Thursday, 18 January 2018

FreeBMD January Update

The FreeBMD database was updated on Wednesday 17 January 2018 to contain 265,866,842 distinct records, 265,463,493 at previous update. That's 403,349 added, 17,537 per day.

Years with updates of more than 5,000 records are, for birth 1963-64, 1978-82; for marriages 1966, 1979-80, 1982-83; deaths 1979, 1981-82.

Forthcoming Canadian Family History Events

The following list of Canadian conferences, one-day and longer seminars compiled from various sources including links to some where further details are yet to be posted. Please let me know of any similar events I didn't find.

Saturday 10 March
BIFHSGO - Tracing Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors

Saturday 7 April
OGS Toronto Branch - Art of Genetic Genealogy Investigation with Blaine Bettinger

Friday 13 April through Saturday 14 April
OGS Ottawa Branch  - Gene-O-Rama

Friday 20 April through Saturday 21 April
Qualicum Beach FHS - Unlocking the Past

Friday 20 April through 22 April
Saskatchewan Genealogical Society - Your Family History: Finding
and Assembling the Pieces - Saskatoon

Friday 18 May through Sunday 20 May
Quebec FHS - Roots 2018

Friday 1 June through Sunday 3 June
OGS - Annual Conference -  Guelph

Monday 4 June through Friday 8 June
OGS Toronto Branch - Genealogy Summer Camp

Friday 28 September through Sunday 30 September
BIFHSGO - 24th Annual Family History Conference

Friday 28 September through Sunday 30 September
Kelowna & District Genealogical Society - Harvest Your Family Tree Conference 2018

Quinte Branch OGS January Meeting

Bob Dawes is the presenter for the 2018  Crouse Wanamaker Lecture“Making English Connections: Using Free & Pay Websites to Find your English Ancestors". Bob will use a case study to demonstrate the limits of tracing your English ancestry on the internet.
Bob is a retired tech industry executive and management consultant, and a long-time member of Quinte Branch.
This presentation takes place at 1 PM, Saturday, Jan 20, 2018 at the Quinte West Public Library
7 Creswell Drive, Trenton, ON

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

30% Discount on British Newspaper Archive Annual Subscription

I've only seen it at Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News, so you'll need to go there and click on the image to get the discount. You'll find the promotion code is already entered when you arrive at the subscription page.

The discount gives one year unlimited access for £55.97 (about $96 Cdn) for the year. The offer expires at 11:59pm on Sunday 28 January.

Genealogical Miracles

Miraculous things found in compiled family trees.

  • Time travelers: Children born before their mother, or after their mother died.
  • Mis-conception: Alive in records before birth.
  • The man who never was: Dying before birth.
  • The well preserved: Aging less than 10 years per decade.
  • The Keener: Women having children in their 60s, and older.
  • Resurrection: Alive in records after death.
  • Scratching on the coffin lid: Buried before death.
  • The Methuselah Effect: Dying at an extremely old age.

Kingston Branch OGS January Meeting

It's an early start on Saturday, 20 January for one of my favourite Canadian genealogist-presenters, Marian Press will give two talks to OGS Kingston Branch:

Are You Really Finding it All When You Search?: Mining Databases For Every Nugget of Information,
Do not just search for information with simple keywords or a relatively random choice of words. Get the information buried deep in a database or help a search engine really find what you want by knowing both the general principles of online searching, as well as database-specific methodologies. Concepts such as Boolean operators, truncation, wildcards, synonym searching, word order and simple versus advanced search will be explained.
Putting Your Family Tree Online: Making Use of Modern Technology to Share What You Know.
There are now many choices for how to put your family information online for others to find, well beyond what was available in the early years of the Internet. This presentation covers the various options available for family historians to choose from: the use of major genealogy sites like, Ancestry or MyHeritage; wiki sites, such as WikiTree; blogs; or building your own web site. The simpler and free options will be emphasized, along with the huge benefits family historians can reap from sharing their research. There will also be discussion of what will happen to your family information online when you die and the planning you should do now for this eventuality.

Marian Press, MLS, MA, is a retired academic librarian in Toronto. Born in New Zealand, she has been researching her Scottish, English, Irish and Portuguese roots for over 35 years, sharing the results online and in articles in family history journals. Much of this research involves travel to the places where her ancestors lived and worked. She is a frequent speaker at genealogical workshops and conferences and a writer on family history topics. She teaches courses on various aspects of the use of online resources for genealogy for the Toronto Branch of OGS. In 2011, Dundurn/OGS published her book Education and Ontario Family History: A Guide to the Resources for Genealogists and Historians, the result of her years at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. SHARP at the Kingston Seniors Centre, 56 Francis St.
Visitors always welcome.
Further details at

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

William E Browne: CEF Beechwood

According to his military file Quartermaster Sergeant William Egbert Browne, was born in August 1871 in Newport, Wales. A saddler by occupation he enlisted on 13 August 1915 joining the 32nd Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, Service No: 300023, and shipped to England. He was listed as gassed and returned to Canada in October 1917 and the Mowat Sanitarium in Kingston where he died on this date, age 47 years.
He was buried on 18 January with full military honours at Beechwood Cemetery in military lot 13, West part. 14. Plot 29. The Beechwood Cemetery register gives his birthplace as Barbadoes.
Newspaper reports of the funeral, which list his middle name as Edward, are that he had service in South Africa and the Northwest Frontier of India. Four children, Ada Minto, Herbert Archibald, Aileen Eleanor and Leslie Harold are named.

