31 July 2011

Celebrate Col. By Day

In Ottawa we celebrate the first Monday in August, the Ontario Civic holiday, as Colonel By Day in honour of the man in charge of the construction of the Rideau Canal. 

Although a normal work day on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, and even in Ottawa many stores will be open, much of Ottawa will celebrate, notably in and around the Bytown Museum at the northern end of By's canal.

Admission is free  The event has plenty going on for all ages and is supported by many local museums, heritage, historical and genealogical organizations who bring displays. It's also a good networking occasion. I expect to be there.

There's more information at http://www.choocopo.ca/english/cbday.html.

Genealogists: cool and trendy

"Yeah! Like, it's awesome, smashtacular."

Not the kind of language one expects to hear associated with genealogy.

It's not the language but the area that the author is referring to in a posting on the Society of Genealogists' website When did the Society of Genealogists’ neighbourhood become cool and trendy? 

There's gentrification of the area around Goswell Road and Clerkenwell Road where the Society has its headquarters at Charterhouse Buildings.

Close by, what used to be the last bomb site in London is now an upscale development.

When I visit SOG my meal is usually grabbed from a local sandwich shop and eaten in the refined elegance of the SOG lunchroom (lol).

But according to the article, less than half a kilometre east on Old Street, along Whitecross Street, are some of the best street food and restaurants in London. "Usually the street food vendors serve exotic but incredibly tasty and cheap cuisine to the lunch time office workers and residents from the nearby Peabody Trust Estate (wonderfully interesting flats built in London clay brick) but the restaurants stay open at weekends."

Sounds like it's worth a try. Anyone been there? 

30 July 2011

TNA new library catalogue

Visiting its library is probably not the reason why most people go to The National Archives at Kew. The library is a favourite of mine as I made a breakthrough in researching a side line in my family there when I found a book with reference to the father's residence for a printer's apprentice in Leicester, a connection which confirmed a link back a few more generations.

TNA has arguably the best genealogical library in the UK.

Now the library catalogue is replaced by a new open-source system called Koha.

It includes material in the main, first (second) floor, library and in off-site storage and TNA's departmental libraries. 

If you're going to TNA its worth including searching the library catalogue as part of your preparation.

Slavery, bigamy, adoption: more BBC WDYTYA celebrity surprises

If you follow Who Do You Think You Are? you may be interested in the new BBC series which starts on 10 August. 

The ten celebrities include author JK Rowling, comedian Alan Carr, Bee Gee Robin Gibb, EastEnders actress June Brown, Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman, artist Tracey Emin and Olympic champion Seb Coe.

There's good information about the series in an article in the Mail Online at
http://goo.gl/4MGWJ. Is it too much to hope that JK Rowling may be a prominent enough personality that the US series would include her.

I was especially interested to see mention of June Brown`s London East End Dutch Jewish ancestry.

29 July 2011

Ancestry update Liverpool parish records

Records for marriages and banns, 1813 - 1921 form the largest part of Ancestry's updated Church of England records for the Liverpool area, now comprising 140,373 records. Parishes in Edge Hill, Everton, Liverpool and Toxteth are prominent.

There are also now 48,822 baptisms, 24,787 burials, and 258 confirmations.

GOONS goof and gold

There is a problem with the Guild of One-Name Studies website.  It has been unavailable for some days, reportedly owing to a problem with their internet service provider. Word is it's likely to be unavailable for a few more days.

Fortunately there are other ways to contact them:

Twitter at http://twitter.com/GuildOneName

Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/guildonename

A no doubt unintended benefit is finding a link to the BBC Radio 4 program Word of Mouth, on Surnames on the Facebook page. I was surprised it wasn't behind a UK firewall. It starts with the an interview with a person who would be a genealogist's nightmare.

Ancestry.com 2nd quarter results

Tim Sullivan, CEO of leading genealogy company Ancestry.com release the company's financial report for the second quarter on Thursday.

Total revenues for the quarter were $101 million, up from $74 million a year earlier. Net income per share, fully diluted, was $0.33, up from $0.18 a year earlier.

There were 1,672,319 subscribers at the end of June, up from 1,310,562 at the end of June 2010. The number of subscribers continues to grow quarter on quarter. however the monthly churn, reflecting terminations of subscriptions, rebounded to 4.6% which is the highest in five quarters.

Company forecasts were for subscribers to number in the range 1,710,000 to 1,730,000 by the end of the 2011.
There were no announcements of major new databases, although the U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949, updated on Thursday, were mentioned.

Read the Ancestry press release at http://goo.gl/v2X59
The stock declined in after-hours trading, reportedly on anticipation that growth in the number of subscribers would not meet previous expectations.

28 July 2011

The ABC of LAC

Having used Library and Archives Canada for more than a decade it had never occurred to me to ask about the microfilm coding system. Films are in series A, B, C, H, K, M, and T.
Two knowdgeable colleagues have enlightened me.

The A series is material from non-governmental sources.
The B series is from British governmental sources.
The C series contains material from Canadian governmental sources.
There is also a HBC series for Hudson Bay Company. What are the others?

I could always do with more education in the ways of LAC, to be shared on the blog.

Hearth Tax Online

The Centre for Hearth Tax Research at Roehampton University, London, has an interesting project underway "providing data and analysis of the records of the hearth tax which was introduced in England and Wales by the government of Charles II in 1662."

