Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Time for Mélanie Joly to show leadership

A government committed to a bold vision of making Canada’s heritage digitally accessible to all is a call issued by Michael Geist in an article Why Canada’s E-Library Is Barren: Slow going national digitization plan leaves virtual shelves empty in The Tyee.

Geist, the Canada Research Chair in internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, expresses the frustrations of many at the slow progress being made in establishing a digital library for Canada. His article details how perceived obstacles can be overcome, and suggests the money can be found as a 150th birthday gift that will keep giving for years to come.


That FreeBMD Rumour

Dick Eastman's blog carried an item suggesting FreeBMD would be becoming a pay site. Dick's source was not someone whose name I recognized and is not mentioned on the FreeBMD site.

Someone whose name I did recognize, Dave Mayall, a long-time Trustee and credible source, responded with a comment also a blog post at www.freeukgenealogy.org.uk/blog/2016/07/25/free-forever/. It ends with "Above all, the existing FREE sites (or rather new, revamped, FREE sites in some cases) will still be there."

Dick's original post is at https://twitter.com/dickeastman/status/757485788388995073

Left out of history

When Ian Wilson. former Librarian and Archivist of Canada, and Bill Waiser, Professor Emeritus at the University of Saskatchewan, both long-time advocates for census access, speak we genealogists and historians would be well advised to listen.

On Saturday they spoke, by means of a letter to the editor of the Toronto Star, A Gaps in census mean Canadians are being left out of history,

When advocates reluctantly agreed to an opt-in provision on release of census data, after 92 years, there was a provision that Parliament hold a review of the opt-in question. That hasn't happened despite clause (2.1) in the 2005 “Act to Amend the Statistics Act” (S.C. 2005, c. 31) that requires a review of the informed-consent question “no later than two years before the taking of the third census of population (2016) … by any committee of the Senate, the House of Commons or both Houses of Parliament that may be designated or established for that purpose.”

Statistics Canada is now in violation of the 2005 legislation, just as it violated the promise that Canadians would be encouraged to opt-in..

The Wilson/Waiser letter is a good step but more is needed. Those who feel motivated could write to their MP, encourage their local genealogical, family history or historical society to lobby to at least get the matter reviewed according to the law, even if on a delayed basis. I've suggested an E-petition.
Any other ideas?


Monday, 25 July 2016

Legacy Family Tree Webinars

Go to a conference and you can expect to pay around about $10 for each presentation you attend. If there are multiple streams you may pay more for the privilege of choice. If the conference is large you may pay less, but find yourself sitting in a huge crowd with no likelihood of interaction with the speaker. You hear the presentation once, no opportunity to go back and review that crucial bit of information that went by too quickly.
For that same $10 (US) you can subscribe to a one month long access to presentations by top rate speakers at Legacy Family Tree Webinars.
Just available is a six lecture series by John Grenham recorded from his home in Ireland. Worth a month's subscription right there.
A total of 382 presentations, and growing, are available by nearly 100 different presenters including Lisa Louise Cooke, Maurice Gleeson, Kirsty Grey, John Grenham, Tom Jones, Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, Megan Smolenyak. They are available to view day and night.
True, you don't get the one on one interaction, but for many presentations you do get a syllabus handout.
And you can try a few of the presentations for free. Browse around at http://familytreewebinars.com/

UK Records added to Ancestry

The end of week saw two additions to UK records on Ancestry.

New is Web: United Kingdom, Royal Naval Seamen Index, 1853 -1872, comprises 89,295 index records from series ADM 139 at the UK National Archives. TNA's description points to similar records for a wider range of dates.
Updated is UK, Railway Employment Records, 1833-1956, now with 2,041,650 records.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Ancestry offer - ends today

Read and understand the small print on a widely promoted offer from Ancestry.com that ends today, 24 July, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET

  • The offer is for new subscribers, not for renewals.
  • The term is 6 month subscriptions.
  • The US records only package (50 states)  is 50% off - $49 US.
  • The World package is 30% off - $99 US.
  • The subscription automatically renews at full list price at the end of the 6‑month term, unless you specifically cancel.
One thing you learn for the ad is that of the 16 billion records Ancestry has globally 13 billion are US records.

Findmypast adds English absent voters lists

Britain, Absent Voters Lists 1918-1921 is a new browse database of 172 volumes on Findmypast, at present for communities in the English counties of Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumberland, Dorset, Durham, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Sussex, Yorkshire.
For voters away from their normal place of residence, most often for military service, registers record: Name, Parish, Qualifying premises address, Service number, Rank or rating, Regiment or ship.
There are not a great many entries, for Great Yarmouth there are 432 on 18 pages.

Twitter advice

While I use Twitter, mostly to see what's going on, I don't feel like I'm making the most of it. So I was pleased to see a post on the Unwritten Histories blog The Canadian Historian’s Guide to Twitter. Being an amateur historian at best I didn't get into the detail about people and organizations to follow, but the material on techniques is helpful. There's even reference to more basic material for the complete Twitter neophyte.
If you know of Twitter information more specifically of interest to the Canadian family historian please post it in a comment.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

British army browse records at Findmypast

More than 7.8 million British Army Service records from the following series are now available to browse. These Army documents including attestation papers, medical forms, discharge documents and pension claims.

WO 22 - Royal Hospital Chelsea: Returns Of Payment Of Army and Other Pensions 1842-1883
WO 23 - Royal Hospital Chelsea: Admission Books, Registers, and Papers 1702-1876
WO 76 - Regimental Records Of Officers' Services 1775-1914
WO 96 - Militia Service Records 1806-1915
WO 97 - Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760-1913
WO 121 - Chelsea: Pensioners' Discharge Documents 1760-1887
WO 122 - Chelsea: Pensioners' Discharge Documents, Foreign Regiments 1816-1817
WO 128 - Imperial Yeomanry, Soldiers' Documents, South African War 1899-1902
WO 131 - Chelsea: Documents Of Soldiers Awarded Deferred Pensions 1838-1896
WO 400 - The Household Cavalry 1801-1919

WO 96 with 2,196,559 images and WO 97 with 6,121,455 images account for the bulk of these records. for which there's a link above to the TNA description above.  Note that although TNA include a note that WO 97 does not include war dead the one record I examined had papers for a serviceman whu died in action in October 1917.


Ottawa history told by Randy Boswell

Randy Boswell, now a assistant professor of journalism at Carleton University, formerly an Ottawa Citizen journalist, is the guest speaker next Monday, 25 July at 7 pm at Pinhey’s Point.

Boswell has been shortlisted for the Pierre Berton Award, Canada’s top prize for popularizing Canadian history, was the 2010 winner of the Yves Fortier Earth Science Journalism Award and was co-writer of a 1997 National Newspaper Award-nominated special project on Gatineau Park. He continues to write history-related news stories on a freelance basis and is pursuing various research projects that employ 19th-century newspapers to shed fresh light on political, scientific and journalistic issues and personalities of that era.

He will speak on Bytown surgeons Hamnett Hill and Edward Van Cortlandt who founded the Bytown Mechanics Institute and promoted natural history and archaeology.  Van Cortlandt’s 1843 excavation of an indigenous burial ground older than the Pyramids has prompted a recent reinterpretation of the Ottawa River’s cultural landscape.

Organized by the Pinhey’s Point Foundation. Admission free. Free parking. Refreshments to follow.

Located at 270 Pinhey’s Point Road in Dunrobin, 20 minutes outside of Kanata.  Take March Road off Hwy 417 to Dunrobin Road. Turn right on Riddell Drive. Follow it left onto Sixth Line Road for about 5km until you reach Pinhey's Point Road.

Tip:  There's no more pleasant a spot on the Ottawa River.

Friday, 22 July 2016

LAC Annual Report 2015-2016

The year's achievements in numbers listed in the LAC annual report for 2015-2016. 

89,924,103 
website views

5,802,398 
government records opened

16,636 
questions answered by the reference section

25,000,000 
digital images online

4,252,222 
Flickr views

127,671 
publications collected under legal deposit    

209,419 
podcast listens

183,074 
blog views

58 
new private acquisitions

65 
private heritage institutions funded

238 
items loaned to museums and galleries


This year genealogy is not overlooked. Geneal* is found seven times:

. . our plan is to make all of the records (CEF service files) available online by the 100th anniversary of the Armistice—November 11, 2018—which should delight both genealogists and historians alike. 

LAC is fully dedicated to serving all its clients: government institutions, donors, academics, researchers, archivists, librarians, students, genealogists and the general public.

By adding advanced search options such as place of birth, place and date of enlistment, and the name of the unit or battalion, volunteers have enabled researchers, students and genealogists to find the files of specific soldiers whose names are similar to those of other soldiers.

Top 5 Topics
  1. Genealogy
  2. First World War
  3. Photographs
  4. Research Tools
  5. Canadian People and Events
The most-viewed blog post was about the 1940 National Registration File— confirming just how interested Canadians are in genealogical research!

One of the most popular services is helping clients locate relatives and family records through LAC’s genealogy experts.

David Obee Genealogy expert  (as member of Services Consultation Committee)

Alas, not a single mention of newspapers!

Fromelles

19 July was the anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles. Despite being a bit tardy for the anniversary it's worth giving a shout out to this video explaining the DNA analysis done on remains exhumed.

It's a bit of an advert for LGCGroup, the commercial continuation of the UK's Laboratory of the Government Chemist, yet gives a good description of the project.

For more sign up for the BIFHSGO conference and Maurice Gleeson's presentation on Fromelles.