31 December 2013

Thanks to contributors for 2013

2013 saw 1013 items posted on the blog. That was made possible by many of you who helped and encouraged this year by posting comments, questions, providing information, completing polls and surveys, or publicizing the blog, including;

Alison, Alona, Andrew, Ann, Anne, Anonymous, April, Archivus, Audrey,
Barbara, Barrie, Bill, Blaine, Brenda, Bob, Brian, Bruce,
Cannuk, Caroline, Carolyn, Carter, Catherine, Cathern, CeCe, Cecil, Charles, Chris, Christine, Claire, Cliff, Conchita, Craig,
Dan, darto, David, Debbie, Debra, Denis, Derek, Dex, Diana, Diane, Dorothy,
Edward, Elizabeth, Ellen, Else, Erika, Evangelina,
Fawne, Frank,
Gail, George, Gerald, Glenn, Grant,
Heather, Helen, Holly, Hugh,
Ian, Irene,
J, James, Jane, Janice, Janie, Jean, Jess, Jill, Joan, John, Jon, Josh, Judith, Judy,
Kathryn, Ken, Kevin, Kevlar, Kirsty,
Leighann, Les, Leslie, Linda, Lisa, Liz, Lorne, Louise, Luc, Lynda, Lynne,
Malcolm, Marian, MarieRose, Marion, Melanie, MC, MHD?, Michele, Mick, Mike, Miles,
Pam, Pat, Patricia, Paul, Pauleen, Pearl, Pearson, Persephone, Pierce,
Randy, Richard, Rick, Robert, Ron, Rona, Rorey, Rosemary, Ruth, Ryan,
Sandra, Sharon, Sheena, Shirley Ann, Stephane, Steve, Susan,
Tamara, Terry, Thomas, Tony, Trudi, Tyrone,
Verna, Virginia,
Wallace, Wayne, Wendy,
Yolanda, Yvonne.

Included are bloggers, Facebookers and Google+ posters, tweeters and folks who send out information on new resources from various organizations from the family history community.

Thank you all, and not forgetting the silent majority of readers:

Happy New Year.

Reflections on 2013

One of the advantages of compiling the thank you to contributors list as I do each year is that it forces me to look back through the year's posts.

For Canadians the genealogical event of the year had to be the release of the 1921 Census of Canada. Officially transferred on June 1st it became available online as images on August 9th, and in an Ancestry indexed version free, with registration, to all in Canada on October 29th.

A concern that ran through quite a few  of my posts is the future of genealogical/ family history societies. A blog I profiled in April, the History Repeating Family Tree Blog, ran a six part Society Spotlight series the last post of which, on October 24, provided a summary. Based on a survey of societies around Cambridgeshire it might contain relevant ideas if you're involved in running a society.

As predicted in a 21 July post Find My Past has opened a Canadian site. FindMyPast.ca is now active but only as a gateway to existing content. There's nothing Canadian about the site beyond the .ca in the web address. No major Canadian databases are available, the only venture into Canada is the incorporation of material from Archive CD Books Canada in the FindMyPast.com site.

How things have changed at LAC in 2013! Up until May and the resignation of the Librarian and Archivist the picture was bleak. Moral was rock bottom. Managers took stress leave. Services and holdings were being trashed. Now there are signs of improvement. Working on a much reduced budget will mean we won't get everything we'd like, a Canadian version of Australia's Trove or TNA's physical and online facilities are yet dreams. As a memorial to the old days we'll likely have to live with the LAC website message "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" now well into its second year.

A sign of turn around came on November 18 when LAC announced it was recommencing participation in inter-library loan although only as lender of last resort. There's been a more active social media presence.

The organisation is again recognising that family historians are a major client group that cannot be taken for granted. Just this week I heard a story showing true client consideration. A WWI CEF file (a Vimy Ridge veteran, badly injured) was that of the father of a 76 years old man suffering with little mobility in a long term care hospital in Vancouver. The initial response was that the file was scheduled for digitisation and would not be available until after 14 June, 2014. Would that be in time? A appeal was made explaining the urgency and through some twist of fate that particular box was still available. Sometimes the Gods are looking out for you, officially described as an odd circumstance unlikely ever to reoccur. The file was retrieved and copies will be available in a matter of days. Sense, kindness, and compassion are returning to LAC.

There are major challenges ahead, but the reverse side of the challenge coin is opportunity. I'm optimistic. The way ahead is being examined by various studies, such as that of the Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on the Status and Future of Canada's Libraries and Archives, which should appear in 2014. As we commemorate the centennial of the beginning of The Great War expect to find much more online WW1 material from the LAC collection. And the rumour is that the Government is ready to announce the name of the new Librarian and Archivist of Canada and that it will be a woman with a background as a librarian.

Yuletide R&R: Two for the ladies

Thanks to Christine for the tip.

30 December 2013

Archive CD Books Canada midwinter sale

The following is from Archive CD Books Canada
Once again we are running our limited time midwinter sale:
We have marked almost ALL OF OUR CANADIAN PRODUCTS down an amazing 50% for the duration of the sale.
We are also clearing our Inventory of British (UK) products (i.e., already made and packaged) at up to 40% off.  There is only one of two of each of these and once they are sold - THAT’S IT!  (After all the idea is to CLEAR the stock - not to remake it.)
All the sale prices are marked in our online catalogue AND for your quick reference there is a temporary, new CATALOGUE CATEGORY, “Sale Up To 50% Off” so come to our web site and view the regular catalogue,
follow the link below to go straight to the complete listing:
This sale won’t last for ever but the more popular you show us it is the longer it will last!  (British CDs excepted - when they’re gone - they’re GONE!)
Archive CD Books, Chris and Malcolm Moody, have a Facebook page with frequent genealogy news posts. Three more friends will get them to 150.

Grenham praises PRONI Valuation Office records

The most recent Irish Roots column by John Grenham suggests the Republic should take inspiration from PRONI

Yuletide R&R: Stanley Unwin

English comedian Stanley Unwin (1911-2002), inventor of "a corrupted form of English in which many of the words were altered in playful and humorous ways."

29 December 2013

Book Review: Life in the Victorian and Edwardian Workhouse

Life in the Victorian and Edwardian Workhouse, By Michelle Higgs|
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: The History Press Ltd; 07 edition (30 April 2007), second reprint 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0752442143

If your English or Welsh family history leads you to someone who was either an inmate or employee of a workhouse.
The idea behin the workhouse was to provide a social safety net placed at a level where only the most desperate would want to take advantage.

Workhouses had a fearsome reputation severely limiting the availability of out-relief, which had been more broadly available under the Poor Law prior to 1834, and imposing a spartan regimen which separated men from their wives and parents from their children.

In separate chapters Michelle Higgs deals with how the workout system applied to able-bodied men, able-bodied women, children, the elderly, the infirm, lunatics and, vagrants. through examination of specific cases she illustrates the variation one might find between workhouses, the large and the small, the well and poorly managed, the dictates of the local guardians and changing attitudes through the years as reflected by regulations issued by Poor Law commissioners.

I was particularly interested to find as an example of a child Mary Ann Mangan (Manggon) who came to Canada in 1903 through the Crusade of Rescue of the Catholic Emigrating Association, was initially in several unsatisfactory situations in Québec. She moved to Ottawa where she married. She had 17 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren by the time she died in 1958, certainly contributing her share to the common assertion that one in 10 Canadians has a home child ancestor.

The second half of the book comprises chapters on the management and staff of the workhouse; masters and matrons, schoolteachers, medical officer, nursing staff, Porter, chaplain, guardians, clerk, relieving officer.

The book is currently in its second reprint, testimony to the value to those looking to understand the situation of those involved, in one way or another, in the workhouse system.

FreeBMD 2nd December update

The FreeBMD database was updated on Friday 27 December 2013 to contain 234,654,611 (233,278,246) distinct records.
Major updates are, for births 1943, 1960, 1962, 1964-70; for marriages 1952, 1962, 1964, 1966-69; for deaths 1967, 1969-71.