The tax was collected twice a year, on Lady Day and Michaelmas, at a rate of 1 shilling per hearth  (fireplace), with exemptions. Some returns survive for most parishes between 1662 and 1689 when it was abolished.

Data online at present is last and first name and the community in which they lived, for Yorkshire, Durham and some of the home counties. There is also mapping and analysis.

Hearth Tax Online has a blog to which you can subscribe to stay up to date.

via Elizabeth Kipp's English Research from Canada blog.

27 July 2011

BIFHSGO's now tweeting

If you do Twitter? The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Oiiawa now has a new way for you to stay in touch. It's just getting started.  Follow the tweets at http://twitter.com/#!/BIFHSGO or sign up to follow.

Carleton University researchers study genealogical interest

Why the surge of interest in genealogy/family history?

That's the question Del Muise, emeritus professor of history at Carleton University, is exploring with The Canadian Genealogical Survey which attempts to understand the behaviour of genealogists in their research activities. 

A self-administered online survey will seek "to gauge the nature of the phenomenon and its importance for those who undertake to travel to and visit sites of genealogical resources as well as those who do much of their work via the Internet."

According to an article in the Cape Breton Post a pilot project  is ongoing in Cape Breton. 

Follow the progress of the study at http://www.genealogyincanada.blogspot.com/

26 July 2011

DNA Genotek acquired by OraSure Technologies

Many progressive genealogists have taken a DNA test with 23andMe. It is announced today that Ottawa-based DNA Genotek, which provides spittle sampling kits for 23andme, has been acquired by OraSure Technologies (Nasdaq:OSUR)

In a letter the company undertakes that DNA Genotek will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary and will maintain all of its operations in Ottawa

Death at Rideau Falls

Phil Jenkins most recent column in the Ottawa Citizen sees him traveling some of the same territory that I did a couple of weeks ago when I took this photo.

Phil's column remarks that "as far as I know, no one has ever done themselves a nasty and unwittingly tumbled 37 feet over the (Rideau) falls."

Phil only writes that kind of statement as a challenge.

Three city employees were engaged in inspecting the city's bridges on 19 November 1926, before the freeze up, and had come down on a pontoon from examining the Saint Patrick Street bridge to the Sussex Street bridge. About 30 feet above the falls the river was controlled by stop logs, but they were out of one of the chutes. The swift current made the pontoon unmanageable and as it rushed through the chute the three men on it jumped off. One made it to shore safely.

Livingstone Jack (49) and John Costello (53) were swept over the falls. Costello's body was promptly recovered and interred at Notre Dame cemetery. As reported in the Citizen on May 19, 1927 that of Jack remained in the Ottawa River until 18 May. His remains were interred at Beechwood cemetery.

Instant Chat with The National Library of Wales

The following is a notice from The National Library of Wales.

On Monday 4 July 2011 The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth launched a new Instant Chat service on its website. The new service will answer simple enquiries and will be useful for those wanting a quick answer. 

The Instant Chat service is an addition to the traditional enquiries service that the Library already offers and which is administered through our QuestionPoint system. Those wishing to contact the enquiries team will be able to do so through the Library’s website and Facebook page.

Nia Wyn Dafydd, Enquiries Services Manager said:

‘Instant Chat is a new and exciting service which adds to the enquiries service which the Library offers at present. It will be another step towards making our services more accessible to our users.’

Do you have a question? Take advantage of our new service to get an answer use Instant Chat

via the Federation of Family History Societies

25 July 2011

OTHSM and home children

The Osgoode Township Historical Society and Museum held their annual  Pioneer Day, the 35th, on Saturday July 23. From 10 AM to 4 PM, there was a full programme of music, book readings, and children's activities, this year on the theme of Irish pioneers. Here Robin Averill entertains with Irish songs and jokes.

Local heritage organizations, authors and an antique car display vied with the attractions of a strawberry social and barbecue for participants attention.

The museum was another attraction and where I learned that September 28 is to be celebrated as the first British Home Child day in Ontario with an event at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg. I'll post more information on that as it becomes available.

Conversation with Ancestry's Lesley Anderson

Continuing my series on the BIFHSGO conference over at www.bifhsgo.ca/blog, the latest post is a conversation with Lesley Anderson. Lesley is giving a pre-conference seminar on Ancestry.

I read on Elizabeth Kipp's blog that she has decided to register for the BIFHSGO conference. It's too good to miss. That's in addition to staffing a table in the marketplace for the Guild of One Name Studies of which she is an Overseas Director.

24 July 2011

Update: parking at LAC

The LAC website has been updated:

Parking fees are not announced and the pay and display machine has not yet been installed. There should be 16 spots for visitors with an additional 3 spaces for persons with disabilities on the west side of our building. 

The parking is supposed to be free evenings and weekends.

Information via Glenn Wright and Mike More.

TNA podcast: Nineteenth century soldiers: getting the most from online resources

TNA's principal military specialist William Spencer gives an exceptionally clear explanation of British  military records available online between 1800 and 1920. 

He explains anomalies and gives search tips. Although the illustrations used in the lecture are not captured in the podcast you can still get a lot out of the explanation.

