Tahitia McCabe

Tahitia McCabe

I am a genealogist and educator based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland and am Course Leader for the MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies (distance learning).

Location Glasgow, Scotland


  • And a big thank you from me to everyone taking part...your discussions are truly what make the course so great!

  • You are welcome!

  • @LucyHorsefield - if you use Facebook, there are also many areas (rural and urban) which have FB groups devoted to their local history. Images are often shared on these.

  • Paul, I'd not come across the Underground Map Project before...what a wonderful resource. Thanks!

  • Some WWII war diaries are now available on Ancestry and these can give a sense of what was going on in a unit during a particular time period. They don't tend to give names but do often give troop movements and instructions. See: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/collections/62376/ if you have an Ancestry account.

  • Maps are so great for enhancing your understanding of a place. I find them truly invaluable!

  • A great idea to use parish magazines...

  • Thanks, Barbara for mentioning this! I just changed this article's text to add the link to this new 6-week course we are offering with FutureLearn. At the moment, our 8-week classes on DNA are paused as we rework them due to the new free 6-week course.

  • Sheila, it's my understanding that 'present' meant the person was present in the house/building at the time of the birth. I have seen birth certificates where the registrant is noted as not being present and then they give their usual place of residence.

  • We cover an introduction to DNA testing in week 4 but for anyone wanting a more indepth course on this, my colleagues have just launched a new course on FutureLearn. See https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/genetic-genealogy-researching-your-family-tree-using-dna for how to join that.

  • Those are interesting variations, Susan!

  • But there is an amazing database for folks with Icelandic ancestry...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%8Dslendingab%C3%B3k_(genealogical_database)

  • Katharine - the only thing you could do is contact those folks who have it incorrectly in their trees. But they will probably ignore you! This is one of the biggest issues with looking at other people's trees is that so often they are incorrect and then are upsetting.

  • It so much depends on what area of the world and time period! But we'll give some thoughts on this.

  • Hi Mick - see https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/genealogy/15/steps/1615810 where we tell you where to buy this.

  • Hi Katherine, the recording will stay up until at least March when we do the next 'supervised' run of this course. It will take little while for us to get the recording up as well - hopefully sometime next week.

  • Oh, yes, this is a wonderful series of events...well worth getting involved in!

  • See the 'Beyond 2022' project which is aiming to re-create or provide substitutes for many of the destroyed Irish records. https://beyond2022.ie/

  • This is a good point...we do take on faith that our birthday is what it is based on what we are told (until we can see our birth certificate). So, perhaps the individual is not the best source of their birth date!

  • I totally agree that corroborating information where you can is crucial!

  • Welcome everyone! I hope you've enjoyed the first week...it's great hearing about your interests and what you are interested in learning.

  • I understand - those webpages have links to organizations that support folks looking for information on adoption so might be useful to explore.

  • I personally think that these read better working forwards in time. But it really depends on the number of generations you are working with and who you are writing it for. If it's just a few generations...say 3-4 and you are included, you might start it with yourself. That would give a familiar beginning to the story if you were giving it to your children for...

  • I tend to use the most recent spelling of a surname in a family. But I always make a note of the different spellings I’ve seen. This helps me remember other spellings to use when searching. And these might not be misspellings as such as spelling can change over time quite naturally!

  • Re adoption, this depends on the country…I suspect given the likely time period that this would have been an official adoption – though this is not for sure as, for example, Scotland did not have legal/official adoption until 1930. The country in which the adoption took place should have information posted on how to search these records. Many countries...

  • I'll share this at the live stream later today...but here are some further thoughts I've had on this:

    Many archives have online catalogues which you can search to find out what they hold. Be aware that many of these have not catalogued the individual records they hold, rather they have details describing the broader collection those individual records are...

  • I'd call these 'collateral lines' and perhaps 'collateral relatives'. See https://organizeyourfamilyhistory.com/direct-vs-collateral-lines/

    Depends on who you are talking to and how recent the frustration is of not finding the answer you are looking for! I have had a number of brick walls crumble due to new records coming online, unknown relatives reaching...

  • Hi Fiona, with the Easter holiday looming before us (when the university is closed) I won't get the recording link sent to me before next week, I'm afraid! You will have access to the course for at least another two weeks though.

  • Yes, this was the Q&A function in the Zoom chat itself!

  • Hi Julie - these two courses offer different course materials. The Masters degree has some of the same info and different assignments than the 8-week course. But if you are keen on DNA, then you might want to take an 8-week course anyway as these actually go into more depth than we do on the Masters.

  • I can't find another link for this sadly...RootsTech seems to be working on their video service right now so lots of the videos are not available. It does seem like they will come back at some point though...

  • I can get into them fine but there does seem to be something up with the RootTech video archive generally as other links are not working...with a 'this service is temporarily not available'. Hopefully everything will come back soon for everyone.

  • The links to the two videos are working for me...maybe there was a glitch?

  • You might review this article from last week as there are some useful links here on learning more about archives and what records are within them. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/genealogy/13/steps/1238328 I'll also discuss this at the live stream though!

  • Hi Donna...what country is the adoption likely to have occurred in?

  • I love this series and have been re-watching it myself...thanks for highlighting it!

  • That's true! Not everything is on line...but a lot certainly is.

  • The page definitely exists and there is free access but something seems to have gone wrong in the last week. When I checked it last week, all was fine but now I'm getting the same blocked message. I'm using Firefox as a browser.

    I've clicked through to the Uni of Edinburgh's 'status and alerts' page (They host this website) and it appears that there are...

  • I have lots of these maps as well...they are great.

  • Julie - postcards are a great resource...thanks for bringing that up!

  • Ugh! What a shame...I had the same experience a few years ago. In my case, it was a hospital parking lot.

  • I also find the search options on the BNA site much better than on the Findmypast newspaper interface.

  • When naming digital records I use a format of a letter which stands for the type of record, then the year, persons name and then a place. So C-1891-BREMNERJohn_DundeeScotland

    The main thing is to be consistent and use something that you'll remember when it comes time to enter a name when you are saving the document!

  • I totally agree that researching siblings is important. They can also be fascinating people...they've ended up that way in my tree. Much more so than most of my direct ancestors!

  • What a great site! Thanks for sharing this...

  • This is a great idea, Julie!

  • When I first started out I made a number of lists of types of sources which would help me answer certain questions. So if I wanted to find out someone's birth in England, then I noted down that I could look at the birth index, the census, baptism records, etc. Now I'd add to that the 1939 register. It just helped me remember the different types of records...

  • I choose one of the variants to use when showing surnames in a family chart, etc. That could be the most prevalent variant, the spelling your family uses now (if it's your surname), or some other choice. But then I definately record the other surnames as alternate names and when creating references for the records I found them in, use the spelling as found on...

  • Hi Mark - Scottish birth certificates are on ScotlandsPeople https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/. I've just checked and can see a Thomas McMillan born 1877 with a birth registered in the 'Bowmore or Kilarrow' registration district (this is in Argyll). Bowmore is a town on Islay...this is the only Thomas registered in this year in Argyll so may very well be...

  • @SusanBlanker Hi Susan - I did put the info on the first LiveStream into the welcome to the first week email but maybe that went into your junk inbox!

  • Hi Betty - there should a band at the top of each of the course pages showing four tabs/icons. They are To Do, Conversations, Study Groups and Progress. If you click on the Study Groups text, this will take you to a page where you can sign up to join one of these. I am using a PC with a monitor so if you are using a different type of device to access the...

  • Ruth - these will be on the 14th of April at 15.10 and 16.10 BST

  • Yep, I have 'aunties' and 'uncles' who are no blood relation at all...

  • Grin!

  • Wonderful backgrounds you all have, Maria!

  • Hi Ron - you are right on time! Welcome to the course...

  • Your family sounds great, Kathryn!

  • Welcome to everyone!

  • Hi Susan, we used that tool in Week 3 so there is a link to some help on that in that week but if you want to get a head start you can try this page: https://maps.nls.uk/videos/?vid=Georeferenced-Maps-Help

  • @PatStearn - I've just checked the FAQs at Ancestry's DNA testing area and indeed...they just offer one type of test - the autosomal test. But as they say, 'AncestryDNA® uses an autosomal DNA test that surveys a person's entire genome at over 700,000 locations. It covers both the maternal and paternal sides of the family tree, so it covers all lineages.' You...

  • Thanks to the IT team who have now been able to link up the recording of the livestream from the 5th of November!

  • Hi Autumn...in the very first week of the course I mention that we'll be providing this list in the last week!

  • Hi Pat, I can look for a more up to date video to link to but Ancestry still just provides atDNA tests...i.e. the non-sex based ones. This is a very fast moving field for sure!

  • Fair enough! I agree...and have changed the text to 'emigrated'!

  • I can't change the links on the US Census Bureau's website sadly! But you can find a soundex calculator here: https://homepages.rootsweb.com/~mschwitz/SoundexCalculator.htm

  • Hi Sandra - ahnentafel is a numbering system to help you keep track of individuals and where they are in a family tree. See http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~bkivak/genealogy/ahnentafel.htm

  • yep, it will be recorded and the link to the YouTube site on which it will be placed will be made available ASAP.

  • Hi Robert - I have the book on my desk and ready to show! There is information on how to purchase them on the page directly before this forum page...'step 2.14'. You'll need to remind me of what I said about the relationship between FTM and Ancestry! Happy to explore it though.

  • There is space to enter information on birth, marriage and death for a person, their census addresses for 1841-1911, and then a space to put down their children's names, birth dates and place. It's really more of a tool for organizing brief details on a family and not recording everything. I can hold a page of the Family Record up to the camera during our real...

  • FamilySearch does also offer access to digitized records and transcriptions of those records. See https://www.familysearch.org/gettingstarted/find-ancestors and https://www.familysearch.org/search/ . As with all trees that other people have created and put online, you need to be wary of that information and check to see if it makes sense and actually related...

