31 March 2013

British First War Pension Records

The Western Front Association have posted an update to last year's announcement that they've acquired a collection of 6.5 million British WW1 pension cards:

Other Ranks Died (this contains nearly one million individual records)
Widows and Dependents of Other Ranks Died (in excess of one million records)
Other Ranks Survived: Requested/Rejected/Receiving Pension (over 2.5 million records)
Officers survived and Officers' Widows (approximately 150,000 records)
Merchant Naval Cards (about 5,000 records)
See an explanation and examples at

Thanks to Glenn Wright for the tip.

Library and Archives Canada Report on Plans and Priorities 2013-14

The Library and Archives Canada 2013-2014 Report on Plans and Priorities has now been tabled in Parliament, along with those for many other departments and agencies. It shows actual spending, $120.3 million for 2012–2013, falling to $98.3 million in 2013-2014.
Last year's RPP showed human resources as stable at 1,117 Full Time Equivalents, but we were told to expect a 20% staff cut as a result of last year's budget. That would be 894 FTEs. The cut turns out to have been 23%, with this year showing 860 FTEs and expected to be stable for the next three years.
Each year I produce a Wordle showing the RPP's most used words. This the word modernization is entirely absent, it had ranked with documentary and information two years ago warranting 61 mentions which reduced to 28 mentions last year. Modernizing, modernized, modernize and modern are each mentioned once. Again this year there is no mention of genealogy, newspapers are mentioned once in connection with a storage facility. The phrase whole-of-society has come into fashion appearing 14 times.
Last year I wrote that "The section of most interest to clients is Resource Discovery" and the RPP explained that "LAC understands that its clients expect to have access to Canadian documentary heritage when, where and how they want it." I doubt clients needs have changed but Resource Discovery is out, mentioned only once "LAC will put in place an institutional discoverability policy that will address resource discovery issues and the specific policy instruments that are needed as a framework for the approach." In this inferno of frameworks and policies have pity on the front line employees attempting to deliver real resource discovery and access service to real people.
What service can we expect? Performance indicators and targets are supposed to be the benchmark of service.
The expected program outcome "LAC's collection is relevant to and representative of Canadian society" targets that 75% percent of users will consider that LAC's collection represents Canadian experience by March 31, 2015.
For fiscal year 2013–14 LAC targets 75% client satisfaction with the level of services provided through their preferred channels, specifically modernized online services.
For the same period they target 60% of clients being able to find what they are looking for online. As less than 1% of LAC material is online that seems like a hugely ambitious target.

30 March 2013

Internet Genealogy: April/May 2013 Issue

The lead article in the April/May issue of Internet Genealogy magazine is a review of Legacy Family Tree 7.5 by regular IG writer Tony Bandy. Legacy ranks second as the most popular genealogy database software, at least locally. The article explains the software and it's capabilities. While praising it as powerful overall Tony finds a couple of nits to pick, the intimidating program interface and general approach for the newbie  and some clipping problems when larger fonts are selected.

The other articles are:

Welsh Genealogy Book Review
John D. Reid reviews Bruce Durie’s book on Welsh records and archives.

Say “Hello” to Trello!
Lisa A. Alzo reviews a simple free project management and collaboration tool for organizing research tasks, writing projects, and more. Comment: While it's not one I'd heard of it's ranking 3,243 on Alexa, above all genealogy sites except Ancestry.com (it's not just for genealogy) suggests it's worth a look.

From Quill Pens to Pixels
David A. Norris looks into researching colonial American genealogy online

10 Tips for Finding Female Ancestors Online
Gena Philibert-Ortega offers advice on locating your female ancestors using online sources

Diane L. Richard looks at websites and related news that are sure to be of interest

Family Research for St. Helena Island
Ed Storey examines the resources available for researching ancestors in distant places

John Maclay’s Scrapbook
Using only online sources, Connie Cherba documents the process of researching and returning a precious family heirloom to the distant ancestors of its creator

A Minute… to Pin It!
Lisa A. Alzo discusses how to use virtual “pushpins” to advance your genealogy

African-American Newspapers, 1827-1998
Diane L. Richard looks at an invaluable resource for researching African-American ancestors

The Back Page
Dave Obee looks at online searches and why you should never give up!

29 March 2013

Three Months of Backblaze Service Free

One of the surprise exhibitors at RootsTech was the cloud backup service Backblaze. They even sponsored the product demo theatre with soft comfy armchairs and candy.
I'm a Backblaze subscriber. As far as I know it works for me. Fortunately I've never had to retrieve anything from the backup in earnest. On the couple of occasions I've tested the backup file it was there.
Apparently World Backup Day is March 31, who knew? New Mac and PC users can sign up to receive 3 months of the Backblaze online backup service for free (a $15 value) Until the end of day (PDT) on March 31st. Check out here to learn more and sign up.

Ottawa Citizen Genealogy Article

Tracing your family tree: Websites open doors to the stories of our ancestors appears in the 28 March issue of the Ottawa Citizen. Read it at: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Tracing+your+family+tree/8165562/story.html

Free 1901 and 1911 census availability

Over the Easter weekend Ancestry.co.uk has a free offer:

"The 1911 and 1901 Census records will be available to search for free from 00:00 on 29th March 2013 until 23:59 on 1st April 2013. To view these records you will need to register for free with Ancestry.co.uk with your name and email address."

28 March 2013

Northern Ireland Updates

Ancestry has updated to provide "Web" access to Northern Ireland, Will Calendar Index, 1839-1943. "Web" access means you can search from Ancestry which provides a link to the detail at another site, in this case the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).
The Calendar Index provides a summary, the key facts of name, address, date of death, value of estate, date probate granted and to whom. You may also search directly from http://goo.gl/wa7Jb. Records for 1920 and part of 1921 are still be be added.

PRONI also now have a fully searchable placename index to the Valuation Revision Books (VAL/12/B) covering counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone between the years 1864 to 1933. In total, c.3,900 volumes were digitally captured, with over 440,000 images now available to view online.
The digital application is searchable by Placename (City, County, Parish, Townland) or PRONI Reference. The cities of Londonderry and Belfast have been indexed to Street and Ward level. Streets can be found by using the free text search. There is no personal name index.
Of the c.3,900 original volumes, 44 have not yet been scanned. These remaining volumes will be added to the database at a future date.
Search from http://www.proni.gov.uk/index/search_the_archives/val12b.htm

PRONI has other online records. See the list in the right hand column at http://www.proni.gov.uk/index.htm

Deceasedonline.com completes Manor Park dataset

With the addition of another 160,000 records for the period 25th March 1875 to 15th December 1898 the deceasedonline.com database for Manor Park Cemetery, Newham, East London is now complete. In total 430,000 burial and cremation records are now available.
Commenting on the recent additions the company writes:

"What is both interesting and tragic is the sheer number of interments during this 25 year period due to a combination the teeming population of and the high infant mortality rate in 19th Century East End of London." 
My Reid great-great-grandparents whose final resting places I've been seeking for many years are among them.

The cemetery looks sadly run down in this slideshow.

27 March 2013

More Kent Records at findmypast.co.uk

FMP now has over 2 million fully name searchable parish records dating as far back as 1538 in the Canterbury (Kent) Collection. They are:

Baptisms: 902,849 records – see a list of parishes and dates covered(PDF)
Banns: 110,576 records – see a list of parishes and dates covered (PDF)
Marriages: 467,738 records – see a list of parishes and dates covered(PDF)
Burials: 680,198 records – see a list of parishes and dates covered (PDF)

This very nice collection, I extended a family I've been researching back two generations, is available at both the .co.uk and .com sites.

