31 March 2006

More Vernon's Ontario Directories

The following are digitized versions of WW1 era city directories, contributed by the Toronto Public Library.

Vernon's city of St. Catharines street, alphabetical, business and miscellaneous directory

Vernon's city of St. Thomas street, alphabetical, business and miscellaneous directory

Vernon's town of Brockville street, alphabetical business and miscellaneous directory.

Vernon's North Bay street, alphabetical, business and miscellaneous directory. --

Vernon's district of Temiskaming : alphabetical, business and farmers' directory. --

Vernon's city of Stratford street, alphabetical, business and miscellaneous directory

Vernon's city of Chatham street, alphabetical, business and miscellaneous directory

Vernon's city of London street, alphabetical, business and miscellaneous directory

Vernon's city of Guelph street, alphabetical, business and miscellaneous directory.

Vernon's city of Sarnia and Pt. Edward street : alphabetical, business and miscellaneous directory.

Vernon's city of Welland and town of Port Colborne (Ontario) miscellaneous, business, alphabetical and street directory

Vernon's city of Windsor, Sandwich, Walkerville (including Ford City) street, alphabetical, business and miscellaneous directory

Vernon's city of Hamilton ... annual street, alphabetical, general, miscellaneous and classified business directory

Vernon's farmers' and business directory for the counties of Carleton, Dundas,
Glengarry, Lanark, Prescott, Renfrew, Russell and Stormont

Vernon's City of Windsor, Ojibway, Sandwich, Walkerville, Ford and Riverside, street, alphabetical, business and miscellaneous directory 1923-1924

30 March 2006

BIFHSGO Meeting - 8 April

On April 8 the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa will welcome Ryan Taylor, Genealogical Librarian at the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana, to present

Family History in the Newspaper: there's more than you thought

This will be a special extended monthly meeting as the Society hosts the annual meeting of Region VIII of the Ontario Genealogical Society, in combination with its monthly meeting. It will be preceded by a mini-presentation on the Ottawa City Archives by City Archivist Dave Bullock in recognition of Archives Awareness Week.

You can make a day of it by registering for a lunch, catered in the LAC cafeteria by Lewis Foods, and afternoon presentations.

Who's Afraid of Anglican Archives? - Resources in Ottawa
Elizabeth Taylor, Anglican Diocese of Ottawa Archives Volunteer

Ontario Strays in the Outaouais
Michel Béland, Président, Société de généalogie de l’Outaouais

The New Physical Canadian Genealogy Centre (CCG) and Other Changes at Library and Archives Canada
Sylvie Tremblay, Project Officer, CGC

Registration of $20 for the lunch and afternoon presentations must be received by Wednesday 5 April. Form and other details at www.bifhsgo.ca

The presentations get underway at 10AM at Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street.

29 March 2006

Lovell's Canadian Dominion Directory - 1871

Malcolm and Chris Moody at Archive CD Books Canada recently released a CD of this huge directory. As they write on their web site, other than the government's official census this is probably the most exhaustive single source of information on the inhabitants of "The Dominion," and the two closely allied but still independent Provinces of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, in this period.

The original volume was located at the library of the Ottawa Historical Society, at the Bytown Museum, and loaned for scanning.
An enormous book, in excess of 2,500 pages, Malcolm told me it was a challenging scanning job as there is only a small inside margin, and the paper is thin.

With directories, especially early ones, there is always a question of comprehensiveness. Is everyone listed? The Archive CD Books Canada web site attempts to answer that:

"In trying to assure ourselves of the comprehensive coverage of this directory we attempted to discover what Lovell meant by the phrase "and other inhabitants" in the title. Although it can only be a guess there are strong indications to support our interpretation that it is indeed a record of the names of the heads of every dwelling and many of the borders and roomers who were living in the 6 provinces. We based this on the findings of the 1881 & 1891 census which indicates that the average number of people in any inhabited dwelling was about 7 and 6.5 respectively. It seemed reasonable to assume that the 7 person average would also apply in 1871. Since the Directory gives the population for almost every place from villages of 10 inhabitants up to the largest cities it was easy to do random samples of the average number of inhabitants per entry for selected places and as this was usually about 7 it seems to support the conclusion that the listings were mainly one per household. We found this average number of people per entry tended to be smaller for cities and larger for rural settings and were significantly in excess of 7 per entry in some seasonal fishing villages (in Newfoundland for instance)and in some mining communities (in Nova Scotia) where it could be expected that the mining company supplied shanties actually on the mine's property for its workers and their families. An unusual feature of this directory is that women who were widowed or who were heads of household in their own right are listed under their own names. Only the larger cities used house numbers, smaller places just gave the road name and sometimes an indication of a cross street or some other identifying feature, Villages frequently didn't even have (or didn't use) street names. "

I purchased a copy and judge they have done an excellent job - look at a sample for yourself. In order to make it more financially accessible to those who are only interested in one or two provinces individual sections may be purchased as well as the whole book.

