30 November 2012

FreeBMD 2nd November update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Friday 30 November 2012 and currently contains 223,319,729 distinct records (282,193,587 total records).
Since the previous update on 3 November:
- 246,395 unique birth entries have been added, the major additions being for 1939-40, 1943-45, 1955, 1958-63, 1965-66.
- 416,633 unique marriage entries have been added, the major additions being for 1952, 1955-56, 1960-66
275,926 unique death entries have been added, the major additions being for 1953, 1956, 1961, 1963-68

British Newspaper Archive celebration

This newspaper digitization project has just celebrated its first anniversary; what's really to celebrate is having just reached 6 million pages in the collection, 6,011,380 to be exact. They now have:

· 10,000 pages added every day, 7 days a week to the website
· 150,000 new stories a day, 4,500,000 new stories a month (approx)
· Over 200 newspaper titles from the UK and Ireland
· Newspapers covering the period 1710 to 1950

The project target is 40 million pages so there`s a long way yet to go. This is a good start, the going is getting tougher. A substantial part of the content now available had been digitized previously in a British Newspaper Library project so 2019 would be an ambitious target at the present rate. That`s unless there is some major technological development.

The papers added in just the last 30 days are:

Coventry Times 1855
Dundee Courier 1909, 1911, 1915, 1921 - 1922, 1924, 1926 - 1928, 1931, 1937, 1940, 1944 - 1948, 1950
Dundee Year Book, The 1901
Evening Telegraph 1916 - 1917, 1919 - 1920, 1922 - 1923, 1925, 1929 - 1931, 1933 - 1940, 1945, 1947
Gloucestershire Echo 1932 - 1933, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1943, 1948 - 1949
Hastings and St Leonards Observer 1866
Louth and North Lincolnshire Advertiser 1910
Manchester Evening News 1917
Middlesex Chronicle 1860 - 1864
Post., The 1920 - 1935
Sheffield Daily Telegraph 1892, 1910
Stamford Mercury 1723, 1734, 1770, 1855, 1864, 1880, 1894, 1909
Sussex Advertiser 1746 - 1747, 1756, 1765 - 1768, 1786
Western Morning News 1921, 1923
Windsor and Eton Express 1876

Ontario Business Directory 1903

Let`s call it directory day. Here`s a third, the 634 page Ontario business directory at http://bit.ly/ScccJJ. Are any of your business owning ancestors included?

Canada and Newfoundland Directory, 1899

Here`s a second directory for the day, the 1,246 page Dominion of Canada and Colony of Newfoundland Gazetteer and Classified Business Directory (1899).
The major contents are a 670 page business directory and 250 page gazetteer.

Lovell's Business and Professional Directory,1882

The full title of this digitized book on the Internet Archive in the Toronto collection, attributed to Brock University, is:

Lovell's Business and Professional Directory of the Province of Ontario, for 1882, Alphabetically arranged as to Places, Names, Business and Professions, with a Classified Business Directory of the City of Montreal

There's a lot to explore in 1,464 pages. The largest section, over 600 pages, is an Alphabetical Directory of Ontario. You never know who you're going to find. The cut-out includes cabinet minister Sir Leonard Tilley, librarian of parliament Alpheus Todd, Walter Todd who served with the Ottawa Sharpshooters, and perhaps others you recognize.

More than 300 pages is devoted to Classification of Businesses, and etc, in Ontario.

There's also an over 100 page section Railway Routes with key, 40 page Postal Guide to the Dominion of Canada, and much else.

29 November 2012

Ancestry gets into newspapers

Dick Eastman blogs "Ancestry.com Launches New Web Site Newspapers.com", a welcome development with more than 25million pages of US papers. As yet (?) there are no Canadian papers in the newspapers.com database.

LAC to post indexed 1906 census

Library and Archives Canada have tweeted that they will launch a nominal index for the 1906 census, (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba) sometime "after the holidays."

You don't have to wait. Experienced Canadian genealogists know this will be at best the fourth means of accessing that nominally indexed census. There may be other local versions.

  • Ancestry have had the index available for years to subscribers and free online to most Canadians who know enough to go to a local public library or Family History Centre.
  • Automated genealogy has a free index linked to images.
  • Familysearch has a transcription.
LAC will likely use the index produced by Ancestry through a partnership agreement; LAC's use of the index was embargoed for three years.

It's a sign of the sorry state of affairs at LAC that what's being heralded is this fourth source for the 1906 census rather than records from their collection previously unavailable elsewhere, or the announcement of additional partnerships so that further records can be indexed.

Google street view

Delighted to see that Google have been back and rephotographed much of Ottawa. Fortunately this time they came around in summer, things look greener and they avoided garbage day on my street.

Doncaster parish records at findmypast

Findmypast.co.uk have added parish records for Doncaster in the area formerly known as the West Riding of Yorkshire. Extracted by the Doncaster Family History Society they comprise:

181,089 baptisms for 1539-1986
328,094 burials for 1537-1978
34,216 cemetery records for 1856-1937 which contain plot references at Hyde Park Cemetery.

28 November 2012

MyHeritage acquires Geni.com

Consolidation is underway in the genealogy social network world. MyHeritage, the Israeli-based international scope social network, Alexa rank 3,971, has taken ownership of Geni.com, rank 5,631. Read the coverage from GeneaPress here.

PERiodical Source Index

Ancestry's version of the Periodical Source Index has just been updated. It's a good idea to check back occasionally for the less common names and places you search.

"PERSI is the world’s largest and most widely used subject index to genealogy and local history periodicals written in English and French (Canada). The collection dates from approximately 1800 and contains more than 3 million searchable records from nearly 10,000 different periodicals indexed by staffers at the Allen County Public Library. Since its release in 1986, PERSI has gained wide recognition as an essential tool for high-quality genealogy research.
Periodicals indexed in PERSI include magazines, newsletters, journals, and other publications produced as a series that deal with topics of interest to genealogists and family historians."

Appreciation of family historians

Family historians enrich our families and our community life.

Through their many hours of unpaid work, keeping alive family stories and producing heirloom artifacts  they keep families in touch and grounded in their shared heritage. Often that effort goes little appreciated by younger family members busy with the demands of children and work, or youngsters making their way in an difficult environment. Many of us remember being in that situation not so many years ago.

By volunteering in the community with no expectation of reward or recognition, family historians get to be part of a cooperative effort. When one of us is recognized we should celebrate a collective achievement. Without the folk who volunteer in support roles the stars would not shine.

In BIFHSGO we've just lost two devoted members, Betty Burrows and Tom Rimmer, who contributed to the success of the Society as board members. Their major contributions were invisible to many Society members, but they were stars nevertheless.

A further Great Moments interview

Brian Glenn has posted an interview (mp3) just recorded with BIFHSGO December Great Moments in Genealogy speaker Arthur Owen (sp corrected). The presentation will involve a DNA-based discovery.