The data sets explained are:

WO 97, British Army Service Records 1760-1915 (Chelsea Pensioners), available at findmypast.co.uk
WO 119,  Royal Hospital, Kilmainham: Pensioners' Discharge Documents (Certificates of Service), indexed by name in TNA's catalogue. Digitized records are not available online. 
WO 363 WO 364, the burned and unburned records of the First World War, are available at Ancestry.co.uk. He recommends scrolling backward as well as forward from the landing page on these records.

23 July 2011

Internet Genealogy: August/September 2011 issue

Here are the contents from the latest, August/ September issue of Internet Genealogy, with my comments interspersed.
Mobile Genealogy: Family History Research on Your Phone, Tablet and More! 
Tony Bandy examines the latest developments in the world of mobile genealogy! Read a sample of this article... Comment: "I believe we're at the beginning of a fundamental shift in how we conduct our genealogy projects" is an attention-getting line. The article reviews mobile hardware (smartphones, tablets and eReaders)  and software (Apps). Thirty years ago many of us were faced with a decision, Betamax or VCR, and recognizing that it wasn't the superior technology which one out in that case are biding our time to see how the market shakes out.Research in Pennsylvania 
Carol Gohari looks at the resources available for researching in Northampton and Lehigh Counties
Family Tree Builder 5.0: A Bit of the Old, a Lot of the New! 
Tony Bandy examines the newest version of MyHeritage's Family Tree Builder Read a sample of this article... 
Comment: This is a lightly edited version of an article that appeared in the July/August issue of Family Chronicle, accompanied by an in-bag CD.Leafing Through History: What Our Ancestors Read Diane Dittgen looks at the magazines that informed and entertained our ancestors 
Comment:Reviews the evolution of periodicals that our US ancestors may have read. refers specifically to The American Periodical Series, an academic database found at many university libraries in the US.
Net Notes 
Donauschwaben Villages Helping Hands (DVHH); The Canadian Letters and Images Project; Dayton, OH Rare Photos; British Workhouse Records
Czech Research: Who Was Jan Zabransky? IG's Edward Zapletal tries to solve the mystery of his great-grandfather by using the Catholic parish books of the Czech Regional Archives Online 
Researching Your French Roots 
Nik Walker goes online in search of online resources for tracing your French ancestry 
Military Burials: What You Need to Know! 
Sharon A. Wilson looks at a great online resource for tracing your military ancestor 
Comment: Another informative article for the US genealogist, and even for non-US genealogists like me who had a stray ancestor in the US Army.Investigating a Murder in the Family 
Richard Jordan delves deeper into a genealogical case of murder most foul 
What's in Your Google Toolbox 
Diane L. Richard reviews Lisa Louise Cooke's newest book 
Comment: Praises this book as a stepping stone, while mentioning that Google has much more to offer than in the book. With the recent changes at Google, including Google+, keeping such a book up to date has be nearly a full-time job - something more ephemeral might be better. 
Tracing Your Welsh Roots 
Alan Stewart looks at the top online resources for researching your ancestor from Wales
Comment: a valuable article covering the sources that Wales has in common with England, essential for Welsh research, and many specialized Welsh resources including those of the National Library of Wales. I had not been aware of the transcriptions of Monmouthshire Bishops Transcripts and Parish Registers athttp://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~monfamilies/monprts.htmJamboree Conference Round-Up! 
Edward Zapletal looks back at the 42nd Annual Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree
Using Google Scholar for Genealogy! 
Arnon Hershkovitz, PhD looks at yet another way to use Google for your research

Is the Bytown Museum chasing cheap publicity?

An Ottawa Citizen article makes it appear that the Bytown Museum, from its perch beside the Rideau Canal locks, has been attempting to jazz up its image by making dubious claims that war poet John McCrae, who wrote "In Flanders Fields", was gay.

The Citizen article refers to "an exasperated" BIFHSGO President Glenn Wright denying he was a source for any such claim, rather saying it was "a museum curator who “presented to me” the same-sex theory in conversation weeks ago."

The Ottawa Citizen article is at:
Bytown Museum claims famed war poet John McCrae was gay

Can you identify it?

I wandered into one of the least visited public areas at Library and Archives Canada and saw this.

There's a prize, maybe a coffee at LAC's 5th floor cafeteria, for the first person to post a comment correctly identifying where you'll find this example of librarian humour.

22 July 2011

Ancestry updates their Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790-1976

Last September I blogged about Ancestry's newly released Andrew's index cards, a collection of notices from newspapers and various official sources, such as the London Gazette. They were produced during the process of searching for missing persons and people seeking next of kin.

Now Ancestry are advertising an update with 580,146 records, more than double the 250,000 previously available. Maybe they can help with your genealogical challenge, just as they did when they were originally compiled.

Kingston city directories

Looking for someone who lived in Kingston, Ontario? Through the collection of city directories at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library you can now access digitized versions of 37 Kingston city directories published between 1855 and 1923.

Access them through the Internet Archive at http://goo.gl/qvPdR of the KFPL at http://www.kfpl.ca/node/451

21 July 2011

Ancestry adds British Postal Service Appointment Books, 1737-1969

These British Post Office appointment books, about 1.5 million names on 39,864 images, are indexes to the Postmaster General’s minute books and now available on Ancestry.co.uk
They show the point when a person began working for the Post Office or started at a new position within the Post Office. The books were kept from 1831 until 1969, when they stopped being kept because of legislation and human resource procedures. Some records contain the job the worker was appointed to and the British Postal Museum’s website has the abbreviations in their Family History Guide (pdf).

