31 August 2010

Tracing Your Irish Roots

I've previously mentioned this special publication from Moorshead Magazines. Here are the detailed contents:

Irish Roots Cafe Genealogy Podcast
Cindy Thomson looks at an innovative approach to Irish genealogy

Irish Genealogy on the ‘Net
Rick Norberg looks at researching your Irish ancestors on the worldwide web

Letters Home: To Ireland and Wales From the US
Marc Skulnick introduces a collection of letters written to the folks back home

Irish Famine Passenger Lists
Halvor Moorshead looks at a great online resource

British and Irish Military Records and Memorials
Alan Stewart finds British and Irish military records online

Getting Started on Your Irish Line
If you’re just beginning your Irish genealogy,
Cindy Thomson looks at what you can do on this side of the pond

Irish Censuses Online
Marc Skulnick looks at the 1911 Irish census online

Top 50 Sites for British and Irish Research!
Alan Stewart looks at the best websites for tracing and researching your ancestors from across the pond!

25 Websites for Irish Genealogy
Susan Meates looks at the top online resources for researching your Irish family

Wills and Administrations in Britain and Ireland
Alan Stewart explains the importance of wills to genealogical research

Barney Clark: Irish immigrant, Miner, Farmer, Prankster?
Rick Crume goes online in search of an Irish famine emigrant’s origins

Finding Your Scots-Irish Ancestors on the ‘Net
CindyThomson looks at online resources dedicated to
Scots-Irish immigrants

Tracing Michael Gillen: A Case Study
Kevin Cassidy chronicles his search for one Michael Gillen, an Irish immigrant

Eneclann.ie: An Update
We look at what is new at Dublin's Eneclann.ie

Finding Irish Cousins: A Mini Case Study
Sharon Shea Boussard recounts her search for her Irish-born grandfather

These are reprints, fully updated, of articles previously published in family Chronicle, Internet genealogy and discovering family history.
It's $7.95 for this 56 page magazine format publication. Folks in Canada or in the US can save the shipping cost. Act fast and order by 1 September 2010. Go to www.familychronicle.com. Or you can pick a copy up at the BIFHSGO conference marketplace, 10 - 12 September at Library and Archives Canada.

CNE Film Archives

In the early 1980s I was living in Toronto. My brother, his wife and two kids came to stay from London, via Newark and Buffalo on People's Express. We rented a lakeside cabin near Gravenhurst and demonstrated a remarkable lack of skill at windsurfing.

A highlight of their visit was a day at the CNE.

I don't think of those times as very long ago, although both those kids now have kids of their own. Just how long ago it is was brought home when I found the film collection of the CNE Archives which has footage near to that time. It can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/CNEArchives or www.cnearchives.com

30 August 2010

London Jewish Cemetery Update

Almost every day you can find a news item about vandalism at another cemetery, so it's a pleasure to read two items in the Tracing the Tribe blog, written by Schelly Talalay Dardashti, with some good cemetery news

First, activists, community leaders and politicians are supporting restoration efforts at one of Europe's oldest Jewish cemeteries, Bankroft Road cemetery, located in Mile End,which was bombed in 1944. Architect and amateur historian Susie Clapham, has also submitted plans to the Board of Deputies, which has owned the cemetery since its closure in 1928, for a memorial to some of the UK's first Ashkenazi immigrants.

There's a history of the cemetery, and associated synagogue at www.jewisheastend.com/maidenlane.html. there's a link from that site with further information on Jewish life in East End London.

Second, one of the largest British Jewish cemeteries, Edgwarebury Lane Cemetery, Edgware, will add 6,500 new burial spaces, after winning an appeal for expansion, which will cost some 1.5 million GBP.

The Brookwood Cemetery Story

Also known as The London Necropolis, Brookwood Cemetery was 2,000 acres of Surrey countryside designed to become a burying place for all London's dead for all time. It was connected by rail to London's Waterloo Station, a story told in the short YouTube video below.

More than 235,000 interments have occurred there, including 2,731 members of the Canadian Forces from the two world wars as documented in the Canadian military video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-xgdNklXlg

There are about are 30 microfilm reels of Brookwood burial records in the Family History Library collection at General register of burials, 1854-1976

29 August 2010

Gordon Taylor RIP

I'm sorry to report the passing of Ottawa genealogist Gordon Taylor, on Saturday August 28.  He was in hospital for less than 24 hours and died of a heart attack.

Gordon served on the Board of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, and as President for one term from 1996. He was a member of the Society Hall of Fame.

Gordon was a forward looking researcher having taken an interest in genetic genealogy at an early stage. He continued to contribute a column, The Printed Page, to the Society Quarterly Chronicle, Anglo-Celtic Roots, up to the most recent issue.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday September 4.  Details will appear in the Ottawa Citizen later this week.

Scottish Family History: OGS Toronto Branch Workshop

Toronto Branch of OGS is planning a workshop on Scottish Family History for 18 June 2011. Chris Paton is already booked as principal speaker. Check out his excellent blog at http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/

A call for additional speakers has just been issued with the deadline for submissions Monday, 1 November 2010.  Further information is at: www.torontofamilyhistory.org/Scottish-Call.html).

OGS Families and Canadians At War, 1914-1919

A note from Elizabeth Lapointe arrived confirming her appointment as editor of OGS Families. My usually reliable sources were spot on.

She also mentioned that the November issue, the first one for which she will have full editorial responsibility, will feature articles on Home Children and Canada At War.

The Canada At War section will include an article by Glenn Wright on finding Ontario War Dead, 1914 to 1950, as well as a book review of his new book, "Canadians At War, 1914-1919: A Research Guide to War Service Records".

I've not seen Glenn's book, except a very early version about 18 months ago. From what he's told me it's changed quite a bit since then. He has also mentioned the process of publishing with Global Heritage Press - I'm amazed at how quickly present day technology means you can go from a manuscript to a published book.

Your, and my, first opportunity to purchase a copy should be at the Global Genealogy stand at the BIFHSGO conference, 10-12 September, at Library and Archives Canada.

28 August 2010


The BIFHSGO conference, 10 - 12 September 2010, is fast approaching.

On Sunday 29 August, between 8 and 10 am, listen to BIFHSGO President Glenn Wright, Conference Co-Chair Willis Burwell, plus two speakers (Dr. William Roulston and Nuala Farrell-Griffin) will be interviewed by program host Austin Comerton on CHIN radio in Ottawa at 97.9 FM.

Here, from The Gaelic Hour monthly newsletter, www.thegaelichour.ca, is information about the two speakers:

Dr. William Roulston is Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation, specializing in genealogical research and heritage consultancy. He holds a doctorate in Archaeology from Queen’s University, Belfast. He has written and edited a number of books including, (with Eileen Murphy) Fermanagh: History and Society (Dublin, 2004) and Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors (Belfast, 2005). He has also worked with the BBC on radio and television programs relating to local and family history and has participated in numerous historical and genealogical conferences. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and a Member of Council of both the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland and the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society.

