Thursday, 18 October 2018

Military history recognition: "Far From Home"

Since 2007 Kent residents Diana Beaupré and Adrian Watkinson have been pursuing a personal project to visit and record each First World War CEF grave in the British Isles.

The graves and memorials for 3899 First World War Canadian Expeditionary Force soldiers may be found in 872 locations within 90 counties and 9 islands across the British Isles. Many were in remote churchyards and far-flung tiny cemeteries.

Now their work has been recognized by the award of the Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division). The MSM is awarded for achievements over a limited period of time that have brought benefit or honour to Canada. They hope to receive the award in Ottawa from the Governor General early in 2019.
Find out more about the project at which acknowledges "The Directors and Members of British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa Canada" as Gold Sponsors.

Gail Dever at OGS Kingston Branch

The Kingston Branch monthly meeting for October has Gail Dever, well-know blogger of Genealogy à la carte, speaking on "Today's Social Media for Genealogy".
The meeting is on Saturday, 20 October at 9:30 am at the Kingston Seniors Centre, 56 Francis Street in Kingston.  Visitors always welcome.

Martin Milks Crawford: CWGC Beechwood

Private Martin Milks Crawford, born 13 June 1892 in Hull, Quebec, died 100 years ago, 18 October 1918. Son of Martin and Susan Crawford, of Cobalt West. Ont.; husband of Minnie Crawford, of 186, Gladstone Avenue, Ottawa, he served with the Canadian Forestry Corps 24th Coy.
He died of pneumonia and was interred in Lot 15. South-West. Sec. 29. 26 at Beechwood Cemetery.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

NHDS Awards announced

Here is the list of 21 National Heritage Digitization Strategy awards announced in Vancouver
  • Colony, Confederation and Country: Accessing the National Story Through the Lens of Prince Edward Island’s Historical Newspapers (Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island), Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island ($45,685)
  • The Robin Collection: Digitization, Access and Preservation (Musée de la Gaspésie), Gaspé, Quebec ($43,742)
  • Early Photographs of the Innu and Atikamekw Peoples (Université Laval Library), Québec, Quebec ($28,742)
  • Forging Fur-ways: the North West Company Fur Trade Collection (McGill University Library) Montréal, Quebec ($15,963)
  • Set of 146 Early Books in Indigenous Languages (1556-1900) (Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec), Montréal, Quebec ($22,511)
  • Digitizing Past Issues of Bulletin d’histoire politique (Association québécoise d’histoire politique), Montréal, Quebec ($6,525)
  • Le Son des Français d’Amérique : Mixed Traces and Memories of Continents (Cinémathèque québécoise), Montréal, Quebec ($86,812)
  • Digitizing and Publishing Heritage Collections on Canadian History (Document Management and Archives Division, Université de Montréal), Montréal, Quebec ($81,141)
  • Discovering the Heritage of the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario (1910–1990): A Living Memory! (Centre for Research on French Canadian Culture, University of Ottawa), Ottawa, Ontario ($86,805)
  • Digital John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir (Queen’s University Library), Kingston, Ontario ($65,033)
  • The MacGregor Collection (The Canadian Canoe Museum), Peterborough, Ontario ($9,925)
  • Digitizing Inuit Artistic Heritage (Inuit Art Foundation), Toronto, Ontario ($80,786)
  • Healing and Education Through Digital Access (Algoma University), Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario ($86,890)
  • First Nations and Métis Oral History Digitization Project (Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan), Regina, Saskatchewan ($8,700)
  • Indian History Film Project Digitization (First Nations University of Canada), Regina, Saskatchewan ($19,414)
  • The Idea of the North: Exploring Evidence of Resilience and Change (University of Saskatchewan), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan ($83,058)
  • Smoke Signals, Satellites and Servers: Digitizing the ANCS Television Archive (Sound Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta), Edmonton, Alberta ($36,744)
  • Chambermaids to Whistle Punks: The Labour and Lives of B.C. Women, 1890–1970 (Satellite Video Exchange Society), Vancouver, British Columbia ($16,098)
  • BC Gay and Lesbian Archives Audiovisual and Graphic Material Digitization Project (City of Vancouver Archives), Vancouver, British Columbia ($71,015)
  • What Becomes Canada: Digitizing Narratives of Exploration, Settlement, and Contact (Vancouver Island University Library), Nanaimo, British Columbia ($17,015)
  • Native Communications Society Digitization Project (Northwest Territories Archives), Yellowknife, Northwest Territories ($86,796)
The image above is a word cloud based on the text above showing an objective view of the awards.

37% of the funding is for projects performed by Quebec-based organizations, 24% by Ontario-based. 37% of the funding is directly relevant to indigenous interest. No funding is awarded to organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Nunavut, Manitoba, or Yukon.

Invented Fantasies – Using Social Media to Talk About Pseudoarchaeology

Four BIFHSGO members enjoyed the first in the 2018 series of Carleton University Shannon lectures. The second is this Friday, 19 October, an intriguing presentation by Steph Halmhofer (consultant archaeologist/bioarchaeologist with Bones, Stones, and Books)


Skeletons of giants in British Columbia. People using psychic abilities to find proof that the empire of Atlantis included Nova Scotia. A cult in Quebec proposing aliens invented life on Earth. These sound like something you would find Dana Scully and Fox Mulder investigating in The X-Files. But I’m not Dana Scully, I’m an archaeologist. So why am I talking about aliens and giants? Because pseudoarchaeology, which includes the topics I’ve mentioned above, is a real concern facing both archaeologists and non-archaeologists. These theories can be found in books, television shows, and on social media but their negative impacts reach far beyond these pages and screens.

With rising popularity in social media and a currently combined total of around 440 million monthly users on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it’s not difficult to imagine how quickly pseudoarchaeological theories can spread online. But just as we use our knowledge and trowels, social media can also be a powerful tool in the archaeological toolkit, a toolkit I want to share through this lecture. We’ll talk about what pseudoarchaeology is, focusing largely on Canadian examples, and how you can identify it. We’ll talk about the racism of pseudoarchaeology. We’ll also talk about how various media platforms are used to spread pseudoarchaeology. And finally, we’ll talk about how archaeologists and non-archaeologists can use social media to talk about and de-bunk pseudoarchaeology.

Dunton Tower (room 2017), from 1:00-2:30 PM. Reception to follow.

Co-presented by the Department of History and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

James Wood: CWGC Beechwood

Born 7 September 1896 in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Sapper James Wood, service No:2014172, of the Divisional Signal Training Depot, Lansdowne Park, died on 17 October 1918 at Ottawa's St Luke's Hospital. He had attested in Cleveland, Ohio, on 2 August 1918.

He had been assigned to go with the Siberian Expeditionary Force.

His grave reference is Lot G.36. Sec. 29 at Beechwood Cemetery.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Building and Sharing Your Family Tree

This Thursday 18 October, 2018 at 7:00 pm the Ottawa Public Library hosts a 2 hour session Building and Sharing Your Family Tree.

There are many options for building and sharing your family tree: paper or electronic forms, family tree software, online family trees on sites like Ancestry or My Heritage, and collaborative family tree websites such as WikiTree.  Genealogist and BIFHSGO member Leanne Cooper will explore the key features, pros and cons of each, along with things to consider when making the choice.

The session is at the Greenboro Community Centre, 363 Lorry Greenberg in Meeting room A.

Register here.

OPL Genealogy Drop-in

Tuesday, 16 October, 14:00 – 16:00
Ottawa Public Library - Nepean Centrepointe, 101 Centrepointe Dr, Ottawa, ON K2G, Canada

Drop in anytime from 2-4pm to work on your family tree, share research strategies, & discover what resources are available for your research. Specialists from OPL and the Ontario Genealogical Society will be here to answer questions & help you get the most from library resources.  Bring your laptop, or tablet too! All Welcome.

Perth & District Historical Society October Meeting

The Society meeting on Thursday, 18 October is "The Richmond Military Road"

PDHS welcomes back local author and historian Larry D. Cotton.  Cotton’s presentation for this month will stray from his noteworthy series, “Whiskey and Wickedness” to talk about the Richmond Military Road, for which the area is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. 

The Richmond Military Road, built by the British Government in 1818, was a copy of the Roman model utilized to conquer and hold large parts of western Europe and England for centuries.  So, why was it built here? How adaptable was it to the wilderness of Upper Canada?  What was its impact on the Perth Military Settlement created in 1816?  Cotton also brings other points into the conversation.  The Rideau River Settlements and the construction of the Rideau Canal were integral components of the Richmond Road Project.  How were they linked together to facilitate the construction of 200 kilometers of canal through an unbroken wilderness? 

Sustaining the new military settlements of the Towns of Richmond, Franktown, Perth, Lanark Highlands and Ramsay was an important concern of this Project.  Distilleries and breweries played a major part.  The compelling mystery of the “whiskey tunnels” in the Town of Perth will be explored.  What about the problems of excessive drinking?  The “Nagging Wives Act” relegated miscreants to the public stocks in front of the Bathurst District Court House where they were punished by the passing public for their crime.  A local doctor told his patients with drinking problems that they might “spontaneously combust.”  Half pay officers were provided with “beer money” every three months as part of their pension allotment.  This led to a lot of trouble in town including half a dozen duels.  Why weren’t the laws prohibiting such affairs invoked? 

Larry Cotton has a Bachelor of Arts from Laurier University; Bachelor of Education from Queens University; Masters in Urban & Regional Planning from Queens; Diploma – Municipal Clerk-Treasurer from Georgian College.  He has been a land use planner for almost 40 years, serving as county planner for Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry; Planning Director for the Town of New Tecumseth, and also the Township of Springwater in Simcoe County; Deputy County Planner for Renfrew County.  Larry also taught part-time at Georgian College on Municipal Government; Municipal Law, and Environmental Law, and has facilitated municipal non-profit housing projects for seniors across Ontario. 

Everyone is welcome at Perth's Royal Canadian Legion, home of ‘Hall of Remembrance’, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, 7:30pm (Toonie Donation).

Monday, 15 October 2018

Findmypast adds Dorset Baptism and Burial Transcripts

Findmypast now has 576,439 new Dorset baptism transcriptions entries between 1538 and 1978, covering more than 300 parishes.

The Dorset burials transcriptions collection has 438,196 entries  spanning the years 1538 to 1995 and covers more than 330 parishes across the county.

Don't overlook transcripts at the Dorset Online Parish Clerks with over 1.75 million individual records, updated as recently as 14 October 2018.

Peak Influenza Pandemic in Ottawa

October 1918 was a deadly month. Out of 365 mentions of the word influenza found in the Ottawa Journal and Citizen newspapers that year 167 were in October.

The peak number of the City's influenza pandemic deaths occurred on Tuesday 15 October 1918, 100 years ago today. A total of 62 deaths were recorded in the Ontario civil registers for Carleton County. The Notre Dame cemetery register show the remains of 30 buried, Beechwood Cemetery 16. All but six died of influenza or pneumonia; five of those six were infants.

For Ottawa a short Bytown Pamphlet #63, The plague of the Spanish Flu: the influenza epidemic of 1918 in Ottawa, by Jadranka Bacic, gives an overview of the local situation. At that time the outbreak was attributed to Canadian troops returning from Europe.

Now, according to The Horror at Home: The Canadian Military and the “Great” Influenza Pandemic of 1918 (PDF) it appears the influenza spread to Canada from the United States during the last weeks of September 1918. American military recruits on their way to support the allied offensive in Europe and delegates to a religious convention in the Eastern Townships were factors.

Notable was the number of deaths in the 20-35 age range. Typically in Ottawa there were about half as many deaths in that age range as deaths of infants less than 6 months of age, but in October 1918 there were 5.5 times as many.  A 2013 article posits that the increased mortality resulted from an early life exposure to influenza during the previous Russian flu pandemic of 1889–90.

Ottawa's mayor at the time was Harold Fisher who closed schools, theatres, reduced hours stores could be open; even closed churches. He realized the city's hospitals were inadequate. His statue outside the Ottawa Civic hospital recognizes his contribution to its construction on the then outskirts of the City, known at the time as Fisher's Folly.

Sadly the same foresight was not evident when the site of the new hospital near Dow's Lake was selected.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Genetic Genealogy YouTube Videos

A few days ago Maurice Gleeson posted a collection of videos from Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2017. In previous years these have been metered out in digestible chunks over a few weeks. This time they've all come together and it's up to you to pace yourself to avoid indigestion.

These GGI2017 videos are copyrighted to the presenter and should only be used for personal study.

DNA is Dynamite - How to Ignite your Ancestral Research (Michelle Leonard)
This will be a talk for beginners giving an overview of the basic information required to understand the three main types of DNA testing available for ancestral research.  Michelle will explain how each test works and talk you through the first steps you should take once your results arrive.  She will provide easy to follow hints and tips on how to get the most out of those results and apply them to your ancestral mysteries.  Practical real-life examples will illustrate how DNA testing can be used to connect with previously unknown cousins and confirm the accuracy of your family tree.

Y-DNA & the Ireland yDNA Project (Margaret Jordan)
Margaret is one of the Administrators of the Ireland yDNA Project which has over 6000 members with reported Irish ancestry. This presentation will discuss the evolution of the Ireland yDNA Project and the data which we are now able to extract from it. The talk will look at the major Y-DNA haplogroups found in the project and some of the smaller ones as well. This presentation will show how this Y-Geographical Project links up with relevant Y-Haplogroup Projects, other Y-Geographical Projects and Irish Surname Projects, which are all run through FamilyTreeDNA.

The Genetics of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (Hannes Schroeder)
Hannes is Assistant Professor of Archaeology at the University of Copenhagen and one of the lead investigators on the EUROTAST project which explores the genetics of the TransAtlantic Slave Trade.  Hannes will discuss the work of the project, why it was started in the first place, what we have learnt, and implications for future research. The project focused on three themes: Origins, Life Cycles, and Legacies, which led to further detail on the slave trading system, but also helped demonstrate how slavery fundamentally shaped the cultural and biological experiences of people of African descent around the world.

The Power of Mitochondrial DNA – a Swedish perspective (Peter Sjolund)
Mitochondrial DNA, the DNA of your mother’s mother’s line, is often underrated by genealogists but has proved very useful for genealogical research in Sweden and neighbouring countries. Peter is one of the founders of the highly successful Swedish Society for Genetic Genealogy and will present success stories from Scandinavian genealogy to show you how to use mtDNA effectively in your own genealogy and how to find your prehistoric relatives.

Autosomal DNA Through the Generations (Roberta Estes)
This talk will explore DNA through the ages - literally! What might you be able to do with DNA matching if you had 4 generations to work with? What could you learn? Looking at how DNA is inherited through multiple generations of the same family is the perfect way to learn about the principles of inheritance. It might also pique the interest of your children or grandchildren – what a fun project to undertake with them.

Autosomal Tips & Tools at Family Tree DNA (Roberta Estes)
Roberta is one of the most eminent genetic genealogy educators in the world. In this talk, she will cover tools to help you interpret your autosomal DNA results. Did you know that Family Tree DNA provides customers with 9 different tools for autosomal DNA matching and analysis? Did you know that you can use these in combination with each other for even more specific matches. Not only that, but within these tools there are lots of ways to utilize the various features. This talk will explore several different scenarios and different approaches to solving brick walls.

Match Making in Clare using Y-DNA & atDNA (Paddy Waldron)
Lisdoonvarna in County Clare is still famous for its annual matchmaking festival.  In previous centuries marriage in Clare and elsewhere was always an economic rather than a romantic transaction.  Paddy will talk about some of the surprising trends in arranged marriages revealed by genetic genealogy.  As co-administrator of the Clare Roots project, Paddy meets and greets members of the project when they visit Clare and introduces them, not to prospective spouses, but to long-lost cousins in Clare. Most of these meetings have provided new lessons about DNA matching which will feature in his talk.  Another type of match making that genetic genealogists engage in involves matching up (a) the oral traditions passed down through the generations, (b) the archival sources used by traditional genealogists and (c) the DNA evidence that often reconciles them, but sometimes refutes the oral tradition.  Paddy will include many examples illustrating these points, using both Y-DNA and autosomal DNA.

Autosomal DNA testing for Beginners (Donna Rutherford)
Understanding DNA results can be confusing and complex. If people can learn how to read and understand their results, they will get the maximum benefit from their investment in a DNA test. Donna’s talk will breakdown what a DNA test is, how it works, and how to interpret the results. This will be an easy to understand overview that beginners can feel comfortable attending without any previous experience with DNA. Experienced users most welcome, and hopefully they may pick up some tips and tricks too.

What do your Y-DNA Results mean? (Maurice Gleeson)
Y-DNA is extremely useful for learning more about a particular surname and where it came from. It can reconnect you with cousins on your direct male line, identify a place of ancestral origin, and even tie you in to specific genealogies in the ancient annals. In this talk, Maurice will take you through your Y-DNA results and help you understand what you are seeing. The next step will be to join the appropriate surname projects, haplogroup projects, and geographic projects. Maurice will discuss how Project Administrators analyse your results and how this can benefit your own genealogical research.

Introducing DNA for family research (Ann Marie Coghlan)
Why should we add DNA to our personal genealogy toolkit? Ann Marie explains the basics of DNA testing and how we can use genetic genealogy research in understanding not only our own personal family history but also our community history. This is an excellent talk for complete beginners who have never tested before, and a great refresher for those who already have.

Icelandic roots and identities: Genealogies, DNA, & personal names (Gisli Palsson)
Gisli is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Iceland. He will be talking about the genealogical database The Book of Icelanders and the DNA testing of the people of Iceland. Interestingly, these have helped reconstruct the genome of a runaway Caribbean slave who became an Icelandic merchant in the early 1800s. Gisli will discuss the quest of his descendants for roots and identity, a common desire for many people interested in family history. Genetic research shows that there are significant Irish signatures in the genetic makeup of modern Icelanders, thanks to Norse travels through Ireland. Gisli will compare and contrast the approach to (and interest in) genealogy in Iceland and Ireland.

Making the Most of Autosomal DNA (Debbie Kennett)
Autosomal DNA testing is a useful tool for the family historian. It can be used to confirm existing genealogical relationships and to reunite us with our long lost cousins. This talk will cover some of the basic concepts of autosomal DNA testing and look at strategies for working with your results. We will also look at some of the third-party tools and resources that are available to help you.

Prehistoric genomics at the Atlantic Edge (Dan Bradley)
It is now known from ancient genomic investigation that massive migrations were part of cultural transitions in European prehistory. It is interesting to discover if Ireland and Portugal underwent these massive migrations. This lecture explores the evidence for such migrations and discusses the implications of the results for understanding the origins of modern populations and the languages they speak.

Using Y-SNP Tests in Surname & Family Projects (John Cleary)
It is 4 years since FTDNA introduced their new Y chromosome sequencing test, the Big Y. This talk will review how this popular test has transformed surname projects in this time, and how the ‘SNP tsunami’ has upended and transformed the shape and size of the Y chromosome haplotree.  Strategies and useful utilities for making sense of the results of Big Y testing will be presented and discussed through a variety of cases where breakthroughs have been made, or new questions answered, about families, names and their origins.

Family Trees with SAPP - Automated from STRs, SNPs & Genealogies  (Dave Vance)
How can you continue building your family tree when your ancestors run out? Dave Vance explains how he is automating the process whereby STR markers, SNPs, & known genealogies can be used to build a "Mutation History Tree" within the context of a surname project. Soon every surname project administrator will be able to build such trees for the larger groups within their surname project. And for the individual genealogist, this means that for particular ancestral lines, the lineage will extend beyond your Brick Wall using DNA markers instead of named ancestors, potentially back to the origin of the surname itself.

Three days of GGI2018 presentations start in Dublin this Friday.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

We will find you: DNA search used to nab Golden State Killer can home in on about 60% of white Americans
A search could potentially allow the identification of about 60% of white Americans from a DNA sample—even if they have never provided their own DNA to an ancestry database.  By combining an anonymous DNA sample with some basic information such as someone’s rough age, researchers could narrow that person’s identity to fewer than 20 people by starting with a DNA database of 1.3 million individuals.

3 Reasons to Have Personal Genealogy Software and How to Choose
One person's view

Statistics Canada promises
It's an agency known for issuing quality data — but issued well after it's of much public interest.  According to the Globe and Mail article Statistics Canada promises more detailed portrait of Canadians with fewer surveys there's a vision of the first quarter [data] on March 31st. Having just finished reading Everybody Lies, Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are, by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz that doesn't seem that far fetched even for a government agency.

Inundated by plastic waste: companies named

RCI calls out the top brands for garbage in Canada, in order

1. Nestle (pure life bottled water)
2. Tim Horton’s (fast food chain)
3. MacDonald’s (fast food)
4. Starbucks (coffee)
5. Coca Cola.

Measuring the varied sentiments of good and bad words

Charles Henry Stearns: CWGC Beechwood

From the Ottawa Journal, 15 October 1918, page 14

Sergeant Charles Henry Stearns, bandmaster of the Second Depot Battalion, died in a local hospital Monday (14 October) after an illness (pneumonia) of ten days.
He was born in Ottawa nearly 30 years ago, and was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Franklin Stearns, of 174 lsabella Street.
(He attested on 15 October 1917)
Sergt. Stearns had always taken a keen interest in music, and had been with the G. G. F. G. and 43rd D. C. O. R. bands.  He will be remembered as one of the organizers of the Ottawa Concert Orchestra, a splendid musical body, and because of hie experience In musical matters was authorized to raise a band for the depot here. His efforts were most successful and although the number of his men was limited, his band won warm praise at the Central Canada exhibition and in other engagements. It was known as the 77th Battalion Band of the Second Depot Battalion.
Previous to hls enlistment he was with Mr. Louis Fournier, Ottawa representative of Gagnon Bros. He was a popular young man of sterling qualities, and his death caused the keenest regret both In business and musical circles.

His body lies in grave reference: Lot 71. Sec. 37 at Beechwood Cemetery.