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.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Ancestry's Scottish Electoral Registers

There's a new collection, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Electoral Registers, 1832-1976 with 3,219,223 records on Ancestry.
Sourced from the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives the originals are usually printed and the index based on text recognition software. I did find some early volumes handwritten and available for browsing but not indexed for searching.
Search boxes available are first name, last name, event year, keyword and residence year.
There are no registers for the war years 1916, 1917 and 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1944.
Information available is typically first and last name, occupation (not found in later years), place of abode, and nature of qualification to vote (also not found in later years).
The collection is indexed for every fifth year, other years require visually scanning images available.

Ancestry has also updated the collection Fife, Scotland, Electoral Registers, 1914-1966 with 1,071,893 entries.

Gordon Burleigh Carling: CWGC Beechwood


Rank: Captain
Date of Death:18/06/1918
Age: 31
Regiment/Service: Canadian Army Service Corps
Grave Reference: Sec. 53. 1. 7-8.
Additional Information: Son of Fred W. and Eva C. Carling, of 354, Sparks St., Ottawa, Ont.; husband of Annie C. Carling, of New Westminster, British Columbia.

See his entry in the Canadian Great War Project.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week

Ancestry Updates U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s

Venture into any library with a serious genealogical collection and you'll find volumes referenced as Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. They're in both the Ottawa Main and Centrepointe libraries.

Early passenger lists are rare. Filby gleaned records from books, journal articles and original records to provide bibliographic entries indexed by family names. This Ancestry update incorporates 5,444,446 records.

Filby's original publication was in 1981, 37 years ago. It's still valuable although much of the content is legacy. For example, it includes many entries for Ontario citing Bruce Elliott's Index to the 1871 Census of Ontario; and the Ancestry listing makes it look as if those people arrived in 1871! Beware!

Who was P(ercy) William Filby? According to this biographical sketch Filby was born in Cambridge, England, on 10 December, 1911. He joined the staff of Cambridge University Library while taking German courses at the University. During the Second World War he was a member of the cryptographic team at Bletchley Park where Germany's ULTRA code was broken. On marriage in 1957 he moved to the US working at the Peabody Institute Library in Baltimore and subsequently as director of the Maryland Historical Society. He died at his home in Savage, Maryland, on 2 November, 2002.

BIFHSGO "Best of" Certificates

President Barbara Tose presented awards, "Best of" certificates, to the following recipients at the BIFHSGO AGM on Saturday 9 June 2018:

Best Before BIFHSGO talk by a member to Sheila Dohoo Faure for her presentation on the No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station.

Best BIFHSGO talk by a member – or members – goes to Susan Davis, Darrel Kennedy, Brian Laurie-Beaumont and Marianne Rasmus for their talk on Salem, “Where were you in 1692?” An honorary mention goes to Glenn Wright for his part in that presentation.

The above awards were voted by the membership. The following was selected by a committee empanelled by ACR editor Jean Kitchen.

Best ACR Article winner for the 2017 year is Christine Jackson for her article “The Queen’s Coachman: Our Only Claim to Fame!”