31 December 2009

Top 10 genealogy news stories of 2009

Here, in alphabetical order, are the top ten genealogy news stories covered in Anglo-Celtic-Connections during 2009. Some reflect the new online resources already covered at http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2009/12/10-top-new-genealogy-resources-online.html

1911 census of England and Wales (and Ireland) released
estry goes public

Ancestry.com goes public

Autosomal DNA analysis for genealogy

LAC continues to fall well short in newspaper digitization

New Librarian and Archivist of Canada

OGS massive fee increase

Online volunteer indexing

Ontario Archives opens new building,

Ottawa City Archives construction begins
(Image taken 28 December showing construction cranes in place.)

Service retrenchment in UK

Deceased Online adds records

Deceased Online, at www.deceasedonline.com, announce upcoming and records added for the London Borough of Havering.

South Essex Crematorium, Ockenden Road, Corbets Tey, Upminster, RM14 2UY.

Approximately 60,000 burial and 175,000 cremation register records are expected to be made available over a period, with a mixture of register scans and computerised records. Maps showing the exact locations of graves and digital photographs of headstones are also expected to be added. Initially approximately 20,000 records have been placed online from Rainham and Upminster cemeteries. Around 13,700 records have been added for Hornchurch cemetery, leaving a balance of around 26,300 records to come for Romford.

Scope of the data - Hornchurch Cemetery

Burials numbered 1 to 12,897, dated 17 August 1932 to 31 August 1994, are available as Burial register scans in various formats at between 10 and 20 entries per scanned page.

Burials numbered 12,898 onwards, from 23 July 1994, are available only as fully computerised records, i.e. there are no associated register scans.

Scope of the data - Rainham Cemetery

Burials numbered 1 to 5,452, dated 4 December 1902 to 25 August 1994, are available as Burial register scans in various formats at between 5 and 20 entries per scanned page.

Burials numbered 5,453 onwards, from 17 October 1994, are available only as fully computerised records, i.e. there are no associated register scans.

Scope of the data - Upminster Cemetery

Burials numbered 1 to 9,572, dated 13 May 1902 to 3 August 1994, are available as Burial register scans in various formats at between 8 and 20 entries per scanned page.

Burials numbered 9,573 onwards, from 3 August 1994, are available only as fully computerised records, i.e. there are no associated register scans, with very few exceptions during a transitional period of around 3 months to 16 November 1994.

30 December 2009

Coming from Ancestry in 2010

A year end letter from Ancestry.com CEO Tim Sullivan offers "a sneak preview of the steady stream of history coming your way."

Significant Canadian collections in the works:
• Canadian city and area directories, 1800s-1900s
• Updated Ontario Vital Records - Births, Marriages and Deaths

Most popular international collections in the works:
• U.S. State and territory census records
• Scottish city directories, 1800s-1900s
• London electoral registers, 1900s
• England and Wales Census Summary Books, 1911

Genealogy Events in London

If you're planning a family history visit to London in 2010 consider taking in one of the many lectures given throughout the year.

The Society of Genealogists have just announced their lecture program for 2010, including one hour, half-day and day-long events, and visits. You can book and pay online. See the list at www.sog.org.uk/events/calendar.shtml

TNA at Kew don't give as much notice, just a month ahead, but their one-hour lectures are free. See the most recent list at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/visit/events.htm

At the end of February the exhibition site at Olympia hosts "Who Do You Think You Are, Live" which bills itself as The National History Show. Sunday the 28th, often a quieter day at the show, features three special lectures. More at www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.co.uk/

Don't forget the events put on locally. For example, the East of London Family History Society lists their events at www.eolfhs.org.uk/events

If your visit takes you outside London you might also want to check country FHS offerings, perhaps best done through GENUKI, either using GENEVA (an online calendar of GENealogical EVents and Activities) at http://geneva.weald.org.uk/, or by going directly to the local society linked through the GENUKI county page, www.genuki.org.uk/

29 December 2009

Wakefield Family History Sharing

Wakefield, in West Yorkshire, was known for its industries, including several coal mines, prior to their closure as uneconomic in the 1980s.

The Wakefield Family History Sharing website at www.wakefieldfhs.org.uk/ has a mixture of free resources and CDs of further local resources available for purchase, all worth exploring if you have family roots in the area.

Carol. the site owner, has been busy photographing, transcribing and investigating people named on local war memorials. There's a blog to keep updated on developments at http://wakefieldfhs.blogspot.com/

First lines by month

Here, a spin-off of a posting coming at year's end, are the opening lines of the first posting in Anglo-Celtic Connections for each month in 2009. I said to myself again last December I should be more strategic with the first posting of the month. It didn't happen ... again. So take this as a lucky dip into the items covered during the year. Only three are specifically British. Maybe its time to change the blog title. Suggestions?

John Dowsley Reid, no relation, was born in Prescott, Ontario, 150 years ago on 1 January 1859.

Most people in Ottawa are getting pretty fed up.

The following, via OGS and Linda Reid, is posted without comment.

I had a good conversation at Gene-O-Rama with Ed Zapletal, editor of Moorshead magazines

Many British people had relatives who served in India during the time of the fabled British Raj.

I managed to attend two sessions (at the OGS conference) on Sunday; Diseases & Yesterday's Remedies by Elizabeth and Colin Briggs covered ...

The July issue of Ancestors magazine has an article by Chris Pomery looking at British genealogy educational resources on the web.

The federal government has announced support for Athabasca University's "Connecting Canadians: Canada's Multicultural Newspapers" project.

Today, 1 September 2009, marks the centennial of a fire at the Ontario Legislature, then called Parliament.

October is Women's History Month in Canada, as proclaimed in 1992.

For the end of month Ancestry have added to their Historical Postcards Collection, c. 1893-1960.

With the completion of the census series from Findmypast.com there are now two options for the (1841 - 1901) digitized census records for England and Wales.

28 December 2009

Scotland's People addition

Scotland's People announces the release of the new year's statutory images containing records from the Statutory Register of Births for 1909, the Statutory Register of Marriages for 1934, and the Statutory Register of Deaths for 1959. www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

CBC and LAC join forces to broaden access to their archives - NOT

Alas! It would be nice to read this headline in a press release. Neither institution has taken the initiative.

The precedent is there in this www.bl.uk/news/2009/pressrelease20091211.html press release from 11 December from the BBC and British Library.

What are Canada's national institutions waiting for, a matchmaker?

Gene-o-Rama news

Gene-o-Rama, March 26 and 27, 2010, online registration is now available at http://ogsottawa.on.ca/?page_id=101

Remember the
early bird discount registration cutoff date, February 28, 2010

27 December 2009

The Ottawa Genealogist

The OGS Ottawa Branch newsletter, reformatted to 8-1/2" by 11", and renamed The Ottawa Genealogist, January - February issue, vol 43, no 1, arrived just before Christmas.

The content is a familiar, and welcome, mix. The larger format with a single column allows more white space for better legibility. There's a mention that the change is to facilitate the electronic version, available as an option to members.

A lead editorial reflects on how, in the 40 years since Ottawa Branch was founded, originally as the Ottawa Genealogical Society, things have changed. In particular it laments that so few members volunteer, and warns of the consequence of reduced activity and membership benefit if the situation continues.

It continues "You are all members of the Society and the Branch. You pay membership dues, not a subscription to a commercial newsletter. As such, you have a responsibilities to the rest of the Branch and Society. One of those responsibilities is to contribute something."

Every organization I know of is looking for volunteers, but it wouldn't be practicable to volunteer for every one that I support and/or belong to. So I make a choice, volunteering with a few, some of which have goals complementary of those of Ottawa Branch, not with others, although I enjoy benefits of membership in all.

Should we be required to leave an organization in which we don't meet our "responsibilities" by choosing not to volunteer? Is that what the organization management would really want?

Personally I see and experience volunteering as a benefit of membership. You get a lot back for your contribution, an expanded social network, being part of a team, exercising existing but perhaps atrophying skills and learning new ones. As a volunteer you can have a bit more influence in the direction the organization takes.

Volunteering should be win-win where both the organization and the member benefit, not just a responsibility.

ACOM (Ancestry.com) climbs

While the issue price for ACOM in early November was $13.50 a range of a dollar either side was initially considered as fair value.

ACOM closed off the shortened trading week by breaking above that range, closing at $14.61 on Thursday having traded as high at $$14.69. Trading was light ahead of the holiday.

26 December 2009

No clear value of family history for primary health care

One of the reasons given for following family history is its use in family medicine. General practitioners frequently question their patients about family history of disease.

Now a Canadian-British systematic literature review casts doubt on the utility of such questioning. The study is Systematic Review: Family History in Risk Assessment for Common Diseases, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, 2009 151;12:878-885. www.acponline.org/annalspdaservices/current/200912150-00177-abstract.shtml

Some of the reported findings are:

Two uncontrolled studies provided insufficient evidence to assess whether querying about family history improves any outcomes.

One randomized, controlled trial and 2 uncontrolled studies provided weak evidence that some patients experienced a reversible, short-term increase in anxiety associated with family history taking.

Twenty-three studies suggested that absence of disease in relatives was more accurately reported than presence of disease and that reporting accuracy was higher for information related to first-degree relatives than more distant relatives.

The study concludes that insufficient evidence exists to evaluate how to collect family history information accurately in the primary care setting and the effects of taking family history on patient outcomes. Patients seem to correctly report the absence of disease in relatives more often than the presence of disease.


It should hardly be surprising that questions on ancestor's health, further back than the present and the immediately previous generation, yield anything of clear value for medicine. Most people know little of their family history, let alone details of previous generation's health.

If this evidence is so valuable why wouldn't the medical profession ask clients to supply documentary evidence showing ancestors' medical history?

25 December 2009

TNA podcast: From cotton spinning to coffins: specifications for patents of invention

If there was an inventor in your family background this lecture by Vanessa Carr, recorded last August, will give you insight into the scope and content of the collection of patents and their specifications held in the TNA collection. It does not appear there is a single simple name index permitting ready exploration by family historians.


24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

To everyone who helped with the blog this year, either by posting comments or providing information, including;

Alana, Alison, Alison, Amanda, Anne, Anonymous, Apple, Arlene, Arnold, Becky, Betty, Bill, Bob, Brenda, Bruce, Bryan, Carol, Cel, Charles, Chris, Christine, Claudia, Cliff, Colin, Dick, Doc, Don, Don, Dorothy, Doug, Dyanna, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Eric, Fraser, Georgia, Gerry, Glenn, Gordon, Hana, Heather, Helen, Hugh, Hummer, Ian, Jane, Janet, Jeri, Jim, John, Kathleen, Kathryn, Kathy, Lesley, kewbird, Leslie, Linda, Louise, Malcolm, Marian, Mary Anne, M. Diane, Megan, Mick, Mike, Miriam, Norma, Persephone, Pat, Paul, Pierce, Randy, Richard, Rick, Robert, Sandra, Stephanie, Steve, Sylvie, Tina, Thomas, William.


To you, the blog's readers.

Very last minute genealogy gifts

Membership in the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, $35, www.bifhsgo.ca/membership.htm

Membership in the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, $15 plus required membership in the OGS at $60, total $75, www.ogs.on.ca/membership/join.php

Registration for the OGS Ottawa Branch annual conference, Gene-o-rama, 26-27 March 2010. $40 for non-members. There's an attractive banquet event this year, Glenn Wright speaking on "Sex, Lies and Archives: Behind Closed Doors at the Public Archives of Canada, 1900-1950", at $42.50 additional. http://ogsottawa.on.ca/?page_id=101

Registration for the Ontario Genealogical Society's Conference 2010 to be held in Toronto May 14-16. Full weekend package registration is $130 for non-members. Banquet extra. Early bird hotel rates end on January 8th. See http://torontofamilyhistory.org/2010/how-do-i-register

Yes Virginia, there is a Scrooge

According to Ancestry there are 74 historical records for Scrooge:

Mary Scrooge married John Pit on 25 Sept 1694 at Clifton Reynes, Buckinghamshire, England;

Thomas and Joseph Scrooge occupied land in Dundas, Ontario in 1861;

Joseph Scrooge, age 33, and his wife Harriet, age 21, lived in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, in 1910;

Jane Scrooge, age 62, was living in Taylor County, Iowa in 1915, the wife of James Scroog;

Corrine Scrooge, age 24, was a servant in Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, in 1920. Her parents were born in Sweden;

Laure Anna Scrooge had her birth registered at Hammersmith in the last quarter of 1983. There is also a birth registration for Laurel Anna M C Le Scrooge in November 1984 in Hammersmith. In May 1990 the birth of Zsi Zsi A Le Scrooge was registered in Hammersmith.

Ancestry also has 53 UK telephone book listings for Scrooge, mainly numbers in the London suburb of Barnet between 1971 and 1984; and nine US listings including two for E. Scrooge and two which also include the name Marley.

There are 41 Ancestry historical records for Cratchett.

Could it be there are more Scrooges than Cratchetts? How about those US bankers and their bonuses?

23 December 2009

World Vital Records FREE

SGNE blogs that World Vital Records (www.worldvitalrecords.com) has announced free access to its site from December 23rd to December 28th, and without credit card registration.

The holiday period is one where people are generally too concerned with real family interaction to go online. Hits on genealogy websites drop way off in December. Here's the trend at FreeBMD so far this month. Smart move on World Vital Records part to capture the attention, interest and goodwill of those needing their online genealogy fix over the holiday season while their servers are less busy.

Last minute genealogy gift: iPod touch

I use mine every day. It's one of the best electronics investments I've made in years.

It's an iPod, so I get to store and listen to music and other audio anywhere.

The iPod touch has built in calculator and calendar. The clock/timer means I can set an alarm and not exceed time on the parking meter.

The note taking function means all kinds of short notes taken during lectures, at the archives, reading books and watching TV are always with me.

I get email, browse the web, view YouTube videos, download podcasts including those from TNA, and do so anywhere there's an accessible wifi connection. With my wifi at home I can access these anywhere in the house. An increasing number of public institutions like LAC, TNA, airports, and libraries also provide free wifi connections.

I've discovered applications that allow it to act as a reader, with ebooks I can borrow free from the local library which also offers free audiobooks.

Other applications downloaded give me a dictionary, shopping list, Air Canada link for my flights, newspaper access, and much more.

It slips into my shirt pocket and I forget it's there until I need it. It has helped lower my blood pressure and frustration. I turn time waiting for medical appointments and at the airport into useful time listening to or reading useful background.

Yes, I lust for an iPhone It has a camera and GPS and you maintain internet contact anywhere the telcos offer wireless service, but not for me at the prices they charge in Canada.

