28 February 2013

British Slave-owning Ancestors?

Using a new website from University College London, http://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/

you can look up the names of those who received compensation, and the amount, from the British government for freeing their slaves. Check the surnames in your family tree to get an idea of how widespread slave-ownership was.
For example, 79 individuals with surname Reid received compensation, some with just a couple, two with more 1000 slaves.
According to an article at http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/2013/02/27/database-lets-britons-find-slave-owning-ancestors/WGcxMmzgTxFpkjiTJ7jlDL/story.html "about 46,000 people were paid a total of 20 million pounds — the equivalent of 40 percent of all annual government spending at the time — after the freeing of slaves in British colonies in the Caribbean, Mauritius and southern Africa."

27 February 2013

Ancestry adds Vancouver, British Columbia, Mountain View Cemetery Index, 1887-2007 and "death takes a holiday"

Ancestry.ca now facilities searching index entries for Vancouver's Mountain View Cemetery, 1887-2007. Located west of Fraser St, between 31st Ave and 43rd Ave it's made up of 106 acres of land with approximately 92,000 grave sites and 145,000 interred remains. Background information is at http://vancouver.ca/your-government/mountain-view-cemetery.aspx

Searching is by name and date of death with incomplete information acceptable.
The original database can also be searched through the iCemetery app for iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, where you can also zoom in on a map to pinpoint the grave site.
The exact number of people in the database is 139,892, so with 365.25 days per year the average number for deaths for a given day, irrespective of year, should be 383. You sometimes hear of the "death takes a holiday" effect where people postpone their death until after a holiday. What's the evidence from this Vancouver database?
22 Dec 402
23 Dec 446
24 Dec 372
25 Dec 304
26 Dec 286
27 Dec 347
28 Dec 382
29 Dec 469
30 Dec 474
31 Dec 989
1 Jan 502
2 Jan 405
3 Jan 416
The data looks suspicious. Looking at the database on the iPhone many entries have either a death or interment date, not both. I suspect Ancestry may have sometimes mistakenly entered the interment date in their database in place of the death date. Beware.

Not Wanted

It used to be that using the smaller rooms in the Library and Archives Canada building was free to community group with a purpose related to that organization's mandate. Then Public Works and Government Services Canada took over. The “advertised” price for a meeting room is $25.
add $125 for Internet access
add $250 for a staff member to supervise
add $60 administrative fee
TOTAL $460
And add HST
The message could not be clearer.
That's how it is in Harper's Canada.
I'm now informed that if the meeting is less than two hours the cost would "only" be $375.84 including tax.

Canadians at WDYTYA Live

BIFSGO President Glenn Wright photographed on the upper level of the event building, one where the RCMP Musical Ride first performed internationally in the 1930s.

Ed and Elizabeth Kipp lining up for sausage on a bun, a popular midday snack for Canadians
Lesley Anderson prepares for a presentation for Ancestry (removed at Lesley's request).
Memorial University of Newfoundland weee present and continually busy with folks looking to find records for their mariner ancestors.

26 February 2013

Only in the US

In a press release from Ancestry.com "AncestryDNA Test Provides An Affordable, Easy Way to Learn About Your Past and Family" we learn that "Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced the public availability of its AncestryDNA test to U.S. residents."
Ancestry continues to hype their test and confuse clients with statements such as "Whereas older consumer DNA tests utilized only 46 DNA markers, this new test analyzes more than 700,000 DNA marker locations and cross-references them with its one-of-a-kind comprehensive worldwide catalogue of DNA samples." The former refers to a Y-DNA test of STRs, the latter to SNPs from across the DNA.
AncestryDNA still does not release raw results to clients, offers 200,000 fewer markers than 23andMe with less sophisticated analysis, and at twice the cost for Ancestry non-subscribers.
And only available to US residents.

FreeBMD February Update

The FreeBMD Database was last updated on Saturday 23 February 2013 and currently contains 226,280,181 distinct records.
Significant updates, more than 5,000 records, are: for births for the years 1943, 1945, 1955, 1958-1966; for marriages 1952, 1956, 1961-1968; for deaths 1964-1968.

1911 Census now with Nominal Index at LAC

Once again Library and Archives Canada has released a nominally indexed census on their website, this for 1911.
There is a good discussion of the census and its contents at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1911/Pages/about-census.aspx
Once again you have to go to the bottom of the help file to read that LAC "gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Ancestry.ca, without which this project would not have been possible."  That means that Ancestry funded most of the work.

Drastic Cut at Library and Archives Canada

Main Estimates tabled in the House of Commons on Monday reflect the Harper government's continued low priority for Canada's documentary heritage.

For 2013-14 the allocation for LAC is $98.3 million, down more than 16% from $117.7 million in the present year. Budgetary allocations for Exploration of Documentary Resources fall from $34.3 million to $29.9 million; for Preservation of Continuing Memory from $31.9 million to $21.3 million; and for Documentation of the Canadian Experience from 15.9 million to $14.2 million.
Ottawa-based federal cultural institutions all see decreases in Main Estimates allocations.
A substantial increase for the Halifax-based Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, from $9.9 million to $18.5 million, and a tripling of the allocation for the Winnipeg-based Canadian Museum for Human Rights, from $10 million to $31.7 million are accounted for by allocations for accommodation (capital construction.)

The Department of Canadian Heritage sees a 2.9% increase, from $1,280 million in the current year to $1,317 million in 2013-14. This includes a one-time allocation of $122.3 million for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto so expenditures on other cultural activities are being reduced.

25 February 2013

Looking for a Genealogical Professional?

I'm sometimes asked to do genealogical research for a fee - it's not something I accept. I'm also asked to recommend people to do such genealogical research and hesitate to do so. Instead I refer them to lists from an accreditation organization.
In my view full membership in such an organization should only be granted to those who have a track record of relevant experience.They should have demonstrated to the organization through impartial peer-evaluated work samples a professional standard of practice, and must continue to keep up to date with evolving knowledge with periodic renewal of their accreditation.
The organization should provide a procedure whereby complaints about a member's activity can be resolved.
It is not good enough that the organization rely on a person's commitment to perform under a code of conduct without any test,
Nor is it good enough that a renewal be granted based on work which does not demonstrate knowledge of recent research developments.

There appears to be no such active Canada-wide organization.

In the UK the organization that comes closest is AGRA, The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives. However it does not appear there is a renewal process so skills could become dated while remaining accredited.

In Ireland The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland seems to be very much parallel to AGRA.

In the USA the Board for Certification of Genealogists appears to meet all my criteria. For renewal they must demonstrate that their knowledge and ability have kept pace with genealogical standards and that they are still working to those standards. It is unclear whether that includes knowledge of DNA-based techniques.. The US-based International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists is a similar accreditation organization and while it does require familiarity with new electronic and digital resources there is also no mention of DNA-based techniques.

The Association of Professional Genealogists conducts no test of member's skills. Although there are certainly well qualified members I would be especially hesitant to hire someone solely on the basis of their membership in APG.
Overall the lists of members of these organizations can be regarded as providing candidates for someone wanting to hire a professional genealogist rather than names of people one can be assured will meet your particular requirements.

Blogging Pause

You may find the pace of blogging here slows for a few days. I'll be back.

