31 January 2010

1874 Surrey map from MAPCO

I've blogged several times before about the great old maps online from MAPCO. For those with Surrey interest, which includes the site of TNA, a new facility is now online.

Here's the announcement as posted on GENBRIT by David Hale.

"The place name transcription work on the 1874 map of Surrey has now
been completed, so I am pleased to launch the map on the MAPCO website. It is:

Map Of The County Of Surrey From Trigonometrical Survey With The
Roads, Parks & Railways 1874

Use the thumbnail map at the top of each page to navigate your way
around the map. Hovering your mouse pointer over the thumbnails will
display a pop-up message showing the areas covered by that map
section. A coloured thumbnail image shows you where you are on the
map. The usual 'click to enlarge' feature applies to the individual
map section images displayed.

This map includes a comprehensive search feature for place names. The
search feature is located at the top right of each page, with a
search box containing the words "Search This Map". The Search Engine
enables a targeted search of the entire 1874 map of Surrey. The
spelling of place names has been accurately transcribed from the map,
so reflects the spelling used on the map. No modern updating of place
names has been applied, so some lateral thinking may be required to
find a desired street or place. Refer to the ' Complete Index Of
Surrey Place Names' link if you are having difficulty finding a place.

My sincere thanks to all of the Listers who volunteered to assist
with transcribing the place names from the Surrey map images. Thank
you all for doing such a wonderful job! Sincerely, thank you."

30 January 2010

Above the ground floor at TNA

In a recent posting I wrote “Finally, I can confirm that TNA has not reverted to requiring you to have a user card and pass through security to get above the ground floor. I was surprised to read that in a recent article in Family Chronicle Magazine. It appears the article was just terribly dated.”

The article’s author, Paul Jones, posted a comment and has reason to complain. There is no security gate on the ground floor, and neither did Paul’s article say there was.

However, neither is there a security station “at the head of the stairs” where items you carry in and out are inspected, as in the article.

What the article fails to point out is that a tremendous range of resources exist at the top of those stairs for which no registration, security card or inspection is required. I’d venture that a majority of people visiting TNA don’t need such a card which is only required in order to visit that part of the floor in which original documents are produced. Much unique material on microfilm, datasets on computer and a superb reference book collection are all available without burdensome security.

Paul’s article was billed as a look at the quirkier side of researching at TNA. I can’t argue with that description. Family Chronicle’s readers would be well served if the article had been balanced with another on the wonderful resources available at Kew, including the books which have solved for than one longstanding problem for me, and how to access them.

28 January 2010

More on inside Ancestry.com

The Ancestry Insider has two more posts of interest to those curious about the inner workings of Ancestry.com. This is notes from a presentation by Laryn Brown, senior director, document preservation operations.



Ancestors in the Attic

History Television Canada continues the season of Ancestors in the Attic on January 28 with two new half-hour episodes starting at 6pm EST, repeated at 9pm.

The episodes are described in a Global Genealogy posting at http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/gazed/gazed192.htm

Bob Stoutley, of Milton, ON, is white. But recently he made a stunning discovery: his father may have taken a dramatic family secret to his grave. Digging into his family history Bob had stumbled across a man claiming they shared the same grandfather, and that this grandfather was Black.

Unfortunately, Bob's own father had already passed away, and there was no one left in his family to tell him the truth. So Bob turned to Ancestors in the Attic. Now he is about to begin a journey that will take him to Canada's east coast in search of answers about his family's roots, and the secret his father kept hidden until his dying day.

When the Bolsheviks took power in Russia, Nicolas Makletzoff - an officer in the White Army - was forced to flee the country to avoid execution. Left behind was his 13-year-old daughter, Natalia. Eventually ending up in Canada, Nicolas spent the rest of his life desperately trying to find Natalia, but never saw his Russian daughter again.

At the age of 60, Nicolas had another daughter who he named Natalie. But when Natalie was just 18, Nicolas died. Now, nearly 40 years after his death, Natalie, who lives in Thunder Bay, ON, wants to fulfill her father's lifelong dream and discover what happened to Natalia. With Ancestors in the Attic, she will journey all the way to Belarus, in search of her half-sister, her father's Russian daughter.

As usual, schedules are subject to change.

27 January 2010

2010 - Year of the British Home Choild

The following is a Government of Canada Press Release

Ottawa, January 26, 2010 — In response to the unanimous support for Member of Parliament Phil McColeman’s motion in the House of Commons, the Government of Canada has designated 2010 the Year of the British Home Child, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

Designating 2010 as the Year of the British Home Child is a meaningful way to acknowledge this chapter of Canadian history,” said Minister Kenney. “The Government of Canada recognizes the hardships suffered by British Home Children and their perseverance and courage in overcoming those hardships. Over the next year, the Government of Canada will honour the great strength and determination of this group of child immigrants, and reflect on the tremendous contributions made by former Home Children and their descendants to the building of Canada.”

