31 May 2014

PMSH cognitive dissonance

"Cognitive dissonance is the excessive mental stress and discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time. This stress and discomfort may also arise within an individual who holds a belief and performs a contradictory action or reaction." I had to look this definition up, but it seems to fit the symptoms presented by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

In his recent speech in a maternal health conference in Toronto he was quoted as saying “You can’t manage what you can’t measure” and announced funds will be provided for "statistics-gathering technology to register the births and deaths of millions of babies every year, most of which go undocumented."

Could this be the same person who heads a government that eliminated the long-form census, insisted that the eventual release of census data be made optional, and bases policy more on dogma than fact? Could it be the same man who starves Library and Archives Canada of resources depriving it of the ability to fulfil it's mandate in the same way as peer organisations in other G7 countries?

30 May 2014

UK Electrical Engineers on Ancestry

UK, Electrical Engineer Lists, 1871-1930, with 164,887 entries and UK, Electrical Engineer Membership Forms, 1871–1901, with 7.849 entries are the latest Ancestry additions. Elecytocal engineers includes telegraph engineers.

The lists include date of first membership, name and address, often a corporate address. You can follow a member, or associate member, through the period of their membership. Members are found not only in the UK.

The membership forms are a single page with minimal genealogical information.

British Library Newsroom

Following  the closing of the Colindale Newspaper Library the British Library has opened (repurposed) a section of the main St Pancras site as a Newsroom. I had the opportunity to visit during my recent trip and was was impressed by the facility.
Newsroom is used to signal that they have more than newspapers. Web, radio and TV news content are also available.
You enter through an open access area, no pass necessary. Facilities there were being enjoyed by a younger crowd, mostly using laptops, than through the Newsroom doors.
Enter past the security and the Newsroom is on two levels. The lower appears to be devoted to business usage.
I used only the upper level which currently has computer access to a variety of online content including the British Newspaper Archive, you have to register but access is free. There are also full runs of 12 major British dailies on microfilm and modern microfilm readers attached to computers with large screens.
As yet you don't have access to other archival newspaper resources, that's coming next fall but will involve ordering in advance so that the materials can be transported from the modern storage facility in Boston Spa. With the growing collection on the British Newspaper Archive the idea is to have all legacy material available online, something it will still take many years to accomplish at the present rate of digitization. I had to make a trip to Norfolk to view the Yarmouth Mercury.
The Newsroom facility cost £33m but as the British Library chief executive Roly Keating is quoted as saying the newspaper collection "is a vital part of the memory of the nation - recording every aspect of local, regional and national life."
Does the management of LAC, the Department of Canadian Heritage and Minister Shelly Glover not believe the same applies in Canada? Does Minister Glover even care about the state of neglect in which Canada's newspaper collection languishes?

29 May 2014

Will we regain the full census?

Saskatchewan university history professor Bill Waiser in an opinion piece printed in the Ottawa Citizen explains why it's important to have access to the census.
If you recall there was a battle royal over access ten years ago and a compromise reached. Part of the deal was, and is, a clause (2.1) in the 2005 Act to amend the Statistics Act (S.C. 2005, c. 31) that requires "a review of the informed-consent question "no later than two years before the taking of the third census of population (2016) … by any committee of the Senate, the House of Commons or both Houses of Parliament that may be designated or established for that purpose." Clause 2.2 requires a report on the matter."

I've been puzzled as I couldn't find these conditions in the consolidated version of the act provided on the Statistics Canada website.

It's an interesting omission, if I was of a suspicious turn of mind I might imagine someone is trying to bury something.

Read Waiser's article at:


OGS Ottawa Branch May meeting

At the Ottawa Branch meeting this Saturday, 31 May, Heather Oakley will present on
Are You a "Trust Me" Genealogist? - Citation of Sources: The Why and How. This meeting will be simulcast for those who can't join in person.
The presentation is followed by a meeting of the Computer SIG.

Details at http://ogsottawa.on.ca/

Empress of Ireland centennial

Today, 29 May 2014, marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking in the Saint Lawrence River of the RMS Empress of Ireland. She sank following a collision with the SS Storstad, a Norwegian collier. 1,012 people were lost. A passenger list may be accessed through www.empress2014.ca/

28 May 2014

Improved Booth London poverty map online

A new beta version of the Booth poverty maps from late 19th century London is now available and it's a huge improvement on the previous version.
Go to phone.booth.lse.ac.uk (cute address) and you'll find the Booth maps overlaid on either the OpenStreet map or various versions of Google maps, with a slider so you can move between the two. You can also see selected police notebooks indicated as a dot on the map.
A modern day equivalent of the Booth map, the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2010, may also be viewed.

26 May 2014

Historical Wills of Scottish Soldiers Go Online

The following is a press release from ScotlandsPeople.
"The last wishes of Scottish soldiers at the Front: The National Records of Scotland release Soldiers’ Wills from WW1, WW2, the Boer War, Korean War and other conflicts between 1857 and 1964
The wills of 31,000 Scottish soldiers are being made available online by the National Records of Scotland as part of commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. The poignant documents include the last wishes of 26,000 ordinary Scottish soldiers who died in the Great War.
The new records contain the wills for ancestors of some famous Scots. For instance, John Feeley, the great-great-grandfather of the Paisley musician, Paolo Nutini, is included. Private Feeley served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and died of wounds sustained during the Battle of Arras on 23 April 1917. Feeley left all of his property and effects to his wife, Annie, who lived until 1964.
Researchers at the National Records of Scotland have also discovered the will of Andrew Cox, the uncle of Dundee-born actor, Brian Cox. A rope-worker before the war, Private Andrew Cox served with the Highland Light Infantry and was killed in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, aged 22 - sadly, his body was never identified. Like many unmarried soldiers, Andrew Cox left all of his possessions to his mother, Elizabeth.
The records are drawn from all the Scottish infantry and cavalry regiments, as well as the Royal Artillery, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Army Service Corps, the Machine Gun Corps and other units, and a few who served in the Royal Flying Corps and the RAF. Almost all the wills were written by soldiers below officer rank, but some wills for commissioned officers are also included.
In addition to the wills from the Great War, there are almost 5,000 from Scots soldiers serving in all theatres during the Second World War, several hundred from the Boer War and Korean War, and wills from other conflicts between 1857 and 1964.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government, said:
"These small but powerful documents are a testament to the sacrifice in wartime made by thousands of Scots, not only the soldiers themselves, but also their families and loved ones."
Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:
"We are privileged to be marking the centenary of the start of the First World War by making these remarkable records available. They give us a unique insight into the service of Scottish soldiers during the First and Second World Wars, but also in other conflicts before and since."
Annelies van den Belt, the CEO of DC Thomson Family History, who enable the ScotlandsPeople website on behalf of the National Records of Scotland, said:
"We’re very pleased to add this new set of records to the ScotlandsPeople site. These fascinating documents make for poignant reading and we’re sure that anyone who views the wills will feel a strong emotional connection to those who lost their lives in these conflicts."
The Soldiers’ Wills are available at www.ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, and at local family history centres in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Hawick and Inverness."

