31 March 2014

GRONI adds Irish BMDs

BMD records from the General Register Office of Northern Ireland are now available to search online. Information is at https://geni.nidirect.gov.uk/

A free search is available without registration which will return the number of matches in each registration type.

Before you conduct a regular search the records you need to register for an account and buy at least one credit. You use credits when you request enhanced or full searches of the records. A credit costs £0.40. The basic search returns limited information.

Searches can only be performed for up to five year date ranges.

Time periods available are:

  • birth records from 1864 and over 100 years old
  • marriage records from 1845 and over 75 years old
  • death records from 1864 (including World War II death records) and over 50 years old
I've not had a chance to try this. If you do please post a comment on your experience.

via Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News blog

Survey: Who are the serious genealogists?

A blog post from Helen Osborn of Pharos Teaching and Tutoring asks "Who are the serious genealogists?" Stimulated by an article "How Popular is Genealogy?" in Genealogy in Time magazine Pharos proposes a series of characteristics that might help define a ‘serious’ genealogist?  How do you measure up? Any comments on the characteristics? Respond at http://app.fluidsurveys.com/surveys/jdr/a-serious-genealogist/

30 March 2014

Norfolk Sources

Interested in probate records for Norfolk from 1800 to 1857? That's one of the free resources indexed and with original document images viewable at Norfolk Sources from the Norfolk Record Office and the Norfolk Heritage Centre. There's more information on this probate collection here.

Other items in the collection are:

  • Broadsides - Broadsides were used soon after the beginning of printing for royal proclamations and official notices. Later, broadsides were used for political agitation, advertisements, poems, ballads etc 
  • Benjamin Mackerell's Histories of Norwich and King's Lynn
  • Charles Palmer's 'The Perlustration of Great Yarmouth' 
  • Bryant's Norfolk Churches
  • Trade Directories of Norfolk, Derham, Great Yarmouth, Norwich and Thetford, various dates between 1842 and 1932

Barbara Wilson R. I. P.

Passed away peacefully, March 21, 2014, in her 83rd year. Daughter of the late William B. and Olive Wilson, of Ottawa. ... She had a long distinguished career at the Public/National Archives of Canada.
Extracts from appreciations posted by colleagues.
  • Barbara was a terrific archivist and a good colleague.
  • We have lost a passionate historian and a charismatically pungent personality! Never to be forgotten.
  • Barbara was a great archivist and a great colleague. She was very helpful when I started at the Public Archives in 1968. Also as my knowledge of the language of Shakespeare was minimal,she taught me how to pronounce English names properly with of course her sense of humour.
  • Barbara leaves a living legacy at Library and Archives Canada through her fabulous archival work and finding aids to military materials. She created these in much earlier technological times and deserves our deep appreciation. I remember her as a pleasant and thorough mentor.
  • Barbara was a model archivist - deeply knowledgeable, strongly committed to the records under her custody and to sharing her knowledge with researchers. I'm not convinced that there is anything about Canada's military history that she did not know.
  • As an early mentor of mine, Barbara steered me in the right direction on all matters archival. Her knowledge of our military history and the records of that history was simply amazing and over several decades, she made a significant contribution to our understanding of the past - through her own publications and in assisting others, so many others, with their research and writing. I always found her helpful and while our paths took different directions in recent years, I will always recognize and remember Barbara as the one who encouraged my interest in the Great War.
  • Barbara was one of the leading figures in the field of Canadian military history, a master of the records, a well-respected colleague, who will be missed
Comment from Glenn Wright:

Amongst other achievements, Barbara researched and compiled LAC's "Guide to Records Relating to the Canadian Expeditionary Force", initially done by hand before computers (she never would use a computer anyway!).. Less well known is the fact that she co-authored with Charles Stacey (one of Canada's finest military historians,The Half Million, a book that examines the impact of the Canadian Army on the people of the UK during the Second World War -- very informative and still a good read.

29 March 2014

Richard III and the Leicester car park

BBC History Magazine's HistoryExtra profiles the debate about the identification of the the skeleton found under a car park in Leicester and identified by scientists from the university as Richard III.
The University of Leicester responded here.
It's an example of debate that could benefit from a quantitative probabilistic approach. That way one could discuss the likelihood that each element of the evidence presented, and objections raised, and how they change the overall conclusion.
The HistoryExtra site has a poll going, asking if people think the skeleton is of Richard III. When I voted 85% favoured it being the King.

MAPCO is back!

At the beginning of February I reported that the Australian site MAPCO which "aims to provide genealogists, students and historians with free access to high quality scans of rare and beautiful antique maps and views" was out of service.
Good news. On March 7 the site returned with all the previous content, much of it of London and vicinity, and news that:
"Access to the MAPCO website has been sporadic during January and February 2014, due to bandwidth issues resulting from the increased visitor traffic load over the past year. MAPCO has essentially become a victim of its own success.
This problem has recently been resolved, and it is not anticipated that there will be further access problems for the site.
MAPCO wishes to thank all visitors and supporters for your continuing interest in the site. It is greatly appreciated! Thank you."
Although MAPCO is not in a position at present to recommence scanning they do plan on adding items from a large backlog of scanned items that have never made it to the top of the list for display.

28 March 2014

mtDNA sale at FTDNA

FamilyTree DNA is advertising $139US for a full mitochondrial sequence, $60 off the regular price, until 1 April.
If you're curious it's a good opportunity. If you have an uncertainty that can be resolved this test, which follows the maternal line, is a great opportunity. But, be aware that mtDNA tests received a 5:1 favourable to unfavourable rating in my recent survey, substantially less favourable than other DNA tests.

Tracing your family history through wills in Ontario

Ottawa media were scooped by North Country Public Radio, from far upstate New York, when it came to reporting on the Gene-O-Rama event last weekend. Jane MacNamara was interviewed about the use of wills. Read and/or listen at
At the end of the interview Jane comments that "some inheritance records are now coming on line, and so on. Ontario isn't, at this point - at least not that I know of."

I detect a certain wishfulness in that comment. At present using Ontario Estate Files is a cumbersome multi-step task. It's reminiscent of the way things used to be with Ontario Civil Registration records before Ancestry stepped in digitizing and indexing the whole lot. What will it take for the Archives of Ontario to move ahead, perhaps in a partnership, to digitize and index the province's Estate Files?

British Newspaper Archive corrects update

On Monday I wrote that the British Newspaper Archive appeared to have slowed down in posting new material. On Thursday I received a note from Amy that there has been an error, now corrected, in posting. Updates for the most recent 30 days are:

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette 1801, 1804 - 1806, 1810, 1812, 1816, 1818 - 1819, 1889
Belfast Morning News 1858
Birmingham Daily Mail, The 1881 - 1883, 1887, 1891, 1906, 1915
Cheltenham Chronicle 1873, 1889 - 1890, 1892, 1894 - 1895
Coventry Herald 1916
Derby Daily Telegraph 1889
Dover Express 1894 - 1896, 1899
Dublin Evening Mail 1827 - 1828
Edinburgh Evening News 1905 - 1906
Evening Telegraph 1882, 1884, 1886, 1890 - 1892
Gloucester Citizen 1934, 1937, 1941
Kendal Mercury 1870
Liverpool Daily Post 1875 - 1876, 1906
Newcastle Journal 1875, 1893
Nottingham Evening Post 1904, 1906 - 1908, 1911 - 1912, 1915, 1917, 1919, 1922, 1938 - 1939
Reading Mercury 1873
Salisbury and Winchester Journal 1789
Sports Argus, The 1917 - 1918
Stamford Mercury 1827, 1832, 1846
Sussex Agricultural Express, The 1954
Western Gazette 1907, 1909
Yorkshire Evening Post 1915, 1929 - 1930, 1936 - 1937, 1939
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, The 1870, 1891, 1896, 1901, 1905, 1907 - 1908, 1916 - 1918, 1924, 1928 - 1930, 1937.

