Sunday, 20 October 2019

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

In Praise of a Nondescript Government Facility (or, The Most Canadian Title Ever)
A blog post by Alan MacEachern on Active History surprised me with the news that Matane’s Document Imaging Solutions Centre [DISC] is digitizing the Canadian Meteorological Service archive. The sentence "If you’ve used or perused the First World War attestation papers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force online, for example, you know their work." caused me to pause. The digitization of service files, completed last year, was performed in Gatineau whereas the earlier digitization of the two-page attestation papers could well have been work done in Matane.

Why It Is Time to Make Conferences Worth It
An opinion piece from The Scientist.
I love going to conferences, but the truth is that they are unreliable. In short (and in line with the title of a paper I recently published), they give us “what we want,” but not “what we need.” Overall, we have done very little to change the basic conference format for 50 years, and the findings of my research show fairly conclusively that in terms of fiscal and knowledge economies, and also in terms of the environmental impact caused by our conference travel, our current practices are unsustainable and need immediate development. 
Active History Election Posts
Some timely blog posts:
Of Energy and the Need for Electoral Reform: Déjà-vu and the 1979 and 1980 federal elections
Won Alexander Cumyow and the Fight for Democratic Rights
The Personality is Political

LAC Co-Lab update

Here's an update on Co-Lab challenges projects as of 14 October since last month.


Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 is 47% complete (36% last month).

Personal Diary of the Baroness Macdonald - Lady Macdonald is 95% complete (94% last month).


Legendary Train Robber and Prison Escapee Bill Miner is 98% complete

War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division is 94% complete.

The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters is 85% complete.

Rosemary Gilliat (Eaton)’s Arctic diary and photographs is 40% complete

New France and First Nations Relations is 28% complete.

Japanese-Canadians: Second World War is 61% complete.

Letters from Wilfrid Laurier to Zoé Lafontaine/Laurier is 98% complete (previously complete).


The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918–1919.

Correspondence between Sir Robert Borden and Sir Sam Hughes.


One of the indicators for the LAC Three-year plan 2019-2022 is the number of records enhanced by user contributions in the Co-Lab crowdsourcing tool. The indicator is to be released quarterly as is the indicator number of images digitized via DigiLab.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

RIP Roy Stockdill

Sad to learn English genealogist-journalist Roy Stockdill has suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.

RootsTech London Exhibition Hall

Whether attending #RootsTechLondon for all three days, one day or just stopping in for free admission to the exhibition, there's a lot going on.

Presentations of 15 minutes each from various exhibitors in the demo theatre will be advertised closer to the event.

Some companies, like Ancestry, will have a presentation space within their stand. Findmypast has had a presentation space at previous events I've been to. Both of those, and MyHeritage, will offer one-on-one consultations at their stands.

It's worth setting aside time to cruise the hall and its more than 100 exhibitors to take advantage of the information, giveaways, draws, and discounts on products and subscriptions. For instance, the National Institute for Genealogical Studies will offer discounts.

For more see The RootsTech London 2019 Survival Guide.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Findmypast weekly update features Scotland and Westmoreland

Scotland, Will and Testament Index 1481-1807

More than 164,000 records from the commissariat courts of Scotland between 1481 and 1807. Each record includes a transcript of the original will and testament that will reveal the date of the will and where it was made.

Scotland Monumental Inscriptions

Over 112,000 new records covering 9 burial sites across Dumfriesshire are now available to search. These additions consist of transcripts of original inscriptions taken from monuments in Cummertrees Churchyard, Dalton Graveyards, Kirkconnel Churchyard, Kirkpatrick Fleming, Langholm Old Graveyard, Lochmaben Old Churchyard, Staplegordon Graveyard, Staplegordon Graveyard, Wauchope Graveyard and Westerkirk Churchyard.

Westmorland Parish Records

Three new parish record collections from historic English County of Westmoreland, transcripts and images of the original parish register, including:

·        Westmorland Baptisms – over 39,000 records with details such as baptism date, parents' names and residence.

·        Westmorland Marriages – Over 22,000 records listing details such as marriage date, spouse's name, father's name and place of marriage.