Yuletide R&R: Faulty Towers

A snippet of British-Canadian content

28 December 2013

Yuletide R&R: Frankie Howerd

This multi-part video is of English comedian Frankie Howerd (1917-1992) at the Oxford Union.

27 December 2013

Yuletide R&R: Harry Worth

British comedian Harry Worth (1917-1989) is characterized in his Wikipedia profile as "a genial, bumbling middle-class and middle-aged man from the North of England, who reduced all who came into contact with him to a state of confusion and frustration."

There are several other shows in the series on YouTube.

26 December 2013

Ancestry.ca free access

The following is an invitation from Ancestry.ca

As the holiday season comes to a close, keep the family spirit alive with a resolution to learn more about your family's story. Enjoy FREE ACCESS* to more than 100 million records on Ancestry.ca and discover the ancestors who made your family what it is today. Explore our newest, as well as our most popular collections from Canada, the U.S., UK and around the world!
Learn more about an ancestor's line of work in occupation records, a spouse in marriage records, service details in military records and information that will help you paint a more vivid picture of your family's past. Free access to Ancestry.ca makes learning more about your family a resolution you can keep.


*Visit ancestry.ca/newyears to find select Canadian and international records available for free on Ancestry.ca until December 29, 2013, 11:59 p.m. (ET). To view these records you will need to register for free with Ancestry.ca with your name and email address. Once you have registered we will then send you a user name and password to access the records. If you haven't already, you will be prompted to register once you start trying to search and view the records. After December 29, 2013, you will only be able to view these records using an Ancestry.ca paid membership. 

Post-Christmas sales

A small flood of notices from the UK with Boxing Day (Week) offers has inundated my inbox

Archive CD Books, Britain and Ireland offer "the vast majority of our publications* are 50 per cent off from today until January 12th!" For details and exceptions see http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=6292e610e8110b99feda70822&id=bd2f2f2dca&e=b3b97d52e5

The National Archives Bookshop offer up to 70% off, http://bookshop.nationalarchives.gov.uk/11/New-Year-Bargains/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=The+National+Archives&utm_campaign=3457730_January+Sale+2014+Wave+1+&utm_content=NewYearBargains

FindMyPast.co.uk has two offers:
30 free PayAsYouGo credits http://dreammail.edgesuite.net/FindMyPast/uk-never-paid-26-dec.html?utm_source=special_offer&utm_medium=fmp_email&utm_term=reg&utm_content=261213&utm_campaign=uk-never-paid-26-dec and
20% off a subscription http://dreammail.edgesuite.net/FindMyPast/uk-lapsed-subs-26-dec.html?utm_source=special_offer&utm_medium=fmp_email&utm_term=reg&utm_content=261213&utm_campaign=uk-lapsed-subs-26-dec

GenesReunited.co.uk sent an offer of 15% off a Platinum subscription using the discount code GENESPLAT13 before 1 January 2014.

And, a reminder that the Family Tree DNA end of year sale is due to expire at that time. See the deals at http://www.familytreedna.com/holiday-sale.aspx

Yuletide R&R: Hoffnung Classics

Gerard Hoffnung was a German-born multi-talented English humourist.

Here's a short musical cartoon animation

From a talk at the Oxford Union

He's perehaps best known for his telling of the Bricklater's Lament, also recorded at the Oxford Union. It's quite dated now but you have to admire the presentation.

Mythbusters have an item testing the development

25 December 2013

Kensal Green Cemetery records now at Deceased Online

As announced on the Deceased Online blog, starting on Boxing Day, 26th December, 2013 (over 180 years after the first burial), all of Kensal Green Cemetery’s records from 1833 until 1901 are to be available on the Deceased Online website. That's Christmas Day at 7 pm EST
The period accounts for about half of the cemetery burials. The remaining burial records post 1901 will be added during February 2014 to bring the total to about 340,000.
The records available comprise the following:
 Digital scans of the original burial reference books
 Details indicating those buried in each grave
 Digital scans of the original cremation registers (up to 1993, thereafter, computerized records)

Also available all records for West London Crematorium, 1939 – 2010 located at the same site and managed by General Cemetery Company. 
Check the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery website for more background.

Yuletide R&R Classic: Rowan Atkinson

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Family Historians wherever you may be.
Enjoy a perennial favourite.

24 December 2013

TNA webinars for 2014

Audrey Collins told me early last year that The (UK) National Archives would be presenting webinars. It's taken a while - good things are supposed to be worth waiting for. A series of six pilot webinars, one every month from January to June 2014, are now set. They're free, you just have to register.There's a dedicated Webinar page with all the details. All times are UK clock time, allow for the time zone difference.

20 January 2014
Discovery is the key to The National Archives' holdings, both digitised and original records. This webinar will look at how to conduct searches, using keywords, filters and other useful features.
Presented by Audrey Collins

13 February 2014
This webinar will look at how the army accounted for the money it spent on its personnel and what you can discover in the records apart from financial costs.
Presented by William Spencer.

12 March 2014
This webinar will look at passenger lists and other records for the popular destinations for migrants leaving the United Kingdom. Increasing numbers of these records have been digitised and are now available online.
Presented by Roger Kershaw.

08 April 2014
Medieval and early modern records can be very informative, although they are often harder to locate than those for more recent periods. This webinar will provide an overview of sources in The National Archives and elsewhere. Presented by Nick Barratt.

12 May 2014
The workhouse was a major feature in the lives of the poor, whether or not they were ever inmates themselves. This webinar will help you to explore records in The National Archives, showing what life was like inside the workhouse, and how it was viewed by those outside.
Presented by Paul Carter.

11 June 2014
Unit war diaries, trench maps and photographs are just some of the sources held in The National Archives. This webinar looks at how to find these records, using Discovery, our online catalogue, and use them.
Presented by David Langrish

Yuletide R&R Classic: The Two Ronnies, Four Candles, plus

And another classic

23 December 2013

Family Tree Webinars for 2014

Just received, the schedule of presentations in the 2014 Legacy Family Tree Webinar Series. Choose from 52 free classes on topics ranging from genealogy technology to in-depth research methodologies and evidence analysis. Many well known names are among the presenters, almost exclusively US. The schedule for January is:

What's New in Legacy Family Tree 8 by Geoff Rasmussen. 1/3

Are You a GOON? What is a One-Name Study and Why Do One? by Kirsty Gray. 1/8

Too Many with the Same Name by Karen Clifford. 1/15

Irish Research 101: Learning the Research Process by Judy Wight. 1/22

Ten Reasons Your Ancestor Was in Canada by Kathryn Lake Hogan. 1/29

See the full list and register at

RootsIreland, 40% off sale

Subscribers to rootsireland.ie will likely have received a holiday offer of 40% off all records until Monday 6th January (midnight IrishTime/GMT).
You can purchase any record for just 15 credits instead of the usual 25 credits. The 40% discount is applied when you pay to view any single record.
To obtain this offer login using your existing RootsIreland login details.
I'm not sure this applies if you create a new account.
Thanks for Gail Dever for the tip.

22 December 2013

Facebook for family history

A short article from Family Tree (UK) magazine for those of us, and I include myself, still puzzled about how to use the biggest social network, and second most popular website, for family history.


There are some avid Facebookers who read the blog. Please post a comment if you have any further suggestions.

Yuletide R&R: Dawn French

Most of the Yuletide R&R items this year feature men. That seems to be the way of British comedy. Here, to show its not quite exclusively male, are Dawn French and Emma Chambers in a selection of joke items added at the end of every episode of the Vicar of Dibley.

21 December 2013

Canadian Archives Summit: 17 January 2014

Representatives from l'Association des Archivistes du Quebec (AAQ), the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA), and the Canadian Council of Archives (CCA) as well as Ian E. Wilson, the former Librarian and Archivist of Canada, have planned a special Canadian Archives Summit: Towards a New Blueprint for Canada's Recorded Memory at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, 8:30 to 5:00, on Friday, January 17, 2014. Full details are available at http://archivists.ca/content/canadian-archives-summit

Genealogists and family historians are recognized as stakeholders. Glenn Wright, President of BIFHSGO will be attending as one of the Agents Provocateurs.

