30 June 2012

Indefinite closure of Scottish Catholic Archives

The Scottish Catholic Archives (SCA), situated at Columba House in Edinburgh, were abruptly and indefinitely closed by the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland on 28 June, as a result of staff shortages.

There has been no official announcement of the news as yet (even the SCA's website has not been updated to reflect the closure), but the story is covered at some length (including reactions by academics) in The Glasgow Herald.


Thanks to Glenn Wright for the tip.

Diocese of Durham Bishops' Transcripts ca., 1700-1900

Familysearch.org now has a browse collection of Bishops' Transcripts of baptism, marriage, or death in the Diocese of Durham, Church of England parishes. It includes mainly parishes in the counties of Durham, Northumberland, with a few parishes in York, Yorkshire and Cumberland.

There are 106,351 images in total.

Greenwood's map of London

Greenwood's Map of London was produced in 1827 at eight inches to the mile. If you enjoy browsing maps there's a version on an old but "new to me" site available from Bath Spa University. The map covers London and surroundings and stretches out to Earls Court in the West, to the River Lea and Greenwich in the East, Highgate to the North and to the South, Camberwell.

Start at http://users.bathspa.ac.uk/greenwood/imagemap.html

Don't overlook the links to other London maps at http://users.bathspa.ac.uk/greenwood/lhistory.html#links

Spam and Scam

Several times a week the site receives comment postings which follow a predictable pattern. There's a generic compliment and then a link to a site that usually has noting to do with the topic. Unless I can see that the link is directly relevant such comments get promptly dumped in the spam bin. They constitute a waste of the sender's time, for which they likely get paid. They waste my time too, but I don't want them to waste your's - you probably get enough spam of your own.

To minimize my effort I'm keeping the CAPTCHA type of challenge-response test on all comment submissions. I appreciate these can be frustrating when your interpretation of the mangled characters doesn't correspond with the computer's but ask your understanding.

29 June 2012

Northern Ireland BMDs to go online

From a blog post from Claire Santry of Irish Genealogy News

A Genealogical and Certificate Application website project has recently gone out to tender (from GRONI.) This will see the North's birth, marriage and death records digitised and made available in two strands. The first will be the launch of an online pay-to-view genealogical search facility of historical registration index data and images, accessible by family historians anywhere in the world.
Read the full post at http://irish-genealogy-news.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/groni-online-by-2013.html

FMP adds Yorkshire parish records

If you have ancestry from the Yorkshire communities of Allerston, Birdsall, Helmsley, Lockton, Malton, or Rillington you may find the collection of 4,625 new parish records at findmypast.co.uk, via the Ryedale Family History Society, of interest.

Comparing TNA and LAC

The UK National Archives has released there annual report and accounts 2011-12. You can read it at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/our-performance.htm.
It's instructive to compare the items TNA highlight with Library and Archives Canada performance.

Comparison of TNA and LAC performance

LAC Comment
Client Satisfaction + - 98% of onsite orders fulfilled within one hour at TNA, 0% at LAC
Education + - TNA teaches more than 15,000 students, LAC delegates
Leadership + - TNA accepts sole responsibility for leadership of the wider archives sector, LAC abandons role
Environmental Standards + - No evidence of LAC role
User Group + - TNA has active user group now renewed. LAC actively hostile
Environment + - TNA reduced carbon emissions 14% in one year. No evidence of LAC action
Blog + + TNA has active blog and podcast. LAC just started
Employee Satisfaction + - LAC alienated staff
Recognition + -

Adult impact of peer problems in adolescence

Here's a research finding that may shed light on the cause of adult heath problems in an ancestor's history.

A Swedish study reported in PLOS One finds a correlation between a cluster of adult metabolic and cardiovascular disturbances (metabolic syndrome), including central obesity, dyslipidemia, high blood pressure and disturbed glucose metabolism and peer problems in the school setting in adolescence.

Results showed a dose-response relationship between peer problems in adolescence and metabolic syndrome in middle-age, corresponding to 36% higher odds for the metabolic syndrome at age 43 for each standard deviation higher peer problems score at age 16. The effect was still present when other confounding factors were accounted for and slightly stronger in women than in men.

Read the complete article Do Peer Relations in Adolescence Influence Health in Adulthood? Peer Problems in the School Setting and the Metabolic Syndrome in Middle-Age at http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0039385#s1

28 June 2012

The Children's Newspaper

I don't recall devouring it quite as avidly as I did the misadventures of Dennis the Menace and Roger the Dodger in The Beano, but The Children's Newspaper remains a childhood memory. Published weekly in Britain from 1919 to 1965 it presented "The Story of the World Today for the Men and Women of Tomorrow."

You can browse digitized copies at www.lookandlearn.com/childrens-newspaper/browse.php?i=190322 and search if you register. It's free. What news were children reading the week you, or your parents, were born?

Canada day weekend free access to Ancestry.ca

The following is a notice from Ancestry.ca:

June 27, 2012 (TORONTO) – In honour of Canada Day, Ancestry.ca, Canada’s favourite family history website, is offering free access to 40 million historical records that outline just how far the country has come as a nation in the past 145 years.

Available free from June 27 through July 2, the records cover the years leading up to and following Confederation and include censuses, birth, marriage and death records, passenger lists, military records and many more.

“Many Canadians today celebrate the diversity of our nation but that multi-culturalism only came following a period of incredible growth and development in the years immediately before and after nationhood,” said Ancestry.ca’s Julie Wingate. “These records really paint a picture of how much we’ve changed as a country and give us a real reason to celebrate Canada Day.”

In 1871, just four short years after Confederation, Canada conducted its first Census as a nation and the results showed it was a country made up of British and French immigrants and a stark lack of diversity.

In fact, according to the 1871 Census of Canada:
Just 101 people are listed as being of Russian origin, compared to 500,000 in 2006
Nearly 900 people are listed as being Italian, compared to 1.4 million in 2006
Only one man is listed as being of Chinese descent in the 1871 Census, compared to 1.3 million in 2006

In 1871, John Koolah was a 48-year-old widower living in Halifax. Born in Macau, he lived alone in his own residence, the only person to appear in the Census listing him or herself as being Chinese. A decade later things had changed drastically, with almost 4,000 people of Chinese origin listed in the 1881 Census of Canada. A generation after that, between the years 1895 and 1905, massive waves of immigration saw more than 133,000 people arrive in Canada by ship from China.

By 1914, many of the immigrants from China and other parts of the world were fighting for their adopted county. Among them was young Tung On Hong, living in Cochrane, Ontario, who volunteered for his country in the First World War. An unmarried cook, the 20-year-old volunteered in 1917, at the Sudbury Mobilization Centre in northern Ontario.

“Historical records help bring history alive,” said Wingate. “We can see through these records how the country changes over the years from a nation predominately European in origin to one that today is a mix of people from across the globe.  When looking up your own family, these records take on even more meaning. They hold the clues that allow you to discover some of those amazing stories in your family’s history, which is for most people a story of immigration.”

Between June 27 and July 2, millions of records will be accessible to Canadians for free on Ancestry.ca. The records are from some of the largest collections on Ancestry.ca, including:

·         Canadian Passenger Lists and Ocean Arrivals - outlining the masses of people who arrived by ship -- the only form of international travel available to people at the time -- at port cities across Canada

·         The 1871 Census of Canada - the first Census Canada conducted as a nation, which gives a snapshot of the life of the people living at the time, including who they lived with, their ages, their jobs, the birthplaces of their parents, their neighbours and more

·         Vital records (i.e. birth, marriage and death records) from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia - outlining the significant moments in the people’s lives like children born, marriages and deaths.

Visit www.ancestry.ca to search all of the records being made available for free this weekend.