From 1869 until the late 1940s, around 100,000 children were brought to Canada from the United Kingdom by religious and philanthropic organizations and sent to live with Canadian families, often as farm labourers or domestic servants under the United Kingdom’s Child Migration Scheme. These children were known in Canada as the Home Children.

Throughout 2010, the Government of Canada will encourage Canadians to learn more about this period of our history. In September, Canada Post will issue a commemorative stamp in honour of the legacy of former British Home Children in Canada. Further activities are being developed to mark the Year of the British Home Child.

“So little is known about this important chapter in Canadian history,” said Phil McColeman, Member of Parliament for Brant. “Many of the Home Children faced hardships and adversity, but went on to become contributing members of our society. By proclaiming 2010 as the Year of the British Home Child, our Government is taking steps to ensure that their experiences and perseverance are honoured and commemorated.”

It is estimated that between 3 and 4 million Canadians are directly descended from former Home Children.


LAC continues Lest We Forget project

The following is extracted from a letter from Marie-Josée Martel, Assistant Deputy Minister - Programs and Services Sector of LAC.

"The Ottawa Sun article last week gave the impression that Library and Archives Canada (LAC) was directed to "permanently shut down" this project. LAC corrected this inaccurate and misleading information in a letter to the editor on Friday, January 22nd (see attached). The status of Lest We Forget continues to be an essential evolving LAC project.

LAC will be taking advantage of digital opportunities and our efforts will be increasingly directed to have the information related to Lest We Forget available on-line. This will allow millions of Canadians and in particular, students and teachers from some 22,000 schools from coast to coast to coast, to consult and learn about our military history and the important role that Canada has always played.

From now until the end of the 2009-2010 school year, LAC's approach to the project and the workshops remains the same.

In the fall, classes will still be able to book rooms if they choose to come in person, have the information they request ready and a toolkit will enable teachers to interpret the material and conduct workshops for themselves as will all teachers across the country. As e-documents progressively enrich the Lest We Forget project, LAC will be able to strengthen its continuing efforts in providing access to this valued information across Canada through the Web.

Over the next two years, LAC will also be working with partners such as libraries and archives to enhance accessibility and support users across Canada for all its programs and material including military files and documents."

Comment: The misleading information appearing may relate to LAC's refusal to book further meetings. It's unfortunate that LAC has adopted the freeze approach in dealing with its financial issues and modernization initiative. It smacks of standing transfixed in the headlights of progress.

Award to TNA

Kudos for The (UK) National Archives which won an award in the category 'Central e-government excellence: Take-up and usage growth', at a ceremony held on 20 January at the Guildhall, London.

"The 1911 census project involved digitising more than two kilometres of paper census returns containing information collected from 36 million people living in England and Wales in April 1911. It is the most comprehensive census ever to be opened to the public, one of the most ambitious digitisation projects ever undertaken, and was made possible through a partnership between The National Archives and findmypast.com.

The online census, which received 24 million searches in the first month after its launch, remains extremely popular with audiences across the world."

25 January 2010

Ontario Vital Statistics

Volunteer projects are wonderful resources, even for datasets that are commercially indexed like Ontario vital records. You get a separate opinion on the information.

Here's a link for Ontario marriage registration transcripts, courtesy of OGS Ottawa Branch colleagues: http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~maryc/thisisit.htm

24 January 2010

Findmypast add parish records

FindMyPast.co.uk announce the addition of over 50,000 new baptisms for Stepney and Spitalfields.

"The records are broken down by church making them easier for you to pinpoint your ancestors.

We’ve added almost 20,000 records for Spitalfields and over 30,000 for Stepney with the breakdown by church as follows:

St Dunstan 1835-1848 - 11,967 new records
St George in the East 1861-1877 - 15,848 new records

Christ Church 1729-1795 - 19,481 - new records

We’ve also added the London probate indexes for names A-F and a complete dataset for Kent, which you can find within parish burials. Records include: Over 15,000 records added for London for 1750 - 1858 6,300 records for West Kent for 1750 - 1858 128,000 records for East Kent for 1831 - 1841

This month has also seen the addition of an incredible 30,000 baptisms and almost 27,000 burials for parishes in Middlesex, an extention to the coverage of parishes within the Halifax District and many more records for Wakefield.

For further details on this and other stories, please visit our blog and news articles."

TNA podcast: immigration to the UK

This talk by Mark Pearsall from 18 August 2009 looks at immigration into Britain from the 16th to the 20th century, as late as 1986, and the relatively few sources held by TNA that can be used to trace immigrants entering, and living, in the country. Records discussed can provide vital clues to the overseas origins of denizens or naturalised British citizens, as well as providing insight into their first years in their adopted country.


23 January 2010

Breast cancer and family history

As regular readers will know, I'm a skeptic when it come to family history and disease. Sometimes for those inclined to worry about such things knowledge of a family history of a disease can do more harm than the actual risk.

