30 June 2008

What defines Canada?

On the eve of Canada Day what do people think defines Canada? A new survey for the Dominion Institute posted last Friday finds substantial regional variation, but most interesting is a tabulation of the top 20 items mentioned by the General Public, Immigrants, Educators and Order of Canada Recipients.

For the general public the top ten list is: Maple Leaf, Hockey, Canadian Flag, Beaver, Canadarm, Canada Day, Peacekeeping/ Peacekeeping by the Canadian Forces, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Universal Health Care, Niagara Falls.

The list for immigrants is remarkably similar.

Educators differ in placing Confederation, Terry Fox, Canadian constitution/Charter of rights/Bill of human rights and Vimy Ridge much higher.

Order of Canada Recipients differ even more placing Frederick Banting/Discovery of insulin first, Quebec City/Old Quebec City second and Plains of Abraham 11th, all much higher than for Canadians as whole. Hockey came in only 20th for OC recipients!

As a former meteorologist I wonder why Canada's climate and its extremes didn't rate a mention for a land once described as "quelques arpents de neige" and where "mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver."

Canadians are more interested in, and know more about, the past than ever

The Sunday Toronto Star has a noteworthy article Sir John A. Who? that starts out by quoting the dismal results from last November's Dominion Institute national survey of what Canadians feel most defines our country.

"Only half of Canadians can name the first Prime Minister," declares the homepage of the Dominion Institute, an organization that has administered a basic history test to 18- to 24-year-olds each Canada Day for more than a decade.

The Star article then contrasts that with results from a multi-university study quoting Margaret Conrad, a professor of history at the University of New Brunswick. Contrary to what doomsayers might think Conrad argues that Canadians are more interested in, and know more about, the past than ever – thanks in part to new communication technologies that give academia and the rest of the world "a possibility for convergence."

Far from being ill-informed or apathetic, the study says 95 per cent of us engage with the past in at least one way. Many of those ways are non-traditional but familiar to genealogists. We keep scrapbooks and preserve photos (83 per cent). We visit museums and historic sites (57 per cent) and watch historical films (81 per cent).

The article cites examples of people researching their family history, stories for which the name of the first prime minister is essentially irrelevant.

Conrad is quoted "People intersect with that national narrative in many different ways, and that's not something that we can control, nor do we want to control." Does that reflect the perspective of Canada's heritage nabobs?

29 June 2008

Browse current genealogy magazines at LAC

Here's a tip if you find yourself waiting for an order to arrive at Library and Archives Canada and can't stand the thought of more coffee from the 5th floor cafeteria. Why not head for the 3rd floor and the Canadian Genealogy Centre. Beside the consultation desk is a magazine rack with a collection of current genealogy magazines. Commercial products, such as those in the photo from Moorshead Magazines, are alongside those from family history societies across Canada. I even noticed the UK magazines Your Family Tree (History) and The Genealogists' Magazine from the (UK) Society of Genealogists.

28 June 2008

I Do: Love and Marriage in 19th Century Canada

Library and Archives Canada have added a web exhibition about the challenges that people faced in finding a marriage partner in days gone by. The point is made that marriage was largely a practical matter, rather than romantic.

The exhibit includes links to a database of 2960 marriage bonds for Lower Canada (Quebec) issued between 1779 and 1858, and 7899 marriage bonds for Upper Canada (Ontario) issued between 1803 and 1865.

These marriage bonds were prepared only for Protestant marriages by licence. The groom was required to enter into a bond with one or two people (sureties) who knew him and who were prepared to guarantee to the Crown that no legal impediment to the marriage existed. After obtaining the bond, a licence was issued and the marriage took place a few days later.

Read the full explanation here.

Thanks to Alison Hare for pointing out that these bonds are not new to the LAC site.

27 June 2008

Don't forget old friends

It's easy to forget to check back as new records are added to familiar databases.

The FreeBMD database for civil registrations in England and Wales was updated on Sat 21 Jun 2008. It now has 151,666,910 distinct records (195,278,514 total records). Births are virtually complete to 1914, marriages and deaths (with a few gaps in the 1850s) to 1917. There is a good chance of finding an index record well into the 1920s.

(Note added 1 July 2008 -- new servers operational now mean super-fast searches)

Findmypast.com has added St George, Southwark, nowadays St George's Cathedral, to its City Of London Burial Index records. This addition comprises 25,804 records between 1813 and 1868.

In the past month the Norfolk GENUKI site has been adding Poll Books for 1768, including the Hundreds of Blofield, Brothercross, Diss, North Erpingham, South Erpingham, Eynsford, East Flegg, West Flegg, Forehoe, Gallow, Launditch, North Greenhoe, South Greenhoe, Grimshoe, Guiltcross, Happing, Holt, Humbleyard, Mitford, Shropham, Smithdon, Taverham, Tunstead, Walsham, Wayland, and the Boroughs of King's Lynn, Thetford, and Great Yarmouth.

26 June 2008

Early Aviators

Ancestry.co.uk has a new database of 28,000 index cards and 34 photograph albums of aviators who obtained flying licences (certificates) from the Royal Aero Club between 1910-1950.

Information listed on the cards includes: name, birth date, birthplace, nationality, rank or profession, date and place of certificate, and certificate number.

This isn't just people from the UK. Searching keyword Canada yielded 548 hits, Australia 401, New Zealand 241.

Keyword Ottawa found 31 hits, young men born between 1885 and 1926, and mostly in the 1890s.

George Samuel Abbott, Robert Fotheringham Anderson, William Bickle Banfield, John Rudolphus Booth, Henry John Lawrence Botterell, George Breadner, John Bernard Brophy, Cecil Gordon Brunson, Charles Hampden Stanley Butterworth, Gordon Thomas Bysshe, Peter Godwin Chance, Henry Coyles, Albert Edward Cuzner, Arthur Le Roy Dean, Brian Devlin, John Roland Devlin, George Jarvis Farnworth, John Howard Glen, Joseph Gorman, Joseph Wilfrid Hamel, Walter Robert Kenny, Keith Dunham Lewis, Wilfred Ferguson MacDonald, Donald H Masson, James Arthur Menzies, Edmund Thomas Morris, Clement John Poulin, Norman MacKie Scottm Robert Kenneth Slater, Walter Eddy Soper, Douglas Archibald Lambert Turner

Most received their licences in the UK in 1916 and 1917, some in the USA and two in Toronto. Three are listed on the card as killed during WW1.

25 June 2008

Ancestors Magazine Blog

Simon Fowler, editor of Ancestors magazine is back from vacation and has posted several news items on the magazine blog. They're all worth scanning.

One that attracted my attention is Deceased Online, a forthcoming commercial service aiming to provide access to the registers of burials held by crematoria and cemeteries across England and Wales. There's no data accessible at present, but with over 10,000 cemeteries and nearly 250 crematoria there's no lack of potential.

Another site with more substance now is Buried Battles and Veterans’ Voices which has recordings and transcripts of veterans who served with The Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment and its predecessors between the 1930s and 1950s. If your ancestor served with this regiment there is other material at the site of likely interest.

24 June 2008

XXVIIIth Congress of Genealogical and Heraldry Sciences

Now in progress in Quebec City is the XXVIIIth Congress of Genealogical and Heraldry Sciences. It seems to have attracted little media attention, but I was pleased to read the sentiments expressed in the opening speech by Governor General Michaëlle Jean.

"Genealogy and heraldry are auxiliary sciences of history, and I believe that they have a relevance and a remarkable necessity at the beginning of the third millennium."

In her speech the Governor General mentions her own life journey, reflects on her ancestry and recounts the sentiments she felt when she and her husband received their personal coats of arms.

Read the whole speech here.

Gems from the 1851 Irish Census

A PUZZLER. - In taking the census in one of the Western towns, the enumerator found in one of the papers, under the head "Occupation, &c.," the entry "Zooker" carried out opposite the name of a young child. He inquired the meaning of the entry, and received the following solution of the enigma from the mother of the child: "Aw! that's my cheel! ha hath'n left off zooking (sucking) eet, zo that's es occipation."

AN ELDERLY TRIO. - According to the return given to the officer who collected the census papers, there are three parties in the village of Balloch of Culloden - a husband, a wife, and a wife's sister - whose joint ages amount to no less a figure that 1,415 years! The phenomenon is explained in this way - the "gudeman" put himself down at 506 (meaning firfy and six years), the wife at 505 (55) and the wife's sister as 404 (44).