AncestryDNA and the Future of Genetic Genealogy

If you're into genetic genealogy, or even mildly interested, I recommend a well written blog posting by Cece Moore which reviews her experience with AncestryDNA testing, and delves into the larger than expected proportion of Scandinavian ancestry typically reported for those with British ancestry.
She reports receiving confirmation that Ancestry will be releasing individual's raw results, something that has stopped me from taking the test. I'm still not sure I'll do so preferring to wait until an affordable test of a larger number of SNPs is available, maybe even the full genome.

There's more. Cece's post is a worthwhile read, at www.yourgeneticgenealogist.com

27 June 2012

Ancestry adds London, England, Land Tax Records, 1692-1932

From Ancestry's ongoing collaboration with the London Metropolitan Archives, this database contains land tax records for various areas in London from the years 1692 through 1932. They often list both property owners (proprietors) and tenants, placing them in both a parish and a year.

There are some 12.7 million records according to Ancestry's announcement. You can search or browse.

I have written to Ancestry.co.uk asking which districts (boroughs) have information available for which years, whether all available years have been indexed, and whether there are more records to come.


Unz online archive of periodicals

American conservative philanthropist Ron Unz recently released an online archive of two centuries worth of largely American periodicals, a step he hopes will inspire research into the intellectual past.

You can browse or search the full text content.  Search terms are not highlighted in the text.

Unz has also made an amazing selection of television and film available on the site.

This should be a lesson to all those who claim digitization can't be done for copyright or other rights reasons.

26 June 2012

Canadian Veterans Death Cards: First World War

These card images, previously only available to Library and Archives Canada staff, originate from Veterans Affairs which compiled them when notified of the death of a First World War veteran to the early 1960s.

There are approximately 130,000 cards. Arranged alphabetically in 99 cabinet drawers, each drawer was digitized as a batch with the name on the first card in a drawer used as the title of that group of cards. There is no name index, move through the images one by one, or skip ahead by entering a new page (image) number in the page navigation box.

This collection includes death cards for:
Many veterans of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who died after discharge or who died in Canada during the war
Some veterans of the British Forces who died in Canada after the war
Some members of the militia who died in Canada during or after the war
Some navy veterans who died after the war
A few veterans of the Newfoundland Forces who died after the war
A few veterans of Allied Forces (e.g. Indian, French and American armies) who died in Canada after the war
A few veterans of the North West Mounted Police who had military service
A few veterans of the South African War and the North West Field Force (1885 Rebellion)

It does not include cards for:
Members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who died overseas during the war.

Additional information is at http://goo.gl/kEmdY

Begin the search at http://goo.gl/9wYRZ

2 million new Welsh parish registers at FMP

With the addition of 2 million new Welsh (including Monmouthshire) parish registers we can now search 5,924,611 records of Church in Wales parish registers on findmypast.co.uk. Images of the original record linked to the index are available for these Welsh records.

These records cover the following counties: Anglesey, Brecknockshire, Caernarvonshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Glamorganshire, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire and Radnorshire.

Baptisms: 2,083,430 records covering 1538-1912 – see detailed coverage(PDF)
Marriages: 1,226,650 records covering 1539-1927 – see detailed coverage(PDF)
Banns: 557,078 records covering 1603-1927 – see detailed coverage (PDF)
Burials: 2,057,453 records covering 1539-2007 – see detailed coverage(PDF)

BIFHSGO conference interview with Tony Bandy

The most recent interview with one of  next September's conference presenters, Tony Bandy, is now posted.

Click here to download a PDF version of the 2012 Conference Program including details of Tony's pre-conference workshop and two presentations.

Go to http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=62 to listen to the interview.

Getting a good result at Ancestry

The Ancestry Insider has a useful post What Does it Take to Get a Good Result from Ancestry.com which explains how the site sets priorities for the order in which results are presented, and how you can make it do what you want, more or less.

FamilySearch adds British Columbia, Wills, 1861-1981

127,172 images of will indexes and wills probated in the province of British Columbia are now available at familysearch.org

The indexes span 1861-1981.

Images of original wills are for 1861-1939 for which the indexes are in four date ranges, 1861-1919, 1919-1926, 1926-1938 and 1938-1948.

The source is Department of the Attorney General. British Columbia Wills. British Columbia Archives, Victoria, British Columbia.

Least Expected Heroes

In the June issue of Forever Young Information Ottawa area writer and BIFHSGO member Brooke Broadbent reviews the book Least-Expected Heroes of the Holocaust by Vera Gara. Broadbent calls it "an engaging personal story and for anyone writing a family narrative it's a reminder that putting yourself into your tales draws in the reader."

If you're not able to pick up this tabloid format monthly publication in Ottawa you can read it online at: http://foreveryoungottawa.ca/ and clicking on Forever Young Online Issue. The article is on page 6.

25 June 2012

Britain from the air 1919 - 1953

From the BBC come this look at aerial photographs in the Aerofilms Collection taken between 1919 and 1953 now being conserved and digitised by English Heritage and the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments for Scotland and Wales.

The images can be accessed at http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/ but the site was swamped when I tried.

British Listed Buildings

Back in January 2011 I posted on the British Listed Buildings site. Since then information has continued to be added. It may be worthwhile revisiting for the communities of interest for your ancestry.

24 June 2012

Lesley Anderson at Toronto Branch OGS

The final Toronto Branch monthly meeting for the season on Monday 25 June 2012 at 7:30 p.m.features Lesley Anderson speaking on What's New on Ancestry. 

There is an additional short presentation by Mary Newel with the title Pandora's Shoe Box.


The location is the Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Community Hall, 5110 Yonge Street.


More information at http://www.torontofamilyhistory.org/meetings.html


LAC podcast: The Shamrock and the Fleur-de-Lys

The third LAC podcast, this one on immigration of Irish settlers to Quebec in the 1800s, is now available.

Listen carefully to learn about possible culpability for the present situation at LAC.

Listen Now
Download Podcast Now [32.1 MB, length: 38:04]

Association of Canadian Archivists resolution

For the record:

Annual General Meeting Resolution - June 9, 2012
We the Association of Canadian Archivists, representing Canadian archivists, reaffirm our support of the Canadian archival system, an existing network of community, regional, provincial, territorial and federal archives.
Let it be resolved that a Canadian archival network is essential to acquire, preserve and make accessible to Canadians their documentary heritage in all media.
Let it be resolved that the Canadian Council of Archives is that network, comprising its membership of Provincial and Territorial Councils, the Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists, the Association of Canadian Archivists, the Association des archivistes du Quebec, and Library and Archives Canada.
Let it be resolved that the Pan-Canadian Documentary Heritage Forum is not the vehicle in which to advance the Canadian archival network; nor is it a substitute for that network because it is neither comprehensive nor representative of the Canadian archival system.
Let it be resolved that the loss of knowledge capacity through the national network of education and preservation advisors, as well as the archival professionals at Library and Archives Canada will impair and damage advancing a Canadian archival acquisition strategy; and will ultimately risk the stewardship of Canada’s collective archives and memory.

From: http://archivists.ca/sites/default/files/Attachments/Advocacy_attachments/aca_agm_resolution-final_0.pdf

Are your Newcastle ancestors here?

Prisoners who spent time in Newcastle Gaol between December 1871 and December 1873, a flickr collection.

Which one is John Reed a "young man sentenced to do 14 days hard labour and 5 years reformation for stealing money..."?

via Tyne and Wear Museums and a Facebook post by Thomas MacEntee.

23 June 2012

The Gene Revolution

Advances in medical genetics can't help but aid our understanding of the ancestral information in our DNA. This online presentation, The Gene Revolution:opportunities and challenges, by Peter Donnelly, Professor of Statistical Science and Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in the University of Oxford, is a fairly gentle introduction to the topic and its significance.

via a tweet from Debbie Kennett

The Power of Communities

On March 14 LAC posted an item entitled The Power of the Communities

"Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is developing a resource that encourages nationwide collaboration among stakeholders and memory institutions, and engages Canadians to discover their vast documentary heritage."
That was just days before LAC cut all funding to archivies across Canada by terminating the National Archival Development Program.  As we now know cutting the NADP was already being planned by LAC as an option if budget cuts were as severe as feared they might be.