Now researchers at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund’s Cancer Epidemiology Unit in Oxford have found that most women with a family history of breast cancer will never develop the disease. Most women who get breast cancer don’t have a close relative with breast cancer.

Read the press release at: www.healthy.net/scr/Article.aspx?Id=2899

22 January 2010

LAC disruption and reduction of service

Its always a good idea to order materials you want to consult not on open shelves before making a trip to Library and Archives Canada. Imagine arriving to consult a rare book and finding its in the Preservation Collection where, as of February 1, 2010, retrieval will be only once a week on Tuesday.

LAC have also announced that during the period between February 1 and March 31, 2010, the Rare Book Collection will be moved to the LAC Preservation Centre in Gatineau and will not be available for consultation.

More information at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/whats-new/013-436-e.html

Ottawa genealogy classes

For those wanting genealogy instruction in Ottawa, classes through the Catholic School Board start up in February. Lesley Anderson is running Beginner and Intermediate classes in the daytime at St. Ambrose and at Lester B Pearson in the evening. Read about the classes offerred through the Continuing Education program at http://onlineca.activecommunities.com/OttCathSchools/Activities/Activities.asp?SCheck=948334857&SDT=40198.3994503819&sectionId=53 .

Southwestern Ontario Veterans

A new blog by W.Bruce Hillman look at veterans from Southwestern Ontario both historically and genealogically is at http://swveterans.blogspot.com/.

21 January 2010

Ancestors in the Attic

History Television Canada continues the season of Ancestors in the Attic on January 21 with two new half-hour episodes starting at 6pm EST, repeated at 9pm.

The episodes are described in a Global Genealogy posting at http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/gazed/gazed192.htm

On Christmas Eve 1943, 28-year-old Melville Madden was in the thick of one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the Canadian military - the Battle of Ortona. Like the rest of his regiment, Madden was looking forward to an historic Christmas dinner organized by his unit, the Seaforth Highlanders. But he was also looking forward to something even more important - a Christmas reunion with his older brother, Cecil, who was also fighting in Italy. Unfortunately, Melville never arrived at their reunion. Sometime on Christmas Eve he was killed in action. To this day, his family has no idea how he died.

Until now. Julian Sacher, a high school student from Lacombe, Alberta - Melville Madden's hometown - is about to embark on a journey to Ortona. With the help of Ancestors in the Attic, he will try to discover the truth behind Madden's death, and, if he can, finally answer the questions Melville's family have asked for more than 65 years.

In 1928, when he was 24, Sidor Cembrowski fled Eastern Europe to build a better life for himself in Canada. But he never forgot his family back home, and treasured the letters he received from them. But after World War Two, and the fall of the Iron Curtain on his homeland, the letters stopped. Although he tried, Sidor couldn't contact his family and died never knowing whether they survived the war or Stalin's Reign of Terror.

Now, Sidor's oldest daughter, Millie, and his great-granddaughter Annamari, of Charlie Lake, B.C., want to fulfill Sidor's dying wish and find his lost family. With Ancestors in the Attic, they are about to journey back to Ukraine, to try and reconnect with their ancestral roots and make their family whole again.

As usual, schedules are subject to change.

Pharos Tutors forthcomming courses online

The following is from Pharos Tutors.
Press Release
19 January 2010 – For Immediate Release

Get the children involved!

Pharos provides unique help for family historians with innovatory new courses

Hannah Baker, B.A. (Hons) History, PGCE, has joined the Pharos teaching team. With many years of teaching experience and a degree in Medieval History, Hannah brings a lot of experience to Pharos Tutors. Hannah will be teaching a brand new course, entitled “Climbing Trees: How to get children interested in family history”.

Most people with a love of family history know how exciting discovering the lives of their ancestors is. Bringing this to life for children is a great way to share it. The course explains how to get young minds past the pages of records and data, and into a living, breathing world of the past.

The course includes many cheap “make and do” activities and shows how to tie family history research into enhancing children’s scholastic skills. The course starts April 19, 2010 and lasts for four weeks.

Pharos Teaching & Tutoring started only 4 years ago with just five courses and three teachers and is pleased to announce that 2010 will see a programme of over 30 courses with even more in the process of development. There is something for everyone, with an expanded list of subjects and time periods. All Pharos courses are short, reasonably priced and designed to fit in with busy lifestyles. Full information is on the Pharos website http://www.pharostutors.com

