Saturday, 23 June 2018

Findmypast adds Wiltshire Social & Institutional Records 1123-1968

422,199 assorted social & institutional index records; no images are linked. Types of records included are:

Bastardy records
Bear club
Births & deaths
Bond of indemnity
Burial (out of area)
Calendar of prisoners
Chelsea out-pensioner
Church records
Coroners report
Criminal register
Crown or civil pleas
Directory entry
Estate papers
Garments for the poor
Goddard documents
Illegal assizes
Inquisition postmortem
Land documents
Legal matters
Local council documents
Local history
Machine breakers
Manor records
Meetinghouse certificate
Monumental inscription
Newspaper / book reference
Overseers, etc.
Petty sessions
Poor law union
Prison records
Pubs and inns
Quarter sessions
Recusant rolls
Register of strangers
Register snippets
Removal orders
Rental ‘census’
School record
Settlement certificate
Settlement examination

Fourth anniversary: Dr Guy Berthiaume

A salute to Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Dr Guy Berthiaume, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of his assuming the role.

What a difference four years make!

Friday, 22 June 2018

OGS issues call for conference 2019 presentation proposals

"Breaking Down Genealogical Barriers" is the theme for the Ontario Genealogical Society conference in 2019 to be held at the London Convention Centre, 21-23 June.

A call for presentation proposals is issued.

Proposals should include a unique title and a summary of at most 250 words, identification of the intended audience (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and specific A/V requirements. Include full name, mailing address, telephone number, email address, website address (if applicable) and biographical information, including recent speaking credits. Multiple proposals are encouraged.

Speakers will receive an honorarium alongside appropriate expenses and complimentary Conference registration.

Send proposals by 19 August 2018 to

Findmypast adds Scotland, Fife Death Index, 1549-1877

An index from the Fife Family History Society with 265,974 deaths recorded in Fife's old parish records including deaths and burials from St Andrews and Edinburgh Testaments (from 1549 to 1823), sheriff court wills (1824-1854), Fife newspapers (1822-1854), kirk session account books for mortcloths, lair registers and more.

Findmypast adds Quaker (?) BMB Records for Wiltshire

This week Findmypast has a focus on Wiltshire Quaker records.

Wiltshire Parish Baptisms Index 1538-1917
Over 1,500 Quaker records added to the Wiltshire parish baptisms index with (usually) birth date, baptism date, parish and parents' names.

Wiltshire Parish Marriages Index 1538-1933
Over 261,000 new Wiltshire marriages records now available with a combination of birth year, marital status, residence, marriage date, whether married by banns or license, fathers name, spouse's details and the names of any witnesses. Many of these are sourced from Phillimore’s published marriage registers and are not Quakers—despite the incorrect information from Findmypast.

Wiltshire Parish Burials Index 1538-1991
Over 1,800 Quaker burials added to the Wiltshire parish burial index including year of birth, the date of death, the date of burial and location.

New and Forthcoming Re-issues from Pen and Sword

Jonathan Oates, who specialises in London, recently released London's East End.
"He outlines in vivid detail the development of the neighbourhoods that constitute the East End. In a series of information-filled chapters, he explores East End industries and employment – the docks, warehouses, factories, markets and shops. He looks at its historic poverty and describes how it gained a reputation for criminality, partly because of notorious criminals like Jack the Ripper and the Krays. This dark side to the history contrasts with the liveliness of the East End entertainments and the strong social bonds of the immigrants who made their home there – Huguenots, Jews, Bangladeshis and many others."

Criminal Women 1850-1920: Researching the Lives of Britain’s Female Offenders, By Barry Godfrey and Lucy Williams.
"The book is split into three sections. There is an introduction outlining the historical context for the study of female crime and punishment, then a series of real-life case studies which show in a vivid way the complexity of female offenders’ lives and follows them through the penal system. The third section is a detailed guide to archival and online sources that readers can consult in order to explore the life-histories of criminal women."

