30 November 2009

English genealogical sources newly digitized

The Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center continue to contribute digitized books to The Internet Archive. This includes numerous English publications. The five most popular downloads are all English parish register compilations by W P W Phillimore:

  1. Yorkshire marriage registers. West Riding (Volume 2)
  2. Somerset parish registers. Marriages (Volume 10)
  3. Norfolk parish registers. marriages (Volume 4)
  4. Derbyshire parish registers. Marriages (Volume 8)
  5. Cornwall parish registers. Marriages (Volume 8)
Some of the most recently digitized English materials are:

Buckinghamshire baptisms, marriages and burials (Volume 2) - Bradbrook, William, ed

County pedigrees (Volume 1) - Phillimore, W. P. W. v. 1. Nottinghamshire

Lancashire : biographies, Rolls of Honour - Lancashire (England)

The registers of St. Vedast, Foster Lane, and of St. Michael le Quern, London (Volume pt.2) - London. St. Vedast Church

Monumental inscriptions in the church & churchyard of Ellough, Suffolk - Crisp, Frederick Arthur, 1851-1922

The parish register of Burnsall-in-Craven. ,,,, (Volume 3) - Burnsall, England (Parish)

Archives of the London-Dutch church. Register of the attestations or certificates of membership, confessions of guilt, certificates of marriage, bethrothals, publications of banns, &c., &c. preserved in the preserved in the Dutch reformed church, Austin Friars, London, 1568 to 1872 - London. Dutch Reformed Church

Shropshire Parish registers (Volume 4) - Shropshire Parish Register Society

Derbyshire parish registers. Marriages (Volume 4) - Phillimore, W. P. W.

Wiltshire parish registers : marriages (Volume 4) - Phillimore, W. P. W.

Gloucestershire parish registers. Marriages (Volume 8) - Phillimore, W. P. W.

Monumental inscriptions in the Cathedral Church of Hereford - Havergal, Francis Tebbs, 1829-1890

The registers of Hopton Castle, Shropshire. 1538-1812 - Hopton Castle, Eng. (Parish)

Nottinghamshire parish registers. Marriages (Volume 5) - Phillimore, W. P. W.

Norfolk parish registers. marriages (Volume 7) - Phillimore, W. P. W.
Includes Caister-on-Sea, Ormesby St. Margaret, Ormesby St. Michael, Filby, Burgh St. Margaret, Billockby, Hemsby, Winterton with East Somerton, West Somerton, Oby, Thurne with Oby and Ashby

The registers of St. Paul's church, Convent garden, London (Volume pt.1)

Rowley Regis parish register with index (Volume pt.2) - Rowley Regis, Eng. (Parish)
Deanery of Dudley

The registers of Dewbury, Yorkshire - Dewsbury, England (Parish)

The registers of All Hallows, Bread Street, and of St. John the Evangelist, Friday Street, London

The registers of the parish church of Padiham in the County of Lancaster. Christenings, burials, and weddings, 1573 to 1653

If you don't find the location of your interest try a search at www.archive.org/advancedsearch.php

Pre-Christmas specials -- Archive CD Books Canada

Over the next week or so I plan postings with gift suggestions for the family historian, starting close to home, for me, in Manotick where Archive CD Books Canada are offering a large selection of their Canadian made products at up to a whopping 40% off, quite a bargain.

Here's the start of the list:

Hand Book for the Dominion of Canada, 1884;
The Greystone; Pathfinders of the West, 1907; Thrilling Experiences in the War in South Africa - 1900; Gazetteer and Business Directory, Canada 1930; Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Lambton 1906; On Canada's Frontier - 1892; Three Years in Canada, Vol II; Shanty, Forest and River Life; A History of the County of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, 1929; Saskatoon Telephone Directory, 1944; The White Chief of the Ottawa -1903; The History of the Parish of Hull Quebec, 1823-1923; A Biographical Index of Daguerreotypists in Canada 1839-1871; The 42nd Battalion, C.E.F. Royal Highlanders of Canada; Letters from the Front in 2 volumes, c1920, with Supplement; Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of York, Ontario - 1907; The Regimental History of the Governor General's Foot Guards; Presbyterian Pioneer Missionaries; Photographic History of the War - 1916 & 1919; Pioneer Life in Zorra - 1899; The Blue Book: Textile Directory US & Canada 1897-98; SUNSET CANADA - BRITISH COLUMBIA AND BEYOND; Official History of the Canadian Forces in The Great War

... and that's less than a quarter of the volumes on offer.

For the complete list with detailed descriptions go to:

And, shipping within Canada is STILL FREE.

To keep up with happenings at Archive CD Books Canada subscribe to their newsletter at books@archivecdbooks.ca

29 November 2009

LAC Services Advisory Board 27 November meeting highlights

The current embargo on acquisition purchases will end on 31 January.

As part of its modernization agenda, www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/modernization/index-e.html, LAC has eight pathfinder projects underway to "show the demonstrability of their Framework model." Short papers on four of these should be released within the next week:

  • development of an integrated collection development/management plan for military acquisitions
  • long-term loans: a citizen focused collaborative approach
  • rethinking the stewardship of newspapers in the digital age
  • exposing union catalog metadata via third parties.
Additional papers to be released before the end of December are:
  • development of an integrated collection development/management plan for aboriginal information resources
  • acquisition priorities: private archives
  • LAC trusted digital repository: preserving the digital memory of Canada through collaboration and stakeholder engagement
  • repurpose user-generated metadata.
It remains unclear how LAC will be conducting anything but passive (put the paper out on the website and invite comment) consultation on its modernization initiatives.

In response to a question we learnt that LAC did not receive any satisfactory responses to its announcement of opportunity earlier in the year for digitization partnerships for a long list of documentary resources. It appears that the collaborative arrangement with Ancestry.com is the only such agreement with a commercial organization.

An agreement was recently signed with FamilySearch for indexing the 1825, 1831 and 1842 censuses; and the remaining passenger lists for all Canadian polls, except Québec city which is already online, from 1900 to 1922.

LAC remains open to and seeks further arrangements on mutually beneficial terms.

Following a series of short updates on service improvements, which suggested a growing sensitivity to client needs in the past coupled years, there was a presentation on the just released microform digitization pilot, www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-digitization/index-e.html. Reaction was generally favourable. The few who had had an opportunity to try it recommended additional indexing to make it easier to find a section within the film. One suggestion was to allow clients to perform this as a social project.

A list of work in progress shows the prospect of release of indexes and digital images for the 1861, 1871 and 1916 censuses.

The meeting ended with thanks to those who had served on the SAB since its inception and have reached the end of their terms. In the context of the modernization review it is unclear what the future of the Board will be.

Soldiers of Gloucestershire

Looking for an ancestor who might have served in the 28th North Gloucestershire Regiment during the 19th Century? Or an ancestor who served with the Gloucestershire Regiment in the First World War?

The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum has a 19th Century database of nearly 10,000 entries and 40,000 in their Great War database.

There's much more at the newly expanded site: www.glosters.org.uk/

28 November 2009

New UK government policy on archives

"Archives for the 21st Century" is a strategic vision for the archives sector which re-asserts the vital importance of archives as the gateway to the UK's common heritage, while reflecting the extraordinary advances in technology that offer both challenges and unprecedented opportunities.