The index contains: Name, Date of appointment, Location

If you find a person of interest in this index you may wish to explore further at The British Postal Museum and Archive.The records may be particularly valuable if a pension or gratuity was granted in which case you may find a brief summary of the individual's career, the different positions they had, the different salaries they received and any notable achievements they may have made.

Savings at Global Genealogy

Milton, Ontario-based Global Genealogy is offering 15% off the advertised price of any in stock item until July 31st at midnight as a 19th anniversary special.
Just enter the words...

"19th anniversary" (without the quotation marks)

... into the COUPON CODE blank in the online shopping cart at www.globalgenealogy.com and click APPLY, or mention when you phone in your order at (1-800-361-5168).

20 July 2011

Over 290,000 new parish records released on findmypast.co.uk

Findmypast.co.uk has added over 290,000 new parish records going back the the sixteenth century covering Warwickshire, Sheffield, Suffolk and Rugby. The records comprise:

62,252 burials from Handsworth Cemetery, Warwickshire: 1909 - 1991
99,611 baptisms from Sheffield, Yorkshire:  1558 - 1934
50,608 marriages from Suffolk: 1753 - 1837
75,258 baptisms from Suffolk: 1812 - 1905
1,436 marriages from Rugby, Warwickshire: 1564 - 1837

Exploring upcoming National Institute for Genealogical Studies courses

Having publicized courses forthcoming from Pharos Teaching and Tutoring, it's only justice to give equal time to those from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS) that start in August.

NIGS is offering 81 courses starting on 1 August, with 2 others starting a week later. 38 are at the basic level, 28 intermediate and 17 advanced.

For England at the advanced level the courses are: English: Education, Health & Contemporary Documents; and English: Taxes, Lists, Business, Electoral & Insurance Records.  These are courses developed by Penelope Christensen. Brenda Wheeler will be conducting the live audio/video chat session that are part of these and other English stream courses.

Louise St Denis, Managing Director of NIGS, reminded me to mention the free course offer for those who have not taken an Institute course previously.

For further information go to http://www.genealogicalstudies.com/,  email admin@GenealogicalStudies.com or phone toll free to 1-800-580-0165

BTW, I received no finder fee or other incentive from either Pharos or the Institute.

19 July 2011

Neanderthal heritage

Researchers at the University of Montreal have confirmed that — with the exception of people in sub-Saharan Africa — people today carry a tiny bit of the same X chromosome carried by Neanderthals.

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Research+confirms+modern+humans+part+Neanderthal/5121582/story.html#ixzz1SXYhYKwK

Those with 23andme results can go to http://esquilax.stanford.edu/#explore

to explore the presence of characteristic Neanderthal DNA (alleles) in their own genome. According to postings by Steven Perkins on the GENEALOGY-DNA newsgroup, you

Load your unzipped genome
Select your majority population
Click on Explore in the Menu Box
Select an Exercise
Select Neanderthal
Check your Neanderthal matches.

Perkins mentions that so far, the highest matches have been at 26. In my case I have 9 Neanderthal alleles in my personal genotype.

Toronto History Lecture in memory of Paul McGrath

Friends and associates of the late Paul McGrath (former Chair of the Toronto Branch of OGS and on-air genealogist for Ancestors in the Attic) have announced the first annual Toronto History Lecture in his memory.

The speaker, author and historian Chris Raible, will be presenting “Rebel Remembered: The Legacy of William Lyon Mackenzie, 150 Years After His Death.”

It will be held on Thursday 4 August at the City of Toronto Archives, 255 Spadina Road. Admission is free, but registration is required.

Further details and registration are available on-line at http://tinyurl.com/6hshhsx.

Poor Law Union Gazette

I'm keeping an eye on progress of the British Newspaper Archive, a partnership between the British Library and Brightsolid, parent company of findmypast.co.uk, in the early stages of digitizing up to 40 million pages from the UK national newspaper collection over the next ten years.

To whet the appetite for the launch this fall with 1 million pages promised archive examples are being shown, the latest of which is from the weekly Poor Law Union Gazette, which was published from April 1857 to April 1903. 

It gives details of those who being sought to assume their spousal and parental responsibilities.

Exploring upcoming Pharos courses

Sherry Irvine and Helen Osborn from Pharos Teaching and Tutoring, the UK-based online genealogical education service, are speakers at the BIFHSGO conference, 16 – 18 September 2011. If, like me, you're not very familiar with Pharos and their offerings you may like to know about the courses they have getting underway in the next month.

Starting on 3 August is "Enclosure Maps and Records for Family Historians" by Liz Carter. It's a four-week course and aimed at more advanced students as indicated by its 300 level course number.

"Your Military Ancestors" is a 200 [intermediate] level course taught by Simon Fowler, well known as editor of the late lamented TNA Ancestors magazine. This four-week course starts on 15 August.

Starting on 29 August is a five week 100 level course, aimed at beginners in Scottish family history "Scottish Research Online." The instructor is fellow family history blogger, author and regular magazine contributor Chris Paton.

You can learn more about how Pharos courses work at, surprise, How Courses Work
Even if you don't intend taking one of the Pharos courses you may want to visit that site just to review their list of Websites We Use.

