Saturday, 15 December 2018

2021 Census of England and Wales

The 2021 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales is planned to take place on 21 March 2021.

Some of the highlights from a press release are:

The recommendations include the proposal that, for the first time, the 2021 Census for England and Wales will be predominantly online.  The Office for National Statistics (ONS) intends to make it easy to respond online on all devices, including mobiles and tablets, with Assisted Digital face-to-face help available for those who need it. Paper questionnaires will also be available.

With every census we undertake, consideration is given to new questions which should be added to provide information which is not available from elsewhere. The 2021 Census will, for the first time, collect information on veterans of the UK armed forces. This enables monitoring of the Armed Forces Covenant – the deal between the country and those who served it.

There will be questions on gender identity (while keeping the existing question on sex) and sexual orientation for those aged 16 and over. As with the question on religious affiliation introduced in the 2001 Census, we believe these new questions should be voluntary and no individual should have to answer these questions if they prefer not to. The Government and UK Statistics Authority will now consider the appropriate mechanism to ensure this is the case.

We will continue to ask questions on key themes including carers, demography, education, ethnicity and national identity, health, housing, labour market, language, migration and citizenship, and religion. A full list of topics is available within the White Paper (page 32).

As well as adding a new Roma tick-box to the ethnic topic in recognition of the specific needs of the Roma community ONS will be making it easier for everyone to identify as they wish through the development of “search-as-you-type” capability.

Read the White Paper.

Findmypast focus on Portsmouth

There are seven separate collections in this week's release of Portsmouth records from Findmypast, all indexed and linked to the images of the original.

Hampshire, Portsmouth, Portsea Island Rate Books
Search through over a million pages of poor rate books from as early as the 1700 through to the 1921. The books recorded the amount of rates paid at each property, ownership of the property, and its location in the parishes of Portsea and Portsmouth. Discover the history of an ancestral home, today. With each record you will find a transcript of the vital facts and an image of the original rate poor.

Poor rate books were records of the amount of rates paid and by whom. Rates were levied annually and collected from both property owners and occupiers. The money was used for local poor relief. The Poor Law Act of 1598 made the parish responsible for the poor. The original records are held at the Portsmouth History Centre.

Hampshire, Portsmouth Hospital Records
Search this fascinating collection of assorted hospital records and medical journals from St James Hospital between 1878 and 1918. At that time, the hospital was known as the Portsmouth Lunatic Asylum. Each result will give you a transcript of the vital facts and an image of the original hospital document. Images may provide you with even more information including condition and treatment.

The Portsmouth Hospital Records have been digitised by Findmypast from the collection held by the Portsmouth History Centre. The collection includes a range of documents from the years St James Hospital operated as the city's lunatic asylum including civil registers, deaths, indexes to admissions and discharges, maintenance ledgers, patient notes, registers of discharge and transfers.

Patient notes recorded the individual's progress from their condition when they first entered the hospital and how or if the person improved. You will find notes such as, 'delusions of grandeur', 'excited', 'clean', or one patient was recorded as claiming she was the 'Queen of Brighton'.

Hampshire, Portsmouth Police Staff Records, 1908-1924
Discover English police heritage in this collection of police records from Portsmouth. The collection has been digitised by Findmypast from the records held at the Portsmouth History Centre. The Portsmouth Police Service was formed in January 1836. The city had its own police force from 1836 until 1967. The city's fire brigade was also a branch of the police force when it was first formed.

With every results you will find an image of the original document and a transcript of the vital facts. The transcripts may include a combination of the officer's age, birth year and birth place as well as their trade or calling, years of service and dates of appointment and discharge. Images may contain a variety of additional details including physical descriptions, photographic portraits, service histories and reasons for discharge/retirement.

Hampshire, Portsmouth Quarter Sessions Browse
Explore thousands of criminal records from these court Quarter Sessions, discover Portsmouth people caught up in a criminal activity. Findmypast's browse search allows you to search each Session register from beginning to end. As well as the accused's age, aliases and home parish, the records will provide you with a wide variety of details relating to their offence, trail and sentencing.

