31 July 2014

Name that Bridge

It's the question of the moment in Ottawa. A quick survey, only open for two days.


I almost fell out of my family tree

It just about blew me away, an e-mail from Library and Archives Canada announcing a post on its blog – Newspaper Collection website launched.

Anybody could be excused for thinking that LAC had forgotten it had a newspaper collection. It's been neglected, no newspaper specialist on staff, no newspaper digitization initiative.

The blogworthy news about newspapers at LAC is a new version of its Newspaper Collection website. What's to write home about?
"Highlights of the new version include links to other websites offering free online digitized copies of newspapers, direct links to the AMICUS descriptions, and other improvements that make the website easier to navigate."
Let's take a look at each of these; first links to free online digitized copies of newspapers. Click on Canadian News Online and you'll find links to a sampling of news resources not part of LAC's collection. The important word is sampling. Lack of an entry is no guarantee a resource doesn't exist.

Second, direct links to the Amicus descriptions. I went to have a look at the Amicus description for the Ottawa Citizen. Find it here. Interestingly the link beside E-LOCATIONS leads to the image reproduced above. Perhaps someone from LAC would be kind enough to explain the relevance.

Third, easier navigation; perhaps when you get used to the content but I didn't find the navigation intuitive.

Notice that the most recent source cited is 20 years old! Is this the best LAC can do and all we can look forward to from LAC for its newspaper collection?

Final day for One World One Family early registration

August 1st is the deadline for early registration for the Fifth One World One Family Conference, August 23, 2014 in Brampton, Ontario.

Names familiar to me on the speaker list include: Shirley-Ann Pyefinch, Dorothy Kew, James F. S. Thomson, Linda Reid, Elizabeth A. R. Kaegi and Christine Woodcock. It's worth the registration just to hear them.

There's additional choice including a series of talks recorded at the RootsTech conference earlier this year. Here's an incomplete list of workshops and addresses:

Accessing and Preserving Family Heirlooms by Archives Ontario
Discovering Your Ancestors in the Great Wars by Shirley-Ann Pyefinch
Finding Your Ancestors from the Philippines by Jette Soutar
French Canadian Research by Marie-Chantal Hogue
Getting Started in Jamaican Genealogical Research by Dorothy Kew
Great Non-Genealogy Sites for British Isles Research by James F. S. Thomson
Hunting and Fishing: Different Approaches to Genetic Genealogy by Linda Reid
Indexing - A Way to Help Others Build Their Family Tree by Rick Dunstall
Irish Resources Available on LDS Websites by Shirley-Ann Pyefinch
Missing in Action: Solving a Six Decade-Old Mystery with DNA by Elizabeth A. R. Kaegi and James F. S. Thomson
Recent Developments in British Isles Research by James F. S. Thomson
Researching Ukrainian Family History by Natalie Lisowiec
RootsTech Workshop – 5 Essential Resources for Hispanic Genealogy (in Spanish) by Sonia Meza
RootsTech Workshop - Five Ways to Do Family History in Your Sleep by Deborah Gamble
RootsTech Workshop - Ten Things I Learned about my Family on my Couch by Tammy Hepps
RootsTech Workshop: Basic Online Resources For the Beginning Genealogist by Lisa Alzo
Starting From Scratch: How to Begin Family History Research by Claire Nabrotzky
Tantalizing treasures in the Peel Archive’s Wm. Perkins Bull collection by Kyle Neill
Using FamilySearch to Solve Genealogical Problems by James Ison
Using Local Sources for Scottish Genealogy Research by Christine Woodcock
Using Social Media for Genealogy Research by Christine Woodcock
Why Mormons Build Temples by President Richard Norton
尋根 - 中國家譜研討會 Finding Chinese Ancestors by Grace Chan

Ancestry adds Dorset, England, Quarter Sessions Order Books, 1625-1905

The 115,173 records in this Dorset database document "Quarter Session judges’ decisions in matters that include settlement inquiries, highway rates, criminal trials, registers of settlement, orders of removal, bastardy examinations, apprenticeships, licensing, contracts, lists of justices, and other matters related to the business of running the county." It's a mixed bag. Some documents will just give a name and amount paid. Other's, such as removal documents, might give names and ages of children together with the parishes involved.
The database is taken from files at the Dorset History Centre in Dorchester and linked to images of the originals. In the early years you will have to wrestle with interpreting writing in Secretary hand.
Poole in Dorset was a major port of departure for early settlers in Canada.

The Master Genealogist bows out

Wholly Genes have announced that they are discontinuing genealogy software The Master Genealogist. The website announces that:
"The Master Genealogist (TMG) has been discontinued. Official technical support will be discontinued on 31 Dec 2014 but user-to-user support will remain available on the Community Forum and TMG-L discussion list, among other online resources.
For the time being, the product and updates will remain available in the interest of researchers who want to communicate their data to family members or upgrade to the latest version. It is made available with the understanding that, while there may be additional bug fixes before the end of the year, there will be no more development of new features."
Genealogy software expert Tamura Jones provides technical background to the decision explaining that the program rests on an out-of-date database.

It's becoming evident that the hay-day of stand-alone genealogy software is past as more of our computer services become based in the cloud. The LDS software PAF is no longer supported, Ancestry no longer make annual updates to Family Tree Maker and ceased sales through retailers a couple of years ago.
Don't get me wrong, the day of stand alone software isn't past. When your internet link is down, when its unavailable when you travel, when you`re concerned about trusting sensitive information to a third party, one that could go out of business or stop providing support, standalone software is the answer.
BUT, the trend is clear.
Internet availability is becoming more reliable, as much of a utility as electric power, and would you refuse to use a family history database on a computer because the power may go down?
The internet is also becoming more pervasive thanks to smartphones. It may not be everywhere when you travel but when you can duck into a MacDonalds or Starbucks for a wifi connection it`s getting more so.
Is the information in your online family tree database any more sensitive than other information you trust to the net? Do you make online financial transactions?
And is your standalone software provider any less likely to go out of business than a provider of web-based software? You may think, yes, but I have the software on my computer. Ask yourself how long will my computer last and will the next one, or the next update to the operating system, continue to support the genealogy software and the software it is built around.

Cloud-based genealogy services don`t yet provide everything, but on the other hand do provide services not available from the standalone variety which itself aren`t comprehensive. Will it give you a list of all the people in your database who you`d expect to find in the, say, 1891 census of Canada?Are you sure it knows about sections of that census that are missing?

Ottawa has had a small but enthusiastic TMG user group for many years.  It meets monthly at the City Archives with meetings publicized by Malcolm Moody in the Archive CD Books Canada newsletter. Will what to do be a topic for their upcoming meetings?

30 July 2014

Carleton University: Learning in Retirement

The programs for the two fall sessions of Carleton University's Learning in Retirement are now available for registration. Note the series on the basics of genealogy being offered in the second session.

Fall 2014 – Session I (September 9th – October 20th) offers the following ten lecture series:

Women and Islam
Truth and Propaganda
Art and Architecture in Ancient Greece
Flash-Focus on Carleton University’s Art Gallery: The McAllister Johnson Collection
Brain and Behaviour
The Art of Dropping Out
Environment and History: An Introduction to Our Evolving Place on Earth
Raiders, Traders and Explorers: A History of Viking Expansion
Best of Ballet
A Brief History of the Cold War

Fall 2014 – Session II (October 27th – December 5th) offers the following eleven lecture series:

Canada’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites
We Shall Overcome: The Civil Rights Movement Through Song
Gold in the Darkness: Studies in Early Christian and Byzantine Visual Art
Flash-Focus on Carleton University’s Art Gallery: Landscape in a Canadian Context
From Longhouse to Lumber to Legislation: An Anecdotal History of Ottawa
Vino e Pasta: Regional Wines and Foods of Italy
Leisure in Britain: 1750 to 1950
Who Were the Vikings? A Look Into the Society and Culture of the Viking Age
A Walk Through Canadian Art - Lecture Series FULL
Who Do You Think You Are? The Basics of Genealogy
Getting to Know Your Brain: Current Topics in Neuroscience

Take a search refresher

Plunking a search term into Google will often get you a long way, or at least a lot!  Sometimes you need more. I've mentioned sources for more advanced searching before. There's a recent refresher, and update as protocols do change from time to time, at How to Find Anything Online With Advanced Search Techniques.

