Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Footnote in Canadian Military History

Harry B. Little's grave is the only one with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone in the Lutheran Cemetery at Czar, Alberta. 

Little died 10 days after the start of the First World War, the first man serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force to die. While the circumstances were not militarily glorious, he died of a heart attack in the train heading east having left Edmonton just a few hours earlier, he gets the same dignified recognition as all other casualties.

Both his father and grandfather had seen service in Canada with the British Army.

The headstone is set apart, about 20 yards north of the hilltop entrance to the cemetery, no longer the main entrance as stated in the CWGC report.

Little was one of the many British immigrants who joined up early with the CEF. Born in Stroud, on the edge of the scenic Cotswolds, his grave site has a certain Prairie charm.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Alberta Genealogical Society Conference: Day 2

It was a shock to open the bedroom curtains in the hotel in Edmonton to this sight on Sunday. This doesn't happen in Ottawa on St George's Day which is also Shakespeare's birthday. I obviously could not start my first presentation with the quote "Now is our winter of discontent made glorious summer ..."

With three presentations to give my perspective on the conference was limited. I enjoyed giving all the presentations on London Burials, British WW2 Child Evacuees to Canada and British Newspapers.

I did manage to attend the opening plenary by Kyle Betit on his experience with WDYTYA, the US TV program. ProGenealogists, the part of Ancestry in which he is involved, spends an average of 600 hours researching each episode, starting with building a family tree back 4 generations. These days the celebrities (or their agents) come of WDYTYA to be involved whereas for the first few series they had to be solicited.

Along the way Kyle mentioned that AncestryDNA now has 4 million tests completed, up from 3 million in January.

Thank's to the Alberta Genealogical Society for allowing me to be part of their event.

BIFHSGO Conference 2017 Speakers

With an enjoyable Alberta Genealogical Society conference just ended, and the Ontario Genealogical Society conference in Ottawa in June somehow the BIFHSGO conference seems a long way away. Registration doesn't even open until 1 May.
There was a deliberate decision made this year not to program any of the OGS conference speakers which meant declining some proposals that would certainly be accepted otherwise.
Keynote speaker Celia Heritage has never spoken here before. Celia is a regular at WDYTYA? Live. Paul Milner got rave reviews last time he spoke to BIFHSGO so was invited back. Rounding out the out-of-town contingent is James F. S. Thomson, one of my personal favourites.
BIFHSGO is fortunate to have local people to profile, all of whom have spoken before, adding to the diversity and strength of the program.
Find out more about BIFHSGO Conference 2017 at https://bifhsgo.ca/aem.php?eid=8

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Ancestry Updates Obituary Collections

Canada, Obituary Collection, 1898-2015, 1,266,544 records
UK and Ireland, Obituary Index, 2004-2017, 1,077,844 records

are the most recent updates to the Ancestry obituary collections.

The US and Australia & New Zealand collections are also updated.

Alberta Genealogical Society Conference: Day 1

Congratulations to the organizers of the Alberta Genealogical Society conference being held in Edmonton this weekend, billled as "Ye Olde Genealogy Faire". The venue was expertly decorated on the theme by members of the Red Deer Branch.

Some of the presenters, including David and Celia Tyler from Raymond, Alberta, were dressed for the occasion.

The attendence was a record for the society, 300 counting presenters and exhibitors.

Winner of the Ancestry door prize for a 0ne year full Ancestry subscription was Solveig Anderson.

Aside for the organizers the hardest working person at the event was Diahan Southard who gave three presentations and the evening banquet talk.

St George`s Day Feast

It`s 23 April. Celebrate St George`s Day in style

What more appropriate than a serving of fish and chips


Saturday, 22 April 2017

Findmypast updates Easter Rising & Ireland Under Martial Law 1916-1921

With this addition of over 76,000 records this database now totals 204,630 records. Findmypast describe them as "prisoner lists, case files, search reports, court-martials and much more."

Dig slightly further and read that

 "created in partnership with The National Archives in London and contains 91 pieces from their WO35 series, War Office: Army of Ireland: Administration and Easter Rising Records. The pieces from the collection (from WO 35 and HO 144) include court-martial registers, reports of the events of Easter Rising week, search and raid reports, files of civilians tried by court-martial, and internment camp and prison registers."

"What We Leave Behind." War Memory, Vimy Ridge and the British Commonwealth

The Ottawa Historical Association,
in collaboration with
Library and Archives Canada, presents a lecture:

"What We Leave Behind."
War Memory, Vimy Ridge and the British Commonwealth 

by Robert Engen, Assistant Professor, Royal Military College of Canada,
and Andrew Horrall, Senior Archivist, Library and Archives Canada.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.
395 Wellington Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
Library and Archives Canada

Register at www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/about-us/events/Pages/Event%20Registration.aspx?eventid=22

Presentation in English
This free lecture is open to the public.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Newspapers.com adds Guardian and Observer

British newspapers available on newspapers.com make a quantum leap with the addition of the Guardian and Observer -- 1,094,632 pages from editions between 1821-2003.

Gordon Flowerdew, home child?

Following on yesterday's post about the Yarmouth Independent becoming available on the British Newspaper Archive, I took the opportunity to check it out at the Ottawa City Archives. BIFHSGO has purchased a subscription for use by visitors to the Archives .
This article about Eric Flowerdew and his wife, successful poultry farmers in BC, caught my attention.  He came from a large Norfolk farming family, and served with British Forces during the First World War arriving in Canada shortly thereafter.
The article, from April 1927, ends with the advice that "Canadian farmers want real workers. For that class there is every chance. Others had better stay away."
A name like Flowerdew is one we all wish we had to research. Google popped up one Gordon Flowerdew, Eric's older brother, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
His biography in the DCB ends "Flowerdew is of some interest both for the way he lived and for the manner of his death. Like many other young Britons, he had come to Canada at the turn of the century to seek his fortune without giving up his British roots and had volunteered to fight for the empire in 1914. Tragically, but also typically, he died carrying on a military tradition centuries-old but set in a different, industrialized style of warfare."
Gordon Flowerdale arrived in Canada in 1903, one of the pre-war immigrants from Britain I'll be speaking about at the Alberta Genealogical Society conference this week end. He appears in the Home Child database on the LAC website but given his age on immigration, 18, and background he doesn't fit the profile of the typical home child.