31 October 2011

Bureaucrats to muscle public out of Library and Archives

Chris Cobb's article in today's Ottawa Citizen confirms what those most impacted already know, "Library and Archives Canada one of the most used public places in the capital is about to become significantly less welcoming to thousands of people because federal bureaucrats want more space to hold meetings/"

The full text is at http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Bureaucrats+muscle+public+Library+Archives/5631136/story.html)

At the end of the article is the history of the building, "officially opened in 1967 by prime minister Lester B. Pearson and renovated in 1994 to enable increased use by community groups."

"Pearson predicted the Library and Archives would become "an increasingly important centre of information and inspiration for all Canadians.""

Apparently prime minister Stephen Harper is set on undoing his renowned predecessor's legacy.

The craft of transcription

Perhaps like me you've struggled interpreting a 19th century manuscript will or indenture. It's not something I enjoy.
I've been impressed by the transcriptions that Elizabeth Kipp reproduces on her English Research from Canada genealogy blog. I think she must enjoy it, and certainly gets satisfaction. A few days ago I asked how she does it, and how she learned the skill.
All is revealed in her post "Transcription of old, middle and modern English records." Elizabeth also emphasizes the benefit she has derived from those transcriptions.
Thanks to Elizabeth for the information.

The top family history and genealogy books in the UK

Here, as of 29 October according to amazon.co.uk, are the most popular family history books they sell along with summary comments from the posted customer reviews.

1. Writing Up Your Family History: A Do-it-yourself Guide (Genealogy) by John Titford (Paperback - 20 Nov 2003)
Comments: Helpful, does what it says on the cover, Not much more than what you can find on the web, Best Book I've read on this topic.
2. Track Down Your Ancestors: How to Research Your Family History Using Archives and the Internet by Estelle Catlett(Paperback - 26 Jun 2008)
Comments: THE book to have and to learn from as a complete novice; An excellent book; well worth the purchase price; very poor with little information contained in it; the best book I have ever read for a new family history researcher.
3. Madresfield: One house, one family, one thousand years by Jane Mulvagh (Paperback - 26 Feb 2009) 
Note: This title is fiction, "a thrillingly vivid historical portrait"4. Family Photographs and How to Date Them (Family History)by Jayne Shrimpton (Paperback - 15 May 2008)
Comments: great help in dating miscellaneous photos; a must for the amateur genelogist; very good book if a bit pricey,5. Family and Kinship in England, 1450-1800 (Seminar Studies In History) by Will Coster (Paperback - 30 Oct 2001)
Comments: well constructed and would appeal to the general reader as well as professional historians and academics.

For genealogy most of the top five are baby name books. Just creeping in at number five is:
Who Do You Think You Are? Encyclopedia of Genealogy: The definitive reference guide to tracing your family historyby Nick Barratt (Hardcover - 1 Sep 2008)
Comments: A huge help with family history; a recommended read and resource; my new bible; sometimes skims over the trickier details of subjects,

30 October 2011

Census Street Lists Now Available on ScotlandsPeople

A newsletter item from ScotlandsPeople announces the availability of Census Street Lists for the main towns and cities of Scotland.

"These free-to-view books are an excellent research tool and can be used to locate streets and find which enumeration books cover a particular area. In most instances the registration district is also provided. This is an excellent resource for finding who lived at a particular address without searching on a name.  
To view the census street lists, please click here."
The locations available in 1901 are

Inverness insular
New Kilpatrick
New Monkland
Old Kilpatrick
Old Monkland
St Ninians

More Cornwall parish registers

FamilySearch continues adding Cornwall parish registers, now for 183 parishes. That's 33 parishes and 5,979 images more than previously, a total of 38,405 images.

Search from England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-1900.