29 July 2014

Ancestry IS watching you!

Did you know that Ancestry, as part of its mission to "facilitate discovery of relevant person’s records and the construction of family trees," watches the search terms you enter and analyses them to improve their overall search?
If you enter a last name Ancestry compares it to your searches in the next 30 minutes identifying pairings as possible name variants.
Ancestry also finds pairings by looking at your trees and comparing names to those in the records you attach.
The company uses a method analogous to machine language translation to refine the pairings.
Read a full report here, not for the faint of heart, and a less-technical summary here.

Every Man Remembered

It's never been easier to enshrine the memory of WW1 generation service, even a century later.

The latest, reported by the BBC, is the Every Man Remembered database from the Royal British Legion that allows people to commemorate relatives or someone they knew, or find a person for whom no-one has yet left a tribute. Despite the use of the word Man the project covers every serviceman and woman who died in World War One, and not just British forces. Those from every Commonwealth country are included, a total of 1,117,077 service personnel.
You can add a summary and longer story. Strangely the word kill is forbidden, replaced by asterisks so that skill becomes s****. The site asks for a donation, £10 to "buy a poppy" or more.

Everybody's doing it, and seeking funds. There's the previously mentioned Imperial War Museum's "Lives of the First World War" project. For Canadians who died information can be added to the Canadian Virtual War Memorial - without any donation requested.

28 July 2014

Paul Marsden on digitizing Canadian WW1 service files

Library and Archives Canada military archivist Paul Marsden was interviewed on Monday on Canada AM regarding LAC's project to digitize complete WW1 service files. See it at http://canadaam.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=405489&playlistId=1.1935214&binId=1.815908&playlistPageNum=1

Paul with be giving part of a pre-conference seminar on the afternoon of Friday, 19 September at the BIFHSGO conference.

University of Toronto and WW1

As did many universities in combatant countries the University of Toronto was a significant source of soldiers for the First World War. They came from students, faculty, and graduates. As the war progressed the University also played a role in training, notably for the Royal Flying Corps.

Find out more about the University's role at http://news.utoronto.ca/memoriam-remembering-first-world-war-u-t

On July 31 U of T's Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History and the Munk School of Global Affairs, with support from the Canadian Armed Forces present: 1914-1918: In Memoriam, an event that will commemorate the sacrifice of Canadian men and women in World War I with distinctive military band performances, military formations, and commentaries. (Sign up for free tickets.)

If your ancestor who served during the war was associated with a University it may be worthwhile checking their website, perhaps digging into the University archives website.

Experience counts in genealogy search

The results of the survey on ease of search on genealogy databases are in.

Those who responded to the survey, 71% of whom were female, had a lot of genealogy search experience. 43% had more than 10 years of frequent use; 14% more than 10 years of occasional use; 30% had 5 to 10 years of frequent use.
6% of respondents fully agreed that genealogical databases at Ancestry, FamilySearch and findmypast are generally easy to use. 71% somewhat agreed with that statement.

To the statement Ancestry, FamilySearch and findmypast provide adequate instructional material to permit making good use of their service only 4% expressed full agreement while 62% felt that "most do, some don't."
Of all those responding 93% selected experience [trial and error] as the best means they had used to improve overall search skills. Magazine articles [61%], and conference presentations [58%] also was selected by more than 50% of respondents.
41% fully agreed that standards are needed for genealogy search so that you don't need to learn different search techniques for each database or database supplier. Another 36% somewhat agreed.

The reliance of long-time genealogical database users on their experience suggests a reason for strongly negative reactions to changes in search. Both Ancestry and findmypast have experienced this in recent years. 

Start of the Great War

A century ago on this date, July 28 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia starting, in terms of nation to nation conflict, a tragic chain of events.

27 July 2014

Québec and WW1

As someone who never studied Canadian history at school the WW1 conscription crisis in Québec is something of a puzzle for me. I was at school in England and I don't recall the Great War being a topic in history classes, it was too recent.

An article Quebec’s conscription crisis divided French and English Canada has helped fill the gap in my education.

“In Quebec, Vimy means absolutely nothing to people. But for Quebec francophones with a bit of education, the First World War was about the conscription crisis.” “For French-Canadians, it’s a marker of identity, and also of pride, for having resisted”

Untold stories of the war

From The Guardian, a dozen short articles by writers including Jeremy Paxman, Michael Morpurgo and Margaret MacMillan telling some of the surprising and heart-rending stories still emerging from the conflict a century later.

26 July 2014

Debbie Kennett debunks genetic astrology

DNA can be interpreted to enable major breakthroughs in family history, but can also be over interpreted. There is no regulation or professional standard to rely on; it's caveat emptor.

BIFHSGO conference speaker Debbie Kennett has reproduced the full text of a letter which was published in part in the August Family Tree Magazine. http://cruwys.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/my-letter-in-family-tree-magazine-about.html.

For a more comprehensive treatment see the website Debbie has worked on with colleagues at University College London: www.ucl.ac.uk/mace-lab/debunking.

Canadiana seeks feedback to improve genealogy collections

The following is from Canadiana.

"Over the past few months, Canadiana.org has partnered with Library and Archives Canada on a massive project to digitize 40,000 reels of microfilm from Canada's most important archival collections. This project, known as Héritage, will comprise 60 million page images when digitization is completed next year.

Much of the Héritage collection will be of interest to genealogists. Canadiana would like to enhance access to this content by partially transcribing select collections. Once transcribed, researchers can conduct key-word searches on a collection, allowing them to find specific personal names, geographical locations, events, etc. within a document.

We need your help in choosing which collections to transcribe first. By participating in this short survey, you can have a voice in telling Canadiana which collections are important to you."

35 datasets are included.

It's clear they need help. One database is described as
Edwardsburg Township (Ontario) fonds, 1801 & 1818 This collection consists of a births, marriages and deaths register for the current-day Prince Edward Island, then known as Île St Jean, dating from 1724 to 1758.
The detailed description makes it clear it has nothing to do with PEI!
Edwardsburgh/Cardinal is a township in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville in eastern Ontario. The township was formed in 2001 through the amalgamation of Edwardsburgh Township with the Village of Cardinal. It currently has a population of about 6,500 residents. The township borders the St. Lawrence River Seaway to the south. Early settlers to the region included the Irish, Scottish and United Empire Loyalists.
This collection consists of Upper Canada census returns and related records for Edwardsburg Township in Grenville County in 1801 and 1818, Elizabethtown in 1818, Johnstown District in 1822, Oxford-on-the-Rideau Township in 1841 and 1842, Westminster Township in 1840, and Woodhouse Township in 1812, 1827 and 1829.
Only heads of families are listed.

Thanks to Bruce Elliott for the tip.

25 July 2014

Ancestry.co.uk free this weekend

Free until midnight Sunday (BST), search Ancestry.co.uk ‏UK collections at ancstry.me/1rOGxzD with free registration.

New OGS video

The social media panel at last May's OGS conference gets a look-in in a new promotional video for the Ontario Genealogical Society.