27 November 2012

Betty Burrows obit

Elizabeth A. Burrows (Betty), daughter of Dr. John E. Machacek and Alice Linda Donaway, was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She passed on November 23 at Ottawa and is survived by her husband, Dr. Vernon D. Burrows, daughters Diane Burrows (Gregory Bell) and Janet Burrows. She was sister to Pat Machacek, Robert (Bob) Machacek (Josie), sister-in-law to Ruth Boyes and aunt to six nieces and nephews and their children. Betty graduated from the U. of Manitoba (BSc 1954) and from the U. of Ottawa (B.Ed 1981). After marriage, they lived in Pasadena, California where Betty worked as a technician (USC Medical School) while Vern completed his PhD at Caltech. They then moved to Ottawa. In 1962, Vern and Betty gathered a group of parents together and formed and staffed the Parkwood Hills Cooperative Nursery School, now named The Community Cooperative Nursery School. Betty spent her teaching career with the Carleton Board of Education and after retirement she worked as a supply teacher, often teaching ESL to primary students. She volunteered for several years at the Queensway Carleton Hospital. Betty enjoyed collecting antique ink and smelling salt bottles and glass trade beads. She was keenly interested in computers, genealogy and travel. At Betty's request, funeral services are private for family. Those wishing to honour Betty may contribute to the Elisabeth Bruyère Hospital (Palliative Care Unit) in Ottawa, the Salvation Army Christmas Fund or to a charity of your choice. Online condolences may be made at www.colefuneralservices.com

Published in The Ottawa Citizen on November 27, 2012

LAC too

Problems with the Tithe Books is John Grenham's most recent Irish Roots column. He gives examples and laments errors at the new Irish National Archives Tithe Books site –titheapplotmentbooks.nationalarchives.ie

He ends with a paragraph pointing to where the responsibility for such problems lies that applies equally well, with modifications indicated to make it applicable the Canadian situation, to Library and Archives Canada

Let me be absolutely clear: the National Archives LAC (professional) staff are not to blame for this. They are doing heroic work under atrocious conditions. The fault lies squarely with their masters in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Department of Canadian Heritage and their political masters, who give their underlings a ball of string and a piece of Blu-tack and tell them to build the Taj Mahal. If the Archives LAC had control of its own budget, something like this just would not happen. And if ever there was an argument against giving civil servants direct control of our cultural institutions, this is it.

History Wars

A post History Wars, where is the media by Atlantic Canada historian Tom Peace on the Active History blog, condemns the Globe and Mail which has "routinely failed to cover and comment on the significant cutbacks to the preservation of Canada’s documentary and material heritage." He cites specific examples of cuts that have impacted his ability to do his job.

26 November 2012

Advance notice: Tall Ships

If tall ships and the War of 1812 are part of your interests make a note of the celebrations happening along the St Lawrence in June and July 2013.
  • Tall Ships Festival, June 15-16 in Brockville
  • Thousand Island Flotilla, July 8-14 in Kingston to Crysler's Farm ending with a recreation of the Battle of Crysler's Farm, July 13-14 at Upper Canada Village.

Suffolk Pubs

Do you have a family history connection to a British public house? In my family tree, aside from many who frequented them, I have one listed as landlord of a pub in Barrow, Suffolk at the start of the 19th century.

If you're lucky enough to have Suffolk ancestry the listing of pubs provided by CAMRA, many with historic information, will be of interest.


25 November 2012

Betty Burrows RIP

Just received, notice that highly respected former BIFHSGO Director of Communications Betty Burrows passed away last Wednesday. Betty was an enthusiastic contributing member; BIFHSGO is better for her involvement and contributions over many years, recognized by a certificate of excellence awarded earlier this year.

"Bettyserved our Society as Communications Director from 2006 to 2010 during whichtime she co-ordinated the production and distribution of Anglo-Celtic Roots, she wasresponsible for our award-winning website and our newsletter; she has beenactive in the planning of our fall conferences, participating in the productionof our conference program."
Additional appreciation

I knew Betty as an excellent BIFHSGO Director of Communications who never stinted in her quiet, efficient contributions to the Society. A wise, kind, and supportive friend to the ACR team, she will be sorely missed.

Jean Kitchen

Editor, Anglo-Celtic Roots

Official obit to follow.

Internet Genealogy: Dec/Jan issue

Browsing this issue, with articles by a constellation of familiar names, my first thought was how much easier the magazine has become on the eyes with the increased white space.

As it's a topic I write and speak on I turned immediately to an article by George Morgan, "Digitized Newspapers Online". I'd no need to worry he was stealing any of my thunder as the article covers strictly US papers whereas I speak on Canadian and British periodicals.

Lisa Louise Cooke has an easy to read article on using the iPad for genealogy with suggestions for useful apps and a quick list of iPad tricks.

Turning to Tony Bandy's "Genealogy Software Update", I was surprised by the choice. They don't seem to be in order of merit, there's no significance to describing The Master Genealogist first, and no mention of Legacy!

Two articles by Lisa Alzo cover different ways of preserving and sharing audio, both new to me, savingmemoriesforever.com and voicequilt.com.

Aside from Dave Obee's regular back page column the specific Canadian content is by Christine Woodcock who writes on the Selkirk Settlers - a very much overlooked 200th anniversary this year.

Here's the table of contents.

Genealogy On-the-Go With the iPad
Lisa Louise Cooke reveals how your iPad can be a huge addition to your genealogy toolbox

Saving Memories Forever
Lisa A. Alzo introduces us to a new online system for recording, saving and sharing memories "one story at a time!"

Digitized Newspapers Online
George G. Morgan looks at some of the options you have for accessing digitized newspapers

Croatian and Serbian Genealogy
Smiljka Kitanovic explains how to research your ancestors from localities in today's Croatia and Serbia

Genealogy Software Update!
Tony Bandy explores six different genealogy software programs and offers his thoughts on their features

The USA Manual
Tony Bandy looks at an excellent source for information that helps you add context to your family history

Gale and myGenShare
Diane L. Richard looks at two great genealogy resources that are just a click away

Lisa A. Alzo discusses how to create a family keepsake of audio memories with VoiceQuilt™

Selkirk Settlers
Christine Woodcock looks at the mass migration of displaced Scots highlanders to Canada

Internet Genealogy looks at websites and related news that are sure to be of interest

The Back Page
Dave Obee wants to know what the future holds for backing up our data

December Great Moments in Genealogy interviews

Now on the BIFHSGO website, two interviews of speakers at the December Great Moments session. Brian Glenn talks about about what took him to Newfoundland to look at Crew Lists; Sandra Adams tells about an "insolent" remark on an 1851 census and why it pleased her.

24 November 2012

TNA podcast: Adlestrop: railways, poetry and the myths of 1914

This presentation by TNA military history specialist Bruno Derrick given just before Nov 11 explores "the literary and military career of Edward Thomas, the impact of the railways on the English countryside at the start of the 20th century and whether or not 1914 really does represent the culmination of the ‘Long Edwardian Summer’." 

