Sunday, 24 May 2015

Genealogy on the Cutting Edge

The following is a Primary Call for Presentations for OGS Conference 2016

The Ontario Genealogical Society’s Toronto Branch will host the Society’s annual conference on June 3-5, 2016 at Toronto's International Plaza Hotel. The Society (OGS) enjoys the largest membership of any Canadian family history organization. The conference theme, “Genealogy on the Cutting Edge”, has been selected to inspire excitement among speakers, exhibitors and attendees alike.

In keeping with this theme, we invite proposals for presentations on: (1) the latest developments in archives, libraries, museums and societies in the heritage sector, (2) recently discovered or released genealogical records, (3) newly developed genealogical databases, transcriptions or indexes, (4) innovative theoretical or methodological approaches to genealogical or historical research, including case histories, (5) cutting-edge technology and its application for family historians, whether in information management, mobile computing, genetic testing and analysis, or other emerging fields.

Most sessions will be one hour long. However, we are open to proposals for shorter "what's new" presentations, longer seminars, or multi-part lectures. 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 2016 speakers will submit content for our multi-media digital “Bonus Materials” package – including, but not restricted to, traditional syllabus text files.

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 and a summary of at most 250 words, and identify the intended audience (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and A/V requirements. Multiple proposals are encouraged.


To submit proposals or ask questions, please contact the Conference 2016 Program Committee at:

A supplementary call for presentations on late-breaking cutting-edge developments will be issued closer to the event. Anyone considering this option is encouraged to provide a heads-up of what may be in the works. For more information about OGS and Toronto Branch respectively, please visit: and

Gwyneth Pearce
Secretary – Toronto Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society
Now on Facebook and Twitter @TOFamilyHistory

Internet Genealogy: June/July 2015

Here are the contents of the new Internet Genealogy issue with the articles I found of particular value bolded.

Col. Joseph B. Dorr’s Vases
Constance R. Cherba researches the life of Civil War Colonel J.B. Dorr, and locates a missing heirloom through some persistent online searching

ONLINE ESSENTIALS: Four Webhosting Basics for Family Researchers!
Tony Bandy offers some advice to get started on building your family history website

Bagging a Live One
Mary Kircher Roddy suggests connecting with cousins you never knew you had to increase your chances of research success

Genealogy Apps for Your iPhone or Android
George G. Morgan explores the world of apps for genealogy available for iOS and Android devices

The Confederacy’s “Treasury Girls”
David A. Norris looks at how records of women who worked as treasury clerks during the Civil War are easy to find

Online Safety: Protecting Your Data
Carol Richey looks at seven defensive steps you can take now to protect your valuable data

Online Resources for Finding World War II Ancestors
Jennifer Holik offers tips and strategies for starting the research on your World War II military ancestor

How Do You Put Out a Genealogical Wildfire?
Robbie Gorr emphasizes the need for family historians everywhere to be vigilant about citing their sources

Diane L. Richards looks at websites and related news that are sure to be of interest.
(Comment: Sure to be of interest except if you don't have US ancestry!)

The Internet Archive Picture Collection 
David A. Norris examines a great source for historic pictures you can use to supplement your research

Family Tree Builder: Now for Mac!
Tony Bandy looks at the Mac release of MyHeritage’s popular Family Tree Builder

The Back Page 
Tell Your Story… Change the World!
(Comment: I can't resist posting a link to a TED talk on which this article is based. . Be aware of the comments on the smartphone app mentioned before downloading it.)

Advance notice: Voices from the Dust – Ottawa’s Rootstech

A date for your diary, Saturday, June 20th, 2015, 1:00pm to 5pm

That's when the Ottawa Stake Family History Centre offers its annual Voices from the Dust – Ottawa’s Rootstech Family History Conference.

Speakers and Workshops this year are:

Sarah Chatfield – Researching Your Family History at Library and Archives Canada
Romaine Honey – Genealogy Resources and Services at the Ottawa Public Library
Gloria Tubman – Parish Records a Resource for Family Historians
Magdalene Carson – Your Family History in Book Form as an Enduring Heirloom
Ken McKinlay – Doing Family Tree Research in Your Pajamas
Kyla Ubbink – Keeping the Past: Storing and Preserving Family Archives and Memorabilia
Brenda Bowman – Learn FamilySearh Indexing
Shirley-Ann Pyefinch – A Place for You and Me!
There will also be selected recordings from this year’s Rootstech conference.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Ancestry adds Lancashire, England, Quarter Session Records and Petitions, 1648-1908

There are 1,218,050 records in this new database on Ancestry described as:

"document(ing) Quarter Session judges’ decisions in matters that include settlement inquiries, highway rates, criminal trials, registers of settlement, orders of removal, bastardy examinations, apprenticeships, licensing, contracts, lists of justices, payments for services rendered to the county, and other documents related to the business of the running of the county."
Although some documents cover multiple pages most I found were entries of a single or just a few lines. Checking my favourite name, Northwood, there were two entries, both at Salford; "an inquisition taken at Collyhurst the 25th day of September (1819) on view of the body of Mary Northwood who was casually killed by a coach" and a single line accounting of costs associated with an inquest on Benjamin Northwood on the 20th of May 1868.