Huguenot Heritage Centre

Now funded and in development to be opened in Rochester, Kent in the summer of 2015, the Huguenot Heritage Centre will tell the story of the flight to Britain and their contributions to the formation of modern Britain. The Huguenots were Protestants about 50,000 of whom fled religious persecution in France to settle in England in the 17th century.

25 May 2014

ActiveHistory.ca podcast: Death or Deliverance: Canadian Courts Martial in the Great War”.

Recorded at a meeting of the Ottawa Historical Association on March 5, 2014 where historian Teresa Iacobelli spoke on "Death or Deliverance: Canadian Courts Martial in the Great War". She paints a generally sympathetic picture of the fairness on the military disciplinary system.

24 May 2014

Why did People Fear the Victorian Workhouse?

TNA has rescheduled the Paul Carter webinar 'Why did People Fear the Victorian Workhouse?' originally planned for presentation on May 12. This will now take place on Tuesday 8th July at 16:00 BST.
Information on how to register and other TNA webinars is at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/webinars.htm

SCGS live streamed sessions announced

The following is from an announcement by the Southern California Genealogical Society.

"Jamboree is offering a record number of streamed sessions this year -- fourteen sessions over the three days. More important, these sessions are being offered absolutely free of charge.

Our gratitude goes to Jamboree's Diamond Sponsor Ancestry.com who is underwriting a portion of the cost of the streamed videos. We are very grateful for the commitment that Ancestry has made to support our effort to deliver genealogical education to SCGS members and nonmembers.

No matter where you live, you can experience the skill, knowledge, and expertise of some of the best speakers in today's genealogical community.

To register for a session, click on the link for the desired session(s) below and follow the directions. You will receive an emailed confirmation.

Please help us spread the word about our free live-streamed sessions. Tell your cousins, society members, post it on Facebook and share it on Twitter. We would like to have as many people as possible take advantage of this opportunity.

Friday, June 6

FR009 - Friday 1:00PM - Judy G. Russell JD, CG, CGL - "Dowered or Bound Out: Records of Widows and Orphans"

FR018 - Friday 2:30PM - Blaine Bettinger PhD, JD - "DNA and the Genealogical Proof Standard"

FR027 - Friday 4:00PM - Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FUGA - "Manuscript Finding Aids: Locating Migrating Family Records"

FR034 - Friday 5:30PM - F. Warren Bittner, CG - "Proof Arguments: How and Why"

Saturday, June 7

SA003 - Saturday 8:30AM - F. Warren Bittner, CG - "Elusive Immigrant!"

SA019 - Saturday 10:00AM - Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL - "Staying out of Trouble: The Rights and Responsibilities of Today's Genealogist"

SA027 - Saturday 11:30AM - Michael Leclerc - "Researching Your New England Ancestors"

SA037 - Saturday 2:00PM - Bennett Greenspan - "The Future of Genetic Genealogy"

SA039 - Saturday 3:30PM - Dr. Maurice Gleeson - "Researching Your Irish Ancestry"

SA053 - Saturday 4:00PM - Cyndi Ingle - "The Internet: A Genealogist's Printing Press"

Sunday, June 8

SU009 - Sunday 8:30AM - D. Joshua Taylor - "Resources of the DAR: Beyond Revolutionary War Soldiers"

SU012 - Sunday 10:00AM - Dawn Thurston - "How to Write a Personal History that Captures your Interesting Life"

SU020 - Sunday 1:00PM - Dr. Maurice Gleeson - "Ireland and the Slave Trade"

SU036 - Sunday 2:30PM - Denise Levenick - "Dirty Pictures: Save Your Family Photos from Ruin"

23 May 2014

The Seven Wonders of historic newspapers

The following came in from the British Newspaper Archive. I've had some recent interesting finds in collection.

There are now over eight million pages online, with more added every week.
We've just added our first national publication… and there are more to come!
You can explore over 200 years of history, spanning from 1710-1954. That's nearly 90,000 days of history!
You never know who might pop up in these pages. It's not uncommon to find a relative photographed in a local paper – or uncover some accomplishment or noteworthy deed you hadn't been aware of before.
Family rumours might find their proof in these pages. Scandals, suicides, attacks, and affairs were all printed without qualms, and you might discover the truth behind those Chinese whispers.
You'll learn more about your ancestors' lives. What was the major news of the day? What were the popular fashions? Knowing more about the world your family lived in can add a whole new layer of colour to your investigations.
You might already have access to them! The newspapers are available to search at The British Newspaper Archive and findmypast. So if you have a Britain or World subscription, you'll already have access to this wonderful resource.

TNA Podcast: Georgian Londoners

Lucy Inglis looks at the making of the London identity, and how it was shaped through the last years of the 17th century, then consolidated throughout the 18th century as London moved towards Enlightenment.
There's lots in this presentation including mention of child sexual exploitation which motivated the efforts of child welfare organizations into the 19th century.
Lucy Inglis writes the blog http://georgianlondon.com

22 May 2014

OGS Ottawa Branch: Scottish Genealogy Group Meeting

The next Scottish Genealogy Group meeting will be held at on Saturday 24 May at 10:00 AM in Room 226 at the Ottawa City Archives located at 100 Tallwood Drive, off Woodroffe Avenue.

21 May 2014

Industrial England: Call for speakers reminder

NOVEMBER 1, 2014
The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the Canadiana Department of the North York Central Library will be co-hosting a one-day workshop on the above theme of “Industrial England”. The time period we are particularly interested in is 1750 to 1870 although later times could also be relevant.
We are looking for speakers who would like to be part of this workshop. We want to receive proposals from professional genealogists, historians, family historians, librarians and archivists.
You are invited to submit proposals for lectures on topics such as migration to the cities, changes in occupations, effects of industrialization on rural communities, and changes in social organizations, cultural life, religion and education. Lectures can be about a family, an industry or about a place in England (e.g., Manchester), a county (e.g., Cornwall), a region (e.g., the Midlands) or relevant to the whole country.
Workshop attendees will be most interested in lectures emphasizing sources and research techniques that might be useful in their own family history research. We need lectures suitable for all levels of experience.
Each lecture session will be an hour or half-hour long, including 10 or 5 minutes for questions. Presentations should be illustrated; we will provide a computer projector or an overhead projector. Speakers will be expected to provide a handout of supporting material (up to four pages), which we will photocopy for all registrants.
Speakers will be paid an honorarium of $100 per lecture hour ($50 for a half-hour lecture). Speakers living in the Greater Metropolitan Area of Toronto will receive an allowance of $35 for travel and incidental expenses. For speakers living further away, modest travel expenses, accommodation and incidental expenses will be reimbursed on an individual basis.
Please submit your lecture proposals by e-mail. Please keep them brief and informal at this time. Be sure to include your mailing address, phone number and a brief biography.
Proposals must be sent to: courses@torontofamilyhistory.org
For more information about the Toronto Branch of the OGS, please go to http://torontofamilyhistory.org

20 May 2014

FreeBMD May Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Friday 16 May 2014 to contain 238,293,287 distinct records.
Years with updates for births of more than 5,000 entries are: 1940, 1943, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964-66, 1969, 1970, 1972; for marriages 1952, 1962, 1964-70; for deaths 1967, 1969-71.

Legacy webinar: I Had My DNA Test – Now What

Here's another of Gail's Goodies.
On May 21, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, the Legacy FamilyTree webinar series will present “I Had My DNA Test – Now What” by Ugo Perego. You must register to watch live. The archived version will be available for free for about a week afterward.
Thanks to Gail Dever.

19 May 2014

ExceedMDx Genetic Testing

Exhibiting at the Ontario Genealogical Society conference marketplace earlier this month was genetic testing company ExceedMDx.
Locally based for the conference, in Thorold, Ontario, the company is a new component of NORGEN Biotek Corporation an established company providing our customers with "sample preparation kits for RNA, microRNA, DNA and protein purification, clean-up and concentration and to provide dedicated and expert support services to our customers and partners worldwide."
For genealogy ExceedMDx currently offers Male Ancestry, a Y-DNA 22(?) marker STR test and Maternal Ancestry, a mitochondrial HVR1 and HVR2 test. They cost $150 each. Two saliva samples are taken for each test and analysis is completed 3-5 business days upon receipt for the sample.
The company provides no database for matching to others instead pointing to the open Y-Search and mitosearch utilities.
The Y-STRs the company tests are: DYS19, DYS385a/b, DYS389 I, DYS389 II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393, DYS437, DYS438, DYS439, DYS448, DYS456, DYS458, DYS481, DYS533, DYS549, DYS570, DYS576, DYS635, DYS643 and YGATAH4.

Updated with STR list 21 May 2014

Reverse Genealogy in Ireland

John Grenham has advice for the descendants of emigrants looking to "heal the generations-long breach in their family by researching forward to find living relatives. But it is one of the most difficult tasks possible, going right against the grain of time."

Read Grenham's Irish Roots blog post at  http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/irish-roots-1.1798413

MyHeritage free access to US military collection

A note from Daniel Horowitz

"In honor of Memorial Day, MyHeritage is offering FREE access to millions of US military records, which will be available to search from May 23 to May 26. 

Military records are valuable resources that provide insight into the lives of those who have served in the armed forces, as well as their families. With these records, users can learn about their ancestors and honor their memory and service to their country. 

Please see our special search page for the military collections that will be free over the Memorial Day weekend: www.myheritage.com/memorialday

The link is already live, but the collections will be free starting on Friday, May 23."

18 May 2014

Elizabeth Simpson Award 2013

Congratulations to the Oxfordshire FHS, overall winner of the Elizabeth Simpson Award 2013 of the Federation of Family History Societies as the Journal making the best contribution to family history.
Oxfordshire would seem to be the place to have ancestors. BIFHSGO member Brenda Turner was recently researching at the Oxfordshire History Centre, which is in a converted church, and spoke highly of the new facility and records which include over 80% of the county's MIs.

O’Reillys to New Zealand

A short video, on the Coming of the O’Reillys to New Zealand, was taken at Waikato University in 2010 when the presenter, Kingsley Field, was asked to speak at a public history symposium organised by the university’s History Department, and which was attended by both university personnel and members of the public from throughout the country. Mr Field, a journalist and author of more than 45 years’ experience, speaks on the value of recording the ordinary day-to-day detail of family histories.
via Phil Donnelly who delivered the Whiteside Lecture in 2013

17 May 2014

Genealogical impacts of natural disasters

The following is a request from Wayne Shepheard, formerly editor of AFHS Chinook.
I am compiling examples about how natural disasters and other physical impacted people and communities in past centuries. I am interested primarily in specific examples relating to events in Britain although I do intend to eventually catalogue examples from other parts of the world for a follow-up publication. The subject material will be used for a book I am writing and may also be useful in any presentations I might be fortunate to be able to make at future conferences or other family history meetings.
As someone who was educated and spent a career as an Earth Scientist, I am intimately familiar with the results of natural processes that shape the physical environment in which humans exist, active both in the geologic past and throughout recorded history, up to and including the present-day. In my genealogical studies I have been particularly mindful of how the histories of families were both negatively and positively shaped by changes to their habitat and to disasters which overwhelmed them.
I believe that the lives and livelihoods of our ancestors were controlled or affected as much by natural conditions and events as by political and societal constraints. In many cases the latter were strongly influenced by the former. Natural phenomena were an integral part of the environment in which people lived and worked – affecting both their physical health as well as their economic well-being.
Natural disasters, in particular, had profound effects on people’s activities. Events such as major storms, floods, earthquakes, disease, famine, drought, climate, or just the gradual physical changes to the lands on which people lived affected individuals’ and families’ day-to-day existence, long-term prosperity or decisions to migrate to more hospitable or habitable areas of the country or the world. I touched on one such example in my recent guest post on The Pharos Blog. http://thepharosblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/natural-disasters-and-their-effect-on-the-lives-of-our-ancestors/
Questions family historians might ask themselves could include: Would your great-great-grandparents or other family members have been forced to give up their farm if they were flooded out? Would your carpenter or mason ancestor have moved to a location where there was a great deal of work available to repair the damage caused by a major windstorm? Did any of your ancestors lose their lives when tragedy struck in the form of a natural catastrophe?
If you can assist in helping me to find stories of how such incidents of nature which affected your own or others’ ancestors I would be most appreciative. Please spread the word to any of your own contacts. Anyone with applicable information can contact me directly. email Wayne dot Shepheard at gmail dot com

QFHS: Celebrating Our Female Ancestors

The following is a notice from the Quebec Family History Society

Celebrating Our Female Ancestors

Female ancestors are often difficult to find. Come to the Quebec Family History Society on May 20th to chat about your experiences searching for grandmothers and aunts, to pick up some tips from fellow genealogists, and to see what resources are available in the library. There will be a special focus on suffragettes and on finding French Canadian women.