The British Newspaper Archive progress

Did you receive an email that 1 million newspaper pages have been added to The British Newspaper Archive in 2014? That's an average 4,878 pages a day, seven days a week. At that rate 1.78 million pages will be added each year.

There are currently 8.37 million pages in the database so to get to the project goal, "to digitise up to 40 million pages" will take more than another 17 years at the present rate. The initial project goal was to achieve that in 10 years. Perhaps they're looking at technological improvements to increase the pace.

Each page added increases the value. I do wish they'd add some Great Yarmouth newspapers. Norfolk is looking rather neglected.

Wiltshire baptismal records

Over half a million baptism record transcriptions for the English county of Wiltshire dating back to 1530 are now available on findmypast. There are about 200 parishes in the collection with 17 indicated as NEW, Bishopstrow, Britford, Calstone Wellington, Cherhill, Codford St Mary, Codford St Peter, Compton Bassett, Enford, Great Bedwyn, Hilmarton, Huish, Lydiard Tregoze, Lyneham, Pewsey, Potterne, Sevenhampton, and Sopworth.
The period of record is typically from around 1600 to 1837 and the start of civil registration. These are transcriptions from the Wiltshire Family History Society; no images of originals are available.

24 July 2014

Free access to New Yorker archives

Looking for a genealogy break?

According to an article in the New York Times, The New Yorker is overhauling its website and making all the articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months before introducing a paywall for online subscribers.

Why we join

Gail Dever has posted results of a major survey that should be required reading and food for thought and action by family history societies everywhere. Read at  http://genealogyalacarte.ca/?p=4141

Bowlers, Beavers and Holmes

Did your father, grandfather wear a hat? It used to be said "If you want to get ahead, get a hat." Look at films of street scenes from the early 1900s and everyone is wearing one.
Continuing to catch up with Gresham College lectures, Timothy Long, Curator of Fashion & Decorative Arts at the Museum of London, explores the history of the bowler hat. You can read the transcript, which is not complete, but I recommend taking the time to view the presentation which has interesting extra information. Both are at http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/the-history-of-the-bowler-hat.
The earliest newspaper reference to a bowler hat that I could find was in The Times in 1856, a court case in Taunton "They had on their heads "bowler" hats fastened under the chin."

In the US, where they're known as the Derby hat, and Canada, mentions are from the 1880s. This ad from March 1883 is from the Ottawa Citizen.

23 July 2014

England, Norfolk Non-conformist Records, 1613-1901

Ancestry have added this dataset from FamilySearch as a browse collection, 7,521 records. Hopefully Ancestry will soon be name indexing it. Note there is one sub-set from Suffolk, for Pakefield comprising just three Quaker burials from the 1860s.

Ancestry updates London vital records

Updated on Ancestry are records from the London Metropolitan Archives. London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980 now has 2,616,957 (2,616,941) records; Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906 has 6,240,093 (6,240,709) records; Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 has 7,549,807 (7,549,376) records and, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 has 8,844,994 (8,841,248 ) records.

When Ancestry announce an update you're never sure how major. The record count in parenthesis is from when I last recorded the count. So the answer for this most recent update is nothing major at all, for most collections it's fewer records.

How does LAC rate?

On Tuesday Chris Paton posted Comparing the UK's three national archives on his British GENES blog. Chris compared the National Archives at Kew (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk), the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (www.proni.gov.uk), and the archive facility at the National Records of Scotland (www.nas.gov.uk) along 11 dimensions: Coverage/responsibility; Centralised location; Convenient opening hours; Wifi access; Cafe facilities; Ordering documents; Digitisation programme; Cataloguing; Can you take photos; Social media use; User base engagement.

Benchmarking an organization service against those provided by peers is a standard management practice. Let's look at how Library and Archives Canada performs.

Coverage/responsibility: Unlike the UK institutions LAC integrates the functions of the national archives and library. LAC has a legislated mandate and operates within a national reality, summarized by Mackenzie King as too much geography and not enough history. Provinces and territories, and municipalities have archival functions and LAC has a mandate to "facilitate in Canada co-operation" but no role in providing strategic direction. In recent years LAC has been criticized for neglecting its mandate to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada choosing instead to focus on its role as an archives for federal government records.

Centralised location:
LACs public face is at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa on the ceremonial route. The location is less than one kilometre from the Parliament buildings, half a kilometre from a major public transit corridor and with limited three-hour pay-parking on-site and close to other pay parking.

Convenient opening hours
LAC offers full service from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each weekday with some services available from as early as 9 a.m. and as late as 5 p.m. depending on the day and facility. However, see the comment below re ordering documents. The facilities are open for consultation of self-service items and items ordered in, previously retrieved, and stored in lockers, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m each weekday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Wifi access
Yes, freely available throughout the building.

Cafe facilities
Vending machines on ground floor.

Ordering documents
Very little original archival material is available in the building, it has to be brought from off-site involving significant delay. Those accustomed to waiting for less than an hour between ordering and delivery at other archives are shocked to discover delays of several days to a week are common at LAC depending on where material is stored. This is not prominently disclosed on the LAC website. Much material is available on microfilm and, increasingly, online.

Digitisation programme
Key parts of LAC's holdings are digitized, either through partnerships, notably with Ancestry and more recently Canadiana.ca's Héritage project. LAC is currently digitizing complete WW1 service files. Much of the recently digitized material is neither name indexed nor well covered in finding aids.

Is this something LAC has forgotten how to do? Legacy catalog available.

Can you take photos?
Yes, requires permission and depends on material and equipment.

Social media use
LAC makes substantial use of Twitter, Facebook, a blog and occasional podcasts. LAC provides no means to speak directly to an information service; you access a series of pre-recorded messages or leave a voice-mail.

User base engagement
Essentially none. No stakeholder group. No volunteer programs. This lack of any meaningful user engagement is a telling indicator of client-orientation at LAC.

With the exception of the hours when the facility is open for consultation of self-service items there are no aspects of LAC service that excel compared to that provided by the three other archives Chris reviewed. The delay in obtaining ordered materials means LAC service lags substantially in this respect.

US WDYTYA series starts tonight

American actress Cynthia Ellen Nixon is the subject of the first of the new series of Who Do You Think You Are? which starts its run on cable channel TLC this evening, 9 pm, 23 July.

Nixon appeared in the HBO series Sex and the City as did previous WDYTYA? subject Sarah Jessica Parker. Parker's episode will be repeated immediately prior to Nixon's, at 8 pm.

22 July 2014

Lost hospitals of London

If a London hospital played a part in your ancestor's life, or death, you may find it's one of the many that have closed since the National Health Service came into being in 1948. Lost hospitals of London provides an alphabetical list of hospitals with a potted history for each, much the same for London hospitals as Peter Higgenbotham has done for workhouses.

There's also a timely section on military auxiliary hospitals of WW1
A new book, Hospitals of London by Veronika and Fred Chambers with Rob Higgins is due to appear next month.