If you're looking for a last minute gift for a genealogist, or anyone not technology adverse, an iPod touch would be right at the top of my suggestion list.

Incidentally, this post was composed on my iPod touch.

22 December 2009

2009 top baby names in Scotland

Jack remains the top boys’ name, with Lewis in second place. James climbs two places to third whilst Liam stays in fourth place and Logan climbs three places to fifth.

Sophie is the most popular girls’ name with Olivia climbing one place to second. Ava climbed four places to third and whilst Emily fell two places to fourth and Lucy climbed one place to fifth.

See the press release from the General Register Office of Scotland at www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/press/news2009/babies-names-09-news.html

Australian Royalty

According to actor Jack Thompson, having a convict ancestor qualifies an Australian these days as Australian Royalty.

Now an Ancestry.com.au press release, reported at www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/pc-of-aussies-descended-from-royalty/story-e6frf7jx-1225812737963, has found that 23 per cent of Australians were descended from convicts; 17 per cent from soldiers or military men; 13 per cent from a famous historical figure; 12.5 per cent from someone rich and 11 per cent from English aristocracy.

21 December 2009

Beware, it's Winter

Today the sun ends its northward trek. We experience the shortest day of the year and the start of winter in the northern hemisphere.

If you've stood beside an open grave for the interment of a relative or friend you may have remarked about how cold it feels. That may not just be your emotions at the event.

The publication
http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/publications-and-data/occpapers/the-raised-incidence-of-winter-deaths.html documents, for the period 1989 to 2000, about one third greater daily mortality in January than July in Scotland.

Ontario statistics from 1991 to 2006 show about 20% more daily deaths in January than July.

My own family database contains 37 deaths in January, 30 in July, which follows the pattern rather well.

The Scottish study dismisses hypothermia as making only a minor contribution to the winter excess, acknowledges the role of influenza with major year to year variability, but comments that "Additional winter deaths are particularly associated with respiratory and circulatory diseases."

20 December 2009

ACOM (Ancestry.com) has active trading week

The stock was at its most active since the week it started trading. Volume has increased since Thursday 10 December. That was following a brief mention the previous day in an article in Investors Business Daily.

Trades for the week were in the range $14.37 to $13.57 which was the closing price on Friday, a substantial drop in the last few minutes of trading.

Tracing artifacts

The December meeting of the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society started with a presentation by a student award winner, a descendant of the well known Ontario-based Heintzman company.

According to the company information at www.hzmpiano.com/profile.aspx?page=greets Heintzman & Co. Ltd. was a piano manufacturing and retailing business that was based in Toronto from 1866~1978. The company was founded by Theodore August Heintzman who apprenticed in piano building about 1831. In 1978~86 the business was relocated to Hanover, Ontario under the amended name Heintzman Ltd.

If you have a Heintzman piano and don't know much about its history look for the serial number and obtain the date of manufacture from the table at www.hzmpiano.com/techinfo.aspx?page=howold
More detailed records can be found in the company fonds at the Archives of Ontario which include details such as the type of wood used, dates of various stages of manufacture, and where the piano was originally shipped, either to a retailer or original private purchaser.

A bonus in going to the sites above is the background piano music, beautiful but guaranteed to drive most normal teenagers away.

A second presentation at the same meeting was on tracing the history of an upright clock from the early 19th century. Although the clock had no serial number by connecting to a network of local clock enthusiasts distinctive aspects of the construction and face allowed the place and approximate date of manufacture to be established.

19 December 2009

Discovering your roots newspaper column

Lesley Anderson, BIFHSGO friend, seems tireless. Not only is she Partnership Development and Content Specialist with Ancestry.ca, a BIFHSGO Board member, course instructor for the Ottawa Catholic School Board, and a volunteer at the Ottawa Family History Centre, her latest initiative is a newspaper column. Read it at:


Britain's Small Wars

The UK has been involved in a remarkable number of smaller conflicts since 1945. Read about them at http://www.britains-smallwars.com/

via Chris Paton's SGNE blog

18 December 2009

Memorable presentations in 2009

I was fortunate to attend several conference and meeting presentations in 2009, some more memorable than others. I particularly enjoyed (in alphabetical order of speaker name):

Hand in the Snow, presented by Colleen Fitzpatrick
You don't have to be a kid to like stories. I had two opportunities to hear this case study presentation this year, and appreciated it just as much both times. In fact, I enjoyed all Colleen's presentations.

The Time of Cholera, presented by Alison Hare CG
I'd originally heard this in Toronto in November 2008. Alison presented it again at a BIFHSGO monthly meeting and it was voted the year's best presentation by the membership. Notable for the detailed research in obscure sources. 2010 brings three more opportunities to hear it: as OGS Ottawa Branch's March presentation; at the NGS conference in Salt Lake City in May, and later that month at the OGS conference in Toronto.

"Hold on Tight! - Tickets Please!", presented by Christine Jackson
A short presentation, part of the annual Great Moments December BIFHSGO meeting. A tale, well told. It resonated with this ex-pat who grew up with the double-decker bus as part of his daily routine. The talk illustrated the benefits of belonging to a remote FHS, amongst other things.

Symbolism on Gravestones: 17th Century to Present, presented by Donna Walcovy From time to time strolling in cemeteries I've mused about the gravestones. This presentation at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference in April answered some of my questions. As befits a former university lecturer the presentation was clear and well organized. The speaker's enthusiasm for her topic shone through.

Beauty ratios

Helen of Troy was said to have a "face that launched a thousand ships." Ever since there's been debate over how many ships the latest beauty would launch.

Now there's a new measure, involving golden ratios, coming out of research documented in a journal article abstracted in Science Direct.

The experiments reported show that for Caucasoid women " individual attractiveness is optimized when the face’s vertical distance between the eyes and the mouth is approximately 36% of its length, and the horizontal distance between the (centre of the) eyes is approximately 46% of the face’s width."

Reportedly these ratios match those of an average face.

Time to get out that old photo of great grandma, the one that's so old you can't appreciate her looks, take out the ruler and calculator, and take her measure. Just don't take it too seriously as reportedly adjustments to hair styles can change the apparent ratios.

17 December 2009

Ancestry improves search pages

Overnight Ancestry have cleaned up their detailed search page. Gone is the space-hog ad. The page is reorganized to put the most useful parts at the top so we won't be as likely to have to scroll down to access the things we want. The ad deletion applies only to the detailed search pages, unfortunately not the more general pages.

There's a more complete description of the changes, which apply to all the Ancestry sites, at the Ancestry.com blog http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/.

The blog promises further improvements to come based on user feedback. Hopefully it will include further ad deletion.

Dignified, Courageous, Beautiful

Does this give you any ideas about telling your family history story?

Four additional LAC pathfinder projects

LAC have now posted the following four additions to the four pathfinder projects in the modernization initiative I blogged about previously at http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2009/12/four-lac-pathfinder-projects.html

There is a general invitation to comment but no detail on the consultation proposed.

16 December 2009

Inspired to blog?

Dick Eastman has a comprehensive posting at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2009/12/create-a-blog-for-yourself-or-your-society.html explaining how to set up a blog.

10 top new genealogy resources online in 2009

Based on discussions with top Ottawa-area gurus, and my own biases, here are the best sources for British-Canadian family history that came online, or got substantially new content, in 2009. The first three helped me extend my own family history this year.

