Thursday, 2 April 2020

O/T: Predictions of Weather and Health

On Thursday Prime Minister Trudeau looked evasive on declining to release model results in the face of questions from many of the media. Why?

As someone who spent part of my career making forecasts, in my case of weather, and getting slammed when they didn't pan out, it's interesting to see epidemiologists struggling to explain modelling and why there are such great differences in predictions of the evolution of the present pandemic. In the US is it 100,000 deaths, 200,000 deaths or 2.2 million deaths?

A large part of the problem is not knowing the present situation. For weather forecasting, we can't monitor conditions everywhere. Small-scale atmospheric phenomena not captured by the observing systems can, under the right conditions amplify and change the whole weather map over the course of time.

The health parallel is infections not well captured by the data. Evidence is mounting that many more people have the virus than are identified; they don't have noticeable symptoms. Iceland reports 50% of those tested had the virus but showed no symptoms. In Canada, for the general population we only test those showing symptoms and turn up to be tested, but those mildly infected can pass the disease on to others.

In weather forecasting technology has helped fill the information gap — weather satellites, radar, lightning strike detection systems and low-cost weather stations. Can technology help for health?

There's also uncertainty because of introduced variability. For weather, the behaviour of a butterfly, whether or not it flaps its wings at a particular time and place, could produce a vortex that might amplify into a storm, That puts a limit on how far in the future you can make useful weather predictions.

The health parallel is not knowing how people are going to behave. Will they self-isolate and observe advice on physical distancing? Or will they carry on without regard to the situation?

There are also uncertainties about mechanisms. When electric charge builds up in a thunderstorm why does lightning strike in one location and not another? Why do some people react strongly to the coronavirus while others seem immune?

Despite these problems weather forecasts have been issued for decades because the imperfect information was still of value. Hopefully, the Prime Minister got the message through the media that even imperfect forecasts should be released.

Additions to Find A Grave

Since November when I last looked at Find a Grave, the version on Ancestry, 12.8 million records have been added, that's another 12.8%.

Just over two-thirds of the additions are for the US, 6.1% for the UK and Ireland, and 4.3% for Canada.

TitleDates1 Apr 2020 Records1 Nov 2019 Records
Australia and New Zealand1800s-Current5,898,9695,442,567
UK and Ireland1300s-Current7,467,7236,687,310

BIFHSGO April Meeting

I'm told the meeting scheduled for 11 April will go ahead as an online event. There will be no "before BIFHSGO" short educational presentation. The meeting will start at 10 am. However, it will not feature the presentation by Christine Jackson originally scheduled.

Options for the service to be used continue to be explored — there's a good chance Zoom will be chosen.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

LAC Service Disruption

The following notice is on the Library and Archives Canada website. I was unable to obtain results for a search on the Personnel Records of the First World War database.

Computing services interruptions — March 31 to April 4

Please note the following computing services interruptions:

LAC Direct services will not be fully available between March 31 and April 4, 2020. During this period, documents will be in read-only mode.
On Saturday, April 4 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. (EDT), several of our online applications will not be available because maintenance activities will be performed on our website.

We regret any inconvenience that this may cause. Updated

There's a redesigned website for

The announcement from CKRN describes "an updated look and feel while maintaining the same site layout and functionality, allowing researchers to browse, search, and download content as before. In addition, the designs feature highlights of images and text from the collections, as well as Canadiana’s new logo and colour palette of green and teal."

While not mentioned in the announcement it appears the site is now considerably more speedy in moving between images. The time taken to call up the next image has been a considerable aggravation. That improvement is a big plus. I hope it's for the long term, not an illusion or side effect of the present situation.

The Leaning Tower

Have you noticed that Pisa has come to Ottawa?

Is it maybe deliberate to facilitate showing that a bag of feathers falls just as fast as a lump of iron?

Internet Genealogy: April/May 2020

Bold font titles are articles in which I found information new and useful for me. Your interests will likely differ.

DON’T GUESS:  Start With The FamilySearch Research Wiki
Gena Philibert-Ortega looks at one of the best websites for all-around genealogy research.

Track Genealogy Books with Goodreads
Julie Cahill Tarr shows us how she uses Goodreads to manage her genealogy books. Worth a look.

LibGuides: Improving Access to  Information
Diane L. Richard highlights the benefits of  Library Guides to genealogy researchers.

Making Sense of the U.S. Federal Censuses:  1790–1840
Sue Lisk looks at websites highlighting various aspects of U.S. Censuses and tips to assist in your genealogy research.

Researching Germans from Russia?
Marlene Michel highlights the resources and benefits of membership in the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia.