·        Westmorland Burials – Over 9,000 records showing final resting place, age at death, burial date and residence.

Each record includes both a  provided by the College of Arms, the official heraldic authority for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and much of the Commonwealth.

Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair

The Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair is going into its thirty-ninth edition Sunday, 20 October, 2019. The Fair is an annual popular event of the Ottawa cultural scene with exhibits of rare and interesting books, prints, maps and ephemera.

The Fair is a great opportunity to see and purchase an array of material in one location, Tudor Hall, 3750 North Bowesville Rd. (near Hunt Club and Riverside Drive). Fair hours are 10:30-5:00 and there is plenty of free parking.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

FamilySearch updates Wales, Bedfordshire, Devon, Middlesex and Warwickshire titles

The following titles were updated by FamilySearch on 14 and 15 October.

Wales, Marriage Bonds, 1650-1900 — 142,563 total records
England, Bedfordshire Parish Registers, 1538-1983 — 376,993 total records
England, Devon Bishop's Transcripts, 1558-1887 — 774,439 total records
England, Middlesex, Westminster, Parish Registers, 1538-1912 — 19,890 total records
England, Warwickshire, Parish Registers, 1535-1963 — 2,900,841 total records

As usual, there is no indication as to how many records were added.

What Your DNA Can’t Tell You

The sub-head in this article from The Scientist is:

Companies are selling reports about a wide range of physical, cognitive, and behavioral traits to consumers based on their genomic data, but such tests have a number of limitations.

It quotes Yaniv Erlich

Right now, [these reports are] more just for entertainment and to understand the limitations. I think the main benefit is engaging people with genetic research.

Quinte Branch OGS October Meeting

Shades of Allegiance: The History of the Gerow Family, presented by Jane Simpson is the topic for the next Quinte branch meeting at 1 PM on Saturday, 19 October 2019 at the Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Drive, Trenton, ON

The Gerow Family from France fled from religious persecution as Huguenots to New York City
at the dawn of the 18th century. The family flourished until seeds of discord infected the
populace. Three sons of the family were forced to choose their allegiance to the English or
seductive new republicanism. For one of the sons, this choice includes throwing his lot in with a
small colony of disaffected Americans to answer the call for settlers to the British Loyal

Members of the Alyea, Bogart, Bonter, Cole, Lent, Huff, Parliament, Peck, Roblin,
Van Cott, Way, Wannamaker and Westerfeld families, in addition to the Gerow family, may wish
to attend as their ancestors experienced the same fate during the Revolution.

The Wiggins family could also be added to that list.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

LivingDNA update


Only in the US so far, and not in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. — AncestryHealth® announces two new services. AncestryHealth Core™, a one-time, array-based service, and AncestryHealth Plus™, a membership service using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology. What's being offered?

According to the company press release:

AncestryHealth Core is a first step on the journey of understanding how family heritage and genetics can impact health and wellness. It covers a set of curated, common ‘need to know’ health conditions and includes printable family health history and lab reports people can share with their healthcare provider. The physician-ordered laboratory test included in AncestryHealth Core uses genotyping array technology to detect genetic differences and deliver personalized reports related to health conditions such as heart disease, hereditary cancers, blood-related disorders, and risks for carrier status of health conditions, such as Tay-Sachs disease. Additionally, there are wellness reports on topics such as nutrition and metabolism. AncestryHealth Core is priced at $149 and includes AncestryDNA. Existing AncestryDNA customers can upgrade to AncestryHealth Core for $49.

Starting next year AncestryHealth Plus will use next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology to deliver more comprehensive screening data, providing both greater coverage of DNA differences for each condition and more risk categories such as those related to potentially developing heart disease, cancers, and disorders related to blood, the nervous system and connective tissues. For new customers, AncestryHealth Plus with NGS technology has a $199 activation fee, which includes the first six months of membership with an additional $49 membership fee every six months. Existing AncestryDNA customers can upgrade to AncestryHealth Plus for an initial payment of $49. The ongoing membership will include quarterly screening updates, more educational resources and enhanced tools for family health history and healthcare provider collaboration.