Please bring along any memorabilia or books on finding women ancestors or on women’s lives that you would like put on display.  Men are more than welcome to this event.

Tea, coffee and baked goods will be served.

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 from 13:30 to 16:00
 at the QFHS Heritage Centre and Library,
173 Cartier Avenue, Suite 102, Pointe Claire.

16 May 2014

Ottawa Little Free Library

The Ottawa Little Free Library on Featherston Drive, Alta Vista neighbourhood, is "open for caring and sharing" beginning at 4:30 on Friday, May 16th, 2014. Come by and "Take a Book - Return a Book"
1621 Featherston Drive.
Feel free to visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OttawaLittleFreeLibrary

FMP extends British Army Service Records collection

The following is from findmypast.

"We've just added over 4 million new records making our collection of British Army Service records the largest available online.

Start exploring these new records, also known as the 'burnt records' after being damaged or destroyed in a World War 2 bombing raid. These records include multiple images per person and contain fascinating details such as a list of the personal effects of men who died at the front.  

Whilst scanning these records we have found over half a million men whose details were buried deep within other records, so you won't have found them before.

New room names at 395 Wellington

Now that Public Works and Government Services Canada have taken over operation of the ground floor at 395 Wellington Street, the public building the houses Library and Archives Canada there's change underway. Some of the space is being renovated with more light entering. Murals now grace the wall on the east side of the sunken lobby.

Names are replacing numerals and letters to identify the rooms. The auditorium where BIFHSGO holds it's monthly meetings will be known as the John McCrae Auditorium. Others room names are more obscure

Room 154 = Sheila Watson Room
Room 156 = Leslie McFarlane Room
Exhibition Room A = Margaret Avison Room
Exhibition Room  B = Winifred Bambrick Room
Exhibition Room C = Morley Callaghan Room
Boardroom inside Salon C = Matt Cohen Room
Room 129 = Mordecai Richler Room
Room 128 = Yvon Normand Room

via Glenn Wright

15 May 2014

Deceased Online adds Bunhill Fields records

London's Bunhill Fields Burial Ground records, new on Deceased Online, comprise scans of burial registers for approximately 71,000 interments and span the period 1713 to 1854. They are from The National Archives collection RG4, item references 3974 to 4001 plus 4288, 4289, 4290 and 4291.
Among many well known names included is that of Thomas Bayes: with how much certainty can we say he's buried there?

Voices from the Dust - Family History Conference

The annual Ottawa Ontario Stake Family History Centre of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Voices from the Dust – Family History Conference is being held this Saturday, May 17, 2014, 1:00pm to 5:00pm, 1017 Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa.
Speakers, well known locally, are: Sandra Adams, Doug Gray, Diana Hall, Shirley-Ann Pyefinch, Carol Reid, Gloria Tubman and Glenn Wright.
Find more information at http://www.ottawastakefhc.on.ca/

14 May 2014

Ancestry new and updated Surrey records

Ancestry list the following as updated records:
Surrey, England, Baptisms, 1813-1912; 763,366 records
Surrey, England, Marriages, 1754-1937; 609,810 records
Surrey, England, Burials, 1813-1987; 515, 402 records
Surrey, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812; 999,894 records
Also, new Surrey records are:
Surrey, England, Licensed Victuallers, 1785-1903 ; 64,616 records
Surrey, England, Jury-Qualified Freeholders and Copyholders, 1696-1824; 201,417 records
Surrey, England, Land Tax Records, 1780-1832; 1,947,075 records

Quinte Branch OGS May Meeting

Building Personal Archives
Presentation by Stephanie Wright
The May presentation will show what can be done with the ephemera left behind, why it’s important to keep these things from both a research and a emotional perspective, and why it’s important to consider how to preserve these items. Stephanie will explain in detail what might be necessary to create a step-by-step plan for building our personal archives, including our unique items
Date - May 17, 2014
Time - 1 pm
Place - Quinte West Library, 7 Creswell Dr, Trenton K8V 5R6

Missing posts

I'm off for a couple of weeks vacation.  There may be days when no now posts appear on the blog, a few are scheduled to keep things going.  If desperate for something to read over breakfast you could always try the links in the left-hand column

  • Ancestry Insider
  • Brenda Dougall Merriman
  • British and Irish Genealogy
  • British Genealogy News and Events
  • CanadaGenealogy, or, "Jane's your Aunt"
  • CanGenealogy
  • Family Tree Knots
  • Genealogy à la carte
  • Google News
  • Jane MacNamara
  • Ottawa Branch OGS
  • The Family Recorder
  • The Genetic Genealogist
  • 13 May 2014

    Pvt Claude Nunney VC DCM MM

    There's a new website www.claudenunney.co.uk/ dedicated to one of Canada's Victoria Cross winners. Born Stephen Sargent Claude Nunney in Hastings, England he came to Canada as a home child.
    For a long while his story was a mystery -- his CEF attestation paper was inaccurate (putting it politely.) His true history was unearthed by English researcher Peter Silk who took 10 years to discover that Nunney was born in St Leonards in 1892, not Dublin in Ireland as he claimed. He died on 18 September 1918, having served as Claude Joseph Patrick Nunney, at Mingoval, France.

    Perth Historical Society May Meeting

    Here's an announcement of a meeting I would very much like to attend, but travel commitments won't allow:

    World War II and Canada’s Major Role in the Development of Radar 

    To most of us in today’s world, the application of radar as a defensive tool would be assumed.  However, the evolution of radar was still a work-in-progress prior to World War II, continuing throughout the war.  For our presentation on May 15, 2014, we welcome James (Jim) Sands who was among those who were actually involved in the development of radar and its application in the Battle of Britain and, ultimately, success by the Allies in the war itself.

    While the principles of using radio waves to detect far-off objects were known long before World War II, it wasn’t until the 1930s that serious work began to perfect such systems.  While several countries were working each in secret, it was the British who most appreciated the application and benefits of such a system for defensive purposes.  As was learned later, they were leaders in the development of the system they called Range and Direction Finding or RDF.  The system could be used by the army, air force and navy, and was especially valuable during the bombing raids over Britain for early warnings of approaching attacks.  However, it was from American naval terminology that the name RADAR came to us (from RAdio Detection And Ranging).

