followed by
re-marriage to a lady with the same First Name, on occasions to add to the
Where a child died
young, the same name/s may be used for a later child, leading to possible
confusions of the birth year of the eventual survivor.
– A huge list of children, or a list that spans several decades,
attributed to one father may indicate multiple wives; or it could be that
a son/relative/stranger with the identical name/s is having family
– BACK UP YOUR DATA REGULARLY – it’s a real shame to “scrogg” months of
work. Get another hard disk in your PC; or simply copy everything over;
supplemented by occasionally sending all your data, images etc to other
interested relatives occasionally by CD or DVD.
- Understand this- Variant Spellings:
Hundreds of years ago
there was no compulsion for parents to send their children to school.
Because of this, many
Scots (and Canadians) at this time were illiterate as evidenced by the use
of X marks, instead of signatures, on the statutory birth, marriage and
death certificates. This led, inevitably, to both forenames and surnames
being spelt in different ways by either the Kirk Session Clerk (usually
the parish schoolmaster) pre 1855, or the local Registrar subsequently.
Understandably, the incidence of spelling variants was particularly high
in Gaelic-speaking areas. The problem of spelling variants was of course
compounded when families immigrated, particularly to America where the
officials at Ellis Island, for example, would simply write the name, and
home town phonetically or as a name they had previous experience with.
The range of pronunciations for the same name or words within Scotland is
extremely large. This is compounded in that some of the later records and
most names on maps, hence in degree Censuses, were recorded by English
surveyors, totally unaccustomed to Scottish practices. For example
Gleneagles Hotel and Golf Course has nothing to do with eagles. It was an
English surveyor understanding of the Gaelic for Glen (valley) of the
Church Lockheed = Loch-head
To give some idea of how miss-leading some of the Gaelic words and
spelling can appear to be, when compared with their pronunciations-
Slainte Mhath - Slaandji vaa - to your health
Or things like: The ‘z’ of Drumelzier is pronounced as a ‘y’, Hawick is
pronounced Hoik by many, and so forth…..
Another thing that compounded spelling mistakes, or flat out errors, was
that sometimes the parish records (prior to 1855) were re-written into the
formal from the memory and/or notes of the parish clerk and/or minister.
Some records became scrambled.
Introduction to the Derivation of Scottish Surnames
- Memorize this – Scottish naming patterns:
People of all countries
tend to use forenames which run in the family. In Scotland families not
only use such names but they tend to follow naming patterns - the most
common of which is:-
1st son - named after
his paternal grandfather
2nd son - named after his maternal grandfather
3rd son - named after his father
1st daughter - named after her maternal grandmother
2nd daughter - named after her paternal grandmother
3rd daughter - named after her mother
– Variant spellings and phonetics can occur in place names, addresses and
– I hate spam and junk mail – but – it is worthwhile signing up for the
free newsletters at Scotlands People, The National Archives, and other
such reputable sites. This will keep you current, they sometimes announce
new links and services - and really -they do not come all that much. I get
2 or 3 new links a month this way, and avoid waiting to hear of its
creation elsewhere. Try it - if you do find them an annoyance – they must
by law remove you from the mailing list if you so ask.
– a few times I’ve saved time while working on a remote computer at a
library or such by emailing data to myself at home from that location –
saves time, a bunch of hard copy files, and the print/copy fees there. (I
am Scottish after all)
- regarding Average Numbers: Time between generations – about 25 years.
Average age of a male at marriage was about 25, - for most women about 21
(this proven by GROS studies). Good numbers to use when approximating
things. Also if they say they were 19 it may be less.
Females could marry as
young as 12, males from 14. Some mothers in their Fifties had children,
whilst there is almost no limit to the father’s age.
– get a small spiral wound note book to log all the various passwords and
logons you will be accumulating – and keep it at your work area – saves
lots of time.
Here are some paper
work examples to give you a rough idea how to set up your files. Do it
right from the start, the number of notes you'll be making will amaze you.
However, I still promote use of the computer rather than hand written
documents for most data.
– I have seen that the IGI database is NOT complete in the OPR area. There
is not a great amount missing, and it is spotty with no pattern - but the
point remains that if you use the IGI exclusively you are may be missing
– Occasionally there are spelling differences between IGI and Scotlands
– There are occasional duplicate entries for births and christenings in
the OPR databases at IGI and ScotlandsPeople.
– A small cheap solar powered calculator is handy at your computer desk to
quickly calculate birth dates from census and death information. You can
get one for about $5.
– Most of the better websites are constantly being expanded and improved.
It pays to revisit sites in your Favorites list now and then to see what’s
–Feet are a different size in the UK and Canada – check the tag on your
Reeboks to see….
"Even in the cottage, where the earthen floor,
The straw-made bed, the wooden candlestick,
Display their sober equipage - even there
The Muses will haunt, where Pomp discusses to tread
And breathe the song, deny'd to Palaces."
James Ruickbie 1757-1829
I have found that a
digital camera saves a bunch of time – it does not have to be a top of the
line model – but you can photograph papers and photos amazingly well for
later use – use the close up mode without flash and lots of light –
sunlight is best. Get a good size extra chip. And when you do shoot
something take a few (or more) from differing angles.
Remember that a digital camera is effectively a high-speed digital
scanner; and a digital scanner is a slow-speed camera!
Another “toy” I’ve found useful is a “flash-drive” or “memory stick” that
you can plug into your USB port and it becomes a portable hard drive for
taking your files, or GETTING other files from a remote computer easily. A
64Meg stick costs much less than $25 and its like having over 50
re-useable floppies in your pocket, and for those wishing more capacity
they are available to 1Gig in size. The drivers are right on the chip so
it will work on any PC anywhere – i.e. the library, the LDS Family
– used a lot in Scotland – check your target’s alternates
TRYING TO FIND LIVING KIN?