Comment: Ancestry is re-entering this field, there was an earlier iteration in July 2015. It's an active area. 23andMe, the original in DNA/Health DTC service, announced an upgrade in August. MyHeritage announced its Health + Ancestry test in May and the acquisition of SNPedia and Promethease in September.

Despite being late to the party Ancestry has demonstrated, after entering autosomal DNA testing service for genealogy late, that it can catch up and surpass the others. Ancestry is also being cautious to keep on the right side of US regulatory authorities which was a problem for 23andMe.

UPDATE:  Ancestry provided the following information on how the NGS results differ from those used in the regular "Array" test by Ancestry.

“The NGS technology will check for changes in at least 100 times as many locations in your DNA as the Array does. With Array we look at a few (10-20) specific bases within a gene to see any changes that are known to increase risk of disease. In NGS, we can look at the entire gene –  which on average includes 1000 to 2000 bases – and can see many more changes. We then determine if those changes increase risk for disease.

One analogy is, with Array, we can read a few critical letters in a sentence. With NGS, we can read every letter of the entire sentence, greatly increasing the likelihood of identifying a variation.”

Kingston Branch OGS October Meeting

The main presentation for the meeting on 19 October 2019, is “Lady Tweedsmuir – Oh the stories she could tell” with speaker Anne Levac. She will discuss the Tweedmuir history books.

An educational session, a short demonstration of a few different image scanners. will serve as aperitive starting at 9:30 am.

The meeting is at 56 Francis St, Kingston where there's lots of free parking. All welcome.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Legacy webinar on privacy online with Judy Russell

My pick from this week's Legacy Family Tree Webinars is on Wednesday at 2 pm Eastern time — Privacy: How to Protect Your Information Online. 

Protecting privacy online is a continuing concern. Family historians need to decide what personal and family history information we'd like to keep private while still sharing with cousins and other researchers. Learn more about what controls online privacy and what methods and tools are available to give us the best chance to protect our privacy choices.

Judy G. Russell is a lawyer, genealogy lecturer, educator and writer whose presentations are always well attended.

Register here (free).

Perth & District Historical Society October Meeting

Here's information from PDHS on the 17 October meeting being held at the Royal Canadian Legion, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, at 7:30 pm.

“The Life and Times of Joe Perkins”
For our October 17 meeting, the Society will welcome back local author John McKenty, with the story of Joe Perkins, of Maberly and Perth, the subject of John’s latest book.  

‘The Life & Times of Joe Perkins: 1908 – 1990’ will trace the story from Perkins’ early days, working with his father at the family’s general store in ‘downtown Maberly’, early South Sherbrooke Township, to his arrival in Perth in 1938, and his eventual death in an Ottawa hospital, in 1990.  From his earliest days to his death, Joe Perkins was a formidable figure in Maberly and eventually the Town of Perth.  Over the years, he built a business empire that both amazed and confounded his contemporaries – as part showman and part salesman.  The people of Perth could never decide if Joe Perkins was a visionary or an opportunist, and, while some swore by him, others swore at him.  In the end, no matter one’s opinion of Joe Perkins, he had a profound effect on the social and economic development of this area that he called home. 

John McKenty first came upon this story in 2000 when he met Joe Perkin’s son and daughter, while working on his first book, ‘Square Deal Garage’.  The subject next surfaced in 2016 at the Perth Regional Heritage Fair, where there was a project on the Perkins family.  With assistance and contributions through interviews, feedback and photographs from several members of the Perkins family, the McKenty book has brought to life this little-known story of one of the genuine characters in this area’s history.  

John McKenty is a retired educator, and has continued with his own learning through the books that he has authored and published:  ‘Square Deal Garage: Sixty Years of Service to the Motoring Public’; ‘Follow The Crowd: The James Boys of Perth’; ‘Canada Cycle and Motor: The CCM Story’; ‘Arden Blackburn’s Mail Route: The Early Days at Christie Lake’; ‘St. Crispin’s Legacy: Shoemaking in Perth, Ontario 1834 – 2004’.  His many books documenting our area’s local people and businesses show that history doesn’t need to be on a grand scale.  In addition to his writing, John ’s volunteering in the Perth community includes the Stewart Park Festival and the Perth Regional Heritage Fair.  In recognition of his efforts, he was awarded the Perth Medal for 2018, presented at that year’s Stewart Park Festival. 