A native of Ireland, Nuala Farrell-Griffin found her passion researching her own ancestors when she immigrated to Canada. Frequent return visits have allowed Nuala to continually expand her knowledge of Ireland and its fascinating genealogical repositories.
Combining her artistic talents with her expertise using computers, she creates a variety of geographic maps and diagrams to augment her lectures and handouts. These colourful, highly-specialized teaching aids give the visual impact many people require to grasp the meaning of the multitude of administrative and ecclesiastical districts related to Irish research. Nuala’s unique presentations are often the catalyst that allows attendees to achieve success in tracing their Irish origins.

27 August 2010

LAC's Power of the Communities

You can't tell the players without a program. So who are the players in Canada's archival, genealogical and librarian communities? Check out the (incomplete) list from Library and Archives Canada at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/communities/044-1000-e.html#a

26 August 2010

Odds and Ends

Ancestry have added a database of Sand’s directories for Sydney and New South Wales, Australia. Available directories are for the years 1861, 1865, 1870, 1875, 1880, 1885, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930. There are usually several sections in each directory including an index of alphabetical names, street addresses, and commercial addresses.The index is free.

Here is the complete list of databases added or updated on Ancestry so far this week:
Sydney and New South Wales, Sands Street Index, 1861-1930 - Free Index
Siracusa, Sicily, Italy, Civil Registration Records, 1900-1929 (in Italian)
New York County Supreme Court Naturalization Petition Index, 1907-24 - Updated
Istoria del Granducato di Toscana, Vol. 1 (in Italian)
Istoria del Granducato di Toscana, Vol. 2 (in Italian)
Istoria del Granducato di Toscana, Vol. 3 (in Italian)
Istoria del Granducato di Toscana, Vol. 4 (in Italian)
Istoria del Granducato di Toscana, Vol. 5 (in Italian)
Annuario Ecclesiastico per la Diocesi di Genova, 1900 (in Italian)
Guida Storico-Statistica Monumentale dell'Italia e delle Isole di Sicilia, Malta, Sardegna e Corsica (in Italian)
Dizionario Geografico, Storico, Biografico Italiano, Vol. 1 (in Italian)
U.S. School Yearbooks Index
U.S. School Yearbooks - Updated

For those in the Ottawa area, a reminder that a DNA Interest Group meeting will be held at Library and Archives Canada on Saturday, August 28th at 09:30 A.M.

Off topic, but of interest as it impacts on our daily life, this editorial from the Ottawa Citizen on the deteriorating state of Canada's Meteorological Service. Underfunded by international standards the Auditor General now declares that the impacts of decades of neglect are showing.

And finally, this looks like a record-breaking month for visitors to this blog. In the wee morning hours on 26 August the total number of page views for the month passed the previous record, set last month.

Your Family Tree magazine renews website

Your Family Tree, which appears on newsstands in Canada with cover title Your Family History, was one to which I formerly subscribed. I credit it with revitalizing UK genealogy magazines which for years were dominated by Family Tree's dour presentation. However, in turn Your Family Tree's went stale some years ago when the editor changed. I let my subscription expire.

Now there's a new editor, Tom Dennis. While I haven't seen the magazine lately renewing the website is an encouraging sign. Here's the editor's blurb.

Whether you’re a seasoned genealogist or coming to family history for the first time, you’ll find a wealth of research tools, tips and resources to help make your search as productive and rewarding as possible at the all-new www.yourfamilytreemag.co.uk.

As well as news, events and opinion the new Getting Started section is packed with a range of explanations, tips and techniques for taking the first steps in tracing your family tree.

Within the Research Tips page we’ll bring you advice and ideas for taking your research further – whether it’s how to unearth a story about an ancestor, or how to overcome common brick walls.

We’ve been working incredibly hard to bring you this exciting new online facility, which is intended to act as a central hub for all of your family history needs – but please do keep in contact with us, either through the new comments facility at the foot of each post, or through our Meet the Team page. We’d love to hear your feedback and ideas on how to make this website, and the magazine, even better!

Thanks, and happy researching!

Tom Dennis, Editor

25 August 2010

Victoria City Archives Databases

Persephone dropped a comment on the recent Edmonton Cemeteries posting here suggesting I was distracting her from completing more comprehensive postings on her blog. True, her last blog posting was disappointingly short. The end of her month blogging is approaching, all too soon, so to encourage further literary endeavours today's posting is about resources with which she must be only too familiar.

The Victoria (BC) City Archives hosts three interesting databases on the organization website.

Ross Bay Cemetery Records 1872-1980 has over 29,500 entries in a database that may be searched by last name, first name and date.

Death Notices Index 1901-1939 covers obituaries from the Victoria Daily Times newspaper. There are a few scattered entries from dates outside the range given, as early as 1831 and as late as 1950.
Marriage Notices Index 1901-1939 covers 17,500 entries from the Victoria Daily Times newspaper , again a few outside the date range specified.

I was hoping to find the burial of someone I'll be talking about in September in the Ross Bay records. It turns out that person isn't there, but did turn up in the old BC Cemetery Finding Aid.

24 August 2010

Toronto Trust Cemeteries FamilySearch Indexing Project - update

Here is an update from Jane MacNamara on a project I wrote about here last year.

"So far in 2010, we have transcribed just over 32,000 names. There have been 52 contributing indexers this year, including four who have managed to do more than 2,500 names each. In fact one indexer has contributed 7,300 names!

FamilySearch Indexing is an evolving program, and we see regular upgrades. All indexers who were part of the project before March have had to go through a process to change to FamilySearch Accounts which can also be used to contribute to the Wiki and other purposes. This definitely caused a few hiccups, but it has been worthwhile.

New indexers are certainly welcome. There's no pressure to do great quantities. Even a page a week (about 12 names) would be greatly appreciated. It is easy to do from anywhere with a high-speed Internet connection--and really fascinating. To find out how to join the Toronto Trust project, visit the Toronto Branch Projects blog: http://torontofamilyhistory.org/projects/."

Congratulations to Jane and her team on this progress.

Edmonton Municipal Cemeteries Database

Having found a great-grandfather in a database for a location I never dreamed he'd have ventured to, I'm a firm believer in running the distinctive names you search in every database you find.  

You can search electronic records of people interred more than 25 years ago (close to 60,000 people) that are in Edmonton (Alberta) Municipal Cemeteries. Beechmount, Edmonton, Cloverbar, Little Mountain and Mount Pleasant cemeteries may be searched together or singly. Against each name it returns burial date, cemetery, section, block and plot. It's easy to identify families interred in the same block and the same or adjacent plots. The facility is free.

23 August 2010

Unknown Child on the Titanic

I've written previously of my admiration for the work of Colleen Fitzpatrick who spoke at last year's BIFHSGO conference. She recently added on her Identifinders' blog the four-part story of a child victim of the Titanic disaster and how her research was able to identify him. The work was completed in 2008. You may have already heard her present the story, but I have no hesitation in recommending revisiting it to learn how it's done.

As you have to jump around on the blog to read the complete story you may find it easier to follow by clicking on the individual links below.

