Sunday, 18 August 2019

Eric Moore RIP

Long-time BIFHSGO and Ottawa Branch OGS member Eric Moore passed on Saturday 3 August at age 90.

Until recently a regular attendee at BIFHSGO meetings he had been active in the community having served as President of the Friends of the (Central Experimental) Farm (1997-2004) and on the Board of the Council of Heritage Organizations of Ottawa.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday 7 September at 11am at St. Basil's RC Church on Maitland and the Queensway.

Condolences to his wife Louise and family.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Q/A on Heritage Minutes

Using City Directories in Your Genealogical Research
A blog post by Alan Campbell, Ambassador, Ontario Ancestors [The Ontario Genealogical Society]

About Find A Grave
The Wild West for chronicling the dead?

Historical Directories of England & Wales
The University of Leicester Historical Directories collection provides access to scanned images and full-text of 689 trade and local directories for England and Wales from the 1760s to the 1910s.
The same content is now available in Ancestry UK, City and County Directories, 1766 - 1946 and the University recommends this means of access to genealogists with an Ancestry subscription or access via their local library.

Why Use a Chromosome Browser
Diahan Southard emphasizes that 98% of the time you do not need a chromosome browser to do successful genetic genealogy work and that triangulating segments on more distant matches, like third and fourth cousins, can be problematic.

400 years of slavery
In August of 1619, a ship appeared near Point Comfort, a port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists.

Why we can’t just blame rising inequality for the growth of populism around the world
Check out Ireland, and Canada.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Library and Archives Canada, by Guy Berthiaume

Published in Alexandria: The Journal of National and International Library and Information Issues, on the eve of his retirement Guy Berthiaume lays out his vision for the next ten years at LAC.

In conclusion, he writes:

The widening of national libraries’ base of clients and the willingness of those clients to act as partners are creating a posture that corresponds exactly to what Canadian theorist Marshall McLuhan predicted more than 50 years ago when he wrote: ‘There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew’. I believe these are the phenomena that are going to inform the foreseeable future of Library and Archives Canada.
As a former weather forecaster, I'm cautious about predictions. Looking back 10 years how well would one, even someone with the expertizes and experience of Guy Berthiaume, have done at predicting today's situation? What will be the impacts of artificial intelligence, automated transcription of handwritten documents, developments in concerns about privacy and undoubtedly many unknown unknowns?

British Columbia Sessional Papers collection online

One hundred and six years of British Columbia’s governmental papers are now available to anyone with a wifi connection and a device.
The British Columbia Sessional Papers, an annual collection of selected papers tabled in the Legislative Council of British Columbia and the Legislative Assembly is now publicly accessible through UBC Library’s Open Collections.
The greatest likelihood of finding a resident is in the voter's lists, search at for "entitled to vote" and the district.
This is an initiative under the British Columbia History Digitization Program.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Findmypast adds Queen's Birthday Honours, Colonial America, Peterloo records

Britain, Knights Of The Realm & Commonwealth Index 
Records dating back to pre-15000 are now updated with over 14,000 additional records reflecting additions from the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Maryland, Index To Colonial Probate Records, 1634-1777
Transcripts and original record images of more than 107,000 probate records prior to the first Maryland State Constitution.
Maryland, Wills and Probate Records 
Based on the General Index of Wills of St. Mary’s County, Maryland, 1633 to 1900, compiled by Margaret Roberts Hodges from original indices, the collection of records were published by the Carter Braxton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Manchester, Peterloo Witnesses and Casualties, 1819 
Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre on 16 August 1819 at St Peter’s Field, Manchester, this new collection containing more than 1000 names. The records showing whether a person was injured and how; such as, “right elbow and head cut severely” also includes witness statements like, “saw constables hitting [John] Lees with truncheons and a broken flagpole. The records were created from the database by Peter Castree.

Ancestry corporate news

Under the headline " Owners Aim to Extract $900 Million Payout With Loan" Bloomberg report that "An investor group led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and private equity firm Silver Lake Management LLC is looking to pull out more than $900 million from the company through a special dividend mostly funded by new borrowings. They are also seeking approval for another one-time distribution before year-end."

Read the full story at

Tip on the hat to Susan Courage for the link.

WDYTYA Magazine September 2019

There are three feature articles in the September WDYTYA magazine, likely available free online in Canada through your public library Press Reader subscription.

WW2 Army Ancestors: a seven-page guide to records revealing the heroes in your family tree. It covers service records, war diaries, medals, the Home Guard and Prisoners of War. My experience in obtaining service records
Canadian Catch: Why English fishermen crossed the Atlantic and made their fortune catching cod in Newfoundland. History but precious little in the way of genealogical resources.
The Magic Of Music: How music hall smashed the class barrier to offer truly mass-market entertainment.
And much more.

