Thursday, 31 May 2012

Ancestry links to additional Canadian databases

When Ancestry can't secure the rights to a database they work out an arrangement to incorporate an index to the material on their site and link to the original record at the partner, usually pay, site. Ancestry and their clients benefit from having easier access, the partner benefits from having a new larger doorway opened up to for sales. 

Newly available are:

Web: Saskatchewan, Death Index, 1889-1916  39807 records
Web: Montréal, Québec, Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery Index, 1849-2011 (in French)  67835 records
Web: Québec City Area, Marriage Contract Index, 1761-1940 (in French)
74915 records
Web: Manitoba, Marriage Index, 1879-1931  329265 records
Web: Manitoba, Death Index, 1881-1941 233454 records

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Five, and five more things you need to know before visiting LAC


The Library and Archives Canada blog have posted "The Top Five Things You Need to Know Before You Visit."  They are useful but not complete. Here they are with extra information. 

1. All researchers need a user card.

You can register for a user card in two ways, either in person at the registration desk or online by submitting the User Card Registration Form. Present your photo ID at the registration desk to retrieve your user card.

You must read and agree to the terms and conditions in the User Agreement before you can obtain the user card.

Online registration is strongly recommended. Try and avoid the time when the registration desks opens when there can be quite a line-up.

2. There is a difference between service hours and opening hours.

Our service points, including the registration desk, are only open during service hours when staff is on site and ready to help you. The building is accessible during opening hours, but staff is unavailable. These hours are posted on the Visit Us section of our website and in the building.

By service hours LAC means administrative services, retrieval of materials ordered and placing of orders. With the decrease in the number of experienced staff you will be fortunate to find someone available who understands about records in depth.

3. Order your research material in advance.
At least five business days before your visit, order up to ten items of archival material by using our online Request for Retrieval of Documents Form.
You may order up to five items of published materials the same way as above, or place your order by telephone by selecting option 8 in the automated menu.

With the limitation in the number of items that can be ordered in advance you might want to plan on making several trips. Don't expect to receive any confirmation before you arrive that the material has been retrieved. Don't be surprised to find when you arrive that the wrong material has been delivered and it will taken several days to retrieve the correct material. 

4. Book your reference appointment, if necessary.
We are applying a new approach to service delivery. This means that no appointment is necessary for basic orientation and genealogy services, which are available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday. However, you must book an appointment if you need to consult our reference experts or genealogy specialists.

You may be fortunate to find there someone on staff knowledgeable about the records, but don't count on it.

5. Where to start your online search.
There are a variety of databases to choose from, so we encourage you to watch this 90-second video tutorial to help you determine “How to Begin your Search Online.”

Despite LAC's talk about digitization expect to find a very small proportion of records available online. If you are accustomed online available of historic commercial newspapers from other nations libraries and archives be aware that LAC isn't even in the game.

James Moore offers hope for archives, washes hands on Interlibrary loan

On Tuesday 29 May 2012 Minister James Moore appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage at noon on Heritage Canada Main Estimates.

In his opening statement Moore emphasized the favourable treatment given arts and cultural programs in the budget. He made no mention of heritage programs.

In response to an NDP question on Library and Archives Canada he stated:
No doubt things will be difficult at LAC, but on the other hand too I've no doubt they'll be able to deliver the goods and fulfill their mandate. What I did want to emphasize is the fact that they will be able to offer many more services online to Canadians and that is true. It's true that LAC will be offering more and more of their services online and they will have to change their approach. This didn't begin in 2012 with our budget by the way, this has already been ongoing for a few years. This is what we're seeing in the United States, in the Provinces, across Europe with organizations that are similar to LAC and that are undertaking such policies as well. Without any doubt LAC would love to see bigger budgets just as CBC and everyone else would, but we had to make some difficult decisions.
There was a hint of some good news in response to a question from Liberal heritage critic Scott Simms.
Mr Simms  ... I want to dive into LAC because there's a fundamental gap between what it is people do in telling our story as Canadians as opposed to what we think is a place to cut for reasons of inefficiencies. When it comes to digitization its not just piling a bunch of photographs on someone to put them on a repository; there's a story there to tell. The NADP was an essential part of telling a story in the smallest of communities. I have 200 communities in my riding and some of them took advantage of this (the NADP). They're in a situation now where the expertise is not really there. Just by digitizing something we've missed the narrative. Archiving is something more than we give it credit for. Would you agree?
Moore: I think it can be seen by some obtusely as just a bureaucratic function, but I think your right. I come from a family of teachers. This is about protecting. Digitizing can become a blanket platitude for seeming like you're a la mode. It seems like a catch-phrase. Your right. it's about attracting and championing Canadian culture and history through archives, so it's an important tool of learning.
Simms: NADP was a vital tool of that. It seems like we've taken something extremely vital to the core of what you believe in. So you have to question do you believe in what it is they're doing?
Moore: Well we do, but you know look there are going to be other initiatives that Library and Archives is going to be announcing and we are going to be providing ...
Simms:  Any hints ...
Moore: No, I'll leave that for LAC  ... soon we'll have more to say on the subject.
Simms: On the Inter-library Loans issue. How did you come to that decision?
Moore:  That was LAC's decision. The way the process works this is not I the Minister going to LAC and saying here's how you're going to absorb a five or ten percent reduction, and here's how we're going to force it upon you. We ask them to come up with the five or ten percent they think is least effectively spent related to their core mandate and responsibilities. So they come to us and say if our budget is reduced here's what we think is the least effective five percent of the money we're spending.
It's sad to witness a Minister who shows a profound understanding of his portfolio, the Deputy Minister spoke not a word at the hearing, abandoning his ministerial accountability for the cuts to the Inter-library Loan program.

My transcript is approximate. You can listen to the audio of the hearing at http://www.parl.gc.ca/CommitteeBusiness/CommitteeMeetings.aspx?Mode=1&ControlCallback=pvuWebcast&Parl=41&Ses=1&Organization=CHPC&MeetingNumber=33&Language=E&NoJavaScript=true

There should be an official transcript eventually.

There were no English language media at the hearing, two French media outlets, no video cameras.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Lesley Anderson, Forever Young

The regular FYIfamilyroots column by Brooke Broadbent in Forever Young, Ottawa Edition for May has the title A Happy Family Historian. Lesley Anderson is profiled, with mention of her role in Ancestry.ca, her educational activities, and tips for using the Ancestry website. Find it on page 7.

On Friday afternoon Lesley will be presenting a workshop, Maximizing Your Results at Ancestry.ca, at the OGS conference in Kingston. On Sunday morning  Lesley will co-present From There to Here: Searching Immigration Records From
Ancestry.ca and Beyond with Glenn Wright.

It's not too late to attend, see www.ogs.on.ca/conference2012/

Additional funding for archives

In contrast to the situation in Canada, UK official circles recognize the value of archives, as evidenced by the allocation of £250,000 additional funding for The National Archives' project to tackle skills shortages in the wider archives sector. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/717.htm

Chris Paton's new book

Chris Paton, who is presenting several talks at next September's BIFHSGO conference, has posted on his British GENES blog about his new book The Mount Stewart Murder.

