31 August 2014

Ireland census 1821 to 1851

FamilySearch make available remaining parts and extracts of these early Irish censuses with an index developed by findmypast. Browse images are organized by county, pariah parish and townland.
For 1821 there are 275,103 records in 10,459 images covering Mayo, Antrim, Carlow, Cavan, Dublin, Fermanagh, Galway, Kilkenny, King's, Limerick, Meath and Unknown.
For 1831 there are 80,338 records in 3,818 images, mainly from Londonderry, with a few from Antrim and Unknown.
For 1841 there are 15,850 records in 2,358 images, a few parishes in each from Mayo, Antrim, Carlow, Cavan, Cork, Down, Dublin, Fermanagh, Limerick, Longford, Meath, Monaghan, Queen's, Tipperary. Tyrone. Waterford, Westmeath, Wicklow, Unknown.
For 1851 there are 58,795 records in 9,450 images from Mayo, Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Down, Down - Part 2, Dublin, Fermanagh, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Leitrim, Limerick, Londonderry, Longford, Mayo - Part 3, Meath, Monaghan, Queen's, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Tyrone, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow, Unknown, Unknown - Part 9.
Also made available on FamilySearch are 136,152 records from Ireland,1841 and 1851 Census Search Forms compiled for purposes of verification of birth. The contain the applicant's name, address, residence in 1851 with county, barony, parish, townland and street as well as the parent's names and head of household in 1851.

FamilySearch adds New Brunswick, County Birth Registers, ca. 1812-1919

There's a new way to access New Brunswick, County Birth Registers, ca. 1812-1919, through FamilySearch. These browse images, not as extensive as the title suggests, cover the counties of Gloucester (1851-1907) , Northumberland (1888), Restigouche (1888-1917), Saint John (1888-1905), Victoria (1888), Westmorland (1888) and York (1888). They are from the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

Don't overlook the new records added to the PANB site in August: City of Fredericton Burial Permit Listing with 1,497 records and; County Council Marriage Records, 1826-1887 with 41,062 records.

30 August 2014

Newspaper news

What do Australia, Finland, Russia, Vietnam and the United States have that Canada doesn't? The answer, according to this blog post, historic/old digitised newspaper sites that offer public text correction/transcription. Pioneered by the National Library of Australia on the Trove site crowd-sourcing OCR correction is catching on.
Meanwhile OCR capabilities for old newspaper digitization are improving slowly. A paper from UC Berkeley claims to achieve a word error rate of 25.6 compared to 49.2 for ABBYY Fine Reader a widely used commercial product.

Will parliament return the long-form census?

Lots of genealogists will cheer to learn that Ted Hsu, MP for Kingston and the Islands, has put forward a private member’s bill to protect the independence of Statistics Canada and reinstate the long-form census. Now that we know the replacement survey cost more to provide less statistically valid data data it only makes sense.
Or does it? Another Ottawa Citizen article reports that Statistics Canada is exploring compiling a virtual census from a variety of databases. Although a couple of censuses away, and if privacy concerns can be addressed, the agency leaders believes major costs could be saved - although no consideration of genealogical requirements appears to have been given.

BIFHSGO Conference: Debbie Kennett blog

Debbie Kennett who is coming to the BIFHSGO conference, 19-21 September writes a blog characterized as "The day-to-day activities of the Cruwys/Cruse one-name study with occasional diversions into other topics of interest such as DNA testing and personal genomics."

If you subscribe you won't be overwhelmed with posts, just three in August so far. Two of them are DNA related; the emphasis has shifted from the Cruwys name at the start in April 2007 to genetic genealogy now. Following Debbie's blog is an excellent way to keep up with developments in genetic genealogy - with a British perspective.

Find the blog, plus information of Debbie's books and publications, at http://cruwys.blogspot.com/

29 August 2014

WDYTYA: Minnie Driver and Brendan O'Carroll

Less than 5 min. into Wednesday evening's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? on cable channel TLC actress Minnie Driver found her way from Los Angeles to London and the hidden story of her father's Second World War heroism while in the RAF. Researching his parents, and tracing forward to descendants of living siblings illustrated how much easier genealogical searching is in England and Wales with open access, at a price, to national BMD records than in Canada or the US where they are held on the sub-national level and subject to long embargo periods.