Thanks to Amy for the update - more East Anglia please.

27 March 2014

Findmypast to digitize 1939 register of England and Wales

A major announcement from DC Thomson Family History.

British-owned online family history world leader DC Thomson Family History (who own findmypast) and The National Archives have today announced a joint project to make records of 40 million civilians held in the 1939 register available online. Once digitised, it is estimated that the collection will comprise almost 1.2 million scanned full-colour images of documents covering the entire civilian population of England & Wales at the outbreak of WWII.
The 1939 register was taken on 29 September 1939 by the British Government and recorded personal details of individuals in order to issue identity cards and ration books. It later formed the basis of the National Health Service’s records. When complete, the 1939 register will be fully searchable online for the first time, opening up the past to a new generation of family and social historians, just as the 1911 census did on its release in 2009.
The records contain the address, full name, date of birth, sex, marital status and occupation of individuals, as well as changes of name. Although the Register is literally within living memory for many people, information about living individuals will be kept closed for 100 years from their year of birth, or until proof of death has been authenticated.
From today, anybody interested in being kept informed about the project can register at www.1939register.co.uk.
Annelies Van Den Belt, CEO of DC Thomson Family History said: “This announcement is great news not just for British family historians and those with British relatives, but for anyone with an interest in history itself; providing a fascinating snapshot of the country as it stood on the edge of the most widespread conflict in human history.
“This significant project will bring these records to a global audience for the first time, and combined with the 1.8 billion records already available on our websites will make it easier than ever to begin your family history journey and uncover the powerful stories that lie within and that make us who we are.”
Mary Gledhill, Commercial Director, at The National Archives, added: “The National Archives is delighted to be working with DC Thomson Family History to open up this unique record collection to the world, allowing history enthusiasts to discover more about the people at the outbreak of the Second World War. In the absence of a 1931 and 1941 census, this collection is all the more valuable to family historians trying to trace their ancestors.”
The 1939 register project is the latest contract to be awarded to DC Thomson Family History by The National Archives. Record sets previously digitised by the company in association with The National Archives include Crime, Prisons and Punishment; outbound passenger lists; British Army Service records; Merchant Navy Seamen’s records; Maritime Birth, Marriage and Death indexes and the 1911 census.

Hamilton Public Library history video

Local History & Archives department of the Hamilton Public Library has produced the first in a planned series of videos highlighting the history of the City. Running for just over 10 minutes it profiles the history of James Street North.
Burns style panning across still photos, creative commons licence music and primitive sound effects shows what can be done to bring the city history to live even when budgets are limited.
To view the video start here.

Additions to "England, Norfolk Register of Electors, 1844-1952" at FamilySearch

FamilySearch have updated the database England, Norfolk Register of Electors, 1844-1952 last mentioned here last December.  The 4,490,808 entries at that time are now increased to 4,557,906.

26 March 2014

40% off Ancestry World until 28 March!

You may want to investigate an offer I received for 40% off a World Deluxe Membership at Ancestry.ca before March 28. The fine print mentioned it being available to non-subscribers only, and I am a subscriber so I don't know why I received it. The offer may be useful to you. Call 1-800-958-9073, Monday to Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET.

W5: Seeking the origins of the Maple Leaf flag, finding the soul of our nation

The CTV current affairs and documentary program W5 recently broadcast a feature leading up to the 50th anniversary of the adoption of Canada's Maple Leaf flag next year. The three segments are online at http://www.ctvnews.ca/w5/w5-seeking-the-origins-of-the-maple-leaf-flag-finding-the-soul-of-our-nation-1.1738784
Briefly in the first part, and at greater length in second, BIFHSGO President Glenn Wright tells the story of the way in which the flag came to be adopted.

Fighting for the record

In her History Matters column in Canada's History Magazine Deborah Morrison, President and CEO of Canada's History reflects on attending last January's gathering of Canadian archivists at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.

One of the key paragraphs in the article is "It was generally agreed that the greater priority was not digitizing the records we already have but, rather, developing a strategy for collecting and storing the massive amount of new records being created today."

I don't entirely share that perspective.  If its true that we create as much information in two days now as we did from the dawn of man through 2003 (ref) how much material of lasting value is in it? Is it important to seek to archive the mass of mostly ephemeral electronic text material produced today?

In my view such material is more akin to oral interaction, of which only a minuscule fraction has ever been archived, than the hardcopy documentary material traditionally archived. Even in the olden days of hardcopy only a fraction of the material produced has ever been captured in archives; an important part of the work of an archivist has been deciding what's worth preserving.

Thanks to Chris McPhail for drawing this article in Canada's History Magazine to my attention.

25 March 2014

FamilySearch adds Saskatchewan, Probate Estate Files, 1887-1931

There are 41,261 records in Saskatchewan, Probate Estate Files, 1887-1931

"The estate records contain loose papers relating to the settlement of estates including such matters as provision for heirs including minor children as well as distribution of funds, land and property. This project was indexed in partnership with the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society."

A couple of files I examined had just over 30 images each. One related to a deceased WW1 soldier who had left only a military will and mentioned a grand-father, cousin and the legal description of land owned. The other was for a wife who died intestate.

Highlights of Gene-O-Rama

This almost-annual OGS Ottawa Branch event was held on Friday and Saturday last. Friday evening saw featured speaker Jane MacNamara presenting the Pat Horan Memorial Lecture "Inheritance Interrupted: WWI reflected in Ontario Estate Files."

Notwithstanding snow and greasy road conditions on Saturday morning there was a good attendance to hear each of the two parallel presentations in four sessions. Several BIFHSGO members were speakers. The society also supported the event with a table/display, here seen staffed by Barbara Tose, placed at the back of one of the presentation rooms which made a convenient location for listening to talks.
Although some exhibitors didn't make it through the snow the major ones were there. I was interested to see a series of eight publications with an early Ottawa connection from Global Genealogy, "Genealogical Abstracts from the Perth Courier and Bathurst Courier Newspapers 1834-1929" by Louise Hope. The Perth Courier, the second oldest weekly newspaper in Canada, at various times, published as The Bathurst Courier and Ottawa Gazette and The Bathurst Courier and Ottawa General Advertiser.
The event ended with a banquet at Algonquin College where the Honorary Patron of The
OGS, the Honorable Peter Milliken, PC, UE, BA, MA, LLB, LLD spoke of his experiences as Speaker of the House of Commons.
Congratulations to Doug Grey and Heather Oakley who took the lead in organizing the event.

LAC's new code of conduct

A degree of common sense has returned to Library and Archives Canada. A revised code of conduct has replaced the obnoxious code put in place under former Librarian and Archivist Caron. In the new version employees are once again allowed to participate in reasonable non-conflicting professional activities and there is no restriction on participation in personal activities in accordance with general government policy.
Read the full text of the LAC code at www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/about-us/Pages/code-conduct-value-ethics.aspx

24 March 2014

FamilySearch adds Canada Census, 1916

A transcription of the Canada Census, 1916, for the three prairie provinces Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta is now available to search at FamilySearch. There are 522,339 records.

Durham Records Online

If you research Durham be aware of the small, Alexa rank 3,024,372, commercial site www.durhamrecordsonline.com

The site claims 4,059,404 searchable Durham & Northumberland parish & census records comprising:

- transcriptions of baptisms, marriages, and burials from many parish registers in County Durham and nearby parishes in Northumberland & Yorkshire
- transcriptions of all Anglican (Church of England) marriages in County Durham from 1 Jan 1813 to 1 July 1837
- 1841 census transcriptions for all of County Durham
- 1851 through 1891 census transcriptions for many County Durham communities, plus 1901 for Easington district
There's a powerful free search and reasonable rates.