The records are sourced from the Lancashire Record Office.


Out of curiosity I opened up T-1847, the first digital microfilm in's collection of war diaries from WW2, and got a surprise. Classified as CONFIDENTIAL, BURN BEFORE READING, it's "Intelligence Summary 199 (Christmas Edition), based on information received until the bar closed. SPECIAL NOTICE. This summary is to be taken as completely unreliable, and the resemblance of any facts stated therein to the truth is purely coincidental. The summary expresses the views of no one -- not even the writers."
 Read the full item at's WW2 and later war diaries from LAC are on digital microfilms T-1847 to 1882, T-6669, T-6675 to 6679, T-6681 to 6689, T-6693, T-6695 to 6696, T-7071 to 7114, T-7599, T-7612 to 7620, T-10017, T-10564, T-11053, T-11342, T-12160, T-12403 to 12406, T-12649 to 12650. T-12657 to 12659, T-12661 to 12662, T-12689, T-12695 to 12697, T-12714 to 71715, T-12722, T-12724 to 12731 ,T-12764, T-15887 to 15888, T-15902 to 15907, T-15911 to 15913, T-16363, T-17822 to 17824, T-18345 to 18351, T-18380 to 18381, T-18389 to 18390, T-18625 to 18627, T-18810, T-21318 to 21321.
The microfilm numbers by themselves don't help much. Searching on the microfilm number at LAC, starting from, brings up a list of contents, some are linked in the list above.
A better approach is to search for the unit of interest at the same url. Enter, for example, 103rd Coast Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery and the result tells you there are records from 1941 to 1945 at T-15888 and T-15887.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Findmypast record additions

Here are this weeks modest additions at Findmypast

City of London, Haberdashers, Apprentices and Freemen 1526-1933
Lucky you if you have a relative among the 136,545 apprentices who trained with the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers in the City of London and their masters. Information is name, role – Freeman or master, year, birth year, address, occupation, Freeman’s name, Freeman’s address,
admitted by – either patrimony, completion of service or redemption, parent’s name, parent’s address, parent’s occupation, master’s name, London Metropolitan Archives reference.There's a transcript and image of the original entry. Most entries are from the 17th and 18th centuries.

City of London, Ironmongers, Apprentices and Freemen 1511-1923 
The 17,822 entries in this City Of London Ironmongers, Apprentices and Freemen 1511-1923 records contain the details of members of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. Information is much as for the Haberdashers above.

Surrey, Southwark, St George the Martyr Mortuary Register 1880-1891
Find 1,948 records in the St George the Martyr Southwark Mortuary Register 1880-1891compiled using information taken from the mortuary register for the parish of St George’s, Southwark.

British Royal Navy, Foreign Awards to Officers Index 1914-1922
Containing 3,031 records, the Royal Navy Foreign Awards to Officers Index 1914-1922 contains the details of awards presented to officers of the Royal Navy by foreign governments. These records might have name, official number (pertains to R.N.R. Skippers, Civil Staff of the Admiralty, and Naval Other Ranks), rank (at the time the award was received), unit or regiment, service branch, foreign award, notes, British awards (listed in standard abbreviated format), death date and cause of death.

Additions to's Heritage project

Thanks to the work of LAC and's Heritage Project 13 new MIKAN series listed here are now available comprising 60 microfilm reels between them. They are identified by Canadiana as of genealogical interest. With the exception of the Society of Friends item, which is a finding aid, the only guide to the content is the title. If you know of any detail on the content please post a comment. The fonds are:

184991 Adjutant General's Office, United Canada : Registers of officers
105765 Audit Office : AO 12. Claims, American Loyalists - Series I
159399 Department of Indian Affairs : Program Reference Centre and Treaties and Historical Research Centre
159159 Department of Indian Affairs : Saddle Lake Agency
134034 Department of the Interior, Dominion Lands Branch : Métis and original White settlers affidavits
156370 Department of the Interior : Registers and indexes relating to Métis and Original White Settlers land records, 1877-1927
100321 France. Archives de la Marine. Fonds de la Marine : Série C1, Officiers militaires
161406 General registers of Chinese immigration
161342 North Sydney ships' manifests
135159 Office of the Chief Electoral Officer : Notices of grants of poll
106019 Society of Friends fonds : finding aid no. 20
205322 State submissions to the Executive Council [Province of Canada], 1841-1867: indexes and registers

Thanks to Daniel Velarde of for the information.

William Pittman Lett book

Friend and colleague Bryan Cook sent me the following, in his words, "blatant sales pitch" for his book"William Pittman Lett: Ottawa’s First City Clerk and Bard, 1819-1892" just published.

"William Pittman Lett is recognized by few in this 21st Century. In Ottawa, he may be remembered by some as the City’s first and longest-serving Clerk for thirty-six years (1855 -1891). Yet, he was the City’s Manager in a time when the Clerk held the power of the pen and wielded extraordinary influence behind the scenes to shape Canada’s Capital. He witnessed and recorded the turbulent evolution of Canada throughout most of the 19th century.
Illustrated extensively with 19th century photography, his biography written and published by Bryan D. Cook introduces a complex and charismatic character, maturing from a militiaman, radical journalist and theatre pioneer to a highly respected public personality, sportsman, patriot and proud chronicler of his city’s history. He fought in prose, poetry and oratory for the Methodist Church, for Temperance, for the ‘British Connexion’ threatened by Fenians and Annexationists, and for the Flag, Monarchy and Empire against the vogue of Republicanism and the ambitions of German emperors and Russian czars.
His marriage to his beloved Maria Hinton brought joy and tragedy, on which he reflected in verse. The poetry column of the newspaper was his popular soapbox; 118 poems from his extensive lifetime production are also presented in Bryan's book, authentic to the original script and now framed in their historical contexts.
As the Poet Blogger of Confederation, William Pittman Lett has been deservedly resurrected from archival oblivion.
This 412 page book, based on extensive historical and archival research with 93 illustrations and photographs, is available for $25 Can. plus postage from Bryan at Free delivery can be arranged in the Ottawa region."

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Story of Renfrew

Archive CD Books Canada's most recent newsletter announces a new release "The Story of Renfrew from the coming of the First Settlers about 1820, Vol. 1."

Here are some extracts from the description:

"The focus of this 1919 publication on the Ottawa Valley town of Renfrew is on the period up until 1900.

The book takes many of its stories from "locals" who were either original settlers or were the offspring of their families.

The book opens with a picture gallery of people whose names are forever joined with Renfrew, either because of their pioneering activities or because of their contributions to its growth and success.

Some of the other content:

—Patriotic Funds of the Crimean War
—The method of licensing taverns
—Choosing the municipal motto
—The early Church socials
—Council converts Mechanics' Institute into Free Public Library
—Renfrew's First Lock-up
— Appeal for telegraph communication
—John Burns appointed Treasurer
—Hand fire-engine purchased
—Proposition for planting of shade trees
—B. J. McDermott as policeman
—Bylaw prohibiting cows from running at large all year
—First Deputy-Reeve chosen
—The Voters at Renfrew's First Municipal Election
—The County Council
This is an intimate and engaging look at the development of Renfrew as a Settlement, a Town, a Township, and now, as a County."

Read all about it and other recent offerings, and browse the full catalogue, at

Don't miss upcoming titles, subscribe to the Archives CD Books Canada newsletter by entering SUBSCRIBE as the subject in an email to

BIFHSGO adds Home Children Deaths database

New at BIFHSGO, a database of 2284 home children based on the RG76 General Correspondence files at Library and Archives Canada, newspaper obituaries and death notices, Barnardo’s Ups and Downs magazine, and information supplied by descendants of Home Children who gave the information knowing that a database was being developed.
Read more and search this database at BIFHSGO has other home child information at

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

WDYTYA Magazine: June 2015

Editor Sarah Williams marks the 100th issue of the WDYTYA Magazine with a list of the 100 best free online resources for family historians.You can likely guess many, they're organized under the headings: general websites, health, Ireland, Yorkshire, United States, maps, British Empire, military, death and probate, crime and poverty, London, archives, message boards and forums, civil registration, early records. parish registers, occupations, specialist area sites and, digital books.
Publishing such a list is always sticking your neck out. I was surprised to see (Alexa rank 422,229) but not (rank 231,973). There's no mention of social media, including the several good British blogs, and no mention of DNA.
Each issue contains articles of research advice. This month find: Best Websites; Napoleonic Wars; Focus on Newspapers; Focus on Justices of the Peace and Petty Sessions and; My Ancestor was a Printer.
The bonus content giving access to resources online has a focus on Sussex: Hove and the Great War; parish registers of Hove and Preston; Sussex maps; parish registers of Cocking and; Sussex archives.

FamilySearch adds England, London Electoral Registers, 1847-1913

These  electoral registers, from originals at the London Metropolitan Archives, are lists of names and addresses of registered voters.
These registers are a great way to follow movement of voters and coming of age of males in the family, voting for women started after the First World War so this won't help find them directly.
The collection is incomplete. To avoid wasting time I suggest checking the browse at which lists the communities covered. Then click on the community of interest, if you know it! For instance, for Tottenham only the years 1869 to 1877 are available.
If you have access to Ancestry check out the database London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965. Coverage is also patchy, much is for later times, after the First World War.