The BBC episode on Thursday evening took place in Ireland and featured comedian Brendan O'Carroll trying to get to the truth behind the 1920 murder of his grandfather during the civil war just prior to independence. It was a fascinating if not very typical Who Do You Think You Are? episode, more like CSI. To O'Carroll's surprise the identity of the likely murderer, according to IRA sources, was revealed. One criticism, a segment showed O'Carroll supposedly searching a newspaper on microfilm, an almost laughably casual approach, flipping through images which in most cases would lead to missing vital information.

BIFHSGO conference: Paul Milner blog

Paul Milner who is coming to the BIFHSGO conference, 19-21 September, writes a blog which highlights British Isles research, resources and book reviews, and occasionally his own ancestors.

Recent Posts have included a three part series on search techniques for the findmypast website, the Guardian newspaper collection of Untold Stories of World War One and, a book review of Tracing your Army Ancestors. Second Edition, by Simon Fowler.

These and earlier articles, back to February last year, are found at http://www.milnergenealogy.com/?page_id=4

Think Rootstech 2015

Registration for Rootstech 2015 is open. The event runs February 11–14 in Salt Lake City, Utah and will be even better as it teams up with The Federation of Genealogical Societies 2015 conference to offer "two great conferences in one great venue."
Despite the hype that it's a global conference, and there are many attendees from outside the US,RootsTech, like FGS, is US-dominated. There's lots that isn't county-specific.

If you need convincing check out nineteen videos from the 2014 Rootstech.

28 August 2014

Free Ancestry Labour Day weekend access

The following is from Ancestry.ca .

"In honour of Labour Day, from August 28 to September 1, Ancestry.ca is offering free access to all FamilySearch API records, which includes 1 billion records from 67 countries (nearly 200,000 records and more than 2 million images from Canada), so Canadians can discover more about their family’s working history. Visit ancestry.ca/international.

Clara Florence Webster rarely spoke about her life during WWI, and it wasn’t until her granddaughter Laurie Marshall was an adult that she shared her remarkable story with her. Until then, Laurie had no idea how brave her grandmother was.

A young woman in her early twenties, Clara helped the war effort by working in a munitions factory. Clara along with the other women in munitions factories in England, also known as munitionettes, produced 80 per cent of the artillery shells and bombs used by the British Army. Clara was one of the 1.6 million British women to join the workforce between 1914 and 1918. In Canada it is estimated that 35,000 women entered the work force during the war in occupations that were generally the domain of men.

Clara and the other women faced many dangers while working in the factory including working with poisonous substances and regularly being interrupted by blackout protocols. During a blackout the factory would go into immediate shutdown and all lights, machinery and assembly lines would be turned off. The women would have to remain completely quiet because the German Zeppelins overhead were specifically looking for them in hope of locating and bombing the factories building artillery. A boring day at work for Clara was a good day!

“I am still in awe of my grandmother and the risks she took during the First World War. She was so brave to put herself in so much danger, but she worked in the munitions factory because it was a job that needed to be done,” said Laurie Marshall. “Ancestry.ca has helped me discover so many little details about her that I never knew such as her birth, marriage and immigration stories.”

Clara immigrated to Canada in 1927, paying her own passage and with just $150 in her pocket. Two days after her arrival she married Thomas Steele in Simcoe, Ontario."

Family Tree DNA End of Summer Sale on Y-DNA Tests and Upgrades!

