31 May 2013

Great Online Sessions from the SCGS Jamboree

A shoutout for the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree which is offering FREE Live Streaming Sessions between June 7-9. Notable speakers, some topics of interest to those of us not from the US. I'm told some sessions are already fully subscribed. Worth checking out at http://goo.gl/aM1SQ.

Looking Forward at LAC

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has posted a position on selection of the next Librarian and Archivist of Canada. http://www.savelibraryarchives.ca/looking-forward.aspx

It is very much along the lines of the joint statement issued by Library and Archival organizations (plus the Ontario Genealogical Society) last week. A notable difference is that it doesn't call for the person filling the role to necessarily be a librarian or archivist.

Google Newspaper Tip

Google is giving greater prominence to its archives of digitized newspapers, including many Canadian newspapers, from  http://news.google.com/newspapers. This isn't new, it's mentioned in an article in the June/July Internet Genealogy. Lisa Louise Cooke, who will be speaking at this year's BIFHSGO conference, writes:

This web page puts the existing Google historic newspaper collection at your fingertips. Not only can you browse or search by title and alphabetically, but you'll also discover how many issues are included and the years they span.
Some of the larger Canadian collections are:

The Victoria Advocate30,974 issuesJul 2, 1824 - Aug 31, 2009
The Vancouver Sun5,010 issuesMay 1, 1920 - Feb 28, 1987
The Calgary Daily Herald7,750 issues, Sep 8, 1888 - Nov 5, 1948
The Calgary Herald11,686 issues, May 1, 1929 - Jan 10, 1987
Saskatoon Star-Phoenix11,048 issuesJul 4, 1851 - May 31, 1967
The Windsor Daily Star4,297 issues, Jul 31, 1935 - Nov 13, 1959
The Windsor Star, 7,505 issuesNov 13, 1959 - Dec 31, 1986
Ottawa Citizen15,925 issuesJul 30, 1820 - Nov 2, 1990
Montreal Daily Witness5,372 issuesNov 7, 1871 - Sep 13, 1976
The Montreal Gazette24,895 issuesJan 1, 1878 - Nov 20, 2006
Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph4,480 issues, Mar 29, 1935 - Dec 31, 1970
The Quebec Gazette4,930 issuesJan 12, 1775 - Nov 17, 1943.

There are many smaller collections, including ethnic newspapers like 

The Irish Canadian1,224 issues, Jan 21, 1863 - Dec 29, 1892.\

Thanks to Sandra Adams for the tip.

30 May 2013

Forthcoming Genealogy Books

Browsing through Amazon I came across the following books of direct genealogical interest to be published in the next few months:

How to Trace Your Family Tree: Discover and Record Your Personal Roots and Heritage: Everything from Accessing Archives and Public Record Offices to to Using the Internet [Hardcover] by Kathy Chater, 96 pages, Publisher: Lorenz Books (July 16 2013)
Offers accessible and clear advice on discovering your family's history in the UK, explaining the best research techniques, and the processes of tracing and finding ancestors. Unlock the secrets of your family heritage with this expert guide to geneology.

Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques [Paperback] by George G. Morgan and Drew Smith, 272 pages, Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media; 1st edition (September 13 2013)

Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques uses up-to-date and highly organized methods and techniques to show you how to find the elusive details to round out your genealogy research. You’ll get past the brick walls that have stumped you and see how to move beyond basic types of genealogy resources. The book covers a variety of software programs and specialized genealogy tools and shows you how to create an online genealogical research log to preserve data found and organize it in ways to help you understand what you’ve uncovered. Nearly every form of modern social networking is addresses as is using DNA records. This practical, in-depth guide provides the next level of detail for anyone who wants to expand beyond the beginner tactics and techniques.

  • Uses proven research methods to go deeper and uncover elusive details
  • Helps you to understand the details you uncover and keep track of data
  • Covers a variety of software programs and specialized genealogy tools
  • Offers multiple scenarios and examples to drive home the research methods explained
There are many others of local or specialist interest. Find them by searching amazon for genealogy and sorting by publication date.

Mapping with Google

Mapping with Google is a free online course beginning on June 10, 2013 that will help you make better use of Google Maps, Google Earth and mapping tools.

I got a lot out of a similar online course last year on Google search so have registered for this one. There's more information, an introductory video and link to register at https://mapping.withgoogle.com/preview

Delay worth tweeting

This tweet suggests an organization that is client-centred.

Unforeseen circumstances mean some document productions at are unfortunately a bit behind schedule today; please bear with us

I'd expect never to see this message from LAC. With the centralized control on communications the staff operating the service would never get the authority to post a timely message.

29 May 2013

2.6 million New Surrey Parish Records on Ancestry

If you have Surrey ancestors this is a landmark release made possible by a cooperative project between Ancestry and the Surrey History Centre

Baptisms: 1813-1912 are 683,008 records from more than 260 Church of England parishes;
Marriages: 1754-1937 are 543,595 records from nearly 290 parishes;
Burials: 1813-1987 are 458,787 records from more than 180 parishes;
Baptisms, Marriages and Burials: 1538-1812 are 962,879 records from nearly 130 parishes.

You can browse original records by parish and date, always a sobering thing to do before you complain about the quality of the indexes, or search the indexes and peruse the linked image.

I found the burial of Robert Fitzroy , captain of the Beagle on which Charles Darwin was scientist, at Upper Norwood indexed under last name Roy.

How safe are genealogy company contract data workers in the third world?

The recent Rana Plaza disaster, which killed 1,129 textile workers in the collapse of that Bangladesh factory complex, has caused many well-known companies with contracts there to adopt more stringent oversight. Loblaws, Benetton, Children’s Place and Primark are amongst those companies.

What about companies in the genealogy space that contract work to developing (third world) countries, most notably Ancestry and FindMyPast? We know very little about the working conditions of those who transcribe the historical records we enjoy.

Back in 2009 Ancestry revealed that Beijing Formax, based in Zhongguancun Science Park, Beijing, China, performed a majority of the company's data transcription as measured by cost. There's a promotional YouTube video for the company at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJQ3IKV5UkQ.

Another company that claims to have worked on US and UK census data is Intelligent Image Management Inc. (IIMI) with operations in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the USA. Their clients include ProQuest and the Library of Congress.

It's notable that neither of these companies mentions the safety of working conditions on their web sites. What measures do genealogy companies take to ensure the working conditions in the companies they contract with are safe?

BIFHSGO Conference: Interview with Sher Leetooze

Another in my series of interviews with speakers at the next BIFHSGO conference, 20-22 September, is now posted.
Sher Leetooze, who will be presenting "The Ulster Detective" speaks on her experience researching her Irish ancestry and mentions her newly published book, available just in time for the OGS conference, on the churches of Ontario's Durham county.
Listen from here.

28 May 2013

Going Overboard

With the resignation of Daniel Caron Canadian media are paying more attention to the serious situation at Library and Archives Canada. It's not that there hasn't been coverage over the past year and more. In the midst of headline grabbing issues with the Senate, Robocall election abuses, questions about the activities in the Prime Minister's Office and substance abuse by Rob and Doug Ford in Toronto, it's encouraging to see the media across the country, such as this in the Peterborough Examiner, paying attention to Library and Archives Canada too.