Five key recommendations are enunciated to help the sector build the foundations for a more sustainable future and respond to the challenges of the digital information age:

  • Develop bigger and better services in partnership - working towards increased sustainability within the sector
  • Strengthened leadership and a responsive, skilled workforce
  • Co-ordinated response to the growing challenge of managing digital information so that it is accessible now and remains discoverable in the future
  • Comprehensive online access for archive discovery through catalogues and to digitised archive content by citizens at a time and place that suits them
  • Active participation in cultural and learning partnerships promoting a sense of identity and place within the community.
The document and other complementary material at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/policy/aft21c/should be required reading for those facing similar challenges in other countries.

ACOM (Ancestry.com) decline continues

During its third full week of trading on the NASDAQ shares of Ancestry.com continued the decline started at the end of the previous week.

The high price for the week was $13.45, where it opened on Monday, the low $13.05 on Tuesday.

Friday's close of $13.11 was the continuation of a string of days with successively lower closing prices. Each day also showed successively lower volume traded. Friday, at 42,707 shares traded, was the lowest volume since the stock was listed; the day after a holiday (US Thanksgiving) is typically marked by low volume.

The price remains comfortably within the range contemplated,
$12.50 to $14.50, when the stock was originally offered.

27 November 2009

Canadian border entry and more: LAC introduce online images from microform

The following information is posted by Library and Archives Canada

"Numerous documents belonging to the Library and Archives Canada collection have been copied to microfiche and microfilm. Some items from this collection are being digitized for access over the Internet. These digitized microforms are available on the Browse by Title page. Please note that this is not a database, therefore the images are not searchable by keyword.

Once you have selected the specific microform series you wish to access, you will be presented with links to the digitized images for that set of records. This online access to microforms attempts to duplicate the experience of going to a reading room. Use these links as you would an actual reel or fiche of microform. Each digitized reel or fiche is presented in sequence from beginning to end.

Navigation links allow you to go forward or backwards. The navigation also allows for either page-by-page viewing or skipping to a specific page within the series of records by using the text box provided. The digitized image is first presented in a standard JPEG version, but can also be viewed in PDF format, which allows you to print, zoom and rotate the image.

A topic-specific "Help" page is also available for every series of microform records that has been digitized, providing the background and content of the series, as well as its arrangement and organization."

Two datasets are presently available:

Form 30, Border Entry Records, 1919-1924
Individual forms (Form 30) be completed and submitted to the immigration officers at border ports. The series is far from complete, but where available the information given usually includes:
  • port and date of entry;
  • name;
  • age;
  • occupation;
  • birthplace;
  • race;
  • citizenship;
  • religion;
  • last permanent address; and
  • destination.

School Files Series - 1879-1953 (RG10)

A partial series containing only records relating to schools and education during the operation of the Residential Schools system.


Hopefully making these records available online will facilitate independent indexing/transcription initiatives.

LAC adds WW1 Flickr photostream

270 high quality images depicting the significant military efforts of Canadians during WW1 have been posted to Flickr by LAC.

This example is Mt. St. Eloi created by Mary Riter Hamilton, 1873-1954. I chose it as it was the location where my grand-uncle, John Barnett who served with the CEF was blinded.

Find the photostream at www.flickr.com/photos/lac-bac/

26 November 2009

A handy reference on the British Army pre-1901

The Internet Archive now have online a digitized book "The regimental records of the British Army : a historical résumé chronologically arranged of titles, campaigns, honours, uniforms, facings, badges, nicknames, etc. (1901)."

It has no information on people who served, but could be useful if you're wanting to find out where a regiment served during a particular time period, or which regiments served in a given location.

Link at www.archive.org/details/cu31924030726503

25 November 2009

10,000 Gretna Green marriages

The following was posted by Ancestry.com

This data collection contains what has become known as the Lang Collection of Gretna Green Marriage Registers, being named after David and Simon Lang, a father and son duo who were “priests” and performed many marriages in Gretna Green between 1794 and 1828.

The entire collection covers the years 1794 to 1895, with a few earlier references. Since Gretna Green marriages were not exactly formal, the record keeping was not regulated, nor was it centralized. The Lang Registers make up approximately 50% of all Gretna Green marriages performed during the specified time period. The Lang Registers is the largest single collection of Gretna Green marriage registers and includes over 10,000 records.

Sometimes marriages were recorded on scraps of pieces of paper. Other times they were kept more formally and recorded in a book. The amount of information recorded could vary as well. However, you’ll generally be able to find the following information:

  • Names of bride and groom
  • Their counties of residence
  • Marriage date
  • Witnesses’ names

Get your family history fix

History Television Canada has it, the fourth and final season of Ancestors in the Attic starting in early 2010.

Starting on Thursday January 7, 2010, there will be two half-hour episodes, back to back, airing at 6pm and repeated at 9pm. It will run for five weeks, through to February 4.

The series will have a second run starting on February 11 through to March 11.

The on air host will again be Jeff Douglas. On air genealogist will be Kevin James who previously appeared as a member of the genealogy panel which was a prominent feature of the first series.

As with all TV, schedules are subject to change.

24 November 2009

Canadian Genealogy Centre website update

Sylvie Tremblay, Chief of the Canadian Genealogy Centre, sends the following:

Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce that the following pages of the Canadian Genealogy Centre web site have been recently updated: Abbreviations used in French records, Bibliography, Canadian Forces after 1918 (including Second World War), Criminal Records, Divorce, Events, First World War, Genealogical Societies, Irish, Jewish, Newspapers, North West Mounted Police, Notarial Records, Provincial and territorial Archives, Provincial land records, Reference Sites.

For most of the pages, the updates are for typos, broken links and change of wording. However, please note that the First World War and Canadian Froces after 1918 pages now include contact information for armed forces of other countries.

Also, the search help page for the CEF database has been updated regarding the instructions on how to order a copy of a complete file.

Library and Archives Canada is also pleased to announce that the guide Researching Your Aboriginal Ancestry at Library and Archives Canada has been entirely revised and is now available in html and pdf format. Updates include a section about records for the French Regime, revised web links and more book titles in the bibliography.

Individual manifests (Form 30A) added to Ancestry database of Canadian immigration

During the early 1920s Canada`s Department of Immigration and Colonization required that individual manifests (Form 30A) for each arriving passenger be completed and submitted to the immigration officers at the ports of arrival, rather than using the older, large manifest sheets. This form was officially in use between June 1, 1921 and December 31, 1924 although dates vary locally. Exceptions were made for passengers in transit to the U.S. You will also find forms for passenger Canada-bound arriving at US ports.

The following is detail on the information which should be read carefully, especially the Please Note.

Information listed on the form generally included:
  • Ship
  • Port of departure
  • Arrival date
  • Port of arrival
  • Name of passenger
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Birthplace
  • Marital status
  • Present occupation
  • Intended occupation
  • Race
  • Citizenship
  • Religion
  • Object in going to Canada
  • Whether intend to live permanently in Canada
  • Destination
  • Name of the nearest relative in country from which they came
  • Passport information

These records originate from a microfilm collection held by Library and Archives Canada. The forms were originally microfilmed in a semi-alphabetical order by surname. This semi-alphabetical order has been preserved in this database and will help you locate an individual when you are sorting through images.