Even if the final decision was pending, only a Machiavellian manager would authorize a post indicating the intention to "encourages nationwide collaboration among stakeholders and memory institutions" while at the same time planning elimination of the program that did most to further such collaboration.

I suppose we should be grateful it didn't trot out the tired aphorisms "encourages pan-Canadian collaboration from sea to sea to sea"

Interesting that the LAC post ends with "Let us know what you think!" but without any link to do so - indicative of how much they intend listening!

Alan Turing centennial

Today, 23 June 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of arguably Britain's greatest mathematician of the 20th century. Read his wikipedia bio at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing

22 June 2012

Canada Lite: our diminished nation

An opinion piece by Paul Litt of Carleton University:

"cultural investment generates downstream dividends in unpredictable ways. It is particularly valuable in the modern information economy, where original content is in high demand."
"Welcome to a new type of country, a “Little Canada” with a public sphere devoid of any communal heritage beyond the branding needed to sell Canada to the world and the government to the electorate." 
Read the full article at http://www.ipolitics.ca/2012/05/26/paul-litt-canada-lite-our-diminished-nation/

Family Chronicle: July/August 2012 issue

The new (July/August 2012) issue of Family Chronicle features a digital camera on the cover illustrating an article by magazine editor Ed Zapletal with tips on acquiring that most useful piece of technology for your family history research. The article covers sources for information on cameras, the types of camera available, cost, outputting and archiving your photographs. Although there are lower cost cameras available, the one built into your smartphone may well serve for many purposes, the article provides a list from those featured on findthebest.com ranging from a Canon at $249, to a Nikon at $899.
This issue has somewhat of an international flavor starting with the editor on his recent first trip to his family homeland in the Czech Republic. His reflection that "I felt so comfortable there" is something many of us have surely felt as we wandered down country lanes and city byways frequented by our ancestors. Other places mentioned are the Channel Islands, Sweden, and even UNESCO.
In Were Your Ancestors Kissing Cousins? Timothy R Boyer reviews the amount of DNA you share with people on your family tree, then reviews the changes in law in the US as they relate to marrying a relative. He points out that it was not unknown for couples to move between American colonies to avoid the stigma of a consanguineous marriage.

Clifford James Loney Case Study
George Matheson details how finding an old photo of a farm in the Channel Islands led him back to his roots
Jersey to Gaspé: Ancestors Expanding Trade
Arthur Lamy explores the migration of Jersey Traders to Gaspé in the 1600s
Revolutionary War Ancestors
Craig Roberts Scott explains what to do when you can't find your Revolutionary War ancestor
Giddy Up! Horse-Drawn Transport
David A. Norris examines the most popular mode of transportation for our ancestors
Consangineous Marriages
Timothy R. Boyer looks at the effect of consangineous marriages and affinal marriages on your research
The Amazing Story of Jane Enwood
James B. Hibbard recounts his research in documenting one woman's extraordinary story
Using Multiple Sources
Ed Storey shows us how to use different sources to solve a problem ancestor
Transmigration: Following the Wolperts
Melody Amsel-Arieli details the travels of one family from Eastern Europe to Duluth, Minnesota
FGS Conference 2012 Preview
Thomas MacEntee previews the upcoming FGS Conference in Birmingham, Alabama
UNESCO: Memory of the World Project
Diane L. Richard looks at a unique online resource for preserving our archives
Extending the Swedish Family Tree
How a single phone call from a stranger helped Leslie A. Huber continue her research her elusive ancestor
Exploring the Family History Library of Los Angeles
Amanda Epperson reviews what is available at the Family History Library of LA

Information on Family Chronicle, now available in a variety of formats, is at http://www.familychronicle.com/

Forces War Records database

"Forces War Records is the definitive location for military genealogy records online. The database includes records from WW2, WW1, the Boer War, the Crimean War and beyond. It is the only online database which now includes over 4 million military records of British Armed Forces personnel exclusively cross matched with over 4000 Regiments, Bases and Ships of the British Armed Forces going back to before 1350."
The site is well organized. You can perform a free search using first and/or last names and record type (war). Results returned also indicate the rank and date of the record.

I found a Canadian WW1 serviceman so give it a try for other British Commonwealth country soldiers.

There's a helpful military genealogy tutorial.

21 June 2012

FMP extends Royal Household collection

Findmypast.co.uk have added:

Establishment Lists for Master of the Household's Department 1835-1924: 7,158 records
Establishment Lists for the Royal Mews 1717-1924: 18,281 records
to their collection of Royal Household collection, now more than 75,000 records.

OGS financial statement for 2011

The most recent issue of Newsleaf, the magazine of the Ontario Genealogical Society prints the Society audited financial statement for 2010. Summary data is now available on the Canada Revenue Agency website.

Ever since OGS instituted a 33% fee increase in 2010 I've been interested to see how it would impact on membership. In 2010 income from membership dues increased 21% from 2009 to 2010. On the face of it that represent a 9% membership decrease.

In 2011 income from fees declined 8% from 2010 which, since fees didn't change, implies an 8% decline in membership numbers.  

Is a high single digit annual percentage decrease in membership sustainable?

As in recent years the answer remains yes as the society has a large endowment fund. The withdrawal was $35K in 2009, $82.3K in 2010, and $65K in 2011. The endowment fund is now down to $763K, 12 years to go at the current rate of withdrawal. The Society also has significant other assets on which it can draw.

Substantial administrative savings were realized in 2011 by taking advantage of the GoToMeeting facility made available to the Society through the generosity of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. This meant, for example, that meetings involving regional directors could take place without the substantial cost of travel and accommodation. The facility also saw increased use by branches to allowing members to connect to local meetings from their homes over the internet. Should the Society be approaching the Institute for other suggestions on how to save on administrative costs?

Price reduction for Scottish wills and testaments

It may only be temporary so take advantage of a reduction in the cost of Scottish wills and testaments online. Here's the announcement:

We have changed the pricing and payment method for purchasing Wills & Testaments documents on the ScotlandsPeople website. Instead of purchasing a Will & Testament through a separate transaction, these documents can now be viewed using ScotlandsPeople credits. As an introductory offer we have also reduced the cost from 5GBP to 10 credits, which is roughly 2.33 GBP!
The pricing for Wills & Testaments was originally based on the average cost for posting out purchased copies to customers. At that time, this was the best way of arranging the price, as the number of pages per document can vary and so did the total cost.
So, in 2005, the records were launched on the ScotlandsPeople website at a cost of 5GBP for a full colour, authentic facsimile of the original document, regardless of the number of pages.
With the merging of NAS (National Archives of Scotland) and GROS (General Register Office for Scotland) to form the National Records of Scotland (NRS) in April 2011, we felt the time was right to reflect the fact that the records are from the same organisation, by standardising the payment process.
We hope that this change makes for an easier and more straightforward process for using these records. As we're currently working on the launch of the new Wills and Testaments for 1902-1925, we thought it was the perfect time to announce this change - we hope you like it!
To learn more about the Wills & Testaments on the ScotlandsPeople website, click here.

20 June 2012

CanadianHeadstones.com index updated on Ancestry

Ancestry has updated its index to non-profit CanadianHeadstones.com, now with 366,930 entries. At the site itself you can browse over 422,000 gravestone photo records from across Canada.

FreeBMD June update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Saturday 16 June 2012 and contains 217,346,629 distinct records (274,797,262 total records).

Major updates this month are births for 1939, 1940, 1943-1945, 1949 and 1955-63; marriages for 1952-55, 1957-58, and 1960-62; and deaths for 1953, and 1961-62.

