31 December 2010

Get a Last-Minute Tax Deduction

Looking to get an income tax deduction? You can make a last-minute online donation and help the federally registered charity of your choice. How? First check out the organization website. I didn't find many genealogy/family history societies that could accept a donation online, but maybe your's is one.

In Canada you can go to CanadaHelps.org, itself a registered charity with a goal to make giving simple. Enter the charity name or part name in the search box. I searched genealogical and "family history" and found many familiar Canadian societies, many of which may not know of the service.

Contributors for 2010

Thanks to everyone who helped this year by posting comments, providing information, or publicizing the blog, including;

Alison, Amy, Anne, Anonymous, Astrid, Audrey, Barb, Bill, Brenda, Brian, Bruce, Bryan, Carol, Caroline, Charles, Chris, Christine, Colleen, Dave, David, Debra, Diane, Dick, Doc, Don, Elizabeth, Ellen, Glenn, Gordon, Hamish, Heather, Helen, Hugh, Hummer, Ian, James, Jane, Janet, Jasia, Jenny, Jeri, Jess, Joan, John, Kathy, Kelvin, Kirsty, Leigh, Lesley, Leslie, Linda, Lisa, Liz, Malcolm, Margaret, Marian, Mary-Anne, MerRhosyn, Michelle, Mike, Miriam, Nancy, Norma, Pat, Paul, Peter, Persephone, Phil, Pierce, Randy, Rick, Ros, Russell, Salabencher, Sandra, Susan, Sylvie, Thomas, Treesrch, William


a blog is nothing without readers. Thank you.

Cromer and Overstrand Resources

As a son of Norfolk I enjoy finding new resources for the county.

Cromer, on the county's north-east coast, is the major subject of a new book A Dictionary of Cromer and Overstrand History.

The companion website includes more lengthy material for a range of topics shown to the left including a city directory from 1890, a cemetery transcription starting in the 1860s, and the opportunity to feedback your impressions and memories.

30 December 2010

Genealogy classes in Ottawa

Colleague Lesley Anderson is offerring genealogy classes through the Ottawa Catholic School Board again in the New Year.

Genealogy Level 1 is "a fun 4-week course on how to get started using both online computer resources and offline community resources. We will concentrate on using Ancestry's genealogical databases and other Internet websites. We will be discussing: Getting Organized, Good Genealogy Websites, Civil Registration, Parish Records, Passenger Lists and Census Records. Two classes will be spent on field trips. Class runs two times a week for four weeks."

Genealogy Level 2 is a 3-week course which will "Review of Level 1 Resources, Parish and Poor Law, Directories, Wills, Military Records and Other Records. We will concentrate on using the Ancestry.ca website and other Internet resources. One class will be taken up with a field trip to the Library and Archives of Canada. Class runs two times a week for three weeks."

Registration starts 3 January 2011 at  http://onlineca.activecommunities.com/OttCathSchools/Start/Start.asp?SCheck=867433280&SDT=40058.4191969907

Ontario baby names

You may have seen a newspaper item in the Ottawa Citizen or London Free Press based on an Ontario government press release mentioning that "Ethan has been the most popular name for baby boys for the third year in a row, while Olivia overtook Emma in the top spot for girls' names. The top ten names also include: Jacob, Matthew, Nathan and Joshua for boys and Emma, Ava, Emily and Isabella for girls."

What it doesn't mention is that the baby name statistics are from 2008. It was explained to me that parents have a year to register a birth in Ontario so there is inevitable delay. With online registration a preliminary list could surely be compiled much more quickly, as is done in Scotland. 

The tops boys names in Ontario for 2008 were Ethan (1001), Jacob (872), Matthew(840), Nathan (821), Joshua (724), Alexander (722), Lucas(719), Liam (675), Daniel (674), Logan (659).

For girls the top names were: Olivia (904), Emma (897), Ava (752), Emily (677), Isabella (598), Abigail (573), Sarah (518), Madison (435), Ella (465), Hannah (440).

Yuletide R&R - 10

The final classic British comedy sketch in this series is perhaps the best known.

29 December 2010

Ancestry: 50% off

This ad in today's Toronto Globe and Mail offers an amazing deal on an Ancestry World Deluxe annual subscription for new subscribers.  Half off. 

The membership includes:
  • Unlimited access to all records from the UK, Ireland, US and more
  • Unlimited acces to all Canadian record collections on Ancestry.ca
  • Connection into the world's largest online family history community
  • Hints in your tree when we discover details about your ancestors
  • All the tools you need to build, grow and share your family tree online
  • The ability to upload photos, documents and stories to your tree
  • Shared access to your tree for family members
Go to www.ancestry.ca/globe or call 1-800-442-9153

Inappropriate surnames

The following poem, attributed to James Smith, was found in the book "Surnames of the United Kingdom: a concise etymological dictionary" (1912) in the Internet Archives.


Men once were surnamed from their shape or estate,
   (You all may from History worm it);
There was Lewis the Bulky, and Henry the Great,
   John Laekland, and Peter the Hermit.
But now, when the door-plates of Misters and Dames
   Are read, each so constantly varies
From the owner's trade, figure, and calling, Surnames
   Seem given by the rule of contraries.

Mr. Box, though provoked, never doubles his fist,
   Mr. Burns, in his grate, has no fuel ;
Mr. Playfair won't catch me at hazard or whist,
   Mr. Coward was winged in a duel.
Mr. Wise is a dunce, Mr. King is a whig,
   Mr. Coffin's uncommonly sprightly,
And huge Mr. Little broke down in a gig,
   While driving fat Mrs. Golightly.

Mrs. Drinkwater's apt to indulge in a dram,
   Mrs. Angel's an absolute fury.
And meek Mr. Lyon let fierce Mr. Lamb
   Tweak his nose in the lobby of Drury.
At Bath, where the feeble go more than the stout,
   (A conduct well worthy ot Nero),
Over poor Mr. Lightfoot, confined with the gout,
   Mr. Heaviside danced a Bolero.

Miss Joy, wretched maid, when she chose Mr, Love,
   Found nothing but sorrow await her:
She now holds in wedlock, as true as a dove.
   That fondest of mates, Mr. Hayter.
Mr. Oldcastle dwells in a modern-built hut.
   Miss Sage is of madcaps the archest;
Of all the queer bachelors Cupid e'er cut.
   Old Mr. Younghusband's the starchest.

Mr. Child, in a passion, knock'd down Mr. Rock,
   Mr. Stone like an aspen-leaf shivers;
Miss Poole used to dance, but she stands Jike a stock
   Ever since she became Mrs. Rivers ;
Mr. Swift hobbles onward, no mortal knows how.
   He moves as though cords had entwin'd him;
Mr. Metcalfe ran off, upon meeting a cow,
   With pale Mr. "Turnbull behind him.

Mr. Barker's as mute as a fish in the sea,
   Mr. Miles never moves on a journey ;
Mr. Gotobed sits up till half-after three,
   Mr. Makepeace was bred an attorney.
Mr. Gardener can't tell a flower from a root,
   Mr. Wilde with timidity draws back,
Mr. Ryder performs all his journeys on foot,
   Mr. Foote all his journeys on horseback.

Mr. Penny, whose father was rolling in wealth,
   Kick'd down all his fortune his dad won,
Large Mr. Le Fever's the picture of health,
   Mr. Goodenough is but a bad one.
Mr. Cruickshank stept into three thousand a year,
   By shewing his leg to an heiress —
Now I hope you'll acknowledge I've made it quite clear
   That surnames ever go by contraries.

Family Chronicle, Jan/Feb 2011 issue

The Jan/Feb. 2011 issue of Family Chronicle with its green cover, catches the eye immediately. If there's a shade of green for everyone this doesn't happen to be mine.

I turned immediately to a couple of articles by local Ottawa writer Elizabeth Lapointe.

"Discovering Family History Centers" likely sat in Family Chronicle's pending file a bit past its best before date. It mentions ordering films through the Family History Centre which is no longer possible in Canada, you have to do that online, and refers to an annual Family History Fair at the Ottawa Stake Family History Centre which occurred in 2009. There was no such event in 2010 in Ottawa

I was pleased to see "Crime and Punishment in Upper Canada: A Book Review." That book, in the OGS/Dundurn Press Genealogists' Reference Shelf series, has been in my reading pile.  Elizabeth gives it a favorable review noting the great care that the author, Janice Nickerson, took to get it right. She writes in conclusion, "Written from the historical perspective of a well-seasoned genealogist, the book is the first step in determining if any ancestors came in conflict with the law." A five page article by Janice which follows the review amply illustrates the validity of Elizabeth's review.

Elizabeth isn't the only Ottawa area author in this issue. Anne Moralejo has a short article giving advice on storing and handling old nitrate films. It gives very practical advice, in line with the magazine's billing as the "how-to" genealogy magazine.

There are several other interesting articles. I particularly enjoyed George Morgan's look at "US Records of the War of 1812" which starts out with a useful historical overview; and Richard Jordan's story of his research into his family history in "Murder at the Shingle Mill."

You can view the complete table of contents for this issue at www.familychronicle.com

28 December 2010

Yuletide R&R - 9

Continuing the series with a Canadian comedy sketch, but performed by Welsh-born John Morgan.

Forthcoming Courses and Workshops

The Toronto Branch of the OGS has announced its winter/spring 2011 lineup of family history courses. The Branch will be presenting five courses between February and May 2011, with learning opportunities for both beginners and more advanced researchers:

Biographical Research for Ontario Genealogists

This course is for experienced genealogists who want to learn the stories behind their Ontario ancestors' names, places and dates - ideal preparation for writing the family history book. Instructor: Janice Nickerson

1 Feb - 22 Feb 2011: 4 sessions, Tuesdays (6:30-8:30 p.m.)

Introduction to English Family History Research

Learn about records available for researching English ancestors: civil registration, the census, parish registers, and probate (wills). This course will discuss the indexes and other tools available through the LDS, in local libraries, and on the Internet. Instructor: Linda Reid

3 Mar - 24 Mar 2011: 4 sessions, Thursdays (6:30-8:30 p.m.)

Making the Internet Really Work for Genealogy

This hands-on course is aimed at those who have considerable experience with using the Internet for genealogy, but wish to fine tune their search skills and learn how to take advantage of social networking opportunities. Instructor: Marian Press

23 Mar - 13 Apr 2011: 4 sessions, Wednesdays (6:15-8:15 p.m.)

Introduction to Ontario Family History Research

Do you have Ontario ancestors? This course will introduce you to the records essential to Ontario research and how best to access them. Prerequisite: Basic genealogy course or equivalent experience. Instructor: Jane MacNamara

13 Apr - 4 May 2011: 4 sessions, Wednesdays (2:00-4:00 p.m.)

Palaeography for Family Historians

This course will help students decipher historical documents and gather information from them. Students are invited to bring in their own records for study. Instructor: Cherryl Moote

3 May - 24 May 2011: 4 sessions, Tuesdays (6:30-8:30 p.m.)

For program details, speaker biographies and information on how to register for Toronto Branch courses, visit www.torontofamilyhistory.org/courses.html.

27 December 2010

To come on Ancestry in 2011

Ancesstry have posted a list of the new and updated databases coming online in 2011. For the Canada, Ireland and the UK these include:

• UK: London wills, 1600s-1800s
• Ireland: Improved Griffith's Valuation, 1847-1864
• UK: Parish registers, including West Yorkshire and Dorset, 1700s-1900s
• UK: 1911 Census for England, Wales, Isle of Man and Channel Islands
• Canada: Voter records, 1935-1983
• Canada: War Graves Registry, WWI

See the complete list at http://www.ancestry.com/whatsahead?

Yuletide R&R - 8

There's at least one Doctor Who fan who reads this blog, I recommend to her this year's Christmas Carol episode, I'm sure may appreciate this longer sketch with Rowan Atkinson, and others, in the title role. It includes two ads, but only 20 seconds each.

Mystery emblem

What might this signify?  It's a tie tack, about the size of a dime with a pin and clasp. From a distance the impression is of a snowflake. The design has six converging arrows. On the back is the word Kinney, and the clasp includes the words Kinney Co, Prov 3, R.I.

It was given to me by the widow of a former work colleague who had roots in Nova Scotia.

A Google search finds Kinney Concepts in Rhode Island but no company website.

Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors

Although 15% of this blog's readers are US-based I normally leave US resources to the many good US genealogy blogs. In this case I'm making a slight exception as the publisher is Canada-based.

Moorshead Magazines have a new publication timed for the beginning of the 150th anniversary year of the US Civil War.  In the familiar format of their magazines, Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors, written by regular Family Chronicle author David A Norris, looks at the records and resources available to the genealogist researching the event. 

The articles are:

The First Steps to Finding a Civil War Ancestor
Some thoughts and tips on getting started in Civil War research

Companies and Regiments: Civil War Army Units
Knowing how the armies were structured will help you understand records and references

Prewar and Postwar Military Records
These records can help you trace your ancestor’s entire military career

Non-Regimental and “Untypical” Soldiers
Some tips for finding soldier ancestors in unusual categories

Emergency Troops, Militia and Home Guard
Records of temporary units might reveal a hard-to-find ancestor’s service

Ensigns and Engineers: Ancestors in the Navies
Though tracking a relative in the navy can be challenging, there are many valuable resources available

US Colored Troops and African-American Sailors
Here are some resources for African-Americans who served in the Civil War

Southern Loyalists and “Galvanized Yankees”
Here are some resources to check for Southern ancestors who served with the Union

To Helmira and Back: Prisoners of War
POW resources can fill in holes in your ancestor’s records, or reveal the fate of a missing ancestor

Medical Records and Hospital Personnel
Records from Civil War hospitals contain a wealth of information on soldiers and staff

Military Pay Resources
Civil War payroll records pay off again for genealogists

The Civil War and the Census
Pre- and postwar censuses offer important information on the lives and families of veterans

The 1865 Parole Lists: To the Very End
These documents list the soldiers who endured to the end of the war

Finding Your Ancestors’ Flags
Regimental flags had important practical and symbolic purposes for Civil War soldiers

Buried in History: Civil War Cemeteries
Finding a soldier’s grave can seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be a lost cause

Civil War Pension Records and Wartime Relief
Pension records are a genealogical treasure trove for soldiers and their families

Confederate State Pension Resources
A state-by-state guide to locating Confederate pension records

Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Widows’ Homes
The records of these institutions may contain a wealth of detail that can’t be found elsewhere

Civil War Veterans’ Groups
Records of veterans’ organizations might let you follow your ancestor into the 20th century

Wartime Civilian Records
Relatives who weren’t in the military may still have left a wealth of information about their lives

Amnesty Papers and Southern Claims
Some potentially helpful postwar sources for Southern relatives

Spies, Smugglers and “Disloyal Citizens”
Records of civilian prisoners include ordinary citizens, political prisoners and even politicians

Finding Civil War Income Tax Records
You might find that your ancestors’ 1860s tax records are a source of family history

A Gift From the Past: Civil War Newspapers
Here are some tips on finding your newsmaker ancestors

A Picture in Time: Civil War Era Photographs
You can find photos of people and places connected to your family, or even of your ancestors

Best of the Best: Classic Civil War Resources
These records contain the most essential information for Civil War era research

National Archives Records
A soldier’s Compiled Military Service Record contains some of the most essential details of his service

Finding Your Way Through the Civil War With Maps
Maps can help you follow your ancestor during the war or find a family farm near a battlefield

I won't attempt a review of a topic so outside my area of expertise. Spurred by the recollection of a talk on Memorializing the Civil War Dead  I attended last year I did dip into the article on Civil War cemeteries. Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors appears to be as accessible as you will be familiar with in other Moorshead publications.

You can order the magazine directly from http://familychronicle.com/Tracing_Civil_War_Ancestors.htm or wait for it to arrive at major newstands in the US and Canada.

26 December 2010

Yuletide R&R - 7

By request, Peter Cook from the legendary "Pleasure at her Majesty's" performance, originally from Beyond The Fringe review.

The rise and fall of the workhouse

BBC History Magazine has an online history of Britain's workhouse system.

Despite the grim reputation, and often reality, "Britain’s system of poor relief arguably saved thousands of people from starvation over the course of its 300-year history."

Included are snapshot histories of ten workhouses: Newbury workhouse, Berkshire; Southwell workhouse, Nottinghamshire; 48 Doughty Street, London; Andover union workhouse, Hampshire; Rhayader union workhouse, Powys; Edinburgh’s charity poorhouse, Edinburgh;  Londonderry union workhouse, Londonderry/Derry; Strand union workhouse, London; The Spike, Guildford; Chorlton union workhouse, Lancashire

25 December 2010

Looking for a good book?

 BBC History Magazine's website provides access to short book reviews that may be helpful in selecting a good use for the Amazon or other bookworthy gift certificate you received this year. While some may not be easily available in North America others can be purchased in eBook form so you can try out that new eReader.


Yuletide R&R - extra

Not a classic. but may become one. It just aired on the BBC.

24 December 2010

Christmas Greetings

May you feel the joy of Christmas expressed in Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol."  

"I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy.  I am as giddy as a drunken man.  A merry Christmas to everybody!  A happy New Year to all the world!"  


Additions to UK Genealogy Archives

Indexed versions of Phillimore's Berkshire Parish Registers - Marriages volumes 1 and 2, and Gloucestershire Parish Registers - Marriages volume 4 are now online at UK Genealogy Archives. In addition there are over 50 volumes available to browse.

Also recently added are biographical transcripts from the book Who Was Who 1897-1916.

There's more free material to consult in this ad-supported site.

If you don't find the Phillimore volume you seek try a search for Phillimore and the county name on the Internet Archive texts at http://www.archive.org/details/texts 

Yuletide R&R - 6

A Rowan Atkinson classic "Welcome to Hell"


I often mention Elizabeth and Mario Lapointe, two of the hardest working people I know in genealogy. In the latest posting on her blog Elizabeth mentions they will be giving a joint presentation as part of the BIFHSGO June meeting.  

23 December 2010

e-mapping Victorian Cheshire: Cheshire's Tithe Maps Online

This isn't new but is new to me. Such a helpful facility is worth a mention. To quote from the site:

http://maps.cheshire.gov.uk/tithemaps/ has almost 500 Cheshire tithe maps available online. Together with the information recorded in tithe apportionments, they are a unique record of land ownership, occupancy and use in Cheshire 150 years ago.
You can use them to answer questions such as:
  • Where did your ancestors live?
  • Who lived in your village or even your house?
  • What was land in your area used for?
  • Who owned land in your area?
You can also compare the tithe maps with later Ordnance Survey maps and aerial photographs.  

FreeREG update

FreeREG, the little sibling of FreeBMD for parish registers, was updated on 16 December 2010. It now contains over 14 million entries including 7.1 million baptisism, 2.5 million marriages and 4.3 million burials.

The total entries for Norfolk, the county with the largest number of transcriptions, is 3.4 million.

22 December 2010

A Home Child Story

The Lives Lived section of Tuesday's Globe and Mail has a story not unlike some in BIFHSGO's new book British Home Children: Their Stories.

Read about John (Jack) Litchfield, a home child who lived to age 95, at  

Yuletide R&R - 5

Another "Yes Prime Minister" snip on YouTube

Ancestry updates London, England, Poor Law Records, 1834-1940

Ancestry have added new unindexed images to their large collection of London, England, Poor Law Records between 1834-1940.

"The records haven’t yet been transcribed, it’s not possible to search for your relatives automatically. Instead, you should identify which documents your family members are most likely to appear in, then use our browse options to look for their details."
Examples of the types of records found in this collection include:
  • Admission and discharge books of workhouses
  • Registers of individuals in the infirmary
  • Creed registers
  • School registers
  • Registers of children boarded out or sent to various other institutions
  • Registers of apprentices
  • Registers of lunatics
  • Registers of servants
  • Registers of children
  • Registers of relief to wives and children
  • Registers of inmates
  • Registers of indoor poor
  • Registers of deserted children
As usual with updates, Ancestry don't list the files added. I did find an ancestor in a Religious Creed Register for Edmonton Workhouse which I hadn't noticed before.

    21 December 2010

    Scotland babies' first names popularity - 2010

    The GROS is out with the league table of most popular first names registered in Scotland in 2010.

    For the sixth year, Sophie is the most popular girls’ name for new babies. Olivia climbs to second changing places with Ava.

    For boys the order remains as last year, Jack in top place, Lewis second and James third. Between them, Jack and Lewis have been the top two boys’ names for the past twelve consecutive years.

    For Beatles fans, John is 49th, falling 6 places, George ties for 100th, Paul and Ringo are also rans. 

    The top 50 boys’ names accounted for 46 per cent of all boys’ names registered and the top 50 girls' names accounted for 42 per cent of the registrations.

    The most rapidly rising names are Alicia for girls, and Olie for boys.

    Around 3,000 different boys’ names and 4,000 different girls’ names were registered.

    TNA Podcast: Naval medical officers' journals and the history of medicine

    TNA staff member Daniel Gilfoyle illustrates and discusses the use of navel medical officer's journals in series ADM 101, especially as they relate to tropical diseases and the changing understanding of the causes of disease.

    These journals, over 1,000 of them dating from the late 18th century, have been the subject of a cataloging project starting in 2007. Although not illustrated during the presentation the journals often include sick lists and case medical notes which may be of interest for family history.

    Further information and a link to the podcast is at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/naval-medical-officers-journals.htm

    Yuletide R&R - 4

    A rather more modern classic of British comedy. This one is entirely too silly, but has more than 2 million views on YouTube

    20 December 2010

    Yuletide R&R - 3

    Another selection from my favourite YouTube items, classics of British comedy.

    Benny Hill specialized in cheeky items, like this.

    Book Launch: British Home Children: Their Stories

    Saturday evening saw more than 100 people joined in Room A at Library and Archives Canada to celebrate the release of the latest book from the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.

    British Home Children: Their Stories is a compilation of 30 articles, mostly by descendants of a home child, published on the occasion of the conclusion of the Year of the British Home Child.  BIFHSGO has been working to bring the home child story out of the shadows almost since its founding.  

    The project was under the direction of Brian Glenn, Director Research and Projects, seen here at the back while one of the many authors present, Bryan Cook, leaves with his presentation copy. BIFHSGO President Glenn Wright noted the contributions of BIFHSGO members John Sayers who collected most of the stories, Chris MacPhail who assembled and edited them, Jean Kitchen who did the copy editing, and Carol-Anne Blore who developed the book's layout, in seeing the project to fruition..

     The book is published for BIFHSGO by Global Heritage Press. Rick and Sandra Roberts were thanked for extraordinary efforts to provide enough copies in time for the launch. Many copies were sold, including multiple copies to home child descendants as gifts.

    At risk of sounding like the social column, representatives of Phil McColeman, MP, whose private members bill led to the proclamation of 2010 as the Year of the British Home Child, The British High Commisssion, and the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa Archives were present. Prominent home child researchers Dave Lorente and Patricia Roberts-Pichette were also in attendance. The snack table attracted significant attention.

    OGS Families editor Elizabeth Lapointe and spouse/photographer Mario Lapointe, found something of note in my direction.

    The book may be purchased online from Global Genealogy at: http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/canada/home-children/resources/101189.htm

    19 December 2010

    So long Bloglines, and Delicious?

    For several years I've subscribed to blogs through RSS and the Bloglines reader. In the fall the termination of the Bloglines service was announced, and later amended with the news the service was being sold with effect in December.

    The date has come and gone, I logged into Bloglines, got a notice that I needed to transfer my files to the new service, and that some of the feeds might not transfer. The transfer went haywire. None of my individual feeds showed up in the new interface and while some of them were identified as not transferred others just disappeared. There was no way to try the transfer again.

    Fortunately when the closure was originally announced I'd duplicated the feeds at Google Reader. That was an easy transfer. I'd been using Google Reader as backup anyway.

    Problems with the Bloglines transfer seem to be common, see http://stephenslighthouse.com/2010/12/16/bloglines-fail-fail/#comments.

    So long Bloglines, I've switched to Google Reader.

    Will a similar problem occur with the Delicious bookmark service recently announced to be closed?  Fortunately I don't have any of my own creation to deal with but do use other's links. Make a backup before those too disappear.

    Warning: DNA testing

    Beware! A Toronto-based genealogist friend of mine (I won't reveal the name to maintain privacy) recently received in the mail an unsolicited offer for a DNA test.  It seems pretty obvious that this is a scam, and while it may unrelated to that person's interest in genealogy it could be.

    Take this as a warning. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it probably is a duck. That goes for scams.

    The letterhead on the material this person received has a company name DNA Technologies with a mailing address in Surrey BC.

    The mailing includes a cheek swab to take the sample, a card and plastic bag to return the sample. The covering letter starts.

    "DNA Blueprinting:
    The New Mode for Maximizing Health & Attaining Extraordinary Personal Success and Major Life Achievement

    Discover How Your Genetic Blueprint - your very own DNA - may unlock the key to sweeping PROSPERITY, RICHES, Splendorous REWARDS and PERSONAL BREAKTHROUGHS for you!"

    The letter continues in the same style.  For example:

    "Most important is what your exclusive DNA Blueprint will reveal to our scientists -- and upon analyzation, moreover, how your life may be launched to exhilarating new thresholds of success and achievement. Empowering you with a built-in "edge" to prosper and excel in ways you never dreamed possible. And revealing to you unprecedented information and answers relating to health, diet, intellect, compatibility, issues, mood, personality, disease prevention -- even youth extension."

    "Your only obligation is a one time processing charge of $39.99 which includes analysis, reporting and personalized report sent to you by sealed, discreet mail."

    Also included is a "Confidential Questionnaire" asking a large number of questions such as gender (which a DNA test should reveal), height, weight, date of birth, whether smoker, occupation, state of health, physical or mental ailments, area of interest in knowing how DNA impacts life, greatest worry or desire. And, or course, credit card information.

    What are the signs this is a scam? 

    1. The return address is for a UPS Store.
    2. The mailing gives no website or telephone number for contact
    3. The information promised from the analysis is unsupported by science and is "too good to be true"
    4. The mailing was unsolicited and asks for credit card information
    5. The DNA sample is mailed back on a card which is rubbed against the swab which is not an industry standard. I asked someone in the field about this procedure and the response was "absolute scam"
    6. There is no indication the DNA analysis is done according to recognized standards
    7. There is no indication the raw data from the DNA analysis, which would give evidence it had been done, is provided in the report
    8. The questionnaire (optional) seeks information which alone could be used to provide a plausible report.
    9. In the absence of the provision of raw DNA data the product, a "personalized report," could be nothing more than a generic report with name and other information supplied added
    10. The price is substantially less than for any known commercial DNA analysis.

    Genealogist or not, you would be well advised to ignore any such solicitation.

    18 December 2010

    Read this blog on your mobile phone

    Would you like to read this blog on your mobile phone? Blogger now have a simplified (reformatted) version that "works well on an iPhone, Android phone and probably other phones that use a browser based on WebKit."

    On your mobile phone bookmark the following: http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/?m=1.

    Yuletide R&R - 2

    Continuing with selections from my favourite YouTube items, classics of British comedy.

    Yes Minister, and Yes Prime Minister, required viewing for anyone in government, still show on Canadian cable TV during the summer.

    Tips on writing family history: the reluctant interviewee

    A little while back I blogged about Ian Kath's podcasts under the title Create Your Life Story. Apparently several people went to the site after reading my post as Ian was kind enough to mention Anglo-Celtic Connections in his next podcast.

    Listening to some of the interviews available on Ian's yourstorypodcast site made me appreciate that his real strength is in drawing out stories from people. It's a real talent, one which many of us could benefit from as we try to get a relative to open up about some of their experiences, or aspects of your common family history.

    So I was pleased to find Ian had produced a podcast episode titled You Can't Make Someone Tell Their Story on just this skill. Ian points out that while that's very true there is much you can do to develop an atmosphere during an interview that will increase the chances of getting someone to open up. He goes into the main skill, being an empathatic listener, in some depth.

    If getting someone to open up is an issue for you listening to the podcast would be 42 minutes well spent. If time is critical a second best option would be to go to the site and read the podcast notes.

    17 December 2010

    Trends in use of genealogy-related terms revealed

    What are long-term trends in genealogy?  While you could mean several things by the question, what about the word, and related words? 

    You may have seen reference to a new facility in Google Labs. Google Books Ngram Viewer "displays a graph showing how phrases have occurred in a corpus of books over the selected years. There's a more detailed explanation here.

    Let's look at "genealogy", "family history" and "ancestry" from 1800 to 2000 in the English language set with a three year smoothing. "Genealogy" is the most frequently used until the second half of the 19th century when it is overtaken by "ancestry." "Genealogy" declines to about 1920 before making a slow recovery. "Ancestry" continues to become more popular until around 1920, declines but remains the most popular. "Family history" hardly shows at the start of the period, catches up with "genealogy" in the 1910s and continues to move with it.  All three terms see an increase in the 1990s. 

    The British English corpus, a sub-set of the English set, shows a similar trend except that the use of "family history" skyrockets at the end of the period.

    A second example is for the words, birth, marriage and death. There are many more occurrences of these words. "Death" has a sharp decline from 1850 to 1950 with still more than twice as many occurrences as "marriage: and "birth" which remain relatively steady through the two century period. Does this reflect a declining death rate and increasing longevity?

    Finally, the words, "DNA", "database" and "Internet" found in modern genealogy all show the expected late 20th century increase.

    Give it a try with words of your choice at http://ngrams.googlelabs.com

    Ottawa City Archives and Genealogy Libraries News

    The City of Ottawa have issued the following news release regarding the move of the City Archives. What it doesn't say is that there will be no access to any of the archives partner libraries, including the BIFHSGO and OGS Ottawa Branch Libraries, until service resumes at the new location, which may not be until April.

    While its dissappointing that the original schedule for partial reopening in February is not being met that had always seemed optimistic. Given the obvious delays in construction an April target date for becoming fully operational seems more realistic. 
    Ottawa - In preparation of its move to a new location, the City of Ottawa Archives will be suspending its walk-in service as of December 31 until further notice. This will affect about 20 per cent of the 9,000 inquiries it handles each year. Reference staff will continue to respond to enquiries by phone or e-mail throughout the move,
    As caretakers of Ottawa’s documentary history, the City’s impressive collection of archival records would stretch 20 km if the 92,000 containers were placed end to end. Stored in climate-controlled vaults, the irreplaceable repository includes more than two million photographs and is accessed by researchers, historians and the general public.
    City Archivist Paul Henry expects little disruption of service to the public. “We should be moved and fully operational by early April. And in the meanwhile, we will continue to provide service by phone and e-mail. Our new home will provide much more reference and consultation space for researchers as well as access to modern research tools.”
    The new $38.6 million state-of-the-art facility (supported by $20 million of provincial funding) is a dual-purpose building. While it will predominantly house the City’s new Archives, about 25 per cent of the building will be home to a new materials centre for the Ottawa Public Library. The new facility will be located at the corner of Woodroffe Avenue and Tallwood Drive.
    To contact the City Archives’ reference desk, the public can phone 613-580-2857 or e-mail archives@ottawa.ca.

    16 December 2010

    LAC adds microfilm images of the Census of the Prairie Provinces, 1916, to its website

    The following is a news release from Library and Archives Canada.

    Note that there is no name index. That is available at Ancestry.ca
    Launch of "Census of the Prairie Provinces, 1916"

    Ottawa, December 16, 2010 — Library and Archives Canada is pleased to make the 1916 census of the Prairie provinces available online.

    In order to track the high rates of population growth in western Canada during the early years of the 20th century, the Canadian government called for a special census of the Prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta). The first census was conducted in 1906, followed by another in 1916.

    Access to the digitized images of the 1916 census is available online in two different ways:
    Through a database that is searchable by Province, District Name, District Number, and Sub-district Number. The database is available at:

    Through the research tool "microform digitization," you can browse the microfilm reels page by page. The tool is available at:

    Changes at FamilySearch.org

    FamilySearch has issued a press release announcing changes to its family history website.

    www.familysearch.org now takes you to what was previously the beta site, if you've been using that the new main site will look very familiar. 

    If you stuck with the old site you'll be wondering what happened to old friend resources like the IGI. As with any change there's a learning curve with the new site, as comments on a blog posting testify.

    For a while the old site can be accessed at http://www.familysearch.org/eng/default.asp. There are also direct links to thee IGI (International Genealogical Index) and Ancestral File

    I had hoped the new site would come accompanied by lots of new resources, and it does, but the December updates so far are mainly for the US. There are some 80,000 death registrations for New Brunswick (1815 - 1938)  in this update.

    Having had a foretaste with many county of Norfolk parish record images for some months I'd hoped we might see the promised Warwarkshire parish record images. 

    Yuletide R&R - I

    In the run up to the festive season folks are busy with preparations. It shows in a decline in the number of visitors to the blog, and in my lengthy to do list. It's also an opportunity. Over the next week or so I'll share a few links to some of my favourite YouTube items, classics of British comedy with some nostalgia items thrown in, that you, your British parents or even grandparents may have enjoyed. I hope you're able to find a few minutes to enjoy.

    This first one is from British comedy duo "The Two Ronnies"

    15 December 2010

    The ROM contributes to Internet Archive Texts

    Annals, North British Society, Halifax, Nova Scotia : with portraits and biographical notes, 1768-1903 is one of the latest genealogically interesting titles now available on the Internet Archive. I attempt to keep track of new Canadian material (re)published there although only the occasional item is worth mentioning for genealogy.

    A journal of voyages and travels in the interior of North America : between the 47th and 58th degrees of N. lat., extending from Montreal nearly to the Pacific, a distance of about 5,000 miles : including an account of the principal occurrences during a residence of nineteen years in different parts of the country
    Where the fishers go : the story of Labrador
    are examples of texts of historical interest that may be of value as background reading. Both are recent additions from the collection of the Royal Ontario Museum.

    Previous users of the Internet Archive Texts will notice there is now a new eBook reader online with improved capabilities. Read about it here

    OGS Conference 2012

    A reminder that the due date for presentation proposals for the 2012 OGS Conference, to be held in Kingston, is in one month -  15 January 2011.

    14 December 2010

    WDYTYA US: second season lineup

    NBC has announced the personalities who will be featured in the upcoming season of Who Do You Think You Are?, in the US.  As I don't follow US entertainers many of these people I wouldn't know from Adam. No doubt their stories are interesting and they will attract the right demographic to watch.

    Below are links to Wikipedia articles.

    Tim McGraw,  American country music singer and actor, married to country singer Faith Hill and is the son of former baseball player Tug McGraw.

    Lionel Richie,  American singer-songwriter and record producer.

    Ashley Judd, American actress

    Steve Buscemi, American actor, writer and film director.

    Vanessa Williams, American pop/R&B recording artist, songwriter, and actress.

    Rosie O'Donnell,  American stand-up comedienne and media personality.

    Kim Cattrall, English actress, partly raised in Courtenay, British Columbia.

    Finding and keeping genealogy volunteers

    All family history societies rely on volunteeers. Most have a constant struggle to find and keep them so there should be value in a just released Volunteeer Canada report on what Canadians want in their volunteer experiences, their issues in finding satisfying volunteer roles, and what organizations can do to enhance their volunteer base, achieve their missions and ultimately build stronger communities.

    It aims to provide practical information for use by volunteer organizations to attract and retain skilled, dedicated volunteers among four specific demographic groups including baby boomers, the group most pertinent for family history societies.

    In general the research finds the optimal formula to build organizational capacity and strategically engage volunteers is one that strikes a balance between:

    • Designing specific, set roles and being open to volunteers initiating/defining the scope of what they can offer; 
    • Being well organized but not too bureaucratic; and 
    • Matching skills to the needs of the organization but not assuming that everyone wants to use the skills related to their profession, trade, or education.
    The highlights of the study’s key findings related to boomer volunteers are:

    Boomer Volunteer Interests
    • Activities that reinforce their strong sense of social commitment
    • Organizations that allow boomer volunteers to work independently and have a sense of ownership over the project
    • Projects where boomers can clearly see the impact they are making
    • Activities that offer a chance to act outside their skill/knowledge base (boomers perceived activities different from their daily work to be refreshing)
    • Casual or short-term opportunities where boomers can see what the organization is like before making along-term commitment
    Barriers to Boomer Volunteering
    • Smaller organizations that need volunteers to do ‘everything’ and don’t match boomers’ skills with tasks
    • The perception that larger organizations are downloading the responsibility of unwanted tasks from staff to volunteers
    • Not being recognized as a person with a wide skill set, but simply ‘a volunteer body’
    You can read the research summary at: Bridging the Gap – Enriching the Volunteer Experience to Build a Better Future for Our Communities. The full report should be available on the Volunteeer Canada website by the end of the year.

    Ottawa Branch OGS December Meeting

    Tuesday 14 December 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
    Room 156, Library and Archives Canada

    Branch members share their genealogical discoveries and inherited family treasures in a Show & Tell

    13 December 2010

    I blush

    For the second year someone has been kind enough to nominate Anglo-Celtic Connections in the US Family Tree magazine poll of best blogs. There are various categories; ACC is under Heritage groups -- in excellent company.

    You can vote until December 20th at www.surveymonkey.com/s/ft40-2011voting. As the saying goes, vote early and vote often - as many times as you want.  It's worth visiting just to discover blogs that may be relevant and new to you.

    The Greatest Great Moment

    On Saturday morning well over 200 family historians, a record for a monthly meeting, crowded into the Auditorium at Library and Archives Canada for BIFHSGO's traditional December Great Moments presentations. Family history is thriving in Ottawa.

    Program Director Jane Down had selected five presentations for the program which President Glenn Wright augmented with a sixth very short item arising from a recent visit to Newmarket, Ontario.

    Each presentation was instructive, entertaining, often both. There wasn't a dud amongst them. The one I enjoyed most was "He Wore His Buttons Well: Discovering the Details of an Epic Rescue at Sea" by Barbara Tose

    Barbara's great-uncle, Harry Tose, was the Captain of the Antinoe traversing the Atlantic carrying grain from New York in January 1926. A storm hit that allowed water to penetrate to the grain storage causing it to swell and shift. The Antinoe radioed for assistance, a call answered by the SS President Roosevelt. 

    Barbara recounted the saga of the four day rescue during which all the Antinoe crew were saved, but two crew members of the Roosevelt lost their lives, and mentioned the resources she found to fill out the story.
    One was an epic poem, "The Roosevelt and the Antinoe" by Newfoundland born poet E J Pratt, from which the talk's title was derived. Another information from Captain Harry Tose's grandson, discovered through the BIFHSGO meeting notice posted on the Internet, who she was able to meet during a recent trip to England. I'll leave the others for an article I hope Barbara will write for BIFHSGO's quarterly chronicle, Anglo-Celtic Roots.

    Barbara also screened a brief silent newsreel showing the survivors and rescuers on arrival in Britain at the end of the month. A preview version is at http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=24606

    Thinking about a DNA test for genealogy?

    At Saturday`s BIFHSGO meeting I was asked a question that deserves a FAQ, which DNA test to take. I usually respond with the Socratic: why do you want to take it? Often the response is that it's to satiate a personal interest rather than resolving a specific question. For these folks I'm now recommending an autosomal DNA test, either through Family Tree DNA or 23andMe. They are each superior in different ways.

    If you want to do a test soon now would be an excellent time to purchase as both companies have seasonal specials.

    If you're in no hurry prices are continuing a long-term decline. A company which has recently gone public, Complete Genomics, is now offering a complete human genome analysis for $10,000, with substantial discounts for bulk orders. There's an interesting article on the company and its services here.

    Although Complete Genomics focus is as a service bureau for medical research I doubt we'll be waiting another 10 years for the price to drop below $1,000 including a value added service for genealogy.

    As such tests become more affordable and common the Orthodox Church of Genealogy, which already acknowledges that "there is only one way to prove kinships beyond reasonable doubt — DNA testing,"  and then goes on to add that "as a genealogical standard, that is hardly practical," is going to have to revise it's thinking.

    In 1998 the rationale was that "exhuming the bodies of all known John Smiths until an ancestral match is made is impractical, to say the least." When those words were written, the last time the BCG had anything to say on DNA according to their web site, those words might have been true. They predate the first commercial DNA testing service for genealogy establish in 2000. Since then many people have made breakthroughs in family history through DNA. It must be a rare person who has not heard or read of a case.  Success stories are common, look here and here.

    12 December 2010

    Proactive Disclosure Questions

    Why is it when senior public servants decide to meet over lunch, when not in travel status, taxpayers pick up the tab? Wouldn't they be eating a lunch anyway? Why aren't such lunches a taxable benefit? Here's an example from LAC.

    Hospitality Expenses - 2010

    Dates Event Description Cost
    02-15 Business Lunch with the Chief Information Officer of Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. $88.84
    02-19 Business Lunch with a professor from Swizterland. $76.73
    02-22 Meeting with the Management Team of the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada. $10.84
    02-23 Business Lunch with the President of the Public Service Commission. $72.10
    03-05 Business lunch with the President & Vice-President of the Historica-Dominion Institute $75.40
    03-10 Business Lunch with the Director of Corporate Security Services of Library and Archives Canada. $39.96
    03-15 Business lunch with the Director of the Records and Archives Management at the Japan Archives Department and his interpretor $159.65
    03-17 Business Breakfast with the President of the Library and National Archives of Quebec. $42.12
    03-18 Business lunch with the President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council $84.34
    04-15 Business lunch with the Executive Director and General Counsel of the Canadian Judicial Council $79.83
    04-22 Refreshments with the Minister of Culture of Colombia $57.52
    04-28 Business lunch with the President and Director General of the Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation $82.72
    05-07 Breakfast meeting with the Secretary of the Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat $35.17
    05-10 Business lunch with a consultant $27.30
    05-17 Business lunch with a consultant $33.07
    05-18 Business lunch with the Acting Assistant Deputy Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada $92.12
    05-21 Business lunch with the Director of Canada Lands Company Limited $92.38
    06-01 Business lunch with a representative of "l'École Nationale d'administration publique" $83.36
    06-08 Business lunch with a representative of "l'École Nationale d'administration publique" $78.18
    06-21 Business lunch with executives of several federal departments $184.16
    07-08 Business lunch with the Assistant Chief of Air Staff from National Defense $106.56
    07-12 Business lunch with 2 consultants $134.18
    Total: $1,736.53

    Beechwood Cemetery Christmas Candlelight Service

    The joy you get from pre-Christmas caroling is special to the time of year. Weather permitting, in Ottawa the experience can be had this evening, Sunday, December 12, 2010 at Beechwood Cemetery's Christmas Candlelight Service. Organized by the Beechwood Cemetery foundation it gets underway at 6 PM.

    11 December 2010

    TNA Podcast: Madame Rachel of Bond Street

    Since at least the time of Helen of Troy, whose face launched a thousand ships, many women have been obsessed with beauty. Charlatans of all kinds, and genders, have been happy to pander to their obsession.

    Author Helen Rappaport, in a fascinating TNA presentation recorded last October, discusses one of the most extreme operators, the subject of her newest book, Beautiful For Ever.  Starting life as Sally Russell, a fish-fryer from London's Clare Market, she became Madame Rachel, proprietor of an exclusive beauty salon dispensing creams and potions promising eternal beauty. Her lies, treachery and blackmail of London high society landed her in jail (or gaol), twice, where she died in 1880.

    The presentation throws the spotlight on an aspect of life in Victorian times which many of us will not have thought much about.

    Rappaport comments on how much easier it was to do the research behind this book with the array of online genealogical and newspaper resources that exist not compared to when she first researched her family history.

    Her book, Beautiful For Ever, does not yet appear to be for sale or in public libraries in Canada. No eBook version could be found.

    Library and Archives Canada services information teleconference

    I attended an LAC teleconference held on Thursday, December 9, 2010. This was billed as an information session for former Service Advisory Board members. Most participating were from the genealogical community. Jean-Stéphen Piché opened the meeting and introduced the new assistant deputy minister for LAC's Resource Discovery Sector, Cecilia Muir.

    One of the more substantive topics was on initiatives the organization is developing on resource discovery. LAC is looking to increase the way it works with like-minded Canadian memory institutions, as demonstrated with the co-production of the "Lest We Forget" initiative; to improve and streamline online resource description, including working with other Canadian institutions on federated search, and; to optimize service channels through a tiered approach based on the level of expertize needed to address the issue - from simple (such as clarification on filling out a form) to complex (such as consultation with a topic expert.)

    Cecilia Muir reported on LAC's thinking regarding further consultation. There will be a services advisory board, but composed of perhaps a dozen members as the present 30+ is considered unwieldy. The board grew as attempts were made to be more "inclusive." LAC also plans to convene advisory groups on other aspects of its programs within the coming year.

    None of the managers present answered when asked why there have been no consultation meetings for users of 395 Wellington. Similar organizations, such as NARA (the report on their latest meeting is here, and  TNA (report here) find such meetings helpful in keeping communication channels open.

    Some members of the board expressed concern that meeting agendas had not given members the opportunity to express their views, and have discussion on, items not proposed by LAC. There was also concern with the limited feedback given and to what extent the advice provided actually had any impact.

    10 December 2010

    Library and Archives Goes Digital: LAC Announce Suite of Digital Services for Canadians by 2017

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

    OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- 12/09/10 -- Within the next seven years, Library and Archives Canada will put most of its services online, transforming the country's leading memory institution into a fully engaged digital organization, just in time to celebrate Confederation's 150th anniversary in 2017.
    "Taking advantage of new digital information technologies will change not only the way we acquire and preserve our collection but also how we make it accessible to Canadians." explained Dr. Daniel J. Caron, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. "The digital environment is also providing us with opportunities to enhance our services to other documentary heritage institutions. This makes sense from both the client service and business practice perspectives - to stay relevant, we must move forward."
    As part of an overall strategy designed to provide more online public access, LAC will take a multi-faceted approach: adapting services and transforming business processes to make access easier, and increasing online content by switching to digital formats.

    Easier access:

    --  Digital copies - LAC sends out about 750,000 photocopies each year in
        response to client requests. Clients are now requesting digital copies.
        To better respond to these changing client needs and to contribute to
        the preservation of our country's documentary heritage, clients will now
        be able to order digital copies of documents found in LAC's collection.
        Paper copies will be phased out by April 2011. Digitized documents will
        be made available through LAC's web site for repeat requests. By 2012,
        LAC will start responding to Access to Information requests by producing
        digitized records for clients.
    --  Canadian libraries' bibliographic information - The National Union
        Catalogue provides Canadians with digital access to a vast store of
        information about items in library catalogues from across Canada. In
        order to make this information easier to access and share, LAC is
        working with contributing libraries to identify common digital search
        tools. By 2011, Canadians will be able to access the entire contents of
        the National Union Catalogue, representing more than 30 million entries,
        using popular on-line search engines.
    --  Electronic theses and dissertations submission program - Electronic
        theses and dissertations offer unprecedented access to academic
        research, contributing to Canada's economic growth and research
        potential. The Theses Canada Portal at LAC offers one stop shopping for
        this area of LAC's collection, but many universities still provide their
        documents in paper form. By 2014, LAC will only accept theses and
        dissertations from Canadian universities in electronic form, saving
        money in the operation of the program and offering more comprehensive
    Increased online content:
    --  Digitized content - Over the next year, LAC will double the volume of
        its on-line content, mounting millions of genealogy images on its
        website in partnership with Ancestry.ca. For example, by 2011, Canadians
        will be able to access digitized images of original census documents
        from 1861 and 1871, which contain the name, age, country or province of
        birth, nationality, religion, and occupation of Canadians at the time.
        LAC is also exploring ways to reuse images requested by clients in order
        to provide a broad range of digital content from the collection online.
    New business processes:
    --  Government e-records - Governments around the world are moving
        consistently towards sharing more information with the public in readily
        accessible formats. By 2017, LAC will acquire and preserve all borne
        digital federal archival records electronically, making them easier to
        find and use.
    --  Trusted digital repository - By 2017, LAC will preserve digital material
        through a trusted digital repository that meets international standards.
        This will safeguard Canada's digital heritage and ensure that it remains
        accessible to Canadians in the long term, even after the technology
        which created it has changed.
    LAC will introduce these and other changes gradually and at no additional cost by working collaboratively with other memory institutions, government departments, universities, researchers and the publishing community. More information on these and additional initiatives will be posted to www.collectionscanada.gc.ca as it becomes available.

    Library and Archives Canada
    The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. In addition, Library and Archives Canada facilitates cooperation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the government of Canada and its institutions.


    The announcement says "most of its services," presumably meaning more than 50%.  What is that figure now? How is it being measured? 

    Already at The National Archives in the UK 221 documents are provided virtually, online through the Documents Online service, for every one produced physically. I understand that does not include information provided through partners such as Ancestry.co.uk. 

    09 December 2010

    LAC adds "Medals, Honours and Awards" database

    The following is an announcement from Library and Archives Canada:

    Ottawa, December 9, 2010 — Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce the launch of a new online database, "Medals, Honours and Awards".

    Through this online database, researchers can access more than 113,000 references to medal registers, citation cards and records of various military awards. In addition to archival references, this research tool includes digitized images of some medal registers.

    The database is available at:

    Canadian Illustrated News digitized

    From the first issue, on October 30 1869 to the final one on December 29, 1883 the weekly Canadian Illustrated News is well known for the window it gives on the times in word and image.

    An essential resource, the illustrations only have been available online through Library and Archives Canada for some while, here. Quite a few libraries have original bound volumes, including the Ottawa Public Library.

    You can now review a selection of issues through Google's news archive. There is good coverage for the early years, from 1869 to 1872, and scatterred issues thereafter. Browse from here.

    BIFHSGO December meeting: Great Moments

    The BIFHSGO December meeting gets underway, Dec 11, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. You can pick up your winter issue of Anglo-Celtic Roots, renew your membership, and attend the intriguing line-up of presentations for this traditional seasonal Great Moments event.

    Till Debt Us Do Part: A Fleeting Moment
    by Tara Grant
    Debt is not a modern problem. Our ancestors often spent more than they made - with dire consequences. This talk will take a brief look at one of the speaker’s ancestor's incarceration for debt in the infamous Fleet Prison.

    The Serendipitous Fall of My Brick Wall
    by Don Mutch
    In 2002, Don knew the name of his maternal great great grandfather, John Miller, and that he had lived in Richibucto sometime before 1871. With this scanty information, Don set out to find out all he could about him. Through census records, two family letters dated 1858, online searching, visits to the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick and the towns of Richibucto and Rexton in New Brunswick (June 2005), Don learned more about John Miller, but his great moment came in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, September 2009.

    He Wore His Buttons Well: Discovering the Details of an Epic Rescue at Sea
    by Barbara Tose
    In January 1926, a storm hit the North Atlantic that wreaked havoc on the ships in its path. Many ships were lost with all hands. However, the crew of the merchant ship, the Antinoe, were luckier than most. In a rescue that held the western world enthralled for 4 days, the Captain and crew of the passenger ship, the President Roosevelt, worked tirelessly to save all the men aboard the Antinoe. Barbara’s great-uncle, Harry Tose, was the grateful Captain of the Antinoe. Her father’s knowledge of the event was limited to Canadian poet, E.J. Pratt’s mention of Captain Tose in a poem he wrote about the rescue. Barbara’s talk will outline the resources she discovered that revealed the details of this epic tale.

    Homeward Bound From Bannockburn
    by Bill Arthurs
    This talk will describe a major breakthrough in Bill Arthurs' genealogy, when a 36 of 37 marker DNA correlation was posted by an Arthurs in Ireland which has ended years of research frustration and which places his family place of origin in the town of Donaghmore, County Tyrone, Ireland.

    A Visit to an 18th Century Family Farm in Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire
    By Hugh Reekie
    After many attempts, Hugh finally managed to visit and explore Nether Glengenny Farm, north of Thornhill Dumfriesshire in 2009. He was able to trace the changes in the farm buildings from the early 1600s to the early 1900s, when the present farmhouse was built. Evidence remains of how his forebears lived in the late 1700s.


    08 December 2010

    1911 census summary books for England and Wales now on Ancestry

    Ancestry is making available a partial substitute for the 1911 censuses.  The census summary books, compiled by the enumerator, are available as colour images and indexed.

    The form, as in this sample, gives address, type of building, occupier, whether unoccupied/occupied or building, whether being used as a dwelling, and number of males, females and total people in the building.

    These are available for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

    You may find the system buggy - after getting some data as above I kept getting a "please search again" message.

    Book Review: Publish Your Family History

    As stated on its back cover, this book in the Genealogist's Reference Shelf series aims to "tell you all of the fundamentals of book production, together with the important details that distinguish a home published book from a homemade one. You'll learn:

    • how to get your manuscript ready for production;
    • design ideas for the pages and the cover;
    • methods of making pages with all without computer and printing those pages quickly and inexpensively; and
    • ideas on bindings that last and look great.
    Even if time is at a premium, you're not comfortable with computer technology, or the budget is tight, you'll learn how to publish a professional looking family history of your own!"

    That quote demonstrates implementation of the text's advice about the back cover as a book's selling proposition, albeit in rather more words than recommended. It's the solid advice in this book, and the demonstration of its implementation in the appearance of the volume, that makes it a keeper. Even a cursory flip through the book, and comparison with other volumes in the Genealogist's Reference Shelf series, makes this one stand out for the variety of visual experience in the presentation.

    This 2010 version is a reprint of the thoroughly rewritten 2005 version published by OGS, with corrections, based on the original published in 1999. That helps explain some incongruenties in the content. For example, there is advice on designing a cover and what should go on it. Yet the cover of this edition, aside from the colour scheme, is exactly the same design as the others in the series. Also a purchase order, supposedly for this book, indicates a delivery date of March 12, 2005.

    These days many of us are self-publishing our family histories with online services like that at lulu.com. That's a business line that has developed substantially since 2005, yet gets hardly a mention in this book.

    Nevertheless, for its fundamental good advice this book will find a place on my bookshelf.

    Publish your Family History, preserving your heritage in a book, by Susan Yates and Greg Ioannou, is a 152 page paperback, published for the Ontario Genealogical Society by Dundurn Press (2010), ISBN 978-1-55488-727-9, is widely available at online bookstores.