Listen from http://goo.gl/QrMI7
Yes, I remember Adlestrop --
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop -- only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
Edward Thomas

Google indoor maps

Google maps is starting to be helpful getting around indoors in some major buildings.
The selection is limited but growing. Some British indoor maps, places you might find a genealogist in London, are the British Museum, Museum of London, National Maritime Museum, National Portrait Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
There are also maps of train stations and airports, although not Heathrow.
To view the indoor maps select the building and zoom in until the floor plan appears.

Is this LAC notice helpful?

If you've been to the LAC website(s) lately you'll have seen the notice:

In order to provide you with better service, we are currently redesigning our website. If you have difficulty finding what you are looking for, feel free to contact us.
Most organizations would find a way to change their site without subjecting clients to "difficulty".

Most organizations would recognize that you go to the web for quick information.What's the help you get when you click contact us?
"We will answer most questions in 2 to 30 working days" 

23 November 2012

Deceased Online adds Scottish memorial inscriptions

Thousands of memorial inscriptions for burial grounds from the Western Isles to the East coast are added to Deceased Online as it continues to grow its collection for Scottish counties and areas

The additions to the range of Scottish Memorial Inscriptions (SMI) date back to 1632 and details of the 13 featured burial grounds and cemeteries and their locations can be found here.

At the same time, two other smaller collections have been added for two Scottish cemeteries which include both memorial inscriptions and photographs. These are Kildalton Kirkyard on the isle of Islay and Roshven Cemetery in the Highlands.

Both sets of records are included in the main search indexes.

www.deceasedonline.com now features records for hundreds of cemeteries, kirkyards and burial grounds across Scotland.

Thanks to Richard Gray of Deceased Online for the notice.


Ramblings on why family history?

If you were fortunate you grew up with loving parents; they may be gone, there's a lasting emotional attachment. You have fond memories of grandparents; perhaps fragmentary memories of great grandparents from early childhood. Artefacts are preserved and there are equally treasured stories of previous generations.
Generations back the number of ancestors increases to fill a village, then several villages, then a country, etc., few would claim an emotional attachment. Can you appreciate the life of people who lived several hundred years ago… there's no app for that!
Falling into the vastness of forgotten history is our fate, even before history itself evaporates in astronomical catastrophe.
Not to despair.
Megan Smolenyak's in her Honoring our Ancestors website expresses it:

"Perhaps the most powerful and under-appreciated aspect of genealogy is its ability to bring people together - across time, distance and other barriers."
The Genealogy in Time newsletter has an article on Why Genealogy Is Important which concludes
Genealogy helps satisfy a deep need to understand how we fit into the broader world around us. From this perspective, genealogy is more than just a collection of single family threads that go through time. Genealogy truly is a journey of many lifetimes woven together from the past, the present and (from our perspective) the future.
This is catering to a very personal desire, even yearning, to find one's own place.

Today we're often only known by our username and password, or account number and pin, and forced through security screening and customs at airports ... like biological units, not humans.

Remember "In The Beginning" by The Moody Blues
First Man: I think, I think I am, therefore I am, I think.
Establishment: Of course you are my bright little star, I've miles And miles Of files Pretty files of your forefather's fruit and now to suit our great computer, You're magnetic ink.
First Man: I'm more than that, I know I am, at least, I think I must be.
Inner Man: There you go man, keep as cool as you can.
Face piles
And piles
Of trials
With smiles.
It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave
And keep on thinking free.
Note: I compiled this post a year ago and then forgot about it. Sometimes I snip material I find as a reference for a post. I may have done so for part of this article without knowing where it came from.

Tom Rimmer official obit

BIFHSGO members mourn the loss of one of our most respected members.

CAUT expand campaign

There's more rotten in the State of Denmark Canada than Library and Archives Canada, certainly on the heritage front. That's the view of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. To make the point CAUT has started a new website Canada's Past Matters.The issues highlighted are:

Save Library & Archives Canada
Preserve Canada’s Historical Sites
Protect Canada’s Public Libraries
Restore Canada’s Local Archives
Retain the Canadian Museum of Civilization

Given the turn out earlier this year when about 1000 scientists marched on Parliament Hill protesting government actions it would be even better if the academic community, and supporters, could get together in a coordinated campaign against this government's antagonistic policy on research and knowledge infrastructure of all kinds.

Thanks to Bruce Elliott for the tip

NLI family history speaker notes

In August 2012, the National Library of Ireland hosted the “20x20” lunchtime series of talks on Irish family history. Speaker notes/slides from Sean Murphy, Mary Sullivan, Brian Donovan, John Grenham, Gianpiero Cavallieri, Susan Hood, Turtle Bunbury, Jennifer Doyle, Brian Mitchell, Eileen Ó Dúill, Carmel Gilbride, Jim Herlihy, Cliona Weldon, William Roulston, Catriona Crowe, Prof. Nollaig Ó Muraíle  are freely available at www.eneclann.ie/20x20

BIFHSGO members will recognize some of the speakers who have presented in Ottawa. Maybe one or more will be at the 2013 Irish-themed BIFHSGO conference.

Thanks to Charles Donohue for sending the lead.

22 November 2012

Wolverhampton WW1 blog

The Wolverhampton City Archive has a new blog looking to the commemorations for the anniversary of the First World War in 2014. It shares stories, images and details of the local men and women who were involved, both at home and abroad, the first posting being for Victoria Cross winner Roland Elcock.

Read about it at http://wolverhamptonswar.wordpress.com/

Researchers for the area shouldn't forget to check what's new at blackcountryhistory.org

News from Ontario's Our Digital World


Newmarket Public Library has completed digitizing their newspaper collection, making 125 years of The Era available online with hit highlighted keyword searching: http://news.ourontario.ca/newmarket/.

Whitby Public Library digitized an index of vital statistics and have linked them to page images from 140 years of various newspaper titles from the Whitby area; OCR full text searching will be available before the end of the year: http://vitacollections.ca/whitbynews/.

Further to these, the City of Kawartha Lakes Public Library digitized a catalogue of WWII records, including clippings, photos and vital statistics, and have launched that collection online as well: http://vitacollections.ca/ckl-digitalcollection/.

The Multicultural History Society of Ontario is at the first stages of a major digitization project and marked the first year by launching a large portion of their oral history collection, including more than 100 interviews with Canadians from a diverse range of ethnic backgrounds, with ongoing transcription underway for full text searches; the MHSO is working toward digitizing more oral histories as well as hundreds--even thousands--of photographs over the next year: http://vitacollections.ca/mhso/

Thanks to Jess Posgate of ourdigitalworld.org for the update


Ancestry updates maritime records

The Ancestry database UK and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927 has been updated. Be sure to check adjacent images to that linked for additional information.

21 November 2012

Catriona Crowe to speak in Montreal on Friday

The 7th Annual St. Patrick’s Society Lecture on “The Irish Decade of Commemorations: Some Reflections” will be given Catriona Crowe, National Archives of Ireland on Friday, November 23, 7:00 p.m. at the Concordia University, School of Canadian Irish Studies located at the Hall Building, 1455 de Maisonneuve W., Room 1070 (10th floor). Montreal.

Via Elizabeth Lapointe's Genealogy Canada blog


Ottawa DNA group meeting

A reminder that the next meeting of the Ottawa DNA/Genetic Genealogy group is this coming Saturday morning (24th) at 9:30 am at the new city archives at 100 Tallwood Drive. The meeting is open to all, from those just beginning to explore the potential to experts willing to share their knowledge.

The 2013 meetings have been booked there on Feb. 2nd, May 4th and Nov. 30th.

BC Land Grant records at Family Search

British Columbia, Crown Land Grants, 1869-1930 is now available on Family Search. It includes an Index to 1912, a General Index from 1908-1930, and Crown Grants images.
A better place to start is the Historic Crown Grant Search page at https://apps.gov.bc.ca/pub/rd/html/index.html which shows thumbnail images of the original documents. Full size images may be purchased, or you can now find them on Family Search.

1939 National Registration

You may have heard of the 1939 National Registration of England and Wales. Conducted on the 29 September 1939. Information collected included: national registration number; address; surname; first forename; other forename(s)/ initial(s); date of birth; sex; marital status; occupation.
To obtain data you need to prove that the individual is deceased; provide on the form found here (pdf) the name and date of birth, or the national registration number, or the address; and remit £42.00.

Some people who have been unable to supply sufficient information may now find they can given the address found with the electoral register information recently available from Ancestry for London and the Midlands. 

20 November 2012

CAUT to protest heritage cuts in Parliament Hill

There's an article in the Postmedia newspapers under the headline Canadian history, heritage at risk from cuts to Libraries and Archives Canada, say academics.
Representatives of the Canadian Association of University Teachers will be continuing the  Save Library and Archives Canada campaign by protesting on Parliament Hill on Thursday.

NOT Abraham Lincoln's descendant

An article in the The Daily Jeffersonian of Cambridge, Ohio, November 19, 2012
Linked to Lincoln DNA confirms local man descendant of 16th President  illustrates how misleading such stories can be. 

According to the headline the man is a descendant of the President. The story makes it clear he's thought to be a relative, a descendant of President Lincoln's half-brother.  
The article indicates the man took a DNA test with Family Tree DNA and "The results provided the confirmation he needed: His branch grew from the Lincoln/Linkhorn family tree." A bit more information would have been helpful. There is a Lincoln DNA project with several good Y DNA test results for descendants of the three Lincoln brothers from Hingham, Norfolk, who moved to America.  Samuel the weaver was President Lincoln's ancestor and the descendants are all haplogroup R1b1a2 (shared by 60% of the men in Great Britain).

Missing from the census tip

Audrey Collins, the (UK) National Archives family historian always worth paying attention to, has written an instructive blog post Missing from the census? on TNA website. Part of the advice:

"You can get a rough idea of which parts of a census are missing by searching in Discovery, our online catalogue, using the keywords ‘missing’ or ‘wanting’, and restricting your search to the reference for that census; HO 107 for 1841 and 1851, RG 9 for 1861, RG 10 for 1871 and so on, up to RG 14 for 1911. This will usually show where all or part of a parish or district has not survived, and you will see that 1861 has more damaged or missing parts than any other year. The missing parts even of this census still only represent a tiny proportion of the whole census, but that still amounts to an awful lot of people."

Lessons in Genealogy 1915

The Genealogical Society of Utah was organized on November 13, 1894. By 1915 the Society was already publishing the third edition of Lessons in Genealogy - now available in The Internet Archive (pdf).

Browsing through it becomes apparent that although technology has advanced, procedures are more systematized and the way things are expressed has changed much remains the same.
The book advises to "use notebooks, preferably about seven by ten inches, as this permits space for dates and names across the page," that "A soft and good pencil is advisable, as there are often erasures to make, especially with beginners."

Today we've little need for advice to "Insist on securing the very best ink made for permanent recording". "Cheap ink soon fades, and the fading-away of our work may prove a serious loss to our descendants."

You won't find "cite your sources" with hundreds of pages of prescription of how to do so. Readers were advised to "always write at the top of your page in both notebook and record of temple work, the source of your information, whether it be from family tradition, from individuals, from old Bibles, from books in a certain library, from county wills or deeds, from cemeteries, or from parish records searched by yourself or another at your instigation. Write out on each page just where the names you record can be found. Be careful, be accurate, and give all facts."

Another snippet. Did you know that "The first American work on genealogy was published in 1771. The second in 1787. The third in 1813."?

PLG (Edmonton) strongly condemns LAC leadership

The Edmonton Chapter of the Progressive Librarians Guild strongly condemns the decisions being made by the leadership of Library and Archives Canada (LAC), decisions which jeopardize LAC’s mandate as a national library and archives as well as the library profession’s commitment to intellectual freedom.  These decisions contribute to the further devaluation of our cultural memory organizations and other services in the name of a spurious austerity programme.

Find out the details here.

19 November 2012


Kyle Betit during his talk to the OGS Ottawa Branch mentioned a new Canadian online database, www.irishindex.ca  presently with over 15,000 birth, marriage and death announcements appearing in Freeman's Journal, a leading Irish newspaper, between July 1817 and September 1823.
Searching is free; to receive the complete item transcript of every newspaper entry in your "Shopping Basket" by E-mail costs $1.00 (Canadian) per entry or $.75 per entry for five or more. The minimum charge is $5.00 per order.

Heritage Ottawa presentation on Ottawa Union Station and the Chateau Laurier at 100

Ottawa's downtown landmarks, the Chateau Laurier and former Union Station, (Government Conference Centre), are celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2012. A century earlier they represented the expansion of the Grand Trunk Railway into the capital and across the country and brought to prominence a new Montreal architectural firm, Ross & MacFarlane/Macdonald, the largest in Canada by the 1930's. Heritage Ottawa Vice-President David Jeanes, who has known both buildings since his youth and has studied them in great detail, particularly the Beaux-Arts station, will share his in-depth knowledge of these significant monuments.

Date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Ottawa Public Library Auditorium

120 Metcalfe St., corner of Laurier Ave. W.


Perth Historical Society Meeting: The Early Days at Christie Lake

The next Perth Historical Society meeting  at 7:30 pm, Wednesday November 21, at the Perth Museum, at 11 Gore Street E. in Perth welcomes one of the area’s favourite local historians and presenters, John McKenty.  John will discuss the background to his recently released book 'Arden Blackburn’s Mail Route: The Early Days at Christie Lake'.