SINGULAR RETURN. - One of the constabulary enumerators was much amused the other day by the return which a very eccentric and proverbially social inhabitant of the village of Whitehouse, two and a half miles from Belfast, had under the column "Deaf and Dumb." The household of the statist consists merely of his wife and himself, and their differences of opinion upon matters of domestic economy are locally celebrated. The return (in the handwriting of the head of the house) was this: - Husband, not deaf - wish to the Lord he was, Wife not dumb - wish ditto, ditto." - Belfast News Letter

From the Weekly Dispatch, Sunday, June 08, 1851, Page:11, via the British Library Online Newspaper Archives (Pilot Version) at: www.bl.uk/collections/newspapers.html

23 June 2008

More Service Improvements at LAC

In addition to the announcement of extended hours of operation, effective 7 July, now officially announced, there were other service improvements pointed out at Friday's Library and Archives Canada Services Advisory Board meeting.

All publicly accessible computers in the building now offer full service, not either access to catalogues or Internet access as previously.

You can now capture images from all LAC computer-linked microfilm readers using a USB drive. The cost is 20c per frame, as for hard copy, but that price is under review.

There is now free access to ancestry.ca from computers in the Canadian Genealogy Centre (and perhaps elsewhere in the building). When I tried the system last Friday the password was not being entered automatically; you had to ask at the consultation desk to be logged in.

The new microfilm/microfiche reader-printers are installed in the microform reading room on the third floor. They were not being assigned when I visited last Friday, but I was assured by managers they are supposed to be available.

22 June 2008

Donegal Genealogy Resources

Given the challenges of Irish research where "the research is difficult and alot of the records hard to navigate" this looks like an interesting non-commercial web site.

20 June 2008

Durham Records Online

It's nice to see a group of local genealogy enthusiasts taking the initiative in the commercial online database world. Durham Records Online is "not affiliated with the Durham Record Office or any other government office." They offer:

  • transcribed extracts from many parish registers (christenings, confirmations, marriages, burials)
  • 1841 census transcriptions of the entire county, fully indexed
  • 1851 through 1891 census transcriptions for a large part of County Durham (see the list of communities covered), plus 1901 for Easington district, all fully indexed
  • complete index searchable by given name, surname, birth year, parents, household head, occupation
  • instantly viewable order results (with online payment)
  • optional matching service connects you with other researchers looking at the same records
The. following announcement from the company was posted on Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.

Durham Records Online is pleased to offer online a treasure trove of over 130,000 burials from the historic shipping and shipbuilding port of Sunderland in northeast England. The following burial records from the Sunderland area are now fully transcribed, indexed, and searchable:

  • Sunderland Holy Trinity burials 1719-1812
  • Monkwearmouth St. Peter burials 1683 - 1919 and its successor burial ground, Mere Knolls Cemetery at Fulwell from 1856 to 1904.
  • Southwick Holy Trinity burials 1844 - 1988 and its successor burial ground, Marley Pots Cemetery 1884 - 1901.
  • Bishopwearmouth St. Michael & All Angels burials 1569 - 1856. Most burials 1839-1856 were at Rector's Gill (aka Galley's Gill) cemetery.
  • Bishopwearmouth Cemetery from its opening in May 1856 to the end of 1876. This was the successor burial ground to Bishopwearmouth Saint Michael's and Rector's Gill Cemetery, and was the largest burial ground in the historic county of Durham. These burial records state the religion of Roman Catholics (until 1864, when the RC notations ceased due to sheer numbers) and Quakers and Jews, who all had their own separate sections in the cemetery. This cemetery also contains people from all over County Durham because this was the first burial ground in the county with a separate Jewish section. Folk from the tiny and long forgotten Jewish congregations in Stockton, Darlington and Hartlepool were all brought to Bishopwearmouth. This information is likely to help researchers with Jewish ancestors whose graves cannot be found near their homes. We will continue transcribing this cemetery over the next several months.

The cemetery registers are far more informative than a church burial register because they provide the address of the deceased, the names and professions of the fathers and sometimes mothers (in the case of children) or the spouse (in the case of a married woman). Sometimes the cause of death is given, and some cemetery registers also mention if a person died at the Union Workhouse or the Union Infirmary. On the other hand, church burial registers between 1798 and 1812 are exceptional because they typically provide, for a deceased child, the father's name and occupation and mother's maiden name, and they often provide the maiden name of a deceased married woman.

If your ancestor died in the Sunderland area, you may well find their burial listed here. Searching at Durham Records Online is free, and a small fee is charged to view the transcribed results. Site credits can be purchased in quantity at a very affordable price. Durham Records Online is known for their accuracy because the transcribing is done by people with extensive local knowledge of the personal names and place names. Check it out at: http://www.durhamrecordsonline.com.

Inductees to the BIFHSGO Hall of Fame

Congratulations to the following members whose appointment to the British Isles Family History Society of Great Ottawa Hall of Fame was announced last Saturday.

Alison Hare
was inducted in appreciation of her contributions to family history through outstanding service to genealogists. A certified genealogist, recognized as a consultant by Library and Archives Canada, Alison has inspired and entertained with her frequent presentations at BIFHSGO meetings. Her long time commitment to genealogy is shown not only in her own research and writing but also in her participation in the BIFHSGO/OGS Ottawa Branch beginner courses, her five years as editor of the OGS Ottawa Branch Newsletter, her advocacy for release of the 1911 census and her service to the Ontario Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Doug Hoddinott was inducted in appreciation of his contributions to family history through outstanding service to the Society during the past thirteen years including five years as Membership Director and Vice-President and as an active member of the Conference Planning Committee. He has assisted the Society and many of its members with his expertise in both computer hardware and software. At meetings, conferences and workshops he has provided leadership to ensure the availability of audio-visual facilities. He has made several presentations at Society meetings. His organizational skills and attention to detail has been a major factor contributing to the success of the Society.

19 June 2008

Firefox 3

Over 60% of visitors to this blog use Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or 6.0. I wonder why?

I use and recommend Firefox. The new Firefox 3 is now released. It's noticeably faster than MSIE.

Learn about Firefox features here.

Here's a neat Firefox feature I learned from Lifehacker -- multiple text selection. You find a few scattered pieces of information in a web document you want to harvest to paste into a document you're working on.

Here's how to do it.

Select your first piece of text, then hold Ctrl to select other pieces of non-consecutive text. Then paste into your destination document.

Try Firefox, you'll like it.

Download here.

18 June 2008

Extended hours at LAC

According to information supplied for next Friday's teleconference of Library and Archives Canada's Services Advisory Board LAC intends making changes to hours of service starting 7 July 2008.

Registration, Reference, Canadian Genealogy Centre and Consultation of documents, with staff, will be available:

Monday Wednesday-Friday from 9:00am to 4:00pm,
Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

In addition, self-service copying from microfilm, will be offered in the main Consultation room on Saturdays from 10:00am to 4:00pm. The Reference Rooms on the second floor will be open to clients until 8:00pm Monday to Friday and from 10:00am to 2:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.

A full announcement on the changes should be posted by LAC shortly.

17 June 2008

Chance encounters

A trip to the Ottawa City Main Archives last week to investigate digitization possibilities morphed into a conversation with Bill Vineer, an Ottawa collector and owner of the Vineer Organ Library. He handed me a copy of an article from the June 2007 issue of Organ Canada which starts:

The numbers are impressive, almost unbelievable. Over the past 40 years Bill Vineer has personally collected over 750 books, 4,300 journals and magazines, 1,000 CDs, 1,350 LPs, 100 VHS tapes and DVDs, and approximately 6,500 hard-copy files, all related to the organ! More importantly, all this material has been meticulously cataloged and filed for easy reference.

I related to him my own Ottawa organ story connected to a visit to the grave site of Lt Col John By at Frant, East Sussex. The organ was playing in the church so I ventured inside and sat listening. When it ended the organist came over and started a conversation. On learning I was from Ottawa he told me of Sir William McKie, his mentor and former Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey 1941-1963. McKie directed the music for the Queen's marriage and coronation. He moved to Ottawa in retirement, his wife being a heiress to the Birks jewellery business.

Bill Vineer told me he had met McKie in Ottawa and has as part of his collection a drawstop from a former console of the organ at Westminster Abbey that came from McKie.

16 June 2008

Winston Churchill's Canadian Roots

In an address to a joint session of the US Congress on December 26, 1941, Winston Churchill famously said "I cannot help reflecting that if my father had been American and my mother British, instead of the other way round, I might have got here on my own."