Updated Course list February – August 2010

25 February – The National Archives Catalogue – Finding People – 3 weeks £32.99

8 March – Migration in the British Isles – 3 weeks £32.99

11 March – Developing and Writing Your Family History – 3 weeks £32.99

31 March – The Poor, the Parish and The Workhouse: Records in the 18th and 19th centuries – 5 weeks £42.99

6 April – Discover Your Devon Ancestors – 4 weeks £37.99

14 April – Scottish Research Online – 5 weeks £42.99

19 April – Climbing Trees: How to get children interested in family history – 4 weeks £37.99

13 May – 20th century Surveys for Family and Local History – 4 weeks £37.99

14 May – Organizing Your Genealogy – 3 weeks £32.99

18 May – Tying the knot: Marriage and its records – 3 weeks £32.99

23 June – Enclosure Maps and Records for Family Historians – 4 weeks £37.99

6 July – Scotland 1750 – 1850: Beyond the OPRs – 5 weeks £42.99

14 July – The Parish Chest: There was more to life than baptism, marriage and burial – 4 weeks £37.99

2 August – Professional Genealogist: Become One, Become a Better One – 4 weeks £37.99

Pharos is the only British provider of online classes aimed specifically at helping researchers with British and Irish ancestry. Arrangements for courses are simple and flexible making it easy to get started, study in your own time without having to travel, get help from experienced teachers, and chat about family history with other students. Courses are aimed at beginners and experienced researchers alike.

For more information on courses at Pharos, email - info@pharostutors.com

20 January 2010

Ancestry.com data centre

An informative posting from The Ancestry Insider:


TNA podcast: Shop Workers

TNA offer the audio portion of a presentation from 25 August 2009 by one of their best presenters, Audrey Collins. "Shop Workers: tracing your retail ancestors" is at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/shop-workers.htm.

Much of the material relates to business records rather than to individuals. You may get more of an idea of the work life of one of your ancestors by scanning the archives of one of the major retailers like the John Lewis Partnership at http://www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk/Display.aspx?MasterId=85216f42-b4a0-4921-84ab-65239c68c92d&NavigationId=761, or Sainsburys at http://www.museumindocklands.org.uk/English/Collections/LibraryArchives/SainsburyArchive/Default.htm.

For local businesses check the listings under the National Register of Archives at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/catalogues-and-online-records.htm. You may find the page worth bookmarking as it has many other useful links.

19 January 2010

FindMyPast moves Brightsolid into the black

A news item in The Scotsman reports improved financial performance in the family history sector.

Figures show the Brightsolid group achieved a pre-tax profit of just over £2m on turnover of £13.2m. The previous year, it recorded a pre-tax loss of £2.2m on sales of £6.8m.

Read the full story at http://business.scotsman.com/business/Family-history-site-helps-DC.5989334.jp

18 January 2010

Ancestry magazine closing

Also from Dick Eastman is the news that Ancestry.com's Ancestry magazine is closing. The magazine was far too US oriented for my liking, but the US is a big market so I'm surprised it wasn't considered worth continuing. As a public company Ancestry.com is obviously looking closely at all its business lines.

This should help Toronto-based Moorshead magazines which targets the US market.

Read Dick's article at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2010/01/ancestry-magazine-discontinues-publication.html

Eastman milestone

Dick Eastman writes that his newsletter/blog is now 14 years old. Read it at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/. Thank you Dick for the help you provide to us all through your writing.

17 January 2010

OGS Ottawa Branch Monthly Meeting

January 19, 2010 7:30 PM

Library Archives Canada, Room 156, 395 Wellington St

Topic: The Blair Family of Gloucester

Speaker: Dorothy Meyerhof

Dorothy Meyerhof, a dedicated genealogist, has been researching the area she lives in Gloucester. Her discoverey of the history of one of the first families of Gloucester has been particularly interesting. She will speak about the Blair family.

15 January 2010

100,000 pages of additional British digitised newspapers online

An additional 100,000 pages of digitised newspaper content have now been added to the 19th-Century British Library Newspapers interface.

This is the first part of the second phase of JISC funding to add 1 million pages of new content to this unique resource in early 2010, published by Gale, part of Cengage Learning.

The initial 100,000 new pages of JISC content will include selected issues from the following 19th-Century Newspapers from around the UK, with a strong focus on regional newspapers.

  • Blackburn Standard
  • Bury and Norwich Post
  • Bradford Observer
  • Cheshire Observer
  • Royal Cornwall Gazette
  • Isle of Man Times
  • Leicester Chronicle
  • Nottinghamshire Guardian
  • Sheffield Independent
  • Dundee Courier 1845-1900
  • Daily Gazette for Middlesborough
  • Southampton Herald and Isle of Wight Gazette
  • Huddersfield Chronicle
  • Lancaster Gazetter
  • The Essex Standard
  • Isle of Wight Observer
  • The Standard 1883-1900
via http://digitisation.jiscinvolve.org/2010/01/13/opening-up-regional-newspapers-100000-pages-of-new-content-added-to-19th-century-british-library-newspapers/

Ancestry 1861 census update

Ancestry announce they have updated the 1861 "Canadian" census. As usual with updates, they give no information about the nature of the update, but it might be worth trying again if you've previously been unsuccessful finding someone you expected to be there.

14 January 2010

Ancestors in the Attic

History Television Canada continues the season of Ancestors in the Attic on January 14 with two new half-hour episodes starting at 6pm EST, repeated at 9pm.