18 July 2011

TNA podcast: the Battle of Towton

The following is information about the latest TNA podcast, by Dr. James Ross who is a medieval records specialist at the National Archives, originally given at the end of March 2011.

This talk introduces the biggest battle of the Wars of the Roses, described as 'The largest, longest, bloodiest and most murderous battle ever fought in Britain'. It was the decisive clash in a snowstorm at Towton in Yorkshire on 29 March 1461. A new English dynasty came to the throne with Edward IV's victory, but more Englishmen may have died at Towton than on the first day of the battle of the Somme. The talk outlines the events of that day, looking at some of The National Archives' sources for the battle and examines the participants' motivations.During the talk there is mention of horrendous battle injuries uncovered by an archaeological investigation: http://www.brad.ac.uk/acad/archsci/depart/resgrp/towton/

The talk is at: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/battle-towton.htm

Not much or genealogical interest.

Canadian women artists database

Isabella Mary Abbott, the granddaughter of Sir John Abbott, third Prime Minister of Canada, and Mary Marguerite Porter Zwicker, are the first and last entries in this database.  It currently contains 313 Canadian women artists who worked in Canada and were born before 1925. Entries continue to be added.

Information for each artist is given under the headings year and place of birth and death, biography synopsis, media used, education,file and archive locations, bibliography (writings about, full text pdfs of exhibition reviews.)
Electronic databases cited as sources for the work are:
Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Although it won't be easy finding them there are actually more men from the arts community named, as teachers, spouses, etc., than women.

Genealogy site rankings

Here are the global rankings for a selection of genealogy-related website, using Alexa.com, as of 17 July 2011.
How have things changed? In parenthesis find the rankings I posted a little over three months ago.
Overall the rankings for these genealogical sites decreased relative to those assessed by Alexa as a whole.
Only 16 of the 49 sites had an increased rank.
The top five rankings sites, with ancestry.com leading the pack, retained their relative positions.
The two DNA sites, 23andMe and Family Tree DNA, had an increased rank.
While myheritage.com leads the genealogical social networking sites geni.com is narrowing the gap.

ancestry.com 1,076 (984)
myheritage.com 4,573 (3,886)
geni.com 7,068 (8,086)
familysearch.org 9,138 (9,120)
genealogy.com 12,691 (12,190)
archives.gov 17,053 (18,209)
ancestry.co.uk  17,199 (17,243)
nationalarchives.gov.uk 21,801 (18,550)
23andme.com  38,146 (41,700)
ancestry.ca 51,631 (42,325)
genesreunited.co.uk 51,699 (46,279)
familytreedna.com  67,246 (80,397)
findmypast.co.uk  69,394 (81,411)
cyndislist.com 101,523 (86,990)
eogn.com 123,589 (150,226)
familytreemaker.com 198,889 (161,170)
jiapu.com 176,217 (168,666)
genuki.org.uk 194,673 (193,436)
freebmd.org.uk 204,998 (212,655)
worldvitalrecords.com 250,031 (175,547)
familytreemagazine.com 309,746 (201,288)
legacyfamilytree.com 334,563 (273,131)
americanancestors.org 413,274 (276,418)
automatedgenealogy.com 452,499 (296,376)
rootsmagic.com  469,630 (372,173)
cwgc.org 307,860 (527,236)
ngsgenealogy.org 507,702 (770,719)
geneabloggers.com 635,502 (438,407)
genealogyintime.com 839,046 (784,440)
genealogywise.com 895,754 (525,834)
sog.org.uk 965,288 (708,746)
whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com 993,634 (994,049)
globalgenealogy.com 1,019,853 (830,338)
ffhs.org.uk 1,210,668 (1,267,779)
genealogicalstudies.com 1,328,035 (1,093,695)
ogs.on.ca  1,440,397 (1,289,655)
family-tree.co.uk  1,684,518 (1,836,425)
lostcousins.com 1,815,516 (2,677,921)
bcgcertification.org 1,874,498 (1,601,646)
deceasedonline.com 1,902,137 (1,648,569)
familychronicle.com  2,224,075 (1,881,611)
arcalife.com 2,343,474 (2,356,437)
rootsuk.com  2,724,618 (1,340,610)
bcgs.ca 3,459,358 (3,313,414)
bifhsgo.ca 4,938,796 (7,145,992)
qfhs.ca 9,884,139 (6,654,860)
internet-genealogy.com  10,510,651 (3,234,636)
archivecdbooks.ca 12,294,888 (6,533,165)

UPDATE: It you're wondering why the Library and Archives Canada site isn't on this list, it's because Alexa is denied access required to separate out visits to LAC from visits to all gc.ca domains combined.

17 July 2011

Family Tree DNA summer sale

A great opportunity to start into genetic genealogy if you've have not had your DNA tested. The sale prices are:

  • 37-marker Y-DNA test US $119 $149 
  • 67-marker Y-DNA test  US $199  $239 
  • mtDNA Full Sequence for US $219  $299 
  • Family Finder US $199  $289 
There are sale prices on test combinations too.
Existing Family Tree DNA customers may order the Family Finder test as an add-on for $199.
For most useful results order through a surname of geographical project, starting at http://www.familytreedna.com/projects.aspx
The sale will end on Thursday 21st July. Don't miss it.
For those in the Ottawa area, bring your results to the quarterly DNA interest group meeting and we'll help you understand them. I'll announce the next meeting, late in August, on the blog.

