Saturday, 17 March 2018

OGS weekly eNewsletter

Along with the regular content of OGS-interest news in today's St Patrick themed weekly eNewsletter comes a shout-out on the 12h anniversary of Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections earlier this week. Thanks OGS, and to others who also sent greetings and appreciation.
One of the other OGS eNewsletter items this week is about TONI, The Ontario Name Index, an OGS name-based index to Ontario records which continues to grownow more than 5.2 million name references. The news item highlights three new TONI sources, some of which are pending the implementation on the new OGS website.
The free OGS weekly eNewsletter is—freeexcellent value—you don't need to be an OGS member to receive it. Subscribe from the form near the bottom of the page at
Organizations with news of genealogical interest, particularly for Ontario genealogists, are invited to send it for possible (likely) inclusion by sending it to

The Irish in Upper Canada, 1819-1840

A tip of the hat to blog reader Patrick Doyle for bringing to my attention a recent University of Toronto PhD thesis, "Unsettled Settlers: Irish Catholics, Irish Catholicism, and British loyalty in Upper Canada, 1819-1840" by Laura Smith. It examines the role of Roman Catholicism in the process by which Irish Catholics integrated into Upper Canadian society in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Patrick writes that the manuscript has enabled him to gain a much better appreciation of the socio-religious context of his 19th century Irish Catholic ancestors' early lives in the Ottawa Valley.

Theses are an often overlooked resource for the family historian and the literature search required for such academic studies can also bring to light obscure sources.

The text is quite long - nearly 400 pages - so to read it be prepared to set aside a good chunk of time.

However, lacking the time you can still browse the references, and having it online means you can search words or phrases, names and places of personal interest.

St Patrick's Day 1838

George Cruikshank's illustration for the 1838 editions of the Comic Almanack shows a St Patrick's Day brawl.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Two additions to GGI Belfast 2018 on YouTube

In DNA, Clans & Monarchy, the most recent You-Tube post from Genetic Genealogy Ireland Belfast 2018, Brad Larkin explores the DNA of Irish Clans and Kings and, starting at about 28 minutes, what is known about the DNA of the Royal Houses of Britain. The focus is Y-DNA. You need to be well into the history to absorb the detail, especially where the presentation skips over and around slides.
In a single stream event it's good to have the speaker link back to previous presentations. Brad Larkin does that referring to James Irvine's presentation Y-DNA of a Scots-Irish Diaspora, the second new YouTube post.  The one-name study which is the basis is another case where the detail of the surname and variant lines is more than most need to know—the value is in learning from the techniques developed and employed should you choose to embark on the slippery slope of a one-name study.

FreeBMD March Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 15 March 2018 to contain 266,897,565 (266,393,467 last update) distinct records. Major additions this month are, for births 1963-4, 1978-83; for marriages 1965-6, 1979-80, 1982-3; for deaths 1858, 1981-2.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

CEF Service Files Update for March 2018

As of 15 March 2018 there are 568,203 (555,443 last month) of 640,000 files available online in the LAC Personnel Records of the First World War database.
The latest box digitized is 9,700 (9,467) and last name Timson (Swindells).
At the last month's rate the last file will be online in September.

LAC posted a creative graphic for Pi Day showing how the digitization has progressed year by year.

Gene-O-Rama 2018

I final reminder that Friday, 16 March is the deadline for discount registration for Gene-O-Rama 2018. Read all about it at

$1 million to support Canadian digitization

The National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) has issued a progress report dated 14 March 2018. Read it here.
A significant announcement is that thanks to an anonymous donor NHDS will be launching a funding program in the near future. The program will distribute $1 million to cultural heritage organizations in Canada to support digitization.
Also the first set of newspapers from the Salamander Foundation funded pilot project has been digitized, almost 600 issues of Windspeaker, a weekly publication or the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta.  They are from 1986-87 to 2015.
At present the issues are available through a spreadsheet listing as searchable pdfs. Each must be searched individually. LAC is developing a search interface to provide better browsing and full-text search of the material. It also continues to digitize another 1000 issues from two other publications in the pilot project.
I wondered how good the digitization is. Here from an issue chosen at random using a search for "weather" are the first three paragraphs from the article found

horseback poker rally
postponed because of the
weather was held on May
24th. It was a wonderful
Organized by the Fishing
Lake Recreation committee,
the rally was the first of
it's kind in the part of the
All 29 riders who participated
in the ride were from
the settlement making this
a good fun community

Looks pretty good.