    F/O James Sands (Ret’d) will give us a presentation based on his own personal experiences and knowledge from his years of active participation in the development of radar and its place in winning World War II.  From high school, he joined General Electric’s apprenticeship program, but then went into the RCAF, receiving his commission.  He became involved in the early use of radar in aircraft, night fighter radar, and navigation bombing gear.  While with the RCAF, he was posted to Britain, serving as Station Radar Officer at RAF Winthorpe, RAF Bottesford and 5 Group Bomber Command.  After his return to Canada at war’s end, he had a varied career in industry, doing among other things, helping to train people how to repair TVs.  Retirement not being in his vocabulary, he became a car salesman – he achieved the distinction of being the top Cadillac salesman in Ontario.  He remains a tinkerer, inventor and builder at heart, including model steam engines and an organ.  He and his wife Evelyn have been married for over 60 years.

    Please join us at Perth Royal Canadian Legion, 26 Beckwith Street E.,  Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 7:30pm (Toonie Fee).

    12 May 2014

    Terry Cook R.I.P.

    The following is from the Association of Canadian Archivists

    An ACA member since the Association's inception in 1975, he served the ACA in a variety of roles, including serving on the Publication Committee (1982-1984), the Conference Programme Committee on three occasions,  the Electronic Records Committee (1991-1992) and the Aboriginal Archives Special Interest Section (1997-1998).  He also acted as the ACA President's Special Advisor on Public Policy from 1998-2006, a role in which he wrote briefs, appeared before Parliamentary Committees, published newspaper articles, and lobbied various bodies on legislation and policies that affected the archival community, such as copyright, privacy and access, and the historical census.  He served similar roles in the Society of American Archivists and other organizations.  In addition to authoring over 80 articles appearing in leading international journals, he also served on the editorial board for Archivaria (1981-1996 and 1999-2006) and American Archivist (1991-2001).  He was named a fellow of the Association in 2009.

    From 1975 to 1998, he worked at the Public, later National, Archives of Canada, leaving as the senior manager responsible for directing the appraisal and records disposition program for all media. In his long and distinguished career there, he was responsible for the development of policies and methodologies which dramatically altered the national archival system. Among his many vital contributions, it was at the National Archives where he conceived and implemented macroappraisal and since its implementation in Canada, it has gained wide international acceptance.  Leaving the National Archives in 1998, he founded an archival consulting firm, Clio Consulting Inc., and worked for national, municipal, and academic archives, as well as archival associations, around the world.  He also served as an Associate Professor for the Archival Studies Program in the Department of History at the University of Manitoba from 1998-2012.  He was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2010.

    BIFHSGO President Glenn Wright, who was hired by the Public Archives on the same day in 1975 as Terry, lauded him as inspiring generations of archivists.

    Beware DNA promises

    The Ontario Genealogical Society weekly newsletter carried an item "Groundbreaking GPS tool finds your ancestors, genealogy, family tree and history."

    Your alert signals should immediately start ringing. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is!  Delve into the original article "Geographic population structure analysis of worldwide human populations infers their biogeographical origins" published in Nature Communications and you'll read "... populations from island nations (for example, Japan and United Kingdom) .... were most poorly predicted."

    Maybe you don't have British ancestry and your's is one where they had more success but I doubt that's the case for most OGS members.

    Confused by Canadian Copyright?

    If so you're in good company. Decisions of the Copyright Board of Canada have been overturned on appeal, generally to the benefit of those looking to use copyrighted work.
    Now there's an opportunity for changes as explained by columnist Michael Geist who recently wrote on the situation in Appointment of New Copyright Board of Canada Chair Offers Chance for Change.
    Would it be wishful thinking of too high an order that one day copyright will be so clear there will be no need for presentations on the topic at family history conferences?

    QFHS Seminar:How Do I Discover Information on My Ancestors in Quebec From 1621-2014?

    The following is a seminar notice from the Quebec Family History Society:

    How Do I Discover Information on My Ancestors in Quebec From 1621-2014?

    Date:          Saturday, May 24, 2014 (corrected date)
    Time:         10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    Location:   QFHS Heritage Centre and Library
    Address:   173 Cartier Avenue, Pointe-Claire, Que
    Lecturer:   Gary Schroder

    This seminar will examine all the major resources used in Quebec genealogical research, whether your ancestors were from France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, United States or other countries in the world.

    Come to the Quebec Seminar and find out about the exciting new developments on the website of the
    Drouin Genealogical Institute.

    Fee:       $30:00 for members    $40:00 for non-members
    Reservations are required:    514.695.1502

    11 May 2014

    231 ... success

    Congratulations to the two people who guessed that more than 225 people would attend Saturday's BIFHSGO monthly meeting. The count of 231 was another record for the society monthly meetings.
    This image, taken from near the back of the auditorium at the start of James F S Thomson's "before BIFHSGO" educational presentation shows one of the reasons for the success. The screen is large. Also the speaker can be seen on the raised platform.
    Nothing can substitute for quality presentations, amply demonstrated by James and his colleague Elizabeth Kaegi who for the feature presentation told an amazing story of research perseverance and success which would not have been possible without DNA evidence. Neither would it have been possible without traditional records familiar to the genealogical researcher.

    Gail Dever's creme-de-la-creme

    Judging by the items selected by Gail Dever to be highlighted in the weekly summary, creme-de-la-creme, post on her blog it has been an exceptional week for genealogy. Read it at http://genealogyalacarte.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/this-weeks-creme-de-la-creme-3/

    William Kaye Lamb Centennial

    Today marks the centenary of the birth of one of the most widely respected librarians and archivists Canada has produced. Read a biography at http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/william-kaye-lamb

    10 May 2014

    Findmypast moves to revive reputation

    Every manager knows the path to gaining a reputation is slow and to losing it is precipitous. Regaining a reputation takes time too yet managers know it costs less to reenlist a previous member than to win a new one.  We're now seeing findmypast moving to repair the damage caused by recent changes.

    The latest company weekly update summarizes what they're doing:

    Unfortunately, when we moved our record set forms to new findmypast, some of them gained or lost search fields. We received lots of feedback on this issue, so we’re working through each of our record sets. We’re reviewing the search screens, results fields, order of results and transcriptions and fixing any issues we find. It’s a big job, but we’ve prioritised the sets that are most important to you (births, marriages and deaths records, and census records first) and we’re pushing them live as we go. I hope that you may have already noticed some improvements.
    In a previous weekly update company CEO Annelies van den Belt, CEO admitted "some mistakes were made. This resulted in a less than perfect experience, especially for our expert users. I sincerely apologise if we let you down."