LAC building celebrates 45 years

On June 20 1967 a new building for the National Library and National Archives was officially opened by Prime Minister Lester B Pearson. Although the lady is showing her age, and even unloved by LAC management, here is an audio clip from the CBC describing the building as it was on opening day 45 years ago.


19 June 2012

BIFHSGO conference registration available online

The 18th Annual British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa conference will be held at Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington Street, Ottawa.) September 14 to 16, 2012.
It's a Scottish themed program this year, but as always with something for everyone. I'll be continuing to post interviews with the speakers throughout the summer, the next one with Tony Bandy should be available over the weekend or early next week.

Go to http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=22 to view the program and find links for online and mail-in registration.

Daniel Caron in violation of Parliament of Canada Act

According to the National Post, "A prominent constitutional lawyer says Canada’s top bureaucrat and 64 deputy ministers who have failed to provide details about the nature of the Conservative government’s $5.2 billion in spending cuts in their departments are violating the law and should turn the information over to the parliamentary budget officer."

Library and Archives Canada is one of the departments whose information was not supplied. Adhering to the legal requirement is a direct responsibility of the department head, in the case of LAC that's Daniel Caron.

The legal opinion cited is available here.

via a mailing list post from Myron Groover

Hand-drawn map of modern London

It's getting to be that time of year when genealogy news thins out and I need to cast the net wider to find blog-fodder. You have been warned.

Regular readers know I have an attraction to maps. I love this one featured on Mapping London where it comments     "It’s a hand-drawn map of central and inner-city London. Tube/train lines, parks and rivers are coloured, everything else is shown in black-and-white. Buildings are all drawn in a 45-degree isometric style. Annotations reveal characteristics of an area that won’t appear on traditional maps."

The artist is Jenni Sparks. Read her blog at: http://jennisparks.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/hand-drawn-map-of-london.html
and order a copy at:

18 June 2012

Blame, or credit, the ancestors

An article published in the Proceedings of the (US) National Academy of Sciences adds to mounting evidence that experiences of ancestors are a factor influencing your life through epigenetics.

Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of altered stress responses

Ancestral environmental exposures have previously been shown to promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance and influence all aspects of an individual’s life history. In addition, proximate life events such as chronic stress have documented effects on the development of physiological, neural, and behavioral phenotypes in adulthood. We used a systems biology approach to investigate in male rats the interaction of the ancestral modifications carried transgenerationally in the germ line and the proximate modifications involving chronic restraint stress during adolescence. We find that a single exposure to a common-use fungicide (vinclozolin) three generations removed alters the physiology, behavior, metabolic activity, and transcriptome in discrete brain nuclei in descendant males, causing them to respond differently to chronic restraint stress. This alteration of baseline brain development promotes a change in neural genomic activity that correlates with changes in physiology and behavior, revealing the interaction of genetics, environment, and epigenetic transgenerational inheritance in the shaping of the adult phenotype. This is an important demonstration in an animal that ancestral exposure to an environmental compound modifies how descendants of these progenitor individuals perceive and respond to a stress challenge experienced during their own life history.

OGS Ottawa Branch AGM

Saturday's annual general meeting of the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society got underway at 1:30 PM with Mike More acting as chair.

The branch membership is 437 as of the date of the meeting including 42 family memberships. The previous year membership was 439 members including 49 family memberships.a

Norah Cousens Larocque stepped forward to take on the role of Chair. She has previously served as Chair and as Regional Director. Mike More will fill the role of past chair and Heather Oakley will become secretary. The positions of vice chair and treasurer remain unfilled. In the absence of a treasurer for the past year there was no financial report.

Al Lewis, who runs the popular Bytown or Bust website, volunteered to explore taking over as Branch Librarian.

The meeting was closed by 1:52 PM after which we heard a presentation from Kyla Ubbink on the work she did to restore a letter written on birch bark which involved practical research on the best methods of treating birch bark.

The next branch meeting is not until September. Dates for your diary are 18 November 2012 when Kyle Betit will give the Ryan Taylor Memorial Lecture, and 5-6 April 2013 for the next Gen-O-Rama.

17 June 2012

Scottish Council on Archives issues Broadsheet on Family History

The monthly publication of the Scottish Council on Archives, called Broadsheet, is themed for family history in June. Produced free as a pdf this 12 page issue, while mainly focused on research in Scotland it has a couple of items of broader interest.

Pirates, Shipwrecks and War: how a search for an ancestor unearthed an amazing hitherto untold historical event, by Moira Stewart.

The Future of the Past: selling the archival silver, by Nick Barratt.

Download this an earlier issues from http://www.scoarch.org.uk/notice-board/broadsheet.

Thanks to Jean Patterson for the tip.

Digitizing Canadian WW1 publications

Below is a long list of items relating to Canadian involvement in the First World War being digitized.

You`d think with all the noise Library and Archives Canada is making about digitization that would be the institution doing it. Don`t be distracted by the noise. The heavy lifting is being done by the British Library as part of The Europeana Collections 1914-1918 project.

The collection will be digitised and distributed free as it is believed that the copyright in much of this content has expired. Should you believe that you hold rights in any of the material, please write to Teresa Harrington, Project Support Officer, Europeana Collections 1914-1918, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB with proof of copyright ownership.

