The Caledonian Club was formed to promote Scottish Heritage in western Florida and to provide a social venue for anyone with Scottish Heritage or is interested in things Scottish

How do I Find my Scottish Ancestors?

Scottish Genealogy

How do I Begin Tracing  Scottish Ancestors Who Have Moved from Scotland to other Former British Colonies?

For those of you who would like to learn more about your Scottish ancestors. After tracing three lines of Scottish ancestors over the last ten years, I thought I would share some tips I have learned along the way. Is Researching  Scottish Genealogy Similar to Researching Other Countries or Ethnic Groups? In many ways Scottish Genealogical Research is very like researching other lines. Particularly for those descendants now residing in areas that were once part of the old British Empire. What must be done before I should access Scottish Genealogical Records? Below is information for Americans Researching their Scottish Ancestors.  However, for other English speaking countries, the steps would be similar. “How to do I begin Researching Scottish Genealogy?

  1. The first thing to do is to contact as many of your older family members and ask them what they remember about the family. Get as many names as you can, this includes grandparents and hopefully great grandparents.  Don’t forget aunts, uncle and cousins as you may want to search for them at a later date to see if they have any information that may be helpful.  Realize that there may be family secrets and some family members may not want to share.  Do not pressure them. If you have and old family photos these may help your relative to remember more details.  Any other family memorabilia such as journals, bible records, letters or newspaper clippings of weddings and obituaries is also helpful. I found one of my ancestors who was a mariner by tracing the ship itself.
  2. Once you have as much family information as possible, a good place to start is the United States census records. Gen web is a free site Go to the site and select a state that you are interested in, then select “census” from the left hand column. Also, Family Search is a free site. Use this link as it is sometimes confusing to navigate the site looking for just the census records .  Family search is a completely free site and is helpful in locating a vast amount of other information as well.  You must register, but they will not abuse your email.  They may send you newsletters periodically. You can opt out of this if you would like. Most other census records may be listed as free; however, they are really fee based sites trying to get you sign up. Begin with the 1940 census and work backwards. The 1940 census is the earliest one available.  The rest of the later census records are protected due to privacy laws.

What information can I expect to fine in American Census Records?

Helpful information found in 1940 census records

  1. Location includes:  Street Address and Town,
  2. Is the home owned or rented “O or R”
  3. Value of the home or monthly rental, if rented
  4. Is this a farm?
  5. Name of each person is residence on 1 April 1940 persons temporarily absent from the home  “Ab”
  6. Children under age 1 are listed as infants
  7. An X is listed as the person furnishing the information.  This is valuable because it can give clues as to the accuracy of the information.
  8. Family relationships such as head of household, spouse and name, age, and sex of children.  Also this includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, lodgers, servants, and cousins if they live in the house.
  9. Marital status, color or race, and age of individuals on their last birthday are also included.
  10. Educational information
  11. Place of birth; this includes foreign born and often give the country in which the individual was born prior to 1 January, 1937. The Irish Free State Northern Ireland is referred to as Eire.
  12. Citizen status
  13. Where did the individuals live on 1 April 1935? If it is the same it is listed as “same”.
  14. Employment status for individuals age 14 or older. This states present occupation, and often particular trade, or profession.
  15. Income as of 1935 as well as farm information if farming is the profession
  16. Place of birth for parents and distinguishes French Canada and English Canada, and the Free State of Northern Ireland.
  17. Original native language
  18. Is this person a veteran of the United States military, the wife, widow, or a veteran’s child under 18?  Is the father deceased?
  19. Social Security or other retirement benefits
  20. Marital status of women who are or have been married and the number of children these women had. It also includes the age at first marriage.
  21. The 1930 records include:Here they ask for the language spoken prior to immigration
  22. More information regarding home ownership
  23. Military Service.  Do remember that the WWII records are sealed, I think for another 7 years except for children and spouses of veterans.
  24. The 1920 records includeNaturalized or not and the number of years the person was naturalized
  25. More employment information
  26. The 1910 records include:The naturalization status
  27. More details regarding the languages spoken in the home
  28. The 1900 census records include.For married couples, the number of years married
  29. The number of children the mother had, including those diseased
  30. Immigration dates and the number of years the person has been in the United States
  31. Citizenship status
  32. Home ownership details
  33. The 1890 census is unavailable due to a fire at the National Archives.   Very few records are available for that year.  I will give more information regarding census substitutes in a later post.
  34. The 1880 census includes:Is the first one to provide information regarding family relationships
  35. Occupations are recorded for both males and females
  36. It also includes birth places for parents
  37. The 1870 census includes:Ages for infants under one year of age given in fractions.
  38. Marriages that took place within the current year and are recorded by the month.
  39. This census is the first one that records birth places for foreign born parents and information regarding citizenship
  40. The 1860 and 1850 census includes:Names of all residents in the household as well as age, color, and profession for males over 15 years of age
  41. Real Estate values
  42. Birth places,
  43. Marriages that took place within that year, Literacy, and notations for some handicapped individuals
  44. The only difference between 1860 and 1850 is the addition of further information regarding personal wealth in 1860
  45. All census records prior to 1850 only contain the names of the heads of households, with notations regarding ages, sex, color and the like.  I will provide more of this later.
  1. Very Important Things to Keep Notes of:
  2. As many names as you find with relationships to the family if available
  3. Immigration dates
  4. Dates when the individual became a citizen
  5. Any marriages noted, as well as the number of years a couple has been married
  6. Birth years and/or ages when available
  7. Languages spoken and native languages
  8. Countries of origin
  9. Occupations
  10. Significant relatives
  11. Social Security Information, if available
  12. Military information
  13. Literacy
  14. Any handicaps  noted