I spoke with Chris about the book, amongst other things, at the Who Do You Think You Are, Live conference last February. An edited version of that interview, I plan on interviewing all the conference speakers, can now be heard at http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=62


Monday, 28 May 2012

On to Ottawa Trek, in photos

By 11 am on Monday 28 May about 50 archivists and supporters had gathered at Ottawa nearby the Chateau Laurier hotel to march along Wellington Street, past the Parliament buildings, to Library and Archives Canada with a symbolic coffin. They were protesting the ending of the National Archival Development Program.


There were several genealogists and members of the local heritage community in the parade.

They were joined by perhaps 100 others along the way to Library and Archives Canada.

Several prominent local genealogists were on the edge of the crowd showing their support.

Many people had brought flowers which they left at Lea Vivot's Secret Bench of Knowledge in memory of a callous act by LAC management.


Speakers included Lara Wilson (Canadian Council of Archives Chair), Kathryn Harvey (University of Guelph Archivist), Angela Regnier (Canadian Association of University Teachers), Liberal Heritage critic Scott Simms MP, NDP heritage critic Pierre Nantel MP, and NDP deputy heritage critic Andrew Cash MP.

There were numerous media outlets represented.

Reports are that within a few minutes of the end of the demonstration staff had removed the flowers. 

Don't overlook the Last Post

At Ottawa's DNA (Genetic Genealogy) interest group meeting on Saturday we were told about a project to identify the WW2 era Canadian serviceman father of a British child -- one of those wartime romances.

Unfortunately there is no list of the 1,159,000 men and women who served in the Canadian Armed Forces during WW2. The person doing the investigation had only the father's first name, and had been going through the list of Canadian WW2 fatalities, there were 44,093 of them, trying to narrow down which one of them it might be.

You have slightly better odds of finding him if you search in the Canadian Legion Magazine Last Post database of 195,906 names. That's still less than 20% of those who served.

Why, 60 years after the end of the war, are Canadians not given access to a list with the same name, rank and service number a captured serviceman was allowed to give to the enemy during the war?

Minister James Moore to defend Heritage Estimates

The Minister of Canadian Heritage, James Moore, who is presiding over a double decimation of the budget of Library and Archives Canada, is scheduled to appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage at noon, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at Room 237-C of the Centre Block of Parliament 131 Queen Street, Room: 7-52 on Main Estimates 2012-2013. He will be accompanied by Daniel Jean, Deputy Minister of the department. No witness from LAC is indicated.

A televised proceeding online was previously indicated but that no longer appears on the notice. The hearing is scheduled for 60 minutes.

These estimates do not account for cuts announced in the 2012 budget. Will committee members be allowed to ask questions about those?

1837, Rebellion or Patriotic War?

Whenever I feel like foreign travel, not often, it's an easy one hour drive to Prescott and across the bridge to Ogdensburg in New York state. Then the world changes, going backward in time to the days of gallons, albeit impoverished ones, miles, and dollar bills.

There's also a different spin on historic events.

That is brought home in reading the section Patriot War (1837) at the Northern New York Genealogy website. It's what we in Canada know as the 1837 Rebellion associated with Mackenzie and Papineau, names again joined together 100 years later in Spain.

According to the NNY Genealogy website "there is no more fascinating or romantic chapter in the history of Northern New York than the Patriots’ War. Though properly a part of the history of Canada, the United States, particularly Northern New York, played an active part in it." The site positions the rebellion from a US perspective as a natural extension of the American War of Independence.

As with today's student unrest in Quebec, economic uncertainty, high youth unemployment and a seemingly uncaring government, the context of those times is instructive.
The Panic of 1837 was built on a speculative fever. The bubble burst on May 10, 1837 in New York City, when every bank stopped payment in specie (gold and silver coinage). The Panic was followed by a five-year depression, with the failure of banks and record high unemployment levels. This undoubtedly affected Henry Shew & many others who being idle from unemployment, entered the Patriot Service as a form of excitement. Out of 850 banks in the United States, 343 closed entirely, 62 failed partially, and the system of State banks received a shock from which it never fully recovered. By the fall of 1837, one third of the work force was jobless, and those still fortunate to have jobs saw their wages fall 30-50% within 2 years. At the same time, prices for food and clothing soared.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

On to Ottawa Trek

A reminder about Monday's Canadian archivists' 'On to Ottawa Trek'. For details see http://archiviststrek2012.tumblr.com/details.

Genealogists must support this initiative, even though it only focuses on part of the problem at LAC, eliminating funding for the National Archival Development Program. As the saying goes, we must hang together or we'll hang separately.

It would be a mistake to see this as a zero sum game within the LAC funding envelope. Inter-library Loan, dispersal of a national collection, reduction in consultation service provided by qualified librarians and archivists at LAC, and pretense of more digitization when half the staff so occupied are being let go, are just as important funding priorities.

Northumberland and Durham Miscellaneous Records, 1705-2005

These browse images now available at familysearch.org. Electoral registers, typically from the early 20th century, are the dominant record type. Parish registers, nonconformist records and other parish chest records from the Northumberland Archives Service make this a must visit for the patient genealogist.

The Durham records are BMBs for the parishes of  Edmondbyers, Muggleswick

Billion Graves Index on FamilySearch

Billed as "an expansive family history database of records and images from the world's cemeteries, all tagged with GPS locations" this name index of  980,915 burial records is now incorporated into FamilySearch.org.

The contents are dominated by US cemeteries. You'll also find entries for the UK including 2564 records and 1840 images for Kensal Green in London. There are scattered entries from Canada and elsewhere. Not all the entries are found searching from FamilySearch that surface using Billion Graves directly.


Saturday, 26 May 2012

BIFHSGO Founders Interviews

Four of the five living founders of the British Isles Family History Society, now in it's 18th year, are the subject of interviews now posted on the society website. While there are no great revelations it's good to have the recollections of those BIFHSGO pioneers captured for posterity.

OGS Toronto Branch May Meeting: Legal Research for Family Historians by Gwyneth Pearce


The OGS Toronto Branch, on 28 May 2012 at 7:15 p.m features a presentation on Legal Research for Family Historians by Gwyneth Pearce.
Case law and legislative documents are staples of traditional legal research. But they can also provide valuable leads for family historians. This presentation will point out some of the key free on-line resources for legal research, demonstrate techniques for researching court and tribunal decisions as well as the Canada and Ontario Gazettes, and offer examples of genealogical finds in legal collections.
There is also a mini-presentation by Guylaine Petrin on The Importance of the Mother's Maiden Name.
More information at:  http://www.torontofamilyhistory.org/meetings.html

Friday, 25 May 2012

Monday 28 May: Archivists’ On to Ottawa Trek Day of Action


A couple of folks have brought this event to my attention. I plan on being there at noon for the part at LAC.

