Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Interview with Christine Woodcock of Genealogy Tours of Scotland

We have such a great group of sponsors and so we wanted everyone to get to know them better. In the following interview we talk to Christine Woodcock of Genealogy Tours of Scotland about genealogy, research, and of course Scottish food.

Gena and Jean: How did you get interested in genealogy?

Christine: My grandfather fathered 21 children. (Yes, and raised them!) My grandmother, his second wife raised all of them and was the only granny any of the grandchildren knew. My mum and gran were the story tellers of the family. Every summer we had tons of company from Scotland. And every time someone arrived, we would all gather and hear the stories over and over and over. It was boring old news then. But my mum and gran died within 8 months of each other and suddenly something fired up inside me and it became my mission to preserve those stories for my kids and all of the other grandkids. So with the help of my aunt, I put together a family history book. A record of my grandpa's descendants. I gave a copy to each of his offspring. It has become a treasured heirloom.

Gena and Jean: What made you want to pursue it as a career?

Christine: As I was speaking to groups and writing articles, it dawned on me that I was unique. Not only did I have Scottish ancestry, but I had a deep familiarity with all things Scottish and knew the country well. Others long to see their homeland. So, I decided to put together genealogy research trips to Scotland to allow those with Scottish ancestry the change to get to know their homeland. Time is provided for the participants to go to the area of Scotland that their ancestors were from. I have colleagues who will personalise an ancestral tour to the graves, homes, villages etc for the participants.

Gena and Jean: In your work you lead tours of Scotland and help researchers learn more about their ancestors. What two tips do you have for someone who is considering traveling to Scotland to research?

Christine: PLAN AHEAD. I spend almost a full year preparing my tour participants for their research time in Scotland. The second would do some research online about what to expect from each of the archival repositories.

Gena and Jean: What is the biggest mistake or misconception you see with Scottish research?

Christine: People rely so heavily on Ancestry, Find My Past or FamilySearch but they only have transcriptions. The Scottish documents are such a treasure trove of genealogical information that so much is missed out on by not viewing the original documents. They are only available on Scotlands People the website for the General Registrar's Office.

Gena and Jean: What's your favorite Scottish repository and why?

Christine: ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh is the best. All of their documents are digitized and available onsite. The National Archives are housed upstairs and that is the gateway to even more records.

Gena and Jean: So, I have to ask....what's your favorite thing to eat in Scotland?

Christine: I was raised on Scottish food, so love most of it. Yes! even haggis. But the first thing I run for when I get home is a Scotch Pie. The original take out food!

Gena and Jean: Where can our readers read more of your writings and more about your tours?

Christine: For more information about my tours, they can visit my websiteI also blog at: http://scottishgenealogytipsntricks.blogspot.ca/ and I am a regular columnist for the In-Depth Genealogist.

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