Monday, 14 October 2019

The Financial Health of Canadian Genealogical Societies 2018

Each year organizations federally registered as charities in Canada for tax purposes are required to file returns with the Canada Revenue Agency. Part, including financial information, is available on the Revenue Canada website.

For 2018 there were as many societies running surpluses as deficits.

You can search for individual society reports at

Alberta Genealogical Society
For the reporting period ending 2018-12-31. Total assets of $589,925 ($612,912, $595,845, $558,845, $606,312, $540,282), and liabilities of $189,274 ($229,017, $251,116, $213,134, $257,883, $200,592). The total revenue was $221,714 ($264,331, $294,466, $208,033, $229,344, $254,380). Expenditures totaled $220,273 ($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.

British Columbia Genealogical Society
For the reporting period ending:  2018-12-31. Total assets of $207,055 ($202,786, $209,347, $206,451, $203,542, $203,016) and liabilities of $10,096 ($6,604, $7,600, $7,810, $9,268, $10,085). Total revenue was $36,988 ($33,331, $34,030, $33,923, $27,625, $24,783). Expenditures totaled $35,385 ($31,729, $30,925, $29,555, $24,991, $22,502). The individual annual membership fee remains at $45.

British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
For the reporting period ending 2018-12-31. Total assets of $105,229 ($109,634, $98,897, $121,878, $104,683, $90,374) and liabilities of  $22,118 ($23,796, $14,120, $20,170, $32,716, $30,607). Total revenue was $69,096  ($57,978, $59,872, $71,443, $70,738, $54,675). Expenditures totaled $71,745 ($63,939, $66,583, $63,844, $55,000, $50,366). The individual annual membership fee is increased by $5 to $50.

Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador Inc
For the reporting period ending 2018-12-31 total assets were $46,094 ( $ 35,802, $25,523, $29,166, $43,130) and liabilities $13,154 ($11,088, $14,098, $16,072, $15,867).  Total revenue was $37,804 ($33,736, $34,368, $29,729, $35,226) and expenditure  $26,228 ($21,668, $36,037, $44,364, $32,525). That's a $11,576 surplus. The individual membership fee remains $42.

Manitoba Genealogical Society
For the reporting period ending 2018-03-31. Total assets of  $40,262 ($43,476, $47,734, $37,118, $55,341, $50,743) and liabilities of  $4,494 ($4,806, $7,927, $7,208, $19,157, $22,458). Total revenue was $57,503 ($53,194, $41,899, $47,388, $47,727, $60,780). Expenditures totaled $55,585 ($ 51,924, $32,060, $49,679, $48,942, $59,162). The individual annual membership fee remains $50.

New Brunswick Genealogical Society
No report posted since 2017. Individual membership remains at $40.

Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia
For the reporting period ending 2018-03-31. Total assets of $239,845 ($274,044, $244,902, $281,182, $307,796, $303,274) and liabilities of $2,001 ($4,011, n/a, $1,553, $0, $0). Total revenue was $32,372 ($44,676, $ 44,448, $42,800, $45,693, $32,549). Total expenditures were $64,564 ($57,812, $46,797, $69,858, $44,703, $30,717). The Association's annual membership fee remains $39.

Ontario Genealogical Society
For the reporting period ending 2018-12-31. Total assets of $1,595,600 ($1,710,405, $1,771,728, $1,730,483 $2,145,295) and liabilities of $261,319 ($226,378, $252,635, $220,434, $253,590). Total revenue was $562,466 ($698,220, $701,406, $694,265, $557,053). Total expenditures were $721,143 ($740,546, $709,792, $711,897, $626,736). The annual membership fee remains $63.

Québec Family History Society
For the reporting period ending 2018-07-31 Total assets of $26,400 ($28,217, $48,701, $50,072, $53,800, $65,742)  Liabilities totaled $4,091 ($4,464, $8,529, $7,304, $5,111, $7,899). Total revenue was $36,629, ($40,495, $42,468, $42,545, $44,095, $60,623). Expenditures totaled $47,071 ($46,972, $45,064, $49,054, $50,878, $47,420). The annual fee remains at $75.