Finally, the NHDS has released a draft content strategy (3 pages) to help guide potential funding projects, a discovery platform and organizational decision-making. NHDS is seeking feedback to help in determining priorities through response to a survey by April 6th, 2018.

Here are the survey questions and my recommended priority responses. It doesn't take much time.

1. What PUBLISHED MATERIAL most urgently needs digitization in your community?
RECOMMENDED highest priority Newspapers.
2. What ARCHIVAL MATERIAL most urgently needs digitization in your community?
RECOMMENDED highest priority Archival material of genealogical interest
3. What FORMATS most urgently need digitization in your community?
RECOMMENDED highest priority Textual documents followed by At-risk material, then Microfilm and microfiche.
4. Why would you prioritize this material and these formats?
Response: Of most interest to my community.

I recommend priorizing material of widest interest.

Churches of East Anglia

In the four years since last profiled this site has continued to expand.
Cambridgeshire now includes 280 churches; Essex 308; Norfolk 910 and Suffolk 704. There's also a shorter list of London City Churches.
If you have any connection to a church profiled take a look at Simon Knott's description. The Eastern Daily Press magazine comment they are "Beautifully written, but insightful and entertaining, in a similar vein to Bill Bryson."
Start at

Kingston Branch OGS March Meeting: Irish Settlement of the Ottawa Valley

Dr. Bruce Elliott will speak on "Irish Settlement of the Ottawa Valley" to the Kingston Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society on Saturday, March 17th.
His award winning book Irish Migrants in the Canadas is a standard work in the field.
The meeting starts at 9:45 a.m. sharp at the Kingston Seniors Centre, 56 Francis St.
Visitors always welcome.
Further details at

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

AncestryDNA St Patrick Offer

You can order an AncestryDNA test during the St Patrick Day sale here.
The price is $99 CAD which includes taxes but excludes shipping. The offer ends March 18, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
While this is not as good a deal as the FTDNA sale you also have to take into account that AncestryDNA has a much larger database and that you can transfer results from AncestryDNA, but not to it.

Celebrating 12 Years Blogging

There are now over 9,000 posts on this blog since it started on this date in 2006. They're fully searchable. That's often how I find information I don't quite remember!
Thanks for your continued support, especially to those who pass along tips on family history events and items of interest.

Predicting places from names in the UK

You've probably looked at distribution maps for surnames in your family tree. is freely available and for the UK there's
There's an interesting new site, part of a University College London research project, which looks at the distribution of two names together showing where a couple or friends with those two surnames might have met. It's an alpha quality product and they're asking for feedback.
I tried with two names, one strong in parts of Scotland, one mainly from the London area. The resulting map highlighted both areas -- hardly surprising. London happened to be where they met.
You can also look at the distribution of single surnames on a database which may be more current than available elsewhere.

Quinte Branch OGS March Meeting

On Saturday, 17 March at 1 pm accept an invitation to hear Cheryl Levy, PLCGS, speak on Using Census Clues to Build a Blended Family.
Census records provide many clues to further our research. Each column contains valuable information essential to identifying the household members listed on census night. Learn to uncover the details needed to confirm their identities.
The meeting is at Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Drive, Trenton, ON.

Further Quinte Branch information is at

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

YouTube: Using autosomal DNA to maximum effect

Now posted, the video of a presentation at the Genetic Genealogy Ireland event in Belfast last month by Scottish genealogist Michelle Leonard.
I found this to be a particularly clear presentation. The video and audio quality on the YouTube recording are excellent. Most will not have a problems with the accent or fast pace delivery because of the accompanying slides. Recommended.