24 February 2013


I didn't get to the show on the third day. Every indication was it would be quieter as was the case the previous two years I attended. Several attendees the two previous days told me they we're not attending including Dick Eastman pictured here on day 1 with Debra Chatfield and Ian the Judge from Find My Past dressed to reflect the significance of the newly released criminal records from the TNA collection. Debra filled me in on Friday on the bidding process by which companies get to digitize and release TNA record sets, something the LAC could learn a lot from.

WDYTYA? Live Handout

For those who were not able to pick up a handout from the talk Glenn Wright and I gave on Saturday, here is the text.

Researching English Emigrants to Canada and their Descendants
Before looking at Canadian records ensure you have established a unique identity of the migrant in the UK and the latest date they are found in UK records. Did they leave as part of a group or family?
If after 1890 check the UK outgoing passenger lists at FindMyPast or Ancestry. Check the Canadian incoming passenger lists if available at Ancestry. Consider checking US passenger lists.
Finding Your Canadian Ancestors, by Sherry Irvine and Dave Obee
Seeking a Better Future: the English Pioneers of Ontario and Quebec, by Lucille Campey
Planters, Paupers and Pioneers: English Settlers in Atlantic Canada, by Lucille Campey
Online Education
National Institute for Genealogical Studies - genealogicalstudies.com

Websites to Browse for Canadian Genealogy (alphabetical order)
ancestry.ca anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com
archive.org/details/Toronto archivescanada.ca
automatedgenealogy.com bccfa.islandnet.com
bifhsgo.ca canadianheadstones.com
cangenealogy.com collectionscanada.gc.ca
familysearch.org genealogyintime.com
gravemarkers.ca icon.crl.edu/digitization.htm#A
ogs.on.ca/services/indexes.php  olivetreegenealogy.com/can
ourontario.ca/ ourroots.ca

When all else fails: cyndislist.com and google.ca

23 February 2013

WDYTYA Live Day 2

Although it seemed a bit quieter on Saturday than Friday all exhibitors I spoke with seemed happy with the traffic. Ancestry said they were as busy as on Friday. The Guild of One Name Studies seemed to be doing well and the Family Tree DNA stand continues to be crowded and their lectures popular. Glenn Wright and I gave presentation on the Researching the English in Canada and their descendants. Every one of the 100 seats was taken with people standing around the edge of the area. Lots of questions afterwards and follow on to Lesley Anderson at the Ancestry stand.. 

SAFHS Conference and Family History Fair 11th May 2013

The 24th Annual Conference of the Scottish Association of Family History Societies will be held within the Scottish Borders Campus, Nether Road, Galashiels, TD1 3HE, Scotland from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 11th May, 2013.

The theme is "Comings and Goings, Migration and Scotland".

More info at http://www.bordersfhs.org.uk/BFHSConference.asp

It has online booking at http://www.bordersfhs.org.uk/BFHSConferenceBooking1.asp

Thanks to Peter Munro of the Borders Family History Society for the tip.

East Anglia Group of FHSs

Some of the smaller family history societies find it too costly to exhibit independently at the Who Do You Think You Are Live event. Several East Anglia Societies band together to be represented. One, the Essex Society for Family History, will be celebrating 40 years in operation with a weekend conference, 29-31 August 2014. They anticipate having a session delivered remotely from Salt Lake City and are actively seeking presentation proposals. Register your interest at events@esfh.org.UK and watch WWW.each.org.UK for details.

A Genealogy of Genealogy

Julia Creet, an Associate Professor of English at York University in Toronto, is currently working on a genealogy of genealogy, a documentary and book project that looks at the industry behind the “innate” need to know one’s past.
In 2011 she received a grant of $52,870 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for that study.
The proposal made in obtaining the grant is not online. There is a YouTube video of interest at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mgcr7y2ACRw&sns=em
Other articles by Prof Creet that give an indication of her thinking are: The Archive and the Uncanny (pdf) and Transnational archives: the Canadian case.

WDYTYA Live Day One

It was a busy day on the first day of the Who Do Think You Are Live event at Kensington, Olympia. Most of the exhibitors from previous years were back, there were a few people missing including Louise St Denis. Her UK-based colleagues from the National Institutes for Genealogical Studies were there.
Helen Osborn from Pharos Teaching and Tutoring mentioned that Sherry Irvine is preparing a course which will be particular interest to BC residents.
BIFHSGO president Glenn Wright and I had conversations with two potential speakers for the next BIFHSGO conference - more soon. BIFHSGO members Ed and Elizabeth Kipp seemed to be enjoying the event. Lesley Anderson was busy in her role with Ancestry.ca including as part of a group presenting a session streamed online.
The National Library of Wales is preparing to launch their digitized newspaper collection free online on March 9th, funded by a grant from the EU.

22 February 2013

All records for Manor Park Crematorium now available at deceasedonline.com

Manor Park Crematorium, located in Forest Gate, East London, has now made all records available through www.deceasedonline.com
Register scans from the opening in 1955 until 1991 are available together with computerised records from 1991 to 2010
There are now 145,000 records available for Manor Park Cemetery and Crematorium and all 420,000 records will be on Deceased Online within the next few weeks

100 Days to the 1921 Census of Canada

The end of the 92 year embargo on release of the original 1921 Canadian census schedules is approaching The census was taken on 1 June 1921 so in 100 days they officially pass into the custody of Library and Archives Canada.

LAC informs that only microfilm copies of this census exists and they will digitize the microfilms and make them available online as JPEG and PDF images "shortly after their release date."

Peer organizations internationally are able to arrange very prompt, same day, availability. The credibility of LAC with all its emphasis on digitization and online availability of records is on the line. How will they take advantage of this opportunity to raise the organization's profile?

What are your expectations?

21 February 2013

Direct from WDYTYA Live

On Friday and Saturday you can watch the Ancestry academy lectures streamed live from Who Do You Think You Are? Live. They are every hour starting on the half hour on Friday, on the hour on Saturday and a mixture on Sunday. The first is at 5:30am on Saturday - London is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
All being well the presentations will be streaming at http://t.co/9xq4ArKgCr
The schedule for these and other presentations, not available online, is at http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/workshop-schedule-full

Lancashire BMD Update

The most recent update to the Lancashire BMD site at www.lancashirebmd.org.uk includes 4,054 births added for Bury RD comprising: Elton (1908-1914); Ramsbottom (1901-1907); 10,001 births for Burnley RD amended to include mother's maiden name, comprising: Padiham (1869-1890) and; 14,517 deaths for Oldham RD comprising: Oldham South (1911-1931). There's more. For all updates this year see http://bit.ly/W7C89q

Historical English Calendar iPhone App

Not for everyone, but maybe useful for you to tuck away on your iPhone (or iPad?)