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society
For the reporting period ending 2016-12-31. Total assets of $182,979 ($141,278, $114,170, $86,875, $106,334, $46,921). Liabilities totaled 118,732 ($123,279, $135,921, $127,116, $125,662, $65,054). Total revenue was $252,198 ($280,227, $237,391, $239,577, $256,667, $261,767). Expenditures were $224,265 ($244,704, $252,436, $260,490, $268,140, $262,316) Basic annual membership is increased to $70.

Société généalogique canadienne-française
For the reporting period ending 2018-12-31.Total assets of $551,682 ($391,317, $363,189, $373,417, $339,405 $347,834). Liabilities totaled $52,481 ($58,153, $63,648, $67,351, $39,685, $68,013). Total revenue was $170,123 ($171,002, $231,117, $202,946, $215,399 $248,240). Expenditures were $176,885 ($165,584, $195,137, $202,782, $201,759, $220,556.) Basic annual membership remains $50.

Victoria Genealogical Society
For the reporting period ending 2018-05-31. Total assets of $34,781 ($ 38,327, NA, NA, NA, $24,786) and liabilities NA (NA, NA, NA, 0). Total revenue was $40,354 ($41,924, $34,048, $40,412, NA). Expenditures totaled $43,789 ($39,688, $44,502, $42,629, $35,790). Individual annual membership remains at $60.

Members of the British Columbia Genealogical Society, Manitoba Genealogical Society, Ontario Genealogical Society, or Saskatchewan Genealogical Society can take advantage of a $5.00 discount on a yearly membership another of those organizations.

The best online library of sources for Irish history I’ve ever seen

John Grenham wrote that in a blog post about Dermot Balson's collection of "hidden gems" extracted from The University of Southampton’s ‘Enhanced Parliamentary Papers on Ireland’ at
The links in Grenham's blog post are to Dermot’s cloud-stored copies. The 1851 Census Report on deaths in Ireland, for example, includes nearly 300 pages of weather/illness/celestial phenomena dating back to the beginnings of Irish history.
Other sections are on Workhouses and the Poor Law, research and statistics, emigration and, personal accounts.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Open Domesday

Although it's unlikely you'll find recognizable ancestors mentioned in the Domesday Book, you may well be surprised at places mentioned.
This is easy with Open Domesday. the first free online copy of Domesday Book. The site, built as a non-profit project by Anna Powell-Smith uses data created by Professor J.J.N. Palmer and a team at the University of Hull.
A modern placename search left me surprised at the relative size of places then and now.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

BIFHSGO Best Great Moments Talk
Nigel Lloyd receives congratulations from Director (Communications) Susan Davis on his Great Moments presentation A Dark Chapter in a Successful Life having been voted most popular by the membership.

Genealogy Drop-In
Take advantage of the advice and mentorship available at the OPL Nepean Centrepointe Branch on Tuesday, 15 October at 2 pm.

More than £200,000 ($325,000 Cdn) for a 3-year project in Norfolk to create community archives.
The grant, to the Norfolk Record Office from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, will be used towards recruiting two community archivists to work with 30 partners across the county for three years. Norfolk has a population of 860,000 — less than that of Ottawa.

Joint effort to put two Eastern Ontario archives under one roof
From the Catholic Register, two dioceses in eastern Ontario — one Catholic and one Anglican — along with two religious orders are in talks to share one facility in Kingston for all four entities’ archival records. Might this become a model for elsewhere — maybe Ottawa?

Far from Home
A comprehensive report by Diana Beaupré and Adrian Watkinson on the recent "Final Road Trip" — following on the summary by Glenn Wright.

Canadian Military History
Published since 1992, articles in this journal which aims to "foster research, teaching, and public discussion of historical and contemporary military and strategic issues" may not be found by a Google search. Some provide good context for family history.
What songs might your First World war era ancestors in Canada have played, or heard? Songs of War: Anglo-Canadian Popular Songs on the Home Front, 1914-1918, by Sara Karn names some of the most popular. The article would be stronger if the conclusion about the change in emphasis from British to Canadian themes was supported quantitively.