Christie Lake, in Tay Valley Township, west of Perth, is the third largest lake in the Tay River Watershed.  From its earliest days, the lake became a community that transcended politics, religion and sometimes, even family – who, over the years, demonstrated a ready willingness to help each other.  This was a bond born in nature and driven by necessity.  So it was that folks at the lake worked and played together and often came together to celebrate the beauty that surrounded them.  While families such as the Marks, the Noonans and the Jordans left an indelible mark on the lake, it was the community’s mailman, Arden Blackburn, who used the North Shore Road to weave an unmistakable thread through this unlikely mix of permanent residents and summer vacationers.
 John McKenty, born in Peterborough, received his B.A. and B.Ed. from Queen’s University and his M.A. from the University of Western Ontario.  He and his wife Zeta live in Drummond/North Elmsley Township; they have three children and four grandchildren.  John retired as a high school principal in 2006 after more than 30 years as an educator.
Author McKenty’s works demonstrate a deep interest in the everyday parts of the lives of community people – service station operators, factory workers, mailmen.  In his words: “It’s not the stuff of which legends are made, but the stuff by which history is made.”  From his interest in these elements, John has written and published three well-known, popular earlier books:  Square Deal Garage: Sixty Years of Service to the Motoring Public; Follow the Crowd: The James Boys of Perth; and Canada Cycle & Motor: The CCM Story.

Thanks to David Taylor for the notice.

Call for Presentations for the BIFHSGO Conference 2013

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa 19th Annual Conference will be held September 20-22, 2013 at Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington Street, Ottawa).

The focus will be on Ireland. Proposals for other presentations are also invited as well as proposals for workshops or seminars on the Friday (September 20, 2013). Details on writing the proposals can be found at http://bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=22. Please send your proposals to conference@bifhsgo.ca before January 31, 2013.

Comment: Congratulations to the program organizers in getting this call out in good time. In addition to presentations on the Irish theme the program committee would welcome proposals on cross-cutting topics, such as technology applications for family history.

Tom Rimmer RIP

On Friday 16 November BIFHSGO lost one of its most dedicated members, Tom Rimmer who passed away after a year-long decline and following surgery.  A native of Lancashire with a deep interest in his family history, Tom served as BIFHSGO Vice-President and Treasurer from 2000 to 2006. During that time of Society growth he took the initiative for the Society to become the only North American agent for vouchers for the 2001 census of England and Wales.
Tom was a willing volunteer in several areas including performing home child data abstraction, at the conference in the computer room and as conference treasurer for many years. He made several BIFHSGO presentations, most recent jointly with his granddaughter in September last year.
Sympathy to Tom's wife Nancy, sons Doug (Susan) and Malcolm (Donna), and grandchildren Anne and James.

18 November 2012

QFHS December events

Here are the events planned by the Quebec Family History Society for December 2012

Saturday, December 1
A Genealogical Day in Scotland: 1500-2012 (Seminar)

10:00 am to 3:00 pm - Quebec Family History Society Heritage Centre and Library, 173 Cartier Avenue, Pointe-Claire, QC H9J 4H9

Presented by Jackie Billingham, Susan Gingras and Gary Schroder

Learn about the major sources used in in Scottish genealogical research from civil registrations to Kirk records, and from censuses to probate records. Participants will learn how to correctly use the information available on the Scotland’s People website and what strategies to use when planning a research trip to Scotland.

Fee: $30.00 members; $40.00 non-members.

Reservations are required. Call 514.695.1502 or contact Jackie Billingham at

Wednesday, December 5
Celebrating Our Military Roots Day

Afternoon 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm - Evening 6:30pm to 9:30 pm

Quebec Family History Society Heritage Centre and Library, 173 Cartier Avenue, Pointe-Claire, QC H9J 4H9

Join us for the first in a series of monthly Celebrating Our Roots Days.

Drop by for coffee, tea, and informal conversation. Share your research and learn what others have discovered about their ancestors who served in the military.

Joining us in the afternoon will be Earl John Chapman, author of several military history books, including "Canada's Black Watch: Legacies of Gallantry and Service."

Bring your favourite military books to show others. On display we will feature books from the QFHS military collection for you to browse and borrow. Also on display will be members' military memorabilia.

So, bring along copies of your military letters, photos, service records, medals, coffee mug, a friend, or just bring yourself.

Open to members and the public.

Saturday, December 8
An Insider's View of the Institut généalogique Drouin (Free Public Lecture)

10:30 am to 12:00 pm - Briarwood Presbyterian Church Hall, 70 Beaconsfield Blvd., Beaconsfield.

Presented by Sébastien Robert

Sébastien Robert, vice-president at the Institut généalogique Drouin will provide us with a unique opportunity to learn from an insider what the Drouin records offer family historians.

Until the late 1900s, church registers in Quebec were the source of birth, marriage and burial records. Every year, all churches were required to send a copy of their registers to the appropriate courthouse. During the 1940s, these records were filmed by the Institut généalogique Drouin.

Members and non-members are invited to attend and stay afterward for refreshments and conversation.

Thanks to Susan Gingras Calcagni for the information.

Prairie Souls

Prairie Souls was put together by a lovely lady named Nelda Burwash, who has taken pictures of gravestones in cemeteries in north-east Alberta and a few in Saskatchewan. If you have ancestors in the Albertan counties of Bonnyville, Lamont, Smoky Lake, St Paul, Strathcona, Sturgeon, or Two Hills, or in the Saskatchewan municipalities of Eye Hill or Senlac, you might find some relevant images, not only of gravestones, but some views of the cemeteries as well.

Thanks for the info to Persephone, a regular reader and formidable blogger, who was delighted to find Prairie Souls had the grave of two key ancestors in her husband's tree.

GenealogyinTime anniversary

Congratulations to the folks behind GenealogyinTime magazine which celebrates its fourth anniversary this week.

Starting as an online magazine reporting genealogy news stories it has grown to encompass search engines, a toolbar, many how-to articles and other resources to help people find their ancestors.

GenealogyInTime Magazine now boasts being the fifth largest free genealogy website in the world. Alexa's ranking for genealogy sites has it as 13th overall, even ahead of Dick Eastman's newsletter.


17 November 2012

Ancestry Dorset collection updated

If researching Dorset records note that Ancestry have updated their collection of indexed parish register images: Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906 (397,764 records); Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921 (401,567 records); Deaths and Burials, 1813-2001 (341,085 records).

Forthcoming databases

The National Archives of Ireland are publicizing their forthcoming databases, as mentioned in this post by Claire Santry on her Irish Genealogy News blog.

Not To be out-done Library and Archives Canada tweeted they will release 15 new census nominal indexes in the next months.  Considering the number of census years open to the public, and those already available, it will be interesting to see the higher math skills that allow this number to be attained.

Deceased Online extends Bolton database

Richard Gray of Deceased Online informs of the 2nd data addition for the Bolton area of Lancashire/Greater Manchester, over 95,000 burial records for Heaton, 1879-2012.
There is now data for 211,000 Bolton burials with five more area cemeteries and Overdale Crematorium coming soon. Deceasedonline.com also has maps to make it easy to locate a grave site.

TNA Podcast: Marjorie's War, four families and the Great War

Charles Fair, a military historian and battlefield guide, weaves together the story of various of his grandmother's relatives during the Great War with an explanation of the research he conducted in family and government archives. He emphasizes the need to research in sources beyond those that are obviously relevant. Listen if you would like to learn how to find out more about an ancestor's war experience, and be inspired to do so.


The presentation is based on the presenter's book Marjorie's War: Four Families in the Great War 1914 - 1918 which has received excellent reviews.


16 November 2012

McGill University War Records digitized

McGill University now has war records online by name or browse the alphabetical list. The collection contains 6,617 index cards and more than 3,000 files containing newspaper clippings, correspondence and about 700 photos, documenting the involvement of McGill faculty, students, alumni, and staff during WWII.
The digitization was conducted largely by graduate-level students from McGill’s School of Information Studies.
This record collection is part of McGill Remembers.
McGill is now digitizing the 1926 commemorative volume, McGill Honour Roll 1914-1918, that will be online in early 2013. That publication is already digitized by Early Canadiana Online. Everyone can view the first few pages here; ECO subscribers have full access.

Thanks to Gail Dever for pointing out information at the QFHS website.

RAOGK: the next generation

With Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) no longer operating after the death of its owner, another group has sprung up which could replace those valuable volunteer services.
It's called Generous Genealogists and one can register to provide help to others, or ask for help from other researchers. The web site is set up quite differently from RAOGK, but it's usable once you've gotten used to it. One can also get advice from a Brickwall Forum and a Coaching Forum. Both could prove useful.

Thanks to Brenda Turner for the tip.

Find My Past TV Show

A year ago I blogged about the Find My Past TV series showing on British TV channel Yesterday. Now a new series is being aired. There's information here including how you can watch recent episodes online even if you're not a subscriber to the findmypast.co.uk. Subscribers get unlimited access.

LAC: behind the scenes

The LAC Discovery Blog has a short item about 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. It's the third in the "Behind the Scenes" series. The first was about the Gatineau Preservation Centre, the second The Nitrate Film Preservation Facility.

Check out A Behind-the-Scenes Look at LAC: Services for the Public Available in Ottawa not only for information on the services but also the history of the building and art on display.

15 November 2012

Save a life

Do you know how to use those heart machines (AED) found in airports and malls? If not, watch this video from www.heartrescuenow.com/

via a tweet from Ken McKinlay

Oral history 101

Canada's History offers free to attend webinars open to teachers, students, and history-enthusiasts of all kinds.

The next one, November 27, 2012 at 1:00pm ET, is for those who would like to collect stories from their community members, but aren’t sure where to start. Alexander Freund, Associate Professor at The University of Winnipeg, will guides you through the steps of a successful oral history project. From planning, to interviewing, to processing, this webinar will cover what you need to know to start your own oral history project.

Taking Stock: World Heritage at Forty

Prof. Christina Cameron, Canada Research Chair, Built Heritage, University of Montreal wil present The Herb Stovel Memorial Lecture:  "Taking Stock:  World Heritage at Forty" on Monday, November 26, 2012, 17:30 - 18:30 h at The Pit, Main Floor, Architecture Building, Carleton University
Seats are limited. Admission is free.
A light reception will follow the event.
RSVP by November 20 to laurie_brady@carleton.ca

Hosted by the School of Canadian Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Carleton University
For a campus map, see http://www.carleton.ca/

Ottawa Scottish genealogy group

The next Scottish Genealogy Group meeting will be this Saturday, November 17th at 10:00 AM in Room 226 of the Ottawa City Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive. There will be a Silent Auction of Scottish books.

Ancestry adds Nova Scotia, Canada, Land Petitions, 1765-1800

The Nova Scotia, Canada, Land Petitions, 1765-1800 database now added at Ancestry.ca for subscribers contains an index of details extracted from petitions made for grants of land.
These 11,359 records, also available directly from the provincial archives website, comprise extracted information on: name; place of land record; record year details and; names on land record. Images of the petitions themselves are available at the Nova Scotia Archives website
At the time Nova Scotia included much of present New Brunswick.

14 November 2012

New and updated British electoral registers at Ancestry

Ancestry has made another major addition to its collection of voters lists with England, Midlands Electoral Registers, 1832-1955. It has more than 6.2 million entries for Birmingham and North Warwickshire.
The indexing was done by an automated process. It's not to be trusted except to point you to an original image to examine.
In particular don't trust addresses. I found the classically inclined Plato Jenkins, who lived on Springfield Road from 1920 to 1955 indexed as on Tennis Court in 1920, St Agnes Road in 1925, Hannah--J in 1927, Annie in 1935, Tenby in 1945, School House in 1950 and Tolwyn Street in 1955. All the time the family never moving from Springfield Road.
I also found addresses indexed as names.
Such errors are inevitable with automated indexing. Errors are always inevitable; I'd rather have these than nothing at all.
Ancestry have also updated their electoral register collection for London 1832-1965 originally posted in January. I found entries for my family for later years than previously. There's also an update to the electoral register collection for Dorset 1839-1922.

North Lanark Historical Society genealogy workshop

The North Lanark Historical Society will be hosting a genealogy workshop on: Wed, Thurs & Fri, Nov 21, 22 & 23, 2012 from 2 to 4 pm at the Museum in Appleton.
The workshop is intended for people who wish to begin building a family tree, or who wish to take advantage of the sources and services on the internet.
For people who have considerable experience already, the workshop will provide a refresher, a discussion of current on-line resources, and some research assistance.
There will be a review of alternative approaches so that participants can be confident they will not be faced with the need to repeat any work later.
The format of the workshop will be as follows.
Wed Nov 21. 2 to 4 pm Overview of Genealogy by Bob Butler and Brian Tackaberry
The overview will include:
- Different Reasons to work on your family tree, and how that effects your approach.
- The Pros and Cons of building your family tree on the internet.
- Alternate Internet Genealogy Services - To search for info and to build on line trees.
- The Need for Documentation - A Loyalist Example
- Major sources of information
- Demonstrations with Ancestry and Family Tree Maker

Thurs & Fri, Nov 22 & 23, 2 to 4 pm Getting Started On Your Own Family Tree
Demonstration of starting a new tree, using data from workshop participants if available.

Workshop participants who bring their own computer with WiFi capability will be able connect to Ancestry and start their own tree.
You will be also be able to work on your own tree at home for the duration of the workshop.
If you will be using your own computer, we recommend you purchase a copy of Family Tree Maker 2012 with synchronization capability. (Available from Global Genealogy for $39.95 + taxes & shipping)
Two computers will be provided by the Museum to be shared among the attendees.
Bob & Brian will be available to provide individual assistance sources or computer techniques.
Both instructors have been working steadily on Genealogy for many years, starting during the "bad old days" when microfilms etc were a primary source of info.
Brian is a member of the OGS (Ontario Genealogical Society), the president of the Bay of Quinte Branch of the United Empire Loyalists, and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.
Bob has particated in the OGS CSIG (Computer Special Interest Group) for several years and provided research room support at Ottawa OGS and BIFHSGO conferences. (British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa). You can review some of his work on his web site: R.E. Butler - Genealogy

$10 per person for each day attended. $25 for all 3 days.