The primary event will take place in Ottawa in and around Library and Archives Canada & Parliament Hill. If you are only able to come for a small part of the activity, that is just as welcome as those that are able to come for the whole day.
The schedule will be as follows:
11:00 AM - Gather at Major’s Hill Park in the oval behind Chateau Laurier (between the Chateau and the National Gallery).
11:30 PM - March to Library and Archives Canada (LAC) past Parliament Hill.
12:00 PM - Funeral for archival funding in Canada outside LAC, beside the Secret Bench. We will have speakers and a eulogy will be read. Feel free to bring flowers to lay near the bench. We will also pay our respects to Sir Arthur Doughty after the funeral.
1:00 PM - Appointment to visit LAC. If you wish to stay longer and look at some records while you’re there, we encourage you to make your own, separate appointment.
1:30 PM - Picnic at the Garden of Provinces and Territories. Bring your own lunch. We will have time to network and unwind for those that would like to spend the rest of the afternoon at the garden.
Since the Archivists’ On to Ottawa Trek is a grassroots movement not being arranged by a formal organization, we welcome participation in whatever way people are able. You can bring instruments to play music, noisemakers, symbols of archival service, etc. If you have your own action that you would like to carry out within this framework, that is welcome as well.
Please remember: Wear comfortable shoes and bring water bottles (& umbrellas if it looks rainy). Everyone is encouraged to make signs, posters, or flags to express your desire for the return of the NADP or displeasure at the federal government’s cuts to archival services in Canada.
Have a look at the list of organizations across Canada and around the world showing their support.

Ancestry adds UK, Poll Books and Electoral Registers, 1538-1893

Spending so much time investigating Ancestry's extended probate registers for England and Wales, posted on Wednesday, meant I overlooked a posting about UK, Poll Books and Electoral Registers, 1538-1893. At 4.6 million records it warrants your attention.

It's a miscellaneous collection from the London Metropolitan Archives, not just for London. I found records for Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Black Country ancestors.
Poll books list those who actually cast a vote, and the person(s) they voted for. Only
freeholders and those who owned property above a certain value were entitled to vote. You may find the voter's occupation given -- weaver, smith, etc.

I'm told this is another product of Ancestry's proprietary technology for computer indexing formatted documents, previously used to compile the US directory collection.


Potential children's program at the Rideau Canal Festival


Here, via the Ottawa Branch OGS blog, is an opportunity for genealogists with a teaching background.

Ottawa Branch OGS has been asked if we could provide a children’s heritage program at the Rideau Canal Festival, on the August long weekend leading up to Colonel By Day (August 4th and 5th).  The audience would be primarily families with children visiting on a drop-in basis.  We would be expected to provide the content of the program and any supplies needed.
Major themes of both the Rideau Canal Festival and Colonel By Day include celebrating the achievements of Lt. Colonel John By and the hundreds of workers who built the Rideau Canal, as well as highlighting the heritage of the five canal “builder groups”: English, Irish, Scottish, French Canadian, and Native Canadian.  A programming tie-in to either of these themes would be ideal.
This is an excellent opportunity to do some outreach with children and youth in the city, and to gain exposure for our organization.  Because the site is in a high-traffic area for tourists and locals, and the dates are a holiday long weekend, any programming has a high probability of attracting interest from passers-by.
Unfortunately, I have yet to find anybody who has any ideas of what to do or who might be interested in helping develop a proposal. My work experience is not with children (although some childish adults, at times), so I have few ideas.
Anyone with any suggestions can reach me at pastchair@ogsottawa.on.ca

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Victoria's Victoriana

The complete collection of Queen Victoria's Journals is now available online. Launched on the anniversary of Queen Victoria's birthday by HM The Queen at Buckingham Palace, the new website is part of a digitisation programme to make historic documents from the Royal Archives widely available for the first time.

The digitisation of 141 volumes of Queen Victoria's private diaries has been carried out as a partnership between the Royal Archives, Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University and the online publisher, ProQuest. They can be accessed at www.queenvictoriasjournals.org

In addition to the digitisation of Queen Victoria's Journals, the Royal Archives has undertaken the following projects in Diamond Jubilee year:

- An online partnership project has been undertaken withwww.findmypast.co.uk so that the public may trace their ancestors who have worked for the Royal Household. Free access to the records, which range from the seventeenth century to 1920, will also be available in the National Archives' Reading Rooms in Kew.

- A selection of Queen Victoria's school copy books will be available for viewing at the National Archives at Kew for the first time.

- "Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Scrapbook", a website focused on Queen Victoria's life and reign, including her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, was launched by Buckingham Palace in April 2012. It contains documents from the Royal Archives, paintings and photographs from the Royal Collection, as well as audio and film clips. See www.queen-victorias-scrapbook.org.

Via a tweet by Amy Sell

More on England and Wales Probate

The following are observations from examining the newly released probate calendars for England and Wales, 1858-1966, from Ancestry.

  • The entries for probates in 1903 and 1941 are included twice.
  • About three quarters of probates occur in the year of death.
  • Over half of probates are granted within three months of death.
  • There are a few percent more probates processed in a year than deaths mentioned as having occurred in that year, the result of having to refile. 
  • The percent of deaths leading to probate increased from 7% in 1870, to 18% in 1920, to 43% in 1950.


Suffolk and Kent parish records new at FMP

These new FMP records comprise:

117,821 baptismal records from 1754 to1905 for the Suffolk parishes of: 

Akenham, St Mary; Ashbocking, All Saints; Ashfield cum Thorpe, St Mary; Athelington, St Peter; Badingham, St John the Baptist; Badley, St Mary; Barham, St Mary; Barking, St Mary; Barnardiston, All Saints; Barrow, All Saints; Battisford, St Mary; Baylham, St Peter; Bedfield, St Nicholas; Bedingfield, St Mary; Blakenham Gt, St Mary; Blakenham Lt, St Mary; Bradley Gt, St Mary; Bradley Lt, All Saints; Bramford, St Mary; Bricett Gt, St Mary & St Lawrence; Brockley, St Andrew; Brundish, St Lawrence; Bury St Edmunds, St James; Bury St Edmunds, St John; Bury St Edmunds, St Mary; Chedburgh, All Saints; Chevington, All Saints; Clare, St Peter & St Paul; Claydon, St Peter; Coddenham, St Mary; Cowlinge, St Margaret' Creeting St Mary, St Mary; Crowfield, All Saints; Dalham, St Mary; Debenham, St Mary; Denham (near Bury), St Mary; Denham (near Eye), St John; Dennington, St Mary; Denston, St Nicholas; Depden, St Mary; Earl Stonham, St Mary; Flempton, St Catherine with Hengrave; Flowton, St Mary; Fornham All Saints, All Saints; Framsden, St Mary; Fressingfield, St Peter & St Paul; Gazeley, All Saints; Gosbeck, St MaryHargrave, St Edmund; Haverhill, St Mary; Hawkedon, St Mary; Hawstead, All Saints; Helmingham, St Mary; Hemingstone, St Gregory; Henley, St Peter; Horham, St Mary; Horringer, St Leonard; Hoxne, St Peter & St Paul; Hundon, All Saints (BTs); Ickworth, St Mary; Kedington, St Peter & St Paul; Kentford, St Mary; Kenton, All Saints; Lackford, St Lawrence; Laxfield, All Saints; Lidgate, St Mary; Mendham, All Saints; Metfield, St John the Baptist; Mickfield, St Andrew; Monk Soham, St Peter; Moulton, St Peter; Nettlestead, St Mary; Nowton, St Peter; Offton, St Mary; Ousden, St Peter; Pettaugh, St Catherine; Poslingford, St Mary; Rede, All Saints; Ringshall, St Catherine; Risby, St Giles; Saxham Gt, St Andrew; Saxham Lt, St Nicholas; Saxtead, All Saints; Somersham, St Mary; Southolt, St Margaret; Stansfield, All Saints; Stoke by Clare, St John the Baptist; Stonham Aspal, Blessed Virgin Mary; Stonham Lt, St Mary; Stradbroke, All Saints; Stradishall, St Margaret; Swilland, St Mary; Syleham, St Mary; Tannington, St Ethelbert; Thurlow Gt, All Saints; Thurlow Lt, St Peter; Westerfield, St Mary; Westley, St Mary; Weybread, St Andrew; Whepstead, St Petronilla; Whitton, St Mary; Wickhambrook, All Saints; Wilby, St Mary; Willisham, St Mary; Wingfield, St Andrew; Winston, St Andrew; Withersdale, St Mary Magdalene; Withersfield, St Mary the Virgin; Wixoe, St Leonard; Worlingworth, St Mary; Wratting Gt, St Mary; Wratting Lt, St Mary.