Why no Nobel Prize winners on TV genealogy shows?
Why no Canadian TV genealogy show featuring members of the Order of Canada? 

Learning from Night Lights

There are three types of climate change denier, and most of us are at least one


Saturday, 12 October 2019

North Buckinghamshire Lloyd George Domesday Survey

The following is a press release from TheGenealogist.

North Buckinghamshire Lloyd George Domesday records added to TheGenealogist’s Map Explorer™

TheGenealogist has just released the North Buckinghamshire maps and field books into its property ownership and occupancy record set, The Lloyd George Domesday Survey. This unique online resource allows researchers to discover where an ancestor lived in the 1910-1915 period from various London districts and now, for the first time, North Buckinghamshire.

These records make use of TheGenealogist’s powerful new Map Explorer™ to access the maps and residential data, giving those who want to discover where their ancestors lived in the period before the First World War some powerful new features to use. The Lloyd George Domesday Survey records are sourced from The National Archives and are being digitised by TheGenealogist so that it is possible to precisely locate where an ancestor lived on a large scale, hand-annotated maps. These plans include plots for the exact properties and are married to various georeferenced historic map overlays and modern base maps on the Map Explorer™ which allows the researcher to thoroughly investigate the area in which an ancestor lived.

Buckingham, North Buckinghamshire Valuation Office Maps

This release includes the following places: Addington, Akeley, Ashendon and Dorton, Aston Abbotts and Wingrave, Aston Clinton, Aston Sandford, Astwoo, Aylesbury, Barton Hartshorn, Beachampton, Biddlesden, Bierton, Bletchley, Boarstall, Bow Brickhill, Bradwell, Broughton, Buckingham, Calverton, Castlethorpe, Charndon, Chearsley and Long Crendon, Cheddington, Chicheley, Clifton Reynes, Cold Brayfield, Creslow and Whitchurch, Cublington, Cuddington, Dinton, Stone and Hartwell, Drayton Beauchamp, Drayton Parslow and Mursley, Dunton and Hoggeston, East Claydon, Edgcott and Marsh Gibbon, Edlesborough, Emberton, Fenny Stratford, Fleet Marston and Quarrendon, Foscott, Gayhurst, Grandborough, Hogshaw and North Marston, Great and Little Brickhill, Great Horwood, Great Linford, Grendon Underwood, Haddenham, Halton and Wendover, Hanslope, Hardwick and Weedon, Haversham, Hillesden, Ickford, Ivinghoe, Kingsey, Kingswood and Ludgershall, Lillingstone, Linslade and Soulbury, Loughton, Luffield Abbey and Stowe, Marsworth and Pitstone, Mentmore, Milton Keynes, Nash, Newport Pagnell, Newton Longville, Olney, Oving and Pitchcott, Padbury, Quainton, Radclive, Ravenstone, Shalstone, Shenley Brook End, Simpson, Steeple Claydon, Stewkley, Stoke Hammond, Stoke Mandeville, Studley, Swanbourne and Winslow, Thornborough, Tingewick, Turweston, Upper and Lower Winchendon, Waddesdon, Walton, Water Eaton, Wavendon, Weston Turville, Wing, Wolverton, Woolstone and Woughton, Wotton Underwood.

TheGenealogist’s Lloyd George Domesday records link individual properties to extremely detailed maps used in 1910-1915
Fully searchable by name, county, parish and street
The maps will zoom down to show the individual properties as they were in the 1910s
The transparency slider reveals a modern street map underlay
Change the base map displayed to more clearly understand what the area looks like today

Canadians and the Chinese Labour Corps in the First World War

Local author Dan Black has just-published Harry Livingstone’s Forgotten Men: Canadians and the Chinese Labour Corps in the First World War (Toronto, ON: Lorimer Publishing, 2019).

Using government records and privately held diaries and memoirs, Black removes the veil of secrecy from an extraordinary wartime undertaking to move tens of thousands of men from China across Canada in 1917-1918 and back again at the conclusion of the war.

