Thursday, 31 January 2013

Incest and Folk-Dancing: now online

The lecture at Gresham College by Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London, on Incest and Folk-Dancing: Two things to be avoided, is now available as a video at http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/incest-and-folk-dancing-two-things-to-be-avoided.

From the lecture overview:

Professor Jones discusses patterns of relatedness in ancient and modern populations and how they can be measured from the records, from surnames, and - more and more - from the DNA. The pedigree hidden in every genome reveals some quite unexpected patterns of kinship and suggests that some may be very relevant to the chances of disease. However, the evidence that close kinship is breaking down is, in this modern and mobile world, very persuasive and it may be that the most important event in human evolution, and even in human health, was the invention of the bicycle.
Worth watching if your perspective on genealogy takes you beyond the world of the genealogical proof standard.

OGS Ottawa Branch organizes A Day at the Archives on Saturday

You're invited to come to the Ottawa City Archives building, 100 Tallwood Drive, from 1:30pm on Saturday to discover the resources there and benefit from advice from local experts. I shall be there all day, there's a DNA group meeting in the morning starting at 9:30, and then be a "resource" on the UK and Ireland plus newspapers in the afternoon.

The building won't quite look like the picture, just add snow.

For more information check out the Ottawa Branch blog post at: http://www.ogsottawa.blogspot.ca/2013/01/a-day-at-city-of-ottawa-archives_27.html

Niagara OGS and CanadianHeadstones.com affiliation

The following is a press release from the Niagara Peninsula Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.

Jan 31 2013
 
The Niagara Peninsula Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and CanadianHeadstones.com have created an affiliation for the old counties of Lincoln/Welland.
Due to the overwhelming demand for genealogical information online, these two groups will work together to ensure the cemeteries of Old Lincoln and Welland Counties will be accessible via the internet.
The Niagara Peninsula Branch has decided to become a leader in this opportunity with CanadianHeadStones.com to better serve the genealogical community.
CanadianHeadstones.com has a great site with multiple search functions to allow those to search with a broader range of parameters. Niagara Peninsula Branch has approximately 10, 000 photos from the region in stock we wish to place on CanadianHeadstones.com and hope to continue doing so in the future.
The Niagara Peninsula Branch will continue to provide research assistance to the genealogy community – See our website for further details – www.ogs.on.ca/niagara
We encourage those who wish to assist with this great project to contact the Branch at: niagara@ogs.on.ca
 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Book Review: Marriage Law for Genealogists

Title: Marriage Law for Genealogists
Author: Rebecca Probert
Paperback: 162 pages
Publisher: Takeaway (Publishing) (Sep 4 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0956384714
Cover Price: US$14.99

Open the cover of this slim volume and you'll read that Rebecca Probert is widely recognized as the leading authority on the history of marriage laws in England and Wales. That's an easy sentence for a PR agent to write. In this case the book is adequate witness to the author's billing.

Early on we read that many long-standing myths, repeated in various volumes, have been overturned by more recent research. "The simple but very clear findings are that the overwhelming majority of couples married in the Church of England, cohabitation was vanishingly rare, and informal marriage practices non-existent."
No matter how entertaining the mental image no marriage by jumping over a broomstick.
That's an example of one of the common mistakes at which the book takes aim about the law of marriage, repeated in well known books such as Who Do You Think You Are? The Encyclopedia of Genealogy and Ancestral Trails, .
The major chapter headings are:
Whether and Why, the likelihood a couple went through a valid marriage ceremony;
Who could marry;
How, the formalities of a valid marriage;
When, marriage partners ages and dates/hours for marriage;
Where, the location of marriages - near or far.
If there's a simple take home message it's that from 1600 until very recently most people followed the rules when it came to marriage and establishing a family.

That point may be made a bit too strongly. Even if most people did conform among the perhaps 4,000 partnerships in your ancestry back to 1600 some of them were likely to have been less conventional.

UPDATE: Rick Roberts from Global Genealogy informs me they have just received a shipment of this book.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Navy Records Online

If you have British navy connections you may find Navy Records Online of interest. It's an expanding online archive of miscellaneous British naval records and the internet publishing arm of the Navy Records Society (est. 1893).
For £20 a year members receive access to the latest discoveries and are able to browse the online archive of charts, portraits, cartoons, logs, letters, diaries, battle plans, sketchbooks, photograph albums and videos. The society preserves significant naval records of every type.
A catalogue of the Society publications is available from the Society website. Members have access to three digital volumes as part of their annual fee.

Name Indexed 1916 Census of the Prairie Provinces now Free at Library and Archives Canada

For the Prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta the 1916 census is the most recent available. Now it's in name indexed form on the LAC website thanks to "the contribution of Ancestry.ca, without which this project would not have been possible." That's from the credit line at the very bottom of the help file.

Search is available by: Keywords, Surname, Given Name(s), Age and Province. In addition there's an advanced search to permit search by: District Name, District Number, Sub-District Number, Sub-District Description, Division Number and, Page Number.

Search from http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1916/Pages/1916.aspx

This LAC version contains 1,686,666 records whereas Ancestry's has 1,690,163. I wonder why the difference?

FreeBMD 2nd January update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Sunday 27 January 2013 to contain 225,305,278 distinct records.

Major updates, more than 5,000 in the year, since 4 January are: for births 1943, 1945, 1955, 1958-66; for marriages 1952, 1956, 1960-67; for deaths 1964-68.

CLA seeks advice on LAC issues

A blog post from Library Boy provides an update on the situation at Library and Archives Canada revealing that the Canadian Library Association (CLA) is seeking input on two issues:

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) User Roundtable which includes a link to three background documents on the ILL program.

ILL Facts and Figures (Adobe PDF File) which shows that in ending the ILL program it is abandoning 34,000 clients.
Frequently Used Databases and Catalogs (Adobe PDF File)
Access to Unique Materials (Adobe PDF File)

Pan-Canadian Documentary Heritage Network User Round Table on the National Union Catalogue where LAC is asking the CLA community how to best maintain and improve this service in order to meet the challenges of the digital age.

On copying family history information

The BIFHSGO member who blogs as Persephone went on a bit of a genealogical rant on Friday in an item Someone is WRONG on the internet. If you've posted information, and sometimes just sent information to someone, only to have it misused, you'll find thoughts expressed by a kindred spirit in the post.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Scottish Property Records for 1905 Go Online

The following is a press release from ScotlandsPeople.

From tenements to palaces - these records offer a fascinating snapshot of Scotland during the Edwardian era and are a major new genealogy resource
Over 2 million names of Scots included in the property records for 1905 are being released today online for the first time via ScotlandsPeople, the official government family history website. The new records, known as the Valuation Rolls and comprising over 2.4 million indexed names and over 74,000 digital images, cover every kind of building, structure or property in Scotland which were assessed as having a rateable value.
The Rolls also reveal much about the changing social fabric of Scotland at this time – such as the growth in women owning property and running businesses, the rise in sports and recreation clubs, the development of music halls and theatres, and the expansion of railway hotels. As the Rolls include details about rents and the value of property, they will also help researchers to learn more about the cost of living during this period.
Fully-searchable by name and address, the records list the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property - so genealogists, historians and other researchers can now discover fresh insights into their ancestors’ lives through viewing these new records. As the 1905 Rolls appear between census years, they will be invaluable for genealogists who are trying to fill in gaps about their ancestors.
People from all social classes are included in the 1905 Valuation Rolls - from well-known land and property owners, to the tenants of Scotland’s tenements. Some of the famous Scots whose property situation appears in the records are AJ Balfour, Keir Hardie, Sir Hugh Munro, Lady Gordon Cathcart, Lord Armitstead and Donald Stewart (head gamekeeper to Queen Victoria).
Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:
“ScotlandsPeople is a wonderful gateway to Scotland’s wealth of archives that tell the story of our nation and its people. I welcome this latest addition to their digital resources, which can be enjoyed by the people of Scotland, and people of Scottish descent everywhere.”
Audrey Robertson, Acting Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:
"The latest release of details about property owners and tenants in 1905 will be very useful for people researching the history of their family, or of their house or local area. The rolls can be searched alongside other records in ScotlandsPeople, and may help locate people who cannot be found in other sources.”
Chris van der Kuyl, the CEO of brightsolid, the company that enables ScotlandsPeople for the National Records of Scotland, said:
“The publication of the 1905 Valuation Rolls on ScotlandsPeople is another important piece of the jigsaw for helping people to trace their Scottish ancestry. As well as appealing to people’s fascination with property, these new records will complement the 1911 Census records that were published on ScotlandsPeople in 2011.”
The Valuation Rolls will be available on the ScotlandsPeople website (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk), and at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh. These new online records will be interesting both to people in Scotland and to the Scottish diaspora across the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the rest of the world.


