Thursday, 29 September 2016

FreeBMD September update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 29 September 2016 to contain 256,972,888 (256,426,687) distinct records.
Years with major updates (more than 5,000 entries) are for births:1964, 1966, 1976-78; for marriages: 1966, 1969, 1971, 1976-79; for deaths 1841, 1974, 1976-79.

Free publicity for the genealogy community

The following is an announcement sent by Rick Roberts of a free publicity opportunity for genealogy events.

In an effort to improve Global Genealogy’s  Upcoming Events page (  ), we’ve added an automated tool that allows groups to post their own events.  We will still moderate the event postings to avoid the problem of the nefarious hijacking the site with spam.  That means that when you add an event, we receive an automatic email notification that the event  has been added but not made public yet…  we bring up the event and approve it going public.  That process will create a small delay in posting but will usually go public the same day.

In the interest of easy navigation we ask event posters to keep their listings brief and provide links or contact information where those who are interested can get more information.

This automated system is only a few hours old, so when users add meeting info, I would appreciate their opinion about what works well and what could be improved in the process.  That feedback can be addressed to rick (at)  

Michaelmas Day

Today, 29 September is Michaelmas Day, one of the four traditional quarter days in the year. They are Lady Day (25th March), Midsummer (24th June), Michaelmas (29th September) and Christmas (25th December). As these were the days when rent was due perhaps they were days your ancestors saw approach with dread.
Starting a few days later were the Michaelmas term, the beginning of the legal and academic years.
Michaelmas was traditionally marked by feasting on a goose. Read about that and more, something for each day of the year, in Chamber's Book of Days (1869 version).

Ottawa DNA Special Interest Group: Saturday 1 October.

Featured this meeting is Marc Snelling with a presentation on utilities for DNA analysis including GEDMATCH and Genome Mate Pro.

Marc is an APG member, co-founder of Grandma’s Genes, specializing in Indigenous research and DNA triangulation. His ancestry includes Quaker and Blackfoot roots. He has twenty years experience as a Microsoft Windows and UNIX based computer network professional.

The meeting takes place this coming Saturday at 100 Tallwood Drive at 09:30 am in Room 115 (main floor).

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Ancestry adds Newcastle upon Tyne, England, Electoral Registers, 1741-1974

Find your Geordie ancestors in this collection of electoral registers from the Tyne and Wear Archives via Ancestry.
The registers list names and residences of people in Newcastle upon Tyne, who were eligible to vote. They are year-by-year, with gaps. No registers were produced during the war years 1916, 1917 and 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1943. The years 1960-1964 are missing.
The indexing was performed by text recognition on the printed registers.

Right to Know Day: LAC highights (almost) 100 projects

Today "40 countries celebrate Right to Know Day, which aims to raise awareness of an individual’s right to access government information, while promoting freedom of information as essential to both democracy and good governance." Who knew?

Library and Archives Canada is part of the celebration with the launch of launch a new web page dedicated to the proactive opening of government records under the Block Review Initiative. It links to a "listing of the first 100 projects for which records are now open and more easily available to researchers."

What's there?

When I looked there were 94 projects listed, not 100. What happened to the other six? The total pages in the 94 items is 7,535,135 which is the number claimed to be in the 100.

The two largest items, accounting for more than 1,000,000 pages each, are two Central Registry Files for the Department of Trade and Commerce.

Two items more likely to be of genealogical interest.

- 130,000 Veterans Affairs Canada, Death Cards (1921-1963). They have been online for a few years, not indexed but arranged in alphabetical order, and can be accessed at

- 50,500 Department of Veteran's Affairs, War Service Records Division, RG 38, Ban. No. 2009-00126-5, Boxes 1-101. MIKAN 3912956, There's a finding aid, lacking in much detail,  at Many of the boxes hold statistical information, but not all. For example:
9. Nominal Roll and Documents for the Royal Canadian Machine Gun Corps. 1939/03/15. File.
RG38-D-10. Volume/box number: 432.
30. Alphabetical Nominal Rolls - Faber - Hyvonen. N.D. File.  RG38-D-10. Volume/box number: 427. 
Thanks to Glenn Wright for advice on these military files.

Historical Society of Ottawa: September meeting

The hot topic this Friday, 30 September 2016 for the Historical Society of Ottawa is The Fire of 3 February 1916 that Burned Down out original Centre Block, to be presented by Don Nixon.

"The Centre Block we have today is not the original one, There used to be another one in the same spot, but it burned down in a horrible fire the night of February 3, 1916. In this presentation, Don Nixon will provide an overview of the fire, focussing in particular on its early stages, and on possible causes. Was it careless smoking as Prime Minister Borden maintained, an electrical fire, or spontaneous combustion? With World War I raging, many believed it deliberately set by a German saboteur. We will never know for sure. But, with the evidence presented, you can decide; spoiler alert: Don believes the fire was deliberate."

Don Nixon retired in 2006 after a long career in Public Works and Government Services Canada. For the last 19 years before retirement, he was a project manager on Parliament Hill. There, he worked on a wide range of interesting projects including the stabilization of chimneys, towers, turrets and rooftop masonry, the conservation of the Peace Tower and the front of the Centre Block, the statues on Parliament Hill, the conservation of the War Memorial, the making of the Queen Elizabeth stature on the Hill, and the installation of the "Evolution of Life" series of stone carvings in the House of Commons chamber. After retirement, he wrote an off-beat history of Parliament Hill titled "The Other Side of the Hill"

The meeting strats at 1 pm at the Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues Street in Ottawa.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Genetic Ancestry Test from Living DNA

Have you been puzzled by your admixture results from Family Tree DNA, 23andMe or AncestryDNA? Perhaps you've seen the much higher geographic resolution in the People of the British Isles project results and wanted to see your DNA analysed with their techniques and database. You'll soon have the opportunity.

Debbie Kennett's post Living DNA – a new genetic ancestry test providing comparisons with the People of the British Isles dataset on her Cruwys news blog is the the first I've heard of this exciting new development from a British company. I recommend reading Debbie's blog for details.

Who are Living DNA from Living DNA on Vimeo.

According to the company website your DNA will be broken down across up to 80 regions of the world and you can see your family ancestry at different points in history. If you have ancestry from the British Isles analysis will break down your origins in up to 21 regions, such as Cornwall, Devon, Norfolk or North Wales.

The company will use a new DNA chip, technical details are at, which will provide information for 638,000 autosomal SNPs, 17,800 X-chromosome SNPs, 22,500 Y-SNPs, 4,700 mtDNA SNPs.
The company also intends to accept information from other company tests - details pending.

Be aware that the company will not provide a database to permit one to one comparison with other tester's results, but the data will be downloadable for subsequent upload to compatible third-party sites.

Remember, a fundamental limitation is that you only inherit half of each parent's DNA. The random nature of the selection process means that you have no genetic inheritance from many of the distant ancestors in your genealogical tree.

The test sells for $199 Cdn (£120) with shipping starting in mid-October. Order at

Associated Press Acquires British Movietone Film Archive

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the acquisition of the archive of British Movietone News. The Movietone archive includes thousands of reports of international news events from 1929 to 1879 including World War II, the first recorded speeches by Gandhi, film of the “British Invasion” of America by the Beatles and the only 35mm footage of Princess Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles.

So far, about 85% of the archive—or roughly 2,200 hours of film—has been digitized.

Since 2015 some of collection has been available on YouTube.

Dick Eastman and John Grenham, could they both be wrong?

In his most recent blog post under the title Dick Eastman is wrong John Grenham starts:
"On second thoughts actually no, Dick Eastman is right. The other title is just grabbier.
On third thoughts, maybe he’s both right and wrong."
Grenham is reacting to a presentation The Future of Genealogy Research Eastman gave to The Third International family history conference of the Claire Roots Society, Diaspora of the Wild Atlantic Way, which took place on 23rd to 24th September 2016.

Where they agree is on the importance of collaboration online. Where Grenham differs is in hoping it will not occur through subscription sites such as Ancestry.  Que sera, sera --- if people find the commercial sites good value they'll use them, and it's not just the collaboration they offer but also convenient access to digitized records. While Ireland may have free access to many records (of those not destroyed) wasn't it the commercial companies that produced an name index to the Catholic parish records. Wasn't it Ancestry that indexed most of the Canadian census records which now, after an embargo period, are freely available at the Library and Archives Canada website.

What's most surprising in both Eastman's slides, and Grenham's blog post, is ---  no mention of genetic genealogy. Adding DNA evidence to genealogical research is the biggest advance of the past few years and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. The demonstrated potential to tumble down brick walls we have seen to date is nothing compared to what will happen when a critical mass of the population's DNA, especially outside the USA, is tested and available in a database for comparison. It should not be overlooked in any discussion of the future of genealogy research.

Shannon Lecture: Friday 30 September

Trials of Madness: Civil Law and Lunacy in a Trans-Atlantic World
James Moran
University of Prince Edward Island
Friday, September 30, 2016, 2.30-4pm
Discovery Centre, Room 482 Library.

James Moran is lead author of the chapter Mad Migrants and the Reach of English Civil Law in the recently published book Migration and Mental Health, Past and Present.

The lecture is followed by a reception and viewing of an exhibit Remedies, Elixirs, and Medical Men in the History Department at Carleton University which explores health care in nineteenth-century March Township and Bytown, drawing on documentation and artifacts from Ottawa’s Pinhey family and their circle. More information at

Monday, 26 September 2016

Dictionary of Occupational Terms

Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921 provides a description of what that occupation involved — sometimes a brief single phrase, in other cases running to several hundred words. There is extensive cross referencing, with listing of synonyms and similar occupations in related spheres of employment, and it includes a considerable number of purely regional terms. In all, it provides 16,837 definitions for 29,106 terms.

Originally compiled by the British Ministry of Labour and published by HMSO in 1927 it was based on the classification of occupations used in the 1921 Census, this edition was scanned and formatted for the web by Peter Christian, author of The Genealogist's Internet and co-author of Census – The Family Historian's Guide

This digital edition of the Dictionary includes the complete set of definitions, the prefatory material, and an independent index not based on the index of the original volume.

This description is based on a post on the Society of Genealogists Rootsweb mailing list.

You may well find this reference useful for occupations in earlier censuses, 1921 is not yet available at the individual level. Statistical compilations are available online such as at

Ancestry updates Dorset records

There are updates to Ancestry's collection of Dorset records which mostly first became available  in 2011. Except for the "Se;lect" collection sourced from FamilySearch the databases are from records of the Dorset History Centre.

Dorset, England, Poor Law and Church of England Parish Records, 1511-1997, 253,219 records
England, Select Dorset Church of England Parish Registers, 1538-1999,  4,506,989 reccords
Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, 2,084,464 records
Dorset, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906,  1,177,816 records
Dorset, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-2010,  356,848 records
Dorset, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921, 576,745 records

Sunday, 25 September 2016

BIFHSGO Conference Videos Online

Now available, to members only, are videos of 11 presentations from the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa conference 2016. By alphabetical order of presenter they are:

Kyle Betit
Advances in Irish Research Over the Last Five Years
Irish Land Records
Irish Sources You May Never Have Considered
Using Canadian and US Records for Your Irish Research

Leanne Cooper
Adventures in Genetic Genealogy: Who Were Charlotte Richardsons Parents?

Maurice Gleeson
A Sense of Place; A Sense of Self
Connecting with Cousins Through Autosomal DNA
DNA and Genealogy: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask
Researching Your Irish Family History from the Comfort of Your Home

Niall Keogh
Easter 1916, a Family Affair

Rick Moody
Adventures in Genetic Genealogy: Moody DNA – Irish Glenns?

Handouts or copies of slides for some conference presentations are at the same members only location.

Thanks are due to John McConkey for organizing capturing and editing of the videos.

Glenn Wright speaks to Ukrainian Genealogy Group September Meeting

"The Ruryk Family in Canada: Research Challenge, Research Success” is the topic for BIFHSGO past president Glenn Wright's presentation to the Ukrainian Genealogy Group of the National Capital Region on Tuesday 27 September.
This presentation will describe both the challenge and success that he has had in researching his Ukrainian ancestors. He feared that his inability to speak or read Ukrainian would be an insurmountable obstacle, but using traditional genealogical resources, he has been able to document, in considerable detail, the story of his Ruryk family who emigrated from Galicia to rural Alberta prior to the Great War. Glenn will demonstrate his successful use of archival and published resources in his search for his Ukrainian roots..
This meeting will takes place at 7:30 pm at the St John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Hall, 952 Green Valley Drive, Ottawa. All welcome.