Please register with Sarah at the North Lanark Regional Museum 613-257-8503

Or email: Appletonmuseum@hotmail.com with your name, phone number, and dates you plan to attend.

If there is sufficient interest, other workshops will be held in the future, possibly in the evening.

LAC 2012-13 Report on Plans and Priorities: first look

Every year in November government departments and agencies have their Report on Plans and Priorities for the year that started in April tabled in Parliament.
This Wordle gives an overview of the 2012-13 RPP for Library and Archives Canada. In comparing it to that for last year at http://goo.gl/f5zft there is less emphasis on modernization and institutions, more on digital.

The department spending trend in the graph shows a sharp drop in overall spending. Permanent authorities (A-base) has declined from about $102 million to $95 million, part of which is accounted for by a transfer to the new Shared Services Canada department for services provided.

The department defines six program activities, two of which, 'Collaboration in the management of government records", and "Internal Services", see large reductions in 2012-13. There is a smaller drop for "Exploration of Documentary Resources". The program activity "Documentation of the Canadian Experience" sees a continuing increase, and "Preservation of Continuing Memory" a large one-time increase for 2012-13 then declining below the previous level.

What accountability measures are there for the organization?

For strategic outcome "Canada's continuing memory is documented and made accessible to current and future generations", a performance indicator of "Percentage of the collection used by clients" is selected but will be of little value for the near future as a baseline figure is to be set in 2012–2013, and it will only be measured every 2-3 years.

For the program activity "LAC's collection is relevant to and representative of the Canadian society" the performance indicator is "Percentage of users who consider that LAC's collection represents Canadian experience", but again the target is "Next Survey will be conducted in 2013–14".

A specific target mentioned for 2012–2013 is to migrate more than 40,000 hours of audiovisual recordings in 2012–2013 to digital file formats to ensure their continued accessibility.  Will LAC report on the extent to which this is achieved?

A program activity of most user interest is "Canadians have access to Canada's documentary heritage". There are two performance indicators.

First, "Level of client satisfaction with modernized services across channels" has the targets "By March 2013: In-Person: 80%; Telephone: baseline; Mail: 80%; Online: 75%; At exhibitions: baseline".

Second, "Percentage of clients who report being able to find what they are looking for by channel" with targets "Online: 60%; In-Person: 60%. Baselines by March 2012 for telephone and mail channels."


60% is a very modest target for user satisfaction in finding what they're looking for, more like aiming to achieve mediocre performance.
As so much emphasis is placed on digitization it's reasonable to ask why there is no more commitment to it evident than for the conversion of audiovisual recording. There was a time when LAC released lists of its digitization priorities. Why no longer?

Awe inspiring, or awful

Does your society have trouble getting volunteers? Maybe it needs to inspire more awe.
According to research reported in Awe is good for you… posted on Deric Bownd's Mindblog, "Participants who experienced awe also were more willing to volunteer their time to help other people."

13 November 2012

Book Launch- Give Me Shelter: The Failure of Canada’s Cold War Civil Defence

This is rather last minute. Andrew Burtch will launch his new book at the Diefenbunker on Thursday. Details at www.diefenbunker.ca/en_index.shtml

Please RSVP to interpretation@diefenbunker.ca by November 13th.

South African (Boer) War resources

Here are two websites with information of interest to those researching those who served with British forces, including many Canadians, in South Africa.



Thanks for the tip to Glenn Wright


Family Tree DNA upgrade sale

If you've already had a DNA test with Family Tree DNA and are thinking of upgrading, here are the year-end sale prices:

UpgradesCurrentPriceSALE PRICE
Y-Refine 12-25 Marker$59$35
Y-Refine 12-37 Marker$109$69
Y-Refine 12-67 Marker$199$148
Y-Refine 25-37 Marker$59$35
Y-Refine 25-67 Marker$159$114
Y-Refine 37-67 Marker$109$79
Y-Refine 37-111 Marker$220$188
Y-Refine 67-111 Marker$129$109
mtFullSequence Add-on$289$199
To order this special offer, log in to your personal page and click on the Order An Upgrade button in the upper right corner. A link to the login page is provided below. ALL ORDERS MUST BE PLACED AND PAID FOR BY MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2012 11:59:00 PM CST TO RECEIVE THE SALE PRICES.

Folks sometimes wonder how many Y-DNA markers they should test. These days 37 markers is considered the minimum for genealogy. You might consider a larger number if you have a common surname. At the sale prices the cost of a 37 marker test plus an upgrade to 67 markers is no more than the price if you'd selected 67 markers initially.
I've not upgraded to 111 markers and would not suggest it unless there's a compelling reason.

The story of Tithe Applotment

John Grenham's new Irish Roots column is a five paragraph article giving background to these Irish records from the 1820s and 30s, now freely available at: titheapplotmentbooks.nationalarchives.ie.

Claie Santry in her excellent Irish Genealogy News blog has some further clarifications at: http://irish-genealogy-news.blogspot.ie/2012/11/tabs-missing-parishes-and-corrections.html

Ancestry adds Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Index to Cemeteries, 1890-1987

You can now get direct access to 64,077 index entries for cemetery records of Edmonton, Alberta, through an Ancestry search. The index entry returned gives name, burial date and cemetery. Then follow the link to the external City of Edmonton site for further information.

12 November 2012

FamilyTreeDNA year end sale

Wow! Significant price reductions on genetic genealogy tests from FamilyTreeDNA until the end of the year.

Family Finder (for everyone, autosomal test), regular $289, sale price $199
Y-DNA (for men only) 37 marker, regular $169, sale price $119
Y-DNA (for men only) 67 marker, regular $268, sale price $199
mtDNAPlus HVR 1 and 2 (for everyone_, regular 4169, sale price $139
mtFullSequence (for everyone), regular $299, sale price $199

Understand what you're buying first. Explore the FTDNA educational resources.

Farmer's Magazine

Of interest for those with Canadian farm ancestors, the Internet Archive now has available copies of the monthly (Canadian) Farmer's Magazine from October 1910 to April 1913, 1914, 1919 and 1920. What was on the farmer's mind in the years leading up to and after The Great War? Find out by browsing through these issues at http://goo.gl/Vv0au

LAC's archival future

On Tuesday 6 November 2012 Daniel Caron appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages studying linguistic duality during the 150th anniversary celebrations of Canadian Confederation in 2017.

His opening statement is available at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/news/speeches/Pages/150-anniversary-linguistic-duality.aspx

MP Yvon Godin opened a round of questions with several to Caron, the answers in parenthesis. This is my summary of the initial exchange based on the simultaneous translation.

LAC has had a major budget cut (we contributed 10% to the Economic Plan.), 215 positions have been cut (Yes), 21 of those relate to non-governmental records (I'd have to check the exact number, that's likely) and a 50% reduction in personnel in digitization and circulation (to clarify, there is no reduction in digitization, the reduction is in circulation. Digitization is carried out both internally and externally); and you cut all funding to the National Archival Development Program. (Yes).

Godin went on to raise a recent instance where LAC could not provide service in French, and asked why there was no mention of official languages in the LAC Report on Plans and Priorities just tabled in Parliament. Caron responded that he was surprised to hear of an instance where service in French could not be provided; official languages are part and parcel of the LAC culture, and in all the work done, all business practices and documents reflect Canadian society -- it's only natural.

In ending his questioning Godin commented that he feared that in 2017 there won't be much left considering what's happening to the precious regional and community library institutions. People don't want to libraries and archives to disappear.

In response Caron acknowledged the LAC had a decrease in budget but explained that LAC is dealing with it by taking advantage of technology. Paraphrasing somewhat:

"I'll give you an example to answer your question. I think it's important people understand what's happening in our field. We used to have to describe the material all ourselves, everything had to be done manually. Today this is something that can be done directly, digitally. The editors put in all the information on the computer so we don't have to redo the work, that represents a great deal of work – I can't tell you exactly how many people were dealing with this particular job but we don't need to do it anymore so this type of work becomes less necessary including the description of archival material. Now we get (material) in digital format, the research has already been done. (What we used to do) for the analog side of things we will continue to do that work. All institutions throughout the world, I would say they're even lagging behind us because now the material is produced for the most part in electronic format and will perhaps never be printed. Thank you."
Comment: It appears that LAC will be ingesting born digital material with a minimum of cataloging and no finding aids. It's as if everything will be lumped together with little differentiation and search used to provide access. A brave new archival world!

11 November 2012

Pan-Canadian Documentary Heritage Forum

On 5-6 November Library and Archives Canada convened the third in a series of meetings termed the Pan-Canadian Documentary Heritage Forum with representatives from library and archival organizations. I previously posted an outline of the agenda for the meeting.

An opening address by Daniel Caron has now been posted at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/news/speeches/Pages/pan-canadian-documentary-heritage-forum.aspx

The themes of the speech were familiar to anyone who follows developments at the institution that is LAC.

What was not addressed, the elephant in the room, is how LAC can again be trusted as a partner having unilaterally withdrawn all support for the National Archival Development Program, and unilaterally eliminated its role as a lender for inter-library loan.

The speech again stressed the importance of digitization:

"We are also devoting considerable effort to digitizing our material. On this critical front, this is only the beginning, but our digitization choices are based on criteria to ensure that we start with material that is of the absolute highest interest to Canadians."
LAC has been talking about digitization for years, more so recently in connection with the elimination of its major inter-library loan role. Detail is lacking. To be credible the organization needs to be up front with its plans, what will it deliver, and when?

Unfortunately I've been unable to find any comment on the meeting proceedings from any other organization involved but would be pleased to publish any report or comments, or a link, so that the interested broader community is not kept in the dark.


Toronto For King and Country database updated

Thanks to Gwyneth Pearce for timely news.

The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has added 3,000 more names and ten more schools to its on-line database of school memorials commemorating Toronto students and staff who volunteered for active service in the two World Wars and other military conflicts.

The newest schools in the For King and Country database are Brock Avenue, Hodgson, Jesse Ketchum, King George, Lambton Park, Long Branch Continuation, Oriole Park, Plains Road, R.H. McGregor and Sackville Street. The latest additions bring the total number of names in the database to just under 30,000. But that’s not all – the database also includes transcriptions and photographs of school war memorials, as well as information about the history of the schools themselves and links to other useful school and community websites.

As we all pause to mark Remembrance Day, take a few moments to explore this growing collection at www.torontofamilyhistory.org/kingandcountry/.

To find out more about the For King and Country project, and how you can help, contact co-ordinator Martha Jackson at kingandcountry@torontofamilyhistory.org.

About London

A pleasant diversion on London and the City of London, in two parts

Thanks to Debbie Kennett for the tweets.

Library and Archives Canada exhibitions

On Thursday the government tabled a reply in the Commons to a question from Scott Simms MP:

"With regard to Library and Archives Canada, what are the particulars of each use of the exhibition space on the main floor since January 1, 2006, including (i) the purpose, (ii) date, (iv) duration, (v) organization using the space?"

The response showed that LAC mounted an average of 5 exhibitions per year from 2006 to 2009. There were 712 exhibition days in the building in 2006, 1239 in 2007, 709 in 2008, 982 in 2009, then falling to 6 days in 2010 and 0 in 2011. Clearly the organization made a decision not to mount exhibitions in the building after 2009. The emphasis was shifted to travelling and outdoor exhibits.

The response also lists other events staged in the building, from book launches to workshops and conferences. For 2011 the response lists 1 workshop for 2 days and 43 other events of 4 hours each. Using 8 hour days that's 23.5 days.

But the list is far from complete and gives a false impression of the use of the facility. Not one genealogy event is listed in 2011 even though BIFHSGO and OGS Ottawa Branch held annual conferences using exhibition space. It's unclear whether the question meant to include use of other space on the first floor at 395 Wellington such as the auditorium and room 156. If so use would be significantly greater.

It's unfortunate that prime space at 395 Wellington in downtown Ottawa is not being well used. I support the decision to emphasize exhibits across Canada rather than in the building, but its gone too far. There should be one permanent exhibition of significant national documents and gems from the LAC collection, with some slow rotation of the items displayed.

A continuing memorial

At 11 minutes past every hour, every day of every week, for the past year, the name, regiment, date of death and, where available, age of one of Canada’s war dead was selected at random by a computer algorithm and recited on Twitter.

The “We Are The Dead” project, sponsored by the Ottawa Citizen, begins a second year of honouring Canada’s fallen through social media, helping make remembrance a solemn constant that stretches beyond a single day in November.

You can follow "We Are The Dead" at twitter.com/wearethedead

The above information is reproduced from an Ottawa Citizen article by Glen McGregor

Unfortunately those who died fighting for their country in the 1885 Northwest Rebellion are omitted.

10 November 2012

Ancestry updates Liverpool Catholic record collection

Ancestry's database of Catholic church records for Liverpool, Lancashire, has been updated.

Baptisms, 1802-1906, 475,547 records

Confirmations, 1813-1920, 80,889 records

Marriages, 1754-1921, 132,996 records
Burials, 1813-1988, 619,201 records.

This is a database of particular interest to those of Irish origin given the numbers who fled to Liverpool in the late 1840s.

Over the famine period the number of baptisms and marriages recorded rose fairly steadily from 4,253/644 in 1844 to 7,755/1,760 in 1854 as the population increased. The number of burials reached a peak of 2,570 in 1847 then decreased to 1,191 in 1850 as if the famine had advanced the death for the most vulnerable. Burials rose again to exceed the 1847 peak in 1852 and thereafter.