There are also a series of background papers. Genealog* or family history is mentioned in those by Ian Wilson, Lois Yorke, Ancestry.ca, Tom Nesmith, Michel Banville and, Jack Jedwab. Wordles for those in bold are shown. All the available background papers are
at http://archivists.ca/content/resources-canadian-archives-summit

The event will be simulcast live to locations across Canada. In Ottawa they are the City Archives at 100 Tallwood and the MacOdrum Library at Carleton University. Groups will be able to follow the presentations, hold their own discussions, and feed ideas back to the central gathering. To book a space contact the person identified in the list at http://goo.gl/tcjgIL.

Yuletide R&R: Still fighting the war of 1812?

Its that time of year again. Announcements slow to a trickle and less. Visits to the blog go down as people have seasonal events and responsibilities to tend to. For the next few days I've programmed a series of humourous and some quirky items to fill the gap so there's at least one item each day.

20 December 2013

My Family History Shelfie

Here's half a shelf from my family history book collection, plus one library book soon to be returned.

Boxing Day and New Year's Day releases

Richard Gray from Deceased Online emailed to announce that records for one of the UK's most historic London cemeteries will be added to their collection on Boxing Day. Apparently it is one of the 'Magnificent Seven' cemeteries adding to those of Brompton Cemetery made available year.

That will mean over 3 million individual burial and cremation records will be available in London and a total of 8 million plus data items in the Deceased Online collection.

I understand another major London cemetery will be coming on another site in an updated format, expected in the first quarter of 2014.

Up in Scotland, on 1 January 2014 ScotlandsPeople will be releasing birth images for 1913, marriage images for 1938 and death images for 1963 .

19 December 2013

Top baby names in Scotland for 2013

Scotland is always first out with the list of most popular baby names for the year. Jack and Sophie were again the most popular in 2013. Read the BBC story at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-25446922 and the complete list of the top 100 at: http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files2/stats/popular-forenames/2013/babiesnames-2013-t1.pdf

WW1 banjo

An item from CBC Radio Ottawa's All in a Day about a banjo inscribed with names of men from the Canadian Expeditionary Force and the research that went into revealing its story.

18 December 2013

London, England, Selected Rate Books, 1684-1907

Ancestry.co.uk bring 178,483 entries in this database of indexed rate books held at the London Metropolitan Archives for 18 parishes in London. The books go by various titles, approximately half being Poor Rate Assessment Books from 1866 to 1907 for the parish of St. Dunstan in the East.
"Rates were assessed based on a dwelling’s value. These records include a listing of who occupied the house, who owned the house, the type of dwelling, the name or situation of the property, how much rent was collected, and the rates paid. In some cases you may need to page forward for the rent and rate details which appear on the next page."

17 December 2013

England, Essex Parish Registers, 1538-1900 on FamilySearch

There are 537,556 records in this collection of transcribed parish registers for various Essex parishes. There are no images of the registers. 

It looks like someone was confused about English geography, perhaps in a rush to get this collection online.

Source Information

"England, Essex Parish Registers, 1538-1900." Index. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Church of England. England, East Sussex parish registers. East Sussex Record Office, Lewes, England.

Norfolk Register of Electors, 1844-1952

New on FamilySearch, an indexed collection "England, Norfolk Register of Electors, 1844-1952" with 4,490,808 entries.
You can search by name and view the original images, which contain addresses, or browse the 318,963 images. The original records, organized by division with the range of years available, are: Eastern (1832-1915), Mid (1885-1915), North Western (1885-1915), Northern (1868-1915), Norwich (834-1915), South Western (1885-1915), Southern (1866-1915), Western (1832-1913) and, Yarmouth (1832-1915). There are gaps including the whole of the 1860s and 1870s for Yarmouth.

The citation for the originals is Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace. Record Office, Central Library, Norwich.

16 December 2013

Ancestry: how important for genealogy?

I received a note from Miles Whittingham of genealogyintime.com pointing out an addition to the recent post "How Popular is Genealogy". 

Ancestry.com is #1 in Alexa rank among dedicated genealogy sites and gets about 39,000 visitors a day. That's way ahead of MyHeritage.com at #2 with about 12,000 visitors a day. 

Is Ancestry is the most used site for genealogy. It ranks 691st overall on Alexa. The top ranking sites are (1) google.com, (2) facebook.com, (3) youtube.com. If one in a million searches on google.com is for genealogy that site would rank in the top 25 genealogy sites, if one in 500,000 it would rank tenth. Furthermore, many social media sites are heavily used by our community, (3) Facebook, (11) Twitter, (12) LinkedIn, (28) Pinterest, all of which rank above Ancestry. 

The bottom line is that while Ancestry may be the leader for genealogy websites other than those dedicated to genealogy are a not-to-be-overlooked resource for family history.

Thoughts on browsing "Mastering Genealogical Proof"

Beware: this article contains unvarnished opinion. It is not a review of Thomas Jones's widely acclaimed book Mastering Genealogical Proof but thoughts prompted by browsing it.

The process called the Genealogical Proof Standard, is explained in the book as providing "a way to differentiate correct from incorrect information, to determine unspecified relationships, and to demonstrate that (genealogical) research results are credible."

With the GPS its axiomatic that if you follow the process you "minimize the risk of polluting sound research with dubious conclusions."

I have two concerns regarding this "textbook on genealogical methods and reasoning in the 21st century."

First, if anything says 21st century genealogy it's DNA evidence. Yet there is only a single paragraph on DNA evidence in the whole book.  As renowned genealogist Helen Leary wrote in 1998 “Science and the law are in agreement: there is only one way to prove kinships beyond reasonable doubt — DNA.”  At that time she had to add the caveat that such testing was not practicable. The 21st century has changed that. Spectacular successes in tracing kinships of adoptees, where documentary evidence was unavailable or unproductive, is just one area that bears witness that DNA deserves more than this passing mention.

Second, the text, and the GPS, skirt the question of expressing confidence. The emphasis is on resolving conflicting evidence. A section on page 75 deals with unresolved conflicts.
"Stopping short of proof, we may state that the point is unresolved, summarize the related evidence, and explain why the conflict is not resolved. We can express a belief that one side of an unresolved conflict is more likely correct. The discussion should make it clear to readers that we are presenting an opinion, not a conclusion from evidence. Recognizing that in such cases we have no conclusion or proof – all we have is a possibility – we qualify the discussion with words like perhaps and possibly."
Chapter 1, Genealogy's Standard of Proof , makes it clear that "standards stop short of absolute certainty." A proof is still liable to be overturned by new evidence. So the difference between a "proof" which is not absolutely certain and unresolved conflicting conclusion possibilities is the degree of confidence. The solid line drawn between proof and absence of proof is an invention of the genealogical establishment.

As Jones writes in his preface clients look to a professional genealogist for a determination of the reliability with which genealogical findings reflect the past. Is a finding nearly certain, highly likely, probable, somewhat likely, etc? Unfortunately this book, and the GPS, fail when it comes to providing any such standard. A client cannot be confident that a professional genealogist's expression of reliability is based on a reproducible standard.

15 December 2013

GenealogyinTime examines the popularity of genealogy

You occasionally read claims like "Recent surveys have found that genealogy ranks as the second most popular hobby in the United States." That's a blog post from Ancestry, it strains credulity.
There may have been 200 people at Saturday morning's BIFHSGO monthly meeting, but that's once a month. What's more popular? How about reading? The Ottawa Public Library circulated over 950,000 items per month during the third quarter of 2013.
Now GenealogyinTime online magazine has examined the evidence and taken a hard look at the facts dispelling some common myths and misunderstandings about the popularity of genealogy.
The article points out the importance of distinguishing between various levels of interest, from those actively conducting family history research up to the larger group of those with a general interest in ancestors.
Based on an assumption that one person in 40 in a family actively conducts family history research, somewhat debatable, the number of people involved in different English-speaking countries is calculated: US: 7.9 million; UK:1.6 million; Canada: 0.9 million; Australia: 0.6 million; Ireland: 0.1 million; New Zealand: 0.1 million. 
The article then examines the number of daily visitors to the top 10 genealogy websites, collectively about 113,500 visitors a day, and internet traffic to all genealogy websites very close to 300,000 visitors per day.
Using another bold assumption about the frequency with which genealogy sites are visited GenealogyinTime estimates that there are about 2.1 million people in the major English speaking countries who are active (online) in genealogy.
I'm wondering what error bars should be put on this estimate? It's certainly rather at odds with the following claim by Ancestry.