Don't miss the lists of 50 Years of the Top 50 Occupations in County Durham (1841 - 1891); and Unique Occupations in County Durham for the same years including Border Wizard, Nail Straightener, Phrenologist Author and, Wailing Woman,

British Newspaper Archive progress

I almost put a question mark at the end of the title for this post. The British Newspaper Archive sent a email promoting the milestone passed of 7.5 million pages now online with more than 50 papers added in February.
There are now 7,625,675 pages but things seem to have slowed down. Their list of additions in the last 30 days includes just six papers covering eight years.

Birmingham Daily Mail, The: 1900 (176 issues), 1915 (137 issues)
Coventry Herald: 1916 (21 issues)
Liverpool Daily Post: 1906 (235 issues)
Northants Evening Telegraph: 1904 (314 issues)
Sports Argus, The: 1917 - 1918 (68 issues)
Sussex Agricultural Express, The: 1954 (53 issues)

23 March 2014

FreeBMD March update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Friday 21 March 2014 to contain 236,907,482 distinct records.

Years with major updates, more than 5,000 entries are: for births 1940, 1943, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964-66, 1968-70; for marriages 1952, 1962, 1964-70; for deaths 1967, 1969-70.

Baptizing the dead

Jean Paterson drew my attention to a column Baptizing the dead by Paul Jones in Canada's History Magazine.

"Around the world each year, too many irreplaceable documents are destroyed by fire, flood, mould, or human stupidity. Those who forbid the LDS Church from filming their records rarely put in place a digitization program of comparable ambition, so losses are permanent, a tragedy for all. Unfortunately, the interests of genealogists — and the future of a pile of crumbling documents — seem to count for little in the high-stakes world of priestly realpolitik, or in the holier-than-thou hideaways of Mormon renegades."
I think of this every time somebody mentions the collection at Ottawa's Anglican Archives, including a carefully preserved collection of parish registers, but entirely one-off. If, or perhaps more accurately when, they have a disaster which destroys the records we'll have to satisfy ourselves with wringing our hands. The Archives did fairly recently suffer from a flood.

Paul Jones will be a speaker at the OGS Conference coming up in St Catharines with what some will regard as a provocative Sunday afternoon talk "Determining how much  confidence you should have in your genealogical inferences"

We'll be looking forward to welcoming Paul in Ottawa at the BIFHSGO conference where he will give three presentations.

Thanks to Jean for the tip.

22 March 2014

Affinity poll

A friend drew to my attention a quote from Igor Stravinsky:

"It is one of nature's ways that we often feel closer to distant generations than to the generation immediately preceding us"
I suspect Stravinsky, whose father forced him into the study of law, and who married a first cousin, might have had sound reason to feel that way, but is it "nature's way?"

Take the poll here

Canadian anniversaries today

Today, 22 March 2014, marks the tenth anniversary of the Library and Archives Canada Act receiving royal assent. Do we have much to celebrate?

Today is also the anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur George Doughty, KBE CMG FRSC (22 March 1860 – 1 December 1936), Canada's most renowned Dominion Archivist and Keeper of the Public Records.

21 March 2014

BIFHSGO Writing Competitions

Interested in the BIFHSGO 20th anniversary family history writing competition? New information on the judging criteria has just been added in the writing competition flyer, explanatory notes (Competition A — Youth and Competition B — BIFHSGO members only) and entry form.

Thanks to BIFHSGO webmaster Gail Dever for alerting me to this.


20 March 2014

Six months from today

Those of us who've been involved in preparations for BIFHSGO's 20th anniversary conference can take heart that it's exactly six months away and we're well on course. The conference committee is working well as a team.

All the major speakers, except for the Whiteside lecturer, are in place. We have a program which has something for everyone. Society members at April's monthly meeting will get a first look at it and have the opportunity to complete a survey to help assign the talks to rooms.
We have organizations signing up to return to the marketplace, including one which missed in 2013, a colour poster nearly ready and, a new format for the conference booklet to accommodate having three presentations options in each session.
Make sure your calendar is a marked for 19-21 September and the BIFHSGO conference at and co sponsored by Library and Archives Canada.

John Grenham: Help me find my Roots, Toots

John Grenham starts his St Patrick's Day Irish Roots column with
"I’ve always had a bit of a problem saying that I’m proud to be Irish. It’s not much of an achievement, after all. I merely picked the right ancestors.
Facetiousness aside, the whole idea of national pride just feels slightly suspect, tainted by connections with bullying, racism and ethnic cleansing."
Inserting English where Grenham writes Irish I share his sentiments. I feel the same as a Canadian, which I picked rather than my ancestors, when I think of some of the social injustice perpetrated here not to mention over-the-top nationalism exhibited at events like the Olympics.

If researching family history, especially with DNA, teaches us anything it's that we all have a geographic range of ancestry. Let's celebrate our roots, and respect others celebrating their's.

19 March 2014

Evernote and DNA webinars

A shout-out for two upcoming webinars, March 20 and 27, mentioned in this post by Diane Haddad, The Ancestry Insider.
The first, by Lisa Louise Cooke, is on Evernote, which by coincidence is the topic of Ken McKinlay's before BIFHSGO talk on March 12th.
The second is by Blaine Bettinger, a highly respected US genetic genealogist.

Ancestry adds to London (East End) Poor Law collection

The Ancestry collection London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1828-1930 now contains 290,134 records, up from 218,139 records in April 2013 when previously mentioned here. Most of the additions, shown in red, are for Examinations. Here's the complete coverage, there are liable to be gaps and missing records.

Bethnal Green: Examinations for 1839-1903, Orders of Removal for 1837-1853 - 1916, Settlement Papers for 1889-1894-1917.
Hackney:  Orders of Removal for 1867-1868, 1900, 1903-1907, 1913-1914, 1920-1921; Settlement Papers 1850-1870, 1892-1915.
Poplar: Examinations for 1885-1897, Orders of Removal for 1874-1892-1893; Settlement Papers 1885-1886, 1889-1890, 1893-1894, 1904
Shoreditch: Examinations 1808-1918; Orders for Removal for 1869, 1878-1920, Settlement Papers 1882-1897.
Stepney: Orders of Removal for 1826-1836.


Friday sees the start of Ottawa Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society's 30th GENE-O-RAMA. Registration opens at 7:00 pm followed by the welcome and Pat Horan Memorial Lecture on Inheritance Interrupted: WWI reflected in Ontario Estate Files by conference featured speaker Jane MacNamara.

The venue is new for this event, the Confederation Education Centre at 1645 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa at the corner of Hunt Club and Woodroffe.

The full program for the event including the Saturday presentations is in the brochure (pdf) at http://ogsottawa.on.ca/wordpress/wpcontent/uploads/2009/11/GOR14BrochureWeb.pdf

I hope to see you there and at my Genetic Genealogy 101 presentation on Saturday after lunch.

18 March 2014

Operation War Diary progress

I previously posts on Operation War Diary, a joint online crowdsourcing project between The National Archives, Imperial War Museums and Zooniverse.

A blog post War diaries reveal challenges of the world’s first industrialised war, from TNA informs that the project has been running for eight weeks, and "incredibly over 10,000 people across the globe have already volunteered, tagging around 50,000 names, places and activities in the first 200 war diaries. This is the equivalent to someone working 40 hours a week for four years – an amazing achievement! But we’ve still got some way to go to tag the thousands of diaries so I’d encourage everyone to sign up to Operation War Diary to be part of this important part of history."

A second batch of 3,987 digitised First World War unit war diaries from France and Flanders went online last Thursday and it available for tagging via the First World War 100 portal.