28 March 2006

Less clutter in your life - part 2

George Morgan, Megan Smolenyak, Juliana Smith are names of US genealogists you may recognize, especially if you have subscribed to the Ancestry Daily News. That email publication is no more, likely owing to increasing difficulties caused by over-aggressive email spam filters. It is replaced by a blog going by the name 24-7 Family History Circle. These same authors continue contributing. Today's article Family History Spring Cleaning, by Juliana, fits nicely into this series.

Royal Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment War Diaries

The war diaries of the Royal Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiments for World War 1 are transcribed. The information presented totals almost 16,500 records covering 15 battalions during World War 1. With a few exceptions operational orders, appendices or other supplemental documents are not included. Full text search is available.

For World War 1 there were four types of battalion; Regular (the 1st and 2nd Battalions), Territorial Force (4th Battalion), Service (or Kitchener) and Labour Battalions. For both regiments the large number of reservists, together with existing TF soldiers, meant that the TF battalions were split into two, the 1st/4th and the 2nd/4th. Both of the Wiltshire Regiment TF battalions were sent to India to guard the Raj. In 1917 the 1/4th Battalion was sent to Palestine, which is when
it commenced a war diary. The 2/4th remained in India and, not being in an operational theatre, did not maintain a war diary.

Most of the World War 2 diaries have been transcribed and are being checked before being placed on line.

27 March 2006

Frederick Chapman Clemesha

At St Julian, on the main road from Ypres (Ipres) to Bruges called Vancouver Corner by Canadian soldiers during WW1, stands a white granite monument, the bust of a Canadian soldier standing at “rest on arms reversed”. On the front of the monument is a bronze plaque with “CANADA” in relief. It marks the battlefield where 18,000 Canadians on the British left withstood the first German gas attacks on 22-24 April 1915. 2,000 fell and lie buried nearby.

I was fortunate to be visiting the area last November at the time when a tour of aboriginal veterans was taking place. With the help of Steve Douglas, Director of the Maple Leaf Legacy Project, I found my way to this memorial to witness the ceremony.

The memorial was designed by architect and sculptor Frederick Chapman Clemesha, the son of Alfred and Laura ( Westley) Clemesha. He was born in Preston, Lancashire on 3 August 1876 and educated at the Friend's School, Bootham, Yorkshire. At the time of the 1891 census he was working as a tea dealers assistant (grocer). Later he got first hand experience in the trade on tea estates in Ceylon. He also ranched for three years in Argentina before moving to Canada in 1901, part of the massive pre-war migration from Britain to Canada. Before settling in Regina he ranched for a couple of years . On August 4th, 1914 he married Isabel Bernice Riddell, of Preston. Although a Quaker he enlisted in the 46th Battalion, Canadian infantry. In 1915 serving as lieutenant and was wounded in the cheek.

Clemesha and his partner Portnall carried out a large volume of private and public work in Regina including The Crescents and Old Lakeview residential developments. He no longer appears in the Regina city directory after 1922.

According to a report in the Regina Leader-Post he died in San Diego ca August 1958.

26 March 2006

17th Highland Light Infantry

This First World War Battalion history is now available as a pdf download. A must see for those with ancestors who served with the 17th Highland Light Infantry, also known as the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Battalion. There is a complete list of officers and men who enlisted until 22 November 1915. Descriptions of action at The Somme, Beaumont-Hamel, and in the Ypres Salient may be of wider interest.

Table of Contents








Battalion Honour
The Victoria Cross
Honours gained by Officers and others while serving with the Battalion
Honours gained by original Members of the Battalion after being transferred to other units
List of Officers who were granted Commissions in the Battalion on its formation
" Other Ranks " of the Battalion who were granted Commissions in the Battalion
Roll of Warrant Officers, N.C.O.s and men who joined the Battalion prior to 22nd November, 1915

25 March 2006

History of the Worthies of England

The major part of this 1840 updated publication of a work originally published in 1662, is a county by county recounting of the natural commodities, industry, prominent buildings and men of the county. To say its eclectic would be to do it an injustice. The three volume set is now digitized in the Canadian Libraries series from copies held at the John M Kelly Library of the University of Toronto .