Using LAC's Digitized Reels: British Military and Naval Records (RG 8, "C" Series) 1757-1906

Confused about all those military C series files of digitized microfilm reels from LAC that I blogged about recently? I was, but then being male I'm genetically programmed to not visit help files. I e-mailed Sylvie Tremblay at LAC who pointed them out to me, and then I was delighted to get an e-mail from one of my female readers battling with the same affliction.
If you go to http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-digitization/006003-110.01-e.php you'll see this:

Click on help for the index and you'll get step by step instructions and a list giving the alphabetic range for each digitized microfilm, like this:

Scroll through the appropriate microfilm until you come to the index card you're looking for. It will direct you to a volume and page number.

Find the corresponding document microfilm reel using the table at: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022-909.002.07-e.html
the first part of which looks like:

While not perfectly straightforward it's perfectly workable with a bit of diligence.

16 July 2011

Summer in the City of Ottawa

Business Index Collection at findmypast.co.uk

The following is an extract from a notice from www.findmypast.co.uk

The Business Index Collection, published by www.findmypast.co.uk and in association with the Society of Genealogists, is available online for the first time, over 100 years after the indexes were first published in print.
The Business Indexes are directories of how Britain's business landscape shaped up between the early 1890s and 1927. They contain images and details of Britain's shopkeepers, businessmen and women, as well as captains of industry. The records also feature a short biography, detailing the entrant's prominence in local society, their memberships of corporations and/or clubs, the hobbies or leisure activities they enjoyed, as well as charities and other institutions that they may have been involved in. This information provides a unique insight into the individual’s character, which is extremely difficult to find elsewhere in such a comprehensive form.

All in the name of business…
The indexes also containing listings of local businesses, often showing a photograph of the building and/or the proprietor and sometimes with line drawings of the actual products they sold 100 years ago. The short descriptions frequently detail from whom the business was acquired. This was often a named relative and is a very useful detail for family historians.

A select few of these ‘local’ companies have become household names, with OXO, McVities, Cadburys, Bovril, Barclays and Lloyds all featuring in the indexes, along with representatives from Rolls Royce, Lyons, Selfridges and Harrods.

FreeBMD July update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Fri 15 Jul 2011 and currently contains 203,657,810 distinct records (258,717,890 total records). Most updates this month are for 1946 and the 1950s.

15 July 2011

Findmypast.co.uk adds 1861 Worldwide Army Index

Findmypast.co.uk's 1861 Worldwide Army Index (or The 1861 Worldwide Soldier Index) was complied from the extraction of details of some 245,000 serving soldiers listed in the National Archives April-June quarter Paylists held in WO 10 (Royal Artillery), WO 11 (Royal Engineers) and WO 12 (Cavalry, Guards, Infantry and other units) series War Office records.
It includes records not only of other ranks of soldiers serving in Britain, but also men serving in Queen Victoria's Army far-flung empire outposts. For this reason, it can be an exceptionally useful source in identifying men missing from the 1861 census returns.
The index provides the names, ranks, army numbers and regiments of about 98% of other ranks subjects serving in the British Army. A small number, estimated at about 5000 men, is not included because the Paylists listing their names have not survived.

Further information at: http://www.findmypast.co.uk/search/military/indexes/1861-army-index

Findmypast.co.uk launches Paddington Rifles records

The Paddington Rifles, database contains the names of over 8,600 men who served with the battalion from its inception in 1860 until its demise in 1912.
Its official title was the 36th Middlesex (1860-1880), later the 18th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps, and later still (from 1908) The 10th (County of London) Battalion, the London Regiment (Paddington Rifles).

The database published here is based on muster rolls held at The National Archives in London, specifically:

WO 70 / 1 - 36th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps 1860-74
WO70 / 2 - 36th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps 1874-1888
WO70 / 3 18th (late 36th) Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps 1888-1903
WO70/4 18th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps 1908
WO70/5 10th Battalion, London Regt 1908-09
WO70/17 10th Battalion, London Regt 1909
WO70/18 10th Battalion, London Regt 1909-11
WO70/19 10th Battalion, London Regt 1911-12

Further information at http://www.findmypast.co.uk/search/military/muster-rolls/paddington-rifles

Find My Past adds Royal Fusiliers Collection 1863-1905

The information in this database comprises the names of close to 5000 officers and men of The Royal Fusiliers who took part in a series of British military campaigns between 1863 and 1904.
Information, taken largely from medal rolls and including the name, number (for other ranks), battalion, campaign and medal clasps awarded, is for:

The Umbeyla (now Ambela) Expedition on the North-West Frontier of India between 1863 and 1864.
The suppression of the Fenian Raids in 1866 and 1867, taken from Canada General Service Medal rolls and only awarded to qualifying personnel who were still living in 1899 when the medal was instituted.
The Afghanistan campaigns between November 1878 and September 1880.
The Second South Africa (Boer) War of 1899-1902.
The Tibet Mission between 13th December 1903 and 23rd September 1904.
Further information at: http://www.findmypast.co.uk/search/military/indexes/royal-fusiliers

14 July 2011

From LAC: New Digitized Reels: British Military and Naval Records (RG 8, "C" Series) 1757-1906

Here is a notice from Library and Archives Canada

Ottawa, July 14, 2011 - Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to announce the addition of 484 digitized microfilm reels representing 1,125,141 new images regarding British military and naval records (RG 8, "C" Series) to its website. These records include a wide range of documents related to the British army in Canada, Loyalist regiments, the War of 1812, the Canadian militia, and more. Both microfilm reels for the nominal card index and the archival documents have been digitized and are now accessible online. Through the research tool "microform digitization," you can browse the microfilm reels page by page.