  • Hi David - I'd try FreeReg - https://www.freereg.org.uk/ . They also offer FreeCEN - https://www.freecen.org.uk/ and FreeBMD - https://www.freebmd.org.uk/. These are wonderful sites which provide free indexes and some transcribed data.

  • I use Findmypast (FMP) as well as Ancestry and FamilySearch as my key 'large' databases. I find FMP has a good range of UK military records as well as some English parish records that other sites don't have. They also have some US church records that other sites don't have. Some libraries offer free access to both Ancestry and FMP which can be quite handy!

  • Good idea!

  • Yes, documenting as you go is really important and something I didn't do when first starting out...now I curse myself when looking at my early information...'where did I get that from?'. It's made me very firm with myself in regards to creating references for records as I find them. We'll cover referencing in Week 6 but you can find a free download of...

  • It's lovely to 'meet' you all! Sounds like lots of you have some wonderful experience and many are just starting your genealogy journey. It will be great to hear more from everyone as the weeks go on. Best - Tahitia

  • Sharon - I imagine you've come across this before but there is free access to Tasmanian birth, marriage and death records from Libraries Tasmania at:
    Also FamilySearch has some records for Tasmania with lots of links...

  • Dear all - I'm looking forward to reading your comments over the next weeks and seeing some of you at our LiveStream sessions on the 5th of November and the 26th of November. Thanks so much for taking part in this course! Best - Tahitia

  • I'm really sorry for your loss, Deborah. Am so glad that you were able to share discoveries with her...

  • You are very welcome!

  • Hi Jackie, the links to the recordings are in the text of the article at the top of this forum space. You should be able to link through to both of them - they are hosted on YouTube.

  • I do say in the first week that we will be providing this and it's also in the first week's email!

  • I did mention this at the beginning!

  • Well, you might really want to get a marriage record to get a woman's maiden name and her parents/father's name which perhaps would be difficult to get otherwise. There are also cases where children on a census might be step children who have taken the head of household's name and thus you might need a birth certificate.

    So it's not always necessary to get...

  • Tony - it depends on the country you are dealing with and the time frame of the divorce...but for England/Wales try https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/divorce/ or Scotland try https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/guides/divorce-records

  • You are welcome!

  • Melissa - what country are you dealing with here? I agree with Mark O that working back from what is known is best and you might order the death certificates which depending on the country in question, could give place of birth and an age (or possibly a birth date) from which you could search for a birth certificate.

    Depending on the country and age of...

  • @LindaWoodward - The Ellis Island records can be searched for free at https://heritage.statueofliberty.org/ . You can also look at the outgoing passenger lists from the UK at Ancestry or Findmypast.

    It's not likely that he'd be on any US records unless he had some event happen while he was there such as marrying, buying property, got in trouble with the...

  • UK WWII military service records are still held by the Ministry of Defense and you'll need to order them directly. See this article from the National Archives (Great Britain) for a link to the MOD's website which discusses how to do this. https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/second-world-war/

    This article also has...

  • Hi Sheila, I wonder if you are referring to one name studies? These are studies done of a single surname (and its variants) and include information on all people who carry that surname whether they are related or not. See https://one-name.org/ for more information on these.

  • I find that the times I have synchonised my information, it's messed up my tree on FTM. I've had extra people added, referencing goes wrong. And also it's a privacy issue for me and my family. I have a lot of information on my tree with some things that some members of the family feel are quite sensitive and they don't want publically shared so I've honoured...

  • A pedigree or a descendant chart will give a visual overview of who is related to whom so a good tool for seeing the family structure at a glance.

    A family group sheet provides more indepth information for each nuclear family unit so yes, you would want to do one for each set of parents and their offspring.

    Charts and reports such as family group...

  • Trove is an amazing resource and they keep adding to it all the time...but yes, it takes a bit to get used to.

  • You are welcome!

  • @WilliamRoss - ScotlandsPeople has also just released 'kirk session' records which are a wonderful resource for pre-1855 research. Read more about these at https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/article/news-article-virtual-volumes-records-released

  • Hi Debbie - looks like the 'wonderful red' group has 81 people in it. I am not sure if they should all be colour coded or not. But I don't see a way in the chats such as the one I am currently responding to you in to tell who is in each group.

  • Judith, you'll just need to check back. The IT folks now have the recording and are getting it onto YouTube. I hope it should be linked up here today or tomorrow.

  • There were so many questions it was impossible for us to answer all of them! We are only allotted an hour for this so we try to get through what we can. Apologies to those whose questions were not answered though!

    On the Ancestry query though - the hints given by Ancestry are often to actual sources so these can be very useful and are not necessarily...

  • Sorry, Kim...just saw this question! This is hard for sure and you just might not be able to find concrete proof and have to make do with a best 'guess' based on indirect evidence. If there are land records available you might have a look for those - women are often named on these...see http://www.directlinesoftware.com/deeds.htm for an article on these...