The courts of quarter sessions were held over a number of days in rotation at different locations at four set times each year. They dealt with serious non-capital crimes, and formed the middle tier of the court system. Quarter sessions were presided over by unpaid magistrates, also known as justices of the peace, appointed by the Lord Chancellor. At each session, two juries would be elected. The Grand Jury's job was to hear the evidence against the accused and to decide whether the case should go to trial. If they sent it forward it was the turn of the Trial or Petty Jury who would decide guilt.

Hampshire, Portsmouth Burials
Buried in Portsmouth, Hampshire? Discover burial entries in over 129,000 additional Portsmouth parish records to uncover the location of final resting place. The new additions cover Portsea, Highland Road and Kingston cemeteries between the years 1831 and 1902.

Results will provide you with transcripts and images of the original register entry. Transcripts will reveal a combination of the deceased's birth year, death year, age at death, burial date, burial location, denomination, occupation, residence and relatives names. Image may provide additional details such as the name of the minister who performed the ceremony.

England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1832-1932
Over 64,000 additional images covering the Parliamentary Borough of Portsmouth have been added to the collection. You can search the records by personal name, polling district, county and constituency, as well as by keyword search to discover the history of your family home in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

Electoral Registers are lists created annually of people who are eligible to vote and include their reason for eligibility, such as their residence or ownership of a property. Until 1918, the right to vote was closely linked to property ownership. The details in the registers may vary slightly, but in most you will find a combination of your ancestor's address, qualification to vote and occasionally a description of the residence, their occupation and age.

Hampshire, Portsmouth Trade Directories 1863-1927
Explore more than 30,000 pages of Portsmouth trade directories. Trade directories are an excellent resource for anyone researching their family history and want to understand more about their ancestor's life. They provide insights into local business owners, trades people, civil servants, church leaders, school teachers and much more.

Each record includes an original image of the trade directory that will list your company name, occupation and address.

Friday, 14 December 2018

News from some English Record Offices

Many English record offices are so strapped for funds they can no longer afford to post news items on their website, except perhaps announcing curtailing operating hours over the next few weeks. Other make use of Facebook and Twitter. The following are some news or blog items I found in a trawl.

Cheshire Archives & Local Studies
Autumn/Winter News

Dorset History Centre
Archives A-Z: H is for houses

East Sussex Record Office
The Long Journey Home: Edith Cavell and the “Cavell” Van

Essex Record Office
The last forest (Hatfield Forest)

Norfolk Record Office
King’s Lynn’s Bohemian Rhapsody
The Appliance of Science: Using Science in Conservation
King’s Lynn and The War of the Spanish Succession
The Work of an Archivist

Suffolk Record Office
Suffolk County War Memorial Roll of Honour

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Ottawa Branch OGS December Meeting

This Saturday, 15 December 2018

10:30 Genealogy: Back to Basics - The First World War: Beyond the Western Front
13:00 Networking and refreshments followed by presentation The Tunney's Pasture Shantytown: Research and genealogical challenges, by Dave Allston

In August of 2018, the Kitchissippi Times published for the first time anywhere, the story of the shantytown that existed from the 1930s until the mid-1950s on the government-owned Tunney's Pasture property. The article was years in the making, impeded by a lack of information, photographs and most importantly, people from this important story. This presentation will discuss the shantytown itself (the families who lived there, the incredible challenges and hardships they faced, and what little the government did for them), but also the challenges in researching a story like this, and how a variety of sources helped finally bring the story together.

15:00 Computer Group Meeting

All welcome at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive (Room 115)

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

LAC's Aurora Shines

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has launched Aurora, a new interface to access LAC’s published holdings. It replaces AMICUS, technologically outdated after 20 years service.