The tool is available at:

Surrey Recruitment Registers 1908-1933 on findmypast.co.uk

I was surprised at how many people with surnames of my interest there re in these transcripts of records of approximately 85,000 men who attested (signed up) for service with a variety of regiments in Surrey between 1908 and 1933, the majority of whom volunteered, or were conscripted, during the First World War.
Surrey formed No.10 District in the Eastern Division, which was further divided into two regimental districts, numbered by the regiment's seniority; thus the Royal West Surreys formed No.2 Regimental District, based at Guildford and comprising the parliamentary divisions of Guildford (South West), Chertsey (North West), Reigate (South East), and parts of Epsom (Mid) and Wimbledon (North East). The East Surrey regimental district formed the 31st Regimental District based at Kingston-upon-Thames, comprising the remainder of the county's parliamentary constituencies. All but one of the registers relate to the 31st District.
With the mass influx of recruits in 1914, more recruiting officers were needed and in the East Surrey regimental area recruiting offices were also established at Richmond, Putney, Wandsworth, Streatham, East Dulwich, Peckham, Upper Norwood, Tooting, Mitcham, Wimbledon, Sutton, East Molesey, Walton on Thames, Epsom and Wallington. These recruitment registers cover these areas and those who were born in the area but attested in other regimental districts.

The registers are published by Find My Past with the kind permission of The Surrey History Trust.
There are further details at:

Ancestry updates obituary collections

It's something that Ancestry.com does about once a month. I don't normally mention it as most of the people reading the blog aren't too interested in the recent deaths which are the mainstay of these obituary updates for the Caribbean, Canada, the US, the UK and Ireland, and Australia and New Zealand.

As of this update, for deaths this year, 2011, there are 24,430 entries for Canada, 24,618 for the UK and Ireland and 632,295 for the USA. If you're doing a one name study these are not to be overlooked databases.

J K Rowling ancestry

Way back in February 2009 I posted an item on one of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling's ancestral lines.

Rowling is scheduled to be one of the subjects for the next BBC series of Who Do You Think You Are? I rather suspect the focus of the WDYTYA episode will be on the French ancestry of her great-grandfather Louis Volant. 

If you're interested in the East Anglian roots of her great-grandmother have a look at:http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2009/02/believe-or-not-j-k-rowlings-genealogy.html

13 July 2011

Cheshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1598-1900, new at FamilySearch

FamilySearch drops the other shoe. Hot on the heels of 4,140,534 Cheshire parish register records posted on July 8th come 2,180,763 bishop's transcript records. There is no link to original images.

If you're researching Cheshire ancestry FamilySearch is a mandatory stop. In addition to the parish records and bishop's transcripts they have: Land Tax Assessments, 1778-1832, Non-conformist Records, 1671-1900, Probate Records, 1492-1940, School Records, 1796-1950, Workhouse Records, 1848-1967, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1606-1900, and Register of Electors, 1842-1900.

    The Time to Digitize Historic Items is NOW

    I don't usually copy items from Dick Eastman's blog, even though he allows reproduction, with credit. However, his recent opinion piece "The Time to Digitize Historic Items is NOW" is one I strongly endorse.

    I can't express it better than Dick does, except to add that custodians of valuable records should be considered negligent in their duty to protect if they don't at least attempt to obtain resources to provide digital copies so be stored offsite.

    Read it at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2011/07/it-is-time-to-digitize-historic-items-now.html

    12 July 2011

    Can France succeed where Canada faultered?

    The National Library of France is launching an initiative to private partners for the digitization and enhancement of its collections (mechanical translation of press release).

    This would seem to be the type of action Library and Archives Canada tried a few years ago with disappointing results. Why didn't LAC have more success? Will LAC be monitoring the French initiative?

    TNA podcast: Overseas births, marriages and deaths: records in The National Archives

    I've rather been neglecting TNA podcasts recently, not that there's been anything especially wrong with them.
    The most recent talk, by Keith Mitchell, recorded in April looks at military and civilian registers kept by the British authorities, and by churches, consulates and other bodies abroad documenting vital events of British subjects.
    While TNA holds a substantial number of them, in a variety of record collections, there is reference to holdings elsewhere and online resources.
    As Mitchell states upfront, "it's a very confusing subject." Unfortunately without any of the visual aids used during the live presentation this talk is hard pressed to make it less so.

    RIP Scott Naylor

    News just reached me of the passing of Scott Naylor on 25 May 2011 at age 80.

    Since 2001 Scott, with assistance, was a keen photographer and indexer of cemeteries in the Ottawa and Pontiac County area. His photographs were placed on a website. It was a real convenience to not have to venture out to check a gravestone, and to be able to search a range of cemeteries for that elusive ancestor's marker.

    Thanks to his foresight the information in Scott's website will be merged into the Canadian Gravemarker Gallery at http://gravemarkers.ca/

    11 July 2011

    Army Lists: 1754 to 1879

    Audrey Collins has posted on her blog The Family Recorder information that a run of volumes from 1754 to 1879 of the (UK) Army list has now been made available for free download on the Digital Microfilm section of DocumentsOnline, in record series WO 65. 

    If your ancestor was an officer in the British Army during this period he should be listed, and this would include those who served in Canada and subsequently became residents.

    As is usually the case with digital microfilm a download can take a long time even with a fast connection, so choose which issue(s) you download judiciously.

    Conversation with Susan Davis

    Continuing the series of audio interviews on the BIFHSGO conference blog which I've been posting weekly, the addition this week is with Susan Davis who was also BIFHSGO's Director of Communications. her presentation is "A Social Media Primer for Family Historians" scheduled for Sunday, 18 September 2011 at 9 AM.

    If you've listened to the previous interviews in the series, which were rather bare-bones, you'll notice the addition of music at the top and tail.

    Find a link to the interview at www.BIFHSGO.ca/

    Free genetic genealogy webinar

    Last month I mentioned this free webinar "Introduction to Genetic Genealogy at Family Tree DNA" and received feedback that it was well worth the attending. 

    It is being repeated for July, on Tuesday the 12th, at 1pm EDT.  Registration for the live or archived session is now open at: http://relativeroots.net/webinars/intro-ftdna/   

    Topics include: 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? 

    Attendees will  learn about the history of genetic genealogy, be introduced to DNA basics  and inheritance paths, learn about the different types of DNA tests available for genealogy, and learn about resources that will help you make the most of your Genetic Genealogy experience. 

    10 July 2011

    Family Chronicle: July/August 2011 issue

    From the fertile minds at Moorshead magazine, and their flagship publication Family Chronicle, comes a money tree. It's right there on the front cover illustrating the lead article "Follow The Money For Accurate Results!" by Donna Murray. Records originally created to document financial transactions are often of great use to the family historian.

    Unfortunately the money tree only grows hundred dollar US bills, perhaps they couldn't afford Canadian ones!

    There are two articles by BIFHSGO members.

    In "Deeds Not Words: Americans in the CEF" Glenn Wright points out that statistics are not good enough to distinguish US-born, and US resident soldiers who joined the Canadian forces during World War I, but as of August 1917 approximately 11,000 US born soldiers had proceeded overseas with the CEF.

    Elizabeth Lapointe contributes "Grow Your Genealogy: Join a Society!" In marshaling the arguments in favor of joining a family history society she quotes Randy Seaver, Kathy Hinckley, Fraser Dunford, Jan Alpert, and Leyland Meitzler.

    A timely item in the issue is Anthony Adolph's examination of the family history of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, and the American branches in her family tree.

    Read the full table of contents at www.familychronicle.com

    The Jew in London

    I stumbled across a map of the population density of Jews in East End London

    The map was published in a 1901 book The Jew in London (pdf version) by C Russell and H S Lewis. If the style looks familiar its because the map maker was George Arkell, who had previously worked on the Charles Booth London poverty maps. He compiled the map from information gathered by the London School Board through its various visitors during the summer of 1899.

    I had an ancestor living at an address on Ely Terrace in the 1901 census, but the image resolution of map copies of Jewish East London found online is insufficient to pin down the street. Fortunately LAC has a copy of the book in its rare book collection, and even more fortunately the map is intact, although in poor condition.

    Ely Terrace is not indicated but was identified with nearby Friendly Place http://goo.gl/miqWA.

    Ely Terrace apparently occupied an area in the block bounded by the Mile End Old Town road to the north, Ernest Street to the south, White Horse Lane to the west, and Harford Street to the east. Blue shading indicates an area of high Jewish occupancy, the darker the blue the greater the Jewish percentage.  The area was one of the most easterly areas of darkest blue on the map, although nearby two Jewish burial grounds.

    The Jewish population of the East End was around 100,000 in 1901 and had tripled in 30 years, due both to immigration from eastern Europe and large family size.

    One section of the book that caught my attention, the only part where Dutch Jewish immigrants were mentioned, was a comment on a claim that " ... as the East End Jew becomes an Englishman, he ceases to remain a Jew."
    "To test the accuracy of this statement it may be well to consider first the characteristics of the Jewish workman who has been domiciled in England for several generations. Numerous examples of this class are to be met with in Stepney, in the model dwellings between Houndsditch and Commercial Street, and in some of the streets and courts within the same area. The typical Jew, of the class we mention, has certainly been thoroughly Anglicised, although he may bear a Dutch name which indicates the country from which his family came originally. He thoroughly identifies himself with England, and takes, at any rate at election times, a keen and occasionally an intelligent interest in politics. If, as is often the case, he is a cigar-maker, he probably belongs to the Trades' Union, a peculiarly well and soberly managed society. On the other hand, he continues to regard himself as a Jew, although he is not usually very observant of the minutiae of his religion and only attends synagogue a little more regularly than the average Christian workman attends church. His attachment to his race and creed continues, however, to be strong, and may, indeed, be as real as that of his foreign coreligionist, although it is partially concealed by that acquired quality of British stolidity."