Please note: The front and backsides of a form do not appear on the same image as it is physically impossible to microfilm both sides of a form at the same time. In most cases, the backside of the form was microfilmed first, and then the front side. Therefore, when you find a form for a person of interest, you will need to use the “Previous” or “Next” arrow buttons in the image viewer in order to see both sides of the form.


This is a nice addition to the Ancestry collection, and should complete the digitization of passenger information publically available from Canadian government sources.

In a continuing project to confuse the researcher some bozo has invented the name Ocean Arrivals for this series rather than Individual Manifests as previously used by Library and Archives Canada. LAC seems to be busy adjusting the website with a search for 30A showing a catalog entry of "Individual Manifest" but showing as detail "Unable to display record. Record not found" as of 11:20am on Tuesday 24 November. This is a change from last evening. It may have changed by the time you read this!

LAC retreats on databases

For many months LAC has enforced an embargo on new publications purchases and renewals of subscriptions. While this should not have impacted the many publications received on legal deposit it does mean that some of the database subscription resources once available at the public access workstations are no longer accessible.

What's being lost? Some no longer available are: America: History & Life; American National Biography Online; Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (academic edition); Grove Music Online; MLA International Bibliography; Oxford English Dictionary online; Paper of record; The Toronto Star - Pages of the Past.

Information from the LAC 2nd floor consultation desk is that there may be a decision on the embargo in January. In the meantime why does LAC continue to misinform users on the database resources available?

23 November 2009

New FamilySearch

Confused about New FamilySearch? The Ancestry Insider blog has a useful post which attempts to clear up misunderstandings regarding where the LDS Church is going with its genealogy resources. It`s especially helpful for those of us who patronize local Family History Centres and the various manifestations of the online presence.

Read the posting at http://ancestryinsider.blogspot.com/2009/11/digitized-records-not-just-for-mormons.html

OGS to digitize Tweedsmuir histories

Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario and the Ontario Genealogical Society have reached an agreement to digitize and place online over three year the rural histories known as the Tweedsmuir Histories.

Of 1 500 WI Branches, 989 are known to have created a local history of their area, comprising an estimated half million pages of local Ontario history. The books, dating from the mid-20th century, include a history of the local settlers in the area, the agricultural practices and industries that formed the basis of the local economy, the social institutions such as churches, schools and community centres, and local personalities. For many tiny communities, the Tweedsmuir History is the only history created.

Read the full announcement at www.ogs.on.ca/home/news.php

LAC Services Advisory Board

The Library and Archives Canada Services Advisory Board meets in Gatineau on Friday, 27 November. None of the material for the meeting has (yet) been posted on the LAC website.

Substantive items on the agenda are:

Presentation on Partnerships and Consultations - Sean Berrigan, Senior Advisor to the Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Presentation on Modernization - Doug Rimmer, ADM, Documentary Heritage Sector http://www.collectionscanada.ca/modernization/index-e.html

Presentation on Service Improvements - Robert Grandmaître, A/Director Client Services Division, Alison Bullock, A/DG, Services Branch, Marc Houle, Chief, Digitization and Public Access, Web Services.

A note on service improvements highlights includes the following:

Client Registration and Orientation:

Previously, clients could only pre-register online from home, now as they arrive on the main floor at 395 Wellington, they can register or renew their user card online at one of the two self-serve workstations.

Since July, information kiosks for clients are functional on the 2nd and 3rd floors at 395 Wellington. Announcements regarding services and general information on various activities are displayed and can be amended within a few minutes.

Access to Documents:

New User Agreement: In consultation with SAB Committee members, LAC successfully implemented the new agreement in September. It simplifies user registration by combining all information regarding the user card, the use of research facilities, handling and copying of documents.

In response to clients' feedback, LAC also took the opportunity to review its procedures, e.g. the use, with permission, of digital cameras during evening and weekend hours.

Acknowledgement of receipt for all online forms. Implementation of the acknowledgement of receipt for all inquiry forms was completed in September.

New retrieval forms:

Online Request
Following clients comments, an online form was created to allow users to order the material online prior to their visit. Clear instructions with relevant examples are given to facilitate the ordering.

Onsite Request
Information was added on the onsite form to allow staff to communicate with users in a timely manner when there is an issue with their request. Clear instructions with relevant examples on how to order archival material are included on the back of the form.

Client Support Agent
Pilot project was launched in June with two staff members, who were trained to quickly resolve issues with orders of documents for the 3rd floor consultation room.

Creation of specialized teams
Staff responsible for consultation of documents were assigned to specific service points; it insures better follow-up of requests and makes staff accountable for the work done at these service points including maintenance of equipment.

Database Updates and Web Launches:
Updates to database
Canadian Naturalization database (from 20,000 to 200,000 names)
Home Children (corrections to entries)
Canadian Expeditionary Force -CEF- (corrections to entries)
Killed in action -KIA- (corrections to entries)
Board of Guardians (addition of 2,000 digital images)
Passenger Lists (addition of 104,000 digital images)
Citizenship Montreal Circuit Court (addition of 40,000 digital images)
Ancestors Search. Migration to a new technological platform to allow the increase of the volume of data (Increase from 2 millions to now 12 millions new records) and improve the response time

Launch of virtual exhibits
Virtual School House website (August)
Canada: A literary tour virtual exhibit (September)
French-Canadian Newspapers: An Essential Historical Source (1808-1919) virtual exhibit (September)
Thematic Guide to Sources Relating to Grosse Île (October)

Work in Progress:
Thematic guides on how to search maps and Orders in Council
Plan to gradually replace some computers in public rooms
Facilitate research discovery, Fed Search results on item level record will be linked to a digitized image
Release of indexes and digital images for the 1861, 1871 and 1916 Census
Addition of three new pages related to Finnish, Ukrainian and German ethno-cultural groups on the Canadian Genealogy Centre Web pages, will supplement the existing 8 pages already online (Aboriginal Peoples, Acadians, Blacks, Chinese, Irish, Jewish, Métis and Polish

If you have any comments that might be helpful input to the Board discussion please reply by comment. If you don't want your comments posted on the blog please indicate.

22 November 2009

ACOM (Ancestry.com) makes a move

For most of its second full week on the NASDAQ shares of Ancestry.com traded in a narrow price range, then made a small move to the downside on Friday as selling pressure emerged.

The high price for the week was $13.59 on Monday, the low $13.05 on Friday.

Most trading during the week was at close to $13.50. On Friday it dropped below that narrow range shortly after the market opened to close at $13.41, having traded as low as $13.05, on increased volume of 290,400.

Company insiders, Victor E Parker Jr., Spectrum Equity Investors and Benjamin C. Spero all reported selling the stock. There were no insider purchases.

TNA podcast: The Metropolitan Police

This talk, less than 30 minutes, by Chris Heather starts by providing an informative overview of how crime was dealt with before the formation of the Metropolitan Police in 1829. It goes into considerable detail on the extensive holdings on the Metropolitan Police at The National Archives of interest for genealogy, including pointing out where the records may be missing, and where especially complete.

