31 October 2013

Seven Wiltshire Council cemeteries now at Deceased Online

About 45,000 burial records from Wiltshire Council cemeteries are now available at deceasedonline.com. Here are the details:
Bradford-on-Avon Cemetery, Holt Road, Bradford-Upon-Avon.
Nearly 8,000 burial records, from 21st August 1856 to 7th April 1915, are available as computerised index data only. Burial records, from 21st April 1915 to 5th January 2010, are available as burial register scans in various formats with between 8 and 20 entries per scanned page.
Hilperton Cemetery, The Knap, Hilperton.
Approximately 1,000 burial records, from 2nd February 1907 to 27th January 2010, are available as burial register scans with 8 entries per scanned page.
Holt Cemetery, Gaston, Holt.
Approximately 1,500 burial records, from 19th April 1894 to 28th January 2010, are available as burial register scans with 20 entries per scanned page.
Melksham Cemetery, Western Way, Melksham.
Approximately 1,500 burial records, from 15th May 1945 to 4th January 2010, are available as burial register scans in various formats with between 8 and 20 entries per scanned page.
Trowbridge Cemetery, The Down, Trowbridge.
Nearly 21,000 burial records, from 10th April 1856 to 3rd January 2010, are available as burial register scans in various formats with between 8 and 30 entries per scanned page.
Warminster Cemetery (also known as Pine Lawns Cemetery), Folly Lane, Warminster.
Approximately 1,200 burial records, from 16th June 1970 to 4th December 2009, are available as burial register scans in various formats at various entries per scanned page.
Westbury Cemetery, Bratton Road, Westbury
Approximately 7,000 burial records are available. The First 3000+ burials dated 19th May 1857 to 10th February 1931 are available as computerised index data only. The following 4,000 burials dated 11th February 1931 to 25th January 2010, are available as burial register scans in various formats with between 8 and 29 entries per scanned page.

Halloween Postcards

The New York Public Library Flickr collection of haunted postcards,  http://goo.gl/Txg9Hd

via http://publicdomainreview.org/

Home ownership in England and Canada

Here's the result of a bit of surfing around for background for my family history. My parents moved into their first owner-occupied home in the mid-1950s. As far back as I know along the paternal line no one had previously owned a house; not unusual in England.
In 1918 only 23% of households in England and Wales were owner-occupied. That grew to 50% by 1971 and peaked at 69% in 2001. Those statistics are from a video produced for the Office of National Statistics.
Earlier statistics are questionable, aren't they always?  Estimates are (pdf) that between 13% and 22% of households could have been owner-occupied in 1831.

Property ownership was a major factor attracting immigrants to Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries. Owner occupancy was larger in rural Canada, but even in the cities it was larger than in England and Wales. Between 1905 and 1915 owner occupancy was 40-50% in Toronto with a trend for increased ownership in part accounted for by annexation of surrounding communities. The trend for urban worker immigrants to first settle in the city as renters, then purchase in the suburbs appears to be long established, see http://goo.gl/kT1MoK (pdf).  

By the latter half of the 20th century 60-70% of Canadian homes were owner occupied, comparable to England and Wales.

30 October 2013

Where to get your family history fix: 2 November

There are three options if you're looking for an Ontario family history event to attend this Saturday, November 2.

The largest is likely the 3rd Annual Genealogy Fair in Kitchener at the City Hall Rotunda.  Exhibitors and  free genealogy workshops. Presentations include:

Genealogy and the Law in Canada, with Professor Margaret Ann Wilkinson, University of Western Ontario
Ontario Wills and Estate Files for Family Historians, with Jane E. MacNamara, wherethestorytakesme.ca
Do Local History & Family History Mix? with Ruth Burkholder, RMB Genealogical Services
Roll Up Your Sleeves! A Trip to the Archives, with Amanda Hill, Archives Association of Ontario

Closer to Ottawa, The Lanark County Genealogical Society meets at the Lamark Archives, 1920 Concession 7 Road, Drummond Centre,  At 1:30 pm Brenda Krauter will present "Little by Little from Co. Mayo to Fitzroy and Beyond"

"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. Through her dedicated research she successfully knocked down the brick wall created by the 1851 census record."
Finally, OGS Simcoe Branch will host Marian Press speaking on "Googling for Genealogy". The meeting starts at 2 pm at the LDS Church, 79 Ferris Lane in Barrie.

29 October 2013

The Toronto Zoomer Show

I received a report about the Ontario Genealogical Society and National Institute for Genealogical Studies joint display at the Toronto Zoomer Show last weekend.
The good news is that the display was very busy, perhaps as busy as any in the show.
The bad is that mounting the display, including the cost of staffing it, was substantial. From an OGS point of view you have to look at the contribution to the society mission, which is to encourage, bring together and assist people interested in the pursuit of family history, and not just recruitment of new members and sales of publications, to make it worthwhile.

Findmypast.co.uk adds new Irish court records

The following is a new record announcement from findmypast.co.uk
We've added 2.3 million new records to our collection of Irish petty sessions court records!
The records let you discover fascinating details about your ancestors' petty crimes – from being drunk and disorderly to stealing and assault – and the punishments they received.
Anyone with a World subscription or PayAsYouGo credits can now view a huge 17.6 million Irish petty sessions court records for the period 1842-1913. 
It appears these records are also available at findmypast.com

Ancestry launches the 1921 indexed census of Canada

The 1921 indexed census of Canada is now available.
There were 8,788,483 people in the census, no reports yet on how many will be accurately indexed.
The indexed fields are: name, gender, marital status, age, birth year, birth place, relationship to head of household, father's birthplace, mother's birthplace.
The indexing has been done without any public money, tax derived or additional burden on Canada's national debt which continues to grow, having been spent for the indexing.

A few people I looked up were correctly identified; one I expected to find wasn't but he may have been out of the country.
I found a couple of instances where a domestic servant is identified as a daughter with both the real and head of household's last name  given.

28 October 2013

Temporary Closure: Nepean Centrepointe Library

The extensive genealogy and local history collection of the Nepean Centrepointe branch of the Ottawa Public Library will be inaccessible from October 28-November 4. The branch is closed while undergoing renovations accommodate an RFID system gradually being put in place across the whole system.

More in-depth for Genealogy Roadshow desired

Before we get to the end of the month, here are the results of the one question survey posted here on the 15th, "Please choose the response which best reflects your opinion of the (PBS) Genealogy Roadshow, or add your own thoughts."

By a nine to one margin respondents favoured continuing the show, and of those favouring a new series about the same ratio would like more in-depth supplemental material  through a website.

The comments were:

- Contine, add website and do a Canadian version.
- DNA is "old news." Let's hear more compelling stories. Anyone can buy a $99 DNA test to "know who they are."
- Thought it was great, and am sorry that it appears to have been only 4 programs!
- too focused on finding celebrity ancestors, only watched 1st show.
- Continue with program but do not have a host.
- maybe a few less cases each episode so more in-depth interview could take place
- prefer an approach with more substance.

Speaking in Canada

If you're coming to Canada to take part in a family history conference, or inviting someone from overseas to come and speak, its good to know what you tell them at the border to smooth the way?

According to The Citizenship and Immigration website Find out if you need a work permit to work in Canada there is a category of Public speakers comprising
"guest speakers, commercial speakers or seminar leaders" who can speak or deliver training in Canada without a work permit as long as the event is no longer than five days.