TNA podcasts, and webinars coming

There are two new podcasts on TNA's website.

Information from a usually reliable source is that TNA have been experimenting with webinars. If they're judged successful a regular webinar program will likely start soon. Even better they are likely to be scheduled for the late afternoon UK time, late morning or early afternoon for us in North America. That's not so great for Australia and New Zealand. But I was told a middle of the night schedule doesn't stop quite a few ANZ folks from tuning in to Legacy Family Tree webinars.

26 March 2013

Last Minute Ottawa Area Heritage Opportunities

On Wednesday, March 27 the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum will host Doreen Wilson,Curator of the North Lanark Historical Museum, on Digitization, Oral Histories & Accessibility as guest speaker in connection with the museum AGM. That's 7pm at the museum, 3 Rosamond St. E in Almonte.
To learn about a paranormal investigation Watson's Mill in Manotick offers Ghost Findings Revealed. $2 for Watson Mill Members and $5 for General Public. That's also at 7pm on Wednesday, March 27.

Dublin city voters, 1908

John Grenham draws attention to a new database from the Dublin City Library and Archive at dublinheritage.ie of Dublin voters in 1908. It includes 46,065 voters, aged over 21 for men and 30 for women, or about 15% of the population of the city. Read Grenham's column at http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/irishroots/2013/03/20/dublin-city-voters-1908/

Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage meeting: Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage met at 3:30 p.m. with Hon. James Moore, P.C., M.P., Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages to consider Main Estimates. Despite Part III of the department estimates, the Report on Plans and Priorities, not being available the committee passed the estimates by votes along party lines.
Most of the discussion was regarding the arts and museums aspects of the Minister's portfolio.
A motion was proposed That the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertake a comprehensive study of the recent changes at Library and Archives Canada including the introduction of a code of conduct and invite relevant witnesses including Daniel Caron as well as representatives from library, archivist and archaeological associations. 
At one point the motion was worded to refer to "President" Daniel Caron!
There was no decision on that proposed motion.

Interview with Lisa Louise Cooke

Listen to an interview with Genealogy Gems podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke who will be coming to Ottawa for September's BIFHSGO conference.

25 March 2013

Canadian Newspapers at Newspapers.com

Newspapers.com is a part of the Ancestry.com stable of companies which started operation in the latter part of 2012. Speaking to the staff at their stand at RootsTech I learned they expect to start including Canadian newspapers next month. First up will be papers from Manitoba, Winnipeg and Brandon, and the Toronto Star. Others will follow with perhaps an early emphasis on western Canadian papers.
Check out the site as they also have a small collection of British papers including The Times.
I'm told if you register on the site, it's free, you see more information after a free search than without.

24 March 2013

RootsTech In One Word

RootsTech III Day 3

David Pogue, personal technology columnist for the New York Times, gave the opening keynote presentation on the third and final day of RootsTech. It would be impossible to do justice. I laughed until there were tears in my eyes. He received two standing ovations. If it becomes available as a rerun on the web it's a "not to be missed" even though it's not family history.
You had to feel sorry for the following speakers from My Heritage who had a clear message about the direction the company is taking, but whose star was outshone. It didn't help when presenter James Tanner stated that genealogists are looking to have the work done for them, while many of us enjoy the research process.
I went straight to a panel session of genetic genealogy experts chaired by Cece Moore, Tim Janzen from 23andMe's citizen advisory panel, Bennett Greenspan from Family Tree DNA and Catherine Ball from AncestryDNA. The vast majority of the attendees were knowledgeable and the discussion lively as promised. I plan a separate posting on that session.
I skipped the following session in order to make a visit to the Family History Library, then went to a jam packed presentation by Tom Jones, a case study of tracing back from a death record to discover a man who married several times and changed his name. He illustrated the value of judicious use of online compiled family trees. This session was given in a room which was far too small considering Jones's reputation.
I heard a number of critical comments about the quality of some of the speakers, that the approach was too basic and some presentations too much like infomercials. While I found plenty of substance in most of the presentations in the future the organizers could improve that quality and timeliness of information allowing attendees to better plan their schedule in advance. They also need to do a better job of assigning rooms to speakers, perhaps by asking people to indicate the talk in any session which they're most likely to attend as a basis for room assignment.
RootsTech next year will be February, 6-8, 2014. The organizers are indicating they would like to hold regional events as well.

OGS Conference Early-bird Deadline at Hand

A reminder that March 31 is the deadline for discount advance registration for the OGS conference in Oshawa, May 31, June 1-2.

23 March 2013

Great Revelations: Canada and the 1921 Census

Toronto Branch of OGS welcomes Glenn Wright on Monday evening, when, in anticipation of the release of the 1921 census. His presentation will look at the history of that census, with reference to others, and examine the state of Canada in 1921.
  • Canada's population was 8.8 million, less than anticipated. Why?
  • With people living longer quite a few people alive today will be found.
  • There are also famous, and infamous people.
  • In Toronto Banting and Best should be discovered on the eve of their discovery of insulin.
  • 1921 was an election year, one in which Canadian women first got to exercise the right to vote in a federal election, and when Agnes Macphail became the first woman elected to parliament.
  • And what's the UFO connection?
There will be an additional short presentation by Marian Press: "Writing for the Toronto Tree."
That's Monday, March 25, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. in the Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Community Hall, 5110 Yonge Street, Toronto. www.torontofamilyhistory.org/

Ancestry adds Wiltshire Records

Wiltshire is famous for Stonehenge and Avebury stone circles. not nearly as ancient at the new records of marriages,1538 to 1837 recently posted by Ancestry, 522,232 of them. These are name indexes with no link to original record images.
There is also a small collection of Quaker births, 1636-1837, and deaths, 1542-1897, for the county.
These records are from the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre

FreeBMD March Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Saturday 23 March 2013 to contain 227,309,107 distinct records. Major updates, more than 5,000 entries since the previous update on 23 February, are: births, 1943, 1945, 1955-66, 1958-69; marriages, 1952, 1956, 1961-69; deaths, 1964-68.

RootsTech III Day 2 Keynote Session

The keynote session started at 8:30am with two contrasting talks.

Jyl Pattee, a motivational speaker from momitforward.com appealed to the right brain by asking the audience to think of a wow moment, then suggested we should create, capture, archive and share these moments, and do so on a regular basis using social media. She told stories with impressive photos and videos.
Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry appealed to the left brain. He mentioned they had a challenge in developing and maintaining a website that worked for both beginners and experienced users.

Collaboration is important, even experienced users can benefit from the contributions of beginners who may have access to unique petsonal data

Ancestry now has 45 million trees with 4 billion people; and they're not 100% accurate.

The company now has 2.7 million subscribers across all it's sites; 1200 employees with 50 who have been with the company for more than 10 years, 200 for more than 5 years, and one-third new in the past year.

In news Sullivan announced:

  • A new version of the iOS app will launch in the next few days with a Facebook and Twitter interface. Over one third of new registrants now come from a mobile device, and that has been about half in past two months.
  • The price of the AncestryDNA service is reduced to $99 effective today for everyone, subscribers and non-subscribers.
  • Ancestry plans on spending $100million in the next five years to add new data. Part of that will be in a collaborative project with FamilySearch to digitize and index 140 million very much neglected US probate records from 1800 to 1930 assuming rights can be negotiated.