29 October 2011

Save Library and Archives Canada

The Canadian Association of University Teachers issued the following media advisory at http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/470432#ixzz1c7UwYQRz:
Canadian Association of University Teachers to launch national campaign to Save Library and Archives Canada
Canada NewsWire
OTTAWA, Oct. 28, 2011

OTTAWA, Oct. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - On Wednesday, November 2, the Canadian Association of University Teachers will launch its national campaign: "Save Library and Archives Canada"
The campaign will expose how major restructuring of Library and Archives Canada is undermining the institution responsible for preserving Canada's history and heritage. "Library and Archives Canada is cutting services and acquisitions. Unless this is reversed, the damage to our country will be enormous," said CAUT's executive director James L. Turk

WHO: James Turk, Executive Director, Canadian Association of University Teachers
Liam McGahern, President, Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Canada
WHAT: Announcement of National Campaign to "Save Library and Archives Canada"
WHERE: Charles-Lynch Press Conference Room, Centre Block, Parliament
WHEN: Wednesday, Nov 2 at 11:00 am

Gravestone transcription abbreviations

You might guess that a memorial inscription abbreviation ILMO means "In loving Memory of", STTMO means "Sacred to the Memory of" and IELMO "In ever loving memory of". How about EIR or WOTA?

If you know them you don't need to go to the list at gravematters.org.uk
although there may be other material of interest if you're contemplating a cemetery transcription project. The site is written based on Oxfordshire and Berkshire experience. 

28 October 2011

England and Wales popular baby names

Somehow I managed to miss the press release on the top baby names in England and Wales for 2010. The 2009 list was issued around this time last year; the 2010 list came out on the 28th of July from the Office of National Statistics.

Family Chronicle: Nov/Dec 2011 issue

In the new issue of Family Chronicle has articles by many of the usual suspect authors, and also one author I didn't recognize, J. H. Fonkert CG. The article is about finding a maiden name, a common problem. 

I expected an informative article as the CG indicates a genealogist certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) in the US, and I wasn't disappointed.

BCG could help promote itself by encouraging the placement of this type of article in more popular newsstand journals, with far greater reach than the academic NGS quarterly, even if the article must exist without a single citation!

The table of contents for the issue is:

Irish Naming Conventions
Rick Norberg offers some tips and advice on researching the names of your Irish ancestors
Ten Tips for Reading German Parish Registers
Gail Blankenau shows how to successfully mine for information in these valuable resources
The Etting Connection
Constance R. Cherba documents her research into a Hollywood actress and torch singer
Border Families
According to Diane L. Richard, some ancestors were hard to pin down, and for good reason!
Ontario Land Records
Guylaine Petrin introduces a useful collection of records for Canadian genealogy
Harsh Realities: Confronting Difficult Times in the Lives of Our Ancestors
Diane Dittgen looks at certain events in history that impacted our ancestors' lives
Google+ Hangouts
Dan Lynch introduces us to one of the great new online tools for family historians
The Married Name Problem
J.H. Fonkert, CG documents his quest to discover an elusive maiden name for Mrs. Katie Romkie
Using School Censuses
Leland K. Meitzler teaches the finer points of how to use these enlightening records
Researching London Ancestors: Book Reviews
John D. Reid reviews two recent books that might help you find your London branches
What is Your Genealogy Season?
Lisa A. Alzo gets us thinking about what kind of genealogist we might be
Burial Location 101
As Jacky Gamble discovered, not all cemeteries are created equal

A note from the Ottawa Irish genealogy group arrived earlier in the week pointing out that the Family Chronicle web site - www.familychronicle.com - has a side bar with an item titled "How To" Archives. If you click on that there is a whole list of articles which contain a ton of web sites for Irish, Scottish, English, Welsh, Canadian, and American web sites, as well as web sites for newspapers, etc. Worth exploring.

27 October 2011

Ancestry play catch-up on 1911 UK census

If you have Wales, Isle of Man or Channel Islands relatives Ancestry's 1911 additions to their census collection will likely be of interest.

Ancestry have had census summary books for 1911 in their collection since December 2010, useful as they list the head of household at each address and allow you to see the address in context.  You can find out who lived in the adjacent houses and their occupations; whether your ancestor was proprietor of a business but didn't live at the business address. Although they do only include the head of household name they act as a finding aid to the individual household census image browse files which Ancestry added in June.