The #1 piece of advice for those contemplating a DNA test with Family Tree DNA is to wait for a sale. They come along frequently. There's currently a sale on Y-DNA tests including upgrades, combo tests and the Big Y test. It ends 3 September. See the details at https://www.familytreedna.com/products.aspx

BCG offers webinars

The following is from an announcement by the (US) Board for Certification of Genealogists at http://bcgcertification.org/blog/2014/08/bcg-announces-new-webinar-series/
"The Board for Certification of Genealogists believes in education and would like to share with the public some of the expertise represented in BCG through a series of webinars.
Open to everyone who wants to improve their skills, these live webinars are set for 8 pm Eastern for the following dates:
Monday, September 22, Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, will present "Fine Wine in a New Bottle: Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories." Updated, retitled, and reorganized, genealogy standards first published in 2000 are now available in a new edition. The webinar will describe the changes and what they mean for all family historians. Dr. Jones teaches at three genealogy institutes, co-edits the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, and is the author of Mastering Genealogical Proof.
To register for the September 22 webinar, please use this link:
On Wednesday, October 15, Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL, will explain "Kinship Determination: From Generation to Generation." Requirement 7 of the BCG certification application asks for a Kinship Determination Project in which the applicant writes a three-generation narrative and explains how the relationships are documented. All genealogists do this regularly while placing relatives with their appropriate connections in the family tree. A familiar speaker at conferences across the country, Judy will coordinate the Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis course at the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research in 2015.
To register for the October 15 webinar, please use this link:
Look for future announcements on other upcoming webinars on this blog. You may sign up on the sidebar for email notifications when a new post is written."

New and Updated on Ancestry

Recent British changes on Ancestry are:

- Warwickshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812 is updated to contain 1,020,588  records linked to images of the originals. That's a decrease of about 4,000 records from the update in early May! The records are from the Warwickshire Anglican Registers. Warwick, England: Warwickshire County Record Office.

- 1891 Wales Census updated to contain 1,760,678 records. The images are from The National Archives of the UK (TNA).

- a new dataset: UK, Select Cemetery Registers, 1916-2012 contains indexed data from 16,093 burials at Magdalen Hill Cemetery, Hampshire, England. Images of the original register of burials are linked. "During World War I and World War II, Winchester was home to the regimental depots of the Royal Hampshire Regiment, the Rifle Brigade, and the King's Royal Rifle Corps. The cemetery has a war graves plot, and more than 37 World War I soldiers and 65 World War II soldiers are buried in the cemetery."

- Web: UK, Campaign Medals Awarded to WWI Merchant Seamen, 1914-1925. Search these records held at TNA with link to the originals at TNA's Discovery site.

27 August 2014

Findmypast adds 62,625 new English parish records

New transcripts of baptism and burial registers have been added to findmypast for Cheshire, Sheffield and North West Kent parishes.
Read the details at http://blog.findmypast.co.uk/2014/new-parish-records-for-kent-cheshire-and-yorkshire-added-to-findmypast/

Think Ahead: Global Genealogy at the BIFHSGO conference

A newsletter arrived from Global Genealogy with information on their products, especially new publications for Eastern Ontario, many at prices much lower for pdf versions than hardcopy.

It reminded me that Global has been the most faithful exhibitor at the conference and always comes with a wide selection of products. If there's something you particularly want from them, and would like to save on shipping costs, Rick and Sandra are always willing to bring items from their stock by request.

See their complete selection of products at http://globalgenealogy.com/ and while you're there sign up for the newsletter, so you don't miss out on news and sales.

BBC on Canadian expedition aims to find Franklin's lost ships

A BBC Radio 4 item - http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28936579

"It is one of the great mysteries of the heroic age of Victorian exploration: what happened to Sir John Franklin, 129 men and two ships that set out in 1845 to chart the North West Passage through the Canadian Arctic and simply vanished? Clues to the expedition's fate, and the bodies of some of Franklin's men, have been found. But not the ships themselves.

Nick Higham speaks to members of a new expedition, jointly mounted by the Canadian government and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the most intensive effort yet to find Franklin's ships."

