Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Genealogist’s Best Friend

For those just getting into family history it’s easy to be overwhelmed.

Google “genealogy” and find well over 100 million hits. Where to start? One good place is your local library. Larger libraries often have one or more genealogy specialists. Your's may offer a free one-hour one-on-one consultation to help you start off on the right foot and focus your research. The resources available will depend on your ancestry. The librarians will be able to direct you to the most promising sources once they understand your particular needs.

If you’re moving beyond the beginner stage but still learning—a happy place to be—you may seek advice from someone you met through Facebook or another social network, a fellow member of your local family history society, or a volunteer at a nearby family history centre. Keep an eye out for educational opportunities being offered as webinars as well as in-person talks offered by a local society or your public library. These delve more deeply into all kinds of specialized topics such as genetic genealogy, military records or Jewish ancestry.

As you explore your family history in depth, beyond names and dates to your ancestor’s life and times, you’ll find libraries and librarians coming to the fore again.

Database resources are given ever more profile by libraries. Through library access to a collection of British newspapers online I have found a great-grandfather, a Church of England minister, being fined for keeping a dog without a licence. Another relative was convicted for purloining money from the bank where he worked, a third fined for selling fake patent medicine. A distant relative exhibited a contraption, the Tempest Prognosticator, at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London to forecast the weather based on jumping leeches. Look hard enough, if you dare, and you’re bound to find interesting stories in your ancestry!

The National Library of Australia’s magnificent Trove collection of digitized newspapers became the source for finding out about my father’s return from being a German prisoner of war in the Pacific in 1941. The Chronicling America digitized newspaper collection, made available through the Library of Congress, provided insight on the life of my relative who left England to join the US Army, serving in Texas.

Sadly Canada is lacking such a national collection online.

You’ll also want to consult maps. Many libraries have local collections. Online you can turn to national collections such as the National Library of Scotland website offering free high-resolution zoomable images of over 160,000 maps of Scotland, England and Wales. For locations further afield, consult the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

In word association tests library and book go together. Books, an essential resource for understanding historical context, remain the major component of today’s broad range of library services. Think about appropriate subject terms for a search in your local public library catalogue; probably online, as are those for major specialist, university and national libraries, often through WorldCat which brings together many of those catalogues. If that search finds a publication of interest not in the local library collection the librarian doesn't just throw up her hands. Interlibrary loan offered by most libraries will most often obtain it for you. That sets the librarian apart from the archivist, valuable in their own way, as they don't just focus on the resources in their own in-house collection.

While there may be a charge for an interlibrary loan many out of copyright digitized publications have free access through services such as the Internet Archive and Google Books. Your librarian can tell you about them. Not to be overlooked are specialist libraries, such as the Wellcome Library, one of the world's major resources for the study of medical history.

Libraries and librarians are about connecting people to the information they need and educating them about finding that information. That’s why they’re known as the genealogist’s best friends. Are you taking advantage of the free in-person and virtual services librarians and libraries have to offer?

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Database updates this week

There are three updated Ancestry databases of possible interest to Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections readers this week:

Somerset, England, Gaol Registers, 1807-1879  --- 101,284 records
U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1825-1960 --- 5,393,724 records
Dorset, England, Bastardy Records, 1725-1853 --- 4,928 records.

FamilySearch now lists two collections that are partially searchable:

UK, Scotland—Church of Scotland Synods, Presbyteries, and Kirk Sessions, 1658—1919
UK, Manchester—Central Library Parish Registers (Marriages), 1754–1936, Part 2

Ancestry adds Jersey parish records

Records from Jersey, the largest Channel Island, are the latest addition to Ancestry with 986,000 records and over 68,000 images including birth and burial records as far back as 1541:

Jersey, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1541-1812
Jersey, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915
Jersey, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1940
Jersey, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1940

Jersey punched above its weight in terms of migration to Canada, especially Newfoundland and the Maritimes.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Findmypast adds Leicestershire and Rutland Parish Records

Findmypast's highlight this week is these nearly 3.5 million new records to search and browse provided from the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland.