A letter to the editor of the Toronto Star by David Mason of David Mason Books in response to a May 21 editorial is worth reading. However, I was concerned to read:

"this government thinks its mandate is to replace the real artifacts with more digital retrieval services (whatever they are), and that the purpose of an institution like LAC is to merely provide access to information, not to be the custodian of the actual artifacts of our history."
As a seller of used and rare books Mason has a specialist interest in LAC continuing, or rather becoming again, a client.  LAC should be collecting actual artifacts, but its wrong to dismiss, without even knowing what they are, digital retrieval services. There are currently more clients receiving services directly from LAC digitally that using all other services combined. The organization must be more than a warehouse for artifacts and a research resource for the privileged few who can travel to Ottawa. Look at the path being beaten by the Library of Congress and the British Library, organizations mentioned by Mason, and you won't find them shunning digital services. You will find organizations of this type extending their reach through commercial partnerships that allow for timely digitization, not the three hundred years it will take LAC to digitize its current holdings are the recent rate of progress.
Not mentioned by Mason, but a concern with coverage of the Caron situation, is the emphasis on his expense claims. Public servants are easy targets. Caron claiming for foreign language lessons and numerous meals at the Rideau Club makes an easy target. Looking at Caron's expenses on Proactive Disclosure one wonders about all those expenses in connection with meetings with a consultant.

But it would be a mistake to overlook the benefits of maintaining good contact with peers across Canada and in other countries especially through international organizations. That's especially true for those in leadership positions like the Librarian and Archivist of Canada. A large part of Caron's problem was a failure to listen. If he had he'd surely have seen the flaws in his leadership. A well chosen next Librarian and Archivist will not make the same mistake, and we should not be too hasty to judge her or his travel expenses.

27 May 2013

Scottish property valuation rolls for 1895 now online

The following is a press release from Scotlands People

New records reveal a colourful picture of Victorian society in Scotland
The names of more than two million Scots from the late Victorian age will be published today, as records of Scottish properties and their owners and occupiers in 1895 are released on ScotlandsPeople, the government’s family history website.
Called the Valuation Rolls, the records give an insight into Scottish society during that period, and will be a major resource for genealogists.
The records comprise more than two million indexed names and over 75,000 digital images, covering every kind of building, structure or property in Scotland that was assessed as having a rateable value.
The Valuation Rolls include people from right across the social spectrum, from the wealthiest proprietors to the humblest property owners and tenants of Scotland’s urban housing.
Some fascinating aspects of social history in Scotland during the late Victorian age are revealed in the Rolls, including the growth of tea rooms, the opening of Scotland’s first crematorium and the provision of housing for workers, such as shale miners and prison staff.
Researchers at the National Records of Scotland have also identified many ‘tee-names’ in the Rolls, the names used in some communities in the north-east and elsewhere to distinguish people of the same name.
Every one of the Valuation Rolls on the website is fully searchable by name and address, with the records listing the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property - in many cases occupations are also included.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government, said:
“ScotlandsPeople is an incredible resource that enables Scots, those of Scottish descent and  anyone with an interest in Scotland to find out more about our nation’s fascinating history, heritage, people and built environment. The release of the Valuation Rolls for 1895 is a welcome development that will strengthen the rich resource available in Scotland’s national archive.”
Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:
“The release of the Valuation Rolls for 1895 will prove invaluable for family and local history research, enabling people to discover much more about who their ancestors were and how they lived. Reading an entry for a single building can provide a fascinating insight into local life at the time – adding to the information people can obtain from census records taken around that period.
“This forms part of the National Records of Scotland’s commitment to improving our service to the public and providing researchers with the resources that they need.”
Chris van der Kuyl, the CEO of brightsolid, the company that runs the ScotlandsPeople website on behalf of the National Records of Scotland, said:
“We're very pleased to add a third set of Valuation Rolls indexes and images to the ScotlandsPeople website, bringing our total number of index entries to a remarkable 92 million. As part of an on-going digitisation project, the Valuation Rolls are an excellent historical resource and will help to bridge the gap between the 1891 and 1901 censuses”.
The 1895 Valuation Rolls are available on the ScotlandsPeople website (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk), and at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh.

23andMe Briefing

23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki gave a talk in England earlier this month on the company and its ambitions. The emphasis is medical; there's a small segment on the compancy genetic genealogy service.

Gene-O-Rama 2014?

After a two-year hiatus, in 2012 because of conflict with organizing the OGS annual conference in Kingston, and this year owing to uncertainty regarding use of facilities at 395 Wellington Street, the Ontario Genealogical Society Ottawa Branch appears ready to try to hold a Gene-O-Rama in 2012.
Branch vice president Heather Oakley and active member Doug Gray are looking into the possibilities, especially options for venue. If you would like to help with the organization please contact http://ogsottawa.on.ca/home/contactus/?page_id=442 

FamilySearch: England, Cheshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1598-1900

Find 2,179,329 transcriptions, no images, of Cheshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1598-1900 added or updated at FamilySearch on May 24th.
These complement the 4,109,013 transcripts of Cheshire Parish Registers, 1538-2000 added last December at FamilySearch.

26 May 2013

Don't Miss the Toronto Branch OGS May Meeting

Most Ontario genealogists know that if you get a chance to hear a presentation by
Jane MacNamara you take it. The topic of her talk to the May meeting of OGS Toronto Branch is “Inheritance in Ontario: Estate Files and Beyond”, also the topic of her latest book from Dundurn Press.

There is also a shorter presentation by Jean McNulty: “A Photographic Puzzle”.

Proceedings get underway on Monday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Community Hall, 5110 Yonge Street, Toronto

Further information is at www.torontofamilyhistory.org/

Does the Harper Government Really Care About Canadian History?

"Huge cache of Canadian history hits U.K. auction block, tests Library and Archives" is the headline of a Vancouver Sun article. It may well be seen as a test of the Harper Government's commitment to action as well as words when it comes to Canadian history.

Thanks to Brenda Dougall Merriman for the tip.

25 May 2013

Recent StepsToward LAC Renewal

Some encouraging actions are underway to set Library and Archives Canada on course to rectify the problems that have plagued it.

Heritage Minister James Moore announced the appointment of Hervé Déry as interim Librarian and Archivist. He also announced that a process for finding a replacement will be coming soon.

Respected Liberal MP Scott Simms ‏has submitted a motion to the Commons Heritage Committee to review the Hervé Déry appointment. As Déry, like his predecessor, is an economist Simms is likely looking to lay down a marker that the appointment can only be regarded as a caretaker, stop-gap. With the Conservative dominance Simms' motion, probably to be considered at a closed-door meeting of the committee on Monday, seems unlikely to be accepted.

Finally, on Friday the Canadian Library Association released a Joint Statement on Qualities of a Successful Librarian and Archivist of Canada, available at http://bit.ly/14JeiXn.

One of the 19 signatures to the statement was that of Shirley Sturdevant, President of the Ontario Genealogical Society. It's a good statement, no mean feat to get so many organizations to buy on. There are always compromises, it would have been even better with some mention of a role in partnering with and promoting the private/commercial heritage sector, and greater emphasis on digitization to promote Canada-wide service.

The Great and Near Great at Brompton Cemetery in New Records at Deceased Online

65,000 burial records for London's Brompton Cemetery are now available at Deceased Online, the first of an eventual 205,000 burials for the period 1840 to 2004, less those for the last 15 years which are withheld for privacy purposes.

Because of its West End London location Brompton has more than its share of notable people, including some you certainly know, or know of. If they're not in this first serving they'll be coming in the next few weeks.

Read about the Brompton Cemetery collection at http://goo.gl/qxkPa.

Over 450,000 Parish Records Added to Findmypast

Over 450,000 parish baptism, marriage and burial records are now added to findmypast.co.uk covering the period 1538-2009 from Northumberland, Durham, Ryedale, Sheffield, Wiltshire and Suffolk.
They comprise:
141,525 Suffolk Baptisms 1753-1911
244,309 Wiltshire Baptisms 1538-1867
27,420 Northumberland & Durham Burials 1587-2009
22,687 Sheffield Baptisms 1837-1968
8,181 Sheffield Marriages 1824-1991
7,113 Ryedale (N Yorkshire) Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1754-1999

24 May 2013

Tips for Lowering the Cost of Conference Attendance

Jill Hurst-Wahl on her Digitization 101 blog posts tips for being a budget-smart  conference attendee. http://goo.gl/MFZns
While her perspective as a US-based employee isn't quite the same as that of the typical retired, or self-employed, genealogy conference attendee much of her advice remains valuable.
Jill  suggests using sites like skyscanner to figure out when an airline ticket is possibly at its lowest price. However, as I found out to my cost on my last trip, the lowest cost fare involving round-about routing leaves you open to extra risk of flight disruptions, extra cost ans travel fatigue.  

The Ghost of LAC Past

A week after his tardy resignation will someone please remove the ghostly visage of the immediate past Librarian and Archivist of Canada from the organization website. The same goes for his listing in the Government Electronic Directory Services (GEDS), the directory of federal public servants.
UPDATE: The exorcist service was effective.

23 May 2013

LAC Announces a New Version of the 1901 Census

The following is a news release from the Library and Archives Canada Blog

Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce the release of a new version of the 1901 Census of Canada database. This fourth general census covered the seven provinces and the territory that were then part of Confederation: British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the Territories.
The new version includes suggestions for corrections that were received from users in recent months, as well as revised district and sub-district information.

The First 20 Hours - How to Learn Anything

Attending a TEDx event on Wednesday evening doesn't leave much time for writing blog posts. This isn't one of the presentations, but might encourage you if you'd like to learn a new skill.

Ottawa Branch OGS May Meeting

The topic for the May 25th, 2013 Ottawa Branch monthly meeting is "The Life of Jack Couture"

"Couture was a journalist, activist, storyteller and poolroom operator who originally hailed from Deseronto, Ontario. The presentation will trace his poverty stricken beginnings and concentrate mostly on his colourful contributions to life in Aylmer, Quebec including his many contributions to the Ottawa daily newspapers in the 1940s to 1950s."
The speaker is Michael MacDonald. The proceedings get underway at 1:30 pm at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Room 115, Ottawa

DNA Presentation Online This Evening

At 8pm EDT this evening, May 23rd 2013, Bennett Greenspan from Family Tree DNA will give a presentation at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. It will be streamed live at www.kbtx.com/.
More information at http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/museum/events/0/619/

22 May 2013

US WDYTYA Starts July 23

According to a post at http://goo.gl/XAWHl US cable channel TLC has picked up the former NBC documentary series for eight new one-hour episodes set to premiere on July 23.
I'll post on Canadian availability when announced.

10 Days To Go

Counting down the days to the official transfer of the 1921 Canadian census to Library and Archives Canada.

With the departure of the former Librarian and Archivist would it be too much to hope that his interim replacement would reconsider the urgency of getting this information out to the public and immediately on receipt place unindexed digital microfilms online available for all to process?

Or will the new leader be as unforthcoming as his predecessor?

21 May 2013

Indexes Updates from OGS Niagara Peninsula Branch

From Steve Fulton, Chair of the OGS Niagara Peninsula Branch, comes news of the following updates.
  • Surname Index - Contains over 24000 Pedigree Charts
  • Morse & Sons Funeral Home Records - Contains 19229 Funeral Records from 1828 to Sept 1963
  • Neff Young Index - Contains 19136 records of family histories, notes, newspaper clipping and memorabilia from Welland County
  • *NEW* Branch Publications Index - Contains 7998 various publication records for the Lincoln/Welland Area
Please check back often as indexes are being worked on.
Canadian Headstones project - The Niagara Peninsula Branch continues to work on photographing headstones in the old Lincoln/Welland Counties. Just recently we crossed over the 20,000 mark and the number is continuing to climb.

It Doesn't Take Experience as a Sheep to be a Good Shepherd

In a letter sent to Wayne Wouters, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Pilar Martinez, President of the Canadian Library Association, wrote on Friday:

"... any individual being considered for appointment to the position of Librarian and Archivist of Canada (should) be a qualified member of either the library or archival professional community."

The quote reminded me of another from "Yes Minister":

"All government departments are lobbies for the pressure groups they deal with. The Department of Education lobbies the government on behalf of teachers, the Department of Health lobbies for the doctors and hospital unions, the Department of Energy lobbies for oil companies and so on. Each department of State is actually controlled by the people it is supposed to be controlling."

When the group is unable to exert the desired control of the corresponding department, librarians and archivists in the case of LAC, they fight for a return to the appropriate situation.

There are also calls for LAC to be "a strong and independent institution at the very heart of Canadian democracy." But that's not what I read in the legal mandate of LAC:

  • To preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations;
  • To be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada;
  • To facilitate in Canada cooperation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge; and
  • To serve as the continuing memory of the government of Canada and its institutions.

I see no mention of independent, no mention of democracy. Repulsive as the thought is, LAC would still have a mandate if Canada ceased to be a democracy.

I did find one blog post that had a less self-serving viewpoint:

"I'm not convinced LAC needs a librarian at the top. You’d never know it from the way we talk (and talk and talk and talk) about our importance at conferences, but there are people other than librarians who understand the values of librarianship, and some of them are also good at managing large organizations (there are librarians who are good at this too, of course)."

20 May 2013


It exists. Here it is.

And that's all there is, aside from the generic privacy policy.

The domain was registered in September 2009, updated in August 2012, and expires this September unless renewed.

When I go to findmypast.co.uk an annoying popup informs I'm coming from the US and would I like to be redirected to findmypast.com.

Hello brightsolid ... Canada is an independent country, just as some in Scotland would like that country to be, and would appreciate being treated as such.

Canada is not an appendage to the US as seems to be brightsolid's misapprehension.

And how about offering some Canadian records!

Oh, we are Canadians, so that should read

How about offering some Canadian records, PLEASE!

Interview With Rick Roberts

Having attended every BIFHSGO annual conference Rick Roberts of Global Genealogy is no stranger to Ottawa genealogists. In this interview we talk about Family Tree Maker, the subject of his BIFHSGO pre-conference seminar and changes coming about with the company. Listen to the interview.

Irish Roots Column on the IGP

John Grenham overcomes his horror at the acronym “IGP” to recognize the value of the Ireland Genealogy Project, igp-web.com, the umbrella name for a series of Irish-American volunteer transcription sites which he cites as superb for Cork, Longford and Fermanagh.
Find the column at http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/irishroots/2013/05/19/the-other-igp/.

19 May 2013

FreeBMD May Update

The FreeBMD Database was last updated on Saturday 18 May 2013 to contain 229,076,495 distinct records compared to 228,234,652 following the April update.

Major changes (more than 5,000 records per year) with this update are: for births, 1860 (decrease), 1940, 1953, 1958-62, 1964-69; for marriages, 1952, 1961-69; for deaths, 1965, 1967-69.

Quinte Branch OGS

My thanks to the members of the Quinte Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society who took the time on the Saturday of the first long weekend of the summer, and a fine day it was, to come my "What's New in Genetic Genealogy" presentation and ask many intelligent questions.  I was pleased to be there for the unveiling of a new Branch poster, just in time for the OGS conference, and witness the presentation of an Ontario service award.
Thanks also to Anne Sterling who shared the driving and provided support.

Writing Great Obits

Given the number of times I`m had to write RIP in the past few months I`m wondering if this is one from which I could benefit.

SPOW Toronto 2013 conference
Friday, June 7, 2013

Here in Toronto we are thrilled to be hosting the fourth conference of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers (SPOW).

We know how much fun they are. We know how important they are. And we know we need to gather together and talk about our business.

It’s happening at Ryerson University, home of the largest journalism school in Canada, located in the heart of downtown Toronto.

Telling the Truth is our theme. It means getting it right. It means our president, Andy Meacham, leading us in a talk about how we handle suicide, dirty little secrets, sex, lies and yes, families who fight us all the way.

Read the rest at http://www.pwactoronto.org/Blog/content/spow-toronto-2013-conference

18 May 2013

Additions to BMD Indexes

More than 145 thousand index records to Lancashire births, marriages and deaths between 1840 and 1997 have been added so far in May at www.lancashirebmd.org.uk/

Ancestry recently updated their versions of the FreeBMD birth and death indexes, likely to account for recent updates by FreeBMD.

Please Help Improve Library Service

A public consultation is underway regarding Ottawa Public Library services. Even if you don't live in Ottawa it would be a good idea to participate as other library systems will be watching.

Find out about it at http://www.imagine-opl-bpo.ca/index-en.php, then vote or propose additional items.

If you only have limited time please take a few seconds to help me by supporting the idea to improve the convenience of library services. Go to https://www.ideavibes.com/engine/ideaengine/idea/view/id/1218
and click the Like button.

17 May 2013

Interim Librarian and Archivist of Canada

According to news reports Hervé Déry, assistant deputy minister of policy and collaboration at LAC, is temporarily assuming the duties of Librarian and Archivist of Canada.

He will be somewhat known to the professional community as he participated in a Pan-Canadian Documentary Heritage Network (PCDHN) Forum last October.

He is quoted in February as saying "the library community is not concerned with the cuts to LAC ... the archivists were upset by the changes to programs and services and had marched in the streets."

Prior to joining LAC he was vice-president of the Public Service Commission. Here is a video, in French, with him giving remarks on generation Y and the Public Service. 

His training is as an economist. In a nearly 30 year career with the Public Service he has also worked in Fisheries and Oceans, Industry Canada, the Public Service School, and Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Looking for LAC Leadership

Loryl MacDonald, president of the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) doesn't hesitate to express views in behalf of the Association. In a letter to Heritage Minister James Moore she advised him to appoint as Librarian and Archivist of Canada

“a visionary leader — someone with a deep understanding and appreciation of the library and archives environment, the communities they serve, and the issues they face. We are confident such leaders can be found within the Canadian archival and library communities.”
Such an appointed person also needs the necessary experience to operate in the Government of Canada system or they'll "eat his (or her) breakfast."

Deceased Online to Start Posting Brompton Cemetery Records

West London's Brompton Cemetery records, over 200,000 according to the book London Cemeteries, will start to be added to Deceased Online next week.
It's the resting place of many prominent people in British society including Halifax, Nova Scotia-born Samuel Cunard.

Peterborough Cathedral Records Now Online.

Deceased Online now has nearly 1,250 burials from Peterborough's Cathedral Church of St Peter, St Paul and St AndrewMost date back to 1575 but earlier interments for the cathedral abbots, back to the early 12th Century, are also available. Burial registers are included for most of these and there are also some photographs of monuments and plaques available.

The records include those of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, and Catherine (aka Katherine) of Aragon, Queen of England 1509-1533 and first wife of Henry VIII (BBC image).
Click here for more information on the history of Peterborough Cathedral.

16 May 2013

News on "Exodus: Movement of the People" Conference

The following is a press release from The Halstead Trust

Dr Janina Ramirez to be After Dinner Speaker at Exodus: Movement of the People
The Halsted Trust is delighted to announce Ancestry.co.uk as the Platinum sponsor for our forthcoming International Family History conference, Exodus: Movement of the People at Hinckley, Leicestershire on Saturday 7th September 2013, organised by the Halsted Trust. We are also delighted to announce that we have engaged Dr. Janina Ramirez as our after dinner speaker.
Alec Tritton chairman of the Halsted Trust said "Ancestry.co.uk coming on board as the Platinum sponsor has enabled us to turn what we believe was already a great conference programme into a truly memorable one. We are also absolutely delighted to be able to invite such a well- known historian to bring her knowledge and expertise to our conference"
Karen Richardson Senior Manager of Community Marketing at Ancestry.co.uk said
“Migration and travel is one of the most fascinating areas of family history research, but also one of the most challenging. Whether your ancestors moved to a different town for work or crossed oceans in pursuit of a new life, their journeys can throw up a whole host of questions and complications when tracing your family tree. With this in mind, we’re excited to be supporting the The Exodus: Movement of the People conference and learning more from Dr. Janina Ramirez and the other speakers about many of these travels and how family historians can unlock the secrets of the journeys in their family’s past.” Dr Ramirez is a presenter, lecturer and researcher.
For more information about the conference being held 6th to 8th September 2013 at Hinckley, Leicestershire, and to learn more about historic British migration, visit the conference website at www.exodus2013.co.uk

FindMyPast adds Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve records

The following is from www.findmypast.co.uk

Good news for those of you with seafaring ancestors! We’ve added new records from the Royal Naval Volunteer reserve covering 1914-1920. These professional seamen, drawn from the British Merchant Navy and fishing fleets, were called upon during times of war to serve in the regular Navy and due to the waved gold lace on their uniform became known as the ‘Wavy Navy’. Five divisions were established in Bristol, London, Tyne, Mersey and Clyde, where civilian volunteers trained in disused warships and due to their high level of skill often rose to command positions in the regular navy.
The new medal roll contains transcripts and images of the names of over 72,000 men and details which of the following medals each was awarded: 
1914 Star
Clasp to the 1914 Star
1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Renew Ancestry at a Discount

Want to save? Is the Pope Argentinian? The following is from a regular reader:
My subscription to the worldwide edition of ancestry expired yesterday. Despite outdated credit card expiry info they were able to process the auto renew. I had tried twice to cancel. Because I use Chrome as my browser it only appeared to work and in fact didn't get through. I had no indication that it had not worked.
Anyway, I called and said that I was canceling because of the high price. The cancellation was processed.
I asked if there were any special deals available to loyal subscribers. Yes indeed. I renewed for $179.40 rather than the $299 they originally charged.
This is certainly worth a phone call at renewal time.
Thanks Ann (Dealmaker) Burns

LAC After Caron

Count many relieved people in Ottawa now that Daniel Caron has left his post at Library and Archives Canada. Likely he's one of them. Living with the mess he presided over cannot have been pleasant.

Perhaps the one person not relieved is the one tapped to replace him on an interim basis. Some senior managers under Caron have been on stress leave so it's unclear who it will be. That person inherits a demoralized organization and alienated clientele. That cannot be turned around overnight.

Many in the archival and library community believe the next permanent head should be someone with professional credentials in at least one of those fields. Yet finding a person like that who is also capable of playing the essential political game in the senior ranks of the public service is difficult. The most likely candidate would be someone familiar with LAC who left for new senior level challenges but would return to take on this one.

Although the professional community might not like it a more likely choice is someone already in, or climbing into, the senior ranks of the Public Service. There are examples of well respected heads of such specialist organizations, Oliver Morley of the (UK) National Archives is an example, with no background in the field. That person needs more than a vision, they need the ability to take advice, admit when they're wrong and change as Ian Wilson did on opening hours at LAC, and strongly represent the organization's interests embodied in all of the mandate in the Library and Archives Canada Act.

The position is an Order in Council appointment reporting to the Clerk of the Privy Council who will likely decide on the appointment after consultation. I'd be surprised if the responsible minister, James Moore, being long-serving in the portfolio, didn't have some say. That may not be a bad thing. Moore is a savvy politician who has distanced himself from Caron by, erroneously, claiming LAC operates at arm's length. If someone who charted a significantly different course is selected Moore could continue to claim that Caron's decisions didn't reflect his views.