The quote came back to memory at last Saturday's BIFHSGO meeting when I was approach by someone anxious to convince me that Churchill had an American Indian heritage. She showed me a chart of Churchill's ancestry from his mother Jennie Jerome, to her mother Clarissa ("Clara") Hall, to Clarissa Willcox, and to Anna Baker. Anna was annotated Nova Scotia 1761 - 1813.

Celebrity family history always gets attention. This story is well enough known that it rates a page
Had Iroquois Ancestors on the web site of The Churchill Centre. Anna Baker was supposedly born 27 May 1761, at Sackville, N.S. (before New Brunswick was founded). The hotly debated story, more fond myth appealing to a family romantic streak rather than documented fact, is that Anna Baker may have been raped by an Indian and so her daughter Clarissa Willcox may have been half-caste.

There doesn't seem to be any debate about Anna Baker being born in Sackville which is now in Canada. The family may have originated in New England, and returned to the USA as reverse Loyalists, but based on the birth location of his g-g-grandmother Churchill would have been able to claim some Canadian ancestry.

15 June 2008

Amendments to Canada's Copyright Act

Amendments to Canada's Copyright Act were introduced in the Commons on June 12. Media attention has focused on proposed provisions relating to music and videos.

On 21 May I wrote to Industry Minister Prentice expressing concern about fair dealing, costly crown copyright provisions and treatment of orphan works where the copyright is held by a person or organization that cannot be traced by a reasonably diligent search. In response, when the amendments were introduced, I received a form letter that answered none of these concerns.

The amendments may well die on the order paper as Parliament goes into recess. The possibility is that Parliament may not reconvene until well into the autumn with the prospect of an election. In the meantime how are the implications for history and genealogy being assessed? Is each provincial genealogical or family history society going to study them? Or are genealogists interests in copyright going to be marginalized through lack of national coordination?

One of this blog's frequent contributors, WJM, has posted a comment regarding the amendments' photographic provisions worth highlighting, so it's copied below.

Now that the Act has been released, the photography provisions are also worrisome.

The ownership of copyright in photographs will now always be the person who took the photograph. If you hand your camera to a stranger while on vacation, and ask them to snap a shot of your family in front of the Grand Canyon, you will not own the copyright.

Also, if you have a commissioned personal photograph, like a wedding or school portrait, the photographer is the owner. This is already the case for all practical terms, but in the current Act, there is a presumption that the person buying the photography is the owner, unless agreed otherwise. Virtually all photographers make you sign away that right; now you won't have that right to sign away.

Unlike in most developed countries, there will be no right to prevent the photographer (or whoever he or she may license the photography copyright to) to use your image. Nor will there be, as many countries have, a right for the subject of the commissioned portrait to use it, not even for private, domestic purposes. Scanning your own school, wedding, etc., portrait, would not be permitted.

Finally, the term of the copyright will be the life of the photographer +50 years. Unlike in many countries, there is no requirement to date or sign the photograph, so the already existing problem of difficulties in assigning authorship to photographs, determining whether they are or are not under copyright, determining the expiry of that copyright, and determining the ownership of that copyright, will be exacerbated in the future.

The one small mercy is that these provisions will only be prospective, not retroactive.

If you have ever used photographs in a paper or online family history project or publication, you can see that the implications for copyright chill are enormous. It is going to make it difficult for future generations to make use of what will be their collective past.

The family history community, as well as historians of all types, should properly concerned about the implications of giving photographers everything they have demanded of the copyright act, and giving the consumer, the public interest, and the interest of posterity nothing in return.

14 June 2008

Grey County Tweedmuir histories online

I've written before about the Tweedmuir histories, and included a link to information about them.

Now a group of Women's Institutes from Ontario's Grey County have shown leadership by placing several local volumes online. Handwritten pages aren't searchable, and others were typed on a manual typewriter so the electronic copies leave a bit to be desired as searchable pdfs as the sample below shows.

6 CELTJ11L W. I. HALL 1'ifty :cears ao the only place available to hold meetings or gatherings outside ol' in the homes of the members,was the Orange Hall, a stone building in what was known a.s Lower Town, or the north portion of the village. Foliowirg Church Union in 1925, the Women's Institute bought the former Methodist Church in partnership with the Cedarville Loyal Orange Lodge to be used for meetings, gatherings, etc. ,l955, we had the Grand Opening of the newly decorated Women's ...

Nevertheless, by searching I was able to find an entry for the family of someone who emigrated in 1930 from my home town in England. It's worth a try.

13 June 2008

TNA Army and Royal Navy Podcasts

The UK National Archives has two new additions to its podcasts taken from recent talks with a genealogy orientation given at Kew.

On May 27 Mark Pearsall presented an level introductory talk about Royal Navy service records from the late 18th century to the early 20th century. The first half treats officers, both commissioned and warrant, and the remainder ratings.

On June 3 William Spencer, author of Army Service Records of the First World War , discussed the service records of army officers and other ranks. It covers the period from 1760 to 1913, although as he points out, soldiers from pre-WW1 may have also served then, even into their 50s, and have records amongst surviving WW1 files.

Both presentations refer to the helpful information on the TNA website found in the left hand side column under Military History.

These full length presentations are clearly recorded and informative. Both would benefit if the accompanying slides were also available -- not a major technological challenge these days.

12 June 2008

BIFHSGO June Meeting

Next Saturday, June 14, sees the final BIFHSGO monthly meeting for the season. The popular Great Moments in Genealogy session will feature well known member presenters:

Margaret Burwell on the on line registration process for September's conference,
Caroline Herbert on her military relative "John Henry Kennedy",
Dr. David Roger on“Three Old Letters”,
Hugh Reekie on “The Aberayron Williams East London day trip”,
Bill Arthurs on“An Emotional Moment in Genealogy: A 911 Death.”

Come early for the Society AGM starting at 9:30 am. Great Moments will follow.

The Summer issue of Anglo-Celtic Roots will be available for pick-up.

11 June 2008

Do you know an Etches?

Last month, tucked inside a birthday card, came two old photographs. The person shown was thought to be a friend of the sender's father serving with the CEF during WW1. I was asked if I could find the person's descendant's, if any, and pass the photos on.

I believe there is a living descendant, but an email to the person I thought it might be received a negative response.

On the back of the photo was written 210298 Sig W C Etches, an abbreviated addresses in Seaford, Sussex, and Welland, Ontario. Two people knowledgeable on military history inform me the photo shows the person in a type of "uniform" worn by people in rehabilitation. That's consistent with the information in his military file at Library and Archives Canada.

Research so far reveals the following:

Wilfred Charles Etches was born on 26 March 1898 at Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, England. He was the son of Charles Etches and Marion Donegani whose marriage was registered in Bakewell, Derbyshire, England, in the second quarter of 1897.

In the census of 1901 he was in a household with his mother, head of household but not shown as widowed, who was born about 1875 at Edington, Somerset, England, and his father’s sister, Alice Etches, born about 1890 at Ilam, Staffordshire, England.

The birth of a younger brother, Charlie Maurice Etches, was registered in Bakewell in the last quarter of 1901.

Wilfred Charles Etches emigrated to Canada in March 1912, sailing on the Megantic from Liverpool to Halifax.

Information in his military record shows he worked as a railway steam fitter before enlisting in the CEF on 17 November 1915. He gave his address as 209 W Main St in Welland, ON, and his brother, Maurice Charles Etches; living near Bakewell, as his next of kin. He sailed for England in 1916 and was on active service until shortly after he was blown out of a truck in France on 18 April 1918. He was hospitalized thereafter, returned to Canada from Liverpool on 29 January 1919 and discharged as medically unfit for duty on 1 March.

While on duty he assigned part of his pay to Mrs E.G. Donegave (sic) of Valois, Quebec. I rather suspect this is the wife of Eric Grantley Donegani, his mother’s brother, who, according to information from the Quebec Family History Society, was a Founder and President of the Valois Citizens' Association formed in 1917. Donegani served as a Pointe Claire city councillor from 1924 - 1926 and mayor from 1929 – 1931. A street named originally Sunnyside Avenue was changed to Donegani Avenue.

On 22 Jan 1921 Etches married Ada Isabell Stevenson in Toronto, giving Niagara Falls as his residence.

He crossed the border at Niagara Falls three times in 1921 and 1922 giving his residence as Niagara Falls, ON and occupation as RR Clerk.

There is a long period here for which I can find no record.

Wilfred Charles Etches died in Fort Myers, Florida, on 3 Nov 1979, and is buried at Fort Myers Memorial Gardens together with his wife who predeceased him.

A posting on Rootsweb Worldconnect shows two sons, Norman Goodacre and Robert.

If you know of these sons, or another descendant, please let me know by leaving a comment which won't be posted if it has personal or contact information about a living person.