On the war service gratuity form in his service file Mrs Mary E. Browne is listed as widow at 430 Clarence St., Ottawa.  of 21, Adelaide St., Ottawa.
Her death notice in the Ottawa Journal of 5 October 1971 under surname Browne lists her as Mary Ellen Dwyer, widow of W. E. Browne with four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Civil records for the family before his death and in the 1921 census are elusive.

Monday, 15 January 2018

CEF Service Files Update for January 2018

As of today, 15 January 2018 there are 543,142 (532,447 last month) of 640,000 files available online in the LAC Personnel Records of the First World War database. That's according to a Library and Archives Canada Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Service blog post.

The latest box digitized is 9247 (9059) and last name Staunton    (Smith).

At the last month's rate, which is not typical owing to the holiday period, the project will be finished by mid-October 2018.  The previous month estimate was July.

New from Pen & Sword Family History

A new UK release, as of 14 December 2017, is Tracing History Through Title Deeds: A Guide for Family and Local Historians.

The company blurb describes it:
Property title deeds are perhaps the most numerous sources of historical evidence but also one of the most neglected. While the information any one deed contains can often be reduced to a few lines, it can be of critical importance for family and local historians. Nat Alcock's handbook aims to help the growing army of enthusiastic researchers to use the evidence of these documents, without burying them in legal technicalities. It also reveals how fascinating and rewarding they can be once their history, language and purpose are understood. A sequence of concise, accessible chapters explains why they are so useful, where they can be found and how the evidence they provide can be extracted and applied. Family historians will find they reveal family, social and financial relationships and local historians can discover from them so much about land ownership, field and place names, the history of buildings and the expansion of towns and cities. They also bring our ancestors into view in the fullness of life, not just at birth, marriage and death, and provide more rounded pictures of the members of a family tree.

A notice in Family Tree, February 2018
Although a major source of information about field and place names, property history and the growth of towns and cities, these documents are some of the most neglected. Useful reading for beginner and experienced family and local historians, Dr Nat Alcock, of the University of Warwick, aims to put this right by demonstrating how these records can be found, analysed and interpreted. With information presented in a series of concise and easy-to-read chapters, it reveals how fascinating and rewarding title deeds can be once their history, language and purpose are understood.

The release date for the paperback in Canada, according to, is 19 February. A Kindle edition is listed at CDN$ 9.99.

Perth & District Historical Society: 100th Anniversary Review of the Halifax Disaster

The following is a meeting notice from the Perth & District Historical Society.

Thursday, January 18, 2018
100th Anniversary Review of the Halifax Disaster
History’s Largest Man-made Non-Nuclear Explosion

Our society launches its New Year meetings, on January 18, 2018, with a presentation by committee member, Ellen Dean, on the devastating ‘Halifax Explosion’, of December 6, 1917, one of Canada’s worst disasters, and the world’s largest man-made non-nuclear explosion.

Although our society’s main objective is to examine historical events of Perth and surrounding district, the Halifax Explosion was one of the most tragic events in our country’s history.  Coming at the time of national, and often personal, distress from WWI, it was felt across the country.  On that December 6th morning, two ships collided in Halifax Harbour.  The ensuing fire on one of the ships led to a man-made explosion of a magnitude never before seen, literally obliterating a large area of Halifax and the companion community of Dartmouth.  The effect of the blast and the resultant fires created an unimaginable horror that could only be compared to a battlefield scene.  The shock wave was felt hundreds of kilometres away.

This past December 6, 2017, marking the 100th anniversary of that fateful day, Canadian news organisations effectively related the story of the disaster.  For our meeting, we will examine some of the relevant facts:  the reasons this completely preventable accident happened; the event’s human element, including racism; the aftermath and the stories of witnesses.  We will also consider the legacy of the disaster, many elements of which continue in Canada to this day.

Ellen Dean and her husband, who was a member of the Royal Canadian Navy, spent their early married life in Greater Halifax.  They moved to Ottawa in 1990, until retirement from their respective careers, and relocated to Perth 12 years ago.  In addition to her many appreciated duties with the historical society, Ellen volunteers at the Perth Museum and Visitor Information Centre.  She is also a member of both the Lanark County Quilters’ Guild and the Perth Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

Please join us for this month’s presentation at Perth's Royal Canadian Legion,
home of the Hall of Remembrance, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, 7:30pm (Toonie Donation)

Our January Notices
Several interesting new articles have been added to our website, in the history section - including ‘The Perth Railroad Station’ and an ‘Early Log Driving’ video – and, also, in the ‘Mysteries’ Page.   Viewable at

Perth & District Historical Society is dedicated to studying and popularising our area’s rich history and culture, and providing a forum for discussion and celebration of our
heritage.  Our meetings are open to the public, usually on the third Thursday of each month, at 7:30 pm.  For more information, call 613-264 8362 or 264 0094 – or visit our website at .
To contact us by e-mail or to unsubscribe from our mailings, kindly address your e-mail to:

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP)

A reminder that the deadline for submitting completed application packages for the Documentary Heritage Communities Program is 7 February, 2018, before 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

The DHCP provides financial assistance to the Canadian documentary heritage community, including genealogical and family history societies, for activities that:

  • increase access to, and awareness of, Canada’s local documentary heritage institutions and their holdings; and
  • increase the capacity of local documentary heritage institutions to better sustain and preserve Canada’s documentary heritage.