"Historical English Calendar is a streamlined offline date-calculator for those interested in English history, literature, and genealogy. It converts between Old and New Style dates (Gregorian and Julian), calculates the day of the week, identifies the dates of moveable holidays (Easter, etc.), and calculates regnal years through queen Victoria.:
Further info at http://goo.gl/Psdjf

20 February 2013

Family Tree DNA Basic Male DNA Test Promo

For a limited time Family Tree DNA is offering its basic Y-DNA 12 marker test, previously offered in the National Geographic Geneographic Project, for $39. This special is targeted at the price-sensitive market segment and comes on the eve of the opening of WDYTYA Live in London of which the company is the DNA sponsor.
As the company announcement states, with this test your matches and ancestral origins largely depend on how your DNA compares to their database. People with the most common types of DNA will have hundreds of exact matches for this 12 marker test. For those further refinement will be possible by upgrading to more markers at additional cost, likely where the company will expect to recoup the cost of this loss leader.
Others with a rare paternal line may possibly have no exact matches.
Read about this offer here.

More London Poor Law Records from Ancestry

Ancestry's London, England, Poor Law and Board of Guardian Records, 1430-1930 database has just been updated to now comprise more than 3.8 million records. These browse files, no name indexing, from the London Metropolitan Archives include:
Admission and discharge books of workhouses
Registers of individuals in the infirmary
Creed registers
School registers
Registers of children boarded out or sent to various other institutions
Registers of apprentices
Registers of lunatics
Registers of servants
Registers of children
Registers of relief to wives and children
Registers of inmates
Registers of indoor poor
Registers of deserted children

Find My Past Criminals

Companies usually manage to come up with interesting new data sets at the time of major conferences. With WDYTYA Live about to start I was wondering what Find My Past, who usually make a big splash, would announce.
Last year it was maritime records with FMP staff in nautical attire. This year I'm looking for some disreputable characters as the company has released two million records of British criminal ancestor, newly digitized from the (UK) National Archives. Find them at Findmypast.co.uk. UK bloggers have already had a look at the records and some find people in their family. What does that say about bloggers?

FTDNA trends

Are you a patient angler? In my DNA fishing expedition I keep waiting to catch the "big one." Of my eight 37 marker Y-DNA matches none is closer than 3 steps removed or has a date more recent than September 2011. I wondered if Family Tree DNA has seen a falling off of clients.
I'd not checked the report for 12 marker matched and find I'm continuing to catch lots of minnows. Of my 12 marker matches 32 are from 2013, 161 from 2012, 127 from 2011, 108 from 2010, 113 from 2009 and 101 from 2008.
Thankfully we don't have to pay an entry fee (subscription) to stay in the game.

OGS Ottawa Branch February Meeting

In place of the rregular Ottawa Branch monthly meeting presentation on Saturday, 23 February there's the annual potluck.
I'm not sure how that will work. the notice says "Coffee, tea and juice provided. Bring your own plate and utensils." No mention of bringing food. Maybe someone from the branch will post info as a comment.
You are asked to bring a favourite book or resource and tell briefly why it is/was so useful. Food for the mind!
As usual, the meeting is at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, in Room 115

19 February 2013

Ottawa Genealogy 2013

Details and registration are now online for the Ottawa Genealogy 2013 event on 4 May at http://ogsottawa.on.ca/ottawa-genealogy-2013/. You get four sessions, a choice from two presentations in each session, plus a computer room and marketplace for $30 for OGS and BIFHSGO members. That works out to $7.50 per session, a competitive price, especially given the quality - take a look. Plus there's free parking and an optional brown bag lunch.

Registration is limited owing to the capacity of the building at 100 Tallwood (City Archives) so book early to ensure a seat.

Obama Beavertail Day

This is the fourth anniversary of President Obama's visit to Ottawa. Although billed as largely business he cemented relations with Ottawans by stopping in the Byward market to try the local delicacy known as the Beavertail.

Closing the Doors

Many years ago I was in a meeting with people from the US Bureau of Reclamation. The discussion centred on the cost of a project. The Bureau had proposed a figure, but added "we could easily do it for twice as much."

That's the type of thinking evident with the Department of Public Works (PWGSC) management of the ground floor facilities at 395 Wellington Street, the building housing the public facilities of Library and Archives Canada.
I'm told that the cost of the facility, typically in the range of a thousand dollars for the BIFHSGO three day conference in previous years has escalated ten times. Public Works keep adding additional mandatory services and costs without regard for economy. These keep increasing in accordance with policy that "Market-based charges for the space will be progressively implemented in 2013." There is no assurance a figure quoted one day will not be higher the next week.
Fundamental to this issue is that PWGSC has no mandate to consider the government cultural mission. From their perspective if the building sits unused costs will be less - that justifies charging every conceivable cost for use. No doubt with restraint they too could do it for twice as much, they're already doing it for ten times as much!
While Paul Dewer, a member of the opposition, can object as reported in the Ottawa Citizen, restoring some balance by considering the raison d'être for the building, and some support from the government side, will be needed before any real change in direction is to be expected.
Meanwhile it's a mistake for organizations that have used the building for events in the past to think they have no other options. While a several thousand dollar deficit for one year might be considered an acceptable option, likely accompanied by a substantial increase in attendance fees, with ever increasing PWGSC charges it is unlikely to be so next year. Why procrastinate? For a meeting next September, as long as minds are open to change and not only in location, there is time.

18 February 2013

60 Years of Interlibrary Loan Service Ends

The following is a note on behalf of the staff of the Interlibrary Loan Service of Library and Archives Canada. I'm informed that in the absence of this service hundreds of requests for material previously handled by ILL are backed up.

The Interlibrary Loan Service of Library and Archives Canada closed last Friday, February 15 2013.
We have been a major part of a 60-year tradition of helping Canadian libraries and their patrons gain access to Canadian publications. The National Library of Canada began sending information to other libraries about where to locate titles their clients were looking for in the early 1950's, when the National Union Catalogue began. Lending from our own collection came a little later; the National Librarian's annual report of 1960 states that in FY 1958-1959, the Library lent 150 items and answered 8,280 requests for locations. Thirty years later, we were handling 150,000 requests per year.
The ensuing decades saw breathtaking technological change, and the ILL services of the NLC, and later LAC, were early adopters. NLC began filling requests for journal articles in the 1960's, driving our use of photocopying, fax transmission and several methods of online delivery. The National Library led the way both nationally and internationally in coordinating the development of standards that, to this day, allow different ILL management systems to exchange requests and follow-up messages with minimal human intervention.
As AMICUS and other library catalogues became freely available online, the use of our locations service declined, and loans became the focus of our service. In fiscal year 2011-2012, LAC filled 21,294 requests for loans and copies from our collections, and provided locations in response to another 11,658 requests.
All of us are proud to have been part of this service. To our friends and colleagues, thank-you, good-bye and good luck.
Thanks to the staff members who provided this service, now terminated by the Harper government. That's Canada's Economic Action Plan at work for you.

John Grenham favours the imprecise

In his most recent Irish Roots column John Grenham gives the rationale for not being too precise in conducting your genealogical searches online.


Perth Historical Society February Meeting

Untold Stories of John Wilson: The Survivor of the Last Duel is the title of the presentation by Chris Anstead to the Perth Historical Society on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. More information at perthhs.org

QFHS Roots Day: Celebrating Our Canadian Roots

On Wednesday, February 20, 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm the Quebec Family History Society is holding an the next in it's series of free themed open-house events, this on "Celebrating Our Canadian Roots"
Drop by for coffee, tea, and informal conversation and information at the QFHS Heritage Centre and Library, 173 Cartier Avenue, Pointe-Claire.

17 February 2013

Roman Britain

When you successfully trace your ancestry in Britain back to Roman times the Roman Britain Organization website at www.roman-britain.org will be worth consulting.
There's an entry for Burgh Castle, a Roman Fort three miles from where I was raised. Learn about Hadrian's Wall constructed to keep out the barbarians. Check out the RBO Meteorological Page  where you'll learn the opinion of Cornelius Tacitus on the English weather, "The sky is overcast with continual rain and cloud, but the cold is not severe" and find a more modern Guide to British Weather. 
via a tip from Bryan Cook. Check out his poetry blog at http://cprcook.blogspot.com/

TNA Podcast: Hunting for Spies in The National Archives

From an entertaining lecture given on 15 January, Times journalist Ben Macintyre talks about his latest book Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies (Bloomsbury, 2012).
He emphasizes the importance of meticulous record keeping in managing double agents in the lead up to the D-Day invasion, adding imaginatively to Churchill's rhetoric

"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills" 
the line
We shall fight them amongst the filing cabinets.

16 February 2013

A Haberdashery Shop on London Bridge

Some people go to a lot of effort to preserve details of their family history. I've sometimes wondered whether I really care about what my great-grandfather ate for breakfast on, say, 26 June 1879.
Now there's a presentation given on February 12th at Gresham College by Mike Rendall who tells

"The fascinating story of an eighteenth century haberdasher who recorded what he ate, what he purchased, how he slept and what the weather was like in obsessive detail. He also kept newspaper cuttings and admission tickets, he copied sermons, and collected coins, shells, fossils and books."
A transcript of the lecture and background material is at http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/a-haberdashery-shop-on-london-bridge-journal-of-a-georgian-gentleman.
Want more? Check out http://blog.mikerendell.com/

50 Genealogy Gems Favourites

Genealogy Gems podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke celebrates her 50th birthday and the 150th episode with "50 Fabulous Family History Favorites!" There are so many they extend into the 151st episode. Listen at Episode 150 and Episode 151.

Lisa will be speaking at WDYTYA? Live and I hope to be able to bring you a short interview.

Beyond Orange and Green: Toronto’s Irish, 1870-1914

For those with Toronto Irish interests a podcast, the first of the year available through activehistory.ca is a recording of a talk in the 2013 History Matters lecture series given on January 31st.
Migration historian William Jenkins of York University "examines immigration patterns and political allegiances of Toronto’s Irish between 1870 and World War I, and how struggles at home and abroad had an impact on the Catholic and Protestant Irish communities in the city."
Thanks to the Toronto Public Library for sponsoring this series held at various of their branches - something for other public libraries to emulate.
Thanks to Dave for the corrected web address

15 February 2013

More on Public Works Gouging at LAC

Ottawa Citizen reporter Chris Cobb quotes BIFHSGO president Glenn Wright in an article Rental fees for Library and Archives building threaten to freeze out community groups.

“We are very concerned with the escalating cost and whether we’ll be able to stay,” he added. “This year, we’re apparently paying 25 per cent of market rate, whatever that is, and next year it will be 50 per cent. But we will stay the course for this year."

Prizes at WDYTYA Live

Just a week to go now to the start of the biggest genealogy event, Who Do You Think You Are? Live at London's Olympia Exhibition Centre. Glenn Wright and I will be co-presenting Finding English Emigrants to Canada and Their Descendants at 2:00 pm on Saturday February 23rd in the SoG Regional Studio, on the Ground Floor.
Attendees will be eligible to win two valuable prizes courtesy of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies by correctly answering a skill testing question.

History of the early settlement of Bowmanville and vicinity

This book (pdf) by J. T. Coleman published in 1875, just available on the Internet Archive (Texts), which starts with an early history of settlers, contains a militia roll call for 1812, by R. Lovekin, with the names:
Ebenezer Hartwell, Daniel Lightheart, Norris Carr, Augustus Barber, Waterman A. Spencer, James Burke, Nathan Pratt, Samuel Burk, Enoch Davis, John Trull, John Dingman. William Pickle, Matthew Borland, John Wilson, Eliphalet Conat, Richard Martain, Michael Coffun, David Burk, Jeremiah Conat, Thomas Powers, James Flannigan, David Seron, William Preston, Timothy Johnson, Dyer Moore, James Grant, Reuben Grant, Jr., James Hawkins, Jr., Thomas Hartwell, John Paine, Lanson Soper, Caleb Raymond, Joel Byrns, Jr., William Bebee, Nehemiah

Vail, Aaron Hills, John Brown, Nathan Haskell, Joel Byrns, Sr.. Jonathan Bedford, Jr., John Odell, Nathan Watson, Alexander W. Ross, Luther McNall, Gershom Orvis, Jered Kimball, Jonathan Rodgers, John Potter, Abraham Bowen, Stadman Bebee, Daniel Wright, Israel Bowen, Daniel Crippin, Dorous Crippin,
Luke Smades, Joshua Smades, John Walker, Joseph Barden, Pletiah Soper, James Merrill, John Perry, Adna Bates, Francis Lightfoot, Samuel Marvin. William Carr, William Borland, Jr., Roger B. Woloott, John Spencer, John Hartwell, Myndert Hanis, Senr., John Burn, Alexander Fletcher, Robert Clark, John D. Smith, Leonard Soper, John Haskill, Samuel W. Marsh, Thomas Gaige,
Jeremiah Brittain, Daniel Porter, James Hawkins. Sr., Gardner Gifford, Elias Smith, Jr., Roger Bates, James Stephens, Samuel Gilford, Ezra Gifford, Peter Rice, Christopher Merkley, Jodiah Caswell, David Gage, Joel Smades. George Potter, David Bedford, Samuel Willet, David Crippin, Benjamin Preston, Reuben
Grant, Sr., Abell Allen, Isaac Hagerman, Justin Johnson, Jeremiah Mays. Hiram Bedford, Joseph Caldwell. Stephen Morse, Benjamin Root. Benjamin Preston, Warren Munson, Edward McReloy, Myndert Harris. Jr.,Asa Callendar, Joseph Haskell, James Lee, Zephaniah Sexton. Cornelius Daly, Jonathan Sexton, Zachariah Odell, William Munson. Timothy Haskell. Ephraim Clifford, John Voree, Josiah Wilson, Stephen Bedford.

There is also a list of early marriages:
Third March. 1807, married. Thomas Conat, of Darlington, to Hannah Stoner. Present, Peter Stoner, her father. Abel Conat, Polly, his wife, and Phoebe Lightheart

Twenty-first April. 1807, married. John Carr. of Darlington, to Betsey Woodruff, of Pickering, with the written consent of her father. Present. Norris Carr and wife. James Burk and wife, and Mr. Woodruff's son.
Twenty-eighth December, 1807. married. John Burk. Junior, of Darlington, to Jane Brisbin. of Whitby, with the consent of her sister and brother in-law. Present, John Burk. Senr.. David Stevens, and David Burk.
Third October, 1811, married. William Picket, of Darlington to Nancy Wilson, of Whitby, being fist duly published, in presence of William Smith, and Waterman A. Spencer &c, &c.
Twenty-eighth October, 1811, married. James Bates, of Clarke, to Elizabeth Burk, of Darlington, in presence of John Burk, Sr.. her father, David Stephens, Jessia Burk, Adna Bates, and Stoddard Bates.
Sixteenth June, 1805, married. Luke Burk, of Darlington, to Nancy McBane. Present, James Burk. John Hartrode. Francis Lightheart. and Rachel Lightheart.
Fourth March. 1817, married. Icabod Hodge, to Elizabeth Coolley. both of the Township of Whitby, being first published by Alexander Fletcher, Esq., in presence of Francis Lightheart. of Darlington, William Maxson, and John Stevens, of Whitby.

14 February 2013

Halsted Trust:' British Migration

Genealogy Conference on British Migration

With 20 talks from 17 different internationally known genealogists and historians, the Halsted Trust is delighted to announce its Second International Family History conference featuring the theme of British Migration; from, to and within the British Isles. Exodus: Movement of the People will be held at a comfortable and modern hotel from 6th to 8th September 2013.
Families that move are always a challenge for family historians. They may travel a few miles into another parish or another county or another country. They may have come from just down the road or from the other side of the world. Finding where an ancestor comes from, or goes to, needs skill and tenacity as well as luck. Are there records showing movement into the parish?
As the British Empire expanded, and later contracted, British migrants are to be found all over the world and not just on areas coloured red in the Edwardian atlas. They were entrepreneurs, and engineers, miners and musicians as well as colonial civil servants and soldiers. Not every migrant wanted the adventure and many came back as soon as they could.
The Halsted Trust invited our conference speakers to consider how and why Britons migrated from, to or within the British Isles. We wanted to know how genealogists could be equipped to tackle the challenges of tracing the origins of migrant ancestors and understand the reasons for their migration. Poverty, religion, ambition, even love are strong drivers of change and wanderlust. Some such as criminals and slaves were forced to migrate. Are there new genealogical sources and resources becoming available and what evidence does archaeology or DNA provide for migration? We wanted to look at the impact of Diasporas on Britain and the impact of the British Diaspora on the world. As we look at migrants to the UK’s former colonies we also look at the growing digital resource of migration sources and passenger lists as well as the vast untapped resources within UK archives showing the clues for the ancestor who just turns up in a parish.
Migrants moulded the British Isles and its history. In the year leading up to this conference the Trust has published articles on the conference website about the places our ancestors went to and came from, along with stories about migrants who prospered and influenced history.
For further details please visit http://www.exodus2103.co.uk or for a brochure write to The Halsted Trust, Box H, Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Rd., London EC1M 7BA.

Lancashire Records Update on Ancestry

Four Lancashire databases on Ancestry.co.uk have received updates:

Lancashire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936; 640,534 records
Lancashire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812; 731,140 records
Lancashire, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1911; 697,305 records
Lancashire, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1986; 367,468 records
These are records from the Lancashire Archives with images of original records linked.

Giving a Soldier His Name

It's refreshing to find a responsive organization, so kudos to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
On January 14 under the heading Their Initials Liveth For Evermore I blogged about correspondence I had with the CWGC attempting to restore the name in place of initials in their online database for Alfred Stanley Wright. I'd provided a copy of the burial record from Deceased Online unambiguously identifying the name of the person buried in the grave given in the CWGC record. On being informed they also needed a birth certificate I wrote questioning the need and asking for a review of the requirements.
Today, much sooner than I'd expected, I received an email stating that "following review of the case after receiving confirmation from outside sources, and also taking into account the documentation you have already provided, we will add the casualty's full names - Alfred Stanley - to our records."
The email indicated that there will be a delay in making the change online "due to ongoing technical difficulties with our master database."

Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives Takes place on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at the Arnprior Public Library (21 Madawaska Street), starting at 1 p.m.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Archives, also the 100th anniversary of Renfrew South District Women’s Institute, one of our founding partners. They will provide an overview of their important, award-winning Tweedsmuir Community History Collections. There will also be a sneak preview of the District’s Oral History Project, capturing recollections from their oldest members.
The meeting will end with light refreshments, an open house of the Archives, time to view the many Tweedsmuir Community History Collections in our holdings and to welcome back archivist, Laurie Dougherty.

Kingston and Quinte OGS Branches meet this Saturday

At 10 am, Saturday 18 February, Kingston Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will hold its Annual General Meeting featuring a celebration of their 40th anniversary. OGS President, Shirley Sturdevant, will speak. That's in the Wilson Room of Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson Street, Kingston.

At 1pm Quinte Branch OGS will hear from Rick Roberts speaking on using Family Tree Maker with "dozens of hints and tips that will help you improve your results."  That's at Quinte West City Hall Library, 7 Creswell Drive in Trenton.

13 February 2013

Ancestry additions for Manitoba and Ireland

Ancestry.ca are listing Manitoba, Birth Index, 1866-1912 as a new collection available to search from their site. The results link to the website of the Manitoba Ministry of Consumer and Corporate Affairs where you will need to repeat the search. If you qualify you will be able to order a certificate for postal delivery.

Ancestry has the same arrangement is in place for the Manitoba, Marriage Index, 1879-1931 and Manitoba, Death Index, 1881-1941.
Ancestry also indicate an update to the Ireland, Civil Registration Marriages Index, 1845-1958 is now in place with over 4.5 million entries.

Home Children podcast from LAC features John Sayers

If the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa has an iconic project it's the work on home children, the approximately 100,000 children brought to Canada from Great Britain between 1869 and the late 1930’s by various charitable agencies.
In this new podcast from Library and Archives Canada Marthe Séguin-Muntz and John Sayers of BIFHSGO discuss the lives of Home Children and share the wealth of resources accessible at LAC largely thanks to John and his colleagues.

Giving Killer Presentations

Do you agree that most presentations are boring and forgettable? Be honest, of those you heard in the past year how many do you remember much of if anything at all?
If you give presentations, and would like to do a better job, take a look at the article at: http://m.cio.com/article/728631/How_to_Give_Killer_Presentations_by_Thinking_Like_a_Writer?mm_ref=http%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FcuAhJqht

23andMe Finds Few Negative Reactions to Genetic Tests For Cancer Mutations

When I talk about genetic testing for genealogy I'm sometimes asked about health implications. The testing itself has no health impacts but folks get concerned that based on genetics people might worry needlessly about a higher than normal susceptibility or feel inappropriately reassured when they should continue to take precautions.
I can always tell them that Family Tree DNA tests avoid health-implicated testing but my own view is that such concerns show precious little respect for the intelligence of the average man or woman, and that FTDNA is likely missing testing some genealogically useful SNPs by not testing them.
Now a blog posting from 23andMe points to an article Dealing with the unexpected: consumer responses to direct-access BRCA mutation testing at https://peerj.com/articles/8/ published in a new online journal PeerJ, supporting my opinion.
The study conclusion is that
Direct access to BRCA mutation tests, considered a model for high-risk actionable genetic tests of proven clinical utility, provided clear benefits to participants. The unexpected information demonstrated a cascade effect as relatives of newly identified carriers also sought testing and more mutation carriers were identified. Given the absence of evidence for serious emotional distress or inappropriate actions in this subset of mutation-positive customers who agreed to be interviewed for this study, broader screening of Ashkenazi Jewish women for these three BRCA mutations should be considered.
The paper is based on a relatively small sample. Undoubtedly in a large sample there will be some who use the information inappropriately, but should that disbenefit outweigh the benefits reported in this study? And should we be denied the opportunity to know fully about our own DNA for genealogical purposes because some people have qualms?

The article is one of the first published in a new open access journal, PeerJ. Read about it here.

12 February 2013

More Northumberland, Miscellaneous Records,1570-2005 at FamilySearch

There are now 225,967 images in this updated browse collection of parish registers, electoral registers, nonconformist records, and parish chest records from the Northumberland Archives Service via FamilySearch.
About 90 Northumberland communities are represented. There are also records from Garrigill St. John's and Nenthead in Cumberland, and  Edmondbyers and Muggleswick in Durham

Decline of the Rootsweb Mailing List

Back in April 2007 I blogged on the rise and fall of the Rootsweb mailing list. With ever increasing social media options Rootsweb's share continues to slide.
Posts which peaked at over 4.1 million in 2002 fell below 3 million in 2004, below 2 million in 2008, and below 1 million in 2011. Total posts in 2012 were 868,552 and posts for the four months ending January 2013 were down 17% year over year.
In April 2007 I wrote that "postings with DNA in the message body, shows healthy growth as interest in this area continues to develop." It turns out 2007 was the peak year even for DNA with 90,135 posts. In 2011 and 2012 there were less than 39,000 DNA posts. As you might expect the share of posts mentioning DNA did increase, from 3.3% in 2006 to 4.5% in 2012.

11 February 2013

More on Richard III DNA

Turi King thinks there is enough Y-DNA surviving from Richard III to determine a match to four paternal line relatives. Amazing how the ability to extract DNA from degraded specimens has improved.

via CeCe Moore FB post

A Disaster and the Hornerites

I let my curiosity get the better of me a couple of days ago when examining a page from a Beechwood Cemetery burial register. I already blogged about some of the the resulting exploration at http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.ca/2013/02/curious-pattern-of-burial-dates.html

On the same page of the burial register were three people, William Russell (32), Charles Hall Hutchison (27) and James Ira Casselman (54) indicated as killed in an accident on the Ottawa and Parry Sound Railway on 21 January 1897. There's a report of the derailment that resulted in these deaths at http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=NGcuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8NgFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1193%2C735108

The death registration for William Russell gives his religion as Hornerite - that was something new to me. The Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online profiles the sect's founder Ralph Horner here. There's a 1999 Master's dissertation by Clifford Roy Fortune at https://curve.carleton.ca/system/files/theses/25503.pdf which includes a chapter on "Ralph Horner's Ottawa Valley" and section of  Maps, Tables and Charts which looks like useful resources for those with Ottawa Valley ancestry.

10 February 2013

New UK Family History Books

With Who Do You Think You Are? Live less than two weeks away there's a small flood of new British genealogy books out, or due out, to capture the market. Here is a personal selection of those with February release dates, all listed at amazon.co.uk

"Assuming the reader has no prior knowledge of the British Army, its history or organization, Simon Fowler explains what records survive, where they are to be found and how they can help you in your research. He shows how to make the best use of the increasing number of related resources to be found online"
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd; 2nd edition edition (21 Feb 2013)
ISBN-10: 1781590869

"leads readers through the various types of death records, showing how they can be found, read and interpreted - and how to glean as much information as possible from them."

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd (21 Feb 2013)
ISBN-10: 184884784X

"how to decode family stories, to find the truth and prove your descent from blue-blooded forebears. His book shows you how to expand your aristocratic pedigree sideways and backwards, incorporating heraldic records and printed pedigrees such as those in Burke's Peerage.|

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd (21 Feb 2013)
ISBN-10: 1781591644

"a timely guide if you are researching the soldiers, sailors or airmen."
"introduces readers to the multitude of sources they can use to explore the history of the war"

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd (21 Feb 2013)
ISBN-10: 1781590370

"offers a host of new, original and unpublished articles commissioned by us. This new book comprehensively covers everything from beginning your family history to areas of specific research, as well as advice on using the internet, digital technology and military sources.
Listings of over five thousand useful addresses and contacts are at your fingertips at all times."

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Robert Blatchford Publishing Ltd (28 Feb 2013)
ISBN-10: 0955239982

"guides readers through the most important information sources for family historians in the UK including family documents, official records, archives and websites. From what to expect on a birth cert to how to use newspaper archives each chapter focuses on an area of research and takes you through the basics. This book focuses on UK records and archives."

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd; 2nd New edition edition (28 Feb 2013)
ISBN-10: 1408175703

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Robert Blatchford Publishing Ltd (28 Feb 2013)
ISBN-10: 0955239974

Productivity Hint: Snipping Tool

The most convenient way to capture all or part of your computer screen in Windows 7 is to use the built in Snipping Tool. It will easily capture all or part of your screen no matter what the format.

It's described in this YouTube video in 77 seconds.

If Snipping Tool doesn't show up in your list of programs open up Start at the bottom left of the screen, enter snip and click on Snipping Tools when it appears under Programs.

09 February 2013


Celebrating another milestone, 800,000 page views on the blog as of February 9 around 2 am.

Centretown News Reports on Federal Bait and Switch

Devious government tactics which led to the cancellation of the 29th Gene-O-Rama is explored in an article Archive Fees Make History of Local Event by Hayley Mutch in Friday's (Ottawa) Centretown News.
A $500 fee by Public Works and Government Services Canada, the federal department that manages the facility, ballooned to $2,300 before Mike More pulled the plug.
Read the story at:

08 February 2013

TNA Podcast: The Will Forgeries: a forgotten sensation

Audrey Collins introduces this talk she gave at TNA Kew on January 24, 2013 as a "you couldn't make it up" story. She's right.
The Will Forgeries was a well know case from London in the 1840s based on claiming inactive accounts from the Bank of England using fraudulently obtained death certificates and probate registrations. It resulted in an Old Bailey trial. Audrey tells the story which features solicitor William Henry Barber and surgeon, entrepreneur and con man Joshua Fletcher.
Highly recommended. Find the podcast at http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Win a book from Deceased Online

Deceased Online is uploading over 100,000 burial records for Manor Park Cemetery, dating from 1930 to the present day throughout February. In the Spring records of Brompton Cemetery, West London, one of the "Magnificent Seven" Victorian cemeteries will be added.
To mark these additions Deceased Online is giving away four copies of Nick Barrett's book Greater London: The Story of the Suburbs.  
"The book is a fascinating read, and shows how different parts of London became suburbs as the city grew over the years. Nick has done a great job condensing centuries of history, 600 square miles, and millions of people into just one book."
To qualify you have to answer four skill testing questions, the first two of which are at http://deceasedonlineblog.blogspot.co.uk/
Good luck.

Curious Pattern of Burial Dates

I've been looking at burial in records for Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery for 1896-7. Typically through the summer and fall there were only two or three days between death and interment according to the burial register available on Ancestry.ca.  As the ground became frozen, and without machines for digging graves, I'd expected interments to cease. 

Starting with a death on December 24 there were many entries with a notation "vault" and interment dates the following May or June. But there were also interments with just a 2-3 day delays, some were with the notation "pauper grounds", others were in various cemetery sections. 
That pattern continued until the beginning of April when there were no further interments delayed beyond a couple of days. 
What's curious is that none of the deferred interments from December, January, February and March took place in April when the regular routine resumed. Any ideas why?

07 February 2013

Charlotte Gray News

I've never been disappointed in listening to noted Ottawa creative historical non-fiction author Charlotte Gray. That was true again on Wednesday evening when she spoke to Heritage Ottawa about her craft and where she defines its bounds using for illustration the experience of her last and next books.

Along the way we learned that her last book, Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike is being turned into a TV mini-series for the Discovery Channel with shooting to start in Northern Alberta in March.

Her next book, due to appear in September, is Carrie: The Maid Who Shot a Massey which explores the 8 February 1915 murder of Bert, a member of the Massey family by his domestic servant, the subsequent trial, and the surprise verdict

06 February 2013

British Newspaper Archive on findmypast.com

Several months ago access to the newspapers of the British Newspaper Archive was made available to subscribers to findmypast.co.uk. Having switched my subscription to findmypast.com I was disappointed the newspapers were not added there too. That`s now changed. Find out more at http://goo.gl/vw29D and http://goo.gl/vHQPB.

Manchester Parish Records New on Ancestry

Another great collection from Ancestry, parish records for the area around Manchester, Lancashire, from 1541 to 1985 with index entries linked to images of the originals.
Manchester, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915: 1,702,491 records
Manchester, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985: 917,791 records

Manchester, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930: 1,437,698 records
Manchester, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1541-1812: 1,186,882 records

Records from Church of England parish registers in the Diocese of Manchester, from the original registers deposited at the Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives. It includes the areas of Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Rochdale, Stretford and Trafford, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Leigh and Rossendale.

Manchester, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1573-1812 (Cathedral): 376,533 records
Manchester, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1901 (Cathedral): 282,956 records
Manchester, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930 (Cathedral): 409,330 records
Manchester, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1866 (Cathedral): 42,850 records
Records from Church of England parish registers in the Manchester Cathedral with images produced by permission of Manchester Cathedral and Manchester City Council. 

LDS users should note the request of the Manchester Diocese that use of the images for retrospective or proxy baptism is not permitted.

BIFHSGO February Meeting

In her presentation on Saturday, 9 February "The Box in the Closet: My Journey to Claim Who I am" Margaret Singleton will tell of her experiences researching her Canadian, Irish and English ancestry. This was in the days before the Internet using microfilm and microfiche through the Family History Centre (FamilySearch Centre) and by examining gravestones.  There's a preview here (mp3).

The warm-up educational session starts at 9am with John Lund speaking on  Copyright, Privacy and Access.

More information at www.bifhsgo.ca/events.php

05 February 2013

Global Genealogy Discount

Milton, Ontario based Global Genealogy have announced a discount of 15% off all items (except the FlipPal mobile scanner) until Valentines Day, February 14th at midnight. Use the coupon code Valentine when checking out to receive the discount, or call 1-800-361-5168.

Ottawa Genealogy Day on May 4

As it was not feasible to run the nearly annual Gene-O-Rama event this year OGS Ottawa Branch is reinventing it as a one day event on Saturday May 4. A brief notice is on the Branch web site. The venue will be the City Archives at 100 Tallwood. It has severe capacity problems so attendance will be limited to 80 paid registrants. Most of the speakers will be local except for Rick Roberts who will be bringing his wares to the marketplace. There will also be a computer room.

For news as it develops check at http://ogsottawa.on.ca/

04 February 2013

Chasing Ice: not family history

An dramatic video directed especially at my genealogist friends who continue to doubt the reality of climate change.

A good day for DNA evidence

The press conference revealing confirmation that a skeleton found beneath a parking lot in Leicester is "beyond reasonable doubt" that of King Richard III is all over the media.
The available evidence forms a consistent pattern; the DNA evidence was highlighted by the BBC in their report "DNA confirms bones are king's" - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21063882.
I've been looking for the details on the DNA test. So far what is released is statements confirming that there's a close mitochrondial DNA match with two people who have solid paper trails back to the king's mother. The exact wording of Dr Turi King, project geneticist, is that:
"There is a DNA match between the maternal DNA of the descendants of the family of Richard III and the skeletal remains we found at the Greyfriars dig." "In short, the DNA evidence points to these being the remains of Richard III."
In addition there's a tantalizing extract of the DNA data at http://www.le.ac.uk/richardiii/science/resultsofdna.html consistent with group J 
Michael Ibsen, one of the people used as a benchmark for King Richard is said to be in haplogroup J which accounts for about 10% of people in the UK, at that time about 250,000 people. Hopefully there's more data in the "Richard III" sample than released and the mtDNA match will be more definitive.
There's also a suggestion there may be evidence from Y-DNA to come.

A second unrelated DNA story at http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-918630
tells how a 23andMe test and the work of a volunteer helped reunite a mother and son.

Families, February 2013

Elizabeth Lapointe has posted the table of contents of the latest issue of Families, the journal of the Ontario Genealogical Society of which she is editor, on her blog at http://genealogycanada.blogspot.com/2013/02/winter-2013-families-is-now-published.html

Charlotte Gray to lecture on Does Heritage Pull History Out Of Shape

On Wednesday, February 6th at 7pm in the Auditorium of the Ottawa Public Library noted Ottawa author Charlotte Gray will present Heritage Ottawa's eight annual Bob and Mary Phillips Lecture.

"How can writers bring new readers to history while staying within the bounds of creative non-fiction? Charlotte Gray will discuss the different demands made on the past by historians and heritage activists."

Admission is free and all are welcome.

TNA podcast: An Introduction to Tracing Battalions or Regiments of the British Army during the Great War

David Langrish, a Reader Advisor in the Family History team at The (UK) National Archives with a particular interest in military records, presented this talk on the sources for tracing WW1 military history on December 6 last. Building on information from an individual's service record or medal card as a lead it describes using regiment, battalion, brigade and division histories, unit war diaries, trench and situation maps, photographs and other sources such as POW interviews to find out more details on war service.

03 February 2013


John Grenham's latest Irish Roots column on an old problem at http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/irishroots/2013/02/03/evidence-evidence-evidence/ 

Sources at the Caird Library of the National Maritime Museum

The many smaller British libraries and archives are semi-precious jewels, an adornment to the country's rich cultural heritage. One I visited many years ago while researching Stephen Martin Saxby was the library of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.

It's called the Caird Library - I don't recall that name from my visit.

02 February 2013

OGS Ottawa Branch organizes a Day at the Archives

Saturday proved to be an interesting day as the Ottawa Central City Archives opened its doors to visitors from the genealogical community. I shared a table with Ken McKinlay, seen here with Susan Davis and Jane Down peering over their shoulders. Ken and I advised a steady stream of visitors interested in British Isles Family History, and Newspapers. Some were substantially younger than the typical genealogist including two Algonquin College students from the Applied Museum Studies Program.
More photos and information at the BIFHSGO Facebook page http://goo.gl/nb0ev

The Passionate Genealogist Anniversary

I'm a few days behind with is one but would still like to extend congratulations to Ruth Blair of Blair Archival Research on the 3rd anniversary of her genealogy blog.  The tag line on the blog reads "A great joy is proving the truth behind the family story." Read Ruth's blog for news and tips that will help you find that joy.