World Meteorological Day

What was the weather like on the day you were born? Did clear skies greet you, or did you arrive under a cloud? Depending on where that momentous event happened it may be easy to find out about the weather online or you may have to seek a published source. Sometimes the easiest access is through the archives of the local newspaper.
Canadians are fortunate to have freely available online data from Environment Canada. Anyone born in Ottawa and many other Canadian locations 50 years ago today has access to hour by hour weather observations listed at http://goo.gl/T1Mej
Fifty years ago saw the inauguration of the World Weather Watch being marked this year by the theme of the annual World Meteorological Day “Watching the weather to protect life and property".
Canada's weather service, initially focused on storm warning for shipping on the Great Lakes and Atlantic coast, goes back much further. The father of the service, George Templeman Kingston (5 Oct. 1816 - 21 Jan. 1886) was a professor at the University of Toronto.  His entry in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online gives no burial place, a pity. J Brian Gilchrist came to the rescue by way of an old posting on an Ancestry message board
George Templeman Kingston ... died Toronto Jan 21, 1886 aged 69 years. Placed in the Chapel Crypt on Jan. 23, 1883 - Rev. Septimus Jones officiated. Interred on May 6, 1886 in a plot bought by (his son) the Reverend George Malcolm Kingston in "D' Hill side Section of St. James' Cemetery, Toronto. His name is not one of the 4 names inscribed on the tombstone.

22 March 2013

Jian Ghomeshi on Chill at LIbrary and Archives Canada

Thanks to Jian Ghomeshi, presenter of CBC radio program Q, for this short essay
Thanks also to Christine Jackson for drawing it to my attention.

RootsTech: the 2nd half day

I'd hoped to report on the whole day but United Airlines had other ideas so instead of arriving in Salt Lake City near midnight on Wednesday I spent the night in Houston. It was noon on Thursday when I got to Salt Lake City, just in time to miss the morning sessions. If you didn't catch them on webcast no doubt they're will be be good reports from other bloggers.
I attended two afternoon sessions. Tammy A. Hepps spoke on Genealogy Industry Web 2.0 Report Card. It was a critical appraisal of the adoption on technology in the online genealogy world, especially AJAX which allows part of a web site to be updated rather than having to refresh the whole page, and APIs which allow developers to build value-added products on other's applications. It's worth remembering that just because an application is old doesn't mean it isn't useful, a point Tammy made with respect to Rootsweb.
As if to make that point the new RootsTech app for the iPad which had provision for taking notes for each presentation went blank about halfway through the talk deleting all my notes. I resorted to the regular notes app.
The second talk I attended was by Transform Your Note-taking and Remember Everything With Evernote by Tonia Kendrick, an exceptionally clear and well organized talk. She made the analogy to a giant notebook, stored in the cloud so you can access it anywhere, that finds everything you want. She mentioned that it's good if you're paranoid about losing your notes - a virtue that rang true for me after my experience in the previous talk.
With 6,800 people registered, not including exhibitors, at the start of the day many of the sessions were packed. I took the opportunity to wander the exhibition hall while it was less crowded and catch up with friends, Andrey Collins, Rick Cree, Ed Zapletal and Dick Eastman, and new friends Helen Smith and Alona Tester from Australia.
Among the tid bits of information I picked up is that the AncestryDNA test is unlikely to be available in Canada within the next few months, raw data has just become available for AncestryDNA tests, and Deceased Online will be working with TNA to place some of the cemetery databases in their collection online including a major London cemetery.

Place Is Space Made Meaningful

Sean Graham's latest episode of his History Slam podcast sees Jim Opp and John C. Walsh of Carleton University's History Department discuss their book Placing Memory and Remembering Place in Canada.
This is a fairly academic discussion, and looks at the significance of place in a community (or communities) context. As Sean Graham comments "What I found particularly interesting about the book was how the ideas and concepts are at work in our everyday lives – oftentimes without us being completely conscious of them. We touch on this in the episode and also chat about the meaning of place, the development of collective memory, and what it’s like to collaborate on a major project."
How about the individual and family context where even the most mundane place can be of personal and family significance?

21 March 2013

Ancestry Updates Web: Find A Grave

Ancestry's link to The International section of the Find A Grave website has been updated to contain more than five million entries. International means anything but US, including Australia, Canada, and the UK and elsewhere. There are entries for cemeteries and war memorials in Belgium and France. Ancestry lists separate databases for each US state.

While it's convenient to have the Find a Grave index integrated into the Ancestry search the original site is well worth exploring for the greater variety of ways to access the database.

Ottawa Branch OGS March Meeting

On Saturday, March 23 the Ottawa Branch OGS meeting features Robert Serré, President of the Gloucester Historical Society and former Branch Secretary speaking on

Remembering Clarkstown

The village of Clarkstown existed from the late 1880s until the last day of 1908. It then became part of Eastview (later Vanier), now part of Ottawa. Its name survived for decades, identifying a close-knit, largely French Canadian community centred on Beechwood Avenue and St. Charles’ Church, with its own school board and its own hockey team, the “Charlots.” Robert Serré will summarize Clarkstown’s history, and describe its municipal, economic and social characteristics. A question period will follow, and – who knows – a few participants might provide their own personal recollections.

The meeting starts at 1:30pm  at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Room 115 with a social period and refreshments starting at 1pm.

20 March 2013

RootsTech Unofficial Blogger

Thousands of genealogists are gathering in Salt Lake City for the annual RootsTech conference. There are twenty or so official bloggers anointed by the Saints (Latter Day) and perhaps three or four times that number of other bloggers - call them unofficial. Add to that the bloggers who'll follow some of the proceedings via live feed on the internet and be warned ... you may have to go to considerable lengths if you want to avoid mention.
Many conferees arrived in advance to do research and network. The snow had to be shoveled from my walkway on Tuesday, so I'll be a latecomer, United Airlines cooperating, only arriving at my hotel very early on Thursday morning.

Which Genealogy Software?

There were 22 people at the meeting of the Scottish genealogy interest group on Saturday at the Ottawa City Archives when the topic of genealogy software came up. Ken McKinlay mentioned three major programs, Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree and Roots Magic. I asked which program attendees used. The results:
Family Tree Maker - 12
Legacy - 3
RootsMagic - 1
PAF - 2
Millennium - 1
Reunion (for Mac) - 2
TNG - 1
Some attendees used more than one program. I was surprised that nobody mentioned The Master Genealogist despite there being an active Ottawa user group.
The result didn't surprise me even though product evaluations that show the first three to be very comparable in capabilities. Family Tree Maker has a long history in the Ottawa area with local expertise and Global Genealogy presence at events twice a year for sales and often, as this year on May 4th and September 20th, presentations by Rick Roberts. 
I asked about other recording techniques. Paper and binders or file folders with family group sheets continue to hold a significant place.
Ken mentioned Randy Seaver's blog as a good place to keep up to date on developments with those three major programs. Ken will be giving a short overview presentation at the educational session starting BIFHSGO's May meeting on these three programs.

19 March 2013

Holding James Moore Accountable

Notice has now appeared on the parliamentary website that the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage will have a hearing starting at 3:30 pm on Wednesday 20 March with James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage, as witness. The notice of meeting, which is on Estimates, is here

The hearing is in Room 253-D of the Centre Block and is scheduled to be televised online. Try http://goo.gl/bJUWN for a link.

As in Minister Moore's previous appearances Daniel Caron is not listed as in attendance with the Minister, another indication of the Minister's tactic of washing his hands of LAC matters. The Library and Archives Canada Act states that the organization is "presided over by the Minister." A fundamental of parliamentary democracy is that each and every government organization has a Minister accountable to parliament. Its highly likely LAC matters will be raised at the session; why would the Minister not at least have Caron in attendance, just as he is supported by two others from the Department of Canadian Heritage?

It's poor timing; I'll be travelling to RootsTech at the time so unable to follow the proceedings.

Moore Bafflegab

Watch "A "Duty of Loyalty to the Government" for our Librarians?" on YouTube
James Moore, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, continues to abrogate his duty with the pretense that he has no responsibility for the actions at Library and Archives Canada.

Call for Presentation Proposals

OGS Toronto Branch have issued a call regarding their full day workshop
TRACING FORWARD - Searching for Relatives in Recent Times.

Proposals are sought from professional genealogists, family historians, private investigators, legal experts and heir searchers who would like to be part of this workshop and share their skills and experiences with those looking to expand their family trees to find living relatives.

The workshop is on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at North York Central Library
5120 Yonge Street, Toronto and co-sponsored by The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the Toronto Public Library.

Here are the details.

You are invited to submit proposals for lectures which will provide workshop attendees with new ideas, skills or tools to help them trace members of their expanded family trees, people who might still be alive or recently deceased. Not
only may these relatives possess fascinating new information and artifacts which shed new light on the lives of our ancestors, they may share an interest in family history and work with us to solve mysteries. Many of the resources for traditional genealogy are less useful for tracing forward - in part because of privacy-related data protection. But there are new strategies and techniques used by other professionals that can be successfully used.
We are looking for a mix of presentations covering topics such as:
 working forward from standard genealogical sources, to identify unknown descendants of one's ancestors' siblings etc.
 tracing or learning more about “DNA cousins” and other living or recent-generation relatives about whom one has only outdated or limited information.
 privacy and legal protections and considerations.
Workshop attendees will be most interested in lectures which provide practical examples of the usefulness of the proposed strategies in locating relatives.
Each session will be an hour or half-hour long, including 5 to 10 minutes for questions. Presentations should be illustrated – we can provide a computer projector or an overhead projector. Speakers will be expected to provide a
handout of supporting material (up to four pages) which we will photocopy for all registrants. Speakers will be paid an
honorarium of $100 per lecture ($50 for a half-hour lecture) plus an allowance of $35 for travel, parking and other incidental expenses.
Please submit your lecture proposals by e-mail. Please keep them brief and informal at this point. Be sure to include your mailing address, phone number and a brief bio.
DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS: Friday, May 31, 2013
For more information about the Toronto Branch, please visit www.torontofamilyhistory.orgProposals and questions should be directed to: courses@torontofamilyhistory.org

RootsTech Live Streaming

You can sit at home and enjoy a selection of presentations live and direct from RootsTech III in Salt Lake City starting on Thursday morning. The schedule, with times converted to EDT, is:
Thursday, 21 March 2013
10:30 AM Keynote – Dennis Brimhall, Syd Lieberman, Josh Taylor
1:00 PM The Future of Genealogy - Thomas MacEntee and panel
3:45 PM Tell it Again (Story@Home) - Kim Weitkamp
5:00 PM The Genealogists Gadget Bag - Jill Ball and panel
6:15 PM Finding the Obscure and Elusive: Geographic Information on the Web - James Tanner
Friday, 22 March 2013
10:30 AM Keynote - Jyl Pattee and Tim Sullivan
11:45 AM Researching Ancestors Online - Laura Prescott
1:00 PM FamilySearch Family Tree - Ron Tanner
3:45 PM Google Search… and Beyond - Dave Barney
5:00 PM From Paper Piles to Digital Files - Valerie Elkins
Saturday, 23 March 2013
10:30 AM Keynote - David Pogue and Gilad Japhet
11:45 AM Using Technology to Solve Research Problems - Karen Clifford
1:00 PM Digital Storytelling: More than Bullet Points - Denise Olson
Start at rootstech.org.

18 March 2013

75 Days to 1921 Census Release

Only 75 days to go until the embargo on the 1921 census of Canada ends, and no news from Library and Archives Canada.

17 March 2013

Interviewed by Ruth Blair

Last year at the OGS conference in Kingston Ruth Blair, the Passionate Genealogist, interviewed me. That's a bit of a switch, I usually interview other folks.
I'd almost forgotten about it, but the interview appeared on Ruth's site in late February. Listen from here.

Perth Historical Society Monthly Meeting

The meeting on Wednesday, March 20 is Otty Lake’s North Shore – Then & Now: An Illustrated Presentation on a Local Lake  with a Unique History! given by Roy MacSkimming and Don Beattie.

Roy MacSkimming and Don Beattie are neighbors on Otty Lake’s North Shore in Drummond/North Elmsley Township - Mr. MacSkimming from BurgessWood and Mr. Beattie in a nearby log house overlooking the lake.  On discovering their complementary research of that community, they joined forces to develop an overview of the past and present of the area.

Roy MacSkimming and Don Beattie will relate the story of the early settlers of the North Shore – the mica miners, farmers, cottagers and community leaders.  They will focus on two remarkable families, the Kenyons and the McLarens.  Isaac Kenyon arrived on Otty Lake in 1867 to mine, farm the virgin soil and eventually raise 15 children.  William and Anna McLaren inherited the North Burgess mining operation from Senator Peter McLaren and lived an unusual, solitary life in the woods near the Kenyons.  Anecdotes and local knowledge from the audience will be welcomed.

As editor of Captain Otty’s Log, the newsletter of the Otty Lake Association, Don Beattie has interviewed descendants of the McLarens to capture fascinating memories of the eccentric couple.  Isaac Kenyon had substantially expanded his land ownership and farm operations over the years, and was involved with the social and political life of the local community, eventually becoming Reeve of North Burgess Township.  Roy MacSkimming, well-known author of several books, will bring the story up to date with the vision that led Dr. Grover Lightford to buy the McLaren property and found Burgess Wood, a unique community based on shared ownership of land.  The presentation will be illustrated with archival pictures and contemporary photographs by BurgessWood’s David Zimmerly.  
Perth Historical Society Meetings are open to the public and are held in the gallery of Matheson House, home of the Perth Museum, at 11 Gore Street East in downtown Perth. A voluntary “Toonie Fee” (donation) is suggested for each meeting.

Typhus: Gresham Lecture

In the fifth lecture in a Gresham College series The Great Plagues: Epidemics in History from the Middle Ages to the Present Day Professor Sir Richard Evans discusses Typhus: the great unwashed. Typhus was caused by a bacterium hosted by the human body louse, and has thus always been associated with dirty and overcrowded conditions
At about 12 minutes into the lecture Evans discusses typhus in Canada in connection with the Irish immigration of the late 1840s when 20,000 are thought to have died. He illustrates the prejudice typhus promoted against the Irish in Canada and the USA. Later in the lecture he shows a parallel with the German Nazi treatment of the Jews in WW2.

