30 April 2014

British Library Newsroom: lessons for LAC

The new British Library Newsroom opened at the main site for the British Library at St Pancras on Monday.

Many people will miss the old dedicated library at Colindale which the video refers to as having been the Cinderella of the British Library.
That would be a great way to describe the treatment of the newspaper collection at Library and Archives Canada.
Canada's collection remains great, even though unique material was recently junked; a treasure. The treatment is shabby with the collection hidden away, no dedicated newspaper librarian/archivist, no digitization program.
Canada has a lot to learn from Britain (including Wales), Australia, New Zealand and the US.

29 April 2014

Guy Berthiaume: Taking libraries into the digital age

The Montreal Gazette has published an article with a Q/A with the Library and Archivist of Canada designate Guy Berthiaume.  He clearly has a firm grip on what's needed at LAC. It's good to see this exchange:
Gazette: What surprised you the most during your time as head of the BAnQ? 
Berthiaume: One of the things that surprised me the most is people’s passion for genealogy. There’s a very popular British TV series, Who Do You Think You Are? Radio-Canada did a similar show called Qui êtes-vous? Each episode started out here in our archives. It generated a lot of interest. After the show, a lot of people came to our website to try to find their ancestors.
Elsewhere in the article Berthiaume speaks of digitization, restoring morale among the staff and building bridges with partners and stakeholders.

No doubt change won't happen fast enough for some, and will be resisted by others.  I'm cautiously optimistic that M Berthiaume has the vision to bring about a revitalization at LAC and hope he gets the support needed from us all.

More than 2 million Shropshire BMBs at findmypast

Shropshire Parish records, with image originals, are now available exclusively on findmypast. You may well have already accessed the IGI version of these records, now you can verify with the originals online.

The Shropshire Collection is made up approximately 2.1 million fully searchable and browse-able transcripts spanning 1538-1900; around 1,133,580 baptisms, 535,600 marriages, 42,245 banns, 800,795 burials and contains around 720,000 unique names.

It includes 155,000 scanned colour images of the parish registers, and a selection of Anglican, Methodist and Non-Conformist registers from well over 200 Shropshire parishes from Abdon to Yockleton.

www.findmypast.co.uk or findmypast.com and affiliated sites,

Zoomer show wrap-up

Lots of folks did enter to win the grand prize, including a year of Ancestry, a 2014 membership in OGS and Ottawa Branch and a membership in BIFHSGO, offerred at the OGS/BIFHSGO/City Archives booth at last weekend's Zoomer Show. There could only be one winner, and he was Neil Johnston of Gloucester

At the end of the weekend, we had talked to 630 visitors and the majority of them had never heard of any of our organization before, although they were either interested in genealogy or had been researching for some time. We had a variety of questions on researching, software, resources and even adoptions. Hopefully, some of this folks will be in touch for help in moving forward in the hobby.

28 April 2014

MyHeritage milestone

One of the invited international speakers at this coming weekend's OGS conference in St Catharines, MyHeritage's Daniel Horowitz, has already arrived in Canada. He mentioned in a note that MyHeritage has reached an exciting milestone: now more than 5 billion historical records.
It has taken only two years for MyHeritage to build this treasure trove of historical information demonstrating that MyHeritage is one of the fastest-growing and most internationally diverse family history companies in the world. The records come from a wide variety of collections from many different sources and from dozens of countries. The collections were also given a great boost after our multiple acquisitions in recent years, including World Vital Records and Geni.
MyHeritage is proud to provide Historical Big Data; which together with our advanced record matching technologies, helps users worldwide make breakthrough family history discoveries and learn more about their families’ legacies.
MyHeritage continues to add millions of new records to SuperSearch every single day. We are working hard to add more global content and to make researching ones family history easier and more accessible than ever before. We expect to surpass 7 billion historical records by the end of this year.
To celebrate reaching this milestone, we looked at some iconic names within our collections and made a fun info-graphic with our discoveries (attached). We invite you to share this with your readers and friends.
Please read more about this exciting milestone in our official blog post here http://blog.myheritage.com/2014/04/myheritage-reaches-new-milestone-5-billion-historical-records/ 
Daniel will be presenting at the conference, participating as a member of the social media panel plenary starting at 8:15am on Saturday and be available at the MyHeritage booth in the marketplace. Then he goes on to the NGS conference.

Paul Jones on genealogical confidence

On Sunday afternoon at the St Catharines OGS conference Toronto genealogist Paul Jones will present "Determining how much confidence you should have in your genealogical inferences."
As Paul mentions blog postings of mine I'm giving the presentation a shout out. The abstract reads
Over the past quarter-century, the use of statistics in the sciences has been shifting from a “frequentist” approach (t-tests and the like) to the realm of conditional probabilities and Bayes Theorem, i.e., the use of successive pieces of evidence to progressively modify our estimate of 
the probability of the truth of a hypothesis. This trend is now entering the social sciences and it is a reasonable question to ask whether genealogists should add simple probability calculations to their research tool kit to distinguish between conclusions that are, say, 20%, 80% and 99% likely to be accurate. This presentation illustrates basic probability calculations, corrects some common misunderstandings about probability and suggests how probability could, in some circumstances, augment but never replace the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). 
One of the other references for Paul's presentation is Richard Carrier, author of Proving History, who posted If You Learn Nothing Else about Bayes’ Theorem, Let It Be This on his blog on Sunday. The  main he discusses are that Theories Cannot Be Argued in Isolation and Prior Assumptions Matter
Be aware that Carrier doesn't pander in his writing. His post has a fog index of 11.7 where 5 is readable, 10 is hard, and 15 is difficult.

What do OGS, BIFHSGO and Rillington have in common?

I spotted a tweet about a One Place Study for the North Yorkshire community of Rillington, it's one of the latest, and it rang two bells with me.
Next weekend, at the OGS conference in St Catharines, Kirsty Grey, a founding member and Chair of One Place Studies, will be a speaker. That includes participating on the Social Media Panel starting at 8:15 am EDT on Saturday. It will be streamed out free via the links
Rillington is also featured in a presentation at the BIFHSGO conference next September. One of well known author Lucille Campey's presentations will be In My Mind I Oftentimes Visit Rillington: 
Canada’s Intrepid Yorkshire Settlers.

27 April 2014

Zoomer show photos

 Mike More removes the velcro protectors on one of  the "genealogy words" used as a backdrop for the partnership display at the Zoomer Show held at the Ernst and Young Centre, 26-27 April 2-14.
The booth, profiling OGS Ottawa Branch, BIFHSGO and Ottawa City Archives, was in a choice location, near the entrance and about as far from the enthusiastic musical entertainment as it was possible to get.
On Saturday the 26th we recorded 352 people who stopped at the booth for information and advice. Areas of ancestral interest for those I spoke to included Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia/Newfoundland,  Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany,and Poland. A couple of adoptees were interested to receive information on how DNA testing might help them.
Glenn Wright was delighted to discover one of the people who stopped by to talk was a previously unknown relative.

OGS Toronto Branch April Meeting and call for speakers

Toronto Branch April Meeting
On Monday 28 April the featured speaker is Canada’s “Word Lady”, Katherine Barber, on “Where There’s a Will There’s a Word“. A Canadian lexicographer, and former Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Canadian Dictionary, she will share her expertise on the evolution of some of the words that are of particular significance to family historians – the ones we find in wills.

Patricia Sheehan, one of the volunteers on the Branch research services team, will close out the evening with a short additional presentation on “Who was that Woman with King George VI—and What is she Doing in the Back of my Grandmother’s Photo Album?“.

The meeting begins at 7:30 in the evening at the Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Hall, 5110 Yonge Street in Toronto (convenient access from the North York subway station).

Call for Speakers: England’s Industrial Revolutions
Toronto Branch has issued a Call for Speakers to take part in a full-day workshop for family historians on the social, economic and cultural effects of England’s Industrial Revolutions. The workshop will take place on Saturday 1 November 2014.

Potential speakers—professional genealogists, historians, family historians, librarians and archivists—are invited to submit proposals for presentations related to Industrial England, particularly during the period from 1750 to 1870. Possible topics could include migration to the cities, changes in occupations, effects of industrialization on rural communities, and changes in social organizations, cultural life, religion and education.

The deadline for proposals for this workshop is Friday, 30 May 2014.

For further information about the workshop and to find out how to make a submission, please download the full Call for Speakers.

26 April 2014

Win BIG at Ottawa's Zoomer Show

You could win a one year subscription to Ancestry World Deluxe, a one year membership to OGS and Ottawa Branch and a basket to other genealogical resources. You have to attend the Ottawa Zoomer Show being held this Saturday and Sunday at the Ernst & Young Centre by the Ottawa airport. Look for the OGS/BIFHSGO/City Archives booth right by the entrance where you can enter the draw.

For more information and opening hours visit http://www.zoomershow.com/events/ottawa2014. Print off tickets for free admission to the show at:

What Irish records are online?

A compact list of where to find Irish records online is available via the Irish Times. They are listed under headings: General Register Office records, census records, church records, property records, wills, emigration, newspapers, directories, occupational and, graveyards, all updated to 22 April.

25 April 2014

Shaking Your Family Tree in Belleville

A last-minute notice that the Belleville Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are hosting a Shaking Your Family Tree event this Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 9:00 am to 4:30pm.
You can learn (or fine-tune) your genealogy skills to further research your family lineage.
The location is 135 Palmer Rd  Belleville, ON K8P 4C9. There's a little additional information at http://shakingyourfamilytree.weebly.com/
This is information from Lesley Anderson who will be one of the speakers.

Ancestry adds RCMP and Norfolk Poor Law databases

More from Ancestry's cooperation agreement with FamilySearch:

Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police obituary card index and notices, 1876-2007, 9476 records. There's more information at FamilySearch at http://goo.gl/H5XTW7

England, Norfolk Poor Law Union Records, 1796-1900 are 138,680 browse only records with further information at http://goo.gl/boJA89

Books Boxes and Boats

From The UK National Archives Books Boxes and Boats  "brings together a wide variety of websites and databases hopefully useful to anyone carrying out maritime related research but in particular librarians archivists and family historians. These include 'official' sites such as the National Archives and the Royal Naval Museum as well as websites run by enthusiasts," Some of the contents linked are:

Lloyds Register, with links to an incomplete sequence of 18th & 19th Century volumes scanned by Google and the 1930-1945 volumes from Southampton Library & Archive;

Lloyds List, with details of ship movements, marine casualties & maritime news, an incomplete collection from 1741 to 1826;

Mercantile Navy List. an annual publication containing "the most comprehensive listing of British vessels, incomplete starting in 1849;

and lots more.

Scattered in are resources explaining the records which you'll appreciate after you've struggled to interpret the many abbreviations used.

Thanks to Christine Jackson for the tip.

24 April 2014

FreeBMD April update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Tuesday 22 April 2014 to contain 237,672,737 (236,907,482) distinct records.

Years with major updates, more than 5,000 entries are: for births 1940, 1943, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1969-70, 1972; for marriages 1952, 1962, 1964-70; for deaths 1969-71.

Archives of Ontario ships fewer microfilms

Month by month, from April 2010 to February 2014 the Archives of Ontario have monitored various customer service statistics, including total microfilm shipments.
Shipments have slipped by an average 93 per year. At that rate in 3-5 years shipments will drop to zero. Let's hope a different technology, perhaps digital microfilm, will replace the antiquated current system.

OGS Ottawa Branch April meeting

The Ottawa Branch Meeting presentation this coming Saturday 26 April, 13:00 – 15:00 is "Using Social Media for Genealogy Research"

Ken McKinlay will be talking about the various social media sites, such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter and blogs to name just a few places, that can be used to help in your own research through interacting online with others around the world via the world wide web.

Speaker bio: Ken McKinlay's foray into his family tree research started with three simple family stories that he wanted to confirm or refute. He has now been researching his family tree for over 14 years making use of the Internet as his primary means of locating relevant documents and also discovering new cousins. He has given talks for the Ottawa branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, BIFHSGO, and the Ottawa Public Library. His talks generally focus on methodologies and providing the skills needed to help solve those brick wall problems.  He is currently working on the Canadian Records certificate offered through the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

The meeting is at the usual location, City of Ottawa Archives, Room 115 starting at 1pm with
Networking - tea, coffee, cookies. This meeting will be simulcast for members who can't join in person.

23 April 2014

Crowdfunding map digitization

The British Library have opened at campaign seeking support to unlock King George III’s personal map and views collection, over 1,000 maps and views of London and "one of the world's most important and beautiful map collections."
They aim to raise a total of £100,000 to catalogue, conserve and digitise all the London maps and views with £10,000 of the total coming from donors and enthusiasts.
Read more and donate at http://support.bl.uk/Page/Unlock-London-Maps

St George's Day

A Mummers play in celebration of this day, St George's Day and Shakespeare's birthday.



22 April 2014

Now you'll know

Peter Munro correctly identified the list of nicknames published a few days ago as British Army regiments.  More specifically they were in the war of 1812 in Canada. They are:

The Holy Boys: The Royal Norfolk Regiment, recruited from East Norfolk
Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard: The Royal Scots, recruited from Berwick
The Elegant Extracts: The Royal Fusiliers (City of London)
The Vein-Openers: Worcestershire Regiment (Worcestershire and Herefordshire)
The Devil's Own: Connaught Rangers (Ireland and Scotland).

FamilySearch adds additional Essex and Bristol parish transcripts

There are now 1,022,771 records, updated from the 537,556 records available since December, in the FamilySearch collection of transcribed parish registers for various Essex parishes, 1538-1900. Further information, and a list of parishes with dates included is at http://goo.gl/GZOXF8
Also 724,809 transcribed Bristol parish register entries for the same period are now available, updated from January. A detailed list of parishes covered, but not dates, is at http://goo.gl/R0OwFk

21 April 2014

Our (Ottawa) Heroes in The Great World War

While researching WW1 soldiers buried at Beechwood Cemetery last week at the Ottawa City Archives Harriet Fried drew "The Blue Book" to my attention.
The content is well described by the extended title "Our Heroes in (of) The Great World War: Giving facts and details of Canada's part in the greatest war in history,  including photoengravings of Officers, Nurses, Non-commissioned Officers  and Men from Ottawa, Ontario, and vicinity. Compiled by J. H. Dc Wolfe the history of the war is interspersed with pages of photos and mini-bios of many from the area who served. It's not comprehensive, a few war causalities buried at Beechwood are not included.

You don't have to go the City Archives to read it. Find a digitised copy, not nearly as good resolution as the hard copy I viewed, on the Internet Archive at  https://archive.org/details/82968

Top centre in the image is Nursing Sister Minnie Gallagher, a wartime fatality who will be one of those featured in the Beechwood Cemetery Historical Walking Tour in June.

20 April 2014

Do you know?

Recognize these?

The Holy Boys
Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard
The Elegant Extracts
The Vein-Openers
The Devil's Own

What do they have in common?

Free admission to the Ottawa Zoomer show

BIFHSGO, the Ontario Genealogical Society, and the City of Ottawa Archives will share a booth at the Ottawa Zoomer Show on April 26 and 27 at the Ernst & Young Centre, 4899 Uplands Drive.

250 free tickets are allocated to society members. Below is the link to get a free ticket. CARP members will have received notice of free admission.

Print off the tickets for free admission to the show at:

For more information on the show: http://www.zoomershow.com/events/ottawa2014/  Scroll down to see a floor plan and a list of the other exhibitors.

19 April 2014

Primrose Day and a census odditity

April 19 was for many years unofficially commemorated as Primrose Day in Britain. Lord Beaconsfield, (Benjamin Disraeli,) died that day in 1881. Primroses, his favourite flowers, were placed on his grave, at his statue in Parliament Square, and worn by admirers.

His name was coupled with that of Sir John A Macdonald, both were considered outstanding Conservative leaders. Although Disraeli was not yet Prime Minister when the British North America Act which founded Canada was approved by the British Parliament, he was the leader of the government in the Commons and so must surely have had a substantial role.

Disraeli appears in the 1881 census, taken not long before his death, listed by his title, The Earl of Beaconsfield, with occupation ex-Prime Minister. Someone in the census office was obviously an admirer. When in genealogy class they tell you the 1881 census didn't recorded deaths show them this curiosity - a snippet from the census document with a R.I.P. scrawled beside the entry.

WW1 Beechwood Burials: Calvin Bezley

On this date in 1920 Private Calvin Bezley, serving with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles, passed away from scarlet fever.

According to an Ottawa Journal article from 20 April 1920 he had recently undergone an operation on his spine following a shrapnel wound at Cambra(i) where he laid for two days before being brought in. The shrapnel was removed but he was paralyzed.

He was born in Toronto on 17 (18) October 1883 the son of George and Annie (Neil) Bezley. Prior to enlisting on 22 January 1918 he had been a clerk in the forestry industry.

He had three brothers and seven sisters including Mrs A Wall whose address, 559 King Edward Avenue, is in the Beechwood register. His aunt, Mrs T Bezley lived at 92 Wilbrod Street in Ottawa.

18 April 2014

FamilySearch adds England, Lancashire, Parish Register 1538-1910

This release contains 913,314 baptism, marriage and burial transcription records sourced from the Lancashire Record Office. Accrington, Blackburn and Preston are prominent among communities covered.
This release would appear to complement the collection England, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Parish Registers, 1603-1910 sourced from the Central Library, Manchester.

LAC Access to Information and Privacy requests can now be made online

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is launching a form that will enable Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) requests and payments to be made online. Processing of credit card payments will be made through the Government of Canada’s secure Receiver General Buy Button (RGBB). The request form is located on the LAC website under Transparency. With this feature, LAC joins 25 other federal government institutions who can now accept ATIP requests online.

The above is from an LAC blog post.

WW1 Beechwood Burials: Frederick Alexander Mitchell

On this day, 18 April, in 1918 Private Frederick Alexander Mitchell died of typhoid fever and pneumonia at Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston, Ontario. He was attached to the 1st Depot Battalion, Eastern Ontario Regiment. No attestation paper is available online.

His age is given as 23 years, the son of John Mitchell of 505 Cooper Street, Ottawa. 
A Toronto birth registration gives a birth date of 28 September 1893. 

17 April 2014

FamilySearch adds England, Kent, Parish Registers, 1538-1911

You can now find 454,798 transcripts of baptisms, marriages and burials in the collection "England, Kent, Parish Registers, 1538-1911", new on FamilySearch. The transcripts are linked to image originals, over 100,000 of them which are only viewable at Family History Centres or to "signed-in members of supporting organizations."
Find My Past have been diligently working on Kent parish records; this appears to be another resource available through a cooperation agreement.

Mrs Brown's Sticky Situation

This one is too good to leave until the end of year Yuletide R&R collection.
Be aware, it comes with a SOME STRONG LANGUAGE warning.


16 April 2014

Ancestry adds Manchester Non-Conformist records

There are nearly 400,000 records for more than 100 places in three new Manchester databases just added to Ancestry.co.uk.
The databases are:
Manchester, England, Non-Conformist Births and Baptisms, 1758-1912 has 197,227 records
Manchester, England, Non-Conformist Marriages, 1758-1937
103,637 records,
Manchester, England, Non-Conformist Deaths and Burials, 1758-1987 has 97,860 records

Ancestry informs that the records include those for  Methodist, Quaker, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, URC, Congregationalist, Baptist, Unitarian, and Jewish congregations. I didn't find any Jewish records.

You can search or browse by place and congregation and view images of the originals.

They are sourced from the Greater Manchester County Record Office / Manchester Archives and Local Studies. Tameside Local Studies and Archives, Oldham Archives and Local Studies, Wigan Archives Services, Bury Archives Service, Stockport Archive Service.

Today only, free access to Irish Newspaper Archive

Claire Santry mentions this very limited time offer, ending at 11am Irish time on Thursday. Read more at http://irish-genealogy-news.blogspot.com/2014/04/enjoy-24hrs-free-access-to-irish.html

Also, just added to the site, The Connaught Telegraph 1830-1899 and The Dundalk Democrat 1849-1913.

Newly Digitized Microfilms on the Héritage Portal

The following, from a post on the LAC blog, is a list of digitized microfilms that have been recently added to the Héritage website. The records are in the language of origin.

  • Amherst Papers 
  • Canada. Department of the Interior: Letters patent 
  • Canadian Home Economics Association fonds 
  • Department of Canadian Heritage, Canadian Parks Service: Park/subject classification system 
  • Department of Indian Affairs, Edmonton Agency: General operational records 
  • Department of Indian Affairs, Manitoba Regional Office: Central registry files 
  • Dominion Lands Branch registry 
  • France, Archives Nationales. Contrôle général des finances. Sous-série G7 [French National Archives fonds, finances records, sub-series G7] 
  • Frank Wright fonds 
  • Henry Elvins Spencer fonds 
  • Henry Pringle fonds 
  • Immigration Program: Headquarters central registry files 
  • Indian and Inuit Affairs Program: Modified duplex numeric system 
  • Ministry of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada: Courts martial records, 1914-1919 
  • Parish registers: Manitoba 
  • Registrar of Shipping New Carlisle [Quebec], 1856-1902, and Quebec City [Québec], 1787-1965 
  • Radnik fonds 
  • Roderick K. Finlayson fonds 
  • Sir Henry James Warre fonds 
  • William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth fonds 
  • William Osgoode fonds

The First World War: Disease, The Only Victor

An instructive presentation given on 10 March by Professor Francis Cox, online from Gresham College, focuses on the history of disease in WW1 and placed in a larger context.

He examines the division between combat and disease deaths in various wars, contends that a reduced fraction of military deaths in WW1 should be attributed to the greater effectiveness of weapons and not so much improved medical services.

He also argues that if influenza deaths are included, as they should be as the disease entered the war zone from the US as their soldiers arrived, disease once again become the major cause of military deaths.


15 April 2014

WW1 at Beechwood: William Wallace Louttit

According to his attestation paper William Wallace Louttit (3320737) was born at Castleford, Ontario on 12 July 1891. He was single, son of William Louttit, occupation accountant (Assigned Pay Branch of the Militia Dept) and residence 86 Elm Street in Ottawa which was his father's address.
He was called up on 25 March 1918 in Ottawa, quartered at Lansdowne Park while attached as a Gunner to the 74th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. Admitted to St Luke's Hospital on April 9 he died of pneumonia on this date. April 15, 1918. His father was a ticket agent for the CPR with paternal origin in the Orkney Islands of Scotland.

Note: Posted a day early by mistake.

Original Irish Catholic registers are rotting

John Grenham comments on Irish Catholic parish records in his latest Irish Roots column pointing out that "no organization on the island is concerned with preserving them: there is no archival programme to ensure their survival."

Many Canadian Anglican records remain even more vulnerable as there are no copies.

WW1 dead at Beechwood:

Yesterday, in error, I posted a short item about William Wallace Louttit, a WW1 soldier. He was one of two soldiers, the other was George Milton Atchison, buried at Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery who died on this day in 1918.
Some WW1 soldiers never went "over the top," never went to Europe, and died of causes unrelated to military service. Some who did serve in battle lingered with their wounds dying just a few days or months after the cut-off date for recognition as a war casualty. Some lived and suffered for years with their wounds.
The CWGC database, and other compilations of war dead, records rough justice. Some who are deserving of recognition don't receive it and some less worthy are included. In the next months I'll look at all those recorded as WW1 war dead at Beechwood and at the circumstances of their death.
George Milton Atchison, son of Joseph and Adelaide, born 31 March 1878, died on this day in 1918 and is buried in a military grave at Beechwood Cemetery.
He is listed as Hon Captain on his Circumstances of Death record. Working for the Auditor General's Department his civil death registration records him as a civil servant residing at 30 Euclid Avenue in the Old Ottawa South district of Ottawa. The cause of death is given as "Epidemic cerebro-spinal meningites"
He had served in the Canadian Contingent during the war in South Africa. His wife Laura Maud Atchison survived him.
According to his attestation paper William Wallace Louttit (3320737) was born at Castleford, Ontario on 12 July 1891. He was single, son of William Louttit, occupation accountant (Assigned Pay Branch of the Militia Dept) and residence 86 Elm Street in Ottawa which was his father's address.
He was called up on 25 March 1918 in Ottawa, quartered at Lansdowne Park while attached as a Gunner to the 74th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. Admitted to St Luke's Hospital on April 9 he died of pneumonia on this date. April 15, 1918. His father was a ticket agent for the CPR with paternal origin in the Orkney Islands of Scotland.

WW1 will be the topic for the annual Beechwood Cemetery historical walking tour, this year on Sunday June 8 at 2 pm which will include war-time Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, nurse Minnie Gallagher and Lt Alexis Helmer, whose death inspired John McCrae’s famous poem, ‘In Flanders Fields.’

14 April 2014

Guy Berthiaume appointed as Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Shelly Glover today announced the appointment of Guy Berthiaume as Librarian and Archivist of Canada for a term of five years, effective June 23, 2014.
Quick Facts
  • Dr. Berthiaume has been President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec since 2009. Before this, he spent thirty years as a senior university administrator.
  • He has published a number of articles and has served on the boards and committees of numerous organizations.
  • A recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Dr. Berthiaume holds a doctorate in history from the École pratique des hautes études and the Université de Paris VIII, a Master of Arts degree from the Université Laval in Québec City and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Université du Québec à Montréal.
  • Library and Archives Canada is an innovative knowledge institution responsible for acquiring and preserving Canada's documentary heritage in all its forms and for providing all Canadians with easy, one-stop access to the texts, photographs, and other documents that reflect their cultural, social, and political development.
"Having a person of Dr. Berthiaume's calibre leading Library and Archives Canada will be a solid asset to the organization. His extensive experience in the management of large cultural organizations and his strong leadership are important qualifications for this position."
- Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Guild of One Name Studies Conference Online

The proceedings of the Guild annual conference held this past weekend, starting with the annual general meeting, are now shared online.

The society is growing in membership and activity and new people move in to replace those retiring. The retiring Treasurer commented that he encouraged the society to do more things, and saw it as his job to find the funds.

View the full meeting video, learn about the benefits of membership and watch the presentations, including from Dick Eastman, at
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k7qmgKV6jk for day 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKMWomq-nwA for day 2

Style over substance at Findmypast

Let's not sugar-coat it, the introduction of a new site at findmypast.co.uk has caused uproar among subscribers. They are cancelling or threatening to cancel subscriptions in droves.