13,763 marriage records from 1754 to1812 for the Suffolk parishes of:Acton; Aldham; Alpheton; Assington; Bildeston; Boxford; Boxted; Brent Eleigh; Brettenham; Bures St Mary; Cavendish; Chelsworth; Chilton BTs; Cockfield; Cornard Gt; Cornard Lt; Edwardstone; Elmsett; Glemsford; Groton; Hadleigh; Hartest; Hitcham; Kersey; Kettlebaston; Lavenham; Lawshall; Layham; Lindsey; Long Melford; Milden; Monks Eleigh; Naughton; Nayland; Nedging; Newton; Polstead; Preston; Preston BTs; Semer; Shimpling; Somerton; Stanstead; Stoke by Nayland; Sudbury All Saints; Sudbury St Gregory; Sudbury St Peter; Thorpe Morieux, Waldingfield GtWaldingfield Lt; Waldingfield Lt BTs; Wattisham; Wattisham BTs; Whatfield; Wissington. 


48,896 burial records from 1788 to 1983 for the Kent parishes of:
Northfleet; Dartford; Gravesend.

OGS Ottawa May Meeting


On Saturday,  26 May 2012 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM OGS Ottawa Branch will host member Dorothy Meyerhof speaking on Lineage Societies
The meeting is at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Room 226

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Major update to Ancestry's England and Wales Probate Calendar Collection

A major update to this Ancestry England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) database, originally released in August 2010. It now contains summaries of the "vast majority: of probate cases in England and Wales between 1858-1966. That's an expansion from the original period, 1861-1941.
Name indexed, the calendar typically includes:

Probate date
Full name of the deceased
Death date
Death place
Registry where issued
As originally published there were major gaps in 1899-1903 and 1910-1911 with some minor gaps for the years 1863, 1868, 1873, 1876, 1877, 1883, 1888. Recheck if you failed to find an expected event in those years before. 

Cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire parish records updated at FamilySearch


In December 2010 I reported FamilySearch as having placed online157,240 images of births/christenings, deaths/burials, marriages and mixed church records for these counties, mainly for Lancashire with a few adjoining parishes of Cheshire and Yorkshire. The 92 Lancashire parishes at that time have grown to nearly150, the total number of images to 249,255, and the estimated number of records to 957,350,

Start at http://goo.gl/hYVvY

FMP adds nursing award records


These are abstract transcriptions of records for 8,969 people recognized with the Royal Red Cross nursing award. There are no original images.

The award was first given in 1883 'for special exertions in providing for the nursing, or for attending to, sick and wounded soldiers and sailors'. Only 246 women had been considered worthy of the honour by the start of WWI. This rose to 6,741 by 1922, when new classes of medal were introduced.

Men became eligible for the first time in 1976, so it's possible to find both male and female ancestors in these records.

Information available is typically: Name, Unit, Initials, Status, Nursing Service,
Rank, Date Disembarked in France, Source.

The records span the period 1883 to 1994.

http://www.findmypast.co.uk/search/military/indexes/military-nurses

Suffolk FHS looking for articles

The Suffolk Family History Society is looking for articles about families that moved to and from Suffolk after 1850, why they moved and what difficulties they had. The editor plans that the September issue of Suffolk Roots will feature such emigration and immigration stories. No guarantee of publication. If you think you have a story of interest contact editor@suffolkfhs.org.uk

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Word verification

I've been forced to re-institute word verification on blog comments as the volume of spam arriving for review was getting out of hand.

The Smokescreen of "Modernization" at LAC

A perceptive opinion piece from activehistory.ca

http://activehistory.ca/2012/05/the-smokescreen-of-modernization-at-library-and-archives-canada/

Interview with Janice Nickerson


York’s Sacrifice; Militia Casualties of the War of 1812 by Janice Nickerson, is newly published by Dundurn and OGS and will be launched at OGS Conference 2012 in Kingston.
A few days ago I recorded an interview about the book with Janice. Check it out at
http://www.ogs.on.ca/conference2012/archives/2978/janice-nickerson

You can catch Janice speaking on her book this Wednesday, May 23 at 7 pm at the North York Central Library Auditorium 5120 Yonge St.

Forthcoming British family history books

New books for family historians are continually appearing. Here are some recent and soon to appear volumes found by searching Amazon, none of which I've had a chance to read. These are the ones that attract my interest, there are many more. The comments are mainly from the publishers blurb.

Family History: Digging Deeper by Simon Fowler (Paperback - 1 Feb 2012)
Not for the beginner, designed to take a family historians research to the next level with clear advice and explanation of the processes involved from a crack team of Britain's top genealogists.

Kilts on the Coast: The Scots Who Built BC by Jan Peterson (15 Jun 2012)
Focuses on events and people who sparked settlement and growth in BC's first Crown Colony over six critical years, 1848 to 1854, and delves deep into the roots of the Island's Scottish presence, tracing the lives of such pioneers as Dr. William Tolmie, Robert Dunsmuir and their descendants.

The Genealogist's Internet: The Essential Guide to Researching Your Family History Online by Peter Christian (24 Jun 2012)

A new edition of this popular book, practical guide identifies the major websites and online sources of data available to family historians. It is ideal for both beginners and more experienced researchers as it explores the most useful sources and helps readers to navigate each one.

The Acadian Diaspora: An Eighteenth-Century History (Oxford Studies in International History) by Christopher Hodson (Jul 2012)
Christopher Hodson has taken a long-familiar episode--the expulsion of French settlers from eastern Canada following the Seven Years War--and transformed it into a story of very deep historical significance. As he follows those expelled to their many far-flung destinations, he manages to connect their diaspora with imperialism, slavery, nascent capitalism, and other forces that were just then reshaping the early modern world. 

Tracing Your Prisoner of War Ancestors: The First World War by Sarah Paterson (19 Jul 2012)
From Pen and Sword, no further information

Looking beyond the next 90 days there are more interesting books coming in time for Christmas!




