Clan Maclean Centenary International Gathering

Well folks, it has been 100 years since Sir Fitzroy MacLean bought and restored Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull, Scotland.  It lay in ruin for over a hundred years before that and probably was built in the 13th century.  In 2012 the Clan Maclean will hold an international gathering of Macleans, Duarts and all the septs that incompasses.  You will have to go on line to their website   to see who is a member sept.

The 2012 Clan Maclean Centenary International Gathering will take place on the Isle of Mull Jun 18-24.  If you want to have a great time with “the clan”, this is the time to visit.  Al and I went to the last gathering in 2007.  We didn’t have a clue what we were getting into, but had such a wonderful time, I’m ready to go back. You might want to get a kilt and learn some dances for the Grand Dance on Saturday night.

Pack you kilt, scabbard and warm coat and head to Mull (it’s an island after all and gets very cold).  We flew into Glasgow, rented a car then drove to Oban.  We took the ferry to Craignure on Mull and drove to Tobermory where many of the events took place.  Some events were held at Duart Castle.  Because it was a “family” thing, we had the run of the Castle on the public side.  Sir Fitzroy Maclean lives on the other half.  What a trip!

If you want to see the inside of the castle, watch “Entrapment” with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  The movie was filmed inside the castle.

We got to meet many clansmen from all over the World.  I still get occasional emails from some.  If you join the Clan Maclean Heritage Trust, you may also get invited to a private party held at one of the Maclean private residences.  That in itself was worth the trip.  The Maclean’s of Duart and Lochbuie owned many castles in the “good ole” days.  Some are “crumbledowns” and some are fully restored.  A journey to Urqhart Castle (another family property), will help you understand how truly large they were.  Urqhart is a crumbledown, for the most part, but if you walk around, you start feeling like you’ve been here before in some other life and could really enjoy living in a castle, if it had central heating.

You will not be sorry for going to this gathering.  It certainly gives you a real sense of family when everyone is dressed in our family tartans.  Happy Trails

Revolutionary War Patriot Homes

Our local DAR Chapter has been working on documenting Revolutionary War Patriot Homes that are still in existence in Dauphin Co., PA.  We have made a good start, but have opened up to the remainder of the State of Pennsylvania to add additional homes that have been found.  I have received a few names and am now putting together a talk on some of these homes.  The purpose is to keep them preserved for future generations.

If you go on line at HABS or the National Registry of Historic Places you will find information about some of these homes.  With that and copies of the deeds, you can put together quite an interesting story.  You can also find some disturbing news, such as the very old, Mendenhall Inn was demolished in 2002 and replaced with a new building.  This is the kind of thing we want to keep from happening to these historic old homes.  By making people aware of the age and history of these homes, we hope to help preserve them.

If you know of any old homes that were occupied in the 1700 or early 1800s by a Revolutionary War veteran, let me know.  We would love to document and preserve their history.

Nothing Like Good Ole Legwork

Today I’m on a mission to locate a living relative for a client.  The person was born in 1930 after the 1930  U.S. Federal Census was taken.  So where do I go next.  I tried the county websites for the  last known address, which was in 1980.  Nothing popped up on the website, but I called the local historical society and they told me about a county website that has government records on line.  They had nothing on the family at their society.

When I went on line for the government records, I located a marriage record, but they did not put the complete information on line, such as dates of birth.  I called the courthouse and located a person who was willing to look on microfilm at the original record.  This gave me dates of birth for the bride, my target person and her new husband.  He was born 1919, she was born 1930. They were in western PA when married in 1980, so next I started looking on for any people with the same last name, living in that same general area.

I located a number of families with that same last name and started calling them.  On the second call I found a nephew of the husband of my target person.  Through this person I found that the husband died some years ago, but the wife maybe still living or her children.  Now it is just a matter of following up further with her to connect my client with her cousin.

One-Name Study Course

Today starts my Pharos course on One-Name Studies.  I have registered my Duart family name with the variants of Dewart, Doward, Dhu-Ard and Duard.  This should help me reach out to others researching the family name.  It is a fun course, from England, done entirely on computer.  I’m excited to get started and will keep you posted on the outcome, but keep an eye on my One-Name Study – Duart website.  You can reach it by clicking on the One-Name Study emblem on my front page.