John Grenham on Irish Civil Registration

It's a joy to read John Grenham on The Weird and Wacky World of Civil Registration in the Irish Times Irish Roots blog. How many other organizations we could name are run by the "Ostrich School of Public Administration: if you don’t admit it exists, it can’t be a problem, can it?"
http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/irishroots/2013/01/27/the-weird-and-wacky-world-of-civil-registration/

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Suffolk FHS CDs

Recent additions to the data CDs available from the Suffolk Family History Society are:
- Baptisms 1754-1812 for Samford and Colneis Deaneries
- Baptisms 1813-1900 for Samford and Colneis Deaneries
These cover 41 parishes south of Ipswich from Hintlesham to Felixstowe,
and
- Marriage Index 1754-1812 for Clare and Fordham Deaneries
 
See which parishes are on these CDs, and the contents of other SFHS CDs at http://www.suffolkfhs.co.uk/docs/parish_listing_by_deanery.pdf

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Devon Wills


One of the lasting legacies of WW2 is the loss of original wills when the Probate Office was bombed in the Exeter Blitz of April-May 1942. To fill the gaps the Devon Wills Project is compiling an index of Devon wills, administrations, etc. - see http://genuki.cs.ncl.ac.uk/DEV/DevonWillsProject/

A post by Brian Randell on the Society of Genealogists mailing list tells of coming across "two venerable US genealogical journals, well represented in the Internet Archive, namely The New England Historical and Genealogical Register and The Essex Institute Historical Collections, which each contain a series of articles providing collections of English will abstracts - from which we've obtained very useful details of a number of Devon wills"

The post continues asking for suggestions of "any other "venerable US genealogical journals" which contain such articles, or better, sets of articles? I stress "venerable" since our particular interest is information obtained, possibly a century or more ago, from the Exeter Probate Office. (Cyndi's List provides a listing of scholarly genealogical journals at http://www.cyndislist.com/magazines/scholarly-journals/, but help in identifying likely relevant, and accessible, ones would be much appreciated.)"

It occurs to me there must be stray copies of pre-1858 Devon wills scattered in archives, publications and personal collections in Canada. The benefits of scouring "foreign" archives for British material is a point made toward the end of the latest TNA podcast on Rawdon Brown and the Brown Collection at The National Archives, which while I found it interesting I can't recommend for genealogical content.

If you have of know of any old Devon will, or wills, you can contact Brian Randall at the School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK, EMAIL = Brian.Randell@ncl.ac.uk   PHONE = +44 191 222 7923, FAX = +44 191 222 8232  URL = http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/people/brian.randell


QFHS Connections Winter/Spring 2013

The new issue of the Quebec Family History Society journal Connections arrived earlier this week. In addition to regular content about the Society and its activities, and shorter news items, there are some longer articles - none of them overly long.
The Mintram Family: Barnardo's and the Titanic Connection tells the story of orphaned children who came to Canada under the auspices of the Barnardo organization and who served with Canadian forces during the Great War. It is followed by a page on home children.
Streetcars Named Tragedies recounts the involvement of writer Sandra Belliveau's family in two Montreal streetcar accidents.
Victoria Bridge and the Irish of Montreal retells the history of the Black Rock or Irish Commemorative Stone placed to mark the resting place of 6,000 Irish famine immigrants buried near the Victoria bridge.
Frequent contributor Robert Wilkins writes on Disorderly Houses in Edwardian Montreal and the conflict between moral and pragmatic approaches to dealing with them.
In Looking for Obituaries Sandra Belliveau gives an overview of seeking these useful sources.
Connections is a membership benefit of the Quebec Family History Society which has a website at www.qfhs.ca and is also active on Facebook.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Canada Census Mortality Schedules, 1871 indexed on FamilySearch

Now on FamilySearch, indexes of the census mortality schedules for the 1871 census of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.
This schedule is supposed to contain information on all those deceased in the year prior to census day which was 2 April. There are 45,371 entries.
Information in the schedule includes:
1. Names of Deceased
2. Sex
3. Age
4. Born within last twelve months
5. Religion
6. Country or Province of Birth
7. Profession, Occupation or Trade
8. Married or Widowed
9. Married during last twelve months
10. Month of Death
11. Disease or other cause of Death
12. Remarks

Information on religion, cause of death, marital status, profession and remarks in the originals is not available in this index. It appears the original images will eventually be linked.
Digital microfilm images of the originals are available at the Library and Archives Canada website. If you find an entry of interest through FamilySearch consult the Excel format spreadsheet at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-digitization/092/006003-130-0008-e.xls
to find the corresponding microfilm number. Then search the collection for that 1871 census digital microfilm starting at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-digitization/006003-110.02-e.php?&q2=26&interval=30&sk=0&&PHPSESSID=f0v3thhcgqvau3vslaruumn2a7

Elizabeth Kipp guest blogs for Ancestry.co.uk

One of Ottawa's most active genealogists now has a guest blog posted with Ancestry with information on the Blake One Name Study she is undertaking with so much energy.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Seasonal films from the British Film Institute

How the British handle winter.

Snow (1963)


Arctic London (1929)


Snowdrift at Bleath Gill (1955)


Internet Genealogy magazine: Feb/March 2013

As Lisa Alzo writes in her front page profiled article 10 Time Management Tools for Genealogists in the Feb/March issue of Internet Genealogy magazine, the ten tools listed don't even begin to scratch the surface of all the applications available. The article is a useful start.
Time is the most precious of natural resources and time management "the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity" something we all endeavour to do.
Of the ten tools listed I'd heard of two before, various Google apps including Google calendar, and Remember the Milk but only because of the catchy title. All but one, FHNotebook, are generic - as useful for the non-genealogist as the genealogist. Lisa writes its similar to Evernote, the topic of a second article she authors in this issue.
Tony Bandy, another regular contributor, authors three articles, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Heading for Freedom and, Pan Am: More Than Just a Flight.
There's Australian content with NLA Newspapers: An Invaluable Australian Resource by Tasmania-based Gabrielle Morgan and British content in Are Your British Deceased Online? by your's truly.
For Canadian content there's a back page column by Dave Obee carefully astride the fence on attending conferences in person or via remote feeds.
Find the full table of contents, when posted, at http://internet-genealogy.com/

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Bermudian memorial culture presentation

Professor Bruce S. Elliott, Department of History at Carleton University will be speaking on “Family, Collectivities and the State in Bermuda Memorial Culture” on Friday 25 January 2013 at 12:30 - 2:30pm in room 433, Patterson Hall.

"In the status-conscious Georgian era public monuments in the British colonies commemorated military commanders or imperial administrators; there was no thought of marking the contributions or resting places of Jack Tar or Tommy Atkins. Through the 19th century, however, gravestones erected by the surrogate family of fellow soldiers or shipmates came to represent a transitional form between family memorials and state commemoration. The First World War brought demands for state acknowledgement of general sacrifice, but only since the 1990s has Bermudian memorial culture shifted from colonial and imperial narratives to more racially inclusive public commemoration. This presentation explores the continuum between private memorials and public monuments and the politics of commemoration in a British overseas territory."

Indexed Upper Canada 1842 census on FamilySearch

It isn't on Ancestry, nor online at Library and Archives Canada (mentioned as coming soon!). This would seem to be the first appearance of the indexed 1842 census of Upper Canada (Ontario) online, except for some local transcripts.
FamilySearch has indexed 20,851 records linked to original images.