Monday, 21 May 2012

WDYTYA in review

The 12 episode series of the US version of Who Do You Think You Are wrapped up last Friday. How did it do?

The series averaged 5.4 million viewers. Reba McEntire got the most viewers. Her 7.6 million viewers was the greatest number for WDYTYA over all the series.

The fewest viewers were for the Edie Falco episode, 4.54 million. The episodes with Blair Underwood, Jerome Bettis, Rita Wilson, and Jason Sudekis all attracted fewer viewers than the least for any of the previous series which was Spike Lee's 5.21 million. That's indicative of why NBC decided to end the program's run.

Throughout this series I've been polling on the blog asking "Compared to other Who Do You Think You Are? episodes you've seen how do you rate the xxxx xxxxx episode?" The scale was from 1 meaning "Well above Average" to 5 meaning "Well below average." The highest rated by this genealogical elite was the Rita Wilson episode, the lowest Martin Sheen. All but three, Martin Sheen, Jerome Bettis and Paul Deen, rated better than 3.0 or "about average."

Episode                      Viewers           Blog rating
                                      (million)         (lower is better)
Martin Sheen                6.09                  3.29
Marisa Tomei                5.54                  2.82
Blair Underwood           4.99                  2.16
Reba McEntire               7.6                    2.43
Jerome Bettis                 5.05                  3.18
Helen Hunt                     5.57                  2.43
Rita Wilson                     5.01                  1.84
Edie Falco                       5.45                   2.52
Rob Lowe                        5.21                   2.43
Rashida Jones                 5.25                   2.03
Jason Sudeikis                4.76                   2.6
Paula Deen                      5.54                   3.07

Erpingham Poor Law Union transcriptions


This transcription site, recently updated, cropped up on the Norfolk Rootsweb list through a posting by Bill Atkins. It contains, with a mix of other things, transcriptions of the minutes of meetings of the Board of Guardians for Erpingham Poor Law Union in North Norfolk for 1836-1844. The parishes are indicated on the map. There is a separate list of names found, both Poor Law officials and paupers.

There are miscellaneous other files on the site. including one, appropriate to Victoria Day, on camping. Except this isn't to do with battling mosquitoes while under canvas but an ancient sport, a combination of boxing and rugby football.

The web site is at http://www.oldshuck.webspace.virginmedia.com/ 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

First anniversary of Google exiting newspaper digitization

A year ago I blogged about Google's regrettable decision to no longer pursue newspaper digitization.

Their statement was that

Users can continue to search digitized newspapers at http://news.google.com/archivesearch, but we don’t plan to introduce any further features or functionality to the Google News Archives and we are no longer accepting new microfilm or digital files for processing.
They are true to their word that nothing new has been introduced and the newspapers are still accessible. For that we can be thankful. But the search capability that was originally available has been crippled to the point that the collection is little more than browse files, still useful but disappointing.
 

FreeBMD May update

The FreeBMD Database was last updated on Saturday 19 May 2012 and currently contains 216,370,356 distinct records (273,601,636 total records).

Major updates this month are births for 1943-45, 1949, and 1955-63; marriages for 1920, 1953-55, 1957-58, and 1960-62; deaths for 1953, 1955, 1961-62.

Local BMD registers, and Toronto Genealogy Summer Camp

Jane MacNamara was kind enough to point out to me a posting on the York yahoo group, via http://www.yorkfamilyhistory.org.uk/, about local BMD indexes.

There are two sets of Birth, Marriage and Death indexes in the UK; the original indexes held by the local register offices and a secondary index created by the General Register Office.  
Many of the local indexes are being transcribed by the local authorities in conjunction with Family History Societies, and the data placed on-line. Check availability via http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/
The local index, where available, is less liable to clerical errors. You may also be able to determine the church in which a marriage occurred from the local index entry.
Mentioning Jane also reminds me to draw attention to the Toronto Genealogy Summer Camp, for adults, August 12 - 17. Check out this perennially popular educational opportunity at www.torontofamilyhistory.org/summercamp.html

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Library and Archives Canada (A Modest Proposal)

If you're following developments, and deterioration, at Library and Archives Canada read this Modest Proposal from Michael Ridley from the University of Guelph.

LAC please copy

Here's another opportunity for British researchers to query the head of The (UK) National Archives.

On Thursday 24 May 2012 Oliver Morley, Chief Executive and Keeper, The National Archives, will be available to answer your questions in the public restaurant between 14:00 and 15:30. This is your opportunity to raise any views or questions you may have about the management and future direction of The National Archives.
Does Daniel Caron even know where the cafeteria is at LAC?  Hint, it's at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa, on the 5th floor.

FamilySearch adds BC records

Two new data-sets on FamilySearch for British Columbia researchers. Both are browse images, not searchable.

BC Naturalization Records, 1859-1926 has records for the "counties" of Cranbrook and Victoria.  Cranbrook records are in nine boxes plus a name index by year, not in alphabetical order, for 1905-1923. Victoria records, unindexed, are in 44 boxes from 1859-1917 plus 1926.

A second data-set is BC, Victoria Times Birth, Marriage and Death notices, 1901-1939. It comprises 111,817 images of newspaper clippings pasted onto cards and arranged chronologically with the date (year, month, day) and page number of the Victoria Times on each card. It's copied from the City of Victoria Archives. There are 23 files by date range but no index. Checking a few records I found that each had been filmed three times, seemingly with different camera settings.

If searching in the early part of this period don't forget that The Colonist has been digitized from 1858 to 1910 at http://www.britishcolonist.ca/


Friday, 18 May 2012

WDYTYA: Paula Deen survey

Find My Past adds Plymouth and Devon parish records


Findmypast.co.uk have broken a drought of new records with a deluge of Plymouth and Devon parish records, 3.5 million people over five centuries.

"These records include baptisms, marriages and burials from 1538 to 1911, making it easier than ever before to trace your Devonshire ancestors before the first census and the start of birth, marriage and death records in the 19th century.
Here you can see an example of one of the records – click on it for a larger version. On 10 September 1846, young lovers from Plymouth, William Yeo, a Waterman, and Jane Brown, of no occupation, were married in Stoke Damerel. Both bride and groom were recorded in the register as minors by the lenient vicar, and the signatures of the witnesses weren't of their parents or anyone obviously related.
Other interesting finds in the parish records include Devon's most infamous celebrities of the past: Reverend John (Jack) Russell, the 'dog breeder in a dog collar', Devonshire's Lady in Waiting to Queen Adelaide, Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first computer and Charles Kingsley, author of The Water Babies.
Plymouth City Council's Plymouth & West Devon Record Office provided findmypast.co.uk with these records, as part of the Plymouth and West Devon Collection."


FamilySearch adds Quebec, Non-Catholic Parish Registers, 1763-1967

FamilySearch.org now has online a massive collection of images of parish registers Quebec, Non-Catholic Parish Registers, 1763-1967. The parishes are below.