Now Ancestry have indexed the same 1911 census for Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The indexing is virtually a complete transcription: name; age; estimated birth year; relation to head of household; gender; birth place; civil parish, county, country, street address (of residence); marital status; years married; occupation; and registration information.

As yet the 1911 census for England is only available as a browse file - no name index yet. I doubt it will be long in coming.

In the meantime, the fully indexed 1911 census for England is at Findmypast.co.uk/.

Limited time access to archaeology and heritage journals on-line

This won't appeal much to hardcore genealogists, more likely to some family historians, but I can't resist the temptation of FREE.

Maney Publishing is offering open access to a collection of archaeology and heritage journals on-line from now until Nov. 4th. They are:

Arms & Armour
Volume 1, Number 1, April 2004 - Volume 8, Number 1, April 2011
Bulletin of the Council for British Research in the Levant
Volume 1, Number 1, November 2006 - Volume 5, Number 1, November 2010
Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites
Number 1, 1995 - Volume 13, Number 1, February 2011
Environmental Archaeology
Volume 1, June 1996 - Volume 16, Number 1, April 2011
Historic Environment, The
Volume 1, Number 1, June 2010 - Volume 2, Number 1, June 2011
Industrial Archaeology Review
Volume 1, Number 1, Autumn 1976 - Volume 33, Number 1, May 2011
International Journal for the History of Engineering & Technology
Volume 79, Number 1, January 2009 - Volume 81, Number 2, July 2011
Journal of Conflict Archaeology
Volume 1, Number 1, November 2005 - Volume 6, Number 3, September 2011
Journal of Field Archaeology
Volume 1, Numbers 1-2, 1974 - Volume 36, Number 3, July 2011
Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Volume 133, Number 1, 1980 - Volume 163, Number 1, September 2010
Volume 1, Number 1, 1969 - Volume 43, Number 1, April 2011
Medieval Archaeology
Volume 44, 2000 - Volume 54, Number 1, November 2010
Palestine Exploration Quarterly
Volume 136, Number 1, 1 April 2004 - Volume 143, Number 3, October 2011
Post-Medieval Archaeology
Volume 39, Number 1, March 2005 - Volume 45, Number 1, June 2011
Public Archaeology
Number 1, 2000 - Volume 10, Number 2, May 2011
Survey Review
Volume 1, Number 1, July 1931 - Volume 43, Number 323, October 2011
Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University
Volume 1, Number 1, March 1974 - Volume 38, Number 2, November 2011
Terrae Incognitae
Volume 1, Number 1, 1969 - Volume 43, Number 2, September 2011
Vernacular Architecture
Volume 1, 1970 - Volume 41, Number 1, December 2010
Yorkshire Archaeological Journal
Volume 82, Number 1, June 2010 - Volume 83, Number 1, August 2011

Thanks to Barbara Tose for drawing this to my attention. Barbara points to the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal article on Court Records of the Diocese of York 1300-1858 which mentions that they've just been catalogued in an on-line database as something of genealogical interest.

26 October 2011

Curious items from the Royal Society

The BBC News Magazine notes the availability online, and free, of articles from the  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, which dates back to 1665. 

Issues to 1887 are available as pdfs and can be searched for words in the title and abstract, as well as author name, but not the full text.

It's amazing how the attentions of the scientific community have changed. The BBC article features items from the first few years, including "a woman who swallowed a bullet, which was expelled from her body in a very surprising way." 

Another early item highlighted is on "a grisly boating accident during a thunder storm in Oxford", one of 57 items in this collection found searching on the keyword lightning describing the impacts, including on humans, and methods of protecting buildings.

Later issues of Phil Trans, after it was separated into two parts, are also online. 

All these articles were written by people, who may be some people's ancestors - perhaps yours. Maybe you'll find something interesting on a topic or place in your family history.

Birth anomalies in England and Wales

Winding up the investigation of vital statistics from FreeBMD, for England and Wales, the graph shows annual birth registrations.

Births, already in decline in the first years of the 20th century, dropped through the years of WW1 bottoming out at one-third of the level at the start of the century in 1918.  A mini baby boom is evident in 1920, the highest number of births in a single year in the record. The decline takes hold again until 1933.

Don't get taken in my the erratic variations during WW2. 1939 - 40, 1943 - 45 and 1949 all have large numbers of entries not yet in the FreeBMD database.

25 October 2011

Death anomalies in England and Wales

Continuing with the investigation of vital statistics from FreeBMD, for England and Wales, the graph shows annual deaths.

The anomalous years with excess deaths are 1915, 1918, 1929, 1940 and 1941. The latter two are presumably the WW2 blitz.

1918, the largest deviation with 115,000 excess deaths over the two adjacent years, includes the height of the global influenza pandemic.

Deaths in 1915 were about 50,000 greater than the year before or after. This report of the 1918-1919 influenza outbreak records "a continuous smouldering of influenza itself which in 1915 caused more deaths than in any previous year of this century."

1929 deaths averaged 75,000 higher that the two surrounding years. This report shows a major influenza outbreak that year as well.

Considering that the 2009 H1N1 or "swine flu" WHO declared pandemic took perhaps 18,000 lives globally the outbreaks of 1915 and 1929 are notable.

Did you get your flu shot this year?

TNA Podcast: English burial and cemetery records online and on film

This is another exceptionally clear presentation by Sharon Hintze, Director of the London Family History Centre in South Kensington.

The presentation details eight major online sources for burial and cemetery records online, and strongly makes the point that perhaps 80% of such records remain to be found on microfilm, microfiche, and CD, and in publications. Many of these can be obtained from genealogy and family history societies or from the Family History Library.

Find the talk, originally given at Kew in July, at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/english-burial-records.htm

24 October 2011

OGS Toronto: How On Earth Will I Ever Read That?: Decoding Handwritten Documents

A last minute reminder to those in the Toronto area of the meeting tonight, 24 October 2011, starting at - 7:15 p.m.  Information is here 

Note the information right beneath on the November 5th English Family History Workshop.

Memorial inscriptions for Birmingham's Key Hill Cemetery online

The Jewellery Quarter Research Group (JQRG) has put online over 11,000 existing, as of 2008, memorial inscriptions for Birmingham's Key Hill Cemetery .

View Larger Map

The cemetery was opened in 1837 by a group of non-conformist businessmen and contains over 20,000 graves and over 62,000 burials.

Others are no longer extant. "In 1960 Birmingham City Council had a programme to remove or bury “unsafe” memorials and a record was made of the then existing memorials.This record is known as “The Pike Papers” however the JQRG has found the Council’s records to be unreliable and many memorials listed in the Pike Papers no longer exist."

The JQRG plan to add the memorial inscriptions for Warstone Lane to the website. More on the history of these cemeteries is at http://articles.jqrg.org/art01.html

via Andover Family History Group August 2011 newsletter

TNA podcast: The untold story of women in the Crimean War

Author Helen Rappaport in this presentation originally given at Kew on the 8th of September provides a fresh perspective on the war in Crimea, useful if you have a relative who served there. Here's the TNA preview:

Florence Nightingale was not the only woman in the Crimea - a misnomer in itself as she spent most of the war at the British hospital at Scutari, 300 miles away from the Crimea. Here, Helen Rappaport sheds new light on the many unsung women who followed the British army on campaign - the last time they were allowed to do so. This was the first war in which women were officially organised as nurses, and Helen describes the work of some of the heroic nurses on Nightingale's staff, and their French and Russian counterparts. Then there are the extraordinary exploits of the maverick Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole who came back a national heroine, and officers' wives such as Fanny Duberly, French cantinières, and lady tourists who went to the Crimea to see things for themselves. Helen Rappaport studied Russian at Leeds University before turning her hand to writing. Helen has written a number of historical books and biographies, including No Place for Ladies: the Untold Story of Women in the Crimean War (2007), Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs (2008) and Conspirator: Lenin in Exile (2009). Her latest venture is the Victorian true-crime story Beautiful for Ever: Madame Rachel of Bond Street - Cosmetician, Con-Artist and Blackmailer.
Listen to this colourful and enthusiastic presentation at http://goo.gl/e4T5n

23 October 2011

FamilySearch updates Cornwall parish registers

Another 7,403 images of Cornwall parish registers have been added to FamilySearch.org. These comprise baptisms to 1910, marriages to 1935, and burials to present.There are now 150 parishes, up from 140 previously, and extended time periods.

Start your search from http://goo.gl/ClUKt

English resources via Andover

I was checking out the website for the Andover (Hampshire) Family History Group and found a good short summary of a talk given in September by Mark Pearsall,  Principal Records specialist from the National Archives, on Apprenticeship records. It was in the group's September newsletter, part of a collection at http://www.andoverhgs.org.uk/#/newsletter/4534868822

The newsletter includes a good summary of new resources, some at the major commercial sites, others I'd not known about and ranging further afield than Andover and Hampshire.

One was a website containing a list of Lancashire police officers (1840-1925). The website, which returned an error when I tried it, is:

There is also this list of indexes to records at the Worcestershire Record Office

IndexDownload Link
Absent Voters Indexright arrow grey Absent Voter Index Background and Indexes This document is in Adobe PDF format (1.7MB)
Aerial photographs
in the Worcestershire
Photographic Survey
right arrow grey Aerial photographs in the Worcestershire Photographic Survey Background and Index  This document is in Adobe PDF format  (76KB)
Apprentices Indentures right arrow grey Apprentices Indentures Background and A-Z index This document is in Adobe PDF format (755KB)
Berrows Newspaper Illustrations Indexes 1914-1915 and 1916-1918right arrow grey Berrows Newspaper Illustrations Background and Indexes 1914-1915 and 1916-1918 This document is in Adobe PDF format (281KB)
Carpenters and Wheelwrights records right arrow grey Carpenters and Wheelwrights Background and Records This document is in Adobe PDF format (318KB)
Census Street Index - 1871right arrow grey Census Street Index and Background - 1871 This document is in Adobe PDF format (1.2MB)
Enclosure Awards and Plans and Inclosure Awards and Plansright arrow grey Enclosure Background, Awards and Plans This document is in Adobe PDF format (103KB)
Greenbank Willsright arrow grey Greenbank Wills Background and Index This document is in Adobe PDF format(79KB)
Kidderminster St Mary's Militia 1824-1831right arrow grey Kidderminster St Mary's Militia 1824-1831 Background and Indexes This document is in Adobe PDF format (262KB) new
Marriage Licences 1853 - 1916right arrow grey Marriage Licences Background and 1853 - 1916 index This document is in Adobe PDF format (1.2MB)
Ordinations papersright arrow grey Ordinations papers Background and Index This document is in Adobe PDF format (316KB)
Parish Register Index  
Peculiarsright arrow grey Peculiars Background and Index This document is in Adobe PDF format(314KB)
Quarter Sessionsright arrow grey Quarter Sessions Background This document is in Adobe PDF format (30KB)
right arrow grey Quarter Sessions index 1830, 1850-1852 Excel Logo (74KB) new
Tithe Apportionment and Plans handlistright arrow grey Tithe Apportionment and Plans Background and Index This document is in Adobe PDF format (201KB) new
Worcester City Planning Applications 1865 - 1901right arrow grey Worcester City Planning Applications Background and 1865 - 1901 index This document is in Adobe PDF format (1.2MB) 
Worcester City Freemenright arrow grey Worcester City Freemen This document is in Adobe PDF format (22KB)
Worcester Royal Grammer School Admission Registers Indexright arrow grey Royal Grammar School Admissions Registers and Background This document is in Adobe PDF format (493KB) new

22 October 2011

Is there a genetic origin to national stereotypes?