10 June 2008

Davidson. Muriel Marguerite (nee Farquhar)

Canada's genealogical community has lost a champion with the passing of Muriel Davidson, October 22, 1924 - June 10, 2008. As co-Chair of the Canada Census Committee which battled for and won the release of post 1901 censuses, through her individual efforts as a Rootsweb newsgroup moderator, in indexing records and providing individual help Muriel was a builder of the genealogical community across Canada.

The family issued the following announcement.

Davidson. Muriel Marguerite (nee Farquhar)

It is with great sadness that the family announces the peaceful passing of Muriel, on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at the Brampton Civic Hospital at the age of 83 years. Born on October 22, 1924, daughter of the late Gordon and Helen (Adams) Farquhar, of Summerville Beach, Nova Scotia. Beloved wife of the late William "Bill" Davidson of 60 years. Muriel's memory will be cherished by her children Don, Lynden (Michael) Cowan and Randy (Charlene) Davidson. Step-mother of Laurie (Lorna), Geneva Dean, Marie (Jack) Malloy and Dennis Davidson. Grandmother to Diane Davidson, Amy (Thomas) Ransom, Michelle Cowan, Robert Cowan. She is survived by brothers Eugene (Geraldine) Farquhar, Ron ( late Joan) Farquhar and numerous relatives in Nova Scotia and Ontario. Predeceased by brothers Clyde (surviving wife Ruth) Farquhar and Don (surviving wife Alma) Farquhar. Muriel was a member of Floral Rebekah Lodge #369 (I.O.O.F.) and also a member of Beaux-Art Brampton. Over the years, she was involved in Boy Scouts,contributor to numerous newspapers, coordinator of the Obstetrical knitting program at Peel Memorial. Muriel was very involved in genealogy research, first for family and then worldwide assistance, including publications. She was instrumental as the head of the Canadian Census Committee in getting the Canadian Government to release the 1911 Census (allowing the release of family information for future generations). This earned her an awarding of an Order of Canada Year of Volunteers award presented by Senator Lorna Milne. Visitation for family and friends will be at the Scott Funeral Home "Brampton Chapel", 289 Main Street North, Brampton (905-451-1100) on Thursday, June 12, 2008 from 2 - 4 & 7 - 9 p.m. with a Rebekah Lodge #369 Service at 6:30 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held in the Scott Funeral Home Chapel on Friday, June 13, 2008 at 11 a.m. Interment Brampton Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Muriel's charity of choice is Multiple Sclerosis and also Beaux-Art Brampton (Brampton Art Council). An online book of condolences can be signed on www.scott-brampton.ca

Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham

The Summer 2008 issue of Anglo-Celtic Roots, BIFHSGO's award winning quarterly chronicle, includes a short article by Patricia Roberts-Pichette on her find of Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham: A History And Guide Arranged Alphabetically , by Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell.

Dating from 1885, it "contains thousands of dates and references to matters of interest connected with the past and present history of the town--its public buildings, chapels, churches and clubs--its friendly societies and benevolent associations, philanthropic and philosophical institutions--its colleges and schools, parks, gardens, theatres, and places of amusement--its men of worth and noteworthy men, manufactures and trades, population, rates, statistics of progress, etc."

The quote above is from the lulu.com description of the item where it can be downloaded for $1, or a hard copy ordered for $15.83. Even $1 is more than you need pay if you're not worried about formatting as it's also available without cost through Project Gutenberg here.

My search for the Northwood family yielded only information that a public bath and wash-house opened on Northwood Street, March 5, 1862. But there is much to inform and amuse. Take the entry on Taxes.

Taxes.—Would life be worth living if we had to pay such taxes as our fathers had to do? Here are a few:—The hearth or chimney tax of 2s. for every fire-place or stove in houses rated above 20s. per annum was imposed in the fifteenth year of Charles II.'s reign, but repealed in the first year of William and Mary, 1689; the owners of Edgbaston Hall paid for 22 chimneys before it was destroyed in 1668. In 1642, there was a duty of £4 a pair on silk stockings. A window tax was enacted in 1695 "to pay for the re-coinage of the gold coin," and was not entirely removed till July 24, 1851; from a return made to Parliament by the Tax Office in 1781, it appeared that the occupiers of 2,291 houses paid the window tax in Birmingham; there was collected for house and window tax in 1823, from the inhabitants of this town, the sum of £27,459 12s. 1-3/4d., though in the following year it was £9,000 less. Bachelors and widowers were rated by 6 and 7 William III., c. 6, "to enable the King to carry on the war against France with rigour." Births, marriages, and deaths were also made liable to duties by the same Act. The salt duties were first levied in 1702, doubled in 1732, and raised again in 1782, ceasing to be gathered in 1825. The price of salt at one period of the long Peninsular war rose to £30 per ton, being retailed in Birmingham at 4l. per lb. Carriages were taxed in 1747. Armorial bearings in 1798. Receipts for money and promisory notes were first taxed in 1782. Hair powder tax, of 21s. per annum, was first levied in 1795. In 1827, there was a 1s. 3d. duty on almanacks. The 3s. advertisement duty was reduced to 1s. 6d. in 1833, and abolished August 4, 1853. The paper duty, first put on in 1694, was repealed in 1861; that on bricks taken off in 1850; on soap in 1853; on sugar in May, 1874, and on horses the same year. Hats, gloves, and linen shirts were taxed in 1785; patent medicines, compound waters, and codfish, in 1783; in fact every article of food, drink, and clothing required by man from the moment of his birth until his burial, the very shroud, the land he trod on, the house he lived in, the materials for building, have all been taxed. For coming into the world, for living in it, and for going out of it, have Englishmen had to pay, even though they grumbled. Now-a-days the country's taxes are few in number, and per head are but small in amount, yet the grumbling and the growling is as heavy as of old. Can it arise from the pressure of our local rates? Where our fathers paid 20s. to the Government, we do not pay 5s.; but where the old people gave 5s. in rates, we have to part with 25s.

09 June 2008

Jack Moody and postal codes

Today the Ottawa Citizen runs this article on BIFHSGO founding member Jack Moody's role in the development of Canada's postal code, and who "in retirement scoured archives and libraries for information about his family history -- a passion that persisted until his final days."

08 June 2008

Getting started with the new Legacy 7.0

I upgraded my previous version to Legacy Family Tree 7.0 as soon as it became available. The download and installation went smoothly on both my Windows XP and Vista systems, with an extra step for Vista.

Unfortunately you can only import files from Family Tree Maker using GEDCOM, meaning all the images and other multimedia material in my main family file did not transfer. There were quite a few diagnostic warnings regarding the transfer but none seemed critical.

The mapping capability was one reason I had decided to give Legacy a try. To use it you need to download files for different world regions, and this takes a while for the large regions. Then you geocode the locations in your database against this file.

That's where it got frustrating. Bradwell, Norfolk, England wasn't recognized and there seems to be no way to add a location to the master database. The Province of Algarve in Portugal was not recognized, instead it was termed Faro which is the Province's capital. Carmarthenshire was not recognized and even when I changed it to Carmarthen it would not geocode. As a result several of the places that should have been plotted did not appear. Also the icon to pinpoint the locations is rather off, it seems as though it's centred over the location rather then pointing to it.

Seems like I'm just starting up the learning curve.

07 June 2008

Beechwood Cemetery Historical Tour

Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery in cooperation with the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society offer their annual Historical Tour on Sunday June 8 at 2pm. The theme this year is Women of Beechwood. It always makes for a worthwhile outing.

06 June 2008

Durham Region Branch OGS

The Durham Region Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has an active blog which came to my attention as it included an item on September's BIFHSGO conference. You can read about local digitization projects, including one for local newspapers, and more. It's encouraging to see this type of local initiative.

We will remember them

05 June 2008

Free genealogy books online

Quietly the Internet Archive texts is adding newly scanned books.

Just online from the Allen County Public Library are:

The Bethea family of Marion County, South Carolina, One line of the Burritt family, The Small-Bundy family, The Harris family : Thomas Harris in Ipswich, Mass, in 1636, and some of his descendents, through seven generations, to 1883, and A genealogical history of the descendants of Peter White, of New Jersey, from 1670, and of William White and Deborah Tilton his wife, loyalists

Although there are the usual caveats about believing everything you read in a published genealogy, especially an old one, don't you wish one of these included one of your lines?

The two largest Internet Archive test sub-collections are 198,907 items from American Libraries and 117,775 items from Canadian Libraries.

I've previously mentioned some of the city directories to be found, including several for Ontario communities. There`s Might's City of Ottawa Directories from 1909 to 1916, Toronto directories for the 20th century to 1922 and many others. I noticed directories for communities in Australia, the UK and USA.

A publication that caught my eye is The romance of the London Directory by Charles Wareing Endell Bardsley, 1843-1898. Bardsley is the author of the 1875 classic Surname Origins, Their Source and Significations. The Romance, published a few years later, provides yet more information on the origins, and misunderstandings thereof, for the surnames of the people of London. You may want to search it for a name, but in reading it I found it told me rather more than I care to know.

04 June 2008

More Digitized Newspapers

On May 31 Ancestry made available to subscribers a large collection of US newspapers, digitized and searchable. They are mostly 20th century small town papers, some daily, some weekly. Here, by way of example, is the complete list of Ancestry newspaper offerrings for New York state, with those just added indicated:

Central City Daily Courier (Syracuse, New York) 1859-1859
Chronicle Express (Penn Yan, New York) 1949-1956
Daily Messenger (Canandaigua, New York) - New! 1922-1977
Dunkirk Evening Observer (Dunkirk, New York) - Updated! 1827-1950
Evening Gazette (Port Jervis, New York) 1869-1881
Evening Herald (Syracuse, New York) 1877-1945
Evening Observer (Dunkirk, New York) 1882-1885
Evening Tribune (Hornell, New York) - New! 1949-1950
Evening Tribune-Times (Hornell, New York) - New! 1923-1923
Freeman And Messenger (Lodi, New York) 1839-1841
History Of Tennessee (Nashville, Tennessee) 1886-1886
Hornellsville Tribune (Hornellsville, New York) 1851-1880
Hornellsville Weekly Tribune (Hornellsville, New York) 1880-1899
Illustrated Speedway News (Brooklyn, New York) 1964-1965
Kingston Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York) - New! 1914-1950
Lake Shore Observer (Dunkirk, New York) 1885-1885
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address (New York, New York) 1917-1917
Middletown Daily Argus (Middletown, New York) 1894-1899
Middletown Daily Herald (Middletown, New York) 1922-1925
Middletown Daily Press (Middletown, New York) 1889-1893
Middletown Daily Times (Middletown, New York) 1891-1916
Middletown Times Herald (Middletown, New York) - New! 1910-1947
Middletown Times Press (Middletown, New York) 1906-1919
New York Daily Times (New York, New York) 1851-1857
New York Evening Times (New York, New York) 1855-1856
New York Herald (New York, New York) 1869-1972
New York Times (April 15th, 1865) 1865-1865
New York Times, (New York, New York) 1881-1881
Norwich Sun (Norwich, New York) - New! 1947-1952
Olean Evening Herald (Olean, New York) - New! 1913-1925
Olean Evening Times (Olean, New York) - New! 1909-1941
Oneonta Daily Star (Oneonta, New York) 1916-1934
Oneonta Star (Oneonta, New York) - New! 1948-1973
Onondaga Standard (Syracuse, New York) 1829-1831
Oswego Palladium Times (Oswego, New York) 1959-1961
Penn Yan Express (Penn Yan, New York) 1823-1892
Salamanca Republican Press (Salamanca, New York) 1932-1936
Stars and Stripes Newspaper, WWI Edition, 1918-1919 1918-1919
Syracuse Daily Courier (Syracuse, New York) 1857-1857
Syracuse Daily Courier And Union (Syracuse, New York) 1865-1865
Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) 1896-1976
Syracuse Herald American (Syracuse, New York) 1945-1946
Syracuse Herald Journal (Syracuse, New York) 1831-1974
Syracuse Herald Syracuse Journal (Syracuse, New York) 1939-1939
Syracuse Journal (Syracuse, New York) 1850-1939
The Citizen Advertiser (Auburn, New York) 1963-1964
The Democrat (Olean, New York) 1880-1883
The Dunkirk Observer Journal (Dunkirk, New York) 1887-1889
The New York Times (New York, New York) 1857-1906
The Olean Democrat (Olean, New York) 1883-1895
The Post Standard (Syracuse, New York) 1875-1977
The Times Herald Record (Middletown, New York) 1976-1977
Times Herald (Olean, New York) - New! 1935-1951
Times Record (Troy, New York) - Updated! 1943-1977
Troy Record (Troy, New York) - Updated! 1943-1977
Yates County Chronicle (Penn Yan, New York) 1882-1886

It's an impressive list.

Even more impressive is the holdings of genealogybank.com. Their New York State holdings, including many much older papers with shorter runs, are:

New York
Title Date Range Collection
Albany Advertiser (Albany, NY)
Variant titles:
The Albany Advertiser
9/25/1815 - 3/24/1817 Historical Newspapers
Albany Argus (Albany, NY)
Variant titles:
The Albany Argus
1/26/1813 - 4/23/1822 Historical Newspapers
Albany Centinel (Albany, NY)
Variant titles:
The Albany Centinel
7/4/1797 - 12/31/1805 Historical Newspapers
Albany Chronicle (Albany, NY)
Variant titles:
Albany Chronicle: or, Journal of the Times; The Albany Chronicle
9/12/1796 - 4/9/1798 Historical Newspapers
Albany Gazette (Albany, NY)
Variant titles:
The Albany Gazette.
1/17/1788 - 3/23/1821 Historical Newspapers
Albany Journal (Albany, NY)
Variant titles:
The Albany Journal: or, the Montgomery, Washington and Columbia Intelligencer
2/2/1788 - 5/11/1789 Historical Newspapers
Albany Register (Albany, NY)
Variant titles:
The Albany Register
4/6/1789 - 11/25/1822 Historical Newspapers
American (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The American; The American (For the Country)
3/3/1819 - 12/30/1820 Historical Newspapers
American Citizen (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
American Citizen and General Advertiser
3/10/1800 - 11/19/1810 Historical Newspapers
American Eagle (Catskill, NY) 8/3/1808 - 5/8/1811 Historical Newspapers
American Journal (Ithaca, NY) 8/20/1817 - 7/16/1823 Historical Newspapers
American Minerva (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
American Minerva, and the New-York (Evening) Advertiser; American Minerva, Patroness of Peace, Commerce, and the Liberal Arts; American Minerva, Patroness of Peace, Commerce, and the Liberal Arts And the New-York (Evening) Advertiser; American Minerva; an Evening Advertiser; The American Minerva, Patroness of Peace, Commerce, and the Liberal Arts
12/9/1793 - 4/30/1796 Historical Newspapers
American Monitor (Plattsburgh, NY) 8/4/1809 - 11/10/1810 Historical Newspapers
Argus (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
Argus. Greenleaf's New Daily Advertiser; The Argus & Greenleaf's New Daily Advertiser; The Argus, or Greenleaf's New Daily Advertiser
5/11/1795 - 12/31/1796 Historical Newspapers
Balance (Albany, NY)
Variant titles:
The Balance, & New-York State Journal; The Balance, & State Journal; The Balance, and New-York State Journal
1/4/1809 - 12/24/1811 Historical Newspapers
Balance (Hudson, NY)
Variant titles:
The Balance; The Balance, and Columbian Repository
5/21/1801 - 12/27/1808 Historical Newspapers
Ballston Spa Gazette (Ballston Spa, NY) 10/17/1821 - 10/4/1825 Historical Newspapers
Bee (Hudson, NY)
Variant titles:
The Bee
8/17/1802 - 12/19/1820 Historical Newspapers
Brooklyn Downtown Star (NY) 8/24/2006-Current America's Obituaries
Brooklyn Minerva (Brooklyn, NY) 10/21/1807 - 12/9/1807 Historical Newspapers
Broome County Patriot (Binghamton, NY)
Variant titles:
The Broome County Patriot
11/10/1812 - 5/18/1813 Historical Newspapers
Buffalo News, The (NY) 1/1/1989-Current America's Obituaries
Bunker-Hill (Herkimer, NY) 11/30/1809 - 8/2/1810 Historical Newspapers
Cabinet (Schenectady, NY) 7/24/1810 - 12/23/1818 Historical Newspapers
Catskill Packet (Catskill, NY)
Variant titles:
Catskill Packet, & Western Mail; The Catskill Packet; The Packet
8/6/1792 - 12/26/1795 Historical Newspapers
Catskill Recorder (Catskill, NY) 7/2/1804 - 10/18/1820 Historical Newspapers
Cayuga Patriot (Auburn, NY) 11/21/1827 - 4/2/1834 Historical Newspapers
Chenago Weekly Advertiser (Norwich, NY) 1/25/1811 - 6/25/1812 Historical Newspapers
Cherry-Valley Gazette (Cherry Valley, NY) 10/8/1818 - 12/26/1820 Historical Newspapers
Chronicle Express (New York, NY) 11/25/1802 - 5/17/1804 Historical Newspapers
Chronicle, The (Goshen, NY) 6/2/2005-Current America's Obituaries
Clinton Advertiser (Plattsburgh, NY)
Variant titles:
The Clinton Advertiser
11/17/1810 - 1/12/1811 Historical Newspapers
Columbian (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Columbian; The New-York Columbian
11/1/1809 - 12/30/1820 Historical Newspapers
Columbian Gazette (Utica, NY) 8/19/1805 - 1/30/1821 Historical Newspapers
Columbian Gazetteer (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Columbian Gazetteer
8/22/1793 - 11/13/1794 Historical Newspapers
Columbian Telegraph (Norwich, NY) 10/6/1812 - 12/16/1812 Historical Newspapers
Commercial Advertiser (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
New-York Commercial Advertiser
10/2/1797 - 12/30/1820 Historical Newspapers
Constitutional Gazette (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Constitutional Gazette
8/9/1775 - 8/28/1776 Historical Newspapers
Cooperstown Federalist (Cooperstown, NY) 6/3/1809 - 2/2/1815 Historical Newspapers
Copway's American Indian (New York, NY) 8/23/1851 - 9/6/1851 Historical Newspapers
Corrector (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Corrector
3/28/1804 - 4/26/1804 Historical Newspapers
Courier (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
Courier, and Mercantile Directory; New-York Courier
1/16/1815 - 4/8/1817 Historical Newspapers
Daily Advertiser (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Daily Advertiser; The Daily Advertiser, Political, Historical, and Commercial; The Daily Advertiser: Political, Historical, and Commercial; The New-York Daily Advertiser
3/16/1785 - 6/1/1809 Historical Newspapers
Daily News, The (Batavia, NY) 3/24/2000-Current America's Obituaries
Diary (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
Diary and Mercantile Advertiser; The Diary; The Diary, & Universal Advertiser; The Diary, & Universal Daily Advertiser; The Diary, or Evening Register; The Diary; or, Loudon's Register
2/15/1792 - 12/30/1797 Historical Newspapers
Emancipator (New York, NY) 7/1/1841 - 8/7/1844 Historical Newspapers
Espana Libre (Brooklyn, NY) 11/3/1939 - 12/25/1942 Historical Newspapers
Evening Post (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The New-York Evening Post; New-York Evening Post
11/16/1801 - 12/31/1821 Historical Newspapers
Exile (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Exile
1/4/1817 - 10/18/1817 Historical Newspapers
Farmer's Register (Kingston, NY)
Variant titles:
The Farmer's Register
10/6/1792 - 9/14/1793 Historical Newspapers
Farmers' Register (Lansingburgh, NY) 1/25/1803 - 11/10/1807 Historical Newspapers
Farmers' Register (Troy, NY) 1/18/1814 - 12/25/1820 Historical Newspapers
Filipino Reporter, The (New York, NY) 3/8/2005-Current America's Obituaries
Flash (New York, NY) 10/31/1841 - 12/10/1842 Historical Newspapers
Forest Hills-Rego Park Times (Queens, NY) 8/3/2006-Current America's Obituaries
Forlorn Hope (New York, NY) 3/24/1800 - 3/24/1800 Historical Newspapers
Fredrick Douglass' Paper (Rochester, NY) 12/3/1847 - 2/17/1860 Historical Newspapers
Freeman's Journal (Cooperstown, NY)
Variant titles:
The Freeman's Journal, and Otsego County Advertiser
11/30/1818 - 12/25/1820 Historical Newspapers
Gazette Francaise (New York, NY) 1/3/1798 - 10/4/1799 Historical Newspapers
Gazette of the United States (New York, NY) 4/15/1789 - 9/12/1792 Historical Newspapers
Geographical & Military Museum (Albany, NY) 2/28/1814 - 6/6/1814 Historical Newspapers
Glendale Register (Queens, NY) 8/3/2006-Current America's Obituaries
Greenleaf's New York Journal (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
Greenleaf's New York Journal, & Patriotic Register
1/1/1794 - 3/8/1800 Historical Newspapers
Greenpoint Star & Weekly Northside News (NY) 11/17/2004-Current America's Obituaries
Guardian (Albany, NY)
Variant titles:
The Guardian
11/21/1807 - 11/12/1808 Historical Newspapers
Herald (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Herald; a Gazette for the Country
6/4/1794 - 9/30/1797 Historical Newspapers
Herkimer Herald (Herkimer, NY) 7/26/1808 - 11/2/1809 Historical Newspapers
Hudson Gazette (Hudson, NY) 3/15/1792 - 12/27/1803 Historical Newspapers
Hudson River Chronicle (Sing-Sing, NY) 10/24/1837 - 9/17/1850 Historical Newspapers
Impartial Gazetteer (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Impartial Gazetteer; The Impartial Gazetteer, and Saturday Evening Post; The Impartial Gazetteer, and Saturday Evening's Post
5/17/1788 - 9/13/1788 Historical Newspapers
Impartial Observer (Cooperstown, NY)
Variant titles:
The Impartial Observer
10/22/1808 - 5/27/1809 Historical Newspapers
Independence (Poughkeepsie, NY) 2/8/1832 - 1/29/1834 Historical Newspapers
Independent American (Ballston Spa, NY)
Variant titles:
The Independent American
9/27/1808 - 5/6/1818 Historical Newspapers
Independent Gazette (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Independent Gazette; or the New-York Journal Revived
12/13/1783 - 3/11/1784 Historical Newspapers
Independent Journal (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Independent Journal: or, the General Advertiser
11/17/1783 - 12/24/1788 Historical Newspapers
Independent New-York Gazette (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Independent New-York Gazette
11/22/1783 - 12/6/1783 Historical Newspapers
Independent Reflector (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Independent Reflector
11/30/1752 - 11/22/1753 Historical Newspapers
Irish Voice (New York, NY) 2/15/2006-Current America's Obituaries
Irish World (New York, NY) 1/11/1890 - 5/30/1903 Historical Newspapers
Ithaca Gazette (Ithaca, NY)
Variant titles:
Ithaca Gazette, and religious Intelligencer
6/5/1817 - 6/5/1817 Historical Newspapers
Ithaca Herald (Ithaca, NY) 8/31/1836 - 10/4/1837 Historical Newspapers
Ithaca Journal (Ithaca, NY) 7/16/1823 - 12/28/1831 Historical Newspapers
Ithaca Journal, The (NY) 9/2/1999-Current America's Obituaries
Jamestown Journal (Jamestown, NY) 6/21/1826 - 12/29/1876 Historical Newspapers
Jewish Daily News (New York, NY) 1/2/1910 - 12/31/1915 Historical Newspapers
Journal News, The (Westchester, NY) 1/1/1999-Current America's Obituaries
Knickerbocker News (Albany, NY) 3/12/1986-4/15/1988 America's Obituaries
Ladies' Weekly Museum (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Ladies' Weekly Museum, or Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction
5/3/1817 - 10/25/1817 Historical Newspapers
Leader-Observer (South Queens, NY) 8/3/2006-Current America's Obituaries
Lewisboro Ledger, The (NY) 6/24/2004-Current America's Obituaries
Log Cabin (New York, NY) 5/2/1840 - 11/20/1841 Historical Newspapers
Long Island City-Astoria Journal & Jackson Heights News (NY) 8/3/2006-Current America's Obituaries
Long-Island Star (Brooklyn, NY)
Variant titles:
The Long Island Star
6/8/1809 - 12/27/1820 Historical Newspapers
Madison County Herald (Peterborough, NY) 3/2/1815 - 3/2/1815 Historical Newspapers
Mercantile Advertiser (New York, NY) 11/10/1798 - 12/30/1820 Historical Newspapers
Mercury (New York, NY) 9/28/1831 - 11/4/1847 Historical Newspapers
Metro - New York (NY) 11/20/2005-Current America's Obituaries
Military Monitor (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Military Monitor, and American Register
6/18/1812 - 11/6/1813 Historical Newspapers
Minerva (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Minerva, & Mercantile Evening Advertiser
5/2/1796 - 9/30/1797 Historical Newspapers
Mohawk Mercury (Schenectady, NY)
Variant titles:
The Mohawk Mercury
2/9/1795 - 3/13/1798 Historical Newspapers
Morning Chronicle (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
Native American
10/1/1802 - 6/15/1807 Historical Newspapers
Mott and Hurtin's New-York Weekly Chronicle (New York, NY) 1/1/1795 - 4/16/1795 Historical Newspapers
National Advocate (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The National Advocate
12/15/1812 - 6/12/1827 Historical Newspapers
New York American (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
Journal; Morning Journal; New York American and Journal; New York Journal; New York Journal and Advertiser; New York Journal and American; New York Morning Journal
1/3/1898 - 12/31/1898 Historical Newspapers
New York Daily News (NY) 1/4/2006-Current America's Obituaries
New York Evangelist (New York, NY) 6/16/1870 - 7/26/1877 Historical Newspapers
New York Herald (New York, NY) 10/15/1844 - 8/31/1863 Historical Newspapers
New York Ledger (New York, NY) 1/3/1863 - 12/26/1863 Historical Newspapers
New York Observer, The (NY) 1/12/1997-Current America's Obituaries
New York Post (NY) 11/22/1999-Current America's Obituaries
New York Sun, The (NY) 6/4/2002-Current America's Obituaries
New York Times Magazine, The (NY) 1/2/2000-Current America's Obituaries
New York Times, The (NY) 6/1/1980-Current America's Obituaries
New-York Chronicle (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The New-York Chronicle.
5/22/1769 - 1/4/1770 Historical Newspapers
New-York Daily Advertiser (New York, NY) 4/9/1817 - 12/30/1820 Historical Newspapers
New-York Daily Gazette (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The New York Gazette; The New-York Daily Gazette
12/29/1788 - 4/25/1795 Historical Newspapers
New-York Evening Post (New York, NY) 12/17/1744 - 12/18/1752 Historical Newspapers
New-York Gazette (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The New-York Gazette
2/16/1759 - 12/14/1767 Historical Newspapers
New-York Gazette (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The New-York Gazette and General Advertiser
1/1/1795 - 10/31/1821 Historical Newspapers
New-York Gazette, and Weekly Mercury (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The New-York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury; The New-York Gazette; and the Weekly Mercury
2/1/1768 - 11/10/1783 Historical Newspapers
New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
Parker's New-York Gazette: or, the Weekly Post-Boy; The New-York Gazette ; or, Weekly Post-Boy; The New-York Gazette: or, the Weekly Post-Boy; The New-York Gazette; or, the Weekly Post-Boy; The New-York Journal, or General Advertiser; The New-York Weekly Post-Boy
1/19/1747 - 12/31/1770 Historical Newspapers
New-York Gazetteer (Albany, NY)
Variant titles:
New-York Gazetteer; or, Daily Evening Post; The New-York Gazetteer; The New-York Gazetteer, and Country Journal; The New-York Gazetteer, and Public Advertiser
7/15/1782 - 5/1/1784 Historical Newspapers
New-York Herald (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
New York Herald; The New-York Herald
1/2/1802 - 9/11/1830 Historical Newspapers
New-York Journal (New York, NY) 5/22/1802 - 6/12/1811 Historical Newspapers
New-York Journal (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The New-York Journal; or, the General Advertiser
10/16/1766 - 8/29/1776 Historical Newspapers
New-York Journal (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The New-York Journal, and Weekly Register; The New-York Journal, and the General Advertiser; The New-York Journal, or the Weekly Register; The New-York Journal, and State Gazette
3/18/1784 - 12/31/1791 Historical Newspapers
New-York Mercury (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The New-York Mercury
8/31/1752 - 1/25/1768 Historical Newspapers
New-York Morning Post (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Morning Post, and Daily Advertiser
6/2/1783 - 6/12/1792 Historical Newspapers
New-York Packet (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
Loudon's New-York Packet; The New-York Packet; The New-York Packet. And The American Advertiser
11/13/1783 - 1/26/1792 Historical Newspapers
New-York Price-Current (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
Dickinson's (Formerly) Ming's New-York Price-Current; Ming & Young's New-York Price-Current; Ming's New-York Price-Current; Oram's New-York Price-Current; Oram's New-York Price-Current, and Marine Register; The New-York Prices Current
1/2/1797 - 12/31/1817 Historical Newspapers
New-York Spy (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The New-York Spy.
11/18/1806 - 11/11/1807 Historical Newspapers
New-York Statesman (Albany, NY) 5/16/1820 - 12/29/1820 Historical Newspapers
New-York Weekly Chronicle (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The New-York Weekly Chronicle
4/30/1795 - 10/1/1795 Historical Newspapers
New-York Weekly Journal (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The New-York Weekly Journal
1/7/1733 - 1/28/1793 Historical Newspapers
Newsday (Long Island, NY) 1/1/2004-Current America's Obituaries
Northern Centinel (Salem, NY) 1/1/1798 - 12/31/1813 Historical Newspapers
Northern Christian Advocate (Syracuse, NY) 7/15/1880 - 5/28/1908 Historical Newspapers
Northern Post (Salem, NY)
Variant titles:
The Northern Post
5/29/1804 - 12/25/1817 Historical Newspapers
Northern Whig (Hudson, NY) 1/3/1809 - 12/26/1820 Historical Newspapers
Observateur Impartial (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
L'Observateur Impartial, et Messager de l'Union
2/6/1808 - 2/6/1808 Historical Newspapers
Observer (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Observer
2/19/1809 - 4/21/1811 Historical Newspapers
Observer-Dispatch (Utica, NY) 12/21/2002-Current America's Obituaries
Olio (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Olio
1/27/1813 - 2/5/1814 Historical Newspapers
Olive Branch (Norwich, NY)
Variant titles:
The Olive-Branch
2/13/1808 - 11/13/1809 Historical Newspapers
Olive Branch (Sherburne, NY)
Variant titles:
5/21/1806 - 2/6/1808 Historical Newspapers
Ontario Messenger (Canandaigua, NY)
Variant titles:
Genesee Messenger
10/31/1809 - 8/27/1827 Historical Newspapers
Oracle (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
L'Oracle and Daily Advertiser
1/1/1808 - 9/10/1808 Historical Newspapers
Orange County Patriot (Goshen, NY)
Variant titles:
Orange County Patriot, or, The Spirit of Seventy-Six; Orange County Patriot; or, The Spirit of Seventy-Six
1/1/1811 - 12/31/1821 Historical Newspapers
Otsego Herald (Cooperstown, NY)
Variant titles:
Cooperstown Herald; Otsego Herald: or Western Advertiser; The Otsego Herald: or, Western Advertiser; The Otsego Herald; or, Western Advertiser
4/3/1795 - 1/29/1821 Historical Newspapers
Otsego Republican Press (Cherry Valley, NY) 8/14/1812 - 8/6/1813 Historical Newspapers
Palmyra Register (Palmyra, NY) 11/26/1817 - 12/27/1820 Historical Newspapers
Patriot (Utica, NY)
Variant titles:
The Patriot; Utica Patriot
2/28/1803 - 12/31/1804 Historical Newspapers
Patrol (Utica, NY)
Variant titles:
The Patrol
1/5/1815 - 1/1/1816 Historical Newspapers
Patron of Industry (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Patron of Industry
6/28/1820 - 6/27/1821 Historical Newspapers
People's Friend (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The People's Friend & Daily Advertiser
8/25/1806 - 8/3/1807 Historical Newspapers
People's Watch-Tower (Ballston Spa, NY)
Variant titles:
The People's Watch-Tower
5/13/1818 - 4/5/1820 Historical Newspapers
Photo News, The (Monroe-Woodbury-Tuxedo, NY) 6/2/2005-Current America's Obituaries
Plebeian (Kingston, NY) 8/3/1803 - 12/27/1805 Historical Newspapers
Plough Boy (Albany, NY)
Variant titles:
The Plough Boy; The Plough Boy. And Journal of the Board of Agricuture
6/5/1819 - 12/30/1820 Historical Newspapers
Political Barometer (Poughkeepsie, NY) 1/3/1810 - 8/21/1811 Historical Newspapers
Political Bulletin (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Political Bulletin and Miscellaneous Repository
12/22/1810 - 3/30/1811 Historical Newspapers
Political Observatory (Plattsburgh, NY) 4/12/1811 - 8/24/1811 Historical Newspapers
Political Olio (Binghamton, NY) 5/25/1813 - 4/5/1814 Historical Newspapers
Post-Standard, The (Syracuse, NY) 1/1/1996-Current America's Obituaries
Poughkeepsie Journal (NY) 7/27/1998-Current America's Obituaries
Press & Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, NY) 1/22/1999-Current America's Obituaries
Prisoner of Hope (New York, NY) 5/3/1800 - 8/23/1800 Historical Newspapers
Public Advertiser (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
American Patriot, and Public Advertiser; The Public Advertiser.
1/5/1807 - 2/22/1813 Historical Newspapers
Queens Courier, The (NY) 12/16/2005-Current America's Obituaries
Queens Examiner (NY) 8/3/2006-Current America's Obituaries
Queens Gazette, The (NY) 5/9/2007-Current America's Obituaries
Queens Ledger (NY) 11/17/2004-Current America's Obituaries
Queens Tribune (NY) 7/14/2006-Current America's Obituaries
Record, The (Troy, NY) 4/1/2005-Current America's Obituaries
Redactor (New York, NY) 1/22/1831 - 12/31/1831 Historical Newspapers
Register of the Times (New York, NY) 6/3/1796 - 7/27/1798 Historical Newspapers
Remembrancer (New York, NY) 6/1/1805 - 6/1/1805 Historical Newspapers
Republican (Plattsburgh, NY) 4/12/1811 - 12/30/1820 Historical Newspapers
Republican Agriculturalist (Norwich, NY)
Variant titles:
The Republican Agriculturalist
12/10/1818 - 12/2/1819 Historical Newspapers
Republican Chronicle (Ithaca, NY) 9/6/1820 - 12/25/1822 Historical Newspapers
Republican Crisis (Albany, NY) 11/11/1806 - 12/27/1808 Historical Newspapers
Republican Messenger (Sherburne, NY) 5/22/1810 - 1/1/1811 Historical Newspapers
Republican Watch-Tower (New York, NY) 1/1/1803 - 12/29/1809 Historical Newspapers
Rivington's New York Gazetteer (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
Rivington's New-York Gazetteer; Rivington's New-York Gazetteer: or the Connecticut, Hudson's River, New-Jersey, and Quebec Weekly Advertiser; Rivington's New-York Gazetteer; or the Connecticut, Hudson's River, New-Jersey, and Quebec Weekly Advertiser
4/22/1773 - 11/23/1775 Historical Newspapers
Rivington's New-York Gazette (New York, NY) 10/4/1777 - 10/11/1777 Historical Newspapers
Rivington's New-York Gazette (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
Rivington's New-York Gazette, and Universal Advertiser
11/22/1783 - 12/31/1783 Historical Newspapers
Rivington's New-York Loyal Gazette (New York, NY) 10/18/1777 - 12/6/1777 Historical Newspapers
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (NY) 1/2/1999-Current America's Obituaries
Rochester Telegraph (Rochester, NY) 7/7/1818 - 7/8/1828 Historical Newspapers
Royal Gazette (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Royal Gazette
12/13/1777 - 11/19/1783 Historical Newspapers
Rural Visitor (Ballston Spa, NY) 5/5/1812 - 6/23/1812 Historical Newspapers
Saratoga Courier (Ballston Spa, NY) 12/6/1815 - 10/15/1817 Historical Newspapers
Saratoga Farmer (Ballston Spa, NY)
Variant titles:
The Saratoga Farmer
1/17/1821 - 2/7/1821 Historical Newspapers
Saratoga Patriot (Ballston Spa, NY) 8/19/1812 - 12/28/1813 Historical Newspapers
Saratoga Register (Ballston Spa, NY)
Variant titles:
The Saratoga Register: or, Farmers Journal
9/5/1798 - 11/21/1798 Historical Newspapers
Saratoga Sentinel (Saratoga Springs, NY) 1/3/1821 - 3/27/1838 Historical Newspapers
Saratogian, The (Saratoga Springs, NY) 6/21/2005-Current America's Obituaries
Seneca Republican (Ithaca, NY)
Variant titles:
The Seneca Republican
10/21/1815 - 10/21/1815 Historical Newspapers
Shamrock (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Shamrock; The Shamrock; or, Hibernian Chronicle
12/15/1810 - 8/16/1817 Historical Newspapers
Southeast Queens Press (NY) 8/8/2006-Current America's Obituaries
Spectator (New York, NY) 5/13/1831 - 4/30/1834 Historical Newspapers
Spectator (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
New-York Spectator; The Spectator
10/4/1797 - 12/28/1821 Historical Newspapers
Spirit of '76 (New York, NY) 3/7/1809 - 4/27/1809 Historical Newspapers
St. Lawrence Gazette (Ogdensburg, NY) 12/16/1817 - 12/22/1818 Historical Newspapers
Star-Gazette (Elmira, NY) 1/15/1999-Current America's Obituaries
Staten Island Advance (NY) 1/2/2004-Current America's Obituaries
Statesman (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Statesman
8/20/1812 - 8/23/1813 Historical Newspapers
Suffolk County Recorder (Sag Harbor, NY) 10/19/1816 - 10/11/1817 Historical Newspapers
Suffolk Gazette (Sag Harbor, NY) 2/20/1804 - 2/23/1811 Historical Newspapers
Suffolk Life Newspapers (NY) 7/27/2005-Current America's Obituaries
Syracuse Herald American (NY) 12/7/1986-9/23/2001 America's Obituaries
Syracuse Herald-Journal (NY) 12/5/1986-8/30/2001 America's Obituaries
Telegraph (Norwich, NY)
Variant titles:
Newton Telegraph
1/13/1813 - 7/30/1814 Historical Newspapers
Temple of Reason (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Temple of Reason
11/8/1800 - 2/7/1801 Historical Newspapers
Time Piece (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Time Piece; and Literary Companion; The Time-Piece; and Literary Companion
3/13/1797 - 8/30/1798 Historical Newspapers
Times (Troy, NY) 7/25/1863 - 3/31/1903 Historical Newspapers
Times Union, The (Albany, NY) 3/8/1986-Current America's Obituaries
TimesLedger Newspapers (Queens, NY) 4/26/2007-Current America's Obituaries
Ulster Gazette (Kingston, NY) 7/24/1802 - 3/21/1818 Historical Newspapers
Ulster Plebeian (New York, NY) 8/1/1815 - 12/30/1820 Historical Newspapers
United States' Shipping List (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The United States' Shipping List & Prices Current; United States' Shipping List and Prices Current
11/22/1811 - 11/20/1812 Historical Newspapers
Utica Club (Utica, NY) 8/25/1814 - 5/15/1815 Historical Newspapers
Wall Street Daily News (New York, NY) 5/1/1879 - 11/16/1907 Historical Newspapers
War (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The War
6/18/1812 - 9/6/1814 Historical Newspapers
Warwick Advertiser, The (NY) 6/2/2005-Current America's Obituaries
Washington Patrol (Salem, NY) 5/27/1795 - 11/18/1795 Historical Newspapers
Washington Republican (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
Washington Republican or, True American
7/29/1809 - 1/13/1810 Historical Newspapers
Wasp (Hudson, NY)
Variant titles:
The Wasp
7/7/1802 - 1/26/1803 Historical Newspapers
Watch-Tower (Cooperstown, NY)
Variant titles:
The Watch-Tower
5/18/1814 - 11/28/1831 Historical Newspapers
Waterford Gazette (Waterford, NY) 3/9/1802 - 8/3/1813 Historical Newspapers
Watertown Daily Times (NY) 1/20/1988-Current America's Obituaries
Weekly Commercial Advertiser (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
New York Spectator
1/4/1825 - 12/28/1827 Historical Newspapers
Weekly Herald (New York, NY) 8/1/1840 - 12/30/1854 Historical Newspapers
Weekly Inspector (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Weekly Inspector
8/30/1806 - 8/22/1807 Historical Newspapers
Weekly Museum (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
New-York Weekly Museum; The New-York Weekly Museum; The Weekly Museum
9/20/1788 - 4/26/1817 Historical Newspapers
Weekly Visitor (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Weekly Visitor, and Ladies Museum
11/1/1817 - 12/23/1820 Historical Newspapers
Westchester Herald (Mount Pleasant, NY) 1/15/1818 - 12/26/1820 Historical Newspapers
Western Constellation (Catskill, NY) 11/9/1801 - 10/31/1803 Historical Newspapers
Western Star (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Western Star, and Harp of Erin
5/16/1812 - 5/1/1813 Historical Newspapers
Youth's News Paper (New York, NY)
Variant titles:
The Youth's Paper
9/30/1797 - 11/4/1797 Historical Newspapers

I'm told World Vital Records will soon have a major announcement adding newspapers to their collection.

Meanwhile, in Europe digitization of newspapers is proceeding, with free web access. The European Library has a list of electronic resources which includes newspapers from Austria, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, and Greece.

And in Canada?