What's included? For Montreal for example,
Baptist; Baptist St Catherine Street; Christian Unitarian; Church of England in Canada; Church of England in Canada Christ Church Cathedral; Church of England in Canada Garrison Church; Church of England in Canada Grace Church; Church of England in Canada St George
Looking at Church of England in Canada there are 7 volumes of BMB registers for 1763-1764 and 1815-1875 with gaps. Some have internal indexes. The volume for 1844-1861 has 741 pages of which the image above is part of one page. It's a huge collection.

The parishes are:

Abbotsford & Rougemont; Abbotsford; Granby Township & Saint-Paul-d'Abbotsford; Abercorn; Acton-Vale; Acton-Vale, Bagot; Adamsville; Arundel; Ascot Corner; Ascot Township; Athelstan and Elgin; Avoca & Harrington; Baie de Gaspé; Barford; Barnston; Beach Ridge; Beauharnois; Beauharnois, Châteauguay and Ormstown; Bedford; Beebe; Belle-Rivière; Berthier-en-Haut; Bolton Township; Bourg-Louis; Bourg-Louis and Sainte-Catherine; Bourg-Louis, Jacques-Cartier and Portneuf; Bourg-Louis, Portneuf and Sainte-Catherine; Brome; Brome Township and Cowansville; Brome and Knowlton; Brome, Sutton; Brome, Sutton Flatts; Buckland; Cranbourne; Frampton and Standon; Bury; Cape Cove; Cape Cove and Percé; Chambly; Châteauguay; Chatham; Chatham Township; Chatham Township & Grenville Township; Christieville; Clarenceville; Coaticook; Compton; Compton Township; Cote de Nieges; Côte-Saint-Luc; Coteau-du-Lac; Covey Hill; Cowansville; Dalesville; Danville; District of Saint Francis; District of Terreboone; Drummondville; Dudswell; Dundee; Dunham; Dunham, Farnham, Stanbridge, Seigniory of Saint Armand; Durham; Durham and Kingsey; Durham and Kingsey Falls; East Farnham; Eaton Township; Edwardstown; English River; Farnham; Fitch Bay; Frampton; Franklin Centre; Frelighsburg; Gaspé; Georgetown; Georgeville; Glen Sutton; Gore; Granby; Grande-Ligne; Grenville; Grosse-Île; Harrington; Hatley; Hatley Township; Hemmingford; Hemmingford and Hinchinbrooke; Hemmingford and Sherrington; Hendersonville; Henrysburg; Henryville; Hereford; Hudson; Huntingdon; Île aux NoixÎle d' Orléans; Inverness; Ireland; Joliette; Kildare; Kingsey; Kingsey-Falls; Kinnears Mills; Knowlton; L'Acadie; La GuerreLa Prairie; Lac-Beauport and Stoneham; Lac-Beauport, Stoneham and Valcartier Camp; Lachine; Lachute; Lacolle; Lacolle, Odelltown, Saint-Jean; Lakefield; Laval; Lawrenceville; Leeds; Lennoxville; Lévis; Lingwick; Linière; Longueuil; Lost-River; Lotbinière; Louiseville; Magog; Mal-Bay; Manningville; Mansonville; Mascouche; Maskinongé; Melbourne; Métis; Mille-Isles; Missisquoi; Montmorency; Montmorency Falls; Montréal; Montréal, Pointe-Saint-Charles; New Carlisle; New Glasgow; New Liverpool; New Richmond; Nicolet; Odelltown; Oka; Ormstown; Peninsula; Percé; Philipsburg; Pointe-Fortune; Pointe-Saint-Pierre; Port-Daniel; Portneuf; Potton; Québec; Québec and New-Liverpool; Rawdon; Restigouche; Richmond; Rivière-du-Loup; Rockburn; Rougemont; Roxton; Roxton Pond; Russelltown-Flats; Sabrevois; Saint Eustache; Saint-André-Est; Saint-Andrews; Saint-Armand; Saint-Armand-Ouest; Saint-Ephrem-d'Upton; Saint-Ephrem-d'Upton & Upton Township; Saint-Eustache; Saint-Faustin; Saint-Georges; Saint-Gilles; Saint-Hyacinthe; Saint-Jovite; Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague; Saint-Martin; Saint-Pie; Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts; Saint-Sylvestre; Sainte-Catherine; Sainte-Catherine and Valcartier Camp; Sainte-Marie-de-Monnoir; Sainte-Thérèse-de-Blainville; Salaberry-de-Valleyfield; Sandy Beach; Shawbridge; Shefford; Shefford County; Sherbrooke; Shipton Township; Sillery; Sorel; St-Paul-d'Abbotsford; St. Francis; St. John's; St.-Francois-de-Sales; Stanbridge; Stanbridge East; Stanstead; Stoneham; Stoneham and Valcartier; Stukely; Sutton; Terrebonne; Tingwick; Trois-Rivières; Valcartier; Valleyfield; Warwick; Waterloo; Waterville; Westmount; Windsor

WDYTYA: Paula Deen

Tonight sees the final episode of the US WDYTYA series, and the last new episode on NBC, featuring Paula Deen. With 14.5 million Google hits she represents an aspect of American popular culture, Southern cooking, of which I'm very much ignorant. Watch on NBC and CITY TV in Canada, at 8pm.

Parking at LAC

The west parking lot at Library and Archives Canada now has a significantly greater number of public parking spaces than previously. Pay parking, at a cost of  $2.00 per half hour, is in effect. The parking machine accepts credit cards.

Thanks to Brenda Turner for the information.

Kudos to Ottawa Branch of OGS

Yesterday I wrote on the blog that.

"The organizations representing the Canadian genealogical community are notably silent on the situation (regarding LAC). Is that what you as a member expect of your society?"
I'd like to acknowledge today that one genealogical organization, and only one as far as I can determine, the Ottawa Branch of OGS, has posted on the situation.  It's on their blog at http://www.ogsottawa.blogspot.ca/2012/05/saving-library-and-archives-canada.html, a follow on to a post the previous day that urged "each and every one of you to make your voice heard in opposing the budget cuts to the Library and Archives Canada recently announced in the Federal Budget."

Silence will be taken as acquiescence by the government. Is that the message BCGS, AFHS, MGS, OGS (provincial), BIFHSGO, QFHS, GANS and others want to send?
Many societies have forthcoming AGMs. Will the societies be prepared to state their position if asked?

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Transported to America


Ancestry have posted a new database, Middlesex, England, Convict Transportation Contracts, 1682-1787, name indexed with images of originals. These are Middlesex Quarter Sessions Court orders for convicts to be transferred to "his Majesty's plantations and colonies in America." 4299 names are included.

http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2381

Is LAC's parliamentary budget request misleading?

In a previous post I commented that the recently tabled Library and Archives Canada Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP), on the basis of which Parliament votes funding, is misleading as it does not included the impact of cuts imposed in the 2012 budget.
I wrote to Mark Melanson, listed in the RPP as the contact for information, and received a response from Marc Comeau, Strategic Communications Manager with LAC's Communications Bureau.