16 March 2013

Digging for Gold in Toronto Libraries and Archives

Gwyneth Pearce emailed to inform that registration is now open for the OGS Toronto Branch spring workshop titled “Digging for Gold in Toronto Libraries and Archives” to be held on Saturday 4 May at North York Memorial Community Hall. Its co-sponsored by the Canadiana Department of North York Central Library.
This will be a full day devoted to the unique resources and expertise available in Toronto at libraries and archives. Early bird registration rates apply until 15 April. Full details about the program and how to register are available through the Toronto Branch website at www.torontofamilyhistory.org.

BIFHSGO celebrates St Patrick's Day

A group of cool folks from the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa braved -9C weather, plus windchill, to march in Ottawa's annual St Patrick's Day parade.

They had canine assisance.

The Irish theme for next September's BIFHSGO conference should not have gone unnoticed by those watching while warming themselves with a coffee.

Photos courtesy of Christine Jackson

Bromsgrove Messenger newspaper, from 1860-1937, free

The Bromsgrove branch of the Birmingham & Midlands Society for Genealogy & Heraldry have digitised their local paper the Bromsgrove Messenger and uploaded the images onto their website. 67 years, from 1860-1937, are freely available.

"Just Register, if you haven't already done so, then Login. Look for the Resources Box on the left. "NEW, Bromsgrove Messenger" only becomes visible AFTER logging in. Follow the link, and choose a decade. Then select a year, and finally choose an issue.

You then have a choice to either download an Adobe PDF document or view the PDF on screen, but first you must acknowledge the copyright screen. Instructions are on the right-hand side with a link to Adobe for the latest Reader, if you haven't got it. (Latest is version 11.0.1).

We are indebited to the Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service and local history enthusiast Martin Stephens for working with us in making this resource available.

The Bromsgrove Messenger (also known as the Bromsgrove and Droitwich Weekly Messenger, Local Intelligencer and General Advertiser) started publication on Saturday, 7 January 1860 and was the forerunner of the Bromsgrove Advertiser (which is still published). At present, historical versions of this title are not available on any other website, commercial or non-commercial."

QFHS Celebrating Our Irish Roots Day

On Wednesday, March 20 join Quebec Family History Society members Sharon Callaghan and Kelley O'Rourke for coffee, tea, and informal conversation to talk about Ireland and ancestors who came from there.

Celebrating Our Irish Roots Day is from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm at the QFHS Heritage Centre and Library, 173 Cartier Avenue, Pointe-Claire.
Sharon is a lecturer and author of the book, "Paths of Opportunity," a portrayal of the Irish Montreal experience of one family who arrived in Quebec in the 1840s at the start of The Famine. Kelley was a member of a small group of dedicated volunteers who played a significant role in restoring the St. Columban Cemetery, a predominantly Irish cemetery in the Lower Laurentians.

Bring a coffee mug, a friend, your own favourite books and resources on Ireland that have helped you in your research, or just bring yourself.

Open to QFHS members and the public. Admission is free.  Visit  http://www.qfhs.ca/events.php

15 March 2013

Geno 2.0 Price Reduction

UPDATE: It appears the price below was a mistake and has been withdrawn.

The National Geographic store is advertising the Geno 2.0 DNA test at $140, reduced from $199.95.
The test is aimed at deep ancestry allowing you to:
• Discover the migration paths your ancient ancestors followed hundreds—even thousands—of years ago, with an unprecedented view of your ancestral journey
• Learn what percentage of your genome is affiliated with specific regions of the world.
• Find out if you have Neanderthal or Denisovan ancestry.
• Have the opportunity to share your story and connect with other Genographic Project participants, helping us fill in the gaps in the human story.
It does NOT provide a facility for automatically identifying and linking to DNA cousins which is the facility of most interest for genealogy.

Deceased Online adds 130,000 more records for Manor Park Cemetery

With the addition of nearly 130,000 records for Manor Park Cemetery there are now nearly 275,000 burial and cremation records for this historically important East London Cemetery, located in the London Borough of Newham at deceasedonline.com
The new records available now are for the period 15th December 1898 to 31st December 1930 and comprise burial register scans together with details of all interments in graves, and grave section maps
The final 160,000 records for Manor Park covering the period 1875 to 1898 are to be added shortly.

Rootstech III

Next week at this time I'll be living out of a suitcase again with my first trip to Rootstech in Salt Lake City. The program for this third annual edition is stellar, up to 19 choices in most time slots. There are enough repetitions that it looks like I'll be able to get into those I want, space permitting. Finding those and setting my schedule is helped by a free app for the iPad and iPhone - just search the app store for Rootstech.
There's a promising-looking marketplace with some companies that had a presence at WDYTYA? Live last month, many who didn't. Internet Genealogy magazine, together with Family Chronicle from Moorshead Magazines, one of the latter, will be back for the third year which is where I'll "hang my hat." The schedule is so packed I don't anticipate spending a lot of time there but will pick up messages.
If you're not attending keep up with what's going on by checking out postings by the 21 officially accredited bloggers listed here. I'm not one of them, I didn't apply. Lorine McGinnis Schulze at Olive Tree Genealogy will provide the Canadian blog perspective, and Rosemary Morgan at London Roots Research the British. I do hope to make a couple posts.
Again this year some of the presentations will be streamed live. Check the website at http://rootstech.org/ for news on how to connect and other developments.

Anglo-Celtic Roots: Spring 2013 issue

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa probably should have applied for a grant out of the pot the federal government has thrown at commemorating the War of 1812. That's judging by the first two articles in the most recent issue of Anglo-Celtic Roots.
In Prize-making in the War of 1812, Relatively Speaking, Faye Kert presents a written version of her memorable monthly meeting presentation last November in which she makes us aware of the overlooked Vice-Admirality Court records. As she comments "The staff cutbacks and reductions in service at LAC are making access to research materials quite problematic, especially when researchers are required to have an LAC staff member watching them at all times"
A follow-on article The Search for James Lightbody and the Magnet's Passenger List by Amanda Lightbody explains how finding the Kaye Kert's lecture advertised on the BIFHSGO website provided important 1812 evidence she needed at LAC, that's despite having previously been informed they had nothing. That's what happens when fonds are inadequately documented and there are no-longer specialist archivists.
Another article worth highlighting is Genealogy: the Motivations, the Investments, the Rewards by Leighann Neilson and D. A. Muise. This is a second article building on results for the Carleton University of over 2,000 Canadian residents who responded to a family history survey who they characterize as a rapidly growing "extraordinary group of historical activists", "largely middle-aged or more and somewhat better educated than the general population." They report the top two reason respondents gave for researching their family history were "to learn about my family, my ancestors, myself" and "because of a family member's influence." It showed that some of the reasons scholars think motivate family historians,"to qualify for ancestral society membership", "to find medical information" and "to find links to rich or famous people" are of little significance. There's much more.
This has to be one of the best of the recent issues of BIFHSGO's all interesting quarterly chronicle, another reason for the Society success.  

14 March 2013

Ancestry Canadian City Directories Bonanza

There are nearly 8.3 million records in the Canada, City and Area Directories, 1819-1906 database new on Ancestry.ca. It's the 7th largest in terms of Canadian record count.
What's available? Lots, with an emphasis on central Canada. I counted 42 directories for Toronto from 1837 to 1900; 39 for Montreal from 1819 to 1901; 32 for Halifax from 1859 to 1901; 25 for Ottawa from 1863 to 1898; 22 for London (ON) from 1856 to 1901; 7 for Victoria (BC) from 1860 to 1890; one for Calgary for 1885.
The indexing was automatically created using text recognition (OCR) software. That means there will be more errors and omissions than in a typical manually transcribed database; the trade-off is that we would likely never seen such a collection if costly manual transcription had been chosen. I wouldn't be surprised if only one or two out of five occurrences of any given word were captured.
The original images were acquired through canadiana.ca

Seven and growing

I'm celebrating! Today, 14 March 2013, marks the 7th anniversary of ACC at www.anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com. Will there be a seven year itch?

You may have noticed on the regular monthly statistics post the Alexa ranking reported for the blog has been going down and down and down. It was puzzling; the Alexa rank has been going one way while daily visits reported by Blogger doubled since October 2010. I now understand why.
While on my recent trip to Europe I noticed that Blogger changed the address entered, www.anglo-celtic-connection.blogspot.com to the national extension. While in Portugal the blog showed a .pt extension.  Alexa logs the visit according to the national extension. There are separate Alexa rankings for each.
For .com the rank is 479,025
For .ca 238,556
For .co.uk 1,352,245.
If you know of a way to get a consolidated Alexa rank across all the national Blogger domains please let me know.

Many readers never come to the website preferring to follow through an RSS or email feed. The statistics don't reflect their use, which is fine. That's what I do with many other blogs.
One reason to visit is to check out the twitter feed for genealogy which shows part way down the left hand column. There's a whole world of genealogy and family history beyond the ground I attempt to cover in that twitter feed.  I tweet occasionally, but not for each blog post, just for items I see as especially interesting where I can't add much. Please follow me -- @JohnDReid.

And thank you for your support for ACC, especially for the tips.

13 March 2013

Ranting about relatives, rape and "nonpaternal events"

Way past International Women's Day but better late than never, a perceptive post by BIFHSGO member Persephone commenting on "a lot of chuckling about the possibility of what at least one DNA research company openly calls "infidelity"."

Challenges facing The (UK) National Archives

TNA has posted an interview between Dr Andrew Foster from the Historical Association and member of The National Archives’ Strategic Academic Stakeholder Forum and Oliver Morley, Chief Executive and Keeper, The National Archives, which took place on 11 February 2013. It's the third in an almost annual series.
The interview covers the strategic challenges in the UK which have only some parallels in Canada. What's impressive is the contrast between the openness of Oliver Morley to discuss these issues, albeit in measured diplomatic language, and the closed approach of the leadership of Library and Archives Canada.


Metro looks at Who Are You?

Three short articles are published in the Metro newspapers across Canada under the heading Who Are You?
Debunking popular myths about African-Canadian genealogy explains that more records are available than commonly thought.
A trek across space and time to self-discovery explores the journey of a young Japanese woman coming to Canada from Japan in 1907, and that of her granddaughter who discovered the written story.
How to research your own family history is advice from Lesley Anderson.

Connect to these at http://metronews.ca/features/who-are-you/

Ancestry UK Database Updates

Ancestry have updated the UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 to now contain more than 16 million records.
Also updated is Dorset, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 to more than 1.1 million records from the Dorset History Centre.
Both datasets are name indexed, linked to original images and with a browse capability.

Developments at the City of Ottawa Main Archives

In their spring newsletter the City of Ottawa Archives has news they have received a Museums and Technology Fund  grant from the Government of Ontario to digitize 10,000 negatives from their Andrews – Newton Collection (1946 -1993).
"The Andrews-Newton photographers documented Ottawa’s growth and transformation. From the post-war years through to the end of the 1950s, the staff worked as the official photographers for The Ottawa Citizen newspaper, capturing major events, moments of disasters and celebrations."
According to archivist John Lund the grant is effective 1 April when a person will be hired to perform the digitization using equipment already available. They aim is to have all 10,000 images, which are already reasonably well cataloged,  available online by the end of 2014. This is only a small part of the Andrews-Newton, some of which takes considerable conservation work being acetate negatives.

While in the Archives building at 100 Tallwood I asked about information given by Prof Bruce Elliott at last Saturday's BIFHSGO meeting that Library and Archives Canada had transferred a collection of assessment records for the former City of Nepean to the City of Ottawa Main Archives. I was told the transfer is not yet formerly complete and there is considerable work to be done to stabilize the materials before they can be made accessible to the public. Transfers of some smaller collections considered to be specifically of local rather than national value are underway, under negotiation or on the wish list.

Contact information is: Ottawa.ca/archives and on Facebook @ City of Ottawa Archives

12 March 2013

Book Review: Understanding Documents for Genealogy and Local History

Title: Understanding Documents for Genealogy and Local History
Author: Bruce Durie
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: The History Press (February 19, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0752464647
ISBN-13: 978-0752464640
Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds

This is a book for the serious or would-be serious genealogist. As explained in the introduction it is aimed at those who have exhausted birth, marriage, death and census records, typically now available online with transcriptions and name indexing, and are now faced with interpreting manuscripts if they are to make further progress.
Part 1: Reading the Documents aims to give basic understanding. Chapter 1, 21 pages, is a fairly gentle initiation into how letter were formed at different times in the UK and how to systematically go about a transcription. Chapter 2, with the simple title Latin is heavy lifting, 53 pages covering the elements of Latin grammar. If the word declension brings back painful school-day memories be prepared. The remaining five chapters, much shorter, cover dates and calendars; money, coinage, weight and measure, inscriptions and gravestones, heraldic documents and artefacts and; Gaelic words.
Part 2: The Documents, in 12 chapters, 130 pages, covers various types of documents commonly encountered. Half of the chapters relate to specifically Scottish documents. Each explains the documents and gives worked example of a transcription.
Part 3: Glossaries is in three chapters, 187 pages: Latin and Scots legal and genealogical glossary; Latin glossary of forms or first names and surnames and; Latin glossary of Place names.
I never took Latin, but my impression is that in Durie's concept of the world the ability to master the skills covered in the book represent a type of pons asinorum. Only a minority of amateur genealogists will likely have the aptitude or fortitude to fully benefit from this book. What of the rest of us?
Some early records can be deciphered with a bit of sleuthing; the content will provide useful reference material. With anything more complicated chances are discouragement will set in, perhaps at the mere thought of having to wrestle with an indenture or manorial court record. Key evidence to push your ancestry further back will remain out of reach unless you can access professional expertise  or a kindly friend.
It may be that help is on the horizon. tranScriptorium is a European Union initiative aiming "to develop innovative, efficient and cost-effective solutions for the indexing, search and full transcription of historical handwritten document images, using modern, holistic Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology." If successful will we see the commercial adoption adding to the corpus of records accessible to the genealogist as companies run out of more accessible material to add to their databases?

This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

BIFHSGO Conference: interview with Eileen O'Duill

At Saturday's regular monthly BIFHSGO meeting, presided over by Glenn O'Wright, the 190 in attendance got a preview of next September's conference which has an Irish theme.
There are two speakers coming from outside Canada; both were interviewed at the WDYTYA? Live event last month in London. The first interview, with Eileen O'Duill, is now posted at the BIFHSGO website at http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=62.

11 March 2013

Welsh Newspapers Online

You can now search and discover content in 2.5 million articles, 250,000 pages and growing, from Welsh newspapers free and online at http://welshnewspapers.llgc.org.uk/en/
The period covered is 1844-1910. It's a mixture of English and Welsh language content.
The search interface looks to be the same as was used by the British Library.
Although this is a beta version it appeared to work well, however I was unable to find the advanced search capability.
Find detailed information on the project at http://www.llgc.org.uk/index.php?id=4723
Impressive how the National Library of Wales, a country of three million, is capable of doing this; a national shame that Canada's Library and Archives Canada serving a population more than ten times the size, cannot. Why not?

Art from DNA: mind the gap

Interesting as art, making faces only based on DNA. The fragmentary information from DNA seems like a dubious basis for constructing faces useful as a tool for identifying bodies.

Dentists and Dentistry History in Canada

In 1873 the Journal of the British Dental Association reported there were 2,200 dentists in Canada, today there are roughly 18,000. There was barely a Canadian dental profession in 1873 the Ontario Dental Association having been formed in 1867.
To research a dentist in your Canadian family you might want to check in the first  census and city directories. Knowing when they practiced the 35 volumes of the Dominion Journal of Dentistry, available to 1923 on the Internet Archive, includes many names and lists of newly qualified dentists as well as those involved with the Dental Association of Canada and its provincial affiliates. Or search in for your ancestor's community and find which dentists were active there.
If you find dentistry history fascinating, it takes all sorts, check out the dental collection at the Museum of Health Care in Kingston, Ontario. A series of articles History of Canadian Dentistry published in 2002 are available from www.cda-adc.ca/en/cda/about_cda/history/. Also visit the British Dental Association Museum and the US National Museum of Dentistry.

Family History Year in Ireland

If you have even the slightest connection to Ireland, and genealogical knowledge you've undoubtedly heard that Tourism Ireland, in an effort to counteract the economic slump, have named 2013 “Family History Year”.
According to John Grenham's Irish Roots column a Facebook page at facebook.com/IrelandFamilyHistory, has reached 10,000 followers, well on the way to the goal of 50,000 by the end of 2013. It has more than 43,000 likes. Check it out.

10 March 2013

Gutting LAC from the Inside

The Toronto Star has an article Historical letters not wanted at Library and Archives Canada by news reporter Joseph Hall which rehearses much of what is well known about the sad state of affairs at Library and Archives Canada.
New to me was:

Caron admits, however, that the experts needed for this web-based archiving have not yet been hired. And he does not know when they will be.
“These competencies honestly are not easy to find on the market,” he says.
Having deliberately led the organization to its current state of demoralization it's hardly surprising few would want to join such an organization.

In the next few weeks MPs will have the opportunity to question Heritage Minister James Moore and Daniel Caron in hearings on Main Estimates. Will members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage hold them and the Harper government to account for their negligence in pursuing the objectives in the Library and Archives Canada Act, namely:
(a) to acquire and preserve the documentary heritage;
(b) to make that heritage known to Canadians and to anyone with an interest in Canada and to facilitate access to it;
(c) to be the permanent repository of publications of the Government of Canada and of government and ministerial records that are of historical or archival value;
(d) to facilitate the management of information by government institutions;
(e) to coordinate the library services of government institutions; and
(f) to support the development of the library and archival communities.

Relics of Beccles History

View Larger MapBeccles, a small town in East Suffolk not far from my old home has a new blog about the town's history. Relics of Beccles is by Debs Dwelling, a "writer, genealogist & part-time diva". She is based in Australia!

So far there are two posts, the most recent on Evacuation to Beccles : 1939
about the evacuation of children, and often their mothers, from London at the start of WW2. It seems strange that while Beccles was a destination for London evacuees children from Great Yarmouth, not far away, were being evacuated to the Midlands.

A previous post is memories of the King`s Head Hotel, a local landmark now restored and reopened.

09 March 2013

WDYTYA? Live and London Retrospective

Elizabeth Kipp posted a detailed report on her and husband Ed's experiences at the recent Who Do You Think You Are Live? event at London Olympia and their other London stops at http://kippeeb.blogspot.ca/2013/03/wdytya-who-do-you-think-you-are-2013.html
The event is so big everyone had different perspectives, and most people enjoy it enough to want to go back - and not just for the sausages on a bun. I understand the event is booked for next year and some Canadian thought going into enhanced presence.
There's a rumour of a similar event next year at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

Explosive Revelations on The Origins of the Irish

John Grenham`s entertaining review of a recent book The Origins of the Irish at http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/irishroots/2013/03/03/the-origins-of-the-irish/

08 March 2013

The Matrimonial Fishing Fleet

On International Women's Day a link to a post and radio programme on white women travelling to India on an East India Company initiative to find wives for its employees. You have to admire the courage of these women.

Ancestry adds Ireland, Lord Viscount Morpeth's Testimonial Roll, 1841

One of this year's major releases from Ancestry this year is now online although not quite as originally advertised. With 158,389 records the content of Lord Viscount Morpeth's Testimonial Roll, 1841 falls short of the 250,000 first estimated.
According to a helpful blog post by Chris Paton, who was a beta tester, few of the entries have geographical identifiers. Which Michael Murphy signature is your ancestor? Chris sums up his review with:

The challenge with Morpeth's Roll is going to be a fun one, and perhaps at times frustrating - but this is one dataset where you may really need to put some work in. The document is what it is - and it has been beautifully restored and placed online by Ancestry.
As new Irish records are as rare as sky blue pink shamrock this is one that is sure to be intensely studied and hopefully annotated with likely geographical location as genealogists come to grips with it.

Ottawa Genealogy

There's limited capacity for the 4 May Ottawa Genealogy event being organized by the Ottawa Branch of the OGS. It's already nearly 25% sold. Program and link to online registration at http://www.ogsottawa.blogspot.ca/2013/03/ottawa-genealogy-2013-saturday-may-4th.html

07 March 2013

BIFHSGO March Meeting

On Saturday March 9, 2013 at Library and Archives Canada the 9 am "Before BIFHSGO" Educational Talk is Tracing Your House History by Dr Bruce Elliott.
At 10am the presentation is"Cosy Homesteads": The Life and Lore of Traditional Irish Dwellings by Dr Rhona Richman Kenneally who is professor and immediate past Chair in the Department of Design and Computation Arts and a Fellow of the School of Canadian Irish Studies at Concordia University.  She is also the editor of the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies. There's a short interview exploring aspects of the presentation available from http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=106
The Discovery Tables features Ireland with Keith Hanton
There's further information at www.bifhsgo.ca/

FMP adds to the Westminster Collection

Findmypast.co.uk now have 3 million  records in the Westminster collection with the addition of more than 50 Westminster churches for the period 1538-1945. 
Sourced from the Westminster Archives there are now 1,169,748 baptisms, 484,570 marriages and 1,239,529 burials. See details of the parishes and time periods covered in pdfs linked from http://www.findmypast.co.uk/content/news/westminster-mar13
To search these records, select 'Middlesex' from the list of counties on the parish records search page.