Those 1,169 images can also be browsed by county/district. They are: Carleton, Bathurst; Durham, Newcastle; Gore; Grenville, Johnstown; Haldimand, Niagara; Lincoln, Niagara; London; Northumberland, Newcastle; Russell, Ottawa; Simcoe, Home; Toronto (City); Unidentified locality; York, Home.

Unfortunately not all area's records survive, and some that have published transcriptions are not in this collection.

The format is quite different from that familiar on later censuses. Only the head of household is identified by name along with quite a lot of other information about the person, his (usually) family and land. The number of family members in various age ranges are given by gender.The images, often challenging to decipher, are in a wide format spread across more than one image. Being so early they merit close study.


Start your search at http://goo.gl/TezNq 

Rock Star Genealogists

Last year at this time there was a Rock Star Genealogist poll on the blog. It was one of the most popular items ever run. Despite some killjoys who seemed to think the whole thing beneath our dignity, none of those voted into the list expressed that view, more than 90% of those who responded felt it should be repeated.

So I will, but later in the year. It seems more appropriate to run it after the Northern hemisphere conference season, likely next September.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Advice for the procrastinator

From Deric Bownds Mindblog, a post on "How procrastination gets things done ..." referencing a New York Times article "This Was Supposed to Be My Column for New Year’s Day" by John Tierney.

"Never do today any task that may disappear by tomorrow."

Laurie Dougherty on The Future of Archives and Archivists in Canada

This is a partial and truncated record of comments by Laurie Dougherty, Archivist of the Arnprior McNab/Braeside Archives to the Eastern Ontario Chapter Archives Association of Ontario on "What We Have Lost: What We Stand to Lose The Future of Archives and Archivists in Canada" on Wednesday evening. She commented that perhaps two-thirds of the people in the room were associated in one way or another with Library and Archives Canada. By contrast she is at a small archives and aside from volunteers is the only person on staff.

She started the presentation referring to a Star Wars film where an archivist claimed an planet could not exist if it was not in the electronic records. Relying on electronic records to define reality invites disaster, or at least delusion.

Given the choice of material to come into the archives she prefers paper records, although they do have some types of other media. Future management of electronic records, with seemingly ever present technological obsolescence, will pose major challenges to a future volunteer board of management with extremely limited funding. This reflects the immense pressures on community archives that operate without a corporate sponsor. The loss of NADP funding is putting a premium on the efforts of the archivist to fund raise and jeopardizing the viability of the operation.

There are three activities archivists should be engaged in to strengthen the profession in Canada.
1. Mentorship. Based on her experienced being informally mentored she believes it's incumbent on every experienced archivist to become a mentor. While the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) has a mentorship program which has grown in recent years there is more demand than mentors willing and able to fulfil the role. This will build a better profession and professional network. See http://archivists.ca/content/aca-mentorship-program
2. Acceditation. To be taken seriously a profession needs standards. Today anyone can get away with calling him or her-self an archivist. ACA is developing online courses, regarded as a pre-requisite to accreditation, but it will take 3-5 years. There is a US certification process, Canada has no less a need.
3. Advocacy. (At this point my notes peter out!)

While writing this I wondered whether local archives impacted by the elimination of the NADP had considered contacting their MP, especially their Conservative Party MP, to ask for assistance in finding funding and sponsors to replace that lost. In the case of the Arnprior McNab/Braeside Archives the MP would be Conservative Cheryl Gallant. If nothing else it would sensitize the local representative to the local impact of the national decision.


Monday, 21 January 2013

Incest and Folk Dancing

I've occasionally mentioned Gresham College lectures and recently noted another of genealogical interest with the intriguing title Incest and Folk-Dancing: Two things to be Avoided. It was given On January 17 by geneticist Steve Jones.

Days to weeks after the event these talks often to appear on the Gresham site as a video. In the meantime there are files with the transcript and slides at http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/incest-and-folk-dancing-two-things-to-be-avoided.

There's also a digestible summary, pointed out in a blog post by Chris Paton, by genealogist Geoff Swinfield on his blog at http://researchlondon.info/genealogical-research/incest-and-folk-dancing.

BIFHSGO conference


As we move into the last third of the month its ten days to the deadline for presentation proposals for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa's 19th Annual Conference.
The dates are September 20-22 and the venue, all being well, is Library and Archives Canada. Proposals are requested for presentations on Irish-specific subjects, this year's theme, and on other genealogy-related topics. Presentations can be in the form of a lecture to be given on the Saturday or Sunday, or a workshop or seminar for the Friday pre-conference event. Details on writing proposals can be found at http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=22. Proposals are due to conference@bifhsgo.ca before January 31, 2013.

Irish Civil Registration Records for Free


Publicity has been coming in about "Irish History Family Day" next Thursday, the 24th. Findmypast.ie is using it to publicize one-day free access to 21 million Irish birth, marriage, and death records.
An article accessible at www.irishcentral.com/topics/Irish+roots carefully refers to these as "birth, marriage, and death records" between the 1800’s to the 1950’s. Are they the full civil registration information, given the late dates included I doubt it, or just index records?
"Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes, 1845-1958", over 21 million of them, have been available at familysearch.org for free since May 2010.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

James Turk on the future of archives and archivists in Canada

On Wednesday evening 125 people attended a session sponsored by the Eastern Ontario Chapter Archives Association of Ontario on "What We Have Lost: What We Stand to Lose The Future of Archives and Archivists in Canada".
 
The several panellists gave interesting perspectives. My notes are most coherent for the points made by James L. Turk, Executive Director, Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).
 
CAUT is very disturbed about what is happening at Library and Archives Canada. LAC's problems are not about money, a fraction of the cost of one new fighter jet. It's about priority.
Turk's personal experience previously impressed on him the value of specialist archivists who know the records in depth.
Turk referred to Susan Crean's article in Literary Review of Canada National Archives Blues http://reviewcanada.ca/essays/2011/01/01/national-archives-blues/ as a motivator for their concern.
Daniel Caron ignored CAUT request to be consulted for six months until comments on LAC modernization were posted on CAUT website, to which LAC responded on a post on its website that everything CAUT said was wrong .
In June 2011 CAUT sent a detailed open letter to LAC on their concerns, footnoted with the sources of information. Of particular concern were the redefinition of mandate of management regarding legal deposit and federal government records, very different from the broad comprehensive collection mandate in the Act and as described by the National Librarian and National Archivist when the joint organization was founded.
There are lists of unique nationally significant documents that LAC has declined to acquire since it instituted a purchase moratorium.
The Save LAC campaign has morphed into the Canada's Past Matters campaign http://canadaspastmatters.ca/ as the broader implications of government cuts and changes became apparent.
LAC claims to be using a more collaborative approach to fulfilling its mandate
BUT, that means LAC is downloading its responsibilities. A forum for consultation is being significantly boycotted by user groups as whitewash.
LAC claims to be redefining items to be collected based on how well they represent the whole of Canadian society.
BUT, that means LAC is no longer acquiring heritage materials and de-scoping legal deposit.
LAC claims it is improving access to its holdings by making descriptions simpler and more relevant.
BUT, that means access to LAC holdings have been severely compromised through cuts to staff and services, and reducing the number of descriptive fields available to search collections from 25 to 10. It reflects a contempt for the work of professional archivists.
LAC claims it is ensuring digital as well as analogue preservation
BUT, in reality 50% of digitization staff were surplused in April (note, something Daniel Caron has denied), only half of one percent of the collection has been digitized to date, and at the present rate it will take 300-700 years to digitize the collection.
LAC claims it is building it's capacity to manage and fully carry out its mandate
BUT, in reality LAC has cut staff by 20% except for management, capacity has been deminished across the board in every professional category at LAC. Expenditures are being reduced from $125 million in 2009/10 to a projected $95 million in 2014/15, a 24% cut with no allowance for inflation.
 
Some of the lowlights of recent developments are:
- The ending of Interlibrary loan. LAC claims to be working to digitize high demand content, and consulting with Interlibrary loan partners.
- Changes to legal deposit. Provincial and territorial government publications no longer collected. Loose leaf publications and updates no longer considered to be covered by legal deposit.
- Specialist archivists being transformed into generalists.
- Cancellation of the peer system of merit review.
- End of the collection of non-digitally born records as of 2017.
 