Endangered Archives Programme
Diane L. Richard investigates an effort by the British Library to preserve archive collections worldwide. Interesting.

Chautauqua Days
Sue Lisk looks at how Chautauquas played an important role in American history and touched many of our ancestors’ lives. Interesting.

A Collection of Capitol Caches
David A. Norris investigates genealogical records from the U.S. Congress and Senate

Genealogy Basics: GEDCOM
Tony Bandy looks at the GEDCOM file format, why it’s important and its future in genealogy

Israel’s Cemeteries are ALL Online! 
Diane L. Richard looks at the efforts of  MyHeritage and BillionGraves to digitize  Israel’s cemeteries

Hold the Phone... Book!
Tony Bandy looks at digitized Library of  Congress Phone Directories and your family research!

Internet Genealogy looks at some newspaper resources from around the world

Back Page
Dave Obee offers some suggestions to make conferences more appealing to attendees. "The central idea of a conference should be to give attendees an experience they cannot get elsewhere."

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

British Newspaper Archives additions for March

The British Newspaper Archive now has a total of 36,633,282 pages online (36,198,942 last month).

 34 papers (32 last month) had pages added in the past month. There were 11 (17) new titles. Dates ranged from 1779 to 1986.

The 11 newspapers with more than 10,000 pages added during the month are:

Aberdeen Press and Journal1972-1974
Batley News1883-1907
Batley Reporter and Guardian1869-1897, 1899-1907
Carlow Sentinel1832-1920
Crewe Chronicle1874-1887, 1889-1972
Home News for India, China and the Colonies1847-1865
Merthyr Express1871-1897, 1899-1910, 1912-1945
North Wilts Herald1867-1895, 1897-1941
Nuneaton Observer1877-1896, 1898-1912
Torbay Express and South Devon Echo1958-1967, 1969-1972
Truth1885, 1894-1897, 1900-1902, 1906-1907, 1910

The last newspaper in the table, Truth, is interesting for its colourful history.

The Joy of Genealogy?

These days people are saying that you could usefully spend your time in self-isolation or physical distancing by organizing your genealogy files and scanning paper files into a computer compatible format. That’s so that you can pass along comprehensive well ordered information on your family history to your sons, daughters, grandchildren and their descendants on down the line.

They might not want it?  Read on while I explain why that attitude makes sense.

There's nothing wrong with working on your family history. Organized files, colour coded, neatly arranged, certainly look satisfying on the shelf or in filing cabinets. Scanning things into computer files means you can dump all the physical research notes and non-archival materials. If that keeps you out of trouble and brings you joy so much the better, but don’t expect undying appreciation from subsequent generations. Why?

Look at it this way. What would be the consequences if each of your 2,048 10th great-grandparents had each prepared the type of collection you are working on now and passed it on through the generations to you? Let’s say they’d pared it down to 2,000 sheets of paper, the product of their in-depth research into all their previous generations. A typical banker’s box, 15" width x 12" depth x 10" height holds 2,000 sheets. So you'd been dealing with 2,048 boxes. Each is a bit over 1 cubic foot; you’re now dealing with 2,180 cubic feet of boxes -- more than will be held by all but the largest self-storage unit. The storage cost might be $250 per month. A typical box weighs 30 pounds, that’s 61,440 pounds for the collection — or 27 imperial tons (that's 31 US tons).

On top of that add biographical materials from each person in subsequent generations in your direct line, another 2,046 ancestors. I won’t do the calculation, the point is already made.

Even if your descendants could afford the storage would they likely want to dig through those tons of information?

Scanned into pdfs the material might be 4TB. That's a very rough estimate, it very much depends on the content, less if all text, more for high-quality images. That’s not unreasonable in these days of institutional petabyte storage, but would the descendants want to look through it all if not searchable?

If you wouldn’t want to take on the challenge of caring for those ancestral materials should you add to the burden of subsequent generations?

Yes, enjoy the challenge of the search. Recognize it’s for your own enjoyment. Just as with crossword puzzles, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying them — just don’t bequeath the completed ones to your descendants!

You may have already scoffed at the scenario painted above as it would require your parents to have duplicated each of the boxes they inherited as a gift to their children, as many copies as they had children. As your n-times great grandparents are in all probability shared with many many many descendants there would be a lot of duplicates being stored. The answer is sharing.

If you like the security of physical copies, no danger of an electromagnetic pulse frying computer storage, produce a book and place copies in a few libraries that accept genealogical materials. The cost will mean you’re careful to be selective. Or write articles for magazines or journals. Family history societies are always looking for content that they publish without charge to members, and you’ll have the advantage of editorial review. As many copies are produced there’s a good chance some will survive many years — there’s a term for that — LOCKSS — lots of copies keep stuff safe. The contents may well be kept by the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) operated by the Allen County Public Library and available through Findmypast.

Online there are many options. You can produce your own family tree on most of the commercial genealogy sites specifying the level of privacy with which you feel comfortable. Just remember that complete privacy means the content will never be shared.

Consider the unified databases, an example is WikiTree: The Free Family Tree. LOCKSS applies so plan on adding information to more than one such site.

Enjoy the time you put in researching and documenting your family history; then think about how best you can help rather than impose a burden on the generations that follow.

Monday, 30 March 2020

MyHeritage adds Colourization Options

MyHeritage has added new colourization settings allows you to fine-tune colours. A new "Settings" gear icon is added next to the colourized photo allowing you to adjust various settings. Experiment with settings, then click and compare with the original colourized photo. 

In a few minutes playing it seemed retaining the white balanced checked worked best for me. Reducing the saturation meant the face was less pink — more realistic.
Your taste and mileage may vary.

Find Family in Royal Canadian Legion Military Service Recognition Books

Military Service Recognition Books identify and recognize veterans — "any person who is serving or has honourably served in the Canadian Armed Forces, the Commonwealth or its wartime allies, or as a Regular Member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or as a Peace Officer in a Special Duty Area or on a Special Duty Operation, or who has served in the Merchant Navy or Ferry Command during wartime."

The books are published by Fenety Marketing in a fairly uniform format for the various Provincial Commands of the 30,000 member-strong Royal Canadian Legion. There's a list of the Commands with links to their websites at

Supported by advertising and donations, the books feature biographies and reminiscences of those who served. Most entries are from the Second and First World Wars, also the Korean war and more. They may include articles on activities of the Legion and on notable events in which Command servicemen and women were involved. Typically each of the about 100 volumes has a table of contents near the front which names the veterans mentioned.

Except as noted the volumes are available as searchable pdfs.

British Columbia/Yukon Command
14 volumes starting in 2006. PDFs not searchable.

Alberta-NWT Command
11 volumes starting in 2009.

Saskatchewan Command
11 volumes and a commemorative booklet published starting in 2007.

Manitoba/Northwest Ontario Command
10 volumes starting in 2010.

Ontario Command
6 volumes starting in 2014. A master index at

Quebec Command
None found

New Brunswick Command
13 bilingual volumes and a commemorative booklet starting in 2003.

Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command
15 volumes starting in 2005.

Prince Edward Island Command
15 volumes and a commemorative booklet starting in 2003.

Newfoundland and Labrador Command
7 volumes known as Lest We Forget Books starting in 2011.

Many thanks to Glenn Wright for alerting me to these books.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

The LAC Documentary Heritage Communities Program in action.
Theory? Meet Practice! Supporting Archival Development at St. Peter's Cathedral Church, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Revelstoke Museum and Archives

During the Second World War, Canadian SandyMacpherson kept Britain calm

Canadian Army Newsreels 
One of tomorrow's blog posts will feature a little known Canadian military resource with lots of information on thousands of servicemen and women. In the meantime  you there's plenty of context in Canadian Army Newsreels, here (undated) or here from LAC (with year in the title)
There's more to stream at from the National Film Board too.

Florence Nightingale: a pioneer of handwashing and hygiene for health

Timely in the 200th year of her birth -- a great day of the year to be born.

Survival Of Archives; Archives Of Survival
A blog post by Mark Smith of the Derbyshire Record Office.

From Pasture to Pandemic Hospital
In a feature article, TheGenealogist shows how The MapExplorer™ allows us to compare and contrast the vista that Victorians would have seen here with a modern satellite view for the site of the ExCel exhibition centre, where RootsTech London was held last year, now repurposed as the temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital.

Silver lining: Could COVID-19 lead to a better future?

Thanks to this week's contributors
Ann Burns, Christine Jackson, Ed Keelin, Elise, Glenn Wright, Helen, Ken McKinlay, Marilyn, Mike More, Old Census Scribe, Sophronia, Trevor Rix, Unknown

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Findmypast adds Scottish Records

Published in partnership with East Ayrshire Family History Society.

Scotland, Ayrshire, Kilmarnock Valuation Roll 1874
Trace ancestors with these 7,050 valuation roll records from 1874. Transcripts for those who owned or rented land in Kilmarnock with the most important family tree details, as well as digital copies of the original records can reveal:

Landlord's and/or tenant's names
Description of the property
How much rent was paid

Scotland, Ayrshire, Kilmarnock Ratepayers 1838-1846
Local and central government officials collected these 4,157 property records until The Lands Valuation (Scotland) Act, 1854 established a uniform process for valuing tenancies across the country.

Scotland, Ayrshire, Kilmarnock Voters Lists 1837-1852
For these 2,110 voters a combination of the records' transcripts and digitized images of the original documents can reveal:

Voter's chosen candidate
Those who didn't vote

At the time these records were taken, the right to vote in Scotland was not universal. Only owners or tenants of residences worth more than £10 could vote, provided all of their taxes had been paid for the previous year.

Coronavirus R&R: The Ballard of Dunny Roll

Friday, 27 March 2020

BIFHSGO Conference 2020 – Postponement Announcement

This is a message from the conference co-chairs.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertain situation over the coming months, BIFHSGO’s Board of Directors and Conference Planning Committee regret to announce the postponement of the annual family history Conference, scheduled to be held 25–27 September 2020.

Many factors have been carefully considered: the risks to our speakers, attendees and volunteers; uncertainty about international travel for our main speakers; and the costs, time and effort of our volunteers to put together a conference with no guarantee that circumstances will allow the event to be held. Although we could have carried on, hoping for improved conditions, we felt it was best for the safety and well-being of all concerned to make the decision early.

We wish to express our sincere thanks to all those involved with planning the conference, particularly the dedicated volunteers who have already put significant efforts into planning this year’s event. To our speakers, regular exhibitors and partners, thank you for your understanding and continued support. We would especially like to thank the staff of Ben Franklin Place for their appreciation of our situation and generosity in minimizing our losses.
Although this is disappointing, it is only a postponement. The conference will be scheduled for the fall of 2021 with the same themes and, hopefully, the same speakers. We will notify you (BIFHSGO members) of next year’s exact dates as soon as they can be determined (likely this October).

BIFHSGO’s Board is working on other ways to connect with members while the restrictions remain in place and we look forward to gathering together again when it is safe to do so.

In the interim, please stay safe and be well.

Duncan Monkhouse, President BIFHSGO and Conference Co-Chair (Program), and Jane Down, Conference Co-Chair (Administrative)

Update to the Shared cM Project

It's here from Blaine Bettinger — version 4.0. He writes:

There are many changes to the minimum, average, and maximum values for relationships in Version 4.0 of the Shared cM Project relative to the prior Version 3.0. As the number of submissions for a relationship grows, the distribution of cM values for that relationship is more clearly defined. This allows for improved definition and elimination of outliers for each relationship. In some cases, the very large increase in submissions moved the minimum and/or maximum values further outward for a broader distribution in this version, and in other cases it moved the minimum and/or maximum values inward for a tighter distribution in this version.
Read Blaine's post at .

Jonny Perl has updated the Shared cM Project tool at DNA Painter with the new data. Read his blog post here with even more information:

Thank you Blaine, Jonny and all those who contributed data.

The National Emergency Library

The following is an announcement from the Internet Archive. Despite the name, it's not only available in the US, even if it has the effect of making the rest of us feel like an afterthought.

To address our unprecedented global and immediate need for access to reading and research materials, as of today, March 24, 2020, the Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners. This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later. 
During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.  
This library brings together all the books from Phillips Academy Andover and Marygrove College, and much of Trent University’s collections, along with over a million other books donated from other libraries to readers worldwide that are locked out of their libraries.
This is a response to the scores of inquiries from educators about the capacity of our lending system and the scale needed to meet classroom demands because of the closures. Working with librarians in Boston area, led by Tom Blake of Boston Public Library, who gathered course reserves and reading lists from college and school libraries, we determined which of those books the Internet Archive had already digitized.  Through that work we quickly realized that our lending library wasn’t going to scale to meet the needs of a global community of displaced learners. To make a real difference for the nation and the world, we would have to take a bigger step.
“The library system, because of our national emergency, is coming to aid those that are forced to learn at home, ” said Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. “This was our dream for the original Internet coming to life: the Library at everyone’s fingertips.”
Public support for this emergency measure has come from over 100 individuals, libraries and universities across the world, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  “Ubiquitous access to open digital content has long been an important goal for MIT and MIT Libraries. Learning and research depend on it,” said Chris Bourg, Director of MIT Libraries. “In a global pandemic, robust digital lending options are key to a library’s ability to care for staff and the community, by allowing all of us to work remotely and maintain the recommended social distancing.”
We understand that we’re not going to be able to meet everyone’s needs; our collection, at 1.4 million modern books, is a fraction of the size of a large metropolitan library system or a great academic library. The books that we’ve digitized have been acquired with a focus on materials published during the 20th century, the vast majority of which do not have a commercially available ebook.  This means that while readers and students are able to access latest best sellers and popular titles through services like OverDrive and Hoopla, they don’t have access to the books that only exist in paper, sitting inaccessible on their library shelves. That’s where our collection fits in—we offer digital access to books, many of which are otherwise unavailable to the public while our schools and libraries are closed. In addition to the National Emergency Library, the Internet Archive also offers free public access to 2.5 million fully downloadable public domain books, which do not require waitlists to view.
We recognize that authors and publishers are going to be impacted by this global pandemic as well. We encourage all readers who are in a position to buy books to do so, ideally while also supporting your local bookstore. If they don’t have the book you need, then Amazon or Better World Books may have copies in print or digital formats. We hope that authors will support our effort to ensure temporary access to their work in this time of crisis. We are empowering authors to explicitly opt in and donate books to the National Emergency Library if we don’t have a copy. We are also making it easy for authors to contact us to take a book out of the library. Learn more in our FAQ.
A final note on calling this a “National Emergency” Library.  We lend to the world, including these books. We chose that language deliberately because we are pegging the suspension of the waitlists to the duration of the US national emergency.  Users all over the world have equal access to the books now available, regardless of their location.
How you can help:
  1. Read books, recommend books, and teach using books from the National Emergency Library
  2. Sponsor a book to be digitized and preserved
  3. Endorse this effort institutionally or individually
  4. Share news about the National Emergency Library with your social media followers using #NationalEmergencyLibrary
  5. Donate to the Internet Archive
If you have additional questions, please check out our FAQ or contact Chris Freeland, Director of Open Libraries.

London Genealogy Databases Online

The table below is a consolidated list, ordered by the number of records in databases offered online for London by Ancestry, Deceased Online, FamilySearch, Findmypast, and MyHeritage. It's updated from a post in January 2017. Changes are in bold. Not included are more comprehensive databases, such as the censuses, that cover a larger area, some cemetery database from the National Archives where the number of records is not available and, newspapers. Titles with less than 2,500 records are excluded. TheGenealogist also has London area databases but the number of records is not given.

London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965Ancestry179,071,664
London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917Ancestry21,605,324
London, England, City Directories, 1736-1943Ancestry19,793,623
England, London Electoral Registers, 1847-1913FamilySearch17,694,080
London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812Ancestry17,095,253
London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932Ancestry13,305,217
London, England, Land Tax Records, 1692-1932Ancestry12,772,584
London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764-1930Ancestry10,198,397
London, England, School Admissions and Discharges, 1840-1911Ancestry3,161,852
London, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-2003Ancestry2,733,953
Greater London Burial IndexFindmypast2,007,013
Web: England, London Lives Index, 1690-1832Ancestry1,653,830
London Lives, Culture & Society 1680-1817Findmypast1,653,803
Web: London, England, Proceedings of the Old Bailey and Ordinary's Accounts Index, 1674-1913Ancestry1,246,537
London, England, Clandestine Marriage and Baptism Registers, 1667-1754Ancestry894,892
London, Docklands and East End BaptismsFindmypast792,505
Middlesex, London, Old Bailey Court Records 1674-1913Findmypast788,627
London, England, City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Registers, 1841-1966Ancestry764,378
London and Surrey, England, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1597-1921Ancestry750,614
Bunhill Cemetery (The National Archives)DeceasedOnline711,000
London Borough Of SouthwarkDeceasedOnline600,000
Boyd's Inhabitants Of London & Family Units 1200-1946Findmypast583,158
London, England, Poor Law Hospital Admissions and Discharges, 1842-1918Ancestry512,961
London, England, Poor Law School District Registers, 1852-1918Ancestry510,893
London Apprenticeship Abstracts, 1442-1850Findmypast486,370
Greater London Marriage IndexFindmypast486,081
London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1698-1930Ancestry484,755
London Borough Of CamdenDeceasedOnline470,400
London, England, Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1930Ancestry463,958
Manor Park CemeteryDeceasedOnline430,000
London Borough Of IslingtonDeceasedOnline425,700
London Borough Of LewishamDeceasedOnline385,000
Royal Borough Of Greenwich - LondonDeceasedOnline371,000
London, England, Poor Law and Board of Guardian Records, 1738-1926Ancestry319,763
London, England, Overseer Returns, 1863-1894Ancestry294,833
London, England, Non-conformist Registers, 1694-1931Ancestry284,953
Surrey & South London Wills & Probate Index, 1470-1856Findmypast261,370
London, England, Newgate Calendar of Prisoners, 1785-1853Ancestry257,953
Kensal Green CemeteryDeceasedOnline257,500
London, England, Stock Exchange Membership Applications, 1802-1924Ancestry256,986
London Borough Of LambethDeceasedOnline255,000
London, Bethlem Hospital Patient Admission Registers and Casebooks 1683-1932Findmypast247,517
Boyd's London BurialsFindmypast242,635
Eltham CrematoriumDeceasedOnline210,000
Brompton CemeteryDeceasedOnline205,000
Brompton, London, England, Cemetery Registers, 1840-2012Ancestry204,827
Trafford CouncilDeceasedOnline202,000
UK, University of London Student Records, 1836-1945Ancestry188,619
London, England, Selected Rate Books, 1684-1907Ancestry186,366
London Borough Of NewhamDeceasedOnline180,000
London, England, School Admissions and Discharges, 1912-1918Ancestry178,308
Highgate CemeteryDeceasedOnline166,000
London, England, Marriage Notices from The Times, 1982-2004Ancestry160,030
City Of London, Haberdashers, Apprentices and Freemen 1526-1933Findmypast136,468
London, England, Wills and Probate, 1507-1858Ancestry135,186
London, Bethlem Hospital Patient Admission Registers and Casebooks 1683-1932 BrowseFindmypast129,898
Spa Fields Cemetery (The National Archives)DeceasedOnline114,000
London, England, Births and Christening Notices from The Times, 1983-2003Ancestry107,313
London Borough Of MertonDeceasedOnline100,000
London Borough Of HaveringDeceasedOnline75,000
London, England, Metropolitan Police Pension Registers, 1852-1932Ancestry68,589
London Probate IndexFindmypast62,820
London Borough Of HarrowDeceasedOnline58,700
The Times (London, England)Ancestry56,218
London, England, Death Notices from The Times, 1982-1988Ancestry54,514
London, England, Church of England Confirmation Records, 1838-1923Ancestry52,837
London, England, Land Tax Valuations, 1910Ancestry44,374
The London Gazette, Supplements August 1914 - January 1920Findmypast40,558
Newark Town CouncilDeceasedOnline40,000
London Borough Of BrentDeceasedOnline40,000
The National Archives - Military BurialsDeceasedOnline39,000
London, England, London Transport Staff Registers, 1863-1931Ancestry36,693
Surrey and City Of London Livery Company Association Oath Rolls, 1695-96Findmypast32,965
London, England, King's Bench and Fleet Prison Discharge Books and Prisoner Lists, 1734-1862Ancestry32,198
Dacorum Borough Council - Hemel HempsteadDeceasedOnline29,153
London, England, Marshalsea Prison Commitment and Discharge Books, 1811-1842Ancestry28,849
London, England, Crisp's Marriage Licence Index, 1713-1892Ancestry27,932
London Borough Of SuttonDeceasedOnline27,500
London, England, Royal Holloway and Bedford College Student Registers, 1849-1931Ancestry27,370
London, Westminster Marylebone Census 1821 & 1831Findmypast22,529
London Poor Law Records, 1581-1899Findmypast22,441
City Of London, Ironmongers' Company, Apprentices and Freemen 1511-1939Findmypast22,157
London, Dulwich College Register 1619-1926Findmypast18,313
Welwyn Hatfield Borough CouncilDeceasedOnline14,568
Britain, Russian Orthodox Church In London BrowseFindmypast13,218
London, England, TS Exmouth Training Ship Records, 1876-1918Ancestry12,107
London County Council Record Of War Service 1914-1918Findmypast10,145
London, Bunhill Fields Non-Conformist Burials 1713-1826 BrowseFindmypast5,716
London, Watermen, List Of Free Watermen, 1827Findmypast5,449
London Volunteer SoldiersFindmypast5,271
City Of London, Gunmakers' Company Freedoms and Admissions, 1656-1936Findmypast5,187
London, Archdeaconry Court Of London Wills Index, 1700-1807Findmypast4,687
London, Court Of Husting Will Abstracts, 1258-1688Findmypast3,853
London & Middlesex Registers & RecordsFindmypast3,355
London Post Office Directories 1842, 1851 and 1861, BrowseFindmypast3,231
London Consistory Court Depositions Index, 1700-1713Findmypast3,104
London, England, Selected Church of England Parish Registers, 1558-1875Ancestry2,967
London 1916 Kelly's Post Office DirectoryMyHeritage2,651
London, England, Gamekeepers' Licences, 1727-1839Ancestry2,578

Thursday, 26 March 2020

BIFHSGO Home Children Project

BIFHSGO volunteers are extracting home child names from the RG76 records held at Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

If you are self-isolating and feel the urge (to make better use of the time than watching Netflix or yet another COVID-19 briefing) consider contributing by doing some valuable extraction work regarding home children. 

Everything can be done at home through records at Heritage (, no travelling is required at all.

There are 198 sets of records identified to be extracted so there is lots of variety.

Please contact John Sayers at

A Time for Conservation

Taking advantage of being at home you may have discovered family treasures that need conservation. I did a while ago and yesterday, keeping a distance, picked up a presentation box for medals, from Kyla Ubbink's mailbox — a few hours before Ontario restrictions kicked in.

If Kyla's book and paper conservation service is something you could use be aware that while her in-person business is closed it's ‘just a courier away”. She is offering free pick-up and delivery in the Ottawa area during this time.

Find out more at

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

BIFHSGO Monthly Meeting Update

"As our monthly meetings usually attract about 150 people to The Chamber at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa, we will not be holding in-person monthly meetings until it is safe to do so.

The April 11 meeting, and likely the May 9 meeting, will be affected."

Read the full notice at

Ottawa Branch OGS Schedules Virtual Meetings

Researching in Your Pajamas 28 March 1PM

With the lockdown of our meeting facilities and everybody staying at home to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus, Ottawa Branch will hold our first entirely virtual meeting on Saturday 28 March at 1pm. Ken McKinley will present "Researching in Your Pajamas", an ideal topic for the situation today.

Ken, a genealogy researcher with over 15 years' experience, is a frequent speaker at Ottawa area events. Popular for his practically-oriented talks on genealogy resources and research techniques, he also blogs at Family Tree Knots. In this presentation, Ken will share with you his tips, tricks, and suggestions for doing genealogy research from the comfort of your own home. He will touch upon the tools needed, suggested sites both free and commercial, and gotchas to be avoided in your own research.

You are invited to join us in this Zoom meeting.

When: 28 March 2020 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

That's an updated link.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, please join the meeting a few minutes early in order to sort out any technical issues.

Virtual Genealogy Drop-In 31 March 2PM

In order to do our bit for social distancing and help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Ottawa Branch and the Ottawa Public Library have temporarily switched over to a Virtual Genealogy Drop In. Our first session will occur on Tuesday 31 March from 2pm to 4pm.

We will use Google Meet  and you can join the meeting with this link:

That's an updated link.

You do NOT need a Google account but will be asked for a name. To listen only, you do not need a microphone or a camera. In fact, you are encouraged to turn your camera off (thanks) and also leave your microphone muted until you are called upon. Google Meet has been successfully tested with Firefox, Chrome and the newest Edge browsers in Windows 10. There are also apps for Android, iPad and iPhone.

If you are unfamiliar with the software, please join the meeting early in order to sort out any technical issues. If you need help joining, send an e-mail to

Don't be surprised if there are technical issues including transmission interruptions beyond the control of the organizers.

Thanks to Mike More for the notice.

How Many War Bride Descendants?

What would be your estimate (guess)?

An article in the Vancouver Sun, 27 January 1996 claimed: "One-fifth of Canada's population is descended from that most unusual immigration (WW2 war brides)."

Soon after Canadian servicemen arrived in the UK during the Second World War they started meeting and marrying British women. The majority of the brides, 93 percent were British women, stayed in the UK until 1946. About 10% of those who married declined to come to Canada. According to Pier21 "in all, 64,459 soldiers’ dependents consisting of 43,464 war brides and 20,995 children were brought to Canada between April 1942 and March 1948. Three-fourths of the war brides and their children were brought to Canada after the end of the Second World War."

The women and children together represented about half of one percent of Canada's population at the time.

To estimate the number in the subsequent generations we turn to the statistics in Canada Fertility Rate 1950-2020.

Assuming each war bride had an average of 3 children there would be a total of about 130,000 war bride children in a cohort born around 1950. A cohort has a span of 30 years.

Assuming each of those had an average of 2 children there would be 260,000 war bride grandchildren born in a cohort around 1990.

And assuming each of those had an average of 1.5 children there would be 520,000 war bride great-grandchildren born in a cohort around 2020. Many of those are not yet born, but they're included in this estimate anyway.

Taking all those generations together there would be 43,454 +130,000 + 260,000 + 520,000 = about 953 thousand. Let's call that 1 million war brides and their descendants who have ever lived in Canada. That's 2.7% of Canada's present population, nothing like the 20% claimed in the 1996 article.

Some war brides came but could not settle or found the marriage unsatisfactory and returned across the Atlantic. Some of their children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren will have left Canada. For a rough estimate assume they all remained here.

From the estimate blogged earlier this week only about 1,500 war brides are still alive. From life tables about 72% of the children, 99% of the grandchildren and 100% of the great-grandchildren are alive in 2020. That's 2.3% of Canada's population in 2020, 60% being greatgrandchildren, 30% grandchildren of a war bride.

Considering unquantified emigration and the number of yet to be born great-grandchildren it's likely, in round figures, 2%, probably less, of Canada's population in 2020 are WW2 war brides and their descendants.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Ancestry opens further records

For those who don't subscribe to Ancestry, and if the open access to Ancestry Library edition available through many public libraries doesn't work for you, there may be something in this announcement about US resources.
  • FREE access to search nearly 500 million records - The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration has teamed up with its long-term digitization partner Ancestry to provide FREE access to search nearly 500 million records and images on Ancestry starting today, making it even easier for people to discover their own family history from home.  Exploring the records is completely free – just create an account by entering your email to start your search. 
  • At-home educational resources for families and teachers - Lesson plans that Ancestry® has created target a number of core subjects, with educational topics ranging from the American Revolutionary War to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. 
  • Tools To Get Started - Videos are also available on Ancestry Academy™, a free program offering online courses to help families get started on their family tree building. A library of educational videos can be found at: 
Blog posts with more detail:
James Perrine 
Senior Manager, Consumer PR

THE Genealogy Show 2020

THE Genealogy Show 2020: COVID-19 Announcement

After much careful consideration, it is with deep regret that we announce the postponement of THE Genealogy Show 2020 which was to be held on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 June 2020 at the NEC, Birmingham, UK.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertain state of affairs we have all found ourselves in, we feel it is the right decision to ensure the safety and well-being of all those involved with or due to visit THE Genealogy Show 2020.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to all those affiliated or involved with THE Genealogy Show. Our media partner, Who Do You Think You Are Magazine, our team of dedicated volunteers, every single one of our supportive exhibitors and speakers, our many social media followers and not forgetting, all of you that have purchased one or two-day passes to attend THE Show.

We will be contacting all those mentioned above with full details relating to the postponement of the event with regards to refunds and possible alternatives.

Whilst we have to announce this disappointing but unavoidable statement, we can continue to share that we have already secured the dates of Friday 25 and Saturday 26 June 2021 and our intentions are to recreate certain formats of the 2020 show but with new elements already in the pipeline for 2021.

THE Genealogy Show website and social media platforms will all be maintained throughout 2020, providing in due course, details and opportunities for THE Genealogy Show 2021. We see this as something positive to work towards and something for everyone to look forward to, in what will hopefully be, a more stable and healthier time.

In the interim, please stay safe.

THE Genealogy Show Team

COMMENT:  Congratulations to the organizers for making this announcement a full three months in advance. While I don't know all the considerations I hope that's a target for a decision the organizers of the BIFHSGO conference might respect, and announce they'll respect. The situation should be a whole lot clearer by late June.

Ancestry adds UK, Household Cavalry Records of Service, 1799-1920

A collection of 17,653 records of service for non-commissioned officers and other ranks who served in the Life Guards, the Royal Horse Guards and the Household Battalion, and whose Army service concluded in these regiments.

The following information is in the Ancestry transcription: name, gender birthplace, enlistment date, attestation date, service number and regiment. There is also a link to an original attestation document available by subscription to Fold3.

Sourced from WO 400 at The (UK) National Archives, Kew.

War Brides in Newspapers

What do you find searching for "war bride" in Canadian newspapers? I expected to find lots of coverage when they arrived in Canada, most in 1946, and mention in death notices in more recent years. has 31,467,646 pages from Canadian newspapers. Papers included which have content back more than a century to (almost) the present day are the Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Regina Leader-Post, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Vancouver Sun, Whitehorse Daily Star and Windsor Star.  There is no content for Atlantic Canada.

The results confirmed expectations. There were a lot of good news stories about war bride arrivals and mention in death notices. Notable is that the peak in the early 2000s is in agreement with back of the envelope estimates.

Some of the results were for movies. "I was a Male War Bride" was a 1949 comedy film starring Cary Grant and Ann Sheridan. The blue curve shows mentions of "war bride" that were not "male war bride". Hits for "The War Bride" a 2001 Canadian/British drama film with Anna Friel and Julie Cox were not accounted for. It undoubtedly pushed up the peak in the early 2000s.