Berkshire - Gloucestershire
Hampshire - Nottinghamshire
Oxfordshire - Yorkshire, and Wales

24 March 2006


Indexes and images for the 1851 Census for Scotland are now available online at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. Contents include name, relation to head of household, age with adults rounded down to the nearest five years, marital condition, occupation, birthplace, and whether deaf or dumb, as well as county, district and address The census was taken on the night of 30 March 1851. This is an addition to the 1861, '71, '81, '91 and 1901 census records already available at the site.

23 March 2006

Vernon's farmers' and business directory 1916

Newly digitized by the Toronto Public Library (did someone ask why not a local institution?) and available as a free download is Vernon's farmers' and business directory, 1916, for the counties of Carleton, Dundas, Glengarry, Lanark, Prescott, Renfrew, Russell and Stormont. Its a large file and slow slow slow to download. Get it here.

21 March 2006

Less clutter in your life - part 1

In clearing up the clutter a good start is vital, just as in a foot race. That means doing something up front that returns noticable results. Management types call it picking the low-hanging fruit, or applying the Pareto 80/20 rule -- in anything a few things (20 percent) are vital and many (80 percent) are trivial. The same idea

There are at least two approaches you can take:

  1. Start with items that are physically big, things that would leave a gap.
  2. Start with the things that are most noticable to you where you spend most of your time, perhaps around your immediate work area.

Let's start with the big items. You may have old computers, peripherials like printers and monitors, and other electronic items you used in following your family history. Are they outdated, or simply broken? Perhaps like me you find it a mental wrench to dispose of something for which you paid a thousand and more dollars. It may seem like a confession that you made a bad investment, even through you probably got good use out of the equipment. The fact is that if its five years old or more, and just sitting collecting dust and taking up space, consider its earned its keep and deserves to be given a decent burial.

Except you can't just bury it. Computers and many peripherals contain heavy metals that pose environmental hazards when disposed of. A good summary of how to safely get rid of old computer equipment is here. Note the advice about ensuring you don't leave sensitive information on an old hard drive.

Here is the web contact for Ottawa FreeCycle

UPDATE: The Ottawa Citizen of March 23 has an article on a Toshiba Canada recycling program. They will pick up laptops, handheld computers and LCD monitors, but not desktop computers, CRT monitors or printers. More information here.

Temporary Free Access to the Oxford OED and DNB

As part of The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival there is free access this week to both the full Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

The TimesOnline Sunday Times Literary Festival page is at:
from where links to the OED and DNB Online search screens can be picked up from the section titled 'OED ONLINE OFFER' a few inches down the page.

Note that your browser security issues such as not accepting cookies, etc may need to be modified for access. Otherwise you may see a Subscriber Login screen . . .

1890 British and Irish Passenger Lists

The Origins Network are now starting to make available abstracts of 1890 passenger lists from British & Irish ports to US and Canadian destinations. These are compiled from the original lists held at The National Archives, London, which have never been previously indexed. The names of over 100,000 passengers are included. The 1890 lists cover a total of 455 sailings, from ports all over the British Isles. The number of sailings is as follows: Bristol: 10 sailings, Hull: 22, Liverpool: 104 (Jan - Mar only - none will have come to Quebec City), London: 50, Southampton: 90, Galway: 48, Londonderry: 170, Queenstown (Cork): 323, Dundee: 16, Glasgow: 158, Swansea: 38. To find them go to http://www.britishorigins.com/ and scroll down to Passenger Lists. This is a commercial site.

20 March 2006

Capital Lives

The speaker at the OGS Ottawa Branch monthly meeting at 7:30 pm on Tuesday 21 March is Valerie Knowles, the author of "Capital Lives."

She will describe some notable figures from the past who have helped to shape Ottawa, individuals such as Dr. Hamnett Hill, Lillian Freiman, Arthur Percy Sherwood, John Rudolphus Booth, Sir Richard William Scott, G. Cecil Morrison and Cairine Wilson. In addition to providing short profiles of these figures, she will describe the times in which they lived and provides colourful anecdotal material.

As usual, the meeting is in room 156 at Library and Archives Canada.

Making history: one Voice at a time

Create a public hearing for silenced voices, past and present. A "how to" reading and workshop with Michael Riordon, writer, radio producer, community activist and oral historian.