What's to be done? CAUT has the Save LAC and Canada's Past Matters campaigns. PIPS had a Halloween Zombie march on Brains being Sucked out of LAC. University of Alberta Librarians had a protest; there was a trek to LAC last spring and; protests at the Canadian Library Association meeting where four peacefully protesting people were ejected from a meeting with Daniel Caron despite being registered delegates. (Not mentioned by Turk were the many letters sent by individuals and genealogical societies, such as from the Ontario Genealogical Society at http://www.ogs.on.ca/home/pdfs/advocacy/2012-LAC-ministerletter.pdf )
 
News to me was that The Royal Society of Canada is in the final stages of putting together a nine-person international expert panel to produce a report and recommendations dealing with LAC in the context of other archives and libraries across Canada. It can be hoped that the government might listen, but experience with his government is not encouraging.
Suggestions on additional steps that could be taken to reverse the damage at LAC would be welcome at turk@caut.ca.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Meeting Challenges of the Future: From Reflection to Action

Library and Archives Canada has posted a document by the above title. As described in the cover letter, the document:

"will help steer the institution in the coming months...the next logical step that flows from the work accomplished so far."

"The document lists essential components that will facilitate the achievement of corporate objectives and deliver on LAC’s mandate. Among other things, the document stresses the importance of adapting to the digital environment to take advantage of new technologies that will help build, preserve, and describe our collections as well as make them accessible for the benefit of all Canadians."
I detect a lot of spin and generous employment of platitudes such as "While the challenges are enormous, the opportunities are also numerous."

One remarkable aspect is the mention of the forgotten majority, genealogy and genealogists, as LAC clients. What substance can we expect, other than exploiting the benefit of cooperative projects with Ancestry and FamilySearch in place long before the present initiative. I for one would be interested to learn what similar cooperative initiatives have been initiated under the present management.

The document warrants in depth analysis by those with a better knowledge of LAC than I possess.

TNA podcast: Where there’s a will

Where there’s a will…: probate records for family history at The National Archives and beyond was originally presented by Kate Jarman, Principal Records Specialist Manager, Family History at The National Archives on 10 January 2013.
There is a bewildering array of records to consider in looking for the will of an ancestor, especially prior to the establishment of the civil process in 1858 in England and Wales. While there are quite a few useful resources, including online TNA's own Wills and Probate Records guides, the podcast may be helpful to those who learn better through audio means.
 

British and Irish Genealogy Anniversary

Congratulations to Mick Southwick who has just passed the second anniversary of his British and Irish genealogy blog at http://bi-gen.blogspot.ca/. His Post #1 was on January 17, 2011.
Mick usually posts twice and week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. It's a quick way to keep up to date with happenings on the genealogy scene in that part of the world, one I always visit to see what I missed!
You can also follow on Twitter, @HistoryMick

Friday, 18 January 2013

Updated Canada-US records on Ancestey

Two record sets received updates on Ancestry.
U.S., Records of Aliens Pre-Examined in Canada, 1922-1954, now comprising 90,225 records, are two-sided card manifests created in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1922-1954 or Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 1923-1933 prior to travel to the US
Information includes: name, aliases, age, gender, marital status, birthplace, birth date, with various other including physical description, purpose of visit, passport and other immigration information, occupation, names of friends or next of kin, and residence.
Border Crossings: Canada to U.S., 1895-1954 is updated to 4,859,493 million records and another opportunity to find snowbirds.
Some of the original record images linked are individual cards, some passenger manifests. A significant number of a sample examined were a challenge to read.
The database generally includes: name, age, birth date, birthplace, gender, ethnicity/nationality, names of individuals accompanied by, name of nearest relative or friend in former country, name of nearest relative or friend at destination.
The following ports and years are included:
Idaho
Eastport, 1924-1954
Porthill, 1923-1954
Maine
Bangor, 1924-1952
Calais, 1906-1952 (also includes a few arrivals from 1877 to 1905)
Eastport, Fort Kent, Lubec, and Madawaska, 1906-1952 (also includes some departure records of U.S. citizens)
Fort Fairfield, 1909-1953 (also includes a few arrivals at Easton, ME, Houlton, ME, Boston, MA, and Buffalo, NY and a few alien departures)
Houlton, 1906-1952 (also includes some Indian admissions, ca. 1941-ca. 1953; “Records of Registry” documenting aliens’ previous arrivals for which no records could be found; Re-entry permits; persons admitted under the “Rule of Presumption” ; Land border departure records; War brides and their children)
Jackman, 1909-1953
Van Buren, 1906-1952
Vanceboro, 1906-1952 (also includes a few arrivals from 1888 to 1905 and a few arrivals at Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John, New Brunswick)
Minnesota
International Falls, Baudette, Duluth, Mineral Center, Pigeon River, Pine Creek, Roseau, and Warroad, 1907-1952 (also includes some departure records of U.S. citizens)
Noyes, 1917-1929
Montana
Babb, 1928-1956
Chief Mountain, Cut Bank, Del Bonita, Gateway, Great Falls, and Roosville, 1923-1956
Sweet Grass, 1917-1954
New York
Buffalo, Lewiston, Niagara Falls, and Rochester, 1902-1954
Hogansburg, Malone, Morristown, Nyando, Ogdensburg, Rooseveltown, Waddington, Alexandria Bay, Cape Vincent, Champlain, Clayton, Fort Covington, Moers, Rouses Point, Thousands Island Bridge, and Trout River, 1929-1956
North Dakota
Northgate and St. John, 1910-1921
Pembina and Walhalla, 1917-1929
Portal, 1915-1921
Vermont
Newport, 1906-1924
St. Albans, 1895-1954
Washington
Anacortes, 1924-1953
Blaine, 1905-1924
Danville, 1931-1956
Ferry, 1917-1956
Laurier and Marcus, 1923-1951
Lynden, 1923-1952
Metaline Falls, 1924-1954
Northport, May 1923-1951
Oroville, 1918-1954
Port Angeles, 1929-1952

Book Review: The Genealogist's Internet


Title: The Genealogist's Internet: The Essential Guide to Researching Your Family History Online
Author: Peter Christian
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Edition: 5th (2012)
Pages: 448
ISBN: 9781408159576
Dimensions: 6" x 9 1/4"
RRP: $23.95
Amazon.ca Price: $16.21
 

If you're known by the company you keep the appearance of The National Archives logo and a quote from the Society of Genealogists on the front cover are adequate hints to the quality to this book. Having made it to a fifth edition it's hardly surprising this is the most popular book for online genealogy research on UK Amazon site.
This is a reference book with focus on the British Isles, England and Wales first and foremost with is good coverage of Scotland and Ireland, both the North and the Republic. The Isle of Man and Channel Islands are not forgotten. There is brief mention of other English-speaking countries. Australia is mentioned on 11 pages, USA on 9, Canada on 5, New Zealand on 4.
The coverage is comprehensive including discussion of all the traditional online sources plus photographs, search engines, social networks, blogs, publishing your information, and much more. See the table of content below. In the section on newspapers, an area to which I pay some attention, I found a couple of resources new to me.
I particularly liked the discussion on indexing, what is realistic to expect and how public institutions can best work with commercial entities to make resources more available without creating an unfortunate continuing monopoly as exists with Scotland's People.
Internet resources come online rapidly. Page 349 has a table showing a Google search for genealogy gave 240 million hits in October 2011. In January 2013 that number is 312 million. Web sites also sometimes disappear or transform almost as fast. This all means reference books date quickly, why printed encyclopedias have gone the way of the dodo and moved online. To deal with this there's a companion website providing all the book's links updated periodically, most recently in November.
The book is well illustrated with monochrome images of web pages and extracts from results on about one in four pages.
There is a short section on DNA focusing on surnames, but alas no mention of autosomal DNA testing.