In 1917, the British government enrolled approximately 95,000 Chinese men to labour behind the Front in France and Belgium by building and repairing roads and railways, moving supplies and undertaking whatever labour was needed in support of the fighting troops. To expedite the transfer of what was known as the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC) to the Western Front, some 84,000 members of the CLC were brought to Canada by ship and most of them were transported by the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada from Vancouver to east coast ports en route to France and Belgium. This massive movement was done in the strictest secrecy and is one of the less known events of the Great War.

The trains raced across Canada, only stopping for fuel and water. With the pressure mounting to move and accommodate the men on their journey east, a temporary holding camp was established at Petawawa, northwest of Ottawa. Not all of the men stopped there, but many did.

On September 22, 1917, one of the labourers, twenty-five-year-old Chou Ming Shan (39038), died of malaria while on one of the trains as it crossed through Ontario. At Petawawa, his body was carried off the train and interred in an unknown location on the Base. He was just one of about fifty CLC men who died in Canada.

On Thursday, October 3, the Canadian Agency of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission unveiled a memorial to Chou Ming Shan in a small abandoned cemetery located on the firing range at Garrison Petawawa.

The commemoration ceremony was attended by about a dozen persons, including Dominique Boulais of  the CWGC, Brigadier Nick Orr (British High Commission), Col. Louis Lapointe, Commander 4th Canadian Division Support group at Garrison Petawawa and author Dan Black of Merrickville, Ontario, who helped bring Chou Ming Shan’s death and burial to the attention of the CWGC.

Thanks to Glenn Wright who attended the ceremony and penned this item.

Friday, 11 October 2019 Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, until 14 Oct 2019 at 11:59 p.m. ET, is opening their immigration collection for free at home access (with registration). The records included are:

19-Century Emigration of 'Old Lutherans' from Eastern Germany to Australia, Canada, and the United States
American (Loyalist) Migrations, 1765-1799
Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935
British Columbia, Canada, Border Entries and Passenger Lists, 1894-1905
Canada, British Vessel Crew Lists, 1881
Canada, Canadian National Railway Immigrant Records, 1937-1961
Canada, Immigration and Settlement Correspondence and Lists, 1817-1896
Canada, Ocean Arrivals (Form 30A), 1919-1924
Canada, Seafarers of the Atlantic Provinces, 1789-1935
Canada, St. Lawrence Steamboat Company Passenger Lists, 1819-1838
Canadian Immigrant Records, Part One
Canadian Immigrant Records, Part Two
Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935
Early Ontario Settlers
Irish Canadian Emigration Records, 1823-1849
Irish Emigrants in North America, Part Four and Part Five
Irish Emigrants in North America,1670-1830, Part Six
Irish Emigrants in North America,1775-1825
New Brunswick, Canada, Passenger Lists: 1834
Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada, Crew Lists, 1864-1942
Nova Scotia Immigrants to 1867, Vol. I
Nova Scotia Immigrants to 1867, Vol. II
Nova Scotia, Canada, Book of Negroes, 1783
Ship Passengers Arriving in Canada (Letter A): 1919-1924
The Original Scots Colonists of Early America, 1612-1783
The Original Scots Colonists of Early America. Supplement 1607-1707
Tourouvre et les Juchereau : un chapitre de l'émigration percheronne au Canada
U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s
U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1960
U.S., Passenger and Crew Lists for U.S.-Bound Vessels Arriving in Canada, 1912-1939 and 1953-1962
U.S., Records of Aliens Pre-Examined in Canada, 1904-1954
Vancouver, British Columbia, Manifests of Chinese Arrivals, 1906-1912, 1929-1941
Be sure to save anything of interest you find, as usual after the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using a paid membership, or at a free access site like public library branches.

Findmypast weekly additions

England & Wales Government Probate Death Index 1960-2019
The major addition this week — 14 million England & Wales index records of the government probate index on Findmypast.  Find a probate record from 1960 to 2019 containing more than 14 million records.  The index gives a person’s death date, probate date, residence, next of kin and more. 
Findmypast lists this collection under Civil Deaths and Burials, not Wills and Probate!
This is essentially the same record as at the free PRO Find a Will service at An advantage is you do not need to do a separate search pre and post 1996, but you still need to use the PRO site to order a copy of the will. 