To their credit the company has a forum where clients can express their views. It has attracted lots of adverse comment. "Improve features to bring in line with the old site" was showing 2,524 votes and 1,884 comments, many of them very pointed, when I wrote this. "Improve census 'household' view"  got 953 votes and 163 comments followed by "Broader selection of BMD, parish records, including images."

Would it really have been that much more expensive to keep the option of using the old site while adding new resources to the new one only, so weaning subscribers over while also improving the operation of the new site? Improvements are now underway or promised. I doesn't take a marketing genius to appreciate that when you're forced to change you have a negative attitude compared to when change is voluntary.

Could it be that the background of the new CEO, who has no previous experience in the family history business, has something to do with it? How did she take account of the fact that clientele is weighted to older folks who often adapt less readily to change?

Annelies van den Belt has been CEO of Findmypast for less than a year. A 31 August 2013 article in The Guardian summarized her background:

Van den Belt has spent the last five years heading Sup, the Russian online publisher that bought blog network LiveJournal, which earlier this year merged with rival Rambler. 
Van den Belt, who has held a string of senior digital roles at media companies including Telegraph Media Group, will join DC Thomson's digital division Brightsolid. 
Brightsolid is being split into two subsidiaries with van den Belt taking the role of chief executive of the online publishing business, BSOP, home to genealogy websites including findmypast.co.uk and genesreunited.co.uk.
I currently subscribe to findmypast.com, but if it were not for the access to newspaper collection I would be hard pressed to justify the subscription. I might be tempted to subscribe to findmypast.ca if it were nothing but a front. Go there and  you'll find the default search is for Ireland. None of the major Canadian databases are available.

13 April 2014

Publication news from OGS Ottawa Branch

The following information was received from OGS Ottawa Branch Publications Director John Patton

The Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the launch of its latest publication as well as a new direction for its publishing endeavours.

The new publication is Renfrew County United Churches, formerly Methodist and Presbyterian: Baptisms 1841-1899; Marriages 1851-1899 [Pub No. 14-01], the second volume in the new “Places of Worship” cooperative project of the United Church of Canada Archives and the Ontario Genealogical Society to be published by the Ottawa Branch. The first volume, Lanark County United Churches, formerly Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian [Pub No. 13-01] was released last year.  The new publication contains a transcription of the baptismal (1841-1899) and marriage (1851-1899) records of former Methodist and Presbyterian churches in Renfrew County. The relevant fonds are for the current Trinity United Church in the Town of Renfrew, Melville United Church in Eganville and the Admaston Pastoral Charge. The publication includes baptisms and marriages in Horton-MacNab, Beachburg, Eganville, Admaston, White Lake, Douglas, Haleys Station, Renfrew and Rockingham. The publication is fully indexed and each entry references the archival fonds and location. Both volumes are available for $30.00 on the Branch Publications List at http://ogsottawa.on.ca/publication-price-list/, which has been significantly redesigned for ease of access.

To mark the occasion, the Branch has re-published the five volumes of the Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Registers Project, for Carleton, Lanark, Prescott, Renfrew and Russell Counties. These were originally published in 2001. They are also available on the Branch Publications List.

The new direction is the move to place all of our publications, current and past, on the OGS Store. This means that over the next while the great majority of our publications will be available simply by accessing our Branch Publications List at http://ogsottawa.on.ca/publication-price-list/ and clicking on the “BUY NOW” button which connects directly to the OGS store order form and procedure where the publication may be purchased in whatever form it was produced—CD or hard copy. This is not only a more efficient means of obtaining a publication but it also ensures that it is never out of stock. In the meantime, publications which are still in stock will be available by mail order as in the past.

12 April 2014

OGS Update

The mission of The Ontario Genealogical Society is to encourage, bring together and assist those interested in the pursuit of family history and to preserve our Ontario genealogical heritage. How are they doing?
The society annual report for 2013 has recently been posted as a pdf for all to view, part of the society initiative to increase transparency, well demonstrated by this extract.

OGS President Shirley Sturdevant highlights several other changes being implemented to revitalise the society including a switch from regional representation on the society Board to six directors at large selected for their personal talents. Hopefully these initiatives will reverse the continuing loss of members, with membership dues revenue declining by 2.3% from 2012 to 2013.

A new OGS Cemeteries Locator database has recently appeared, presently highlighted by an entry on the right-hand menu from the main society webpage. It's one of several entries at http://vitacollections.ca/ogscollections/ and appears to be hosted by Our Ontario.ca.

11 April 2014

Ignoring the LAC Act

CBC radio's The Current did an important segment  A War on Experts? The government ignores expert opinions on the Fair Elections Act. While elections are not a topic for this blog the impact of the present government hostility toward expertise and information is.

I listened to this segment shortly after receiving an email linking to an article How Western got its weather data from the University of Western Ontario. It explains how the university acquired the archives of the Meteorological Service of Canada including "all extant meteorological observations between 1840 and 1960 – about a thousand boxes in all – and another 250 volumes of journals, letterbooks, observations and correspondence related to Canadian meteorological history."

Why was the collection not archived at Library and Archives Canada? According to the article the collection "never made it to Library and Archives Canada – in earlier decades, I was told, because such data-heavy records did not conform to the archives’ idea of historical, and in more recent years because the archives experienced an acquisitions freeze and then a de facto one."

One of LAC's legislated objectives is "to be the permanent repository of publications of the Government of Canada and of government and ministerial records that are of historical or archival value." While I can accept that the 1000 boxes of data, already digitized, isn't so significant the "250 volumes of journals, letterbooks, observations and correspondence related to Canadian meteorological history" is another matter. It reflects that LAC is failing to fulfill its mandate.

That's consistent with the government's deliberate neglect.

Thanks to Maria Latyszewskyj for pointing me to the article from the UWO.

For genealogical society leadership - a must read

Does your genealogical society struggle to recruit volunteers and maintain their commitment? I'd be surprised if there's a non-profit society which has no problem in that area.

That's why Gail Dever's four part series during National Volunteer Week on her Genealogy à la carte blog is so useful. Two items in the final section ring especially true for me.
- personally contact potential volunteers. General appeals are fine but there's nothing like being approached by someone you respect and asked to help.
- promote the impact volunteers make on your society.
The whole series, the first three parts are linked from the final part, is a must read for Society leadership.

10 April 2014

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

Another nearly 89,000 records have been added to the 200,000 made available last September in the Wales, Court and Miscellaneous Records, 1542-1911 collection from FamilySearch.
The record types now available, with those added in this update shown in bold, are:

Consistory Court papers
Consistory Court papers-Bonds
Consistory Court papers-Citations & Monitions
Consistory Court papers-General
Consistory Court papers-Wills & Probates
Court papers

Court records-Crown Books
Court records-Docket Book of Fines and Recoveries
Court records-gaol files

Court records-Imparlance book
Court records-minute book
Court records-Prothonotary's remembrances and rules of court
Court Records-rule books
Marriage bonds
Memoranda of the Great Sessions

Lesley Anderson at Kingston Branch OGS

On Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 10 a.m. Lesley Anderson is presenting an all-day session on Ancestry.ca resources for the Kingston Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. Lesley sent me a note from Rome at the end of a cruise to confirm she will be back in time.
The event is in the Wilson Room of Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson St.
Further details at www.ogs.on.ca/kingston

TNA podcast: Early civil registration

In this talk from March 6, 2014 TNA's Audrey Collins reviews the operation of civil registration from its initiation in 1837 to 1875 when legislative changes came into effect. The presentation is not so much a discussion of the records as administrative matters. Audrey emphasise that, despite some issues with resistance to civil registration, chances are that inability to find an expected registration is not due to such resistance. Other issues, notably indexing, are likely the reason.

In addition to original resources held at Kew Audrey recommends the British Newspaper Archive and Histpop as resources.


Progress in DNA analysis

While I don't pretend to understand its details the conclusion of the article "Sharing of Very Short IBD Segments between Humans, Neandertals, and Denisovans, by Gundula Povysil, Sepp Hochreiter." is one that's encouraging.

"we expect that the analysis of the population structure by sharing patterns of very short IBD segments will become an increasingly important method in population genetics and its results will become more and more fine-grained."
Progress in population genetics provides hope for improved application to genetic genealogy. Developing techniques for matching shorter autosomal DNA segments should mean being able to identify a larger population of genetic ancestors and so a greater probability of detecting matches with genealogical ancestors.

BIFHSGO April meeting

The program for the Saturday April 12 monthly meeting of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa at Library and Archives Canada is:

9:00 a.m.
Before BIFHSGO Education Talk
In Ken McKinlay's talk, Using Evernote for Genealogy Research, he will provide an overview of the online tool and  how it can help with genealogy tasks.

9:30 a.m.
Browse our Discovery Tables and talk to Ken McKinlay about the online tool Evernote.

10:00 a.m.  From Aberdeen to Albany: How Our Scott Family Ancestors Became United Empire Loyalists in Canada
Ken Harley will build on an earlier presentation he made to BIFHSGO in December 2009 during which he established how his wife Maxine's family arrived in Manitoba as original homesteaders.This talk will track Maxine's GGGG-grandfather's emigration from Inverurie, in Aberdeenshire Scotland through Ireland and on to the American Colonies in the early 1700s.
Ken is interviewed about this presentation at www.bifhsgo.ca/upload/files/Podcasts/Ken%20Harley%20Apr%202014.mp3

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.

Open to members and visitors. Free admission. Free parking in lots east of the building which is at 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa.

09 April 2014

Nancy Cutway at OGS Quinte

Eileen Ó Dúill on being a professional genealogist

BIFHSGO members and friends will remember that Eileen Ó Dúill was a major speaker as last year's society conference. During a conversation with Marian Pierre-Louis in her Genealogy Professional Podcast series Eileen mentions being an the conference last year and the event held at the Irish Ambassador's residence. Unfortunately she didn't get the name of the correct society; who can blame her with the mouthful like British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa!

That part of the interview starts around 23 minutes but the whole thing is worth a listen at http://goo.gl/Ojq6xf

Those craving an Irish genealogy event this year might consider attending the Celtic Connections Conference Aug. 15-16, 2014 at LaCava Center, Bentley University, Waltham, MA.  The speakers include John Grenham, Eileen Ó Dúill, Brian Donovan, Sean Ó Dúill, Kyle Betit, Dwight Radford,
Donna Moughty, and Bill Budde. More details at www.celtic-connections.org/

Thanks to Gail Dever at Genealogy à la carte for the tip.

Vimy Day

On Easter Monday April 9th, 1917, a cold windswept day with driving snow and sleet, Canadian forces made a major breakthrough in taking the strategic Vimy Ridge.

Vimy Day in Ottawa 2014 sees the annual Vimy commemoration being held at the Canadian War Museum at 1 pm. This is in lieu of the event at the National War Memorial presently undergoing renovation.

Ancestry adds Isle of Wight, England, Methodist Registers, 1813-1937

Just 17,241 records in this new database on Ancestry. It includes baptism and marriage records for Isle of Wight Wesleyan Methodist, United Methodist, Primitive Methodist, and Bible Christian sects. Indexed by Ancestry's Ancestry World Archives Project volunteers and linked to original record images.

08 April 2014

Ottawa TMG User Group meetings online

The Master Genealogist is genealogy software you either love, for its capabilities, or hate, for its complexity. In Ottawa we have a small enthusiast group which has been meeting in Ottawa for years. Now, courtesy of a subscription to the Join.Me web conferencing service purchased by the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, anyone can join their meetings.
The next opportunity is this coming Saturday, 12 April 2014, 2:00 to 4:00 pm. EDT. The meeting is in Room 226 at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Dr., Ottawa. Thanks to the Join.Me subscription, and conference facilities from the Ottawa Archives, up to 250 TMG enthusiasts, and the merely curious, can join the meeting from home.
Find more details here.

Gail Dever on Volunteers

This is National Volunteer Week. Who knew!
Gail Dever, who blogs at Genealogy a la Carte, is writing a series on volunteers in genealogy. The first part is at: http://genealogyalacarte.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/national-volunteer-week-should-genealogy-societies-do-more-to-recognize-volunteers/
Recognition of volunteers is a matter we're discussing in BIFHSGO at present so Gail's series is timely for us, and likely many others involved with non-profit societies. Worth following.

07 April 2014

To see the world .. or just Canada .. as others see us

Heather Collins and Caitlin Gow have a joint blog, Young and Savvy Genealogists, on which one of Heather's posts made me think. In Sweet Spots: Halifax, Nova Scotia she lauds doing genealogy for Halifax, Nova Scotia as as like a frolic through a genealogical sunny meadow.  She even writes

"when I die and go to genealogy heaven, it's gonna look like Canada."
 "More countries should be taking lessons from Canada."
Thanks for showing us the bright side Heather

via a Facebook post by Gail Dever

TNA podcast: ‘…we may lie and die in a land of plenty…’: The Victorian poor in their own words

Paul Carter, principal domestic records specialist at The National Archives and one of my favourite TNA speakers, presents the latest TNA podcast on the Victorian poor in their own words.
"In all but the most specialist accounts of Victorian histories the poor are often represented through generalisations, graphs or summed up in ‘averaging’ paragraphs. More detailed work might look at the experiences of individual poor people through pulling together accounts from contemporary newspapers, the letters of the wealthy, or poor law officials and government inspectors who write about the poor. Few historians have looked at accounts of poor people’s lives written by the poor themselves. There are good reasons for this: many poor people were unable to write and many letters undoubtedly do not survive; and the letters that survive are scattered across a great many archives, usually unlisted in large collections. This talk will concentrate on a collection of such pauper letters, statements and petitions which demonstrate the concerns, thoughts and feeling of the poor themselves."


06 April 2014

603,131 index records from Brant County

The Brant County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has been busy name indexing their publications.  Available as a free online index, it's based on the Branch's approximately 200 publications and transcriptions of church records, tombstones, censuses, flashbacks, obituaries, other newspaper announcements, family history books and booklets in the Branch library, vertical files of queries and clippings; and more.

Sydney Catchpole: Home Child: commemorated by the CWGC

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Sydney Catchpole in my hometown of Great Yarmouth on 6 April 1897. The 1901 census found him an inmate of the local workhouse along with his mother Edith, a spinster aged 21. In 1910 Sydney arrived at the Port of Québec on the Corsican with a party of children from Mrs. Birt's Liverpool Sheltering Home bound for Knowlton, Quebec.

The 1911 census records him as a laborer in the North Lanark Township farm of Elijah Giles and his wife Elizabeth. there is a record of the placement having been inspected on behalf of the Board of Guardians each year from 1911 to 1915 and again in 1917 when it is noted that he is on active service.

Sydney enlists in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in September 1915 giving his abode as Clayton, Ontario, his height is 5'6" and chest 35 inches when fully expanded.

He enlisted with the 18th Battalion and trained in Kingston, Napanee, Belleville and Halifax. Arriving in England in May 1916 he was a Bramshott camp until August that year and may have been able to visit his mother who died later in the year. The Battalion moved on to France and the trenches where he spent 13 months altogether. At Vimy Ridge in February 1917 he was wounded in the face, returned to duty and the following August received a shrapnel wound in the leg at the battle of Hill 70. He was sent to Lewisham Hospital, England, for treatment and then to Bromley convalescent home, where he spent three weeks before sailing for Canada.

He arrived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Giles in February 1918 when a large reception was held in his honor. Although still lame and his wound not healed he went to work, and shortly afterwards was operated on for appendicitis in Renfrew hospital. After he recovered he went to Ottawa to learn harness making and shoe repair and was also taking a course to enter the civil service.

Sydney Catchpole died on September 21, 1918 with cause of death given as pneumonia; that was during the 1918 flu pandemic. He is buried at Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery, in an area newly set aside for returning Great War veterans by Ontario's Soldiers Aid Commission, one of 98 Beechwood burials recorded in Commonwealth War Graves Commission files.

05 April 2014

A foot of snow won't stop the CWGC

Now solidly into April and unusual to witness more than a foot of snow still covering section 29 of Beechwood cemetery, the part under the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

   Even more unusual was to see one row of graves with the snow removed.

This sign explained that structural and landscaping work is underway on behalf of the CWGC.

I'm even more impressed by the efforts of and on behalf of the Commission.

04 April 2014

An assisted Google ancestor search

At randymajors.com you'll find a form that will simplify ancestor searches on Google, and we all know how helpful Google can be.
As shown in the simple example you enter the first and last name in the boxes and it formats the query to include matches where either the first or last name is given first. A small but significant saving of time and effort.
Give it a try at  http://www.randymajors.com/p/ancestorsearch.html You'll likely be presently surprised. It's one to bookmark.
via a blog post by James Tanner.

Irish famine stories in the Ottawa Valley

"What common people believe about their history can be at least as important as what 'professional' historians believe."

Courtesy of Al Lewis's site bytown.net, a link to an article Irish Famine Stories in the Ottawa Valley by Michael McBane.

What's sauce for the Irish famine goose is sauce for the home child immigration gander. Those advocates who hold that home children were by and large mistreated are unlikely to be swayed by evidence.

03 April 2014

OGS Conference Social Media Panel

In exactly a month. May 3, around about the time you normally receive the notice of this post by email we'll be starting the OGS conference Social Media Panel Session.
You don't have to be at the conference to tune in live to international panelists Tony Bandy, Kirsty Gray, Daniel Horowitz, Chris Paton, Marian Press, with your's truly as moderator looking at the significance of social media for genealogy and family history today and in the future.
I'll post information on how to join in, likely through a Google+ Hangout, when available.
If you don't subscribe to the blog email notices you'll find a subscription box in the left hand column at (fanfare) http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.ca/

St Paul's Cathedral WW1 embroidery

Clark, Clay, Eades, Grant, Mundy and Sadler. If you know of a relative of a Canadian soldier by one of those names who was hospitalized in England during WW1 you may want to read this post.
St Paul's Cathedral is looking for direct descendants of 133 soldiers badly injured during the conflicts as the Cathedral prepares to display a unique piece of embroidery crafted for the cathedral by the men.
Two of the above have service numbers listed in the post:
Alexander Grewan Grant, 922215, was living in Winnipeg at the time of attestation, born in Scotland.
Reginald Frank Mundy, 160920, attested in Calgary and was born in Staffordshire.
also easily identifiable are:
George Eades who was living in Timmins, Ontario and born in Berkshire.
Harold George Sadler attested in Niagara and born in London, England
Glenn Wright, who let me know about this endeavour, has tentatively identified other Canadians on the list

Hedley G. Brasnett (born Norfolk, England)
Edward Lawrence Clay
Harold Erskine Crosby
Harold L. Gibson
Edward Hodder (born in Loughborough, England)
William Oswald Hoodless (born in Lincoln, England)
Joseph Allan Lynas (born at Thorne, Yorkshire; his number should read MCG236)
James Ernest Muth
George Arthur Perry
Charles William Russell
Harold Wallace

Thanks to Glenn Wright for the tip.

Quebec obits go beyond Quebec

Gail Dever posted Free online access to more than 1.3 million Quebec obituaries on her Genealogy à la carte blog on Wednesday. The database from the Drouin Institute contains more than 1.3 million obituaries starting in 1999. Surprisingly the scope is well beyond Quebec. Worth a try for one-namers.

02 April 2014

Attributes of a serious genealogist?

Here are the results of the survey "Which of these attributes of a serious genealogist apply to you?" based on 98 responses. The attributes are those suggested in a blog post by Helen Osborn of Pharos Teaching and Tutoring.