Contents
Preface
1. Introduction
2. First Steps
3. Online Starting Points
4. Using Online Sources
5. Civil registration
6. Census
7. Church Records
8. Property, Taxation and the Law
9. Occupations
10. The Armed Forces
11. Migration and Colonies
12. Print Sources
13. Archives and Libraries
14. Surnames, Pedigrees and Families
15. Geography
16. History
17. Photographs
18. Discussion Forums
19. Search Engines
20. Publishing Your Family History Online
21. The World of Family History
22. Issues for Online Genealogists
Internet Glossary
Bibliography
Index

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Friends organization funds LAC acquisition of first Bible printed in Canada

After a continuing moratorium on purchases to add to the Library and Archives Canada collection I was surprised to see a press release announcing an acquisition:

Gatineau, Quebec, ​January 17, 2013 – Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is now home to the first complete and authorized version of the Bible to be printed in Canada. This Bible consists of two volumes and was published around 1832 or 1833 by John Henry White in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. LAC held no copies of this item before, and only five copies are known to exist in library collections: three of these are in Canada, while the other two are in the United States.   LAC was initially contacted with a selling offer in November 2012, and acted quickly to conclude a purchase agreement that was finalized early December. This important piece of Canada's published heritage was finally repatriated from the United States on December 20. “This is an exciting acquisition. The publication of the John Henry White Bible is a watershed moment for the Canadian publishing industry, as very few bibles were produced in Canada before 1840”, said Daniel J. Caron, Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada. “I would also like to acknowledge that this acquisition was made possible by a generous gift from the Friends of Library and Archives Canada, a non-profit organization that supports LAC and its work.”
LAC is declining to make any acquisitions with its own funds, but at least the management can no longer claim such acquisitions are not part of LAC's mandate.

 


Ottawa Branch OGS monthly meeting: Shipwrecks and Sorrows

Kurt Johnson is the welcome return speaker on Saturday, 19 January, with presentation Shipwrecks and Sorrows: Maiden voyage of the 100th Regiment
"Shipping out to Canada in 1805, the new 100th Regiment of 900 Irish soldiers aboard five troopships met with maritime disasters in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Only seven survived one shipwreck off Newfoundland while 340 men, women and children on that tall ship died. Two other troopships were wrecked off Nova Scotia."
The talk starts at 1:30 pm at City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive. Enjoy free refreshments (cookies, tea, coffee) and networking at 1 pm and a meeting of the computer special interest group at 3:15 pm.
Information on simulcast for members at http://ogsottawa.on.ca/

Quinte Branch Crouse-Wanamaker Lecture

The Quinte Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will feature historian and author, Gerry Boyce at its first monthly meeting of 2013, the Crouse-Wanamaker Lecture. Mr. Boyce will be speaking about the project to update his book, “Historic Hastings,” which was first published in 1967.
That's Saturday, January 19, 2013, 1:00 pm at Quinte West Pubic Library, 7 Creswell Drive, Trenton.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Ancestry adds UK, Civil Divorce Records, 1858-1911


UK, Civil Divorce Records, 1858-1911 are indexed records from The (UK) National Archives, Kew, Surrey that followed the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act.
According to the TNA description:

Files of papers arising from petitions for divorce, judicial separation, declarations of legitimacy, applications for protection of a wife's earnings, etc, in the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes and Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice. Some later files also relate to appeals from decisions of magistrates' courts in matrimonial causes….
In most cases the files have been weeded and contain only minutes, pleadings and decrees, but in certain selected suits, illustrating particular kinds of proceedings, papers have been preserved in their entirety.
The end date for records in this database is determined by privacy laws. These records also include petitions for separation or to have a marriage nullified.
Records indicate who filed the petition and who the respondent(s) was/were. They may also provide a short history of the marriage (including addresses), the grounds for the divorce petition with some details (such as names, times, and places associated with adultery or desertion), terms of judgment, and other details including a copy of the marriage certificate.

Ancestry indicate there are 68,124 records in the database, each appears to be in the index twice, for both the petitioner and respondent.

Death of Fern Small, first BIFHSGO member

Fern T Small, December 8, 1923 to January 12, 2013, was an avid historian, genealogist and co-founder of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa. As the only woman in the founding group she claimed membership number one.
Born on Wolfe Island, Ontario, some of her first contributions to genealogy were cemetery transcriptions of Island cemeteries published by the Ontario Genealogical Society of which she was a life-long member.
Fern was pre-deceased by her husband Darell, also an active genealogist.
A memorial service will be held at St. Thomas the Apostle Anglican Church, 2345 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, on Saturday, January 19 at 2 pm with reception following.

Does meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard require DNA evidence?


Helen Leary has been one the US’s most respected genealogists for years. The one time I got to hear her, at an OGS conference in Toronto, it was standing room only well before she started.
In my DNA presentation on Saturday I used this quote from Helen. It says that without DNA testing there’s no way to establish a relationship beyond a reasonable doubt. Helen used DNA results, along with other evidence in arguing why President Thomas Jefferson was almost certainly the father of his slave Sally Hemming's children.
If your genealogy relies solely on paper records it may, or at least before the days of DNA evidence may have met the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), but not the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. Clearly Leary regards DNA to be the type of high quality source that the GPS requires be examined.
When Helen Leary wrote in 1998 she had to add that such DNA tests were not practical. 15 years later that’s no longer the case.
Today, if DNA information can help, and you’re not using it, there’s no way you can meet the Genealogical Proof Standard. Like Helen all professional genealogists who profess to adhere to the GPS should keep up to date on genetic genealogy, a rapidly developing field. Analysis techniques are being developed so that one day, perhaps not so far in the future, we may be able to match segments of autosomal DNA providing evidence of lineage as strong or stronger than provided by conventional paper genealogical sources alone.

Snowbird ancestors?

I notice Ancestry has updated the database Border Crossings: From Mexico to U.S., 1895-1957 which now has 5.4 million records. Some will be Canadians, maybe your snowbird ancestors.
You can search for southward migrating snowbirds in Ancestry's databases Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1954 and Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935 for the return.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A new DNA test option?

I'm frequently asked if there is a British option for DNA testing for genealogy. It's natural to think that folks with British ancestry might have more luck finding matches if the company used is UK based. I have to tell them that while there are UK-based companies there tests are not as complete as those from the large US companies, and not as good value.
Today, thanks to a tweet from Debbie Kennett, a new UK-based DNA testing company surfaced, DNA Me at www.dna-me.co.uk/.
The nature of the company business is evident from the home page:
Where did I come from?
"Just like footprints on wet sand, the journey of our ancestors to populate the world left trails within us. These trails are carried in all of our cells and laid within our genes. We offer you a way to analyse your DNA and to find out the journey of your ancestors from Africa, 150,000 years ago, up to the present time...."
What's being offered is a deep ancestry (anthropological) test for £50, reduced from £65 for limited time. 
Demo results shown are basic paternal Y-DNA and maternal (mitochrondial) haplotypes. There is also a tab for an autosomal result but it shows only a basic continental scale ancestry distribution based on the Y chromosome test.

According to the website DNAme is a product released by KIS-Healthcare Ltd, a UK registered company at Photo-Me House, Church road, Bookham, Surrey KT23 3EU. That's just south of the M25 near Leatherhead. KIS-Healthcare has no active website.

There is no information on the number of markers tested, no indication the raw data results are provided. Its not providing a service of interest for those seeking matches in a genealogical timeframe.

Gene-O-Rama cancelled

As Minister of the Environment Rona Ambrose got a reputation as the least environmentally friendly Minister since Suzanne Blais-Grenier. The tactics used at that time are now finding application in her present department of Public Works. Same game, different field.
In November 2011 Minister Ambrose announced that a planned increase in charges for public use of the ground floor at 395 Wellington Street, administration of which had been transferred from Library and Archives Canada, would be deferred until 2013 and then phased in to full market rates over four years.
On that basis, and despite anticipating a deficit, the Ottawa Branch of OGS booked space for its annual Gene-O-Rama event for April 5-6.
On Monday evening event coordinator Mike More announced the event will not now take place.
New policies adopted by Public Works are seemingly aimed at making it as difficult as possible for volunteer groups to use 395 Wellington. Facilities previously included in the rental are being withdrawn or only made available at additional cost. Permission to use Branch-owned equipment, previously routinely used, is denied. The event was cancelled when the projected deficit reached an unsustainable level five times that originally projected.
The Minister's commitment is being ignored by her department maybe with, maybe without her consent.
 

“When one door closes, another opens ..."

Monday, 14 January 2013

Their Initials Liveth for Evermore?