17 March 2014

Perplexed? - UK official document definitions

A calendar is a precis, usually in English, full enough for most purposes to replace the original document.
A roll, such as a charter or patent roll was formed by sewing together end to end copies, usually on sheets of development, of charters, patents, etc., and rolling them up as a method of preserving records, in medieval times.
State papers are, in principal, the documents accumulating in the offices of the Secretaries of State from the accession of Henry VIII on.
A writ could be a charter for a grant of land or liberty in perpetuity; or a royal letter conveying an order, a commission or information.

These are found in Great Britain Official Publications Collection Guide by Betty Deavy, published by the National Library of Canada in 1996

16 March 2014

BIFHSGO in St Patrick's Day Parade

BIFHSGO members in full regalia prepare to participate in the parade. The dog is an honourary member for the occasion.

Was their offer to lead the parade declined? BIFHSGO Board members march the wrong way to join their colleagues.

Sons of Scotland, Ottawa, smartly turned out.

Underway near the start of the parade route.

The parade stalled frequently, here with a view up to the parliament buildings. Notice the patch of green pavement, not specially installed for the day, part of the cycle route along Laurier Street.

Nearly half-way through the route, on Bank Street with a few flakes of snow falling.

Challenges for the Genealogical Profession

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL finished third in the rockstar genealogist poll as voted by US residents last September. Her blog at The Legal Genealogist is a must visit for US genealogists, and of interest to many others because of her interest in genetic genealogy. She is now a regular on the US speaker circuit, with a style that would do a lawyer wanting to convince a jury proud.

Her talk from last October “We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” is worth a listen,Toward the end she mentions three challenges facing the profession: charges of elitism; DNA evidence and; societal change.

She makes no apologies for elitism if, as she sees it, it merely reflects adhering to standards appropriate to a professional.

On DNA evidence she acknowledges it's something many professionals approach with trepidation. (Note: according to the BCG member database only seven of 248 current CGs listing specialities acknowledge having skills in DNA testing.) In 2014 it strikes me as distinctly odd that professionals would be recognized as such without that skill.

Societal change refers to the increasing incidence of nontraditional families, defined not by bloodlines and the dictionary definition of genealogy, but the dictionary definition of family. That's in line with BCG's definition of genealogy which seems to be pretty much the definition of family history.

Genealogy is the study of families in genetic and historical context. It is the study of communities, in which kinship networks weave the fabric of economic, political and social life. It is the study of family structures and the changing roles of men, women, and children in diverse cultures. It is biography, reconstructing each human life across place and time.
Genealogy is the story of who we are and how we came to be, as individuals and societies.

15 March 2014

FamilySearch adds Cornwall and Devon Parish Registers, 1538-2010

New on FamilySearch the collection England, Cornwall and Devon Parish Registers, 1538-2010 has 202,481 browse images.
Most are Cornwall parishes, you likely won't want to read through them all:
Altarnon, Antony, Baldhu, Blisland, Boconnoc, Bodmin, Bolventor, Botus Fleming, Boyton, Bradoc, Breage, Budock, Calstock, Camborne, Camelford, Cardinham, Carnmenellis, Charlestown, Colan, Constantine, Cornelly, Crantock, Creed, Crowan, Cubert, Cuby, Cury, Davidstow, Duloe, East Looe, Egloshayle, Egloskerry, Falmouth, Feock, Flushing, Forrabury, Germoe, Gerrans, Godolphin, Gorran, Grade, Gulval, Gunwalloe, Gwennap, Gwinear, Halsetown, Hayle St Elwyn, Helston, Herodsfoot, Hessenford, Illogan, Isles of Scilly, Jacobstow, Kea, Kenwyn, Kilkhampton, Ladock, Lamorran, Landewednack, Landrake with St Erney, Landulph, Laneast ,Lanhydrock, Lanivet, Lanlivery, Lanreath, Lansallos, Lanteglos by Camelford, Lanteglos by Fowey, Launcells, Launceston St Thomas, Lawhitton, Lelant, Lesnewth, Lewannick, Lezant, Linkinhorne, Liskeard, Little Petherick, Lostwithiel, Ludgvan, Luxulyan, Mabe, Maker, Manaccan, Marazion, Marhamchurch, Mawgan-in-Meneage, Mawnan, Menheniot, Merther, Mevagissey, Michaelstow, Millbrook, Minster, Morvah, Morval, Morwenstow, Mullion, Mylor, Newlyn East, Newlyn St Peter, North Hill, North Petherwin, North Tamerton, Otterham, Padstow, Par, Paul, Pelynt, Pencoys, Pendeen, Penwerris, Penzance Madron, Penzance St Mary, Penzance St Paul, Perran-ar-worthal, Perranuthnoe, Perranzabuloe, Phillack, Philleigh, Pillaton, Port Isaac, Porthleven, Poughill, Poundstock, Probus, Quethiock, Rame, Redruth, Roche, Ruan Lanihorne, Ruan Major, Ruan Minor, Sancreed, Sennen, Sheviock, Sithney, South Hill, South Petherwin, St Agnes, St Allen, St Anthony in Meneage, St Anthony in Roseland, St Austell, St Blazey, St Breock, St Buryan, St Cleer, St Clement, St Columb Major, St Columb Minor, St Day, St Dennis, St Dominick, St Endellion, St Enoder, St Erme, St Erney, St Erth, St Ervan, St Eval, St Ewe, St Gennys, St Germans, St Gerrans, St Gluvias, St Hilary, St Issey, St Ive, St Ives, St John, St Juliot, St Just in Penwith, St Just in Roseland, St Keverne, St Kew, St Keyne, St Levan, St Mabyn, St Martin by Looe, St Martin in Meneage, St Mawgan-in-Pydar, St Merryn, St Mewan, St Michael Penkevil, St Minver, St Neot, St Pinnock, St Sampson, St Stephen in Brannel, St Stephens by Launceston, St Stephens by Saltash, St Stithians, St Teath, St Tudy, St Veep, St Wenn, St Winnow, Stoke Climsland, Stratton, Talland, Temple, Tideford, Torpoint, Towednack, Tregony, Treleigh, Tremaine, Treneglos, Tresmere, Trevalga, Treverbyn, Trewen, Truro, Truro St George, Truro St Mary, Truro St Paul, Tuckingmill, Tywardreath, Veryan, Warbstow, Warleggan, Week St Mary, Wendron, Whitstone, Withiel, Zennor.
The Devonshire parishes are:
St Giles on the Heath, Werrington.
You can search 171,083 records, obviously more images are available to browse than are indexed.
Baptisms go to 1910, marriages to 1935, and burials to present.

DNA webinar: DNA and Genealogy with Colleen Fitzpatrick

The following is another of Gail's Goodies

On March 18, at 8:00 p.m. CDT (9:00 p.m. Ottawa time), the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society will host a webinar with Colleen Fitzpatrick: “DNA and Genealogy.”  The Society’s webinars are usually free and that seems to be the case in this instance. You must register to watch live. http://wsgs.org/cpage.php?pt=127

14 March 2014

8th anniversary

Join me in celebrating Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections 8th anniversary.

13 March 2014

Free access to Ancestry's Irish records

Search a selection of Ancestry's Irish records until end of day, March 17, with free registration at Ancestry.ca. 

March issue of Irish Lives Remembered

The March issue (22nd edition) of Irish Lives Remembered genealogy e-magazine is now live and free to read/download at www.irishlivesremembered.com 

The focus in this edition is Limerick ancestors. There's more from the Irish diaspora too.

PRONI adds free will calendars

Today the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) will be adding 170,000 Will Indexes covering 1918 to 1921 and 1944 to 1965 available for free online. These Wills were proved in Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry District Registries. There are now more than 400,000 Will index entries dating from 1858 to 1965 available from PRONI at www.proni.gov.uk

Irish Catholic records added to Ancestry

New Irish Catholic records are added to the Ancestry collections:

Ireland, Select Catholic Confirmation Registers, 1775-1912, 8131 records
Includes registers from: Ballina (Kilmoremoy); Ballinakill; Ballon and Rathoe; Baltinglass; Canice's (Finglas and St Margaret); Castleconnor; Easkey; Killala; Moneymore;Mountrath; Rathvilly; Tourlestrane (Kilmactigue)

Ireland, Select Catholic Birth and Baptism Registers, 1763-1912, 544,651 records
Includes registers from: Addergoole; Allen; Annacarty; Armagh; Aughrim; Backs; Ballina (Ardnaree); Ballina (Kilmoremoy); Ballinakill; Ballon and Rathoe; Ballyadams; Ballybricken; Ballyconneely; Ballyfin; Baltinglass; Bangor Erris; Belmullet; Beragh; Caherlistrane (Donaghpatrick and Kilcooney); Canice's (Finglas and St Margaret); Cappawhite; Carlingford; Carlingford and Omeath; Carnaross; Castlebar; Castleconnor; Claddaghduff (Omey and Ballindoon); Clifden; Coalisland; Cooley; Crossmolina; Darver; Donaghmore; Easkey; Emly; Golden; Golden and Kilpack; Inishboffin; Kilcloon; Kilcommon Erris; Kilcurry; Kilcurry (Bridgeacrin); Kilcurry (Faughart); Kilglass; Kill; Killala; Killursa; Kilmacshalgan; Knockmore and Rathduff; Lackagh; Lacken; Louisburgh; Louisburgh (Kilgeever); Louth; Magherafelt; Malahide; Moneymore; Mountrath
Moy; Moy (Clonfeacle); Mullingar; Naas; Portlaoise (Maryborough); Rathangan; Rathvilly; Skreen and Dromard; Summerhill; Termonmaguirc; Tinryland; Tourlestrane; Tourlestrane (Kilmactigue); Tullow; Westland Row

Ireland, Select Catholic Marriage Registers, 1775-1912, 147,133 records
Includes registers from: Addergoole; Allen; Annacarty; Armagh; Aughrim; Backs; Ballina (Ardnaree); Ballina (Kilmoremoy); Ballinakill; Ballon and Rathoe; Ballyadams; Ballybricken; Ballycastle; Ballyconneely; Ballyfin; Baltinglass; Bangor Erris; Caherlistrane (Donaghpatrick and Kilcooney); Canice's (Finglas and St Margaret); Cappawhite; Carlingford; Carlingford and Omeath; Carnaross; Castleconnor; Clifden; Cooley; Crossmolina; Darver; Donaghmore; Easkey; Emly; Golden and Kilpack;Inishboffin; Kilcommon Erris; Kilcurry (Faughart); Kilglass; Kill; Killala; Killursa; Knockbridge; Knockmore and Rathduff; Lackagh; Lacken; Louisburgh; Louisburgh (Kilgeever); Louth; Magherafelt; Malahide; Mountrath; Moy; Moy (Clonfeacle); Naas; Portlaoise (Maryborough); Rathvilly; Skreen and Dromard; Solohead; Summerhill; Termonmaguirc; Tinryland
Tourlestrane ;Tourlestrane (Kilmactigue); Tullow

Ireland, Select Catholic Death and Burial Registers, 1767-1912, 15,773 records
Includes registers from: Armagh; Ballina (Kilmoremoy); Ballinakill; Baltinglass; Canice's (Finglas and St Margaret); Carlingford; Carlingford and Omeath; Castleconnor; Cooley; Darver; Kilglass; Kill; Magherafelt; Mountrath; Portlaoise (Maryborough); Rathvilly; Skreen and Dromard; Summerhill; Tinryland

In most cases these include images of the original entry, some are transcriptions of records.

12 March 2014

Review of Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014

An extended summary of the 20-22 February WDTYTA? Live exhibition at Kensington Olympia by Debbie Kennett is now posted. The emphasis is on genetic genealogy activities. I was particularly interested to read that the People of the British Isles project is nearing publication of a major article on results.
Debbie will be giving a workshop and presentations at the BIFHSGO conference, 19-21 September. We also hope to arrange to have facilities to purchase and take DNA tests from Family Tree DNA right at the conference. No promises.
Read Debbie's report on her Cruwys news blog at  http://cruwys.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/who-do-you-think-you-are-live-2014.html

Interview on OGS conference 2014

On Tuesday evening I was interviewed about the OGS conference scheduled for St Catharines, 1-4 May, where I'm involved in three events. Niagara Branch chair Steve Fulton, who is organizing an ambitious online program for the conference, asked me about my background and genealogical interest. We're both interested in technology and family history so were very much on the same wavelength.
Listen to the interview which runs nearly 15 minutes here.

Attitudes toward Home Children

I confess to being a bit surprised when I, along with nearly 200 others, heard Gloria Tubman make the comment last Saturday during her BIFHSGO presentation Researching Grandmother: An Education that there was no prejudice against Home Children until about 1980.
Gloria's grandmother was a home child so it's hardly surprising that in her family there was no stigma attached. She felt that the stigma has only been added since about 1980 with TV programs and more information about home children.
That's different from my understanding, but it wasn't something I'd researched. Here are some extracts from the Toronto Globe (and Mail).

An article on Dr. Barnardo's work from September 21, 1905
"in the early stage… not enough care was taken to select the proper kind of young immigrants, and the work was regarded with a good deal of distrust in this country, but as time passed the working of the system improved so that latterly there has been little cause for complaint."

An article from December 13, 1924 "Children of Britain Settled in Dominion have Fortunate Lot"

Canada is a most desirable land for the British youth, boy or girl. There is no prejudice in the Dominion against the "home" child and farmers' sons are not reluctant in selecting "home" girls for their wives. Those children at present in farm homes in the Dominion are, in the main, "thoroughly happy, and would on no account return it to the Old Country."
However, later in the article there is reference to the impression that "Canada is being used as a dumping ground for undesirables."

As with almost everything concerned with home children, there are mixed opinions. If you knew of a situation firsthand, positive or negative, your attitude would be set by the experience. If you didn't it would be stories you heard, likely through in newspapers; and we all know that it's the exceptional situation, likely not good news, that makes the papers .

11 March 2014

Canada is lagging behind in terms of a national digital library

Krista McCracken, a Researcher/Curator at Algoma University has posted a review Digital Libraries and National Digitization Programmes: How Does Canada Compare?
In the US the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) now includes more than 5,700,000 items from libraries, archives, and museums across the Country.
The National Library of Norway has set itself the ambitious task of digitizing every Norwegian publication.
"The British Library has made substantial efforts at providing digital copies of out of copyright material in their holdings and has created web portals that are user friendly and informative."
In Canada McCracken points to some thematic digitization projects undertaken by LAC but concludes that "cuts to staffing and programming have contributed to a slow pace of digitization." She is cautiously optimistic about the Canadiana/LAC partnership which "may be the first step toward closing the open access and digitization gaps but a significant amount of work still needs to be done."
Although small by comparison to the DPLA the efforts of various Canadian institutions which have resulted in the digitization of more than 450,000 items in the Canadian Libraries section of the Internet Archive should not go unnoticed.

Anglo-Celtic Roots, Spring 2014

Articles in the spring issue of BIFHSGO's quarterly chronicle include:

... and a Brother Who Went to Australia, which tells the story of tracing Chris MacPhail's grandfather's siblings. From the brief mention, from which the article gets its title, Chris develops an international tale of maritime adventures.

By the Skin of My Teeth, by Leighann Neilson, recounts how we nearly didn't get to read this Ottawa valley story.

John Price and the "Perthshire Grey Breeks" by Betty Warburton reveals a 200 year old story of service in a Scottish regiment.

In addition the issue includes the minutes of the last AGM and December's special meeting, feature columns, Cream of the Crop which I co-author with Ken McKinlay, The Bookworm by Betty Warburton, and columns by the Editor and President.

10 March 2014

Updating the links list

Regular reader Susan Gingras wrote to suggest some updates to the links list on the left hand side of the blog. I've mentioned two new blogs in recent months, now they've found a place among those on the list.

Ken McKinlay's Family Tree Knots is an educational blog updated twice a week on his own research challenges or challenges where he's helped others.

Gail Dever's posts at Genealogy à la carte are conversations about family history research from a Montreal point de vue.

Both blogs, and this one, offer the option of subscribing by email, something I find very convenient.

A couple of links have been deleted as they're no longer very active.

A tip of the hat to Susan for the suggestion.

DNA Test Experience: Comments

I've been reporting results of a survey of people who have taken DNA tests for genealogy. The experience with the various testing companies and with the various tests were reported over the last two days. Today we look at a representative selection of responses to an invitation to leave comments.

"The testing itself was fine, but I had to learn a lot on my own about what to do with the results once I received them. I think this is probably true of DNA testing in general at this stage but I think the company could have done a better job of telling me what to expect, and what not to expect, before I ordered the test."

"DNA testing has proven to be one of the most fascinating things that I have done with regard to learning about my family history. I end up with a lot of questions, not many matches but an in-depth deep ancestry that exactly mimics my known family history as far back in time as I have been able to push it on paper."

"Tested with big 3, all suck for ethnic and any expert who recommends any of them for ethnic should resign."

"I know that although the science delivers what it says it is going to deliver, I find the results presented in such an overly optimistic manner as to be almost disingenuous."

"I want to test with Ancestry, but they won't sell me a kit because I'm not in the USA. Why won't Ancestry do tests for those outside the USA? I'm surprised that Americans don't seem to care that they can get matches only with other Americans - the only ones that seem to be complaining about Ancestry's policy are non-Americans."

"My dissatisfaction is not from the companies, it is with myself for not doing anything with the results. I don't have time to give it the attention it needs, and to figure out next steps."

"The problem is with people who do not respond to a query from you re a possible match. Or when you do make contact, and you send them information - they do not acknowledge it or respond back."

"On autosomal DNA tests the key is to have other relatives tested so that you can look for "matches in common" and assign your new genetic cousins to particular branches of your tree. It is frustrating when so many people don't load GEDCOMs so you can't look at their family trees."

"We need to have VERY basic info that a MORON can understand. I honestly think that's the starting point for most testees, at least those with no science background. There is a VERY steep learning curve, and people have to be taught in baby steps. I can't tell you how many emails I read that say, "Trying SO hard to understand this DNA stuff, but seriously, what does it all mean?" It's a shame that such an excited audience becomes so quickly frustrated."

"Ethnicity averages sure do vary (obviously still in its infancy.) Finding enough help to understand results seems to be a problem locally, although I'm very grateful for the International Society of Genetic Genealogists' website and Facebook page (which I read daily trying to educate myself.) Southern California Genealogical Society's DNA Jamboree was a huge help last year and I'll attend again this June. Wish there were more intermediate longer courses on the West coast of the US."

"My expectations were realistic going in so I was mostly satisfied. Most of the people I have talked to who are not satisfied do not understand the limitations and capabilities of current DNA knowledge and technology."

"AncestryDNA's lack of tools make it nearly useless without getting matches to upload their raw DNA data to GEDmatch. 23andMe needs to overhaul their messaging system. Family Tree DNA needs to revise their matching thresholds so that customers can get more useful matching and triangulation. My biggest concern with genetic genealogy as a whole: too many people are now testing with no knowledge of their family history while too few die-hard genealogists are testing."

"All companies could do a better job of integrating known data with its members and educating those who are confused as to what they signed up for. I think your survey is too general as my dissatisfation is only with the way the companies organizational aspects are, not with the many, many people who I communicate with and are public profiles, I am satisfied with the product itself, meaning my genes being matched to others."

09 March 2014

J Brian Gilchrist joins the Blogosphere

Sunday 9 March 2014, and another Canadian genealogy blog springs to life.

Canadian Genealogy notes and news isn't just any old (or rather, new) blog, its one written by widely respected Canadian genealogist J Brian Gilchrist. He will relay news about Canadian research and, provide commentary on how to analyze records while:

a) highlighting the myriad of resources that are not (yet) on the internet and
b) discussing how to use and interpret the resource.
Welcome to the Canadian blogosphere Brian.

DNA Test Experience: Test Type Result

The results are in. Many more people responded to the 2014 survey than last year, likely more people have taken a DNA test for genealogy, and thanks to social media more people got to hear about it. Thanks to all who promoted the survey and to those who reported their experience.

Yesterday I reported on the experience with the various testing companies. Today opinions about the various types of test are reported. The question was "What was your overall level of satisfaction with the type of test or tests involved as far as utility for your genealogy?"

In order of the percent reported to be very satisfied:

Y-DNA STR (12, 25,37, 67 markers etc), 66 respondents were very satisfied or satisfied, 6 dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, a 10:1 favourable ratio.
Autosomal DNA: 85 respondents were very satisfied or satisfied, 8 dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, a near11:1 favourable ratio.
Y-DNA SNP: 34 respondents were very satisfied or satisfied, 2 dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, a 17:1 favourable ratio.
mtDNA: 55 respondents were very satisfied or satisfied, 11 dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, a 5:1 favourable ratio.

And with too few votes to take seriously

Other: 9 respondents were very satisfied or satisfied, 1 dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, a 9:1 favourable ratio.

The most favourable ratio rating for the Y-DNA SNP test likely reflects the specialised nature of the test with people who take it being more advanced users.
Autosomal and Y-STR are similarly favourably regarded, by about 10 to 1.
There were more respondents for the autosomal than Y-STR test, the reverse of last year.

Library and Archives Canada Report on Plans and Priorities 2014-15

The Library and Archives Canada 2014-2015 Report on Plans and Priorities has now been tabled in Parliament, along with those for many other departments and agencies.
It shows forecast spending of $98.7 million for 2013–2014, a reduction of $20 million from the previous year, falling further to $95.9 million in 2014–2015.

From 2014-15 LAC is estimating full time employee equivalents (FTE) of 858. That's down slightly from the estimate a year ago, and a long way below the 1,117 FTEs two years ago.

Each year I produce a Wordle showing the RPP's most used words. This year the prominent words are matter of fact and properly bureaucratic. Again the terms geneal* or newspaper are nowhere to be found. Phrases go in and out of fashion. "Whole-of-society" which appeared 14 times last year is gone; "whole-of-government" has appeared. The phrase "First World War" appears 9 times.

The thrust of LAC's ambition is summarized in the Minister's message:
In 2014–15, LAC will provide Canadians with easier access to its collection by significantly increasing the amount of material made available online. The organization will continue to proceed with the digitization of nearly 640,000 service records of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in order to contribute to the commemoration of the First World War. LAC will also acquire information resources that represent Canadian society, as well as preserve documentary heritage of national interest in both analogue and digital formats, particularly by completing the transfer (to Winnipeg) of analogue material relating to the Second World War. In addition, LAC will continue to partner with public and research libraries, museums and other institutions across Canada to bring the country's heritage closer to Canadians. LAC will also provide support and training to government departments on recordkeeping and information management.
The aspect of LAC operations of most interest to genealogists and like clients is now found under Program 2.3: Access to documentary heritage. It is explained as:
The purpose of providing access to documentary heritage is to make Canadian information resources known and accessible to anyone interested in Canada, its society or its experience. By providing access, LAC contributes to the creation of new knowledge that will increase the understanding of Canada's continuing memory.
$28.6 million and 237 FTEs are allocated to this program for the foreseeable future, to 2016-17.