If your presentations are particularly entertaining you may prefer to claim exemption as a performing artist!

27 October 2013

Free admission to the Toronto Zoomer Show for CARP members

I see from the Ontario Genealogical Society newsletter that the society is sharing a booth at the Toronto Zoomer Show this year with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.
They will be talking about OGS and genealogy, selling books, running a 2014 membership special rate, and holding a draw for "fabulous" prizes.
The Zoomer Show is being held at the Direct Energy Centre Halls C D, Exhibition Place, Toronto, Sunday Oct. 27th, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Admission is free to CARP members.
Can Ottawa genealogical organizations negotiate such an arrangement for the similar event at the Ernst and Young Centre, April 26-27, 2014?

OGS Toronto Branch October meeting

The regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the OGS Toronto Branch on 28 October 2013 is entitled What Really Happened? A Genetic Genealogy Success Story, and presented by Elizabeth A. R. Kaegi and James F. S. Thomson

"Using several traditional genealogical techniques in conjunction with new genetic genealogy tests, Elizabeth and James have been able to solve a six decade old mystery, and have the findings conclusively confirmed.
The drama and its resolution ranged across seven countries, and finding the answers consumed many hours especially in the last five years. The end result was very satisfying and Elizabeth acquired seven close family members including two very new ones!"
There's also a mini-presentation: Beth Bow The best Betts house.

The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. in the Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Hall, Concourse Level, North York Centre (North York Centre Subway Station).

26 October 2013

Scotlands People releases Scottish Property Valuation Rolls for 1920

The following is press release from Scotlands People
‘Homes fit for heroes’? New historical records offer a fascinating snapshot of Scottish society in the wake of the First World War
The names and addresses of more than 2.6 million people living in Scotland during the post-WW1 period will be published online at 10 am on Monday 28 October, as records of Scottish properties in 1920 are released on ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, the government’s family history website.
Comprising over 76,000 digital images taken from 169 volumes, these new records - known as Valuation Rolls - cover every type of property in Scotland that was assessed as having a rateable value in 1920. As the records contain details for the owners and occupiers of properties, they will offer genealogists and historians fresh insight into Scottish society in 1920.
Each Valuation Roll entry on the website is fully searchable by name and address, with the records listing the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property - in many cases occupations are also included. As the Rolls include all types of property, from castles and mansions to crofts and tenements, in turn, the records also include people from across the whole social spectrum.
The Rolls also reveal some fascinating trends in Scotland’s social history at this time, such as the building of the first council housing estate, and the growth of urban allotments and gardens cultivated by working-class gardeners to achieve self-sufficiency. The Rolls also reveal the widespread disposal of land by owners who faced new tax and other burdens from 1918 onwards, and the opportunities for tenant farmers to buy their own farms.
Researchers at the National Records of Scotland have also been spotting celebrities (and family ancestors of famous people) in the records, and have highlighted entries for Muriel Spark’s father, Sir William Burrell, Sir Harry Lauder, Sir Matt Busby, Bill Shankly, Samuel Peploe and the great-grandparents of The Proclaimers. The researchers have even found a quirky entry for a cottage in Dunblane, named for a poem by Robert Tannahill, the contemporary of Burns.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government, said:
“ScotlandsPeople is a wonderful resource that enables Scots, those of Scottish descent and anyone with an interest in Scotland to discover more about our nation’s fascinating family and social history. The release of the Valuation Rolls for 1920 strengthens the digital tapestry of Scotland’s story that is available through Scotland’s national archive.”
Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:
“The release of the Valuation Rolls for 1920 will be of enormous help for family and local history research, enabling people to discover ancestors and where and how they were living almost a decade after the Census of 1911. The newly-available records are part of the commitment by the National Records of Scotland to improve our service to the public and provide researchers with the resources that they need.”
Annelies van den Belt, the CEO of DC Thomson Family History (formerly known as brightsolid online publishing), who enable the ScotlandsPeople website on behalf of the National Records of Scotland, said:
“We’re very pleased to add this fourth set of Valuation Roll indexes and images to the ScotlandsPeople website – bringing the current total of index entries on the website to over 94 million. These new records will complement the 1895, 1905 and 1915 Valuation Rolls, which have been published over the past 20 months, and will also help family historians who are looking to fill in gaps after the 1911 Census.”
The 1920 Valuation Rolls will be available on the ScotlandsPeople website (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk), at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, and at local family history centres in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Hawick and Inverness.

Deceasedonline.com completes Redcar & Cleveland, North Yorkshire collection

Records for four more cemeteries in Redcar & Cleveland, North Yorkshire:

Loftus (1875 - 2010) - 8,651 records
Redcar (1874 - 2010) - 16,936 records
Saltburn (1899 - 2010) - 14,615 records
Skelton (1875 - 2010) - 9,739 records.

are now available at deceasedonline.com. The records available comprise scans of burial registers, details of each grave including other occupants, and cemetery maps indicating the section locations for graves for all eight cemeteries in the Redcar & Cleveland collection.

Cuckolded fathers rare; equally rare in the past

An article in The Economist  reports on a study showing "only 1-3% of children are cuckoos in the nest." It's based on Western European populations.
At 1% it would mean a 10% chance of a break in the genetic chain in 10 generations, and a 26% chance at 3%.
The Economist piece is based on an article in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, abstract here.

25 October 2013

Canada and the First World War program change

A change in program. The Ryan Taylor Memorial lecture on Saturday, 26 October, 1:30 pm, at Nepean Centrepointe is now being presented by Robbie Robertson. The new title is "Canada's Army in the First World War".

Major Robertson enlisted in the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment of Canada) in 1953. Postings took him to Germany, Cyprus, Syria and Jamaica as well as locations across Canada. Since retiring he has become a volunteer guide and lecturer at the Canadian War Museum and a tour guide on many Canadian military history tours of battlefields in Europe. He is an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion.

In 2000 he was awarded the War Museum’s “Guide of the Year” prize and in 2002 was presented the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for his services to Canada. In September 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

The History Extra podcast: Football

Everyday life in Elizabethan England is the lead item in the most recent History Extra podcast, from the editors of BBC History magazine. While it failed to capture my attention the following item, on the history of English football, in the week which marks the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Football Association, did. The item starts at about 26 minutes. There's also an interview on the BBC's plans for programming to commemorate the centenary of WW1.
Find the podcast at http://www.historyextra.com/podcasts.

Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair

Sunday October 27 is the date for the 33rd annual Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair. The publicity promises "over 40,000 items dating from the 15th century to the present day displayed by 40 dealers from across Canada and the USA."
I understand genealogist Patty McGregor is to be one of the dealers with a good selection of books and ephemera.

Hours are 10:30 am to 5 pm. The location is Tudor Hall, 3750 Bowesville Road. Entry is $5, free parking

24 October 2013

Top Irish Genetic Genealogy Videos

I've been asked for advice on which are the best YouTube videos out of the nine from the Genetic Genealogy Ireland event last weekend. They're almost all slightly under an hour in length.

The most popular, the one most viewed, is Autosomal DNA, Adoptees and Finding Long-lost Irish Relatives presented by Maurice Gleeson. It's well worth viewing if you're interest is autosomal DNA tests and what they can achieve for the genealogist, and in my view everyone serious about genealogy should now be taking an autosomal DNA test as routine for their research.