Forthcoming are:
Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, By Chris Paton — a re-release of a popular 2013 original publication.
"Thanks to the pioneering efforts of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the National Archives of Ireland, organizations such as FindmyPast Ireland, and RootsIreland, and the massive volunteer genealogical community, more and more of Ireland's historical resources are accessible from afar.
As well as exploring the various categories of records that the family historian can turn to, Chris Paton illustrates their use with fascinating case studies. He fully explores the online records available from both the north and the south from the earliest times to the present day. Many overseas collections are also included, and he looks at social networking in an Irish context where many exciting projects are currently underway."

How Our Ancestors Died: A Guide for Family Historians, By Simon Willis — a re-release of a 2013 original publication.
"Describes the common causes of death - cancer, cholera, dysentery, influenza, malaria, scurvy, smallpox, stroke, tuberculosis, typhus, yellow fever, venereal disease and the afflictions of old age. Alcoholism is included, as are childbirth and childhood infections, heart disease, mental illness and dementia. Accidents feature prominently – road and rail accidents, accidents at work – and death through addiction and abuse is covered as well as death through violence and war.
Simon Wills's work gives a vivid picture of the hazards our ancestors faced and their understanding of them. It also reveals how life and death have changed over the centuries, how medical science has advanced so that some once-mortal illnesses are now curable while others are just as deadly now as they were then."

Thursday, 21 June 2018

TheGenealogist adds Change of Names Database and Yorkshire Tithe Maps

The following is a press release from TheGenealogist:

The Genealogist releases the new Change of Names Database as well as the Colour Tithe Maps for the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire

TheGenealogist has just released a great new resource for family historians wanting to find ancestors who had officially changed their forename or surname in Britain. The Change of Names Database covers information gathered from a number of sources including Private Acts of Parliament; Royal Licences published in the London and Dublin Gazettes; notices of changes of name published in The Times after 1861 with a few notices from other newspapers; registers of the Lord Lyon [King of Arms] where Scottish changes of name were commonly recorded; records in the office of the Ulster King at Arms and also some private information.

Use this database to:
Discover ancestors that recorded a change of name
Find what name had been adopted and the name discarded

Lord Byron who changed his surname to Noel and is found in the Change of Name Database on TheGenealogist

This is available to Diamond Subscribers and can be found under Miscellaneous Records.

The second release this month is to coincide with the return of The Family History Show, York to the racecourse on Saturday 23rd June. TheGenealogist has now added the Colour Tithe Maps for the North Riding and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Complimenting the already released schedule books and greyscale maps, these colour maps add an attractive visual aid to find where your ancestor lived in the mid 1800s.

The fully searchable tithe records released online allow researchers to:
Find plots of land owned or occupied by ancestors in early Victorian North Riding and East Riding of Yorkshire on colour maps
See where your forebears lived, farmed or perhaps occupied a small cottage or a massive estate.

To search these and a huge assortment of other genealogical records see more at:

Read our article on the fascinating Change of Name Database at:

Drought History

Is there someone in your family tree who farmed on the Prairies? Did they settle in the period from the opening of the West by the railway in 1885 and the First World War. If so they were fortunate to have arrived during a period with a favourable climate—only minor droughts.
As you can see from the bar chart the period was preceded and followed (the dirty thirties) by multi-decadal droughts. We can only imagine how different development would have been without the favourable climate.
The bar chart is taken from the SaskAdapt webpage on drought. There is no source given for what is described as Annual Precipitation Variation From the Average. I'm sure there were no precipitation measurements for the first two-thirds of the period shown so suspect it's derived from an analysis of tree-ring data at
The second bar chart is from the same tree-ring dataset for the point nearest to Ottawa. Negative values are drier than average. Unfortunately the tree-ring data used isn't very close to Ottawa so I'm skeptical about how well it represents the city; the year 1870 that saw a major Ottawa Valley Fire although drier than average was not especially so according to the PDSI.

