Sunday, 16 June 2019

Victorian convicts in Milbank, Parkhurst and Pentonville prison records

TheGenealogist has released over 100,000 individuals into their expanding Court & Criminal Records collection. With this release, researchers can find the details of ancestors that had broken the law and were incarcerated in the harsh conditions of early Victorian convict prisons - including some that were only children!

The new data will allow the family history researcher to discover:

Over 100,000 individuals in records covering the years 1838 to 1875
Registers of prisoners inside Millbank, Parkhurst and Pentonville prisons.
Each prisoner's age on conviction
The marital status and whether the prisoner can read or write
The convict’s former trade
When and where they were convicted, their crime, sentence, where and whence received, previous offences, when removed and to where.

These fully searchable records are from the HO24 Home Office: Prison Registers and Returns 1838-1875 for Millbank, Parkhurst and Pentonville.
Read TheGenealogist’s article “Criminal records can reveal ancestors locked up in convict prisons” at:

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Essex's medieval history
A blog post summary of a meeting held on 18 May looking at Essex as a county on the Edge of England, London and rebellion. Thanks to Brenda Turner for the tip.

Old Photos of  Essex Kent & London
A Facebook page. Thanks to Ann Burns for the tip. Also from Ann, a map of London from 1572.

Kin support and the English poor: evidence from Lancashire, c.1620–1710

Advance Notice: Kitchener Public Library Genealogy Fair 
KPL is organizing its seventh annual Genealogy Fair on Saturday, November 2, 2019. The event will run from 9:30 am to 4 pm at the Central Library — open to the public with no admission charge.

The Strangers’ Guide To London
From Spitalfields Life — RootsTech London attendees beware!

Happiness may be a choice – except that it’s constrained by vested economic interests
Mentions the Canadian Index of Wellbeing.

Cars of the future that will help fight climate change
"EVs have great potential to reduce emissions, they won’t as long as they’re charged using electricity generated from the same old dirty fossil fuels."

The newly released BP Statistical Review of World Energy shows that fossil fuels continue to account for the major part of primary energy production, and world carbon emissions grew by 2.0% in 2018.

Carbon Capture and Sequestering is a Sham
Best Carbon Capture Facility In World Emits 25 Times More CO2 Than Sequestered is the title of an article in CleanTechnica showing there’s no green in air carbon capture the way that Carbon Engineering is doing it, but that there are small niches where much wiser solutions like Global Thermostat‘s make sense. Carbon capture is a distraction designed by fossil fuel interests to direct attention and money away from renewable technologies and conservation.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Local Library Developments

How's your library service? How is it changing? Is the Ottawa Public Library typical?

Some items in a draft OPL Strategic Plan 2020-23 caught my attention:

  • The proportion of seniors is expected to almost double from 12.4 percent in 2001 to 20.3 percent in 2031.
  • “Holds” account for 1/3 of all circulation at OPL, a proportion that is trending upward. 
  • Cultural trends are not confined to those associated with reading, education, and the arts but should also include access to sports and recreation as opportunities for adding value and increasing the library’s market base of active card-holders. 
  • The continued preference for paper books despite an increase in digital reading.
  • Borrow-ship – Traditional models of ownership are changing resulting in a rethinking of the value of ownership and seeking out of more collaborative models of use. (Comment: Maybe à la Marie Kondo a book only sparks joy for the time it takes to read it.)

There's a lot more in the document. 

The proposed strategic plan is, by 2023, to increase the number of active cardholders by 25 percent by improving OPL’s community relevance by:

1. Redesign the Library Experience
- Conduct a programming review
- Define the ideal experience across physical and virtual channels
- Create the destination experience for the OPL component of the Ottawa Public Library - Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility. (Comment: Imagine zip lines and climbing walls in the new joint facility).
- Assess the impact of barriers to service
- Develop the physical space experience.

2. Build Organizational Capacity
- Redesign the employee experience
- Renew leadership accountability
- Develop data-driven decision-making.

3. Promote OPL’s value
- Develop and implement a brand strategy
- Develop and implement a fundraising plan
- Strengthen stakeholder relationships and advocacy
- Strengthen the Intellectual Freedom program.

Another item on libraries that came to my inbox is Dick Eastman's blog post Libraries without Librarians on the trend for open libraries giving patrons access to books, computers and other resources by themselves at times when the library isn’t staffed. It appealed to me as I live in a library desert — no community library. This might be an affordable way to provide more equitable library service.

British Postcard Images Free

The Newberry (Library) has launched a digital archive of over 26,000 high-quality images of picture postcards produced by pioneering British company Raphael Tuck & Sons during the first half of the 20th century.

With that many images, there's bound to be something relevant to your family history. The images are not only British. There are 91 labelled Australia and 169 Canada including several of Ottawa. This image is less than one kilometre from my Norfolk childhood home.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Findmypast additions this week

Kent Baptisms
New transcript records covering two new parishes, Fawkham St Mary (1,501 records) and Northfleet St Botolph (18,125 records), have been added to the collection of Kent parish baptisms.

Kent Marriages and Banns
The parish of Northfleet St Botolph with 8,952 transcript records has been added to the collection.

Kent Burials
Over 14,000 new transcript records from the parishes of Fawkham, St Mary (947 records) and Northfleet, St Botolph (13,537 records) are now available to search.

England, Phillimore Marriage Registers, 1531-1913
A new, fully searchable collection of Phillimore Marriage Registers containing approximately 2.3 million names and record marriages is now available at Findmypast from more than 1,500 parishes in
Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Devon,
Dorset, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kent, Leicestershire,
Lincolnshire, London, Middlesex, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Suffolk, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Yorkshire West Riding.
Search to view a transcript or an image of the original published page.

Scotland, Scottish Peerages
Explore this comprehensive history of the Scottish peerage between 1716 and 1914. The collection includes nine volumes of The Scots Peerage along with six other titles including a single-volume Jacobite peerage, all pdfs.

International Records Update – Denmark
More than 6.9 million baptisms, marriages and burials in three new Danish indexes spanning the years 1635 to 1917 are now available to search and will generate hints against your Findmypast family tree.

Quinte Branch OGS June Meeting

On Saturday, 15 June "Doing research from a distance using the Archives of Ontario's website" is the topic for the Branch meeting at Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Dr, Trenton 1-3 pm.

Speaker Danielle Manning's presentation will be of particular interest to researchers unable or unwilling to travel to Toronto to visit the Archives of Ontario in person. Learn how to use the Archives of Ontario’s website and Microfilm Inter Loan Program to access collections – particularly records that are helpful for genealogical research.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

FreeBMD June Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Wednesday 5 June 2019 to contain 270,304,784 unique records (269,939,666 at previous update).

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

Normandy 75th Anniversary Fields of Fire Tour

An interesting series of blog posts by Sara Karn, a student and teacher of history who has just completed a tour guide experience to the battlefields in France.

The eleven-day trip included visits to both First and Second World War sites, including the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, Hill 70, Pegasus Bridge, as well as the Normandy landing beaches.

Sara and tour partner Alex Souchen took part in two ceremonies, one on 6 June at the Juno Beach Centre to commemorate the D-Day landings and another a few days later to dedicate the Canadian Gunner Memorial.

Find the series of blog posts at You may well get some tips if a battlefields tour is on your bucket list.

Thanks to Jane Down for the tip.

BC Archives Additions

The British Columbia Archives now offers online access to births (1854-1903), marriages (1872-1943), deaths (1872-1998), colonial marriages (1859-1872) and baptisms (1836-1888). The recent additions are 1943 marriages and 1998 deaths with 1904 births to be added soon.

Many but not all have images of the original registration. and it's free!

OGS Conference and RootsTech London

Two of the speakers at the Ontario Genealogical Society (Ontario Ancestors) conference in London, starting on Friday next week, are also scheduled speakers at RootsTech London in October. Yes, both conferences are in London — but on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

David Allen Lambert from the New England Historic Genealogical Society (American Ancestors) will present a Friday 21 June workshop Virtual Family Reunions: Embrace Social Media to Reunite Your Distant Cousins, the that evening Charity Begins in Our Home and two presentations during the regular sessions Before They Were Loyalists: Researching Colonial New England and New York Ancestors and Researching Canadian and American World War I Veterans. At RootsTech he is presenting Online Family Reunions – using Social Media to locate cousins to share and preserve Family History.

John Boeren will present How to Start Your Research in the Netherlands on Sunday 23 June. Sadly it's in the same timeslot as the presentation I'm giving with Glenn Wright. In October his RootsTech talk is Tracing Your Ancestors in the Netherlands.

Not to be overlooked at the OGS conference are the FastTrax sessions (pdf), 30-minute mini-information presentations, offered on Saturday and Sunday exclusively by exhibitors in the Marketplace hall.

Ottawa Branch OGS June Meeting

This Saturday, 15 June at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Nepean

10:30: Genealogy: Back to Basics - Genome Mate Pro Workshop
Presenter: Jason Porteous
Helps you to use Genome Mate Pro and new tools from Borland Genetics which allow you to partially/fully phase your DNA test results (ie. separate maternal from paternal chromosomes to create a "mono" DNA kit that on GEDmatch will return matches to one parent while also greatly reducing false matches). He's also open to discussing chromosome mapping as well. Bring your laptops or tablets and your DNA data (downloaded from your test company) to Room 226.

13:00: Presentation: Newspaper Digitizing Project of the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives
Presenters: Irene Robillard and Emma Carey.
As of June 2018, the AMBA complete collection of local area newspapers dating from 1863 to 1937 became available online and free to the public. Over 700 issues of local newspapers were digitized, the bulk from the Arnprior Chronicle. They are searchable, browse-able and downloadable. In February 2019, a project that links indexes of birth, marriage and death notices to the digitized issue of the newspapers that they originally appeared in. Ottawa branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society provided a grant that made this project possible.

15:00: Computer Special Interest Group

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Legacy Webinar with Cyndi Ingle

Tracking Your Digital Breadcrumbs: Bookmarks, Toolbars, Notes, and Other Applications is a free-to-view live webinar at 8 pm EDT today, Wednesday 12 June 2019.

"Clicking links means you can start off on a web site for one specific topic and end up dozens of web sites away on many different topics. It’s easy to get lost and lose focus on what you were trying to find in the first place. And with so many web sites to use in your research, how do you keep track of them all? How do you organize what you use regularly? How can you get back to a site at some point in the future? We have several ways to help you gain control of your digital bread crumbs."

Cyndi Ingle is the creator, owner and "webmaster" of the award-winning web site Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet. Come to the BIFHSGO conference in September where Cyndi will present a pre-conference workshop and four talks.

Book Review: Tracing Your Docker Ancestors

This April 2019 publication is another in the more than 50-book "Tracing Your ..." series from publisher Pen and Sword. They range alphabetically from "Air Force" to "Yorkshire".
This volume on Dockers is fairly typical of those where specific occupational records are scarce. The first chapter: Getting Started: Basic Family History Documents covers sources like civil registration, census, newspapers, and directories. The following chapters treat aspects of life on the docks: The Origins of the Dock Labour Force, Daily Life on the Docks, Tools and Equipment, Trade Unions, Beyond the Dock Wall: Dockside Communities, Docks and Dockers During the World Wars, The National Dock Labour Scheme, Dock Strikes and the Decline of the Dockers 1967-1989. 
There are extensive references on where to find resources which are mainly administrative. Unless an ancestor was involved in that administration, such as being a union official or for some other reason stood out from his peers, you won't find much personal information. A very few, such as the archive of the National Amalgamated Stevedores and Dockers' Union, 1880-1982, do include individual's names. A few others that include names are closed.
The book concludes with a ten-page glossary of types of docker and two-page index.

Tracing Your Docker Ancestors (Paperback)
A Guide for Family Historians
By Dr. Alex Ombler
Imprint: Pen & Sword Family History
Series: Tracing Your Ancestors
Pages: 150
ISBN: 9781526744043
Published: 25th April 2019

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Who Do You Think You Are? 2019 Celebrities Announced

The spotlight for this summer season of BBC Who Do You Think You Are? is on Kate Winslet and Daniel Radcliffe. See the announcement here.

A Canadian featured in the series is comedian Katherine Ryan who grew up in Sarnia, Ontario. Her father, Finbar was born in Ireland. On WDYTYA?, she discovers her ancestral links to the Newfoundland cod trade.

YouTube: Making the Most of your Autosomal DNA Test

A further talk is online from the Family Tree Live event at Alexandra Place, this one by Scottish genetic genealogist Michelle Leonard.
Michelle will be making two presentations at RootsTech London in October: DNA Is Dynamite - How To Ignite Your Ancestral Research, and DNA Segment Data & Advanced Autosomal DNA Techniques as well as participating in a panel discussion.

Monday, 10 June 2019

RootsTech London Announces Schedule of Presentations

What do Colin Chapman, Else Churchill, Janet Few, Maurice Gleeson, Celia Heritage, Debbie Kennett and, Diahan Southard have in common?

Presenters at RootsTech London in October — they've all previously been speakers at a BIFHSGO annual conference. Almost all have placed in the top five in the Rockstar Genealogist poll.

Like previous RootsTechs each of the three days has lots of choices — six sessions each day with typically ten choices in each timeslot, except for the headliner daily11 am celebrity session.

The word cloud composed from the titles of all the talks shows there's a DNA event within the schedule — genetic genealogy presentations in almost every time-slot, and sometimes more than one.

Find the schedule of presentations, except for 19 sponsored talks TBA, posted here.

The Digital Irish Famine Archive

Makes accessible eyewitness accounts of the Irish famine migration to Canada in 1847-1848 that would otherwise be unknown. It also pays tribute to those who cared for Irish famine emigrants.

The archive contains the digitized, transcribed, and translated French language annals of the Grey Nuns of Montreal, or Sisters of Charity, who first tended to Irish famine emigrants, especially widows and orphans, in the city’s fever sheds in 1847 and 1848. It also includes annals from the Sisters of Providence and correspondence from Father Patrick Dowd, who worked alongside the Grey Nuns in the fever sheds, as well as testimonies from Irish famine orphans, like Patrick and Thomas Quinn, Daniel and Catherine Tighe, and Robert Walsh, who were adopted by French-Canadian families.

Online database of 2,500 fatalities in Nova Scotia coal mines

We are nearing the anniversary of the death of William Davis, a coal miner born in Gloucestershire shot and killed at New Waterford, NS during a 1925 strike action calling for improved working conditions.

Today, 10 June the Museum of Industry in Stellarton is launching a database with names of those who died between the Drummond Mine explosion in Westville, 1873 and the 1992 explosion at Westray.

Read more about this initiative in this article by Brendan Ahern.

Sunday, 9 June 2019


These 50 people are part of the audience, members and guests, who attended the always popular Great Moments session at the June BIFHSGO meeting on Saturday morning. The total attendance was likely around 175.

It was preceded by the Annual General Meeting which didn't attract quite as many members. President Duncan Monkhouse ran the meeting very efficiently assisted by a clear presentation on the financial position by Treasurer Marianne Rasmus. The Society ran a small deficit for 2018.

Directors leaving the Board, Andrea Harding and Lynda Gibson were heartily thanked for their service. John McConkey remains on the Board moving over to take on the Research role. New Director Diane Brydon assumed responsibility for Programs. The Education role is vacant.

Congratulations to Jean Kitchen and Bert Hayward who were added to the Society Hall of Fame. The award for the best before-BIFHSGO educational talk by a member, as voted by the membership, went to Dena Palamedes; best presentation by a member to Marianne Rasmus and; the best article in Anglo-Celtic Roots to Lynne Willoughby.

Nigel Lloyd, Mike Jaques, Gillian Leitch and Roberta (Bobby) Kay all gave strong and enjoyable Great Moments presentations which should in due course become available online in the members-only part of the Society website. If you're not a member consider joining to view these and all past presentations. That's an extra benefit when you join the Society to attend the 25th-anniversary annual conference.

In closing the meeting Andrea Harding reminded about the 8 August event DNA and Online Resources for Discovering Your Lost Family History.

Subsequent to the meeting I learned that there were 17 entries in the 25th-anniversary writing competition. Results will be announced at the annual conference.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

UK Office of National Statistics Interactive Content
Life expectancy calculator
Baby names explorer

Overlord Embroidery
The Overlord Embroidery at The D-Day Story Museum in Portsmouth, England tells the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in 34 extraordinary hand-stitched panels with a total length of 83 metres. Thanks for the tip Brenda Turner who visited in 2012 and writes "it is fabulous and not well enough known. The embroidery is so detailed that I could read the regimental patches on the uniforms of Canadians who went ashore at D-Day."

A DNA Detective Story - the Bush Baby (Julia Bell)

Royal College of Nursing Digital Archive - Pilot site
The RCN Archive holds the most important collection of nursing history in Europe. Holdings date from the 1870s to the present day and capture the evolution and development of the nursing profession. Explore the archive catalogue at which includes 2 items mentioning Ottawa, 10 for Canadian and 75 for Canada.

Oranges & Lemons Churches

A New Method of Disposal of the Dead
In Volume 1: 1888-1889 of Public Health, the Journal of the Society of Medical Officers of Health.— "Dr. Cooper, of Pittsburg, subjects the dead body to hydraulic pressure and condenses it into a small solid almost water-free block. The body of a full-grown man can, by this process, be reduced to a cube of twelve inches. Dr. Cooper exhibits a small cross, which at a superficial glance, has a resemblance to marble. “ That,” says he, “ is the body of a child converted into a handsome ornament." The cost of compression is about £2.

5 of the Best Alternatives for Windows Movie Maker
Microsoft has permanently discontinued Windows Movie Maker, the only video editor I have ever used. As I only used it a couple of times I'm not looking for a heavy-duty replacement. This look promising.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

National Library of Scotland: Recent Map Additions

The National Library of Scotland holds well over 1.5 million maps. About 15% are digitized with plans to scan over 30,000 maps each year (115 maps each weekday) for the next five years. That would mean 25% of the collection digitized by 2024.

You can keep informed on progress at the NLS Recent Additions page. The latest entry is an updated Find by Place - with Marker application.

Learn more about the NLS map scanning program at the Digitising the Library’s Maps blog post.

Book Review: Tracing Your Freemason, Friendly Society & Trade Union Ancestors

This is one of the latest books from prolific UK history and family history publisher, Pen and Sword.

It would be the exception if a British male ancestor was not a Freemason, member of a Friendly Society or a Trade Union. My father and grandfather were, they left artifacts, so I looked to learn more from this new book.

The early material is on sources, those you find like those artifacts, oral history and published records. Chapter four is on the early history back to Greece, if not the Garden of Eden, Rome and Guilds.

The next three chapters, constituting 70% of the text, are devoted to the three types of organization in the title.

Freemasonry, offering an oath-bound social space for ritual and social bonding and engagement in charitable work, reached peak membership in the 1950s and 60s. In the chapter, you'll learn about the history, how to get information on members, including on Ancestry and elsewhere as well as a summary of controversies. Look for mention of individual lodges of possible relevance.

Friendly Societies, such as the Oddfellows, combined fellowship with mutual assistance through insurance. As in the previous chapter, there's much detail illustrating activities. With the introduction of the Welfare State membership went into serious decline.

The chapter on Trade Unions offers similar information on their history, culture and sources of information on membership. Membership peaked at 13 million in 1980 then declined through the years when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister and after down to 8 million in 1997. As with the other chapters, there are many sources and websites listed to aid investigation.

Tracing Your Freemason, Friendly Society and Trade Union Ancestors
by Daniel Weinbren
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Published: 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 188p

Friday, 7 June 2019 Free Access Weekend

I received an email that "all papers on will be free until June 9, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. MDT. Registration required. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view papers using a paid Newspapers Publisher Extra subscription. Terms and Conditions apply."

This is the site that includes the Ottawa Journal and Ottawa Citizen archive.

WARNING: Sometimes this type of trial only works for those who receive the email. Give it a try if interest but be prepared for possible disappointment.

Ancestry adds HUGE Essex Church of England BMB Collection

Records in this new Ancestry collection for Essex are transcripts, each with a link to an image of the original at Essex Archives Online for purchase at £2.99.

Essex, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812:  4,389,173 records
These early records are from parish registers of baptisms and burials during the years 1538–1812, and marriages during the years 1538-1754.

Essex, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1918:  3,937,941 records
Essex, England, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1935: 1,968,439 records
Essex, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1994: 730,118 records

FamilySearch lists 431 parishes in Essex including those often thought of as in London. Your London ancestor may well have lived in Essex and commuted into the City. Geographically RootsTech London is being held in the ancient county of Essex.

Findmypast additions this week

England & Wales Merchant Navy Crew Lists 1861-1913
Over 135,000 new Portsmouth records have been added to our collection of Merchant Navy Crew Lists. The records document the role and employment of each member of the crew. Individuals would 'sign on' when they began their employment, either at the start of the voyage or when they joined the ship at one of its ports of call. They 'signed off' at the end of the voyage or, if they chose not to finish, at a port of call.

Greater London Burial Index
Over 28,000 miscellaneous records have been added to the Greater London Burial Index. Covering the years between 1399 and 1992, Anglican and non-conformist parishes and including City of London Burials, Middlesex Memorial Inscriptions, Middlesex & City of London Burials Index and the South London Burials Index.

UK Electoral Registers & Companies House Directors 2002-2019
Over 1.6 million new additions are now available for a total of 115 million from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Search registers of UK directors whose companies are registered with Companies House along with the UK's electoral registers beginning from 2002.

International Records

New Jersey Marriage Index, 1901-2016 Image Browse

Browse through over 300 volumes of the New Jersey marriage index organised annually in alphabetical order by either the bride or groom's name from 1901 to 2016. Containing well over 200,000 individual records, this collection will enable you to discover who married, when they married and where. In the later indices, the record will span two pages. On the first page, you will read the names and the second page will show the municipality, county and date.

Over 12 million Swedish baptisms, marriages and burials consisting of the following indexes:

Sweden Baptism Index 1611-1920
Sweden Burial Index 1649-1920
Sweden Marriage Index 1630-1920