Saturday, 27 August 2016

Rockstar Genealogist nominations are open

Nominations are open for the 2016 edition, the 5th year, of Rockstar Genealogist. Below is a list of those pre-nominated, mainly based on previous years omitting names of those who received few votes last year. The list is open for further nominations until noon EDT Friday 2 September. Do so by posting a comment below. Voting starts on 3 September.

Rockstar genealogists are those who give "must attend" presentations at family history conferences or as webinars, who when you see a new family history article or publication by that person, makes it a must buy. If you hang on their every word on a blog, podcast or newsgroup, or follow avidly on Facebook or Twitter they are likely Rockstar candidates.

Anyone on the list who would prefer not to be ranked please let me know at johndreid at gmail dot com. Your name will appear, so voters will understand it isn't an omission, with an indication that any votes will not be tabulated. That's the case with Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Here's advice for those wanting to make additional nominations. Each year nominations are received for local genealogy heroes who don't gather very many votes. Each year those without a national and usually international profile fail to make the final rankings. Frivolous nominations will be rejected at my sole discretion including those who cannot be found through a Google search using the name and the word genealogy.

The nominees are:

Lisa Alzo (USA)
Lesley Anderson (CAN)
Jen Baldwin (USA)
Jill Ball (ANZ)
Nick Barratt (UK)
Kyle Betit (USA)
Claire Bettag (USA)
Kenyatta D. Berry (USA)
Blaine Bettinger (USA)
Warren Bittner (USA)
Ruth Blair (CAN)
Paul Blake (UK)
Katherine Borges (USA)
Ruth Burkholder (CAN)
Peter Calver (UK)
Pauleen Cass (ANZ)
Colin Chapman (UK)
Shannon Christmas (USA)
Else Churchill (UK)
Kristin Cleage (USA)
John Philip Colletta (USA)
Audrey Collins (UK)
Lisa Louise Cooke (USA)
Kitty Cooper (USA)
Crista Cowen (USA)
Amy Crow (USA)
Schelly Talalay Dardashti (OTH) (USA)
Jackie Depelle (UK)
Gail Dever (CAN)
Richard M Doherty (USA)
William Dollarhide (USA)
Brian Donovan (IRE)
Marie Dougan (UK)
Bruce Durie (UK)
Daniel Earl (CAN)
Dick Eastman (USA)
Valerie S. Elkins (USA)
Roberta Estes (USA)
Kerry Farmer (ANZ)
Janet Few (UK)
Colleen Fitzpatrick (USA)
Fiona Fitzsimons (IRE)
Michael Gandy (UK)
Heather Garnsey (ANZ)
Maurice Gleeson (UK) (IRE)
Chris Goopy (ANZ)
Julie Goucher (UK)
Jan Gow (ANZ)
Kirsty Gray (UK)
Bennett Greenspan (USA)
John Grenham (IRE)
Diane Haddad (USA)
Michael Hait (USA)
Alison Hare (CAN)
Celia Heritage (UK)
Jean Wilcox Hibben (USA)
Shauna Hicks (ANZ)
Kathryn Lake Hogan (CAN)
Yvette Hoitink (OTH)
Daniel Horowitz (OTH)
Paul Howes (UK)
Cyndi Ingle (USA)
Sherry Irvine (CAN)
Tim Janzen (USA)
Hank Z. Jones (USA)
Paul Jones (CAN)
Tamura Jones (USA)
Thomas W. Jones (USA)
Debbie Kennett (UK)
Tessa Keough (USA)
Martyn Killion (ANZ)
Turi King (UK)
Taneya Koonce (USA)
Rosemary Kopittke (ANZ)
Michael D. Lacopo (USA)
Peggy Lauritzen (USA)
Michael J. Leclerc (USA)
J. Mark Lowe (USA)
Dan Lynch (USA)
Thomas MacEntee (USA)
Jane MacNamara (CAN)
David McDonald (USA)
Ken McKinlay (CAN)
Leland Meitzler (USA)
Brenda Dougall Merriman (CAN)
Elizabeth Shown Mills (USA, not tabulated)
Paul Milner (USA)
CeCe Moore (USA)
George G. Morgan (USA)
Stephen P. Morse (USA)
Janice Nickerson (CAN)
Maria Northcote (ANZ)
Dave Obee (CAN)
Lynn Palermo (CAN)
Michelle Patient (ANZ)
Israel Pickholtz (OTH)
Gena Philibert Ortega (USA)
Chris Paton (UK)
Marian Pierre-Louis (USA)
David Pike (CAN)
Chris Pomery (UK)
Elissa Scalise Powell (USA)
Kimberly Powell (USA)
Laura Prescott (USA)
Marian Press (CAN)
Rebecca Probert (UK)
Tony Proctor (UK)
Terrence Punch (CAN)
Mike Quackenbush (CAN)
Geoff Rasmussen (USA)
Linda Reid (CAN)
David Rencher (USA)
Pat Richley-Erickson (USA)
Christine Rose (USA)
William Roulston (UK), (IRE)
Judy G. Russell (USA)
Claire Santry (IRE)
Gary Schroder (CAN)
Lorine McGinnis Schulze (CAN)
George K. Schweitzer (USA)
Craig Scott (USA)
Randy Seaver (USA)
Jayne Shrimpton (UK)
Joseph Shumway (USA)
Drew Smith (USA)
Helen V Smith (ANZ)
Marian L. Smith (USA)
Megan Smolenyak (USA)
Steven C. Smyrl (IRE)
Diahan Southard (USA)Louise St. Denis (CAN)
Roy Stockdill (UK)
Paula Stuart-Warren (USA)
Geoff Swinfield (UK)
Loretto (Lou) Szucs (USA)
James Tanner (USA)
Jane Taubman (USA)
D. Joshua Taylor (USA)
Kerryn Taylor  (ANZ)
Maureen Taylor (USA)
Mary M. Tedesco (USA)
Alona Tester (ANZ)
James F.S. Thomson (CAN)
John Titford (UK)
Alec Tritton (UK)
Helen Tovey (UK)
Judy Webster (ANZ)
Sharn White (ANZ)
Kirsty Wilkinson(UK)
Curt B. Witcher (USA)
Russ Worthington (USA)
Glenn Wright (CAN)
Christine Woodcock (CAN)