Performance targets are as last year: for March 31, 2015, 75% client satisfaction with online services; 60% of clients who report being able to find what they are looking for online. As I commented last year, with less than 1% of LAC material online the latter seems like a hugely ambitious target. Will a way be found to interpret the wording to produce an acceptable performance?

Reading through the section we learn that LAC's website is among the most popular of all federal departments and agencies, with an average of 1.5 million visits per month. In addition, an average of 1.4 million searches per month are conducted of the AMICUS catalogue.

At the lowest level of dis-aggregation within this program the planned key activities for the year are:

  • Develop new online resources and update existing ones on the First World War (including databases, guides and digital content) so that participants in the Lest We Forget Project and other researchers have better access to information about the soldiers who fought in that war.
  • Develop new online resources and update existing ones on Aboriginal heritage (such as research assistance tools that provide historical and geographic information about the various bands or communities and about the treaties).
  • Add new databases and improve existing ones in order to increase the amount of searchable information having to do with the history of immigration and cultural communities in Canada.
  • Continue with the renewal of the National Union Catalogue, a free catalogue that provides access to the holdings of 1,300 libraries across Canada.
  • Continue to implement the content digitization strategy by focusing on the digitization of the most frequently requested documents.
  • Continue the digitization projects being carried out to digitize and post online over 60 million images.
  • Continue to share content on LAC's social network sites, namely through blogs, podcasts, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter, to reach a maximum number of clients and to make the collection available through a wide range of channels.
  • Develop new online resources and update existing ones on the First World War, Aboriginal heritage, and the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.
This includes those for Program 2.3.2 which is mislabeled 2.3.1 in the document.

Overall, the document reflects a department getting on with business but without any real leadership evident, as can be expected for an organization which has been without a permanent head since mid-May.  

08 March 2014

Halvor Moorshead, R.I.P.

Halvor Moorshead is reported to have passed away, according to Dick Eastman.
"The many friends and acquaintances of Halvor Moorshead will be saddened to learn that he passed away suddenly yesterday at the age of 71. He was well-known in the genealogy community as the founder of Family Chronicle magazine in 1997, followed by other publications including Internet Genealogy, Discovering Family History, and the companion title, History Magazine.
Halvor was also a genuine nice guy. I had the good fortune to know Halvor for the past 17 years or so and often wrote about him and his genealogy products. (See http://goo.gl/J5gCyB. I also wrote about his retirement in 2008 at http://goo.gl/ngX9XD.) He obviously loved people and loved his work.
Since his retirement, Halvor returned to an earlier love, that of radio. He was the chair of WhiStle Radio in Stouffville, Ontario.
Halvor leaves behind his beloved wife Marian, along with Victoria, Alexandra, Timothy, and Christina, along with two grandsons, Trevor and David Moorshead, and his younger brother, Robin, in England and family members around the world whom he discovered and brought together through his love of family history.
We will miss you, Halvor.
via http://goo.gl/ycCSgG

BIFHSGO announces conference speakers

The following is a press release from the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa

Speakers announced for British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa Conference

OTTAWA, 8 March 2014 — The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) has announced the speakers for the annual conference, to be held 19-21 September, at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.

For its 20th anniversary year, the society will celebrate with an ambitious program which will help family historians delve into their British Isles roots.

The society expects to welcome more than 250 attendees at the event, which has three special themes:
English family history;
Immigration from the British Isles, including Home Children; and
Genetic genealogy.

“Our nation’s capital is also its family history capital.  Every year we have welcomed folks from far and near, researching their ancestors in collections at Library and Archives Canada and learning about resources for discovering their British and Irish roots at our conference ” said BIFHSGO President Glenn Wright.

This year’s conference speakers will include:
Dr. Lucille Campey - emigration historian, author of numerous books on British Isles emigration to Canada who will launch her latest book Ignored but not forgotten - Canada's English Immigrants at the conference.
Gail Dever - BIFHSGO webmaster, social media expert and blogger at Genealogy à la carte
John Dickenson - a former professor at Liverpool University who now researches Canada’s Home Children, especially their involvement in the First World War.
Dr.  Janet Few - freelance researcher and prize-winning author specializing in the south-west of England who will give a streamed-in presentation on North Devon immigrants to Canada.
Paul Jones - retired publisher, “Roots” columnist for Canada’s History magazine who speaks frequently on offbeat topics at family history events.
Debbie Kennett - an avid genetic genealogist, author of DNA and Social Networking (2011) and The Surnames Handbook (2012). Debbie is Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London.
Paul Milner - an internationally recognized speaker specializing in British Isles research, author of Discover English Parish Records and Genealogy at a Glance: English Research.
Gary Schroder - long-time President of the Quebec Family History Society and a frequent guest on Quebec radio and television promoting family history research.

In addition, speakers at pre-conference seminars on September 19 will include, from Library and Archives Canada, Paul Marsden and Sylvie Tremblay.

BIFHSGO looks forward to welcoming you at its 20th anniversary conference.  Reserve 19-21 September in your agenda now and look for more details coming soon on the society website at www.bifhsgo.ca.

BIFHSGO Contacts:
John D. Reid, Conference Program Chair, conference at bifhsgo dot ca
Mary-Lou Simac, Publicity Director, MLMSIMAC at gmail dot com

DNA Test Experience 2014: Company Results

The results are in. Many more people responded to the 2014 survey than last year, likely more people have taken a DNA test for genealogy, and thanks to social media more people got to hear about it. Thanks to all who promoted the survey and to those who reported their experience.

I'll report the individual question results over the next few days. First, opinions about the various testing companies, and its mostly good news. The question was "What was your overall level of satisfaction with the service from the company or companies you used?"

In order of the percent reported to be very satisfied:

Family Tree DNA, 95 respondents were very satisfied or satisfied, 8 dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, a nearly 12:1 favourable ratio.
23andMe, 53 respondents were very satisfied or satisfied, 8 dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, a nearly 6.6:1 favourable ratio.
National Geographic, 26 respondents were very satisfied or satisfied, 5 dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, a 5.2:1 favourable ratio.
Other, 11 respondents were very satisfied or satisfied, 1 dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, an 11:1 favourable ratio.
AncestryDNA, 29 respondents were very satisfied or satisfied, 17 dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, a 1.7:1 favourable ratio.

The remainder had very few respondents.

Britain's DNA Group, 2 respondents were very satisfied or satisfied, 3 dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, a 2:3 favourable ratio, mostly unfavourable.
Oxford Ancestors, 1 respondent very satisfied or satisfied, 2 dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, a nearly 1:2 favourable ratio, very much unfavourable.

The surprise for me was the relatively large number of dissatisfied AncestryDNA clients. Maybe those of us outside the US aren't missing out on too much.

Genetic Astrology

Alistair Moffat is a good interviewee. He has an ear for a turn of phrase and knack for capturing the public attention. A historian by background, with a long involvement with broadcasting, he has little trouble getting media exposure. See a list of previous coverage of Moffat and his company at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/mace-lab/genetic-ancestry/guff_pages/attack.
Despite the BBC having been found in violation of their own guidelines on both "accuracy" and "product prominence" during an interview with Moffat he appeared again this month promoting his company finding that a million British men descend from Vikings on the direct paternal line. The interview starts at 2.04.48 at bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01s6pt4
Read Debbie Kennett's blog post Alistair Moffat, BritainsDNA and the BBC - a "uniquely British farce" which gives the background.

