31 October 2010

Dying Speeches and Bloody Murders

Today, courtesy of Harvard Law School Library, a Halloween special. Just don't go there if you're squeamish.
"Just as programs are sold at sporting events today, broadsides -- styled at the time as "Last Dying Speeches" or "Bloody Murders" -- were sold to the audiences that gathered to witness public executions in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. These ephemeral publications were intended for the middle or lower classes, and most sold for a penny or less. Published in British towns and cities by printers who specialized in this type of street literature, a typical example features an illustration (usually of the criminal, the crime scene, or the execution); an account of the crime and (sometimes) the trial; and the purported confession of the criminal, often cautioning the reader in doggerel verse to avoid the fate awaiting the perpetrator.
The Library's collection of more than 500 broadsides is one of the largest recorded and the first to be digitized in its entirety. The examples digitized here span the years 1707 to 1891 and include accounts of executions for such crimes as arson, assault, counterfeiting, horse stealing, murder, rape, robbery, and treason."
The site at http://broadsides.law.harvard.edu/home.php includes a search engine. You never know, you may find an ancestor!

30 October 2010

Newspaper Treats from NLA

The National Library of Australia has now passed the milestone of 30 million newspaper articles, that's 3 million pages, coincidentally about the same number available through the British Library 19th-century newspaper digitization project, digitized and available free online for searching at http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper.
Here's a snippet of a diagram from that website showing the newspapers and years, from 1800 to 1940, for which digitized issues are available.

With the exception of the Canada Gazette, LACs newspaper digitization initiative would amount to a few isolated speckles on the diagram reflecting an anemic effort on some Francophone papers.

Google News Archive Search adds Glasgow Herald, 1806-1990

Peripatetic Scotland-based blogger Chris Paton has posted on his Scottish GENES blog that Google have added the Glasgow Herald to their News Archive collection. There are 36,297 issues from 20 Jan 1806 to 17 Feb 1990. The bar chart indicates gaps, and there are the usual problems with computer interpretation of the text.

Search from www.google.com/archivesearch/advanced_search with Glasgow as the source.
It's a challenge to keep up with new digitized newspapers appearing on Google News Archive Search. I've yet to find a site where Google posts information on newly added papers. If you know of a source please leave a comment.

Chris also mention that Google has the Glasgow Advertiser from 1789-1801 on the site.

And a note that Chris' peregrinations will take him to Toronto next June for a Scottish Family History Workshop. The Call for Speakers is open until Monday 1 November.

29 October 2010

FindMyPast and FamilySearch to cooperate on Parish Registers of Wales

The following is from a press release from family history website www.findmypast.co.uk

FMP is making available online for the very first time fully searchable indexes and images of the parish registers of Wales. The project is taking place with the permission of the Church in Wales and Welsh Archive Services and FMP is working with FamilySearch International, the world's largest repository of genealogical records, to digitise the records.

Around 893,000 images containing 8,000,000 baptisms, marriages and burials from across Wales will be filmed by FamilySearch and transcribed by FMP. Some of the records date back to the sixteenth century, making it possible to find Welsh ancestors as far back as the 1500s. The records contain entries in English and Latin.

The records will be made available over the next two years at FMP with an index search available on FamilySearch.org. Free access to the images on FMP will be made available through all Archive Services in Wales.

For more information log on to www.findmypast.co.uk

Ancestry Launches Quebec Land Grants Index, 1763-1890 Collection

This newly launched collection is an index of everyone in Quebec who received a Crown Land Grant between 1763 and 1890. The collection indexes 34,477 grants and includes information such as name of grantee, county, township, number of acres granted and letter patents, allowing people to discover rich information about the property their ancestors actually owned.

Only people who received a Land Grant from the Crown are included, and only the initial land grant, not successive divisions or purchases of the same land. It places a family in an area and points to the Land Grant Letter of Patent that can contain more genealogical detail.

Quite a large number of the persons mentioned have Anglo names: 202 Smiths and 46 Jones', compared to 163 Roys and 262 Tremblays.

This index entry will guide you to the original records and microfilm copies are available at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationalies du Québec. Requests for microfilm copies should include the full reference to the book and page (found in the source citation for the record). Requests should be addressed to: Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, 1012, avenue du Séminaire, CP 10450, Sainte-Foy, QC, G1V 4N1.

Celebrate Your Anglo-Celtic Roots

Share Your Family History Knowledge and Stories

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa is seeking proposals for presentations at its 17th annual conference, September 16-18, 2011. The theme is England and Wales, with particular emphasis on London and the Home Counties.

In addition to presentations on the theme the door is also open to proposals for other presentations likely to hold the interest of members including: writing and preserving family history; social networking; technology and genetics/DNA discoveries; case studies that illuminate social trends and illustrate good genealogical practice. Talks are 55 minutes long, plus time for the introduction and questions for a total of 75 minutes.

You are invited to submit a brief outline of your proposed talk(s) to BIFHSGO2011@bifhsgo.ca no later than 31 January 2011. Each proposal should include on one page: presentation title; an abstract of 200 words; a one- or two-sentence description of your talk for the seminar brochure; your audiovisual requirements; your full name, postal address, telephone number, and e-mail address; a 100-150 word biography; whether your lecture would be aimed at genealogists working at the beginner (general), intermediate or advanced (specialist) level. Indicate your willingness to provide a 2-4 page summary of your talk, including references and web addresses mentioned, as a handout.

Remuneration will normally include free registration, free lunches and an honorarium. For speakers making multiple presentations and coming from a distance reimbursement for travel and accommodation expenses will be negotiated.

Fellow bloggers and others are invited to pass this invitation along.

28 October 2010

Baby Names in England and Wales 2009

Under the heading "Jack falls down and loses crown" the UK Office for National Statistics issued a press release on 27 October listing the most popular baby names in England and Wales for 2009.

"The Olivers’ Army are on their way, as Jack has been replaced by Oliver as the most popular boys’ name in England and Wales, after fourteen years at the top.

Olivia was the top girls’ name for the second year in a row, according to figures published today by the ONS on first names given to babies born in 2009.

There were no new entries in the top ten for either boys’ or girls’ names compared with 2008, although there were regional variations in names’ popularity. For example, Oliver was the most popular boys’ name in six English regions, but Jack was still the top in Wales and the North East and North West of England."

While the release comments that Mohammed was at number 16 nationally, newspapers have picked up on name variations: 3,300 boys named Mohammed, 2,162 Muhammad, 1,073 Mohammads and 980 called either Muhammed, Mohamed, Mohamad, Muhamed or Mohammod.

The top ten are:


See the full list and much more at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=15282

HSO October Meeting

The next meeting of the Historical Society of Ottawa features a presentation by well known Ottawa writer Valerie Knowles "Wm C. Van Horne: Railway General and Polymath". The meeting, on Friday, October 29, starts at 1pm at the Routhier Community Centre, 172 Gigues Ave in Ottawa.

Income Inequality

This certainly isn't genealogy, and it's only half of family history, the history part. Malcolm Gladwell reminds us of how things were in the US only 50 years ago.

Via Open Culture

27 October 2010

London Roots Research

There's a new UK blog on the scene. London Roots Research by Rosemary Morgan has just six posts to date – it was only created in September.