One World One Family Conference

A reminder about the fifth annual One World One Family Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being held this year on August 23.
I had the privilege of attending and speaking last year and enjoyed it. Unfortunately there's a conflict with another conference I'll be attending this year.
Speakers include:
- Jim Ison, a manager at FamilySearch for the past eight years, currently serving as Northeast Area Manager for the Family History Department.
- Harry van Bommel, author of over 50 books and founder of the Canada 150: Canada's Untold Stories project.
The location is 10062 Bramalea Rd., Brampton, Ontario with proceedings getting underway at 9 a.m.
Further information at http://www.oneworldonefamily-theevent.com/

21 July 2014

Identity and Identification

Professor A Jane Caplan introduces a series of four lectures from Gresham College

You may know who you are, but how do I know that you really are who you say you are?  How are you going to prove to me, a sceptical stranger or a suspicious official, that you are telling me the truth? How, in other words, can you be identified as an individual, and how are you going to prove this identity? The answer to these questions has a long history, and that history is the subject of this series of four lectures.  These days we are bombarded by information and warnings about identity documents and identity theft: scarcely a week goes past without some lurid story in the press or blogosphere. But these news stories are not so good at telling us why we should be more concerned now than we were in the past: they usually lack any historical perspective. In these lectures, I hope to persuade you that learning what identification meant and how it was recorded in the past will give you a better understanding of what it means in the present. And rest assured that I am not just going to tell you the history of the passport – even if some of us think that is quite interesting enough. No, I am going to talk to you about your name, your signature and your tattoos, and why they have mattered.
The lectures, available as video, audio and transcripts, are:
1.  Identity and Identification - http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/identity-and-identification
2. What's in a Name? More than You Might Think - http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/whats-in-a-name-more-than-you-might-think
3. Your Hand: Signatures and Handwriting - http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/your-hand-signatures-and-handwriting
4. "Speaking Scars" - The Tattoo - http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/speaking-scars-the-tattoo

20 July 2014

London in 3D

Recognize this building? Google now have 3D mapping of inner city London in Google Earth and on Google Maps (when you zoom right in.)  To access the view in Google Maps, click the “Earth” button on the bottom left, then click the tilt button below the compass on the right, to access the 3D view. via a Mapping London blog post.

You'll need to use your imagination if you want to see how the city looked when your ancestors lived there. Get inspiration from this video.

Improving family history searching

This posted was stimulated by the article What Do Researchers Need?  by Jody L. DeRidder and Kathryn G. Matheny in the July/August 2014 issue of D-Lib Magazine

Research using 11 faculty researchers from a variety of disciplines at the University of Alabama as subjects found, among many other conclusions, that "even experienced researchers now need training in searching." How well does this finding, and perhaps the others, apply to family history researchers?

Thinking about your use of the genealogy-focused websites Ancestry, FamilySearch and findmypast, please respond to the survey at https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/HJCNSi.

Thank you.

19 July 2014

Gibraltar records

Nationalarchives.gi, the website of the Gibraltar National Archives, includes details of the registers of population (census) of Gibraltar going back to 1777.  Population lists and registers for 1777, 1791, 1814, 1816, 1817, 1834, 1868, 1871, 1878, 1881, 1891 1901, 1911 and 1914 are now online for free.
The later more detailed censuses show the name of each resident, their nationality, occupation and other relevant information. Images of originals are not online.
Browsing the surnames shows a mix of a majority Spanish and a large minority of English. Gibraltar has been formally part of the British Empire since the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. An embarrassingly large majority of the population have voted to reject Spanish claims to the territory; Spain apparently does not see any parallel with that country's enclaves of Cueta and Melilla in Morocco or Llívia in France.

via David Rajotte's Documentary Heritage News

Toronto History Lecture

A brief reminder about the fourth annual Toronto History Lecture which will take place on Wednesday 6 August at the City of Toronto Archives. The speaker is historian, author and York University professor Craig Heron on the topic of The Workers’ City: Lives of Toronto’s Working People.

Registration is now open.  More information at http://torontofamilyhistory.org/thl_2014/

18 July 2014


I've been researching the burial of Thomas William Hardingham in Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery. He was born in my old home town of Great Yarmouth. The information on the gravestone is that his parents were Charles and Whippertie Hardingham.

It doesn't take long with Ancestry to establish that his parents were Charles Stephen Hardingham and Jane Dennis Hardingham nee Rackham. So where does the unusual name Whippertie come from?

Searching FreeBMD finds only one person with that name, first or last. Whippertie Maude Fowler's birth is registered in the 3rd quarter of 1906 in Mutford registration district, south of Great Yarmouth, and there's a marriage in the adjacent Lothingland district in the last quarter of 1935. I expected to find her in the 1911 census - no luck on Ancestry.

It's often helpful to look for siblings, FreeBMD is much better for this than Ancestry. There's a birth registration in the Mutford district for Dorothy Dennis Fowler, notice the same distinctive middle name as Jane, and two later Fowler births had the mother's maiden name as Rackham. Mother's maiden name is only given in the birth registration indexes starting in the 3rd quarter of 1911.

Going back to the Ancestry 1911 census and searching for Dorothy Dennis Fowler I found Whippertie had been transcribed as Whipperlie. Findmypast has the correct transcription but the error is understandable. I could also have found it using a wildcard in the Ancestry census search.

It turns out Whippertie Maude Fowler was the niece of Jane Dennis Hardingham and might well have been given the unusual nickname used by her aunt. But I still don't know how and why Jane got that nickname which was established enough to put on her son's gravestone.

In case the title makes you yearn for the song that inspired it here's an upbeat version of the original.

17 July 2014

Garfield Clack celebration of life

BIFHSGO member Garfield Clack passed away in April of this year. He lived in the Champlain Park neighborhood of Ottawa for about 20 years. There will be a "celebration of life" (well, more like a "party"!) this Saturday July 19. If you knew Garfield and would like to come too, please send an email message to garfclack@gmail.com as soon as possible to receive more details.

Westboro Beach genealogy meetup

The weather forecast looks good for Saturday, 19 July, Sunny. Low 14. High 29. I plan to head down to the Westboro beach cafe around noontime and would welcome some genealogist company.

findmypast adds Staffordshire parish records

The latest serving of new records from findmypast is 1,273,932 baptism records from around 200 parishes; 87,988 banns records from 111 parishes; 638,723 marriage records from 213 parishes and 868,062 burial records from 174 parishes. The dates are 1538 to 1900 except for the banns which start in 1653.
These Staffordshire records include page images, an "initial release of parish registers is digitized from pre-existing microfilm. There will be a later release of registers digitized from the paper originals in due course."
My family history has two lines with long histories in the county I established years ago using the IGI. There's no excuse now for not going back and confirming the research from the better source.

UK Holocaust and related records on Ancestry

Three smallish dataset are added to Ancestry by way of resources from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.

Great Britain, Holocaust Records From The Religious Society of Friends, 1933-1942 (USHMM)
contains 5,291 records, an index of committee minutes and correspondence that often named refugees and described the situation of refugees from continental Europe fleeing persecution and war.

UK, Selected Records Relating to Kindertransport, 1938-1939 (USHMM) (in German) contains
2,179 records, an index to lists of children who were transported from Germany through Kindertransport, as well as some adult emigrants. The index also references Quaker minutes, reports, and correspondence, as well as some travel documents.

UK, Holocaust Records from the British Federation of University Women, 1938-1951 (USHMM)
contains 2,656 records, an index to the records of the British Federation of University Women during and after World War II, when it provided aid to Jewish and other foreign refugees. In it are minutes of meetings where you’ll find accountings of funds allocated to individuals and to specific relief projects, progress reports, lists of applicants seeking aid or employment, lists of children, employment of foreign doctors, and requests for food and clothing.

16 July 2014

Why join a genealogy society?

I'm looking forward to seeing the results of Gail Dever's survey Why Join a Genealogy Society, just posted at http://genealogyalacarte.ca/?p=3937. Please complete the survey - it's only one question. You can choose as many of the reasons as you consider important, or add your own.

OGS webinar - call for proposals

The Ontario Genealogical Society is now accepting proposals for the OGS Monthly Webinar Series 2015. Topics of interest for one-hour webinar presentations are:

▪    Ontario-specific topics (laws, records, land, history, etc.)
▪    Ethnic research (Scottish, Irish, English, African-Canadian, German, etc.)
▪    Canadian military research
▪    Loyalist research
▪    Ontario land research
▪    DNA/genetic genealogy
▪    Methodology and skill-building
▪    Technology and trends in genealogy
▪    Interesting case studies (Ontario specific)
▪    Organization and project/time management

Further information at http://goo.gl/Hv36ex. Deadline for submissions is 15 August 2014.