    When the service is restored, and with addition of new databases, I'd expect social media to reflect the improvements. The company is surely monitoring to judge perception of when that happens, it won't happen quickly. I expect to also see incentives to regain lost customers.

    Ancestry adds United Kingdom, WWII Medals Issued to Merchant Seamen, 1939-1945

    You'll find 108,427 entries in this TNA index database newly added to Ancestry. I wasn't going to mention it until I discovered that an Ancestry search now easily finds an index record for my father, and it gives his date of birth. I don't know that its accurate but it is the one he always celebrated.

    There's information on this TNA collection, in BT 395, which lists the medals awarded to merchant seamen for their service in the Second World War (1939-1945). "The medals were claimed and issued from 1946 to 2002. Medals were not automatically issued, but had to be claimed by the merchant seaman. You can find out whether a medal was issued by looking at the markings on the records."

    Saskatchewan weekly newspapers to be digitized

    The Saskatchewan Archives Board announces that in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Saskatchewan History Online they will digitize the weekly newspapers of over 100 communities in Saskatchewan from the 1890s through to 2010.

    "To coincide with the centennial observances of the Great War, the first stage of the project will focus on the papers published during the years of World War One (1914-1918). This initial stage will see the digitization and web deployment of almost 300,000 pages of newspapers from communities across the province, providing researchers with unique insight to Saskatchewan communities during that fraught period of history."

    09 May 2014

    New on Ancestry: New Brunswick, Canada, County Deed Registry Books, 1780-1993

    The source for this 792,229 record database of images of indexes and deed records books is New Brunswick, County Deed Registry Books, 1780-1941 from FamilySearch. See details at https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/New_Brunswick,_County_Deed_Registry_Books_(FamilySearch_Historical_Records)

    Ancestry adds UK, Wills of Royal Naval Seamen Index, 1786-1882

    Nearly 20,000 wills of Royal Naval Seamen (1786 - 1882) in a database from The National Archives, Kew, series ADM 48, now available through Ancestry.
    According to TNA at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/seamens-wills.htm the wills usually provide the following information:

    • the man's name
    • the date the will was made
    • the man's rank
    • the last ship he served on
    • details of his effects
    • the name (and sometimes the address) of the person who was to receive the effects in the event of his death (usually his next of kin)
    As well as being signed and dated by the testator, wills were usually signed by the master and captain of the ship that the seaman or warrant officer was serving on when the will was made.
    These wills also hold details such as the name, address and occupation of the executor.

    08 May 2014

    BIFHSGO Poll

    How many people do you think will attend the BIFHSGO montlhy meeting this Saturday, 10 May, starting at 9 am with an educational talk, main presentation at 10 am, at Library and Archives Canada?

    Register your estimate at http://app.fluidsurveys.com/polls/jdr/bifhsgo-may-meeting/

    More on the program at http://www.bifhsgo.ca/eventListings.php?nm=127

    Will 23andMe relocate to Canada?

    When the US Food and Drug Administration issued an order last year prohibiting 23andMe from offering a health-related DNA services I suggested they might look to relocate outside the US. It wasn't taken seriously at the time but this report (23andme casts eyes abroad after U.S. regulatory hurdle) mentions the possibility of moving to Canada.
    It would be an easy move, and the spit sample collection kit the company uses is purchased from a Canadian (Ottawa) company.

    Confidence and genealogy

    As mentioned in a previous post the presentation I most valued at the recent Ontario Genealogical Society conference was Determining how much confidence you should have in your  genealogical inferences by Paul Jones.

    Early on Paul mentioned that a practical problem faced by genealogists, and everyone else, is scarce resources. Time and funds are limited. It's all well and good to say you should turn over every stone in your genealogical search but in practice you need to choose what to do and what to left undone. How do you decide?

    We make decisions day in and day out relying on experience and judgement and we take increasing care as the implications of those decisions are important and soak up time and money. The probabilistic approach using Bayes Theorem proposed and illustrated in Paul's presentation is a formal way to make the allocation decision which complements the Genealogical Proof Standard.

    Hopefully Paul will publish or otherwise make available his paper in the OGS syllabus updated to include an illuminating example he gave in the presentation.

    In the meantime consider Paul's list of objections & misperceptions regarding the probabilistic approach and his responses.

    • My great-grandfather wasn’t 60% Harry. Either he was Harry or he wasn’t. 
    A probability is not a result. It’s a measure of the degree of our belief in the result.

    • Statistics cannot replace research rigour. 
    No one has suggested that we forgo the precepts of the GPS.

    • Words will do as well. If something is unlikely, just say so. 
    Does unlikely mean “1 in a million”, “1 in a thousand”, “1 in a hundred”, “1 in 10”? It makes a
    huge difference in determining a future course of action.

    What about the researcher who gives every hypothesis a 99% prior probability of truth? 
    You can’t reject a tool because people use it badly. Otherwise we’d close down the Internet.

    • No genealogist can say a finding is 68.45% certain. 
    True. And no statistician would either. We’re talking ballpark estimates.

    • You can’t do experiments in genealogy so the use of statistics is invalid. 
    You can’t do experiments in astronomy either. But it’s empirical in that you can make
    probabilistic predictions that are or are not subsequently confirmed by observation.

    • Nothing in genealogy is certain and adding numbers won’t make it so.
    The words of a math-phobe. In this case numbers are being used to describe uncertainty,
    not prescribe certainty.

    • There is absolutely no objective basis for applying numbers to hypotheses. 
    We have reasonable estimates of probability of various events, e.g. naming patterns, false
    paternity and so on. Bayes Theorem was proved in the 17th century.

    Paul was kind enough to reference my blog posts of July 23-24 & Sept. 4-6, 2012.

    BIFHSGO May meeting

    The program for the Saturday May 10 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
    "Six Thoughts About Autosomal DNA Tests" by James F. S. Thomson and Elizabeth A. R. Kaegi

    9:30 a.m.
    Browse our Discovery Tables including DNA Items hosted by Bill Arthurs

    10:00 a.m.
    What Really Happened? A Genetic Genealogy Success Story
    Using several traditional genealogical techniques in conjunction with new genetic genealogy tests, Elizabeth A.R. Kaegi and James F.S. Thomson have been able to solve a six-decade old mystery, and have the findings conclusively confirmed. The drama and its resolution ranged across seven countries and finding the answers consumed many hours, especially in the last five years. The end result was very satisfying and Elizabeth acquired seven close family members, including two very new ones.

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

    07 May 2014

    Why trenches?

    A short video showing in terms that anyone can understand the problem of the stalemate on the Western Front.