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission pursues it's mandate with energy admired by anyone who visits the many cemeteries and monuments in their care. The organization has also been progressive in moving memorialisation online.
However, no organization is perfect.
Late last year while working on an article for Internet Genealogy I found a listing in the database of the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission as follows.
Rank: Serjeant
Surname: WRIGHT
Initials: A S
Service No: 45395
Regiment: Royal Army Medical Corps
Date of Death: 29 April 1919
Commemoration
BOLTON (TONGE) CEMETERY, Lancashire, United Kingdom, II. PI. CE. 82.
 
It troubled me that this entry had no forenames, unfortunately not unusual. The article I was writing dealt extensively with the Deceased Online database which had just added records for this cemetery; I looked in the burial register and found:
Name: Wright, Alfred Stanley
Age: 27 years
Died at: Military Hospital
Date of burial: May 5 1919
Place of Burial: 2 P1 82
Buried in consecrated ground
Removed from the parish of Frodsham.

Is it a wild extrapolation to link these two records and suggest they refer to the same person? I wrote to the CWGC including a copy of the burial register suggesting they amend their entry to give the man back his forenames.
I received by email the following polite response
"before we can add forenames, parents or ages to our records of any of our casualties, we need to see a copy of the casualty’s full birth certificate and also additional documentary evidence connecting the birth certificate with the casualty - this could be a memorial card or obituary notice etc. In other words, additional documentation which refers both to the casualty with his military particulars and to the parents mentioned on the birth certificate. The reason for this is that we must be sure that the birth certificate does refer to the precise casualty to whose details you are requesting the addition. As you will appreciate this is simply to ensure accuracy in our records. We are, I regret, unable to accept the copy of the Cemetery Burial Register which you have sent, as sole evidence to support your application, and I am sorry to disappoint you in this, however should you have further, relevant documentary evidence as explained above, this should be sent by post or by e mail "
A simple search on FreeBMD finds an index entry for the birth of an Alfred Stanley Wright at Bolton in the June quarter of 1891, volume 8c page 468. A search on Ancestry throws up consistent records in the 1901 and 1911 censuses. All records refer to locations in the same area. However in the absence of a record linking the birth to the person in the grave it appears the CWGC policy means the initials cannot be changed to the forenames.
I wrote back to the CWGC asking for a review of the policy and for examples of where the person named in a burial register was not the person identified with the corresponding initials in that same grave in their record.
In response I was informed that CWGC's Commemorations Policy Officer has requested that they look into this case further, all one cohuld ask for.

QFHS Scottish celebration


The Quebec Family History Society will hold “Celebrating Our Scottish Roots Day” on Wednesday, January 16, from 1:30 to 4:00 pm, at the QFHS Heritage Centre and Library, 173 Cartier Avenue, Pointe-Claire. This is part of a series of monthly “Roots Days,” created to bring together genealogists in a friendly setting. Admission is free. Visit  http://www.qfhs.ca/events.php

Even if you don’t have a dram of Scottish blood in your veins, members and the public are invited to drop by anytime during the afternoon to chat about family history.

Share your stories, learn from others, and browse books from the QFHS Scottish collection. Meet members who travelled to Scotland to research their ancestry at major archival centres and hear about their experience.

So, bring a coffee mug, your own favourite books or memorabilia on Scotland that have helped you in your research, a friend, or just bring yourself.

 Thanks to QFHS PR Director Susan Gingras Calcagni for the notice.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Future of Archives and Archivists in Canada

 
 
What We Have Lost: What We Stand to LoseThe Future of Archives and Archivists in Canada Wednesday January 16, 20137.00 PM City of Ottawa ArchivesRoom 115100 Tallwood DriveOttawa Since the 1970s an archival system has been built up in Canada and now it is threatened by recent funding cuts and program decisions at the federal level. This panel will examine the future of archives and archivists in Canada in the light of the decisions Ottawa has taken. Our Panelists will address the following topics The effects of the disappearance of the National Archival Development Program Patti Harper, Department Head, Archives and Research Collections, Carleton University The new Library and Archives Canada: will it be able to serve its constituencies? James L. Turk, Executive Director, Canadian Association of University Teachers. The new archivist: is digital and web all we need to know? Jim Burant, Adjunct professor (Art History) at Carleton University and former manager of Art and Photography Archives at Library and Archives Canada and Laurie Dougherty, Archivist of the Arnprior McNab/Braeside Archives A question and answer period will follow the presentations. Event sponsored by the Eastern Ontario Chapter Archives Association of Ontario. For more information: John Smart jsmart@rogers.com
 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Are you sitting comfortably?


That's the title of an item in Peter Calver's latest Lost Cousins newsletter conveying the sad news of the death of Daphne Oxenford, host of the BBC Radio Listen With Mother programme.  Her prelude "Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin" was and is an icon for British children of my generation.

Read the full Lost Cousins newsletter issue here.

Library and Archives Canada: History and the Realpolitik

Nigel Beale, Ottawa-based freelance writer/broadcaster who specializes in literary journalism writes this extended reflection on the sad state of LAC and the politics underlying it. Nigel is host of literary interviews in The Biblio File.

Perth Historical Society January meeting

Forgotten Hero: The Story of 1812 War Hero Alexander Fraser
The Perth Historical Society January 16 meeting will welcome Drummond/North Elmsley residents, Ron Shaw and Irene Spence, co-authors of the recently published book ‘Forgotten Hero’, the story of Alexander Fraser. ‘Forgotten Hero’ documents the stirring story of the circumstances that the ordinary Scot, and his dependents, experienced in military life in the 19th century – and the attendant heroism. Alexander Fraser, his father, and brothers, Peter and James, came to British North America in 1807 with the 10th Royal Veteran Battalion. Alexander and Peter later served with Colonel Isaac Brock’s Regiment of Foot.
When war erupted in 1812, the Frasers, particularly Alexander and Peter, saw active service in several battles. Alexander Fraser distinguished himself at the battle of Stoney Creek, in 1813, helping to turn what was an impending British defeat into a resounding victory. As the book notes, the outcome of this battle was significant – it prevented further American advances at the time into Upper Canada, maintaining British control over the colony. Later battles were also important in turning back the American invasions, but the victory at Stoney Creek was crucial.
After Stoney Creek, Fraser received a field commission, a rarity for foot soldiers. At the war’s end, he was discharged and received a land grant with settlement tickets for the Perth Military Settlement. His allotted lot, located on Drummond Concession 1, was where he chose to make his home. The fine stone house he built, reflecting his status in the community, is preserved there today.
Ron Shaw, a native of Drummond Township, is descended from seven Perth area military settlers. Ron studied journalism at Algonquin College, has worked in that field and, with the Save the Children Federation, was posted abroad for 35 years. Ron is a prolific researcher and writer of local history, with interest also in the preservation of the area's archival documents. His new book due in April, ‘Tales of the Hare’, a biography of Francis Tito LeLievre, is a prequel and a sequel to the Last Fatal Duel.
Irene Spence has lived in the Alexander Fraser stone house in Drummond, formerly known as Annsfield, for over 60 years. Irene and her husband operated a dairy farm. Since retiring, she has followed her interest in genealogy, has been an active worker for Archives Lanark and Lanark County Genealogical Society, and an advocate for preserving Lanark County documents.
The meeting is at 7:30 pm at the Perth Museum, at 11 Gore Street E. in Perth. Information on other forthcoming presentations is at www.perthhs.org/events.html

Maps for the Tube 150

To end this 150th anniversary week, the Mapping London blog has an interesting post with various maps of the London Underground. http://goo.gl/gwjou
via tweet from Debbie Kennett.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Overdale Crematorium, Bolton, records at Deceased Online


The only crematorium in the Bolton area of Greater Manchester, Overdale opened in 1954. The data on Deceased Online features all 136,000 cremations from when the Crematorium opened on 11th October 1954 until 7th May 1993, more recent data will be added later. The data available comprises: cremation register scans with 10 entries per scanned page; applicant details providing information on those who arrange the cremation; the deceased's address, age, marital status, date of death, district where death was registered and whether the ashes were scattered or removed.

Records for all 7 of Bolton Council's cemeteries are also available on Deceased Online. Full details can be found here.