Unknown Child on the Titanic – Part I

Unknown Child on the Titanic – Part II

Unknown Child on the Titanic – Part III

Unknown Child on the Titanic – Part IV (Conclusion)

British Pathe archive open to all

With 90,000 individual films on the site you're sure to find something of interest at the British Pathe archive. Access is now free at www.britishpathe.com/.

These newsreel shorts, often shown in cinemas prior to the main feature before the days when TV became common, have sports footage, social history documentaries, entertainment and music stories from 1896 to 1976.

The videos are marked as being for preview; the company would like to sell you a better version. I somethimes had problems with the videos stalling and failing to restart.

22 August 2010

New Families Editor

I'm told by usually reliable sources that Elizabeth Lapointe has been named as the new editor of the OGS quarterly publication Families. Elizabeth has edited the OGS newsletter, newsLeaf, for some while and was guest editor for the August issue of Families.

I`ve been waiting to see an offical announcement on the OGS website, or on the OGS blog. It has not appeared yet, but this new role should not go unannounced.

Let me extend my best wishes to Elizabeth as she takes on this new challenge.

Researching CEF Ancestors? Check out The Regimental Rogue

If you're researching Canadian soldiers of the First World War a great starting place is the nine part series now online at The Regimental Rogue.

Stay tuned for news of a soon to be forthcoming book, authored by Glenn Wright, written with the genealogist in mind, which will cover all Canada's WW1 military.

21 August 2010

Canadian passenger lists, 1925-1935.

Library and Archives Canada have just placed online images of passenger arrivals, 1925-1935, for Quebec City, Montreal, Halifax, Saint John, North Sydney, Vancouver and Victoria, New York, and Eastern U.S. Ports.

They are not searchable by keyword. Instead these are straightforward images from microfilm reels and are accessible by microfilm number. You start by clicking on the appropriate port of arrival at http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-digitization/006003-110.01-e.php/. Clicking on help gives extensive information about these records including a tabulation of the date range for each microfilm.

You may be fortunate and find your passenger included in a series of old nominal indexes exist for the 1925 to 1935 records which can be searched from www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/immigration-1925/001012-100.01-e.php

Ancestry also have indexed passenger lists for this time period with links to the images.

20 August 2010

Searching Middle Names

Not long after I started my family history research I grew to appreciate the value of middle names. I was searching through microfilms of the index to British birth registrations for my great-grandfather, Robert Reid. There were lots of possibilities. Then I came across Robert Digby Reid. Digby is a middle name that has appeared in each succeeding generation. I had my man.
A recent item on the Sussex RootsWeb list mentioned Hugh Wallis's index to middle names in the International Genealogical Index. Find it, along with other resources he developed, at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hughwallis/index.htm.  It dates back to 2002 and I'm wondering if it, and others of his resources, will survive changes being made at FamilySearch.

What about searching middle names in other British databases? There's too much to cover in a blog post so let's look specifically at the England and Wales civil registration birth index. It's worth remembering that these indexes stopped recording full middle names, just used initials, in the early 20th century.

You can search middle names on FreeBMD. I searched for First Name(s) <* Digby> but was informed the search would take too long unless I restricted it further. It worked without specifying a surname, useful to find possible cousins descended from female relatives, by searching in three year chunks. Include a surname and the search proceeds quickly. If the middle name you seek is the third, not the second, then you need to search using the model <* * Digby>.

With the England and Wales civil registration birth index database at findmypast.co.uk you are required to specify a last name for searches. The format First Name(s) <* Digby> with last name specified works and the results include cases with second initial D.  Using two asterisks produced results but too many to be useful.

For Ancestry's pre-1915 civil registration database of births putting the middle name only in the First & Middle Name(s) search box produced hits wherever that word occurred. <* Digby> produced a notice that too many results were found.

To me the bottom line here is that searching using middle names is quite viable online, always providing they were included in the record in the first place. You may have to play a bit with the format for the search.

Thanks to Christine Jackson for the tip about the item on the Sussex list.

New Ottawa City Archives Update

Every time I go past the construction site for the new Ottawa city archives I hope to see windows going in. On Thursday, August 19 most of the window area was covered with semi transparent plastic. Perhaps that means work is going on inside which is weather sensitive, there were certainly workmen on the upper levels.

At the back of the building work was also continuing on the library technical services facility. In this image you can see insulation being placed on the archives vault which protrudes to the west of the building.

19 August 2010

Deceased Online adds south London cemeteries

The following is an extract from a press release by DeceasedOnline.com

MERTON has become the first south London Borough to place its burial records on a national database website so that online searchers worldwide can access burial information and documents for the Council’s four cemeteries.Merton Council is the fifth London authority to sign up with www.deceasedonline.com but, with nearly 100,000 burial records dating back to 1883, this represents the highest number of records from any London council currently on the website.

The four Merton cemeteries on the Deceased Online database are:
  • Church Road Cemetery, Mitcham, CR4 3BE (also known as St Peter and St Paul’s Cemetery)
    16,000 burials, dated 2 March 1883 to 5 January 2009, are available as Burial register scans in various formats at 8 entries per scanned page.
  • Gap Road Cemetery, Wimbledon, SW19 8JA (also known as Wimbledon Cemetery) 
    Burials numbered 1 to 38,971, dated 29 November 1876 to 12 January 2010, are available as Burial register scans in various formats at 20 entries per scanned page.
  • London Road Cemetery, Mitcham, CR4 3LA
    Burials numbered 1 to 20,609, dated 2 April 1929 to 15 January 2010, are available as Burial register scans in various formats at 20 entries per scanned page.
  • Merton and Sutton Joint Cemetery, Morden, SM4 4NW (Garth Road)
    Burials numbered 1 to 21,579, dated 1 April 1947 to 9 June 2010, are available as Burial register scans in various formats at 20 entries per scanned page.
The four south London cemeteries are shown on the map with slant pins. If you want to see the larger map of London cemeteries go here.

Living the Poor Life: poor law correspondence online

New and free online at the (UK) National Archives are "thousands of pages of Victorian workhouse and poor law records made available online following the conclusion of a major project by The National Archives.

Living the Poor Life involved more than 200 volunteers, including local and family historians, researching and cataloguing 19th century records from the huge Ministry of Health archive (MH12).

The records comprise letters, reports and memos passed between local and national poor law authorities and help shed light on the lives and experiences of the Victorian poor. Dr Paul Carter, Project Director and Principal Modern Records Specialist, said: 'The importance of this series of records cannot be overestimated. The Poor Law Union correspondence is unrivalled in giving us that window in the archives to examine the lives of the Victorian poor."

