Saturday, 25 June 2016

Prairie Homestead Grant Registers from Ancestry

Ancestry has added to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada, Homestead Grant Registers, 1872-1930 in searchable and browseable formats.

Within a register, each application for a homestead was recorded as a single-line entry containing the following:

homestead number
date of application
date of grant
land description (part of section, section, township, range, meridian)
area (acreage)
application number
district number
list number

First World War Victoria Cross recipients

Go to to read stories of 175 men from 11 countries who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War.
This UK government site developed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, presumably an organization anticipating significant new responsibilities after the BREXIT vote. It pays tribute to men from, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine and the United States of America.
For Canada there are 70 profiles, whereas the Canadian War Museum website lists 73.  Who is in one list and not the other?
Rowland Bourke who served with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. having lived in Canada before and after the war.
Benjamin Geary, who was awarded the VC for service in the BEF and moved to Canada after the war.
Michael O’Leary who served with the BEF, he lived in Canada before and after the war.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Change of date: Ottawa genealogy meetup

It looks like some people will have a hard time being in two places at once on Saturday, or might have to hurry through what they would prefer to be a four-hour Saturday meeting to make a noon rendezvous at Wesboro Beach.

As the weather for Sunday is looking more favourable than earlier in the week the genealogy meetup will now be on Sunday, 26 June at noon.

Checkout the map at The parkway is closed until 1 p.m. so use the free parking at Lanark and Kirchoffer is coming by car.

Ancestry workshop at Eganville and District Seniors Centre

Lesley Anderson, the most recent inductee into the BIFHSGO Hall of Fame, will be speaking on Ancestry and AncestryDNA this Saturday, 25 June to the Eganville & District Seniors, 30 Bell St. in Eganville, starting at 10 a.m. You do not have to be a Senior to attend. $5 registration fee.

LAC Transcription Project: The Coltman Report

On June 19, 1816 the Battle of Seven Oaks resulted in 22 deaths, and a 521 (534?) page handwritten report on the battle. LAC has produced page images and invites everyone to try transcribing at

As of 10 a.m. on the morning of Thursday 23 June 2016, 110 pages are complete, 164 need review, 6 are incomplete and the remainder not yet started.

I tried and completed a page which had 19 lines, well spaced, quite easy to read. It only took a few minutes.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Dr. Guy Berthiaume two years on

Today, 23 June 2016, marks two years since Dr. Guy Berthiaume assumed the role of Librarian and Archivist of Canada.

Last year, here, I wrote about some of the changes implemented and planned. I can't say I've followed every development. Under his leadership LAC has continued to improve its public visibility, gained respect for funding two rounds of the Documentary Heritage Communities Program, reversed a decision to no longer circulate newspaper microfilms, and taken on numerous cooperative programs including an agreement with the Ottawa Public Library with a view to developing a combined facility, and more.

In a speech earlier this month in Halifax, one I commend to anyone interested in the future of libraries, Dr. Berthiaume quoted from The New Yorker: "For leadership to exist, a leader must cross paths with a crisis." He was referring to the experience of the library community in general. He inherited a crisis at LAC. The simple fact of morale recovering since he assumed the role, and remaining generally high, speaks volumes.

A unique historic government fonds LAC refused

Every now and again I look at LAC's mandate and wonder. In case you don't have it memorized here it is:

  • to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations;
  • to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada as a free and democratic society;
  • to facilitate in Canada co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge;
  • to serve as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.
Why, quite some time before the tenure of the present Librarian and Archivist, would several hundred volumes of correspondence, letterbooks, and journals related to Canadian history between 1828 and 1967, including almost 900 archival boxes (an estimated 1.6 million pages) containing all of a government agency records between 1840 and 1960 not be something LAC would see as its responsibility to have in its collection?

Perhaps because the records relate to a scientific endeavour, those of the weather service, officially the Meteorological Service of Canada, now part of Environment and Climate Change Canada. Perhaps LAC isn't comfortable with science? That's a shame. Science and engineering have records that are just as much part of our documentary heritage as the humanities -- music, photographs and the papers of politicians, writers and artists.

The University of Western Ontario to the rescue. Read about how that university acquired (on loan) the records and how they are being stored and used at In truth they're probably more valued and being used as a basis for study at UWO than they would have been at LAC.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

AncestryDNA now has two million tested 

Here's the text of a blog post from AncestryDNA.

We are excited to announce that AncestryDNA has just reached the 2-million-tested milestone. This is a first for any consumer genetic testing company. It was just a little over 11 months ago that we reached the 1 million mark, so the AncestryDNA database has doubled in just short of one year. We now have 2,000,000 people genotyped (DNA tested) who are connecting to family and making discoveries of their own. 


Ottawa Public Library consultation at Library and Archives Canada

A reminder about the opportunity to have your say about the proposed new new Ottawa Central Library on Wednesday 22 June from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at 395 Wellington Street.

Read the background at

George Vancouver and the DCB

On this day celebrate the birthday of son of Norfolk, King's Lynn to be precise, George Vancouver. Without him Vancouver Island and the City of Vancouver would not exist . . . by that name.

Some would have us believe it was only the Scots and Irish that built Canada!

You can read about George Vancouver in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography here.

The DCB project from the University of Toronto and the Université Laval provides a reference work of Canadian biography for thousands who have contributed to the history of Canada. It's a resource a genealogist may not find useful every day, but good to know about.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Genealogy Roadshow: from Providence RI

This is a reminder to myself, having missed an episode, that 8 p.m. EDT Tuesday on PBS is an appointment to watch Genealogy Roadshow. This week it's from Providence, Rhode Island with stories involving the Holocaust, WWI, Amish ties, whaling and pasta. See the 30 second preview here.
This is also an opportunity to mention that in just under a year's time, 16-18 June 2017, Roadshow host Joshua Taylor is one of the star speakers at the OGS Conference in Ottawa.

Advance notice: Ottawa summer genealogy meetup

The weather forecast looks promising enough that I'm scheduling the fifth annual Ottawa summer genealogy meet-up next Saturday, 25 June on the patio at the cafe at Westboro beach from noon. It's informal chat, no need to prepare unless you want to swim afterwards.

The forecast is sunny, light wind and high 25. Bring protection from the sun.

Checkout the map at, If you come by car consider parking at the north end of Lanark Ave at Kirchoffer Ave and taking the tunnel under the parkway.