Wayback Machine Improved

What do you do when a website you've visited before disappears? For years the answer has been the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive, www.archive.org/.
One of the problems has been that it took about a year for sites to appear. Now, according to this blog post, coverage is from late 1996 to December 9, 2012 so you can surf the web as it was up until a month ago. There is now a total of about 5 petabytes of data in this archive.

Canada, Merchant Marine Agreements and Accounts of Crews, 1890-1920

FamilySearch.org added these records on January 9 covering "ports in British Columbia (primarily Victoria). Some records are from ports in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and a few foreign ports. The documents are organized by ship and include, among other information, the signatures of crew members, their ages and birthplaces. Each box includes a general inventory of its contents listing box and file numbers, date, ship name, location and owner. The original records are in possession of the British Columbia Archives in Victoria."
There are 23,381 browse images in total arranged by year groups in boxes:
Box 1-7 1890-1897; Box 8-14 1897-1903; Box 15-20 1903-1908; Box 21-25 1908-1911; Box 26-30 1911-1913; Box 31-35 1913-1915; Box 36-40 1915-1917; Box 41-46 1919-1920. See http://goo.gl/bzDS6 for access.

Each box corresponds to a computer file, perhaps 3000 images per file.
Dipping into the last file I found agreements for whaling ships operating between April and November off the east and west coasts of Vancouver Island and up to the Queen Charlotte Islands. Also coastal vessels plying along the US, Canadian and Alaskan Pacific Coast. In addition to crew identification there was information on the conditions of employment.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Dangers of Genetic Information


If you come to my "opening act" BIFHSGO presentation "What's New in Genetic Genealogy" this Saturday at 9 am you will hear brief mention of DNA testing for health. I already have more genealogy-related material for that talk than time permits so won't dwell on health. In any event an article in Slate Magazine, It’s Time To Stop Obsessing About the Dangers of Genetic Information, expresses my views based on my own experience, and better than if I could by devoting the whole presentation.

As the sub-head to the article says "People are smarter and more resilient than ethics debates give them credit for." It puzzles me that some DNA testing companies go out of their way to examine only DNA which is not relevant to health, or believed not relevant. Understanding is developing so fast that who knows what new discoveries may reveal about DNA previously thought to have no medical relevance. If there are ethical issues better to deal with them, not attempting to cram the gene genie back in the bottle.

The 95% - Edinburgh

We often hear that only 5%, or thereabouts, of archival material is online. It works according to the Pareto Principle where that small percentage is the most generally useful. What about the rest.

Examples of that more obscure, still useful material surfaced in a recent posting from the Edinburgh City Archives.


Army Attestation Register 1806: six volumes containing the names, occupations, parishes, counties/countries, regiments of 10,000 army recruits taking their oath of allegiance in Edinburgh. Even more fascinatingly they record the height, hair and eye colour, and even the complexion of each individual. Those enlisted came from all over Scotland, the UK and even the World, and were recruited as young guns from the age of eleven through to veterans in their fifties.

Police Rogues Gallery: personnel records 1851-1960s, criminal conviction registers from 1895-1909 as well as press cuttings and general administrative records for the Force. The wider collection also contains limited records from Peeblesshire, Linlithgow, Roxburgh, Haddington and Newtongrange. The size of the collection is not given.

Bailie Court processes bundle: The Bailie Court was the main local court within the medieval and early modern burgh of Edinburgh. The sheer scale of these holdings together with the range of offences which were prosecuted in the courts provides a fascinating, often tragic and sometimes comic, picture of everyday life in the capital. While they are as yet unindexed and therefore not as easily accessible as other collections, a trawl of the court’s cases can pay dividends by revealing gems such as William Burke’s death warrant as well as cases of forgery – some even with examples of the criminal’s art.

Read about the Archives top 12 treasures at http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/galleries/gallery/62/top_12_treasures

Chris Paton's blog at http://goo.gl/S7snF mentions that the Edinburgh City Archives has started to digitise its burial records up to 1929, with more to follow as part of a larger Scottish project.

Maritime Medway

Those with ancestry in the Medway area of Kent might want to grab a free PDF copy of a 56 page book Maritime Medway: how the River Medway made History from http://www.medway.gov.uk/pdf/MedwayMaritime.pdf
 

This book is an introduction to the history of the River Medway, not for the specialist. "It takes the main themes of that history and tries to highlight how they have distinctively affected the lives of Medway people, past and present. Some of these themes have been covered in depth over the years by specialist books. However, a general, approachable and reliable publication has long been lacking."

A section on prison hulks has information of more widespread applicability.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A Day at the Ottawa Archives: Saturday, February 2 1:30-3:30

Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is hosting this event on Saturday, February 2 1:30-3:30 at 100 Tallwood Drive, Ottawa.
There will be specialists on hand from the Ottawa Branch, the Sir Guy Carleton Branch UELAC, the British Isles Family History Society and the corporate Archives of the City of Ottawa to:
* To explain generally how archives work
* To show you all the genealogical materials available in the libraries housed at the Archives
* To give you tips on researching military ancestors
* To outline the best strategies for using Ancestry.com
* To provide general information on records in the United Kingdom and Ireland
* To help you search for your Loyalist ancestors
* To illustrate how the Guild of One Name Studies can help you
* To inform you about local resources, particularly in former Goulbourn Township
* To guide you in choosing genealogy software
* To assist you with your genealogical adventure!
 
This is your chance to have some one-on-one time with a specialist (limited to one question based on availability), or just listen to specialists speak about their area of expertise in response to others’ questions.
Although it is only really an afternoon session you can make a day of it by attending the DNA interest group which will convene at 9:30am in the building.
Also, starting at 2pm, the Master Genealogist (genealogy software) user group will be meeting in the building.
 

150 years of the London underground

The media is full of stories celebrating the 150th anniversary of the opening of London's iconic underground railway system, the Tube.  Browse a collection of historic photos from The Guardian here.

BCG has a new blog

Dick Eastman posted on his blog at http://bit.ly/XIZkjM an announcement about a new genealogy blog from the US-based Board for Certification of Genealogists.
A self-regulated body dominated by US residents there are a few Canadians who have achieved the certification, and one who serves as a trustee, Alison Hare.
There are just a few introductory posts on the blog, and according to Dick's item:
"Future posts will come from BCG officers, trustees, and committee members and will include:
-names and profiles of new certificants (whose portfolios of work have been judged to meet the standards set out in the BCG Genealogical Standards Manual),
- news of conferences and events where BCG will have a presence through exhibit booths, lectures, certification seminars, and social events, and
- information, advice, and explanation on genealogy standards, the certification procedures, and other items of interest.
In addition a current-events calendar lists where BCG will have a presence. Anyone may subscribe to email notifications of new posts from the site as well."
The blog is likely to be of most interest to those seeking BCG certification, which has just become more costly as application fees have been increased.
I asked Alison why a Canadian would want to seek certification from a US- based organization. Her response:
"Genealogical standards know no boundaries and applying for certification is the ultimate test of how well an individual's work measures up in terms of quality."

BIFHSGO January meeting

The feature presentation on Saturday, January 12, 2013 starting at 10am is:
A Sense of Place: Following the A272 to my Sussex Ancestors
 
By Christine Jackson
 
The term ‘sense of place’ can relate to the outstanding geographic characteristics of a place. But it can also describe the feelings or perceptions we have about a landscape, arising from childhood experiences which in turn help form our personal identity. My favourite British road is a particular stretch of the A272 traversing the lush countryside of Sussex and climbing up and over the bare chalk downs of Eastern Hampshire to Winchester. That countryside exudes very positive vibes to me–as though I have always known that is where my deepest roots lie. When I recently discovered a book on the A272 (only in Britain!), I realized that, for centuries, my Sussex ancestors had all lived within a few miles of it. This talk will place ancestors of three of my four grandparents in the context of significant locations and historical events in the Sussex landscape.
 