Leicestershire Parish Records: baptism, banns, marriage & burial records covering 50 parishes  back to the 16th century, over 1.8 million records;
Leicestershire Parish Records Browse: over 3,000 volumes;
Leicestershire Marriage Licences: 22,000 records between 1604 and 1891;
Leicestershire Marriage Licences Browse: over 75 volumes 1604-1891;
Leicestershire Wills and Probate Records: over 173,000 records, 1490-1941;
Leicestershire Wills and Probate Records Browse: over 971 volumes, 1490-1941;
Leicestershire Electoral Registers Browse: 3,862 volumes with thousands of names, 1836-1974;
and
Rutland Parish Records: baptisms, banns, marriage and burials from England's smallest county;
Rutland Parish Records Browse; over 460 volumes.

This is the first major record collection for England released this year, all records you won't find online with original images linked elsewhere.


Scottish Tapestry Exhibit at Main Branch, OPL

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry project brings together stories from more than 33 communities, documenting their Scottish connections and stories in more than 300 embroidered panels.

If you can't get to the Scottish Genealogy Group meeting on Saturday, and even if you can, there's another opportunity to
see and learn about the determination, courage and achievement of global Scottish migration through the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry Exhibit at the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library.

 On Sunday, January 22, 2017 at 2 pm Jenny Bruce will give a presentation in the OPL Auditorium, Lower Level followed at 3:00 pm by a tour, beginning in the Foyer of the Main Floor. That's at the OPL Main Branch, 120 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa.

You do need to register in advance for free admission. All are welcome and light refreshments will be served after the presentation.

If you can`t make it on Sunday for the presentation, you can still see the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry exhibit at the Main Branch, Ottawa Public Library until January 25th, 2017 during regular library hours.

Thanks to Heather (MacLeod) Theoret of the Scottish Society of Ottawa for the tip.

Kingston Branch OGS January Meeting

Saturday 21 January, 2017 is the date for the next monthly meeting of the Kingston Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. At the usual location, the Seniors Centre, 56 Francis Street, Kingston; the topic is Who Knew? Part 2: Members Report Interesting Discoveries, and the meeting begins at 10 am.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Ottawa Scottish Genealogy Special Interest Group Saturday Meeting

The group meets this Saturday, 21 January 2017, with an especially strong program.

At 10 am Sam Allison, who immigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1968 and lives in Brossard, Quebec, will speak on Tracking Highland Scots' Military Migration to Canada, 1759-1812.

Sam Allison was the 2016 recipient of the Gordon Atkinson Memorial Prize in Highland Military History, awarded annually by the Quebec Thistle Council.  His most recent book is Driv'n By Fortune.

At 11 am Jenny Bruce (good Scottish surname) will speak on Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, The Why, Who and How and its global journey.

The meeting is in Rooms 226 and 228, City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

Toronto Weather History

This item is being posted on 19 January which is meteorological mid-winter in Ottawa, a couple of days later in Toronto. On average it gets warmer now. But there can be surprises.
==========
It's always encouraging when someone finds one of these blog posts helpful so I was pleased when the editor of the OGS Weekly eNews saw fit to reproduce the post of Daily Temperatures from the St. Lawrence River Valley in last weekend's edition. That source gives historic daily temperatures for Quebec City - Montreal and adjacent areas. As you move further away it will be less valid. I wouldn't want to trust it for Toronto daily temperatures.

Toronto has the first official daily weather records in Ontario, starting in March 1840. They were taken at a site near Varsity Stadium at 299 Bloor St W. Before official records there's the diary of Rev. Charles Dade, head of mathematics at Upper Canada College, then not far from Fort York. He took readings usually two or three times a day from January 1831 to April 1841. There is a gap from October 1838 to June 1839 when Dade returned to England, he was a native of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, for the winter. Images of the diary up to that gap are online at http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c9164/631?r=0&s=3. The meteorological part of the journal, which gives daily wind direction and a bried description of conditions as well as temperatures, starts with 1 January 1831, image 392, and ends with image 634 for June 1837. Unfortunately it stops short of the rebellion of December 1837.