Genome Mate Pro Workshop

Jason Porteous, Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, explain how to use Genome Mate Pro and other advanced tools such as Borland Genetics which allow you to partially/fully phase your DNA test results.  More information.
At Nepean Centrepointe Library, 2 pm on Saturday 17 August.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Ancestry adds North Lanarkshire Electoral Registers

This new collection is of registers listing names and residences of people in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, who were eligible to vote in elections between 1847 and 1969. The 714,769 entries are for:

Airdrie: Annotated List of Parliamentary Electors: 1856-1857; List of Females Entitled to Vote, Fourth Ward: 1886-1887; List of Parliamentary Electors: 1851; List of Voters: 1847; Parliamentary Register, Wards I-V: 1900-1901; Register of Voters: 1905-1906, 1910-1911; Voters´ Roll, First Ward: 1880-1881.
Coatbridge: Register of Electors: 1919-1920, 1920-1921, 1925,1925-1926,1929-1930, 1930-1931, 1931-1932, 1935-1936, 1945-1946.
Coatbridge and Airdrie: Register of Electors: 1955-1956, 1960-1961, 1964-1965.
Motherwell: Register of Electors: 1935-1936.
Motherwell and Wishaw: Register of Electors: 1939-1940, 1945-1946, 1950-1951, 1968-1969.

Just a few more hours, that's all the time you've got

The early bird BIFHSGO conference registration discount ends at 11:59 pm on Friday, 16 August.

Nuff said?

Not quite.

As Kathy Wallace wrote in an email to BIFHSGO members:

"We have an exciting Marketplace this year with some new vendors selling unique items, especially for genealogists. DNA kits will be on sale from Ancestry, Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage.

Visit our Research Room where you can access – FOR FREE – subscription websites such as Ancestry, British Newspaper Archives, Findmypast, Genealogy Québec: Drouin Institute, Genes Reunited, MyHeritage and TheGenealogist."

Epsom Cemetery Burials 1871 to 1950, and Canadian connection

Volunteers of the Epsom & Ewell Local and Family History Centre have transcribed the burial register of the Ashley Road Cemetery, Epsom, Surrey, close to Epsom Racecourse and the Surrey Hills AONB.

Divided into 26 alphabetical files by surname with no entries for X and most listed under U being Unknown - newborn infants, the transcription contents are Last Name, First Name(s), Description, Age at Death, Place of Death, Date of Burial, Grave No., and Register No. / Comment.
Start at and click on the surname initial of interest.

The cemetery contains 232 Commonwealth War Graves Commission graves or memorials, including for 62 men who served with Canadian forces during the First World War.

Having found this cemetery transcription, via a Facebook post by Paul Featherstone of the Guild of One-Name Studies, I went poking around the Epsom and Ewell History Explorer website. there's a collection of History Centre Newsletters with interesting items, many related to queries received. There's also a search function which gave 241 hits for "Canada" and 21 for "Ottawa." Beware — Rabbit Hole Ahead.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Gravestone Photographic Resource is an individual initiative, mainly English resource, with over 1,120,000 names from English grave monuments and 1,573,000 worldwide. To date, in 2019 70,000 names have been added.

Coverage includes three counties with more than 100,000 names each — Yorkshire, Suffolk, and Norfolk.

St James' Church burial ground, Coundon, Durham, was added on 13 August 2019 with 708 graves and 1,600 person records.

Derek C Hopkins RIP

Brossard, Québec resident and friend Derek Hopkins passed on Tuesday night at the Charles Lemoyne hospital while waiting for surgery for a heart condition.

An engineer by background, a retired employee of Pratt & Whitney, his technology skills were expressed in his genealogical interest in databases and DNA. His greatest contribution to family history was likely as leader of the SCAN2 syndicate that transcribed a major portion of entries in FreeBMD. Derek was the co-author of a number of indexes to church and cemetery records for Québec, and author of an index to Abney Park Cemetery in Hackney, London, England.

Derek was a board member of the Québec Anglophone Heritage Network, a past Vice-President of the Québec Family History Society (QFHS), a member of the Society of Genealogists (SOG) of London, England, and the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO).

Born in England on 12 November 1934, he was educated at Loughborough College of Technology (University).

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

RootsTech London Keynote Speakers

Now I can post it; great news for those of us going to RootsTech London.

Dan Snow (@thehistoryguy) will be the keynote speaker for RootsTech London on Thursday, 24 October. 