Items in bold are already available on the Internet Archive

  1. Hay, A. W. and H. J. Horan, Syllabus of Infantry Training, as Suggested by Notes on Company Training Issued by the General Staff and Adopted by 52nd Overseas Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force. (London: Hugh Rees, 1916) 
  2. The Empire at War (London: Oxford University Press, 1921-26) 
  3. Canadian War Records Office, The Canadian War Pictorial (London: Hodder and Staughton, 1916) 
  4. Beck  de, A. M., Women of the Empire in Wartime (London: Dominion of Canada News Co. Ltd., 1916) 
  5. Armstrong, E. H., The Crisis of Quebec, 1914-18 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1937) 
  6. Roberts , T. G. (ed), Histories of Canadian Battalions (London: Canadian War records Office, 1918) 
  7. Canada Army, 78th Overseas Battalion, Winnippeg Grenadiers, (Winnipeg: Canadian Army, 1916)
  8. Canada Army, 77th Overseas Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, (Ottawa: Canadian Army, 1916) 
  9. Adami , J. G., The War Story of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (London: Canadian War records Office, 1918) 
  10. Canada Army, Thirty Canadian VCs 23rd April 1915 to 30th March 1918 (London: Canada War Records Office, 1918) 
  11. Canada Army, A Brief History of the Canadian Grenadier Guards and the first months of the Royal Montreal regiment in the Great War (Montreal:  Gazette Printing Co., 1926) 
  12. Fetherstonhaugh, R. C., The RoyalMontrealRegiment 14th Battalion C. E. F. 1914 – 1925 (Montreal: Gazette Printing Co., 1927) 
  13. Hopkins, J. C.,Canadaat War, a record of heroism and achievement, 1914 – 1918  (Toronto: Canadian Annual Review Ltd., 1919) 
  14. Cameron,K, History of No. 1 General Hospital Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914 – 1919 (Sackville: NB Tribune Press, 1938) 
  15. Nasmith, G G,Canada’s Sons andGreat Britainin the World War (Toronto: John C. Winston Co., 1919) 
  16. Canada Army,Canadain Khaki, a tribute to the officers and men now serving in the overseas military forces ofCanada(London: Canada War Records Office, 19–) 
  17. Newfoundland Army, The First Five Hundred, being a historical sketch of the operations of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in Gallipoli and on the Western Front during the Great War 1914 – 1918 (Albany: C. F. Williams and Son, 19–)           
  18. Canada Army, The Brazier, a regimental journal nos. 1-9 (France, 1916-17) 
  19. Canada Army, The Canadian Sapper. (Official magazine of the Canadian Engineers.) vol. 1. no. 1-vol. 3. no. 15. Feb. 1918-April 1919 (Seaford, England: Canadian Engineers Training Depot, 1918-19)
  20. Canada Army, The C.R.O. Bulletin. War souvenir number, Xmas 1918 (London, 1918) 
  21. Chronicles of Cliveden. (“Stand Easy.”) vol. 1. no. 1. 30 June 1917 (Cliveden, 1917)
  22. Canada Army, The Sling. A little journal published by the boys of a Canadian Field Ambulance. no. 1, 2. Jan., Oct. 1917 (London, 1917) 
  23. Canada Army, The RouellesCampMagazine. Canadian Base Depot, Havre. vol. 2-4 (Havre: Imprimerie du Havre-Éclair, 1916) 
  24. CanadaArmy The Vics Patrol. (The active service journal of the Victoria Rifles of Canada.) vol. 1. no. 1-3. June-Dec. 1916 (London, 1916) 
  25. Canada Army, The Dead Horse Corner Gazette. no. 1-3. Oct. 1915-June 1916 (Manchester and London, 1915-16) 
  26. Canada Army, La Vie Canadienne. A monthly [sic] magazine for the Canadian Section, General Headquarters, 3rd Echelon. vol. 1. no. 1-15. (Rouen , 1915-18) 
  27. Canada Army, The Listening Post. no. 1-9, 11-33. Aug. 1915-Mar. 1919 (France, 1915-19) 
  28. Canada Army, Trench Echo. 4 no. Christmas 1915-Christmas 1917 (At the Front, 1915-17) 
  29. Canada Army, Reconstruction (A bulletin published by the Canadian Military Hospitals Commission…)(Ottawa, 1918) 
  30. Bourassa, H., La Conscription (Montreal: Editions du Devoir, 1917) 
  31. Bourassa, H., The Foreign Policy of Great Britain (Montreal: Editions du Devoir, 1915) 
  32. Bourassa, H., Hier, aujourd’hui, demain. Problemes Nationaux (Montreal: Editions du Devoir, 1916) 
  33. Bourassa, H., La Langue Francais auCanada  (Montreal: Editions du Devoir, 1915) 
  34. Bourassa, H., La politique de l’Angleterre avant et après le guerre (Montreal: Editions du Devoir, 1914) 
  35. Bourassa, H., Le ‘Devoir’, son origine, son passé, son avenir (Montreal: Editions du Devoir, 1915) 
  36. Bourassa, H., Le ‘Devoir’ et la guerre. Le conflit des races (Montreal: Editions du Devoir, 1916) 
  37. Bourassa, H., Le probleme de l‘Empire (Montreal: Editions du Devoir, 1916) 
  38. Bourassa, H., L’intervention americaine (Montreal: Editions du Devoir, 1917) 
  39. Roux, E., Bourassa au service l’Allemagne (Montreal: Perrault, 1917) 
  40. Canada Army, The Maple Leaf, the magazine of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (London, 1916) 
  41. Victor, E A.,Canada’s Future: what she offers after the war (Toronto: Macmillan, 1916) 
  42. Fielding, E., Short Stories ofJamaicaand the War (Jamaica, 1915) 
  43. Horner, A. E., From the Island of the Sea: Glimpses of the West Indian Battalion inFrance(Nassau: Guardian Office, 1919) 
  44. Cundall, F.,Jamaica’s Part in the Great War 1914 – 1918, (London: Institute of Jamaica, 1925)
  45. Lisser  de, H.G.,Jamaicaand the Great War (Kingston: Gleaner Press, 1917) 
  46. Canada Army, Oh,Canada! A medley of stories, verse, pictures and music contributed by the Canadian Expeditionary Force (London: Simpkin, Marshal and Co., 1916)

Scotland 1861 and1871 census indexes at Familysearch

Continuing Family Search's addition of indexes from Find My Past for Scottish Census, 1861 and 1871 are now available.  They were taken on 7 April 1861 and 2 April 1871. Both have over 3 million entries.

A search provides first and last names, year and county of birth, and place of residence. There is a link to FMP which has additional detail transcribed, but you need to search the pay per view site scotlandpeople.gov.uk to see the actual image.

16 June 2012

FMP adds Sheffield parish records

The Sheffield & District Family History Society, through findmypast.co.uk come almost 70,000 new parish record transcriptions for Sheffield.

There are 13,102 baptisms from 1858 to 1940; 24,772 marriages from 1848 to 1986 and; 31,470 burials between 1767 and 1802.

WW1 and WW2 prisoners of war

Findmypast.co.uk recently added files for WWI and WWII prisoners of war

The notes for WW1 say they are for 7,703 British Army Officers who were Prisoners of War between 1914 and 1918. However, the first person I checked was a Canadian, G. W. Northwood, and his record is included. He`s listed as rank: Capatain, service: Infantry Canadians. The additional information available by pay per view or subscription is Section (meaning where serving); date missing; and Interned (which gives the country and what appears to be the date of repatriation).

For WW2 there are three sets of records:
Prisoners of War 1939-1945 – British Navy & Air Force Officers: 19,229 records
Prisoners of War 1939-1945 – Officers of Empire serving in British Army: 39,808 records
Prisoners of War 1939-1945 – British Army held in German territories: 107,000 records
The records will usually provide you with the following information about your ancestors: name, rank, regiment, army number, camp number, Prisoner of War number, camp type, camp location and extra notes, where applicable.

The first record I checked, for A.M. Reid in the British Navy & Air Force Officers series turned out to be a Canadian airman interned at Stalag 334 at Lamsdorf. However, the other I checked were British. 

The source given is Naval and Military Press Ltd so you might want to use these are clues in looking for original records.

It`s worth checking this source for Canadian POWs despite the title.

Comments on poll on LAC

This item contains personal opinions.

A few days ago I posted a poll asking respondents what action they have taken regarding the situation at Library and Archives Canada. 55 people responded, obviously a highly significant number totally representative of the Canadian population at large (NOT).

Over one third of respondents have written to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and/or their MP about LAC, or about LAC in the the context of the larger issue of Canadian heritage. Another 13% have signed a petition.

A further 49% expressed concern in the survey. A little under half of those have expressed concern to someone else.

Only 6% supported the government action.

While I`d like to have seen more nearly 50% taking some action is encouraging.

There are many issues to be concerned about in this world. Hunger, obesity, terrorism, violence, environmental sustainability, biodiversity, nuclear proliferation, literacy, youth unemployment, discrimination .. the list goes on. How can you deal with them all. Set against these the preservation and availability of Canada`s documentary heritage may not seem so significant.

Yet our governments have a sophisticated (complex) structure to allow them to deal with more than one issue at a time. I wouldn`t want the job of government to balance them but do expect them to do just that. Yet government, and we, rely on single issue organizations and agencies to clamber for attention to their and our issues.

I`ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Genealogy suffers in this game as there is no national voice for genealogy in Canada, and no willingness on the part of OGS, by far the largest single organization, to lead in its formation.

15 June 2012

More Dorset records on Ancestry

Ancestry have added a variety of new records for the country of Dorset in England from the Dorset History Centre. They are indexed with images of the originals linked.