    New Zealand BMDs added on Ancestry

    Looking for a stray, someone who disappears from from the British records? Perhaps they emigrated to New Zealand. These index files, new on Ancestry, may now come up on a search.

    New Zealand, Death Index, 1848-1980; 1,507,722
    New Zealand, Marriage Index, 1840-1950; 1,402,153
    New Zealand Birth Index, 1840-1950; 2,250,215

    Ancestry updates Warwickshire collection?

    Ancestry is listing the following updates to it's collection

    Warwickshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812; 1,028,460 records
    Warwickshire, England, Burials, 1813-1910; 277,236 records
    Warwickshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1910; 576,830 records
    Warwickshire, England, Baptisms, 1813-1910; 510,984 records

    As usual, the company doesn't mention what's updated and the counts are much as they were the previous time they were mentioned!

    06 May 2014

    Jeff James appointed to head TNA

    Jeff James will return to become Chief Executive and Keeper, The National Archives. Good to see someone who knows the organization named


    OGS conference in retrospect

    Having now returned from the Ontario Genealogical Society conference at Brock University I'm starting to contemplate the event.

    With six or seven parallel presentations we all experience the conference differently. Chris Paton has summarized his experience on British GENES as did Kirsty Gray at Family Wise. Search for various Facebook and twitter posts.

    For me, as far as new substance is concerned, the highlight was the presentation Determining how much confidence you should have in your genealogical inferences by Toronto genealogist Paul Jones. It deserves a separate blog post, and a lot more.

    Four others I enjoyed were:

    - Chris Paton, who in delivering the J. Richard Houston Memorial Lecture, once again showed why he won Canada's Superstar Rockstar Genealogist in 2013. I understand he already has another speaking engagement in Ontario booked.

    - Stephen Young speaking on FamilySearch mentioned Canadian databases expected to be added in the coming months. He gave but "didn't want to be quoted" on the exact schedule. It will include a new indexing of the 1881 Canadian census with the addition of pages missed from PEI previously, BMDs from Ontario, New Brunswick records and censuses from Newfoundland.

    - Kirsty Gray's talk on Publishing and Publicising your Records showed how to use family history blogs, websites, gedcom-based websites, print on-demand, slideshows, social networking,  publishing platforms, books and eBooks. Each utility was categorized by ease of use and cost. Kirsty will be back in Ontario, in Toronto, for an event on 1 November.


    Marian Press on Local History Online: Adding Social Context to Your Family Tree with a cornucopia of resources.

    There was conference bling too, including a personal collapsible water bottle, and a wrist-strap USB key from lead sponsor FindMyPast.com.

    Congratulations to the conference committee

    Chair: Steve Fulton
    Secretary: Bev Craig
    Treasurer: Bob Smith
    Program: Sherry Bell, Rod Craig, Robert Halfyard, Lois Johnson
    Registration: Marilyn Gomme
    Marketplace: Jennifer Marcoux
    Website: Steve Fulton
    Banquet: Dianna Fulton
    Syllabus: Jennifer Marcoux
    Volunteers: Dianna Fulton
    Wall of Ancestors: Lillian Santesso
    Door Prizes: Lynn Butler
    Steve is shown wearing a blue techie shirt and was everywhere, ably assisted by a group of fimilarly attired youngsters which included his kids.

    Ontario Genealogy Conference 2015 will be held 5-7 June at Georgian College in Barrie.

    Philomena Lee Project

    If you've seen the film Philomena you won't need any further explanation of this petition to the Irish State and the Catholic Church which would help women find information concerning their lost children.


    Peter Higginbotham, creator of the Workhouse website  has a new one http://childrenshomes.org.uk/ 
    It aims to "provide information on all of the many and varied institutions that — for whatever reason — became home for thousands of children and young people in Britain. They include a wide variety of establishments ranging from orphanages, homes for those in poverty, and children with special needs, through to reformatories, industrial and approved schools, training ships, and hostels."

    I found a nice description of Edmonton (North London) Chase Farm School where my grandfather was a an inmate after his father died in 1899.

    Thanks to Gail Dever for the tip.

    04 May 2014

    FamilySearch adds England, London Electoral Registers, 1847-1913

    Just added at FamilySearch, 14,886,274 indexed entries, with links to the printed record, for the London electoral registers, 1847-1913.

    03 May 2014

    OGS conference social media panel

    It was a pleasure to be involved with the social media plenary panel session on Saturday morning, bright and early, at the Ontario Genealogical Society conference in St Catharine's. Shown from left to right, Chris Paton (British GENES), Marian Press, Tony Bandy, Kirsty Gray and Daniel Horowitz (MyHeritage).
    We addressed the questions:
    1. How do social media enter your genealogical life in both your personal research and for marketing and promotion? What is your preferred social medium, and why?
    2. On balance do you think social media have been good or bad for family history, and why? Give an example.
    3. What technological or other developments in the past year do you see as most significant for family history (not just in social media)?
    4. What developments and trends will be most significant for family history in the next five years?
    5. Libraries, archives and genealogical societies are being stressed by economic and technological factors. which there are also opportunities. Tell us about an institution that's adapting well.
    6. Is family history destined to always mostly be an interest of seniots? If not why will it change? If so should much effort be made to attract younger people?

    Finally panel members were given a one-minute opportunity for "Shameless self-promotion"

    You can catch up on YouTube, including my gaff in the introductions.

    02 May 2014

    Verified times for Brian

    Bruce Elliott sent along a note on the correct times for Brian Gilchrist's visitation and memorial service: are as listed on the funeral home website
    http://turnerporter.permavita.com/siteContent/memorial.html?personId=252941&source=memlist, Sun. 2-4 and 7-9, with funeral at St James Cathedral Monday at 11:00 am. , Sun. 2-4 and 7-9, with funeral at St James Cathedral Monday at 11:00 am.

    OGS conference Day 1

    I woke early and drove to Brock University with Lesley Anderson, Tony Bandy and Glenn Wright. After wandering the halls of the university we finally found registration, then off to find the room where I was giving a pre-conference workshop on autosomal DNA. Lots of interaction and folks enjoyed the simulation exercise with playing cards to explore the variability of autosomal DNA inheritance.
    Managed to meet all the members of the Saturday morning social media panel, Tony Bandy, Daniel Horowitz, Chris Paton and Marian Press - except Kirsty Grey yet to arrive.
    After lunch wandered the marketplace before returning to rest for the evening session.