Presented by the Workers Heritage Centre, the Council of Heritage Organization in Ottawa (CHOO/COPO) and the Human Rights Department of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Reading and workshop are free
Cost of material and lunch is $20 (cheques payable to CHOO)

Saturday May 6, 9 am - 3 pm

Workers Heritage Centre
306 Cyr Ave., Vanier

For information and to register:
(613) 562-0405
504-280 Metcalfe Street

19 March 2006

Less clutter in your life

One hazard of being a genealogist is being swamped by the mass of books, papers and data CDs that gather in our home as if a vacuum is drawing them in. Its an occupational hazard, we must have documentation to support our family history. As older family members die we collect their family documents, photographs and heirlooms too valuable to throw away, or that should at least be sorted to find the valuable buried information The more extensive our family tree the more documentation accumulates. Then it gets worse as you gather social and local histories to put your ancestors in the context of their times. There should be insurance, or one of those programs for addicts like Al-Anon. In the next few weeks I plan on posting a few suggestions on how to deal with this problem that seems to plague the genealogical community.

18 March 2006

Links for Gene-O-Rama Presentation

Ottawa Public Library - www.library.ottawa.on.ca
Surname Distribution - www.spatial-literacy.org
Ottawa Branch, OGS, Cemetery Index - www.ogsottawa.ca/cemeteries/
Canada 1901 Census - www.automatedgenealogy.com
Canada 1881 census, Pedegree Resource File, International Genealogical Index - www.familysearch.org
Ontario Death Registrations, England and Wales census 1851 to 1901, and much more, (a subscription site accessible without charge at the Main and Centrepointe branches of the Ottawa Public Library) - www.ancestry.ca
Canadian MPs and Senators since Confederation - www.parl.gc.ca/common/SenatorsMembers.asp?Language=E
Search for < > - www.google.com or www.ask.com
Maps, especially good for UK - www.multimap.com
Access to Archives - www.a2a.org.uk
Little DNA Project - www.geocities.com/littlednaproject/index.htm

17 March 2006

Spicing up your family history

A friend's wedding photo shows the happy couple leaving the church on 20 March 1954 at St Catharines, while snow flakes fall like extra confetti. You can't help but notice -- otherwise its just another wedding photo.

In Canada, where practically every conversation starts with the weather, it's simple to add weather information to a family history event thanks to the National Climate Data and Information Archive, operated and maintained by Environment Canada. Free access to official climate and weather observations for many locations is avaiable at the Climate Data Online. Hour by hour weather reports include temperature, dew point, humidity, wind direction and speed, visibility, humidex, windchill and a one of two word statement of the weather condition, often back to the 1950s. Daily data go back to the 1880s for several locations, and to 1840 for Toronto.

For the date of the wedding I found that although 3.8cm of snow fell that day the temperature remained a couple of degrees above freezing. The snow likely didn't settle for long, but they may not have noticed!

16 March 2006

United Empire Loyalists

Many Ontario genealogists have been anticipating Brenda Dougal Merriman's new book United Empire Loyalists, A Guide to Tracing Loyalist Ancestors in Upper Canada (Ontario). It's advertised as "a general guide to assist the tracing of Loyalist ancestors, not only for the beginner, but also for those who encounter stumbling blocks on their way. In this book we find a guide to the necessary sources; background information; selections from previous experience; and analytical interpretations of the records."
I have not yet seen it, but judging by Brenda's previous book, Genealogy in Ontario, Searching The Records, it should become the standard work in the field. Available from Global Genealogy.

15 March 2006

Gene-O-Rama 2006

Folks in the Ottawa area have a great genealogical opportunity this Saturday, March 16. For the first time the Orleans United Church,1111 Orleans Blvd, is the venue for the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society's annual Gene-O-Rama. Even if you don't want to register you can shop the marketplace for free and talk to knowledgeable vendors and exhibitors. BIFHSGO, the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, will be there, so stop by and introduce yourself. Further information at: www.ogsottawa.on.ca/geneorama/.

14 March 2006

Black Sheep

Do you have one in the family tree? If not you're missing a colourful component in the family history. Find a wide selection, some of whom could be relatives, in House Document No. 108-222, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress 1774 - 2005 available for download at www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/cdocuments/hd108-222/index.html . Basic information on members of Canada's Parliament, both houses, since 1867 is at www.parl.gc.ca/common/SenatorsMembers.asp?Language=E . Equivalent information for the British Parliament is in a series of publications entitled "The History of Parliament", some available at area libraries. The information isn't on line although a compilation CD is available at a modest £525 plus tax!

Library Elf

We all know that public libraries have helpful genealogical resources, but perhaps you forget when your loans are due for return and end up paying fines? Do you have children and lots of books borrowed from the library? Do you request lots of holds? If so the new free Library Elf service may be available for your library. This service will send email and/or RSS alerts before items are due, email and/or RSS alerts on overdues and holds, consolidate a list of your or your family's library loans and holds, and even send cellphone text message alerts for holds. Register for and tailor this service to your requirements at < www.libraryelf.com >.