Record these with all significant dates, use date as done in Europe as makes it easier to verify dates found overseas for your immigrant ancestors.  (Day, month and year) Record exactly where you found the information, including the websites, books, etc. and as much other significant information as possible. Many times the place where a birth took place is in a different county or province today and in some cases even in a different country! For example, a person may have been born in a town which is in Poland today, but the town may have been part of the Kingdom of Prussia when the event took place. Boundary lines change over time in many parts of the United States and the world. Family Search has plenty of useful research forms for keeping track of your findings at this web address: .  They also have a pedigree chart you can download and/ or keep in their cloud.  You may not want to use their cloud as the information is available to anyone who uses the site. What if I want to begin working on some Scottish Genealogy Research and I live in a country other than the US? For those of you who live outside the United States, more information will be posted later.  However, for the time be cng, make use of census records, city directories, church records, voter registration lists and tax records.

Scottish Genealogy Record Keeping or How Do I Organize All This “Stuff”?

There are several ways to do this.  Before computers, the organizing was all done by hand on forms such as the ones you can find on Family Search.  It can still be done this way, however, it means rewriting the same information in numerous formats. This obstacle can be somewhat lessened by using a copy machine.  You need to have your information in several different formats.  The most important ones being:

  1. Pedigree Chart This chart is designed to organize your direct ancestors. Instructions: All entries here must be numbered.  The numbering system works as follows – begin with your name that will be number one, next are your parents.  The father is placed on the top bracket and mother on the bottom. In the next top bracket beyond your father will be your father’s parents. Again the male will be on the top bracket and the female below. This means that all males will be even numbers and females odd numbers. Numbering is critical for organizing as you collect more information.
  2. Family Group Sheet This form is used to organize family groups. It is important to keep track of as many of that individual’s siblings as possible.  In this way you may be able to locate information relating to the one you are searching for by following one of the siblings.
  3. Census forms:   US census formsUK census formsCanadian census formsScottish census forms 

These forms are free from so I have included them here. There are other useful forms we will discuss later, but these should help get you started.  As you collect more information you will find that you need to write the same information several times.  I get around this by organizing my files by individual and then placing with others in that surname line. For the family group sheet, I just photocopy it as many times as I need to so I can place a copy in each individual’s file. All other photocopies of documents can be handled in the same way. I then place them all in a large three ring binder. In my next post, I will discuss various software programs both free and pay for.  The advantage of the software is that all you have to do is type the information in once and it can be brought up in any format you need.  Also, many programs can easily accept many types of media.

What Commercial Genealogy Software for Microsoft Windows is Available?

Top Ten Reviews in Order

Legacy Family Tree   This has many helpful features for novice genealogists. The Origins Report is very helpful and detailed. The layout is clean and easy to navigate, so the interface doesn’t get in the way of your work. WhIt is possibly oversimplified for more advanced users, but over it is a good program.   $29.95 Family Tree MakerArranging and building your family tree is easy and the interface for this software is clean and organized. The close connection to, a vast genealogical database, is convenient, but it’s hard to complete much work with Family Tree Maker without paying for an account on the website. You’ll get the most out of Family Tree Maker with a membership from, which adds to the cost of this genealogy software.  It is difficult to download information from your ancestry account without using Family Tree Maker.   $39.99 RootsMagicThis program can export and import many file types for documents and media. Creating standard and customized charts with the powerful multimedia tools is excellent.  Report print outs are plain, but also very complete. This is a good application for beginners. I do use this program as well as Family Tree Maker.  I found that the learning curve was a bit more challenging.  I think buying the companion book is a necessity. The video tutorials are also very helpful. The program does a good job with media and referencing for footnotes. The one drawback to this product is that while it will let you search in various outside websites like directly through the software.  It does copy that found information into your tree like Family Tree Maker does. You have to do that manually by cut and paste.  Once you get used to it, it is easy to fill in. The video tutorials are good. $29.99 The Master Genealogist  The Master Genealogist is excellent for its sourcing and citing features for publishing bibliographies, tables of contents and other documentation.  This program appears to be aimed at more advanced genealogists and could be intimidating for beginners.  $59.00 Ancestral QuestAccording to reviews I have read,Ancestral Quest syncs with which is convenient, however, it is very well streamlined.  Adding people and information is done using an “add” button rather than typing in directly. Also, there are some extra features that tend to make the software clunky. $29.95 Family HistorianThis program has several useful features for uploading, managing and citing multimedia sources like photos.  However, most extra features require a downloadable plug from Family Historian’s Website. This is basic genealogy software if you do not have the plugins.  The plugins make is easy to use with photos andmultimedia.  $46.50 Heredis This software program has been used in Europe.  It is aesthetically pleasing genealogy software with many customizable options. You can arrange the main toolbar to access the features you use most often. You can also change the theme color and layout of the default family tree view. The programmers still have some kinks to fix. The sourcing features can be a problem.    $39.99 Win Family With this program you can create highly detailed profiles for each person to form a narrative.  This could be especially helpful if you have linked media for each person or want to scrapbook.  The data entry fields are complex.  This program may not be suitable for beginners.  Also, there is minimal guidance in regards to learning to use this program.  $87.00 Gen Box Family History   This program is best suited to a professional researcher, not the average user.  The freehand drawing tool is nice for making last-minute notes. Charts and reports are not as attractive or customizable as some other software programs. The data entry may be confusing for beginners and there is no book publishing tool.  $29.95 Agelong   This is good genealogy software for beginners because it doesn’t rely heavily on terminology or citations.  However, you won’t be able to compile advanced charts, forms or bibliographies to record your research. Personally, my biggest concern would be that the footnoting aspects of this program are weak.  I have found that is important to have good footnotes not only for verification, but also as a reference that can be used to make sure that you are not searching for information in the same place twice.  $25.00 *This information was extrapolated from “Top 10 Reviews “. For more information regarding genealogical software, go to their site using the following link:!3987!3!29362491626!b!!g!!%2Bgenealogy%20%2Bsoftware&ef_id=UnfPVgAABNrTEAhd:20140227180758:s

What Makes Top-Notch Mac Genealogy Software?

About Top Ten Reviews:  Top Ten is a website that reviews all manner of things from computer software, household items, and much more.

More software reviews are available if you follow the link below.  I just summarized what was posted so that it information would be more accessible to you.

Go to:

What should I look for when selecting genealogy software?

Quoted from Top Ten Reviews located at the above link:

  • Features and Display Options: Mac genealogy software should offer multiple features, including the ability to customize backgrounds and text effects. The software should make it easy to input family data and display reports in multiple formats.
  • Importing: The most functional of the Mac genealogy software has the ability to import multiple items, more than just documents and text files. The ability to import videos, audio files, and photos really enhance the experience of using genealogy software.
  • Output Formats: Top-rated Mac genealogy software includes multiple output options, including CDs or DVDs, a PDF or JPG file, or text and print options.
  • Ease of Use: If the product is too hard for users to handle, then it is not worth much. The best Mac genealogy software all earn high marks for intuitive features and interfaces that are easy to navigate.
  • Help & Support: Look for Mac genealogy software that includes instructions and tutorials for beginners. Genealogists will also enjoy the benefit of online community forums and experts via phone or email.

Genealogy rewarding can be a very rewarding task, and organizing all the research can be made much easier with the best Mac genealogy software.


Family Tree Maker for Mac3

This software was tested by “top ten reviews” as the best software for beginners.   Family Tree Maker for Mac is very good at helping you learn the process. The program guides you through each step of tasks. Adding and tailoring sources, creating charts and adding media and family to your database features are not difficult to learn. You’ll quickly form an understanding of the best methods for organization, citation and charting.

Reporting & Publishing

Family Tree Maker will provide you with the ability to produce information in a variety of ways including reports, charts and customizable options. Within the Publish tab, you can create a keepsake from any of the ten chart options. FTM 3 also has nine report templates available. Though this program doesn’t include chart themes, it’s still highly customizable. You can change the size, position and color of the nodes in the tree, as well as the chart’s background.

Family Tree Maker for Mac 3 can connect to’s extensive database and community. This is especially useful if you’re a member of’s active community. Remember that other users can see the parts of a tree you make public, and they can even offer suggestions and leads for your research. You can still keep your trees private on using a few simple steps if you wish.