The episodes are described in a Global Genealogy posting at http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/gazed/gazed192.htm

Neither Tami Georgi of Wetaskiwin, AB, nor Kathie Mackie of Toronto, ON, planned to fall for a World War One soldier. A few years ago, Tami bought a batch of post cards on Ebay. When they arrived, she discovered six post cards written by Clement Peake, a young Canadian soldier from Halifax. Clement was writing home from the front lines of World War One. Tami was immediately captivated. Kathie found her soldier in an abandoned house in Cape Breton. When she was a little girl, she discovered two letters written by Angus Morrison to his sister Katie. Moved by the affection evident for his distant sister, Kathie kept the letters for decades.

Now, both Kathie and Tami have asked Ancestors in the Attic for help in finding their soldiers' families. Two women, two WWI soldiers, two quests to find their families and, finally, bring these young men home.

Albert Lambert was a navigator and squadron commander during World War II. In July 1943, his plane was shot down over German-occupied France and he went missing. For five unbearable months, his family feared the worst. Then, one day, they received the good news: Al was alive. He had escaped to Spain.

Although Al Lambert lived a long life, he never told his children or grandchildren what happened during those five months in France. Now, 65 years later, Al's grandson, Chris Lambert of Saint John, New Brunswick, has decided to begin a journey to retrace his grandfather's footsteps and discover, if he can, the people who helped save Al Lambert's life.

As usual, schedules are subject to change.

13 January 2010

NGS takes Canada for granted

Take a look at the logo for the (US) National Genealogical Society conference coming up later this year. I'm wondering why Canada's Maple Leaf flag is missing? There is at least one Canadian presenter on the program, and I suspect there will be more non-US registrants from Canada than any other country. If the omission is not an example of taking Canada for granted it could only be a deliberate insult.

Coming at findmypast.co.uk

Paul Yates from Find My Past informs that the company will be significantly expanding their military records, including launching online for the first time anywhere Chelsea Pensioner service records and militia attestation papers (detailed military registration service records, containing personal details and physical descriptions). These are being provided in association with The National Archives. Also:

"Our BMDs section will be overhauled and improved, including the addition of greatly enhanced maritime records.

Irish and Scottish records will be arriving soon, establishing findmypast.co.uk as the primary family history site for the entire UK.

And we’re continuing to add even more specialist records to enable you to approach your research from all angles, including more parish records, our forthcoming London probate indexes and our new Merchant Seamen registers.

We will be adding more navigation and useability improvements to the site, including improved search screens and results pages, cross census search and saved records. We have new video tutorials on the way, showcasing our site redesign and helping you to get the most from your research."

Another TNA visit

On Tuesday 12th of January 2010 I had the pleasure of once again making my way through frozen South West London on a quick day trip to Kew and The National Archives. The ponds outside the building were almost completely frozen over with only a few miserable looking water birds to enliven the scene.

The research part of the trip went well. I was looking for information on RAF 288 Squadron that my uncle, Edward Cowan, served with during the Second World War. He flew as a wireless operator and gunner with Coastal Command based in Scotland. I found brief records for each of his missions, each with a complete crew list, in microfilmed records in series AIR 27, including the fatal flight on 6 September 1942 when his Sunderland flying boat was forced down in bad weather. The helpful military expert at the inquiry desk had directed me to these records, and also a book "Coastal Command Losses" by Ross McNeil, Unfortunately only volume one of the book, covering the period to the end of 1941, has been published. Volumes 2 and 3 have been prepared but not published, perhaps for economic reasons. Bomber Command and Fighter Command have faired better with multiple volumes published on their losses, all available on the TNA bookshelves.

A disappointment was the cancellation of the advertised lecture on digitized newspapers that had been my reason for choosing to go on that particular day. Surprisingly no substitute lecture was offered. This may mark a bit of disarray as TNA adjusts to the departure of David Annal who previously organized these lectures.

I had the pleasure of sharing afternoon tea with Simon Fowler, editor of Ancestors magazine. He mentioned that the magazine, which has pretty much held its subscriber base through economically troubled times.

Finally, I can confirm that TNA has not reverted to requiring you to have a user card and pass through security to get above the ground floor. I was surprised to read that in a recent article in Family Chronicle Magazine. It appears the article was just terribly dated.