Use Aurora to explore LAC’s collection of newspapers, magazines, Canadian official publications, theses, monographs, maps, music, and more. Searching this web interface is free in Canada and internationally. Registered LAC users will be able to order materials online for consultation at 395 Wellington.

Confused with Voilà, Canada’s National Union Catalogue. Voilà is made up of bibliographic descriptions and location information for published materials held at libraries across Canada, including LAC. Use Voilà to search the combined catalogues of these Canadian libraries. Voilà covers all subject areas and formats, including printed books, computer files, sound recordings, videos, maps, microforms, newspapers, and works in large print and Braille.

From the LAC home page mouse over "Search the Collection" and select "Library Search" from the drop down. Choosing either Aurora or Voilà brings up a simple clean search box with option for an Advanced Search. Results can be filtered by criteria in a panel on the left hand side.

A search for genealogy found 142,388 results in Voilà and 25,589 results in Aurora.

In a brief trial I found the system to be very responsive, much better than AMICUS.

Archives of Ontario data sets online

The Archives of Ontario announces data sets available to view and download through the Government of Ontario Data Catalogue:

Of most interest for genealogy are:

This data set is an index to the four volumes of assisted immigration registers created by the Toronto Emigrant Office between 1865 and 1883. The registers are a chronological listing of those new immigrants who were assisted by the government to travel to different destinations across southern Ontario. Over 29,000 entries have been transcribed from the registers.

This data set is an index to the 5,184 case files that document claims made to the Second Heir and Devisee Commission.

Chris Paton reports on the PRONI Stakeholders Forum Meeting

What's new and forthcoming at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland is reported by Chris Paton from a meeting last Friday. He mentions the Prisons Memory Archive project, Londonderry Papers, Augher Co-operative Agricultural and Dairy Society, Steeple Community Association, Cairnshill Residents Association, Northern Irish Council for Ethnic Minorities, Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters, church records digitisation project, and Absentee Voters Lists among others.

See his blog post at

Financial Health of Canadian Genealogical Societies - Update

Below is an update to the post on 4 October  to cover the remaining three societies without 2017 information available at that time.

In total of those examined there were seven societies with annual surpluses. Five had annual deficits.

The mean annual membership fee was $54.09, the median $50, the maximum $75 and minimum $39.

Alberta Genealogical Society
For the reporting period ending 2017-12-31. Total assets of $624,963 ($612,912, $595,845, $558,845, $606,312, $540,282), and liabilities of  $225,753 ($229,017, $251,116, $213,134, $257,883, $200,592). The total revenue was $291,747, ($264,331, $294,466, $208,033, $229,344, $254,380). Expenditures totaled $276,432, ($225,165, $295,448, $210,752, $250,276, $218,231). The individual annual membership fee remains at $50 for digital journal subscription, $60 for paper.

New Brunswick Genealogical Society 
For the reporting period ending 2017-12-31. Total assets of $182,646 ($186,437, $ 180,604, $177,857, $182,016, $194,048) and liabilities of $14,159 ($16,428, $14,045, $13,844, $13,224, $21,542). Total revenue was $38,412 ($35,424, $ 40,102  $37,517, $33,846, $37,121). Expenditures totaled $41,331 ($33,639, $46,629, $43,588 $39,396, $36,974). The individual annual membership fee is $40.

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society
For the reporting period ending 2017-12-31. Total assets of $159,582 ($141,278, $114,170, $86,875, $106,334, $46,921). Liabilities totaled $123,268 ($123,279, $135,921, $127,116, $125,662, $65,054). Total revenue was $235,969 ($280,227, $237,391, $239,577, $256,667, $261,767). Expenditures were $217,654 ($244,704, $252,436, $260,490, $268,140, $262,316), Basic annual membership is increased to $70.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Ontario Genealogical Society Early Bird Prize Winners

Congratulations to these OGS members:

OGS $50 gift card - Richard K.
OGS Fee Rebate - Tanya J., Susan S. and Laura G.
OGS MyHeritage Library Edition - Anastatia G. and Christina F.
Ancestry DNA Kit - Sharon M. and Mike N.
MyHeritage DNA Kit - Veralyn H.
FTM CD Software - Linda M. and Patricia F.
Ancestry Subscription - Gerald C. and Nancy M.
FMP Subscription - Grant M. and Doug M.
MyHeritage Subscription - Pat B.