Book Review: The Burgoyne Expedition

Title: The British Campaign of 1777, Volume Two - The Burgoyne Expedition: Burgoyne's Native and Loyalist Auxiliaries
Author:  Gavin Watt.
368 Pages
8.5" x 11"
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2013
ISBN 978-1-926797-70-0 (Hardcover) at $67.95, also available as a CD at $19.95

This is the second volume in what is planned to be a three part work on the war between the newly declared United States of America and the British with their allies. The first volume, published in 2005, was on the St. Leger Expedition. The Forces of Crown and Congress, Second Edition.
The book is divided in four parts. Part one, Burgoyne's Expedition, puts it in context, introduces the main events of the actions which occurred between lake Champlain and Albany, NY, gives a timeline and cast of important characters.
Part two, The Americian Provincial (Loyalists), 286 pages, starts with 37 pages of background. Then for each of Jessup's King's Loyal Americans, Adams's Independent Ranging Company, Peters's Queen's Loyal Rangers, Hawley's Bateaux Company, Pfister's, Mackay's & Leake's "Loyal Volunteers", McAlpin's "American Volunteers", Munro's Bateaux Company and others there are listings of the soldiers by rank, surname, given name and residence. For each there is a reference to more detail, sometimes including year of birth.
Private John Smith served with Jessup's King's Loyal Americans. From his listing we learn details of his service:

Parts three, "The Canadians" and four "The Natives" are shorter with much less of genealogical significance.

Genealogists whose first reaction in picking up this type of book is to turn to the back seeking a name index will find 22 pages filled with small type. That follows a bibliography listing the resources consulted.

I have no known relationship to the five Reid entries included; if I did I'd certainly welcome the detail and context provide. Wouldn't you welcome a book like this summarizing the experience of your WW1 fighting ancestors? Those with Loyalist and other ancestors included are fortunate to have such a detailed reference.

This review is based on a review copy supplied by Global Heritage Press.

15 May 2013

A Red Letter Day: Daniel Caron Leaves Library and Archives Canada

Via CLA Govt Library and Info Mgmt Professionals Network on 2013/05/15

From: Caron, Daniel J.
Sent: May-15-13 4:00 PM
To: _BAC/LAC Regions; _LAC / BAC-NCR-RCN
Subject: Message de Daniel J. Caron

I am informing you of my decision to leave Library and Archives Canada as of today.  Over the last four years, we have made a lot of progress in modernizing our institution. I am very proud of the accomplishments and conscious of the work yet to be done. The challenges remain vast and fascinating. I now believe it is time for someone else to take on and build the necessary support to continue to make the institution increasingly responsive to the digital environment. I would like to thank all of those who have largely contributed to the progress made and encourage you to continue this collaboration

Daniel J. Caron Ph D

UK Lives of the First World War Project

Do you have a UK ancestor who served in The Great War? The IWM (Imperial War Museum) and brightsolid announce an interactive digital project called Lives of the First World War.

It will tell the story of the men and women who served in uniform and worked on the Home Front by bringing together records from museums, libraries, archives and family collections across the world. ` 
The platform will go live later this year, in time for the start of centenary commemorations from summer 2014.

Peterborough Cathedral Burial Records Coming To Deceased Online

Deceased Online tweets:

"This week we have what we think is a first for any website; the first British cathedral to have (nearly) all burial records digitized and available to download through a website, www.deceasedonline.com. All burial records since 1615 for Peterborough Cathedral, plus others dating back to the 12th Century, will be available imminently."

Ancestry Updates 1901 Census

The Ancestry 1901 census collection is updated. There are now 30,593,658 records for England, 2,035,182 for Wales, 96,404 for the Channel Islands and 55,028 for the Isle of Man.

Planning Scottish Research?

Christine Woodcock, BIFHSGO member and editor of the Society monthly newsletter, has just completed another small group genealogical tour of Scotland. Read about the things they did on her Genealogy Tours of Scotland blog. You might just get ideas for your own tour, or be inspired to take advantage of Christine's services.

Down Survey of Ireland

Over the past three days I've read several posts, at least one of them highly enthusiastic, about the website for the Down Survey of Ireland.
According to the site description:

There are two main components to this website. The Down Survey Maps section comprises digital images of all the surviving Down Survey maps at parish, barony and county level. The written descriptions (terrier) of each barony and parish that accompanied the original maps have also been included. The second section, Historical GIS, brings together the maps and related contemporaneous sources – Books of Survey and Distribution, the 1641 Depositions, the 1659 Census – in a Geographical Information System (GIS). All these sources have been georeferenced with 19th-century Ordnance Survey maps, Google Maps and satellite imagery.
 It may well be that I don't have enough Irish ancestry, or know the ancestry far enough back, for it to be useful for me. I'm not the only one. Perhaps you'll be more fortunate.

14 May 2013

Final Day for OGS 2014 Conference Presentation Proposals

What are you doing at the start of May 2014?  Do you have a fascinating presentation you've been longing to give but haven't quite got around to committing. May 15 is the last day for sending in proposals for the 2014 Ontario Genealogical Society conference, being held at Brock University. Don't hesitate; it's a great time of year to be in the Niagara area and you've got nearly a year to prepare.
I've heard of some excellent presentations being offered  but not nearly enough to fill in the program. Having served on several program committees I can tell you they're always looks for fresh topics and fresh faces; as well as welcoming the tried and true. Even if your talk doesn't fit one of the advertised themes don't worry. As long as the presentation would likely be of interest to Ontario genealogists it will be welcome.
There are more details on the conference at http://www.ogs.on.ca/ogsblog/?p=2874

Ottawa Public Library Consultation

Launching on May 15 is a month long public consultation through social media on the Ottawa Public Library system's future services.


This comes hard on the heels of an 11% year-over-year drop in circulation, which continued into the first quarter of 2013, a trend Library Board chair Jan Harder found shocking.

Strangely, at this time of change, the OPL Board on Monday decided it could do with less information, supposedly in order to make its deliberations more strategic. OPL management recommended a set of indicators that would be reported twice a year, three months after the end of the period. The Board rejected that long delay that Library management wanted in order to complete the analysis but agreed to the a smaller number of indicators.

The OPL Board will no longer monitor circulation indicators from the various OPL branches, even though at that very meeting that type of report was examined in an attempt to understand the circulation drop.

The Digitized Ottawa Journal

Earlier in the year images of issues of the Ottawa Journal became available from Ancestry.ca as browse files. Now the Ancestry partner site newspapers.com has started digitizing the files.
So far the issues available are from December 1885 to June 1887; March - September 1892; December 1939; February 1941, October and December 1943; March, April and September 1944; June and July 1945; February 1946; February 1949; February 1958.
The paper ceased publication on 27 August 1980, but curiously a 1992 issue is in the index!

Home Children Records at TNA

A blog post by Jenni Orme of The (UK) National Archives explores some of their records relating to British child migrants to Canada (Home Children). See http://ht.ly/kXSjh

Plain Vanilla Irish Wills

In an Irish Roots column with a plain vanilla title John Grenham lauds the National Archives of Ireland digitization of will calendars from 1858 to 1922, the whole lot, free, at genealogy.nationalarchives.ie.

13 May 2013

Genealogy at Library and Archives Canada

On Saturday at the Voices from the Dust event, organized at the Ottawa Ontario Stake Family History Centre. I attend a presentation given by Sylvie Tremblay, Manager, Online Content at LAC. In particular she discussed the transition from http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/index-e.html to http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/Pages/home.aspx, social media initiatives and what's coming up.
Sylvie reported that the most consulted databases on the LAC website continue to be those used by genealogists. The first is Soldiers of the First World War, followed by Home Children, followed by the small Ward Chipman database.
Also popular are the censuses with a total of 32 million records in LAC's 15 census databases. These data-sets are currently being updated: 1916 was updated on January 29, 1911 on February 26, 1881 on April 30, 1871 on May 9. Other censuses will follow soon with launches only occurring on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. Apparently this more rapid rate of updates is made possible by the adoption of a common interface and series of templates. The 1870 census of Manitoba is coming, as indexed by the Manitoba Genealogical Society. All LAC nominal census indexes are produced by others, mainly Ancestry.ca, OGS and FamilySearch.org.
The updating includes standardizing the geographical names, making sure Canada's bilingualism policy is respected, ensuring web pages respect the accessibility criteria imposed as a result of a Supreme Court ruling, making images available as both pdf and jpg, and incorporating suggested changes. LAC receives 30-50 such suggestions daily across all databases.
Military records are being added. With the centennial of WW1 more records will be added including digitized large panoramic photographs of units before they left for Europe. Further war graves registers will soon be added to the virtual microfilm collection. There will be an effort to bring military resources that are available but not easy to find together under a military heading.
Social Media
At the end of March LAC podcasts had been listened to 255 thousand times through iTunes. Sylvie mentioned that these podcasts always occupy at least one position in the top ten for the iTunes podcast Government and Organizations category. When I checked one was in the top ten, in second place.
The LAC blog, with 275 articles, has been viewed 94,000 times; Sylvie's goal is 100,000 views by the end of May. The blog includes series on specific topics, topical items and announcements of the launch of new or updated products.
Videos support References Services with information on how to use the Services.
Flickr sets are being added with 2 to 20 images per set, 2-4 new sets per month. New sets are grouped by theme driven by commemorative events. Annual views are 350,000 with much use by students for school work.
There is coordinated Twitter and Facebook posting on the same topics.
What's Coming
Databases are being migrated and updated on the new website. The 32 million records of the censuses have been the major challenge. The other databases containing 3 million records will follow.
There is substantial additional material on home children coming online through the partnership with BIFHSGO. Name indexes for Middlemore, Barnardo's Ups and Downs and others will be added before the end of the calendar year, perhaps in the fall.
Orders in Council with digitized images will be added soon.
WW1 and Canada's 150 the anniversary commemorations will be a priority in the coming years.
As of June 1 LAC will take possession of 163 virtual reels of microfilm from Statistics Canada containing 8.8 million people. There are 40 question in the population schedule. In response to questions Sylvie said "As soon as we have it we'll start working on it, and we'll make it available as soon as possible", "Discussions are underway with third parties to create a nominal index." Pressed on why these 163 digital microfilm reels would not be made available promptly as part of the virtual microfilm collection Sylvie responded that decision was being made at a higher level of management above her in the chain of command through Alison Bullock, Fabien Lengellé, Cecilia Muir to Daniel Caron.
Sylvie Tremblay's presentation explained the work LAC is doing for genealogy. She has high credibility with the community, let us in on the process and thinking behind LAC's initiatives, and stuck to talking points when required. She gave factual information when questioned, such as on the chain of command where decisions are made.
My speculation is that LAC is negotiating for access to a database index to the 1921 census before making the original images available. If access is withheld to further the interests of LAC this would seem to be in violation of the public right of access. In the US NARA makes the original images freely available online in a timely manner for indexing by any third party.

QFHS Celebrate Female Roots

The next in the series of themed drop-in events by the Quebec Family History Society, free and open to all, is on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.
Drop by this Wednesday at the QFHS Heritage Centre and Library, 173 Cartier Avenue, Pointe-Claire for coffee, tea, and informal conversation to talk about some of the favourite women in your family. Bring your own books, photos, and memorabilia that have helped you in your research. Bring a friend or just bring yourself.
You will have a chance to win two free tickets to visit the historic Maison Saint-Gabriel, acquired in 1668 by one of Montreal’s most well-known women, Marguerite Bourgeoys.
Chat with new and experienced genealogists about how to learn what life was like for your female ancestors. What was home life like during the time they lived? Do you own any letters or diaries? Share the challenges you face – and your successes – in your family history research.
On display for you to browse will be books from the QFHS collection about women and social history.
Remember, half of our direct ancestors are women. Since Mother's Day takes place this weekend, this is a good time to celebrate the women in our family tree.
Meeting in person with a small group in a social setting builds community; its an ace in the hole for a family history society that can't be duplicated by a subscription to an online database or listening to a webinar. 

Thanks for the tip to Susan Gingras Calcagni

Perth Historical Society May Meeting

''Why World Heritage Site? The Rideau Canal Story” is the topic for the May 15 Perth Historical Society Meeting.

Rideau Canal expert, Ken Watson, will tell the story of how the system, with the Tay Canal, came to achieve the prestigious designation of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"While many Ontarions know of the Canal’s designation, few have heard the unique background to, and the reasons for, making it the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Ontario. The Rideau system was judged by UNESCO to meet the criteria of ‘a masterpiece human creative genius’, and ‘outstanding example’ of an architectural landscape that illustrates a significant stage in history.

UNESCO describes the system as ‘constructed for military purposes which played a crucial (role in the defence) of Canada against the United States ….. leading to the development of two distinct political and cultural entities in the north of the American continent.’ It is ‘the best preserved example of a slackwater canal in North America (and) the only canal dating from the great North American canal-building era of the early 19th century that remains operational.’

The Rideau Canal was built between 1826 and 1832 under the supervision, and design, of Lt. Colonel John By, and the Royal Engineers. It was constructed by independent contractors and tradesmen, and primarily French-Canadian and immigrant Irish workers, many of whom were lost to accident and malaria, and buried in small cemeteries along the canal, including locally at Chaffeys Locks. The canal runs 202 km, through 24 lock stations, on the Rideau and Cataraqui rivers, between the Ottawa River at Ottawa and Kingston Harbour on Lake Ontario.

Ken Watson, who lives on the Rideau near Elgin, is one of the foremost experts and authors on the Rideau Canal’s history, its character, and its protection. His six books have documented the waterway’s stories (‘Tales of the Rideau’; ‘History of the Rideau Lock Stations’) - its earliest history (‘Rideau Route – Exploring the Pre-canal Waterway’) – and its recreation (‘Paddling Guides’). Ken is a dedicated promoter of the Rideau system, and, amongst his many contributions, donates webmaster services to several non-profit organisations, including our society and Friends of the Rideau. He has been active in the recent debate over the substantial cuts to the Rideau Canal operations and staff. "

The meeting will be at the Royal Canadian Legion in Perth, 26 Beckwith Street East starting at 7pm.

12 May 2013

LAC's Caron Unreprentant

It appears that Bibliotecario y Archivista de Canadá, Daniel Caron, is thumbing his nose at Heritage Minister James Moore over public funding for his private Spanish lessons http://goo.gl/Py4vP

Quinte Branch OGS May Meeting

11 May 2013

Don Pounder RIP

BIFHSGO member Donald Williamson Pounder (1925 - 2013) passed away earlier this month. Don was a mathematician with a wide variety of interests including a passionate pursuit of his family history. Before falling ill a year ago he frequently contributed helpful comments to this blog. The official obit is at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/ottawacitizen/obituary.aspx?n=donald-pounder&pid=164730341&fhid=5747

Where's Your Brickwall? - Results

Thanks to the 102 people who participated in this survey.
In response to the question "Working back from yourself along all your ancestral lines, at which generation do you first encounter someone for whom you can't

identify both biological parents by first and last names?" The most common answer was 2 times great-grandparents. A couple of people left comments about adoption and illegitimacy but these are not otherwise entered in the survey. Congratulations to the two responders who were able to answer six and eight times great-grandparents.

A surprising result is that 50% of those with a suspected Irish brickwall stated 2 times great-grandparents whereas for those with an English or Welsh brickwall 39% stated great-grandparent and only 22% two times great-grandparent.

As mentioned in a post yesterday slightly more men than women were the brickwall person. The survey was dominated by 74 responses from Canada where the trend for men to be the brickwall person was even more pronounced.

Is it Easier to Research Women's Family History?

The survey underway on this blog on brickwall ancestors asks about gender. I'm surprised to see than marginally more people identify a man than a woman as their brickwall. The difference isn't that great, and many more identify both parents.
I'm surprised as I've frequently seen articles and heard presentations suggesting women are more challenging to research than men. The root of this idea is that as in most cultures a woman adopts her husband's name that information gets lost.
That researching women is much more difficult may well be a fallacy. In my own family history my most recent brickwall is male, and I can get back one more generation on my mother's, mother's etc line than my father's father's etc.
Could it be that women living longer than men means there is more chance for them to pass along their family history. Their offspring being older when the mother dies they are more likely to be interested in their family history than when their father dies. Oral family history, even if muddled in being passed down through the generations, is an invaluable genealogical resource.
It may also be that women are more inclined to keep scrapbooks, clippings and ephemera of significant family events that get handed down.
Maybe we should run a survey on who was your most valuable source for your family history. What do you think?

London in 1927

"Incredible colour footage of 1920s London shot by an early British pioneer of film named Claude Frisse-Greene, who made a series of travelogues using the colour process his father William - a noted cinematographer - was experimenting with. It's like a beautifully dusty old postcard you'd find in a junk store, but moving.

Music by Jonquil and Yann Tiersen."

Via a tweet from Robyn Bresnahan

Ancestry Updates "Canada, Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918"

An Ancestry.ca update to the "Canada, Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918" database is announced. A search will provide name, birth date, birth location, name of relative and, regiment number. Click to see the attestation paper - remember there are two sides.
A small but increasing number of full service records are at the Library and Archives Canada website, but not linked from Ancestry.
The comment I recently made about a LAC blog post applies here too: when such databases are updated please tell us how much is changed so we know whether the effort to repeat previously unsuccessful searches is likely to be worthwhile.

10 May 2013

Anglican Radical Comment on Daniel Caron's Behaviour

Is the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster a hotbed of liberal extremism? It harbours the likes of Archivist Melanie Delva who has written to Heritage Minister James Moore, also from BC, and then made the letter public.

Ms Delva explains the impact of the loss of the NADP on the Diocesan archives but nevertheless would like to give credit for changes made necessary by the government financial situation. But the use of public money for Daniel Caron's personal Spanish lessons, an amount larger than her institutions total budget, has made that completely impossible.

Read the letter as part of this post on Bibliocracy.

Thanks to Gail Dever for the tip.

Where's Your Brickwall?

As you work your genealogy back in time you eventually find an ancestor with parents, or one parent, you can't identify by first and last name. In my case my latest brickwall is a great grandparent who just seems to appear, gives conflicting information in censuses and with no trace earlier than the birth of his first known child in the late 1870s. Where's your brickwall? Please click here to take this quick survey.

09 May 2013

LAC Announces Updates to 1871 Census

The following is a blog post from Library and Archives Canada

"Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce the release of a new version of the Census of Canada, 1871 database. This first general census covered the four provinces that were then part of Confederation: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The new version includes suggestions for corrections received from users in recent months, as well as revised district and sub-district information."
It would be helpful if such announcements would include information on the extent of the changes so we can judge whether it's worth going back and repeating previously unsuccessful searches; and also provide a list of areas where the census pages have been lost or are illegible.

North American English Dialects

Do you live in a sea of people who speak with an accent? I do. What's distinct about your accent? How does it compare with others in North America? The map is from a serious "hobby" study available here.

via a post on Facebook by Thomas McEntee.

As well as accents there are distinctive phrases. It was only when I first went to Montreal that I heard people talk about opening and closing the lights. 

BIFHSGO May Monthly Meeting

The next meeting is on Saturday, May 11, 2013

9:00-9:30 Before BIFHSGO Educational Talk

Comparing FTM, Legacy and Rootsmagic - An Overview by Ken McKinlay

9:15-10:00 am Discovery Tables - Selections from Brian O'Regan's original family research with Brian Glenn and Ellen Whisler

10:00-11:30 Monthly Meeting Speaker

Building a One-Name Study: The Influence of Computers, the Internet and DNA by Bill Arthurs

This presentation will feature the Titus one-name study from its inception before the era of computers, through its progression with the advent of the internet, construction of a website, and the use of DNA research. Listen to Bill's interview with Brooke Broadbent in which he talks about his start in genealogy and One-Name studies.

About the Speaker

Bill Arthurs has been active in genealogical research for well over 30 years. He has also been active in BIFHSGO, having given "great moments" talks as well as having several articles published in Anglo Celtic Roots. He is currently the chairman of BIFHSGO's DNA Special Interest Group.

Location: Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Come early and browse our Discovery Tables. Meet with family history experts. Free parking is available in the lots east of the building only on Saturdays. Do not use the lot west of the building.

08 May 2013

25 Days To Go

Counting down the days to the official transfer of the 1921 Canadian census to Library and Archives Canada.
We learned on Saturday at the OGS Ottawa Branch Genealogy Day event that on arrival the census won't be placed immediately online, and it could be August until any of it is available. Further there is no indication of any partnerships being in place for indexing.
We've seen in the UK and US what's possible for an organization whose senior management shows leadership. By contrast, in the words of the old song "Manjana is good enough for me LAC." It all shows the emptiness of LAC's rhetoric about digitization and online service. If other peer organizations can do it why not LAC?

LAC: Striving for What?

Would LAC senior management please watch this video and ask themselves if they are doing the best they can for Canada, and their legacy?

Ysearch Issues

If you use Ysearch, the open Y chromosome STR database sponsored by Family Tree DNA, you may have experienced database problems. They appear as Server 500 Error. Information from Ysearch is they don't have an estimated date of when these errors will be resolved. This issue impacts many of the Ysearch functions, such as uploading your Family Tree DNA information to the site, as well as issues in contacting matches via email and accidental creation of multiple kits.

Thanks to Bryan Cook for passing along the information.

07 May 2013

News From Niagara OGS

Steve Fulton from Niagara Branch, OGS sends this update.
First all I would like to share about our upcoming General Meeting: Thursday May 9th – this meeting will be streamed to the internet if you are unable to make it - Click on the Video Stream Button on our website www.ogs.on.ca/niagara and then the May Button (members only).
Renee Tetreault is a founding member of the Welland Branch of the Franco Ontarien Society of History and Genealogy now known as the Resau Du Patrimoine Franco Ontarien. Renee has served for more than thirty years as the expert who assists researchers at their Centre for Research in the Welland Public Library. She will describe the extensive holdings of their library in and offer suggestions for researching in Quebec. Meeting starts at 7 pm.
Now for some other updates from Niagara.
The Morse and Sons index on our website has been recently updated. We've added three more years to it, from 1960 to Sept 1963. There are now names in this index. Year Range: 1828 to 1963 - don't miss the index and the possibility of finding a connection.
The Canadian Headstones Project - the Welland Historical Society has joined forces with the branch and has taken the Welland Cemeteries on and is in the process of placing them on line starting with Woodlawn. Please visit the site often as St Andrews in St Catharines and Pelham Hickside Quaker Cemeteries have been photographed this weekend and should be on the site soon. Other volunteers have stepped forward to help and we thank them for their effort. We need help with photographing cemeteries if you are interested please contact the branch directly.
**This just in - All volunteers for Canadian Headstones Niagara Project: Today we passed 20,000 names in the Niagara Index. Great going! Thanks for all your dedication!** Thanks to Robert Halfyard for his hard work!!
The Welland Historical Society and myself had the opportunity to be interview on Brock University Radio – The interview talk about the Branch and all the good things we are doing as well the Canadian Headstones Project – click on the link to listen too:
Finally if you are on Facebook and have not been on our page, you are missing all the great things going on there.

Follow the Family Farm in Ireland

John Grenham's most recent Irish Roots column, Follow the Family Farm, explains why land sales in Ireland are relatively rare. That means that those occupying land now are "overwhelmingly likely" to be related to the original purchaser in 1903 when a favourable regime was put in place to allow renters to become owners.

Caron Takes Personal Spanish Lessons At Taxpayer Expense.

According to a Sun News article, Daniel Caron of Library and Archives Canada, spent $4,482 in 2011-12 for Spanish lessons and, last year, signed a $10,000 contract for another round of twice-a-week 90-minute private lessons.

A spokesperson for Heritage Minister James Moore is quoted as saying in the article "We don't know how this spending could possibly correspond to the responsibilities of Library and Archives Canada,"

06 May 2013

Registration Now Available for BIFHSGO Conference

You can now register online, or if you prefer download a form to mail in, for the BIFHSGO conference, 20-22 September 2013. Information on the conference program is at www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=22

The Luminarium

An anthology of English literature from Medieval to 18th century authors  Luminarium gives biography, quotes, works, essays and articles, and various study resources.

Luminarium Encyclopedia provides historical contexts for the people, places, and events featured.

Reader Brenda Turner calls it an amazing site where one can even download free e-books of favourite historical authors. "It's not strictly genealogical in its orientation, but it can inform one from a background perspective of the political, economic, and social influences under which our ancestors lived at various times in the UK."

Thanks for the tip Brenda.

Tips from Under The Influence

One of my favorite CBC radio programs is Under The Influence, with Terry O'Reilly, and the most recent episode "It's The Little Things" had a couple of adjacent statements that rang a bell for me.

First, "It's interesting to note that when businesses lose customers, most never try to get them back - feeling it's a lost cause.
But studies show that companies are twice as likely to regain lost customers as they are to gain new ones."
When your family history society loses a member what efforts do you make to get them back?

Second, for the special attention of LAC senior management, a quote attributed to Isadore Sharp, founder of the Four Seasons hotel chain, "We are only what we do, not what we say we are."

05 May 2013

Family Tree DNA Drops Prices

It was only a matter of time. Prices for DNA testing for genealogy have fallen over the years and the latest decrease comes from Family Tree DNA.

Their autosomal test, marketed as Family Finder, now has a regular price of $199, down from $289.
While that is still substantially greater than the $99 list price for a similar test at 23andMe or AncestryDNA that advertised price isn't the only consideration.
The Ancestry autosomal test is still not offered in Canada.
23andMe adds on a large shipping fee. You need to consider the significance for you of the access to FTDNA's genealogy-oriented database versus the medical information and comprehensive Ancestry Composition information you get with a 23andMe test. Note that with the new price there is no longer an advantage in testing with 23andMe and transferring the results to FTDNA.

Also FTDNA is now offering a full mtDNA test for $199, only $40 more than the price for the partial (HVR1 and 2) test offered previously.

BIFHSGO Speaker Interview: Bill Arthurs

The latest in a series of interviews with BIFHSGO monthly meeting speakers, Bill Arthurs in conversation with with Brooke Broadbent about his start in genealogy and One Name studies, is now on the Society website. Also see Bill's website on his Titus One-Name Study.

DNA Survey Results: Tests

A big thank you to the 36 people who responded to the survey posted here last Sunday. In response to the question "What was your overall level of satisfaction with the type of test or tests involved as far as utility for your genealogy? " 37 responses were very satisfied or satisfied, 4 were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.


Eight people were very satisfied, 10 satisfied, and none dissatisfied nor very dissatisfied. Comment "established a Y-DNA match which confirmed that I had been researching the right family for 42 years, something that had been doubtful for a time", "YDNA test showed only one marker (out of 49) differed in one name study; Great result", "Found a second cousin through testing my brother's Y-DNA."
Four were very satisfied, two satisfied, and one each dissatisfied and very dissatisfied. Comment: "testing companies should dial back their rhetoric on expectations for finding relatives for those doing mtDNA"
Autosomal DNA
Eight were very satisfied, four satisfied, and one each dissatisfied and very dissatisfied.

As of May 3 FTDNA reported 473,227 records in its Y-DNA database and 158,866 mtDNA in its database. Given its small sample size the ratio of survey responses, Y to Mt, 18:8  is consistent.
Considering that autosomal tests have been available for a short time compared to Y and Mt there has been substantial adoption.
There is still a lack of understanding of the tests and their capabilities, frustration at the limitations of the database and their propriety nature.

04 May 2013

Study of Significant Aspects in Canadian History

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage agreed at it's meeting last Monday, April 29 "to undertake a thorough and comprehensive review of significant aspects in Canadian history including the following subjects and themes:

A breakdown and comparison of relevant standards and courses of study offered in primary and post-secondary institutions in each of the provinces and territories;
A review of federal, provincial and municipal programs designed to preserve our history and heritage; and
A focus on Canadian history including but not limited to pre-confederation, early confederation, suffrage, World War I, with an emphasis on battles such as Vimy Ridge, World War II including the Liberation of Holland, the Battle of Ortona, Battle of the Atlantic, the Korean conflict, peacekeeping missions, constitutional development, the Afghanistan conflict, early 20th century Canada, post-war Canada, and the late 20th century.
And that emphasis be placed on Canadians’ access to historical information and education, by studying the following topics:
How Hansard can be used as a means of preserving important witness testimony and part of the permanent public record;
The tools and methods available for Canadians to access and preserve historical content; and
The tools and methods available to Canadians to increase their knowledge of Canadian history.
And that the Committee utilize the following information sources in order to undertake this study:
Witnesses testimony including firsthand accounts of significant periods;
The Committee visit relevant national museums to better understand their efforts at preserving our history and how decisions are made to display our history; and
The Committee invite the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the National Film Board and other public ad private broadcasters to discuss their role in preserving important accounts of Canadian history that may be within their collection.
And that the report highlight best practices, new methods and potential opportunities to preserve, protect and enhance Canadians’ knowledge of our history while recommending ways of improving access to our historical collections.

At a follow-up meeting on May 1 it was agreed, — That the following witnesses be invited to appear in relation to its study on significant aspects of Canadian history:

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Chief Archivist for the Hudson Bay Company
Kevin McLeod, Canadian Secretary to the Queen
Library and Archives Canada
Library of Parliament
Lieutenant General (ret) Michel Maisonneuve
McCain Family Foundation
National Film Board of Canada
Telefilm Canada.

At a meeting on Monday, May 6, in Room 7-52, 131 Queen Street, starting at 3:30pm the scheduled witnesses are: Operation HUSKY 2013 (LGen Michel Maisonneuve, Representative, and Steve Gregory, Founder and; at 4:30pm Canadian Museum of Civilization (Chantal Amyot, Director, Canadian History Hall Project Research and Exhibitions, and Xavier Gélinas, Curator Canadian Political History).

A further hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. May 8. No witnesses are announced.

Committee Members are invited, by the end of business day on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, to submit their list of suggested witnesses for the study.  They might welcome suggestions. The list of committee members is at http://goo.gl/K7syq. Suggestions might best be directed through the vice-chairs, Pierre Nantel (NDP) and Scott Simms (Lib).