11 January 2010

Behind the scenes at TNA

A short BBC video with TNA CEO, Natalie Ceeney, just awarded the CBE in the New Year's honours list,


10 January 2010

Probate Calendar for England and Wales

Ancestry working on making these, one of the remaining major databases not online, available. http://wing-ops.blogspot.com/2010/01/post-1858-wills-index.html

National Library of Scotland Digital Archive

The National Library of Scotland has added several collections to its digital archive during the past year. Worth a browse even if you don't have Scottish ancestors. http://digital.nls.uk/index.cfm

Photographs of the south side of Edinburgh
138 black-and-white photographs taken in 1929 taken by Alfred Henry Rushbrook on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Improvement Trust. Show tenements and shops around St Leonards before buildings were pulled down for slum clearance. Half-plate gelatin-silver prints. Precise address of building is given where known.
14 December 2009
Morall fabillis of Esope the Phyrgia[n]
Moral fables of Aesop put into Scots verse by the poet Robert Henryson
14 December 2009
Jacobite prints and broadsides
Illustrations of people and events relating to the Jacobite Rebellions in Scottish history (1715 and 1745-46). Also includes portraits of Mary Stuart and earlier Scottish monarchs, and broadsides. Collected by Walter Blaikie. Material stored at the National Galleries of Scotland.
14 December 2009
Gutenberg Bible
The first book printed with moveable type. Printed in Mainz, Germany, around 1455 by Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of printing, and Johannes Fust. One of around only 20 complete copies to survive out of the original 180. Two volumes. Also known as ‘The 42-line Bible’ or ‘The Mazarine Bible’.
02 March 2009
Scottish printing towns 1508-1800
Items from the first printing press set up in a particular Scottish town or village between 1508 and 1800. May be the first item printed on that press or a later product from the same press that is more important. Includes the first book printed in Scotland, dated 4 April 1508.
02 March 2009
Aberdeen Breviary
Prepared and edited by William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen. Printed in Edinburgh in 1510 on Scotland’s first press set up by Walter Chepman and Androw Myllar. The largest product of that press. Two volumes, entitled ‘Pars hiemalis’ and ‘Pars aestivalis’. The whole breviary is also known as ‘Breviarium Aberdonense’.
02 March 2009
Soviet posters
The Woodburn Collection of around 70 posters issued between 1919 and 1930. A few relate to the Russian Civil War, but most deal with economic and social issues of the 1920s. Brought back from the Soviet Union by Scottish Labour MP Arthur Woodburn after his visit there in 1932.
02 March 2009
First World War 'Official Photographs'
Black-and-white photographs mainly of the Western Front during the First World War. Official British war photographers took many of them for propaganda purposes. Unless otherwise stated, titles are the photographs' original captions. From the papers of Field Marshal (Earl) Haig (1861-1928). The Haig Papers also contain Douglas Haig’s diaries.
02 March 2009
The first published English edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure story. Published in London in 1886 by Cassel and Company Limited. View complete volume page by page.
02 March 2009
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect
First collection of Robert Burns’s work to be published. Printed in Kilmarnock by John Wilson in 1786. Known as the ‘Kilmarnock Burns’ or the ‘Kilmarnock Edition’. The poems include ‘Scotch drink’, ‘The Cotter’s Saturday night’, ‘To a mouse’ and ‘To a louse’.
02 March 2009
Ordnance Survey One-Inch Popular edition of Scotland - 1921-1930
A series of 92 sheets mapping all of Scotland. Ordnance Survey aimed to produce an attractive contoured road map that would be popular with the 'man in the street'. The ‘Popular’ edition was particularly intended for the inter-war generation's leisure hours – cycling, touring or walking through the countryside.
02 March 2009
Genealogical collections concerning families in Scotland, made by Walter Macfarlane, 1750-1751
A collection of genealogies of ancient Scottish families compiled around 1750 by Walter Macfarlane. Re-published in 1900 as ‘Genealogical collections concerning families in Scotland’ for private circulation to members of the Scottish History Society. Edited from original manuscripts in the Advocates Library by James Toshach Clark.
02 March 2009
Early books of Scottish Songs
Three early books of Scottish songs with melodies and illustrations. Includes songs printed between 1739 and 1746, the first printed collection of songs with their melodies, and songs with words by Allan Ramsay.
02 March 2009

09 January 2010

Scottish 1939 National Identity Register now available

The following is the press release from Duncan Macniven:

Family historians have been given access for the first time to information from the National Identity Register drawn up at the outbreak of the Second World War.

In 1939, the National Registration Act ordered a register of everybody living in the UK – for the purpose of issuing identity cards, ration books and call-up papers. The register was compiled by the Registrar General of the time, James Kyd, and his successor still preserves the original register. It records personal information of great interest to family historians – name, address in 1939, marital status, age and occupation.

The register has been kept secret because the 1939 Act prohibited publication of the information but thanks to an application under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, that restriction has been reviewed and details about people who have since died are now being made available.

Welcoming the new release of information, Jim Mather MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism in the Scottish Government said:-

“Scotland has an unrivalled reputation for making information available to family historians. This release of information from the 1939 register will give a starting point for people who do not have a record of their recent family history. It is a good example of the way that the Scottish freedom of information legislation is unlocking records which have up to now been secret.”

To apply write

Extract Services
General Register Office for Scotland
New Register House
3 West Register Street

enclosing a fee of £13 (cheque payable to the General Register Office of Scotland) and evidence of the death of the person who is the subject of the enquiry. For those who have died in Britain, a simple date of death will suffice as the GROS can easily corroborate that from its records, but if it is for a Scot who has died overseas, you should enclose proof of death from overseas. In return, an official extract from the register with the GROS seal will be dispatched, including all the details on that individual as recorded in 1939.

Information supplied will be for the individual in question
- address, surname and other names, male or female, birth (day, month and year), single, married widowed or divorced, personal occupation .

via the SGNE blog with a tip of the hat to Chris Paton

08 January 2010

BIFHSGO January meeting

10:00 a.m., 9 January 2010, at Library & Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street

"Murder Most Foul - The Complete Story" by Robert Brown

Using old newspaper reports and other sources Robert Brown will reconstruct the murder he discovered of his cousin, Michael "Mickey" Brown. He will describe the murder, the investigation, the manhunt, capture and trial of the murderer, and the eventual carrying out of the sentence passed upon him in a duly-constituted Scottish court. It may not be as exciting as an episode of CSI or NCIS, but it has lots of twists and turns. This talk will honour the 101st anniversary of the murder in Fife; a murder so foul that it captivated the attention of the people in Fife, Perth, and the Lothians for at least a year.


"Before BIFHSGO" education talk (at 9:00 a.m.):

"Display it and Save it: Presenting and Preserving your Family Documents" presented by Kyla Ubbink

07 January 2010

Ancestors in the Attic - New Season

History Television Canada opens the fourth and final season of Ancestors in the Attic on January 7 with two half-hour episodes starting at 6pm EST, repeated at 9pm.

The episodes are described in a Global Genealogy posting at http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/gazed/gazed192.htm

When she was in grade three Denice Brown of Kingston, Nova Scotia made a startling discovery - she was part Chinese. Despite asking, her father refused to ever tell her anything about her Chinese ancestry or about his life before arriving in Canada. All Denice could ever discover was the rumour that her grandfather, Au Kim Lee, was one of the first Chinese immigrants in Newfoundland. All her life Denice realized that something dramatic must have happened to her father back in China, something so fundamental he cut all ties with his Chinese family. Now, with the help of Ancestors in the Attic, Denice is returning to her father's homeland to discover what caused his silence and to see if she can uncover her Chinese connection.

Jonathan Hart is an unusual 15-year-old: while his friends are off chasing girls, Jonathan's been chasing a mystery. Obsessed with all things military, Jonathan, who is from Clarenville, Newfoundland, has long been captivated by the legend of Cyril Gardner, a relative who fought in World War One. Twice decorated, Cyril received the Distinguished Conduct Medal for a remarkable act of bravery - taking 72 German soldiers prisoner in the midst of a front line battle. But Cyril's courage didn't stop there. Legend has it that when a British officer tried to execute the German prisoners, Cyril intervened and saved their lives. Out of gratitude, one of the prisoners took an Iron Cross from his own uniform and pinned it to Cyril's chest. Now, 80 years later, Jonathan has undertaken a mission: find the Iron Cross and prove the legend true. With the help of Ancestors in the Attic, Jonathan is about to embark on a journey that will take him all the way from Clarenville, Newfoundland, to the battlefields of France.

As usual, schedules are subject to change.

06 January 2010

New Brunswick Legislative Assembly Sessional Records 1786-1833

These early records from New Brunswick are now online, browsable and searchable.

If your ancestor received a land grant/patent, or was involved in doing work for the government, he may turn up in these records.

As a bonus there are a few images from PANB.


Thanks to WJM for the tip.

05 January 2010

Ancestry improves wildcard search

Ancestry has updated their wildcard search.

Now you can put a wildcard first, such as *son or ?atthew.

Either the first or last character must be a non-wildcard character. For example, Han* and *son are okay, but not *anso*

Names must contain at least three non-wildcard characters. For example, Ha*n is okay, but not Ha*

These changes apply to both simple search and advanced search, and both old and new search.

via the Ancestry blog

How to Time Travel by Search Engin

An article in the UK Independent newspaper at www.independent.co.uk/news/media/online/how-to-time-travel-by-search-engine-1856670.html
suggests a way to get in-copyright newspaper material online.

"According to Ed King, head of the newspaper collections at the British Library, many regional newspaper publishers destroyed their archives a long time ago. In such cases, the library is willing to digitise its own copies, allowing the publisher – which retains the copyright – to monetise access to the material. "We can make them available in our reading rooms for our audiences in the British Library," says King. "But if it was accessed externally it would be part of the publisher's business model and users would be directed to their website.""

PBS genealogy show

Interesting new from Dick Eastman on a PBS genealogy show.

"PBS says its new show "Faces of America" uses the latest tools in genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 11 renowned Americans.

The series is to air Wednesdays from Feb. 10-March 3. Harvard scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. will be the show's host.

