Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Call for Presentation Proposals - BIFHSGO Conference 2016

BIFHSGO's 22nd Annual Family History Conference is tentatively scheduled for September 9 - 11, 2016, to be held at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa. Possible alternate dates of September 30 - October 2 will be confirmed by January 4, 2016.

The Conference committee is seeking presentation proposals for the conference which will focus on two main topics:

• Ireland — family history

• DNA in genealogy

Proposals on other topics relevant to British family history are also welcome. For more information about submitting proposals, please read the submission details. Deadline is January 31, 2016.

LAC launches online database, Carleton Papers―Loyalists and British Soldiers, 1772–1784.

This online database from Library and Archives Canada allows access to more than 54,000 references to names of Loyalists and British soldiers. Names were taken from the British Headquarters Papers, New York―also known as the Carleton Papers―which include a variety of documents about Loyalist soldiers, civilian refugees, as well as British and German soldiers who settled in Canada after the American Revolution (1776–1783).
The search form has fields for by Keyword, Given name(s), Surname, Rank, Regiment.
Results returned are Given Names(s), Surname, Rank, Regiment, Gender, Type of Document, Date (yyyy/mm/dd), Additional Information, Place where the Document was Created, Document Page Number, Fonds, Microfilm Number, Reference, Item Number.

Tony Robinson on Freemasonry

In connection with Ancestry's release of Freemason membership records Sir Tony Robinson takes us inside the United Grand Lodge of England in London to explore myth and fact of Freemasonry.

Unlocking the Past 2016 at Qualicom Beach

The Qualicum Beach Family History Society is out with an announcement of a one day event on Saturday, April 23, 2016.

Featured speakers are Colleen Fitzpatrick and Chris Paton.

Check out the details at www.qbfhs.ca/conference_2016/


I'm Canadian.  Canada is mad about hockey. Therefore I'm mad about hockey.

The fallacy is obvious, especially to anyone who knows me.

In family history we often try to fill in gaps in our family stories by looking at what was typical in the larger community.

Robert went to the Yukon in the early 1900s. He must have been a miner exploiting the spoils of the Gold Rush. Right?


Robert Service was a bank clerk, newspaperman and poet.

It helps avoid such errors if you think in terms of the Venn diagram and probabilities.

Don't get fooled by stereotypes.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Call for Presentations: Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2017

The annual Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in 2017 will be held in Ottawa on June 16-18 at Algonquin College. The theme of the conference is Our Canada – Your Family: Building a Nation. As 2017 will be the 150th anniversary of the birth of Canada, Ottawa Branch OGS will host the annual OGS conference and give the Conference a national flair, bringing together genealogists and family historians from all over Canada. We are looking for speakers and talks of interest to genealogists from all provinces.

     In keeping with this theme, we invite proposals for presentations on: family history from every region and territory of Canada (e.g. Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and British Columbia); migration to and from Canada and also within Canada and how this helped to not only build our families, but also Canada; pre- and post-1867 research in Upper Canada; religious associations; military connections; the latest updates on computer, social media and genealogy database technology; the ever growing use of DNA testing for genealogy; and skill-building for family historians (e.g. use of the genealogy proof standard, getting more out of online resources).  Speakers from other related disciplines are welcome! Statisticians, demographers, archaeologists, researchers, archivists, librarians, geographers, cartographers, scientists, theologians, doctors, PhD candidates, software gurus, internet intellectuals, social media mavens, and historians of all kinds have information of interest to family historians and we would like to hear from you!
     Most sessions will be one hour long. Sessions may be streamed in or out of the Conference venue. Topics for interactive, hands-on workshops are also welcome (typically half-day sessions). Speakers will receive an honorarium, plus appropriate expenses and complimentary Conference registration. In early 2017, speakers will submit content for inclusion in a syllabus.
     Please submit your proposals by e-mail. Include your full name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, website address (if applicable) and biographical information including recent speaking credits. For each proposal, please provide a unique title, a summary of your presentation (250 words maximum), the intended audience (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and your A/V requirements. Multiple proposals are encouraged.


To submit proposals or ask questions, please contact the Conference 2017 Program Committee at: program.conference2017@ogs.on.ca. For more information about OGS or Ottawa Branch respectively, please visit: www.ogs.on.ca or www.ogsottawa.on.ca.

Héritage Project moves to next phase

The following is an announcement from Canadiana.ca
The Héritage Project, a ten-year initiative to digitize and build online access to a vast range of microfilm records stored at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), recently completed its first phase with 39 million pages digitized since 2013 (including a record-setting 21 million pages in 2014).
During this first phase, Canadiana.org strove to make microfilm records available to the public as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, using mass digitization strategies that ensured a minimal interruption of the project workflow. As a result, many collections emerged from this first sweep incomplete, either because reels were out in circulation or otherwise unavailable at the time of scanning.
For more details on which portions of the project are (in)complete, please consult the index Héritage - Reels Online using Mikan numbers as a reference, or contact us at info@canadiana.org for more assistance. Please note that "completion" refers only to content included in the project parameters; in many cases, LAC holds additional material that was not selected for immediate digitization. You can also check for any specific reel by entering the reel number directly into the online Search box.
As of today, some 21,187 digitized reels are available out of a projected ~22,700, and work is ongoing to tackle incomplete collections systematically and locate the missing reels.
With digitization virtually complete, Canadiana.org has moved on to the next phases of the project: prioritizing collections of high public interest for transcription and generating linked metadata to enhance search and discovery.
The top twenty digitized catalogue items, in terms of number of pages, identified by Canadiana as of genealogical interest are:

Document Title Pages (1000s)
Canada. Immigration Branch. First Central Registry, 1873-1973 (subject and case files maintained in the first central registry system. The files relate to a wide variety of topics: settlement, ethnic groups, promotion of Canada abroad, immigration policy & procedure, illegal immigrants, administration, finances, etc. There are lists of names of individual immigrants on many of the subject files.) 414
Shipping Registers 222
Canada. Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Copyright Office. Copyright Indexes, 1868-1974 (indexes to the names of those who filed for registration of copyright, and a series of title indexes which are arranged according to the nature of the work in which the copyright was registered, for example, literary, dramatic, musical and artistic. For the period prior to April 1938, only nominal indexes are available.) 211
Land Documents, 1763-1952 (originals and registers containing copies of leases, releases, deeds, grants, surrenders, sales, letters patent of land and related documents for Crown and Clergy Reserves, Indian and Ordnance Land, Dominion Land, etc. The documents relate to Quebec, Upper and Lower Canada, Canada East and Canada West and Canada.) 150
Upper Canada. Civil Secretary. Sundries (consists of letters, petitions, reports, returns and schedules, certificates, accounts, warrants, legal opinions, instructions and regulations, proclamations and other documents received by the Civil Secretary of Upper Canada, 1791-1841. There is much material of genealogical interest: letters, character references, land and settler petitions, family histories, criminal charges, licenses, pardons, requests for war losses compensation, etc.) 150
North-West Territories Métis scrip applications, 1885- 1906 RG 15, D II 8(c) Volumes 1333-1372, Index (applications for scrip made between 1886 and 1906 by Métis living in the Northwest Territories and received by one of the Northwest Half-Breeds Claims Commissions. The applications give the name of applicant, his/her residence, place and date of birth, name of parents and origins, if married, etc.) 113
Canada. Industry Canada. Registrar General. Miscellaneous registers, 1850-1953 (The records contain a variety of documents such as copies of Bonds, Charters of Incorporation, Commissions, Contracts, Letters Patent of Invention, Licences, Proclamations, Warrants and Writs. Also, land records including Conveyances, Deeds, Grants, Leases, Releases, Quit Claims and Sales. The term "miscellaneous" was applied to registers in which one entered a variety of documents.) 112
Jacques-Henri Fabien collection (consists of genealogical information over the period 1657 to 1974, distributed on more than 250,000 cards, drawn for the majority from parochial registers. In general, the topic are marriages and cards indicate date, names of husbands and their fathers and mothers, as well as the parish where took place the event. The collection also contains information on marriage contracts, as well as newspaper cuttings and obituaries.) 105
Canada. Correctional Service of Canada. Kingston Penitentiary, 1834-1994 (records include; inmate history description ledgers (1886-1954); inmate personal effects ledgers; the Warden's letter books and daily journals; Inspector's minute books and letter book; liberation books; punishment books; duty rosters; daily reports of Keepers and Guards; and various medical registers.) 93
Upper Canada. Executive Council. Land Minute Books, 1798-1841, and indexes (consists of minute books which record the deliberations and decisions of the Executive Council, sitting as a land committee, concerning land business during the period 1787-1841. These records are commonly known as the "Land Books".) 57
Quebec, Lower Canada, Canada East. Civil Secretary’s correspondence, 1760-1841, “ S Series” (Incoming correspondence, petitions, reports and other documents received by the Civil Secretary on behalf of the Governor, with some drafts of replies, are the backbone of the "S Series". The drafts and copies of Minutes of Council, petitions and reports submitted to Council, and other records created or accumulated by the Clerk to the Executive Council run parallel to the Secretary's correspondence. The series also consists of 3867 postal covers covering the period from 1759 to 1846, which were in most cases mailed from villages in Lower Canada.) 51
Gaudet, Placide, 1850-1930, Fonds (consiste en généalogies acadiennes et en notes généalogiques préparées par Placide Gaudet) 33
Canada. Correctional Service of Canada. Stony Mountain Penitentiary (Winnipeg), 1872-1921 (consists mainly of letterpress copies of correspondence. Included are the Warden's letter books (1872-1913), Accountant's letter books (1878-1902), Surgeon's letter books (1885-1897) and Inspector's minute books (1882-1889). Also included are Inmate Admittance Books (1871-1921). 25
Miller, W. J. , Collection (consists of genealogies compiled by Miller relating to 1200 families of Leeds County, Ont., 1398-1983; consists of charts, correspondence, certificates, announcements, invitations, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, photographs, wills, land records, etc.) 22
Seigniorial Papers, 1733-1902. Series 2 (contains correspondence and papers relating to seigniorial lands; property transactions such as rents, mills, wills, roads, bridges and wills ) 20
Affidavits from Métis and Original ‘White’ Settlers, 1870-1885 RG 15, D II 8(A) Volumes 1319-1324 (Consists of affidavits by Métis children in support of their claim to participate in the special 1,400,000-acre land grant identified under section 31, 33 Victoria, chapter 3 (the Manitoba Act) and by Métis heads of family under 37 Victoria, chapter 20. In each case, the affidavits give the name of the claimant, date of birth, parents' names, parish affiliation, affidavit number, and claim number.) 15
Quebec (and Lower Canada). Civil Secretary. Applications for Commissions as Notaries, 1760-1852 (Submitted by persons wishing licences to practice as notaries or as advocate. A variety of supporting documents are found with the letters and petitions, attesting to the applicant's education, training and good character.) 15
Canada. Royal Canadian Mounted police. Crime Indexes and registers, 1902-1919 (consists of crime indexes and registers. Until 1918 most offenses such as theft, assault, drunkenness, cruelty to animals, rape and similar cases which came before NWMP magistrates, or in which a member of the force was laying the charge, are listed in these crime indexes and registers, together with a notation of the punishment or fine meted out to the offender. They also contain information concerning war classifications such as movement of aliens, prisoners of war, parole certificates, Military Service Act defaulters, Bolshevik activities and the seizure of drugs.) 13
France. Archives des Colonies. Série G2. Dépôt des papiers publics des colonies; greffes judiciaires, 1666-1758 (La série G2 regroupe des documents provenant de greffes judiciaires. On y retrouve des dossiers de procédures civiles et criminelles: requêtes, procès-verbaux d'enquêtes, d'interrogatoires, de perquisitions, de saisies et d'arbitrages, assignations, plumitifs d'audiences, arrêts, sentences, etc. On y trouve beaucoup de titres de propriétés et de pièces relatives aux successions, tutelles, faillites et ventes judiciaires ou même à la régie interne de ces tribunaux. Cette série regroupe les 5 sous-séries suivantes: Conseil supérieur de Louisbourg, Bailliage de Louisbourg, Conseil supérieur et bailliage de Louisbourg, Conseil supérieur de Québec et Contrôle de la Marine de Québec.) 13
Canada. Immigration Branch. Juvenile inspection report cards, 1920-1932 (Created by Immigration officials as they regularly inspected children brought to Canada by various organizations, including Barnardos. Arranged alphabetically by surname. Includes: name, age or date of birth, date of arrival, name of ship, name of Home/Union, dates and results of inspections, and name and address of employer(s). Many of the cards include informative follow-up comments.) 12

Registration opening for the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit

Have you heard about the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit, scheduled for October 21 - 23, 2016 at the Courtyard Marriott - Brampton, Ontario?
According to the website registration opens at 10 am on 23 November.
Check out the updated list of speakers at http://www.cangensummit.ca/

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Honouring the (really) elderly

Thanks to a note from Jane MacNamara I learnt of the Flickering Lamps blog, on the history of our (British) surroundings. The most recent post, The Centenarian in Brentford’s Workhouse: piecing together the life of Mary Hicks, is a fine example of a genealogical investigation prompted by a gravestone. Also admire the blog's photography.
Jane mentioned the story reminded her of a study she made while working on the Toronto Trust Cemeteries Project. Jane's blog post on that is here.
Taphophiles will likely also enjoy regular Monday posts on the Cemetery Club blog.

Findmypast adds England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1832-1932 Image Browse

On Friday 9 October Findmypast released a name indexed database England and Wales Electoral Registers 1832-1932, covered here on the blog.
This Friday's release England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1832-1932, Image Browse appears to be another way into the same data, useful if the name indexing isn't finding what you think should be there. Here's what's available:


# of Registers

First and Last Years



1885 - 1915



1853 - 1926



1843 - 1931



1873 - 1931



1885 - 1931



1832 - 1931



1841 - 1931



1896 - 1931



1859 - 1931



1851 - 1931



1885 - 1931



1859 - 1931



1851 - 1930



1849 - 1931



1844 - 1931



1842 - 1931



1860 - 1930



1857 - 1863

Isle of Wight


1854 - 1866



1842 - 1931



1847 - 1931



1835 - 1931



1832 - 1931



1857 - 1932



1857 - 1932



1852 - 1931



1854 - 1931



1817 - 1931



1843 - 1932



1842 - 1931



1844 - 1931



1851 - 1915



1839 - 1915



1864 - 1914



1855 - 1931



1855 - 1931



1860 - 1915



1860 - 1915



1886 - 1886



1860 - 1931

In both collections Monmouthshire and all Welsh counties except Glamorganshire are missing. The Glamorganshire registers are for Merthyr Tydfil.  Findmypast informs me the remaining registers for Wales have not yet been digitised and a date for the digitisation has not been set.

The Canadian Families Project

What have historians been doing of interest to the Canadian family history community?

There`s an example of the product, for Vancouver Island, at http://web.uvic.ca/hrd/cfp/

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Gloucestershire Archives

Ancestry's addition of a Web database Gloucestershire, England, Non-Conformist Baptisms Index, 1739-1987 with 24,206 records sent me off looking at the website of the source, the Gloucestershire Archives.

The link given by Ancestry is ww3.gloucestershire.gov.uk/genealogy/Search.aspx
Check it out and you'll see Non-Conformist is just one of the categories of record in the online collection. Others are: Canal Boat Inspections, Overseers, Gaol, Wills 1541 - 1800,
Inventories, and Wills 1801 - 1858, An unrestricted search yields a total of 239,795 records.

The search is quite straightforward, there are no complicated instructions. Check out the results and click on the forename and scroll down to see a form with more detail. It may be all you need, or you can order a copy of the document from the Gloucestershire Archives.

The archives has an active blog at https://gloucestershirearchives.wordpress.com/

Devon Social & Institutional records on Findmypast

This is a collection of transcript records from the Devon Family History Society, a wide range of local records covering daily life in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Findmypast characterizes it as an "extraordinarily rich set of records." The 113,145 entries are classified as: Apprentices, Bastardy, Christmas Gifts, Convicts, Creed Register, Debtors, Deserters, Fallen Girls, Freeholders, Hackney Carriages, Hospital, Industrial School, Licences, Lists Of Inhabitants, Local Census, Lunatics, Magistrates' Court, Marriage Notices, Militia, Nuisances, Nurses, Paupers, Pedlars, Police, Police Returns, Poor Rates, Poor Relief, Prison Ladies, Rates, Reformatory, Returns Of Deaths, School, Soldiers, Vaccinations, Vagrants, Warrants, Workhouse Births, Workhouse Deaths.

Deceased Online adds Grimsby and Cleethorpes records

Grimsby's Scartho Road cemetery, Scartho Road crematorium, and Cleethorpes cemetery are the latest additions to records at www.deceasedonline.com.

Cleethorpes Cemetery, Beacon Avenue, Cleethorpes, 31 acres, has records from 1877 - 1999 including 77 military burials from the First World War and 50 from the Second.
Scartho Road Cemetery, Scartho Road, Grimsby, 67 acres, has records from 1889 - 1994 with 290 from the First World War and 258 from the Second World War.
Grimsby Crematorium, Weelsby Avenue, Grimsby, has records from 1954 - 1992

There are nearly 400,000 records and over 170,000 named burials and cremations in this addition comprising digital scans of original burial and cremation registers, grave details for each burial and cemetery maps indicating the section for each burial.

Friday, 20 November 2015


This US Thanksgiving weekend tens of thousands of recordings of oral histories of people's loved ones will be made across the US. That's the aim of StoryCorps and their Great Thanksgiving Listen.

The idea is to have kids interview the older generation using the StoryCorps.me app, a smartphone app that anyone with an Android and iOS device could download and use to record high-quality audio. There are prompt questions the kids can ask to get the interview rolling.

StoryCorps’ founder Dave Isay was the winner of the 2015 TED conference $1 million prize to someone with “a creative, bold vision to spark global change.”

Read more about it at The Great Thanksgiving Listen from The History Blog.

Brian Glenn on The Hell of War and the Bells of Home

The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa Archives, to be held at 2 PM on November 22 in the new Great Hall of Christ Church Cathedral at 414 Sparks Street, Brian Glenn will give a talk entitled "The Hell of War and the Bells of Home: censorship for the greater good: a parish's privileged view of the First World War."

In the course of photographing All Saints Church, Sandy Hill, in Ottawa before Anglican services within its walls ceased in the late summer of 2014, Brian Glenn came across a wooden box with some 60 well conserved 3" x 5" glass slides. From the style of the box and the limited view he had of the contents they appeared to be photographs taken on the battlefield during Great War.

At the time Sandy Hill was still the hottest residential district of Ottawa, in a generation before Rockcliffe Park and the Glebe began to be considered prime residential districts of the capital. As home to many senior public servants including prime ministers Laurier, Borden and Mackenzie King, there was immense public interest in the progress of the war.

As Brian Glenn began to research these images, he discover that many of them were well known photographs from the First World War. The talk will discuss the history of photography in WW1; give a brief profile of  three official CEF photographers and show a couple of examples of how photography was used for exhibition purposes.

The main part of the presentation will focus on one photograph of four graves near Vimy Ridge. While not an in-depth genealogical study of the four soldiers, I have drawn on the usual online sources: Ancestry, LAC, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Findmypast to put together a picture of their lives, the battle and their deaths.

The talk will end with a video of the last ringing of the bells of All Saints Sandy Hill Church, where the box of glass plate photos was found.

The meeting is open to all.