Research Your Scottish Ancestry

Networking and Ongoing Learning

Robert Wilbanksby Robert M. Wilbanks IV, B.A.
Chief Genealogist & Historian, C.S.A.

Through these writings I can only highlight basic fundamentals of any particular topic in genealogy. Often there is more to learn. In this article, I wish to discuss how you can obtain clarification and more in-depth information in the time between these monthly publications and my annual presentations. A local, national and international system of networking and continuous education is a key component of genealogy that is readily available.

As you progress in your genealogy, discovering new and interesting facets of your family history, you will find that there is always something more to learn about the research process and resources available. Finding others with common research interests, but with more practical experience, is an important, and fun, aspect to genealogy. Whether it is finding a distant cousin who has made more progress in the researching of your common family tree, or learning from a record type expert, or research locality expert, networking with others to learn more is just one aspect of becoming a more skilled researcher. The other key aspect, is just straight forward genealogy education. Getting out there and learning more.

As I have hinted through these articles, and presented in person, genealogists and genealogy has a very strong presence on the internet. In addition to informational resources, there are a great wealth of blogs, e-newsletters, courses, and even videos, to help with fundamentals, or more in-depth understanding, of any genealogy research topic. “How-to” genealogy websites on the internet is extensive. For example, here is the link to a great Scottish genealogy blog:

With the internet search engine Google, you can enter any term or combination of terms, with the word genealogy, and find any of the types of online resources, blogs, “How-to” e-columns, newsletters, etc., to help you better understand a type of genealogy resource or record type, or learn about resources or research in a particular locality.

A couple of articles ago I discussed FamilySearch ( as a free family history research and records access and genealogy building site similar to Ancestry. One of their key features is a “Wiki”. The FamilySearch Wiki is a tool for finding information about subjects, records that may have been generated about your ancestors, and the places in which the records might be found. It is a vast information depository. Here is the link to their “Beginners” Wiki page:     FamilySearch also includes a Help Center where you can search for writings, PowerPoints, and video lessons on virtually any topic in the United States or Internationally. Type the word “Scotland” in the search bar for a handful of Scotland “How-to” genealogy lessons.

Speaking of Video Lessons. YouTube has an amazing wealth of “How-to” genealogy videos in a wide variety of topics, and in lengths from several minutes to a couple of hours. Some are created by fellow hobbyists, professionals, genealogy clubs, and some of the best genealogy libraries and archives. The US National Archives has their own channel which includes a wealth of genealogy presentations ( as does Scotland’s People  ( If you use only the keyword “genealogy” in your initial search you will get 224,000 hits. Use other keywords with “genealogy”, such as “beginning” or “101”, or “Scotland”, or “Indiana”, or “probate”, etc., for more specific topics.

Genealogy societies are commonplace across the U.S. and around the world. Various national societies, such as the National Genealogical Society (NGS) (, or the Scottish Genealogical Society (, provide newsletter and quarterly publications with articles on research tips, techniques and strategies, and also online courses, webinars, and more.

Locality specific genealogy societies also exist, such as the South Carolina Genealogical Society (, or the Ohio Genealogical Society (, or the North Perthshire Family History Group (, where membership benefits can include publications, research help, online courses, blogs, etc. Often here you may find people researching your family as well.

Even though you may not have Arizona ancestry, local genealogy societies across the state are a great place to network, learning from others, and attend meetings, and learn from great presenters on a variety of topics. The Family History Society of Arizona ( has seven chapters around the valley that each meet a different day of the month. You could theoretically attend all seven meetings monthly. Their annual meeting in March 2018 will feature highly noted Thomas W. Jones; with long list of accolades.

The West Valley Genealogical Society ( is the largest genealogy society in Arizona and operates its own genealogy library with over 4000 square feet of books and more, plus access to a wide variety of subscription based genealogy databases. In addition to their monthly meetings, the Library provides a number of “How-to” genealogy classes on a variety of topics. Their annual seminar in February 2018 will feature Cyndi Ingalls of Cyndi’s List fame (

There are many other Arizona genealogy groups, historical and heritage societies that you can find through the Arizona Genealogical Advisory Board (AzGAB) (, promoting genealogy and history by addressing the educational needs and interests of Arizona’s genealogical community through cooperation by the various groups and individuals. They have an impressive calendar of genealogy events around Arizona.

And lastly, the Mesa FamilySearch Library (/, features many on-site classes, online classes and webinars, and the annual multi-track all day conference in October at ASU.

This is another of a series of articles in which I show you the basics of searching for your family history, discussing the use of family records, public records, and online resources nationally and internationally, etc. The previous articles are now available on the Genealogy Section of this website.   See “Genealogy” in the menu options at the top of the web page.