Next most viewed is Pinpointing Your Irish Origin Using Commercial Ancestral DNA Testing by Tyrone Bowes. He has a company, Irish Origenes, where he offer service for fee, and now Scottish and English equivalents. Interestingly he states that it's easier to use his technique for Irish ancestry owing to the strong link between Y-DNA, localized surnames established in Ireland earlier than in Scotland and England, and land passed from father to son. A good talk, especially for those with Irish paternal roots.

Debbie Kennett's talk on DNA for Beginners: the three tests is just what the title says. It's well presented and warrants being third most viewed.

In last place in terms of number of views, but a talk that illustrates how an autosomal DNA test was able to break through a brickwall where a Y-DNA study had failed, is How DNA Testing and Analysis has Transformed the Knowledge of a Manx Family's History - So Far by John Creer.

Canada in the First World War

A reminder about the event this Saturday, October 26 from 9 am to 3:30 pm at Nepean Centrepointe.

"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, and genealogist Ken McKinlay will provide a case study of an individual.In the afternoon, historian and strategic analyst Andrew Godefroy will present the 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 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."
BIFHSGO and OGS Ottawa Branch members are especially invited to this cosponsored event.

Elizabeth Kipp reassumes GOONS responsibilities

The responsibilities of Regional Representative (Canada East) for the Guild of One Name Studies are once again assumed by Elizabeth Kipp.  When she reluctantly left the position nearly two years ago her husband Ed was ill. He looks really healthy now!

On her blog Elizabeth writes "I shall try to further the advertisement for the Guild in Canada by publication of articles that pertain to one name studies in some of the genealogical journals read in Eastern Canada. In particular I would like to advertise this guild in Quebec where there are many one name studies already. I need to paint a picture that makes the Guild an advantageous place for these studies and as the Guild becomes more and more international I may be successful in that regard. Penetrating into the Maritimes is another story and not one that I think I can add to very much. But that area of Canada was heavily settled by the British Isles in particular Newfoundland and I think that advertising the Guild in Newfoundland where possible is something I will investigate."

Find a link to email Elizabeth at http://www.kipp-blake-families.ca/elizabethmain.htm

23 October 2013

Toronto Trust Cemeteries database on FamilySearch

The 150,838 records, with images of the  original register entries, for the Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989, are now available at FamilySearch. 

Cemeteries included are:

York General Burying Ground (also called Potter’s Field), 1826-1855;
Necropolis Cemetery, 1849-1989;
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, 1876-1988;
Prospect Cemetery, 1890-1985.

Indexed records are available through 1935.

Kudos to Jane MacNamara and her team from the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society for seeing this volunteer project through to fruition.

Historical Society of Ottawa October Meeting

"CCM - The Best Bikes in Town" is the topic for the society October 25, 2013 presentation by John McKenty.

"THE TOPIC: With its bikes in summer and skates in winter, CCM was the quintessential Canadian company. Few youngsters growing up in Canada were unaware of the familiar letters, but what did they stand for? Who was behind them? (Well-known Ottawa industrialist Warren Soper was one of the founding members of CCM.) The CCM story will not only be a chance to recall one’s past, but also to hear about a fading memory of Canada’s cultural heritage. The talk will feature a variety of slides depicting historical photographs and vintage advertisements.
THE SPEAKER: John McKenty was born in Peterborough in 1948 and grew up in Kingston. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University and a Master of Arts from the University of Western Ontario. Married to Zeta with three adult children and five grandchildren, John is a retired his school principal now living in Perth. He retired as a principal in 2006 after more than 30 years as an educator.
Since 2006, he has written three local history books, as well as a history of the CCM company. Currently he is chair of Perth’s Stewart Park Festival and also the Perth Regional Heritage Fair."

The meeting is at 1:00 pm in the lounge of the Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues Street at Cumberland.


Cheshire and Norfolk additions to FamilySearch

The latest batch of additions to the FamilySearch collection includes two British collections.

England, Cheshire Non-conformist Records, 1671-1900 now contains 204,049 records. These are indexes, no images of the originals, from the Cheshire Record Office. About 15% of England's population after 1850 was non-conformist.

Images for England, Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941, 1,161,877 of them, became available last week. This is the other side of the coin to the Cheshire records, no name indexing but image originals for browsing.

FamilySearch have quite a collection of Cheshire and Norfolk records, found by checking this list, and don't overlook the legacy International Genealogical Index.

A reminder of two other ways to find out about records for these and other English counties, Cyndislist and GENUKI.

Shannon Lecture: Adventures in Cooking from the Past

I've enjoyed the first two of Carleton University's Shannon lectures this year on Grub and Grog: food and drink in history.

On Friday, October 25, 2013
 the topic is Adventures in Cooking from the Past to be given by Ken Albala, Department of History, University of the Pacific. he will discuss experiments in historic cooking including fermentation, curing meat, cheese making, and distillation.

There's more information at http://goo.gl/ZSKOm7

22 October 2013

Death of Evidence

Now that Parliament is back in session it's a reminder that nothing has improved with this government. Program and budget cuts remain in place. Funds to inaugurate the Canadian Museum of History, $25 million, are reallocated from elsewhere in the heritage portfolio including Library and Archives Canada.

A protest is scheduled at York University on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013, 1:30 – 2:30 pm mourning the passing of evidence-based decision making in Canada: cancelling the long form census, LAC cuts and muzzling of Canadian government scientists.

The event will be live streamed at http://www.yorku.ca/lts/live/YUL/2013OAW/

Thanks to Gail Dever for the tip.

TNA Podcast: BYU Immigrant Ancestors Project

This talk from early September was given at TNA by Jill Crandell, director of the Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University. She explains the objective and processes that have led to the creation of a database containing over 480,000 entries relevant to immigrants that should help identify their origin.  The records are often those that are more of a challenge to interpret than those typically the subject of mass indexing projects; many have been from The National Archives.
At the end of the presentation is mention of some of the other projects conducted by the  BYU Centre for Family History and Genealogy and the free resources that have resulted.

21 October 2013

French in London: what might have been

To celebrate Trafalgar Day, 21 October, the Mapping London blog points to a news-sheet from London restaurant chain Brasserie Blanc with a reinterpretation of London street and landmark names as they might have appeared if Nelson had not been victorious.  Find the pdf here, you'll need to rotate the map on the second page counterclockwise to read.

Back To Our Past wrap-up

Irish Genealogy News is 'THE must-visit Irish Genealogy blog!' That's how it was described when blogger Claire Santry was introduced to the Irish Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
That's a description I'm pleased to see amply justified by the two posts available on last weekend's Back To Our Past event in Dublin. Part one is on the first day; part two combines reports of the second and third day. Take a look at the "Coming soon to a screen near you!" later on in part two for a list of forthcoming records.

Let my people go home: our common ancestry

They say there are only seven, more or less, basic story plots. Springing from them are millions of stories. Similarly, there's a basic fact of genealogy, we all have two parents, four grandparents, and so on until in a relatively few generations further back there are so many that any two people must have a common ancestor. The variations and spinoffs of that basic genealogical fact continue to fascinate, especially on television where people from all walks of life are shown to have ancestry involved with significant historical events.