QFHS special membership offer

The following is a press release from the Quebec Family History Society
QFHS slashes its membership fee by 45% for new members
Montreal, February 1, 2013 -- The Quebec Family History Society (QFHS) today announced it has cut its membership fee by 45 percent, from $65 to $35, for new members. For the period February 1 to July 31, 2013, the society has reduced its regular membership fee for people who join for the first time. This special offer includes the Summer 2013 issue of the society’s publication, Connections, and all the benefits enjoyed by its members, such as onsite access to billions of online records, access to the QFHS Heritage Centre and Library collection of 6,000 books, CDs and microfilms, and discounts on seminars and research.
QFHS Executive Secretary Joan Benoit, in charge of membership, said: “This is a terrific opportunity for new and experienced genealogists to join our society and discover the exciting world of family history research. We encourage anyone who has ever thought of joining a genealogical society to take advantage of our offer.”
The Special Offer Membership form and membership details are available on the QFHS website at http://www.qfhs.ca/cpage.php?pt=13. Payment can be made by cheque or money order. Cash payments can be made in person at the QFHS Heritage Centre and Library in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. To keep costs down on this special offer, QFHS cannot accept credit card or online payments.
The Quebec Family History Society is the largest English-language genealogical society in Quebec, Canada. Founded in 1977, it is a registered Canadian charity that helps people of all backgrounds research their family history. Its members, in addition to researching their Quebec roots, research historical records in all Canadian provinces and territories, the United States, the British Isles, and Western Europe. At the QFHS Heritage Centre and Library, members have free access to a collection of 6,000 books, manuscripts, and family histories, plus thousands of microfilms, microfiche, historical maps, and periodicals, and access to billions of online genealogy resources, including the Deluxe International Edition of Ancestry.ca.
The Quebec Family History Society
Comment: It appears to amount to a half-year membership.

Computer file backups - nag

Do you follow the advice to back up your computer files each month? Have you done so in the past month? The first of the month is a good date to do so - easy to remember. If you didn't do so yesterday why not today?

01 February 2013

Benchmarks Update for January 2013

Here's how January treated various favourite genealogy sites. Comparable figures are for a month ago. The higher the Alexa ranking the more popular the site.
Most sites sank in the Alexa rankings. Exceptions were the DNA sites which gained, likely on the basis of the year end sale for Family Tree DNA and a major price reduction for 23andMe. The British Newspaper Archive likely dropped as Find my Past subscribers gained access without a separate subscription.
Familysearch.org has 1,430 (1,413) record collections: census & lists 120 (117); birth, marriage, & death 869 (863); probate & court 125 (131); military 103 (100); migration & naturalization 80 (73); other 133 (129). It has Alexa rank 4,908 (5,003).
Ancestry.com has Alexa rank of 667 (671); ancestry.co.uk ranks 7,498 (7,578) and ancestry.ca 32,182 (33,316). There are 31,216 (31,322) datasets in the collections including 1,941 (1,939) for Canada, 1,685 (1,692) for the UK and, 25,058 (25,042) for the USA.
Findmypast.co.uk has an Alexa rank of 21,769 (22,549). Findmypast.com ranks 100, 687 (112,252).
Family Tree DNA has 402,224 (401,047) records in its database. It ranks 32,469 (30,503) on Alexa. 23andMe ranks 25,509 (32,707).
GenealogyinTime.com ranks 37,483 (35,112); Mocavo.com has rank 62,404 (51,202)
Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk contains 6,346,980 (6,165,662) digitized pages adding 5,849 (4,977) pages per day. Additions during the month are: Aberdeen Evening Express 1883 - 1893; Aberdeen Journal 1902 - 1903, 1905 - 1906, 1911 - 1914, 1917, 1920, 1922 - 1923, 1925, 1927 - 1929, 1931 - 1932, 1936, 1938 - 1940, 1943, 1946, 1948 - 1950; Berkshire Chronicle 1825, 1830, 1832, 1834, 1838, 1840, 1845, 1850 - 1851, 1857, 1869; Chester Courant 1818 - 1821; Coventry Herald 1858, 1862, 1911; Dublin Evening Mail 1854, 1871; Dundee Advertiser 1890, 1892; Essex Newsman 1950; Evening Post., The 1900 - 1905; Gloucester Citizen 1915 - 1916, 1925, 1928, 1930, 1938, 1946, 1950; Luton Times and Advertiser 1895, 1898, 1900, 1904 - 1907, 1909 - 1910, 1912, 1914; Post., The 1949; Stamford Mercury 1715 - 1716, 1783, 1882 - 1893, 1896 - 1899, 1902, 1905 - 1910, 1912; Surrey Mirror 1915; West London Observer 1953, 1956. Alexa rank 122,294 (141,975).
Cyndislist.com claims 325,986 (325,756) total links in 192 (192) categories, with 1,796 (1,797) uncategorized. Alexa rank 81,220, (79,154).
FreeBMD has 225,305,278 (223,319,729) distinct records, Alexa rank 82,087 (82,569).
UKBMD.org.uk provides 2,370 (2,369) links to web sites that offer on-line transcriptions of UK births, marriages, deaths and censuses. Alexa rank 276,462 (311,218).
CanadianHeadstones.com has over 568,000 (548,000) gravestone photo records from across Canada. It scores 548,577 (631,105) in Alexa traffic rank. The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery, with over 700,500 (695,000) photographs from across Canada, ranks 1,915,268 (864,650).
bifhsgo.ca ranks 1,915,964 (1,700,945), qfhs.ca ranks 2,494,023 (2,376,742), ogs.on.ca 191,509 (187,234).
And in case you're curious, Anglo-Celtic Connections has 4,327 (4,240) posts. Thank you to those who interacted in one way or another this month: Alison, Anne, Barbara, Brenda, Brian, Bruce, Catherine, Cecil, Charles, Chris, Conchita, Debbie, Dex, Elizabeth, Ellen, Frank, Gail, Glenn, Grant, Hugh, Irene, James, Jane, Jess, Judith, Kevlar, Mick, Mike, Patricia, Paul, Persephone, Richard, Rick, Ryan, Steve, Susan, Terry, Thomas. All that help didn't stop a huge drop in Alexa rank to 320,216 (273,701).
Did I miss something significant? If so please post a comment with statistics if applicable.

Ottawa, Canada, the great, cheap power city illustrated

The Internet Archive just added this 62 page promotional booklet from 1912 published by the Publicity and Industrial Bureau of the city of Ottawa. It's taken from the CIHM collection at Canadiana.org.

The cover boasts "the cheap power city", "more power than Niagara" and population for Ottawa and suburbs combined of 128,000.
 It highlights the city's advantages:
Cheapest Power.
Raw Materials Convenient.
Splendid Industrial Sites.
Advantageous Freight Rates.
Rail and Water Transportation.
Comparative Low Cost of Living.
Most Favourable Labor Conditions.
Population of 4,127,000 Living within 300 miles.
Direct and Quickest Haul to Western Markets.
Read about "the Convention City" and "the World's Most Beautiful Capital" that "Holds annually the greatest ICE horse meet in the world" and even 101 years ago lists the Archives as a point of interest, at: http://bit.ly/WAZXqa