The major databases, over 100,000 records, are:

Land Tax Returns, 1780-1832,  646,167 records
Jury Lists, 1825-1921, 348,846 records
Significant databases, more than 10,000 records are:
Dorchester Prison Admission and Discharge Registers, 1782-1901,
62,737 records
Militia Lists, 1757-1860, 31,298 records
Smaller databases with less than 5,000 records are:
Vagrant Passes, 1739-1791, 4,903 records
Calendars of Prisoners, 1854-1904, 4,863 records
Alehouse Licence Records, 1754-1821, 4,025 records
Convict Transportation Records, 1724-1791, 488 records
Ancestry have also updated the database of Dorset Wills and Probates, 1565-1858,
27912 records

US War of 1812 collection free on Fold3

During June, in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the US declaration of war on Britain, Fold3 is making records from their War of 1812 collection freely available online.
Included are service records (33,712 images) and pension files (239,233 images) as well as a collection of letters received By The Adjutant General, 1805-1821 (132,136 images) and War of 1812 Prize Cases, Southern Dist Court, NY (12,237 images)


Ottawa Branch OGS June meeting and AGM

This Saturday, 16 June 2012, sees the last Ottawa Branch OGS meeting of the season with well known local paper conservation specialist Kyla Ubbink speaking on the story around a letter from the Upper Ottawa River valley written in birch bark which she conserved.
This is also the occasion for the Branch Annual General Meeting.
Events get underway at 1pm in room 115 at  the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive

TNA podcast: Tracing merchant seamen, 1857-1918

Janet Dempsey, a records specialist at TNA, gave this short presentation on 12 April 2012 which deals with a period when there were no individual British merchant seaman records. Crew lists are distributed between TNA, the National Maritime Museum, the Memorial University of Newfoundland and various smaller sites.  There are also medal records for the WW2 period.


14 June 2012

Mitt Romney's English ancestry

A BBC news magazine item on Mitt Romney's English ancestors

OGS Toronto Branch stands up

The following is information from Gwyneth Pearce on behalf of OGS Toronto Branch.

At its annual general meeting on 28 May 2012, the Toronto Branch approved a resolution to send a letter to both the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and the Prime Minister of Canada expressing our serious concerns about the cuts.

The letter, signed by Branch Chair Diana Thomson, urges the government of Canada to consider alternatives to the planned service reductions and elimination of programs at LAC so that Canada’s precious documentary and published heritage will be preserved and remain available for future generations.

The Toronto Branch letter and resolution are both posted at www.torontofamilyhistory.org.

Potential remedy for Ancestry stock purchase regret

The following is a Businesswire release

Zeldes & Haeggquist, LLP, a shareholder and consumer rights litigation firm, has commenced an investigation into possible violations of the federal securities laws by certain officers and directors at Ancestry.com, Inc. (“Ancestry.com” or the “Company”), and others.
Ancestry.com, which helped pioneer the market for online family history research, describes itself as “the world’s largest online family history resource, with approximately 1.7 million paying subscribers around the world as of December 31, 2011.” On May 11, 2011, Ancestry.com, whose common stock trades on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol ACOM, completed a $173.2 million secondary stock offering at $42 per share.
Zeldes & Haeggquist’s investigation concerns whether the Registration Statement and Prospectus used to conduct the May 11, 2011 offering contained false and misleading statements, causing the offering to be overpriced. Some of those misstatements have since been corrected, causing the Company’s stock to plummet, and it is now trading at approximately $25 per share.
If you purchased shares of Ancestry.com (NASDAQ: ACOM) in the May 11, 2011 stock offering and would like additional information regarding this investigation, or if you have information regarding the matters under investigation, please contact attorney Amber L. Eck at 619-342-8000 or by email at ambere@zhlaw.com.
Zeldes & Haeggquist is a full-service law firm which brings major class actions nationwide on behalf of defrauded investors and consumers and handles a variety of complex business litigation matters. Please visit www.zhlaw.com for more information.
Ancestry stock closed at $26.15 on Wednesday having advanced from below $23 at the start of the month on news that the company was exploring putting itself up for sale.

New Irish genealogy books are popular

Two new Irish genealogy books are proving popular at the Ottawa Public Library.

Seven copies of the new edition of John Grenham's Tracing your Irish Ancestors are in the OPL collection. Six of are on circulation, one at the Main Laurier/Metcalfe site is for reference. There is a short waiting list.

The OPL system acquired six copies of David Elliott's Researching your Irish Ancestors at Home and Abroad. Reference copies are at the Main and Nepean Centrepointe locations. Again there is a short waiting list.

Ian Wilson remarks to OGS

On June 1st former Librarian and Archivist of Canada Ian Wilson addressed 500 genealogists at the opening session Richard J Houston Memorial Lecture of the Ontario Genealogical Society Annual Conference in Kingston.
He spoke from notes, there was no prepared text. I'm informed a prepared version is in progress for publication in OGS Families later this year.
The presentation reviewed the productive relationship between archivists, librarians and genealogists using illustrations from Mr Wilson's long career, which started in Kingston.
Toward the end he signalled he was going to address more current developments. I reached for my iPhone and was able to capture the remainder of his remarks, about the last 12 minutes. The quality of the recording is not great but tolerable. And as time was running short, it appears somewhat abbreviated and lacks the full context of his talk.
The response was enthusiastic, a standing ovation. I had to edit out the applause due to clipping of the recording.
Mr  Wilson has kindly agreed to allow me to make this recording available for download through the blog.


13 June 2012

Video of Daniel Caron keynote at CLA

A YouTube video has surfaced of Daniel Caron, Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada and Chair, Heads of Federal Agencies, reading his presentation keynote address "Finding Our Place on the Digital Shelf" at the start of the Canadian Library Association annual meeting in Ottawa in late May.


FamilySeach adds 1851 census of Scotland

Nipping at the heels of the FamilySearch's addition of 1841 census for Scotland come 2,914,894 records for the 1851 census. As before this is through their partnership with findmypast.co.uk. A search provides first and last names, year and county of birth, and place of residence. There is a link to commercial site FMP which has additional detail transcribed, but you need to search the pay per view site scotlandpeople.gov.uk to see the actual image.

How to attract more members to your society

I've written before about the paradox in our societies; demographics are with us, more and more people are arriving at the age where they typically become interested in their family history. But I continue to hear of genealogy and family history societies reporting declining membership, and some are closing. Board members, from the few members that volunteer to serve, sit around the table scratching their heads over this anomaly. What can be done? Is it, as some suspect, that people think they can get everything online these days and are just not joiners as was the way with the previous generation?
Perhaps we set up too big a barrier to joining? Did you consider taking an idea from those selling services on the Internet? It's called FREE TRIAL. People are more likely to try a service if they can do so for free, even if the trial does not provide full capabilities. Ancestry will give you a free two week trial. Legacy Family Tree provides free basic genealogy software. Try them and if you like them you'll probably purchase. And if you don't like it – does any company really want to have dissatisfied customers.
What would it cost your society to offer a free one-year basic membership to those newly joining the society? Basic membership could exclude the more costly items such as those printed and mailed to members, the same information would be provided online.
What do you think? Could it work? If your society has tried this, or you have other suggestions, please share your experience in the comments.

Women's dress in Ontario

Two articles from the 1960s published by the Royal Ontario Museum have just become available through the Internet Archive. They may be helpful if you're trying to date an old photograph from a woman's attire.

Women's costume in the early Ontario by Katherine B Brett describes and illustrates what women were wearing from approximately 1784 to Confederation in 1867.
The same author produced a longer work on the succeeding period Women's costume in Ontario, (1867-1907).

Don't forget that while dress may be quite a good guide in dating a photograph of a younger woman, they usually wanted to look fashionable, a more mature lady may have been happy to continue wearing styles from earlier years.

12 June 2012

Daniel Caron on CBC Ottawa Morning

From the Canadian Council on Archives comes information that The Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Dr. Daniel Caron, will be interviewed on CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning tomorrow (Wednesday June 13).
Ottawa Morning airs from 5:30 am to 8:37 am Eastern.  For more information about the program and to listen live go to: http://www.cbc.ca/ottawamorning/

UPDATE: The interview occurred around 7:15 am and should become available at the address above later.

LAC concern survey

Daniel Caron letter in Canada's History Magazine

Here, as published in Canada's History magazine (formerly The Beaver), is a letter from Library and Archives Canada Head, Daniel Caron, explaining changes occurring at the institution. Reproduced without comment, for the record.

As the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, I would like to provide some insight into Library and Archives Canada (LAC)'s direction. LAC is today expanding services to meet the evolving expectations of Canadians, offering enhanced, modern access to its materials from coast to coast to coast. New digital service delivery mechanisms allow Canadians to discover, engage with, and share LAC's content when, where, and how they want it.
Though in-person services are still being maintained, changes are necessary in light of how most people use information these days, and to responsibly allocate resources based on observable decreases and increases in demand.
Researchers now have the opportunity to register, order material, and make preparations with LAC in advance. Digitization of finding aids means records can be located without having to be on-site. LAC is also introducing reference by appointment and video conferencing tools like Skype. Clients can now book appointments with experts on-site in Ottawa, or interact via Skype or telephone. In short, LAC is now offering a more personalized service that is accessible to all Canadians.
With respect to archival "decentralization," LAC has always been and will continue to be part of a large cross-Canada network of public and private archives, collectively responsible for our documentary heritage.
The idea of a "comprehensive" or "total" Canadian library and archives in a single location is a myth, as the country is far too diverse for one institution to play this role. The difference now is that LAC and its partners are working together in greater synergy than ever before.
While it is entirely true that LAC has two core programs (Legal Deposit and Government of Canada records) under the Library and Archives Canada Act, it is also mandated to acquire and preserve what is valuable to Canadian society. As a result, LAC continues to acquire material from private donors. Just this year, LAC acquired close to eighty new fonds from private donors representing hundreds of items (such as Lynn Johnston's famous comic strip For Better or For Worse). For fiscal 2011-12, donor tax receipts issued by LAC will total approximately $4 million.
That said, the manner in which we carry out our mandate is changing, given the evolution of technology, documentary production, and writing and reading habits. Our future work will be increasingly technology-driven and done in cooperation with the LAC partners that are Canada's memory institutions (some two thousand libraries and eight hundred archives).
With the recent creation of a formal, LAC-hosted Pan-Canadian Documentary Heritage Network, one can safely say that given the current digital environment, the country's historical record has perhaps never been in better hands than it is today.
Daniel J. Caron, Ph.D. Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada 
Reproduced with the permission of Canada's History magazine.

Do Canadian genealogists care?

Ontario genealogist and blogger Christine Woodcock expresses her frustration with the situation at LAC in a post The Death of Library and Archives Canada and the Complacency of Canadian Genealogists

According to the post the OGS, the largest provincial genealogy society, is "sort of concerned and are letting you know that there is an issue. They aren’t terribly concerned, but they understand that YOU might be, so they have offered to let you sign an online petition. The petition belongs to another organization – not OGS."

I couldn't find a copy on the BIFHSGO website but at the recent AGM president Glenn Wright informed members of the concerns and that he has written to Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore on behalf of the Society emphasizing the important of archives, not only LAC, and the need to collect and preserve our documentary heritage for all Canadians.

BIFHSGO recognizes excellence

Every year at its AGM the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa recognizes members who have made substantial contributions in various fields. Those recognized this year were:

1.    Best Talk by a Member:
Myra Conway, “The Tooley Street Fire – a 9/11 Moment for Victorian Londoners” (January 2012)

2.    Best Article in Anglo-Celtic Roots by a Member:
Patricia McGregor, “A Mother for Albert Weir” (Spring 2011)

Citations of Excellence
Carol-Anne Blore
Carol-Anne joined BIFHSGO in 2003 and immediately volunteered to assist the Anglo-Celtic Roots team as layout editor, a position she retained until this year in spite of the fact that she re-located to Victoria, BC five years ago. Her talent with text is also evident in our books on British Home Children and the Ottawa Sharpshooters. Carol-Anne and her instinctive ability to make our publications look good will be missed.

2.    Betty Burrows
Betty served our Society as Communications Director from 2006 to 2010 during which time she co-ordinated the production and distribution of ACR, she was responsible for our award-winning website and our newsletter; she has been active in the planning of our fall conferences, participating in the production of our conference program. Betty, our Society is better for your involvement and contributions over many years.

3.    Ken Wood
Our official photographer from 2007 to 2011 he photographed speakers at our monthly meetings and our annual conference, ACR authors, Hall of Fame inductees and in his spare time, proof-reader for ACR. Ken has always been willing to lend a hand, his photography provides us with a permanent record of those who have made a difference … Ken has, too.

Hall of Fame
Chris Macphail 
Chris Macphail served as Communications Director from 2004 to 2006 and left the Board to be editor of Anglo-Celtic Roots, a position he held from 2006 to 2011 during which time the ACR won first place in the National Genealogical Society Newsletter Competition in 2009 and 2010.

He co-chaired the 2009 annual conference, he has been a regular contributor to ACR and took an active role in the planning and production of our best-selling book, British Home Children: Their Stories.

Chris epitomizes volunteerism … always giving, contributing in a variety of ways to make our Society better … he not only gave us time and talent, he gave us class and lots of it.

The Irish GRO

Sometimes, when writing about institutions I encounter, I feel as if I might justly be accused of being the very model of a Whinging Pom. Not that whinging may not be without cause.

While the Irish may no longer be entitled to the epithet of pom the latest Irish Times column by John Grenham The very model of a modern Registrar-General makes me feel temporarily in good company.

11 June 2012

Responsible use of Flip-Pal scanners

At least two vendors had Flip-Pal scanners for sale at the OGS conference in Kingston last weekend. These portable fine resolution machines are increasingly popular with the genealogical community, I've seen them selling at conferences in Canada, the UK and US. 

Just because you have a capability isn't a licence to do something. An Ontario archivist encountered someone leaning up against a framed 1860 map of the County, with the device pressed up against the plexiglass covering trying to capture the area where her ancestors name was located.  

The archivist comments that "not only did she not ask if she could use the device (scanners are not allowed in the archives), but her complete disregard for the care and handling of a 152 year old document/artifact was more than a little surprising."

Policing users to ensure our documentary heritage is conserved is a necessary if not enjoyable part of the archivist's duties -- did anyone think "a policeman's lot is not an 'appy one."

Respecting the protocols of institutions you visit, they do vary, is a simple courtesy to observe.

How to write for genealogy magazines

At the Ontario Genealogical Society annual conference I had the opportunity to record an interview with Edward Zapletal, the co-owner and publisher of Moorshead
Magazines Ltd., and editor of  Internet Genealogy,  Family Chronicle and  History Magazine. Ed will be giving a presentation Writing for Publication: Pitching Your Family History Story to Editors at September's BIFHSGO conference.

We spoke about the magazines, the type of material he looks for and publishes, and briefly on the submission process.

Listen to the interview at: http://www.bifhsgo.ca/upload/files/Conference%202012/Ed%20Zapletal%20Conf%202012.mp3

10 June 2012

Congratulations to BIFHGSO

At Saturday's Annual General Meeting the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa reported the final membership figures for 2011. There were 547 memberships, comprising 629 people when family memberships are taken into account. That's record membership reversing a slight decline from 530 in 2007 to 516 in 2010.

AGMs rarely attract a large crowd and the attendance on Saturday was down from the 150-215 range typical for recent monthly meetings.

All four directors whose terms expired decided to run again, as did president GlennWright. They were all returned by acclamation. The Society is fortunate to have the winning team continue in place.

Heritage Ottawa walking tour: June 10

Old Ottawa South, Sunday June 10, 2:00 pm – MEET:  Southminster United Church, Bank at Alymer

In 1907, Nepean Township villages such as Ottawa South were annexed to the City of Ottawa. Improved city services soon followed, such as a new high-level Bank Street Bridge over the canal. It allowed the privately-owned Ottawa Electric Railway to extend streetcar services, stimulating housing and development of one of Ottawa’s first streetcar suburbs.