Dan Snow's genealogy: he is the youngest son of Peter Snow, BBC television journalist, and Canadian Ann MacMillan, managing editor emeritus of CBC's London Bureau; thus he holds dual British-Canadian citizenship. Through his mother, he is the nephew of Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan and also a great-great-grandson of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

He is a frequent presenter of history TV shows in the UK. Check YouTube for some of his presentations.

For Friday's Keynote well known British genealogist Nick Barrett, Director of Senate House Library at the University of London, best known in the UK as a genealogical consultant for series 1 to 4 of the BBC show Who Do You Think You Are? as well as his books.  He is teamed up with Stephen Rockwood CEO of FamilySearch International.

As previously announced, on Saturday the Keynote will be given by Donny Osmond.

Maybe one of them will invite a woman on stage as a guest. It would be a pity if with 70% of genealogists being women none of the theme sessions included a woman.

RootsTech London adds speakers

Fourteen additional names have appeared on the list of speakers for RootsTech London. Most, not all, are associated with Ancestry. Two are from Canada.
Lesley Anderson (C)
Brad Argent
Pooran Bridgelal (C)
Joe Buggy
Peter Drinkwater
Eamon Healy
Celia Heritage
Michala Hulme
Ursula Krause
Simon Pearce
Gregg Richardson
Janette Silverman
Ruth Tennen
Darris Williams

The complete gallery of speakers, the good, the bad and the ugly, is at

Construction begins on Library and Archives Canada’s new preservation facility

Left to Right: Albert Iwasaki, Representative of Plenary Properties Gatineau;
 Scott Hamilton, Director General Real Property, Library and Archives Canada;
Steven MacKinnon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and Member of Parliament for Gatineau;
Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada;
Anick Ouellette, Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer, Library and Archives Canada

For the record, on Monday 12 August, Library and Archives Canada began construction on its new 12,900-square metre preservation facility in Gatineau.

Read the press release.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Tracing ancestors who lived or worked in China

Desk Hong Lists in safe at
Shanghai Library,
Zikawei Rare Books Library
 (Xujiahui), April 2015
An online research tool launched by the University of Bristol is helping researchers track down information about men and women of many different nationalities, professions and ages, who lived and worked in China between the 1850s and 1940s.

The free database contains 60,000+ records drawn from:
British Supreme Court for China, Intestate memo books register
British Supreme Court for China, Probate records, Index
Cemeteries database
China Navigation Company Staff
Chinese Maritime Customs Service
Civilian internees of the Japanese
Customs Service Outdoor Staff Register, Shanghai 1870s-1880s
Shanghai International Settlement, Death Registers, 1873-1877
Shanghai Municipal Policemen
Shanghai’s refugees, 1944

via the Cambridge Family History Society July Newsletter.

Ancestry updates Find a Grave content

Last Thursday, 8 August 2019 Ancestry updated their Find a Grave holdings:

UK and Ireland6,343,674
Australia and New Zealand5,151,146

You can also search directly at Find a Grave which claims to cover over 180 million memorials, many more than Ancestry's Find a Grave collection, in 494,048 cemeteries and 241 different countries.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Trends in sex ratios at birth

The chart for England and Wales since the start of civil registration shows marked multi-year trends in sex ratio at birth (SRB) expressed as live male births per 1,000 female births. Ignoring the short-term year-to-year variation, from a 5% male excess at the start of the period there's a decline to 3.5% excess, an increase to 6%, then a drop to steadying off in recent years at about where it started.
According to the article Gender Ratio, there is no difference in the number of males and females conceived. "For births to be consistently male-biased, there must be gender differences in the probability of miscarriage through pregnancy."

"..there is a higher probability that an embryo with chromosomal abnormalities is male – in the first week of pregnancy, excess male mortality, therefore, means pregnancy is female-biased;
in the next 10-15 weeks of pregnancy female mortality is higher, which increases the ratio in favour of males;
male and female mortality is approximately equal around week 20;
between weeks 28-35 of pregnancy, there is higher male mortality.

Overall, a male-biased sex ratio at birth is the result."

A 2003 article Secular trends in sex ratios at birth in North America and Europe over the second half of the 20th century concluded that "we still cannot put forward any reasonable explanation for the observed trends, which may well be attributable to several factors and not just one."

One data point that stands out is for 1919 where the SRB was 1060, or 6% male excess. It has been speculated that it might be related to the end of the Great War. However, the peak in births was in 1920. Perhaps it's related to the 1918 influenza pandemic which resulted in more challenging conditions for the development of the female fetus.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Early Canadiana Online integrated with Canadiana Online
The Canadian Research Knowledge Network reminds that as of 12 August the Early Canadiana Online (ECO) portal will be integrated with Canadiana Online to create a single access portal for historical publications available through Canadiana.