    Dorset and Sussex Parish Register records on Ancestry

    770,864 BMB transcription records for various Sussex parishes for 1538-1910 are now on Ancestry. There are no linked images of the originals.
    For Dorset Ancestry has 1,285,789 BMB transcription records for 1538-1936. Images of the original are supposed to be linked although when I tried the message "Please try again later." was shown. There's also the facility to browse images for records from the parishes of: Aff-Puddle; Allington; Beaminster, St Mary's; Bellchalwell; Bere-Regis; Blandford-Forum; Bradford-Peverell; Bradpole; Bridport; Buckland-Newton; Burton-Bradstock; Chideock; Clifton-Maybank; Corfe-Castle; Cranborne; Crichell-Moore; Fifehead Neville; Fifehead-Magdalen; Fifehead-Neville; Fleet; Folke; Fontmell; Fordington, St. George's; Frampton; Froome, St. Quintin; Froome, Vauchurch; Langton-Matravers; Little Bredy; Lytchett-Matravers; Lytchett-Minster; Marnhull; Motcombe,; Netherbury; Shaftesbury, Holy Trinity; Swanage; Wareham, St. Mary's; Wimborne-Minster; Wootton-Glanville.

    Spend to earn

    Does your genealogy or family history society have a plan for recruitment of new members? If they don't have a plan, one supported by a budget, your society is likely living the consequences.

    I recall reading that Ancestry spends something like $80 to recruit one new subscriber. In absolute terms that's out of the range of possibility for any family history society, but what would it be proportionately considering that a typical society annual membership, doesn't cost anything like an Ancestry subscription.

    One rule of thumb is that you should expect to spend on promotion about 20% of what you make on a product. Multiply 20% of the cost of annual memberships totaled over the expected time a person stays a member, then multiply by the number of people you expect, or would like, to recruit and you have a rule of thumb estimate of a reasonable annual expenditure on new member recruitment.

    If your annual membership is $50, you expect a person to remain a member for 5 years, and you aim to recruit 100 new members that comes to $5,000. Do you think that`s enough, too much?

    Monthly backup nag

    Missed doing a hard drive backup at the start of the month while you were dancing around the Maypole.  It's not too late; complete your backup today.

    01 May 2014

    Passing of J Brian Gilchrist

    Sad to learn of the passing of highly respected Ontario genealogist J Brian Gilchrist. More information at http://genealogyalacarte.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/canadian-genealogist-j-brian-gilchrist-passes-away/

    Lost on the new OGS website?

    Just in time for the OGS conference, a new website is now in place for the Ontario Genealogical Society.
    Elizabeth Lapointe comments on Facebook that "it is poorly organized, and has lost its focus - Ontario genealogy."

    It may have been implemented a bit too hastily. I went looking for a link to the various branches but couldn't find one. Checking the sitemap I found it but there was no obvious link.
    Then in mousing around I found a hidden set of drop-down menus just above the three images and all was revealed. With the menu made visible I think Elizabeth's concerns will be addressed.

    West Yorkshire Prison, Police and Reformatory on Ancestry

    West Yorkshire, England, Prison Records, 1801-1914 are indexed images of 336,448 records for Wakefield prison which served all of West Yorkshire.
    West Yorkshire, England, Police Records, 1833-1914 are indexed images of 32,666 records for police employees of Bradford (city), Halifax (borough), Huddersfield (borough), Leeds (city), Wakefield (city) and West Riding (county subdivision). The collection includes a wide variety of registers that recorded appointments of regular and special constables, promotions, disciplinary actions, transfers, lists of applicants, injuries sustained in the line of duty, and physical descriptions. In some cases, the records list the marital status, names of spouses, and birth dates and places.
    West Yorkshire, England, Reformatory School Records, 1856-1914 has 9,093 entries, the later ones very complete with photos, addresses, parents and even relatives mentioned.

    Also released by Ancestry is a small collection, 2,665 records, of West Yorkshire, England, Militia, 1779-1826

    Benchmarks update for April

    Here is a slightly abbreviated collection of statistics for April, limited as I put the final touches on presentations for the OGS conference.

    Familysearch.org has added or updated record collections for a total of 1,762 (1,729). Census & lists account for 156 (156); birth, marriage, & death 1,037 (1,028); probate & court 173 (163); military 123 (121); migration & naturalization 118 (110); and with a change in categories, other 149 (149); miscellaneous 6 (3). Familysearch.org has Alexa rank 4,451 (4,617).

    Ancestry fell in rank on the .com site 710 (666); the .co.uk continuing to advance 8,485 (8,953) while .ca continued to slide to rank 27,485 (26,240). The number of datasets in the collection grew to 31,775 (31,673); including 1,979 (1,972) for Canada, 1,781 (1,766) for the UK, 136 (133) for Australia and, 25,237 (25,194) for the USA.

    MyHeritage.com's Alexa rank declined to 6,893 (6,534)

    Findmypast had another good month with .co.uk jumping in Alexa rank to 21,453 (24,595), while .com continued to advance to 84,684 (95,310).
    Family Tree DNA declined in rank to 29,227 (27,253) while claiming a total of 672,703 records. 23andMe ranks 12,777 (11,845) continuing the decline with the FDA halt to its personal genetics health business.

    GenealogyinTime.com at 32,960 (33,452) continue a drift up the rankings; Mocavo.com gave back half its gain from the previous month 28,751 (34,446), while eogn.com slipped to rank 23,384 (22,734).

    Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk contains 7,894,131 (7,671,039) digitized pages, an average addition of 7,436 (6,701) pages per day; Alexa rank 127,378 (128,875).
    Newspapers.com contains 3,061 (2,737) newspapers including 668,385 (668,227) pages for England and 1,523,074 (1,408,575) pages for Canada with more than 47,000 pages from the Brandon Sun added in April. The Alexa rank declined to 24,228 (23,998).

    Cyndislist.com claims 331,043 (330,692) total links in 205 (205) categories, with 1,285 (1,524) uncategorized; Alexa rank continued to advance to 46,142 (49,117).

    FreeBMD.org.uk has 237,672,737 (236,907,482) distinct records, the Alexa rank jumped to 63,126 (74,109).

    Deceasedonline.com gained in rank to more than make up the previous month loss 679,593 (789,721).

    Family history societies had a good month: bifhsgo.ca climbed again to rank 1,508,466 (1,637,661), qfhs.ca also climbed to rank 3,794,396 (3,978,180), and ogs.on.ca inched up to rank 396,009 (396,335). In the UK sog.org.uk gained rank to 541,620 (626,707).

    And in case you're curious, Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections has 5,584 (5,510) posts; on Alexa the .ca site had yet another fall to rank 478,971 (454,497).
    Statistics for CanadianHeadstones.com Canadian Gravemarker Gallery (gravemarkers.ca) are deferred.

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