Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Canadian Directory Search

Every so often you find yourself searching contact information for living people. A good Canadian resource to know about is likely online through your local public library.

In Ottawa the OPL provides the ReferenceCanada database from ReferenceGroup. Search 11 million Canadian households by name. phone number, address and more. It claims to be the largest such database available. Records are 100% publicly sourced to comply with Canadian privacy laws.

There's also a directory of 1.5 million Canadian companies compiled from telephone directories, annual reports, government data, chamber of commerce information, business magazines, newspapers, specialty directories, and postal services information. Non-profits like BIFHSGO and OGS are also included although the information is not up to date. and logon to your account.

HSO January Meeting

3D Aerial Photographs by J.-P. Dostaler and “Show and Tell” with Jon Church is the topic for the Historical Society of Ottawa meeting on Friday 25 January 2019.
As usual the meeting is at 172 Guigues Ave. and starts at 1 pm.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

FreeBMD January Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 17 January 2019 to contain 268,517,257 unique records, 268,185,403 at previous update.

Years with major additions, greater than 5,000 records, are: for births 1964, 1978, 1980, 1982-86; for marriages 1965, 1980, 1984-85; for deaths 1982-86.

First Name Popularity

The blog post Fun with Flourish – how popular was your name in Victorian Britain? is worth a look.

Based on 22 million birth records transcribed by the volunteer UK Local BMD project shows the percentage of all transcribed records in which the first name appears.

There are 143,259 unique names over 177 years, over seven geographically diverse counties — mainly English.

Check the trends for your own name from the link in the Fun with Flourish blog post.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Tobogganing in Ottawa

It's cold and snowy enough for this seasonal image —wood engraving by Sydney Prior Hall and Horace Harral.

Caption references John Campbell, Marquis of Lorne, married Princess Louise, the sixth child of Queen Victoria, in 1871. He was governor-general of Canada from 1878 to 1883. He succeeded his father as Duke of Argyll in 1900. Princess Louise was injured in a sleigh accident in Canada in February 1880

Credit: Wellcome Collection.

Eleanor Kathryn Lillico RIP

Sad to report that Eleanor Lillico, well known in the Ottawa genealogical community, passed on 7 January 2019.

Eleanor was a life-long member of Bethany United Church for which she wrote a history  (pdf) for the Gloucester Historical Society.

Read the obit.

Ancestor Mobility in 1911

This bar chart from 1911 census data shows in blue the fraction of people born in a province still living in it, and in red the fraction of those living there who were born there.

Those born in BC were most likely to stay, Manitoba-born least likely.

From Manitoba westward more than half the residents were born outside the province, a reflection of those flocking to "The Last Best West". PEI had a net outflow — more born there than living in the province.

The figures are sourced from census data.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Devon Heritage and Genealogist's Psalm

There's a cornucopia of county resources at

Topics are: Architecture, Census, Devon County, Devonshire Rgt., Directory Listings, Education, Genealogy, History, Industry, Parish Records, People, Places, Transportation, War Memorials. They hide some fascinating resources you'd never guess would be there just from those topic titles.

The image is from a page Gone to Canada.

Thanks to Brenda Turner for the tip and pointing to The Genealogists Psalm.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

National Library of Scotland Ordnance Survey Maps
Digitization of the 1:10,560 National Grid 1950s-1960s series of Ordnance Survey maps is now complete for the whole UK.

Naval Marine Archive: Canadian Collection - Ships Database
Canadian ships and many ships that were foreign built but traded regularly with Canada, or were sold to Canadian owners. Where available, further details of owners, masters and voyages are also included.
via a retweet by Jane MacNamara

Mitochondrial DNA can be inherited from fathers, not just mothers
Three families identified with mtDNA heteroplasmy that could not be explained by maternal inheritance.

Meteorological Mid-Winter

If you're shivering and looking at snow falling, take heart — this is on average the coldest day of the year in Ottawa. The 18th to the 22nd have an average minimum temperature of -15.7 C. The lowest average maximum of -6.4 C occurs on the 16th to 20th.

While daily record low temperatures are bitter for another month snow cover means bright days, the sun is rising noticeably earlier and setting later.

According to the North American Ensemble Forecast System Ottawa temperatures stay well below normal through Tuesday, then a brief warming until dropping back Thursday to somewhat colder than normal conditions for the following week.

Millennials, Gen X, Gen Z, baby boomers: how generation labels cloud issues of inequality

Rationality: research shows we’re not as stupid as we have been led to believe.

Why you shouldn't follow the health regimes of these 'peak zen' people.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Ancestry Updates

Ontario or Gloucestershire ancestry? Check out the following collections which Ancestry lists as having been updated since the start of the year.

Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-1936:  8,717,643 records
Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas, 1869-1946:  3,241,953 records

Gloucestershire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1813: 4,855,897 records

The Lowestoftian

Chances are there are no regular readers of the blog who attended Lowestoft County Grammar School, now known as Ormiston Denes Academy. I was a student from 1956 to 1963. Nevertheless, that won't stop me mentioning that there now online are archived issues of the school magazine, The Lowestoftian.

The earliest is for 1924, the most recent December 2018. The series is spotty to 1969 with a big break to start up again in 2015. I was delighted to find a list of those gaining GCE A Level certificates in my graduating year and news of retirements of fondly, and some not so fondly remembered teachers.

Does your old school have an archived magazine?

LAC Co-Lab Update

Here's an update on Co-Lab Challenge project progress.

112 images were processed during the month.

Legendary train robber and prison escapee Bill Miner (81 images processed during the month) is 21% complete (0% last month). 

War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division (7 images processed during the month) is 41% complete (30% last month).

The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters (24 pages processed during the month) is 66% complete (64% last month).

Japanese-Canadians: Second World War is 64% complete.

Rosemary Gilliat (Eaton)’s Arctic diary and photographs is 33% complete.

New France and First Nations relations is 28% complete.

The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918–1919.

Correspondence between Sir Robert Borden and Sir Sam Hughes.

Letters from Wilfrid Laurier to Zoé Lafontaine/Laurier.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Findmypast adds Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough and new National Burial Index Records

England Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms
Over 65,000 exclusive new records covering 36 parishes across the Diocese of Middlesbrough for the years 1742 to 1917. With every result find an image of the original transcript from the diocese archive and a transcript.

England Roman Catholic Parish Marriages
Over 19,000 exclusive new Diocese of Middlesbrough Sacramental Register entries covering marriages preformed across 28 parishes between 1796 and 1944.

England Roman Catholic Parish Burials
Over 7,000 new and exclusive records held by the Diocese of Middlesbrough covering burial sites in 22 parishes between 1774 and 1974.

England Roman Catholic Parish Congregational records
Over 47,000 records from the Diocese of Middlesbrough covering 30 parishes and spanning the years 1743 to 1920 including anniversary books, confirmation lists, congregational lists, lists of benefactors and converts, parish diaries, and more.

National Burial Index for England & Wales
Over 717,000 new records have been added to the NBI from 288 burial places in the historic counties of Co. Durham, Northumberland and Cumberland as well as 656 burials sites across Lincolnshire. Each transcript will list a combination of name, age, death year, burial place, burial date and place of worship. The Index currently contains over 11 million records and will continue to receive regular updates.

Other additions this week are:

All Saints in Isleworth, Middlesex Baptisms 1543-1876
United States General Land Office Records 1796-2013
Irish Newspapers

The Halifax Explosion

Earlier this week I stopped by the National Gallery to visit the exhibition Masterpiece in Focus: Halifax Harbour 1918 which depicts the city’s waterfront through the eyes of artists Arthur Lismer and Harold Gilman.  The explosion devastated the area on 6 December 1917 — one of those landmark events of a lifetime.

It's a relatively small exhibit, just two rooms, one for each artist.

There's a preview video.

Library and Archives Canada offers another perspective through a podcast “Francis Mackey and the Halifax Explosion” interviewing retired teacher and author Janet Maybee about her book Aftershock: The Halifax Explosion and the Persecution of Pilot Francis Mackey which attempts to clear Mackey’s name and restore honour to the Mackey family.

Note that Janet Maybee, a real champion of LAC resources, mentions the late lamented LAC cafeteria — a resource that's now sadly lacking.

Forthcoming "Genealogy" Books

A search for genealogy on Amazon lists the following as soon to be published. Information is from the publisher.

Humanimal: How Homo Sapiens Became Nature's Most Paradoxical Creature--A New Evolutionary History
by Adam Rutherford
19 March 2019
Adam Rutherford, author of A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes explores how many of the things once considered to be exclusively human are not: We are not the only species that communicates, makes tools, uses fire, or has sex for reasons other than procreation. Evolution has, however, allowed us to develop a culture far more complex than any other observed in nature. Humanimal explains how we became the creatures we are today, uniquely able to investigate ourselves. Illuminating the latest genetic research, it is a thrilling account of what unequivocally fixes us as animals--and what makes us truly extraordinary.

Great British Family Names and Their History: What's in a Name?
by John Moss
30 March 2019
For better or worse, what we are is often determined by our family; the events that occurred many years before we were born, and the choices that were made by our forebears are our inheritance - we are the inexorable product of family history. So it is with nations. The history of Great Britain has been largely defined by powerful and influential families, many of whose names have come down to us from Celtic, Danish, Saxon or Norman ancestors. Their family names fill the pages of our history books; they are indelibly written into the events which we learned about at school. Iconic family names like Wellington, Nelson, Shakespeare, Cromwell, Constable, De Montfort and Montgomery... there are innumerable others. They reflect the long chequered history of Britain, and demonstrate the assimilation of the many cultures and languages which have migrated to these islands over the centuries, and which have resulted in the emergence of our language. This book is a snapshot of several hundred such family names and delves into their beginnings and derivations, making extensive use of old sources, including translations of The Domesday Book and The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, as well as tracing many through the centuries to the present day.

The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors
by Marsha Hoffman Rising
31 March 2019
The late US genealogist Marsha Hoffman Rising's newly updated bestselling book. Find answers to genealogy's toughest problems.
No information on what is added for this latest addition.

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors
by John Grenham
5 April 2019
The fifth edition of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors retains its familiar three-part structure, combining a detailed guide for beginners with thorough descriptions of all the useful sources and county-by-county reference lists. Additionally, all of the changes that have been brought about by modern technology – internet records and DNA testing, which make researching your family background easier than ever – are explained in this indispensable guide.

Kingston Branch OGS January Meeting

On Saturday, 19 January at 9:30 a.m. at the Kingston Seniors Centre, 56 Francis Street in Kingston.  Carol St. Clair will speak on "Tales of the Script: Reading and Understanding Old English Cursive".  Bring pen and paper and learn how to write Old English words. 

Also a brief educational session will be presented by Mimi Merrill, who will speak about the re-opening of the Family History Centre in Glenburnie.

Visitors always welcome.  Further info at

Extra.  Early Kingston city directories (1855-1923) and many other local genealogy resources are available online. The Quick Links page of the Digital Kingston website provides shortcuts to the most frequently-used sources.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Tell Multinational Publishers We Want Better eContent For Canadian Libraries

Lack of availability, high prices stand in the way of open, easy access to eBooks and eAudiobooks for Canadian readers at public libraries

The Canadian Urban Libraries Council, along with public libraries across Canada, is asking the public to help resolve these issues by demanding stronger #eContentForLibraries of major multinational publishers. Canadians can send the message on social media, tagging these publishers in their posts: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster.


Quinte Branch OGS January Meeting

The Quinte Branch of Ontario Genealogical Society invites all to its 19 January, 2019 meeting which will be the Annual Crouse Wanamaker Lecture —"Irish Famine and the Settlement of East Hungerford township of Hastings County" by Jim Kennelly.

Jim will speak about Irish emigration prior to and during the Potato Famine. In particular, he will look at the emigrants from Lord Fitzwilliam’s estate in Shillelagh, Wicklow and the large number who eventually settled in the eastern section of Hungerford, Hastings County and in the townships of Sheffield and Camden in Lennox and Addington County. Why were so many from one corner of Ireland concentrated in this area of Ontario?
Jim is a retired school administrator and is actively involved in the Hastings County Historical Society. He has a large connection to the emigrants from Fitzwilliam’s estate and an even larger connection to the thousands of descendants of these people who sought a better life. He and his wife, Sandy, live in Lonsdale, Ontario where they raised four daughters and are proud of their twelve grandchildren.

The meeting is at the Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Dr, Trenton 1-3 pm. and

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Thoughts on Finding Your Roots

After watching Finding Your Roots last evening:

I'm wondering if you're as moved by seeing your ancestor's name on a voters list the first time he was able to vote following the Second Reform Act of 1867 in the UK as Michael K. Williams was in seeing his ancestor's following the US Civil War.

Did anyone tell Felicity Huffman that millions of people in the US likely share her 9th great grandfather, that she likely inherited none of her genome from him, and that as a leader in the community he was likely complicit in suppressing rights for the indigenous people.

But none of that would make for the syrupy slop PBS served up in this episode.

Talk Genealogy Podcast: Episode #35 Marriage Registers of Old England

Another episode of Malcolm Noble's Talk Genealogy Podcast covering aspects of English marriages not dealt with in previous episodes, and several that were, was published on 4 January.
Did you know that for many years marriages could only happen in the morning, and that there were three periods during the year when marriages could not occur without special dispensation? There are other curiosities mentioned.

At the end of the episode, which runs for almost 34 minutes, Malcolm mentions that he has spoken for 20 and a bit minutes. Most of those extra 10 minutes could likely be cut to make the podcast more listenable without losing the good content.

Great Scots: Canadian Fiction Writers with Links to Scotland, 1867 to Today

Ayrshire-born Canadian publishing icon Douglas Gibson will cover Canadian history, discussing storytellers in their historic background. Among the Great Scots authors are predictable names like MacLennan and MacLeod, but also some that will surprise you!

Presented by The Scottish Society of Ottawa in partnership with the Ottawa Public Library.

Arts Court Theatre, 2 Daly St. Monday, January 21, 7:00 p.m.

Register here.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Western Canada Legal Land Description

How often when faced with the information that a relative received a land grant described as, say, Part: NE; Section: 20; Township: 24; Range: 3; Meridian: W2 have you felt no wiser. If you found it by a search in the Library and Archives Canada database Land Grants of Western Canada, 1870-1930 the map accompanying the search result is difficult to interpret..
Help is at hand at It converts to and from latitude and longitude and contains links to various map displays, including Google and Bing maps which you can zoom in and out to see the context. It's one to bookmark.

Perth & District Historical Society January Meeting

Thursday, 17 January, 2019 at 7:30pm
Perth's Royal Canadian Legion, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, (Toonie Donation).

"A Vision for the Perth Museum" 

Our Society's meeting for January 17, 2019 takes a different approach; we look not at history, but, instead, meet a guest who examines, displays and catalogues history, and then assists people in learning and enjoying the experience.  We take pleasure in introducing Kathryn Jamieson, the new Heritage/Tourism Manager for the Town of Perth. 

As a native of Westport, Kathryn Jamieson's new position in Perth is a return to her small-town roots in a familiar neighbourhood.  Kathryn's personal interests in arts and culture led her to Sheridan College, studying glass arts, including glass blowing.  She then incorporated an interest in history into her career as a glass artist, taking Algonquin College's Applied Museum Studies Program.  Her previous work experiences include positions at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canadian War Museum and 10 years at the Goulbourn Museum, culminating with Curator Manager.  In addition, Kathryn has taught two components of the Museum Management module at Algonquin College.  These previous experiences will serve her well with her position in Perth, which she assumed the past summer. 

Drawing on her past studies and work, Kathryn envisages expanding the way the Perth Museum is projected to the residents of Perth and visitors.  While she is still obtaining a feel for the job here, she is learning the strengths and weaknesses of the Museum and those of the Town.  Her concept for the future includes expanding on the heritage and tourism sector strengths that have worked so well in the past for the town, and engaging the public and their views of their local museum.  Keeping finances in mind, there are some notable points to consider: strengthening the museum's visibility, preserving and developing museum assets, and developing audience engagement. 

Speaking with Kathryn, her enthusiasm for her new position is evident.  She has noted that there is much that is positive already in place, including one of the main strengths - the people she has met.  This has been reinforced by her return to the area and the enjoyment that she, her husband and their young son have with life in Perth.  And, one might also see her at local markets with her glass blowing artwork. 

Monday, 14 January 2019

The Shutdown

Although my research doesn't normally lead me into US government websites it did this past weekend, and I was faced with this webpage from the US National Archives and Records Administration.
Dick Eastman has a list of some of the services closed by the President's shutdown.

How to access British Second World War Service Files

A BIFHSGO member asked me about accessing her father's Second World War British Army service file at the meeting last Saturday. I could only answer from memory — it's something I haven't done but it turns out I wasn't far off the mark.
The files, still with the Ministry of Defence, are open on application by snail mail for anyone who died 25 or more years ago, and otherwise to next of kin. You need to know the person’s full name, date of birth and (or?) service number in order to fill out the forms, and pay a £30 application fee. It can take several months for an application to be processed.
Official information on who can and how to apply, and the forms, is at

Free Webinar: Integrating old photos into your family history research

Maureen Taylor < >, who needs no introduction, will show how to analyze photos, upload to a personal MyHeritage website, and tag the people you want to stay connected with in this free webinar sponsored by MyHeritage.
It's at 2 pm EST on Tuesday, 22 January, 2019.

Register here.

Genealogy Drop-in at OPL/Greenboro

Three sessions are scheduled at the Greenboro Public Library Drop in to work on your family tree!  A genealogy librarian will be here to answer questions and help you get the most from library resources.

Wednesday, 16 January, 2019 - 10:30am - noon
Wednesday, 20 February, 2019 - 10:30am - noon
Tuesday, 19 March, 2019 - 10:30am - noon

That's in the Computer training room, 363 Lorry Greenberg