30 September 2013

BIFHSGO conference handouts

For BIFHSGO members: 16 conference handouts are now posted to the members only section of the society website. They are:

  • 30 June 1922: Did Everything Blowup? by Eileen M. Ó Dúill
  • Are They Really my Ancestors? Using Autosomal DNA to Tests to Confirm (or Deny) Relationships and Ancestors by Linda L. Reid
  • Around the Brick Wall:  Tracing Back an Irish Family Through Collateral Lines by Linda L. Reid
  • Come to Ireland to Find Your Ancestors by Eileen M. Ó Dúill
  • Genealogical Cold Cases: A Step-by-Step Process by Lisa Louise Cooke
  • Genealogy on the Go with the iPad Tablet by Lisa Louise Cooke
  • Irish Civil Records and the Sad Story of Irish Census Losses, Part 1 by Eileen Ó Dúill
  • Irish Civil Records, Part 2 by Eileen Ó Dúill
  • Irish Genealogy, Where do I Start? by Eileen Ó Dúill
  • Progress Report on Irish Genealogy: Are Things Getting Better? by Eileen M. Ó Dúill
  • Tap into Your Inner Private Eye: 8 Strategies for Finding Living Relatives by Lisa Louise Cooke
  • The Ulster Detective by Sher Leetooze
  • Using Family Tree Maker Software to Record and Share Your Family History Workshop by Rick Roberts
  • Using Google Earth for Genealogy Workshop by Lisa Louise Cooke
  • What You Must Know To Save Your Research from Destruction and Ensure Its Future Survival by Lisa Louise Cooke

It couldn't be done

In tacking your genealogical brick walls you may get inspiration from one of these poems.

The first was quoted by Rev Bruce North at the British Home Child event last Saturday.

by Edgar Albert Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
      But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
      Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
      At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
      And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
      Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
      The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
      Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

(from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173579 )

The one I'm more familiar with this:

Somebody said that it couldn't be done--
But he, with a grin, replied,
He'd never be one to say it couldn't be done--
Leastways, not 'til he'd tried.
So he buckled right in, with a trace of a grin,
By golly, he went right to it!
He tackled The Thing That Couldn't Be Done!
And he couldn't do it.

(from a collection at http://littlecalamity.tripod.com/Poetry/Parodies.html )

England, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Parish Registers, 1603-1910

FamilySearch now includes just under one million index records inked to 424,016 images for Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire parish registers, 1603-1910 sourced from Manchester Archives and Local Studies. These are for the Church of England. There was considerable Nonconformist adherence in the area, but you may still find nonconformists using the established church, especially for marriages.
Researchers with ancestry in this area will know that there is an industrialized area mainly in Lancashire which spills into the two adjacent counties. In this case the Cheshire records are for Staleybridge andAshton-under-Lyne. Yorkshire records are for Dobcross, Holy Trinity; Lydgate, St Anne; Saddleworth, St Chad; and Saddleworth, St Thomas.

Cemetery Perambulations

Returning from the British Home Child Day event at Upper Canada Village on Saturday I was asked to stop at Springhill Cemetery, in Osgoode Township just north of Vernon on highway 31. It was a delightful afternoon and the down-slope toward the west of much of the ground we trod enhanced the lighting.
Anne Sterling, BIFHSGO secretary, wanted to look for grave markers for the Acres family; she knew a branch of her tree bearing that name had lived in the area. Under such conditions wandering around the well tended grounds was a delight, with just a few flying insects to mar the enjoyment.
Googling on my iphone returned 49 entries at www.canadianheadstones.com from the more than 5,000 entries for that cemetery.
Even though this isn't a large cemetery by urban standards we only explored part. Another cemetery website, at www.gravemarkers.ca has also photographed the cemetery and includes a map showing seven sections. We were fortunate we only explored section 2 as it contains two-thirds of the Acres monuments.

A marker memorializing A Russell Dow, a causality of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, caught my attention. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Alexander Russell Dow is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial. He had moved west to pursue farming near Swift Current, Saskatchewan, enlisting with the 128th Battalion in 1916 and was serving with the 28th when killed. With the forthcoming WW1 event at Nepean Centrepointe on Saturday 26th October I'm especially alert for WW1 memorials.

I wondered about cemeteries in England that might be photographed. My impression is that there are few major websites with English gravestone photographs. http://www.gravestonephotos.com/ has over half a million names with best coverage in Suffolk and Yorkshire.  Am I missing an important resource?
To end this perambulation, note deceasedonline.com will be changing the way documents are priced and how you pay for them although prices will not change. That is scheduled to occur on Wednesday 9th October. The company is also promising "tens of thousands of 'lost' burial records in over 200 closed cemeteries and sites across the UK. These records, digitized by us at The National Archives, will be available on the website within the next two weeks."

29 September 2013

Ontario British Home Children Day

The third annual British Home Children Day was celebrated in ideal weather at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg on Saturday.

The commemoration started at the old Aultsville station with the two national flags piped in and the singing of God Save the Queen.

Beside the two flags and a tree planted on the first British Home Child Day there were brief welcoming speeches by dignitaries, including Jim Brownell, the MPP who championed the bill to proclaim the day through the Ontario Legislature.

A highlight of a session of home child stories was the presentation by Rev Bruce North of a Barnardo Bible.

John Sayers was kept busy throughout the day advising home child descendant on how best to find out the story of their ancestor.

Author Sandra Joyce read from her book "The Street Arab"; Brad Barns from "The Reluctant Canadian" and Beryl Young from "Charlie".

The day ended with a dinner at the Royal Canadian Legion, Morrisburg.

28 September 2013

The Devon Wills Project 1312-1891

The Exeter Probate Registry was destroyed in by bombing during the Blitz in 1942. A project to trace and reconstruct as much of the information that was lost as possible has been ongoing.
An index of more than 132,000 records of probate documents from Devon, and, to a lesser extent Cornwall, is fully searchable FREE online at http://www.origins.net/NationalWills/Search/devon/searchdevonwills.aspx?

27 September 2013

British Home Children Day

September 28th 2013 is British Home Children Day in Ontario, celebrating the contributions and achievements of the more than 100,000 children who came to Canada from 1869 under the auspices of programs operated by various agencies. The most prominent was Barnardos although more children came under programs operated by other organizations.

The program at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg starts at 10am

Nova Scotia Census, Assessment and Poll Tax Records, 1767-1827

The following will be of interest to those with early Nova Scotia ancestry.

The newest online resource produced by the Nova Scotia Archives presents six different census, assessment and poll tax lists compiled across a sixty-year period in colonial Nova Scotia, yielding a total of 22,283 named individuals.