06 March 2013

Further British Genealogy Opportunities

Coming to the end of a too short stay in Britain I was interested to receive a note from BIFHSGO member Brenda Turner about plans for her trip later this year.
Brenda is planning on attending the Halsted Trust migration conference in September 2013, and as she will be in the UK for a month or more she looked for other opportunities.
There's a free talk by media star Lucy Worsley, the Head Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces on September 10th. Check out http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/visit/events.htm
Talks at the London Metropolitan Archives are not advertised so far ahed but it is possible to join a mailing list for theit events http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/visiting-the-city/archives-and-city-history/london-metropolitan-archives/news-and-events/Pages/default.aspxRooms
The East of London Family History Society web site for its calendar at http://www.eolfhs.org.uk/diary/ shows a talk by Sarah Wise, author of the Blackest Streets. Brenda says her book explained why she could not locate the addresses for some of my ancestors in the notorious Old Nichol neighbourhood. The whole neighbourhood had been torn down and the streets changed completely.
Even a month in London isn't enough time to cover all the sites and opportunities like the Museum of London, British Museum, Portrait Gallery, Wellcome Library, British Museum, the various borough archives, TNA, Society of Genealogists, historic cemeteries , and so on.

05 March 2013

Searching the Land Registry for England and Wales

Who owns the property where your ancestor lived? For England and Wales 75% of properties, more than 23 million of them, have an entry in the Land Registry for England and Wales.

Using the online service you can search to find if there is a property registered for the address. To obtain individual property information online you need to register (free) and purchase information such as the title registration and title plan for the selected property using a credit card. There are examples of these reports on the website.
For Scottish property see Registers of Scotland.

04 March 2013

QFHS March Meeting: Great Moments in Genealogy

Great Moments in Genealogy: Public Seminar

On Saturday, March 9, 2013, 10:30 am to 12:00 pm, the Quebec FHS invites the public to attend as members share their stories about their great genealogical discovery and describe the steps that led them to that exciting moment.

During a recent trip to Edinburgh and Banffshire in northeast Scotland, Janice Hamilton got a big surprise about her great-great-grandfather's family when she looked up the Kirk Sessions records for Banff parish. Janice will talk about what she discovered, the variety of research sources she consulted, and will illustrate her presentation with photos of the stunning countryside she visited.

While visiting her niece in North Hatley a few years ago, Bev Renaud glanced through a book, "Twasn't Just Luck: My Life and Times," by I. Lloyd George, published in 2008. In the book, Bev saw a photo of the author's mother Mable Glass. Knowing she had Glass ancestors, Bev checked her family tree to find Mable Glass was among the branches of her tree. Further research led to another surprise when Bev discovered a connection to the Trenholme Family in Montreal, owners of the Guaranteed Pure Milk Company.

The meeting is at Briarwood Presbyterian Church Hall, 70 Beaconsfield Blvd., Beaconsfield

03 March 2013

OPL Family History Presentation: With Only a Suitcase

The Ottawa Public Library presents Ellen Adamsons who will talk about her family’s escape from their native Latvia after World War II, their settlement in Kars, Ontario, and the process of writing about the reconnection with her extended family.

This program will appeal to anyone with an interest in the local history of Kars, Ontario and North Gower Township, or in European history after World War II.  It will also be attractive to anyone who wants to hear about telling family stories or writing about family history.

Wednesday, March 6, 2:00 – 4:00 pm, Room 1B, Nepean Centrepointe branch
Please register at: biblioottawalibrary.ca/program

02 March 2013

1871 & 1891 Canada Census Transcripts at FamilySearch

There are 3.2 million and 4.8 million records respectively in these two record sets marked as new or updated at FamilySearch.org

Book Review: Birth Marriage And Death Records

Birth Marriage And Death Records
by Audrey Collins and David Annal
A Guide For Family Historians
Format: Paperback
Date of publication: September 2012
Publisher: Pen and Sword
ISBN: 9781848845725
I've been looking forward to reading this book since Audrey Collins mentioned she was working on it over two years ago, and finally got my hands on a copy at WDYTYA Live.
The first six chapters take you through records for vital events in England and Wales from the establishment of the requirement to keep parish registers under King Henry VIII to the present day. Changes to institutional arrangements and regulations are covered such as during Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth period. There are mini-biographies of the main people who influenced the evolution of the system. The last of these chapter's touches on how the horrendous task of compiling the indexes was managed before computerization; as a full time job sorting must have been mind-numbing - it's surprising the indexes are as good as they are.
While these chapters account for the bulk of records there are numerous other sources: nonconformist registers; overseas and at sea; military; Scotland; Ireland; the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, all given explicit coverage.
Divorce and Adoption records warrant separate chapters as do Unexpected Records and advice on accessing the records An appendix on legislation, a bibliography and index complete the volume.
This is as comprehensive a treatment as most would want in order to understand the records and their idiosyncrasies.
If the authors ever update the book I hope they consider providing citations, not just a bibliography. I'd also hoped to find a consolidated discussion of the year to year variation of the statistics pointing out how social and administrative changes are reflected.

Backup Reminder

Did you remember to backup your computer hard drive on the first of the month? If you've not got around to it yet it's likely not too late.

01 March 2013

Benchmarks Update for February

Here's how February treated various favourite genealogy sites. Comparable figures are for a month ago. The higher the Alexa ranking the more popular the site.

The two DNA sites followed both climb, FTDNA reversing last Month's decline, 23andMe continues a rapid climb in ranking. QFHS.ca has overtaken BIFHSGO.ca.

Familysearch.org has 1,489 (1,430) record collections: census & lists 121 (120); birth, marriage, & death 911 (869); probate & court 132 (125); military 106 (103); migration & naturalization 80 (80); other 139 (133). It has Alexa rank 4,660 (4,908).

Ancestry.com has Alexa rank of 652 (667); ancestry.co.uk ranks 7,757 (7,498) and ancestry.ca 32,182 (33,316). There are 31,241 (30,815) datasets in the collections including 1,943 (1,941) for Canada, 1,704 (1,685) for the UK and, 25,064 (25,058) for the USA.

Findmypast.co.uk has an Alexa rank of 21,204 (21,769). Findmypast.com ranks 108,642 (100,687).

Family Tree DNA has 404,069 (402,224) records in its database. It ranks 30,605 (32,469) on Alexa. 23andMe ranks 20,483 (25,509).

GenealogyinTime.com ranks 37,212 (37,483); Mocavo.com has rank 78,847 (62,404)

Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk contains 6,469,560 (6,346,980) digitized pages adding 4,378 (5,849) pages per day. There is a problem with the list of additions during the past 30 days which shows only the Hastings and St. Leonards Observer for 1912. Alexa rank 125,187 (122,294).

Cyndislist.com claims 326,552 (325,986) total links in 193 (192) categories, with 1,793 (1,796) uncategorized. Alexa rank 87,047 (81,220).

FreeBMD.org.uk has 226,280,181 (225,305,278) distinct records, Alexa rank 88,587 (82,087).

UKBMD.org.uk provides 2,446 (2,370) links to web sites that offer on-line transcriptions of UK births, marriages, deaths and censuses. Alexa rank 291,415 (276,462).

CanadianHeadstones.com has over 586,000 (568,000) gravestone photo records from across Canada. It scores 491,720 (548,577) in Alexa traffic rank.

The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery, with over 709,189 (700,500) photographs from across Canada, ranks 2,283,395 (1,915,268).

bifhsgo.ca ranks 2,247,578 (1,915,964), qfhs.ca ranks 1,864,093 (2,494,023), ogs.on.ca ranks 207,212 (191,509).

And in case you're curious, Anglo-Celtic Connections has 4,407 (4,327) posts and another precipitous decline in Alexa rank to 441,748 (320,216). Hopefully that means more readers are coming via the RSS feed which as I understand it is not included in the Alexa statistics.

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