LAC's 2012-13 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) was prepared prior to the tabling of the 2012 Federal Budget, and as a result the measures in the Budget that will affect LAC are not captured in this edition of the RPP. The measures announced in the 2012 Budget will of course be reflected and addressed in any future budgetary estimates for LAC, and will most notably be covered in upcoming Departmental Performance Reports where actual results will be compared to plans and expectations expressed in the RPP.
This means that cuts in the 2012 budget come on top of cuts of 18.7% in the RPP making that document as useful as yesterday's weather forecast.
The organizations representing the Canadian genealogical community are notably silent on the situation.  Is that what you as a member expect of your society?
By contrast the Canadian Association of University Teachers has led the way with its Save Library and Archives campaign.
The Canadian Historical Association is hoping to work with other interest groups and parties, as it did with the census, to share concerns with the federal government’s plans for:
-Cuts to the Library and Archives of Canada including 50% of the archivists who handle non-government records and elimination of the Interlibrary Loan service.
-Elimination of the National Archives Development Plan which supported local archives
-Elimination of the Understanding Canada program which supported Canadian Studies in other Countries
-Cuts to Parks Canada efforts to protect and preserve our heritage resources.
LAC management has done little to endear itself to the genealogical community.
There is a dilemma in this situation, how does one express concern about the cuts without showing support for management's strategic direction?

OGS Quinte Branch Meeting: Ruth Burkholder presents King's College in Land Records


On Saturday19 May 2012 Quinte OGS Branch will host a presentation on
King's College in Land Records
by
Ruth M. Burkholder of RMB Genealogical Services

King's College: Many people searching land records find that the first person named on the land abstract was Kings College. What it is and what records there are regarding individuals who leased and / or purchased from the College will be discussed.

The meeting starts at 1pm at Quinte West City Hall Library7 Creswell Drive in Trenton
More information at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canqbogs/meetings.htm

OGS Kingston May meeting

Saturday, May 19, 2012, 10:00 a.m. in the Wilson Room, Central Branch, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson Street. Dr. Agnes M. Glenn will speak about researching and publishing her book "Who We Are: A Chambers Family".

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Canadian Orders-in-Council

Via the Library and Archives Canada blog comes a reminder that some Canadian government Orders-in-Council may be viewed online.

Orders-in-Council from 1867 to 1916You can search the indexes for OICs produced from July 1, 1867 to 1916.  For OICs approved from 1867 to 1910 you can view the full text online.  You can do all this using the Orders in Council database available on the LACwebsite.
http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/orders/index-e.htmlThis database will be updated over the years to extend the date range of these records through to the mid-20th century.
Read the full LAC blog post at http://thediscoverblog.com/2012/05/15/orders-in-council-what-you-can-access-online/  A surprising number of items appear in orders-in-council, such as appointments to the civil service including local postmasters. However, be aware that contrary to the statement that "for OICs approved from 1867 to 1910 you can view the full text online" a search is likely to yield an entry like this one from 1872
On file with dormants; See also 1872-0614; There are no images associated with this record - Part of dormant sub-series

Why not the other?

This was tweeted recently.
******* was awesome today :) officially a hangout place now!
Someone else tweeted
Thanks to ******* for hosting tonight's event and to all who came and asked great questions!

Ottawa genealogy event: Voices From the Dust

A reminder that the Ottawa Stake Family History Center of the LDS church at 1017 Prince of Wales Drive is holding an evening family history conference on Friday with seminars, displays, refreshments - all free to enjoy.
There's a list of presenters (including yours truly) and workshops at http://www.ottawastakefhc.on.ca/vftd.pdf
The event runs from 6:30pm to 9:00pm.


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

TNA Discovery Service


The following is an announcement from The (UK) National Archives

The latest release of Discovery, our new catalogue, is now live, providing a new way to explore our collections. The image delivery service is now available, which means you can search and download records, where online versions exist, all in one place. Discovery also allows you to tag records to improve their descriptions, preview records before purchase, filter search results by subject, date range and collection and shows results in order of relevance.
Our current image delivery service, DocumentsOnline, will be switched off on Monday 21 May. Until then the two services will run in parallel with both providing secure transactions for purchases. The Catalogue will be switched off at the end of June and we will provide more information about this over the coming weeks.
Our online records is a new section of our Records website that showcases a number of our most popular digital collections. From these pages you can search specific collections within Discovery, such as medal index cards, wills and service records. These pages also provide guidance on how to search the records and what the records look like.
Find out more by reading our Discovery frequently asked questions.
Watch Director of Technology, David Thomas, explain why we've built Discovery and how it will help, on our blog.
Comment: If you do click on the blog link above I suggest not looking at the video for more than a few seconds. You may be as distracted as I was by the movement of hands and not get the information.

Empress of Ireland author interviews

While in Montreal at the Quebec Family History Society meeting last Saturday I recorded interviews with two Montreal area writers of historical non-fiction. Anne Renaud, who was the speaker for Saturday's meeting on the 1914 Empress of Ireland tragedy, writes mainly for children. Derek Grout, whose book on the Empress of Ireland deals with the ship's whole history, and the disaster aftermath, is also preparing a book on a WW1 Canadian soldier.
The podcast interviews are available at the BIFHSGO website here (mp3)

Are you on the Ancestry stock roller coaster?

Sunday's announcement of the cancellation of the US version of Who Do You Think You Are? the NBC TV program, the result of poor ratings, saw the stock of Ancestry.com close at $22.57. That's a decline of 13.72% from Friday's close of $26.16 but up from Monday's opening of $21.51.

In the past year ACOM has traded as high as $45.18 last July and as low as $20.67 in March.

Since this date last year several company insiders, Timothy P Sullivan,  Benjamin C Spero, Victor E Parker Jr., and Joshua John Inghram Hannah reported sales at above $30 per share, mainly as a result of exercizing options. In the last six months insiders sold a net 19,000 shares, institutional investors sold a net 1,927,540 shares.

There's mixed news for Ancestry. The company is taking new initiatives with its purchase of Archives.com and move into genetic genealogy. Subscribers are at record levels. WDYTYA's cancellation by NBC gives Ancestry an opportunity to try a fresh approach without indicating it had lost confidence in the program which was popular with the genealogical community.

On the other hand WDYTYA did push up the number of Ancestry subscribers each series. With its non-renewal how will the company keep an inflow of new subscribers to compensate for the relatively high turnover (churn rate.)

Insiders and, institutional investors, haven't shown any consistent enthusiasm for the company since July, but market analysts continue to rate ACOM a buy or better. Is this decline a buying opportunity?

Monday, 14 May 2012

Montreal medical records

Thanks to BIFHSGO member Anne Renwick who sent information, via the Society Secretary Anne Sterling, on an article by Robert N. Wilkins in the Montreal Gazette about records of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal.
The good news is that you can view your own records.
Those pertaining to the administration and history of the Royal Victoria Hospital are open.
But health information of individuals other than yourself is not accessible. This applies even to records of persons deceased.