Listen at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/metropolitan-police-records.htm

21 November 2009

Progress on the new Ottawa City Archives

Thanks to good weather progress continues on preparing the ground at the Tallwoods and Woodroffe site of the new Ottawa City Archives building, which will also accommodate an Ottawa Public Library service facility. The photo, taken on November 18, shows the ground now completely cleared and work ongoing to prepare the foundation. The building has no basement.

Genealogical Societies go video

The (US) National Genealogical Society has announced the release of Paths to Your Past, a twelve-minute video documentary available online (www.ngsgenealogy.org) and on DVD, in which noted US genealogists and family researchers tell why they are passionate about researching their family history.

Paths to Your Past is produced by award-winning cinematographer Allen Moore. View it online at www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/paths_to_your_past

I was also delighted to see the (UK) Society of Genealogists apply YouTube, to make itself better known. They recently put on line four short videos:

FREE Access to Major Online Databases at the Society of Genealogists

FREE Help and Advice with your Family History from the Society of Genealogists

Family History Skills Courses at the Society of Genealogists

Michael Gandy, Editor of The Genealogist talks to Else Churchill

They'll never make it to the most viewed YouTube list, and suffer by comparison to the professional NGS video, yet still show encouraging signs of an organization in transition.

20 November 2009

Sydney Morning Herald from 1831 digitized, online and free

Australia's National Library continues to lead the way in historic newspaper digitization.

"The digitisation of The Sydney Morning Herald was made possible by a $1 million contribution from the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation. Eventually, all out-of-copyright editions of the Herald will be available, from its inception in 1831 to 1954. It is now just over a year since Australian Newspapers was released to the public and there are 8.5 million articles available from 33 newspaper titles. A community of volunteer ‘text correctors’ has now corrected 7 million lines of the electronically translated text in 318 000 articles, enabling more accurate search results."

Access the Collection (via Trove) at http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/1521454

via Resource Shelf at www.resourceshelf.com/2009/11/19/australia-historic-newspaper-digitisation-early-editions-of-sydney-morning-herald-now-available-online-what-is-trove/

Has LAC explored obtaining funding for newspaper digitization through private charitable foundations?

UK Ordnance Survey data to be free online

The British Government has announced that Ordnance Survey map data will be freely available online to everybody from 2010, likely starting in April.

It's anticipated developers will use the data to create mash-ups - a web page that combines sets of data to link up results.

The initiative is designed to allow people to interpret current public statistics about crime, health and education by postcode, local authority or electoral boundary. However, it could also prove helpful to those looking to get a mapped representation of historical data.

via http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8366190.stm

19 November 2009

Remembering the Confederacy

The fourth in the 2009 Shannon Lectures series, Gravestones and Cemeteries, is:

Caroline E. Janney ,
Purdue University

"Remembering the Confederacy: Ladies Memorial Association and the politics of memory in the American South

1:00-2:30 pm
20 November 2009
Humanities Theatre, 303 Paterson Hall, Carleton University

More information at www.carleton.ca/history/events/shannon.html

Home children

M. Diane Rogers has a useful posting Canada's Home Children - Still Waiting for Recognition on her CanadaGenealogy, or, 'Jane's Your Aunt blog. It includes an extensive list of resources, some of which will counter the myth that all home children were mistreated in Canada. Naturally the cases of abuse got the publicity, and certainly these children where not dealt a favourable hand when the cards for their life were dealt out.

Read it at http://canadagenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/11/canadas-home-children-still-waiting-for.html

With the first Canadian contingent (1915)

The Internet Archive just posted an ebook about the early WW1 experiences of the first group of Canadians, a major part being recent British immigrants to Canada. There are lots of photos. Read it at www.archive.org/details/cu31924062948165

18 November 2009

FREE RootsMagic Essentials

Legacy offers a free version, Personal Ancestral File has long been offered for free, although its no longer updated. Now RootsMagic is offering a starter version, RootsMagic Essentials, for free at http://www.rootsmagic.com.

According to the company release "Users of other genealogy software products will find it easy to experiment with RootsMagic Essentials using their own data. RootsMagic Essentials can directly import data from PAF, Family Tree Maker (through 2006), Family Origins, and Legacy Family Tree. It can also read and write data using the popular GEDCOM format."

More information at the company blog, http://blog.rootsmagic.com/?p=578, download from www.rootsmagic.com/Try/RootsMagic/

Ordnance Survey Ireland

The Ordnance Survey Ireland website has current and historic maps. Current maps have considerable detail for the Republic, less for Northern Ireland. Historic maps are quite detailed for both. A nice feature is that the modern and historic maps are nicely aligned when you switch between them.

Find it at: http://ims0.osiemaps.ie/website/publicviewer/main.aspx#V1,600000,750000,0

Is it junk?

It preoccupies museums, archives, records managers and ordinary folks looking to live within their living space. What to keep, what to purge?

What may be junk in one context can be valuable in another. Some archivists would want to dispose of records, like passenger lists, keeping only a few samples. As genealogists we value the list that records our ancestor's voyage, and get worried when we learn of records being disposed of without the genealogical community having had its say.

Time magazine has a story, one of those we all like to read, of just such an issue and a problem turned into opportunity. University College London asked the public, and held events, including:

‘Fight at the Museum: Rescue My Object!’ had experts battle to convince an audience to save their favourite object housed in different collections at UCL.

‘Treasured? Hunt’ invited people to seek out intriguing objects and specimens in store and decide for themselves just how treasured objects should be

Read the article at http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1936768,00.html?iid=tsmodule?artId=1936768?contType=article?chn=world

17 November 2009

OGS Ottawa Branch November meeting

November 17, 2009
7:30 PM

Speaker: Dr. Janet Christie-Seely

Topic: Understanding Family Dynamics using Family Trees
Location: Library Archives Canada, Auditorium, 395 Wellington, Ottawa

Dr. Christie-Seely is a family physician, University of Ottawa professor and founder of the Satir Learning Centre of Ottawa. (www.satirottawa.ca)

TV movie on Sir Sam Steele in development

Canada’s military and policing heritage are to be profiled in a television movie screenplay in development based on the life and adventures of Sir Samuel Benfield Steele. Read the Alberta government press release at http://alberta.ca/acn/200911/27307EA00E96E-FEF1-C270-60F8A8234FF8451E.html

NB and NS archives database additions

Over the last few months:

New Brunswick added 6,178 birth records for 1914, 3,487 late birth records for 1914, and 4,329 marriage records for 1959. Search from: http://archives.gnb.ca/APPS/GovRecs/VISSE/?culture=en-CA

Nova Scotia added an additional 27,987 'new' historical vital statistics in September, births (1908), marriages (1933) and deaths (1958), plus 'delayed' registrations for individuals born in 1908 or earlier. Search from the updated website at: www.novascotiagenealogy.com/

16 November 2009

23andMe offer genealogy focus

DNA testing service 23andMe is changing the product line. When the company started their focus was genetics and health. Gradually they've discovered a good market in the family history community. So as of 19 November they're splitting their offering. It involves a price increase, unusual when others are lowering prices! There's an opportunity to get in on the old product, and price, prior to Thursday the 19th.

Read the complete story at http://spittoon.23andme.com/2009/11/13/get-just-the-information-you-want-23andme-to-offer-separate-health-and-ancestry-editions/#more-5333

Families -- November 2009

I've been looking over the latest issue of the Ontario Genealogical Society magazine Families, volume 48 number 4.