The most recent post, London Parish Records Uncovered: Part One has worthwhile ideas for sources you might look at if the online collection from the London Metropolitan archives, available via Ancestry, comes up empty for your ancestor.

The topic of London gives me the opportunity to mention that BIFHSGO is working on a theme of London family history as the topic for its 2011 full conference. You can be sure there will be more coming on that soon and over the next few months.

Comparison of Canadian Genealogical and FHS Finances

Each year organizations federally registered as charities in Canada for tax purposes are required to file T3010 returns with the Canada Revenue Agency. Part of the return, including financial information, is available on the Revenue Canada website.

Below is a summary of some bottom line information from the returns filed in 2009, mainly from Schedule 6 but in some cases where that is not available from Section D. Go to http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html and search for "genealogical" or "family history" to see the complete returns.

In summary, of these ten societies five have net assests exceeding $100,000. By far the largest is OGS with net assets exceeding $2M. Half the societies report a surplus of revenues over expenditures. Again OGS has the largest surplus with BIFHSGO not far behind. On average for the ten societies net assets are 2.88 times expenditures with GANS having this ratio greater than seven.

The detail below indicates cases where societies receive government funding and indicate expeditures in management and administration,

The Alberta Genealogical Society had total assets of $148,681, and liabilities of $24,352. The total revenue was $141,098 of which the major component was revenue received from the provincial government of $76,817. Expenditures totaled $142,518 of which the largest moment was $114,692 for occupancy costs. The total expenditure on management and administration was $65,590.

The British Columbia Genealogical Society had total assets of $190,521 and liabilities of $7,490. Total revenue was $33,868, with  no revenue received from any level of government. Expenditures totaled $27,754 of which $11,351 was spent on management and administration.

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa had total assets of $76,722 and liabilities of $28,490. Total revenue was $51,090 of which $17,855 were from memberships and $28,711 listed as other. Expenditures totaled $38,964 with $4,764 spent on management and administration.

The Manitoba Genealogical Society had total assets of $45,448 and liabilities of $15,083. Total revenue was $57,240, $20,502 from memberships and $18,852 from government sources. Expenditures totaled $58,222 of which management and administration accounted for $42,516.

The New Brunswick Genealogical Society had total assets of $177,755 including $99,350 as inventories and $74,536 as cash, bank accounts and short-term investments. Total liabilities were $12,014. Total revenue was $39,361 including $24,972 for memberships and $4,955 from government sources. Total expenditures were $37,098 including $22,159 for advertising and promotion.

The Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia had total assets of $301,042 and no reported liabilities. Total revenue was $23,058 of which $12,331 was from the sale of goods and services. Total expenditures were $42,912 of which $28,611 was spent on charitable programs, and $12,052 on management and administration.

The Ontario Genealogical Society had total assets of $2,574,939 of which $1,682,525 was held as cash bank accounts and short-term investments. Liabilities totaled $391,261. Total revenue was $641,731 including $286,328 from memberships, $27,188 received from governments, and $124,395 listed as other revenue. Expenditures totaled $628,220 of which $97,800 was spent on management and administration.

The Québec Family History Society had total assets of $54,811 of which $48,993 was held as cash bank accounts and short-term investments. Liabilities totaled $10,514. Total revenue was $49,625 the largest component of which, $34,893 was for memberships. No government revenue was indicated. Expenditures totaled $50,679 including $22,571 for occupancy costs. There were no costs for management and administration but $16,341 was reported for office supplies and expenses.

The Saskatchewan Genealogical Society had total assets of $124,741 including $104,644 in cash, bank accounts and short-term investments. Liabilities totaled $126,108 including $101,719 of deferred revenue. Total revenue of $240,414 included $132,619 from government sources. Expenditures of $261,701 included $174,927 for management and administration.

The Victoria Genealogical Society had total assets of $211,023 and liabilities of $74,150. Total revenue was $40,232 including $18,650 from government sources. expenditures totaled $36,629 with $470 spent on management and administration.

26 October 2010

Did You Double Your Money With Ancestry?

ACOM, the stock of Ancestry.com, which started trading in November 2009 at an issue price of $13.50, hit $25.74 yesterday, October 25.  For a short while after it was listed the stock traded down, as low as $12.80 on November 30. Had you, or I, purchased at that time we would now have doubled our investment.

Some company Insiders are now taking profits.Most recently Joshua Hannah exercised options on 18 October for 27,500 shares which he acquired at $4.60 per share and sold at $24.59. That's a tidy $550,000 profit. It came on top of a $960,000 profit he made on another option transaction three days earlier.

Other insiders have made similar transactions to the point that now fully half the insiders listed own no shares in the company. They may have an interest through further options they own.

25 October 2010

Newspapers in 1870

I've been reading "The Ottawa Valley's Great Fire of 1870" by Terence M Currie. Well-known in Ottawa historical circles for the way the fire was halted from burning through Ottawa by breaking the dam at Dow's Lake allowing water to flow down the line of Preston Street, the fire was in fact much more extensive than was realized at the time. The book makes considerable use of, or attempts to make use of, contemporary newspaper resources. I found it as interesting for the insights it gives on the use of newspapers of the time for historical research as for the subject matter of the fire itself.

Currie points out that at this time newspapers were largely filled with material from telegraph sources, other newspapers, advertising, and then local sources. A small paper might have no reporter other than the editor whose other responsibilities would not allow him, or occasionally her, to travel far from the newspaper's offices. The Almonte Gazette lost its telegraph communications due to the fire, did not have staff to cover the fire burning only 3 km from the town, and relied for news coverage on quotes of people who dropped in to the newspaper office.

Another limitation of newspapers for this type of study is that many don't survive. Even the Ottawa Citizen, which began publishing in January 1870 is missing for May to November. The Ottawa Free Press published as a bi-weekly but issues do not survive for the period. The Ottawa Times does survive but according to Currie was "more concerned with political events in Britain and the Empire." Files of the Arnprior Chronicle and predecessor papers stored in the newspaper's building were destroyed as a result of a 1954 fire.

Content from the lost newspapers reprinted in other out of town newspapers, as far afield as Toronto, means that some of the local coverage can be retrieved. if you're looking for newspaper coverage of a story that involved your ancestors, and the local paper is missing, it's always worthwhile checking to see which newspapers survive from surrounding and larger communities in the general area.

Genealogy of Ottawa Mayor Elect Jim Watson

Alexander James Watson, the full name of the next mayor of Ottawa, does not dwell on his family history on his campaign website. We learn he was born in Montréal in 1949. His father was a chemical engineer and his mother a school teacher. They moved often, from Lachute, Que., to the Toronto suburbs, to Sarnia. From other information readily available on the Internet he has a sister Jayne with daughters of her own, and his parents now live in Ottawa.

His sister is CEO of the National Arts Centre Foundation, a graduate of Queen's University in Kingston. According to Queen's University information she followed in her father's footsteps. (Alexander) Beverly Watson, is listed as a Queen's engineering graduate in 1950.

Jim Watson was gracious enough to give the further lead that his father was born in Ste Foy, Quebec. There is a Quebec City baptismal record for Alexander Beverly Thomas Watson, son of Lanceley Thomas Watson and Lily Sanderson Mary Sleeth.

Lanceley Thomas Watson has a WW1 attestation paper showing him as born at Ridgetown, Kent County, ON, June 13, 1893. His father, Alexander H Watson, is given as next of kin living in Woodstock, ON. The 1893 birth registration shows the same date and place of birth and his father's occupation as mechanic.

Alexander H Watson was born in in 1864 in Acton and died in 1944 in Woodstock. His father, Jim Watson's gg-grandfather, Thomas Watson (1821-1891), was the last of the line born in England, in County Durham. He came to British North America with his parents, William Watson and Dinah Richardson, both found in the 1852 census.   .

24 October 2010

Military Records at FindMyPast

In its November newsletter findmypast.co.uk highlights six new military record collections, a total of 492,439 records:

WWII Prisoners of War  contains details on 104,838 army prisoners of war held in Germany and German occupied territories.
Distinguished Conduct Medal Citations lists the full citations of  24,928 Distinguished Conduct Medal (and second and third award bars) in the Great War. many of these are also in the London Gazette.. 
Ireland's Memorial Records of Army prisoners of war held in Germany and German occupied territories during the Great War has information on 49,602 men and women who served in Irish Regiments or were born or resident in Ireland at the time of their death and were serving with units from Britain and its empire.
Register of the Second Anglo-Boer War brings together information on 259,581 participants, including Canadians, from over 330 sources, some very rare and others out of print, to create a consolidated record. 
WWI Naval Casualties has details of 43,930 naval other ranks deaths in service with the Royal Navy during the First World War.
Army List 1787 include name, rank, regiment, page and, in many cases, extra notes for 9,560 soldiers.

TNA Podcast: Credit crunch histories

Chris Cooper describes the bankruptcy records for England and Wales held by The National Archives, indicating the best ways of researching them, and referring to related records elsewhere. 


23 October 2010

OGS Toronto Branch October Meeting

OGS Toronto Branch has a powerhouse team lined up for their Monday, 25 October 2010 evening meeting, this month in the Burgundy Room at North York Memorial Hall

Well known professional genealogist Janice Nickerson will speak on Criminal Trials: Case Studies in Upper Canadian Justice

Not all of our ancestors were illustrious law-abiding citizens. Some of them were criminals. This talk will use a series of case studies to tell the stories of four Upper Canadian criminals. Along the way, audience members will learn about the early history of justice in Ontario and the records generated by the justice system, including newspapers, government correspondence, court minute and docket books, judges’ benchbooks, jail and prison registers (including how and where to find them).
Also on the bill is expert genealogist-librarian Marian Press who will give a mini-presentation: Web Sites You Don't Want to Miss. Toronto area genealogists wouldn't want to miss that!

More information at: www.torontofamilyhistory.org/

UK Government Announces Further Cuts to The National Archives Budget

Earlier this week the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance) announced sweeping across-the-board budget cuts to UK government departments and agencies. The National Archives was far from exempt. TNA cuts come on top of those already implemented earlier this calendar year.

A posting on its website about these reductions and there impacts informs that:

"we need to make 25% cuts  phased in over the next four years (which represents a 16% cut in real terms)" and that "The savings made during the 2010 savings programme will contribute to the total 25% cuts we need to make over the next four years."
The announcement continues:
"While this clearly will be challenging, and difficult decisions will have to be made on our priorities over the next four years, we do not anticipate that we will need to make further redundancies to meet these targets." 
TNA is not yet ready to announce how services will be impacted.

22 October 2010

10th Anniversary of GENEALOGY-DNA-L

Ten years ago Ann Turner made the first post to a new Rootsweb list. In it she wrote:

I was so excited about the results of my test that I decided to start a
mailing list "for anyone with DNA who would like to discuss methods and share
results of DNA testing as applied to genealogical research."
A decade later, and more than 150,000 posts later, the list remains an important resource for genetic genealogists. Ann continues to make valuable contributes. Thank you for your leadership Ann.

LAC New Guide for Pre-confederation Official Publications

The following is from a press release from Library and Archives Canada:

Ottawa, October 21, 2010 - Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce the release of a new guide to its vast collection of federal and provincial publications which were published prior to 1867.  The guide lists the publications, which are available in various formats, in chronological order and by geographical area.
The guide is available at the following address: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/the-public//005-1142.26-e.html

Comment:  The guide is to official publications such as proceedings of legislatures organized in chronological order and, within each time period, by geographical area.

There are more than a few links to digitized version of these documents. Unless they were prominent in government matters finding a family member is likely to be a bit of a long-shot.

BBC Podcast: Tracing Your Roots

Tracing Your Roots is a BBC Radio Four series exploring the practice of researching family history.

In the last programme of the series Sally Magnusson and resident genealogist Nick Barratt track down three stories behind fascinating objects and family heirlooms.

First, they help a listener who inherited a pearl necklace and a letter written at the time of Marie Antoinette, track down which of her ancestors was at the French court and how she came to be there.

Second, they investigate a woman illustrator, Carrie Solomon,  who's descendant inherited a beautiful hand drawn baby book.

Third the program reveals the content of audio discs sent back to family by an  RAF serviceman in WW2.

Find five 30 minute programs in the series at  www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006zbxm

Family Tree DNA Introductory Offer

Leading genetic genealogy company, Family Tree DNA, is offering introductory specials for people who have never tested with the company before.

Family Finder + Y-DNA12 is for males only. The 12-marker Y-DNA test, the most basic which is no longer listed as a stand alone test, finds matches in the direct paternal line, and other males with whom you share a common male ancestor in the genealogical time frame. The Family Finder test helps you find family across all your lines up to 6 generations back. The present list price for the Family Finder test alone is $289 US. The introductory special price is $299 US.

Family Finder + mtDNA is for males and females. The Mitochondria (mtDNA) test explores maternal line origin and finds matches in the direct maternal line.  The Family Finder test, as above, helps find family across all ancestral lines up to 6 generations back. The introductory special price is $299 US.

21 October 2010

OGS Ottawa Branch Ryan Taylor Memorial Lecture

Breathing Life Into The Past; The Practice of Public History is the topic next Saturday, 23 October 2010 for the (almost) annual Ryan Taylor lecture.  The speaker is Kevin James, Professor of History, Guelph University, friend and associate of Ryan Taylor; consultant for “Ancestors In The Attic.” 
The event, organized by OGS Ottawa Branch, commences at 10:00 AM  in the Auditorium at  Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington St, Ottawa). Everyone is welcome. Free refreshments. Free weekend parking.

Findmypast.co.uk Adds Montgomeryshire BMBs

The following parish records from the Montgomeryshire Genealogical Society are now on findmypast.co.uk:

County Record type No. of records Year range
Montgomeryshire Baptisms 10,909 1601-1901
Montgomeryshire Marriages 4,202 1574-1837
Montgomeryshire Burials 8,873 1598-1878

Although it's not a huge number of records the fact that Findmypast gives straightforward information about the number of records is welcome. As was commented on the GENBRIT list, they don't "overegg the pudding" as Ancestry is liable to do.

This is another example of findmypast.co.uk, through the Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS), working to ensure that member societies as well as FMP subscribers and pay per view clients, can benefit financially from the society's work.  

20 October 2010

LAC presentation: Collecting the Past with Archivist Jim Burant

Thursday, October 21, 2010
Collecting the Past
Jim Burant, Manager, Library and Archives Canada, Art and Photography, reflects on 35 years as an art and photograph archivist.
5:00 to 7:00 pm
Room A, Ground Floor,
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario
Entry: $5.00

Genealogy Advice from Buckinghamshire

Do any of these sound like presentations you'd like to have attended at your local FHS?

Old Handwriting Workshop, A Gypsy in the Family, Weather Lore: Fact or Fiction, The Victorian Funeral, Dating & Identifying Old photographs, An Enumerator's Tale, Maps, Tithes & Terriers – Documents for Family Historians, Your Ancesters in the Newspapers, Upstairs, Downstairs - Domestic Service

They are all presentations that have been given this year at the Buckinghamshire FHS. Although it's too late to attend them you can read a summary, in many cases a substantive one, by clicking on the links above, or go to the site at www.mkheritage.co.uk/bfhng/previous_speakers.htm which includes talks back to 2005.

15th Annual BC Tri-Stake Family History Seminar

Scotland Intermediate/Advanced
Jewish Genealogical Databases
Ontario Ancestors
Paint & MS Picture Manager
Roots Magic
Interviewing Techniques
Beginners Genealogy
NewFamilySearch (For LDS)

Analyze Historical Photos
England Translating Early Wills
England Beginners
FHC Online Portal
Searching For Your Foremothers
UK 1800's Research Study
From Ireland Now What

British Coloumbia Genealogical Society
LDS Family History Centers
Scotland Beginners
Ireland Intermediate & Advanced
Look After The Paper
English Poor Law Records
Sources Where Are They?

United Empire Loyalists
Writing Your Family History
Passenger & Immigration
Canada Cloverdale Library
Planning a Trip to England
Canada Online
Military Records
Your French Canada on the Internet

Local favourite speakers on the program include Eunice Robinson, Diane Rogers, Susan Snalem, Judith Ueland, and even Dave Obee over from Victoria.

There is no charge, but it would be wise to make your selection of the sessions you wish to attend at www.findingyourroots.ca/ where you can also find other information about the event.

19 October 2010

Free Our Heritage

A new short film out this week from the UK’s JISC Film & Sound Think Tank makes the point that little of our moving image heritage is actually online. As of October 2010, just single percentage points of the great collections at the BBC Archive, ITN Source, Library of Congress, National Archives, etc., are actually digitized and available over the Internet!

What's true of video goes equally for other archival material.

via Open Culture

Ancestry Does Labs

Everybody's doing it.  Now Ancestry.com is climbing on the bandwagon with a Labs feature, applications in prototype or beta, not ready for prime time, and some that possibly never will be. 

Here's the information posted about the first item in Labs:
The first prototype that we’re launching today is codenamed “Person View” and we’re testing two new ideas:
1.     Person consolidation – can we group records and trees together in a way that exposes the relationships between records in a completely new way?
2.     Web records – can we find records on the web that match your query (from outside of Ancestry.com’s collections), and then link you directly to them?
You can access Person View from the labs website through this URL: http://www.ancestry.com/labs and you can see a quick demo of how Person View works here: http://screencast.com/t/Y2NiYWM2Y. Please give it a try and let us know what you think.
I tried it for a UK case and got a result that possibily open a new avenue of investigation for one of my problem lines.

Randy Seaver also tried it and seems to like the result. Read his comments here.

18 October 2010

Genealogy More Popular Than Sports

A genealogical myth that surfaces occasionally is that genealogy/family history is the most popular, or in some versions most rapidly growing, hobby. Hard evidence is scarce as 17th century census data.

Now Stephen Abrams has posted a blog item, rankings from a survey of a group of librarians on the most asked questions about hobbies.

One could question the inclusion of some of these items as hobbies, such as religion and spiritual activities. 

While genealogy is way down on the list, below many traditional hobbies such as reading, gardening, arts and crafts. With the exception of  exercising, walking and cycling, genealogy comes in ahead of sports of all kinds, both amateur and professional, which receive huge government subsidies.

Ancestry Adds Canadian Directories, Almanacs ...

It`s always interesting to find an ancestor in old directories, list of members and similar publications. Finding a name, and perhaps information on where they are, or their role in the organization, can help fill in gaps in your information. In the past few days Ancestry has added about 20 of this type of resource, mainly for Ontario and Quebec, plus a few for the Maritime Provinces.

Here is the list:

Genealogy Database Title
Directory and Hand Book of the Bond Street Congregational Church, Toronto
Bulletin Annuel des Travaux de l'École Polytechnique de Montréal
Hart’s Canadian Almanac and Repository of Useful Information and Division Court Directory for the Counties of Lanark, Renfrew, Leeds and Grenville
Le Canada Ecclésiastique Almanach-Annuaire du Clergé Canadien
McGill College, Montreal: Officers, Professors, Course of Study
Members and Officers of the British Columbia Medical Council
Members and Officers of the Council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia
Annual Report of the Medical Superintendent of the Provincial Hospital for the Insane, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Annual Report of the Quebec Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Acadia Seminary, Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the Burlington Ladies’ Academy of Hamilton, Canada West
Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the University of Acadia College, Nova Scotia
Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Toronto Baptist College, McMaster Hall
Catalogue of the Trustees, Officers, and Students of the Canadian Literary Institute
Annual Catalogue of the Officers, Faculty and Students of the University of Ottawa
Annual Directory and Business Register of the Ottawa Unity Protestant Benefit Society
Annual Register and Business Directory of the Sons of England Benevolent Society for the Dominion of Canada
A Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the Wesleyan Academy, Mount Allison, Sackville, New-Brunswick
A.M.D.G. Officers and Students Together with the Prize List of Loyola College Montreal
Annuaire de l’Ecole Normale Jacques-Cartier

Persons Day

In genealogy we're often reminded that half of our ancestors are women. Women pull more than their weight in family history circles. For instance, 60% of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa members are women (or were when I last compiled figures several years ago), and seven of 10 members of its current Board members.

Cheap shots by some, like former Ottawa mayor Charlotte Whitton's "Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult," are unfortunate as they tend to demean the contribution of that other half of our ancestors. The world would be an empty place without either.

Today, October 18 is 'Persons Day' in Canada. It commemorates the legal ruling in the 'Famous Five,' case where a group of women progressives from Alberta where successful in having the constitutional term 'persons' recognized as applying equally to man and women.

So what is special about this October 18? A new archival website is launched by the Alberta Women's Memory Project. You'll find much of the advice it contains applicable to all 'persons'.

17 October 2010

New Ottawa City Archives Update: 15 October 2010

Further progress on the building is evident with good progress on installation of windows on both the south and north faces of the archives.

16 October 2010

MAPCO London Fire Maps

More London map material from MAPCO: 

A New & Correct Plan Of All The Houses Destroyed And Damaged By The Fire Which Began In Exchange-Alley, Cornhill, On Friday, March 25th, 1748.

A Plan Of The Great Fire In Bishopsgate Street Leadenhall Street & Cornhill. On Thursday Novr 7th 1765.

Both of these maps include extensive notes taken from the London Magazine and Gentleman's Magazine of the time, including the names of occupants in the area, and notes on some of those killed during the fires.

The 1748 fire plan article recalls the great fire of 1666, and links back to this map:

A Plan of the City and Liberties of London, Shewing the Extent of the Dreadful Conflagration in the Year 1666 at http://archivemaps.com/mapco/london/1666liberties.htm

15 October 2010

Kelly's Post Office Directory Map Of London 1857

MAPCO has come out of hibernation with another scanned and beautifully restored 19th century London map, Kelly's Post Office Directory Map Of London 1857

To the left is a sample showing the area around swinging 60s Carnaby Street and Broad Street where the 1854 cholera outbreak was explored by Dr John Snow.

The sample doesn't show the hand colouring of the map which is "the earliest example of a Tape Indicator Map that MAPCO has ever come across. The map displays London Postal District boundaries, hand coloured in outline."

Congratulations to David Hale on another fine map presentation.

New version of the Canadian Naturalization database

The following is a press release from Library and Archives Canada:
Ottawa, October 14, 2010—Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to announce the release of a new version of the online database Canadian Naturalization 1915-1951. It now includes digitized images of the lists of names of people who applied for and obtained status as naturalized Canadians between 1932 and 1951; these lists were originally published in the Canada Gazette. This database is one of the few Canadian genealogical resources specifically designed to benefit researchers having roots other than British. The reference numbers indicated in the database can be used to request copies of the original naturalization records, which are held by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

The database is available at the following address: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/naturalization-1915-1932/index-e.html

Library and Archives Canada would like to thank the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal [http://jgs-montreal.org/] and its volunteers, without whom this project would not have happened.

About Library and Archives Canada
The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the nation’s documentary heritage for present and future generations and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic development of Canada. Library and Archives Canada also facilitates co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and is the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions. Genealogy Services (www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/) includes all physical and online genealogical services of Library and Archives Canada. It offers information, services, advice, research tools and the opportunity to work on joint projects, in both official languages.

The efforts of the many LAC staff members who have contributed to the realization of this project are greatly appreciated. For more information, please contact webservices@lac-bac.gc.ca.

Phil Jenkins Event with FCOA AGM

Ottawa area folk know that the opportunity to hear Phil Jenkins is one not to be missed. Phil has a regular column in the Ottawa Citizen, is a prolific local author, advocate, and historian whose family immigrated to Canada in 1951.

Next Sunday, 17 October, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. in the Colonel By Room, 2nd Floor, Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Phil will speak (and maybe sing) in a joint event between the Friends of the City of Ottawa Archives and the Archives. His topic is: Here to Stay: An immigrant's personal view of Ottawa, 1951-2010.

The event will be followed by the FCOA AGM.

14 October 2010

OGS Toronto Branch Scottish Family History Call for Speakers

As the deadline for proposals for this event is 1 November, here is a reminder from the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society about their call for speakers for the June 2011 workshop, co-hosted with the Canadiana Department of the North York Central Library, on Scottish Family History.

The principal speaker at this workshop, genealogist and author Chris Paton from Scotland, will be giving three presentations, titled: "The Godly Commonwealth", "Scottish House and Land History" and "The Weavers of Perth". Detailed summaries of these presentations are now available on the Toronto Branch website at www.torontofamilyhistory.org/Scottish2011.html.

The Branch is looking for other speakers who would like to be part of this one-day workshop. We are inviting proposals for full-length (one-hour) presentations on topics related to Scottish genealogy (such as online resources, poor law records, education records, migration to and within Scotland, or Scottish repositories), as well as shorter case study presentations (20 to 30 minutes).

Again, the deadline for proposals is Monday, 1 November 2010.

Further information on the call and how to make submissions can be found at www.torontofamilyhistory.org/Scottish-Call.html.

Ancestry Adds Returns of Owners of Land for England and Wales, 1873

Another part of the mini-bonanza of Anglo-Canadian resources added by Ancestry overnight, the complete list is in the posting here, is the less-well-known Return of Owners of Land, 1873 for both England and Wales.

As explained in the volume:

This return is intended to show, with respect to England and Wales (exclusive of the Metropolis),—
  1. The number and names of owners of land of one acre and upwards, whether built upon or not, in each County, with the estimated acreage and annual gross estimated rental of the property belonging to each owner.
  2. The number of owners of land, whether built upon or not, of less than one acre, with the estimated aggregate acreage and the aggregate gross estimated rental of the lands of such owners.
  3. The estimated extent of commons and waste lands in each County.
This is the version originally produced by Archive CD Books Ltd in the UK.

Ancestry Adds Illustrated London News Selected Issues

There's a mini-bonanza of Anglo-Canadian resources added to Ancestry overnight. The complete list is below. One of the highlights is selected issues of the Illustrated London News

You could surf hours away just browsing. Naturally there are lots of illustration including this one of troops on Metcalfe Street in Ottawa on their way to war in South Africa.

The 1847 volume includes coverage of the Irish Potato Famine, and much more. Did you know that on 1 January 1847 the price of beer in London was raised to one penny per pot; and on the following day the US government imposed a tax on tea and coffee (where were descendants of the Boston Tea Party rebels, or ancestors of today's Tea Party?)

Genealogy Database TitlePosted
Annual Catalogue of the Officers, Faculty and Students of the University of Ottawa 10/14/2010
Annual Directory and Business Register of the Ottawa Unity Protestant Benefit Society 10/14/2010
Annual Register and Business Directory of the Sons of England Benevolent Society for the Dominion of Canada 10/14/2010
A Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the Wesleyan Academy, Mount Allison, Sackville, New-Brunswick 10/14/2010
A.M.D.G. Officers and Students Together with the Prize List of Loyola College Montreal 10/14/2010
Annuaire de l’Ecole Normale Jacques-Cartier 10/14/2010
Annuaire de l’École Normale Laval Pour L’Année Académique 10/14/2010
England, Return of Owners of Land, 1873 10/13/2010
Wales, Return of Owners of Land, 1873 10/13/2010
Lyson's Magna Britannia 10/13/2010
The Beauties of England & Wales 10/13/2010
Soulby's Ulverston Advertiser, 1848-1862 10/13/2010
Penny Magazine, 1832-1844 10/13/2010
Illustrated London News 10/13/2010
The Notts and Derbyshire Notes and Queries, 1893-1898 10/13/2010
Lancashire and Cheshire Historical and Genealogical Notes, 1879-1883 10/13/2010
The Tewkesbury Yearly Register and Magazine, 1830-1850 10/13/2010

Your Digital Photo Collection: Tips for organizing and preserving electronic images

Tuesday, 26 October, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Joint Event between the Archives of the City of Ottawa and its Friends organization

Your Digital Photo Collection: Tips for organizing and preserving electronic images
An awareness session for the amateur photographer, with practical presentations by a number of experts from some of Ottawa's largest heritage preservation institutions.

7:00 to 7:05PM – Welcome: FCOA
7:05 to 7:10PM – Agenda and workshop review: Louise Renaud, Moderator
Capture overview
7:10 to 7:40PM – Camera Settings and Basic Photography Principles: Mylène Choquette
7:40 to 8:00PM – Scanning photography principles: Kathleen Brosseau
Organization overview
8:00 to 8:20PM – Photo organization, filing and set-up: Richard Murphy
8:20 to 8:40PM
Storage overview
8:40 to 8:50PM – Storage: Optical discs solution: Joe Iraci
8:50 to 9:00PM – Storage: Hard drive solution: Jean-Luc Vincent
Preservation overview
9:00 to 9:10PM – Preservation tips: Louise Renaud
Wrap up
9:10 to 9:15PM – Closing remarks: FCOA
9:15 to 10:00PM – Question and Answer session: Ask the experts

Location: Ben Franklin Place (former Council Chambers), 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa.

Cost: $30. Advance registration (by Oct 22) and payment are required. Registration form available here.
To obtain further information, contact David Bullock at 613-839-2479 or bullocknunn@rogers.com

LAC-Lustre Leadership

It was good to find someone else, in a posting by Wendy Reynolds on the Slaw blog www.slaw.ca/2010/10/13/lac-lustre-leadership/, lamenting the situation at Library and Archives Canada, 

The posting refers to an article in the Toronto Star commenting on  how "Library and Archives Canada, which is the official record keeper of the government, is still muddling through ..." in the preservation of Canada's digital heritage. See that article here.

Muddling through seems to be the modus operandi on a far wider scope of the organization activity. The organization gives every indication of being mired in ceaseless bureaucratic process; able to deliver the routine and incremental change, unable to break new ground to meet the demands of changing technology.

Actions that are taken, like joining the library catalogue to WorldCat, receive no publicity.

What does get publicity? Go look at the organization website. In the past month you'll learn:

-in the Media Room that "Librarian and Archivist of Canada reacts to the passing of former National Librarian Dr. Jean-Guy Sylvestre."

- in What's New, announcements on a new exhibition in Brantford, Thanksgiving Closure, presentations by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, an update on the 1851 census and launch of "Upper Canada Land Petitions"

- in Major Announcements, a notice of a major system disruption next Saturday.

Then go look at the Pathfinder project reports and notice that they were already dated several months when they were posted.

Ask members of the former LAC Services Advisory Board if the committment made at its last ad-hoc meeting to consult individually with Board members and establish a new Advisory Board by September has even been started.

Who will hold LAC leadership accountable?

Quinte OGS Branch October Meeting

If you're near Trenton on Saturday why not head for Quinte West City Hall Library where OGS Quinte Branch has an interesting sounding presentation: Collision with an Idyllic World!! The Impact of the 1918 Flu Pandemic on Prince Edward County,

Using old photos, newspaper clippings, school registers, civil records and accounts of descendants, this presentation describes the process of researching the 1918 flu pandemic in Prince Edward County. Starting with the death registers for each municipality, the presenter gathered information about each victim. While the circumstances are specific, the methods are applicable to genealogists everywhere.
The speaker is Phil Ainsworth, genealogist, historian and retired educator.

More information at: www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canqbogs/meetings.htm

13 October 2010

Malcolm Gladwell Ancestry

Canadian raised, New York resident and best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell has had his genealogy  scrutinized by US broadcaster, and Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates hosted the PBS series African American Lives and Faces of America.

You may recall that along the way Gates was surprised to discover through DNA testing that although an advocate for Afro-American culture, consistant with outward appearance, he has more European ancestry than African.

Now Gates has discovered that Gladwell, who has mixed ancestry: English on his father’s side, Northwest European, Jewish, and  middle class mulatto on his Jamaican mother’s side, had slave owing ancestors in Jamaica.

Why should Gates and Gladwell be exceptions -- the more you investigate your family history the more surprises your likely to find in your ancestry.

Read Gates article in The Root at http://www.theroot.com/views/malcolm-gladwells-elusive-roots?page=0,1

via Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Ancestry London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 Updated?

On there list of "Genealogy Databases Posted or Updated Recently" Ancestry have posted London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812. Naturally I was interested, and also intrigued because although it wasn't marked as updated I was pretty certain I'd seen the title before. Checking the card catalog it indicates the database was added on 14/09/2009 and updated on 11/02/2010.

I called the person at the 1-800 number who, although polite, knew nothing more about it than I did. When databases are updated it would be helpful to know the number of new entries. Is the update enough to make it worthwhile undertaking a new search on that database? The helpline person undertook to pass along the suggestion.
The help file on this database also needs revision as it includes the information "Names in these records have not yet been indexed." which is clearly not the case.

An Ancestry press release on this database is at:

TNA's New Look Research Guides

The UK National Archives have posted a notice that new look in-depth research guides, with extra functionality to make them easier to use, are coming on 18 October.

It's highly likely this is a good thing, we won't know until we see them. If you're accustomed to referring to one of the existing guides you may want to visit the site and download it before it disappears.

Here's TNA's blurb about the new look guides:

The in-depth research guides are intended for experienced researchers who need detailed information on how to find and understand records relating to particular subjects. They cover a huge range of subjects, reflecting the vast and unique collection held by The National Archives. The in-depth guides complement the shorter research signposts, which are intended for users beginning their research.
The key changes to the in-depth research guides include:
  • a new look, to bring the guides into line with the rest of the website
  • quick links to other relevant guides to help researchers move more easily between guides on related subjects
  • a quick link to the Catalogue
  • improved printing and pdf options
Researchers should also note that the guides will no longer appear as results of searches specifically within the Catalogue, but they will continue to appear as results of searches of the whole website. 
Work is continuing to update and improve the content of the guides themselves, to make them more suitable for the needs of experienced researchers. As part of this, a number of guides on similar subjects have been merged, and a small number have been archived.

Another Acting Archivist of Ontario

David Nicholl didn't last long as Acting Archivist of Ontario. With no public announcement that I could find a new Acting Archivist has appeared on the scene, Angela Forest. 

In a message dated September 2010 she writes:

The past year and a half has been an exciting time for the Archives of Ontario. Having settled into our new, purpose-built home on York University's Keele campus, we are fully realizing the potential of all the facility has to offer.

We have hosted a variety of great events, including the exhibit launches for Ontario On the Map and Architectural Dialogues... Moriyama &Teshima (sic). We participated in Doors Open Ontario for the first time, welcoming over 500 visitors to the new building. And our classroom space is allowing us to engage with the province's teachers and students through dynamic educational programming.

Digitization continues to be a strong focus for the organization. Soon we will be offering free, online access to the 260,000 records making up the 2009-2010 vital statistics release of Ontario birth, marriage and death registrations. We've also made strides on the social media front, using sites like YouTube (comment - 12 items like how to BBQ a chicken and how to carve a turkey) and Twitter to reach new and diverse audiences.

Moving forward, we will continue to promote innovation in archival science, excellence in recordkeeping, and superior customer service. And, as the guardian of Ontarios documentary memory, we are committed to expanding our collections to include records that reflect the full diversity of Ontario.
Who is Angela Forest? Does she have any credentials or professional interest in archives?

Googling around I find her most recently as Director Business Relationship Management, Economic Ministries. In an April 2007 organization chart for the Ontario Ministry of Government Services she has the title ADM, e-Ontario Program Management Office.

For those of us who use AO at a distance perhaps a background in e-services is encouraging. Otherwise ...

12 October 2010

Fife Registers of Voters on Ancestry

Registers of voters for the County (Kingdom) of Fife, with indexes produced by volunteeers, have just been added to Ancestry.co.uk. Searching the indexes is free.

The original data is in printed voters lists held at the Fife Library and Archives Service. They are from the period 1832 (following electoral reform in Scotland) to 1894. Records can be searched by place of residence, register year, and name. The originals may include occupation, street or street address, whether a proprietor or tenant, description of property, and a name of a village, farm, or property.

The records available are:

Register of Voters for the Burgh of Burntisland, 1864
Register of Voters for the Burgh of Burntisland, 1894
Register of Voters for the Burgh of Dysart, 1832
Register of Voters for the Burgh of Kinghorn, 1832, 1867-92
Register of Voters for the County of Fife, 1832-34
Register of Voters for the County of Fife, 1846
Register of Voters for the County of Fife, 1861-62
Register of Voters for the County of Fife, 1862-63
Register of Voters for the County of Fife, 1863-64
Register of Voters for the County of Fife, 1864-65
Register of Voters for the County of Fife, 1878-79
Register of Voters for the County of Fife, 1889-90
Register of Voters for the Royal Burgh of Dunfermline, 1856, 1871
Register of Voters for the Royal Burgh of Dunfermline, 1868-69
Register of Voters of the Western District of Fife, 1860


If you're like me you can turn from your computer and see piles of genealogy data CDs: some containing custom data sent by people and organizations; a box with old cover CDs from UK genealogy magazines; not to mention binders like that containing CDs of the 1881 British Census and National Index in the  Family History Resource File series.

Many of these, such as those old cover CDs, should just be thrown out. Mostly this is software trial editions from years gone by and small samples of data, usually from a community in which I have no interest.

Some CDs contain resources I do refer to from time to time. It's just frustrating that they sit there occupying desk top space I could better use.

Strike up the band, marching in comes ...   .iso ... which is a format that allows you to keep exact image files of whole data CDs, not music or video CDs, on your hard drive or other electronic storage medium. I've now started a project to copy some of that more valuable CD data.

Even if you're like me and work with a three-year-old laptop you probably still have plenty of space left on your hard drive. There's even more on a USB connected external drive on which I do an automatic backup every day. If you have that storage space which you've already paid for why not let it earn its keep?

To do so you need two pieces of software, one to convert the contents of the CD to an .iso file on your hard drive, the other to allow you to access that file from your computer just as if it was a CD in the physical drive. I found free versions for both purposes.

To move CD contents to an .iso file I'm using ISO Recorder, downloaded from  http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm. It seems to work well without any issues so far.

To use an .iso file you need software to mount and dismount the file, just as you would insert and remove a CD from its drive. I use Virtual CloneDrive found at www.slysoft.com/en/virtual-clonedrive.html. It's one of the disk imaging utilities suggested at Lifehacker http://lifehacker.com/5660244/five-best-disk-image-tools. I did have a bit of trouble with the installation and sought help from instructional videos found by searching on YouTube. 

I'm not suggesting these two pieces of software are the best, just that they work for me.

Now that I have everything installed I'm finding that often it's quicker to search on the virtual drive than the CD, plus I'm not spending time searching through a pile of CDs to find the one I want. You do need to preserve, or destroy, the CD. Selling it or giving it away contravenes copyright if you're still using the copy.

Lesley Anderson Joins the Genealogy Circuit

Friend and BIFHSGO colleague Lesley Anderson seems to be burning the candle at all three ends. Not only is she Partnership Development and Content Specialist for Ancestry.ca,  and instructor for a couple of genealogy courses through the Ottawa Catholic School Board, and Director of Education for BIFHSGO, and volunteer at the Ottawa Family History Centre; she's also taking on more speaking engagements outside Ottawa.

Next weekend Lesley is speaking at the OGS Region One Annual Meeting on Helpful Techniques for Using Ancestry.ca. There's full information on the meeting, which includes three other talks, at  www.lambton.ogs.on.ca/bulletinboard.html (scroll down).

On Saturday November 6 Lesley is presenting the opening plenary Women on Ancestry in  a full day session on The Women in OurPast: Strategies and Resources for Researching Female Ancestors organized by OGS Toronto Branch. Friend and colleague Glenn Wright is another speaker in a very strong line-up. More at: www.torontofamilyhistory.org/women.html

Looking further ahead, arrangements are still pending but another all-day OGS Toronto Branch session in early August is in the works, likely including Lesley, myself and Linda Reid. More to come.

Finally, in October 2011, Lesley is a speaker on a genealogy cruise which also has Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (http://honoringourancestors.com/) and George Morgan (half of The Genealogy Guys) on the roster. That's pretty good, A-list, genealogy company. More at http://wwcruisehq.com/index_files/WorldwideCruiseHeadquarters_Family_History_Cruises.htm

11 October 2010

Upper Canada Index Databases

As I don't have much in the way of Ontario roots these are not sites I've looked at previously.

Upper Canada (Ontario) Criminal Database
Database indexes prison registers from Toronto, Whitby, Guelph, Woodstock, Chatham, Cobourg, Kitchener, Windsor, Peterborough, Lindsay, Owen Sound, Brockville, Belleville, Picton.
Upper Canada (Ontario) Insane Asylum Registers
Insane asylum database indexes to Toronto, Kingston, London, and Malden Insane asylums 1840's through 1900.

Here's a tip. Even if you think your ancestors were never criminal or insane, click and scroll down for additional Ontario databases from researcher/compiler Michael Stephenson.

10 October 2010

The Eastman Effect

You wouldn't confuse them in the hotel lobby.

Oprah is the one with more hair, except on her face.

Rated as one of the richest and most influential women in the world, her core audience is estimated to spend more than $7 trillion dollars a year. Any book or other product she features on her ratings-dominating television show becomes an instant commercial success. It's the Oprah Effect.

Then there's Dick Eastman. I haven't noticed his name on lists of the rich and influential. He may not pull in a comparable salary. Occasional appearances on Roots TV may not have quite the same impact. But there is also an Eastman Effect.

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter proclaims itself to be the most popular online genealogy magazine in the world according to Alexa. Statistics on hits on this blog can testify to its influence. On Saturday Dick blogged about a flood in the OGS offices and linked to this blog. Within minutes folks started arriving at this blog. Two hundred came in the first twelve hours. Folks kept coming and have blown away the record for most visits in one day.

Thanks Dick. Thanks Mike for the info.

FreeBMD October Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Fri 8 Oct 2010 and currently contains 191,474,979 distinct records (243,917,643 total records). Major additions this update are from 1942 to 1949.

Probate - more please Sir

"Due to a significant increase in the volume of search requests there is currently a delay in the processing of search applications at York Probate Sub Registry. We are taking steps to rectify this and apologise for any inconvenience this delay may cause."
This notice on the website www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/cms/1226.htm should dispel any doubt about the value that genealogists see in probate records. It appeared after Ancestry.co.uk recently placed online
the dataset "England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-1941". Word is that turn-around time in York for people ordering full copies of wills has gone from days to weeks.

The indexing Ancestry has completed on these records is extracting less than half the names they contain. Here's an example from a distant part of my family tree. Ancestry's indexing gives only the deceased name, probate date, death date and place.

There are two other names in the item, Charles Thomas Northwood and Elizabeth Mallaber, both of which strike more of a chord for me than Hannah Northwood.

While indexing these records again manually would be costly, given the decent quality of the text making the whole thing searchable through automated optical character recognition would be a relatively inexpensive and quick means of making these records even more valuable than they have proven to be already.

09 October 2010

Social Networking: the new face of genealogy

This article: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/face+genealogy/3648492/story.html#ixzz11tVSGqUN
in the Montreal Gazette discusses how Facebook is "helping people find and connect with the living relatives of their family tree - bad apples and all."

via Dave Obee -- on Facebook.

Ontario Genealogical Society near disaster

As reported on the OGS blog, on Friday a flood occurred at the OGS provincial office, termed a near disaster. Although there was damage major disaster was averted. Operations at the office for the next couple of weeks will be curtailed while things are straightened out.

Reportedly a worker drilled into a water pipe on the floor above the OGS office and it was 30 minutes before the water could be shut off. Water ran into the storage area, boardroom and part of the office area. Although electronic equipment suffered the OGS website remains operational. There is loss of other materials.

Six boxes holding historical insurance papers suffered water damage, They were removed and frozen prior to conservation which should prevent loss. Hopefully this will prompt OGS to reconsider its decision to store these items in non-archival conditions, and think again about the wisdom of the organization holding archivial documents.

Cornwall Parish Records

What happened to the Cornish Parish Records on FamilySearch?

On August 5th I posted Cornwall Parish Registers Online from FamilySearch. It was the second set of English county parish records (after Norfolk), images of the originals, to be posted on FamilySearch.

On or around September 19th the collection disappeared. I noticed. Perhaps a temporary glitch I thought! But Sue Cox of Toronto writes that they are still missing and attaching a response she received to a query to FamilySearch.

To paraphrase, the temporary unavailability is part of the process of moving to the new centrally consolidated site of beta.familysearch.org. The transfer should take weeks rather than months when they will reappear at the new location.

Also on Cornwall, there's news via a posting on CORNISH-GEN-L that the Cornwall Family History Society's entire 5 million database of Cornish records is now being put on-line for its members. The database contains; censuses, baptisms, marriages, burials, cemetery burial books, monumental inscriptions (a large number including photographs), Probate, and other information). The facility is now available although some records are still being uploaded.

For more on the Cornwall Family History Society go to www.cornwallfhs.com

OGS 2012 Call for Speakers

Here, somewhat ahead of a normal schedule but courtesy of Mike More, who as Regional Director for the host area is adequate authority for me, is the call for speakers for the 2012 OGS Conference.

08 October 2010

Ottawa City Archives Closure - advance notice

The Ottawa City Archives is scheduled to vacate its current premises at the old Ottawa City Hall on Green Island by the end of December 2010.

According to City Archivist Paul Henry construction of the new Archives building is on schedule for the move to occur. He anticipates operations will close at the present site on 10 December. The new facility will be open to the public about ten weeks later, all being well.

Compared to moves of other archives this seems ambitious, but I`m prepared to be pleasantly surprised. It would be wise to take advantage of the existing facility, including the partner genealogical and historical libraries, now and plan your schedule to allow for the Archives facility not being available before the end of February.

No Culture, No Future

Culture leads to healthy cities, or so says Simon Brault, author of No Culture, No Future. On October 21 at a free public lecture is being given on the role of culture in the economics of cities and the life of their citizens.

The event starts at 7 p.m. at the Canadian Museum of Nature. 4th Floor Galleries 240 McLeod Street Admission: Free. Reception. Cash Bar. RSVP

07 October 2010

Hudson Bay Company Archives Biographical Sheets

The Hudson Bay Company Archives (HBCA) have placed online one-page biographical sheets on people who were employed by the Hudson Bay Company and/or the North West Company. Brits, especially Scots, are heavily represented.

Biographical sheets outline the person's employment history and may also include the parish of origin or place of birth; positions, posts and districts in which the person served; family information, if available; and references to related documents, including photographs or drawings. The project is not complete, but ongoing.


Thanks to Wallace J McLean for pointing out this useful reference.

BIFHSGO October Meeting

The feature presentation this Saturday, 9 October, 2010 is "The Fairbrother Story - Fact or Fiction?" by Penny Samek PLCGS. For additional details on the speaker, and information on the presentation, check out the background here.

As usual, the presentation will be in the auditorium of Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, starting at 10 AM. Discovery tables and refreshments will be available prior to the meeting.

This month there is also a "Before BIFHSGO" education talk, starting at 9:00 AM, which Lesley Anderson will present, on the PAF Family History database program.

06 October 2010

Findmypast.co.uk Announcement on Manchester Records

The following is a press release from Findmypast.co.uk about a project in cooperation with FamilySearch.org

o       Two year project to scan 8,000,000 records
o       First time these records have ever been made available online

Findmypast.co.uk, the UK family history website, has been awarded the contract by Manchester Archives to digitise cemetery registers plus institutional (gaol, school, workhouse) records of Manchester and will work with FamilySearch International, the world's largest repository of genealogical records, to make them fully searchable online for the very first time.

Findmypast.co.uk and FamilySearch will be digitising an estimated 130,000 images and 8,000,000 records over the next two years. The records will cover all of Manchester and some parts of Lancashire, due to boundary movement over the centuries. The records will include entries going back to the sixteenth century. In the collection being released the 19th century prison registers of the area will also be made available.

Every record from cemetery registers and institutional (gaol, school, workhouse) records of Manchester will be available free at any City of Manchester library.

The records available will include:
o       Manchester Overseers of the Poor Apprenticeship Indentures
o       Giles Shaw transcripts for parish registers including Oldham St. Mary: Baptisms 1662-1796; Marriages 1662-1816; Burials 1662-1826
o       Private cemeteries (now closed)
o       Ardwick Cemetery: burial registers, 1838-1950
o       Rusholme Road Cemetery: burial registers, 1821-1933
o       Cheetham Hill Wesleyan Cemetery: burial registers, 1815-1968
o       Workhouse Records
o       Withington Workhouse: Creed registers 1869-1898, birth registers 1857-1911, death registers 1857-1949
o       Withington Workhouse: Creed registers 1898-1911
o       Withington Workhouse: Interment Registers -1898-1915
o       Withington Workhouse: admission registers
o       Manchester Workhouse, New Bridge Street, 1881-1899
o       Manchester Workhouse, New Bridge Street, Creed Registers 1900-1911
o       Manchester Industrial Schools: admission registers 1866-1912
o       Manchester Schools: admission registers c.1870-1915
o       19th cent. prison registers

FamilySearch will scan original images of the registers for findmypast.co.uk to then make available online at findmypast.co.uk with an index search on FamilySearch.org.

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at findmypast.co.uk, said: "It is fantastic that we will be able to make these records available to search online for the very first time. Manchester is one of the largest cities outside London, and by making these records available online family history researchers will be able to discover even more about the lives of their Mancunian ancestors.

"We are looking forward to working with Greater Manchester County Record Office and hope this is the first of many partnerships. We are also very happy to be working with FamilySearch again on such an important project."

Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council's executive member for culture and leisure said: "We are continually developing our library and archive services to make them much more accessible and easy to use. We're really excited to be working with findmypast.co.uk and FamilySearch to digitise these records so that they will be easily available to everyone at the simple click of a button."

Findmypast.co.uk was the first company in the world to put the complete Birth, Marriage and Death indexes (BMDs) for England and Wales online in 1 April 2003. Previously these were only available offline on microfiche or in registry books, at a selected number of locations. This landmark achievement was recognised in 2007, when findmypast.co.uk won the Queen's Award for Innovation.