Greater London Burial Index
This index is a collection of the Middlesex Burials & Memorial Inscriptions, South London Burials Index 1545-1905, City of London Burials 1754-1855 and Middlesex Burials 1538-1992. Over 45,000 new records covering 10 parishes across the region have been added to the index and are now available to search. The records in this collection, back to 1399, give the date and location of burial as well as, in some cases, occupation, address, denomination and age at death.

Middlesex Monumental Inscriptions
A further 3,400 transcript records from the parishes of Harefield St Mary the Virgin and Sunbury St Mary which spans the years 1485 to 2014. Many of the transcripts include a document link to learn more about the church and graveyard with a brief history and image of the church, as well as burial plot maps.

Dorset Memorial Inscriptions
Over 13,000 additional records from 35 burial sites across Dorset are now available to search. The total collection is now over 126,000 records in this collection, covering over 250 Dorset parishes. 
Each record contains a transcript of an original inscription taken from gravestones, tombs, monuments and even stained glass windows. The information contained in each record may vary considerably depending on a number of factors such as weathering or the type of memorial. The records are sourced from the Somerset and Dorset Family History Society and the Dorset Family History Society.

RootsTech London News

Only a few days now until I leave for England — visiting with extended family and taking in RootsTech at ExCel London.
RootsTech is billing it as "The Family History Party You Don't Want to Miss." For sure there's a lot going on including a tantalizing choice of presentations.
As usual with RootsTech quite a few of those will be live-streamed around the world — four on each of the three days. With London being five hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone you'll need to be up early to catch those starting in London at 9 am. Even if I wasn't there with my maple leaf flag I'd be getting online on the first day, Thursday 24 October, for Dan Snow's keynote presentation.
There's a great schedule of free live-streamed presentations, including all the keynotes, which will also be available to view a few days after the event.
If you want more, without travelling, there's a Premium Virtual Pass available for £49, about $80 Cdn, giving access to 20 specially selected additions presentations to watch over the next 9 months. Scroll down from here to see the list of talks that will be exclusively available. Compare it to the cost of registration for an event with such an array of star speakers, all without travel and accommodation expenses.
Finally, if you happen to be in London during the event there will be free access to the Exhibition Hall. With more than 100 exhibitors there's bound to be something of interest.
BTW, if you'll be near the ExCel site on Wednesday evening prior to the opening contact me about a Canadian meetup — email john dot d dot reid at gmail dot com.

Voici Voilà

"Library Search" at the Library and Archives Canada website has two resourcesAurora is LAC's own catalogue of its published holdings, including books, newspapers, magazines, maps, music and works in accessible formats.

Voilà is Canada's National Union Catalogue, a single point of access to the collections of libraries across Canada and includes books, magazines, maps, music, and more, including works in special format (e.g., braille, large print, talking books, captioned videos, etc.), for persons who are print- or hearing-impaired. Voilà is hosted by OCLC, an international nonprofit library cooperative.

Voilà is growing. A December 2018 search for genealogy found 142,388 results; today it's 201,835.

It's also growing in libraries that are members. Although LAC did not have the information Daniel Boivin from OCLC sent a list of 528 member organizations. They are all the significant academic libraries, alphabetically from Algonquin College to York University, public sector organizations and 74 public libraries including 24 in Ontario.

The member list is too long for the blog.  You can find out if a given library is one of the 528 at

How can you use Voilà?

It does not replace your public library catalogue. A search for an Ottawa local history book in Voilà found it listed as being at the OPL. A popular general genealogy book was in Voilà but not listed as being in the OPL collection, even though it is. OPL informs the process of adding items to Voilà "has been very complicated ... with several barriers along the way beyond our control." They hope to have further progress by the end of this month.

Voilà will find repositories that hold the item, not all of them, so you can perhaps visit or request an inter-library loan through your own library knowing there is one available (although it may not be available for loan).


... so true, the catalogue helps you find amazing library treasures.