30 June 2013

Update on OGS governance review

The Ontario Genealogical Society, a major institution for Canadian genealogy, has a review underway as an initiative to halt the long-term decline in membership. The focus is on four strategies:

  • Restructure the Board to focus on corporate strategies and policies;
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive communications plan;
  • Recruit more of the right people for the right jobs; and,
  • Strengthen financial sustainability.
Even if, like me, you`re not an OGS member, but are part of a society tackling the same issue, learn what OGS is doing in a June 27 news item from OGS President

Meeting your mate

How on earth did people meet before online dating? This post on the Rootsweb Norfolk list tells how.

Norfolk generally has villages under three miles from the nearest village and most villages are within seven miles of their nearest market town. That means that, on Market day, one could meet people who lived up to 14 miles away. Jobs, girls and other opportunities, often means that people could easily move around the County. Norfolk is also made up of several very large estates and, if one worked on a farm in one part of the estate, it was relatively easy to transfer top another part of the estate. 

The post was by Glynn Burrows who owns the site http://www.norfolk-tours.co.uk. The site includes a blog with posts like: Chimney Sweepers; American Airfields during WWII; Cottages in 1850; Murder Most Foul!

29 June 2013

A soldier has his name

Earlier in the year I wrote about a soldier grave found in the deceasedonline.com database. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission database gave only initials, not a name. I emailed the Commission with documentation from the cemetery record, but was informed they needed a birth certificate to make the change. Later, on appeal, they agreed to change the record but said it would take some time owing to technical issues.
Alfred Stanley Wright is now present and correct, full name that can liveth for evermore, not just initials.
Even better, the criteria for amending records has been changed. A birth certificate is no longer mandatory. The requirement now is:

Any application for amendment must be supported by relevant documentary evidence. This can include a service record, birth, marriage and death certificate.
We also need to be sure that the certificates you provide refer to the casualty in question. Documentary evidence which links the certificate(s) or service record to the casualty such as a memorial card or obituary notice may be required.
Kudos to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for promptly making this sensible change.

Why I'm not signing the e-petitions

There are a couple of Canadian genealogical-relevant web petitions open, neither of which I shall be signing. Here's why.

In Canada there is no such thing as an e-petition with any official standing. To be acceptable for presentation in the House of Commons petitions have to adhere to a strict paper format and bear original signatures. Even so they have little impact.
An e-petition is equivalent to an email with multiple supporters; a postcard with printed text sent individually would have more weight. If you want to show meaningful support send your own email or letter using your own words.
Now to the specific e-petitions.
One is supporting the early release of the 1921 census. I sent an email to Minister James Moore requesting that some weeks ago.  I suspect the e-petition is redundant at this stage anyway; likely the decision to release has already been made thanks to the flood of emails, letters and editorials received and awaits only an appropriate media opportunity in the coming few days, not weeks.
The second e-petition at http://action.sumofus.org/a/library-canada/?sub=fb asks the government to "come clean about the secret deal between Canadiana.org and Library and Archives Canada, and do not privatize publically owned books and records." While I find any "secret deal" offensive the rationale is destructive to broad access.  This is a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Canadian.org is a not-for-profit organization seeking to facilitate public access to Canadian historical records. I've seen no informed opinion stating that anything will be taken away from the public, rather Canadian.org will provide enhanced access at a cost to those who want it. The limited experience at LAC, and extensive experience of other peer organizations internationally, proves the success of such arrangements. I will not be signing and hope the arrangement, or something similar, goes through. 

28 June 2013

Ancestry.ca updates

There's updated Canadian data on Ancestry.

  • Toronto Star Obituaries, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1999 - April 2000, February 2001 is now available with 17,166 records.
  • Canadian Genealogy Index, 1600s-1900s now has 2,255,689 records.
  • Ontario, Canada, County Marriage Registers, 1858-1869 has 158,063 records.

1.2.million Welsh parish records added to Findmypast

Findmypast.co.uk announce the addition of 1.2 million new parish baptisms, marriages and burials to their Welsh Parish Records collection covering the counties of Anglesey, Brecknockshire, Caernarvonshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Glamorganshire, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire and Radnorshire.
The newly added records include: 522,011 baptisms, 96,286 marriages, 456,600 burials, bringing the total in the collection to 5,924,611 records.
Find detailed information at http://www.findmypast.co.uk/content/welsh-collection/parish-registers
These transcriptions are the result of the ongoing partnership of findmypast.co.uk and the National Library of Wales and the Welsh County Archivists Group.

27 June 2013

Macleans archive to go online

108 years of Macleans magazine is being digitized and will be online next year. It looks like it will be a subscription service, perhaps as part of a larger package through ProQuest. See the announcement at http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/06/27/welcome-to-the-macleans-archives/

FTDNA Summer Sale

Family Tree DNA announce a big sale. It lasts the next month and features the autosomal (Family Finder) test for $99, down from their regular $289 and on a par with 23andMe and AncestryDNA.

Revisiting research with new information sources

A reminder from Brenda Turner of the importance of revisiting problems as new resources are continually becoming available.

"I last did a ton of research trying to figure out where my gr gr grandfather Archie was born, about 10 years ago. He seemed to be from a small place in Ayrshire. Finally I tracked down what may have been his birthplace by scanning huge, and unindexed (and mind-numbing) OS maps of Scotland with a magnifying glass. I visited there in 2004, sure, then, it was the right place.

In the last few years new information has come up which has lead me to think Archie may have been from Northern Ireland. I have never been able to explain those new details away.

In anticipation of my 2013 UK trip for family history research, I decided damn it, this is going to be the year I figure out all out for good! I've now been working on this here, electronically by distance, for about a month, to be followed by on the ground research on the spot in both Scotland and Ireland. Of course, everything has changed in this research since 2004. Now there is a great free site called Scotland's Places. In there in sources such as the 1785 to 1798 cart and farm horse taxes, cross referenced against the much better Scotland's People site with sharp views of OPRs, I have found clues that while Archie may well have been born in Ayrshire, he may have been born to Irish parents. I have found clues to indicate that his geographical proximity to his wife's family (he married her in 1822 in the Perth Ontario Military Settlement) means that he may have been purposefully travelling with her family when he came to Canada in 1820.

And now, something that was never available way back then, is the Northern Ireland Ordinance Survey maps and Irelands's place names online. I was immediately able to identify the same placename as Archie's supposed birthplace in Antrim on its east coast. In fact, he may have been Irish anyway. But I have now ordered from Abebooks.com and read an enormous amount about Antrim's history. What I have learned about Scots-Irish sea travel has shown me that there was practically a ferry service running between Belfast and Ayrshire, the voyages were so frequent. And ferries still operate today between Stranrear, Ayrshire and Belfast, a voyage of about 2 hours.

Nothing is settled yet. It's still all just possibilities to try to pin down overseas. I plan to spend some days at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, and at the local family history libraries and archives in Ayrshire. And I plan to spend about a week at PRONI, and to visit Antrim's east coast where he may have been born, my first visit to Ireland ever.

So, always revisit your old research. Who knows what new sources you may find."

Thanks Brenda. Your tips welcome.

Pontiac Archives Open House

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of visiting the Pontiac Archives in Shawville, Quebec. The location, in the basement of the municipal library, provided a welcome cool environment for researching on a hot humid day.  The volunteer staff were welcoming too.
Senior volunteer Else Sparrow, the Sparrow family are descendants of a home child, showed me the originals of the Equity, the local newspaper. dating back to the 1880s. Although the early years are incomplete every so often a missing issue turns up in a heritage home.
I got to research on the computerized files of the Equity BMD index produced by Joan McKay & Dolly Allen, and in the Walter Brown collection of 180,000 Pontiac County names.
There is a collection of binders with information on those who served in the two world wars and various display items including a framed tribute to Ben Hayes Carey, a local Great War fatality which included his "dead-mans penny."

The Pontiac Archives is holding their 2013 Open House on July 2, 3 & 4, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. The civic address is 358 Main St, Shawville, Qc. Find them online at http://www.pontiacarchives.org/

25 June 2013

More Canadian content at newspapers.com

Having long complained about the lack of quality digitized Canadian newspapers, here's a shout-out for the three community's papers now available at newspapers.com. For Winnipeg there are 294,282 pages between 1890 and 1949; for Ottawa 273,618 pages from 1885 - 1980; and for Chilliwack 23,509 pages between 1891 - 1947. See the company release at http://blog.newspapers.com/content-update-going-international/

Sussex, Parish Registers, 1538-1910

New on FamilySearch.org, 409,898 parish register transcriptions for the English county of Sussex.

Free Irish vital records search

Findmypast are making their Irish collections of "millions of key birth, marriage and death collections" free to explore from June 27-30. Search from http://goo.gl/VlEwk.

24 June 2013

Mick Aston RIP

Sad to learn of the death of TimeTeam personality Mick Aston. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_Aston

Ottawa City Archives: setting the record straight

The following is from Ottawa City Archivist Paul Henry in response to a recent posting on the transfer of items from LAC to the Archives, and comments posted.  

1. The transfer agreement between the City of Ottawa Archives and Library and Archives Canada respecting private records has been delayed by LAC's legal team. We expect signature soon.

2. Repatriated civic records should be open to the public soon, if not already, as the original donor to the Public Archives of Canada was the City itself (or its antecedents). These records were stored in a non-climate controlled offsite facility by LAC, and they are presently being triaged by the City Archives for pests, bugs, and mould.

3. The use of non-flash photography has been permitted in the reference room since 2005, subject to the discretion of the archivist on-duty. Scanners are permitted for non-photographic materials, at no higher than 300 dpi resolution. As of December 2012, we have a BookNet scanner which can be used by researchers to scan library materials to flash drives free of charge.

4. Reproduction costs are based on reproduction fees at Library and Archives Canada, and have been frozen (i.e. no inflationary increases) since 2010. Our timeframes, however, are 2/3rds that of LAC, as reproduction is not contracted out.

5. Researchers are always encouraged to contact the City Archivist directly, at 613.580.2424 x13181 or by email at paul.henry@ottawa.ca should they ever feel they have gotten less than acceptable service. We pride ourselves on our service excellence.

Going slow

The Jazz Festival is underway, and I have a pass. Expect fewer postings for the remainder of the month.

Keeping up

How do you keep up with new information appearing online relevant to your ancestry? With new resources posted daily, even hourly, keeping up can be (another) full time job. Perhaps like me you've chanced on a site with information you wish you'd had months ago.
You don't have to leave it to chance. Here are a few tips some of which might work for you.
Search Google. Duh! Yes, you'll likely get inundated with links if you search for genealogy and a surname, or a place-name. Search for both and you make strike out, or still find yourself under a flood of information of Calgarian proportions.
We're looking for what's new.   Enter your search terms and see the first page of results. Above them see the menu

If you're using a smartphone you'll likely see an image of a spanner (wrench) instead of "search tools". Click on it and see another menu pop up which will usually read "Any time." Click the time period of interest, likely since you last conducted the search. The times refer to when Google found the page not necessarily the same as when the information was posted.

You can automate the process using Google Alerts, a free service at http://www.google.com/alerts to receive email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries.
Enter you search term and select from the drop-down menu items to refine to the option you prefer, then sit back and watch Google do what it does best, the searches. After a while you'll likely want to refine the search.

While preparing this post I did a search and stumbled on another way to keep up. The National Institute for Genealogical Studies has a news page at  http://www.genealogicalstudies.com/eng/news.asp which gives a snippet of various blog postings. Mine are paired with those of Jill Ball, great company to be keeping. Also find post summaries from Lorine McGinnis Schulze, Dick Eastman, Leland & Patty Meitzler

23 June 2013


Chris Paton went to a PRONI user forum session on Friday, if only we could have such a thing at LAC, and has posted a summary on British GENES. There seems to be a lot going on, the highlight being the newly acquired Londonderry Papers, described as one of the top six collections, with "lots of material for Derry, Down, Donegal, plenty of material about British India from the 1720s onward, fascism in 1930s Britain, and more." Read Chris's blog post at http://goo.gl/CJyqQ

FreeBMD June update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Saturday 22 June 2013 to contain 230,033,370 distinct records, an increase of 957 thousand over last month.
Major updates, more than 5,000 records, are: for births 1940, 1943, 1958-60, 1962-69; for marriages 1952, 1962-69; for deaths 1965, 1967-69.

Lost Cousins newsletter

An easy way to keep up with UK happenings on the genealogy scene is Peter Calver's Lost Cousins newsletter. It comes out twice a month, Check out the most recent issue at

22 June 2013

British Cartoon Archive

Looking for a period cartoon to illustrate a British-theme publication or presentation? Check out the large collection at the British Cartoon Archive with over 140,000 pieces of cartoon artwork.
Many of the cartoons are online, but under copyright so I can't show an example. The dangers of genealogy are illustrated by this one showing a well heeled man near his Rolls which is parked in front of the Society of Genealogists. Two genealogists are seen smiling from the Society doorway while the man says "Well! They tell me my great - great, great, great, great grandfather was hanged for stealing sheep."

LAC, please listen

Every so often Oliver Morley the head of The (UK) National Archives makes himself available to all to hear comments. Next month it's announced there will be three such sessions. Now that Library and Archives Canada is showing signs of becoming less constipated in its communications it would be good to see them, even if not with the interim head, follow suit?

21 June 2013

Military history books for sale at the Canadian War Museum

While at the Canadian War Museum walking down a corridor to the library and I noticed a sign on the right hand side. Go through the anteroom and you'll find a used military bookstore operated by the Friends of the Canadian War Museum. Like so many friends organisations in the heritage sector it operates without a lot of fanfare helping support the museum operations.
The store is staffed by volunteers five mornings a week. Stop by and browse for bargains if you're visiting the museum.

Archival material from LAC to City Of Ottawa Central Archives

As a follow-up to the previous post, I was able to confirm the fonds listed have been physically transferred.
The City of Nepean materials, which became moldy when in their original storage in Nepean before being transferred to LAC, will require treatment before becoming publicly available. All the other fonds were in good condition when received from LAC and will become available when administrative arrangements are complete, something that not entirely under the control of the City Archives.

Archivist John Lund mentioned there has already been interest in the Polish Dance Group of Ottawa fonds, which is only 21 pages. City Archives acquisition of those may encourage the group to deposit further records.

I have a different viewpoint to that in an anonymous comment on the previous post. While the City archives is not downtown not everything has to be. It`s more convenient for me in the new location. Information from the archives is that the use of non-flash photography is permitted, subject to the discretion of the archivist on duty.

Responsible record indexing at findmypast

A couple of days ago I wrote about the working conditions of those, usually in developing countries, who index the records we enjoy?  Ancestry provided information on their policies. http://goo.gl/u4ce2

Here`s the word from findmypast.com based on a conversation with Josh Taylor

Asked what FMP does to ensure contractors in developing countries provide safe working conditions Josh said that contractors must be ISO accredited. They try and make in-person visits as much as possible. One of the people who handles bidding on contracts worked in India for several years and is familiar with the companies, scrutinises the contracts and looks for socially responsible companies. When a new company expresses interest their operation is thoroughly scrutinised.  One company has a part-time educational program as part of employment, which may raise the cost a bit but ensures it's not a sweat-shop type environment.
Asked if FMP would be prepared to issue a statement on their practices with third world contractors and working conditions Josh said he'd suggest that to the appropriate part of the company in the UK.

20 June 2013

First steamship to cross the Atlantic

From the British Newspaper Archive, a blog post with a newspaper extract on the arrival of the first steamship at Liverpool. The date 20 June 1819.
That's much earlier than I'd thought. It was decades until steamships became the regular way to cross the Atlantic.  Read the blog post at http://goo.gl/1K6oa

Archival material transferred to the Ottawa City Archives from LAC

Thanks to a written response to a parliamentary question we now have a list of materials that have been, and may be transferred to the Ottawa Main City Archives from Library and Archives Canada.

Already transferred:

Resolution of a special meeting of the Bytown Council
Polish Dance Group of Ottawa fonds
March Township fonds
Fltzroy Agricultural Society fonds
Ottawa Canoe Club fonds
May Court Club fonds
Ottawa Rifle Club score book
Ottawa Ski Club fonds
Bytown Mechanics' lnstitute and Athenaeum fonds
Ottawa Elks Club fonds
Alliance of German-Speaking Organizations of Ottawa and Region fonds
Lady Stanley lnstitute Nurses Alumnae Association fonds
Fitzroy Township fonds
Ottawa Miles for Millions fonds
Ottawa Women's Canadian Club fonds
Children's Aïd Society of Ottawa fonds
American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association fonds
Ottawa Valley Cricket Council fonds
Charlotte Elizabeth Whitton fonds (Civic Politics 1 and Il series only)
Protestant Orphans' Home fonds
St. Andrew's Society of Ottawa fonds
Ottawa Lay School of Theology fonds
Ottawa By-Ward Market collection
Andrew Fleck Child Centre fonds
Swiss Club Ottawa Valley fonds
St. George's Society of Ottawa fonds
Canadian Women's Press Club Ottawa branch fonds
Nepean Township, Ottawa, Ontario fonds

Potentially to be transferred.

Alastair Napier fonds
Centre Amusement Co. Ltd. fonds
Gloucester Environmental Advisory Committee fonds
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees loca1 95 fonds
Niven's Woods Conservancy fonds
Ottawa Agricultural Society
Ottawa Allied Printing Trades Council fonds
Ottawa and District Labour Council Ottawa Civic Employees' association
Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club
Ottawa Horticultural Society fonds
Ottawa Presbyterial Women's Missionary Society fonds
Ottawa Stewardship Sector Project fonds
Religious Society of Friends in Canada. Ottawa Group fonds
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church fonds (Ottawa, Ont.)
St. Hyacinth Church fonds
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America fonds

The original parliamentary response is at http://www.scribd.com/doc/148625276/Q-1336-Order-Paper-on-Library-and-Archives-Canada

Information from the Ottawa City Archives is that some of this material was received in poor condition and may not be open for public inspection for some while.

19 June 2013

LAC acquisition of War of 1812 materials

It's good news; and I was surprised. After having reduced acquisitions from over half a million dollars in 2008 to 28 thousand dollars in 2012 Library and Archives Canada (LAC), in partnership with the Museum of Civilization (the future Canadian Museum of History), has acquired the Sherbrooke Collection of War of 1812 documentation. The official news release is at http://www.bac lac.gc.ca/eng/news/news_releases/Pages/2013/acquisition-collection-war-1812.aspx 

The longest journey begins with a single step. Prompt release of the 1921 census and signing the agreement with Canadiana.ca for record digitization would be further encouraging steps. Then the re-institution of support for local archives and interlibrary loan would signal a real change in direction.

Dave Obee on digitization of LAC materials

Leading Canadian genealogist, who in his day job wears the hat of editor of the Victoria Times-Colonist, has no problem getting family history-related issues into the paper.
On Wednesday, June 19, his editorial Don’t let politics interfere with data access appeared in the paper reviewing the situation and calling to "get past the politics, and get down to what really matters — access for all." Worthwhile reading at http://goo.gl/xISch.

Ottawa Branch OGS 2013 AGM

Somehow I managed to miss that Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society held their monthly meeting, including their Annual General Meeting, last Saturday. Mike Moore kindly sent a summary and Heather Oakley added items.

Norah Cousins-La Rocque continues as Branch Chair. Doug Gray is added as Vice-Chair. Heather Oakley and Richard McGregor become Members at Large. Grace Lewis becomes Librarian replacing Al Lewis. Marg Patenaude recently became the Ottawa Branch Inquiries Co-Ordinator.

As previously mentioned Jim Stanzell received a Citation of Recognition from OGS: Forty Year Pins were awarded to  Jim Neelin (49 years) and Bruce Elliott ( 41 years).

OGS Volunteer Service awards went to Dolly Allen (25 years), Joan McKay (30 years), Helen Small (20 years), Mike More (20 years), Elizabeth Kipp (10 years), Tania Jones (5 years).

Ottawa Branch 30 years awards went to Kathleen O'Brien, Christopher N. Sheap, Frederick I. Hill, Mary I. Driver, Laurel Gilchrist, Senator Lorna Milne, Lawrence C. Erwin and, Doris Purdy.

The Branch announced its new initiative to start spending its surplus - a
committee of Heather Oakley, Kyla Ubbink and Rachel Muston will work on terms and conditions, etc. - on worthwhile small projects that will benefit local and other genealogists. This type of thing is already being done by Halton-Peel
Branch OGS where they have funded, among other things, the
digitization of local records.

Heather Oakley and Doug Gray are working in Gene-O-Rama 2014 which will likely be in a new location.

The OGS Annual conference in 2017, sesquicentennial year, will be held in Ottawa. Anyone willing to help in planning the events please contact Mike More at  vp@ogs.on.ca

Prospects for early access to the Irish 1926 census recede

Not so good news in John Grenham's Irish Roots column. It appears the Irish census bureaucracy can be equally as dogmatic as Statistics Canada proved to be a few years ago.

18 June 2013

The 1921 census. If we don't ask we won't get.

According to an item in the Global Genealogy newsletter

"... the entire 1921 census of Canada has already been digitized plus a geographical index. It's sitting on a server ready to go online (free). Problem is that the Harper Government has put a hold on its release."
Please help persuade the government to put the 1921 census online. Email Heritage Minister James Moore. A long email isn't required. The more people call for release the sooner it will happen. Numbers count, the length of your email does not. You don't have to be a Canadian either.

Just email james.moore@parl.gc.ca with the Subject 1921 Census and write:

Dear Minister Moore:
Please instruct management of Library and Archives Canada to make images of the 1921 census available online immediately. 


Any additional information you want to add is fine, but make it short. It's number of such emails received that will count. Ask you friends and relatives to send emails too.

Music for Waterloo Day

Today is the 198th anniversary of the end of the battle of Waterloo where Wellington and Blucher defeated Napoleon. The first half-hour set of last Sunday's CKCU program Music From the Glen celebrated in traditional song and tunes various aspects of the Napoleonic wars. For about the next four weeks you can listen from http://cod.ckcufm.com/programs/31/12413.html

Responsible record indexing at Ancestry

How clean are the records you use? I'm not referring to layers of dust accumulated on original records stored and undisturbed in an archive for decades, but rather the working conditions of those, usually in developing countries, who index the records we enjoy?  Following the disaster in Bangladesh which killed more than 1,000 it's only natural to wonder about working conditions. Is there a potential Rana Plaza-like disaster waiting to happen?

I enquired and here is the response received from Ancestry, via Matthew Deighton from their media communication section:

Ancestry.com takes its choice in indexing vendor relationships very seriously. We personally conduct social audits and formal audits with all companies that we work with on a regular basis. The kind of transcribing that our company does requires a high emphasis on character recognition, quality and education. The buildings used for our type of work require modernization and a lot of technology (transmission of high volumes of data), which insures that our vendors are located in newer areas, close to IT infrastructure. We partner with vendors that can provide us with a quality outcome that also provides a safe, healthy work environment that meets our high standards. In fact, we recently partnered with Digital Data Divide, an indexing vendor, who released a video featuring our relationship with them. Check out the video here: http://vimeo.com/wondros/review/61991533/7d9444770e.

Cheshire Non-conformist Records, 1671-1900

On Monday FamilySearch added 204,049 transcripts of Cheshire Non-conformist Records, 1671-1900. The data-set is based on 67 reels of FHL microfilm sourced from the Record Office, Chester.
Quite a few dates given, later than 1900 indicated as the end of the record period, are likely incorrect. The marriage of Georgium Hen. Worrall, son of Gulielmii Worrall, to Ellenam Langwine at Runcorn, Cheshire, England, with the Latinized names seems more likely to have occurred in 1738 rather than 1938 as transcribed.

RootsTech 2014 Call For Presentations

February 6 – 8, 2014, sees the fourth annual RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City. The call for presentation proposals, just issued, is available at https://rootstech.org/proposals/. It closes on July 8.

1921 census of Canada count-up: day 16

This is Day 16 since the 1921 census officially passed into the custody of Library and Archives Canada. As stated on the LAC website,

Under the legislation, when 92 calendar years have elapsed since the taking of a census, those records will be opened for public use and transferred to Library and Archives Canada.
LAC has the census already digitized but not name indexed. Last Thursday, to add my voice to those looking for timely release and name indexing, I sent the following email to the Minister:

Dear Minister Moore:

I am an active genealogist, past president of a local Ottawa family
history society and author of a widely followed Canadian genealogy
blog. I'm writing to ask you to instruct Library and Archives Canada
to move rapidly on making the 1921 census available to Canadians
through a partnership agreement.

LAC is constrained in its ability to make that census, which has just
passed out of a 92 year privacy embargo, available to Canadians while
meeting other obligations and expectations.

LAC's budget situation is far from unique internationally; just last
year the US archival counterpart made their 1940 census available
through a partnership agreement which meant a name index to the census
was created in a matter of months. By that agreement the census became
available to all for a year at no cost to the government or the
public. Similar arrangements have been made in the UK.

Canadians now enjoy free access to our earlier censuses on the LAC
website because of similar arrangements which made them available,
with the name index, after three years. Those arrangements also made
the census available for free at numerous public access internet sites
such as public libraries across the country.

Short of an injection of new government funds, and I'm not looking for
increased taxes, the alternative seems to be no access for a
protracted period, a situation which currently is making nobody happy
and is likely contrary to law.

Please instruct LAC to move ahead with such a partnership arrangement.
It should be the proverbial "simple, quick, popular and cheap"
approach following a well accepted model for government/industry
partnership for censuses and other records of genealogical interest.


John D Reid

If you support prompt release, and name indexing under a partnership arrangement, please email the Minister at james.moore@parl.gc.ca

Ottawa Public Library Online Ideas Campaign

The one month campaign is now ended. OPL have posted this follow-up in the participation and next steps.

"Thank you for your interest and participation in our first online ideas, or crowdsourcing, campaign. The fact that more than 14,750 people took the time to participate by posting 1,338 ideas, 1,391 comments, or casting 27,528 votes reminds us how passionate Ottawa is about its Library.

Our next step will be to analyze the ideas and comments posted, and determine which ones are feasible and will lead to the improvement of the customer experience and efficiency of the Library system. We will then reach out to the community to confirm what we have learned. All this will become part of a final report to be presented to the Ottawa Public Library Board in December 2013."

My initiative "Improve Convenience" ranked fourth overall, Genealogy/Family History received more than 100 Likes, and Genealogy more than 50. Those are significant achievements, thanks to your support.

There are some obvious conclusions for the survey. We should not have to wait until December, and the report to the OPL Board, to see the Library collect some of the "low hanging fruit".

17 June 2013

London volunteer soldier records, 1859-1955

Findmypast.co.uk have added an interesting collection of London military records. Here's the blurb:

"We've just put online records of part time soldiers who served in the British Army from 1859-1955. These records will give you details such as service number, rank, enlistment & discharge details (together with a reason for discharge), medals awarded and date of death.

The collection lists men who served with the following corps and battalions:

20th Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps
11th Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps
3rd Volunteer Battalion, The London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)
10th (3rd City of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers)
625th London Anti-Aircraft Regiment."

These are transcript records for a total of 5,272 men from a compilation by military researcher J P Kelleher; no indication of his source.

Ancestry updates

Of possible interest to those with research interests in Atlantic Canada, Ancestry has updated its Acadia, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection) database, 1670-1946 now with 921,991 records.

Also seeing an update is the 1871 Census of Canada, now with 352,3134 records. Don't forget that Library and Archives Canada now have a version of the 1871 census with their name index based on that prepared by Ancestry, but now deviating as updates are made independently.

BIFHSGO Conference News: Interview with Linda Reid

Find out about the two talks Toronto genealogist Linda Reid (no relation) will be giving at the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa conference this September from here. Also added up front are links to interview recorded last February at WDYTYA? Live with conference speakers Lisa Louise Cooke and Eileen O'Duill.

Perth Historical Society June Meeting

Something different, a field trip, is organized for the final meeting of the season for the Perth Historical Society. It's on June 19; read about it at http://www.perthhs.org/events.html

16 June 2013

Richard III Y-DNA

Indirectly from Dr Turi King of Leicester University comes the news that "there are preliminary indications that Y-DNA analysis (for Richard III) may also be possible." That's news via a post by Dr Anne Turner on the Genealogy- DNA Rootsweb list.

Ken McKinley's Ottawa genealogy map

Not sure where the archives, cemeteries and other genealogical resources are in Ottawa? Check out Ken McKinlay's new Google map at https://t.co/vpVHyYYg0a. It's more current than the one I did in 2007 at http://goo.gl/qNUR6

15 June 2013

Ancestry gets London Gazette browse files

The London Gazette is a treasure house of notices on military appointments and promotions, deceased people’s estates, bankruptcies, medals and honours. Ancestry has added browse files of this government publication, between 1825 and 1962, albeit with random gaps in this collection. This is likely a prelude to the files becoming computer searchable and integrated into the billion of records in Ancestry's collections.
In the meantime there is perfectly serviceable access to the London, Edinburgh and Belfast gazettes at www.gazettes-online.co.uk/.

The gold standard for genealogy

James Tanner on his Genealogy Star blog posts an article Methodology vs. Proof in Genealogy worth noting.
His conclusion is that "Genealogy is methodology and cloaking it in the robe of proof does not accurately reflect the processes."
Saying that all proofs are tentative, as Tanner does in the article, is neither new nor especially helpful. It begs the question How tentative? If genealogy can go no further than present the evidence and say the result is tentative, without indicating how tentative, it makes the whole exercise impotent.
We can do better. Proceeding with conventional professional genealogical methodology may get you to a situation where all the evidence aligns and most would agree the issue in question, perhaps a kinship, is highly likely to be the case. Or perhaps the evidence is somewhat at odds. You have less confidence in the conclusion. There is a need for an agreed terminology to express degree of confidence in the result of applying the methodology. It should be expressed in probabilistic terms.
What's the standard? Helen O'Leary wrote in 1998 (http://www.bcgcertification.org/skillbuilders/learyevidencepf.html ) “Science and the law are in agreement: there is only one way to prove kinships beyond reasonable doubt — DNA testing.” Anything else does not meet that legal standard of proof, and as we know there are lots of legal cases where the beyond reasonable doubt standard was met and the person convicted only to have the verdict overturned by DNA evidence.
Genealogy should acknowledge DNA evidence as the gold standard.
Just came across this related article http://m.huffpost.com/uk/entry/3440006

14 June 2013

Tall ships in Brockville

A last minute reminder that a flotilla of tall ships, and lots of other events, will be in Brockville this weekend. See www.tallshipsbrockville.com/index.php/events/

Deceased Online completes Brompton Cemetery project

Brompton Cemetery's 205,000 records are now online, the completion of Deceased Online's digitization project of all records for one of  London's most renowned cemeteries. The records, burial register scans, grave details, cemetery section maps for each burial and, photos of memorials (as available) date back to the first burials in 1840 up to 1997.
If you have London ancestors, even if you don't think of them as well to do, it's worth checking the Brompton records which you can do at Deceased Online and find a name and burial date for free. Amongst the records of the celebrities I found a first cousin three times removed, a stationer, and his family at Brompton, well removed from the North London and East End cemeteries where closer relatives lie in unmarked graves.
According to the company "Over 2.5 million unique London burial and cremation records now available on Deceased Online......featuring over 7.5 m data items of people who lived and died in the capital."

1921 census of Canada count-up: day 12

This is Day 12 since the 1921 census officially passed into the custody of Library and Archives Canada. As stated on the LAC website,

Under the legislation, when 92 calendar years have elapsed since the taking of a census, those records will be opened for public use and transferred to Library and Archives Canada.
As far as we know the transfer happened, but LAC remains in violation of the law in failing to open the census for public use.

Some have suggested that the census would be first among the materials handed to Canadiana under the LAC/Canadiana arrangement that was supposed to be announced on today, Friday, but is now postponed awaiting the appointment of a head for LAC.

While I find it hard to believe it wouldn't be unprecedented. In Scotland there is no free access to the original census records owing to the Scotlands People monopoly, although transcripts are available, some of them free through FamilySearch and FreeCEN.

I suspect the powers that be, and with an interim Librarian and Archivist who knows who that actually is, will eventually come to the conclusion that the type of arrangement successfully used with the previous censuses will work this time. How long will it take?

Another possible candidate for Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Given all the demands from various stakeholders who would be a suitable person for the role of Librarian and Archivist of Canada? Who is it that has a high enough profile, experience in archives or libraries and knows the federal government system.
A reader suggested David Fransen, not someone I'd heard of but a PhD in History from the University of Toronto and with extensive Federal Government experience. He is currently Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles. Read about him at http://goo.gl/kH4CL

Other nominations welcome.

Celebrities for the next UK WDYTYA Series

Of the 10 celebrities announced as the subjects for the next series of BBC TV Who Do You Think You Are? I only recognize three. Can you do better? See the names at: http://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/news/who-do-you-think-you-are-2013-new-celebrities-revealed.

Lincolnshire parish records at findmypast

Findmypast.co.uk has made available online handwritten registers from Lincolnshire Archives date back to 1538 and spanning more than 370 years. They provide insight into baptisms, marriages and burials from 500 parishes across Lincolnshire, from Aby to Yarbugh.

These are images of the original records, there is no name index (yet).

Records include the baptisms of scientist Isaac Newton and poet Lord Tennyson, famous for the Lincoln-inspired Victorian ballad, “The Lady of Shallot”.

The records are available through a partnership with Lincolnshire Archives.

13 June 2013

The Library is Everywhere

It may well be Ottawa`s smallest library open to the public. The sign invites you to take or leave a book FREE.
It`s not an OPL branch, but a convenience for those living on Ottawa`s Garrison Street and neighbourhood.
Residents of the area are fortunate, they live only a healthy 20 minute (1.5 km) walk to the Rosemont Branch of the Ottawa Public Library; still not so convenient for the infirm.
It`s not too late to vote to Improve Convenience in the Ottawa Public Library Imagine consultation which ends on the 15th to help make the title of this post a reality in Ottawa.

The Next Librarian and Archivist of Canada?

Given all the demands from various stakeholders who would be a suitable person for the role of Librarian and Archivist of Canada? Who is it that has a high enough profile, experience in archives or libraries and knows the federal government system.
One name that should be on the list, if she's interested, is that of Ingrid Parent.
According to Wikipedia:

Ingrid Parent is University Librarian at the University of British Columbia, a post she took up July 1, 2009. From 1994 to 2004 she was Director General of Acquisitions and Bibliographic Services at the former National Library of Canada, then became Assistant Deputy Minister for Documentary Heritage, Library and Archives Canada, responsible for the development, description and preservation of Canada's documentary heritage, from 2004 to 2009.
Parent has represented Canada with the International Federation of Library Associations. In June 2009 IFLA announced that Ms Parent was chosen as President-elect for the term 2009-2011 and President for the term 2011-2012, taking 895 votes to 844 votes for the Mexican candidate Jesus Lau.
She is the second UBC University Librarian to have had a career at the national level, following in the footsteps of National Archivist and National Librarian William Kaye Lamb.
There it is: international experience, senior library management credentials, LAC senior management experience, and the additional benefit of having left LAC around the time Daniel Caron was appointed.

Do you have any other ideas?

Anglo-Celtic Roots, Summer 2013

Colleague Bryan Cook is lead author on two articles in the latest Anglo-Celtic Roots, BIFHSGO's quarterly chronicle. Thanks to his efforts "An Indenture Saga", the story on an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to piece together the journey taken by an indenture from mid-19th century Lancashire to its retrieval in St. Jean-sur-Richelieu in the 1970s, finally saw publication.
The second article "Don Treble's Ancestral Journey" documents the research of one of BIFHSGO's most diligent researchers. Don, now deceased, had a long paper trial back to Devon and explored his Y-DNA with likely ancestral origin a Thracian mercenary in the Roman army. With a technical appendix and three pages of reference notes it's an article to bring joy to soul of the academic genealogist while also telling a good story.
Anglo-Celtic Roots is a benefit of BIFHSGO membership.

12 June 2013

Ancestry.ca Bonanza

Ancestry.ca have posted a large collection of early military records. Scarce as hen's teeth, they will be a bonanza for those with early colonial Canadian roots.

Canada, British Army Regimental Rolls of Non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers, 1806-1892, 30,396 records
Canada, British Army and Canadian Militia Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1795-1850, 752,886 records
UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Registers of Soldiers Who Served in Canada, 1743-1882, 375,748 records
Canada, Pension Applications For Widows and Family of British Military Officers, 1776-1881, 843 records
**Canada, Records of British Military Headquarters, 1775-1856, 7,967 records
**Canada, Rideau Canal Rents, Property and Employment Correspondence, 1826-1855, 3,461 records
Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900, 467,838 records
Canada, British Navy Ship Muster Rolls and Pay Lists, 1757-1836, 176,551 records

Also added are:

Canada, Registers of Prisoners of War, 1803-1815, 56,505 records
Canada, Loyalist Claims, 1776-1835, 24,789 records
Canada, Immigration and Settlement Correspondence and Lists, 1817-1896, 21,158

Collection marked ** are unindexed browse files. Look for more discussion of this valuable collection, which was sourced from The (UK) National Archives, Kew, here soon.

No paywall, no privatization at Canadiana

In the face of rumours and misunderstanding about the nature of the proposed agreement between LAC and Canadiana Daniel Velarde has posted a clarifying article on the Canadiana blog.
The agreement described would seem to be very much in the best interests of Canadians at large. No paywall. No privatization. Just enhanced access.
Have we been deprived of the benefits of this agreement, at least for the present, by misleading media reporting and too hasty a reaction from an ill-informed Minister James Moore's office, all resulting from an overly secretive process.

FTDNA Y-DNA upgrades on sale

Just in time for father's day Family Tree DNA are offering discounts for Y-DNA upgrades. Here are the details.
From June 12, 2013 through June 19, 2013, we will reduce the following prices.
Y-DNA 12 to 25was $49Now $35
Y-DNA 12 to 37was $99Now $69
Y-DNA 12 to 67was $189Now $148
Y-DNA 25 to 37was $49Now $35
Y-DNA 25 to 67was $148Now $114
Y-DNA 25 to 111was $249Now $224
Y-DNA 37 to 67was $99Now $79
Y-DNA 37 to 111was $220Now $188
Y-DNA 67 to 111was $129Now $109
To order an upgrade at these special prices you may log into your personal page with your kit number and password. Click on the "Order Upgrade" button located on the right side of the menu bar. Then click on the "Special Offers" button.

OGS Quinte Branch June Meeting: Ruth Blair

11 June 2013

Spending plans for Canada's History

James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage, has announced how $12 million dollars of existing funding, no new funding, will be spent over the next two years to promote Canadian history. 
I.          Canada History Fund ($4.3 million per year in 2013–2014, $6.3 million per year as of 2014–2015)
The Canada History Fund will connect youth to their history through the first ever Government of Canada History Awards, which will honour outstanding students and teachers who show an interest in celebrating Canadian history.
Up to 225 secondary school students and up to 30 secondary school teachers will receive awards of $1,000 and $2,000, respectively, and winners will be selected from across Canada.
The awards will be administered by Canada’s History, an independent national organization with a mandate to make our nation’s past relevant and accessible to all Canadians. Canada’s History will draw on its experience in administering the Governor General’s History Awards.
The Awards will be provided across the country, with fair distribution for all provinces and territories. They do not interfere with provincial and territorial educational systems, but rather promote an appreciation of Canadian history by rewarding excellence from teachers and students who choose to compete.
The Canada History Fund will also provide increased funding to the Historica-Dominion Institute for the production of new Heritage Minutes ($400,000).
The Speakers Bureau of the Memory Project, also administered by the Historica-Dominion Institute, will receive an increase in funding to allow for more veterans and serving soldiers with students in the classroom. The investment in this program will increase from $100,000 to twice this amount. For more information on this program, visit www.thememoryproject.com.
Programs like the Dictionary of Canadian Biography and The Canadian Encyclopedia will receive enhanced total support from $2.25 million to $2.61 million for additional Canadian history content. For information on these programs, visit www.biographi.ca and www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com.
II.       Canada History Week
Beginning in 2013, July 1 to 7 will become Canada History Week. Starting on Canada Day, this week is an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about their history through local and national activities and events.
Also, Canada History Week will be an opportunity to get Canadians actively involved in learning more about our country’s history by providing them with access to information on history-related activities and events, starting on July 1 with local and the national Canada Day celebrations organized by those in our country most passionate about the subject. Canada History Week will be a special occasion to create a focus and opportunity to celebrate and experience Canada’s history.
III.    Support for Existing Canadian Heritage Programs
Five existing programs at Canadian Heritage will be strengthened to improve access to funding for local organizations that wish to promote Canadian history in their communities, including local museums and youth groups.
a)      Exchanges Canada Program – $3.6 million per year
The Exchanges Canada Program will provide young Canadians with more opportunities to take part in history-themed events. The program will also support enhanced historical content during all reciprocal exchanges and forums attended by youth so they can discover the people, places, and events that make our country unique.
b)      Canada Book Fund – Up to $200,000 per year
The Canada Book Fund will encourage collective projects with a dedicated focus on promoting Canadian history titles. These projects will provide opportunities for Canadians to enhance their knowledge and experience of Canadian history through books.
c)      Canada Periodical Fund – Up to $375,000 per year
Through the Business Innovation and Collective Initiatives components, the Canada Periodical Fund will support the promotion of and access to history magazines and history content, as well as the creation of new history content.
d)     Museums Assistance Program – Up to $1 million per year as of 2014–2015
The Museums Assistance Program will make it easier for institutions to create and share history exhibits by eliminating the requirement that they must circulate beyond their province or territory of origin. The program will also support museums, including small museums that wish to borrow objects for exhibition from the national collection of the future Canadian Museum of History.
e)      Virtual Museum of Canada – Up to $500,0000 toward key historical milestones
The Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC) will fund 2017-themed online exhibits and podcasts through its Virtual Exhibits Investment Program. The VMC will also renew its Teachers’ Centre to make lesson plans accessible through tools such as tablets and smart boards, and add new historical content for teachers and students.

LAC agreement with Canadiana on online access

See Update below
Information has been leaked on the Bibliocracy blog regarding a proposed Canadiana scheme to digitize and provide access to Canadian heritage materials owned by Library and Archives Canada.
Details are sketchy; the official announcement is slated for Friday, but the CBC is already conducting interviews on the proposal. It is described as "a major project to digitize a large collection of archival material, enrich it with metadata, and provide enduring open access to the content". The scope is "over 40 million images from over 800 collections of archival material. Collection subjects include personal papers and fonds, census data, central registries, church records, First Nations, government documents, land, military, photographs and more."
A $2M start-up fund is apparently nearly fully subscribed from a group of Canadian universities, members of The Canadian Research Knowledge Network.
The full cost of the 10 year project is an estimated $40 - $50 Million.
According to the blog post:
"The agreement between LAC and Canadiana provides for 10 years of exclusive rights for Canadiana to monetize the collections in exchange for making them accessible online. Costs will be funded out of revenues.
Each year 10% of the collections will be made Open Access to Canadians. At the end of the project term 100% will be Open Access. Users will be charged access fees for non-Open Access content during the 10-year exclusivity term."
Comment: I believe this should be a development welcomed by most Canadian genealogists. LAC has remained constipated for too long when it comes to digitization.

Some will argue that these are public documents we the taxpayer have already paid for. True, but we have not paid for digitization. No free public access currently available should be removed by this agreement. The agreement should provide for additional access which this government is not prepared to fund, an arrangement increasingly common in other countries.

The arrangement should provide for affordable free public access be available across Canada. Subscriber universities generally already offer limited free public access to all kinds of databases in their libraries. In addition public libraries should continue to have the option to subscribe through Early Canadiana Online making access available at their facilities, much as already exists at many libraries for Ancestry Library.

It's a bit puzzling as to why Canadiana would be permitted to gain this access without other organization being given the opportunity to make a competing proposal. Perhaps some of the material being digitized could be offered to those organizations, and they might even become partners in digitization so offsetting some of the costs. That's flexibility possible with Canadiana not open to LAC directly.
Minister Moore, in response to a question by MP Andrew Cash, said any decision to charge for LAC content will be deferred until next fall when a new head for LAC is expected to be appointed.
Will someone please tell the Minister the head of LAC is not the President. His use of the term just shows how little he knows about LAC.

Improve genealogy-related services of the Ottawa Public Library

I've already mentioned a couple of times the Improve Convenience suggestion in the Ottawa Public Library Imagine online ideas campaign as input to refreshing its Strategic Plan in 2015. Thanks to you that suggestion is the fourth most supported overall as I write.

The campaign ends on June 15 so it's not too late to help it along further via https://www.ideavibes.com/engine/ideaengine/idea/view/id/1218.

There are several other suggestions that would help the family and local historian.

Genealogy/ Family History

 1 ) Create a searchable reference database ( internet/documents/ local society records/ Archives)
2 ) Compare Ottawa practices with other libraries around the world with respect to genealogy
3) Seek knowledgable volunteers to help with this program

It has 72 Likes as I write. Help get it to 100? Like at

Update: Mission 100 Likes achieved: 13 June.


Cooperate with the local genealogy organizations to help educate people on how to do their genealogy without repeating the mistakes of others.

It has 41 Likes as I write. Help it get way above 50. Like at

Update: 50 Likes achieved 13 June.

Ottawa History

There are so many interesting facts about Ottawa which I never learned in school and would like to know about in a more informal environment.

Comment: Is there any way to integrate the City of Ottawa Archives with the OPL's holdings? I can get books from the USA on Inter-Library Loan, but I can't see what is available in our own City Archives.

Comment: I think at the Main Branch in downtown Ottawa there is actually a room devoted to Ottawa history, including books from the Archives. There are area maps and housing records. It's hours are much reduced compared to the actual library hours though. Would be nice to have this space open longer - I have never had a chance to go in there because of this.

Support via https://www.ideavibes.com/engine/ideaengine/idea/view/id/1354

Ancestry Library Edition

Make Ancestry Library available through OPL website outside the library, and expand service to include full access to Ancestry.ca for registered users.

Support at https://www.ideavibes.com/engine/ideaengine/idea/view/id/1659

Digitize local history collections and partner with Archives

Make available online local history collections and images from the City Archives -- open up to community tagging; make the most of unique collections

1926 census of Northern Ireland lost

The BBC reports that an extensive search at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency has found no trace of the 1926 census. It was likely destroyed during WW2. Reportedly the next census records held by PRONI date from 1937.

Claire Santry points out the 1939 National Register with information on each person's date of birth, rather than just their age, is now available, free, to genealogists under the UK's Freedom of Information Act. See that post at http://goo.gl/h63ha.

Ask the Expert: Eileen Ó Dúill

As part of her BIFHSGO pre-conference seminar "Irish Civil Records and the Sad Story of Irish Census Losses" Eileen Ó Dúill is inviting participants to scan and send her (eileen@heirsireland.com) any letters, certificates or other Irish documents which you are having difficulty deciphering (maximum two documents per person) before September 1, 2013. Please include your permission to share the document with other seminar participants.

Audrey Collins on BMDs at The National Archives

In a blog posting Audrey Collins, the go to person for genealogical records at TNA, writes on Armed forces birth, marriage and death records.

Those aren't the only BMD records held at Kew. Audrey lists:

  • Nonconformist and non-parochial registers, mainly from the 18th and early 19th centuries, handed in to the Registrar General of England and Wales.
  • Registers from British consulates, legations and embassies, found among the records of the Foreign Office.
  • Records of births and deaths on merchant vessels at sea, reported to the Board of Trade.
  • Records created or collected by the various armed services.

The Spectator Archive

Right-wing British magazine The Spectator isn't high on my reading list, or one we think of for family history. But as a publication going back to 1828, and now available free in searchable digitized format, it's a potentially productive source for context.

"Every page has been scanned and digitised, each article tagged and extracted, so that you can search the whole archive by content, keyword, topic, location, and date."

Start at http://archive.spectator.co.uk/

10 June 2013

Praise for Claire Santry’s Irish Genealogy News

John Grenham gives a well deserved shout-out to Claire Santry and her Irish Genealogy News blog in his latest Irish Roots column.

CBC reports Heritage Minister's objectives for LAC

Will funding be restored for the National Archival Development Program? A CBC report quotes Heritage Minister James Moore as saying he will ask the next head of LAC "to take another look at it, to see if that program can be restored in a way that makes sense within the current budget."

Moore is also said to be unhappy with the slow pace of digitization at LAC which he says will be a priority for the new head of Library and Archives.

via http://goo.gl/Mk99i

Sir Cecil Spring Rice

While at the annual Beechwood historical walking tour, this year with a theme of the War of 1812, I visited a newly installed plaque for Sir Cecil Arthur Spring Rice.

He had been the UK Ambassador in Washington DC through much of The Great War, was recalled to London but  died en route in Ottawa while visiting his wife's relative, who was Governor General.

Spring Rice is most noted as author of the words to the popular patriotic hymn "I Vow to Thee My Country."


The 19th Annual General Meeting of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa was held on the morning of Saturday, 8 June 2013, in the Library and Archives Canada auditorium with approximately 180 in attendance.

The major issue during the year was the relationship with Public Works Canada which operates the ground floor facility at 395 Wellington. As charges for use of equipment have now been waived the Society is in a position to continue to meet in the auditorium for the coming year to June 2014 as it best meets the Society needs.

The accounts show a surplus for the year of about $4,300 compared to a budgeted small deficit, largely due to the surplus from the conference and donations to the Library Fund in memory of former Treasurer Tom Rimmer.

Caroline Emblem was presented with a Certificate of Recognition for the Best Anglo-Celtic Roots Article of 2012–2013 for her article, entitled “Eleanor, Ellen and Frances,” published in the Spring 2012 issue.

Margaret Singleton was awarded a Certificate of Recognition for the Best Presentation by a Member at the Monthly BIFHSGO Meeting for the 2012–2013 season. Her talk, entitled “The Box in the Closet” was delivered at the 9 February 2013 meeting. 

Citations of Excellence were presented to Jeanette Arthurs, Mark Lloyd , Darrel Kennedy and, Joan and Ivor Banks.

Lesley Anderson and Brian Glenn retired from the Board after many years of service. By acclamation Jane Down and Anne Sterling were re-elected and Dave Cross joined the Board.

09 June 2013

What happened when I had my genome sequenced

An interesting article in The Observer, a personal account of getting a whole genome test, how full DNA testing will revolutionize medicine – and ethical questions about what we do with the information … http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/jun/08/genome-sequenced

via a tweet from Debbie Kennett

George Wishart Quincentennial

An email from reader Scott Wishart informs of a special one day session coming up on 30 August 2013 in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland which may be of particular interest to some of those travelling to the UK for The Halstead Trust event Exodus: Movement of People, the story of migration from, to and within the British Isles, 6 - 8 September in Leicestershire.

A one-day conference is being held on 30 August 2013 in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland to commemorate the five-hundredth anniversary of the birth of George Wishart, who was one of the earliest voices in the Reformation in Scotland.  The event has been organised to assess the role that George played during his short life, and will bring together six key researchers of the period to discuss their latest findings and thoughts.  

The six speakers are:

Professor Alec Ryrie (Durham University) "The background to the Reformation"

Professor Ian Hazlett (Glasgow University) "Wishart and the Swiss Confession of Faith"

Professor Martin Dotterweich (King University, USA) "Wishart & England"

Professor Bill Naphy (University of Aberdeen) "Wishart and the Reformed/Calvinist Movement"

Professor Roger Mason (University of St. Andrews) "Wishart and St. Andrews"

Professor Jane Dawson (University of Edinburgh) "Knox and Wishart: Elijah's Mantle"

In addition to the conference, the organisers have also drawn up a social programme over the weekend that includes a wine reception, dinner, a whisky tasting by well known whisky writer David Wishart, golf, a tour of St. Andrews and a church service in memory of George Wishart at Holy Trinity Church, where he is known to have preached.  Everyone is welcome to attend, and anyone named Wishart might be especially interested in becoming part of the largest ever gathering of Wisharts assembled in the UK, with individuals quite literally travelling from all corners of the globe.  For more information and booking details please see the St. Andrews University website: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/georgewishart/

You may also be interested to know that George himself has 'returned' for his birthday and is posting his thoughts on 21st Century life on his very own Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/georgewishart500

Timothy O'Hea VC

Today is the anniversary of an act of bravery that resulted in awarding of the Victoria Cross for an act of valour, not performed in the presence of an enemy and within Canada.
On June 9 1866 a train with 800 German immigrants locked in carriages and a railway-van, containing 2,000 pounds of ammunition, was on its way from Quebec to Kingston, under charge of a sergeant and a guard of the 1st Battalion, of the Prince Consort’s Own Rifle Brigade. It was discovered to be on fire on reaching Danville Station, ignited by a spark from the engine. The van was immediately shoved down the line away from the station, and the alarm given. The people living in the vicinity fled from their houses, in fear of the explosion. Private Timothy O'Hea ran down to the van, forced open the door, removed the covering from the ammunition, discovered the source of the fire, ran for water, and extinguished it.
Bio for Pvt O'Hea is at http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?id_nbr=5196

08 June 2013

Beechwood Cemetery Annual Historical Walking Tour this Sunday

Sunday, June 9, sees the Beechwood Cemetery Annual Historical Walking Tour, this year’s theme being the War of 1812 at Beechwood.

It's a beautiful time of year to visit historic Beechwood, the National Cemetery of Canada. The tour, in which I and several other BIFHSGO members regularly participate, starts at 2pm.

Enter by the Beechwood Avenue entrance. Tour and parking are free. Wear good walking shoes. Refreshments will be served after the tour.

07 June 2013

Behind the Scenes at the 23andMe Lab

A link to a short video showing the way 23andMe handles a DNA sample for analysis.


Improve Convenience at Ottawa Public Library

Thanks if you clicked to like my suggestion of Improve Convenience in the Ottawa Public Library Imagine survey mentioned in a previous blog post. There are now 242 Likes.

Many of the top suggestions are for things the Library should continue doing. "Continue Due Date Reminder System" is top with 653 Likes. Second most popular is also a continue item, for eBooks.

The OPL is doing lots of things right, but circulations slipped considerably last year. They need fresh ideas. Making library service more conveniently available would surely help. Patrons in urban areas should not have to travel to a library branch more than 3 Km away just to return a book. Kids should not have to go that distance for mother and pre-school library programs when there's a perfectly serviceable community centre which could host them much closer.

Even if you live far away from Ottawa, please help move Improve Convenience up the ranking by clicking here.