A post "What European DNA Can Say About Ancestry, Disease Risk, and Cultural Traits" on The Spittoon, 23andMe.com's blog, tends to reinforce national stereotypes.
"23andMe researchers found that a number of social and cultural traits were strongly associated with a person's predicted genetic ancestry of origin in Europe. A self-reported diagnosis of alcoholism was more common than average among people of predicted Irish ancestry for instance, while people with predicted Balkan ancestry were more likely to describe themselves as extraverts."
As shown by these maps from the Spittoon post, alcoholism and extraversion  showed similar northwest to southeast gradients. Could there be a genetic basis to the old joke about two Englishmen being marooned on a desert island but never speaking to each other as they hadn't been introduced? 

Unfortunately there's no link to the detail of the study.

Another map shows a distribution of the profiles analysed. None are shown for Scotland. Perhaps they're too canny to pay for a DNA analysis!

21 October 2011

Is Canada Neglecting Its Journalistic Past?

"This country stores its newspaper archives, stack by stack, in a basement and three old warehouses in Ottawa—with little public access. Paper of Record, Bob Huggins’s ambitious digitization project, would have changed that, but it’s history now."
That's the sub-head on this article by Ashleigh Gaul from the Ryerson Review of Journalism. Twelve paragraphs of worthwhile reading if you care about accessing our collective heritage.

Famine burial site at Kilkenny excavated

An article in The Irish Times sheds light on conditions during the Irish Potato Famine.

The remains 970 people thought to have died between 1845 and 1852 were recovered from a developement site, the former graveyard of the Kilkenny workhouse. The majority, 56 per cent, were infants, children and youngsters.

In contrast to often harsh views of workhouse administrators the article points out that the Board of Guardians ensured that none of the burials occurred without a coffin in order to maintain the dignity in death of both adults and children.
Read the article "Witnesses to a catastrophe" at:

The criminal Irish online

The following is an announcement from findmypast.ie

·         Launch of exclusive access to the Irish Prison Registers 1790-1920·         Over 3.5 million entries across 130,000 pages·         Drunkenness the most common offence – accounting for 25% of cases Today, findmypast.ie launched online for the first time the Irish Prison Registers 1790-1920, one of the greatest untapped resources for those tracing their Irish roots. The original Prison Registers, held at the National Archives of Ireland, cover all types of custodial institutions, from bridewells, to county prisons, to sanatoriums for alcoholics. They contain over 3.5 million entries, spread over 130,000 pages, with most records giving comprehensive details of the prisoner, including: name, address, place of birth, occupation, religion, education, age, physical description, name and address of next of kin, crime committed, sentence, dates of committal and release/decease. The registers offer a real insight into 18th-19th century Ireland. They present evidence of a society of rebellion and social confrontation, where rioting and assault of police officers were everyday occurrences, and of rampant poverty and destitution, with the theft of everything from handkerchiefs to turnips. The reasons for incarceration cover all types of crime but unsurprisingly perhaps the most common offence was drunkenness, which accounted for over 30% of all crimes reported and over 25% of incarcerations. The top five offences recorded in the registers are:1.    Drunkenness - 25%
2.    Theft - 16%
3.    Assault - 12%
4.    Vagrancy - 8%
5.    Rioting - 4%
 The nature of these crimes was significantly different from those recorded in the UK. The rate of conviction for drunkenness and tax evasion was three times greater, and the rate of both destruction of property and prostitution were double what they were in the UK for the same time period.1 The records are full of individuals who were arrested for very minor offences, for example a record from the Cork City Gaol Court Book lists an arrest for Giles O’Sullivan (26), with no education and no previous convictions, on the 30th of March 1848 for being “a dangerous and suspicious character”. Other examples of the heavy hand of the law can be seen in the case of John Cunningham from Finglas (21) who was arrested for “Washing a car on a thoroughfare” and young Christopher Doyle (14) arrested “for being an idle, disorderly rogue and vagabond”. The Irish population averaged 4.08 million over this time period2 and with over 3.5 million names listed in the prison records, it is clear to see how almost every family in Ireland was affected somehow. Brian Donovan, Director of findmypast.ie, comments: “These records provide an invaluable resource for anyone tracing their Irish ancestors, as during the period covered almost every household in Ireland had a convict in their family. These records provide such a wealth of information that they are sure to shock and surprise almost anyone looking for the missing links in their Irish family tree.”
ENDS Notes1.    British Parliamentary Papers (1864)
2.    Vaughan, W.E. & Fitzpatrick, A.J. Irish Historical Statistics: Population 1821-1971,Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.