OGS will be in touch with the winners via email.

No, I don't see my name there either 😢

Recovering the memory of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home children

This week's post on John Grenham's blog Catherine Corless starts:

A few days ago I heard a full half-hour radio interview with Catherine Corless, the local historian responsible for tracking down the 796 death certificates of young children in the Tuam Mother and Baby Home between 1925 and 1961.  It was riveting.
He ends by voicing the issue of the desirability of giving each child a proper burial against the possibly invasion of privacy of now elderly mothers as well as the cost.

The article and comments, the first from Maurice Gleeson, make worthwhile reading.

Advance Notice: Kingston UELAC Meeting

Kingston & District Branch, United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada will meet on Saturday, January 26, 2019, 1:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall, 137 Queen Street at Montreal Street.

Speaker Leigh Smith will present “Pack Up Your House and Sail!” - the story of the Loyalists from Castine, Maine, who founded Saint Andrews, New Brunswick.

All visitors always welcome.

See for further details.

National Library of Scotland (NLS) Digitizes and Makes First Edition of ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica’ Available Online (Free)

A news release from the National Library of Scotland.

An online copy of the first edition of ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica’ is published today by the National Library of Scotland.

It was exactly 250 years ago that the first pages of ‘Britannica’ were published in Edinburgh.

With a distinctly Scottish viewpoint, the first edition emphasised two themes — modern science and Scottish identity.

Explicit engravings relating to midwifery scandalised subscribers, and were torn out of every copy on the orders of the Crown. Fortunately the Library has a complete copy in its collections, which is available free to view online thanks to a fundraising campaign for its digitisation.

‘Britannica’ was conceived by printer Colin Macfarquhar, engraver Andrew Bell, and William Smellie, who edited the first edition. Originally issued in 100 weekly parts, it took three years to produce and consisted of three volumes when it was completed in 1771.

Subsequent editions expanded during the 19th century, often featuring content written by experts in their field. By the 20th century ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica’ was a household name throughout the English-speaking world.

The spelling is of the time including the long s that looks like an f.

Record Societies in England

The most recent edition of Malcolm Noble's Talk Genealogy Podcast, Episode #33 is on Record Societies in England.

Most counties or regions in England have record societies, some dating back over 100 years, that have published books of local historical interest. There are transcriptions of old documents, court rolls, churchwardens accounts, wills and inventories, diaries and more. He singles out the Suffolk Record Society as one of the leading examples.

A good starting point to find what societies exist, and thence to their publications catalogue, is online courtesy of the Royal Historical Society at They're not just for England.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Overlooked Canadian Memory Institutions

Last Wednesday afternoon I attended a session entitled “Memory Institutions in the Digital Age” at Library and Archives Canada jointly sponsored by LAC, The Royal Society of Canada (RSC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA). It built on two reports, an RSC Expert Panel Report entitled The Future Now, published in late 2015 and the complementary assessment Leading in the Digital World, published by the CCA in early 2016.

The speakers reviewed progress, opportunities and outstanding challenges for libraries, archives, museums and other memory institutions in the digital age. Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume's transcript is here.  Unfortunately having started late the session ran long and there was no time for questions. Had there been I'd have commented on the lack of recognition of science data archives.

Look through the reports and mention of science is scant, most often "library science", "archival science" or "federal science libraries". The numerous organizations that archive scientific data are apparently beyond the pale as memory institutions. C. P. Snow's Two Solitudes are still firmly in place.

