Monday, 29 August 2016

Please help with research on family history research and its impact?

Dr Tanya Evans from the Department of Modern History at Macquarie University in Australia is seeking help. She will be in Ottawa, based at Carleton University, in early to mid-October doing field work for a study of the practice and meanings of family history in Australia, Canada and England, its role in identity formation and the development of historical consciousness since the beginning of the 20th century.

Here's her call:

Calling all family historians who have spent years researching their family trees. I am interested in learning about the motivations for your family history research and the impact of your discoveries. Would you like to participate in an oral history interview about your research, answer a questionnaire about your practice of family history and perhaps participate in a focus group to discuss the impact of family history on your life? If you are interested in participating and want to find out more about the project please get in touch with Dr Tanya Evans at Macquarie University

The project has been approved by the Macquarie University Human Research Ethics Committee. Only the Chief Investigator, Dr Tanya Evans will have access to the data and you may withdraw at any time without having to give a reason and without consequence.

Hear a 2012 lecture by Tanya Evans ‘Memory and Material Culture in the History of the Family in Colonial Australia’.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

FamilySearch adds England, Lancashire, Oldham Cemetery Registers, 1797-2004

Find records indexed and searchable for 516,231 deceased persons in this new database from FamilySearch. Links to original record images are available.
The collection contains cemetery registers from Hollinwood, Failsworth, Royton, Crompton, Chadderton, Lees, and Greenacres cemeteries in Oldham. Most registers contain, name, address, date of death, date of burial and burial location.

Chadderton Cemetery lies 2.4km west-north-west of Oldham town centre and is c 13ha in area. One of two Oldham cemeteries grade two listed as a  site of national importance, it opened in 1857. Described as a High Victorian cemetery it has a "good collection of C19 and C20 funerary monuments which reflect the development of Oldham."
There was an unusual "wrong box" event when 84 year old Caleb Walsh was placed in a coffin meant for a Mrs Jones who died on the same day at the Oldham workhouse. The mistake was discovered but not before the burial was complete. The burial is in this record set with no indication there was a disinterment, which at the time required Home Secretary permission, and no record of reburial in another cemetery which was the family preference.
Crompton Cemetery, which opened in 1891 is the resting place for 37 persons in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) database.
Failsworth Cemetery, opened 1887 contains 38 CWGC graves. There is an adjacent Jewish cemetery.
Greenacres Cemetery,  on the north-west side of the Medlock Valley.  was designed by Manchester architect N G Pennington who also designed Chadderton Cemetery. Opened in 1857, like Chadderton it is a grade two site of national importance. During WW2 is was the site of burials of German POWs buried with Nazi honours.
Hollinwood Cemetery, opened in 1889, the site of the Oldham Crematorium, is the resting place of 80 CWGC interments. The first burial was Lewis Wrench on 23rd November 1889.
Lees Cemetery, opened in 1879,The first burial was Seth Connor, a 13 year old cotton worker, on 13th January 1879.
Royton Cemetery, opened in 1879. The first burial was 4th October 1879 of 53 year old Marth(a) Fitton. It has 36 CWGC graves.

Oldham Council also has a database, without register images, for these cemeteries, and for Oldham Crematorium, at

The image is the entrance to Chadderton Cemetery, on Middleton Road (A669). © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Call for Presentations: OGS Webinar Series 2017

The following is an announcement of opportunity from the Ontario Genealogical Society drawn to my attention by Mike Quackenbush, Director at Large of OGS who usually chairs the webinars. Don't be deterred if you know next to nothing about Ontario genealogy. While there is naturally an emphasis on Ontario-specific topics there is also scope for proposals from outside the province, and outside Canada, on relevant generic (and genetic!) genealogy proposals.

The Ontario Genealogical Society is now accepting proposals for the OGS Monthly Webinar Series 2017. We are looking for a wide range of one-hour webinar presentations.

We invite proposals on a wide range of topics, in particular:

Ontario-specific topics (laws, records, land, history, etc.)
Ethnic research (Scottish, Irish, English, African-Canadian, German, etc.)
Canadian military research
Loyalist research
Ontario land research
DNA/genetic genealogy
Methodology and skill-building
Technology and trends in genealogy
Interesting case studies (Ontario specific)
Organization and project/time management

Selected speakers receive an honorarium for each webinar presentation.
Speakers may submit up to three proposals for consideration. All submissions will be reviewed and only those who are selected will be contacted by October 10, 2016.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: October 2, 2016 - Noon (12:00 PM ET) If you have any questions please contact:

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Rockstar Genealogist nominations are open

Nominations are open for the 2016 edition, the 5th year, of Rockstar Genealogist. Below is a list of those pre-nominated, mainly based on previous years omitting names of those who received few votes last year. The list is open for further nominations until noon EDT Friday 2 September. Do so by posting a comment below. Voting starts on 3 September.

Rockstar genealogists are those who give "must attend" presentations at family history conferences or as webinars, who when you see a new family history article or publication by that person, makes it a must buy. If you hang on their every word on a blog, podcast or newsgroup, or follow avidly on Facebook or Twitter they are likely Rockstar candidates.

Anyone on the list who would prefer not to be ranked please let me know at johndreid at gmail dot com. Your name will appear, so voters will understand it isn't an omission, with an indication that any votes will not be tabulated. That's the case with Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Here's advice for those wanting to make additional nominations. Each year nominations are received for local genealogy heroes who don't gather very many votes. Each year those without a national and usually international profile fail to make the final rankings. Frivolous nominations will be rejected at my sole discretion including those who cannot be found through a Google search using the name and the word genealogy.

The nominees are:

Lisa Alzo (USA)
Lesley Anderson (CAN)
Jen Baldwin (USA)
Jill Ball (ANZ)
Nick Barratt (UK)
Kyle Betit (USA)
Claire Bettag (USA)
Kenyatta D. Berry (USA)
Blaine Bettinger (USA)
Warren Bittner (USA)
Ruth Blair (CAN)
Paul Blake (UK)
Katherine Borges (USA)
Joe Buggy (IRE)
Ruth Burkholder (CAN)
Peter Calver (UK)
Pauleen Cass (ANZ)
Colin Chapman (UK)
Shannon Christmas (USA)
Else Churchill (UK)
Kristin Cleage (USA)
John Philip Colletta (USA)
Audrey Collins (UK)
Lisa Louise Cooke (USA)
Kitty Cooper (USA)
Crista Cowen (USA)
Amy Crow (USA)
Schelly Talalay Dardashti (OTH) (USA)
Jackie Depelle (UK)
Gail Dever (CAN)
Richard M Doherty (USA)
William Dollarhide (USA)
Brian Donovan (IRE)
Marie Dougan (UK)
Bruce Durie (UK)
Daniel Earl (CAN)
Dick Eastman (USA)
Valerie S. Elkins (USA)
Roberta Estes (USA)
Kerry Farmer (ANZ)
Janet Few (UK)
Colleen Fitzpatrick (USA)
Fiona Fitzsimons (IRE)
Michael Gandy (UK)
Heather Garnsey (ANZ)
Maurice Gleeson (UK) (IRE)
Chris Goopy (ANZ)
Paul Gorry (IRE)
Julie Goucher (UK)
Jan Gow (ANZ)
Kirsty Gray (UK)
Bennett Greenspan (USA)
John Grenham (IRE)
Diane Haddad (USA)
Michael Hait (USA)
Alison Hare (CAN)
Celia Heritage (UK)
Jean Wilcox Hibben (USA)
Shauna Hicks (ANZ)
Kathryn Lake Hogan (CAN)
Yvette Hoitink (OTH)
Daniel Horowitz (OTH)
Paul Howes (UK)
Cyndi Ingle (USA)
Sherry Irvine (CAN)
Tim Janzen (USA)
Hank Z. Jones (USA)
Paul Jones (CAN)
Tamura Jones (USA)
Thomas W. Jones (USA)
Debbie Kennett (UK)
Tessa Keough (USA)
Martyn Killion (ANZ)
Turi King (UK)
Taneya Koonce (USA)
Rosemary Kopittke (ANZ)
Michael D. Lacopo (USA)
Peggy Lauritzen (USA)
Michael J. Leclerc (USA)
J. Mark Lowe (USA)
Dan Lynch (USA)
Thomas MacEntee (USA)
Jane MacNamara (CAN)
Rosalind McCutcheon (IRE)
David McDonald (USA)
Ken McKinlay (CAN)
Leland Meitzler (USA)
Brenda Dougall Merriman (CAN)
Elizabeth Shown Mills (USA, not tabulated)
Paul Milner (USA)
CeCe Moore (USA)
George G. Morgan (USA)
Stephen P. Morse (USA)
Janice Nickerson (CAN)
Maria Northcote (ANZ)
Dave Obee (CAN)
Lynn Palermo (CAN)
Michelle Patient (ANZ)
Israel Pickholtz (OTH)
Gena Philibert Ortega (USA)
Chris Paton (UK)
Marian Pierre-Louis (USA)
David Pike (CAN)
Chris Pomery (UK)
Elissa Scalise Powell (USA)
Kimberly Powell (USA)
Laura Prescott (USA)
Marian Press (CAN)
Rebecca Probert (UK)
Tony Proctor (UK)
Terrence Punch (CAN)
Mike Quackenbush (CAN)
Geoff Rasmussen (USA)
Linda Reid (CAN)
David Rencher (USA)
Pat Richley-Erickson (USA)
Christine Rose (USA)
William Roulston (UK), (IRE)
Judy G. Russell (USA)
Claire Santry (IRE)
Gary Schroder (CAN)
Lorine McGinnis Schulze (CAN)
George K. Schweitzer (USA)
Craig Scott (USA)
Randy Seaver (USA)
Jayne Shrimpton (UK)
Joseph Shumway (USA)
Drew Smith (USA)
Helen V Smith (ANZ)
Marian L. Smith (USA)
Megan Smolenyak (USA)
Steven C. Smyrl (IRE)
Diahan Southard (USA)Louise St. Denis (CAN)
Roy Stockdill (UK)
Paula Stuart-Warren (USA)
Geoff Swinfield (UK)
Loretto (Lou) Szucs (USA)
James Tanner (USA)
Jane Taubman (USA)
D. Joshua Taylor (USA)
Kerryn Taylor  (ANZ)
Maureen Taylor (USA)
Mary M. Tedesco (USA)
Alona Tester (ANZ)
James F.S. Thomson (CAN)
John Titford (UK)
Alec Tritton (UK)
Helen Tovey (UK)
Judy Webster (ANZ)
Sharn White (ANZ)
Kirsty Wilkinson(UK)
Katherine R. Willson (USA)
Curt B. Witcher (USA)
Russ Worthington (USA)
Glenn Wright (CAN)
Christine Woodcock (CAN)

Friday, 26 August 2016

Digitising Welsh Published Collections

A blog post from the National Library of Wales reports that they have now completed digitizing and making searchable and viewable 1.1 million pages of their newspaper collection, dating from 1804 to 1919.

They are now moving on to digitisation of Welsh books or books published about Wales "which will create a fantastic searchable resource of Welsh and Welsh interest books for the Library’s users, making thousands of long out of print books available to the public again."

Meanwhile at Library and Archives Canada . . .

With the WW1 CEF service file digitization project sucking up most of the oxygen for digitization at LAC I'm coming around to the view in a recent blog post by Allana Mayer that the  “amalgamation” of library and archives is code for erasure of the library activity.

Free access to Ancestry UK and Ireland records

Access to the records in the featured collections from Ancestry, including all the census records, will be free until Monday 29 August 2016 at 23:59 BST -- 18.59 EDT.

The small print - to view these records you will need to register for free with with your name and email address. We will then send you a username and password to access the records. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using an paid membership. To see a full list of the records in the featured collections please click here.

I suspect there will be automatic access for and .ca subscribers.

Ancestry adds Medway, Kent, England, Poor Law Union Records, 1836-1937

These Poor Law Union Records, for Hoo, Medway and Strood, comprise 74 Poor Law Union registers. Most are admission and discharge registers for institutions such as workhouses, schools, and hospitals. There are some creed registers and birth and death records as well as registers showing days of residence by week. Records with birth dates after 1916 have been excluded for privacy reasons.
The original records are in the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, Chatham, Kent, England.

LAC maps and cartographic material online almost doubles

When I looked in February Library and Archives Canada had 5,559 items online classified as maps and cartographic material. Now there are 10,956 items, an impressive 12.6 percent of the 87,159 items in the collection. The bsr graph shows availability by decade.
The David Rumsey Map Collection sets the standard in the field claiming over 71,000 maps and images online, up from 66,000 in February. One useful feature of the Rumsey site that would be an asset for LAC is a list of recent additions so that they don`t necessarily fly under the radar.
For the London genealogists one of Rumsey`s recent additions is high quality maps from the Charles Booth Poverty Map Series. The resolution is of high enough quality you can read every word.;

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Grandma’s Genes Swab-A-Thon this Saturday

A reminder about Mags Gaulden's event, the Grandma’s Genes Swab-A-Thon, this Saturday August  27, 2016 from 2-4pm at Bowman’s Bar and Grill at 1170 Carling Ave –  across from the Royal Ottawa Hospital.
There will be an informal overview of the how’s and why’s of DNA and help with your DNA sample(s).
It’s $5.00 at the door which includes the overview, swab and the bulk mailing fees (test fees – starting at $99USD will be done separately via credit card on site).

If you're looking for a more in-depth presentation sign up for my free Ottawa Public Library session Exploring Your Family Roots Using DNA at the Nepean Centrepointe library, Saturday, 24 September, 2016 - 10:00am.

Book Review: First We Were Soldiers, the long march to Perth

This 2015 book by Perth historian Ron W. Shaw falls into two parts. The first 99 pages are devoted to the soldering part, a description of the organization and life of the British Army as it was constituted and served during the period up until the end of the War of 1812.  Not being a military historian, and having no ancestry that I know of involved in the military of the period, this was all new material to me. Except, I've just read Shaw's 2012 book Forgotten Hero: Alexander Fraser, co-authored with M.E. Irene Spence, and find much of the military material repeated word for word from the previous book. However, there is lots of other content new to me including material on the transition of the settlers to Perth and its early development. I appreciated the maps to help those of us not familiar with the relative locations of the townships.
A short section on pages 79 and 80 referring to "the year without a summer" grabbed my attention as a former meteorologist. "Global temperatures (in 1816) dropped by an average of 2 degrees, but in Perth Upper Canada, they were 10 degrees below average." There is no reference the closest being to an article in an unspecified May 1887 issue of the Toronto Mail, 70 years later.  There were no official weather observations at the time and the land only having just been surveyed what was the basis for an average?
The second part of the book provides short, typically five page biographies of some of the soldier-settlers in the Perth Military Settlement. They are: Captain Francis Tito LeLièvre (1755-1830); Captain Francis Tito LeLievre (1755 - 1830); Captain Joshua Adams (1770 to 1863); Captain William Marshall (1774 - 1864); Surgeon Alexander Thom, (1775 to 1848); Lieutenant  Thomas Consitt (1773 to 1862 ); Lieutenant Andrew William Playfair (1790 - 1868); Lieutenant Alexander Fraser (1789 - 1872); Lieutenant Benjamin DeLisle (1792 - c1860); Lieutenant Roderick Matheson (1793 - 1873); Lieutenant Christopher James Bell (1795 to 1836 ); Colour Sergeant Alexander Cameron (1787 - 1859); Colour Sergeant Jacob Hollinger (1781 to c1825); Quarter Master Sergeant Thomas Echlin Sr (1748 - 1845); Sergeant John Balderson (1784 - 1852); Sergeant James Quigley (1788 - 1827); Corporal Thomas Norris (1781 - c1865); Corporal William Tansley Bygrove (1792 - 1882); Private William Burrows (1783 - c1834); Private William Henry Horrocks (1789 - 1880); Private John Truelove (1789 - c1840); Private Benoit Darou (c1788 - 1861); Private Denis Richard Noonan (1775 - 1833); Private Thomas  Kirkham  1792 - 1881); Private Samuel Dixon (1784 - c1855); Dragoon John Greenley (1775 - 1854).
Anyone descended from or connected to these settlers will want to read these. However, the book lacks an index, especially a name index so you won't find the nuggets of information about connections to other Perth area ancestors unless you read through the text. An index helps sell the book and while making it isn't difficult it is laborious. That omission, along with Shaw's tendency to give incomplete references, or no references at all, is my main issue with this otherwise valuable book.

First We Were Soldiers, The Long March To Perth  By Ron W. Shaw is published in softcover by the author and Friesen Press of Victoria, B.C. in  6" by 9" format, 336 pages.

This review is based on a copy provided by