20 October 2011

New and updated Dorset, Warwickshire, West Yorkshire parish records on Ancestry

There are major additions of parish baptism, marriage and burial indexed image records for Dorset and Warwickshire in this collection new on Ancestry. The 1.2 million Dorset records are for more than 280 parishes to 1837; just over 1 million Warwickshire records for the same time period are for more than 320 parishes.

Also new for Warwickshire are over half a million marriages and banns records from 1754 to 1910, a similar size collection of baptisms for 1813 to1906, over 278 thousand burials for 1813 to 1906, a collection of parish administrative records for browsing.

For Dorset there are updates to post 1813 baptism, marriage, burial and confirmation parish records; an interesting looks new collection of Poor Law records from 1511-1997(sic) and; 1,000 bastardy records.

There is also an update to the large collection of parish records for West Yorkshire.

Buying books through the public library

An article posted on TeleRead reminded me of a suggestion I made to the Ottawa Public Library some years ago that they provide links from the online catalogue to one or more online bookstores to facilitate the individual purchasing the book. It may be the person decides they'd like to own the book, or perhaps it would only be available from the library after a considerable wait.

The OPL did nothing about it, even though an affiliate fee could come the library's way if a purchase resulted. With continuing library budget restraint this could be an additional source of revenue.

It's something the more innovative British Library are trying with Amazon, but independent booksellers are objecting that it means the British Library, supported by public funds, is throwing its support behind a private, "aggressively competitive retailer."

If the arrangement was negotiated without the opportunity for others to either compete for an exclusive arrangement, or for others to also have their service linked in the same way as Amazon, then I would have sympathy with the objection. I don't know.

I do know that libraries need to be increasingly innovative in finding funding sources beyond their public subsidy.

My proposal to the OPL went further, suggesting that if a book purchased through such a link were one the library would like to have in its collection then there should be a provision for the purchaser to donate the book within a reasonable period of time and receive a fair value charitable donation receipt.

What's your view?

New British Library Blog

A note from the British Library about a new blog, Untold Lives: Sharing
stories from the past.
"The British Library's collections contain stories of people's lives
worldwide, from the dawn of history to the present day. They are told
through the written word, images, audio-visual and digital materials. The Untold Lives blog shares those stories, providing fascinating and unusual insights into the past and bringing out from the shadows lives that have been overlooked or forgotten.
We hope to inspire new research and encourage enjoyment, knowledge and understanding of the British Library and its collections. In addition to stories from the past, we give glimpses of the hidden life of the Library and provide information about events and exhibitions. The blog contains many links to act as signposts to research information and online resources that you can explore for work or pleasure.
Many of you reading Untold Lives will know similar stories– we hope you will share them by commenting on our blog."

The London Topographical Society

The London Topographical Society, founded in 1880, concentrates exclusively on publishing books and sheet material illustrating the history, growth and topography of London.

I received a tip from Marian Press about the Society, one I've been somewhat aware of for some while as my 1st cousin 3 times removed, Thomas Fairman Ordish, was involved in the early days of the Society.

It's still an all volunteer organization, which means that administrative arrangements aren't up to date (no PayPal or credit card facility). Membership and purchases of their publications are at substantial additional cost for non-UK residents.

They have some interesting publication, the A to Zs of historic London caught my eye.

19 October 2011

Marriage anomaly

Every so often my old and rusty analyst screams to come out. It was Elizabeth Kipp that stirred it recently with comments on her blog about the relationship of marriages to war.