Essex records news

Ancestry have updated their "England, Select Essex Parish Registers, 1538-1900" collection, mainly sourced from FamilySearch, to now contain 1,181,462 records.

The most comprehensive collection of Essex records is at the Essex Archives. You can access indexed records and non-indexed parish register and other images online by subscription at http://seax.essexcc.gov.uk/. As of 21 July their subscription prices are increasing. The 24 hours price remains at £5.00. A £5.00 increase will apply to 1 week - £20.00 and 1 month - £30.00 subs and a £10.00 increase to 6 months - £60.00 and 1 year - £85.00 subs

15 July 2014

Shelly Glover: year one

Today marks the first anniversary of the appointment of the Honourable Shelly Glover as Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. Library and Archives Canada is within her portfolio. How is she doing?
To the extent she had a hand in the appointment of Guy Berthaiume as Librarian and Archivist of Canada, well qualified for the position, we must give the minister credit. 
Checking out her profile at http://openparliament.ca/politicians/shelly-glover/ one gets the impression she has been a steady hand. Lots of press releases, committee appearances and speeches in parliament, no landmark achievements.
Her orientation is economic, evident in the quote attributed to her in a 3 July press release: 

“By renewing its support to promote the Festival d’été de Québec outside Quebec, our Government is contributing to the economic development of the greater Québec City region, the growth of the regional tourism industry and job creation.”
The Minister is also a strong partisan, her favourite word is NDP, all suggesting she regards the present role as one in which to establish her party credentials for eventual promotion. 

It Seems A Waste Of Time To Transcribe All These Without Encludin The Ship Name

The citation is: "Canada Passenger Lists, 1881-1922", index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/2Q3Q-VCG : accessed 15 Jul 2014), It Seems A Waste Of Time To Transcribe All These Without Encludin The Ship Name, 1903."

That was the result of a search I did for the surname Tame on FamilySearch. It would appear a person, entered six times, by that name arrived at Quebec City in November 1903 on the Mount Temple.

BIFHSGO conference

A reminder that early bird registration deadline for the BIFHSGO conference is August 9. If you'll be away at a cottage or further afield register now so you don't miss out on the savings.
The deadline for placing an ad in the conference book is the end of July.

Several people are placing business card size to let other attendees know about the services they offer and show support for the society. More information is here.

findmypast adds Kinnerley & West Felton Bishop's Transcripts

Bishop's Transcripts for 17th century baptisms, marriage and burials for the Shropshire parishes of Kinnerley & West Felton are the latest addition to findmypast.

The 387 baptisms are for 1630-1685; 88 marriages from 1630-1692; 663 burial from 1630-1692.

14 July 2014

Finding Church of Ireland baptisms, marriages and burials

There are 98 pages in this closely spaced table listing, parish by parish, the years for which some form of record for Church of Ireland baptisms, marriages and burials are available.
It's available at http://ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/AboutUs/library/registers/ParishRegistersTable.pdf but you might want to start at http://ireland.anglican.org/about/168 which includes information on some digitised records.
John Grenham's most recent Irish Roots column Resurrecting Church of Ireland records has additional background.

You Are The Product Of A Mass Atrocity

Peter Atterton, professor of philosophy at San Diego State University, has a thought-provoking if not particularly cheering opinion piece in the New York Times.

In "Do I Have the Right to Be?" Atterton posits that "All of us are alive today thanks at least partly to some mass atrocity that was committed in the past. This is because war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing invariably affect who is born after them."

Is the ability to see the depressing side of life a prerequisite to being a philosopher?

13 July 2014

AncestryDNA for $49US

You may be able to take advantage of this special from Ancestry for their autosomal DNA test, but you'll need to jump through a few hoops to get it.

From the AdoptionDNA Tools mailing list, via Arthur Owen.

"Using my normal Ancestry.com userid, when I went to dna.ancestry.com with FireFox it showed the normal price of $99 US. I tried using IE, again with my normal userid, and the price was now $79 US.  Finally, using my android tablet, I went to the same page and I got the $49 US price. So I'm not sure whether the deal is only for orders from android/ios devices or what, but I could not get the $49 US price via my Windows laptop."

See also http://upsdownsfamilyhistory.com/2014/07/ancestrydna-offers-49-autosomal-test/

As AncestryDNA does not send their kits to Canada shipment to a US address is required. I've used the UPS Store in Ogdensburg which charges $5 per item.

Thanks to Arthur for the tip.

Conservation Tips

From the State Archives of New South Wales, five tips for conservation measures you may be able to undertake yourself. If in doubt consult a professional.

Sticky Tape Removal

TNA Annual Report, 2013-14

The Annual Report and Accounts of The National Archives, 2013-14 is now available at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/annual-report-13-14.pdf

TNA responds to multi-dimensional demands. Of particular note for the public client are achievements under "We make the record accessible"

In 2013-14, we provided more than 670,000 original records to people at our building in Kew, delivering these records from our repositories on average within 31 minutes of their order. Records we have made available online were downloaded more than 202 million times and our UK Government Web Archive was used by more than a million people every month. We answered 38,000 telephone enquiries and 36,000 written enquiries and continued to provide our popular Live Chat service, through which users can talk to our experts online.
In evaluating performance against 33 business priorities most were achieved, only seven were rated as partially achieved.

via http://documentary-heritage-news.blogspot.ca/

12 July 2014

Free access to WW1 records from MyHeritage

To commemorate 100 years since WW1, MyHeritage has granted free access to various first world war record collections, from now through the end of July. The databases included are:

Silver War Badge Recipients, 1914 - 1918
British Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914 - 1919
The National Roll of the Great War, 1914 - 1918
Tennessee WWI Veterans
Ireland's Memorial Records, 1914 - 1918
Royal Navy and Royal Marine Casualties, 1914 - 1919
De Ruvigny's Roll Of Honour 1914-1924
Distinguished Conduct Medal Citations 1914 - 1920
British Officers Taken as Prisoners of War, 1914 - 1918
British Military Officers
Victoria Cross Recipients, 1854 - 2006

More information at: http://blog.myheritage.com/2014/07/search-wwi-military-records-for-free/

Thanks to Daniel Horowitz for the tip.

Call for proposals: OGS conference 2015

The following is posted at the request of the Ontario Genealogical Society.

The Ontario Genealogical Society will host the Society's annual conference on 29-31 May 2015 at Georgian College Campus, Barrie, ON, Canada. The conference theme -- “Tracks through Time” – originates from the 130th Anniversary of the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada. Many family historians have their roots in the immigrant laborers who built this railway across our vast country. Other ancestors were tempted by the transportation routes and 
migration opportunities allowed by its completion. Still others worked for the railway company itself over the years to follow. As researchers, we track our family history through time in many ways, always attempting to ensure we are tracking the right people from the right line. The variations on “Tracks through Time” are endless. 

The subject of presentations should preferably fall within one of the following categories: 
1. Impact of the development of the railway in Canada 
2. Tracking various cultural and ethnic ancestor groups to and within Canada (e.g., Aboriginal, African American, Chinese, Scandinavian, Quaker, Polish, Jewish, etc.) 
3. Tracking ancestors through various record groups (land, company, religious, civil, etc.) 
4. Tracking the right people (sorting out same-name research, One-Name Studies, etc.) 
5. Technological advancements in tracking our ancestors 

Saturday and Sunday presentations will be one hour long, including time for questions. Friday workshop offering a more in-depth exploration should be 2.5 to 3 hours in length, including time for questions. Consideration will also be given to distance presentations – “streamed in” from a presenter’s location and/or “streamed out” to a distance audience. Multiple proposals encouraged.

Each one-page proposal should include: 
• Presentation Title
• Abstract – no more than 200 words
• Presentation Description – one or two sentences for program brochure
• Full Contact Information - name, postal address, telephone number, e-mail address, and website (if applicable)
• Brief Biography
• Target Audience - beginner, intermediate or advanced level family historians; general or specialist audience. 
If your proposal is accepted, you will be requested to provide a 2- to 4-page summary of your lecture or workshop for our Conference Syllabus. This may include a brief overview, references and web addresses mentioned, sample screen shots, etc. It will be submitted electronically no later than 1 March 2015 as a word processing file or in rich text for ease of formatting our Program Syllabus. Speakers should also bear in mind that PowerPoint presentations must be clearly readable from a minimum distance of 20 metres/65 feet and should employ fonts no smaller than 32 points. 

Please include your approximate travel costs, economy class, to Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Remuneration will normally include reimbursement of transportation expenses, free conference registration, free accommodation, meals on the day(s) of your talk(s), free social activities, plus honorarium. Workshop fees may be negotiated. 

Contact: program.conference@ogs.on.ca 
Deadline: 12 September 2014 

Comment: I hope the organizers will encourage proposals from experienced speakers who have never, or not recently spoken at an OGS annual conference. 

11 July 2014

Measuring distance on Google maps

Sometimes we want to know the direct distance between two places in our family history. Google maps now has an improved facility to do that which is quite easy to use. On Google maps first find the starting point and right click it; on the menu that opens up click "measure distance." Then move the cursor to the end point and left click which will show a distance scale. You can add another leg by left clicking another point.
It works on desktop Google but not (yet?) on smartphones.

Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming

Canada's History is looking for community-based history projects for the 2014 Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Community Programming. Applications are due August 1, 2014.

Two recipients (French and English) are awarded $2500 for their project, and a trip to Ottawa to receive their award at the Governor General's History Awards at Rideau Hall. Recipients also attend the Canada's History Forum and TD History-Makers Celebration Dinner, held in conjunction with the awards.

The award recognizes innovative projects that promote and encourage community engagement in history. Eligible projects include exhibits, preservation or restoration initiatives, oral histories, special events, or any other type of community programming. Projects should be completed within the past 18 months of the award deadline.

To find out more information, nominate a project, or apply online, visit CanadasHistory.ca/Awards/Community-Programming

or contact

Joanna Dawson
Community Engagement Coordinator
Canada's History
Ph: 204-988-9300, ext 225
Bryce Hall, Main Floor, 515 Portage Ave, Winnipeg MB R3B 2E9

Survey Results: Other Family History International Online Resources

112 of those responding to the survey "During the past three months which of the following INTERNATIONAL online facilities have you used to pursue your family history interests?"
made suggestions for "other" resources. Most were nation-specific or, in my judgement primarily of national interest, while the survey was deliberately focused on international resources.

The "other" site with the most mentions was Find A Grave. Some resources with more than one mention I wish I'd included are: Flickr, podcasts, and Skype.

Here, in alphabetical order, are other additional international suggestions made that may be of interest.  Not included are the genealogy.com and mundia.com sites that Ancestry has announced they will be discontinuing soon. I've added links in case you'd like to try a lucky dip.

Genealogical Research Library
National Institute for Genealogical Studies
We Relate
World Vital Records

Again, thanks to those who helped and responded to make this a successful survey.

10 July 2014

Survey Results: Family History Online International Resources

I've previously reported the top ten and next ten most used international resources online. Today let's look at those remaining in the order chosen by more than 400 responses to the survey question, During the past three months which of the following INTERNATIONAL online facilities have you used to pursue your family history interests?

21. Amazon: 27%.
22. Other: 27%. (respondents were asked to specify other international resources they use. There were many responses which I'll report in a follow-up post)
23. Evernote: 22%
24. Google+: 22%
25. GenealogyinTime: 20%
26. myHeritage: 20%
27. newspaper.com: 17%
28. Twitter: 15%
29. Ebay: 15%
30. 23andMe: 13%
31. Pinterest: 11%
32. LinkedIn: 9%
33.Yahoo: 8%
34: Bing: 7%
35: Text messaging: 6%
36: Instagram: 1%

09 July 2014

World War 1 veterans claim cards

A long list of additions to the Heritage collection at Canadiana.ca includes World War 1 veterans claim cards. They are unindexed and finding aid is lacking. The cards vary in format usually including name, the former service number, the location of land granted as well as various file numbers. They are on 9 reels, T-1322 to T-1330 ordered almost alphabetically by surname. Here's a partial aid in finding the right reel:

Aalrust - Carson: T-1322
Carson - Forwyth: T-1323 (apparent duplication of end materials at start of reel)
Fosbery - Johnson: T-1324
Johnson - Munro: T-1325
Munro - Rhyno: T-1326
Redman - Thomas: T-1327
Thomsen - Zygomet (image 4667): T-1328
The material following on this reel appears to relate to land transfers. Images 4669 to 4694 relate to Carleton County, Ontario - followed by other Ontario counties. Other material on this and the two other reels appear to relate to loans and be arranged geographically. Some could be of considerable interest such as the comment on a card that "Property requires an expert market gardener. The is the second loan declined to the above man.

Ken MacKinlay has a post on his Family Tree Knots blog on another of this round of additions, on parish registers.

Survey Results: Family History Online International Resources

Yesterday I posted the top ten international resources online chosen by more than 400 responses to the survey question During the past three months which of the following INTERNATIONAL online facilities have you used to pursue your family history interests?

The top ten were Ancestry, FamilySearch, email, Google search, blogs, Facebook, Rootsweb, Google books, findmypast and webinars.

The next ten are:
11. Wikipedia: 41% (Alexa ranking 6).
12. FamilySearch Research Wiki: 40% (78,639 articles to help you get started or learn more).

One of the motivators behind this survey was a blog post Genealogy and Wikipedia by James Tanner on his Genealogy's Star blog. James wrote about the FamilySearch Research Wiki " ... there is a marked increase in the number of genealogists familiar with this particular wiki. But that familiarity does not usually extend to Wikipedia." This survey indicates Wikipedia is widely used for genealogy, but so is the FamilySearch Research Wiki, something I didn't know.

13. Cyndislist: 38% (Alexa rank 35,616 and growing having resolved plagiarism problems)
14. Google, newspaper archive: 36% (amazing coverage and free, a pity Google doesn't actively support it and the image quality is so bad in many cases).
15. Mocavo: 33% (Alex rank 32,670, recently acquired by findmypast).
16. Internet Archive: 32% (Alexa rank 193, use it for digitized books, previous versions of websites and more).
17. Family Tree DNA: 32% (Alexa rank 29,508, apparently genetic genealogy still has a way to go in the community).
18. GenWeb: 32% (still going reasonably strong).
19. Dropbox: 32% (Alexa rank 107, store and share files in the cloud).
20. YouTube: 27% (Alexa rank 3, find useful educational content).

Tomorrow I'll finish off the list.

08 July 2014

Birmingham and Sheffield cemetery transcriptions at findmypast

New on findmypast this week are 93,527 records for Witton Cemetery, formerly called Birmingham City Cemetery, between 1881 and 1898. Included is the burial of chocolate manufacturer John Cadbury and his rather aptly name second wife Candia Cadbury.

Also 19,902 records for Sheffield's Norton Cemetery, 1869 – 1995, known as Derbyshire Lane Cemetery.

Both are transcriptions with minimal information beyond name, year and sometimes date of death, age and cemetery.

FamilySearch adds England, Durham, Diocese of Durham Original Wills, 1650-1857

This collection is of 148,960 images of original wills from the Diocese of Durham. There's a two step process for efficiently accessing these files.  Search on Durham University's website at http://familyrecords.dur.ac.uk/nei/data/advanced.php, record the reference such as  DPRI/1/1814/R7/1-2, then look up the reference to find the complete document at https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2358715.

A smaller collection, England, Durham, Dean and Chapter of Durham's Allerton and Allertonshire Original Wills, Inventories and Bonds, 1666-1845, just 1,842 images, has been added at https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2358734

Isle of Man records on FamilySearch

Isle of Man Parish Registers, 1598-2009 is a new addition to FamilySearch with 424,389 indexed transcript records available. The collection is credited to the Manx National Heritage as Records Custodian for the individual churches on the Isle of Man. 
As mentioned here last November there is access to a wider range of records at http://www.imuseum.im/FamilyHistory/Explore.mth

Survey Results: Top 10 Family History Online International Resources

Thanks to the 410 people who responded, and those who publicised this survey. The question was

During the past three months which of the following INTERNATIONAL online facilities have you used to pursue your family history interests?

There were some surprises. Here are the top 10 (actually 11 as there was a tie for 10th).

1. Ancestry: 92% (ancestry.com is 722 in Alexa rank; ancestry.co.uk is 7,217 in rank)
2. FamilySearch: 86% (4,393 in Alexa rank)
3. Email: 75% (this really surprised me. I expected email to be #1)
4. Google search: 71% (another surprise, google.com is Alexa rank 1)
5. Blogs: 60% (not so surprising an many respondents came via a blog)
6. Facebook: 54% (number 2 in Alexa rank)
7. Rootsweb: 52% (good to see this veteran genealogy social network hanging in there)
8. Google books: 51% (I was surprised to see this come in ahead of the Internet Archive)
9. findmypast: 45% (findmypast.co.uk has Alexa rank 15,470; the .com site ranks 79,472)
10. webinars: 41% (came in just one vote ahead of #11)

Come back tomorrow for the next ten.

07 July 2014

Genealogical society cookbooks

Gail Dever points to two local family history societies that produced cookbooks with a genealogical twist.  It's an interested idea for building community, one that doesn't require a high level of genealogical expertise and perhaps generating some extra revenue. http://wp.me/p4LMfi-Uy

Remains of WWII airmen found in British Columbia

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission reports that the remains of four airmen, Sergeant William Baird from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), and three from the Royal Air Force (RAF), Pilot Officer Charles George Fox, Pilot Officer Anthony William Lawrence, and Sergeant Robert Ernest Luckock, have been recovered from the crash of a Second World War training aircraft in British Columbia. http://goo.gl/obPfOs. Read more on the discovery of the crash site at http://goo.gl/W7Jjv9 and http://goo.gl/Xx3sb1.

06 July 2014

Help with findmypast

Are you having problems using findmypast's new search engine? Check out the blog post at http://blog.findmypast.co.uk/2014/an-introduction-to-findmypasts-search-tools/. It won't solve all your problems but may help.

Canadian Family History Society membership fees

I notice the Quebec Family History Society has increased the individual membership fees effective 1 August. Time for a review of membership fees across Canada.
Alberta Family Histories Society - $40
Alberta Genealogical Society - $50
British Columbia Genealogical Society - $45
British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa - $40
Campbell River Genealogy Society - $30
Comox Valley History Research Group - $10
Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador - $42
Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia - $30
Lanark County Genealogical Society - $20
Manitoba Genealogical Society - $40
Nanaimo Family History Society - $30
New Brunswick Genealogical Society - $35
Ontario Genealogical Society - $61.20
Prince Edward Island Genealogical Society - $25
Quebec Family History Society - $75
Saskatchewan Genealogical Society - $50

Société généalogique canadienne-française - $45

Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group - $20

Victoria Genealogical Society - $50
The median is $40. These are the fees posted on the society web site and may not reflect increases effective for 2015. Also some societies have additional membership fees for local society components and specialist interest groups.

05 July 2014

New version of TNA catalogue in beta

The latest version of Discovery (prototype) is available at

TNA has sent the following notice about the development to the Society of Genealogists
"We have been working hard on this for many months, adding over 10 million
record descriptions previously stored in a variety of different sources
within the National Register of Archives (NRA), Access to Archives (A2A) and
the Manorial Documents Register (MDR) so that they are all now searchable
within a single online catalogue. See the Finding Archives for information:
Some things to note:
In order to add this new functionality, we have made some changes to how
searching works; you will find that the search engine behaves differently
and it may take a bit of time to get used to it. But you should be able to
find what you would have found before (and of course lots more!). If you
experience difficulties using the new search please let me know.
Use the 2 tick boxes under the main search box to quickly narrow your search
only to records held by The National Archives and / or only records
available for download.
Advanced search options have been significantly updated. For example, you
can search for a specified date or a date range in the formats yyyy, mmyyyy
or ddmmyyyy. 'Search within' has been replaced by 'Find any reference' which
enables you to search within up to 3 references (not just National Archives'
ones). You can limit your search to only closed or retained records
(currently you search for both). 'Exclude title' enables you to search for a
specified term in all catalogue fields other than the document's title (for
example it's longer 'description').
You can also use advanced search to search only for records held by The
National Archives, only for records held by (all) repositories other than
The National Archives, or only for records held by any other (named)
The latest version has a new home screen and now includes a separate
archive/repository search (ARCHON).
There is also a new image viewer which forms part of the details page where
there are images to be displayed (rather than just downloaded) - the images
are still obscured for external users and subscribers but onsite you will be
able to view the images.
We have also made further changes to the export based on your feedback.
This is beta and some features may be missing or not work fully. However,
there should be enough features and functionality for you to experience the
new service. 
Please send (via the Discovery mailbox) any comments and feedback. "

Guy Berthiaume: the enigma of departure

The new Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume recently reflected on his five-year term as President and Directer General of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). If history can serve as a guide for the future, while recognizing that institutional mandates vary, examining his thoughts may give clues as to the direction he wishes to take LAC.

His reflections are available in French at: http://www.banq.qc.ca/a_propos_banq/salle_de_presse/discours_allocutions/allocution.html?c_id=cc2d383f-510e-41e0-bb8e-4d1aaf5eb5cf&an=2014

Here is a short summary. My impoverished and rusty knowledge of the language does not permit a complete translation. Please make allowance.

Berthiaume set out to make BAnQ, an institution formed by the joining together of Québec library and archives components, a cultural crossroads. The adoption of the first cultural policy, in March 2011, signaled to like-minded partners an openness. Opera, music, theater, and poetry were some of the domains which found willing collaborators. Exhibitions were mounted out of the institutional zone of comfort and it was active with the broadcast media.

BAnQ took initiatives recognizing that 22% of users have neither French or English as their mother tongue. A series of 14 interviews on the theme history of immigration showed the value of different cultural groups to contemporary Québec.

BAnQ reached out to all regions of Québec with ten centres in the largest communities giving broad access to the collections. An exhibition about the daily life of the Inuit of the Lower North Coast was displayed in many Québec locations, in the US and France and its travels are not yet ended.

Being a knowledge institution, BAnQ collaborated with educational organizations from preschool to university levels.

Thanks to technological developments BAnQ put in place a system permitting the loan of Québec e-books by libraries. Today more than 60,000 e-books are available of which half are (word removed) Québecois and not less than 30,000 are borrowed each month. BAnQ also made an archive collection of websites related to provincial and municipal electoral campaigns and established dialogue with users through social media.

All this was achieved in the context of continual reduction in government funding, the equivalent of 12% of the operational budget since June 2009. Thanks to efficiencies and an ongoing search for other sources of revenues, BAnQ maintained balanced budgets.

"At the end of the day, I think, in all modesty, that we have shown that in the 21st century a memory institution is not doomed to be part of the past, it shows that memory is alive."

04 July 2014

Indexes of the Irish Civil Registers launched

Indexes of the Irish Civil Registers are now online at www.irishgenealogy.ie. Births, deaths and marriages from 1864 and of non-Catholic marriages from 1845 are included as are indexed records of civil partnerships from 2010 onwards.

Birth indexes only give mother`s birth surname after 1900; both marriage partners are only named after 1912;

You`ll need to give a your (or a) name and check you`ll abide by conditions, and complete a CAPTCHA, to view results.

Family History Online International Resource Use Survey

Please take this survey on internet resources you use to pursue your family history.  The are 36 items, plus the option to name another. It should only take a couple of minutes. Results will be posted shortly after the survey closes on July 7. Thank you.


Ancestry links to Royal Marines Registers of Service

Ancestry identifies this database as "Web: UK, Royal Marines Registers of Service Index, 1842-1925' with 106,915 index records. Web means its an index to content held elsewhere. In this case the source is The National Archives of the UK (TNA), Kew, Surrey, England. Series ADM 159. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/royal-marines-register-service.htm

Commissioned officers of the Royal Marines records in series ADM 196, covering officers who joined the Royal Navy between 1756 and 1931, are at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/royal-naval-officers-service-records.htm

03 July 2014

CWGC alert

At present (10 am on Thursday) no Canadian records appear to be loaded. The site does have a warning "While the enhancements are taking place, users may experience some disruption to our normal web services, for which we apologise."
It should all be fixed by July 7 but any time a website is changed there will be transitional issues.

Lives of the First World War

LAC tweeted out and blogged that the Canadian Expeditionary Forces databases and attestation papers will now be available through Lives of the First World War website. (LFWW). The site allows you to pieve together the Life Stories of over 8 million men and women from across Britain and the Commonwealth who served in uniform and worked on the home front during the First World War.
I also received a invitation from findmypast, the commercial partner of the Imperial War Museum which is the project lead, to claim a free one year LFWW subscription as a bonus for my FMP subscription.
The CEF database is the third most popular open dataset offered by the Canadian government.

02 July 2014

July backup nag

You were busy yesterday. Today it's back to those things you missed out on Canada Day. Backing up your hard drive is a priority.

Ottawa summer genealogy meetup

Join me and some friends for the third annual Ottawa summer genealogy meet-up. Weather permitting it's taking place on the patio at the cafe at Westboro beach this Saturday, 5 July, from 11:30am. It's informal chat, no need to prepare unless you want to swim afterwards.

The forecast so far is promising. High 25. It will be cooler by the water. Bring protection from the sun.

Checkout the map at http://goo.gl/maps/01DE, If you come by car consider parking at the north end of Lanark Ave and taking the tunnel under the parkway.

01 July 2014

FamilySearch: England, Essex Parish Registers, 1503-1997

FamilySearch added a few thousand more items to this index of over one million Essex parish registers containing christening, marriage and burial entries, on 30 June.

Quebec moving day

In Quebec the first of July isn't just a holiday, it's also the day when many renters move house.

This year blogger Gail Dever is entering into the spirit by moving her Genealogy à la carte blog. The new address, just down the road from the old one, is  www.genealogyalacarte.ca - only wordpress in the old address has been dropped.

With all moves there's potential for broken china and missing pictures. If you're subscribed to the old site and don't get transferred automatically find Gail's posts at the new address.

Benchmarks update for June

Rejoice - it's Canada Day, we're halfway through the year, and I've slipped a bit in recording changes in the past couple of months. This a more comprehensive look at benchmarks than of late. The figures in () are for last month, in [] are at the start of the year.

Rankings for all genealogical and family history society sites followed have fallen since the start of the year. Despite loud objections to the change in search protocols findmypast sites have shown strong advances as have the digitized newspaper sites.
Familysearch.org has added or updated record collections for a total of 1,785 (1.776) [1,699]. Census & lists account for 154 (153) [152]; birth, marriage, & death 1.046 (1,044) [1,006]; probate & court 181 (178) [157]; military 124 (124) [119]; migration & naturalization 123 (121) [103]; and with a change in categories, other 145 (147) [150]; miscellaneous 12 (9) [-]. Familysearch.org has Alexa rank 4,392 (4,413) [5,286].
Ancestry steadied in rank on the .com site 729 (729) [667]; the .co.uk site continuing to advance 7,381 (8,036 ) [9,499] while .ca continued to rank within a range 25,559 (26,201) [24,614]. The number of datasets in the collection grew to 32,326 (32,258) [31,477] ; including 1,980 (1,980) [1,741] for Canada, 1,808 (1,802) [1,741] for the UK, 138 (138) [133] for Australia and, 25,670 (25,649 ) [25,175] for the USA.
MyHeritage.com's Alexa rank remained in a range 6,989 (7,104) [6,631]

Findmypast had another good month with .co.uk jumping in Alexa rank to 15,449 (17,734)[31,928] while .com continued to advance to 81,687 (84,262) [ 135,036] .

Family Tree DNA slipped in rank to 28,406 ( 27,671) [25,710] while claiming a total of 685,431 (-) [663,510] records. 23andMe ranks 14,972 (13,838) [9,314] continuing the decline with the FDA halt to its personal genetics health business.
GenealogyinTime.com ranks 29,972 (31,596) [31.473] ; Mocavo.com ranked 33,502 (34,446) [49,917], eogn.com tumbled to rank 28,956 (22,734), [22,544].
Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk contains 8,256,052 (8,093,304) [7,242,336] digitized pages, an average addition of 5,425 (6,701) pages per day. 13 papers were added with more than 5 years digitized; Alexa rank 132,476 (128,875) [131,424].
Newspapers.com contains 3.166 (3,106) [2,072] newspapers including 669,042 (668.905) [667,144] pages for England and 1,586,121 (1,584,686) [1,208,259] pages for Canada. The Alexa rank continued a rapid advanced to 22,825 (23,580 ) [44,760].
Cyndislist.com claims 331,471 (331,374 )[329,378] total links in 205 (205) [204] categories, with 990 (990) [1,775] uncategorized; Alexa rank continued to advance to 36,951 (38,412) [74,074].
FreeBMD.org.uk has 236,907,482 (236,907) [234,654,611] distinct records, Alexa rank 50,312 (74,109) [85,288].
CanadianHeadstones.com has 884,000 (830,000) [772,000] gravestone photo records from across Canada. Alexa rank is 458,301 (407,816) [584,091]. Deceasedonline.com ranked 535,411 (789,721) [572,995]. The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery (gravemarkers.ca), has over 846,500 (820,000) [800,000 ] photographs from across Canada recovered to 5,813,225 (6,905,114) [7,260,634 ] on Alexa.
Amongst Canadian family history societies bifhsgo.ca ranked 2,893,911 (1,826,487) [2,118,252], qfhs.ca ranked 7,427,953 (3,730,389 ) [4,798,171], and ogs.on.ca ranked 425,215 (392,622) [299,490].
In the US, ngsgenealogy.org ranked 385,799, americanancestors.org ranked 94,953, scgsgenealogy.com ranked 567,843
In the UK, sog.org.uk ranked 788,944 (626,637).And in case you're curious, Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections has 5,728 (5,649) [5,267] posts; on Alexa the .ca site ranked 365,679 (407,703) [191,163].

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