Are science data archives valued? They could be. Disposal of government records from government custody is permitted only with the permission of the Librarian and Archivist of Canada. Section 12 (1) of the Library and Archives Canada Act that provides:

No government or ministerial record, whether or not it is surplus property of a government institution, shall be disposed of, including by being destroyed, without the written consent of the Librarian and Archivist or of a person to whom the Librarian and Archivist has, in writing, delegated the power to give such consents.
However,  does the Librarian and Archivist know whether the procedure is being followed? Are departments practicing "shoot, shovel and shut-up?" There are no penalties specified in the Act if permission is not sought. Unlike in the UK in Canada there is no inventory of places where such federal data records are housed. The holdings of data-rich science-based departments and agencies are too valuable a national asset for them not to be deliberated along with humanities holdings.

Canada's Meteorological Service is an example of an agency that holds important records. It has a huge amount of data on historic weather since 1840. Weather is part of our heritage - ice storms and tornadoes - and weather data is fundamental to understanding climate change. While it would seem that those records are well managed, find them online at, is that the case for the many other federal science-based departments and agencies with legacy data holdings? Who knows?

Under the UK Public Records Act approved Places of Deposit are designated committed to looking after certain data “in perpetuity” and making it available for future research. There's a list of those places here.

If in Canada there is no inventory of such data archives how can we have any confidence they are being appropriately preserved and managed? Bringing them into the community presently dominated by the humanities would be a step forward, maybe the humanities would benefit too.

Heritage Ottawa Presentation: Tempting Values for Early Shoppers: The Birth of Ottawa's Department Stores

The department store was the product of an increasingly leisured middle class, a new consumer economy, and architectural innovations like plate glass windows, electric lights and passenger elevators. In comparison to the great metropolitan centres, Ottawa’s fondly remembered versions of these emporia of wonders were smaller in scale, but equally ambitious and great objects of civic pride.

To warm your holiday gift buying experience, visit stores like A.E. Rea and Co., R.J. Devlin Co., Bryson Graham Ltd., Murphy-Gamble Co., Charles Ogilvy Ltd., and A.J. Freiman’s.

Speaker: Robert Smythe is a contributor to the recently published book, From Walk-Up to High-Rise: Ottawa’s Historic Apartment Buildings and is the author of the architectural history blog Urbsite.

This seasonal event will be held at the special venue of Dominion-Chalmers United Church.

We invite you to join us for refreshments. The book will be available for purchase at the lecture.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - 19:00 to 21:00

The lecture is free and there is no need to pre-register.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Genealogy Drop-in

Drop in anywhere from 2-4 to work on your family tree, share research strategies, & discover what resources are available for your research. Specialists from OPL & the Ontario Genealogical Society will be there to answer questions & help you get the most from library resources.  Bring your laptop, or tablet too! 
All Welcome.
Local History & Genealogy Reference Department Second Floor
 Nepean Centrepointe
 Tuesday 11 December, 2018 at 2:00pm

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

MyHeritage LIVE 2018 presentations free online
Recordings of all 24 classes from the MyHeritage event in Oslo are now available online for free. Delivered by MyHeritage staff and internationally renowned genealogists, the sessions covered genealogy, DNA, and the intersection between the two.

London Boroughs in 1964 (map)

Remains of Anglo-Saxon cemetery discovered in Lincolnshire
No mention in the article of DNA testing!

Retail decline, in maps: England and Wales lose 43m square metres of shop space
“Bricks to clicks” means more consumers are shopping online rather than in store meaning less tax revenue for local authorities.

Help the poor: Stop donating canned goods to food banks.
Last Saturday I walked past a parked bus and into the grocery store to be met by the offer of a paper bag for food donations. I ignored it. Such donations are a problem as they require sorting and may not be the items most in demand. Cash goes much further. Hand over $20, and the food bank will be able to buy $100 worth of most needed food, they’ll save on administrative costs and at income tax time you'll get back up to $6.

Nova Scotia Information and Privacy Commissioner - Naughty List
With gift suggestions.