Perth Historical Society: The War of 1812 in the Eastern District

Notice for the Perth Historical Society Meeting
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The War of 1812 in the Eastern District
Military Encounters along our Upper St. Lawrence

The May meeting will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, with Major John Grodzinski of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston. His presentation will focus on the little-known ‘Raids, Skirmishes and Predatory Warfare: The War of 1812 in the Eastern District’.
The story of the War of 1812 along the Upper St. Lawrence frontier is normally reduced to brief accounts of a few raids on the frontier, dwarfed in comparison to the larger battles that stir the popular imagination. This presentation will uncover the range of these military encounters and the development of the defences that withstood them along the Upper St. Lawrence frontier. It will also review how the tenuous connection between Montreal and Kingston overcame the serious challenges and threats it faced, ensuring the almost uninterrupted delivery to Kingston of the provisions, personnel, ordnance and stores required by the forces in Upper Canada. Concern for the future of this military link was a major reason for the later founding of the Rideau Military settlements.

Major Grodzinski, assistant history professor at the Royal Military College (RMC), has an undergraduate degree from McMaster University, and an MA and PhD at the RMC. His interests include the era of North American colonial conflicts and naval warfare in the age of sail. He is editor of the on-line War of 1812 magazine, and leads battlefield studies on the Seven Years’ War, the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Oklahoma University Press will publish his study of the leadership of Lieutenant-General Sir George Prevost, the General and Commander-in-Chief of British North America during the War of 1812. Major Grodzinski is completing another manuscript examining the conduct of the War of 1812 on the Upper St. Lawrence River.

At 7:30 pm at the Perth Museum, at 11 Gore Street E. in Perth, ON. (“Toonie Fee”).

Focus on Heritage: Sandy Hill

If, like me, you missed the talk by Glenn Lockwood and Janet Uren at last Saturday's BIFHSGO meeting on St. Alban's Church in Sandy Hill and its early congregation as Ottawa became established as Canada's capital, there's a podcast interview available at http://www.bifhsgo.ca/upload/files/Podcasts/Jant%20U-Glenn%20L%202012-04-30.mp3 
While the talk was last Saturday, 12 May, this isn't just of historical interest. There will be events in the area organized by IODE on June 8 and 9. Further information is at http://laurentian.iode.ca/house-garden-tour-2012

Sunday, 13 May 2012

NBC will not renew WDYTYA


The following is a press release from Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com Comments on Status of Who Do You Think You Are?
PROVO, Utah, May 13, 2012 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Ancestry.com Inc., the world's largest online family history resource, today commented on NBC's decision not to renew the Who Do You Think You Are? television series for a fourth season.
"We want to thank NBC for their support of this terrific series, which over the last three years has inspired many viewers to follow their passion to learn more about who they are and where they come from," said Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of Ancestry.com. "We have a great partnership with the show's producers, Is or Isn't Entertainment and Shed Media, and we look forward to exploring other avenues of distribution. 
Comment: I'm not surprised by this decision on NBC's part. Ratings have been less than spectacular this season. Because the format requires the subject personalities to travel, and they have to be paid, the economics make it difficult to schedule top-rated personalities. Yet top-rated personalities attract viewers. By contrast the Louis Gates Finding Your Roots program on PBS only requires a short in studio session making the big stars more affordable.

Ancestry would be well advised to look at some of the other genealogy-connected TV shows running elsewhere for their next TV initiative.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

TED talk collection

I'll likely not be posting on Sunday, but don't want to leave you with time on your hands. So, via the Open Culture blog, have a look at this full list Google spreadsheet of all TED talks, more than 1,200 of them. They mostly run a bit under 20 minutes, 15 days if you run them consecutively.

I've only viewed a few. A personal favourite is The real difference between liberals and conservatives by Jonathan Haidt.

Interview with David Elliott

On May 2 I posted a review of the book "Researching Your Irish Ancestors at Home and Abroad" by David R. Elliott. Now there's an interview I conducted with him in connection with the book launch, and his company's presence in the marketplace, at the OGS conference coming up at the start of June. Start here.

There's another book, “York’s Sacrifice: Militia Casualties of the War of 1812″ by Janice Nickerson being launched at the same event. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

WDYTYA; Jason Sudeikis survey

Ancestry complete England and Wales 1911 census index

Ancestry.co.uk has the 1911 Census of England and Wales complete & fully searchable for FREE until Monday night. You need to register for a free account. Start at http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/grouplist.aspx?group=1911uki

Also there have been updates to the death and marriages indexes post 1915.


Word verification

A few readers have mentioned they've had problems with word verifications on comments they try to send to the blog. You need to type a couple of words which are shown in distorted type. I've had similar problems on other sites.
Word verification is supposed to protect me from receiving a whole load of spam comments. I already get quite a few, often people wanting to post a comment with a link to their non-relevant website.
As an experiment I'm turning off word verification, but will quickly turn it on again if the spam load becomes excessive.




WDYTYA: Jason Sudeikis

Jason Sudeikis, American actor and comedian features on the May 11 episode of WDYTYA on NBC and CITY-TV. Here the promo that mentions "one shock after another."
With 2.9 million hits on a Google encrypted search for Jason Sudeikis this will likely be run of the mill for ratings.

Ancestry has 10 billion records


Congratulations to Ancestry on posting its 10 billionth record. Their press release is here.
For the record, the top ten databases by record count are:

TitleCollectionRecordsActivity
Public Member TreesFamily Trees2,107,016,069
U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta)Schools, Directories & Church Histories1,051,103,065
Private Member TreesFamily Trees527,913,893
Ancestry World TreeFamily Trees467,671,004
U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1Schools, Directories & Church Histories418,692,357
U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 2Schools, Directories & Church Histories402,475,206
U.S. Phone and Address Directories, 1993-2002Schools, Directories & Church Histories313,281,811
British Phone Books, 1880-1984Schools, Directories & Church Histories278,407,919
U.S. School YearbooksSchools, Directories & Church Histories155,566,303
London, England, Electoral Registers, 1847-1965Census & Voter Lists132,734,772


The top ten Canadian databases by record count are:

TitleCollectionRecordsActivity
Public Member Photos & Scanned DocumentsPictures55,222,661
Canadian Phone and Address Directories, 1995-2002Schools, Directories & Church Histories37,867,068
Private Member PhotosPictures19,466,520
Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967Birth, Marriage & Death14,515,649
Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935Immigration & Travel7,286,089
1911 Census of CanadaCensus & Voter Lists7,223,678
Public Member StoriesStories, Memories & Histories6,985,083
1901 Census of CanadaCensus & Voter Lists5,343,565
Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900sImmigration & Travel4,838,517
1891 Census of CanadaCensus & Voter Lists4,787,225


The top ten UK databases by record count:

TitleCollectionRecordsActivity
British Phone Books, 1880-1984Schools, Directories & Church Histories278,407,919
London, England, Electoral Registers, 1847-1965Census & Voter Lists132,734,772
England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916-2005Birth, Marriage & Death71,312,077
England & Wales, Marriage Index: 1916-2005Birth, Marriage & Death63,777,372
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915Birth, Marriage & Death62,795,416
Public Member Photos & Scanned DocumentsPictures55,222,661
England & Wales, Death Index: 1916-2005Birth, Marriage & Death49,027,159
England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index: 1837-1915Birth, Marriage & Death38,334,193
England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index: 1837-1915Birth, Marriage & Death32,698,349
1901 England CensusCensus & Voter Lists30,580,800
1891 England CensusCensus & Voter Lists27,126,989