07 March 2014

Ancestry adds Lower Canada censuses for 1825 and 1842

Continuing to benefit from its partnership with FamilySearch, you can now search added 74,323 records from the 1825 census of Lower Canada (Quebec), and 46,467 records from the 1842 census on Ancestry.ca.
These censuses name only the head of household and give his (usually male) occupation along with statistics on the number of people in the household born in certain countries and in various age ranges. The originals were microfilmed by the Public Archives of Canada, forerunner of Library and Archives Canada.

WDYTYA DNA Podcast Combining Traditional & Genetic Genealogy by Chris Pomeroy

The latest lecture from those sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA (at www.ftdna.com) and organised by ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy at www.isogg.org) at WDYTYA? Live 2014 to be posted on YouTube is Combining Traditional & Genetic Genealogy - The Pomeroy DNA 

Chris Pomery describes the Pomeroy family reconstruction project which uses Y-DNA data and historical research in combination. Chris highlights issues that have arisen and ways to solve them, and general principles, drawing on his experience with his study and considers directions for future research.

Why Do You Study Your Family History?

Ottawa genealogist Philip Norcross Gross says that by studying his roots he has "met and enjoyed many more family members and come to realize my own place in the world and in human history."

Read his reflections on studying family history on the OGS blog at www.ogs.on.ca/ogsblog/?p=5478

He shares his own family history at http://norcross.ca/

06 March 2014

Ancestry adds Gloucestershire, England, Wills and Inventories, 1541-1858

These 85,306 entries in a new collection on ancestry.co.uk could be a treasure chest if you have Gloucestershure ancestors. Sourced from the Gloucestershire Archives these probate records, wills and inventories, for the Diocese of Gloucestershire are indexed images of the originals.
An exact search for the surname Cowley found 96 records, a quarter inventories, the bulk wills.
FamilySearch has a useful summary regarding Gloucestershire probate records.
You may also be interested in the genealogical search page at the Gloucestershire Archives.

Library professionals express concerns on LAC

On 1 March the Canadian Association of Professional Academic Librarians (CAPAL) submitted a brief to the Royal Society of Canada, Expert Panel “The Status and Future of Canada’s Libraries and Archives”. Here is an extract relating to Library and Archives Canada.

Recent changes at LAC have resulted in paradigmatic shifts that will have a deleterious impact on academic libraries across Canada, especially, at larger provincial institutions. CAPAL members consider the recent actions pertaining to the LAC and the National Archival Development Program (NADP) undertaken by the Ministry of Heritage in conflict with their responsibility to Canadian citizens to value, preserve and sustain this country’s documentary heritage. These actions and the long term ramifications deprive Canadian citizens of their rights to free and unrestricted access to information concerning their heritage. Current legislation to protect the mandate of LAC as a national library and archive for Canada seems to have provided little protection under the current government’s political agenda. This concerns CAPAL members.

Other negative changes at LAC have resulted in Canada being without a national bibliography, repository and archive. A national library and archive is an expression of national identity and a repository of Canada’s national heritage. Moving forward the CAPAL recommends the following:

 The Chief Librarian/Archivist of LAC needs to be a trained, experienced professional Librarian/Archivist who has had a career as a Librarian/Archivist

 LAC needs to be governed by an independent board which includes professional librarians and archivists that has an arms‐length distance from government interference

 New legislation needs to be formulated so that, under all circumstances, a national repository and archive is firmly secured and not subject to the priorities, political agendas or ideology of ruling political parties. Legislation which governs LAC must comply with Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom and Constitution of Canada.

LAC has a responsibility to:

 operate in a transparent manner and ensure the activities and projects of LAC are well known across the country, to citizens and professionals in the various fields

 ensure that LAC employees are actively engaged with library associations and have the freedom to openly discuss issues, share knowledge and concerns

 ensure collections and LAC are managed according to the core values and ethics of librarianship / archival practices and not superficial, monetary priorities which shift with the politicians

 work closely with associations in Canada, USA and Internationally

 ensure long‐term goals are maintained

 ensure LAC operates according the Canadian legislation

 ensure LAC truly is a national repository for Canadians

 ensure LAC is not threatened by changing political ideology

 ensure that LAC shows the proper respect for Canada’s heritage

Read the full brief at http://capalibrarians.org/2014/03/capals-report-to-the-expert-panel-royal-society-of-canada/

Doors Open Ottawa 2014

Saturday and Sunday, June 7 and 8, are the dates for the popular Doors Open Ottawa event this year. Mark it on your calendar.

BIFHSGO March Meeting

The program for the Saturday March 8 monthly meeting of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa is:

9:00 a.m. Before BIFHSGO Education Talk
Bob Lajoie will talk about WIN - WRITE IT NOW, a writing program that encourages people to write their life story for their children and grandchildren.
9:30 a.m. Browse our Discovery Tables about the Ontario East British Home Child Family, hosted by Lorraine Reoch.
10:00 a.m. Researching Grandmother: An Education
Learn from Gloria Tubman about the resources she used to discover the life of her grandmother, a home child. Dave Cross introduces and interviews Gloria on this podcast.

The meeting takes place at Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa. Free parking is available in the lots east of the building only on Saturday and Sunday. Do not use the lot west of the building.

Open to members and visitors. Free admission.

05 March 2014

TNA price changes

If you use the services of The (UK) National Archives be aware that prices for services are changing on 1 April.
The good news is that online digital downloads from nationalarchives.gov.uk are seeing a decrease, from £3.36 to £3.30. These remain free onsite at Kew.
Self service copying in the reading rooms remains at £0.25 per page.
Most other costs are increasing, some quite substantially. Cost per colour copy up to and including size A3, research quality, increases from £3.00 to £5.50.
Want TNA to do research for you. For each 15 minutes research, including the time taken to send out the results, price increases from £20.00 to £25.00.
There are price lists in pdf with the old prices and new prices

DNA test experience survey 2014

Please click below to take this short survey on your satisfaction with DNA testing for genealogy. It's a repeat of a survey conducted here last April. Have things changed, and for the better or worse?


04 March 2014

LAC budget declines a further $2.5 million

Library and Archives Canada continues to be singled out for budget cuts by the Harper government. According to an Ottawa Citizen story every federal cultural institution in the National Capital region except Library and Archives Canada will have more to spend in 2014-15.

Federal government spending estimates show funding for LAC will be will $95.9 million in 2014-15, an overall decrease of $2.5 million in 2013–14.

The Main Estimates explain the decease as due to:

  • A decrease of $3.0 million due to savings identified as part of the Budget 2012 Spending Review;
  • A decrease of $2.6 million for the conversion of a facility in Gatineau, Quebec to a high density shelving Collection Storage Facility;
  • A decrease of $0.4 million to Shared Services Canada as part of the Workplace Technology Devices Initiative;
  • An increase of $1.9 million from Public Works and Government Services Canada as a result of Library and Archives Canada program space consolidation and rationalization efforts;
  • An increase of $0.9 million for compensation adjustments to fund increased personnel costs of collective agreements and employee benefit plans (statutory); and
  • An increase of $0.7 million from Public Works and Government Services Canada for reimbursement as a result of a reduction in accommodation requirements.

BIFHSGO adds Barnardo Ups and Downs database

An estimated one in ten Canadians has a British home child ancestor. Ups and Downs magazine was published from August 1895 until December 1949 in Toronto by the Canadian Branch of Dr. Barnardo’s organization which brought more children than any other.
A new BIFHSGO database has about 59,000 names of children indexed from 141 of the 173 Ups and Downs issues believed to have been printed.
A search by surname at http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cstm_upsAndDowns.php will return: Surname, Given Name,  Event,  Issue, Issue Volume, Page, and Remarks. Find out how to access copies of the magazine by email query to sayersji at sympatico dot ca.
Thirty issues between January 1906 and the summer of 1921 have not been found and are therefore not copied nor indexed. Unfortunately this covers World War 1 when many Home Children went to war. If you know where to find one or more of those issues please let us know by email to the above address..