100% -  Interested in finding out more than just names and dates
99% -  Does not follow just one ancestral line or surname
99% - Wants to improve their research methods
97% - Recognizes the need to find out about more obscure sources
94% - Has a small library of books on genealogy
91% - Talks of the addictive nature of genealogy
88% - Has more than one website subscription
85% - Member of a family history society
82% - Visits record offices in person

74% - Takes courses to improve their knowledge
72% - Wants to work to an agreed standard
71% - Volunteers time to genealogy

64% - Writes about their research, or writes up their research

54% - Spends money engaging others to help their research

33% - Runs a website/blog devoted to genealogy

19% - Wants to turn professional or is already professional

The most negative responses were for "Runs a website/blog devoted to genealogy" (65%) and "Wants to turn professional or is already professional" (64%). It would be a big mistake to assume that serious genealogists aspire to be professionals.

Ten respondents left comments:

  • I chose "unsure" for some of these, because I don't do them as much as I would like to, and/or not up to the point of a whole-hearted "yes". 
  • I hope to get better at them!
  • I attend conferences and have taken courses in the past but not recently.
  • Haven't got the confidence or the skill to write up my stories. I plan on taking the steps to do so.
  • I've been at it for 47 years, originally all pre-computers, now using the Internet as a resource & tool. It was and continues to be a hobby spent when time was and is available (through university, family and work obligations). Does that make me a "serious" genealogist? Started with a focus on filing slots with names, now much more interested in understanding how these people managed to live in their days physically and emotionally, particularly without all the modern conveniences of homes and healthcare, for example, we have today.
  • As regards being a professional, I feel one can achieve professional status without working as a paid professional.
  • I haven't yet hired a researcher yet but recognize that at some point I may have to. I have counted workshops at conferences as courses. I have also done day courses offered by various societies but have not yet taken courses like those offered by Pharos. I've always thought of myself as a "serious" genealogist right from the start - but then I started back in the day when there was no internet to turn to.
  • bloody thing drives me foolish.
  • I do not have a small library - I have a large library of over 5,000 volumes of genealogy and local history. Also I spend over $1,000 a year for online access to records ....
  • My answer to the library question should really be 'no' as mine is a large home collection, and, of course, I have access to a very large genealogical socity library.

Monthly backup nag

Missed doing a hard drive backup at the start of the month. Don't want to remain an April Fool?  It's not too late; complete your backup today.

01 April 2014

The Two Most Important Things Genealogists Can Do Now

The top two priorities for today’s genealogists are:

  • Collect all the family lore, then share or publish it so it is not lost
  • Collect as much DNA information as you can
That's the answer to a question posed during a seminar held at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio last weekend to respected US genealogist Thomas W Jones, author of Mastering Genealogical Proof and co-editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

See a blog post by Shelly Bishop at http://www.asenseoffamily.com/2014/03/the-two-most-important-things.html

Only a month to go to the OGS conference

In one month genealogists will start to gather in St Catharines for the annual Ontario Genealogical Society conference. While the only official event on Thursday, May 1st is a “Meet the Board” Reception many people will be there to be ready for workshops that start at 9:30 am on Friday morning, the 2nd of May.

  • Richard M. Doherty: Irish Oral Tradition: Seeking, Analyzing and Proving 
  • Tony Bandy: Leaping into Genealogy 
  • John D. Reid; Exploring Autosomal DNA for Genealogy 
  • Glenn Wright: Over the Top! Digging Deeper for Your First World War Ancestor 
  • Daniel Horowitz: Building a Family Tree on line using MyHeritage.com 
The afternoon workshops are:
  • Stephen Young: Research Using Family Search 
  • James F.S. Thomson: Google Earth and Maps Engine Lite, for Genealogists 
  • Marian Press: Digital Newspapers 
  • Rick Roberts: Using Family Tree Maker Software to Record and Share Your Family History 
  • Ruth Burkholder: Starting out in Genealogy

Benchmarks update for March

Keeping right on with the trend in February, cold was the word of the month for March. There were a few interesting developments countering the glacial rate of change of February.
Mocavo.com, newspapers.com, cyndislist.com, and findmypast.co.uk were among big gainers in Alexa rank - icebergs calving off the glacier - maybe a sign of spring!
Familysearch.org has added or updated record collections for a total of 1,729 (1,726). Census & lists account for 156 (155); birth, marriage, & death 1.028 (1,025); probate & court 163 (163); military 121 (121); migration & naturalization 110 (110); and with a change in categories, other 149 (152); miscellaneous 3. Familysearch.org has Alexa rank 4,617 (4,907).
Ancestry saw little change in rank on the .com site 666 (664); the .co.uk continuing to advance 8,953 (9,003) while .ca continued to slide to rank 26,240 (24,742). The number of datasets in the collection grew to 31,673 (31,665); including 1,972 (1,972) for Canada, 1,766 (1,766) for the UK, 133 (133) for Australia and, 25,194 (25,204) for the USA.
MyHeritage.com's Alexa rank declined to 6,534 (6,195)
Findmypast had another good month with .co.uk jumping in Alexa rank to 24,595 (27,107), while .com continued to advance to 95,310 (97,432).
Family Tree DNA edged up in rank to 27,253 (27,417) while claiming a total of 672,703 (670,716) records. 23andMe ranks 11,845 (10,555) continuing the decline with the FDA halt to its personal genetics health business.
GenealogyinTime.com at 33,452 (35,695) continue a drift up the rankings; Mocavo.com saw a leap to 34,446 (41,125), while eogn.com crept up again to rank 22,734 (22,913).
Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk contains 7,671,039 (7,463,301) digitized pages, an average addition of 6,701 (4,263) pages per day; Alexa rank 128,875 (130,047).
Newspapers.com contains 2,737 (2,372) newspapers including 668,227 (667,873) pages for England and 1,408,575 (1,221,573) pages for Canada, now with 141,108 pages from the Vancouver Daily World from 1888 - 1924. The Alexa rank continued a rapid advanced to 23,998 (28,254).
Cyndislist.com claims 330,692 (329,681) total links in 205 (204) categories, with 1,524 (1,773) uncategorized; Alexa rank continued to advance to 49,117 (62,773).
FreeBMD.org.uk has 236,907,482 (236,152,668) distinct records, Alexa rank 74,109 (77,855).
CanadianHeadstones.com has 830,000 (810,000) gravestone photo records from across Canada. Alexa rank is rapidly improving 407,816 (488,144).
Deceasedonline.com fell to rank 789,721 (695,270).
The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery (gravemarkers.ca), has over 820,000 (820,000) photographs from across Canada recovered to 6,905,114 (8,203,598) on Alexa.
Amongst Canadian family history societies bifhsgo.ca jumped to rank 1,637,661 (2,274,173), qfhs.ca climbed to rank 3,978,180 (5,589,346), and ogs.on.ca continued to decline to rank 396,335 (337,640).
In the UK sog.org.uk ranked 626,707.
And in case you're curious, Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections has 5,510 (5,418) posts; on Alexa the .ca site had yet another huge drop to 454,497 (365,252).
Did I miss something significant? If so please post a comment with statistics if applicable.