About the Speaker
 
Christine Jackson is a retired federal public servant (Elections Canada) and former freelance editor and writer who is now footloose, if not fancy-free. Born and raised in Brighton, in the English county of Sussex, she studied geography and geology at the University of London. Christine returns every year to the U.K. where she has strong and very long roots in the Sussex countryside. She began researching her family history after arriving in Canada in 1968, long before the Internet, and is currently trying to link one of her Sussex lines to a 16/17C family of immigrant French iron workers. A long-term dream is to eventually find a common ancestral link between two of her grandparents who shared the same family name.
 
Brian Glenn interviews Christine here.
 
Come early, 9am, for a "before BIFHSGO" Educational Talk
 
What's New in Genetic Genealogy
 
By John D Reid
 
and to explore resources on DNA with Bill Arthurs, Library Selections with Marlene Lascelle, meet with experts and colleagues in a friendly atmosphere.
 
Location: Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

LAC release a new version of the Census of the Northwest Provinces, 1906

As announced in December, LAC have now released on their web site at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1906/Pages/1906.aspx a new free version of the 1906 census, covering what are now the Prairie provinces. Library and Archives Canada gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Ancestry.ca, without which this project would not have been possible.

Decoding Neanderthals

If you've done an autosomal DNA test you may know the percent you inherited from a Neanderthal ancestor. This week's PBS Nova program features an exploration of what that shared DNA reveals about the deep connection with our long-vanished human cousins. Watch it on PBS, Wednesday January 9 at 9 pm.

OGS Conference 2013

The program for this year's Ontario Genealogical Society conference, to be held in Oshawa, May 31- June 2 again includes a diverse range of presentations - many favourite speakers - a few new - something for everyone.
Some of the notable presenters from outside Canada are:
Roger Kershaw, from The (UK) National Archives, who struck me as exceptionally knowledgeable when I heard him give one of the scheduled presentations in England a couple of years ago. Roger will be giving several presentations on immigration, including a perspective of home children and, rarely mentioned, the children evacuated to Canada in the first year of WW2 under the CORB scheme.
Maureen Taylor, best known for her expertise as a photo historian, will be giving two pre-conference workshops.
Liza Alzo makes a welcome return with three talks including one on her speciality of Slovak/Eastern European genealogical research.
Richard Doherty, from Michigan, is another US speaker back for a return engagement.
James N Jackson, also from Michigan and new to OGS as far as I know, will give three talks.
Another popular speaker, back again after a year's absence, is Dave Obee from Victoria.
There are also many Ontario-based speakers, although none from Eastern Ontario who get a rest after their higher profile last year in Kingston.
Further information, and a link for registration is at http://www.ogs.on.ca/conference2013/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/OGSConference2013Registration-Dec27.pdf

University of Western Ontario Yearbooks

Now on the Internet Archive, Occidentalia, the year books of the University of Western Ontario. Volumes include pictures of faculty and students, traditional graduation portraits little changed over the year, team and society photos, events of the year and the lighter side of student life, for 1925 to 1989. volumes. Other years may well be added.
In the volume for 1938, mis-indexed as 1928, I chanced on a photo of a person I knew from Environment Canada's Meteorological Service in a photo of the wrestling team.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Home child discovery

A blog post by Russell James for Ancestry at http://ancstry.me/XDi2tb telling the story of how he found a home child emigration to Canada while consulting at WDYTYA Live last year.

Book Review: Reunion: A Search for Ancestors

Ryan Littrell approached me some weeks ago with the offer of a review copy of this book. I gladly accepted, but had to tell him other things would keep it on the back burner for a while.
I'm glad I eventually found the time.
His  story is of researching his mother's mother's paternal line of McDonald. He uses techniques commonplace to genealogists, starting with family held information and documents, following up at local courthouses, online records, visiting cemeteries and old residences.
The story takes off when he discovers that the Y-DNA of his McDonald great uncle matches that of the McDonald clan involved in the "Massacre of Glencoe". The DNA evidence provides a well defined distant landmark for subsequent research which he follows to a successful conclusion through a variety of sources and techniques familiar to US genealogists.
The book interleaves in alternate chapters the story of the search with that of the clan revealing its history and lore. They nicely converge at the end of the successful search where he "finds embers burning for him after all these years."
As a genealogist who doesn't normally deal with US records I enjoyed the story of the chase. The material on the clan must be fascinating to the many with McDonald ancestry, the name is in the the top 100 of British surnames and there's a large diaspora.
What compels someone to pursue such a quest after a distant ancestor, one of several hundred he could claim in the days of the massacre in 1692? In Littrell's case it seems to be a combination of being the maiden name of a favourite grandmother and successful pursuit to a notable event that makes for Glencoe being where his soul lies, as expressed in a quote from an Ontario genealogist named Brenda. I wonder who that could be?
I enjoyed the well written story of the genealogical chase, that of the clan was less appealing to me. My soul lies in a different direction.
The book is widely available through web bookstores or through http://ryanlittrell.com/book.html

Sunday, 6 January 2013

North-East Diary 1939-1945

For those with links to the north-east of England, from the Humber to Berwick on Tweed, in the years of WW2 this site recalls those years. Rewards browsing even if your interests are not in the area for popular songs, food costs and much more of wider interest.

Thanks to Ken McLeod, via Glenn Wright, for the link.

Joan Miller RIP

Sad to learn of the passing of Calgary-based genealogist Joan Miller. Joan was an active genealogy blogger, www.luxegen.ca, a prodigious contributor to social media, and had a great interest in genetic genealogy. Active in the Alberta Family Histories Society Joan wrote regularly for the Society magazine Chinook. Condolences to her husband and family.
I had the pleasure of meeting Joan, and her husband Reg who was as enthusiastic a woodturner as Joan a genealogist, at a Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree a few years ago.
UPDATE
Your Genetic Genealgist, Cece Moore, has a fine appreciation at http://bit.ly/VMXA2Z

Interpreting London Bills of Mortality

From the 1600s weekly summaries of mortality statistics were published in London. Some of the causes listed are now obscure. If you're seriously interested in understanding the archaic terms don't watch this YouTube video .

Saturday, 5 January 2013

FreeBMD January update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Friday 4 January 2013 and currently contains 224,500,807 distinct records (283,601,398 total records).
Years with major additions this update (more than 5,000 unique records) are: for births 1943-45, 1955, 1958-66; for marriages 1952, 1956, 1960-67; for deaths 1961, 1964-68.

Top genealogy websites

GenealogyInTime Magazine is out with its list of top 100 genealogy websites for 2013 based on Alexa rankings. 24 sites are new to the list this year, 24 dropped out.
Ancestry.com leads the list by a wide margin. Compared to all websites it ranks 680th on Alexa, second is MyHeritage.com with Alexa rank 3,965th.
GenealogyInTime provides a comprehensive analysis of the data; worth a look.
Anglo-Celtic Connections just made it into the list, ranked 95th.  The analysis was kind enough not to point out that it dropped more in the rankings than any other site in the list! Several excellent blogs fell just below the mark.
Ancestry.ca (19) leads the list of Canada-based sites closely followed by GenealogyInTime (21), then Automated Genealogy (73, a substantial jump in ranking), Ontario Genealogical Society (77, new this year) and Anglo-Celtic Connections (95).
There are 14 UK sites, lead by ancestry.co.uk (6), findmypast.co.uk (14), genesreunited (24), freebmd (36) and Roots Chat (42). One Irish site makes the list, Roots Ireland (83).
Are there sites on the list you don't know that could be useful?
Thanks to GenealogyInTime for alerting me to this new list.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Ontario Township Papers


The Ontario Genealogical Society is exploring interest in indexing Ontario's Township Papers described by the Archives of Ontario as "a miscellaneous group of land-related records, which have been arranged by township name, then by concession and lot or by town name and lot number. Under any lot for which documents are available, researchers may find the following: copies of orders-in-council; copies of location certificates and location tickets; copies of assignments; certificates verifying the completion of settlement duties; copies of receipt; copies of descriptions; and copies of patents; and copies of incoming correspondence." The dates covered are ca. 1783-ca.1870.
The collection, 72 metres of textual records, is available as MS 658 on 541 microfilm reels.
As a first step OGS is seeking a project leader. Volunteers may contact OGS vice-President Mile More at vp@ogs.on.ca who would surely be open to innovative proposals to make this valuable collection more accessible to 21st century genealogists and local historians.