Drought is a serious problem for Canada's farmers. 60 per cent of our croplands and 80 per cent of our range lands are in dry-land areas. Wildfires flourish.

Drought can reduce hydro-electric output, hamper navigation and recreational opportunity.

These days while the extent of drought in Canada is well monitored the forecast reliability remain very limited and is no substitute for being prepared for the inevitable next drought event.

What do we know about droughts, devastating for a country where the population relied on the productivity of the land?

OGS Ottawa Branch June Meeting

On Saturday, 23 June experience a three-course genealogical meal with OGS Ottawa Branch.

Hors d'ouvre, served at 10:30 am, is a Genealogy: Back to Basics session on Evaluating Your Evidence. Mike More will provide tips on evaluating the information that you have found.

The main meal, served at 1:30 pm, following 30 minutes to savour delights to come, is a presentation on the North Grenville Historical Society by Dr. David Shanahan.

Stay for dessert at 3 pm with a meeting of the Computer Special Interest Group.

It's all at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive (Room 115); there are (mostly) non-fattening refreshments and no dishes to wash.

You can get a refill of genealogy through the summer with drop-in sessions at the Nepean Centrepointe branch of the Ottawa Public Library, in conjunction with Ottawa Branch, on 26 June, 10 July, 7 and 21 August and 4 September.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

FGS Conference Myth-busting

Are you considering attending the US Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana from 22-25 August? It's one of the largest genealogical conferences in the US, but not so overwhelming at Rootstech. Find out about the conference here.

There are myths surrounding the conference? To counteract them FGS issued a myth-buster.

What isn't a myth is that by attending Canadians help support the present US administration. You might want to do so to show how much you are in favour of their policies on immigration, trade and firearms, especially as Indiana voted for the President in the 2016 election.

Canadians could show their support even more by ignoring just how much more expensive it will be for them as the US dollar has strengthened against the Loonie.

Halifax NS Ancestry? The HPL can help

The Halifax Public Libraries has a new fresh look for Local and Family History on its website. There are blog posts, a virtual archives and much more including advertising the popular Obituary Search Service:

Here's a great service. Staff will conduct a search, for free, three names per email request, and mail out hard copies, for free, (but not email) of obituaries found in either the Chronicle Herald/Mail Star/Daily News, plus a handful of Dartmouth newspapers.

Thanks to Joanne McCarthy from the HPL for the tip.

For those of us in Ottawa, Library and Archives Canada has microfilms of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, and prior to that the Chronicle, with self-service open access, no need to order in advance of a visit. Sadly no online version, even for the Morning Chronicle (1864-1927).

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

FreeBMD June update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Sunday 17 June 2018 and to contain 268,252,090 distinct records (there were 267,753,711 records at previous update).
Years with updates of more than 5,000 records are for births 1963-64, 1978, 1980-83; for marriages 1966, 1980, 1982-83; for deaths 1859, 1981-83.

More Canadian content at

Don't get too excited but has now placed online a few issues from Canadian newspapers not included before: the Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal.
Why not excited? They're for a handful of days in April and May this year. Will there be more to come?
Also the Montreal Gazette coverage is updated to April this year. There are now 2,027,632 pages in the collection going back to 1857.
How much better would the situation be if Library and Archives Canada had exercised the type of leadership displayed by its peers internationally for a coherent national program of newspaper access and digitization?
For LAC people who see this mention as akin to a continuing toothache, it will not go away without treatment.

Changing of the Guard at the Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives

It was a surprise to learn at Saturday's Voices from the Dust event that Laurie Dougherty has retired from the Archivist position at the Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives as of the end of May. I found Laurie to be most helpful on the occasions I sought her advice. She was a progressive influence. I wish her well.

Her replacement is Emma Carey, a graduate of McGill University who subsequently studied and worked in Scotland and Toronto. Naturally it will take some while for her to find her feet. All the best Emma.