GUIDE: Leo Doyle, Development and Planning Committee, Old Ottawa South
Info: 613-230-8841 or www.heritageottawa.org

09 June 2012

Archivists react to changes at LAC

The annual meeting of the Association of Canadian Archivists taking place in Whitehorse, Yukon, heard from Cecilia Muir, COO at Library and Archives Canada in place of Daniel Caron. A rather poor quality audio of her address, and the following Q/A session is available at http://www.mediafire.com/?897x4x1h7evewxl

Here is a selection tweets from the session, latest first.
From the reaction at an archives conf this am, archivists may soon be added to Harper enemy list see 4 hours ago#aca2012
Muir talk - Liked what (think it was M Gourlie) commented - "I thought I was part of a network, and not being guided by LAC." #ACA2012 
Way more engery from #olita and #aca2012 tweetstreams than from #CLAOTT2012's 
Agonizing address opened the day. LAC rep's talk promoted solidarity by inducing rage in nearly everyone. Even outsiders like me! #ACA2012 
Actually, correct that. I'm angrier that LAC agrees with aligning digitization choices w/ Gov of Can priorities (ie: war, nat'lism) #aca2012 
What made me angriest at #aca2012 plenary was assumption that archivists aren't open to change and we only want status quo #aca2012 
Muir: LAC choices on cuts were made "on priorities & core mandate" & w/ "reasoned & informed decisions to address fiscal reality" #aca2012 
Sounds like there's a hardcore smack down going on in Whitehorse at the #aca2012 conference. Clearly LAC abdicated their national leadership 
If PCDHN fails, it's because it was never anything but a rubber stamp on (bad) behind-closed-doors LAC schemes. 
If the PCDHN fails, could be due to the archival community not participating (Muir). Urges ACA to reconsider decision to pull out #aca2012 
Cecilia Muir: crowd-sourcing replaces archival description; TDR becomes people-focussed = LAC advocating return to oral culture 
#ACA2012 speaking truth to power 
Still reeling after today's plenary Q&A. Incredible. #aca2012 
Feeling enervated after the plenary today. Want to storm a fortress or a government building. Probably won't. #aca2012 
However, this just confirms my feeling that we need to figure out next step after #trek2012. #nadp #aca2012 #lac 
Wow. MT @mandahill: Muir - it's LAC's job to serve the govt, not provide leadership to the prof. community (or to stand up for it) #ACA2012 
Thanks for the support! RT @Hollingergirl: At #aca2012 archivists in black arm bands and sporting blue triangles in protest if #NADP cuts. 
LAC has lost its soul & its way. It's now an Orwellian cliché which somehow manages to be both irrelevant & incredibly dangerous. 
Feeling my rational perspective... slipping away! Oh no! I've transformed into an activist! How will I do my job effectively?! #aca2012 
You know archivists R angry (perhaps transforming into irrational activists?) when they start pounding the tables in response 2 Qs. #ACA2012 
#aca2012 plenary session. Much anger at Library and Archives Canada today. 
I was also fond of Muir's comment that LAC is taking a "simplified approach to description" Really? What does that mean? #aca2012 
@LibraryArchives If yr content doesn't fit the gov'ts commemorative agenda are U ineligible 4 funding + not welcome collaborators? #aca2012 
 I <3 Cdn archives. Atrocious that #LAC has abdicated all leadership in favour of pleasing the gov't of the day. #aca2012... 
Feeling angsty after reading all the #aca2012. 
Well, since I didn't get to ask my Q, @LibraryArchives could you please take all mention of "pilot project" off your site? @aca2012 
The tweets from #ACA2012 are remarkable; passion & frustration. Need to bridge this chasm. Need to engage Muir & Caron & LAC meaningfully 
So much doublespeak at #aca2012 which quote is my favorite? "There are other archival funding sources in the country". Really? #confused 
"No more questions please." But at least Muir came to answer our questions. I admire her fortitude. #aca2012 
Muir- we are putting resources to best fill our core mandate. #aca2012 
Muir- it's LAC's job to serve govt, not to provide leadership to the professional community (or stand up for it) #ACA2012 
q:why no phase-out? Why wasn't there any advance warning?Muir:we didn't know for certain until budget out 
GOOD, the archivists are a proud - and passionate - lot. We take our responsibilities v. seriously - unlike LAC. #aca2012 
Yikes, things are getting heated here. Don't appreciate Muir's attitude #ACA2012” Muir attitude: from patronising to hostile 
Muir-archival network is too dependent on LAC to operate - needed to be cut off #ACA2012 simply astounding 
#aca2012 Has anybody asked about NADP cut in light of 2010 audit finding it to be, in plain terms, totally fucking awesome on all fronts? 
LAC clearly does not value the archival system. At all. #aca2012 
Muir: "Stop asking why it isn't the way it used to be" and "we (LAC) can't be activists." #aca2012

It is clear that the LAC leadership have no claim to be acting as archivists or librarians, rather they are loyal public servants implementing the orders of their political masters. If told to eviscerate the organization they would apparently go about doing that with utmost efficiency.

Beechwood Cemetery annual historical walking tour.

A last minute reminder that the Beechwood, Canada's National Cemetery, annual historical walking tour will take place on Sunday, June 10th starting at 2pm. The tour theme this year is The Performing Arts at Beechwood which should bring out the best in the folks who animate the lives of the people remembered at the various memorials.

08 June 2012

Scotland 1841 census index at Familysearch

FamilySearch.org have just added the 1841 census index for Scotland through their partnership with findmypast.co.uk. A search provides first and last names, year of birth, whether born in country in which residing, and place of residence. There is a link to commercial site FMP which has additional detail transcribed, but you need to search the pay per view site scotlandpeople.gov.uk to see the actual image.

FMP adds Kent records

If you have ancestors in the northwest Kent parishes of Bromley, Charlton, or Darenth between 1686 and 1869 a collection of 7,500 BMB records newly available at findmypast.co.uk may be of interest.

07 June 2012

The Wrecking of Canada's Library and Archives

A convenient summary of the situation at Library and Archives Canada is at:

BIFHSGO June meeting and AGM

The final BIFHSGO meeting of the 2011-2012 year is Saturday, June 9, 2012.

9:00-9:30 am  Annual General Meeting
This should be routine. There is a full slate of candidates for director positions and Glenn Wright is running for a second term as president.

9:30-10:00 am Founders Day Celebration and Browse the Discovery Tables and Computer.

10:00-11:30 Monthly Meeting - Great Moments in Genealogy featuring four talks

The venue is, as usual, the Auditorium at Library and Archives Canada.

SCGS Jamboree sessions online

This is the weekend for the Southern California Genealogical Society 2012 Jamboree, a major event for US genealogy. A bonus for us not able to go, or whose interests in the US are not so extensive, is the availability free of several presentations streamed online. You can see the full list at http://goo.gl/PKq4n

Two that particularly caught my attention are:

Saturday, June 9 - 1:00-2:00 p.m. EDT
SA-020 - Lisa Louise Cooke
Projects That Will Captivate The Non-Genealogists In Your Life
Learn creative ways to capture the imagination of your non-historian friends and relatives, while honoring your ancestors. The joy in genealogy isn’t just climbing your family tree, but building bonds with current and future generations, and this class will show you high tech and low tech ways to do just that. You are guaranteed to be inspired!

Saturday, June 9 - 2:30 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. EDT
SA-021 - Steve Luxenberg
Genealogy from the Inside Out: Tracing the Mysterious From a Single Clue 
When a family secret alters our understanding of the family tree, when we learn about a hidden relative (or a hidden marriage, or a hidden divorce, or a hidden cause of death), how do we pursue it? Steve reveals how he assembled the paper trail that led  through burial records, birth certificates, hospital records, immigration documents and wartime records, and assembles them into a coherent paper trail. This session is more of a “how-to-think” than a “how-to.” Beginners, intermediate and advanced researchers will come away with new ideas for unearthing what had been hidden.