Sunday, 17 December 2017

Ottawa Branch donations

Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society received 50 per cent of the surplus from OGS conference 2017 and has been seeking good projects to fund.

Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives will receive $9,800 for a newspaper digitization project. This builds on the development made possible by a project funded in the first round of the LAC Documentary Heritage Communities Program.

The Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogy Group will receive $650 for outreach and publicity.

The Ontario Name Index project (TONI) will receive $5,000 to support indexing Carleton County Township Papers. TONI recently surpassed five million entries.

Canadian Headstones is planned to receive $5,000 for website upgrade.

Agreement on another digitization project is pending which will exhaust the funds available.

SCGS Free Webinars 2018

The schedule is out for the Southern California Genealogical Society free 2018 webinar series. There are two per month, except one each in June through August.
Many of these presentations are applicable to everyone, not only those in California or the USA.
Find the schedule here.
Want a free preview? On 20 December 2017 Tammy A. Hepps, technologist, storyteller and life-long genealogist, will present 100 Days to a Better Family History. She promises it will help you  prioritize research activities, pace work, and set deadlines. Register here.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Findmypast weekly update

60,000 new records in the 1939 Register for England and Wales have been opened up and are now available to search and explore. They become available as people die, reach the age of 100, or entries erroneously closed are corrected.

The new Jersey Wills 1564-2000 database contains 14,342 entries giving name, place, date, and original text which is a cryptic one line transcript.

The remaining additions this week are four databases for Portsmouth, New Hampshire and about 10,000 additions of US marriages.

Music and Meyhem from Fife

Two recent Ancestry databases are from the Scottish county, or Kingdom, of Fife.

Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, Carnegie Music Institution Registers, 1910-1920 has 13,699 entries from the Fife Archives. For each individual found within the collection, you may be able to find name, year and term of attendance, residence, subject, teacher, fee and occasional remarks. Follow someone through their study at the School of Music.

Fife, Scotland, Asylum Registers, 1866-1937 has 9,523 entries. Each entry includes name, birth year, admission date, discharge date and a link to the original record image. That gives more details including occupation, medical details, and often under Observations information on relatives.

Friday, 15 December 2017

CEF Service Files December Update

As of today, 15 December 2017,  532,447 (518,124 last month) of 640,000 files are now available online in the LAC Personnel Records of the First World War database. That's according to a LAC Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Service blog post.

The latest box digitized is 9059 (8803) and last name Smith (Sharp).

If my calculations are correct at last month's rate, which is the same as the previous month, the project will be finished by July 2018.

A tip of the hat and season's greetings to the folks in the digitization team who have made such good progress this year.

YouTube: Strangers in a Strange Land? Challenges of Adjustment in the Experiences of Scottish Emigrants and Immigrants in the Twentieth Century.

A lecture by Professor Marjory Harper explores issues raised by migration for those moving from and to Scotland. She mentions early on that the Scottish experience is not vastly different from that of others except in details.
The first section is based on records of the Scots in an asylum in British Columbia. What wasn't explored was how factors used to explain why they came to be institutionalized were different for who adjusted well, and those of a similar cohort who remained in Scotland.
This YouTube version was placed online on December 13.

DNA testing companies and fabricated African ancestry

How reliable are DNA test results?
Snopes investigated whether DNA testing companies deliberately fabricated African ancestry to "screw with" racist customers as claimed by "a number of less than reputable web sites" pointing to DNA testing companies such as and 23AndMe.
It found the claim was "mostly false" and that "DNA testing companies strongly denied any such practice. The claim was traced to "one anonymous worker and published on a humor site; even the worker indicated purported meddling was unusual."
Suspicion of results is understandable. My AncestryDNA shows 19% Great Britain which is a best estimate with a range of  0%—47%. One of my brothers might have 0%, another 45% and all would be entirely consistent.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Hunting for lost cousins

AncestryDNA identities that I have 87 fourth cousin matches, none closer. Presumably some of those are removes, others from further back as many of the names are Jewish.

Back in June 2015 an Ancestry study in the UK, reported in the Mirror, was that a typical Brit had five first cousins, 28 second, 78 third, 1,570 fourth, 17,300 fifth and 174,000 sixth cousins. I'm nowhere near that. I had two first cousins, only one is living.

Yesterday morning checking my database I found six second cousins, one third cousin, five fourth cousins, two fifth cousins and no sixth cousins. So I decided to go cousin hunting on Ancestry, Findmypast, FamilySearch and a few others concentrating on closer cousins likely to be a DNA match. After several hours work I now list four additional second cousins and three more third cousins.

A more conventional way than DNA matching of making contact with cousins is through Peter Calver's LostCousins website. In his latest newsletter Peter mentions that while searching for cousins is always free to initiate contact with a new cousin normally requires a LostCousins subscription. He is relaxing the need for a subscription between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve and suggests completing or updating your My Ancestors page on the site in advance.

Ottawa Branch OGS December Meeting

This Saturday, 16 December 2017

At 10:30 Genealogy: Back to Basics - DNA Analysis Tools
Jason Porteus will discuss some DNA analysis tools including those available at DNA testing sites like Family Tree DNA.  Many people do the tests and can't make heads or tails of their results.  He will provide a short refresher DNA presentation then a demo on some of the different DNA test platforms (FTDNA and Ancestry), then demo on how to work with specific analysis tools. 

13:00 Networking

13:30 Ottawa Branch Presentation: Carleton University Library’s Ottawa Resource Room
Monica Ferguson & Maureen Leslie will present on researching the history of a specific location in this city which can present unique challenges.  The Carleton Library’s Ottawa Resource Collection bundles a variety of  materials including government documents, historical maps, GIS support, rare books, archival collections and ephemera, helping to bring the puzzle pieces a little closer together.   

15:00 Computer Special Interest Group

The venue is the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive. Free parking.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Storify is closing

I hope none of my readers is caught by the end of the social media aggregation platform Storify. If you are please go to your account and review how you can export the content. There's an explanation of the steps you need to take. You have until May next year; better to do so sooner rather than later.
It's a reminder yet again of the risk of investing time and effort in cloud-based facilities which are liable to fail. Small start-ups are especially vulnerable but even big companies like Yahoo close unprofitable lines -- remember Geocities.

Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2018 Belfast

Now that the sun is setting later and snow on the ground makes things seem brighter it's not too soon to think about travel plans.
My first trip will be to Ireland. Having enjoyed Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2016 in Dublin the Belfast version looks like a good bet, especially as I can pair it with a few days stay in the Republic beforehand.
Maurice Gleeson has posted the program and other details of the event, 16-17 February 2018 at the Titanic Centre here.