This graph shows the unique marriage statistics for England and Wales in FreeBMD year by year. Data only goes up to about 1950 so ignore anything after that.

The WW2 blips, once upon a time I'd have called them positive excursions, are pre-and early war 1939 and 1940. The WW1 blips, 1915 and 1919, are during and after the war. I can rationalize all but 1915 especially as the peak is in the last quarter of that year. Any explanation?

Seeking legislator descendants

Are you a descendant or do you know a descendant of a former Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta? If so legislature's Historical Memories project would like to hear from you at (780) 427 2464.

via Wallace J.McLean and http://www.assembly.ab.ca/

New book from Megan Smolenyak

US celebrity genealogist Megan Smolenyak has a new book "Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing" scheduled for publication at the end of January. 

According to the publisher's blurb 
"Part forensic scientist, part master sleuth, Megan Smolenyak2 has solved some of America's oldest and most fascinating genealogical mysteries. You've read the headlines; now get the inside story as the "Indiana Jones of genealogy" reveals how she cracked her news-making cases, became the face of this increasingly popular field--and redefined history along the way.
How did Smolenyak2 discover Barack Obama's Irish ancestry--and his relation to Brad Pitt? Or the journey of Michelle Obama's family from slavery to the White House? Or the startling links between outspoken politicians Al Sharpton and Strom Thurmond? And why is Smolenyak2's name squared? Test your own skills as she shares her exciting secrets.
Whether she's scouring websites to uncover the surprising connections between famous figures or using cutting-edge DNA tests to locate family members of fallen soldiers dating back to the Civil War, Smolenyak2's historical sleuthing is as provocative, richly layered, and exciting as America itself."
I don't normally cover US genealogy developments, but make an exception for Megan as she is co-author, with Ann Turner, of the first book I read that opened my eyes to the potential of genetic genealogy "Trace Your Roots with DNA: Use Your DNA to Complete Your Family Tree."

18 October 2011

Ancestry avalanche of US index records

Over 50 million records.  I don't normally cover US genealogy, but that many records added in one day is noteworthy just for the chance you may find a stray.

The new index records added, listing just those with more than 1 million entries, are:

Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1800-1962
Arkansas, County Marriages Index, 1837-1957
West Virginia, Marriages Index, 1785-1971
Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947
West Virginia, Deaths Index, 1853-1973
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915
Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922
Alabama, Deaths and Burials Index, 1881-1974
Connecticut, Deaths and Burials Index, 1650-1934
West Virginia, Births Index, 1853-1969
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951
Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920
New Jersey, Births and Christenings Index, 1660-1931
Iowa, Births and Christenings Index, 1857-1947
Tennessee, Deaths and Burials Index, 1874-1955
Cook County, Illinois, Deaths Index, 1878-1922
Wisconsin, Births and Christenings Index, 1826-1908
Michigan, Deaths and Burials Index, 1867-1995
Tennessee, Death Records, 1908-1959
New Jersey, Deaths and Burials Index, 1798-1971
Minnesota, Births and Christenings Index, 1840-1980  

See the complete list of updates here.

More of The Times online

Times Digital Archive 1785-1985 to release extra years mid-November, bringing collection up to 2006.

via Twitter from Helen Tovey of Family Tree Magazine

English Family History Workshop – Nov 5, 2011

A quick reminder of the Toronto Branch of OGS all-day session on Saturday November 5th where Lesley Anderson and I will be speaking. It's all about English records, with no doubt a little content leaking through from adjacent jurisdictions.

Lesley kicks things off with a plenary on parish records. Then we move into parallel session where I speak on early 20th century immigration, newspapers. That means I'll have to miss interesting sounding talks by Linda Reid on probate and Paul Jones on gazetteers.

I get a break and chance to hear either Lesley on directories of Jane MacNamara on manorial records.

I've be wrapping things up with a review of some lesser known websites.

It's November 5th so there are bound to be fireworks, and maybe a prize or two.

All the information is at: http://www.torontofamilyhistory.org/English2011.html