Feature Set

Family Tree Maker’s People tab is the standard view, showing you a pedigree chart that runs up to six generations back in time. You can adjust the view and orientation of the working pedigree chart and the number of generations you see. The standard view lists of people can become long, confusing and tangled. By keeping the entire family in a tree format as you work, you can quickly see close relationships and extended family like siblings and cousins.

The software easily allows you to include remarriages, divorces and annulments. You can even include multiple marriages and intermarriages with this program. Child entry options include step, adoptive and foster children. Correct data entry ensures that charts and reports provide the correct information. Family Tree Maker also includes a web browser within the program. However, this software is powered by, so the two are designed to go hand in hand to streamline your online research. You’ll get the most out of this software by subscribing to a full membership with FTM works best through Ancestry, but you’ll need a full membership to the site to get the most out of this software because many documents are for members only. Remember to add this expense to the price of the software.

Citation & Organization

Tracking and organizing your sources legitimizes your research and makes it easy for anyone you share it with to see where you got your information. Family Tree maker provides an easy to use citation process. You can add reference notes, media and other notes about the source…

Family Tree Maker Summary  

Family Tree Maker for Mac 3 has extensive sourcing, reporting and research features accessible in the clearly marked tabs in the interface. Data entry is easy and flexible, and if you still have a lot of research to do, this genealogy software connects with   PRICE $39.99    ANCESTRY MEMBERSHIP PRICES RANGE FROM   $99.00 – $199.00 for a 6 month membership depending on which plan you use.  You can get a basic 30 day trial for free.

Reunion 10

This software received the “Top Ten” silver award.  It his highly customizable and has many extra features.  It is good for those who wish to print elaborate reports and custom scrapbooks, if you wish to wade through all its features.

Reunion’s charting and reporting aspects can tackle a variety of different documents. Reunion can create complex, multi-generational charts to share with your family. And though it’s missing some minor common features like a full-fledged task list or source ratings, Reunion has alternative ways to get the same job done. Reunion’s support is friendly and prompt and the Reunion forums are full of active users to help. PRICE $89.99


The visual appeal of MacFamilyTree software is very good.  The charting, search and media capabilities in this program make it a strong contender among the software as reviewed by “Top Ten”. Special features include 3D family tree and a virtual globe as well as templates and backgrounds for customizable charts and reports. It also has a Web Search feature to open other databases, like the LDS church’s Family Search, one of the largest genealogical databases to date.

You can add photos, videos, audio, PDF and URLs into the media repository, which is impressive because most genealogy programs only support photos. MacFamily 7 earns our “Top Ten” Bronze Award for its innovative features and its smooth design. However, it’s not perfect genealogy software by any means. It does lack in the area of support and standard features like problem spotters.

This software offers a long list of custom charts you can use to display your family tree. These charts all populate your family information quickly and correctly. Whether you want a standard pedigree chart or a bowtie chart, you can add themed backgrounds to any of your products or adjust the size, color and text. You can create charts based on military service, occupation, education, and the like.

The big problem with this genealogy software is its lack of problem spotters. It’s easy to confuse individuals or create multiple profiles for the same person. With the slip of a finger, you may record your grandmother’s birth as 1390 instead of 1930. Problem spotters typically don’t correct any inconsistent data, but they notify you of any potential problems in age or events. The lack of these alerts is disappointing, especially in a software that is otherwise so ideal for beginners.

Feature Set

MacFamily has standard features you’ll put to daily use, but others are mostly for show. The 3D tree and virtual globe are great visual aids that provide a deeper look into your family tree, but they don’t do much in the way of documentation or presentation.

A fun feature in MacFamily is the Family Quiz. This animated quiz tests you on family, places and events within your database to help you retain the research you’ve done. A feature like this may not do much for professional researchers, but it serves as a way to get others, especially kids, interested in their own trees by quizzing them on family history.

Citation & Organization

The sourcing and citing features in MacFamily work as they should, and adding or editing a source is easy to accomplish within the Source tab. The dialogue for adding sources prompts you for basic source info like title, author and publication. The privacy settings for each source are located within this window, so you know immediately which sources are protected and which are public. From this same dialogue box, you can add media and notes, change dates or add items to the task list.

The To-Do list provides options make note of task you want to accomplish, like researching further or checking missing events. You can mark each task with a priority level, and each entry has an option to assign deadlines, text and further notes. The task lists help you prioritize your research and focus on the biggest gaps in your family tree. If you plan to work with other genealogists, the To-Do list makes it easy to divide assignments and communicate more effectively.

Help & Support

MacFamilyTree support is adequate if you have a common question, but in terms of actual personal support, this genealogy software falls short. Most of the help available is on MacFamily’s website. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any contact numbers or email for MacFamilyTree if you have extensive questions or want to contact a live person.  PRICE $49.99.



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