1. Records of the London Metropolitan Archives, from Ancestry
If you have English ancestors you probably have London relatives. Even if your direct ancestor didn't live in London chances are a relative moved there and will be recorded in these records. While writing this I realized there was a line of my family I hadn't researched there. I discovered a 1820 marriage, that I have always thought took place in Suffolk, and so the maiden name of an ancestor. www.ancestry.co.uk

2. 19th Century Newspaper Archive, from the British Library
Two million pages, soon to be three million, of digitized searchable newspapers from major regional centres all over the UK. http://newspapers.bl.uk/blcs/

3. 1911 Census for England and Wales, from findmypast
It's always a major event for the family history community when a new major dataset, especially a census, becomes available. The 1911 census gradually went online, starting early in the year, on a pay per view basis through www.1911census.co.uk, and later in the year by subscription through www.findmypast.co.uk.

4. Canadian Passenger Lists, from Ancestry
The first part of this collection was added at the end of 2008, the product of an LAC-Ancestry cooperative agreement. There were major additions to the collection in 2009, including the individual form 30As used in the early 1920. www.ancestry.ca

5. Canada Census collection, from Ancestry
Another product of cooperation between LAC and Ancestry. All major Canadian censuses, except for Newfoundland, are now indexed on Ancestry, and will eventually be freely available via LAC's Canadian Genealogy Centre. www.ancestry.ca

6. Ireland BMD indexes, from FamilySearch
An index of Ireland civil registration including births, 1864-1958, marriages, 1845-1958, and deaths, 1864-1958, made available through FamilySearch and volunteer indexing online. http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#p=collectionDetails;c=1408347

7. England and Wales BMD indexes, from Ancestry
While I still prefer the FreeBMD indexes, and their indexing project continues to make good progress, Ancestry have now fully transcribed the GRO indexes from 1916 to 2005. No more scanning through images of index pages, unless there's an indexing problem. www.ancestry.co.uk

8. Historical Canada Gazette, from LAC
LAC's digitization of this material, which began in 2007, is still underway. All issues are not in the database. As of August 2009 over 80% of all issues of the Canada Gazette are online and searchable. www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/canada-gazette/index-e.html

9. Gravestone Photographic Resource
I mentioned this site back in the summer. It continues to grow the free resource and provide more links to complementary projects. While the strength is in the UK, especially strong for Suffolk, international content is growing through linking. There are 165 Canadian cemetery sites linked, some covering multiple cemeteries. www.gravestonephotos.com/

10. Canada-US border crossing records, from Ancestry
You can now search Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956; and Border Crossings: From U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935. You get them going and coming, or maybe not as there are lots of crossings that never got recorded. It's the type of record that gets extra benefit from indexing the coverage is so hit and miss. www.ancestry.ca

For a Scottish perspective see this SGNE posting.

15 December 2009

Daily Express has an online archive

UKPressOnline, www.ukpressonline.co.uk/ukpressonline/ have made available digitized and searchable editions of the mass market, popular press, conservative leaning, Daily Express from April 24, 1900, the first day of publication. The archives comprises around 825,000 pages. Some gaps remain to be filled.

The complete run of editions and pages of the Daily Express covering the period from the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939 to the final Japanese surrender in Hong Kong on September 16 1945 is now available, except
April 11 1941; March 03 1945; May 10 1945.

Simple searches are free. It costs £5.95 plus VAT for 8 hours of unlimited access. More info via the FAQ.

The Express joins the Daily Mirror Archive, 1903 - current, at UKPressOnline.

via Resource Shelf

Do you know where your name has been?

A major new research project led by the University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol) is set to create the largest ever database of the UK's family surnames. The database, containing the meanings and origins of up to 150,000 UK surnames, is to be made publicly available.

Read the press release at http://info.uwe.ac.uk/news/UWENews/article.asp?item=1651

14 December 2009

Global Genealogy Historical Atlas Promotion

Still looking for a Christmas gifts for the genealogist? For those with ancestors in the Ontario counties of Lanark, Lincoln & Welland, and Middlesex, consider a high quality historical atlas.

Until Christmas (or until 100 units of each title are sold), Global Genealogy is offering "beautifully handcrafted historical atlases at a significantly reduced cost. Crammed with information about the settlement and development of the counties including maps of townships, often with land holders identified by lot and concession, many drawings of homes and individuals are included."

Also available is a premium historical atlas for the Dominion of Canada.

Click on any title for a full description:

ATLAS - Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Dominion of Canada - Lanark County (1880)
(Commonly known as the Lanark County Historical Atlas 1880)
Originally published by H. Beldon and Company, 1880.
This premium quality, limited edition reprint published 2008

ATLAS - Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Lincoln and Welland (1876)
Originally published by H. R. Page, Toronto 1876.
This premium quality, limited edition reprint published 2008

ATLAS - Illustrated Historical Atlas of the County of Middlesex (1878)
Originally published by H. R. Page, Toronto 1878.
This premium quality, limited edition reprint published 2009

ATLAS - Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Dominion of Canada (1880)
Originally published by H. Beldon and Company, 1880.
This premium quality, limited edition reprint published 2008

Order online anytime or by phone 1-800-361-5168 (9 - 5pm, Mon. to Fri.).

OGS Ottawa Branch December meeting

15 December 2009, 7:30 pm

Ottawa Branch Members
: Show & Tell
Location: Library Archives Canada, Auditorium, 395 Wellington

Ottawa Branch members will describe a great genealogical moment; special guest from Historica Fair 2009

Also on Ottawa Branch, the webmaster has implemented a newly formatted website at www.ogsottawa.on.ca. A definite improvement. It's much cleaner. There are still some bugs to work out, getting the monthly meetings in the right order, making the heading graphic crisper, and content to add. You can keep up by registering to receive an email when the content changes.

13 December 2009

Free English resource reminder

Got a problem you've been researching forever? Often we think we've exhausted all the possible resources online, then someone goes and digitizes additional key records. Make it a habit to go back periodically to sites you've searched before.

I regularly mention the monthly updates to FreeBMD. FreeREG and FreeCEN also get updated.

UKBMD at www.ukbmd.org.uk/ is a handy starting point for pay and free resources, and not just for England. Select from the list on the left of the page which includes links to a growing list of local BMD sites. If you select a county you'll get a long list of sites. Don't get discouraged by the length. Persevere.

Have a look at the pages for your county or counties on GENUKI at www.genuki.org.uk/.

Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Somerset, Sussex, Warwickshire, and Wiltshire have Online Parish Clerks at www.onlineparishclerks.org.uk/.

There are other you may have bookmarked as favourites but not revisited lately.

Good luck in your search.

12 December 2009

ACOM (Ancestry.com) stock continues to climb

ACOM opened the week at $13.51, saw a gradual upward trend accelerating on Thursday afternoon, and a significant jump on Friday. Friday's close was $14.08, below the day's high of $14.14, up from $13.84 at session opening.

Trading was light all week with Friday's volume, 65,236, the highest.

No insider trading or news was reported.

Baedeker's Dominion of Canada

Baedecker's travel guides were renowned. The Internet Archive now has the 1907 Canada guide digitized online. Read it for descriptions of various voyages, including that from Liverpool to Quebec, communities, and to marvel at the prices. Available at http://www.archive.org/details/dominioncanadaw01firgoog

11 December 2009

How many descendents? How many cousins?

Following up on my recent posting on counting the cousins ... how many times have you read articles and blog postings that deal with how many ancestors you have? Two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and so on. The factor two growth generation by generation is powerful, to the point that after several hundred years you get to more ancestors than the population of the earth. The theoretical dilemma is resolved not by speculation on alien invasion but by cousin marriages that drastically reduce the actual number of ancestors.

I don't recall seeing the problem approached from the other way around, looking at descendants. It's more tricky because while you know each child has two parents you don't know a priori how many children they have.

Let's play a bit. Here's a scenario, a story. Imagine a highly disciplined village populated by six couples. Nobody leaves or moves into the community.


Mr. and Mrs. Zero have no children so no further descendants. Their graves in the old churchyard lie neglected.

Mr. and Mrs. One have one child and each succeeding generation has one child. In any generation there is just one child. The family history is treasured like a string of pearls. Graves in the old family plot are carefully tended.

Mr. and Mrs. Two have two children. Their children each have two children making four grandchildren, and so on. Eight great-grandchildren in the third generation is two raised to the power three. The original Mr. and Mrs. Two have 1024 descendants in the tenth generation, two raised to the power ten. Generally for the nth generation it's two raised to the power n.

It's possible, and even likely, that in the intervening generations cousins will have married meaning that 1024 descendants in the tenth generation is the maximum.

A whole section in the old churchyard is devoted to the Two family, but it couldn't accommodate them all.

Mr. and Mrs. Three delight in their three children, nine grandchildren, and 27 great-grandchildren. By the tenth generation there are a maximum of 59,049 descendants, three raised to the power ten.

As time goes on there's a building boom in the village to accommodate the fecundity of the larger families with a new larger cemetery opened.

Mr. and Mrs. Four enjoy four children, 16 grandchildren, 64 great-grandchildren, and by the tenth generation the Four family descendant count is 1,048,576 members, four to the power 10. They are dwarfed by the 9,765,625 tenth generation descendants of Mr. and Mrs. Five.

The new cemetery becomes many cemeteries and they are overwhelmed. Cremation becomes fashionable.


Now let's look at the cousins. People in the tenth generation are ninth cousins unless more closely related by being descended from a more recent ancestor. For a given Two family descendant half are ninth cousins, half are more closely related. That's assuming no cousin marriages.

Amongst tenth generation descendants of the Three family two-thirds are ninth cousins, one-third more closely related. For the Four family three-quarters are ninth cousins, and for the Five family four-fifths. That makes 7,812,500 ninth cousin Five family descendants in the city which was the village.

Uneven family size

The situations get more complex to analyze when family size varies from sibling to sibling and generation to generation.

Let's look again at the descendants of Mr. and Mrs. Two, but imagine that one of their two children had a rebellious streak and instead of the allotted two children had 12. With that the rogue gene was played out and each subsequent generation stuck to its two offspring. By the 10th generation the original family progenitors would have 6,144 descendants of their rebellious child, and 512 from their other child. The 6,144 would have 512 ninth cousins, and the 512 would enjoy 6,144 ninth cousins.

Obviously family size is hugely important, but not as important as these figures would suggest. Although I've yet to identify any examples in my own family tree, marriage between more distant cousins is, must be, remarkably common.

Take a look at your family tree. Are there any siblings a few generations back who had particularly large families? Those are where you might be most likely to find connections to distant cousins, perhaps through the emerging technology of autosomal DNA analysis.

10 December 2009

BIFHSGO December meeting

10:00 a.m., 12 December 2009 at Library & Archives Canada 395 Wellington Street

Great Moments in Genealogy
presented by BIFHSGO members

Finding a Long Lost Great Aunt
by Jane Catterson
After their mother’s death in 1996, Jane and her brother found that their Faulkner great-grandmother had a sister that they did not know about. The talk will trace their discovery from Ireland to New Zealand.

Identifying a Grandfather
by Brian Watson
An empty envelope dated 1916 provides clues to a grandfather's whereabouts during the First World War.

A Great (SCOTT) Moment
by Ken Harley
Ken will tell us how an innocent trip to Picton in Prince Edward County, Ontario opened a very wide window on the history of the Scott family, taking them back more than 5 generations, and posing a new challenge: How to prove the family is descended from United Empire Loyalists? But that is another story.

Breaching the Ireland Barrier, or Maybe Not
by Willis Burwell
Willis will be describing a discovery that may trace his great grandfather back to a Townland in Ireland.

Hold on Tight! - Tickets Please!
by Christine Jackson
How a stranger’s chance question, posed to a UK family history society email list, and the response he received, led Christine Jackson to discover the danger and bravery behind a 60-year-old family story.

Counting the cousins, and other relatives

How many cousins do you have? It's a question I asked myself while looking at sample results from DNA testing company 23andMe. Based on matching segments across all of your DNA they provide an estimated degree of relationship with others of their clients. One was an estimated relationship of 4th cousin, but with a range of 3rd to 10th cousin.

We all have more distant than close cousins, but in a mobile society people move away and lose contact. How many cousins of various degrees do you know, or know about?

I turned to my genealogy database looking for the answer. In both Legacy Family Tree 7.0, and Family Tree Maker 2010, you can easily produce a relationship report showing the names and relationships of all the people in the database to any specified person.

It's then a matter of going through the listing and counting the number of people with a specific relationship.

Legacy makes it even easier, something I found out thanks to a tip from Geoff Rasmussen of Legacy/Millenium corporation. You can export the relationship report to a .csv file, open it in a spreadsheet, then sort on the relationship column.

Thanks to this tip I now know I have in my Legacy database; two first cousins, 23 second cousins, 25 third cousins, 14 fourth cousins, four fifth cousins, no sixth or seventh cousins, and one eighth cousin. That's not including the cousins removed by a generation or more, 7th great aunts and the like which you can also enumerate.

Lots of gaps to fill, so little time!

If you know how this information can be obtained from other software, such as Roots Magic or The Master Genealogist, please share by posting a comment. Is there's any free software which can import a GEDCOM file to provide this information?

In ending, a reminder that Millenium are offering all Legacy Family Tree 7.0 software at $10 off until December 31, 2009. See http://legacynews.typepad.com/legacy_news/2009/12/huge-holiday-savings-from-legacy-family-tree.html

09 December 2009

British 19th century newspaper online offer

UpFront with NGS has a good detailed review, free to read, and a time limited 50% discount offer, for the British Library 19th century British newspapers database. Well worth the time to read if you have British ancestry at: http://upfront.ngsgenealogy.org/2009/12/review-and-reader-discount-british.html

via Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Popular first names in England and Wales

I missed a September press release on popularity of first names in England and Wales in 2008. There's nothing more recent, so better late than never.

Jack remained the most popular boy’s name in England and Wales during 2008 in the Office for National Statistics rankings. Olivia rose two places to become the number one girl’s name.

The full top 10 boys’ names for 2008, in order of popularity, were Jack, Oliver, Thomas, Harry, Joshua, Alfie, Charlie, Daniel, James and William.

The top 10 girls’ names, in order of popularity, were Olivia, Ruby, Emily, Grace, Jessica, Chloe, Sophie, Lily, Amelia and Evie.

Interestingly all the girls names end in a vowel, or y, compared to only 3 of the ten boys names.

There were 708,711 live births in England and Wales during 2008, with 26,815 different boys' names and 34,043 different girls' names registered.

Scottish Highlander Photo Archive

Chris Paton posted about this collection of online photos, aiming to reach 20,000 images of folk from the Highlands, taken in the early 20th century, and growing at the rate of 100 a week. "The database will enable Scottish expatriates and descendants the world over, who are interested in their family history, to search the archive for family matches and/or likeness and be able to buy images in print or electronic form." Find the images and more at: www.scottishhighlanderphotoarchive.co.uk.