Applications may be for small or large projects with $15,000 the boundary between them. The documentation requirements in proposals for small projects are considerably less than for the large.

I'm hoping the program will receive more projects this round that align with The National Heritage Digitization Strategy.

Boxes, Bodies, and Backhoes: Excavation and Analysis of the Forgotten Dead of Early Bytown

What's the story of the bones disturbed by excavation for Ottawa's LRT at the former Barrack Hill Cemetery?
Find out from Janet Young, Curator, Physical Anthropology at the Canadian Museum of History. She will address the January meeting of the Ottawa Historical Association.

7 pm, Tuesday 16 January 2018 at Library and Archives Canada. All welcome!!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

At what time of year are the most in births in England and Wales?

An article Do humans have mating seasons? This heat map reveals the surprising link between birthdays and seasons caught my attention.
It showed a consistent pattern across high-latitude countries in the Northern hemisphere -- the months with the greatest average number of births per day were July, August and September.
But that wasn't my recollection for England and Wales statistics, so I went back to FreeBMD.
There birth registrations peak in the second quarter, not the third for the period 1838 to 1979.
There's not necessarily a conflict, the article references 21st century data sourced from the UN.
To examine if there was a trend the FreeBMD period was divided into four, 1838 to 1849, 1850 to 1899, 1900 to
1949 and 1950 to 1979.
For none of these was the peak in the 3rd quarter. Each quarter in the first half of the year had more birth registrations than the 3rd, with one marginal exception.

Findmypast focus on death

New British records this week on Findmypast are:

Norfolk Monumental Inscriptions 1600-1900's Image Browse
Over 14,000 records from 260 parishes across Norfolk. Indexed by parish, not by personal name.

Lancashire, Oldham Cemetery Registers 1797-2004 Image Browse
Over 45,000 records from Chadderton, Crompton, Failsworth, Greenacres, Hollinwood, Lees and Royton in the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham.

Wiltshire Burials Index 1538-1990  
613,108 new records for a total of 2,089,750 from Anglican parishes across the county.

Middlesex Monumental Inscriptions 1485-2014  
3,688 new records for a total of 49,503 covering burial sites in Twickenham and Uxbridge.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Warwickshire Parish Records

I received an announcement that TheGenealogist has added 366,260 individuals to their Parish Records for Warwickshire bringing the total to 934,495.
This release of baptism, marriage and burial records, in association with Warwickshire County Record Office, includes transcripts and images reaching back to the mid 16th century.

Subscription sites Ancestry and Findmypast both have more extensive Warwickshire parish record collections, while the free FamilySearch site has 1,405,385 records in its Warwickshire, Parish Registers, 1535-1984 collection.

Family Tree DNA Y-111 results

In the Family Tree DNA pre-Christmas sale I upgraded my Y-DNA SNP test from 67 to 111 markers. The results arrived on Thursday.

As I'd expected the extra information didn't change things much. The two matches I had at 67 markers with 111 marker results were still there and in the same order as previously.The best match at 67 markers, 4 mismatches, became 6 mismatches at 111 markers.

The TiP Report showed we were likely more distantly related than in the 67 marker estimate.

GenerationsPercentage (Y67)Percentage (Y111)

I was also interested to see how these results compared to those estimated byYFull from my BigY results. Of the 44 markers 41 were identical. DYS716 and DYS462, were no-calls by YFull, and DYS710 differed -- 33 vs 33.2.

MyHeritage improves DNA service

Until Thursday I was lukewarm about the MyHeritage genetic genealogy service. That changed when tweets started coming in:

MyHeritage has changed their algorithms for DNA matches so you may want to check out your matches. Also they've added a (woot, woot) Chromosome browser. #HoundontheHunt #DNA

DNA Discoveries @DNADiscoveries
Ohhhh... @MyHeritage seems to have found me a "few" more matches... 
More joy from @MyHeritage - a chromosome browser :)

And this on my Facebook feed:

Blaine T. Bettinger‎ to Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques
Be sure to check your MyHeritage matches today! As first announced by Irene Morgan early this morning, MyHeritage has significantly changed (and it appears improved!) their matching algorithm. A quick review of my matches suggests that this is a MAJOR improvement. Kudos to MyHeritage!

[EDIT] - Via Lloyd Pfeilitzer DeVere Hunt and Marco Graf (thanks!) - A Chromosome browser with downloadable segment data is now available in the match page!

MyHeritage now shows I have 3,900 matches. One identified as 3rd to 5th cousin with 25.8‎ cM shared in 2 segments, one 18.2 cM. Looking at the tree I found our common ancestral couple  - we're 3rd cousins. The sister of the matching person,was already in my tree.

The range of shared autosomal DNA for 3rd cousins is 0 - 217 cM with an average of 74 cM. Although 25.8 cM is less than half the average we weren't in the 10 per cent of 3rd cousins sharing no autosomal DNA.

Clicking on Review DNA Match gives shared ancestral surnames, shared DNA matches (in common with), a pedigree chart display, ethnicity for you and your match, and a chromosome browser showing shared DNA segments.

That match has only about half the shared DNA of my best match. Don't dismiss matches lower down the list without investigating the surnames in common. Chances are the Smiths and Kellys won't be identifiable relatives so try your less common surnames.

Do you have data at MyHeritageDNA? Did you check since the change? If you did please share your experience.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Irish Registry of Deeds Index Project News

Claire Santry posts a comprehensive review of recent developments at the Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland site.
There appear to be important developments, not the least of which is that there are now 262,178 entries from 29,134 memorials of deeds.
See Claire's post here.

Blane Bettinger Toronto Genetic Genealogy Presentations

previous blog post mentioned Blaine Bettinger's genetic genealogy presentations on Saturday 7 April 2018.
The venue is now announced, Lansing United Church, Poyntz Avenue and Beecroft Road, Toronto. That's near the Sheppard/Yonge subway stop. not far off the 401.
See full program and registration details, including a discount for OGS members, here.
Scroll down to the bottom of that announcement for a link to information about a special session the previous afternoon.

BIFHSGO January Monthly Meeting

Saturday 13 January 2018 is the date of the next scheduled meeting of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.

(9:00am - 9: 30am)  Before BIFHSGO Education talk:Tara Grant will cover some of the basic sources for locating information on your ancestors who served as officers in the British Army.

9:30 - 10:00 - Discovery Tables  - featuring Yorkshire (North, East & West), Northumberland, Durham and Cumbria. If you are researching in any of these counties and you have items you would like to share and display, please bring them to the tables in the chamber between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m.

(10:00am - 11:30am) Monthly Meeting:  David Jeanes will then speak on The Kemeys-Tynte Family of Cefn Mably, a South Wales Estate.
The Ottawa Citizen called David Jeanes "a civic treasure." Read more here.

Members watch for an email before 8 am on the day of the meeting if cancellation is necessary.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

CWGC: Are you related?

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission in the UK is looking for the next of kin of soldiers who fell in war. Could you be connected to any of these individuals?

please contact through the link here.

There is also a Canadian list with 12 entries, most long-standing queries, See them here.

Edward Nicholl: CEF Beechwood

Private Edward Nicholl was born 28 October, 1870 in Ireland, the son of Mrs. B. Nicholl, of 14, Napier St., Belfast, Ireland. A bricklayer by trade he served with the 77th Battalion of the CEF.
He died in bed of heart failure at the Ottawa House, Hull on 10 January 1918. According to an autopsy his health had been "worn down by a strenuous life."
He was given a military funeral with the band of the GGFG leading the procession and buried in Section A, Row 21, Plot 20.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

AncestryDNA unites family

The Doc Project on CBC recounts a happy story of an adopted man reunited with birth mother and brother after 50 years. Read the story and listen to the 20 minute segment at

Ontario Historical Land Registration Books Online

Land registration provides interesting resources for genealogists, especially as wills are frequently part of the record, but "searching land registration records can be a complex process."

Access to some Ontario records just got easier. Under the headline OnLand is Here! comes this announcement from Teranet, in partnership with ServiceOntario:

The first phase of the web portal offers customers the opportunity to test out the historical land registration book search and view option only. Customers will still be required to visit a land registry office to print any records. For more information on Historical Books, please click here.
We will provide an update when full search capabilities are available on OnLand in late 2018.
When fully implemented, OnLand will allow users to search historical and current property records, anywhere in the province, from the convenience of your home or office, instead of visiting a land registry office.

Posts on Monday on My Moynahan Genealogy Blog by Cindi Foreman look in detail at what's available now, with examples. There are two parts of a four part series available as I write:

Part I: OnLand Records: Historical Books: Abstract / Parcel Register Book
Part IV: OnLand Records: Historical Books: First Registration Book

Deceased Online to add millions more burial and cremation records in 2018

In a blog post Deceased Online review the records added in 2017 and mention that "In 2018, there are plans to add millions more burial and cremation records from across the UK"

Specifically mentioned are "the exciting release of 'magnificent' West Norwood Cemetery." It has about 200,000 burials.
Also, records for cemeteries from the Macclesfield area of Cheshire:
• Alderley Edge Cemetery – 4,000 records from 1906 to 2015
• Knutsford Cemetery – 7,200 records from 1902 to 2015
• Macclesfield Cemetery – 62,000 records from 1866 to 2015
• Meadowbrook Cemetery – 500 records from 2006 to 2015
• Wilmslow Cemetery – 6,600 records from 1907 to 2015
• Macclesfield Crematorium – 64,000 records from 1960 to 1997
Altogether that's well short of one million so other major additions must be in the works.

QFHS Conference 2018

The Quebec Family History Society Roots 2018 International Conference on Family History dates are announced:

18, 19 and 20, May 2018

As in previous years the venue is McGill University, this time at the New Residence Hall. That's a healthy one mile walk from the train station. There's good Via Rail service from Ottawa, Toronto, points east and west plus Amtrak service from New York City.

Ottawans with the British Red Cross 1914-18

A database of over 90,000 people who volunteered for the British Red Cross, 1914-18 was recently added to Findmypast.
You don't need Findmypast access to benefit; all the information is at the Red Cross site.
Searching Locations/Hospitals I was surprised to find 47 women, no men, who crossed the Atlantic but gave an Ottawa address, frequently more an one. The basic information for them is tabulated below ordered alphabetically by surname. Are any of them in your family tree?  Go back and search in the database to view a linked original page image that includes the home address.

MRS MAZIE BIRD16/09/191825
MRS ALICE DOBSON08/11/191728
MISS MARION MAY01/12/191732
MISS KATE ROE01/10/191829

Monday, 8 January 2018

Findmypast adds England, Cheshire School Records, 1782-1950

Sourced through FamilySearch, Findmypast now includes direct access to 423,400 transcription records of more than 120 schools across the county of Cheshire. Transcriptions may include name, birth date, residence, the name of their school and years attended and, importantly, father’s name which helps link generations.
I was able to find my two times great-grandfather Richard Lewis attending Sunday school in Stockport in 1836, prior to civil registration and the nominal census.

OPL Winter 2018 Genealogy Events

Here's advance notice of three events in February, one in March, being organized by the Ottawa Public Library in the Genealogy series. That's in addition to those being presented by OPL staff.

Thursday, February 1, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The Barber Family: an Ottawa Story
Born into slavery in Kentucky, Paul Barber became a respected horse man who not only trained the horses of Ottawa’s elite but showed veterinarian abilities and was himself a skilled horse racer. One of Ottawa’s earliest Black permanent residents, he founded a family that  still thrives here. Join us as Paul’s grandson, award-winning Ottawa Black historian Thomas Barber, shares the story of his family and its place in Ottawa’s history.
Main, 120 Metcalfe, Auditorium

Wednesday, February 7, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Find Your Ancestors in Church Records
Church records of all denominations can be a treasure trove for genealogists.  Gloria Tubman will discuss these valuable records and their place in family history research.  Discover the information that is available from the record of a church rite, regardless of location, and learn some further clues to get the most from church records.
Carlingwood, 281 Woodroffe

Wednesday, February 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Black History Month Documentary Screening
Enjoy two short documentaries: Simply the Best, the story of Ottawa union activist Cal Best; and Welcome to Dresden: Jim Crow Lived Here Too, set in Dresden, Ontario.  Followed by a panel discussion with Arthur Carkner, producer of Simply the Best, and Sarah Onyango, Black History Ottawa.
Greenboro, 363 Lorry Greenberg

Monday, March 19, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Finding Birth Families: Genealogy and Adoption Research
How can adoptees and birth families find each other? Genetic genealogy and traditional research sources both play a role in tracing long-lost relatives.  Monica Byrne, Parent Finders Ottawa, will discuss adoption in Ontario and the resources of Parent Finders.  Mags Gaulden, Grandma’s Genes, will illustrate the uses of DNA testing for adoption research.
Cumberland, 1599 Tenth Line.

Registration is required for all these.
Thanks to Romaine Honey for the information. See the full genealogy program here,

Sunday, 7 January 2018

BIFHSGO Conference 2018

The dates for BIFHSGO conference 2018 are now set. Put them in your schedule now.

28 - 30 September 2018.

The location is Nepean Centrepointe again. 

Keynote speaker Bruce Durie has been booked for the theme of Scottish genealogy. I recall hearing him speak on Scottish testaments at TNA many years ago.
Having missed out on DNA in 2017 the organizers were pleased to be able to secure Diahan Southard as a main speaker. I heard her in Dublin and Edmonton in the past couple of years.

Both are highly recommended. 

The call for presentation proposals is open until 31 January. There's an online form for proposals. If you're uncertain about making a presentation proposal and would like to discuss get in touch with conference co-|Chair for the  program Duncan Monkhouse at

Super UK Family Tree Magazine January Sale

Not just 30%, a massive 61% off if you take an annual subscription to the online version of UK Family Tree Magazine.  The regular price is $49.99 Cdn, the discount $34.99 Cdn. I couldn't resist.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Findmypast adds London area burials

Burial records from Brompton Cemetery, one of Britain's oldest and most distinguished garden cemeteries, are in the most recent update to Findmypast. T
As it's Twelfth Night it's appropriate to note those at Brompton  who achieved greatness, Nova Scotia born Sir Samuel Cunard, and Dr John Snow credited with bringing an end to the 1854 cholera outbreak in London. Some others were born great and yet others had greatness thrust upon them.
With about 205,000 people interred there were plenty of ordinary folks too with burials in common graves, especially young children.
There are 645,301 records, both transcripts and images of documents digitized from the original register held by the UK National Archives at Kew in series WORK 97.
These records also continue to be available through which has over 8 million London cemetery records in its collection.

An additional 19,619 records are added to Findmypast's Greater London Burial Index. The total of records is now 1,690,022 within over 300 Anglican and non-conformist parishes across Greater London.

Toronto Genealogy Summer Camp

Repeat clients are the best recommendation. A few years ago former BIFHSGO Librarian Betty Warburton would tell me about her time at the Toronto Genealogy Summer Camp run by Jane MacNamara. She was a repeat client.

After a two-year hiatus Jane is running the Summer Camp again.  Just recently I ran into someone, remaining nameless, who said she was applying to attend this June. She assumed you have to show you're experienced enough to benefit.

However, Jane tells me she asks questions about skill level and experience, not to exclude beginners but rather to help tailor the program to suit the group. She wants to be sure there’s a reasonable chance they’ll find something—that the time period and location they want to explore is feasible.
As Jane writes on her blog, "in Toronto, we’re lucky to have a wonderful cluster of archives and libraries. They are filled with information about ancestors who lived in Ontario. It is a great city for family history researchers to visit.
Genealogy Summer Camp can help you make the best use of your time in Toronto by suggesting what records to look for and where, and helping you navigate the various systems and finding aids at each repository.
You’ll spend less time finding the archives and more time finding information!"

The Genealogy Summer Camp runs from 4 to 8 June 2018, that's immediately following the OGS conference.

Find out more at

Friday, 5 January 2018

Weather Chaos, and Calm

Super storm in Atlantic Canada ...
Snow and extreme cold in Quebec
Extreme cold in Ontario and Manitoba ...
Freezing rain and fog in BC
20th anniversary of the 1998 ice storm ...

It's a natural opportunity to remind you that a huge amount of weather data is available from Environment Canada's Meteorological Service. Use it to put a context around events in your Canadian family history. 

Detailed Birmingham Street Maps ca 1887

The January issue of the UK's Family Tree magazine brings news of a project to digitize about 400 very detailed street maps of Birmingham and its surroundings that were surveyed by The Ordnance Survey around 1887-1888.
Each map covers an area of about 500 yards by 350 yards, and the scale of 1:500 means that pillar boxes, lamp posts and garden details can be clearly seen.  Several are now available.
Digitisation when complete will cover mostly the Warwickshire parts of the city; maps are not available for the Worcestershire and Staffordshire sectors.
Maps are £5.00 each for download. There's a free Birmingham comprehensive INDEX, valuable by itself, including Streets, Roads, Terraces, Yards, Passages, etc., Public Houses, Hotels, Railway Stations, Hospitals, Schools, Churches, Post Offices, Police Stations, Wharfs and Industry plus many other Places of Interest available from

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Archive CD Books Canada Sale

Malcolm and Chris Moody at Archive CD Books Canada have been low profile recently, even for those of us in Ottawa.

Malcolm tells us that "we are reconfiguring all of our Canadian products to be "Downloadable," to serve you better.  As this (and a host of other important things) is using up all of our working time we have not been able to make any new products - and we won't waste your time with "Fake News!""

What isn't fake is 50% OFF the regular price of most of their Canadian Made Products - including downloadable products. That's in addition to the ongoing clearance items.

Check out the sale items at

Ottawa DNA Special Interest Group meets on Saturday

Saturday, January 6, 2018
DNA Special Interest Group  (Special Interest Group)
9:30 am to 12:00 pm
Room 115, City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

Genetic Genealogy DNA Guidelines for Analysis of Segments – Re cM size
Shirley Monkhouse will give a short presentation, describing and explaining the confidence levels for different sizes types and sizes of cM values for DNA Analysis.

Triangulation for Genetic Genealogy – Who What Where When Why How for Autosomal DNA
Shirley will give a second presentation, an introduction to Autosomal DNA Triangulation, recent news and examples from the all the Companies and third-party sources.

There will be a round table discussion with any remaining time.

Attendees will be required to sign in and out at the reception desk on the ground floor.

Clair Llewellyn Hugh Manhard: CEF Beechwood

Gunner Claire Llewellyn Hugh Manhard, birth registered in Smith's Falls as Lewellyn Hugh Manhard on 22 September 1879, died of pulmonary tuberculosis in Ottawa on 4 January 1918.
He had been invalided back to Canada in June 1916 having suffered many wounds in the field.

He is interred in Plot 29. Lot 13-14. West part. 17. at Beechwood Cemetery.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Church of Ireland Gazette Archive Online

A full archive of editions of the weekly Church of Ireland Gazette published from 1856 to 1923 is now freely accessible online.

Claire Santry's blog post points out that "Genealogists don't need to have Church of Ireland ancestors to find the Gazette valuable to their research. As well as exploring the major national and international issues of the day, the paper also carried localised church and social news, which would have been of relevance to all local communities whatever their beliefs." Search the word Ottawa and find more than 100 articles, more than 450 for Toronto.

A Wandering Minstrel - home child?

It's easy to go off on a tangent when you find someone from your British home town in Canada.
The cause this time was William (Joseph) Carter. A summary of his colourful life as a wandering minstrel in Canada and the UK, reproduced from the Stories Behind the Stones: The Churchyard and the Old and New Cemeteries at Great Yarmouth  by Paul P Davies is on the British Home Children in Canada website here.
No civil birth registration could be found although he claimed to be born in Great Yarmouth (GY). His GY baptismal record for 12 November 1881 included a birth date of 5 December 1875. His school attendance has the same date a year later.
An article in the 16 March 1935 Winnipeg Tribune quotes him "My mother died when I was three years old and I was taken into Dr. Barnardo's Homes. In 1899 they sent me to Canada, to Portage la Prairie.  I stayed there a few years and have worked over wide areas of Manitoba and Saskatchewan."
He was confused about his early life. In the 1881 census he's in the GY workhouse as is his mother Emily. A sister Eliza died later that year and his mother in 1882. There's no sign of a father.
In the 1891 census he's listed as an errand boy living at Belfort Place, an independent home for orphan boys in GY supported by charity and the earnings of the boys.
He variously gave his year of migration to Canada as 1899 or 1900. I was unable to find any record.
In the 1901 census there's a possible fit to William J Carter in Rockwood, Selkirk, Manitoba as a farm servant, born in England 11 July 187?, emigrated in 1901. In 1906 a William Carter is a roomer in Portage le Prairie, age 30, emigrated in 1900. He was elusive in censuses from 1911 to 1921.
He claimed to have been rejected for war service and to have moved to a haunted rented farm in the Carrot River valley north of Melfort, Saskatchewan in 1926. The house burned down in 1929 and he took to life as a wandering minstrel playing violin and tin whistle.
He nurtured a modest fame in numerous newspapers with many stories including playing at an event for the Dionne quins and renowned violinist Fritz Kreizler dropping a dollar in his hat. Articles mention his sunny disposition.
He returned to England in 1937 continuing as an itinerant musician seeking media attention including on the BBC.
In September 1939 William Carter is in the National Register in GY listed as a musician, his birth date is given as 8 March 1875.
He died on 7 July 1958 at Westminster House Home for Elderly People, Liverpool leaving £267. The body was buried in GY beside the graves of his mother and sister which mention their relationship to "Canada's Wandering Minstrel".

Comment: Should an immigrant 24 years old be counted a home child?

Do you struggle with genetic genealogy?

By now most serious genealogists know that DNA testing is essential evidence. But many struggle with it as it's so different from traditional document-based genealogical evidence. Others reject it as they only know about the ethnicity results as shown in TV ads, not appreciating that there's more than that. All relevant evidence should be consulted.

If you need help the “Introduction to Genetic Genealogy” course taught by Linda Reid could be the answer. Not only will it get you started but will also be an excellent way for participants to prepare for an intermediate to advanced April workshop in Toronto by Blaine Bettinger. 

Linda's course is introductory, or for those who need a refresher — three morning sessions — 10:00 am to noon. Registrants can choose from three Wednesdays starting 10 January, or three Saturdays starting 13 January. Both Wednesday and Saturday sessions will be held at the Toronto Reference Library, which—despite being January—is easily reached by Toronto Transit (Bloor and Yonge subway lines) and connects with GO and other GTA regional services.

For more details and to register online, see:

Blaine's April workshop will be not for beginners. Repeat not for beginners — there's little more discouraging than paying to attend a session and getting overwhelmed. Blaine will assume you have already tested, explored the tools from the testing company, uploaded to GEDmatch and used some basic tools there (one-to-many matches and chromosome browser).

A note from Jane MacNamara tells me that the Blaine's workshop in Toronto will be on Saturday, 7 April. More information on that will be coming very soon.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Perceptions of Probability in Genealogy

What do people understand when they're told that something is probably, or possibly, or likely true?
This Perceptions of Probability graphic is based on  responses of 46 people on the Reddit social network to the question: "What probability would you assign to the phrase "[phrase]"? The phrases are on the vertical axis, the probabilities on the horizontal.

Compare these to a logical hierarchy of levels of confidence suggested by Elizabeth Shown Mills in Evidence Explained (2nd Edition, 2012, page 19-20): certainly, probably, possibly, likely, apparently, and perhaps.

Possibly, apparently, and perhaps do not appear in the graphic. Top of Mills' list "certainly" is comparable to "almost certainly" at the top of the perceptions of probability. "Likely" and "probably" appear in reverse order in the two lists. The Reddit sample shows a wider variation in the understanding of "probably" than "likely" with the mode of the distribution at a greater assigned probability for "probably" than for "likely".

In view of the evident disparity in understanding of the descriptive terms clients of professional genealogists should be aware, and proactively made aware, that there is no consistently agreed hierarchy. It would be a contribution if some competent authority for genealogy would define such a set, with probability range equivalents, which align as best as possible with common understanding.

OGS January Webinar: Thomas McEntee

Thomas McEntee, a webinar favourite, is starting the 2018 monthly OGS webinar series off with Did I Get Everything? – Creating a Checklist for Genealogy Research.
It's online on Thursday, January 4, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Webinar descriptions and links to register are on the OGS website.

Monday, 1 January 2018

The Census War is now over!

The following is reproduced, with permission, from a post at [Arcan-l] by former Librarian and Archivist of Canada Ian Wilson.

Parliament has passed legislation amending the Statistics Act to remove any restrictions on access to the historical census after 92 years for the 2021 Census and beyond. (Statutes of Canada 2017. Chapter 31. section 18.1(1))
Many will recall that in 2005 after considerable discussion and a lengthy lobbying campaign by the research community, Parliament settled on a compromise between Statistics Canada and Library and Archives Canada:  this required transfer of the census records to the LAC and provided for access to existing population census records for research after 92 years.  Statistics Canada insisted though that for future censuses, from 2006 and onward, individuals had to give consent to allow for research access after 92 years. As a result, the census forms for 2006, 2011 and 2016 asked those completing the forms to indicate their consent. No answer was assumed denial.  As part of the compromise, Statistics Canada promised to conduct an active campaign prior to each census urging people to count themselves in. The 2005 legislation also required a full review and study by a parliamentary committee to assess the impact of this consent-based approach on the research integrity of the census after the 2011 census and two years before that for 2016. The publicity efforts and the legally required study were not undertaken.
The progress of this campaign was chronicled in the excellent article by two leading protagonists:  "The Laurier Promise: Securing Public Access to Historic Census Materials in Canada" by Terry Cook and Bill Waiser. (published in Cheryl Avery and Mona Hulmlund (eds) Better Off Forgetting? essays on archives, public policy and collective memory.  UofT Press. 2010) Careful research by the LAC had shown that despite the assertions of Statistics Canada there was no such promise.  
The damage to the census as a long-term statistically valid record of the changing Canadian population has been clear from the figures released by Statistics Canada:  in 2006 only 55% agreed to allow eventual access; in 2011: 66% and in 2016: 81%.  In late 2017, the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology held hearings on amendments to the Statistics Act.  Professor Bill Waiser and Professor Chad Gaffield were invited to address the issue of research access and both made informed and effective arguments for full access after Canada's traditional 92 years. Their testimony on December 6th is now available online.
The members of the Standing Committee noted both in their discussion and in their report (21st Report, 7 December 2017) the unfortunate  impact on the 2006, 2011 and 2016 population censuses and called "upon the Chief Statistician of Canada to explore all options to encourage Canadians to consent to the release of information for the 2006, 2011 and 2016 censuses and national householder surveys."  The Standing Committee added that "Statistics Canada should before the upcoming census, highlight to Canadians the value of census records for future generations". 
Sincere thanks are due to the research community and especially the genealogists for their energetic and persuasive email campaign leading up to the 2005 decision and to Bill Waiser (recipient of the 2016 Governor General's Literary Award for Non-fiction) and Chad Gaffield (recently elected President of the Royal Society of Canada) who have led the access campaign for nearly two decades.  For much of this time, they worked closely with our late colleague, Dr. Terry Cook, FRSC.

Ian Wilson is now Special Adviser to the Director General of the National Archives of the United Arab Emirates, based in Abu Dhabi (where the temperature as I write is +24C) and assisting with the review of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme dealing with the preservation of and access to documentary heritage. He asked I add that tribute should also be paid to former Senator Lorna Milne who was instrumental in achieving the 2005 compromise.

Facebook for Genealogy

A new year. Are you making good use of Facebook? While Rootsweb activity has declined, Facebook has picked up.

If you don't know where to start have a look at Katherine R. Willson's Genealogy on Facebook List, a 337 page PDF file with 11,700+ links.

If that's overwhelming try Gail Dever's Canadian list and/or Alona Tester's Australian list.

And you can search Facebook for names and places just as with many other major sites.

Your Genealogy Today: Jan-Feb 2018

A non-existent English place name and an unverifiable incident in an interview held at the Pontiac Archives (Quebec) feature in Sue Lisk's cover story Don't Hold Your Breath: Handling Hiccups in Your Research in the latest Your Genealogy Today.
A box highlighting five tips for sifting fact from muddled recollections includes imagining alternative versions of seemingly fantastical family stories.
Find links to previous articles written by Sue Lisk here.

Sign of the Times by Diane L. Richard and Avoid Common Mistakes
by Michael van Turnhout illustrate professional genealogical research techniques, as promoted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Curiously neither is BCG certified as far as I can tell, but the member search engine isn't working.
One BCG members who does have an item in the issue is Judy G. Russell who looks at Copyright and the Weblink. Her advice is that you can use a "simple straightforward link to someone else's material on the web" without running into copyright problems. What she doesn't add is how much you can copy some of the words, as I've done here, without problem!

Other articles in the issue, several with mentions of the UK and/or Canada are:
Small Town Genealogy
Leslie Michele Derrough shows how small communities are preserving their history
Constables and Town Watchmen
David A. Norris investigates sources for finding early law enforcement officers in your family tree
The Sad Tale of Dr. Misling and His Family
Constance R. Cherba enlists the help of her grandsons to do some summer genealogy sleuthing
Earmarked for Identification
Robbie Gorr looks at how the technique of earmarking livestock may help you find success in your family history research
The Problem of Researching Common Name Ancestors
Elizabeth Jones offers five handy tips to help you research those common name ancestors
DNA & Genealogy
Diahan Southard suggests how to connect to your DNA matches
The Back Page
Dave Obee wonders how transportation affected our ancestors

Altogether there's a bunch of good advice in this issue of Your Genealogy Today.