All the records start at 1834, the year of the Poor Law Amendment Act, for the following Poor Law Unions:

  • Axminster Poor Law Union, Devon and Dorset, 1834- 1848
  • Basford Poor Law Union, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, 1834- 1845
  • Berwick upon Tweed Poor Law Union, Northumberland, 1834- 1852
  • Bishop’s Stortford Poor Law, Union Hertfordshire and Essex, 1834- 1852
  • Blything Poor Law Union, Suffolk, 1834-1840
  • Bromsgrove Poor Law Union, Worcestershire, 1834-1842
  • Cardiff Poor Law Union, Glamorganshire, 1834- 1853
  • Clutton Poor Law Union, Somerset, 1834- 1853
  • Keighley Poor Law Union, Yorkshire West Riding, 1834- 1855
  • Kidderminster Poor Law Union, Worcestershire, 1834- 1849
  • Liverpool Vestry (technically not a Poor Law Union, it retained vestry status throughout the 19th century), 1834- 1856
  • Llanfyllin Poor Law Union, Montgomeryshire and Denbighshire, 1834-1854
  • Mansfield Poor Law Union, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, 1834- 1849
  • Mitford and Launditch Poor Law Union, Norfolk, 1834- 1849
  • Newcastle under Lyme Poor Law Union, Staffordshire, 1834- 1856
  • Newport Pagnell Poor Law Union, Buckinghamshire, 1834- 1855
  • Reeth Poor Law Union, Yorkshire North Riding, 1834- 1871
  • Rye Poor Law Union, East Sussex and Kent, 1834- 1843
  • Southampton, Hampshire (technically not a Poor Law Union but an earlier incorporation), 1834- 1858
  • Southwell, Nottinghamshire, 1834- 1871
  • Truro Poor Law Union, Cornwall, 1834- 1849
  • Tynemouth Poor Law Union, Northumberland, 1834- 1855
  • Wolstanton and Burslem Poor Law Union, Staffordshire, 1834- 1851
You can search by entering any or all of the following into the 'content search' box:
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Place name, which could be a village, town or county
  • Occupation
  • Any other words mentioned in the document, for example 'Chartism’, ‘Strike’, ‘neglect’ or ‘death’
See search tips for more information.

The information above is taken from the TNA description. I searched some of the names in my family history but found none I could immediately identify as a relative. I did find correspondence in the file for the Mitford and Launditch Poor Law Union, Norfolk, from a Church of England minister, a relative of a man I`ve recently researched after whom an island in British Columbia is named.

Some of the documents include indexed lists of people under the care (a term used loosely) of the Union as well as of managers, overseers and employees of Union.

This is a very nice database for those with family in one of the areas covered, or for those interested in social history. It`s unfortunate the project did not receive funding to continue.

New Ordering System at Canadian Family History Centres

A new online film self-serve ordering system is being implemented today, Thursday, August 19th for Family History Centres in Canada.  From today all microfilm/fiche will be ordered online by patrons; film orders will no longer be taken at FHCs. That saves a trip just to place the order, a great benefit for those who live a long way from a FHC.

The procedure is that patrons will go online to https://film.familysearch.org and register for an account with your email address and a password you choose. You will be asked to choose the FHC you want your film/fiche to go to – the list also includes some libraries, like the Toronto Reference Library.  This can be changed whenever you want.  

Salt Lake will send a confirmation email -- check your SPAM folder if it doesn't appear promptly. 

All film/fiche orders and renewals will be self-serve online at the address above and will require payment online with a credit card. A hint -- before ordering any film, check with the local family history center to ensure that the film is not already available at that location.

All film/fiche will still come to the FHC and remain onsite to be viewed as before. The Family History Centre will still continue to contact you when the film has arrived at the FHC. You will also be able to track your order online.

The prices for film/fiche are as follows:
Microfiche - $5.00  (All microfiche are the same price whether there is 1 fiche in the set or more. Microfiche remain in the FHC.

Short-term film loan - $6.00  (Patrons will have roughly the same time to view them as they do now.  Films can be renewed for an additional charge of $6.00 and if the film is renewed twice, it remains in the FHC. Patrons must renew online before film due date.)

Extended film loan - $15.00  (Patrons can now order films as an extended loan.  If you know you will want to keep a particular film, this will save you $3.00.)

Payment is online with a credit card. This will require some adjustment for those who don't use computers, or won't use credit cards online.  Those folks would be well advised to cultivate a friendship with someone who does.

Thanks to Helen Billing from the Toronto FHC for this information

18 August 2010

22,000 Dorset Parish Records Go Online at findmypast.co.uk

The following is a press release from FindMyPast:

"Leading family history website findmypast.co.uk has added 22,000 baptism, marriage and burial records to its Dorset parish record collection as follows:
-          12,325 baptism records covering the years 1549 – 1812
-          8,368 marriage records covering the years 1560 – 1839
-          1,307 burial records covering the years 1651 – 1795

These records, which have been provided by the Dorset Family History Society, bring the total number of Dorset parish records available at findmypast.co.uk up to almost 450,000.

Now that the records are available online, findmypast.co.uk has been able to unearth some unusual names in the collection. These include a marriage between Martha Loaring and Samuel Single on 14 October 1750 in Bettiscombe, making Martha a married Single.

The Dorset baptisms also offer some amusing entries, including a record for ‘Love Dear Bedloe’ who was baptised on 27 August 1745 in Dorchester. ‘Fruit Carter’ can also be found in the parish records, baptised on 17 May 1807 in Chickerell.

The Dorset burial records contain a slightly more sinister discovery: an ‘unknown’ person buried on 8 April 1815 in Abbotsbury. The notes state that the unknown person was ‘found on shore’.

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at findmypast.co.uk, said, “The Dorset parish record collection is an important resource for family historians with roots in Dorset. While compulsory registration of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales began in 1837, local parish records of baptisms, marriages and burials exist from as early as 1538. Parish records therefore provide a way for family historians to dig even deeper and trace pre-Victorian ancestors.”

British Canal Ancestors?

Of all the resources at Library and Archives Canada one that doesn't get much mention is the fifth floor cafeteria. Although the food is, how can I put it, uninspired, it's a great place to meet interesting people. You never know what new information you're going to come away with, or different perspectives on topics with which you thought you were familiar.

Last week I struck up a conversation and learned about the British virtual waterways website. Just as the Rideau Canal was instrumental in Ottawa's development, so Britain's canals and waterways where engines of growth for the British economy from the 17th century. Perhaps your ancestor worked on a canal barge or in maintaining and operating the system: there's one in a distant branch of my family tree, not a direct ancestor.

Find the British virtual waterways website, including a link to a video explaining the resources available at: www.virtualwaterways.co.uk/home.html

Thanks to Gillian for mentioning this site, and also informing me of an ongoing immigration of people from the British military to the Canadian military.

17 August 2010

Ancestry can move fast ... but alas don't always

Kudos to Ancestry for quickly correcting the quadruple entries in the England and Wales probate index for 1913 which I pointed out a couple of days ago.

Alas no such haste to correct the omission in the JOWBR which I've been pointing out to Ancestry people for the past two years, including as recently as June at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree. As shown in the screen shot, the burial plot row and number are given but not the cemetery!

Facebook as a Genealogy Tool

Facebook, with 500 million active members and many more inactive, is an often overlooked resource for finding people.

Although anyone can opt out of appearing on Facebook's public search listing by changing their search privacy settings relatively few have done so. You can go to http://www.facebook.com/directory/people/ and browse through a directory or do a search.

Common names are a challenge. John Reid appears more than 100 times in the list, plus those with middle initials. The directory listing is a bit quirky. Additions to a name to indicate, say, a maiden name can throw it into a completely different part of the listing.

Give it a try for some of the less common surnames in your family tree.

Mid-August Lost Cousins Newsletter

Peter Calver, founder of the Lost Cousins site, has put out another interesting newsletter at http://lostcousins.com/newsletters/lateaug10news.htm . The topics this issue are:

Census controversy continues
Does Canada have the solution?
Looking at other options…
Recording expats
Should you support Guy Etchells' 1921 campaign?
How much does the National Archives make from the census?
Local censuses from 1522-1930
Double baptisms
Will you live to be 100?
Finding graves pt2
Will indexes from 1861-1941 online
Do you have Suffolk ancestry?
New records at FamilySearch
Peter's tips

I particularly enjoyed Peter's comment on the UK government decision regarding the 2011 census.

"Even though we may not be able to persuade the Government to continue the census after 2011, that doesn't mean that family historians of the future have to be worse off - indeed, it's possible that we could end up with something that's a lot better than we have at the moment." 
These reflect exactly my views regarding the genealogical implications of the Canadian government's decision on the long-form census. The Canadian genealogical community has become quite muted on the census issue. Perhaps they're drowned out by the outcry from the many organizations that benefit from the sociological and economic statistics generated from the long-form census. I can understand that point of view as the present government's position provides for no transition pathway to another regime.

Perhaps there's also a greater recognition in the genealogical community that with the historical census regime we don't live in a Panglossian world. Can we find a better one?

16 August 2010

My Fault Again!

It's great to get feedback from blog readers. Persephone discovered her own vein of gold by following up to search the England and Wales probate records recently posted by Ancestry. Read about these discoveries at: http://www.nablopomo.com/profiles/blogs/this-is-john-reids-fault

Presentations at CVFHRG on Sept 25, 2010

Here's the program for the second event during my September visit to British Columbia, to the Comox Valley Family History Research Group. This day I share the presentations with my Ottawa friend and colleague Lesley Anderson.

My presentations are:

"Researching Early 20th Century British Immigrants to Canada" The talk is motivated by the huge immigration to Canada from the UK, and elsewhere, that peaked in 1912. The talk, suitable for all levels, shows how to use Canadian and British records together to track down that elusive ancestral family. One of the case studies is of a BC woman celebrity of days gone by. Can you guess who? If so please don't tell.

"Some lesser-known websites for British family history" In four years of writing my blog, Anglo-Celtic Connections, and even longer working on my British family history, I’ve seen an explosion of British family history websites. While many are commercial, accessed by subscription or pay per view, with relatively familiar offerings from the census and civil registration indexes, others are hidden gems.

"Find Your Family History in Newspapers Online" Chances are there's information about your family history recorded in a newspaper that, when discovered, will be news to even the most diligent researcher. Digital and optical character recognition technology, still imperfect, is now making millions of frames of newspaper microfilm searchable online. Learn how digitized newspapers can help your family history search.

Lesley's presentations are:

"Searching Effectively on Ancestry" Lesley will explore some of the key Ancestry databases and will demonstrate the best strategies for searching Ancestry sites; various approaches to finding records; types of information to include in searches; how to use names and locations effectively in searches; how to use search forms and wild cards to refine searches; what to do when you find a record; Ancestry hints; and how to add alternate information and updates to your ancestors’ records.

"Census records online – A goldmine of information" The Canadian censuses are a key starting point for Canadians interested in discovering their family story. They provide vital details such as names of spouses, immigration years, occupations and so much more. Ancestry.ca has indexed and linked all of the years from 1851 to 1911.

"Directories – What are they and how to use them" Directories are an invaluable primary source for historians. Using City, County and Provincial directories, we will explore how they provide first hand data about local communities, their infrastructure and the individuals inhabiting those communities. Directories can also be used to help fill in any missing gaps as they are published more frequently than the census.

The meeting is being held at the Rotary Hall, Evergreen Seniors Club, Florence Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton Avenue in Courtenay. Doors open at 8am.

Registration is $55 including a light lunch and the opportunity to win some great door prizes. There's even an opportunity to attend a pre-event on Friday evening. See the website at http://cvfamilyhistory.org/Seminar2010.htm and the brochure linked from it for more information.

15 August 2010

More on England and Wales Probate

Judging by web chatter, in the few days since Ancestry put online the England and Wales probate collection, 1861 to 1941, it has been very popular. Having indexing by date of death is especially appreciated by those of us who have searched through years of records looking for a late probate. I found members of the Bachhoffner family with Administrations granted in 1898 for deaths as early 1860.

The collection isn't yet complete, even for the date range specified. In notes Ancestry comment that there are some gaps for the years 1863, 1868, 1873, 1876, 1877, 1883, 1888, 1899-1903 and 1910-1911. How big are the gaps, and what percentage of the deaths are caught by the probate system?

Significant gaps are evident in the graph showing probates (from Ancestry) as a percent of deaths (from FreeBMD) by year. I don't know what happened to the bottom axis labels (years)! The 1899 - 1903 and 1910 - 1911 gaps, but not the others mentioned, are clear. It looks as if there's another gap in 1941. There are also some interesting looking peaks, notably in 1913, 1930 and 1937.

All else equal you're more likely to find an ancestor in the probate index for later years. In 1861 probates amount to only about 6.5% of deaths registered in the year. This ratio first attains 10% in 1892, 15% in 1912, 20% in the anomoly year 1913, 25% in 1929, and 30% in 1930 which is another anomoly year.

You only die once, but wills can be probated again. Executors may find late information about assets and liabilities that may require a second filing.

There are also the inevitable indexing problems. I found an instance of a probate entry that carried on to a second page and which Ancestry had indexed twice.

The anomolous peak for 1913 results from many probate entries at the start of the record being indexed four times, for surname initial letters A, B and C.

Follow-up, Tuesday 17 August.
Kudos to Ancestry for having corrected the 1913 quadruplicate entries problem so quickly.

14 August 2010

FreeBMD August Update

The FreeBMD Database was last updated on Fri 13 Aug 2010 and currently contains 189,058,797 distinct records (240,932,526 total records). Additions this update are concentrated in the period 1934 to 1951.

For those of us in North America, the evening hours are the best time to search FreeBMD as demand on their servers is a minimum.

A Most Unusual Person

Today, 14 August 2010, marks 100 years since the death of Ottawa's most unusual person. Who was he? All is revealed in the text of a talk I gave to the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library on 15 June in the Auditorium at OPL Main.

For FOPLA – 15 June 2010

I’m honoured to be here this evening. It’s an opportunity for me to express my enthusiasm for library services which you do so much to support, as well as it giving me the chance to share a favourite story.

There’s a message today in the story I’d like to share. The message is about how you could help bring the OPL to a wider community. The story is about an Ottawan whose name was as recognizable in his day as Alfredsson or Harder are today. He was an eccentric ... the most unusual person who ever lived here.

It started for me on one of those triple H summer days weather folks like to talk about. Hot, hazy and humid. I escaped into the cool of the third floor in this building, found what I wanted, all too quickly, and wandered into the Ottawa Room to enjoy the cool for a few more minutes. Opening a black binder taken from a shelf at random I found two unusual advertisements from 1883 clipped from the Citizen. It’s in a style we don’t see today.

One under the title “The Wiggins Storm” advises:

"Wiggins Storm is drawing nigh,
Five pounds of tea you'd better buy.
Go to Stroud's without delay,
Or perhaps your money may blow away"

The other “Freaks of the Storm” is a fantasy. It imagines the storm twisting the Rideau Canal and breaking the equator.

I'd never heard of Wiggins Storm. As a former meteorologist I was interested, so asked Tom Rooney if there was anything more on Wiggins. He came up with a newspaper clipping. The headline was "Weather Seer Still Not Matched." It gave a rosy picture of Wiggins weather prophecies—"tornadoes and blizzards which he pinpointed ... struck precisely when and where he warned."

It also claimed his prediction technique had been suppressed by the government weather service—where I spent my career. That got my attention. Who was Wiggins, and what was his storm?

Scattered in Ottawa newspapers found upstairs on microfilm from 1881 to 1886, were many letters by Wiggins. He used the pen name ''Astronomer" for some early storm predictions—one accurately, and coincidentally, predicted a storm for the day, but not the location, when the steamer Asia sank in 1882. Amongst more than 120 victims were two sons of the prominent Sparks family. Also upstairs on microfilm I found city street directories showing him living at 237 Daly Avenue, and later in Britannia.

Ezekiel Stone Wiggins was born in New Brunswick in 1839, of United Empire Loyalist descent. He went to secondary school in Ontario.

The first sign of Wiggins' unconventional, forthrightly stated views came in 1864 in his book The Architecture of the Heavens which advanced the theory that light only exists in the atmosphere of the planets. He believed that the Moon we see in the sky has an atmosphere, and the Earth has other moons, without atmospheres, that are not visible.

Although Wiggins never practiced medicine he claimed to have a Doctor of Medicine degree from the dubious Philadelphia University of Medicine and Surgery. He had a legitimate second class honours BA in Mathematics in 1869 from Albert College, Belleville, with an MA granted in the following year while he was working as Superintendent of Schools. He taught in Mariposa and Ingersoll Townships and was first principal of the Institute for the Education of the Blind in Brantford from 1871 to 1874.

During this period he also claimed to have acquired a Doctor of Law degree.

He returned to New Brunswick, embarked on a political campaign and become the Conservative candidate in Queen’s County in the 1878 election.

Wiggins lost, but Macdonald formed the government and Wiggins got a consolation prize, moving to Ottawa to a job in the Finance Department.

Starting in 1881 Wiggins avocation became storm prophecy for which he earned an international reputation.

His most widely known prophecy was in a letter to the Ottawa Citizen published on the 22nd of September 1882 under the heading “An Astronomer's Warning: The Greatest Storm of the 19th Century Coming.” He first denounced " the utter uselessness of our meteorological bureaus", then comes his "announcement" starting — A great storm will strike this planet on the 9th of March next ...

The Associated Press carried Wiggins' prediction, and it appeared in English language newspapers around the world.

Many treated it as a joke, much as most of us treat end of the world predictions today. Others took it seriously including many New England fishermen who refused to put to sea.

What happened? There was a bit of a blow on the East Coast on the day but no worse than a storm a few days earlier. Nothing like the greatest storm of the 19th century. The New York Times immediately consigned him to "the limbo of exploded humbugs."

Wiggins had the security of his government job so he refined his storm prediction technique by adding invisible moons. In an extended correspondence with the Department of Marine, and in a letter to Prime Minister Macdonald, he asked that the government commission a study of his forecast methods. If his technique was judged valid he asked that the government issue storm warnings credited to be "by Wiggins method"; all for a one-time payment equivalent to the annual budget of the meteorological service.

He was asked to document his previous forecasts which he apparently did in a 46 page hand-written letter. The government copy was destroyed in a 1920s fire that burned Department of Marine records. I set out trying to track down living relatives as there was supposedly a copy of that letter in his files. I found quite a few relatives but no sign of that letter.

The inquiry into his storm prediction technique was never held. And he started coming under attack. As weather forecasters know, it's not only the predicted storms that don't appear that sap your credibility, it's also the ones that you miss forecasting. In the Ottawa Citizen on April 6th 1885 a poem appeared illustrating the peril.

by a

(for the Citizen)
Heavy storm began at Ottawa 9 am, April 2; still raging, 6 pm, April 3; snowfall, 24 inches; by far the greatest of the year. N.B.—No warning from Wiggins

Wiggins, O delusive prophet Wiggins ...

With over a metre of snow recorded, April 2 to 5, 1885 still stands in the record books as Ottawa's greatest snowstorm.

In October 1886 he wrote he "could no longer endure the tide of opposition to which I was subjected". Privately he came to acknowledge the limitations of his storm predictions, and even expressed muted support for the expansion of regular meteorological services.

His wife Susie was part of the local social scene, and an early but forgotten advocate for women’s rights. But he held the spotlight. They went to one New Year’s Levee and, after having been greeted by the Governor General, Wiggins moved quickly past Sir John A Macdonald who called after him “you move quickly Wiggins, like a comet.” The Cabinet members around him chuckled at the reference but Wiggins had the wit to respond “comets always move most quickly when nearest the sun.”

For a while Wiggins dropped into obscurity. He built a home called Arbor House in Britannia, now a heritage property, and served on the local parish council. In 1899 he was President of the Britannia Yacht Club, where his faded portrait hangs.

For a journalist Wiggins was an irresistible attraction on a slow news day. From the mid-1890s he regained some prominence being quoted in the Ottawa media. Headlines included "Professor Wiggins says the Sun is inhabited", "Second Moon in the Heavens Responsible for Cold Weather in the Opinion of Prof. Wiggins", "Prof. Wiggins to Sue Marconi" and “The Great Falls of Niagara Shall Be No More”. He was quotable, in the manner of the time: "In time oranges will grow in Canada and great orchards will hold up their golden fruit before the mirror of Hudson Bay".

In turn the press felt free to respond in kind. In the Brantford Courier "Mr. E. Stone Wiggins, who keeps baby cyclones tied up in his backyard, says that the origin of the cool weather has been two moons in the sky. Many a man has found frigidity to result from a similar cause".

Wiggins remained a public servant until two years before his death in August 1910. He died at his home in Britannia and was buried on the shore of Grand Lake, New Brunswick, where his tombstone reads,

Professor E. Stone Wiggins B.A., M.A, M.D., L.L.D.
Canada's distinguished scientist and scholar
Dec 4, 1839—Aug 14, 1910

Wiggins was a literate, egotistical, self promoting eccentric, an early exponent of the theory that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Although he’s a forgotten curiosity there’s a lesson for us in the story.

My finding those two ads on that hot, hazy and humid day was a matter of the purest chance. They are a part of local history hidden away in the Ottawa Room.

A trend now well underway is cloning and replanting community history for a new generation. Communities are spreading their stories by bringing material from where it rests in obscurity between institutional walls and giving it fresh exposure on the web. Technological advances in digitization are making this both possible and affordable. With your mandate to enrich the programs OPL can provide you have it in your power, by means of an earmarked donation, to help this happen with Ottawa Room materials. That’s something I encourage you to do, perhaps by funding a small pilot project, perhaps by making a contribution which would leverage other funds for a more substantial initiative.

Thank you again for the contribution you make to Ottawa’s libraries, and for allowing me to be a part of your meeting."

13 August 2010

The Newfoundland Regiment and the Great War Database

Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial archives, known as The Rooms, recently added scans of documents from the military files of soldiers who served with the famed Newfoundland Regiment during the First World War.

www.therooms.ca/regiment/part3_database.asp takes you directly to a page that explains the various documents typically found on the files for the 6000 men who enlisted. Click on "Soldiers" to search by name or community.

Unlike most British WW1 service files they survived destruction in WW2. Unlike corresponding Canadian records they survived stripping of all but what the authorities considered essential documents. For two cases I examined at random, one killed and one wounded at the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel on July 1, 1916, the file included basic military documents and correspondence regarding matters such as medals, benefits and personal possessions not returned.

The site also includes useful material on the Regiment's role during The War.

Thanks to Lesley Anderson for bringing this resource to my attention.

N-RFB in Hades

The elusive Persephone, who unusually spends all but one season in Hades, wrote a comment on a recent post here on Family Tree Maker.

As a self-confessed N-RFB, from a distance, I was delighted she's blogging daily this month, and taking inspiration from a suggestion in my post about taking a virtual walk through an old neighbourhood.

Post-it Notes from Hades is a worthwhile visit for postings by someone who knows how to write.

12 August 2010

Changing my name to Jack Aardvark

The New My Heritage blog has an entertaining post "What's in a Name".


Is Family Tree Maker 2011 Worth $39.95US?

It's become a bit of a genealogy tradition for Family Tree Maker to offer a new edition in the latter part of the summer. This year is no exception.
What's being offered? Would you believe "whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting on your family tree, Family Tree Maker 2011 can help you create a family tree faster, easier, and better than ever before."

That sounds like Puffery "a legal term refers to promotional statements and claims that express subjective rather than objective views, such that no reasonable person would take them literally."

So what do you actually get that's new in this release? Family Tree Maker 2011 claims more than 100 enhancements including:

Smart Stories™— Just drag and drop facts from your tree to the new Smart Stories page. Each time you edit your tree, stories update automatically.

New and improved charts—Enhance your charts with new backgrounds, borders, and embellishments. Create four new designs, including a 360 degree fan chart.

Refined reports—Save and reuse report settings and use 5 new report styles.

Media management tools—Locate missing media items with the click of the mouse.

More Ancestry integration—Find out which Ancestry members are searching for your ancestors in the expanded Web Dashboard.

Better performance—Upload and download trees from the Internet with increased speed.

Numbering—Automatically number every person in your tree for quick reference.

Timelines—View more events that occurred during your ancestors’ lives. Even edit, delete or add your own historical events.

That's all the information available at present. It's a stretch to see how the additional capabilities are worth $39.95 to someone already using Family Tree Maker 2010. There is no discount upgrade being offered as has often been the case.

Global Genealogy is already advertising the availability of FTM 2011, and with free shipping. If like me you're unconvinced about the improvements and their value for money Rick Roberts will undoubtedly be available to explain, and sell, the new version at the BIFHSGO conference 10-12 September. He's even offering a pre-conference seminar "Creating A Book Using the Family Tree Maker Software."

11 August 2010

10 August 2010

Ancestry Adds England and Wales Probate Calendar 1861-1941

Ancestry has posted "England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-1941", one of the major genealogical datasets for which many of us have long been waiting. http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1904

This is the first availability at all but a precious few locations in Canada, none closer to Ottawa than Montreal. With this digitization you save not only the cost of travelling to use the record, you also don't have to manually search through microfiche year by year.

Information varies across different entries, but each typically includes:

  • Probate date
  • Full name of the deceased
  • Death date
  • Death place
  • Registry where issued
You will usually find the amount left in the estate as well.

Ancestry warns that their collection currently does not include the years 1858-1860 and there are some gaps for the years 1863, 1868, 1873, 1876, 1877, 1883, 1888, 1899-1903 and 1910-1911.

Remember, if you're not an Ancestry subscriber you can likely get free access through Ancestry Library Edition at your local public library.

Social Networking Tools for Genealogy

Do you take advantage of social networking for genealogy? As you're reading this blog posting the answer must be yes. What about other social networking tools?

Drew Smith, perhaps best known as half of The Genealogy Guys and Assistant Librarian, Academic Services, at the University of South Florida in Tampa, has just posted online his paper "Using Social Networking Tools to Promote Genealogy and Local History Collections and to Instruct Researchers in Their Use." It's prepared for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions conference about to start in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The paper describes a wide variety of social networking tools as they are already being used by genealogy and local history libraries. These include blogs, wikis, photo and video sharing sites, social bookmarking sites (Delicious), book sharing sites (LibraryThing), social networking sites (Facebook and Genealogy Wise), podcasting, screencasting (Jing).

You'll probably find social networking resources that could help your genealogy endeavours, or that you wish the library you use would adopt. Find the article as a PDF here

09 August 2010

Presentations at BCGS on September 18

Plans are now set for my September visit to British Columbia. It's years since I've been to BC, and even longer since I lectured there in life before family history. My first stop is to give three presentations to a BC Genealogical Society all day seminar in Burnaby on Saturday, September 18, 2010. They're all talks I've given before, and with special BC content.

"Researching Early 20th Century British Immigrants to Canada" The talk is motivated by the huge immigration to Canada from the UK, and elsewhere, that peaked in 1912. The talk, suitable for all levels, shows how to use Canadian and British records together to track down that elusive ancestral family. One of the case studies is of a BC woman celebrity of days gone by. Can you guess who? If so please don't tell.

"Find Your Family History in Newspapers Online" Chances are there's information about your family history recorded in a newspaper that, when discovered, will be news to even the most diligent researcher. Digital and optical character recognition technology, still imperfect, is now making millions of frames of newspaper microfilm searchable online. Learn how digitized newspapers can help your family history search.

"DNA Testing for Genealogy: NOT Just for Men" For most of the ten years that commercial services for genetic genealogy have been available the major successes have been achieved using the male Y-chromosome passed from father to son. Tests with mitrochrondrial DNA, passed from mother to child, have proven less interesting. Now a new generation of tests of autosomal DNA is providing equal opportunity for women and men. Learn how they are being used for confirming or disproving close family relationships and, sometimes, finding more distant cousins.

The meeting is being held at the Scandinavian Community Centre, 6540 Thomas St. in Burnaby. Take the Kensington Ave exit off the Trans-Canada Highway. The event starts at 9am with on site registration at 8:30am.

You can save $10 by registering before Sept 8th.

According to the information at the BCGS website "To register, please contact Susan Snalam at 604-273-8209, email domers4@shaw.ca OR Eunice Robinson at 604-596-2811, email eunice@dccnet.com, and then send your cheque, made out to the BCGS, at PO Box 88054, Lansdowne Mall, Richmond, BC V6X 3T6 or pay at BCGS meetings. We will also accept payment by Visa."

08 August 2010

SOG adds Coleman’s catalogues index to website

A new family history resource has recently been added to the Members’ Area of the Society of Genealogist’s website.

Catalogues of items for sale by James Coleman, heraldic and genealogical bookseller and publisher in London in the second half of the 19th century, are held by the Society. A card index of nearly 50,000 names linked to catalogue items has been digitized. A free basic search of the Coleman’s catalogue index can be carried out on the Society’s Members Area. To view the full entry you need to be a SOG member.

See the full description of this new online resource at www.societyofgenealogists.com/members%E2%80%99-area-update-coleman%E2%80%99s-catalogues-index/

07 August 2010

Changes at the Archives of Ontario

"As of July 30th, Miriam McTiernan has resigned as Archivist of Ontario and is leaving the Ontario Public Service. Ms. McTiernan was appointed Archivist of Ontario in March 2000."

This announcement, and further information on Ms. McTiernan's achievements as Archivist, is posted on the Canadian Library Association website at

David Nicoll, Corporate Chief Information and Technology Officer of Ontario, has been named as Acting Archivist of Ontario. In a posting on the Archives website Mr. Nicholl writes "The doors to our public service facility on York University's Keele campus are open, and the Archives of Ontario has entered an exciting new phase." and "Online and on location, we are committed to superior service delivery."

J. Brian Gilchrist, noted Canadian Genealogist and Archivist, speaks on behalf of the archives community in extending a warm welcome to the new (Acting) Archivist of Ontario, and expressing a willingness to work with him.

He writes, in an item posted on several Rootsweb groups and circulated to freinds, that he hopes the new Archivist "will breath new life into the Archives by developing more in-house and on-line tools to aid researchers in accessing the amazing collection of documents and information to which he now is entrusted to preserve and make available. May I respectfully suggest that one of Mr. Nicholl's first acts should be the restoration of extended access hours to The Archives Reading Room. Such action would ingratiate him to a huge base of dedicated researchers from a variety of fields and help to restore public faith in one of the greatest resources of our Province - it's Archives."

Thanks to Bruce Elliott for the tip

More British History Online

Since the start of August four new volumes have been added to the site, a "digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles"

The first two volumes of Alumni Oxonienses, 1500-1714, listing all known members of the University of Oxford, along with biographical details where known, and the relationships between members (such as fathers and sons and siblings). The later volumes can be found on the Internet Archive.

You might also want to check out the history of a community in your family history. In An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: volume 11, by Francis Blomefield (1810). I found a history of the town of Great Yarmouth telling the sad tale of the town's many expensive attempts to establish a permenant harbour, frustrated six times by natural forces.

06 August 2010

One World One Family Conference - August 21, 2010

Folks in Southern Ontario have a rare August opportunity to attend a one day genealogy event. Organized by the Brampton Ontario Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it will give you the opportunity to hear seven presentations, a choice of as many as five speakers in each of five time slots plus two plenary sessions.

Paul F. Smart, from Utah, gives the opening plenary We all have Ancestors, Now what do we do about it? He will also speak on "Major British Sources for Family History Research" and "Unusual Sources for Tracing British Ancestors"

Brian Gilchrist closes the meeting with a plenary on The Changing Face of Genealogy. He will also lecture on "The Basics of Research in Ontario—Inline and Online Helps" and "Canadian Immigration Records Prior to 1950".

While Brampton is quite a journey from Ottawa there are two Ottawa speakers on the program.

Lesley Anderson, from Ancestry.ca and with whom I'll be sharing the Seminar program for the Comox Valley Family History Research Group at Courtenay on September 25, will present "How to Search on Ancestry.ca".

Shirley-Ann Pyefinch, Director of the Ottawa Stake Family History Centre, presents "Family History Preservation and Conservation"

The cost is $15 which includes a boxed lunch.

Thanks to Frank McGonigal for the tip.

05 August 2010

BIFHSGO Conference Advance Registration Deadline

A reminder that Saturday, 7 August is the deadline to save ten bucks on your registration for the BIFHSGO conference. Go to www.bifhsgo.ca and follow the link for the conference to register online or print out and mail the form.

Cornwall Parish Registers Online from FamilySearch

It's a red letter day for Cornish Researchers. Images of parish registers for the county of Cornwall, and a couple of Devonshire parishes, are now online from Family Search Record Search at http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#p=waypoint&s=waypointsOnly&c=fs%3A1769414&w=0

The registers contain baptisms, banns, marriages and burials but are not name indexed. Although advertised as ending in 1900 some go well into the 20th century.

Although you do have to search by eye through the image based on my experience with Norfolk availability of these images is a significant step forward.

Internet Genealogy: Aug/Sept 2010 Issue

I was surprised to open up the latest issue of Internet Genealogy and see my photograph. It's a group shot, taken with Ed Zapletal, the magazine's editor, and Dave Obee, prominent BC genealogists taken at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in June on Hawaiian shirt day.

At the top of the same page is mention of vintagekin.com, a website providing free family history graphics for personal use. The site has genealogical charts for you to fill out in a variety of styles and designs, clip art, and even some WordPress genealogical themes.

On the previous page, the inside front cover, is an announcement of a new publication "Tracing Your Irish Roots" from Moorshead magazines. It's a compilation of some of the best articles on Irish genealogy previously published by the company in Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, and Discovering Family History. All the articles have been reviewed to ensure they're current and the websites referenced actually work. It should be on the newsstands by the beginning of September, just in time for the BIFHSGO annual conference and its Irish theme this year.

There's something for everyone found in turning over the second and subsequent pages, including a short article right at the back on errors in ships passenger lists by Dave Obee. Read the complete list of contents at: www.internet-genealogy.com/issue_contents.htm

04 August 2010

New Ottawa City Archives Update

Taken 4 August 2010

The back of the building. There was work going on across the road to the median on Tallwoods. Traffic was down to one lane eastbound and controlled by a signal man.

The archives main entrance in the centre from the northwest. The blue and white insulation is new since I was last there. There was plenty of activity on the site but you'd need to be a knowledgeable observer to see it.

Viewed from the southwest there is more work to do on the insulation.

Southborough, Kent, Burials

Deceased Online recently added 7,099 burial register entries for Southborough Cemetery, +51° 9' 36.78"N, +0° 14' 34.23"E, for burials dated from 14 May 1903 to 28 October 2009.

So far this year the site has added more than 300,000 burials and are supposed to be making a major announcement of more than 1 million London burials "shortly."