08 December 2009

Not renewing OGS membership

I've lived in the Province of Ontario longer than anywhere else and have been active in family history for more than 10 years. Up until a couple of years ago I'd said that I'd join the Ontario Genealogical Society when I found an Ontario ancestor. I didn't dream I would, but it turns out a grand-uncle was one of the many pre-World War I immigrants from Britain. He worked for Canadian Pacific at the Lakehead, joined the CEF, was blinded, and although he did return to Canada after the war, moved back to Britain in the early 1920s.

Having found an Ontario ancestor I needed to live up to my word so I joined the OGS two years ago.

The way OGS is set up you have to pay the Society annual subscription, recently increased to $60, in order to be a branch member, annual subscription typically an additional $15. Most people agree that the strength of OGS is its branches. Through them members, and others, find support for their personal research and help build understanding of heritage in their community. Branches are successful, often by virtue of dedication of a very small nucleus of volunteers.

By comparison, the provincial organization is widely seen as poor value for money. That's my impression having spoken to numerous members. If OGS has statistics to show otherwise, not just anecdotes, perhaps they'd share them.

The provincial organization, with its $60 per year for membership, something I argued against at the last OGS Annual General Meeting, is not one that caters to my interest, I wish it did as is implied by the three questions on the front page of its web site.

It need not be that way. NEHGS recognizes that its members have interests beyond the area and offers online "a large collection of materials covering not only the rest of the United States but Canada and Europe as well."

It may be your OGS experience is different and you value the headquarters services more highly than I do, especially if you have extensive Ontario ancestry.

I won't be renewing my OGS membership. But I will, as a nonmember, attempt to find some way to continue to support the local branch without being held to ransom by the provincial organization.

07 December 2009

Genealogy a bear market?

Ottawa writer Phil Jenkins, a man of many talents and catching turn of phrase, casts his attention on The Ottawa Room, and the Ottawa Public Library's local history collection, in Monday's Ottawa Citizen -- http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Ottawa+Room+holds+memories/2311042/story.html

I am a bit puzzled as to where he gets the idea that "genealogy is a bear market," and at the same time can characterize the genealogy collection as "boisterous"?

User consultation at TNA

Natalie Ceeney, Chief Executive of The (UK) National Archives, is one agency head who is prepared to get out from time to time and meet and respond to comments from her organization clients. She did that last 22nd October and now a report detailing the responses to some of the main issues raised has been issued.

The document is available at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/2009-ceo-day-report-final.pdf

It appears that consultation is more than a sometime thing at TNA. Monthly
User Forum meetings are held to report progress and other changes. Minutes are posted at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/get-involved/user-forum.htm

A tip of the hat to Chris Paton
who covered this document availability on his Scottish Genealogy News and Events Blog at http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/

Toronto cemetery indexing progress

Back on 19 October I blogged about the OGS Toronto Branch cooperative project with Family Search to index, and essentially transcribe, burial records from four major Toronto cemeteries. Here's an update from project leader Jane MacNamara.

"We have indexed just over 25,000 names as of this morning (Saturday), which covers Mount Pleasant to about the turn of the century. (Names are indexed twice, so about 12,500 burials.) We've moved on to the York (Toronto) General Burying Ground, the earliest cemetery in the project. The registers are quite different with fewer entries on a page, so it should go fairly quickly. We will get back to Mount Pleasant at some point to do the other 35 years of records! We have 38 volunteers signed up. I've had conversations with several who have told me how much they're enjoying seeing the original records and following up some of the names in census and other records. Some recent volunteers came from other FSI projects, really pleased to be able to work on Ontario records. I've started a blog as a home for reference tools for Toronto Trust indexers--things like the impressive array of image manipulation tools available. I'm hoping it might also intrigue a few more volunteers. Here's the url: <http://torontofamilyhistory.org/projects/>"

Take a look at the blog. It includes advice that could prove helpful if you're trying to read any faded image online.

Congratulations to Jane and the team. I'm sure she wouldn't mind hearing from new project volunteers. You don't have to be a member of OGS or Toronto Branch, but do have to sign up through Toronto Branch. Just e-mail a request along with your full name and location to fsi@torontofamilyhistory.org.

06 December 2009

TNA podcast - education in 1911

If your ancestor was involved in the English educational system in 1911, especially in London, you might enjoy this 38 minute podcast of a talk originally given at TNA on 13 August 2009 by Ann Morton. She starts out by referring to a student who left school at Easter that year to work on producing punched cards from the 1911 census.

Having made that connection to something familiar to the genealogist she doesn't continue along that path, but returns back to examine the school system and such aspects as lessons, discipline, and examinations. She also talks about pressures on schools, with particular reference to a school in one of the most poverty stricken areas of London.

This is another one of the TNA podcasts that would benefit from more online availability of the visuals used during the presentation.

Find the podcast link at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/education-in-1911.htm

ACOM (Ancestry.com) trades up

Reversing its slide of the previous week ACOM closed on Friday with a trade at $13.59, only one penny shy of its high for the week.Most of the day's trading was slightly above the initial $13.50 strike price.

Tuesday saw most of the week's gain which started at midday on Monday. ACOM opened at $13.15 on Tuesday and closed at $13.55. Trading was generally light and no insider trading was reported during the week.

What could account for the rise? Could it be the speculation that Google wants to acquire Ancestry.com, reported by Dick Eastman at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2009/12/google-to-acquire-ancestrycom.html? People not wanting to miss the possible ride look to climb on board. It wouldn't be the first time people knowing of an article coming out took advantage either.

05 December 2009

Ottawa City Archives building progress

Plenty of activity underway at the site of the new Ottawa City Archives on December 3rd, 2009. Pile-driving equipment was moving into place. It looks like they've dug down maybe eight feet to form the base of the building.

FreeBMD December update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Friday 4 December 2009 and currently contains 177,332,847 distinct records (227,114,805 total records), an increase of 1.4 million unique and 1.7 million total records since the previous update on 6 November.

Major additions for this update are 1841, 1842, 1847, 1925, 1935-41 for births, 1844, 1854, 1858, 1917, 1928, 1932, 1937-49 for marriages, and 1845, 1860, 1875, 1933, 1936-38 for deaths.

Digital camera as a genealogy gift

My Christmas gift suggestion list for the genealogist last Christmas included digital cameras. That's still a good idea this year. Mine gets frequent use for copying documents and photographing tombstones. Dick Eastman runs through the list of uses in a recent post, http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2009/11/digital-cameras-for-genealogists.html

There are lots of bargains at the big box stores.

04 December 2009

NARA threat

I don't normally post on US genealogy matters, there are plenty of US-oriented blogs, but I'm making an exception for the notice copied below. It's from a posting on the APG mailing list by notable US genealogist Claire Bettag, and was brought to my attention by a good friend.

Not being a NARA user I'm not in any position to judge the merits of the concern. However, with national institutions always looking at what's happening with their peer institutions in other countries the phrase that comes to mind is "if we don't hang together, we'll hang separately."


Dear researchers, Proposed renovations at the National Archives will affect all NARA researchers. As you have probably heard, if the changes materialize, some research space at the downtown facility will be converted to offices, exhibits, and other uses, and research services will have to be reconfigured. To assure that research resources are enhanced, rather than diminished, we again appeal—urgently--for your help.