And finally ...

Saturday, 8 December 2018

New from Findmypast

Cheshire is the focus of records added this week.

Cheshire Diocese of Chester Parish Baptisms 1538-1911
Over 35,000 new records covering the Widnes and Warrington areas have been added to the collection. These new additions cover the following parishes:
• Culcheth, New Church -1599 to 1928
• Hargrave, St Peter - 1883 to 1928
• Kelsall, St Philip - 1868 to 1928
• Warrington, All Saints - 1887 to 1896
• Warrington, St Barnabas - 1902 to 1923
• Warrington, St Paul - 1907 to 1920
• Widnes, St Mary - 1818 to 1917
• Widnes, St Paul - 1884 to 1928

Each record contains an image and a transcript of the original Church of England parish registers. The information listed will vary, but most records will list a combination of baptism date, birth date,place of birth, parish, parent's names and father's occupation.

Cheshire Diocese of Chester Parish Marriages 1538-1910
Over 14,000 new records covering 7 parishes have been added to the collection. These new additions cover:
• Culcheth, New Church – 1607 to 1928
• Hargrave, St Peter – 1841 to 1928
• Kelsall, St Philip – 1869 to 1928
• Warrington, St Barnabas – 1905 to 1928
• Warrington, St Paul – 1907 to 1928
• Widnes, St Mary – 1859 to 1907
• Widnes, St Paul – 1895 to 1925 Search these records

Each record contains an image and a transcript of the original Church of England parish registers. The information listed will vary, but most records will reveal the date of the marriage, the location of the marriage, the names of both the bride and groom, their occupations, father's name, father's occupation and witnesses.

Cheshire Diocese of Chester Parish Burials 1538-1911
Over 13,000 new records have been added to the collection covering:
• Culcheth, New Church - 1607 to 1928
• Kelsall, St Philip - 1868 to 1928
• Widnes, St Mary - 1858 to 1910

Each record contains an image and a transcript of the original Church of England parish registers. The information listed will vary, but most records will list a combination of age at death, death date, date of burial, place of burial, marital status and relative's names.


British Army, Honourable Artillery Company

The collection includes 12 different sources:

• 1848-1914 Admission Registers
• 1908-1922 Membership Books, Honourable Artillery Company
• 1910-1915 Officers
• 1914-1919 1st Battalion Register
• 1914-1919 Record Cards
• 1914-1919 Regimental Number Registers
• 1914-1919 Papers & Photos
• 1915-1919 Membership Lists
• 1916-1919 2nd Battalion Rolls and Papers
• 1917-1918 Depot Register
• 1939-1945 Prisoners of War
• 1939-1945 Record Cards

Every record will include a digitised image of the original source and a transcript. The amount of information listed will vary depending on date and nature of the document.

Library and Archives Canada News

At an event at Library and Archives Canada on Wednesday afternoon it was revealed that the project to image the First World War service files cost about $20 million. A total of 622,290 files were processed, so about $32 per file. That's about a dollar a page, perhaps a bit less. Digitizing original paper records isn't cheap, especially the large format pages like pay sheets that have to be straightened and imaged individually.

The total was spread over four or five years, $4-5 per year. Will that level of commitment be continued? The statement was made the LAC's future will be increasingly online and that data mining will be supported. So far I'm told that the digitization priority is indigenous peoples records which will cater to a small yet important minority in Canada. Will there be anything for the rest of us to look forward to, in addition to the much overdue 1926 census and free access to the sixty million pages originating at LAC of starting 1 January 2019?

On the margins of the meeting I was told by a usually reliable source that FamilySearch has made progress in machine reading handwriting and to expect product to become available sometime next year.

Friday, 7 December 2018

TheGenealogist adds Newgate Prison Records

The following is a company news release.

TheGenealogist is adding to its Court and Criminal Records collection with the release of almost 150,000 entries for prisoners locked up in Newgate prison along with any alias they were known by as well as the names of their victims. Sourced from the HO 26 Newgate Prison Registers held by The National Archives, these documents were created over the years 1791 to 1849.