The past stinks: a brief history of smells and social spaces

Writing for genealogy magazines
This week Chris Paton recycled a popular article originally published in 2011

Millions of Books Are Secretly in the Public Domain. You Can Download Them Free
One secret of the publishing industry is that most American books published before 1964 never extended their US copyright, meaning they’re in the US public domain today.

Green growth is trusted to fix climate change – here’s the problem with that

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) now on sale

Chris Paton blogs that the 2nd edition of his popular book is now available  —Pen & Sword wouldn't be publishing the 2nd edition if it weren't popular.

I expect to have the chance to review it in due course. In the meantime here's the table of contents.

Chapter 1 – The Genealogical Landscape
 Recording information
 Gateway sites
 Irish Archives
 British archives
 Commercial vendors
 Commercial research services
 Networking and Communication

Chapter 2 – The Vital Records 
 Civil registration
 Other civil records sources
 Adoption and children
 Records in Britain
 Overseas British records
 Surname distributions
 Parish registers
 Wills and probate
 Biographical resources
 Books and other periodicals
 DNA testing

Chapter 3 – Where They Lived 
 Census records
 1901 and 1911 censuses
 1821-1891 census remnants
 British censuses
 1939 National Identity Register (UK)
 Other censuses
 Census substitutes
 Land records
 Other land listings
 Maps, gazetteers and place names

Chapter 4 – Occupations 
 The Military
 Merchant Navy
 Law and Order
 Other professions
 The Poor

Chapter 5 – The Decade of Centenaries
 Home Rule Crisis
 Women’s Suffrage
 The Dublin Lockout
 The First World War
 The Easter Rising
 Towards Independence
 The Treaty and Civil War
 Ireland's Revolutionaries

Chapter 6 – Ulster

Chapter 7 – Munster

Chapter 8 – Connacht

Chapter 9 – Leinster

Chapter 10 – Ireland's Diaspora
 United States
 New Zealand
 South America
 Ireland Reaching Out
 Irish Citizenship

Further Reading


British Newspaper Archive sale

The discounted price of  £56 UK, about $90 Canadian, for full search access to the more than 33 million digitized newspaper pages from all countries of the British Isles, even the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, is a deal.
The BNA has over 1,000 newspapers, from Penzance to John o'Groats.
You have until the end of day UK time on Sunday 18 August to decide.
Check it out at

Friday, 9 August 2019

New this week from Findmypast

Scotland, Published Family Histories
A collection of over 400 publications of Scottish family histories. Dating mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries they include memoirs, genealogies, and clan histories. There are also publications that have been produced by emigrant families. Treat with caution as fabrication was known to occur in such documents in the period.

Scotland, Glasgow & Lanarkshire Death & Burial Index
Over 37,000 records have been added to the Glasgow & Lanarkshire Death & Burial Index. These additions cover Bent Cemetery in Hamilton and consist of transcripts of original documents that will reveal a combination of birth year, death and burial dates, age at death, burial place and mortcloth price.

Middlesex Monumental Inscriptions
Over 5,000 additional records are now available to search. The new records cover two cemeteries in Teddington as well as the Parish of St Mary's in Sunbury.

United States, Passenger and Crew Lists
Over 777,000 new records from the major port city of Baltimore in Maryland have recently been added to these passenger and crew lists.
This national collection brings together records of passengers and crew who arrived in America by ship or by plane from the East Coast to the West Coast and will reveal the place of birth, where they sailed from, where they arrived and when.

160 attendees at a summer Thursday event

Who says genealogists don't come to summertime events. I was amazed and delighted at the number of folks who came to the DNA and Online Resources for Discovering Your Lost Family History event on Thursday. Beyond the National Capital Region there were attendees from Montreal, Brockville and Kingston, and one from Windsor. 160 doesn't count all those staffing the tables in the foyer.

Daniel Horowitz from MyHeritage, who gave two professional and entertaining presentations, ran out of DNA kits to sell — always a good sign of success when sales exceed expectations.
Leanne Cooper on The Wonders of WikiTree: Collaborative Genealogy and DNA and Lesley Anderson on Secrets & Shenanigans: How AncestryDNA was used in an unexpected mystery showed that Ottawa speakers are just as capable of giving excellent presentations.

See more photos of the event by BIFHSGO photographer Dena Palamedes here.

Thanks again to all who helped make this an enjoyable event.