Search for living relatives in the electoral polls
Search for living relatives in one of the phone lists
What’s it worth now?
This calculator will convert UK currency from days past to 2002.
Old Occupations in Scotland – a listing and descriptions
& software (viewers and “privatizers”):
Get to know your way around Scotland a bit- using maps- then the following
lists will make sense.
Parish Locations- go to this site and download the free software-
It can also help you work out the STRAIGHT-line distance between two
Parish Listing and ref. Numbers website
Good site for the
conversion of Roman Numerals to Arabic numerals – handy.
Dating Old Photographs
Everything you ever wondered about dates:
Help in reading that horrible writing on scanned records:
Various Acts of Parliament of interest to the Genealogist
Archaic Medical Terms:
Old Medical Terms:
Dictionary of Scottish
Ever wonder what day of the week goes with a date? Try this:
British Telecomm re
phone number look ups
GED2WWW for converting
Gedcoms to HTML
and better yet:
This index lists 1716
verified GED2WWW databases. These databases contain a total of 6208264
individuals and 2229958 families. TRY THIS – an amazing number of
information that luckily could help you.
Presented by Kay Ronald
Scottish Event and
Historical Timeline 7000BC forward
Regarding Saving Web pages
Storing web pages on your hard disk is a
great thing to do with a page on a site you have found to be of use and to
protect against the chance of it going off line or being revised by having
a snap shot of it always available whether you are connected to the net or
For example – you find a web page that has
a fantastic list of links and you really don’t want to slowly access them
one at a time and save them as favorites. In Internet Explorer by simply
clicking on “File” (in the upper left hand corner of the screen), then
clicking on “Save As” – a window will pop up allowing you to select a
location to save the webpage. This will action will create an HTML file of
that single page, and also a subdirectory of similar name which will
contain the objects (i.e graphics) from the page. I would suggest that you
save each page in its own subdirectory to make things a bit organized, but
you can place many in a single location if you so please for sites that
have multiple pages (just make sure each has a unique file name). By
clicking on the created HTML web page file the links will work as they did
Another example is a web page that simply
contains a massive amount of information that you wish to store locally
for reading at your leisure while off line. This can save a bunch of money
if you pay by the hour for on line access or have a time threshold.
Do remember though that this method only
saves the web PAGE that is active at the time of the save – it does not
save other “linked” pages within that site or afar. Saving of entire
websites is possible with freeware packages available - but I don’t really
recommend this as the size of the download required to capture entire
sites can run into hundreds of megabytes and hours of time. Plus I would
mention that many sites may have counter acting software that disallows or
scrambles such website reaping programs.
File Parking for Massive files or
I’ve been experimenting with something
that I thought might be of possible value to many.
Basically it’s a way of posting freely
almost any file up to 50 meg (or larger) in size at a site which allows a
third party to visit the hosting site –if they know the correct URL – and
download it – for free and without your having to reveal your name or
email address, at either end.
Some query sites do not allow attachment
of files. This is an alternate way to do so. (Imagine the possibilities
concerning pictures, registers, spreadsheets, Gedcoms, any file, etc. –
might save a load of typing and enhance sharing)
These sites I speak of do have a “pay”
side too – but I found that the free ones work just fine.
It’s quite simple:
1) Visit the site below and you will see a
box prompting for a file name – with a browse button – go find it, and
2) The site will immediately give you two
things - an URL to pass along to others as a way to download it (and a URL
as well for you to “kill” or erase the file.)
3) Just right click and save the URLs in a
Word doc or whatever (for future reference and sharing) – then pass the
download URL along as you wish to others in an email or in a post.
4) They click on the URL, scroll down the
page and select “FREE” from the bottom box of the feature comparisons
area, the screen will change and then you scroll down to the bottom of
that and will see the file name displayed – click on it and the regular
download sequence of Windows begins…etc.
The file up-loaded will remain on this
site for a minimum of 30 days – OR – the up-loader “kills” it with the
link originally provided. If it is not downloaded within a 30 day period
it will be erased by the host site.
Tip -If you’ve got multiple files – just
ZIP them first to avoid multiple visits.
I have used this with no ill results. (You
may occasionally see a nag screen, but hey – it’s free)
All of this is done anonymously as neither
the up-loader nor down-loader have to identify themselves at all, or
register, at this site– so I would strongly suggest that should you
download a file from here – you virus scan EVERY file before you open it.
And – NEVER download or open an executable file (i.e COM or EXE extension
on file name).
This is one such site:
RapidShare Webhosting + Webspace:
And to give you an option - Here’s another
site that offers the same, again- with no registration required, and may
be easier for some (but be aware of the immediate launch on the download
of a posted file - as I describe later below):
This one is very similar in use and
supports even larger files up to 75 Meg. Stale date erase time is also one
month. The site will only ask that you classify the file type.
The upload is the same drill, with it
giving the two URLs.
The download is simpler as the filename is
displayed immediately on screen.
However the download operation at this
site has a caution, I believe it may be safer to do a “right click” on
file name with your mouse to do a “save target as” sequence to put it
wherever on your local drive. (If you double click on it your system
may/will load your local associated software and display (or run) the file
without you having a chance to scan it.)
– If you have Windows XP – turn on your
firewall – it’s free with the software and will only help you in many
ways, and stop most of the “electronic vandalism”.
- If your ancestors died in Scotland in 1855, or from 1861 onwards, their
death record will show spouse & parentage. If they died between 1856 &
1860 the record will give parentage, but state only 'married' or
– About making assumptions – don’t.