By far the largest and best article, 11 pages, is Beyond the Begats: developing biographies from paper and digital sources, the text of the J Richard Houston Memorial Lecture given earlier this year at the OGS annual conference by Kory Meyerink, a well-known Utah genealogist.

Having developed his theme that genealogies should be developed into family histories (biography) he lists sources for more detailed and interesting family history. These include local histories, ethnic religious and academic histories, personal/family records, probate files, land records, newspapers, demographic studies, military files, and court and civil records. He then discusses the use of traditional sources; census records, church registers, civil registration, and passenger lists; and mining additional sources including online databases, bibliographies, library catalogs, archive inventories, audiovisual materials, artifacts, and distant relatives.

A minor distraction in the flow of the article are few section headings that fall at the bottom of a column.

Another interesting article It Is Written by Michael E. Fitton suggests looking beyond the content of any document to the physical material, parchment, paper, ink, seals, and handwriting.

15 November 2009

Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2010

The Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2010 will take place from Friday, May 14 through Sunday, May 16, 2010, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Confirmed (corrected) speakers are: John Philip Colletta, Karolyn Smardz Frost (Banquet), Thomas W Jones (Houston Memorial Lecture), Dave Obee, Maureen A. Taylor.

Take advantage of the early-bird discount hotel rate until January 8, 2010.

More information at http://torontofamilyhistory.org/2010/

14 November 2009

ACOM (Ancestry.com) trading stabilizes

In its first full week of trading on the NASDAQ shares of Ancestry.com moved in a narrowing price range on declining volume.

On Friday the stock closed at $13.52, two cents above the previous close having traded in the range ($13.60 - $13.44). Volume was 83,825.

The high price for the week was $14.18 on Monday, the low $13.40 on both Monday and Tuesday.

Volume fell from
954,200 on Monday, to 293,100 on Tuesday, 66,000 on Wednesday (Remembrance/Memorial Day), 92,900 on Thursday, and 83,825 on Friday.

The stock is trading at a P/E ratio of
48.48. This compares to 78.40 for Amazon and 36.90 for Google.

13 November 2009

Modernization @LAC

LAC have placed on their web site a major announcement about modernization, see www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/modernization/index-e.html

"Library and Archives Canada is mandated to preserve and make available the documentary heritage of Canada, and to serve as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada. However, the overwhelming growth in the production of digital material, which has created an overabundance of information in a variety of formats, as well as changing user behaviors and expectations about information, have created considerable challenges for all documentary memory institutions. There is a growing awareness that there is too much content for one institution to address alone, and that collaboration among memory institutions is essential.

In order to respond to these challenges, as well as the reality of the hybrid digital/analog landscape, LAC is developing a new framework based on three pillars of documentary heritage: acquisition, preservation and resource discovery. The framework will be based on four guiding principles designed to assess the value of acquisitions: Significance, Sufficiency and Sustainability and Society. Consultations on the framework and other new approaches are currently underway, setting the stage for ongoing collaboration among actors who share similar goals."

LAC's consultation plans are unclear. "LAC is presently organizing a series of consultation sessions with key stakeholders and other interested parties." "More information on the consultations process is forthcoming."

Given the large number of users who only obtain LAC services through their web site, and its commitment to "open discussions and transparency", LAC has an obligation to ensure these clients have as equitable an opportunity to be consulted, and take part in interactive discussion, as do those of us fortunate enough to visit the building at 395 Wellington.

Two of four supporting documents for the consultation are currently on the web site, Documentary Heritage Management Framework, and Acquisition. It would be desirable if these could be made available in a printer-friendly format.

Historical Canada Gazette searchable online

One of the strange attributes of Library and Archives Canada is its reluctance to publicize its achievements.

Dig down into the section of the LAC website called "A Nation's Chronicle:The Canada Gazette" at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/canada-gazette/index-e.html and you'll read that "as of August 2009, the database now contains over 80% of all issues of the Canada Gazette."

What's available? These components:

  • 1841-1869 (Province of Canada)
  • 1867-1946 (Dominion of Canada)
  • Part I (1947-1997)
  • Part II (1947-1997)
  • Part III (1974-1997)
LAC claim that the accuracy rate of keyword searching on this database is about 90% which, considering the quality of some of the page images I viewed, is remarkable.

From the navigation bar in the left hand column at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/canada-gazette/index-e.html you can do a keyword search, advanced keyword search, search the Consolidated Regulations of Canada, find an specific issue, get help on search, and make a comment.

A test search on the Dominion of Canada (1867-1946) database found 95 items with keyword Northwood. You can view each item as either a gif image, which comes up quickly, or a pdf which takes a bit more time.

The keyword isn't automatically highlighted in either format, but you can search the pdf for the keyword (or any other word). One hit on the keyword is highlighted on the pdf at a time; you need to move forward to the next hit if any. It's the same procedure as implemented on the French-Canadian newspaper database, There's room for improvement.

What can you find? The Northwood search gave 95 hits on both English and French language pages. Several were for a location named Northwood, others for people by that name forming a joint stock company and giving notice about land, and many reporting appointments, promotions and retirements from the military. There was little military coverage during WW1, except an award of a Military Cross was included; more during WW2. Several times a notice was for a promotion of someone vice Northwood.

I took a look at the issue for my date of birth. It contains notices mentioning names for bankruptcy, military appointments, promotions and retirements, application to Parliament for divorce, company notices, notice of candidacy for election, military decorations, granting of letters patent. You can view, and even download or print complete issues.

Searches can be completed with "and" "or" and wildcard "*". The search help page is helpful if you need assistance.

BIFHSGO November meeting

14 November 2009 10:00 a.m., at Library & Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa

Ships, Masters and Mates
presented by Barbara Tose

In 1982, Barbara read the obituary of her great-great grandfather, William Tose, Master Mariner, ship owner and Harbour Master at Whitby, England. The seafaring side of the family has held a special attraction for her ever since. Over the years she has made attempts to navigate the murky depths of the records created by the shipping trade, particularly those pertaining to Masters, Mates and crew. In 2007, Barbara had the opportunity to travel to St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she spent a glorious week searching the British Crew Agreement records held in the Maritime History Archives at Memorial University. Her talk will discuss the various records she has searched to date and will focus on the type of information Crew Agreements can provide. Using her grandfather as an example, she will show how a seaman’s career can be reconstructed from these records.

Also, pre-BIFHSGO: 9:00 - 9:30 a.m.
Publishing Your Pictures with Microsoft's Photostory by Lesley Anderson

11 November 2009

UK 1939 National Registration information release

Was a relative in England or Wales on the night of Friday 29th September 1939? Are they now deceased? Do you have their address but would like other information in their National Registration return: name, sex, date of birth, marital condition, occupation, membership in the naval, military or air force reserves, or auxiliary forces, or civil defence services or reserves?

Guy Etchells, whose action through the Information Commissioner led to the release of most of the 1911 census for England and Wales, has reset his sights on information from the 1939 National Registration, information he has also been refused. Reportedly the Information Commissioner has ruled "partially in his favour" regarding information on persons now deceased.