"Looking to the wider immigrant experience, Professor Gates unravels the American tapestry, following the threads of his guests' lives back to their origins around the globe. Along the way, the many stories he uncovers -- of displacement and homecoming, of material success and dispossession, of assimilation and discrimination -- illuminate the American experience," PBS said in a release this week.

"Professor Gates's guests include poet Elizabeth Alexander, who composed and read the poem at President Barack Obama's inauguration, chef Mario Batali, comedian Stephen Colbert, novelist Louise Erdrich, writer Malcolm Gladwell, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, film director Mike Nichols, Her Royal Highness Queen Noor, actress Eva Longoria, actress Meryl Streep and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi."

via Eastman's Online Genealofy Newsletter at: http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2010/01/streep-colbert-set-for-pbs-genealogy-show.html

04 January 2010

The popularity of family history

"An estimated 10 per cent of all internet users visit a family history website every three weeks, and with 25,000 amateur UK-based genealogists currently working on ‘virtually’ digging up their relatives, heritage hunting has even superseded gardening as the UK’s most popular hobby."

Those are facts included, unsourced, in the article "Hunting Down the Dead" in the Cyprus Mail, www.cyprus-mail.com/features/hunting-down-dead/20100103

FreeBMD January Update

The FreeBMD Database was last updated on Fri 1 Jan 2010 and currently contains 178,483,183 distinct records (228,465,149 total records). Major additions this update are in the 1930s and 1940s. Counts of the quarter by quarter additions are here.

03 January 2010

ACOM (Ancestry.com) trades down in quiet trading

The short trading week between Christmas and the New Year saw ACOM decline from opening at $14.58 on Monday to close at $14.01.

Two of three analysts rated ACOM a strong buy, the other a buy, with 12 month target price between $16 and $19.

Brighton History Centre threatened

Here's another one for the "if we don't hang together, we'll hang separately" file from BIFHSGO colleague Christine Jackson and the FFHS Archives Liaison.

I'm looking for people to sign an online petition. Perhaps you - and your friends - would consider supporting it?
It is a petition to save the Brighton History Centre, which is threatened with closure in March for financial reasons - to save £62,000!

"Brighton’s History Centre is located on the first floor of Brighton Museum. It is a unique ‘one stop shop’ for information on all of Brighton & Hove’s Museums’ and Libraries’ collections and is the place to come to research any aspect of the city’s heritage.

Explore Brighton’s local history using a variety of reference materials including newspapers, books, photographs, maps, oral histories and film material. Family history enthusiasts can search through electoral rolls, passenger lists and military material. And there is lots of help and advice on hand for those new to family history research."

Here is the link to the petition - you have to register with the site first in order to vote - http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=83&RPID=227688
If this local history centre - see http://www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk/Museums/brightonhistorycentre/Pages/home.aspx - closes in March as proposed, local historians - and those further afield who rely on them for look-ups - could lose access to (among many other things):

- an unrivalled local Sussex newspaper archive going back to the 18th Century
- an unrivalled collection of historic maps of Brighton and Sussex
- a fantastic collection of local Brighton and Sussex residential and trade directories
- local census microfilms & parish register microfiches
- the complete national birth, death and marriage indexes
- electoral rolls stretching back to the 19th Century
- free access to the Ancestry Online databases
- the expert assistance of the Centre staff whose jobs will disappear if the Centre closes in March.

To express views in addition to simply voting through the e-petition.

The City Councillor with responsibility for "Culture, Recreation and Tourism" is David Smith: david.smith@brighton-hove.gov.uk

The leader of the council is Mary Mears: mary.mears@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Their address for correspondence is:

King's House
Grand Avenue

There has been quite a lot in the local paper about it (see for instance):


More letters can be submitted online here:


My experience is that it is often quite salutory for councillors to experience the remarkable outpouring of protest that this type of proposal can engender.

02 January 2010

Archive CD Books Canada 50% off sale

The following is from the company

We have decided to replace our very successful "Pre-Christmas" sale with a JANUARY SALE!!!
We have selected 180 of our best CDs and marked them down by 50%. That is:
69 Canadian topic CDs & 111 British topic CDs ! (The British topic titles are catalogued as "Other")

GO to our web site: www.ArchiveCDBooks.ca/ and click on the "50% off January Sale" to see the list of titles on sale.

Examples:Storied Province of Quebec Vols 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5Product No. CA0031-S, Regular: $35.00 ON SALE AT: $17.50
Lovell's Canadian Dominion Directory - 1871Product No. CA0192-S, Regular $60.00, ON SALE AT $30.00.
The Visitations of Essex 1552, 1558, 1570, 1612 & 1634Product No. GB8016, Regular $30.20, ON SALE AT $15.10
The Universal Directory of Great Britain - 1791Product No. GB1134, Regular $59.50, ON SALE AT $29.75
Crockford's Clerical Directory 1874Product No. GB1054, Regular $30.20, ON SALE AT $15.10


This is a limited time offer and cannot be combined with other offers - except that shipping in Canada is still FREE.