Come and take a look -- http://gov.ns.ca/nsarm/virtual/census/.

via a post by Lauren Oostveen of Nova Scotia Communities, Culture, and Heritage

Chinook, October 2013 issue

The October issue of the Alberta Family Histories Society quarterly journal Chinook, vol. 34, no. 1, is now available to members. "Technological Advances in Genealogical Research" with an emphasis on mobile  technology is the theme. The feature articles, many by internationally recognized genealogists, are:

The Future of Genealogical Software – James Tanner
Tablet Tips for Mobile Genealogy – Lisa Louise Cooke
The Seduced Genealogist – Randall J. Seaver
15 iPad Tips for Genealogy – Caroline M. Pointer
Ethics in the Information Age: Intellectual Property Issues – Michael Hait
What’s Out There  – Linda Murray
Keep Your Digital Records Safe: Strategies for Backing Up Your Data – Dawn Turner
Computer Tricks – Jim Benedict
An Acadian Family: Finding the Meransons in the English Archives – Paul Delaney

26 September 2013

Canada, St. Lawrence Steamboat Company Passenger Lists, 1819-1838

Ancestry has added 187,465 records for those with early Canada interests. Canada, St. Lawrence Steamboat Company Passenger Lists, 1819-1838 includes passenger and freight lists from trips between Montreal and Québec City on the St Lawrence River.
The graph shows year by year the number of entries, each of which may include a whole family or group.
In addition to Montreal and Quebec the ports of Berthier, Sorel, Three Rivers are mentioned.
Sourced from the Rare Books and Special Collections at the McGill University Library.
The Ships List has a free transcription of these records and more detailed contextual information.

Rockstar Genealogists: more on Britain and Ireland

A comment came in on asking about the top Irish Rockstar Genealogist. The international list posted here mentioned that Chris Paton was the top vote-getter, population weighted, from the UK and Ireland combined. Breaking it down further:
Chris Paton is the top Scotland-resident Rockstar Genealogist. If I recall correctly he was born in Ireland;
Audrey Collins is the top England-resident Rockstar Genealogist. She was born in Scotland;
John Grenham is the top Ireland-resident Rockstar Genealogist.

Cork Past and Present

Yet another example of the value of local libraries for the genealogist, especially if they move into the online digital age, is in the online collection Cork Past and Present.
It came to my attention via a tweet pointing to an item on Claire Santry's blog on the addition of a few Cork city directories to the collection. There are now 25 spanning 1753 to 1945.
Don't stop at the directories. Cork Past and Present has a genealogy section including:

Gillman's Index to the Marriage Licence Bonds of the Diocese of Cork and Ross, an index of marriage licence bonds made in Cork and Ross between the years 1623 and 1750.

Green's Index to Marriage Licence Bonds: Cloyne for marriage licence bonds made in the diocese of Cloyne between the years 1630 and 1800.

Phillimore's Irish Wills - Volume II: Cork & Ross, Cloyne with references to an estimated 6,400 wills from as early as 1548 to 1800.

There's more worth the attention of the Cork interest genealogist.

25 September 2013

6,944,464 becomes 6,945,754 at BNA

For months the page count at the British Newspaper Archive has been stuck. We've been told they're "busy working on upgrading our newspaper ingest and post-processing system."

Last week they announced that "new pages will begin to appear on the site later this week." It didn't quite happen, but now an additional 1,290 pages have appeared, for the Southern Reporter for 1926.

It's a modest restart. They announce they will be "gradually increasing to almost double the previous process limits of about 10,000 pages/day."

Also, from BNA partner in the brightsolid stable, findmypast.com, there is now an Irish newspaper collection. The papers and number of pages are: Belfast Morning News (244,591); Belfast News-Letter(450,369); Cork Examiner(421,346); Dublin Evening Mail(226,519); Freeman's Journal(553,667); Sligo Champion(16,652)

England and Wales Census Consultation

Changing technology makes it important that government keep the means it uses to achieve its goals under review. This is as true for the census as for any other aspect of government operations.
In the UK the Office of National Statistics has started a consultation on the census for England and Wales. A consultation document (pdf) points out that while many European countries have for many years kept a file on each citizen which includes much of the information that would be collected in a census this is not the case in the UK. Neither is it the case in Canada (as far as we know).
The census has always been primarily to provide information for the operation of government. Genealogy and social science has benefitted, but as an afterthought. Some believe the primary goals can now be achieved by means other than a census, just as the Harper government in Canada replaced the long-form census in 2011 with a survey.
Without doubt the result of the consultation for England and Wales will be examined by Canadian authorities in looking at the way forward. So it's important their consultation includes input from the genealogical community. We must not be marginalized. I look to the Society of Genealogists, amongst others, to represent the community interest. It's one reason I choose to support SOG through a membership.
Peter Calver in his most recent Lost Cousins newsletter notes another document, a draft Statement of Users’ Requirements: Genealogists and Social Researchers, which ends with the sentence:

None of the alternative sources of information mentioned above match the primary merit of the Census as a “universal snapshot” of almost everyone present in the country at a particular time.

Worth watching.

University of Manitoba Digital Collection

The newly available University of Manitoba Digital Collection contains "rare and unique digital material about the University and the province of Manitoba. It currently has 75,000 digitized items including correspondence, photos, books, newspapers, and film freely accessible for browsing, searching, and downloading low- or high-resolution copies."
The collection includes "hundreds of UofM photographs; a complete set of the UofM yearbook, the Brown and Gold; the 1969 UMSU-produced film And No Birds Sing; several collections of photographs pertaining to Manitoba's medical history; and a small collection of 1880s portraits of Winnipeg Indigenous peoples. A few of our more popular digital collections have also migrated over to UM Digital Collections, including the Hamilton Family séance photos and the Winnipeg Tribune. New content will be continually added to the site"
For family historians digitized copies of the Winnipeg Tribune for the years of the Second World War will likely be the highlight.
Access the UM Digital Collections at http://digitalcollections.lib.umanitoba.ca/.

24 September 2013

Wales, Court and Miscellaneous Records, 1542-1911 at FamilySearch

Sourced from the National Library of Wales, FamilySearch.org are making available over 200,000 images from the record sets below. They are mostly from well before civil registration and the census, and a challenge to read. The most accessible are the marriage bonds for St Asaph and St David.

Consistory Court papers
Carmarthenshire 1664-1830

Court records-Crown Books
Carmarthenshire 1614-1666
Flintshire 1564--1637

Court records-gaol files
Breconshire 1660-1727
Cardiganshire 1702 -1730
Denbighshire 1545-1808
Flintshire 1542-1730
Glamorganshire 1660-1724
Merionethshire 1661-1727
Montgomeryshire 1730 only
Pembrokeshire 1727-1730
Radnorshire 1728-1730

Marriage bonds
St Asaph, 1611-1911 (211 volumes)
St David, 1601-1903 (88 volumes)
Appear to be in English and some earlier volumes also in Latin

Memoranda of the Great Sessions
Carmarthenshire 1707-1756

BIFHSGO Conference final afternoon

In the Research Room at last weekend's BIFHSGO conference attendees made good use of free trial access to ancestry.ca, britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk, findmypast.com, irishtimes.com/ancestor, rootsireland.ie, thegenealogist.co.uk.
When those proved inadequate to break down genealogical brick walls an unconventional box shaped brick wall was available for people to post their problems. These will be posted on the BIFHSGO web site in due course for others to peruse, and Research Room host Ken McKinlay will be reviewing some of them on his Family Tree Knots blog.

Even late on the final afternoon of the conference the Archive CD Books and Global Genealogy stands were attracting customers.

BIFHSGO President Glenn Wright and conference Program Chair Jane Down were in frequent consultation over issues throughout the conference.

Doug Hoddinott was always at hand to resolve audiovisual issues, here with Lisa Louise Cooke of the Genealogy Gems podcast. This was just prior to her final lecture in which she mentioned she has a Google alert set up for her name. I wonder if it works?

23 September 2013

The Irish Land Commission’s Dark Secrets

John Grenham's latest Irish Roots column describes the circumstances surrounding a collection of "wills, correspondence, estate records, family trees, lease-books, tenants’ lists, maps, deeds, correspondence and much more ... approximately 11 million separate items."

In the Republic these are not publicly accessible, for Northern Ireland they are openly available at PRONI.
Interesting that when Ireland is trying to attract genealogical tourism bureaucracy should be allowed to reign supreme.

BIFHSGO Conference: One Name Studies Panel

Elizabeth Kipp has posted her reflections on the session at the recent conference in which we participated as two members of a panel "Success Through One Name Studies" on her English Research from Canada blog.
I think she gives me too much credit for having a one name study, what I described in the session was really just a few tentative steps. I
 was pleased to learn that Elizabeth found the work she did in preparing for the session helpful in focusing her work.

Genealogy Roadshow starts tonight

A quick reminder that the new PBS series Genealogy Roadshow starts tonight, Monday evening. In Ottawa it is advertised to air at 9pm.

Rockstar Genealogists: International compilation

Here based on a population weighting the overall top ten Rockstar Genealogists for 2013 are:
1. Elizabeth Shown Mills
2. Thomas W. Jones
3. Dick Eastman
4. Thomas MacEntee
5. Judy Russell
6. John Philip Colletta, tied with
6. D. Joshua Taylor
8. Cyndi Howells
9. Megan Smolenyak
10. J. Mark Lowe
All the top ten are US residents, not surprising given the size of the US population. Top ranked for the UK/Ireland is Chris Paton, for Australia/New Zealand Jill Ball, and for Canada Alison Hare.
This international compilation does not include those who declined to give a residence or specified it as other. There are too few votes for the results to be significant for this "Other" category; top is Daniel Horowitz by a large margin.

22 September 2013

Genealogies of Valcartier, Quebec

Valcartier is a name that rings loud in Canadian history as the site of a military base quickly established in 1914 at the start of the First World War. The area, north and west of Quebec City, had a history before the expropriation for the base with considerable settlement by people from the UK and Ireland. This is nicely documented in the web pages Genealogies of Valcartier, Quebec, including Riviere aux Pins, Stoneham, Shannon and Ste-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier curated by Patricia Balkcom, a resident of Vermont, who attended the BIFHSGO conference.

OGS Toronto Branch September monthly meeting

On Monday, 23 September 2013, 7:30 p.m in the Burgundy Room at North York Memorial Hall OGS Toronto Branch features Cathy McNamara speaking on:
"How to Plan a Fabulous Family Reunion"
Genealogists like us feel close to our families mainly because we spend so much time researching our ancestors. If you are fortunate enough to have a family that organizes Family Reunions, you are lucky. Family Reunions can be daunting to organize but they are a perfect excuse to gather up all the family members young and old and celebrate being family. This presentation will take your through the ABC’s of planning a reunion, big or small, from start to finish and how to have some fun along the way. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to get involved with planning your next Fabulous Family Reunion.
There will also be a mini-presentation by Paul Jones "Determining how much confidence you should have in your genealogical inferences."

21 September 2013

Genealogy Roadshow

PBS in the US is borrowing an idea from Ireland for their new genealogy TV show which starts broadcasting on Monday.

The show researches family stories from ordinary Americans, features genealogists Kenyatta Berry and D Joshua Taylor, and is hosted by former news anchor Emmett Miller.


Rockstar Genealogists 2013: USA

Here, based on votes cast by those who self-identified as living in the USA, are the top vote getters, Rockstar Genealogists, for 2013.

1. Elizabeth Shown Mills
2. Thomas W. Jones
3. Judy Russell
4. John Philip Colletta
5. Megan Smolenyak
6. D. Joshua Taylor
7. J. Mark Lowe
8. Thomas MacEntee
9. Dick Eastman
10. Cyndi Howells

Here are some statistics:
All ten are from the US.
Four of the ten are women.
88% of people nominated received votes.
75% of respondents identified themselves as women.
The median number of votes cast was six
The most nominees selected by any one voter was 52.
Nolan Altman, Claire V. Brisson-Banks, Melinde Lutz Byrne, Karen Clifford, Laura DeGrazia, Linda Woodward Geiger, Paul Gorry, Patricia Law Hatcher, Harold Henderson, Mary Hill, Tonia Kendrick, Helen Leary, Dave McDonald, Linda Merle, Brian Mitchell, Debbie Mieszala, Anne Mordel, Sunny Morton, Eileen O Duill, Michael Ramage, Pamela Boyer Sayre and Richard G. Sayre, George K. Schweitzer, Maureen Taylor were mentioned as people who should have been nominated.
On Monday the blog reveals the international top ten Rockstar Genealogists based on national/area voting with population weightings.

20 September 2013

Rob More RIP

It is a great sadness to report the death of Rob More in the recent Ottawa bus-train collision of Wednesday, 18 September.
Rob was the son of Mike More, VP of the Ontario Genealogical Society and a mainstay of Ottawa family history, and Julie More.
Early this morning Mike forwarded these media articles, reflecting his pride in how Rob had thrived in recent years.

BIFHSGO conference starts today

I ventured into Library and Archives Canada on Thursday afternoon to find it buzzing with preparations for the BIFHSGO conference.
Tables were being set up, Gerry Glavin was moving in boxes of materials for the marketplace, Patty McGregor was laying out books for sale in a prominent corner of the lobby.
Doug Hoddinott was hard at it wrestling the A/V system into shape ready for the first pre-conference seminar on Friday morning. If there was a BIFHSGO Superstar Volunteer it would have to be Doug, and there would be many others to fill up the BIFHSGO Rockstar Volunteer list.

FMP adds royal household records

In association with the Royal Archives findmypast.co.uk has added over 380,000 searchable staff records from 1526 to 1924.
Information available, which varies, includes time in service, name, occupation, age, length of service and salary and in some instances signature.

Rockstar Genealogists 2013: UK and Ireland

Here, based on votes cast by those who self-identified as living in the UK or Ireland, are the top vote getters, Rockstar Genealogists, for 2013.
1. Kirsty Gray
2. Debbie Kennett
3. Else Churchill
3. Dick Eastman
5. Nick Barratt
6. Chris Paton
7. Jackie Depelle
8. Celia Heritage
9. Turi King
10. Audrey Collins
Here are some statistics:
Nine of the ten are from the area.
Seven of the ten are women.
81% of people nominated received votes.
54% of respondents identified themselves as women.
The median number of votes cast was five
The most nominees selected by any one voter was 17.
Brian Donovan, Janet Few, Tessa Keogh, Eileen M. O'Duill, and Rebecca Probert, were mentioned as people who should have been nominated.
Tomorrow the blog will reveal the US top ten Rockstar Genealogists..

19 September 2013

2.4 million Birmingham records added to Ancestry

Newly indexed at Ancestry, with image originals, are Church of England (Anglican) records for Birmingham, England's second city,
Birmingham, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1937: 828,910 records
Birmingham, England, Baptisms, 1813-1912: 700,147 records
Birmingham, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812: 551,771 records
Birmingham, England, Burials, 1813-1964: 314,983 records
Harborne, Birmingham, England, Confirmations, 1915-1931: 994 records
These are sourced from the Library of Birmingham.
From the same source are records from the Quarter Sessions
Birmingham, England, Calendar of Prisoners, 1880-1891 and 1906-1913: 6,429 records.

OGS Kingston Branch September meeting

Saturday, September 21st sees the first branch meeting of the season with Captain Brian Johnson speaking on "Ferry Tales," the history and genealogy of Kingston and Wolfe Island.
The meeting will be at the Central Branch, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson Street, Kingston, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Rockstar Genealogists 2013: Canada

Here, based on votes cast by those who self-identified as living in Canada, are the top vote getters, Rockstar Genealogists, for 2013.
1. Chris Paton
2. Elizabeth Shown Mills
3. Dick Eastman
4. Lisa Louise Cooke
4. Dave Obee
4. Glenn Wright
7. Lesley Anderson
7. Thomas MacEntee
9. Megan Smolenyak
10. Cyndi Howells
Here are some statistics:
Dave Obee and Glenn Wright tied as top Canadians
Three of the ten are from the area.
Five of the ten are women.
83% of people nominated received votes.
72% of respondents identified themselves as women.
The median number of votes cast was seven
The most nominees selected by any one voter was 33.
Elizabeth Briggs, Bruce Buzbee, and John D Reid were mentioned as people who should have been nominated.
Tomorrow the blog reveals the UK/Ireland list.

18 September 2013

Friends of Library and Archives Canada Booksale

This weekend sees not only the BIFHSGO conference, but also a major booksale organized by the Friends of Library and Archives Canada.
Get a peek behind the scenes and the volunteer work that goes on year round at Tunney's Pasture to make the sale possible in this video.
A second video features some of the rare material acquired for LAC as a result of the work of Friends volunteers.
Stop by, and pick up some bargains for your winter reading at the booksale, held at Ottawa's St Laurent Shopping Centre, September 20-22.

Rockstar Genealogists 2013: Australia and New Zealand

Here, based on votes cast by those who self-identified as living in Australia or New Zealand, are the top vote getters, Rockstar Genealogists, for 2013.
1. Jill Ball
2. Shauna Hicks
3. Chris Paton
4. Thomas MacEntee
5. Pauleen Cass
5. Sharn White
7. Judy Webster
8. Cyndi Howells
8. Eric Kopittke
The list includes all those, up to ten who received at least half the number of votes as the top vote getter. In this case only nine.
Here are some statistics:
Six of the nine are from the area.
Six of the nine are women.
56% of people nominated received votes.
81% of respondents identified themselves as women.
The median number of votes cast was six
The most nominees selected by any one voter was 26.
Russ Worthington and Caitlin Gow were mentioned as people who should have been nominated.
Fortunately I did not have to deal with a preferential voting system.
Tomorrow the blog will reveal the Canadian top ten Rockstar Genealogists.

OGS Quinte Branch September meeting

On Saturday 21 September Quinte Branch hosts Sandra Joyce, Director for Central Toronto of the British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association and author of“The Street Arab – The Story of a British Home Child"

Her talk is titled "British Home Children"

The time at place are as usual, 1pm at the Quinte West City Hall Library, 7 Creswell Drive, Trenton.

17 September 2013

Ottawa Historical Association Meeting

Last minute notice .. tonight

Irish Roots: economic benefit of digitized records

John Grenham devoted his latest Irish Roots column to an anecdote illustrating the benefit of digitized records.

Rockstar Genealogists: "Gold Medalists"

Join me in congratulating those receiving the most votes by those living in the specified countries/areas, the "gold medallists."

Australia/New Zealand
Jill Ball
Jill describes herself as an amateur Australian genealogist excited by Web2.0 applications. During her working life prior to "retirement" Jill was a Librarian, Teacher and Head of Information Technology. Jill's blog is Geniaus. Listen to an interview recorded at Roots\tech 2013 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjOssuJhsHc

Chris Paton
A former television producer and director on BBC history programmes, Chris is a Scottish-based genealogist, writer, lecturer and educator. He is perhaps best known in Canada for his British GENES blog, and having lectured at conferences in Ottawa, Toronto (also in Australia). Chris is an instructor with Pharos Teaching and |Tutoring
Chris will be a featured presenter at the Ontaio Genealogical Society conference in May 2014 hosted by the Niagara Peninsula Branch of OGS. Find information on Chris at
and an extract from a talk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYYfmPRe9Xs

Kirsty Gray
Number one with a bullet, Kirsty tops this list in the first year nominated.
Best known as Chairman of the Guild of One-Name Studies (www.one-name.org) having served as Secretary for six years, more recently, Kirsty has co-founded the Society for One-Place Studies (www.one-place-studies.org).
Kirsty, who has a science and teaching background, has her own company Family Wise Limited, is Director of English Studies with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies and is a popular writer and speaker on genealogical topics.

Elizabeth Shown Mills
For the second year the top-rated Rockstar Genealogist, as voted by US residents, is Elizabeth Shown Mills. Almost half (49%) the US residents who voted did so for Elizabeth by a large margin. For those who would like to know of her work further I suggest reading this profile and visiting her Historic Pathways website. Also watch this short video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY42QvEaV88
These are our Superstar Genealogists.
Over the next few days, starting with Australia/New Zealand tomorrow, the blog will reveal the top ten Rockstar Genealogists in each nation/area.

16 September 2013

Rockstar Genealogists: "Silver and Bronze Medalists

Here, as voted by those living in the specified countries/areas, are the Rockstar Genealogist "silver and bronze medallists."
Australia/New Zealand
Silver: Shauna Hicks - www.shaunahicks.com.au/
Silver: Elizabeth Shown Mills - http://historicpathways.com/
Bronze: Dick Eastman - http://blog.eogn.com/
Silver: Debbie Kennett - http://cruwys.blogspot.com/
Bronze: a tie
Dick Eastman - http://blog.eogn.com/
Silver: Thomas W Jones - http://goo.gl/FF9X4s, http://goo.gl/vIslXJ
Bronze: Judy Russell - www.legalgenealogist.com/
Congratulations to the medallists.
The "gold medallists", Superstar Genealogists, will be posted tomorrow.

Douglas Ivan Hepburn

Today, 16 September 2013, marks the 87th anniversary of the birth of Canadian strongman Doug Hepburn. Earlier in the month I threw out a challenge to establish his Scottish origins, and also those of US strongman Paul Anderson.
Spoiler Alert: This will document the case for Hepburn's Scottish ancestry.
A search on Google for Doug Hepburn finds a Wikipedia article giving his birth as 16 September 1926 in Vancouver. That's after the most recent available Canadian census and post-dates available BC birth records. Getting back to the period when the census and full civil registration records are available is often the tricky part.
Further Google searching finds a biography "Strongman: The Doug Hepburn Story" by Tom Thurston. While the book is listed on amazon.ca and amazon.com there is no look inside preview. However, amazon.co.uk does provide a preview. That's the bridge to historic documentation needed. According to that book, and in addition to confirming the birth, it gives his mother as Gladys Alberta Rundle born in Port Perry, Ontario, on 13 September, 1904; his father Ivan Clifford Hepburn born in Hope Bay, Ontario, on 20 April 1903.
There is an Ontario birth registration for Ivan Clifford Hepburn on 19 Jul 1897, son of Andrew Catto Hepburn and Ann E Landers. The birth date is different but given that his parents were divorced and he was raised with his mother's family perhaps that can be understood.
Ontario's marriage registration records show Andrew Hepburn's father to be Simpson Hepburn. That's consistent with the Strongman biography which mentions on page 22, not in the "look inside" preview, that Doug's great-grandfather Simpson Hepburn was renowned for his strength and was said to have knocked down an ox that turned on him with a single blow.
Googling Simpson Hepburn finds a website http://www.deeprootstalltrees.com/hepburn/d2.htm with
4. Simpson HEPBURN (Peter1) was born on September 19, 1830 in , , Aberdeenshire, Scotland,4 died on September 7, 1922 in Eastnor Twp, Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada4 aged 91, and was buried in 1922 in Colpoy's Bay, Bruce Co, Ontario, Canada.
Twelve children of Simpson are listed including Andrew Catto Hepburn.

There's additional evidence in the 1861 census with Simson Hepburn, age 30, born in Scotland, at Minto, Wellington, Canada West on a farm next to 61 year old and Scottish-born Peter Hepburn, and with a Catto family nearby.

A quick look at Scotlands People found no likely looking entry for Sim(p)son Hepburn. There are entries for the birth of a Peter Hepburn in Scotlands People, at Family Search and in the compiled genealogy above,

For the purposes of establishing a Scottish ancestry with reasonable confidence, but without confirming details, most would consider this adequate.

15 September 2013

Benefits of eighth cousin hood

An article from the Mail Online shows there can be benefits of knowing who are your distant cousins. Thanks to Gail Dever for the tip.


Rockstar Genealogists: announcement to come

Voting in the Rockstar Genealogists survey is now closed. Thanks to the 1,243 people who came to the site.

Some just wanted to see who was nominated, which is fine.  Nobody received fewer than 3 votes, and the vast majority were in double figures, which I interpret as meaning those nominated were credible candidates.

Thanks especially to the 784 who took the time to vote, 61% from the USA, 13% from England/Wales, 11% from Canada, 5% from Australia/New Zealand. Those who responded from Scotland and Ireland will be reported as part of a UK/Ireland category.

About three-quarters of those responding were women.

I think you'll find the results interesting, and likely helpful to those planning events and those looking for guidance on who to follow.

Here's the planned release schedule:

Monday 16 September, "silver and bronze medallists" in various categories
Tuesday 17 September, "gold medallists" in various categories
Wednesday 18 September, Australia/New Zealand top ten
Thursday 19 September, Canada top ten
Friday 20 September, UK/Ireland top ten
Saturday 21 September, USA top ten
Sunday 22 September, on the seventh day he rested
Monday 23 September, International compilation.

Revisit RootsTech 2013

Looking for some genealogical brain food? Try a helping of one of the archived presentations from RootsTech 2013. https://rootstech.org/about/videos/

14 September 2013

GenealogyInTime Magazine

Lunching with a group of knowledgeable genealogist friends last Saturday I was surprised they seemed unaware of Ottawa-based Genealogy In Time magazine.
Quoting from a March 2009 ACC post:
"Originally from Vancouver, Miles Whittingham has lived in Ottawa for 15 years. Working as a materials engineer, and more recently in finance, he got into genealogy several years ago following the death of his 102 year old grandmother.
Exploring the online world of genealogy he found lots of excellent websites but that it was difficult to find information that wasn't overwhelming. Miles says that Genealogy in Time and a weekly newsletter "coming soon" will not focus so much on breaking the latest news, Dick Eastman does that well, especially for US news, but take a more Canadian and international perspective. It will focus on insight, the how and why, rather than the what of the news."

Four years later the weekly newsletter is a regular on my reading list.
Yesterday massive additions to the records searched were announced. From the press release:
• An additional 532 million free genealogy records from around the world are now searchable. In total, the Genealogy Search Engine indexes 2.7 billion records from over 1,000 websites.
• In a first for a genealogy website, the entire Google Newspaper Archive can now be searched by the Genealogy Search Engine. This extremely valuable archive covers over 2,000 historic newspapers going back as far as the 1700s.
• The massive Australian Trove archive can now be completely searched with the Genealogy Search Engine.

Ancestry updates border crossing collection

Ancestry's Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 was recently updated, now with more than 5 million records.
There's a full listing of the sources at http://search.ancestry.com/search/dbextra.aspx?dbid=1075

FYI: those white cotton gloves

WDYTYA is fond of showing their featured personalities donning white gloves to handle original materials. It's good television I suppose. But it isn't necessarily good archival practice. That's according to information from the University of Reading and the British Library referenced at http://reclamationandrepresentation.blogspot.ca/2013/09/archives-and-white-gloves-myth.html
Knowing this probably won't help when you encounter a worker bee employee at an archives paid and required to follow the institutions protocol rather than think.

13 September 2013

A new family history blog: Family Tree Knots

BIFHSGO colleague Ken McKinlay has entered the blogosphere. In his first post at http://familytreeknots.blogspot.ca he introduces himself by way of the story of his family history investigations which date back 15 years.

Ken contributes. He has given several presentations for BIFHSGO, is organizing the research room at the BIFHSGO conference starting next Friday and will be speaking at the Canada in the First World War event sponsored by the Ottawa Public Library on October 26 at Nepean Centrepointe.
Join me in welcoming Ken to the blogosphere. Speaking from experience, new bloggers especially welcome visitors to the blog, and encouraging comments; and so do the veterans!

Thomas MacEntee webinar on "You Use WHAT for Genealogy? Wonderful Uses for Unusual Tools"

I rarely get around to watching the Legacy Family Tree webinars, hosted by Geoff Rasmussen.

One given on Wednesday by the irrepressible Thomas MacEntee, You Use WHAT for Genealogy? Wonderful Uses for Unusual Tools, caught my attention. Apparently over 1,000 people watched live online. I made a 60 minutes space in my schedule the next day to watch the recording, and I'm glad I did.

Thomas covers a series of online tools including EasyBib, Evernote, Dropbox, several useful Google tools, and others. Recommended, and free online until September 19th.

Also, watch the webinar and Geoff will tell you how you can get free access to a series of his Legacy webinars until September 16th.


Rockstar Genealogist voting ends soon

There's been an encouraging response to this survey. There are already enough responses to provide separate Rockstar Genealogist lists for Australia/New Zealand, Canada, UK and Ireland, and the USA. Considerably more responses from Ireland and Scotland would be needed to provide a finer disaggregation for the British Isles.

Voting will close late on Saturday. Count yourself in.

OGS Ottawa Branch September Meeting

Saturday, September 14, 2013 is the date for the next monthly meeting of the Ottawa Branch when Shirley-Ann Pyefinch will present on “FamilySearch for now and into the future”
In this presentation, Shirley-Ann will detail the features of the FamilySearch website, explain how to use the tools and information resources available in order to create and leave a legacy for future generations. Shirley-Ann Pyefinch has served since 2005 as the Director for the Ottawa Ontario Stake family history centre of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has lectured at various societies and conferences. Shirley-Ann also teaches family history classes, preservation workshops and hosts annual family history conferences at the centre.
Time: 1:00 pm
Location: City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Dr., Ottawa
The Computer Special Interest Group will convene immediately following this meeting.

12 September 2013

Doors Open: Quinte

BIFHSGO receives a copy of the Morpeth Roll

A copy of The Morpeth Roll has now been received for the BIFHSGO Library. It should be available sometime next week at the Library which is housed at the Ottawa City Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive.

When Lord Morpeth ended his term as Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1841 about 150,000 signatures were placed on the roll of thanks. With a population of 8 million plus the Morpeth Roll is a significant list of names of some 3-4% of Ireland's population in 1841 although often without any other information but name. Good luck determining which of 86 John Smiths is yours!

The roll is available indexed on Ancestry.

QFHS September Meeting

On Saturday, September 14, 2013 the Quebec Family History Society will host a presentation by teacher and writer Patricia Burns.

The topic is the subject of her recent book "Life on the Home Front: 1939-1945" and covers the Montreal “scene”, night life, war industries, political strife, family life and how Montreal was changed by the war.

The meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. In the Briarwood Presbyterian Church Hall, 70 Beaconsfield Blvd. Beaconsfield, Quebec. Free Admission. All welcome. Information: 514-695-1502 or www.qfhs.ca.


11 September 2013

Phil Donnelly in conversation

The Don Whiteside lecture is named for the man who was the inspiration for the founding of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa. He died shortly before it was established. In his honour an annual lecture is presented as the opening event at the Society annual conference.
This year the lecturer is Phil Donnelly who was born in Ireland in the 1930s and came to Canada at age 22. Hear my interview with Phil, and interviews with each of the other conference speakers, from the News section, front and centre at www.bifhsgo.ca.

Family History Activity Survey: outside North America

The vast majority of responses to this survey were from North America. The remainder, only ten, were from Australia (4), UK and Ireland (6). I doubt the sample is large enough to have any statistical significance, so report results only to assuage the thirst of the curious.

100% subscribed to Ancestry, 60% to FindMyPast, 40% to The Genealogist. I was surprised only 20% subscribed to Genes Reunited.
Family Tree Maker showed as the leading genealogy software, as in North America. Second was Family Historian, ahead of Roots Magic and Legacy.
Just under half the respondents have no genealogy magazine subscription although several indicated they occasionally purchased one of read them at a library. Australian responses showed Inside History magazine to be popular.
60% of respondents reported no volunteer activity.
40% of respondents were in their 50s, the same percent in their 60s. This is a younger sample than the North American. Consistent with the age, and perhaps accounting for a lower level of volunteering, only 50% were retired. Again, as in North America, lack of time was the most cited obstacle to progress in family history studies.

10 September 2013

FreeBMD September update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Saturday 7 Sepember 2013 and currently contains 231,897,137 (231,194,115 at the previous 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 1967-70.

Canada in the First World War

On 26 October, Honour your First World War ancestors!
Archivist and historian Glenn Wright will explain how to search for information on your military ancestor in his or her service record.
Genealogist Ken McKinlay will provide a case study of an individual.
In the afternoon, historian and strategic analyst Andrew Godefroy will present The Ontario Genealogical Society Ottawa Branch's Ryan Taylor Memorial Lecture on the contributions of Canada and Ottawa to the Great War.
Bring your Great War memorabilia for display or identification!
Offered by the Ottawa Public Library in partnership with the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa and the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society.
Registration is not required.
Saturday Oct 26, 2013 (9:00 am - 3:30 pm ) at Centrepointe, former Nepean Council Chanber.

09 September 2013

Irish Lives Remembered

The free online Irish Lives Remembered Genealogy Magazine, September issue, is now available at www.irishlivesremembered.com. Worth a look.

Rockstar Genealogist(s) voting underway

There has been a good influx of folk votimg for their favorites. Now more than 500 people have come to vote. Thank you.

If you haven't voted count yourself in at http://goo.gl/hQs3GK

If your favorite isn't on the list, sorry. Nominations were open on the blog for a week. You can write them in using the comments section at the end of the survey.

If you are denied access to vote it could be someone has already used that computer to vote.
Voting will close on Sunday.

FamilySearch now has England, Derbyshire, Church of England, Church Records

Transcriptions of Church of England parish registers for 1,474,822 baptisms, marriages/banns, and burials for dates in the range 1538 to 1910 are now available at familysearch.org.

The Juggler’s Children

Governor General Award nominated author Carolyn Abraham reads from her recent book The Juggler’s Children. Nepean Centrepointe Library (Chamber), November 16, 2:00-3:00. Registration required. http://is.gd/wwfs8e

08 September 2013

Lesley Anderson returns to Ottawa Catholic School Board Continuing Education

Lesley Anderson, popular Ottawa genealogy lecturer, is returning to present courses and workshops for the Ottawa Catholic School Board.
There are two one-day workshops which will be offered twice, in the fall and the winter.
Level 1 (fall) and 2 (winter) courses are designed to give a good grounding for the beginner or near beginner.
Here are the details, extracted from the catalog at http://continuingeducation.ottawacatholicschools.ca/media.php?mid=1028,in chronological order.
Searching Effectively on Ancestry
This workshop will provide an overview of Ancestry.
Topics include: getting started, membership/logging in; customizing your home page; quick links and message boards; shoebox; keywords; card catalog; viewing, printing and saving images; Ancestry Member Connect; what’s new and where
to find help! We’ll also look at the various searches: global search, category search and websearch, as well as the different search options: exact matches,
variations and wildcards. Note: participants will have access to Ancestry.ca/ World Deluxe. They will also have to bring a memory stick to class as well as their research info (i.e. family group sheets or pedigree charts) in order to conduct searches in class.
Lesley Anderson
Fall Dates 2013
Workshop, 9:00 am-12:00 pm $25 + HST
St. Pius X Sat Sept 28 (49002)
Genealogy – Level 1
Come and rattle those bones in your family tree! This is a fun 8-week course on how to get started using both online computer resources and offline community resources. We will concentrate on using Ancestry’s genealogical databases and other Internet websites. We will be discussing: Getting Organized, Good Genealogy Websites, Civil Registration, Parish Records and Census Records. Two classes will be spent on field trips.
Lesley Anderson
Fall Dates 2013
8 Weeks, 7:00 pm-9:00 pm $110 + HST
Holy Trinity Wed Start Oct 2 (49000)
Starting your Online Family Tree
The workshop will cover the following: managing your online tree (privacy settings, inviting others & viewing); profile pages; tree hints – auto searching;
attaching records to someone in your tree; source citation; viewing & printing a family tree – group sheets & pedigree charts; member connect – merging info from other family trees & contacting other members. We’ll also answer the questions what happens when I leave ancestry as a paying member? Finally we’ll have an overview of Family Tree Maker 2012 Software for computers. Note:
participants will have access to Ancestry.ca/World Deluxe. They will also have to bring a memory stick to class as well as their research info (i.e. family group sheets or pedigree charts) in order to conduct searches in class.
Lesley Anderson
Fall Dates 2013
Workshop, 9:00 am-12:00 pm $25 + HST
St. Pius X Sat Oct 5 (49003)
Searching Effectively on Ancestry
This workshop will provide an overview of Ancestry.
Topics include: getting started, membership/logging in; customizing your home page; quick links and message boards; shoebox; keywords; card catalog; viewing, printing and saving images; Ancestry Member Connect; what’s new and where
to find help! We’ll also look at the various searches: global search, category search and websearch, as well as the different search options: exact matches,
variations and wildcards. Note: participants will have access to Ancestry.ca/World Deluxe. They will also have to bring a memory stick to class as well as their research info (i.e. family group sheets or pedigree charts) in order to conduct searches in class.
Lesley Anderson
Winter Dates 2014
Workshop, 9:00 am-12:00 pm $25 + HST
St. Pius X Sat Jan 25 (19002)
Genealogy – Level 2
We continue on our quest to find our ancestors… This course will discuss: Review of Level 1 Resources, Passenger Lists, Online Family Trees, Military
Records and Other Records. We will concentrate on using the Ancestry.ca website and other Internet resources. One class will be taken up with a field trip.
Lesley Anderson
Winter Dates 2014
8 Weeks, 7:00 pm-9:00 pm $110 + HST
Holy Trinity Wed Start Jan 29 (19000)
Starting your Online Family Tree
The workshop will cover the following: managing your online tree (privacy settings, inviting others & viewing); profile pages; tree hints – auto searching;
attaching records to someone in your tree; source citation; viewing & printing a family tree – group sheets & pedigree charts; member connect – merging info from other family trees & contacting other members. We’ll also answer the questions what happens when I leave ancestry as a paying member? Finally we’ll have an overview of Family Tree Maker 2012 Software for computers. Note:
participants will have access to Ancestry.ca/World Deluxe. They will also have to bring a memory stick to class as well as their research info (i.e. family group sheets or pedigree charts) in order to conduct searches in class.
Lesley Anderson
Winter Dates 2014
Workshop, 9:00 am-12:00 pm $25 + HST
St. Pius X Sat Feb 1 (19003)
For further information or registration call 613-228-3338, or go online to
If you press Lesley she may tell you of her genealogical connection to Al Capone! http://metronews.ca/news/regina/778810/documentary-searches-for-truth-in-al-capones-rumoured-saskatchewan-history/

07 September 2013

Rockstar Genealogist(s): voting now open

Choose your favourites from more than 100 nominees from the English-speaking world. Let them know you appreciate their contributions. Help folks organizing a speaker program to know who is popular internationally and in different regions. This is the second year of the survey. Tell your friends. Ask them to vote, suggest who to vote for and multiply the power of your vote.

Vote from here

Champlain colloquium

In this the year of the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's exploration along the the Ottawa River Carleton University's History Department is hosting a colloquium looking at the significance. It will be on September 19-20. There is no registration fee, but attendants should register in advance. More information at http://champlaincolloquium.wordpress.com/

That Ancestry/FamilySearch agreement

You've likely seen news that Ancestry.com and FamilySearch have announced

"an agreement that is expected to make approximately 1 billion global historical records available online and more easily accessible to the public for the first time. With this long-term strategic agreement, the two services will work together with the archive community over the next five years to digitize, index and publish these records from the FamilySearch vault."
You'll perhaps recall that in indexing the US 1940 census Ancestry.com was in competition with a consortium including FamilySearch and Findmypast. FMP has had an agreement with FamilySearch for some years which has made limited index information available on FamilySearch with a link to FMP for the full record. In the cooperation game Ancestry is playing catch-up.

Is further cooperation a trend? In Canada we now have, apparently,  an agreement between LAC and Canadiana.ca which would see collection images from LAC freely available from Canadiana with indexes developed available on a subscription basis. But where will Canadiana get the indexes? Without indexing finding what you want is very labourous, as shown by the Upper Canada Sundries. Canadiana don't have deep pockets, and no volunteer indexers.

Maybe one of the big players, and Ancestry is the biggest, or FindMyPast which is gently targetting the Canadian market, could strike a deal which would give Canadiana affordable access to indexing services. Or maybe Canadiana could strike a deal with FamilySearch.

06 September 2013

Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum online collection

The renowned Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada has a Regimental Museum which includes an archival collection with materials dating back to the 1860′s. A selection of this material is being digitized. Presently freely available online are:

Nominal Rolls: 1866 to 1882 (pdf – 95.5 MB)
Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Book of Remembrance 1866-1918
Book of Remembrance 1866 to 1918 (pdf – 18.7 MB)
Regimental Orders 1868 to 1874 (pdf – 75.3 MB)
Regimental Orders 1875 to 1880 (pdf – 87.2 MB)
Regimental Orders 1886 to 1892 (pdf – 108 MB)
Regimental Orders 1892 to 1897 (pdf – 121 MB)
1885 Lt Cassels NW Field Force Diary
Rfn Forin’s 1885 NW Rebellion Diary
00223 - QOR RSOs March 31st 1880 - Capt Lawrence Buchan (pdf 1.8 MB)
00224 - QOR RSOs March 28th 1894 - Capt M. S. Mercer (pdf 1.2 MB)
00222 - QOR RSOs May 22nd 1925 - Col Reginald Pellatt (pdf 3.2 MB)
3rd Bn CEF Nominal Roll (pdf 7.8 MB)
95th Bn CEF Nominal Roll (1.86 MB)
166th Bn CEF Nominal Roll (5.23 MB)
198th Bn CEF Nominal Roll (4.97 MB)
255th Bn CEF Nominal Roll (1.72 MB)
Official Nominal Roll of “B” Company QOR just prior to D-Day (pdf 1.2 MB)

Access through http://qormuseum.org/archives/

Thanks to Glenn Wright and Jane MacNamara for this information.

For those in the Toronto area, a reminder that Jane is offering a course Basic Genealogy and Family History designed for those just beginning to research or looking to upgrade basic research skills.
The 8-week course starts at 1:30 pm on Wednesday, October 2. See  http://goo.gl/NznTq9 for more details.

Anglo-Celtic Roots: Fall 2013

Steam-boat captains, a practical botanist, an NHL star, Benedictines, the illegitimate child of a Norfolk landed gentleman; ACR editor Jean Kitchen has rounded up a motley set of characters to populate the Fall issue of BIFHSGO's quarterly chronicle.
Pride of place has to go to what may be the longest article to have ever appeared in ACR, 16 pages. That includes three pages of reference notes, enough to bring joy to the heart of the genealogical professional, or pedant. In The Cowley Family Saga Christine Jackson recounts a connection to the Champlain astrolabe in this the 400th anniversary of Champlain's voyage on the Ottawa River, tracing a path from a child immigrant orphaned shortly after arriving in Montreal to the NHL, with lots of twists in-between. And it's only the first part of the story; the second will trace the family well back in England, although not likely to Charlemagne as in a recent WDYTYA episode!
The Benedictines come in an article by Bryan Cook, a follow-on to a previous ACR article. He lets us in on an obscure source for information on several congregations of Benedictine monks and more than 5,500 pupils of the schools of the congregations giving surname, Christian name, origin in the UK by county and town, dates of entry and departure.
If you've given up on researching a name that seems too common, although less so than Smith, Gillian Leitch's story of her odyssey, and the reward in pursuing the origins of her ancestor John Cutler may prove encouraging.
The regular columns and information on society activities round out the issue.
Anglo-Celtic Roots is a benefit of membership in the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.

From the UK to Valleyfield, Quebec

Owing to its location on the St Lawrence river the town of Valleyfield, properly Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, gained the moniker "The Venice of Quebec" for a while. Situated on an island upstream of Montreal, there's certainly a lot of water around. Even if there weren't any gondolas the water was an asset for industrial development in the late 19th and early 20th century. Paper and then cotton mills attracted immigrants from the UK.
Cotton manufacturing thrived under the entrepreneurial guidance of Ireland-born Andrew Frederick Gault from the 1870s, with the assistance of tariffs imposed by Sir  John A Macdonald's National Policy.
Skilled British immigrants to Valleyfield were important to the development including as part of the pre-WW1 immigration boom. An article in The Times of 11 October 1907 "Recruiting Skilled Labour for Canada" refers to the largest need for skilled labour being for spinners and weavers for the cotton mills of Montreal and Valleyfield, with 135 workers having recently come from Lancashire.
The workforce in the Valleyfield cotton mills grew to about 45% anglophone, 55% francophone. Now only 1% of the town's population is anglophone.

There was a largely anglophone sector of town with company built homes for workers, an English language school (Gault Institute, still in operation), cemetery, recreational facility and three Protestant churches, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian, all within a stones throw. Somewhat confusingly, with the formation of the United Church of Canada the Presbyterian church became the United Church, and now houses a museum; the Methodist church was taken over
by those Presbyterians who declined to join the United Church, and is now a restaurant. The Anglican Church, St Marks, was the victim of fire and a smaller Anglican Church now stands on the same site.
Today, just as the churches have been converted the remains of one of the cotton mills is now a hotel, conference centre and seniors residence. Most of the mill buildings are long gone, as is even the Zellers that subsequently stood on the same ground.
The Muso, which occupies the former United Church, is planning an exhibition for next year on the former cotton industry.
Thanks to Mathieu Tremblay of the Muso for information and Anne Sterling for the motivation for the visit.

05 September 2013

Last chance to nominate Rockstar Genealogists

Voting will start on Saturday. Check the list of nominees here and add any of your favourites missing.

TNA podcast: There and back again: going away doesn't mean staying away

One of my votes for Rockstar Genealogist, starting here on September 7, will be Audrey Collins. She gives such clear presentations, I take the opportunity to hear her anytime I can, be it in person or online.
The opportunity comes again with the most recent TNA podcast, originally presented on 8 August at Kew:

"It is easy to think of emigration as a one-way process, but not everyone who went to live in another country stayed there permanently. As more and more records are indexed online, you may find family members in unexpected places, and as a result discover that your ‘stay at home’ ancestors were more well-travelled than you thought."


BIFHSGO September monthly meeting

The new season of BIFHSGO monthly meetings gets underway this Saturday, September 7, 2013. The program is:

9:00 - 9:30 am Before BIFHSGO
Exploring the Find My Past Website By Judy Thamas

9:30 - 10:00 am Discovery Tables
Discover Scotland with Hugh Reekie

10:00 - 11:30 am Meeting Speaker
Little by Little from Co. Mayo to Fitzroy and Beyond By Brenda Krauter
In a quest to learn how the Little family came to Canada from Ireland during the Potato Famine, the story of a long ago family feud and a surprising discovery in an 1851 census record took Brenda on a search to find a signature to see if it would match a Grosse Ile record which would verify which Famine ship brought the family to Canada. This search led to finding unexpected information which also knocked down the brick wall created by the 1851 census record.

Get a taste of Brenda's presentation in this interview by Brooke Broadbent,

The meeting is at the usual location: Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Family History Activity Survey: US results

There were 20 responses to this survey from US residents, thanks to those who participated. With such a small sample the error margin in representing the US genealogical community will be large, but as the results parallel those for Canadians they're likely not too far off.

30% of respondents were not a member of a genealogical or family history society of some type. Membership across the various types of society was fairly evenly distributed with a many being members of more than one type.

Ancestry was the most frequent response to the query "I have a personal paid subscription to the following online databases". At 79% that was well ahead of Find My Past at 37%. Newspaper databases attracted 26% and My Heritage 16%,

As regards genealogy software, 55% use Family Tree Maker which is also the most used software as in Canada.

47% were subscribers to Family Tree Magazine (US), while the same number reported not subscribing to any commercial magazine. This is the one area where Canadian results are quite different, there Internet Genealogy magazine was the most popular.

Voluntary contributions were much as in Canada with 65 % of respondents mentioned doing some sort of volunteer activity.

80% of respondents were retired; 45% were in the 61-70 age category, 30% 71-80 years of age. That makes the average age of respondents slightly greater than Canadians.

04 September 2013

First World War Memories

The Sunday Telegraph in the UK is running a series on World War One. Last Sunday's edition happened to mention of my grand uncle, who gave his life, with information I did not have.  Read the article at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/inside-first-world-war/10273760/your-memories.html and scroll down for other WW1 stories.

Family History Activity Survey: Canadian results II

Two questions in the survey asked for feedback in written rather than multiple choice form.

In response to the prompt "The genealogy/family history resources I most value are" there were 89 responses. The Wordle below shows the words most frequently mentioned in a larger size.

Ancestry, got the most mentions with 34 ahead of "and" (32) and "family" (27). The most common two word phrase was "Family Search". The biggest surprise was that there were only three mentions of Google.

83 people responded to the prompt "My genealogy/family history activity would be most improved by:"

Unsurprisingly time was an issue with "more time" and "time to" two of the top three most frequently mentioned two-word phrases. "More time to" was the most frequently used three word phrase. "On line" and "access to" were also highly ranked in connection with records. Money was less frequently mentioned than I expected.