R. B. Crowe's Reconstruction of Toronto Temperatures 1778-1840 Using Various United States and Other Data (pdf) using Dade's and other records appends a tabulation of monthly mean temperature estimates to 1989. The coldest year in that record is 1875, with February being particularly bitter. It was so cold from the 4th to the 19th that the Toronto Observatory issued a special memorandum, reprinted in the Globe, commenting it was twice as long a period of bitter cold as previously recorded, and colder. That year is one of the coldest in not only the St Lawrence record but as far afield as Boston and Chicago.


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Forensic Genealogy Institute

An email arrived from Melissa J. Ellis of www.archivesearch.ca/ who is a director of the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy asking that I give a shout out for the Council's 3-day Forensic Institute. It is being held 7-9 March 2017 in San Antonio, Texas.
There will be a particularly warm welcome for Canadian forensic genealogists attending the Institute.
Find out more at http://www.forensicgenealogists.org/institute/.

London Genealogy Databases Online

In preparation for the Alberta Genealogical Society conference in April I've taken a look at what databases are offered online for London by Ancestry, Deceased Online, FamilySearch, Findmypast, MyHeritage. It's easy to overlook existing resources as new ones come along.
The table below is a consolidated list, organized by number of records. Not included are more comprehensive databases, such as the censuses, that cover a larger area, some cemetery database from the National Archives where number of records is not available and, newspapers. I'm aware of some additional mostly smaller databases, please add specifics as a comment.

TitleCompanyRecords
London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965Ancestry179,071,664
England, London Electoral Registers, 1847-1913FamilySearch17,760,894
London, England, Land Tax Records, 1692-1932Ancestry12,772,584
London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1659-1930Ancestry10,198,397
London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812Ancestry8,844,994
London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921Ancestry7,549,807
London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906Ancestry6,240,093
London, England, Poor Law and Board of Guardian Records, 1430-1930Ancestry3,864,371
London, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980Ancestry2,616,957
London, England, School Admissions and Discharges, 1840-1911Ancestry1,711,929
London Lives, Culture & Society 1680-1817Findmypast1,653,799
Greater London Burial IndexFindmypast1,634,962
Web: London, England, Proceedings of the Old Bailey and Ordinary's Accounts Index, 1674-1913Ancestry1,246,537
London, England, Clandestine Marriage and Baptism Registers, 1667-1754Ancestry894,892
Middlesex, London, Old Bailey Court Records 1674-1913Findmypast786,726
London and Surrey, England, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1597-1921Ancestry750,614
London, Docklands and East End Baptisms, 1558-1933Findmypast668,310
Southwark CemeteriesDeceased Online600,000
Boyd's Inhabitants Of London & Family Units 1200-1946Findmypast583,158
London Apprenticeship Abstracts, 1442-1850Findmypast486,370
Camden CemeteriesDeceased Online470,400
London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1698-1930Ancestry469,314
London, England, Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1930Ancestry463,958
Manor Park CemeteryDeceased Online430,000
Islington CemeteriesDeceased Online425,700
Lewisham CemeteriesDeceased Online385,000
Greenwich CemeteriesDeceased Online371,000
London, England, Overseer Returns, 1863-1894Ancestry294,833
Kensal Green CemeteryDeceased Online257,500
London, England, Stock Exchange Membership Applications, 1802-1924Ancestry256,986
London, Bethlem Hospital Patient Admission Registers and Casebooks 1683-1932Findmypast247,517
Boyd's London BurialsFindmypast242,635
Eltham CrematoriumDeceased Online210,000
Brompton CemeteryDeceased Online205,000
London, England, Selected Rate Books, 1684-1907Ancestry186,366
Newham CemeteriesDeceased Online180,000
Highgate CemeteryDeceased Online166,000
London, England, Marriage Notices from The Times, 1982-2004Ancestry160,046
City Of London, Haberdashers, Apprentices and Freemen 1526-1933Findmypast136,468
London, England, Wills and Probate, 1507-1858Ancestry135,186
London, England, Extracted Church of England Parish RecordsAncestry133,630
London, England, Non-conformist Registers, 1694-1921Ancestry120,699
Spa Fields CemeteryDeceased Online114,000
London, England, Births and Christening Notices from The Times, 1983-2003Ancestry107,315
Merton CemeteriesDeceased Online100,000
London, Docklands and East End Marriages, 1558-1859Findmypast92,250
Havering CemeteriesDeceased Online75,000
Bunhill CemeteryDeceased Online71,100
London Probate IndexFindmypast62,820
Harrow CemeteriesDeceased Online58,700
London, England, Land Tax Valuations, 1910Ancestry44,374
Brent CemeteriesDeceased Online40,000
Surrey and City Of London Livery Company Association Oath Rolls, 1695/96Findmypast32,965
London, England, King's Bench and Fleet Prison Discharge Books and Prisoner Lists, 1734-1862Ancestry32,198
Surrey & South London Will Abstracts, 1470-1856Findmypast29,508
London, England, Marshalsea Prison Commitment and Discharge Books, 1811-1842Ancestry28,849
London, England, Crisp's Marriage Licence Index, 1713-1892Ancestry27,932
Sutton CemeteriesDeceased Online27,500
London, England, Church of England Confirmation Records, 1850-1921Ancestry26,329
London, Westminster Marylebone Census 1821 & 1831Findmypast22,522
London Poor Law Records, 1581-1899Findmypast22,344
London, Dulwich College Register 1619-1926Findmypast18,313
City Of London, Ironmongers, Apprentices and Freemen 1511-1923Findmypast17,822
London Churches, Christening and Baptismal RecordsAncestry15,596
London, England, TS Exmouth Training Ship Records, 1876-1918Ancestry12,107
London County Council Record Of War Service 1914-1918Findmypast10,145
London School RegistersAncestry8,347
London, Watermen, List Of Free Watermen, 1827Findmypast5,448
London Churches, Burials and Deaths RecordsAncestry5,289
London Volunteer SoldiersFindmypast5,271
City Of London, Gunmakers' Company Freedoms and Admissions, 1656-1936Findmypast5,187
London, Archdeaconry Court Of London Wills Index, 1700-1807Findmypast4,687
London, Court Of Husting Will Abstracts, 1258-1688Findmypast3,853
London Consistory Court Depositions Index, 1700-1713Findmypast3,104
London, England, Selected Church of England Parish Registers, 1558-1875Ancestry2,967
London, England, Gamekeepers' Licences, 1727-1839Ancestry2,578
London, Watermen, Admiralty Muster Of The Port Of London, 1628Findmypast2,393
London, Watermen's Petition For The King Charles I, 1648Findmypast2,026
London & Middlesex Will Abstracts, 1700-1704Findmypast1,982
London and Country Directory, 1811Ancestry1,655
London, Watermen, Birth Register Of Contracted Men, 1865-1921Findmypast1,494
London, England, Marriage Licences, 1521-1869Ancestry859
London Marriage Licences 1521 - 1869MyHeritage853
London Post Office Directory, 1829Ancestry730
London, Watermen In Royal Navy, 1803-1809Findmypast629
London, England: St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, Church of England Baptisms, 1628-1690Ancestry525
The London Diocese Book 1890Ancestry522
London Stock Exchange Memorial Roll 1914-1918Findmypast510
A calendar of the marriage licence allegations in the Registry of the Bishop of London : 1597 to 1700Ancestry481
British Army, Lloyds Of London Memorial Roll 1914-1919Findmypast432
University College School, London, Register 1831-1891Ancestry331
The Publications of the Harleian Society, the Parish Registers of St Mary Aldermary, LondonAncestry296
The Dutch Church Registers, Austin Friars London 1571-1874.Ancestry276
Cripplegate Ward, London Aldermen, 1276-1900Ancestry270
Child Apprentices in America from Christ's Hospital, London, 1617-1778Ancestry162
The Religious Census of LondonAncestry135

Quinte Branch OGS: Crouse Wanamaker Lecture

"Taking Root in a New Land" is the topic for the annual Crouse Wanamaker Lecture to be delivered by Cheryl Levy PLCGS on Saturday 21 January 2017 at the Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Drive, Trenton from 1-3pm.
"Immigration and migration must be explored as you build your ancestors' stories. Where did they come from? Why did they move? What was your immigrant ancestor's country of origin?  We will explore early immigration movements, including specific groups and settlement plans, for those who chose to make Canada their new home."
Everyone welcome, bring a friend. For more information visit www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canqbogs/