The registration was conducted by 65,000 enumerators who distributed the schedules a few days prior to the 29th. They returned to collect the schedules, write out and issue identify cards for everyone registered. The Enumerator returned a transcript of the returns and sent it to the Registrar General. The registration was the basis for issuing food ration cards, so there was considerable motivation to register.

At the time of registration there had been a large evacuation from London and other threatened areas. If your ancestor was an evacuee you may not know where they were living, so access could be difficult.

Further information on the 1939 National Registration is at www.1911census.org.uk/1939.htm.

There is no information as to whether or when the Information Commissioner decision will be acted on. In the case of the 1911 census decision a costly process was soon put in place, but online access had to wait while digitization proceeded. With the restriction to deceased persons for the National Registration it isn't evident how a mass digitization with online availability could be accommodated.

Chris Paton comments that release of similar information for Scotland was being considered, but there has been no recent news. See http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/2009/11/1939-nhs-census-to-be-made-available-in.html.

Canada conducted a National Registration in 1940 with rather more information gathered. Details are at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022-911.007-e.html

Memorialization and Indigenous Identity

The 2009 Shannon Lectures, Gravestones and Cemeteries, will take place October through December 2009.

The third in the series is on November 13
Richard D. Garvin , University of British Columbia (Okanagan)
"Memorialization and Indigenous Identity: Colonial encounters on the Northwest Coast"

1:00-2:30 pm
Humanities Theatre, 303 Paterson Hall, Carleton University

More information at www.carleton.ca/history/events/shannon.html

New Remembrance Days video magazine

Local Ottawa-area filmmaker, James Blondeau, is starting a project to put online a monthly Remembrance Days video magazine.

The Ottawa Citizen article Veterans' tales caught on film tells of the project which draws upon about 1,000 interviews recorded over the past 25 years. Featured in the first edition is the D-Day landing experience as recounted by two members of Ottawa's Cameron Highlanders. See www.dunrobincastle.com

10 November 2009

The Long, Long Trail

The Long, Long Trail is all about the British Army in the First World War:
aimed at the family and military researcher, it is a tribute to the men and women who fought and won - and to the million who died trying.


Archives and You!

The Canadian Council of Archives is organizing the Archives and You!, conference to be held at the Holiday Inn Plaza de la Chaudière in Gatineau, Québec.

The conference kicks-off with a Reception at the Canadian Museum of Civilization on Thursday evening November 26 from 5 to 7 pm.

Friday, November 27 offers a plenary session with Daniel J. Caron, Librarian and Archivist of Canada as keynote speaker, concurrent workshops, "ask the expert" roundtable discussions, exhibits, networking breakfast and lunch.

Participants are invited to take part in site visits to local archives on Saturday, November 28, 2009.

Find full details on the conference at www.archivesconference.ca/en_index.html

Unfortunately November 27 is also the day scheduled for the LAC Services Advisory Board., so although I'll be in Gatineau I can't be at two meetings at the same time.

Hampshire cemeteries online

Are you looking for burials in Hampshire? Two local councils have online databases.

Eastleigh Bourgh Council offers a database of burials between 1900 and 2008 at Bishopstoke, Chandlers Ford and Eastleigh cemeteries at www.eastleigh.gov.uk/ebc-1373. Information returned is under the headings: Cemetery, Grave, Surname, Name, Burial Date, Address, Age. See also www.eastleigh.gov.uk/ebc-1417 for cemetery information.

Fareham Borough Council indexes burials at Fareham, Locks Heath, Portchester, Sarisbury, Stubbington and Titchfield cemeteries from 1861 at www.fareham.gov.uk/council/departments/leisure/parks/cemrecsearch.asp. Information returned is: Forenames,Surname, Cemetery, Date of Burial, Grave Number, Portion of Cemetery. A location map is at www.fareham.gov.uk/council/departments/leisure/parks/cemeterymap.asp.

ACOM (Ancestry.com) falls below initial offerring price

On Monday ACOM shares closed at $13.42, down $0.53 on the day and below the initial offer price of $13.50. It traded as low as $13.40 and has traded as high as $16.32. The price range initially announced was $12.50 to $14.50, so it remains well within that range.

Volume on Monday was 954,335, representing 12.9% of the shares outstanding.

09 November 2009

Acting up/who's who at LAC

Marian Press, a colleague on the Library and Archives Canada Services Advisory Board, pointed out a couple of movements of people to different management positions. Quite a few changes, several on an acting basis, have occurred since the appointment of Daniel J Caron as Librarian and Archivist.

At the Assistant Deputy Minister level:

Doug Rimmer moved from ADM Programs and Services to ADM Documentary Heritage Collection Sector
Marie-Josée Martel is Acting ADM Programs and Services Sector
Zahra Pourjafar-Ziaei is Acting ADM Corporate Management Sector

Focusing on the two large components within the Programs and Services Sector:

Donna Sianchuk is Director General, with responsibility for:
Program Planning
Hana Hrusk, Director
Public Programs and Exhibitions
Mijin Kim, Director
Web Services
Diane L Beattie, Director

Alison Bullock is A/Director General, with responsibility for:
Access to Information, Privacy and Personel Records
Bill Wood, A/Director
Client Services
Robert Grandmaître, A/Director
Engagement and Coordination
Roanne Mokhtar, A/Manager
Resource Sharing and Rights Management

If you use LAC on-site you will be dealing with Client Services staff in:

The Canadian Genealogy Centre
Sylvie Tremblay, Chief
Consultation Services
Sylvie Robitaille, Chief
Reference Services
Marie-Josée Tolszczuk, Head

If you need to contact these people, perhaps to send compliments for a job well done, find contact information through Government Electronic Directory Services at http://sage-geds.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/cgi-bin/direct500/eng/TE?FN=index.htm

08 November 2009

LAC departmental performance in perspective

Every year around this time a report is issued for each Canadian federal government department providing information about departmental performance and spending compared to the plans and expected results laid out in their annual departmental Reports on Plans and Priorities.

The report for Library and Archives Canada, just released, is at www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/dpr-rmr/2008-2009/index-eng.asp?acr=1493.

The report has some impressive figures. LAC is custodian of 22 million books, periodicals, newspapers, microfilms, literary texts and government publications; 167,000 metres of government and private textual records; 3 million architectural drawings, maps and plans; 25 million photographs, etc.

Focusing on the genealogy items from the report:

LAC Web traffic for genealogy purposes rose to approximately 144 million page views from 132 million in 2007–08.

Collection activity addressed demonstrated areas of interest among Canadians (e.g., expansion of online records for genealogy use).

Expanded genealogy online resources and databases generated significantly more LAC website traffic.

Re "a Canadian Digital Information Strategy" - Partnership with The Generations Network for digitization and access to federal records of interest to genealogy.

Re AMICAN - A full set of genealogical resources added to the LAC Web search functions available to Canadians.

LAC Genealogy Strategy
With support of partners, databases of genealogical importance (e.g., censuses, passenger lists, immigrants from China) were added. Page views on the LAC website rose by 62% over 2007–08, driven by the demand for genealogy materials.
Strong demand for in-person services and support to people doing family research.
Canadians are benefitting from LAC’s commitment to respond to client and citizen interest, particularly in genealogy and for education purposes, and to provide timely responses to Access to Information and Privacy requests.

There was a 26.6 percent growth of on-site visitors to the Canadian Genealogy Centre (CGC) and an increase of 75 percent in page views of our genealogy website during 2007–2008.


144 million of the 176 million total LAC page views for 2008-09, the vast majority, are for genealogical purposes. That's nearly 82%. Presumably a lot of these are displays of images of original records, censuses, passenger lists, attestation papers, etc. A substantial 7.7 million of the page views were to the Canadian Genealogy Centre website, but evidently most of the genealogical use of LAC online resources comes directly from an external partner or other referrer.

There seems to be some mix-up in the numbers. A bar graph on page 3 of the report shows the page views on the LAC website increasing from 112 million in 2007-08 to 176 million in 2008-09. That's a 57% increase, not 62% as stated.

Also, it's far from evident how LAC Web traffic for genealogy purposes could have been 132 million in 2007–08 when the total LAC page views that year were 112 million!

Although 100 million page views plus is impressive, according to alexa.com the LAC website at collectionscanada.gc.ca ranks 13th within the gc.ca domain accounting for 1.6% of the total traffic. The first three are cic.gc.ca, jobbank.gc.ca and weatheroffice.gc.ca.

According to alexa.com the whole gc.ca domain gets fewer page views than ancestry.com.

07 November 2009

Ancestry refine refine

Ancestry.com have announced a change in the operation of their new search.

"After listening, researching and testing with members, we decided to make the hot key experience in new search the default method for refining searches.

This change will happen on Monday, November 9th, sometime during the day.

The information you enter into your original search will appear at the top left of the search results page. Clicking “Edit search” will bring up your search query allowing you to edit your search criteria."

The the full story at http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2009/11/07/refine-your-searches-in-fewer-steps-in-new-search/

I hope this doesn't mean the r for refine keystroke option goes away.

FreeBMD November update

The FreeBMD Database was last updated on Fri 6 Nov 2009 and currently contains 175,948,139 distinct records (225,358,831 total records).

Major additions for this update are 1935-41 for births, 1928 and 1932-49 for marriages, 1933 and 1936-38 for deaths.

Life by the South London river-side (1911)

Today, November 7, is the anniversary of the death of Alexander Paterson (1884-1947). Prominent in social policy and prison reform in Britain, he served during WW1 and was twice recommended for a Victoria Cross. There is more on his life and work at www.infed.org/thinkers/paterson.htm

His influential, and readable, book Across the bridges : or, Life by the South London river-side (1911) will be of interest to anyone wanting to better understand life in the area. It has recently become available through the Internet Archive at www.archive.org/details/cu31924031226008

06 November 2009

Digitization of GRO's births, marriages and deaths records

There's news about the on again, off again, story of digitization of vital records for England and Wales. According to a release from the Passport and Identity Service, the agency now responsible, the project is again moving forward.

Apparently through the DOVE project, now bereft of life ..., over 130 million records have been digitised, namely the birth records from 1837 to 1934 and the death records from 1837 to 1957; this is approximately half of the total number of GRO records of birth, marriage and death."

Interesting that no progress was made on marriages.

You can read the official version at www.ips.gov.uk/cps/rde/xchg/ips_live/hs.xsl/1090.htm, and Chris Paton's cogent comments at http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/2009/11/dove-shot-in-mid-flight-welcome-in-dip.html

Recent family history history

If you've been interested in genealogy and family history for ten or more years you have experienced plenty of changes. I had a chance to go through a sample of back issues, mostly January issues, of the UK Family Tree (FT) magazine to see how changes have been reflected in its content, focusing on the Internet. It's likely as I only looked at one issue oer year, and only scanned that, I may have missed some detail.

The word Internet first occurred in a FT article title in 1994, but the first issue available to me, for January 1995, contained no web or e-mail addresses. There was a computer section, mainly devoted to CD-ROMs.

In January 1996 e-mail started to make its appearance with one ad quoting a CompuServe address.

The following January FT included several e-mail addresses although most ads still didn't have them. The issue had a book review which contained the phrase world wide web, and there was one advertisement, for S&N Genealogy Supplies, that contained a web address.

By the January 1998 issue FT itself had an e-mail address. That issue also contained a list of the "best" World Wide Web sites. These included Genuki and Cyndi's list. None of the addresses work today.

By the following January (1999) FT itself had a website. As reflected in the magazine content, the Internet was largely used for email, as an electronic brochure and product catalog. Online shopping for items to be shipped was just starting to come into vogue.

FT's February 2000 edition mentioned digitization of popular records in an article reviewing UK government policy directions. There was also an article The Impact of the Internet on the Essex Society for Family History. Apparently that Society started its own website in May 1997. The following March the site had a total of 800 visitors. Later that year a survey found that one UK family history society had ventured into e-commerce. However, many of the magazine's ads still contained no e-mail or web address and data was primarily offered on CD-ROM.

The January 2001 issue has an article on establishing and developing Internet services. That was an area of active interest as the government embarked upon digitization and online access to the 1901 census of England and Wales.

A year later, January 2002, there was substantial Internet content within the computer section of the magazine. It contained a notice that in future in the computer section the http:// prefix would not be included. This was also a period of setback as the much trumpeted 1901 census website crashed only a few hours after it was launched and didn't come back into service until much later in the year.

By January 2003 the computer section was dominated by Internet resources. Later that year there was an article on newspaper archives online.

The January 2004 issue had an ad for 1837online.com. FT in January 2005 included ads for 1837online, familyrelatives, BMDIndex, and documentsonline. The January 2006 issue added ancestry.co.uk and genesreunited.

January 2007 saw ads for thegenealogist, familyhistoryonline, and findmypast (a name change from 1837online). Most articles included web addresses, as did most of the ads.

January 2008's issue included an ad for the digitized Guardian and Observer newspaper archive.

05 November 2009

Argleton origins

According to a Daily Telegraph story, Argleton is a 'phantom town' in Lancashire that appears on Google Maps and online directories but doesn't actually exist.

Google locates it in the middle of a field near Ormskirk. Speculation is rampant on how it got there. Was it added as a trap for those purloining the intellectual property?

Argleton is an anagram of Not Elgar. Appropriate. It doesn't exist in "England's Green and Pleasant Land" ... unlike Jerusalem something Elgar didn't orchestrate.

Look at nearby Aughton. Is Angleton is a simple transcription error?

Shannon Lecture - Gravestones and Identity in the Ulster Diaspora

November 6, 2009 1:00 - 2:30
Shannon Lectures in History - Gravestones and Identity in the Ulster Diaspora
Room 303, Paterson Hall,
Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario

Lecturer: Harold Mytum, Director of the Centre for Manx Studies, University of Liverpool.

What concepts and practices do migrants take with them from their homeland? How do they adapt to new circumstances with their repertoire of knowledge, skills and past perceptions? How, over generations, does identity change? These questions are being asked by historical archaeologists, and gravestones can help provide answers. The Ulster Scots provide a fascinating example of a diaspora that includes movement first from Scotland to the north of Ireland, then to the areas such as Pennsylvania, thence to the Carolinas. A later wave of Ulster Scots migrants settled in New South Wales, Australia. Culture transfer, adaption and change, all linked with identity are presented through the case study of the Ulster Scots and their mortuary monuments.

More information at www.carleton.ca/history/events/shannon.html

Family Tree DNA holiday promotion

Family Tree DNA at www.familytreedna.com are offering special discount prices until the end of year:

• Y-DNA37 – promotional price $119 (reg. price $149)
• Y-DNA67 – promotional price $209 (reg. price $239)
• mtDNAPlus – promotional price $139 (reg. price $149)
• SuperDNA – promotional price $488 (reg. price $665)

Orders for the above tests need to be placed and paid for by December 31, 2009 to receive the sale price.

04 November 2009

Ancestry adds WW1 records

Approaching November 11 Ancestry has added to their WW1 collection.

Ireland’s Memorial Records, an 8 volume set compiled by The Committee of the Irish National War Memorial, originally published in 1923, provides information on over 49,000 Irish men and women who died in the Great War. The information complements that found in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database, adding the place of birth.

De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, 1914-1924, contains biographies of over 26,000 casualties of the Great War. Casualties include men (both officers and ranks) from the British Army, Navy, and Air Force. 7,000 of the biographies include photographs. The source is a CD-ROM published by UK Navy & Military Press Ltd. Although these are called biographies some of the entries provide only basic information as would be found in the CWGC database, but other are quite extended biographies including an appreciation by a friend or colleague. It is not full-text searchable. The source is also available at findmypast.com.

British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 contains the surviving service records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who served in WWI and did not re-enlist in the Army prior to World War II. It appears this update is the final release and the database now contains the entire surviving service records collection.

Genes Reunited sale on hold

Various media reports are that the UK Office of Fair Trading is concerned that the takeover of genesreunited by the holding company DC Thomson would result in too large a concentration of market share of genealogy databases in the UK. What's the evidence?

Choosing commercial genealogy sites from the Alexa.com rankings for all websites worldwide, with the UK and Canadian rankings shown in parenthesis (UK;Canada) shows:

ancestry.com ranked 1,179 (1,316; 684),

and for UK data sites

ancestry.co.uk ranked 10,900 (555; 15,672),
genesreunited.co.uk ranked 17,957 (908; 11,552),
findmypast.com ranked 43,984 (1,796; 21,308),
1911census.co.uk ranked 95,077 (6,558; 59,293)
scotlandspeople.gov.uk ranked 163,621 (8,607; 42,228),
thegenealogist.co.uk ranked 172,747 (11,443; 21,672),
familyrelatives.com ranked 935,071 (-;-),
origins.net ranked 1,684,261 (292,507; -)
deceasedonline.com ranked 2,843,948 (218,673; -)

Evidently a takeover that brings under a single control the 2nd through 5th most popular genealogy database sites in Britain is a bit much for the regulators to swallow without thinking about it.

03 November 2009

Recent Ancestry.com business information

Ancestry.com is moving rapidly toward listing its shares on the Nasdaq under symbol ACOM. Trading is expected to begin later this week with 7.4 million shares offered.

A statement in connection with the offering was filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. Read it at www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1469433/000095012309055860/d68252a4sv1za.htm

Here are some of the highlights related to recent company performance.

Ancestry.com is the world’s largest online resource for family history, with more than one million paying subscribers around the world as of September 30, 2009.

Revenues were $145.2 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2008, as compared to $164.8 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2009.

The number of subscribers on the Ancestry.com websites has increased from approximately 460,000 in January 2004 to more than one million as of September 30, 2009.

Average monthly revenue per subscriber was $16.09 in 2008.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2009, approximately 34% of subscribers to Ancestry.com websites, and approximately 25% of revenues from subscribers, were from locations outside the United States.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2009, approximately 20% of total revenues were received, and approximately 10% of total expenses were paid, in currencies other than the United States dollar.

On September 16, 2009, the company settled a claim with respect to the timeliness and accuracy of a content index the company created (likely the Drouin collection.) The settlement resulted in an expense of approximately $2.3 million in 2009.

News on probate records

Chris Paton of the Scottish Genealogy News and Events Blog at http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/ passed along information that was news to me about English and Welsh probate records coming online.

Prior to 1858 probate was handled by ecclesiastical courts in England and Wales. There were many of them. Smaller estates which require probate, many of them didn't, could be dealt with by a local court. Larger estates with property holdings overlapping lower court jurisdictions were handled at a more senior level. The most senior level was the PCC, the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, and just below that was the PCY Prerogative Court of York for northern England.

According to Chris " the monopoly that Documents Online has had on PCC wills at £3.50 a time is no longer the current situation - theGenealogist.co.uk is furiously uploading newly digitised images from the same records, with, to date, about 100 years of coverage online, but they will soon have the entire collection online also. As well as being superior digitised images (the TNA images were done several years ago and things have moved on since then), they are available as part of a subscription, and the site offers a free trial."

PCY records have still to be digitised. An online probate index for 222,000 grants of probate for the period May 1731 to January 1858 are now available for both the Prerogative and Exchequer Courts of York, 1731-1858. Go to Origins.net. Copies of the complete record can be ordered from the Borthwick Institute in York at www.york.ac.uk/inst/bihr/

Post 1858 probate was handled by civil courts and records are held by the Court Service. According to Chris earlier in the year they were busy digitising calendars and indexing records, and had gone as far back as the 1920s. Although the initial plan of the digitization was to make it easier to deal with customer orders for copies they were also looking at ways to try and make the material available online at some point in the future.

02 November 2009

Forward Australia

Here's another example of innovation in newspaper digitization. From Australia's National Library, not only are they making text searchable newspapers available freely online at http://newspapers.nla.gov.au, they've also implemented a system so that anyone can correct the text. You don't even have to register if you don't want to, just correctly complete a captcha to gain entry to the editor.

As shown in the illustration, you can align the original alongside the automated translation and make corrections in the highlighted line.

01 November 2009

DOVE to be revived - no lark

Chris Paton on his Scottish Genealogy News and Events blog posts that "this month's Family Tree Magazine (November issue) has an exclusive news story from Chris Pomeroy concerning the much maligned English and Welsh DOVE (Digitisation of Vital Events) project."

Read the posting at http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/2009/11/dove-to-be-revived.html

I share Chris Paton's puzzlement that the various GROs in the supposedly United Kingdom seem to exhibit a limited ability to learn from each other. However, the situation in Scotland isn't totally a model to follow. The monopoly on Scottish census images enforced by GROS for ScotlandsPeople, with the only access being on a costly pay per view basis, is something few would want to see copied south of Hadrian's Wall.

Ancestry updates Historical Postcards Collection

For the end of month Ancestry have added to their Historical Postcards Collection, c. 1893-1960.
Areas covered are European, Mexico, Canada, Germany & Austria, United Kingdom & Ireland, Italy, France and Sweden.

The UK collection includes London (480 cards), Birmingham (12), Liverpool (41), Edinburgh (68), Aberdeen (5), Dublin (4), Belfast (1), Cardiff (5). If your interest is a seaside resort or tourist destination you're more likely to find a card: Blackpool (25), Brighton (17), Stratford on Avon (12), Gt Yarmouth (8), Stonehenge (3).

The Canada collection includes Montreal (152), Niagara (150), Victoria (134), Toronto (117), Halifax (84), Banff (65), Vancouver (64), Ottawa (26), Winnipeg (25), Jasper (15).