The Newgate Prison Registers give family history researchers details of ancestors who were imprisoned in the fearsome building that once stood next to the Old Bailey in the City of London. The records reveal the names of prisoners, offences the prisoner had been convicted for, the date of their trial and where they were tried. The records also give the name of the victims and any alias that the criminals may have used before.

Use the Newgate Prison Registers records to:
Find ancestors guilty of crimes ranging from theft, highway robbery, libel and murder
Discover the victims of crime
Uncover some of the aliases used by criminal ancestors
See descriptions of offenders with details of their height, eye colour and complexion
Research records covering the period 1791 - 1849

Human Mortality Explorer

An interactive heatmap by Jonas Schöley shows mortality rates by age. Select data for various countries using the dropdown menu. You can also compare male and female populations and countries.

Mortality rates decrease steadily, especially in the younger ages. Spikes or abrupt color changes might indicate war or disease.

Comparing the UK and Canada it was interesting to note that mortality was lower in the UK when I was born and is now lower in Canada at my age. Good move!

While the content id informative labelling on the axes is horribly small and the domain does not adjust to the range of years available leaving a large blank area for nations without early data.

via Flowing Data

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Steve Fulton director at large of FGS

A news release from the Ontario Genealogical Society announces that Steve Fulton, UE, the President of the Society, has been elected to a three year term as a director at large of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

AncestryDNA Update

Irish eyes are smiling. There's more detail in new AncestryDNA regions: now 16,000 reference samples defining 380 possible regions. 92 of the regions are in Ireland — 22 in Connacht and 36 in Munster. That's according to a Facebook post by ‎Mike Mulligan who used to be with AncestryDNA.

He gives the following explanation of how the process works.
 if you can imagine every DNA test at Ancestry as a star in the night sky. Now imagine the distances between stars is based on shared DNA (the more DNA shared, the closer the stars). Now 'zoom out' to see all the 'stars' in the sky and you will notice there are actually constellations or clusters of stars. With some clever science & genealogy, Ancestry is able to determine these clusters are associated with different parts of the world. These form the AncestryDNA sub-regions. The final part, about how whether the region shows up in your test is basically how close your star is to the cluster.
A friend wrote that while she is still 78% Irish/Scottish the genetic community is now Leinster matching her research.

There's no sub-division for my 34% Ireland and Scotland which comes with an error bar than goes as low as 2%! My Ireland and Scotland was 30% previously.

DNA from 10,000 year old chewing gums

Development of the ability to extract and analyse DNA from ancient materials continues to amaze. The preprint Ancient DNA from chewing gums connects material culture and genetics of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Scandinavia is another example. Note the article is not yet peer reviewed.

Human DNA was recovered from birch bark pitch mastics, chewing gums, from a site in western Sweden. Genome-wide data was from mastics representing three individuals, two females and one male. All were mitochondrial haplogroup U5a2d and two had a possible second degree relationship.

While chewing gum may lose its flavour on the bedpost over night it can conserve DNA for 10,000 years!

BIFHSGO December Meeting

BIFHSGO's semi-annual Great Moments in Genealogy sessions draw a crowd. This month should be no exception with these main event presentations starting at 10 am

Quakers in the Attic - Jamey Burr
A McKinlay in New Zealand  - Ken McKinlay
And her name was . . .  - Roberta (Bobby) Kay
Where were YOUR ancestors on December 2, 1854? - Duncan Monkhouse

Read more about the presentations and speakers here.

Instead of the normal 9 am educational session there will be the kick-off of a year of celebrations as BIFHSGO enters it's 25th year. Socialize with light refreshments and browse materials from Global Genealogy -- timely for Christmas gift-giving for the genealogist you're having a hard time thinking of something they might like (and maybe who won't give hints).

Saturday 8 December, 2018

The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario