30 June 2011

Building the City of Ottawa Central Archives

LandscapingFunding announcementFirst sign of development on the propertyWork starts at the Tallwoods siteHigh priced help!Sound footings
Construction cranes tower over the siteLaying the foundationsShape of things to comeView from the south across WoodroffeView from the southeastInsulation
We do windowsWe still do windowsYellow cladding installationThe writing on the windowsPublic ArtCutting the ribbon
The plaque

A series documenting the development, from official announcement of provincial funding to cutting the ribbon.

The Hidden Welsh of the Ottawa Valley

A new posting is added to the BIFHSGO conference blog. Truth be told, most of it isn't so new but a slightly updated classic Anglo-Celtic Roots article, The Hidden Welsh of the Ottawa Valley by Carol McCuaig.

Carol is the author of In Search of the Red Dragon: the Welsh in Canada, the first book to have been written about the Welsh in Canada as a whole. It is available through her website at http://www.nrtco.net/~juniper2/

A visual time machine

How to be a Retronaut houses an amazing collection of images. Check out Ghosts of World War II and Ghosts of the Blitz.

via Ian Kath's blog

Free, with registration, UK records offer from Ancestry

From June 30th through July 8th, 2011 Ancestry.ca is offering free, with registration, access to more than six million UK historical records through the England and Wales National Probate Calendar, 1861-1941 and the Andrews Collection.

The England and Wales National Probate Calendar, 1861-1941, just updated, includes information on the wills of more than 9,000 people who died in Canada.

The Andrews Collection is a card index compiled in England from the 1790s until about 1970; a collection of notices from newspapers and various official sources, such as the London Gazette. Approximately 250,000 cards detail announcements of births, marriages, obituaries, and deaths abroad; notices of wills, unclaimed estates, and filings under the Colonial Probates Act of 1892 (which recognized probates from courts in British possession).

via an Ancestry.ca press release

29 June 2011

Ancestry fills some holes in England and Wales civil probate calendars

One of the best additions to Ancestry.co.uk last year was the England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1861-1941

I blogged on some of the issues with this database here. The glass was 90% full, but there were missing records, in particular for 1899-1903 and 1910-1911.

Celebrate. This update has gone a good way to filling the gaps. 1900-1903 and 1910-1911 now have records.

1899 is still missing as are records from the start of the civil administration of probate in 1858, and after 1941.

It would be helpful if Ancestry would provide information on other changes made with this update.

Paper of Record seeks beta testers

Do you have an iPad? Are you interested in digitized newspapers?

If so, and you have a little time, you might want to contact Paper of Record, the Ottawa-based company with a major collection of old digitized newspapers. They are seeking beta testers for a iPad version of their service.

Sounds interesting -- if only I had an iPad!

Contact  Bob.Huggins@paperofrecord.com

LAC adds Canadian feature film database

New from Library and Archives Canada, a database of over 4.300 Canadian feature films from 1913 to 2009.

It includes the credits, so if someone of interest received screen credits as the producer, writer, director, actor, editor, photographer, etc they should be listed.

In the case of Denys Arcand`s 1988 film Jesus of Montreal more than 30 people are listed.


28 June 2011

Now pay for parking at LAC

The following is an announcement from Library and Archives Canada

Parking Changes at Library and Archives Canada
Over the past two years the Government of Canada has been reviewing its parking practices and has reached the conclusion that it is not part of the government's role to operate parking facilities. This decision was based in part from the need to ensure sound financial management as well as a more consistent and equitable approach to parking administration. The decision is supported by the Treasury Board Secretariat and applies to all government departments and agencies.
Library and Archives Canada has traditionally offered limited free parking to its visitors at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. According to the new guidelines established by Public Works and Government Services Canada, Library and Archives Canada will no longer administer the parking lot at 395 Wellington Street.
Beginning July 1, 2011, the parking lot on the west side of 395 Wellington Street will be operated by Standard Parking of Canada. People visiting 395 Wellington will pay market prices to park in the lot. At this time, rates have not been established; however they will conform to market rates.
We appreciate your understanding of this change as the government continues its work in ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used in the best way possible and for the benefit of all Canadians.
I'm not surprised. Limited free parking at LAC has been an anomaly, a much appreciated one but given the central location one I'm surprised has continued as long as it has.
There is a long history to the government attempting to charge for parking on its property. Some has been ridiculous with attempts to charge for parking where adjacent free on-street parking was available, eventually overruled by the Minister when it blew up in his face at a meeting with employees. As long as the charges follow and do not lead market rates, in particular no charge for evening and weekend parking, LAC patrons should accept if not welcome the change.  

Official opening of the new City of Ottawa Central Archives and OPL Materials Centre

The platform party stand for the singing of O Canada. That was followed by remarks from Mayor Watson and Minister Chiarelli, Councillors Harder, Chiarelli and Taylor.

The official building plaque was unveiled by the platform party.

Former councillor Peggy Feltmate, who championed pushing the building through Council, was in attendance.

A ribbon was cut on the associated public art project.

How many councillors does it take to cut one ribbon?

The official building plaque.

The Black Sheep Index

I regularly look at Mick Southwick's British & Irish Genealogy blog and usually find something of interest.

Monday's issue had an item about an update to the Black Sheep Index. a site I blogged about several years ago. Apparently the website was updated on 25th June with the creation of separate Scots, Irish and Overseas indexes.

Wondering about gravestones?

Now on the Internet Archive are back issues of Markers, the annual journal of the Association for Gravestone Studies,with definitive illustrated articles on cemetery and gravemarker topics as well as an extensive annual international bibliography of recent scholarship. 
Volume 1 (1979/80) to XXV (2008) are available, with more recent volumes only available to Association members.
There is a subject index up to volume XII at https://www.gravestonestudies.org/markers.htm
Although the bulk of the articles are US oriented there are a few relating to Canada (BC, Ontario, Nova Scotia), England, Ireland and Scotland.
This could be a useful reference if you find yourself, say, wondering about unusual gravestone iconography.

27 June 2011

BIFHSGO conference interview with Audrey Collins

Having refused to be discouraged by the lukewarm reception of my last interview with conference speaker Helen Osborn, today's posting on the BIFHSGO blog includes another interview.

This time it's with Audrey Collins who tells us about the background to the Fleet Registers, the topic of one of her talks in September.

Go to the BIFHSGO blog at http://bifhsgo.ca/blog/?p=21

Retroactive crowdsourcing

Saturday's Ottawa Citizen had an article under the headline "Historians use modern tools to see into the past".

The Carleton University History Department HeritageCrowd project, funded through a Faculty of Arts junior research fellowship, aims to create a local history database, focusing on the Ottawa Valley's Pontiac and Renfrew Counties, by collecting contributions from the community (crowdsourcing).

As Sir Humphrey said "I can foresee all kinds of unforeseen problems".

Nevertheless, I like it. There's a chance something will be discovered, say about the technique rather than the history of the area, that will be significant. Or perhaps it will stimulate some other initiative for the Pontiac.

A post on the project Journal mentions retroactive crowdsourcing, gathering up all the web material from Flickr pictures to websites drawn up by amateur historians and genealogists. I guess if you've ever gone to Rootsweb and checked their archive for names and places in your family history you're been doing retroactive crowdsourcing - and if you haven't don't miss the resource.

This is just the type of project a university should be doing, and worth contributing information to if you have knowledge of the local history and heritage of the Pontiac and Renfrew County.

Thanks to Glenn Wright for pointing out the Citizen article.

26 June 2011

Scottish Association of Family History Societies annual conference

I don't give Scottish genealogy news much attention, Chris Paton does such a good job on his Scottish GENES blog I don't need to.

On Saturday Chris was at the Scottish Association of Family History Societies annual conference, in Edinburgh. His coverage, including information on newly available records online, is extensive. Read it at here 

FamilySearch adds Cornwall parish registers

Thinking of ordering a marriage certificate for a marriage in Cornwall?  If the event took place in the 19th century, or very early 20th century you might want to save yourself a few pounds the marriage certificate costs at the GRO, and the wait, and check out these images newly online at FamilySearch.

The title given by FamilySearch for this set of microfilm images is England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-1900

At present you'll find records for marriages, from the start of civil registration in 1837 or later to the early 1900s. Over 140 parishes are in the collection, a bit over half the Cornish parishes. There are 19,023 images.

Expect additions as the collection is being published as images become available.

A bonus is record images for the parish of Werrington (Devonshire), also marriages, from 1838 to 1905.

Canada Post legislated back

Now that the House of Commons has passed back-to-work legislation, and presuming the Senate follows their lead, we can look forward to a renewal of mail service early next week.

It's a service I can do without for a while, and a respite from all the unaddressed junk mail was welcome. So was the lack of credit card bills.

On the family history front, I'll be looking forward to receiving the July/August issue of Family Chronicle which would normally have been delivered by now.

Companies that rely on mail distribution, like Archive CD Books Canada, Global Genealogy, and Moorshead Magazines will undoubtedly be relieved at the return to work. You might want to check their websites for updates they were able to add while they couldn't send out orders.

For BIFHSGO members, and others attending the BIFHSGO conference, 16-18 September, who prefer to register by mail its time to find the form that was included with the brochure in the most recent Anglo-Celtic Roots, or download a copy from www.bifhsgo.ca/conference

25 June 2011


Historical timelines can help you to put the personal life of your ancestors in context. Just as you probably remember where you were when you found out New York's Twin Towers fell, your ancestors remembered where they were when they found out about major social and political situations of the time.

In episode 50 of his Create Your Life Story podcast Ian Kath discusses "5 Historical Timelines of Your Life Story". Even if you're not particularly attracted to his approach of recording audio you will likely still find his timeline approach and the timelines he references helpful.

Ian looks at timelines in primarily five groups: Family, Community, Cultural, Regional and Global. He provides links to timelines in various categories. See the details here.

Family Tree Forum also has a multi-part timeline, this with a distinctly UK orientation. Find it at: http://www.familytreeforum.com/content.php/946-timeline

Why is Daniel Caron hiding?

The following item contains opinion.

Daniel J Caron is more than two years into the job of Librarian and Archivist of Canada. We know that as it was announced, and he keeps popping up in press releases.

Yet in two years as far as I can determine Mr Caron has yet to participate in any genealogical event, or meet with the genealogical community, even though genealogists comprise the largest single LAC user group. I would occasionally meet his predecessor in the building at 395 Wellington, even after his office moved to Gatineau. I have never seen Mr Caron there.

At last Monday's annual general meeting of the Friends of LAC Mr Caron did not appear and was represented, as was the case the previous year. FLAC is about as friendly an audience as you could hope for, they all make annual contributions, and many work to fund raise, to support the mission of LAC. But Mr Caron's absence is wearing the patience of even these supporters thin. There were pointed questions from the audience at that meeting, mostly regarding rumours which proliferate in the atmosphere of secrecy which seems to now permeate LAC.

One example of the lack of information dissemination is regarding unavailability of part of the LAC reference collection. Rumours have been circulating about closure of the reference collection, or LAC doing away with consultation. At the FLAC AGM the LAC representative indicated these were because replacement of the sprinkler system that protects that collection is needed, which will require parts of the reference collection being placed in temporary storage. That's information that was in an obscure 2 June notice "Parts of the collection will be temporarily inaccessible for variable periods of time"  - so vague as to be practically useless except as an excuse.

As mentioned at the FLAC AGM, all this contrasts with the situation at the UK National Archives. Just this week the TNA User Advisory Group had its first meeting. It will "provide an opportunity for users of The National Archives to get involved in the organisations planning and decision making process at an early stage and a strategic level." The group has representatives from two genealogical organizations.

Pains were taken to point out that this advisory group does not replace the Forum held regularly on site at TNA and open to all.

In addition TNA's chief executive, Oliver Morley, held a Meet the Keeper event on Thursday 9 June, including availability on Twitter.

No such open consultation, with opportunity for discussion, not just one way broadcasting of information, occurs at LAC.

Mr Caron came in for heavy criticism earlier in the year for having bowed to pressure from the Embassy of Iran in a letter calling on Library and Archives Canada to cancel the screening of the film Iranium. Mr Caron complied, then was forced by Heritage Minister James Moore to reverse that decision in the name of freedom of expression, something Mr Caron does not appear to be particularly keen on.

The saving grace for the organization is the dedication and hard work of the vast majority of LAC's front line service staff.

24 June 2011

Next BBC WDYTYA series

BBC Who Do You Think You Are magazine reveals the celebrities to be featured in the next BBC TV series. J K Rowling is one, but many are obscure on this side of the Atlantic. As we've seen in previous series people don't have to be well known to have interesting family history stories.

Discover the names and short profiles at:

via Scottish Genes

Finishing touches to the City Archives

Workers were installing the final few panels on the exterior of Archives wing of the City of Ottawa Central Archives and Ottawa Public Library Materials Centre building on Thursday in preparation for the official opening next Monday.

The ground beneath had been prepared ready for turf to be installed -- the truck with large rolls of turf arrived just as I was leaving.

Edinburgh records added to Deceased Online

Nearly a million dead Scots. Let's celebrate!

That's not quite the way to think of it!

What we can celebrate is the release of 313,000 burial and cremation records for Edinburgh, expected early afternoon EDT on Friday 24 June, on the Deceased Online website, so achieving a total of nearly 1 million Scotland-based burial and cremation records on the site.

The Edinburgh records comprise:
Nearly 39,000 burial records dating from 1888 to the present day for Seafield Cemetery feature scans of mortality registers (with many of them including details of the type of hearse used!).
Over 49,500 records from 1939 for Seafield Crematorium available as scans of cremation register pages.
Records for Warriston Crematorium, numbering nearly 225,000 and dating from 1929 to 1991, later entries continue to be added, available as scans of cremation registers.

23 June 2011

Findmypast adds UK militia service records 1806-1915

Digitized and indexed from TNA series WO96 these records are attestation papers and other surviving service records for the militia, a voluntary county-based part-time force for home defence. This is the first time these records have been scanned, transcribed and published online.

Covering over half a million volunteers you will find details of name, age, height, eye colour, hair colour, complexion, distinguishing marks, address, employer (including name and address), and details of previous service. Apparently some of the later records include photographs. You’ll also be able to see the individual’s signature.

Of the few records I checked many men served only a short period, as little as 49 days. Some records are more extensive and include name, relationship and address of next of kin.

I found the images quite dark. Reading them was easier when displayed as a negative. 

Digitised Newspapers

A pdf document developed for the UK educational community includes an up-to-date summary of the availability of digitized newspapers online, a reference source useful for the genealogical community.

It includes a summary of these resources for the Commonwealth. After mentioning national newspaper digitization projects in Australia and New Zealand it points out that "Unfortunately so far Canada has not funded a national project."

22 June 2011

Ancestry adds West Yorkshire parish records

A bonanza for parish records online for West Yorkshire from Ancestry and the West Yorkshire Archives Service. These are indexed records, and image originals, for parishes, large and small, including multiple parishes in the industrial centres of Bradford, Halifax, Huddesfield, Leeds and Wakefield.

West Yorkshire, England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906
West Yorkshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921
West Yorkshire, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985
West Yorkshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1512-1812

Confirmations are available for the parishes of  Crofton, All Saints, Huddersfield, Slaithwaite Church, and Leeds, St Thomas Stanningley.

Some top genealogy tweeters

Has anyone not heard of Twitter, a social networking and microblogging service, enabling its users to send and read messages tweets, text-based posts of up to 140 characters?

According to Wikipedia Twitter is estimated to have 200 million users, generating 190 million tweets a day and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day.

Inevitably some of that is genealogical. If you search Twitter for genealogy you'll find an active community. Below is a graphic showing who is posting using the word genealogy. It covers only 500 tweets, all posted June 22.  

I've been following who posts using The Archivist http://archivist.visitmix.com/ The online version only shows the most recent 500 genealogy tweets but I've noticed a pattern.

By far the largest single poster of genealogy tweets, the top poster every time I've checked, is UK based FamilyTree Folk, tweets 28,120 sent and 1,375 followers. A follower is someone who has subscribed to receive all the tweets posted from a particular account. A typical tweet from FamilyTreeFolk is 

Your not using PVC clear pockets for your valuable written/printed work are you? http://bit.ly/diISZU #genealogy #familyhistory #archival

The order amongst other tweeters high in this 500 tweet sample, ranked here according to number of followers, is:

Gould Genealogy is Australia based so goes up and down the rankings depending on the time difference. It has 4,915 tweets and 1,081 followers.

UK based Peter Western, posting as maxgenealogy, has 10.330 tweets and 794 followers

Scottish blogger Chris Paton is frequently high in the rankings. He has posted 5,472 tweets and has 632 followers.

Frances Ellsworth, from Texas, has made 6,605 tweets and has  573 followers

Some tweeters don't show as high in this sample but still have many followers. For example, US professional genealogist Michael Hait has posted 2,781 tweets and attracted 1,468 followers, a very favourable ratio of followers to tweets and more followers than FamilyTreeFolk.

Ontario Births, 1869-1912 at FamilySearch

Transcripts/Indexes of 1,403,211 Ontario civil registration records are now online at FamilySearch.

The original image is not linked, but is available at Ancestry.ca (subscription).

Canada Births and Baptisms, 1661-1959 at FamilySearch

FamilySearch now have 1,529,089 records online, previously available in the IGI and/or the "North America Vital Records Index: Canada." set on CD.

These are indexes or transcripts; the original images are not linked.


LAC posts Flickr photostream on Nitrate Film Preservation Centre

A 12 image set of photos from the opening of the LAC Nitrate Film Preservation Centre are posted at:


If you find them exciting you might also enjoy reading remarks delivered on the opening by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada.

"Introduction to Genetic Genealogy at Family Tree DNA" free webinar

Genetic genealogy has been around for more than a decade, but some folks still haven't explored the possibilities in the only all natural genealogical record - their own DNA. Others explored it a while ago, decided it wasn't for them, or perhaps wasn't affordable. Things change.

Here's an opportunity, a free opportunity, to hear an explanation of "What is Genetic Genealogy? What tests are available and which one should I order? How much does a Genetic Genealogy test cost? Do I need to be a geneticist to understand my results?" 

"Introduction to Genetic Genealogy at Family Tree DNA" is a webinar hosted by Relative Roots to be held on Thursday, June 23 at 11am EDT.

Register for this webinar at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/631487590

21 June 2011

Renovations at LAC

In response to a query at the Friends of LAC annual general meeting on Monday it was made known that there will be work done on the sprinkler system than protects the reference collection on the second floor. Materials will need to be removed and not be accessible. There was no indication of exact date.

That's not the only work that needs doing on the building, just past the 44th anniversary of it's official opening. One of the two public elevators has not been operational for weeks, and nothing seems to be happening to repair it. If more of the LAC senior management team worked out of the building would repair have received a higher priority? If the Librarian and Archivist ever went to the building to interact with clients, not just practice one way communication, and that limited, he'd get an earful. Perhaps that's why he doesn't - unlike his counterpart at the National Archives in the UK who advertises his occasional availability to the ordinary clients.

Comparing the archives

Here are extracts from instructions for four different national archives regarding ordering materials in advance of a visit -- always a good idea.

Which seems most user friendly?
Which is least user friendly?
Which is LAC?

(1) You can order up to 2 weeks in advance.
Request no more than five items
Ensure that there are no restrictions placed on these items.
Try and give at least two working days notice
(2) You may order a maximum of ten items (i.e.: books, boxes of archival documents, video-tapes, etc.) and you must submit your request at least five working days prior to your visit.

(3) ... you can order up to six documents in advance of your visit using the online order form.
Orders need to be placed before 17:00 on the working day before your visit if documents are stored on-site, and before 11:00 three working days before your visit if they are stored off-site

(4) Many of our records are held offsite – that is, in different buildings from our reading rooms – so it is best to order records in advance of when you plan to visit. If you are travelling from (a distance), or are planning to undertake extensive research, please contact us at least two weeks in advance. This gives us the time to make sure that the records you want to see will be available.

The Canadian Bookman (Volume 1-3, January 1919- September 1921)

I was surprised at the number of folks who followed the link from my last posting on the Canadian Bookman. In case those were a bit too late a date for you, maybe the editions for 1918 - 1921, now posted to the Internet Archive by the University of Toronto, will be of interest.

Find them at: http://www.archive.org/details/canadianbookman13cana

England, Northumberland, Miscellaneous Records at FamilySearch

Announced by FamilySearch is a 8,866 image collection of Parish Registers, Electoral Registers, Nonconformist Records, and Parish Chest.  It includes Official Actions (1901-1925), Electoral Registers (1901-1925), and Church/Parish Registers (1717-1987).

The records are from towns and parishes throughout Northumberland. The collection is being published at http://goo.gl/QmYzQ as images become available.

Presently available are electoral registers for Hexam and Tyneside.

Also included are parish records for Edmondbyers and  Muggleswick in County Durham.

20 June 2011

The British Library and Google to make 250,000 books available to all

The following is from the British Library website:

The British Library and Google today announced a partnership to digitise 250,000 out-of-copyright books from the Library’s collections. Opening up access to one of the greatest collections of books in the world, this demonstrates the Library’s commitment, as stated in its 2020 Vision, to increase access to anyone who wants to do research. 
Selected by the British Library and digitised by Google, both organisations will work in partnership over the coming years to deliver this content free through Google Books (http://books.google.co.uk) and the British Library’s website (www.bl.uk). Google will cover all digitisation costs.
Read the full press release at http://pressandpolicy.bl.uk/Press-Releases/The-British-Library-and-Google-to-make-250-000-books-available-to-all-4fc.aspx

Something new for BIFHSGO

Last week I made the first post on the new BIFHSGO blog. This week we break new ground as that blog sings, dances and talks.

Back in November I recorded a short interview with Helen Osborn of Pharos Teaching and Tutoring who will be a speaker at September's BIFHSGO conference. We spoke about her background, heavily London, and then about one of the presentations she'll be giving.

To hear Helen, and me stumbling my way through, click the link at the bottom of the item at www.bifhsgo.ca/blog

OGS Ottawa Branch June Meeting

Tuesday evening, 21 June, at Library and Archives Canada sees the final monthly meeting of the season for the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.

The meeting includes the Annual General Meeting, and as an added attraction I'll be there to present "Your Family History in Newspapers Online."  That's one of my most popular talks, one I've given a couple of times in the past month. This time it's tailored to an Ottawa audience, and, I hope to have a special offer of access to a set of digitized newspapers.

This will also be Mike More's final meeting of his extended term as Chair of the Ottawa Branch. Mike finds the role of Regional Director and Branch Chair a bit much. There's no doubt Mike has done a great job for Ottawa Branch and I hope there's a good turn out for the meeting if only to show appreciation to Mike.

Juice and cookies are available starting at 7:00 pm in room 156 at LAC with the AGM getting underway at 7:30pm.

The Parish Register of Kingston, Upper Canada 1785-1811

This is a transcript of the first parish register kept by the Revd. John Stuart, the first missionary of the Church of England in Upper Canada and covers the years 1785 to 1811. Although nominally for Kingston it records many names of those to whom Stuart ministered, as far afield as the Grand River.

Chapters include: The First Rector; The first St. George's Church; The Benefactors; Church wardens; Vestry Men; Pew Holders 1794-1811; Clerks and "Saxtons"; Baptisms; Marriages; Funerals; Index.

There are several versions online. A convenient format is in two parts: The Parish Register of Kingston 1785-1811 - PART 1The Parish Register of Kingston 1785-1811 - PART 2

There is also an Internet Archive version at http://goo.gl/UQQjk and an OurRoots version at http://goo.gl/Nzh8H

19 June 2011

OGS financial statement for 2010

This isn't all that new, but the most recent issue of Newsleaf, the magazine of the Ontario Genealogical Society prints the society audited financial statement for 2010.

It must be with considerable satisfaction that the Board and management of the Ontario Genealogical Society saw income from membership dues increase 21% from 2009 to 2010, the result of a 33% fee increase approved at the 2009 annual general meeting. While there was some decline in membership it was not as great as some feared.

Dues accounted for 58% of gross income in 2010, down from 62% in 2009. Total income, including a small net contribution from sales, increased 20%.

Expenditures dropped by $17.5K.

Office expenses, over $120K for wages and $50K for rent, account for a major share of expenses.

There was a year end operating surplus of  $23,177 compared to a $2,586 deficit the previous year.

A substantial draw down of endowment and memorial funds occurred, mainly toward operations. The withdrawal increased from $35K in 2009 to $82.3K in 2010. There was also a major increase in fund raising expenses which did not produce any increase in donations to the funds, but may have paid off in donations toward operating expenses.

Comment:  The major endowment funds with which OGS is blessed means it can continue to draw these down for operations for a few years. OGS will eventually have to tackle its major office and administrative expense issue.

OGS Ottawa Blog

There's a new genealogy blog in town, written by Mike More from the Ottawa Branch of OGS. The first posting was on June 10.

New blogs take time to get known so I'm sure you clicking on http://ogsottawa.blogspot.com/ and reading the news, and perhaps some of Mike's views, would be appreciated. I did and learned something new -- you'll have to visit to find out what it is!

Public art at the new Ottawa Central Archives building

Landscaping was underway around the new City Central Archives and OPL Materials Centre on Thursday. I stopped by on my way from the Centrepointe Library and snapped these shots of the public art installation in the courtyard to the northeast of the building.

As I recall the house suspended in the sky is supposed to light up at night; perhaps giving a different impression.

The installation was selected by a panel of experts assembled by the City from a number of proposals. There was a prior public showing of the proposals, this was not my selection.

At one of the last meetings of the stakeholder group for the building development I attended, just after this installation was selected, I queried the choice. A staff member assured me the public art process was followed assiduously and this was the unanimous recommendation of the expert panel.

I hope they're right and it doesn't continue to look like some remnant the building contractors forgot to remove.

18 June 2011

Giving due acknowledgement

It's common to acknowledge the source of a lead when writing a blog post. Sometimes that gets overlooked. Please let me know if you think I've transgressed in respecting this practice which is only simple politeness.

FreeBMD June update

The FreeBMD Database was last updated on Thursday 16 June 2011 and currently contains 202,560,089 distinct records (257,412,880 total records).

Major additions in the past month are in the 1950s with substantial additions in the 1930s and 40s.

Ancestry.com on CNBC

Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com, was interviewed by CNBC's Jim Cramer on 17 June. 

Interesting points that came out are that the market for Ancestry\s services is seen at 20 million families; the market demographic for Ancestry services is age 45 and up, one the stock market doesn't understand well; and the key to getting subscriptions renewed is to keep on adding new databases (something that, aside from updates to the obituary collections, has been lacking this week.)
View the interview on video here.

17 June 2011

DNA Interest Group

Ottawa's DNA interest group for genealogy is now on the International Society of Genetic Genealogy's (ISOGG) wiki list of DNA interest groups at http://www.isogg.org/wiki/DNA_Interest_Groups

The wiki is a source for a variety of information on DNA and family history and has an educational mission.

Ancestry 30% off for new subscribers

Ancestry.com sent an email advising of a 30% off offer until midnight 20 June for "new subscribers only and not for renewal of current memberships."

The World Deluxe subscription, with unlimited access to everything on Ancestry.com, is on sale for $209.40

Similar reductions are available for other subscriptions.

Call 1-800-958-9081 (Monday - Friday 10am-10pm ET, Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm ET).

The Canadian Bookman

Just added to the Internet Archives texts are volumes 4-5, December 1921- December 1923, of the   Canadian Authors Association monthly publication The Canadian Bookman.

The Canadian Bookman had the aim, first to deal with all subjects of current interest in the Canadian literary sphere. and second, when dealing with other subjects, to sound concerning them a characteristically Canadian voice. It took on increasing concern for the book trade as well as literary matters.

You will find numerous mentions and even photographs of Canadian authors and luminaries in The Canadian Bookman, but are unlikely to find ordinary folk unless in the published lists of new members and associate members. 

Genealogy is mentioned twice:

"Captain C. E. Lart. who is the author of the article, "Eye-Witnesses' Accounts of the British Repulse of Ticonderoga," in the December Canadian Historical Review, is doing a great deal of important research work in Canadian history and genealogy in the British Museum and also in France...."

A January 1823 article on Caughnawaga, opposite Montreal on the south side of the St. Lawrence, noted that ," .. unwearied delving work in the field of genealogy left by the Abbe Joseph Gillaunie Forbes, who spent fifteen years at the settlement before becoming Bishop of Joliette in 1913. This missionary found that Eunice Williams, one of the Deerficld captives of 1704, has left a posterity of one hundred descendants living in Caughnawaga: that the young boy Silas Rice, who was captured at Marlboro, Massachusetts, in the summer of 1703 and had married into the tribe, had a living posterity in the year 1900 of over thirteen hundred descendants, and that Jacob Hill and John Stacey, the two boys taken near Albany in 1755 and adopted by the tribe, had become the ancestors of fifteen hundred of its members."

748 pages of The Canadian Bookman are now online at http://www.archive.org/details/canadianbookman45cana

16 June 2011

Deceased Online adds Peterhead Old Churchyard records

Grave register scans for 15,426 burials dated from 8th July 1615 to the last burial in 2005 for St Peter's Churchyard, West Links, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. (also known as Peterhead Old Churchyard) are added to deceasedonline.com. These show the Lair owner, owner's address or occupation, date of interment, age and address of the deceased.

This adds to the 18,402 burials, dated 7 August 1869 to 23 December 2010, for Peterhead Cemetery, Constitution Street, which were added in May 2011.

Tracing Your English & Scottish Ancestors

Humility notwithstanding, here is a shout out to one of Moorshead Magazines recent publications:

"Tracing Your English & Scottish Ancestors compiles some of the best articles we’ve ever published in Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy and Discovering Family History about researching your English and Scottish ancestors. Jam-packed with informative articles on the records and resources (not to mention online databases) you need for success. 

I have cause to be humble as my article on newspapers, while included, is in the category "and much more" in the contents list

Free access to the Canadian census

Unless you're a newcomer to family history you likely know of the free access to Ancestry's suite of name indexed Canadian census records, from 1851 to 1916, at many public libraries and Family History Centres.

They were completed under a collaborative arrangement with Library and Archives Canada. The agreement is summarized at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/about-us/012-215.01-e.html and includes a table of projects currently underway to be posted online, on the LAC website, as time and resources permit.

Ancestry.ca ProjectsDigital images To be createdDigital Images available on Collections-canada.gc.caNominal index To be createdNominal index available on Collections-canada.gc.caAvailable on Ancestry.ca
Canadian Passenger ListsYesTo be determinedYesTo be determinedOnline
1851 CensusAlready existOnline
YesEstimated summer 2011Online
1861 CensusYesTo be determinedYesTo be determinedOnline
1871 CensusYesTo be determinedYesTo be determinedOnline
1881 Census *Already existOnline
Already existOnlineNA
1891 CensusYesOnline
1901 CensusAlready existAlready Online
YesEstimated summer 2011Online
1906 CensusAlready existAlready Online
YesEstimated summer 2011Online
1911 CensusAlready existAlready Online
YesEstimated summer 2011Online
1916 CensusYesTo be determinedYesEstimated summer 2011Online

* Family Search provided the index available on the LAC website. LAC provided the digital images of the 1881 Census to Ancestry.ca.

This summer we should see the 1851, 1901, 1906, 1911 and 1916 census nominal indexes at the LAC site, adding to 1881 and 1891 where nominal indexes are already available.  In addition, last December, LAC committed to providing "by 2011," "digitized images of original census documents from 1861 and 1871."

There are two other sources:

Automated Genealogy provides free access to name indexed transcripts of the 1901, 1906 and 1911 censuses with links to images at LAC.

Go to FamilySearch for free access to name indexes/transcripts for the 1851, 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses, but no access of original images. At the site you can also access the 1871 Mortality Schedules and images for the 1831 census of Lower Canada.

15 June 2011

Upgrade opportunity for existing Family Tree DNA clients

Family Tree DNA have announced an attractive short term sale, until June 22, 2011, for upgrades by existing customers, as follows:

Summer Upgrade Sale
Family FinderWas $289Now $199
Y-DNA 12 to 25Was $49Now $35
Y-DNA 12 to 37Was $99Now $69
Y-DNA 12 to 67Was $189Now $148
Y-DNA 25 to 37Was $49Now $35
Y-DNA 25 to 67Was $148Now $114
Y-DNA 37 to 67Was $99Now $79
mt to FMSWas $269Now $229
mtPlus to FMSWas $239Now $199
Notice the substantial reduction for the Family Finder (autosomal) test.
Unfortunately there is no special for a Y-DNA upgrade to 111 markers, the only one I could use. Perhaps next time!

23andMe database surpasses 100,000 users

A press release from 23andMe celebrates passing 100,000 clients. While most of the press release is about health, ancestry gets a nod with the paragraph

23andMe additionally noted that 45 is the average age of its users, 57% of its users are male, 47% are sharing their data with other users and 12% have multiple ancestries -- representing heritage from over 177 countries from Azerbaijan to Zambia. The 23andMe community forums currently have over 100,000 posts and more than 60,000 pairs of relatives have been discovered among users using 23andMe's unique Relative Finder feature.

Read the full release at http://goo.gl/rZOTF

Comment:  23andMe have likely doubled their client base in the last year. While Family Tree DNA have exceeded that percent increase they likely have only a tenth the number of clients for their autosomal test.

Anglo-Celtic Roots: Summer 2011 issue

The new issue, volume 17, number 2, just released contains three articles as well as the regular columns and listings.

An Introduction to Researching your Roots in Northern Ireland, by William Roulston, research director of the Ulster Historical Foundation, summarizes all  the beginner needs to know in seven and a half pages.

He Wore His Buttons Well: Discovering the Details of an Epic Rescue at Sea, by Barbara Tose, is the story of her relative's involvement in a marine disaster and the benefits that may follow from the publicity about a pending BIFHSGO presentation.

Harry Gray's Pub, by Brenda Turner, tells the story of how she discovered her relative received the honour of the Freedom of the City of London.

This issue also contains the Society Annual Reports documenting its successes and solid financial situation. There is a small decline in membership, from a peak of 530 in 2007 to 516 in 2010, which should not be ignored given the demographics of baby boomers moving into their prime years of family history interest.

Essex resources for genealogy

  • Essex Churchs is a growing archive of excellent quality images of more than 200 churches in Essex, UK. So far, nearly 1,400 images are posted to site.

    Essex Country Life provides details of the lifestyle of people above and below stairs in Victorian and Edwardian times in the Essex Region of the UK. Content includes recipes, etiquette, songs, home life and health to give a picture of life in those days. 

  • Essex Family History is where people researching ancestors who lived in Eastern Essex in the UK can visit, free of charge, to check the indices of thousands of names and also visit the over 130 pages providing local history and background information.

14 June 2011

Flagging your ancestry

In recent conference presentations, including at the Roots 2011 conference in Montréal, I've been using this slide.  The flags are for the nations in which the generations back to my great-grandparents were born.

I use it to show how my paper trail genealogy is consistent with the ancestral origin autosomal DNA results I have from both Family Tree DNA and 23andMe.

In Montréal one of the attendees said they found the presentation in this slide helpful in depicting family origins and asked if I could make the image available on the blog.

Canadian Catholic Historical Association publications archive

Available free online are back issues of Canadian Catholic Historical Association Journals from 1933 to 2006, as well as indices for issues from 1933 through 1983:

There are academic articles with a narrow scope of interest, but some such as The Irish Emigration of 1847 and Its Canadian Consequences and The Hon. Edward Whelan: A Father of Confederation from Prince Edward Island – One of Ireland’s Gifts to Canada may contain useful background reading.

LAC launches new version of the Lower Canada Land Petitions (1626-1865)Database

The following is a notice from Library and Archives Canada:

Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce the release of a new version of the online database Lower Canada Land Petitions (1626-1865). This version includes digitized images of the actual petitions for all individuals listed in the database. Corrections to entries, including suggestions received from users, have also been integrated into this updated version. Many staff members contributed to the success of this project, and their efforts are much appreciated. 
The database is available at:

The digitized images make this a good addition to the LAC online collection. More than 95,000 references to individuals who lived in present-day Quebec between 1764 and 1841 are included.

Some of the petitions are on multiple pages, The system can be slow in moving between pages.

The notice is dated June 8 and was posted on June 13.

13 June 2011

Genetic Genealogy News

CeCe Moore blogs on the Your Genetic Genealogist blog on talks given at the SCGS Jamboree on behalf of 23andMe and Family Tree DNA.

- 56,000 people, or about 70%, of 23andMe clients are of Northern European ancestry.
- 23andMe customers will be able to sort their matches by mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups, most likely by the end of the month.
- FTDNA is planning to allow uploads of 3rd party data to their Family Finder database.

Read the post here

Genealogy, a French passion

What's happening in genealogy in other cultures? Are there ideas we could pick up from the way things are done elsewhere?

The French Federation of Genealogy, La Fédération Française de Généalogie, which unites more than 150 associations to encourage and help people to conduct genealogical research, had its 2011 Congress in Lille from 2-4 June.

There were presentations in multiple parallel session, a marketplace/exhibition and tours of local sites of interest. All familiar features of conferences many of us attend.

There was a theme, our ancestors and work, the topic of several but by no means all talks.

Some the more interesting sounding titled presentations were in the theme sessions: "The development of midwifery in the 18th century"; "Customs officers and defrauders"; "Trades of the father in France, trades of the son in New France"; and "Prostitution in the Middle Ages". There were also presentations on case studies, how to write a family history and explanations of what you might find in a particular archive.

While I didn't see anything startlingly different about this Congress the theme of work might be an interesting one to explore for a conference, or perhaps a one day workshop.

There's a conference website at: http://www.genealogie-lille-2011.org/ where you will find a copy of an article, in French, from which the title of this item is taken.

Forthcoming OGS Toronto Branch events

Gwyneth Pearce from OGS Toronto Branch sent information that registration is now open for Finding Ontario Ancestors, a one-day summer workshop to be held at the North York Central Library Auditorium on Saturday 6 August 2011. You will find out how to get the most from familiar records or discover a new source to expand your understanding of your Ontario ancestors. Enjoy a relaxed, information-packed day with speakers who revel in the intricacies and richness of records – and love to share their knowledge. For program details, speaker biographies and registration information, see www.torontofamilyhistory.org/Finding_Ontario_Ancestors_2011.html.

Also, Toronto Branch is presenting a special evening for British family historians on Monday 19 September 2011 - Audrey Collins, Family History Specialist at The National Archives, UK, will be presenting a two-part lecture, For details, see www.torontofamilyhistory.org/TNA2011Lecture.html.

Audrey's visit to Toronto is an example of the benefits of cooperation between centres as she will be there after her weekend at the BIFHSGO conference.

Find the Toronto Branch on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Ontario-Genealogical-Society-Toronto-Branch/109914192424515) and follow on Twitter @TOFamilyHistory (https://twitter.com/#!/TOFamilyHistory).

12 June 2011

TNA podcast: Behind the scenes: two centuries of census-taking

Audrey Collins, who will be one of the major speakers at BIFHSGO conference in September, gave this talk last March in the TNA lecture series. Audrey drops in a lot of anecdotal material, including a look at the army of civil servants, temporary clerks, registrars, enumerators and others, and the part they played in this astonishing feat of organisation once a decade; incidents and accidents along the way, including the only time advertising was allowed on census material.

There are also several hints that may help if you're having trouble finding an ancestor or making sense of the census. Audrey give high praise to the University of Essex website www.histpop.org.uk which has a lot of additional background material including original documents.

Audrey's talks for BIFHSGO will be Tracing Your English Ancestors in The National Archives; The Fleet Registers: Clandestine Marriages in London 1667–1754; and The London Gazette: Not Just the Brave and the Bankrupt.

Catch the podcast at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/census-behind-the-scenes.htm

English probate in Amsterdam

File this one under curiosities, likely the result of a stray microfilm reel.

Noted in the GENBRIT Rootsweb list, contained in the images of birth certificates for Amsterdam 1853 there are images of the book Calendar of Wills (GB) 1869, on Familysearch starting at:

It covers names Mabb to Mytton.