Why I became a genealogist

Alex Macdonald III of Boisdale
Alexander MacDonald III of Boisdale 1760-1818, my husband’s great, great, great, great grandfather.

I married in 1984 and about 3 months prior to my wedding I asked my aunt to provide me with my family tree on my side of the family, which is Italian. I’m only 1st generation Canadian and I didn’t really know much about my family history. What got me interested was my future husband’s grandmother, Eunice Moore. She was a lovely, elegant, little Scottish lady who had come to Canada at 10 years old with her widowed mother and siblings. She was very proud of her Scottish ancestry and spoke to me on several occasions about it. That triggered an intense desire to know more about my own ancestry.

When my aunt arrived, she handed me a handwritten piece of paper with whatever she could find out on it. I was immediately hooked! There were names on this paper that I’d never heard of and they did not at all sound Italian! This was the beginning of my obsession with family history.

I started making inquiries about my Italian side and quickly found out that this would be extremely hard. You have to remember that this was before the age of internet. I worked on computers at work but no one had home computers yet. With this came the idea that I should start researching my husband’s family since he had a living family member who could give me a lot of information to start with. * Hint! If you are starting out on your family’s history, always try and find an elderly relative who can help you with important information. They are a wealth of information that, once they are gone, is lost forever. 

So my lovely grandmother-in-law set in motion my now 35 year journey into our family history and here I am, in 2016, a genealogist who decided to go back to school and get her Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies (PLCGS) from the National Institute of Genealogical Studies, St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto. I was 51 when I decided to take this leap but I had over 30 years of “hobby” genealogy experience. The knowledge I gained at school has been invaluable and has only added to my love of family history!

The man in the photo is one of the most intriguing members of my husband’s family. His name was Alexander MacDonald, III of Boisdale. He was a Laird on South Uist, in Scotland and his family owned the island, along with several others. He was a member of Clanranald the largest branch of Clan Donald and was quite a character. Finding out he was related to my husband was so exciting! I will mention more about him in my next post but for now, I just wanted to let you know that EVERYONE has a story in their family tree. Some are sad, some are exciting, some are somewhat “shady” but ALL are interesting and should be recorded. I hope that this blog helps someone who reads it to get inspired to share what they have found with others. This blog, for me, is my first step in hopefully, one day, in writing a book about this branch of our tree.

Here’s a link for anyone who is seriously thinking of starting their family tree in Scotland. It’s a pay for view site but is the best site for finding birth, baptisms, marriage and death records in Scotland. Without it, I’d not have had the proof I needed to make the connections to prove my husband’s descent from this line.


About tiesthatbindsite

I'm a genealogist with a passion for Scottish and English ancestry. I'm trilingual so I can also do research in French Canadian records and Italian records. My love for family history began 35 years ago and continues to grow every day. My family is very important to me and I hope to instill in them a love for "where they came from" so that they can better understand who they are. I also want to share my love of family history with anyone who understands how important it is to not lose site of their ancestors. They all have a story to tell.
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2 Responses to Why I became a genealogist

  1. I live on Long Island, NY but have Scottish ancestors who emigrated to Canada in my tree. I haven’t started researching those lines seriously yet, so I look forward to reading more about your research.


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