Several notices have circulated about an extremely important congressional subcommittee hearing later this month. The hearing of the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, which oversees NARA, will examine the National Archives mission. The proposed changes at Archives-1 will be discussed. The new Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, will testify. This is our opportunity to voice concerns and priorities to congressional leaders. Please participate by 1) writing to the members of the subcommittee (details below); and 2) attending the hearing if you are in the Washington DC area (details below).

1. CONTACT SUBCOMMITTEE MEMBERS: It is critical that we contact every member of the subcommittee in advance, to 1) encourage them to attend and participate in the meeting, 2) to express our concerns, and 3) to urge them to make researcher services a priority. Please take time now to send each of them a note. It is especially important for constituents of the subcommittee members to contact those members.
(See below for list of subcommittee members, and suggestions for writing.)

2. ATTEND THE HEARING: If you are in the Washington DC area on 16 December, please attend the hearing. Members of Congress take careful note of attendance at such hearings. A well-attended meeting will communicate that researchers care about what happens at NARA.Wednesday, 16 December 2009; 2 p.m. Rayburn House Office Building, room 2154 ALSO, if you are in the DC area, a public meeting will be held the following day, 17 December 2009, at 1:00 p.m. at NARA specifically to discuss the proposed changes. If you can make that meeting also, please put it on your calendar.

SUGGESTIONS FOR WRITING TO SUBCOMMITTEE MEMBERS: Keep your message to one page. At the TOP of thee message, identify your reason for writing. For example: “Re: Information Policy Subcommittee Hearing on National Archives, December 16.” If at all possible, write an individualized letter (you can cite some issues below, or add others; a sample letter appears below). Contact each member only once about the hearing. Be succinct. Readers should be able to read and understood the message in one minute. Specify your request in the first or second sentence. In another two or three sentences explain how important it is for the member to attend and participate in the hearing. Specify if you are writing as an individual or representing a group.

Issues you may wish to address (among others you might include): Renovations at Archives-1 (downtown) should aim to make it a world-class research facility. Reconsider decisions already made (on the Constitution side of the building) so the result will optimally serve the public and researchers without compromising the latter. Upgrade services, personnel, hardware, and software to bring the research facility in line with other first-rate research facilities in the world.

How to contact subcommittee members: If you live in a member’s district, use the “Write your Representative” site, which provides direct email contact for constituents. Users enter a state +zip code. Use this link: http://www.house.gov/writerep/ To contact other members, use email if an address appears below (many do not provide email addresses for non-constituents). Otherwise FAX letters. Do not use USPS mail as postal delivery to congressional offices takes very long. (See below.) If you represent an organization, follow up with a reminder fax the morning of December 15.


Clay, William Lacy D MO, 1st D. Chairman Phone: (202) 225-2406 Fax: (202) 226-3717 Kanjorski, Paul D PA, 11th D. phone: 202-225-6511 fax (202) 225-0764
Maloney, Carolyn D NY, 14th D. http://tinyurl.com/yzfttfn fax: 202-225-4709
Norton, Eleanor Holmes D DC phone: (202) 225-8050 fax: (202) 225-3002
Davis, Danny D Chicago, 7D. http://tinyurl.com/yzs8gl6 fax (202) 225-5641
Driehaus, Steve D OH, 1st D. http://tinyurl.com/yz637fg Fax: (202) 225-3012
Watson, Diane D CA, 33rd D. phone: 202-225-7084, fax: 202-225-2422
Cuellar, Henry D TX, 28th D. phone: 202-225-1640 fax: 202-225-1641
McHenry, Patrick R NC, 10th D Ranking minority phone: 202.225.2576 Fax: 202.225.0316 Westmoreland, Lynn R GA, 3rd D. Vice Ranking minority Phone (202) 225-5901 Fax (202) 225-2515
Mica, John R FL, 7th D. http://tinyurl.com/y9bxwuf Fax: (202) 226-0821
Chaffetz, Jason R UT, 3rd D. Phone: (202) 225-7751 Fax: (202) 225-5629

Date Addressee / address Re: Information Policy Subcommittee Hearing on National Archives, December 16
Dear ______: The proposed renovation at the National Archives (Washington, DC facility) is a major concern for all researchers. As [a frequent researcher at NARA, a representative of…] I hope the work being considered will result in upgraded, enhanced research facilities that make it a world-class research facility.

Many of us are worried that some changes appear to aggrandize exhibits, the gift shop, and other tourist attractions in the building at the expense of resources serving researchers.

First and foremost, the public documents preserved at NARA should be made accessible to scholars, historians, educators, journalists, artists, family historians, scientists, and other researchers—via up-to-date technology, facilities, and expert archival assistance.

In your oversight role, please assure that this is the top priority as renovations proceed.

I hope you will be at the subcommittee meeting and take an active role in the proceedings. [I plan to attend the hearing.] Congressional oversight and support for research services is critical if NARA is to remain a renowned research institution, fulfilling its mission to the American public, and in line with similar facilities in other countries.

Thank you, in advance, for your support. If you wish additional information, please feel free to contact me. Sincerely, NAME / AFFILIATION (IF ANY)



LAC adds ship registration index

LAC's Ship Registration Index Database (SRI) contains more than 78,000 entries of ships registered in ports of Canada between 1787 and 1966. Through this research tool, you can obtain information about a ship such as its name, its type, its official number, the year and port of registration, where it was built, its date of construction and, in some cases, what happened to it. The database also allows you to find references for the physical registers or microfilm reels.

I didn't find any large ships in the database, the type that would have brought immigrants. They were likely of British registration.

There are seven registrations for the Bluenose, the last of which is the well known schooner shown on the Canadian dime. From the database, she was 153 gross tons, built in Lunenberg NS, registered in 1921 and registry entry closed September 19, 1936 when sold to West Indian interests.

While of limited interest for genealogy, there are no personal names, the database is a useful resource to mine for information on the evolution of shipping in domestic waters.

Search the database from www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/ship-registration/001093-100.01-e.php

Pre-Christmas specials -- Legacy Family Tree

Just in time for the holidays - all Legacy Family Tree 7.0 software is $10 off until December 31, 2009. You can also save on Legacy books and training aids. See more at http://legacynews.typepad.com/legacy_news/2009/12/huge-holiday-savings-from-legacy-family-tree.html.

Allow plenty of time if you want to ensure Christmas delivery. Delivery is cross border so subject to shipping and customs delays, and costs. Prices are in US funds.

03 December 2009

Road Warriors and Teen Angels -- Shannon Lecture

On Friday, Dec. 4, guest speakers John Belshaw, a former professor of history and currently associate vice-president of education and research at North Island College, and Diane Purvey, an assistant professor in the School of Education at Thompson Rivers University, will speak on : Deathscapes of Youth in British Columbia.

This, the final Carleton University, History Department, Shannon Lecture for this year. It runs from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Room 303, Paterson Hall, at Carleton University followed by a reception.

LAC pathfinder factiods

The following information is gleaned from four pathfinders placed online by Library and Archives Canada as part of their Modernization initiative.

Canada's Military Documentary Heritage: Challenges and Opportunities

- unprecedented volumes of personal photography and video resulting from military operations, to social spaces unique to Canadian Forces members, to blogs commenting on every aspect of life in the forces. YouTube offers a simple quantifiable measure of this point: on October 26, 2009, there were 4,180 videos tagged "Canada Afghanistan".

- There will be an entirely new and unique set of problems in storing, preserving, and providing timely access to the 28 kilometres of Second World War service records that will become archival on April 1, 2010.

- photographs recently transferred from the National Defence Image Library ... took place with the explicit understanding that LAC would not retain all of these images. The expectation is that a significant number of the images will be offered to member institutions of the Military Museums of Canada.

- Based on circulation statistics through 2008-2009, military and war related records and private papers represent approximately a third of all materials circulated. This number does not include the approximate 60,000 requests for dormant service files, or publications, for which there are no statistics.

Long-Term Loans: A Client-Focused Collaborative Approach


Rethinking the Stewardship of Newspapers in a Digital Age

- LAC maintains subscriptions to 10 Canadian dailies which, according to a policy established in 1969, it retains in print form as a representative archival sample of Canadian major newspapers in French and English from different parts of Canada. These titles are currently bundled and stored in offsite storage facilities. The current subscription cost for these 10 dailies is $6,781 per year.

- In addition to the 10 dailies, LAC subscribes to 171 Canadian print newspapers at a cost of $32,740 per year. These subscriptions include: 107 multicultural newspapers, 17 Aboriginal newspapers, and 47 other titles representing various cities and communities from across Canada. The print versions of the 47 representative titles are discarded once the microfilm versions are received. LAC also collects a selection of non-subscription university student, multicultural, and community newspapers.

- LAC has received one-time special funding from the Government of Canada to convert an industrial building into a collection facility, and this will house the LAC newspaper collection. The print newspaper collection will be moved at the beginning of 2012. The move of this collection will cost an estimated $500,000 ...

- All Canadian newspapers published in microform after 1988 are subject to legal deposit....LAC purchases titles filmed for preservation purposes (and) ... spends more than $90,000 per year on newspapers on microform.

- the de facto guideline for considering newspapers copyright clear in Canada has been 90 years, and so, memory institutions have tended to concentrate on digitizing newspaper content published before 1920.

- The LAC newspaper collection ... constitutes one of the most heavily used parts of the LAC collection.

Exposing Union Catalogue Metadata Via Third Parties

- For more than 50 years, Canadian libraries have voluntarily contributed their bibliographic metadata to the Union Catalogue ... (which) ... features approximately 65 million library holdings and 23 million bibliographic records.

- This metadata aggregation is made freely available ...

- OCLC's (for Online Computer Library Center) union catalogue, WorldCat, aggregates information from over 70,000 library collections from around the world. It provides participating libraries with increased visibility through enhanced data flows, syndication, synchronization and linking. (LAC is not a partner).

Access the full text of the pathfinders at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/modernization/012004-2050-e.html

02 December 2009

Ancestry reveals Colbert's Canadian roots

The followig is a release from Ancestry.ca


Ancestry.ca discovers the roots of Colbert’s passion for hockey

December 2, 2009 - He’s accused Canada of cheating at the upcoming Winter Olympics. He's referred to Canadians as “Godless” and “Syrup Suckers.” He believes Canada is Obama’s America, and supports an American-based Ontario Hockey League team, claiming a war of Good vs. Evil between his beloved Saginaw Spirit and their Canadian adversaries. But what Stephen Colbert may not know is that he’s as Canadian as the Maple Tree and universal healthcare.

Ancestry.ca, Canada’s leading family history website[i], made the shocking discovery that the right-wing pundit of “truthiness” and opponent of social welfare has not one, but two paternal relatives that lived, worked and even passed on, in the Great White North.

James Quinn, Stephen’s great-great-grandfather, was born in Ireland in 1830. At some point James, like millions before and after, set sail for a better life in Canada.

According to his 1851 Census record, James Quinn lived and worked as a labourer in Frontenac County near Kingston, Ontario, which coincidentally is a noted hotbed of hockey and home to proud Canadian and hockey icon, Don Cherry. James’ daughter Angeline Quinn married George William Colbert, Stephen’s great-grandfather.

Mary Skelton (nee Mary Ann Gurry) is another paternal ancestor of Stephen’s. Also born in Ireland, she was Stephen’s great-great-grandmother. She immigrated to the United States where she would meet her future husband Creighton Skelton.

What happened next is unclear, but at some point Mary ended up moving north of the border, where she would live out her last days.

According to her Ontario death certificate, Mary Skelton passed away on June 29, 1880 in Haldimand County, near the shores of Lake Erie.

Mary and Creighton’s daughter Elizabeth Skelton married Hugh Tormey. Their daughter Mary Tormey married James W. Colbert Sr. – Stephen’s grandfather.

“As Stephen himself admits, he has little time for facts, logic or information… he prefers to feel the truth rather than look it up in historical records,” quips Karen Peterson, Marketing Director, Ancestry.ca. “However, we are confident that if he searches his soul deep down, the truthiness of his Canadian heritage will be too powerful to deny.”

This intriguing discovery highlights the fact that most people have family origins in many different places: information that can be lost or forgotten with each passing generation. Thanks to the online preservation of historical records this information is now readily available and easier than ever to search.

To discover your personal family history story, visit ancestry.ca

Four LAC pathfinder projects

LAC has placed online the text of four discussion papers regarding pathfinder projects "that seek, through practical projects, to validate the four guiding principles and the key roles of the Documentary Heritage Management Framework developed by Library and Archives Canada (LAC) during summer and fall 2009."

They are:

According to the web site, at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/modernization/012004-2050-e.html
"each pathfinder project will result in a final report, which will add overall conclusions about the implementation of the Documentary Heritage Management Framework and the Acquisition Orientation Instrument. Based on observations, the final report will be even more effective in contributing to the achievement of LAC's mandate, within the current operating environment."

Consultation is promised. but without detail.

I quickly looked at the paper on newspapers. The proposal on resource discovery is "To maximize access to current and historical Canadian newspaper content for the current and future benefit of Canadians." The proposal strategic direction for response is "seek to increase the body of retrospective Canadian newspapers online through collaborative arrangements."

While peer institutions in other countries are moving ahead with actual digitization of extended runs of historical newspapers this LAC proposal is conditional on finding "collaborative arrangements." That's not good enough. LAC must find the fortitude to take a stand, decide it should be done, then look at how to do so rather than resort to the spineless conditional approach of this draft.

01 December 2009

Free acess to the Irish Times archive

Try www.irishtimes.com/150/ for a search box for the Irish Times Digital Archive, supposedly free until December 14th to celebrate the paper's 150th anniverary. The results I obtained were intermittent, sometimes returning no hits where there should have been. Likely the site is overloaded, so try again later, especially later in the evening if you're in North America.

Thanks to Charles Donohue for the tip.

Ancestry adds England and Wales death index, 1916-2005

As of the end of November Ancestry have added an index to civil registrations of death in England and Wales, 1916 to 2005, to their databases. This completes the Ancestry civil registration index collection.

The marriage index for the same period was added in July, http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2009/07/fully-indexed-england-and-wales.html

The birth index appeared in January, http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2009/02/ancestry-england-wales-birth-index-1916.html

Ancestry makes available GRO index transcriptions for the earlier period, that is, from July 1837, through the work of the FreeBMD project, accessible at www.freebmd.org.uk/. FreeBMD is continuing to work on the later period now covered by Ancestry and is generally considered a more accurate transcription.

If you don't find an event in these indexes it may be due to an error that crept in between the local registrar's office and the GRO, in which case you may enquire at the local office. An increasing number of these are online. A convenient access point is www.ukbmd.org.uk/index.php?form_action=local