Earlier this month Joshua S. Weitz from the Georgia Institute of Technology published a paper (preprint) Let my people go (home) to Spain: a genealogical model of Jewish identities since 1492 (pdf).
In it he demonstrates that the Spanish government's recently announced fast-track path to citizenship for any individual who is Jewish and whose ancestors were expelled from Spain during the inquisition-related dislocation of Spanish Jews in 1492 means that most Jews qualify.
"The basis for this conclusion is that not having a link to an ancestral
group must be a property of all of an individual's ancestors, the probability of which declines (nearly) superexponentially with each successive generation. These findings highlight unexpected incongruities induced by genealogical dynamics between present-day and ancestral identities."

Although the details vary a parallel argument can be made for royal ancestry, and for descent from elite, and much less than elite groups in history.

20 October 2013

Genealogy Roadshow survey results

Thanks to the 65 people who responded to the one question survey on the PBS Genealogy Roadshow series.
The vast majority had seen the show, liked it and wanted it to continue to a second season. Four in five of those, the green part of the pie, wanted more in-depth material added through a website, as is often done with PBS informational programming.

The following comments were left by those who selected the "other" option.

- DNA is "old news." Let's hear more compelling stories. Anyone can buy a $99 DNA test to "know who they are."

- Thought it was great, and am sorry that it appears to have been only 4 programs!

- too focused on finding celebrity ancestors, only watched 1st show

- Continue with program but do not have a host

- maybe a few less cases each episode so more indepth interview could take place

- prefer an approach with more substance

19 October 2013

Genetic Genealogy Ireland videos

A few presentations at the Genetic Genealogy Ireland event this weekend have now been posted on YouTube. They are:
Maurice Gleeson on Autosomal DNA, Adoptees and Finding Long-lost Irish Releatives (this image, via Facebook)

TNA podcast: Big data and dead criminals

I was unsure about whether to post this item, it's in the TNA podcast series but deals with a topic outside the normal range of genealogical interest. I decided to include it as it interests me, and also has mention of a couple of Canadians working in the big data field related to history, if not family history.
Many of us are aware of the Old Bailey Online database, "the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court."
What I was unaware, as explained in this talk by Professor Tim Hitchcock of the University of Hertfordshire, that the corpus has been extensively marked up with XML and what that permits by way of social analysis.

"This talk explores work to make complex trial accounts totalling 127 million words fully searchable by key word and location on The Old Bailey Online. Surveying a series of projects from geographical data and corpus linguistics to explicit semantics used to make the accounts searchable. It explored the evolution of the British criminal trial and the language used in court that without this work would have otherwise remained impenetrable."
One of the Canadian resources referenced is voyant tools for text analysis, "the sort of thing you can get an undergraduate to do without any problem."

UK, Mechanical Engineer Records, 1847-1930

Ancestry have updated the collection of records from the UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers. There are now 73,781 records, and perhaps one third that number of distinct individuals.
The database contains registers of members, proposals for memberships and changes to membership (such as associate member to member), and related records, including the following:

membership records of IMechE (1847–1930)
register of members (1847–1930)
typescript membership proposal forms
membership records of IAE (1906–1930)
membership records of ILE (1915–1930)
Even if you know a lot about the person, information on application forms, such as education and the names of sponsors with whom they were associated, may well be new.

18 October 2013

North-eastern Yorkshire burial records

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council records for cemeteries at Boosbeck (1931 - 2010), Brotton (1936 - 2010), Eston (1963 - 2010) and Guisborough (1873 - 2010) are the latest to be added to the Deceased Online database. This area is in the extreme north-east of Yorkshire.

Digital scans of burial registers until 1998 and computerized registers thereafter are available along with grave details indicating occupants of each grave. Cemetery section maps are promised shortly.

Records back to the 19th century for four additional area cemeteries, Loftus (1875 - 2010), Redcar (1874 - 2010), Saltburn (1899 - 2010) and Skelton (1875 - 2010) are on their way.

Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2013

As an addition to the Back to Our Past event in Dublin, 18th, 19th and 20th October 2013, a 3-day series of DNA lectures is being sponsored by FamilyTree DNA and organised by the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG).

The daily schedule for the DNA lectures can be found by clicking on the appropriate day below.
For those of us not able to attend slides and videos will be available for some of the presentations after the conference. You'll be able to download the slides or watch a video of a particular presentation by clicking on that presentation from the link above.

BBC to mark Great War centenary

The BBC plans to mark the centenary of World War I with 2,500-hours of programming, 130 newly commissioned programmes, across television, radio and online, from 2014 to 2018. Details are in this news item.

What are the CBC's plans?

17 October 2013

FamilySearch does it in partnership

Then there were three!  In early September Ancestry and FamilySearch announced a partnership. A few days ago it was MyHeritage and FamilySearch. Now I read an announcement about DC Thomson Family History, the new parent organization name for Findmypast, and FamilySearch. Who's next, Google?

The latest announcement is termed "a major new partnership ... that will give family history enthusiasts access to billions of records online and new technology to collaboratively research their family roots."  13 million records are added immediately to findmypast.com "including major collections of births, marriages and deaths covering America, Australia, and Ireland. Around 600 additional collections, containing millions of records, will follow."

The two organisations have previously worked together. They were partners in indexing 132 million records of the 1940 US census. As far back at 2008 they were partners in making indexes for England and Wales censuses available on FamilySearch with links to findmypast's images.

The announcement with MyHeritage was that their users will "gain access to 2 billion historical records and family tree profiles from FamilySearch. In return, FamilySearch’s users will be able to use MyHeritage’s technology (through that company’s API) for matching family trees with historical records."

The Ancestry announcement on 5 September was heralded as a "Groundbreaking Agreement to Deliver Valuable Historical Content Over the Next Five Years", "expected to make approximately 1 billion global historical records available online and more easily accessible to the public for the first time."  "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."

This all looks like good news to me. Hopefully the Canadian skeptics who oppose LAC entering into partnerships with other organizations will think again about the benefits of tapping outside-organisation resources to open up the archival vaults.

New Toronto location for the United Church of Canada Archives

The United Church of Canada Archives in Toronto is now relocation to the Toronto Christian Resource Centre at 40 Oak Street.
There is an Open House on Friday October 25th from 10am - 2pm to welcome researchers and members of the Regent Park community .
Visit http://www.united-church.ca/local/archives/on for details on transit, parking and hours.

Shannon Lecture: Canada’s Great Butter Caper

Friday's lecture in the 2013 Shannon series is by Charlene Elliott from the Department of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary. Dr. Elliott holds a CIHR Canada Research Chair in Food Marketing, Policy and Children's Health and has a joint appointment with the Faculty of Kinesiology. She is Co-Director of the Nutrition Principles and Policies Program, out of the Alberta Children's Hospital and a former public sector representative for the Canadian Council of Food and Nutrition.
This is the second in a five part series on Grub and Grog, history and food. The title is “Canada’s Great Butter Caper: On law, fakes, and the biography of margarine”
That's this Friday, 18 October from 3 to 4 :30 pm in 303 Paterson Hall, Carleton University. Reception to follow.
For further information please contact the Department of History at (613) 520-2828, by email to history@carleton.ca or visit our website at www.carleton.ca/history

OGS Quinte Branch: October meeting

16 October 2013

Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, Jail Registers, 1876-1896 at Ancestry

Would it be appropriate to call this new Ancestry.ca collection, only 2,634 records of people held in the local jail for relatively minor offences such as drunk and disorderly, quaint? There are more serious cases of people remanded for trial by a higher court.

Details in this index include prisoners name, age, location, marital status, faith, whether or not they were temperate, the crime committed, the sentence, who did the sentencing and length of time served.

The original Peterborough jail register covers additional years (c. 1860–1905) and is held at the Archives of Ontario. Photocopies are available at the Trent Valley Archives.

Genealogy Roadshow

Did you watch the PBS four-part series Genealogy Roadshow? What did you think? Please answer this one question survey at https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/a0BfEP

15 October 2013

Commemorating victims of a WW2 flying accident

On September 21 at Westchester, Nova Scotia, there was a ceremony to inaugurate a plaque to two airman fatalities on 30 November 1944. The plaque was subsequently placed at the crash site on nearby Higgins Mountain.
They were Donald Lloyd Breadner and Kenneth Brian Bennett who were killed in a crash resulting from a structural failure of their aircraft, Mosquito KB278.

Breadner was from Ottawa and is buried at Beechwood cemetery. He was the son of Air Chief Marshal Lloyd Samuel Breadner, CB, DSC who was Chief of the Air Staff during World War II and Mary Evelyn Breadner (nee Story).
Credit for this initiative to Norman Sheppard and Daniel Goguen.

Birmingham newspapers on BNA

Birmingham, England's somewhat unloved second city, is slowly becoming better represented in The British Newspaper Archive.
Weekly newspaper coverage available is the Birmingham Gazette from 1824 to 1867, and for 1871 and 1876, and the Birmingham Journal with coverage from 1859 to 1868.
Daily coverage is provided by the Birmingham Daily Post from 1858 to 1895.
The  Birmingham Daily Gazette has started to be added in the past 30 days. Only issues for 1877 and 1889 are presently available although the range advertised, 1877 - 1889, suggests more will be coming soon.
According to a news report the company is looking to eventually bring the collection for Birmingham up to the 1950s.
These newspapers are also available to subscribers to findmypast.co.uk and findmypast.com.

Perth Historical Society October lecture

The Perth Historical Society meets on October 17, 2013 at the Perth Legion when author Arlene Stafford-Wilson will present excerpts from her three entertaining books of stories and reminiscences of growing up in Lanark County - its people, pastimes, schools, sports, local stores, and our early traditions.

Arlene will also provide a preview of her new book, “Lanark County Calendar”, to be released on November 2nd, which recalls life on an early county farm, over the changing seasons.  Beginning with family preparations for an old-fashioned Christmas, the book presents stories of the seasons, moving through spring and maple syrup, summer, and, finally, fall and harvest time, with a nostalgic tour for a day at the Perth Fair.

14 October 2013

John Grenham rants on the new Irish GRO

"The new General Register Office research room is a disgrace" is the headline of the latest Irish Roots column in the Irish Time.
Its "a brute of a building, a pre-cast concrete warehouse better suited to hanging carcases than dealing with the public."


The way we mourn

I noticed this article from the Pacific Standard that discusses the way mourning is conducted in different countries and how it has changed over the years. QR codes on memorials anyone?

Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections

There didn't seem to be any appetite for changing the name of this blog to Anglo-Canadian Connections as I broached a few days ago. Almost everyone who responded was happy with the original name. But I did still want to get my adopted country in their somewhere, so I put it up-front. Anglo-Celtic Connections is now Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections.
The masthead is changed. Everything else, including the web address remains the same and I'll probably continue to refer to it by the original title. You'll not need to do anything differently to continue to receive posts, either through a daily email or RSS. Or you can always visit directly at www.anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.ca where the.ca domain shows the Canadian affiliation. The .com, .co.uk and .com.au addresses continue to work.

Canada in the First World War

Saturday, 26 October, 09:00 – 16:00 at Ben Franklin Place, Centrepointe Drive (former Nepean City Hall) in the Council Chambers is when and where you'll find an event to Honour your First World War ancestors!

In the morning archivist and historian Glenn Wright will explain how to search for information on your military ancestor in his or her service record. Then genealogist Ken McKinlay will provide a case study of an individual.

In the afternoon, historian and strategic analyst Andrew Godefroy will present the 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!  This full day event is offered as a  partnership between the Ottawa Public Library, the British Isles Family History Society and the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogy Society.

Registration is not required. No registration fee.

Mark your calendar now, don't miss it.

13 October 2013

QFHS Connections: contents

The autumn 2013 issue of Connections, the Journal of the Québec Family History Society, volume 36 issue 1, dropped into my mailbox this week. In addition to the normal news and society announcements there are six short articles.
"The Farnsworth.Phaneuf Connection" comments on the uniquely Montréal transformation from an English to a French construction. "Captives Carried to Canada" follows up on the Farnsworth story during the French and Indian wars.
2013 is a year of anniversaries. The longest article in this issue, "Pilgrimage for Bert" is a perspective on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of operation Husky, the World War II Allied invasion of Italy, and especially the 1st Anti-tank Regiment, 1st Canadian Division. The 350th of the arrival of the first contingent of the Filles du Roi in New France is recalled as almost everyone of French-Canadian descent has at least one such ancestor. And yet another anniversary, the 200th of the Battle of Chateauguay, 25 – 26 October 1813.
Find information about the Québec Family History Society at www.qfhs.ca.

Happy Thanksgiving

12 October 2013

FamilySearch English parish records

FamilySearch has updated their collection of English parish records to contain:

England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975; 68,785,232 records
England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991; 14,841,089 records
England Marriages, 1538–1973; 16,110,141 records

This is an incomplete electronic index including information previously published in the International Genealogical Index and Vital Records Indexes.

Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927 on FamilySearch

A comprehensive index to marriage records 1869-1927, and delayed registrations, 1892-1919, from the Archives of Ontario is now available and updated at familysearch.org.

The sources are MS932 and MS948 from the Archives of Ontario, Toronto, for a total of 1,136,379 records.  The same collection, with image originals, is available from Ancestry.ca.

11 October 2013

Memory of the World Register

Browse to the new TNA website, scroll down and you'll see an interesting news item. They are seeking nominations for the UK National Register for the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme.

UNESCO has a Memory of the World International Register, which is a catalogue of documentary heritage of global significance and outstanding universal value. Many countries have national registers, naturally I was interested if there is a Canadian version.

A quick call to Pauline Dugré, Communication and Information officer at the Canadian Commission for UNESCO revealed that it's something they are actively working on, and expect to have a first call for nominations in 2014.

Up to now there has been success in getting four Canadian items into the international register.

Hudson’s Bay Company Archival records

Neighbours, animated, directed and produced by Norman McLaren in 1952

Quebec Seminary Collection, 1623-1800 (17th-19th centuries)

and added just this year

The Discovery of Insulin and its Worldwide Impact

105,000 more records at Deceased Online

This collection from TNA (reference RG37) comprises approximately 105,000 of a total of 175,000 records, from over 200 cemeteries across many parts of England and Wales, of graves and tombstones from disused and closed burial grounds and cemeteries.
The records, mostly 19th and 20th century, are digital scans of original transcriptions from local authorities and the Church Commissioners relating to burial ground removals. The detail of each record varies in content and range.

Find more detail on this collection at http://deceasedonlineblog.blogspot.co.uk/ and a list of cemeteries included at http://goo.gl/nypWR9

10 October 2013

What’s New in Genetic Genealogy: Notes

Here are some online resources to accompany my remote presentation “What’s New in Genetic Genealogy: gaining insight into your deep ancestry through autosomal DNA tests" to the Niagara Peninsula Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society on the evening of October 10, 2013.

International Society for Genetic Genealogy:
and especially the Wiki at

Family Tree DNA:


Maurice Gleeson videos (especially part IV):

Roberta Estes’ DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy blog

see especially the series at

CeCe Moore’s “Your Genetic Genealogist” blog

Judy Russell "The Legal Genealogist"
occasional posts on DNA

Kitty Cooper's Blog

Tracking Your Roots, PowerPoint presentation slides, link from

People of the British Isles
Oxford Today article on POBI


The Juggler's Children: A Journey into Family, Legend and the Genes that Bind Us
By Carolyn Abraham

DNA and Social Networking: A Guide to Genealogy in the Twenty-First Century
By Debbie Kennett

Deceasedonline.com upgrade

On Wednesday Deceased Online changed the way documents are priced and how you pay for them. We are told effective prices have not changed, but that isn't what I'd call an upgrade.

What is improved is that you can now search, in advanced searching, on a cemetery or crematorium within a county or borough, as an alternative to burial or cremation authority.
There is now a coverage link in the top menu, to make it easier to see which parts of the UK are currently included in the  database.

So far this year the company has added over 1.5 million names from 10 different collections.
Although no additions were made through the summer, since July 26, we are promised:

  • 2 million digitised burial and cremation records from 20 UK authorities and The National Archives.
  • A further 4 million records currently in the process of being digitised from 17 more burial and cremation authorities.
  • The promise of up to 14 million more records as advanced talks with a further 100 authorities come to agreement.

Anglo-Celtic Connections landmark

Sometime late today I expect to surpass the one million pageview landmark. Thanks to all who have visited, especially the regular visitors and those who contribute with news tips.

For some while I've been contemplating changing the blog name. Anglo-Celtic Connections was used as it echoed the title of the BIFHSGO quarterly chronicle, Anglo-Celtic Roots. But it might be a more accurate reflection of the blog content if it had a more Canadian title, perhaps Anglo-Canadian Connections. Please leave a comment with your opinion.

Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food

Professor Jeffrey Pilcher of the Department of History, University of Minnesota will deliver the first in this year's Shannon Lectures on Friday, October 11. The lecture is entitled "Planet Taco: a Global History of Mexican food," at 3 pm in Carleton University's Paterson Hall, Room 303. A reception will follow.
People often ask, "what is authentic Mexican food?” The burritos and taco shells that many people think of as Mexican were actually created in the United States, while Americanized foods have recently been carried around the world in tin cans and tourist restaurants. By telling the stories of the “Chili Queens” of San Antonio and the inventors of the taco shell, it will show how Mexican Americans helped to make Mexican food global. This talk will examine the differing historical perceptions of Mexican food as well as the contemporary struggle between globalization and national sovereignty represented by the clash of fast food and Mexican regional cuisines.

While in the building take a look at the exhibit "Whose Astrolabe? Origin and Cultural Ownership of a Canadian Icon" on the 4th floor of Paterson Hall until the end of November.

09 October 2013

What’s New in Genetic Genealogy

On Thursday evening I have a date. It's with the Niagara Peninsula Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, and unlike most dates everyone is welcome.

My remote presentation “What’s New in Genetic Genealogy” will be streamed live. You're welcome to join, it's free. The event starts at 7 pm EDT with announcements; find it at http://www.ogs.on.ca/niagara/,  click on Video Stream at the top of the right hand column and sign in as a guest with a unique name.

This will be my first remote and first time using the Adobe technology, it's still a bit of a challenge. Come see how it goes, and maybe learn something about genetic genealogy.

I shall be posting a collection of notes to accompany the presentation.

BIFHSGO October monthly meeting

A reminder that this Saturday, October 12, 2013, sees the next BIFHSGO monthly meeting. On the agenda:

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

9:30 - 10:00 am Discovery Tables
Get Help with Ancestry.ca by Lesley Anderson

10:00 - 11:30 am Meeting Speaker
And a Brother Who Went to Australia? by Chris MacPhail

Chris MacPhail’s maternal grandfather was a Home Child who immigrated to Canada from Scotland with an elder brother in the 1880s. A family anecdote suggested that there may have been another brother who went to Australia. Chris will describe his efforts to verify the story, and the new challenges raised by some of the things learned.

About the Speaker
Chris MacPhail is a retired consulting engineer whose career involved written contracts for building design and construction—somewhat dry fare when compared to real life family histories. His interest in genealogy and the written word led him to BIFHSGO and his term as editor of Anglo-Celtic Roots; his current objective is to record his own families’ stories.

There's an interview with Chris at www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=106

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

08 October 2013

What makes the British?

An article in the July issue of Oxford Today magazine "What makes the British?" has just come to my attention. It's a popular account of the results of the Peoples of the British Isles project.
Based on a massive effort to collect blood samples, from 4,500 people from established rural populations throughout the Britain, the article describes at somewhat greater length than previously the DNA results, much as presented a year earlier at the Royal Society Summer Conference, and mention in a post here.
Although one science article has been produced it does not cover these results. Many people are waiting to see a peer reviewed publication describing the findings and methodology in more detail.

Reaching out

This week's Irish Roots post by John Grenham has the title Back To Our Past  His topic is the success of the Dublin “Over 50s Show” because "the organisers mix in smaller shows that appeal to sub-groups of its main audience ... the biggest is “Back To Our Past”, a genealogy event started four years ago that has now grown to be the main public face of Irish family history."

In Canada the equivalent is the Zoomer Show. The Toronto event is coming up later this month, October 26-27, 2013. Events are also scheduled in Vancouver next February 22-23, and in Ottawa April 26-27.
As in Ireland, these are opportunities for the Zoomer organization, and family history organizations, to cooperate for mutual benefit. That doesn't mean not-for-profit family history societies paying to be a commercial exhibitor. It means partnership.  
What it would take is leadership, and just as the Zoomer shows have a lead sponsor, Sun Life, it would seem to need someone from the commerical side of family history to make this kind of cooperation happen.
Where are you Ancestry.ca, or Findmypast? 

07 October 2013

Great map of late 19th century London

The National Library of Scotland have put online some fine-scale Ordnance Survey maps of London. They are registered to modern Google, Bing or Open StreetMap maps. Using a horizontal slider, next to the +/- zoom, you can fade between the maps. Really handy.
I was astonished to find a place I have been search for previously, where my great-great-grandfather spent his last years with one of his married daughters, Ely Terrace off Mile End Road, is not only on the map, you can see the footprint of the individual houses.
Coverage is for most of the then urban area. There's a search that will find many street names too.
Find it at http://goo.gl/6pzCx4

DNA testing in Canada

Family Tree DNA and 23andMe are the two DNA testing companies with which I'm most familiar. FTDNA provides a comprehensive service for genetic genealogy. 23andMe offers ancestry services as a supplement to it's health service. Importantly, both keep a database allowing DNA comparison with their other clients, subject to client permission.
There are several other DNA testing companies that do not provide a database service, offering non-genealogical services.
One such Canadian company is Thunder Bay based Orchid Pro DNA. The lab was mentioned in a CBC news item on Sunday as that contracted by the Quebec coroner’s office to help identify the last remaining victims of the July 6 disaster at Lac-Mégantic. According to the report Amarjit Chahal, the lab director, said they will use mitochondrial DNA, and his lab is the only one in Canada that does such a test. Two other DNA labs, in New York and Bosnia, are also working on the Lac-Mégantic file.
Thunder Bay is also the home of Lakehead University's Paleo-DNA Laboratory 
Last year the university received a grant to establish an mtDNA database to support forensic testing.
It's good to see spin-offs from university science such as Orchid PRO DNA and the previously mentioned DNA Memorial.

06 October 2013

Job Opportunity: Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Apparently the search is still on. The position of Librarian and Archivist of Canada was advertised in the Globe and Mail recently.

I like the emphasis on being an"exceptional relationship builder and know how to engender engagement and foster collaboration among internal and external stakeholders and partners alike."
Note the second rank priority given to "professional experience relating to libraries, archives and/or documentary heritage". Also that proficiency in both official languages is not a requirement, only preferred."

Here is the position description from http://goo.gl/lTpvRl:

Librarian and Archivist of Canada
A passionate and engaging leader of libraries, archives and documentary heritage.
Library and Archives Canada was established in 2004 to bring together the collections, services and expertise of the former National Archives of Canada and National Library of Canada. As a national institution and member of the Canadian Heritage portfolio, the Agency is responsible for preserving the documentary heritage of Canada for present and future generations. To this end, it facilitates cooperation among communities in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.
As head of Library and Archives Canada, you will provide strategic leadership for the management of the Agency’s resources and assets, and the effectiveness and efficiency of its operations in meeting mandated objectives. Motivated by significant challenge and transformation, you bring experience in leading the development of strategy and plans as a roadmap for implementing successful organizational change. You are an exceptional relationship builder and know how to engender engagement and foster collaboration among internal and external stakeholders and partners alike.
You bring experience at the senior executive level, ideally within a large, diversified private or public sector organization, and proven success in managing financial and human resources as well as implementing modern corporate governance principles and best practices. Your professional experience relating to libraries, archives and/or documentary heritage is an asset. A superior communicator, you are able to develop and maintain positive relationships with all stakeholders and act as the Agency’s spokesperson with the media and various audiences.
Knowledgeable about the legislative framework, mandate and activities of Library and Archives Canada, and the challenges and opportunities currently facing the library, archival and documentary heritage industries, you are equipped to lead and manage this public institution, and provide the vision and strategic direction it needs to carry out its mandate today and into the future. Proficiency in both official languages is preferred. A degree in a relevant discipline, or equivalent experience, is expected. You must be prepared to relocate to the National Capital Region or to a location within reasonable commuting distance, and to travel as required across Canada and abroad.
Please reply in confidence to bac-lac@amropknightsbridge.com, with a current resume referencing the position. We appreciate your interest and will contact you if a meeting is required.
The Government is committed to ensuring that its appointments are representative of Canada’s regions and official languages, as well as of women, Aboriginal peoples, disabled persons and visible minorities.
Do you measure up?

OGS Toronto Branch adds course

I almost feel like writing "Where does Jane get all that energy?" And the same for OGS Toronto Branch. I received a note on yet another Branch offering this fall.

“Hands-On Early Ontario Land Records” is a three-session course to be taught by author, educator and long-time OGS member Jane MacNamara. Designed for both family and local historians, this course will provide an introduction to the land granting process and the main types of Crown Lands records. Participants will learn how to use the various finding aids and collections at the Archives of Ontario (including those on microfilm from Library and Archives Canada) to document a person’s acquisition of (or attempt to acquire) land in Upper Canada, and will work in small groups following case histories through the records.

Course Fee: $90 ($78 for OGS members)
Schedule: Thursdays November 28, December 5 and 12, 2013, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Venue: Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian MacDonald Blvd., York University, Toronto

FreeBMD October update

The FreeBMD Database was last updated on Friday 4 October 2013 to contain 232,564,191 distinct records (231,897,137 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.

05 October 2013

Ireland NOT Restricting Access to Civil Registration Records

A press release from the Council of Irish Genealogical Organizations (CIGO) attempts to put to rest stories that the new Irish Freedom of Information Bill will restrict access to Ireland's civil registration records. Read why these stories are unfounded at http://www.cigo.ie/news.html

War of 1812 Stories

In publishing the book More Than A Mere Matter Of Marching OGS, Niagara Peninsula Branch is doing its bit, most appropriately given their location, in commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
The collection of more than 60 family stories is about "those valiant men and women who found themselves in the midst of battle in the War of 1812. Some took up arms; many of them lost everything they owned. When former President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, made the now famous remark, “The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us experience for the attack of Halifax the next, and the final expulsion of England from the American continent.” He underestimated both the determination of Canadians and their First Nation allies to remain separate from the American Republic and the efforts of Britain to retain the northern part of North America."
The book, more than 300 pages and 1700 names, is available until the end of October, 2013, at a special pre-publication discounted price of $25.00 plus shipping & handling through www.ogs.on.ca/niagara/

Shannon Lectures 2013

The Department of History at Carleton University is again offering the Shannon Lecture series this fall. For 2013 the theme is Grub and Grog: Food and Drink in History.
Presentations scheduled with dates for your diary are:
  • October 11, 2013 Jeffrey Pilcher, Department of History, University of Minnesota “Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food”
  • October 18, 2013 Charlene Elliott, Department of Communication and Culture, University of Calgary “Canada’s Great Butter Caper: On law, fakes, and the biography of margarine”
  • October 25, 2013 Ken Albala, Department of History, University of the Pacific “Adventures in Cooking from the Past”
  • November 8, 2013 Julia Roberts, Department of History, University of Waterloo “The Tavern Company: Food, Drink, and the Bonds of Sociability in a Colonial Society”
  • November 15, 2013 Nancy Turner, School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria “Only in Canada”: History, Ecology and Culture of Edible Wild Plants of First Peoples in Western Canada
All lectures will take place in the Humanities Lecture Theatre, 303 Paterson Hall, from 3:00-4:30 pm followed by a reception in the Department of History Lobby, 4th floor Paterson Hall.
While in the building plan on taking in the exhibit "Whose Astrolabe? Origin and Cultural Ownership of a Canadian Icon" on the 4th floor of Paterson Hall until the end of November.

04 October 2013

The Ottawa Genealogist: Volume 46, No. 4 October- December 2013

The new issue of the Ottawa Branch, OGS quarterly publication is out. Feature contents are:

 Glen Falloch – Glengarry County, Ontario
 Gleanings from Goulbourn and Nepean Township Papers
 40 Year OGS Membership Pins Presented
 Upper Canada Land Petitions Online at Library and Archives Canada
 Colonel By Day, Ottawa, Ontario. August 5, 2013
 Battle of Crysler’s Farm Re-enactment July 13th
 OLD-TIME STUFF: Some Details About the Daguerreotype in 1849 .

There's also genealogy news of member interest and the regular columns.

Genealogical motivation

I spent part of Thursday helping a friend with PowerPoint as she prepares for a short presentation. She has been motivated to delve into aspects of a WW1 family member she would likely not have done so intensely if not for the presentation commitment.

Ottawa genealogist Elizabeth Kipp wrote on her blog:

"Recently I gave a talk on the Blake one name study at a Conference and in preparing for the talk I realized that I could see my legacy to the Blake study quite clearly. Ultimately, I plan to transcribe all the Blake wills that I can locate and thus far I have nearly 2000 Blake wills. Once completed I intend to put them into an *.pdf file and upload them to Archive.org. Only the transcription and discussion will be uploaded as there is and will be crown copyright on the will images for ever."
These are just two examples of how volunteering to make a presentation can provide the extra motivation which likely will lead to advancing your genealogy.

If you think you can't do something that you see others doing remember the power of motivation. Zig Ziglar had a story All It Takes is a Little Motivation that drives the message home.

Take the many opportunities available. BIFHSGO members have several; short Great Moments in Genealogy talks, before-BIFHSGO educational presentations, plus full presentations at monthly meetings and the annual September conference.

I hope to see you at the podium.

03 October 2013

October backup nag

I'm a day late with this nag, usually posted on the 2nd of the month after I've done a backup on the 1st. This month I forgot and did my backup on October 2nd. Do as I do, even if late, as well as I say. Save yourself heartache. Backup your hard drive. If you too forgot to backup so far this month make it a priority today.

Free and Open Source Alternatives For Paid Software

When I got my most "recent" laptop, I was going to write "last" and it with technology advancing it may end up being my last laptop, I decided to try the free LibreOffice suite rather than purchase the Microsoft Office package which was already installed ready for purchase.

So far LibreOffice has met my needs, although I still use the older laptop to develop PowerPoint decks.

There are many other free alternative to commercial software. A useful summary is at http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/14-free-open-source-alternatives-for-paid-software/

Ancestry update British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920

The most recent changes at Ancestry are what I'd term soft additions, updates to existing databases of unknown significance and "Web" additions which are links to external databases. Hopefully this is a sign that they're concentrating their efforts on something major. I hope it's indexing the 1921 Canadian census.

British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 comprises "surviving service records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks who served in WWI and did not re-enlist in the Army prior to World War II." Digitized from TNA series WO363, these are  known as the "Burnt" records as they are salvaged from a bombed building during WW2, many with burnt edges.  Many of these service records did not survive including those of all my close relatives who served.

02 October 2013

Would you download your Family Tree Maker?

Rick Roberts of Global Genealogy has posted news that Ancestry is to discontinue physical distribution of Family Tree Maker in Canada

While those in the US continue to have access to the physical (CD) product from now on Family Tree Maker (FTM) will be available to Canadians as an online download only.

Is this Ancestry shunning the Canadian market, or is it a trial to see how the market reacts? The argument for the former is that neither does the company offer DNA tests in Canada, or anywhere else outside the US. Or could Ancestry be looking to spin off the Canadian operation?

Read more about this at Global Genealogy's website at http://goo.gl/GKvO7r

Three Canadian databases added to Ancestry Web Search

Three more Canadian databases have been added to Ancestry Web Search which the company describes as summarizing "basic information from freely-available Web records and provide a link to the original site where you can view the full record, including any associated images."

Web: Canada, GenWeb Cemetery Index
Comprises 878,613 entries derived from http://cemetery.canadagenweb.org/

Web: Saskatchewan, Birth Index, 1875-1908
34,727 entries derived from http://genealogy.ehealthsask.ca/vsgs_srch.aspx

Web: Canada, Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Register, 1828-1910
These 86,175 records are sourced from http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wjmartin/wesleyan.htm

DNA Memorial

Our DNA is a genealogical record and although it's written in a language we don't much understand that capability is growing.

Just as you wouldn't throw out a family history written in a language you don't understand neither should you throw out your DNA record or those of your loved ones.

DNA Memorial is a company in Thunder Bay working with the funeral industry to collect and preserve DNA, primarily in objects that would be kept with the family including incorporated into a variety of highly personal keepsakes. The collection is done at the funeral home and the DNA bound to a silicon substrate by the company in a form that is stable for the long term under normal conditions, although it should not be exposed to sunlight. Analysis can be done at any later date.

The company has arrangements with 200 funeral homes in the US and Canada, including in Toronto but none yet in Ottawa, and is starting a marketing push with funeral homes this fall. That includes convincing the very conservative industry that taking a sample, through a cheek swab, hair with the root or underarm sample, is an ethical thing to do. The company has an article coming out in a funeral home industry trade magazine, and will be on CBC Dragons Den
for a second time this fall.

In the US funeral homes have been sued for not offering such a service owing to the potential health benefits in knowing an ancestor's genetics.

You can read more in the FAQ at http://www.dnamemorial.com/faq.shtml

Thanks to Jane MacNamara for the tip. I've added a link to Jane's website/blog.

01 October 2013

Benchmarks update for September

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

Many site saw large jumps in Alexa rankings month over month. Bucking that trend were findmypast.com, deceasedonline.com and, qfhs.ca,

Familysearch.org has added or updated record collections in September for a total of 1,657 (1,637). Census & lists account for 149 (140); birth, marriage, & death 1005 (997); probate & court 149 (149); military 117 (116); migration & naturalization 92 (91); other 145 (144). A collection of unindexed Canada Passenger Lists, 1881-1922 was added on September 30. Familysearch.org has Alexa rank 5,126 (5,173).

Ancestry.com continues to climb with Alexa rank of 579 (619); ancestry.co.uk ranks 9,009 (9,609) and ancestry.ca 27,110 (32,734). There are 31,381 (31,400) datasets in the collections including 1,961 (1,961) for Canada, 1,731 (1,724) for the UK, 131 (129) for Australia and, 25,118 (25,146) for the USA. Ancestry continues to grow with the acquisition of Find-A-Grave just announced, and no stock market worries as it is no longer a listed company.
MyHeritage.com's Alexa rank was 5,111 (5,097)
Findmypast.co.uk has an Alexa rank of 28,526 (30,121). Findmypast.com ranks 148,090 (145,657).

Family Tree DNA has 652,751 (648,531) records in its database. It ranks 25,626 (29,031) on Alexa. 23andMe ranks 9,300 (9,993).

GenealogyinTime.com ranks 30,849 (41,073); Mocavo.com 68,930 (79,399); eogn.com jumps up again in rank to 23,274 (30,635).

Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk contains 6,952,628 (6,944,464) digitized pages having added: the Alnwick Mercury 1889, 1912; Berwickshire News and General Advertiser 1952; Burnley Gazette 1876; Luton News and Bedfordshire Chronicle 1950; Southern Reporter 1926 - 1927; Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 1868; Alexa rank 175,043 (180,184).
Newspapers.com contains 1,831 (1,784) newspapers including 666,647 (666,480) pages for England and 1,227,270 (1,085,741) pages for Canada with 841,327 (700,000) page images from the Ottawa Journal which now appears to be substantially complete. The Alexa rank jumped to 79,399 (102,761).

Cyndislist.com claims 328,431 (327,853) total links in 201 (200) categories, with 1,784 (1,788) uncategorized; Alexa rank 89,105 (102,739).

FreeBMD.org.uk has 231,897,137 (231,194,115) distinct records, Alexa rank 92,556 (96,977).

CanadianHeadstones.com has over 716,000 (696,000) gravestone photo records from across Canada. It scores 589,976 (771,282) in Alexa traffic rank.
Deceasedonline.com ranked 898,621 (808,177).
The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery (gravemarkers.ca), with over 766,000 (760,000) photographs from across Canada, ranked 6,443,597 (7,078,499) on Alexa.

Amongst Canadian family history societies bifhsgo.ca Alexa ranks 1,732,187 (2,782,272), qfhs.ca 4,408,546 (3,053,397), and ogs.on.ca 272,985 (339,258).

And in case you're curious, Anglo-Celtic Connections has 5,032 (4,950) posts; on Alexa the .ca site ranked 172,624 (232,286), another large jump.

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