Friday, 26 August 2016

Digitising Welsh Published Collections

A blog post from the National Library of Wales reports that they have now completed digitizing and making searchable and viewable 1.1 million pages of their newspaper collection, dating from 1804 to 1919.

They are now moving on to digitisation of Welsh books or books published about Wales "which will create a fantastic searchable resource of Welsh and Welsh interest books for the Library’s users, making thousands of long out of print books available to the public again."

Meanwhile at Library and Archives Canada . . .

With the WW1 CEF service file digitization project sucking up most of the oxygen for digitization at LAC I'm coming around to the view in a recent blog post by Allana Mayer that the  “amalgamation” of library and archives is code for erasure of the library activity.

Free access to Ancestry UK and Ireland records

Access to the records in the featured collections from Ancestry, including all the census records, will be free until Monday 29 August 2016 at 23:59 BST -- 18.59 EDT.

The small print - to view these records you will need to register for free with with your name and email address. We will then send you a username and password to access the records. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using an paid membership. To see a full list of the records in the featured collections please click here.

I suspect there will be automatic access for and .ca subscribers.

Ancestry adds Medway, Kent, England, Poor Law Union Records, 1836-1937

These Poor Law Union Records, for Hoo, Medway and Strood, comprise 74 Poor Law Union registers. Most are admission and discharge registers for institutions such as workhouses, schools, and hospitals. There are some creed registers and birth and death records as well as registers showing days of residence by week. Records with birth dates after 1916 have been excluded for privacy reasons.
The original records are in the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, Chatham, Kent, England.

LAC maps and cartographic material online almost doubles

When I looked in February Library and Archives Canada had 5,559 items online classified as maps and cartographic material. Now there are 10,956 items, an impressive 12.6 percent of the 87,159 items in the collection. The bsr graph shows availability by decade.
The David Rumsey Map Collection sets the standard in the field claiming over 71,000 maps and images online, up from 66,000 in February. One useful feature of the Rumsey site that would be an asset for LAC is a list of recent additions so that they don`t necessarily fly under the radar.
For the London genealogists one of Rumsey`s recent additions is high quality maps from the Charles Booth Poverty Map Series. The resolution is of high enough quality you can read every word.;

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Grandma’s Genes Swab-A-Thon this Saturday

A reminder about Mags Gaulden's event, the Grandma’s Genes Swab-A-Thon, this Saturday August  27, 2016 from 2-4pm at Bowman’s Bar and Grill at 1170 Carling Ave –  across from the Royal Ottawa Hospital.
There will be an informal overview of the how’s and why’s of DNA and help with your DNA sample(s).
It’s $5.00 at the door which includes the overview, swab and the bulk mailing fees (test fees – starting at $99USD will be done separately via credit card on site).

If you're looking for a more in-depth presentation sign up for my free Ottawa Public Library session Exploring Your Family Roots Using DNA at the Nepean Centrepointe library, Saturday, 24 September, 2016 - 10:00am.

Book Review: First We Were Soldiers, the long march to Perth

This 2015 book by Perth historian Ron W. Shaw falls into two parts. The first 99 pages are devoted to the soldering part, a description of the organization and life of the British Army as it was constituted and served during the period up until the end of the War of 1812.  Not being a military historian, and having no ancestry that I know of involved in the military of the period, this was all new material to me. Except, I've just read Shaw's 2012 book Forgotten Hero: Alexander Fraser, co-authored with M.E. Irene Spence, and find much of the military material repeated word for word from the previous book. However, there is lots of other content new to me including material on the transition of the settlers to Perth and its early development. I appreciated the maps to help those of us not familiar with the relative locations of the townships.
A short section on pages 79 and 80 referring to "the year without a summer" grabbed my attention as a former meteorologist. "Global temperatures (in 1816) dropped by an average of 2 degrees, but in Perth Upper Canada, they were 10 degrees below average." There is no reference the closest being to an article in an unspecified May 1887 issue of the Toronto Mail, 70 years later.  There were no official weather observations at the time and the land only having just been surveyed what was the basis for an average?
The second part of the book provides short, typically five page biographies of some of the soldier-settlers in the Perth Military Settlement. They are: Captain Francis Tito LeLièvre (1755-1830); Captain Francis Tito LeLievre (1755 - 1830); Captain Joshua Adams (1770 to 1863); Captain William Marshall (1774 - 1864); Surgeon Alexander Thom, (1775 to 1848); Lieutenant  Thomas Consitt (1773 to 1862 ); Lieutenant Andrew William Playfair (1790 - 1868); Lieutenant Alexander Fraser (1789 - 1872); Lieutenant Benjamin DeLisle (1792 - c1860); Lieutenant Roderick Matheson (1793 - 1873); Lieutenant Christopher James Bell (1795 to 1836 ); Colour Sergeant Alexander Cameron (1787 - 1859); Colour Sergeant Jacob Hollinger (1781 to c1825); Quarter Master Sergeant Thomas Echlin Sr (1748 - 1845); Sergeant John Balderson (1784 - 1852); Sergeant James Quigley (1788 - 1827); Corporal Thomas Norris (1781 - c1865); Corporal William Tansley Bygrove (1792 - 1882); Private William Burrows (1783 - c1834); Private William Henry Horrocks (1789 - 1880); Private John Truelove (1789 - c1840); Private Benoit Darou (c1788 - 1861); Private Denis Richard Noonan (1775 - 1833); Private Thomas  Kirkham  1792 - 1881); Private Samuel Dixon (1784 - c1855); Dragoon John Greenley (1775 - 1854).
Anyone descended from or connected to these settlers will want to read these. However, the book lacks an index, especially a name index so you won't find the nuggets of information about connections to other Perth area ancestors unless you read through the text. An index helps sell the book and while making it isn't difficult it is laborious. That omission, along with Shaw's tendency to give incomplete references, or no references at all, is my main issue with this otherwise valuable book.

First We Were Soldiers, The Long March To Perth  By Ron W. Shaw is published in softcover by the author and Friesen Press of Victoria, B.C. in  6" by 9" format, 336 pages.

This review is based on a copy provided by

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Rockstar Genealogists starting soon

Expect nominations for the 2016 edition of the Rockstar Genealogists poll to open on Saturday. Voting will start the following Saturday.
People have suggested they'd like ranking for genealogists for those resident in the various nations, or national groupings. That will be done in addition to lists for those voted by residents in a nation or national group. There will also be a list for genetic genealogists.

Middle Names

Time of 16 August has an article by Merrill Fabry Now You Know: Why Do We Have Middle Names? It goes into their history and adoption.
One of my early lessons in genealogy was about their significance. I inherited a middle name, Digby, from my father and his father. Looking through the English civil registration records for the birth of my great grandfather in the 20 year period around when I thought he might have been born, in those days on microfilm, I found many instances of Robert Reid. There was just one just one with middle name Digby. It turned out to be just as helpful for the previous generation as it was his mother's maiden name.
Did you know you can search for middle names on FreeBMD? In the First name(s) box enter * and a space before the middle name. It works up until the middle of 1910 when the indexes switch to initials instead of full middle names.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

LAC Saving the World

Going to an event where public servants talk to each other about their service and policy may not be something most of us would be first in line to experience. When the title of a presentation in such a forum is "Saving the world: one record at a time" one has every right to see it as from a limited perspective, even pretentious . . . if not tongue in cheek. That is the title of a talk given by Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada at the Canada School of Public Service in Ottawa at the end of May.
The text is here, but please don't rush to check it out, we wouldn't want to crash the servers.

Here are a few points that caught my attention.

  • We may have pushed them a little too far, trying to make librarians and archivists interchangeable, without enough regard for their individual expertise.
  • We made access the number one goal of our three-year plan.
  • Working with the company, LAC technicians adapted and redesigned the BancTec scanner to work with historical records (notably WW1 service files) so they can now scan everything, from photos to onion-skin letters to medical charts, safely and directly to a preservation format.
  • Partners digitized 35 million pages of archival material on microfilm; digitized and indexed 11 archival collections, representing 3 million pages online.
  • Block review, (looking at the scope of a collection and reviewing a sample of those judged low risk) has enabled LAC to open 18 million pages of Canadian Government records this way, and make them available to the public.
In general partnership and digital are the two words the presentation wanted to emphasise.

I was less impressed with there being only a single of mention of newspapers. It's a black mark on LAC's reputation that there's not a single librarian dedicated to the newspaper collection, and no digitization/OCR initiative, an area where peer organizations in other countries are taking the lead.

It's also ironic that the example chosen to illustrate block review was weather information from the 1950s, which happens to be a collection that LAC refused to take.

NWMP Articles in Western Canada Genealogical Society Publications

Earlier this year a blog post reported on a cooperative project between three of Western Canada's genealogical societies. The  Alberta Genealogical SocietyManitoba Genealogical Society and Saskatchewan Genealogical Society all intended having the Northwest Mounted Police as theme for their summer issues.

The intention is now reality. Electronic copies the three issues are available as a benefit of membership in any of the societies. The contents are:

Relatively Speaking (AGS)
Frederick Augustus Bagley (R.S.N. OS 322, NS 247): Maverick by Dale H. Bent and Penelope D.
Frederick Mortimer Gray (R.S.N. 4218): People We Meet by Gori Elder
Honest John Herron (R.S.N. 378): Policeman, Plainsman and Politician by Gord Tolton
Robert Belcher (R.S.N. OS 13, NS 3, 101): One of the ‘Originals’ by Gail Benjafield
Sergeant John Joseph Marshall (R.S.N. 1487) by John J. Marshall
Staff Sergeant Joseph Harvey Price (R.S.N. OS 202, NS 4) by Carol Anne (Price) Marshall
The Search for Ernest Kroesing by Bob Franz

Generations (MGS)
James Black Brown (R.S.N. 6244): Memoirs by Mavis Chalmers
James Black Brown: History Unfolds as Mountie Pioneers Meet by Bob Campbell
Thomas Henry Waring (R.S.N. 790) by Mary Anne Wright
William Henry Lowe (R.S.N. 3524): The W.H. Lowe Mystery by Isabel Campbell; William Henry
Lowe by Jean (Yates Lowe)

Bulletin (SGS)
David Paterson (R.S.N. 235): A Biographical Sketch by John deCourcy Fletcher
History of David (Pry) Paterson written by Frances Gaff Paterson
George Gordon (R.S.N. 2003) by Dennis Gordon
Harry Holdsworth Nash (R.S.N. OS 271, NS 399) by Richard Nash
Richard Elmes Steele (R.S.N. OS 7, NS 18): One of the Original 300 by Donna Shanks