On another note.  The TV program “Who Do You Think You Are?” begins again on NBC on Friday, Feb 4th at 8:00 pm.  Last year’s program was a great success and brought lots of people into genealogy.  Beware of how easy they make it look.  They had hundreds of people and research hours to bring you a 3 minute segment.  It is still pretty amazing what you can find on your family, if you just look.

Search and share

I work on many lineage society applications, so do research  on the NSDAR website and am amazed what connections I find in my research for others.  Today I need to send a birthday card to a “daughter” in my local DAR chapter, looked her up on the NSDAR website  and lo and behold, she was from the area where I grew up.  Many of her ancestors have similar last names to my ancestors.  Today will be spent researching our possible connections. Is there another supplement in the works here?

I’ll begin my research on the Bradford County (PA) website that Joyce Tice hosts.  This is the best county website I have ever found.  All the folks in Bradford County graciously offer historical records and their own research, to Joyce, for the website.  If every county would be so generous, we would have so much more information available and so many records would not be destroyed.

On another similar topic, that I have mentioned before, don’t hoard those records you find, share them with a local historical society or submit them to the web for your local county site.  You can find a good repository by going to and click on your State and county.  You will find many volunteers ready to help.

Genealogical Education On Line

Last week I got an email about a complimentary webinar from Legacy Family Tree.   I thought I’d try it out.  I have taken other course through webinars and found them fun and informative.  It was Google for Genealogy web products. What an amazing search engine you can use for so many functions.  Google has 155 products and many are easily adapted for genealogy.

I have been on line for Google searching, Google Books, Google Maps and Google Earth, but if you travel frequently for research, Google Calendar, Google Voice, and Google Transcription would be very handy.  For working at home, Google Alerts would keep you on top of what is added on the web about your family, Google Translate would help with those German records you can’t decipher, and Google News Archives might help you locate that obituary.

There are so many records on line, try to locate them first through a search engine.  You might be surprised with what you find.  With Google, you need to have an account.  It is free to sign up.  There may be some costs to certain products if you want to order maps, etc.

I’m looking forward to more Legacy webinars.  Check them out on line at

Historic Preservation is everyone’s job

I began my preservation career as the first Chairman in the State of Pennsylvania for the historic preservation committee in NSDAR and in the first year we had the first ever Historic Preservation Project Contest National, Regional and State winner.

Our local DAR chapter began our own project of documenting homes that were originally occupied by a Revolutionary War patriot, that are still in existence.  We were documenting ownership, photographing the property and making a list of these homes.  We hope the entire State will join our efforts and send information on their local patriot homes.

We have not had any additions to our local list, but as I travel around the State, ladies are occasionally giving me leads of homes to be recorded.  We are making these records so that these homes are not destroyed by people who are not aware of the history behind the home.  We hope that making more people aware of the existence of these homes will also give the present owners a sense of responsibility to maintain these historic buildings.

Do you know the history of your home?  Do you know how to go about finding out the history.  I can help you research your home, just contact me for a quote.

Follow Up With Your Relatives

New Years is a good time to follow up with those relatives you haven’t heard from in awhile.  Did you get a Christmas card from them that just had their name.  What a waste of a stamp and card.  It only confirms they are still alive.  Give them a call.  You can check for their phone number on Switchboard, White Pages, etc.  then call them.  Give yourself lots of time, because once you have found them, they may have lots of family information to share. Make notes about your conversation, so you can follow up later on some of the stories they share. Then record them in your database.

Years ago my Aunt told me we were related to Carson Long of Carson Long Military School in New Bloomfield PA.  So I wrote to them and got a letter back saying, no, we were probably not a direct descendant because he was 16 years old when he died.  They did give me a name of a fellow, Harry Lenig, who could probably help.  I got in touch with Harry and he had been tracing my family for 40 years.  He shared lots of family information with me.  I thought I had hit the mother lode with all of his research.  When Harry died, he left all of his information with The Perry Historians.  If you have never been to visit The Perry Historian library in Newport, PA, you are missing a great treasure trove of information about Perry County people.  Needless to say, I’m a Life Member and find new information every time I visit.