Ancestry.com is the world’s largest online family history resource with 2.1 million subscribers across its Ancestry.com branded websites. The company has approximately 2.7 million subscribers across all its websites, including Archives.com, Fold3.com and Newspapers.com.

Genetic Genealogy at RootsTech 2014

If you're planning on attending RootsTech in Salt Lake City, February 6-8, and are keen on genetic genealogy you'll find nine sessions of interest.


Starting out in the morning at 10:30 am Diahan Southard speaks on Magnifying Your Maternal Line with Mitochondrial DNA. Its at the intermediate level.

You won't to miss the sessions on the Thursday afternoon with Tim Janzen and CeCe Moore. But you'll have to miss one of them. In what can only be a mistake in scheduling both are speaking at 1pm, Tim Janzen on Advanced Techniques for Use of Autosomal DNA Tests to Break through Genealogical Brick Walls; CeCe Moore on Real World Cases from the Desk of a Genetic Genealogy Professional.
At 2:30 pm CeCe follows on with Using Genetic Genealogy to Discover the Ancestry of Adoptees (and Scale Recent Genealogical Brick Walls)
The two of them get together at 4 pm for Ask the Experts: Genetic Genealogy in 2014.


At 10:30 am on Friday, following a keynote session with Spencer Wells and Judy Russell, Kenny Freestone presents on Using AncestryDNA to Further Your Family History Research. In the afternoon, at 1 pm, Blaine Bettinger speaks on the nitty gritty of Begging for Spit.


There are two talks at an intermediate level. At 10:30 am Tim Janzen speaks on Using Third Party Tools to Help You Get More from Your DNA Test Results. The sessions wind up at 4 pm with Anna Swayne on DNA Match-Maker, Make Me a Match.

Find brief summaries of these and all 119 available sessions, not including keynotes, at https://rootstech.org/schedule-info/session-viewer/#id=RT

Let's hope that some of these will find their way into the sessions streamed in real time or available after the event.

14 December 2013

PRONI adds to Valuation Revision Books online

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has added 39 Valuation Revision Books, missing from the original upload. Check out the collection of images indexed by place at http://goo.gl/c1EYPR

Thanks to Anne Sterling for the tip.

Revised BCG Standards Manual

Looking to be more professional in your genealogy? The US-based Board for Certification of Genealogists has issued a revised Standards Manual.

While the standards themselves are basically unchanged, no revolution has occurred, the revised manual "completely updates and reorganizes the original 2000 edition of The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual."

From the BCG blog post:

"The 83 specific standards cover the process of researching family history and the finished products of the research. Based on the five-part Genealogical Proof Standard, the standards cover:
  • documenting (standards 1–8);
  • researching (standards 9–50), including planning, collecting, and reasoning from evidence;
  • writing (standards 51–73), including proofs, assembly, and special products;
  • teaching and lecturing (standards 74–81); and
  • continuing education (standards 82 & 83).
The 100-page book includes appendices: the genealogist’s code, a description of BCG and its work, a list of sources and resources where examples of work that meets standards are regularly published, a glossary, and an evidence-process map distinguishing the three kinds of sources, information, and evidence."
As mandatoryfor BCG, there's a citation:
Board for Certification of Genealogists. Genealogy Standards, 50th anniversary edition. New York: Turner Publishing Co., 2014. 100 pp., paper, ISBN 978-1-63026-018-7, $14.95.
 The publication is on sale pre-publication for $11.95.

13 December 2013

BIFHSGO database: British Women’s Emigration Association

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa has just posted a new database of 587 of the women assisted by the British Women’s Emigration Association to emigrate to Canada. The Society operated between 1901 and 1919 and was designed to provide an option for an excess of women over men and to strengthen British presence in Canada.

The women in this database came between 1903 and 1905 in 17 parties. Popular destinations were: 184 to Montreal, 99 to Toronto, 41 to Vancouver, 40 to Winnipeg. The youngest was 14, the oldest 55 and the median age 25.


12 December 2013

Deceased Online adds British military burial records from Cyprus, Egypt, Malta and Singapore

Deceased Online has updated its collection of military burial records from TNA references: ADM 6, ADM 73, ADM 305 and WO 156 with records from the following overseas cemeteries and burial grounds

Cyprus: Polemedia Camp Military Cemetery 1882 - 1984

Egypt: Abbassieh Garrison, Helmich Garrison 1927 - 1946
Egypt: Ismailia Cemetery 1929 - 1978
Egypt: New British Cemetery, Cairo 1897 - 1914
Egypt: Port Said, Cairo 1902 - 1918

Malta: Misc. island-wide military burials 1823 - 1946
Malta: Garrison of Malta Burial Ground 1891 - 1999
Malta: Imtarfa Military Cemetery 1899 - 1908
Malta: Rinella Military Cemetery 1890 - 1908
Malta: The Quarantine Bastion Cemetery 1939

Singapore: W D Cemetery, Pasir Panjang 1947 - 1959

These additions, together with the UK military burial added previously, mean there are now some 39.000 records from burial registers in this collection originating from The National Archives. 

West Yorkshire and Surrey Electoral Registers on Ancestry

Now online from Ancestry, more than 22 million entries in the database West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962, and more than 10 million in Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1918-1945.

These annual electoral registers can be searched by name and location. You can also search by keyword which will match an occurrence anywhere, useful as the index was created using text recognition software which sometimes mixes up names and places and mangles words. I doubt "Telegraph Lane Croxton" is a real name!

Qualifications to be an elector changed over the years becoming less restrictive over the years.

Canada Post changes

With postal rates due to increase, is your family history society going to adapt? Many societies have already moved to delivering their quarterly magazine over the net, with a grandfather provision for those unwilling or unable to adapt. Personally I'd welcome the change if the Society provided an archive of past issues in a virtual library. Fewer dead trees, several less things for me to store and eventually throw away, and maybe a little extra motivation to further develop a Society virtual library.

I'm not looking forward to losing home mail delivery, a pain that could be alleviated if notice of newly arrived mail was given over the web. Who wants to go trudging through a blizzard or a heat wave only to find the expected cheque was not delivered.

Irish Famine Stories

Gail Dever drew my attention to a recently launched virtual archive of famine stories at the University of Limerick.
"The archive translates the French language annals and pays tribute to the French-Canadian Sisters of Charity, or Grey Nuns, who cared for the Irish Famine emigrants in the fever sheds of Montreal during the summer of 1847 and provided homes for Irish widows and orphans. These annals contain extensive and highly evocative eyewitness accounts of the suffering of famine migrants in 1847."
There are many names of those involved, and those who died, in providing the service in the fever sheds. Don't expect to find immigrant ancestor's names. Included is a brief mention of the situation in Bytown.
You may also be interested in other University of Limerick History of Family projects documented at the website.
Thanks to Gail for the tip.

RootsTech News

If you're considering going to RootsTech, or just interested in what's new, check out http://goo.gl/JFxiS6.
Back online are 14 videos from RootsTech 2013 at https://rootstech.org/about/videos/

BIFHSGO December meeting

This coming Saturday, December 14, is a pre-Christmas bonanza for genealogy in Ottawa.

The morning  BIFHSGO meeting starts at 9 am with a Special Meeting on new bylaws. Great Moments in Genealogy, a session which gives members the opportunity to make short presentation on significant finding in their family history, follows at 10 am.  Read about the four presentations here, and listen to interviews with the speakers at http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=106

There's an Ottawa Branch/OGS meeting in the afternoon.

11 December 2013

MyHeritage Nordic initiative

Do your roots go back to Scandinavian, perhaps through the UK and/or Ireland? If so this MyHeritage announcement that they have added over 32 million records from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, dating back to the early 1600s may be of interest.
This augments the previous MyHeritage Nordic collection which is in addition to 70 million profiles in 730,000 family trees already created by MyHeritage users with ancestors in this region
MyHeritage will be digitizing more Nordic historical content during the next few years.
The official post about this initiative is at http://blog.myheritage.com/2013/12/new-myheritage-adds-millions-of-nordic-records/.

Ottawa Branch OGS December meeting

This coming Saturday, December 14, is a pre-Christmas bonanza for genealogy in Ottawa. There's a BIFHSGO meeting in the morning, which I'll profile tomorrow. In the afternoon, 1pm – 3pm, Ottawa Branch of OGS hosts a presentation Freiman’s Santa Claus Train by Andrew Jeanes.

Ottawa’s premier department store, Freiman’s, operated the Santa Claus train from 1956 to 1967. Santa boarded the train, surrounded by children, at Vars, whose former station is now preserved at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum. The arrival to a civic welcome at Union Station, followed by a parade down Rideau Street to Freiman’s was a major Ottawa event. Andrew Jeanes is a Culture Services Advisor at the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and studied heritage conservation under Herb Stovel at Carleton University’s School of Canadian Studies. He will present the story of this favourite Christmas tradition.
The location is the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Room 115

10 December 2013

Irish Lives Remembered magazine

The December issue (19th edition) of Irish Lives Remembered, the FREE Genealogy e-Magazine, is now available via www.irishlivesremembered.com. This issue has 26 pages dedicated to tracing Armagh ancestors.

Forthcoming Toronto Branch Courses

The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is currently accepting registrations for the following courses being offered in February and March:
Tracing Your African Heritage in the British West Indies
The Social History of Medicine in 19th Century Canada
Making the Internet Work for Genealogy
Tracing Your East Indian Heritage in the British West Indies
The Social History of Dress in 19th Century Canada
Introduction to Genealogy and Family History


BritainsDNA, a company that came up twice in my investigations recently, boasts it "offers a unique package of information featuring thorough historical analyses of results currently unmatched by any other European DNA ancestry testing company."

The first time was in an article Setting the record straight about Sara Sheridan’s “Japanese” DNA   British genetic genealogist Debbie Kennett opines that "I’ve previously written about the exaggerated and misleading haplogroup stories provided by some DNA testing companies. BritainsDNA, which also trades under the names ScotlandsDNA, IrelandsDNA and YorkshiresDNA, has been one of the worst offenders in this regard in the last year"
Debbie's comment relates to their interpretation of their mitochondrial DNA test which looks at around 3000 mitochondrial base pairs. She considers the interpretation incorrect by placing the maternal origin of this Jewish woman's haplogroup in northern Japan.
The cost at BritainsDNA is also high, £189. Compare that to Family Tree DNA which sequences all 16569 base pairs in the mitochondrial genome -  currently on offer for $169 (about £103) in a sale which closes at the end of December.

The second instance related to a BritainsDNA test called All my Ancestry the results of which were reported in a blog post by Elizabeth Kipp. Elizabeth comments regarding the results for her brother that "the results received pretty much compliment the results for him at FT DNA but a slightly deeper ancestral picture shows up."
BritainsDNA state that this test analyzes over 250,000 autosomal markers and compares "your data to an extensive set of reference samples of known ancestry, the largest on the market, including over 4000 individuals from over 200 populations from all over the world."
Given the questionable analysis called out by Debbie for mitochondrial DNA I do wonder how much confidence one can place in the company's autosomal DNA analysis, say compared to that available for free, when it's working, through gedmatch.com using data uploaded from Family Tree DNA at less than half the cost and with twice as many markers analyzed.

09 December 2013

Jane McGaughey at QFHS

Dr Jane G. V. McGaughey, from the School of Canadian Irish Studies, Concordia University is the speaker for the Quebec Family History Society meeting on Saturday, December 14, 10:30am, at Briarwood Presbyterian Church Hall 70 Beaconsfield Blvd Beaconsfield

Jane spoke as the BIFHSGO conference in September and I can personally recommend attending.
Her title is:
Family Ghosts: When Personal History and Professional Research Collide (Lectures)
"Like hundred of thousands of other Irish descendants in Canada, Dr, Jane McGaughey can trace her family history to both pre-and post-Famine periods. Unlike some professional historians, however, her ancestors have consistently "turned up" in her research, both in first book,Ulster's Men, and her current research project on Irish participation in the 1837/38 Rebellions. This is an investiagation of the collision of personal interests and the academic profession through the history of one battle in November 1838 that saw four strands of the Irish diaspora fighting both for and against the future of British North America. This story of "family ghosts" combines Irish United Empire Loyalists, Orangemen, Irish army regulars and pro-Fenians on the shores of the St Lawrence River in one of the more grisly moments of Canadian history."

Google Earth for genealogy

In September Lisa Loise Cooke was at the BIFHSGO annual conference speaking about, among other things, Google Earth. It's perhaps her most favoured presentation. In a blog post Lisa mentions how the presentation helped BIFHSGO member Gail Rogers find her way to the site of an old family business in Staffordshire – and the place where her ancestor died.
There's a link to a free video presentation on Google Earth for Genealogy by Lisa, sponsored by Roots Magic, from that post at  http://lisalouisecooke.com/2013/10/google-earth-helps-genealogist-find-family-business/

Manorial Documents Register updated

What do you do as your English and Welsh research gets back before the census and civil registration?  Parish registers and other parish chest records come to the fore. Indexes like the IGI make these records relatively accessible. The same cannot be said for manorial records, but where parish records are lacking they may be your only chance of finding your missing link. In almost every instance it will involve reading old handwritten documents without benefit of a transcription.

An online finding aid is the Manorial Documents Register, which includes court rolls, surveys, maps, terriers, documents and all other documents relating to the boundaries, franchises, wastes, customs or courts of a manor.

Recently a Bedfordshire section was added to the Register including information on records for over 291 manors in Bedfordshire alone, wherever they are held.
Other counties in the Register are, in England: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cumberland, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Lancashire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, Surrey, Warwickshire, Westmorland, the three Ridings of Yorkshire. Wales, where the manorial system was in place, is also included.

There's a TNA podcast, with a transcript available, from January 2009 at http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/the-manorial-documents-register/

08 December 2013

Recent English Ancestry updates

Updated records from Ancestry.co.uk this past week are:

Warwickshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812 is updated to 1,028,460 entries are from the Anglican church registers housed at the  Warwickshire County Record Office. This is valuable for the early records with images of original registers.

A product of the volunteers of the Ancestry World Archives Project now updated is England, Oxford Men and Their Colleges, 1880-1892 with 23,463 records from a two-volume publication. A typical four line entry has name, place and date of birth and educational information.

BIFHSGO conference volunteers

While many of the jobs that need to be done in organizing the 20th Annual Conference of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, 19-21 September 2014, are filled the organizers are still looking for volunteers for some roles:

Program Assistant works with the Co-Chair Program, that's me, to maintain appropriate contact with speakers and arrange availability of materials 
Secretary works with the Co-Chair Administration, that's Gloria Tubman, in taking and distributing meeting minutes
Marketplace Co-ordinator organizes the recruitment and arrangements for exhibitors at the conference
Signage Co-ordinator produces and arranges displays of signs
Internet/ Audio /Visual Co-ordinator arranges for these facilities at the conference

If you volunteer you won't be on your own. Experienced people who have done the jobs before are available for guidance and advice when required.

For further information or to offer your help please email pontiacresearch@hotmail.ca

Ontario Genealogical Society News

Two items from the latest OGS Weekly Newsletter
1. The Ontario Genealogical Society invites members and non-members to join in an online discussion with President, Shirley Sturdevant. Ask questions and make comments about the changing face of OGS and volunteer opportunities with the Society.
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m.
This forum is open to anyone who is interested but you may express your interest and receive a reminder and your own copy of the login information by contacting Brenda Halliday at provoffice@ogs.on.ca. Please use the subject line "GS Open Forum."
2.  As of January 2014, Douglas Skogstad, current Director for Region XI will be taking on the position of Society Secretary.

07 December 2013

LAC historical document purchase

Its a pleasure to find that LAC has purchased another historical document, a two-part manuscript diary about the 1758 siege of Louisbourg in Cape Breton. Read the press release at http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1627865

Signs are increasing that the organisation is gradually managing its way out of the disaster perpetrated by the unmourned immediate past Librarian and Archivist of Canada ... what was his name ... Jacob Marley perhaps?

I'm hearing of laid-off staff returning on contract as management realised the organisation was floundering.

I'm seeing more LAC effort going into social media. The last two blog posts were genealogically-relevant, Did your ancestors come from Finland? and Kingston Penitentiary: Home to Canada’s most notorious criminals. That's not inappropriate given that genealogists are the largest client group. LAC has riches beyond genealogical records worth celebrating still hidden in the backrooms and vaults.

FreeBMD December update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Friday 6 December 2013 to contain 234,129,464 distinct records (233,278,246 at the previous update). 

Major updates, more than 5,000 records, are: for births 1940, 1943, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964-70; for marriages 1952, 1962-69; for deaths 1967. 1969-71.

06 December 2013

23andMe suspends health service, promotes ancestry service

At 23andMe.com you'll find a notice explaining that as a result of US Federal Drug Administration action the company health-related service for new customers is suspended. Click through a legal notice and you come to a page which claims 23andMe is

The largest DNA ancestry service in the world

That's arguably not the case; it depends on how you assess DNA ancestry service

At present service to existing customers is unaffected. Login and the world returns to the way it was before for both health and ancestry service.

Read the company blog post on the situation at http://goo.gl/3gujgJ

As the company will be bleeding money until the health service can be restored I'd advise present customers to download their raw results which may then be uploaded to gedmatch.com for free, or to familytreedna.com for a $49 fee.

Announcements about RootsTech 2014

The program of six keynote speakers for Rootstech 2014, 6-8 February in Salt Lake City has just been announced at http://goo.gl/Z5UmrA. The double bill of Judy Russell and Spencer Wells on Friday is a must not miss, especially for those of us into genetic genealogy.

If you can't get to RootsTech 2014 the keynotes will likely be streamed live. For additional coverage you might want to make a note of the blogs which will be covering Rootstech. It's a high profile blogger group and I'm looking forward to hearing their perspectives, as well as watching some of the live streaming.  Some other presentations will likely be available on a delayed basis.

The list is at https://rootstech.org/about/bloggers/

Sadly there's nobody to provide a Canadian perspective and only one official blogger from outside the US who will be attending. Also just one of the keynotes is presented by someone from outside the US, and that person from one of the major sponsors.

Louise St Denis joins APG Board

Congratulations to Louise St. Denis recently elected to represent Canada on the Association of Professional Genealogists Board.
Widely respected as Canada's leading genealogical entrepreneur, Louise has been managing director of The National Institute for Genealogical Studies for the past 16 years. She was the founding president of Toronto’s Société Franco-Ontarienne d’Histoire et de Généalogie and a founding member of Ontario’s APG chapter.
Congratulations also to Kimberly T. Powell, the genealogy expert for About.com since 2000, who was elected APG president
See the complete list of those elected at http://goo.gl/H9U395

05 December 2013

Family Tree DNA improvements

If you've taken the Family Finder test at Family Tree DNA you'll likely be interested in a great capability just added. As explained by CcCe Moore in an article on her Your Genetic Genealogist blog:

Added the ability for a user to download chromosome browser data for all of their matches. This new option is towards the top right side of the chromosome browser page and will be in Excel format.
You click on "Download All Matches to Excel (CSV Format)".

I got over 8,000 segments identified, all with at least 500 SNPs matching. The column heading were NAME, MATCH NAME, CHROMOSOME, START LOCATION, END LOCATION, CENTIMORGANS, MATCHING SNPS.

I found it easier to manipulate the data when in a spreadsheet, and identified a few instances of people matching on over 10 centimorgan segments I hadn't found before.

I looked at the correspondence between centimorgans and matching SNPs. There are a couple of outliers, (3.25 centimorgans and 6600 SNPs), (28.68 centimorgans and 4229 SNPs), and some intriguing structure with most points falling on a broad diagonal, and a distinct nearly vertical branch.

It turns out the nearly vertical cluster in the graph above is entirely composed of matches on chromosome six, from starting position 25.6 million to ending position 33.5 million. This area contains the major histocompatibility complex which is involved in the immune system. See this article by Ann Turner who comments that "from a genetic genealogist’s perspective, similarities in this region may be too general to have utility in identifying recent relationships."

Canadian WW1 research basics

On Ken McKinlay's Family Tree Knots blog he posts details of the steps he took in researching a Member of the Canadian Expeditionary a Force, as presented at the "Canada in the First World War" event in October. They Served Canada But I Want to Know More is a follow on to a resource list he posted earlier.

04 December 2013


Kudos to Find My Past. A friend sent in corrections to a couple of census index surnames on the 1881 and 1891 Welsh census to findmypast.co.uk late last evening, and received responses less than 12 hours later that the change would be made. It can be done.

For your Christmas List: from Global Genealogy

It's become an annual seasonal event, Sandra Roberts from Global Genealogy compiles a best seller list. Here's the 2013 edition:

Along A River, First French Canadian Women
A 2013 publication by Jan Noel
"French-Canadian explorers, traders, and soldiers feature prominently in this country's storytelling, but little has been written about their female counterparts. In Along a River, award-winning historian Jan Noel shines a light on the lives of remarkable French-Canadian women — immigrant brides, nuns, tradeswomen, farmers, governors' wives, and even smugglers — during the period between the settlement of the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Victorian era."

The Good Regiment: The Carignan-Salieres Regiment in Canada, 1665-1668
Reprint of a 1992 publication by Jack Verney
"In 1665 the Carignan-Salieres Regiment was sent to Canada by King Louis XIV to quell the Iroquois, whose attacks were strangling the colony's fur based economy and threatening to destroy it's tiny settlements. In the course of its three year stay in Canada, the regiment established a period of relative peace that allowed the French to consolidate their foothold on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence, establish new settlements across the river, and rebuild the economy to it's former prosperity."

Peter Robinson Settlers
Reprint on a 1987 book by Carol Bennett
"In 1823 and 1825 groups of impoverished people from the south of Ireland were brought to Upper Canada under the leadership of the Hon. Peter Robinson, MPP. They settled in the District of Bathurst in the Ottawa Valley and in the Newcastle District in the Peterborough area."

The Lanark Society Settlers: Ships' Lists of the Glasgow Emigration Society 1821 Reprint of a 1995 book by Gerald J. Neville
"In 1820 and 1821 a large contingent of Scots emigrated to the New Lanark Settlement in Upper Canada (Ontario) under the auspices of the British government. These people were awarded land grants in the townships of Dalhousie, Lanark, North Sherborooke and Ramsay in what became Lanark County."

British Campaign of 1777 - Vol. 1, St. Leger
Published in 2003 and on CD in 2010, by Gavin Watt & James F. Morrison
"This study of the St. Leger Expedition provides details including name, rank, regiment and service of many of the men who participated in behalf of the Crown and of those who opposed them."

British Campaign of 1777 - Vol. 2 - Burgoyne
A 2013 publication by Gavin Watt
"Will appeal to readers who enjoy the minutiae of the military campaigns of the American Revolution. While essentially a military work, many will find the book useful for genealogical research." "This book is primarily about the 'little' and 'littler' men."

Historic Hastings
By Gereld E Boyce
"Originally published in 1967 to document the settlement and local history of Hastings County in Ontario, Canada up to 1966, this fine work has been long out of print. Author, Author Gerry Boyce writes "With 8,000 copies in circulation, one could presume that there would be no need for a reprint. Such is not the case. The book has been out of print for several years, but prices for used copies (sometimes in poor condition) have risen dramatically". Historic Hastings has stood the test of time -- as highly regarded today as when originally published. Readers and family history researchers will appreciate the new and expanded index in this edition. Larry McQuoid and the Quinte Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society contributed an improved and greatly expanded index to which the author has added additional entries for the new content in this edition. The original index in the 1967 edition excluded many family names listed in the chapters on individual municipalities, the new index includes all these names. This certainly will benefit genealogists. Generously illustrated with period photographs and maps."

United Empire Loyalists, A Guide to Tracing Loyalist Ancestors in Upper Canada
The classic 2006 definitive guide, by Brenda Dougall Merriman
"In this book we find a guide to the necessary sources; background information; selections from previous experience; and analytical interpretations of the records."

2010 publication by Glenn Wright
"Identifies which records survive for those who served during World War One, where those records are, how to access them, and the author provides many helpful tips on how to interpret them."

Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet
A 2013 publication by Chris Paton
"As well as exploring the various categories of records that the family historian can turn to, Chris Paton illustrates their use with fascinating case studies. He fully explores the online records available from both the north and the south from the earliest times to the present day. Many overseas collections are also included, and he looks at social networking in an Irish context where many exciting projects are currently underway."

Not (yet?) in the top ten:

The J. W. C. Fegan British Home Children Collection
This CD includes a digitized copy of the book J. W. C. Fegan, A Tribute by W. Y. Fullerton, plus digitized copies of ALL surviving Fegan Homes newsletters that were published between 1877 and 1920. More than 1650 searchable pages in total (PDF format - PC & Mac).

The Flockey, 13 August 1777, The Defeat of the Tory Uprising in the Schoharie Valley
2013 reissue of a 2003 book by Gavin K. Watt
"The story of how a Troop of the Second Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons defeated the Tories and Indians during the Schoharie Valley uprising in an action known as The Flockey."

Find more new products from Global Genealogy at http://globalgenealogy.com/new/index.htm

Book Review: Discover Scottish Civil Registration Records

Chris Paton's new short book, just 52 pages, on Scottish civil registration has just been reviewed by US genealogist Paul Milner who specializes in British Isles research.
What does he think of the book?  "If you have literally any questions about the civil registration process in Scotland, then this book will probably have the answer." Nuff said.

London marriages updates

Ancestry.co.uk now has 7,549,376 records in the London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 database. These are from Church of England Parish Registers at the London Metropolitan Archives.

It's one of the larger London databases exceeded only by:

  • London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965 with 159,232,274 records
  • London, England, Land Tax Records, 1692-1932 with 12,772,852 records
  • London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 with 8,841,248 records

03 December 2013

An evening with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Join Dr. Lauren Onkey from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio as she captures the evolution and greatest moments of rock and roll through the musicians, the musical styles, the record labels, radio stations and the symbiotic relationship between the birth of rock and roll and the fight for racial equality in the 1950s.

Thursday, December 5
7 p.m.
Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive (The Chambers)
Admission is free. No pre-registration required.
Presented by the City of Ottawa Archives with the support of the Embassy of the United States of America.
Information 613-580-2857

Thanks to City Archivist Paul Henry for the tip.

Ancestry adds Isle of Man marriage links

Ancestry has added the Isle of Man, Marriage Index, 1606-1984 to its "Web" collection of databases.  That means they are automatically searched through Ancestry, but for more detailed information you're linked to the originating site. In this case that's the Explore Family History section of the Manx National Museum website at http://www.imuseum.im/FamilyHistory/Explore.mth which has lots more than the marriage index.


The corresponding baptism and burial indexes have now been added.


Here's a tip from Lesley Anderson. You can add value to an Ancestry.ca membership by clicking the drop-down menu from your user name, going to Email Settings and adjusting your profile to receive news and special offers.

That's also the place to turn them off if it gets to be too much.

Northern Ireland place names

Information on the origins and meanings of over 30,000 place-names from all over Northern Ireland, with detailed maps, is at http://www.placenamesni.org/index.php
Thanks to Anne Sterling for the tip.

02 December 2013

UK BMD updates

Cheshire BMD has been updated to add:
1,035 for Cheadle, registers at Stockport (1954-1959)
1,903 for Stockport Civil Marriage, registers at Stockport (1994-1997)
2,171 for Wirral, Civil Marriage, registers at Wirral (1963-1971

Yorkshire BMD has been updated to add:
316 for Addingham, registers at Bradford (1864-1868)
4,893 for Bradford East, registers at Bradford (1864-1868)
3,294 for Bradford West, registers at Bradford (1864-1868)
1,923 for Bingley, registers at Bradford (1864-1868)
2,389 for Bowling, registers at Bradford (1864-1868)
1,132 for Drighlington, registers at Bradford (1864-1868)
6,505 for Horton, registers at Bradford (1864-1868)
2,032 for Idle, registers at Bradford (1864-1868)
1,603 for North Bierley, registers at Bradford (1864-1868)
1,249 for Shipley, registers at Bradford (1864-1868)
1,922 for Thornton, registers at Bradford (1864-1868)
660 for Wilsden, registers at Bradford (1864-1868)

Check out availability for other counties/locations at http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/local_bmd

News from OGS Conference 2014

Information on the speakers and schedule for the Ontario Genealogical Society 2014 conference, 1-4 May in St Catharines, is now available. Check out the speakers photo and program brief and a tentative schedule of lectures, workshops and other events at conference.

Henry Hank Z Jones, who will be giving the banquet talk on Saturday evening, is interviewed by Steve Fulton, who is chairing the organizing committee. The interview covers his experiences in film and as a genealogical consultant.
Listen at http://www.ogs.on.ca/conference2014/hank_jones_interview.mp3

Elizabeth Shown Mills: Advice on How to Research Family History, Parts 3 and 4

The New York Times has now published the last two helpings of research advice for the family historian.

In week three ESM responds to questions under the headings:
A Reconstruction-era Ex-Slave Businessman
Clues to Origins and Parentage of an Enslaved Man
Tracing Jamaican Roots
Records for a New York-New Jersey Couple
Naturalization Files for New York
Name Change at Ellis Island?

In week four the topics are:
Research Stalemates on the American Frontier
Identifying an Immigrant’s Place of Origin
Why Genealogy?

In addressing the last question, Why do we do it? ESM writes:

Acknowledging our personal pasts, reconstructing the lives of our ancestors and restoring them to human memory can validate the struggles they invested in creating the world we now enjoy. Genealogical research is our way of preserving for future generations a clearer understanding of the personal and societal inheritance that we will pass on to them.
She also refers to a 2012 essay, “In Andalusia, Searching for Inherited Memories.” and the French psychologist Anne Ancelin Schützenberger, "whose professional career has defined a hypothesis called the ancestor syndrome.”

December backup nag

This nag is the usual post on the 2nd of the month. Everyone reminds you to do it on the first, but you overlooked it (agian?). Save yourself heartache. Backup your hard drive now.

01 December 2013

DNA Interest Group for Scotland

At the Ottawa DNA Special Interest Group meeting on Saturday it was pointedly commented that I hadn't mentioned the founding meeting of a DNA Interest Group for Scotland to be held on 18 January in Glasgow.

The goal is to establish a forum for:

  • sharing and comparing results of research in genetic genealogy
  • encouraging the use of genetic genealogy within the British Isles with a particular focus on Scotland (anyone within reach of Glasgow is welcome to attend)
  • administrators of DNA surname, geographical and haplogroup projects to exchange ideas on project management and interpreting results
  • helping people who have taken genetic DNA tests to make sense of their test results and what they might mean for their genealogical research
There's more information at http://gendnascotland.wordpress.com/

Benchmarks update for November

How did your favourite genealogy sites do during November? Comparable figures are for a month ago.

Most sites declined in Alexa ranking, the exceptions being familysearch.org, ancestry.ca, familytreedna.com, mocavo.com, britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk, newspapers.com, canadianheadstones.com, cyndislist.com, anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.ca.

Familysearch.org has added or updated record collections1 in November for a total of 1,667 (1,661). Census & lists account for 152 (151); birth, marriage, & death 1006 (1005); probate & court 152 (151); military 118 (117); migration & naturalization 94 (92); other 145 (145). Familysearch.org has Alexa rank 5,045 (5,165).

Ancestry.com has Alexa rank of 624 (595); ancestry.co.uk ranks 9,290 (8,891) and ancestry.ca 24,839 (26,225). There are 31,441,(31,419) datasets in the collections including 1,965 (1,966) for Canada, 1,735 (1,732) for the UK, 133 (133) for Australia and, 25,150 (25,131) for the USA.
MyHeritage.com's Alexa rank was 6,256 (5,438)
Findmypast.co.uk has an Alexa rank of 30,835 (28,283). Findmypast.com ranks 166,169 (154,884).

Family Tree DNA has 660,594 (656,898) records in its database. It ranks 24,392 (25,075) on Alexa. 23andMe ranks 8,968 (8,944).

GenealogyinTime.com ranks 27,126 (26,323); Mocavo.com 49,726 (52,149); eogn.com 21,052 (20,930).

Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk contains 7,075,304 (6,997,856) digitized pages, an average addition of 2,582 pages per day; Alexa rank 132,070 (145,140).
Newspapers.com contains 1,990 (1,936) newspapers including 666.836 (666,747) pages for England and 1,205,902 (1,228,225) pages for Canada. The Alexa rank edged up to 54,574 (58,456).

Cyndislist.com claims  328,743 (328,522) total links in 203 (203) categories, with 1,776 (1,778) uncategorized; Alexa rank leapt to 75,708 (82,214).

FreeBMD.org.uk has 233,278,246  (232,564,191) distinct records, Alexa rank 95,993 (94,226). Over 90 million of the records were extracted by the Canada-based scan2 syndicate.

CanadianHeadstones.com has over 756,000 (728,000) gravestone photo records from across Canada. It scores a huge jump in Alexa ranking to 490,344 (581,713).
Deceasedonline.com ranked 751,311 (898,621).
The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery (gravemarkers.ca), with over 794,000 (781,623) photographs from across Canada, ranked 6,335,750 (5,983,591) on Alexa.

Amongst Canadian family history societies bifhsgo.ca Alexa tumbled to rank 1,755,214 (1,484,860), qfhs.ca sank to 6,199,023 (4,403,199), and ogs.on.ca retreated to 251,586 (226,797).

And in case you're curious, Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections has 5,189 (5,116) posts; on Alexa the .ca site rose marginally to 155,892 (155,972).

Did I miss something significant? If so please post a comment with statistics if applicable.

30 November 2013

Peter Martin RIP

Sad to record the passing of Peter Martin who made notable volunteer contributions to the local Ottawa genealogical community. Peter was on the Board for Ottawa Branch OGS for ten years organizing the speaker program and for Gene-O-Rama. He was an active member of the Irish SIG and more recently contributed in arranging audio-visual facilities for meetings and conferences.

FMP adds further English parish records

It's been over two months since findmypast.co.uk announced any additions to their offerings. Now they've added nearly fifty thousand parish record transcriptions.

From the Northumberland & Durham FHS, 28,163 marriage records, mostly to 1812. The parishes are: Alnham, Alwinton, Bamburgh, Belford, Berwick, Berwick upon Tweed, Bishopswearmouth, Bolam, Bothal, Carham. Corbridge, Corsenside, Ellingham, Froxfield, Gosforth, Holy Island, Kirkwhelpington, Lanchester, Lesbury, Longhiughton, Lucker, Newscastle upon Tyne, Rothbury, Stamfordham, Wooler

From the Devon FHS,  11,735 baptismal records, mostly from 1813 to the late 1830s. The parishes are: Ashbury, Bampton, Bittadon, Boyton, Brenton, Cheldon, Clyst St George, Culmstock, East Buckland, Eggesford, Hollacombe,
Kenton, Plymstock, Sidbury, St Giles in the Heath, StThomas, Stockleigh Pomeroy, Uffculme, Werrington, West Worlington, Witheridge.

Also from the Devon FHS, 2,387 burials records for Ashbury, Bittadon, Boyton, Challacombe, Cheldon, Clayhanger, Coffinswell, East Buckland Hollacombe, Luffincott, Meshaw, Petton Chapelry of Bampton Parish, St Giles in the Heath, Stockleigh Pomeroy, Stoke Damerel, Torbryan, Wembworthy, Werrington, West Worlington

For Thames & Medway 2,080 baptismal records and 260 marriage records for Cliffe At Hoo; and 1,652 burials records for St Helen’s Church.

Remember Family History Centres

If you think of the local Family History Centre as the place to go to consult microfilms on loan from Salt Lake City, think again.  They are still that, but now much more. Through their FamilySearch Portal you can get free access to:

  • 19th Century British Newspapers - searchable by name, date, etc; British Newspapers 1800-1900
  • Access Newspaper Archives - Collection of newspapers around the world but centering on the US
  • Alexander Street Press, American Civil War- Soldiers, Battles, Letters, Photos, etc.
  • Ancestry [Library Edition] (also at Toronto Public Library)
  • FindMyPast.co.uk - the British version of FindMyPast (does not include any newspaper archives)
  • Fold3 - US Historical military records and stories
  • Godfrey Memorial Library - Mainly US records
  • Heritage Quest Online- US Censuses, Genealogy & local history books, PERSI, Revolutionary War records, Freedman's Bank Records
  • Historic Map Works Library Edition - Old digitized maps from around the world

That's a list from the weekly newsletter from the Toronto Family History Centre which is celebrating the acquisition of 10 new computers, five set to access the FamilySearch Portal.

If you decide to visit, to the Toronto FHC or elsewhere, its always wise to call ahead to verify they're open, especially as we get into the holiday season. Find information on the FHCs at https://familysearch.org/locations/centerlocator?c=

29 November 2013

20th Annual BIFHSGO Family History Conference

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa is seeking proposals for presentations at its annual conference, September 19 - 21, 2014, to be held in Ottawa at Library and Archives Canada.

The conference will focus on three main topics:
• English family history
• Immigration from the British Isles, including Home Children
• Genetic genealogy
Proposals are also invited for other conference presentations likely to be of interest to BIFHSGO members and for pre-conference workshops or seminars.

Details on submission requirements at: www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=125

Please send proposals to conference@bifhsgo.ca before January 31, 2014.

28 November 2013

FTDNA Black Friday sale

Family Tree DNA is offering a discount of 10% off  the regular $99 price if you place two or more Family Finder (autosomal) orders, BUT only until midnight Friday (presumably Houston time).
That's in addition to the free Restaurant.com gift card offered with every Family Finder purchase.

New records at the Nova Scotia Archives

Nine new record sets added to the Nova Scotia Archives in November include:
- annual accruals for births (1912), marriages (1937) and deaths (1962) from Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Nova Scotia Vital Statistics.
- church registers for St John's Lutheran Church, Mahone Bay, comprising  baptisms (1876-1912, one register 1854-1957 (sic)); marriages (1877-1912; 1917-1955); burials (1885-1956).
See the complete list at www.novascotia.ca/nsarm/newholdings.asp

British Dialect Glossaries

On the search for the word "houdge" found in an inventory in Sussex I've been checking out dialect glossaries and dictionaries available on the Internet Archive. Here are some which regrettably didn't help with this search;

The English dialect dictionary, being the complete vocabulary of all dialect words still in use, or known to have been in use during the last two hundred years; (1898)

Vol 1 (A-C) - https://archive.org/details/englishdialectdi01wrig
Vol 2 (D-G) - https://archive.org/details/englishdialectdi02wrig
Vol 3 (H-L) - https://archive.org/details/englishdialectdi03wrig
Vol 4 (M-Q) - https://archive.org/details/englishdialectdi04wrig
Vol 5 (R-S) - https://archive.org/details/englishdialectdi05wrig
Vol 6 (T-Z) - https://archive.org/details/englishdialectdi06wrig

A Scot's dialect dictionary, comprising the words in use from the latter part of the seventeenth century to the present day (1911)

Also several more local publications: