31 August 2013

Irish Family Ghosts: an interview with Jane McGaughey

Jane McGaughey, a speaker at September's BIFHSGO conference and faculty member at Concordia University's School of Canadian Irish Studies, recounts how family ghosts were aroused as she explored her Irish origin ancestor's involvement, and death, at the 1838 Battle of the Windmill at Prescott. Listen to the interview, and learn more about the other conference attractions, at http://www.bifhsgo.ca/

Port Credit area newspapers online

A handful of issues of newspapers from the Port Credit area, west of Toronto, are added to the collection available through the Canadiana Discovery Portal at http://search.canadiana.ca. They may be found by searching for “Mississauga Library System” at the site, are free and may be searched. Available are:

The Port Credit News, 4 issues between 1927 and 1937;
The Port Credit Weekly, 13 issues between 1938 and 1959;
The Weekly, 12 issues between 1959 and 1967;
The South Peel Weekly, 4 issues between 1968 and 1969.

Halton-Peel Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society in partnership with the Mississauga Library System, funded the availability of these newspapers.

While at the Canadiana site take the opportunity to browse some of the other resources available.

via the OGS eWeekly Update.

LAC and the 1921 census: timeline

Based on documents obtained through an access to information request, here is some information on the process that LAC went through in making the 1921 census available.

On 27 March 2012 there was a post, 1921 Census countdown!, on the LAC blog. It advised that the census would be available on LAC on 1 June 2013 and that it was "Our intention is to make it available to researchers online, in the same format as previous censuses, as soon as possible after that date."

On the same day, in response to a comment, it was announced that "Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will digitize the microfilms for the 1921 census and make them available online as JPEG andPDF images."

As of late 2012 there was coordination between Statistics Canada and LAC. Some LAC staff gained access to the census through a strict security protocol. Information from the Canadian Century Research Infrastructure Project was used in evaluating the census.

On 12 February 2013 Sylvie Tremblay, manager, online content at Library and Archives Canada, and a well respected genealogist, was able to provide the following answers to questions:
1. Do you know if the census has already been digitized?
Yes, the census is already digitized and the images are of very good quality, since the original records were in pretty good condition.2. Do you know what format the images are or will be in?
The preservation copy will be in TIFF and be stored on one of our secure server. JPEG and PDF derivative images have also been created. Overall, there is a total of 197,529 images for 1921 census with an estimated total population of 8.8 million.3. And if they're delivered to Ancestry, would they be sent on a single hard drive or multiple hard drives?
Because of the number of images and the size, multiple hard drives will be required.4. Would LAC also provide metadata by role/folder, or even down to the image level?
Only an original paper format finding aid existed for 1921 census. Statistics Canada has provided us a copy and we are currently creating an electronic copy. We are capturing geographical metadata such as province, district name and number, sub district name and number. Our intention is to create metadata based on sub districts that will provide first and last image numbers for each sub district. I am providing you a sample for Alberta.
However, as of that date a decision had not been made regarding Ancestry.com and availability on the LAC website. Sylvie Tremblay writes:
"the 1921 census is still under discussion with a third-party about offering it online. I expect that the decision will be made soon, whether it will be available on LAC website or not."
Until mid-May there was considerable turmoil at LAC. The Librarian and and Archivist had come under pressure owing to some poor decisions, including expenditures in Spanish language training, which resulting in his departure on 15 May. Two senior staff were absent on stress leave. Undoubtedly the ability to move items through the bureaucratic system was impeded.

On 31 May an agreement with Ancestry.com was signed and LAC staff had a news item ready to distribute. However, no information was released until 4 June when it was announced that "Census of Canada, 1921 - Available to Researchers in the Next Few Weeks"

It is unclear why there was a more than two month delay in making the 1921 census available on Ancestry.com. Certainly Ancestry needed time to load and link the collection. A hold may have been placed at the political level as Minister James Moore became concerned about LAC making its collections available through third parties. Only with the Cabinet shuffle on 15 July, and appointment of a new Minister, was the census finally made available on 8 August.

Although LAC appeared to have good intentions in providing a "countdown" the performance did not live up to client expectations. Genealogists became frustrated at the lack of substantive information, especially in the weeks before the official transfer to LAC and after until 8 August and release.

More Wow at OGS 2014

I'm delighted to learn that Paul Jones and Marian Press, both highly respected genealogists from Toronto, will be speakers at the Ontario Genealogical Society 2014 conference.

30 August 2013

Caring for Medals and Trophies

From the National Museum of Australia, a 55 minute YouTube video on practical means of caring for your collection of medals, trophies and similar objects.

LAC`s 2007 blunder

In 2007 LAC and Ancestry.com signed a continuing framework agreement regarding digitization of LAC content and making that content available through Ancestry servers.

A document just received under an Access to Information request shows that under the 2007 agreement Ancestry.com would maintain rights to the intellectual property and images in perpetuity. It would prohibit LAC from properly managing its own collection. LAC would give up the right to manage document images, including of the census ... in perpetuity.

This was a blunder. Although the significance of online access may not have been so obvious in 2007, and similar organizations in other countries made the same blunder, in no way should the government have given up perpetual rights to images of a major Canadian collection, like the census, to a commercial organization, and a US one at that.

Several people and organizations have expressed concern about arrangements between Canadiana.ca and LAC regarding the former being granted exclusive rights to host images of documents owned by the latter. We have been ensured these are time-limited arrangements that would make images, not otherwise likely to be available online, widely available. Given the 2007 rights blunder by LAC there is cause to be cautious.

To rectify the situation with Ancestry.com in August 2012 LAC started negotiation of a new agreement. This was successful. In addition the agreement encompassed rights to as many as 11 other collections including the 1921 census with a three year period of exclusivity. Agreement in principle was reached in September but it took until 23 May this year for the lawyers to finally conclude a mutually acceptable legal text which was signed at the end of May.

To what extent was granting this access to Ancestry.com dictated by the need to rectify the previous error? Is LAC now free to make census and other document images available to other organizations?

News on News: The British Newspaper Archive

With the impending closure of the Colindale Newspaper Library it has been a concern that progress on newspaper digitization on the British Newspaper Archives has come to a virtual halt. Only The Sunday Post (Glasgow) is shown as having added pages in the past 30 days.
It has been clear that the project was falling behind. More than two years after the start just under 7 million pages are digitized. The project has not been progressing at a rate that would achieve 40 million pages digitized in 10 years as originally targeted.

Now there's information from the project updating on the situation.
"We now have almost 7 million pages and with our new processing system we are going to be able to add around another 4 million pages in the next 12 months. Compare that with the (although rather impressive if we do say so ourselves), 3 million pages processed in the past 20 months since launch! However, in order to support this great improvement in production throughput, we have been very busy modifying our scanning and OCR workflow process. Don’t fear though, we have still been scanning titles and have almost 1 million pages ready to process. We are extremely sorry for the delay, but we will be able to start adding these pages within the next few weeks.
In addition, our licencing team have been working hard with publishers to secure access to even more 20th Century titles (up to 1953)! We’ll be able to give you more details shortly. We’re excited and can’t wait to tell you more!"
This is an important project for family history. It's good to see plans to get it back to the target digitization rate. Hopefully technological advance will allow catching up on the backlog.

29 August 2013

British WW1 soldiers wills and letters available

Wills and letters of 278,000 English and Welsh soldiers from World War I are to be made available online according to articles from the BBC and the Guardian.
Search the index by name, date or regimental number for free, and obtain  a copy of any will for a statutory fee of £6.
Information on accessing Scottish and Irish soldiers wills, which are archived separately, is available on Chris Paton's blog at http://goo.gl/Ui1hWj

The Financial Health of Canadian Genealogical Societies

Each year organisations federally registered as charities in Canada for tax purposes are required to file T3010 returns with the Canada Revenue Agency. Part of the return, including financial information, is available on the Revenue Canada website.

Each year I summarise those returns. Here they are for the 2012 year of operation with a comparison to 2011 in parenthesis. These are taken mainly from Schedule 6 but in some cases where that is not available from Section D. Go to http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html and search for "genealogical" or "family history" to see the complete returns.

More societies ran a deficit in 2012 than the previous year. AGS and OGS had substantial surpluses of revenue over expenditures.
The Quebec Family History Society had the highest annual membership fee ($65), the Genealogical Society of Nova Scotia the lowest ($30).

The Alberta Genealogical Society 
Total assets of $540,282 ($536,466), and liabilities of $170,921 ($200,592). The total revenue was $239,942 ($254,380) of which the major component was revenue received from the provincial government of $132,612 ($140,322). Expenditures totalled $206,455 ($218,231), the total expenditure on management and administration being $116,928 ($124,320). The membership fee remains at $50.

British Columbia Genealogical Society
The society finds itself in a reasonably balanced financial situation. Total assets were $200,748 ($203,016) and liabilities $6,939 ($10,085). Total revenue was $25,596 ($24,783). Expenditures totalled $26,422 ($22,502). The individual annual membership fee remains unchanged at $45.00,

British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa 
No report is filed as of 28 August 2012. The membership fee remains at $40.

Manitoba Genealogical Society
Total assets of $34,386 ($50,743) and liabilities of $ 11,583 ($22,458). Total revenue was $49,448 ($43,966). Expenditures totalled $59,162 ($58,222) of which management and administration accounted for  $6,255 ($4,442). The annual membership fee remains unchanged at $40.

New Brunswick Genealogical Society
2012 return not posted as of 28 August 2013. The annual membership fee remains at $35.

Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012, GANS had total assets of $299,013 ($303,274) and no reported liabilities as in the previous year. Total revenue was $27,317 ($32,549). Total expenditures were $ 31,578 ($30,717). The Association's annual membership fee remains at $30.00.

Ontario Genealogical Society
Total assets of $ 2,422,659 ($ 2,324,973) of which $ 1,683,357 ($1,480,530) was held as cash bank accounts and short-term investments. Liabilities totalled $248,103 ($246,412). Total revenue was $757,938 ($ 621,393) including   $289,240 ($297,991) from memberships. Expenditures totalled $548,437 ($617,151) of which $141,664 ($136,994) was spent on management and administration. The annual membership fee of $60 membership will increase by by 2% in 2014 and in 2015 plus any fee for branch membership, typically $15.

Québec Family History Society
Total assets of $68,127 ($ 65,742) of which $ 60,304 ($49,056) was held as cash bank accounts and short-term investments. Liabilities totalled $12,655 ($7,899). Total revenue was $46,507 ($60,623) the largest component of which, $ 32,649 ($34,440) was for memberships. Expenditures totalled $48,878 ($47,420) including $24,815 ($28,886) for occupancy costs. There continue to be no costs for management and administration. The annual fee continues at $65.

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society
Total assets of $111,629 ($46,921). Liabilities totalled $119,484 ($ 65,054). Total revenue of $255,601 ($261,767) included $152,955 ($146,050) from provincial government sources. Expenditures of $255,408 ($262,316) included $176,707 ($170,572) for management and administration. A regular family membership was $40.00, $50.00 with access to Society databases online, unchanged from the previous year..

Victoria Genealogical Society
No financial statement was available. Individual annual membership remained $50.

From London to Brighton in 3 minutes

For those raised in Britain a speed-ed up film of a train journey from London to Brighton will be a childhood memory. The version I remember was from 1953 and must have played as a filler in cinemas as well as on TV. The BBC taped it again in 1983, thirty years later, and have now done so again on the 60th anniversary.
This time a special train journey was made, with the improvements continually being made there is now no non-stop service to Brighton; soon there will be no non-stop service between London and Gatwick. If things get much better non-stop services will be entirely eliminated!
All three journeys, 1953, 1983 and 2013, are shown in a synchronized, side-by-side video at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23853863
At the speed shown the journey is superficially identical, until you examine how much styles of dress have changed in the station views.
Thanks to Paul Jones for the tip.

28 August 2013

RootsTech 2014

News of next February's RootsTech conference is announced at http://goo.gl/7T93B9

Ancestry adds TNA Non-conformist Records

  • Ancestry is playing catch-up again, this time with Non-conformist BMD records from The (UK) National Archives for which they did not get the original digitization contract.
    Under the heading England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970, you'll find over 2.5 million records from: 
  • RG 4:General Register Office: Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths surrendered to the Non-parochial Registers Commissions of 1837 and 1857.
  • RG 5: General Register Office: Birth Certificates from the Presbyterian, Independent and Baptist Registry and from the Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan Registry.
    RG 8: General Register Office: Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths surrendered to the Non Parochial Registers Commission of 1857, and other registers and church records in the Protectorates of Africa and Asia.

Beginner's Guide to Genetic Genealogy

There's a new introduction to genetic genealogy, so new it wasn't available last Saturday when I was lecturing in Brampton. Written by Kelly Wheaton, the 13 chapters are:

LESSON 1: An Overview of the Types of DNA Used By Genetic Genealogists
LESSON 2: Which DNA Test
LESSON 3: YDNA Exploring the Y Part 1
LESSON 5: Introduction to atDNA
LESSON 6: atDNA Nuts and Bolts
LESSON 7: atDNA Ancestral Origins Part 1
LESSON 8: atDNA Ancestral Origins Part 2
LESSON 9: atDNA Matches
LESSON 10: atDNA More with Matches
LESSON 11: Deeper Exploration by Subject
LESSON 12: Chromosome Mapping
LESSON 13: Privacy, Paranoia, Patience and Persistence

The chapters I've read are good. Give it a try at http://goo.gl/OERWa4

From a Bible to a Steel Guitar

A few months back I was contacted by Bob Lamoureux, a BIFHSGO member who is a leader among members of the Friends of Library and Archives Canada for their annual book sale. It's one of those events that marks the passage of the year into fall, this year being held on 20-22 September.
Bob called me asking if I was interested in a Reid family Bible. Every time a Bible with family information turns up among their donations he tries to arrange to have it returned to a family member who would value it.
I was pretty certain the Bible was not from my family, but saw an opportunity in returning it. This particular one had information from the 1920s to 1980s starting when it was presented as a gift following a Brisco/Reid wedding in Northcote, Ontario. That community is on Highway 60 west of Renfrew.
A little Googling found a Rootsweb message that mentioned a likely contact. I emailed and was given a family member contact. We exchanged emails. That person seemed to be in no hurry to retrieve the Bible but contacted another family member, Al Brisco, who contacted me asking for information.
A couple on months went by. The Bible sat in my office.
In the meantime speaking with an alert friend remembered Northcote as a community mentioned by local writer Mary Cook who recalls growing up in the Ottawa valley near Renfrew. Mary even mentions Briscoe's General Store.
In speaking with Al Brisco, who doesn't use the e at the end of the name, I'd learned he has a business located close by The Big Apple, a landmark for those travelling toward Toronto on Highway 401 from Ottawa. It was a trip I was to make last Friday, on my way to the One World - One Family conference; an opportunity to return it to the family. After a lunch stop at The Big Apple we drove 3km and found Al in his store. He was appreciative and mentioned Mary Cook as a school chum of family members.
Al's business is Steel Guitars of Canada; he was only too happy to show me the instrument, how it worked, and demonstrate, much as in the video. I received a CD of him performing several tunes.

Thanks to Bob Lamoureux for giving me the chance to return this item, and learn several things I'd never have explored otherwise.

27 August 2013

Family History Activity Survey

It's a while since I conducted a survey on the blog. Let's find out about our family history activities.
Completing this survey will also help me evaluate the ZOHO Survey program I'd like to use in conducting this year's Genealogy Rockstar survey (coming soon).

Click here to take survey

A date for the calendar of Kitchener area genealogists

The Kitchener Public Library will he hosting its third annual Genealogy Fair on Saturday, November 2, 2013 with more than a dozen presentations scheduled. There's more information at kpl.org.

26 August 2013

Google's undocumented AROUND search term

Want to search on Google for one term in proximity to another? There's an undocumented protocol you can use on Google mentioned by Donald R Snow during one of his lectures at the One World - One Family conference on Saturday.

term1 AROUND(n) term2

Where n is the maximum number of words that can occur between the words, and in either order.

I'm not sure it works correctly

A search for John Reid produced 137 million results, "John Reid" gave 1.3 million results.  John AROUND(1) Reid gave 82.7 million, John AROUND(2) Reid 82.6 million and John AROUND(3) Reid 82.3 million.

Why would allowing a greater number of intervening term produce fewer results?

Could it be undocumented because its got bugs? Nevertheless, you may want to try it.

Jamaica records on FamilySearch

At the One World - One Family conference in Brampton on Saturday Dorothy Kew was recognized, along with Helen Warner, for their  persistence in pushing FamilySearch to add over 2 million records in the collection Jamaica, Civil Registration, 1880-1999. The Jamaica civil registration births had been online from 2011 but, because of problems with the coordination of the project in at Salt Lake City the marriages and deaths were only added on August 16. The records are linked to original certificate images.

Other Jamaica records at FamilySearch.org are

Jamaica Births and Baptisms, 1752-1920 287,389
Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 365,639

25 August 2013

Notes from One World - One Family Conference

To say I enjoyed this one day conference held in Brampton, Ontario, would be very much understating matters. Thanks to Helen Warner and her team the event seemed to go off without a hitch and provide lots of information. There were several presentations on ethnic genealogy and although the audiences weren't large they were much appreciated by those with that ancestry. 
It's worth highlighting the keynote speaker, Donald R Snow, gave several presentations with helpful notes available at

In speaking with Don after the event I asked about locations for remote feeds from RootsTech 2014 next February.  His information was that it was up to the local stake of the LDS church to make a request to be a remote location, which involves organizing the event at the site. 

Thanks to those who came up to say they are faithful blog readers, and those who came to my presentations. For those who were not able to get the handout, I'll email to you on request. The brochures for the BIFHSGO Conference in September were also taken, find that information under conference at www.bifhsgo.ca

Britain's Friends and Foes

I was astonished to see these maps showing the USA and Russia to be more frequent allies to the UK than Canada since 1707! Along with Australia, Greece, New Zealand and Portugal, Canada has never been Britain's enemy but has stayed out of some war's, like Iraq.
This item come from Historic UK: The History and Heritage Accommodation Guide at http://www.historic-uk.com/.

24 August 2013

The British Newspaper Library is closing in November

I only made the long trek on the Northern Line to Colindale and the Newspaper Library once. It was a memorable paging through a large bound volume looking for an item on the death of my great uncle, killed in the Great War. I was unsuccessful, but by that time, the Battle of Passchendaele, they'd have had to publish extra editions just to cover the war dead.
Now with the move of the collection to a storage facility at Boston Spa, and increasing online availability, the Colindale facility will become another part of history. Read more about it at www.digitaljournal.com/article/356568

David Horowitz and Luana Darby to speak at OGS conference 2014

I'm increasingly impressed with the array of speakers being announced for the Ontario Genealogical Society conference 2014 hosted by Niagara Peninsula Branch. 
David Horowitz is chief genealogist for MyHeritage. He is a frequent speaker at major family history conferences and has significant responsibilities at MyHeritage for product development, customer support and public affairs; contacting genealogy societies, bloggers and media.
Luana Darby has also been announced as a speaker next May. She is affiliated with ProGenealogists, has a bachelors degree in Family History from Brigham Young University, is the current president of the Utah Genealogical Association and active in several professional organizations including the Association of Professional Genealogists. She has a special interest in tracing Germans who settled in Colonial Pennsylvania. 

23 August 2013

Ancestry UK census free this weekend

Ancestry.co.uk is making UK census records available free this weekend. As usual access with require registration.


FGS and RootsTech

There's bound to be a big party in Salt Lake City in 2015. It's announced that the fifth edition of RootsTech will be held in conjunction with the annual conference of the (US) Federation of Genealogical Societies.
Looking not quite so far ahead RootsTech 2014 (5-8 February) in Salt Lake City has now opened early-bird registration. Check out https://rootstech.org/ for information, and before you register find information on an additional discount at http://voice.fgs.org/2013/08/rootstech-2014-exclusive-registration.html
There is also information that RootsTech 2014 will be extending the practice of live-streaming some of the major sessions to 600 other locations. It's not clear whether that will replace the previous ability watch the sessions on your home suitably equipped computer.

Prominent UK speaker at 2014 OGS conference

The Niagara Peninsula Branch, hosts for the 2014 Ontario Genealogical Society annual conference, have announced that David Holman, Chairman of the Federation of Family History Societies, will be a speaker at the conference next May.
While I doubt it rates high on his list of achievements I note that he has previously been mentioned on this blog as being the six times Great Grandson of the person with the most unusual name I've ever found, February Backlog.

22 August 2013

Find My Past to publish school records

Was great-grandfather a good student? www.findmypast.co.uk announce that millions of school records for England and Wales are to be published online for the first time. It will comprise 900 volumes, approximately 500,000 images and encompass over 8 million named individuals.

"The Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) - ARA - has signed a deal, on behalf of a large number of archives and schools, with digital publishing experts brightsolid to publish online for the first time millions of school records from England and Wales.

This will be the first project to be undertaken under the framework of the new National Digitisation Consortium, which comprises up to 120 English and Welsh archives and schools working together to offer records for digitisation.

It is the first time such a large number of bodies will work together to digitise material - in this case their pre-1914 school registers. Once the registers have been scanned and transcribed by brightsolid, they will be made available to search online at leading family history website findmypast.co.uk, which is owned by brightsolid.

The registers span the period 1870-1914 and cover every region of England and Wales. They contain details of particular interest to the family historian, including name of the school and the pupil, their date of birth, year of admission to the school and the name of a parent or guardian. Teachers are also listed and Industrial School registers are included in the collection.

Chris van der Kuyl, Chief Executive of brightsolid said: “We are proud to have agreed terms with the ARA to publish online this fascinating set of school records from over 120 separate archives across England and Wales.

“Projects of this magnitude reinforce not only our ambition, but our credentials as the leading digital publishing experts, especially within the genealogy market. We look forward to working closely with the ARA and the National Digitisation Consortium on this exciting endeavour.”

John Chambers, ARA Chief Executive, said: “As the leading membership body for those who work in UK and Irish archives, the ARA has an important role to play in helping the sector find new ways of working. The National Digitisation Consortium allows a number of archives and schools, of all sizes, to offer records for digitisation within a single, shared legal agreement. As well as enabling these fascinating school records to be available to the public, this project will set an important precedent for the way the sector can work together to achieve a better return.”"

via Chris Paton's British GENES and Debra Chatfield.

One World, One Family Conference

My presentation is ready, the handouts prepared and material for display assembled. On Friday I leave for Brampton and a conference I've been looking forward to for months.
The Fourth Annual One World - One Family Family History Conference gets underway this Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 09:00 AM at 10062 Bramalea Rd. Brampton,ON
Featuring a keynote address by Dr. Donald R. Snow and final plenary address by Brian Gilchrist, the full list of speakers and presentations is at http://www.oneworldonefamily-theevent.com/Conference/Details/4 which includes a link to a detailed schedule.
My presentation, which will be given twice, is Family Secrets Revealed Through Genetic Genealogy. Organizer Helen Warner emailed to let me know my 11 am session is in the Cultural Hall (Gym) and has 49 registrants; my 1 pm session will be in the Chapel with about the same number but liable to change.
I'll be sharing a table with handouts and information, although I'm also looking forward to catching a couple of other presentations.
I hope to see you there. Please introduce yourself.

21 August 2013

Is my advantage yours?

At school I was a terrible speller. It's a talent that's stayed with me. I finally found this an advantage when I took to family history. You need to think about how a name could be misspelled.
It seems I'm not alone. The other day I was speaking with BIFHSGO member Bill Arthurs who runs a Titus one-name study. He mentioned he recently included a listing of deviant names in US census records and it has been one of the most popular parts of the site.
How would you misspell Titus?
According to Bill's analysis 1,515 people, members of the Titus families, had surnames with deviant spelling. Most common was Fitus; second Titis, then Tytus. The others lagged well behind.
Deviant spelling may be deliberate as I suspect might be the case with Tytus. I had an ancestor who remarried to a Mr Price, but later wrote the name as Pryce.

Proposed Ancestry presentation

An Ancestry blog post, Using Big Data To Drive Story Telling is about a proposal for a presentation at SxSW Interactive, and soliciting votes in support. It reads in part:

Increased pressure to find meaning in mounds of data—in real-time and at scale—has given rise to technology that analyzes and turns individual data points into bite-sized prose and, in some cases, fascinating personal stories.
Take for example, the man who was responsible for spreading the Spanish Influenza that ultimately killed more than 20 million people worldwide.  Imagine instantly weaving together a history about this man’s life and his family’s journey to the U.S. through technology that mines historical data kept in records.
It sounds like an interesting topic. Maybe there will be other opportunities to hear it at genealogical meetings.
Ancestry requests your vote for the presentation, after registration, via the SxSW PanelPicker: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/20207. Voting closes on Friday, September 6 (11:59 PM CST).

You may enjoy this by Nate Silver from the last SxSW Interactive, 25 minutes of presentation and a long Q/A period.

20 August 2013

Ancestry updates West Yorkshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935

There are now more than 2.5 million entries in Ancestry's West Yorkshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935 database. Indexed with linked images of originals from the West Yorkshire Archive Service, it includes records for churches in Bradford, Huddesfield, Leeds and many other communities. You can also browse the records by church and year.

Ancestry updates UK military POW 1839-1945 collection

UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945 and now includes a listing of 163,857 World War II British Army, Navy and Air Force prisoners of war. Information includes: Name, Rank, Branch of the armed forces, Regiment,
POW number, Camp type, Camp number, Camp location, Record office,
Record Office number, Notes.
The source is The Naval and Military Press accounting for the lack of information on civilian POWs.

Via London Historians' Blog to a prominent Canadian connection

If you're a Londonophile (there is such a word) you would likely enjoy the London Historians' Blog. There are frequent posts including a recent one on the Radio Times with mention of Dr Who for DrWhoophiles (probably no such word).
I was directed to the blog by a post on Cuthbert John Ottaway via Mike Southwick's British & Irish Genealogy blog.
Ottaway, England’s first ever football captain and a remarkable all-round sportsman, married a Canadian, Marion Elizabeth Stinson. He was part of an English cricket team that toured Canada in 1872, batting second after W G Grace and ahead of A N Hornby who also has a Canadian connection mentioned somewhat in passing in this post from 2010.
Ottaway died at age 28, his wife pregnant with a daughter and still a minor. Their daughter, Lillian, married Sir Adam Beck, Ontario electric utility pioneer.
Marion returned to Canada to a productive life in her own right http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/stinson_marion_elizabeth_14E.html and as wife of Peter Duncan Crerar raised children including WW2 Canadian General Harry Crerar (buried at Ottawa`s Beechwood Cemetery).

19 August 2013

National Library of Wales updates newspapers online

Earlier this month 10 new titles were added to Welsh Newspapers Online. Titles included a good helping of North Wales papers:

Y Cymro (Lerpwl ar Wyddgrug)
Papur Pawb
Llais y Wlad
Y Brython Cymreig
Rhyl Record and Advertiser
Rhyl Journal
Cymro a'r Celt Llundain/ Welshman and London Kelt
Colwyn Bay and North Wales Weekly News
North Wales Express
North Wales Weekly News

TNA podcast: Thomas Armstrong: the smuggler king of Cullercoats

Whether a fan of Dr Nick Barratt, or just interested in hearing of a relatively obscure source for some family history, this 40 minute podcast from a talk given at Kew on 1 August will draw you in.  

On the surface, Captain Thomas Armstrong was an upstanding, if sometimes over-zealous, member of HM Customs service, patrolling the north east coast of England against smugglers. However, an examination of the customs records at The National Archives revealed a different story, tied to the imposing house that Armstrong built on the cliffs at Cullercoats. This talk tells his amazing story, as well as highlighting the records as a rich source of 18th century family, local and social history.
Dr Nick Barratt works in the Advice and Records Knowledge department, but previously ran a historical research agency and was involved in researching and presenting a number of television series, including Who Do You Think You Are. He has published several books, most recently Greater London: The Story of the Suburbs, and lectures regularly about history and the media. His specialist area of records knowledge is 13th century finance.
 Get it at http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/thomas-armstrong-the-smuggler-king-of-cullercoats/

New in genealogy at the Ottawa Public Library II

Here's a second helping of recent genealogy acquisitions by the Ottawa Public Library.

Notre-Dame de Montréal, Select Records of Baptism, Marriages and Burial of Early Scots and Irish 1775-1810, by Darby MacDonald, Darby, 929.371428 MACDO, 3 reference copies

Some Early Scots in Maritime Canada (vol. 3) by Terrence M. Punch, 929.3715 PUNCH, all 3 volumes in reference at Main.

Nova Scotia Vital Statistics from Newspapers
-1769-1812, by Terrence M. Punch, 929.3716 PUNCH (reference)
-1823-1828 by Jean M. Holder, 929.3716 HOLDE (reference)

Cimetière Mount Hermon, ville de Québec: inscriptions sur les pierres tombales/ Mount Hermon Cemetery, Quebec City: Tombstone Inscriptions.... by Gordon A.Morley, 929.509714471 M864

From Settler to Land Owner (1800-1803): Records of the First Heir and Devisee Commission of the....
-Johnstown District (2 vols.), by Linda Corupe,  929.37137 CORUP (reference)
-Midland District (3 vols.), by Linda Corupe, 929.371358 CORUP (reference)
-Home, Newcastle and Niagara Districts (2 vols.) by Linda Corupe, 929.371338 CORUP (reference)

Pioneer People and Places: Early Grenville (vols. 1-20), Grenville County Historical Society, 971.373 PIONE (reference)

Inheritance in Ontario: Wills and Other Records for Family Historians by Jane E. MacNamara, 929.10720713 MACNA, 10 holds on 4 copies

Household Counts: Canadian Households and Families in 1901, by Peter Baskerville (Editor), Eric W. Sager (Editor), 306.850971 HOUSE, 12 holds on 2 copies

Ontario Genealogy for Beginners (8th ed., 2012),  by Ruth Burkholder, 929.10720713 BURKH, 2 holds on 5 copies

British Campaign of 1777, Vol. One: The St Leger Expedition: The Forces of Crown and Congress (2nd ed.), by Gavin K. Watt, 973.333 WATT, reference.

British Campaign of 1777, Vol. Two: The Burgoyne Expedition: Burgoyne's Native and Loyalist Auxiliaries, by Gavin K.Watt, 973.333 WATT, reference

Thanks to Diana Hall for the information.

18 August 2013

New in genealogy at the Ottawa Public Library - I

Here are some recent genealogy acquisitions by the Ottawa Public Library.

Life in the Victorian and Edwardian Workhouse, by Michelle Higgs,  362.5850942 HIGGS (see her website at http://www.michellehiggs.co.uk/), There's a waiting list for the four copies held by the OPL.

Administering the Empire, 1801-1968: A Guide to the Records of the Colonial Office in the National Archives of the United Kingdom, by Mandy Banton,
909.0971241 BANTO (the topic of a TNA podcast at http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/author/mandy-banton/). Two reference copies available at OPL.

Essential Maps for Family Historians (National Archives of UK Bookshop--Irish), by Charles Masters, 929.1072041 MASTE. 3 holds on 2 copies.

Family History: Digging Deeper, by Simon Fowler, 929.1072 FOWLE, 4 copies available, 3 holds.

My Ancestor Was In Service: A Guide to Sources for Family Historians, by Pamela Horn (not in the catalog yet)

My Ancestors Settled in the British West Indies: A Guide to Sources for Family Historians, by John Titford, 929.3729 TITFO (3 copies, 1 circulating)

Tracing Your Ancestors from 1066 to 1837: A Guide for Family Historians, by Jonathan Oates, 929.1072 OATES (4 holds on 3 copies).

Irish Place Names by Deirdre Flanagan, 910.01409415 FLANA (1 hold on 2 copies).

Genealogist's Internet (5th ed., 2012)The Essential Guide to Researching your Family History Online, by Peter Christian, 929.10285 CHRIS, highly rated, 3 holds on 4 copies

North America's Maritime Funnel: The Ships That Brought the Irish, 1749-1852, by, Terrence M. Punch, 929.3715 PUNCH, 3 reference copies.

More coming tomorrow. Thanks to Diana Hall for the information.

17 August 2013

Media History Digital Library

On the off-chance I entered the name of my home town in England, into the search box of classic media periodicals made available online and free by the Media History Digital Library. The collection is currently over 800,000 pages from periodicals such as:
▽  Business Screen (1938-1973)
▽  The Film Daily (1918-1948)
▽  International Photographer (1929-1941)
▽  Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers (1916-1949)
▽  Journal of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (1950-1954)
▽  The Educational Screen (1922-1962)
▽  Motion Picture [Magazine] (1914-1941)
▽  Moving Picture World (1907-1919)
▽  Photoplay (1914-1940)
▽  Radio Age: Research, Manufacturing, Communications, Broadcasting, Television (1942-1957)
▽  Radio Broadcast (1922-1930)
▽  Sponsor (1946-1964)
▽  Talking Machine World (1906-1928)
▽  Variety (1905-1926)

The search turned up hits 12 hits including in the Kinematograph Year Book 1931 with short listings for cinemas, and as the home town of a consolation prize-winner in a July 1915 issue of Pictures and the Picturegoer - I wonder whatever happened to Kitty Lake of 54 High Street?

The search facility goes by the name Lantern, available at: http://lantern.mediahist.org/

Libraries, Archives, and Canada's Future

This will be of particular interest to genealogical and family history societies across Canada.

Stimulated by problems arising from actions, and inaction, at Library and Archives Canada, and a changing environment for archives and libraries generally, the Royal Society of Canada has convened an Expert Panel with mandate:

  • To investigate what services Canadians, including Aboriginal Canadians and new Canadians, are currently receiving from libraries and archives.
  • To explore what Canadian society expects of libraries and archives in the 21st century.
  • To identify the necessary changes in resources, structures, and competencies to ensure libraries and archives serve the Canadian public good in the 21st century.
  • To listen to and consult the multiple voices that contribute to community building and memory building.
  • To demonstrate how deeply the knowledge universe has been and will continue to be revolutionized by digital technology.
  • To conceptualize the integration of the physical and the digital in library and archive spaces.
The Panel is inviting comments on their blog and have scheduled consultations for: Yellowknife (Sept. 13-14); Vancouver (Sept. 19-21); Ottawa (Oct. 4); Winnipeg (Oct. 18-19); Calgary (Oct. 22-25); Montreal (Oct. 24); Edmonton (Oct. 28-29); Halifax (Nov. 8-9); Toronto (Jan. 15-17).
It's unclear how the consultation sessions will work. Some very short session are scheduled at the first stop in Yellowknife. I expect clarification next week. There is also the opportunity for written input.
Given the importance of archives and libraries for genealogy and family history, and with many small and not so small archives depend on volunteers from our community, the Expert Panel should hear from us, likely through the major societies we support to represent our interests. 
Those interested in the future of libraries might want to read a report Facing the Future (pdf) written by one of the panel members, Ken Roberts which in discussing interlibrary loan mentions:
"many of the requested items are from people conducting genealogical research and who seek cemetery records and newspaper birth announcements. People might gain better, and more immediate access if there were a focused effort to digitize such material. While initially more expensive, digitization may save ongoing Interlibrary loan costs. We don’t know because, to my knowledge, no studies exist."

16 August 2013

Archive CD Books Canada Inc. joins Findmypast to bring Canadian Content online.

Press Release
Archive CD Books Canada Inc. is proud to announce that it is working with findmypast.com to make the content of a large number of digitized, genealogical, and historical,  document “on line” for consultation through the excellent data delivery services of Findmypast.com.
The newly available Archive CD Books Canada collection consists of over 200 documents yielding almost 70,000 pages of select information.  “We carefully chose the documents we digitize on the basis of their usefulness to Family Historians, Genealogists, and Historians” says Malcolm Moody, the president of Archive CD Books Canada.  “We believe people will appreciate the care we take to provide accurate, clear, readable, images of every printed page and to hand edit the (invisible) OCRed text to provide researchers with the best chance of finding every occurrence of their searched for words.” Continued Moody, “We also make sure that all illustrations and maps in our source documents are visible in the digitized edition and are included in the correct location, no mater what size they are.”
Archive CD Books Canada and FindMyPast.com are looking forward to continuing to collaborate to enhance and expand this service and to make it available as widely as possible.
About Archive CD Books Canada
The Archive CD Books Project exists to make reproductions of old books, documents and maps available on CD to genealogists and historians, and to cooperate with local libraries, museums and record offices in providing money to renovate old books in their collection, and to donate books to their collections, where they will be preserved for future generations.  The project began in the UK in March 2000, and the Canadian branch was formed during 2003.  Archive CD Books website can be found at http://www.ArchiveCDBooks.ca.  Once there, you can browse their catalogue of over 4,000 digitized documents, all either available for sale or as complimentary downloads, as well as finding out more about the Archive CD Books Project.  For a more immediate and intimate connection join their Facebook page “Archive CD Books Canada” an keep up with the latest news about Canadian genealogy and other related stories.
About findmypast.com
Findmypast.com, owned by brightsolid, provides complete and relevant records for online family history and genealogy research. Findmypast members worldwide share our passion, and rely on our expertise to help them discover the roots to their family tree. Our accurate search tools and data featuring unique and core U.S., English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Australian, New Zealand and now Canadian records dating back as far as the 7th century, help both professional and budding genealogists find their past.
Findmypast.com works closely with the genealogy community, including local libraries, archives, societies, and other organizations from around the world, to preserve, digitize and provide access to historical records and genealogical publications.
To learn more, visit www.findmypast.com, the findmypast.com blog, Facebook or Twitter.

The collection can be accessed on Findmypaste' website (subscription site) at: http://search.findmypast.com/search/canada-documents

Tracing Forward – Searching for Relatives in Recent Times

Each year Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society offers a whole-day series of lectures. This year's edition, on the theme Tracing Forward – Searching for Relatives in Recent Times is on Saturday, October 26.  There will be six presentations, no parallel sessions.

If you register by Monday September 30 the fee is $40 for OGS members and $65 for others. $6.50 per lecture is good value, especially given the interesting mix of well established speakers from the Branch and others with excellent credentials.

Learn the details of location, presentations, speakers and how to register at http://www.torontofamilyhistory.org/TracingForward.html

A different look at London cemeteries

Recently Deceased Online made available a database of interments at London's Brompton Cemetery. Now one of the regular blogger visits, The Little London Observationist, has posted photos of Scents and Sounds of Brompton Cemetery. The appeal to those senses depends on your imagination.
She rejoices that in recent years it has become more natural, more like a nature reserve that just happens to be a cemetery. Those of us searching for an ancestor's grave marker would be unlikely to appreciate the change in the same way!
There are also posts for previous visits cemeteries of to Nunhead, Plumstead and Woolwich!

15 August 2013

Welcome the Dog Days of Summer

It gets pretty slow for family history news at this time of year. Scouting around for something of interest I came across this seasonal item. well it's about dogs. Thanks to BIFHSGO member Persephone who has returned early to Hades; must be getting to like it!

WDYTYA UK: Lesley Sharp Extra

While I wasn't able to watch the BBC WDYTYA episode with actress Lesley Sharp on Wednesday evening the promo information mentions "tracing her half siblings and following her paternal line back to discover that her great-great-grandfather fostered Barnardo's children. Lesley follows the trail of one of them, George Maybury, to Canada to meet George's grandson and to find out what kind of home her great great grandfather provided."
There was more on the Maybury family in Canada in a 2008 episode of Finding the Fallen reported in this story from the Pembroke Daily Observer.

14 August 2013

1921 census interview

Early on Thursday morning Ottawa genealogists Edward and Elizabeth Kipp were interviewed on CBC's Ottawa Morning program by regular host Robyn Bresnahan.
In her introduction Robyn said that Edward and Elizabeth had been waiting to see the census for 92 years. Everyone looks older when you have to get up for an early morning interview!
The interview can be found at: http://www.cbc.ca/ottawamorning/index.html in the Featured Audio section on the right side of the page and use the sliding bar to look for 1921 Census.

Underground Map plus!


Upper Canada Sundries, 1766-1841

This collection, now available as page images at http://heritage.canadiana.ca/support/sundries consists of "letters, petitions, reports, returns and schedules, certificates, accounts, warrants, legal opinions, instructions and regulations, proclamations and other documents received by the Civil Secretary of Upper Canada, 1791-1841, together with copies of some documents of 1766-1809, made for reference purposes."

My interest does not extent to this early period and I haven't had a chance to explore the collection. It will surely be helpful to those with an interest in the period in Upper Canada history.

13 August 2013

LAC answers 1921 census queries

OGS has received answers to questions posed to Library and Archives Canada about the arrangements they negotiated with Ancestry.ca for release of the 1921 census of Canada. Read it at the OGS website at http://www.ogs.on.ca/ogsblog/?p=4139

Useful Genetics

Useful Genetics is a a free online course given by Dr. Rosemary Redfield of the University of British Columbia through Coursera.
"This college-level course gives students a thorough understanding of gene function and inheritance, and enables them to apply this understanding to real-world issues, both personal and societal."
I signed up for the course starting in September, now scheduled to start on 1 November, for 11 weeks.
Does anyone locally in Ottawa want to sign up and form a study group?

BIFHSGO conference news: interview with society president Glenn Wright

Glenn Wright points out that the society conference doesn't just happen. The entirely volunteer-run event depends on many members, including a core leadership group which meets monthly through most of the year. Many of those have been involved in the long term. Listen from here.

12 August 2013

Baby Names, England and Wales, 2012

This annual release from the Office of National Statistics is now available at http://goo.gl/oCmCXG

Harry and Amelia remain as the most popular first names given to babies born in England and Wales in 2012.

Riley replaced Joshua in the top 10 most popular names for baby boys, climbing 5 places from number 13 to number 8.

Mia and Isla replaced Ruby, who must have taken her love to town, and Grace, who fell therefrom, in the top 10 most popular names for baby girls. 

John dropped out of the top 100 boys names, Jack is number three.

Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .

Discover Genealogy blog

Wayne Shepheard, who I know as editor of the Alberta FHS quarterly journal Chinook, has started a new genealogy blog at http://discovergenealogy.blogspot.ca/

It's not every day a new Canadian genealogy blog is started, especially one from someone with English interest. Wayne is an Online Parish Clerk for four parishes in Devon. The first post is introductory, Wayne intends using the blog to tell stories, relate experiences and pass along tips from his genealogical journey.

Best wishes to new fellow genealogy blogger Wayne Shepheard.

FreeBMD August update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Friday 9 August 2013 to contain 231,194,115 distinct records, and increase of 592,974 records since the July update.
Major updates, more than 5,000 records, are: for births 1940, 1943, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964-70; for marriages 1952, 1962-69; for deaths 1965, 1967-69.

11 August 2013

TNA podcast: Writing a history of one’s own times

If you grew up in post-WW2 Britain as I did you'll likely enjoy this short (28 minute) talk by Lord (Peter) Hennessy who among many other accomplishments is President of the Friends of The National Archives.
The talk is based on his latest book ‘Distilling the frenzy; writing the history of one’s own times’. It's not a how to book but an eloquent reflection of his experiences as a child of post-war Britain and how they've influenced him.

Suggestion for a day out

Advance notice: East Surrey FHS conference 2015

The following is a press release via Paul Blake for the East Surrey Family History Society. It's always a good sign when the planning starts more than 2 years in advance!

10 August 2013

WW2 child evacuation

An article in my old hometown newspaper Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye ...  describes the evacuation of 3,700 children from Great Yarmouth to Nottinghamshire at the start of the Second World War.

"Hiding their sadness behind a barrage of smiles, Yarmouth’s 3700 evacuee children wrote a never-to-be-forgotten page in the borough’s history on Sunday. With no more tears or fuss than on a Sunday School treat, they bade farewell to their homes and their schools “for the duration,” and were whisked away to Nottinghamshire in four special trains."
One of those children was subsequently evacuated to safety in Halifax, Nova Scotia, under the CORB scheme where he learned that his father had been killed in Yarmouth in a bombing raid.

The 1921 Census of Canada: looking deeper

Still struggling to find your folks in the 1921 census?  With almost 8.8 million people in about 220 divisions, and about 4846 sub-divisions there's a lot to trawl through if you don't know where they lived. Hopefully they're not on a page that's missing, probably not. Searching without a name index is different and certainly more challenging than the way things are today; it brings back memories of how things used to be.
In a comment on the previous 1921 post Helen pointed out the map resources of  the Canadian Century Research Infrastructure (CCRI), a facility previously mentioned by Lisa Dillon.
If you're straining to read the column heading on the census images CCRI has a fairly good quality image at:  www.canada.uottawa.ca/ccri/CCRI/Images/1921.Schedule.jpg
Want to know just what the terms on the form mean? Read the Enumerator instructions at:  www.canada.uottawa.ca/ccri/CCRI/Images/1921%20Enumerator%20Instructions%20-%20English.pdf, and then hope the enumerator for your area had read and followed them too!
As for the CCRI map resources, I'm a bit puzzled. Take the source CANADA 1921 CCRI Reference Map A_B List of CDs.pdf. It has 54 districts for Ontario, with no entry for Ottawa, while the census on Ancestry has 81 districts including Ottawa. Ancestry has 16 districts in Saskatchewan, CCRI has 18.
In total Ancestry has 228 census divisions, spread across the provinces. The Territories have no divisions, only sub-divisions.
If you're interested in population statistics from 1921 there are a series of bulletins at http://archive.org/details/1921981921P21921eng
In case Newfoundlanders are feeling left out of the fun, there's no need. Transcriptions of their 1921 census have long been available at http://ngb.chebucto.org/C1921/121-dist-idx.shtml

09 August 2013

A First Look at the 1921 Census of Canada

Have you been burning up the internet lines to ancestry.ca/census which is your link to the 1921 census images. It took me about 30 minutes to find my only known relatives in that census, in Saskatchewan. I had the township, range, etc for the property, but not the district so a bit of trial and error was involved in finding that. There were only 21 images to browse through. Kudos to Ancestry, the images downloaded quickly.
To use these browse files you need a good knowledge of the local administrative geography. There are drop-down menus for province and district within the province. A map of the districts would be helpful, but alas!
The Electoral Atlas for 1895 at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/electoral-atlas/index-e.html may help a bit, although not for the Prairies which hadn't joined confederation at that time.
For cities directories are a boon. There's a 1923 city directory for Ottawa at http://archive.org/details/ottawadirec192300midiuoft which helpfully gives the ward for each street. For Toronto a 1921 directory is online at http://archive.org/details/torontodirec192100midiuoft
Once you find the image you'll realise it's a good idea to have a printout of the headings for reference to save having to scroll to the top of the page all the time. The columns are:

  • number of dwelling in order of visitation
  • number of family, household, or institution in order of visitation
  • name of each person whose place of abode was in the household
  • place of habitation
  • tenure and class of home (owned or rented, rent paid, class of house, house occupied by family)
  • sex
  • relationship of person enumerated to the head of household
  • marital status (single, married, widowed, divorced, or legally separated)
  • age at last birthday
  • country or place of birth (if Canada, specify province or territory)
  • country or place of birth for person’s father and mother
  • year of immigration to Canada, if an immigrant
  • year of naturalization, if formerly an alien
  • racial or tribal origin
  • nationality (country to which person owes allegiance)
  • can speak English
  • can speak French
  • religion
  • can read and write
  • months at school since September 1, 1920
  • chief occupation or trade
  • employment other than chief occupation or trade, if any
  • employer, employee, worker, or working on own account
  • principal product, where employed (e.g., ‘in drug store’, ‘on farm’, etc.), or nature of work
  • total earnings in past 12 months
  • currently out of work
  • number of weeks unemployed in past 12 months
  • number of weeks unemployed in past 12 months because of illness
While the images I encountered were reasonably good there were several marks added when compiling statistics which make some data illegible.
Some images are missing. Please post a comment to let others know.

08 August 2013

Ottawa: genealogy meet-up

The weather forecast looks sufficiently promising to schedule a genealogy meet-up at the Westboro Beach Cafe this Saturday, 10 August from 11:30am. If arriving on the Western (Macdonald) Parkway exit to the Kichesippi parking lot, or park at the end of Lanark Avenue and walk through the tunnel. All welcome.

1921 Census of Canada

It's now at  http://www.ancestry.ca/census

The data for Ottawa is in 65 sub-districts:
1-7 are for By Ward, part of St George's Ward
8-14: St George's Ward
15-19: Ottawa Ward
20-23: Victoria Ward
24-33: Central Ward
34-42: Wellington Ward
43-52: Dalhousie Ward
53: Part of Capital Ward and Wellington Ward
54-64: Capital Ward
65: Gaol

Note that parts of Dalhousie and Victoria wards are found within Carleton district. Rideau ward is in Russell district.

Time to act for BIFHSGO conference registration discount

August 9th is the last day to register for the BIFHSGO conference and receive the early bird discount. Why pay more than you need to? Register from http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=109

More members?

Most societies with which I'm familiar, be it for family history or genealogy, are experiencing declining or stagnating membership. New recruitment barely keeps up with those who drop off for lack of interest, declining health, or death. That's despite the demographics, the baby boomers who should now be well into the stage where they become interested in their family history are not flocking to join our societies. Why not?

It could be that they don't see the society as offering anything they can't get online, and can't get at a better price if not free. If so you need to look at your society programs.

But more likely they just don't know of your existence. The society has failed to get the message across, drowned out by the incessant buzz of messages of all kinds we receive in the 21st century.

Earlier this year I went to the Zoomer show in Ottawa aimed at the 50+ community. It was buzzing when I was there, full of people in just the right demographic, prime candidates for genealogical society membership. None of those societies were exhibitors. I was told that the price of a table, something like $800 for the two day event, was beyond their means. Does it make more sense to spend $50 to reach 300 people, many of whom are already members (preaching to the choir) or well aware of your society existence, or spend $800 to reach say 7,000 new people?

There's an interesting example in Ireland of how this could be extended. For the third year a Back to Our Past event is being held. It's advertised as a stand-alone event. If you dig you'll find that "While it is a dedicated event in its own right, it has the major advantage of being part of one of Ireland’s most successful and established public events, The Over 50s Show, the lifestyle show for Ireland’s seniors."

A Zoomer show is coming up in Toronto, which has a catchment area population much greater than Dublin, toward the end of October. Will any family history of genealogical society, or any of the Toronto area businesses in the field, be participants?

07 August 2013

1921 Census of Canada Count-up: Day 67

On Wednesday afternoon the word finally came, officially, from Library and Archives Canada that the 1921 Census, Thursday 8 August at around 2 pm, eastern time. It will be available, with the geographic index, free of charge on Ancestry’s platform at www.ancestry.ca/census
I'm told there will be a geographic index only but that Ancestry is working on a name index to be available to their subscribers this fall, and made freely through LAC after three years. That's the same arrangement under which Ancestry indexed the previous Canadian censuses.
When it become available you'll want to search those images for which you know the geographic location of those you seek. With any luck, and given the large number of servers Ancestry has at its disposal, there should be no service outages as would likely occur if LAC was inundated with users.
When you've concluded your searches you might want to reflect on the process we've been through.

  • Why did it take 67 days for images that were already in electronic form and well geographically indexed before they ever got to LAC to be placed online?
  • How was Ancestry selected as LACs partner? 
  • Is the arrangement exclusive or can other organizations obtain the images and produce their own indexes?
  • With the images available since the beginning of June on microfilm why were they not made available promptly on-site at 395 Wellington?

Family Tree DNA parent company grows

A company press release announces a significant acquisition by Family Tree DNA parent company Gene by Gene. Arpeggi, a StartUp Health- and GE-Backed Company, has been acquired making "DNA testing more accessible and affordable for consumers, researchers and healthcare providers."

Read the full press release at: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/gene-by-gene-acquires-arpeggi-a-startup-health--and-ge-backed-company-to-build-worlds-leading-genetic-testing-and-genome-diagnostics-company-218666411.html

1921 Census of Canada Count-up, Day 66

There are indications that LAC is readying to release the 1921 census of Canada, now more than two months late. I'm officially told it will be within 60 days BUT today, or this week, is indicated by insiders.

Ancestry adds London, England, Clandestine Marriage and Baptism Registers, 1667-1754

Fleet marriages, as clandestine marriages are popularly known, were marriages which skirted the strict canon of the Church of England but were nevertheless considered legal - until Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753.

The collection comprises registers of Clandestine Marriages and of Baptisms in the Fleet Prison, King's Bench Prison, the Mint and the May Fair Chapel taken from RG7 at The National Archives, Kew. There are 894,892 entries.

The records, previously available online elsewhere, are now placed on Ancestry allowing one-stop searching.

The records are indexed with original images linked which typically contain:
full names of the couple
marital status
residences (generally parishes)
occupation of the groom
minister's name or initials.
Some Fleet marriage entries are known to be false, such as backdated for social convenience.

For a more complete description of these records go to http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C13332

06 August 2013

Family history books online

The following is an announcement from FamilySearch.

FamilySearch has announced a milestone in its collection of Family History Books . One hundred thousand books have now been scanned by the partnership of the Family History Library, Allen County Public Library, and several other important family history libraries in the world. These books are online and available to search and use on the FamilySearch.org website. You can reach the collection by clicking Search and then Books or by simply clicking the link above.
The majority of the books online are family histories, with a smaller portion made up of cemetery records, local and county histories, genealogy magazines, and how-to-books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees. These valuable aids are viewed by more than 100,000 people a month.

Ottawa:Free walking tour

This evening at 6 pm, August 6, 2013, the Heritage Group of Canada Science & Technology Museums Corporation will explore the changing shape of Ottawa's once more industrial downtown landscape and search for clues that reveal elements of the past in a walking tour.
The tour will start outside 44 Sparks Street (D’Arcy Mcgees)
Information and reservations: 613 991-3079
The tour celebrates Archaeology Month.

United States, Public Records Index

Just posted on familysearch.org is the United States, Public Records Index, "an index of names, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, and possible relatives of people who reside in the United States between 1970 and 2010. These records were generated from telephone directories, driver licenses, property tax assessments, credit applications, voter registration lists and other records available to the public. The collection is now 8% complete."

With 70,822,924 entries it's way behind the International Genealogical Index (IGI) with 892,761,439 legacy entries and slightly behind the United States Social Security Death Index with 93,125,303 entries. That makes it a valuable resource for finding strays and those doing one name studies.

Judging by some of the first names in the collection, Camp, Farms, Realty Corp, Invt, Constructio, and Plaza Comns, the database was compiled automatically. Maybe those entries will be weeded out over time,  given a bit of human intervention.

Ottawa branch OGS news

Mike More, OGS vice president and a past president of the Ottawa branch, has posted news on activities so far this summer. It's mainly of interest to Ottawa folks, http://www.ogsottawa.blogspot.ca/2013/08/hows-your-summer.html

05 August 2013

Book Box / Little Free Library

Back in June I posted on a miniature library I came across on Ottawa's Garrison Street. Read that item at http://goo.gl/n5HNj
Apparently there's a grassroots movement to install these, and build community. Here's a YouTube item from Victoria, BC.

See www.littlefreelibrary.org to see how the idea has taken root.

New Saskatchewan records on Ancestry.ca

Ancestry.ca has made a significant addition to its collection, four index databases for Saskatchewan sourced from the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society (SGS).
Until now Saskatchewan data has been rather lacking on Ancestry. While there were census records the only additional database has been an index to 39,807 deaths for 1889-1916 scraped from the Saskatchewan eHealth website for genealogy which also has an index search for births more than 100 years ago. More data is being added by eHealth so that eventually deaths more than 70 years ago and marriages more than 75 years ago will be in the online index.

The largest new Ancestry database, 2,948,437 entries, is the Residents Index (SRI), 1800-2012. For perspective, the current population of the province approaches 1.1 million. The (SGS) database is a collection of names found in cemeteries, local history books, Cummins Maps (landowner maps held at the Saskatchewan Archives Board), voter lists, and other books that list Saskatchewan residents. Being an index the information is sparse, a name. year and place and sometimes, in lieu of sources, a description is which may just be "family information" or "casual mention". Lacking anything else these index entries may nevertheless provide useful leads.

Saskatchewan, Canada, Burial Index, 1802-2011, with 274,801 entries from more than 299 rural municipalities is the next largest. The index provides name, death year and burial city. There are few entries for the 19th century, the population was low. After 1910 there are typically 2,000 to 3,000 entries per year with a peak 4,365 in the influenza year of 1918.

Saskatchewan, Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Obituary Index, 1933–1989, with 4,230 entries.The index provides name, regimental number, and rank and indicates the volume and issue number of the Quarterly where you can find the obituary.

Saskatchewan, Canada, Gazette Changes of Name, 1917-1950 with 2, 791 entries gives new name, original name and location.

BIFHSGO conference early-bird registration

A reminder that the reduced price for early registration for the BIFHSGO conference, individuals and families, applies if you register on or before the 9th of August. More information at http://bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=22

04 August 2013

OGS Niagara Peninsula Branch releases partial speaker list for 2014 OGS conference

It's not a complete list, just some of the speakers coming to OGS Conference 2014. I'm delighted to find myself in good company and hope to be able to catch as many presentations by my personal favourites as I can.
The international speakers, including Chris Paton who is not to be missed, are in bold in the list. There are others not yet announced who I wouldn't want to miss either.

Ruth Burkholder
Serge Paquet (Ontario Archives)
Chris Paton 
Fred Hbermehl - (Niagara Local)
Marian Press
Hank Jones
James S. F. Thomson
Jane MacNamara
John D. Reid
Sarah E. Fisher
Mary Lou Garr
Paul Jones
Janice Nickerson
Rick Roberts
Tony Bandy
Linda Corupe
Richard M. Doherty

Deceased Online adds British military cemetery records

Tens of thousands of military burial records held at the The National Archives are now added to Deceased Online. The records, which date back to 1756, comprise digital scans of burial registers for eight cemeteries:

  • Haslar and Clayhall Royal Navy cemeteries, Gosport, Hampshire: 1826-1911 with more than 10,000 burials;
  • Greenwich Royal Hospital and Chapel, Greenwich, London: 1844-1966, more than 7,000 burials;
  • Aldershot Military Burial Ground, Aldershot, Surrey: 1856-1911, also more than 7,000 burials (informal video tour);
and, each with fewer than 5,000 burials:
  • Canterbury Garrison, Kent: 1808-1958
  • Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, Gosport, Hampshire: 1864-1975
  • Royal Garrison Church of St George, Woolwich, Greenwich, London: 1937-1964
  • Sandhurst Royal Military College Chapel, Sandhurst, Camberley, Surrey: 1829-1978
  • Sheerness Dockyard Church, Isle of Sheppey, Kent: 1756-1826

What does it take to do WDYTYA?

BIFHSGO conference speaker Lisa Louise Cooke has posted an interesting interview with producer of the US Who Do You Think You Are? TV program Allie Orton. The current series is shown on specialty channel TLC on Tuesday (correction) evenings. Catch Lisa's interview, which takes us behind the curtain on the production of the show, as part of her Genealogy Gems Podcast #158

03 August 2013

LAC: History for Sale

From CTV Two Alberta, a discussion on Library and Archives Canada and digitization initiatives first broadcast on July 17.


Colonel By Day by the Ottawa Locks

Stopping by the Bytown Museum and Ottawa Locks of the Rideau Canal on Col By Day, as the Ontario Civic Holiday is named in Ottawa, has become an annual tradition for many in the heritage community. That's this Monday, August 5th.
This year in addition to traditional afternoon activities there's an evening lecture program. Find out more at http://journeecolonelbyday.wordpress.com/

02 August 2013

Ireland, Tithe Applotment Books, 1814-1855

Here's a new indexed database on familysearch.org with 753,924 records. Tithes were due to be paid to the Church of Ireland by those who occupied agricultural lands, in this period in money rather than in kind as previously.

According to familysearch the books were compiled for most parishes and generally ranged between the years 1823 to 1838.
Ancestry has a similar database with 606,726 records from 1823 to 1837.

Better service from Library and Archives Canada?

If you've visited the LAC website at  anytime since 1 November you will recognise this better service notice

Some better service, especially the availability of census records, although notably not for 1921, has happened but without the benefit of any website redesign.
So where is it? How long is appropriate to deliver the better service? Longer than to produce a baby?
The initials for Better Service are a more appropriate description of what's happening.

August backup nag

Did you remember to backup your hard drive this month? It's August 2 so maybe you forgot do so on the first of the month. If you forgot to do it yesterday don't hesitate - do it now. You're sure to be in august company.

01 August 2013

Benchmarks update for July

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

July has been quiet genealogically with a dearth of new records. While most websites have declined in Alexa ranking top ranked ancestry.com and myheritage.com gained.

Familysearch.org has 1.634 (1,594) record collections: census & lists 140 (140); birth, marriage, & death 996 (970); probate & court 149 (147); military 116 (109); migration & naturalization 90 (86); other 143 (142). It has Alexa rank 4,819 (4,687).
Ancestry.com has Alexa rank of 648 (681); ancestry.co.uk ranks 10,219 (9,011) and ancestry.ca 39,582 (37,851). There are 31,368 (31,350) datasets in the collections including 1,956 (1,956) for Canada, 1,721 (1,721) for the UK, 128 for Australia and, 25,133 (25,124) for the USA.
Findmypast.co.uk has an Alexa rank of 34,046 (31,816). Findmypast.com ranks 139.794 (133,932).
MyHeritage.com's Alexa rank was 5,319 (5,661)
Family Tree DNA has 643,955 (639,932) records in its database. It ranks 28,843 (28,425) on Alexa. 23andMe ranks 12,841 (14,153).
GenealogyinTime.com ranks 50,517 (49,065); Mocavo.com has rank 99,129 (98,721); eogn.com ranks 40,868 (44,757).
Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk contains 6,944,464 (6,917,402) digitized pages. There have been no major additions, more than 10 years, in the last 30 days; Alexa rank 181,039 (174,062).
Newspapers.com contains 1,327( 1,248) newspapers including 666,313 (666,248) pages for England and 744,185 (658,468) pages for Canada including the Ottawa Journal with a page count of 359,283 (273,632). It has Alexa rank 130,409 (130,694).
Cyndislist.com claims 327,756 (327,428) total links in 200 (199) categories, with 1,789 (1,789) uncategorized. Alexa rank 130,602 (122,423).
FreeBMD.org.uk has 239,601,141  (230,033,370) distinct records, Alexa rank 114,127 (102,910).
UKBMD.org.uk provides 2,436 (2,436) links to web sites that offer on-line transcriptions of UK births, marriages, deaths and censuses. Alexa rank 350,422 (335,709).
CanadianHeadstones.com has over 674,000 (650,000) gravestone photo records from across Canada. It scores 668.445 (591,141) in Alexa traffic rank.
Deceasedonline.com ranked 892,109
The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery (gravemarkers.ca), with over 750,000  (734,377) photographs from across Canada, ranks 7,775,170 (6,314,807).
Amongst Canadian family history societies bifhsgo.ca ranks 4,951,634 (3,756,590), qfhs.ca ranks 2,849,206 (3,114,594), and ogs.on.ca ranks 418,018 (391,726).
And in case you're curious, Anglo-Celtic Connections has 4,866 (4,783) posts; On Alexa the .ca site ranked 331,602 (329,683).
Did I miss something significant? If so please post a comment with statistics if applicable.

TNA podcast: DNA, family history and the population of the British Isles

This podcast is part of a presentation last May by Maurice Gleeson and Brian Swann.

Gleeson covers the use of autosomal DNA for genealogy.  Unfortunately the lack of any visuals makes the talk difficult to follow; but fortunately there is a YouTube presentation, Brick Wall Buster? covering much the same material, and more.

Swann's five minute presentation on ancient DNA suffers not only from the lack of visuals but intermittent audio.

Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements

Between 1831 and 1920, more than 45,000 advertisements were placed in “The Boston Pilot" newspaper by recent Irish immigrants looking for family who had come over earlier, by relatives back in Ireland, or by families seeking information on people who had moved elsewhere looking for employment. This database now on Ancestry includes indexed images of those extracts.