26 August 2014

TNA blog post: The day the White House burned

Between the US burning of York (Toronto) and the Battle of New Orleans (We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin) British forces burned Washington DC.
Read a blog post on the 200th anniversary at http://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/blog/day-white-house-burned/

Imagine: DNA analysis at a family history conference

Walk into any major family history conference and you'll see a research room with free access to commercial genealogy and newspaper databases. If you're fortunate you'll walk out with new leads on your ancestors. For most of us that was unimaginable 20 years ago.
What you can't do, yet, is walk in, spit in a tube, and walk out with a list of possible relatives based on a DNA analysis. Imagine finding yourself linked to a cousin also at the conference. It's not a question of if, but when that will come.
You likely will not want to read the article Sequencing at sea: challenges and experiences in Ion Torrent PGM sequencing during the 2013 Southern Line Islands Research Expedition but if the capability existed in 2013 to perform real-time DNA sequencing on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean how far down the road can it be to human genome sequencing in a conference environment?

Findmypast adds Victoria, Australia, passenger lists

Looking for a British stray? Inbound passenger lists to Victoria (Australia), 1839-1923 and outbound from Victoria 1852-1915 are now available on findmypast

"Provided by the Public Record Office in Victoria after two decades of work carried out by volunteer transcribers, these records mean that our inbound to Victoria 1839-1923 passenger list records now total 2,125,578, while our outbound from Victoria 1852-1915 records stand at 1,753,919."

25 August 2014

Guild of One-Name Studies: Medieval and Early Modern Records seminar

Videos from this recent Guild of One-Name Studies event are now available on YouTube

George Redmonds' leads off with "The way forward in surname studies."  If you thought just about everything there is to know about surnames is known think again. The talk is given without a single slide.

England's Immigrants 1330-1550 seemed promising but technical issues make it virtually unlistenable.

Wakefield Court Rolls - seven centuries of evidence for family history, by Sylvia Thomas explores the amazing content of this important source for the manor, and illustrates what might be, or might have been, available elsewhere.

Cause Papers in the Diocesan Courts of the Archbishopric of York: 1300 to 1858, given by Chris Webb is entertaining as well as informative.

Sister Heroines and the Llandovery Castle

I've been dipping into Sister Heroines, a 2002 book by Marjorie Barron Norris. As explained in the preface the book "makes accessible the hidden records of women who were Canadian nursing sisters (during World War I). Bringing together official records, personal memoirs, newspapers and interviews, she has given to us an account of courage and compassion that has too often been neglected. Most importantly, she has managed to bring the people she writes about to vivid life."

Interest for genealogists is packed in with names and lists, including one for the nursing sisters who lost their lives in the torpedoing of the Llandovery Castle on 27 June 1918. I'd been aware that one nurse from Ottawa, Minnie Katherine Gallagher, was a victim and is memorialized at Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery. I was not aware that two other nurses from the area, Jean Templeman and Jesse Mabel McDiarmid were also victims

Jean Templeman was born on 16, 1885. She enlisted in Montreal on May 21, 1915 giving her home address as 43 Arlington Avenue, Ottawa. She is also memorialized on a family gravestone at Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery.

Jessie Mabel McDiarmid, known as Mabel, born 14 Aug 1880 the daughter of John and Janie McDiarmid, is mentioned on a family stone at Dewar Cemetery, Beckwith Township, Lanark County, Ontario

24 August 2014

TNA Podcast: Did she kill him? Addiction, adultery and arsenic in Victorian Britain

Author Kate Colquhoun talks about her latest book in this TNA podcast from a live presentation last June.

The Guardian book review starts "Did Florence Maybrick poison her husband? She was tried for the crime in 1889, but the court's verdict failed to settle the matter. The sensational details of the mystery obsessed the British public for months. Sensibly, if tantalisingly, Kate Colquhoun offers no final answers in her absorbing review of this old scandal. Instead, she highlights what the case can tell us about late Victorian England – its flawed legal processes and dangerous medical practices, its predatory appetite for gossip, and above all the uncertain position of its women. What Colquhoun reveals is a persistent doubleness – respectability concealing transgression, but also a startling readiness to challenge authority. Restlessness, rather than complacency, characterises the society that she describes."

There is a minor Canadian connection. Florence's son James Chandler Maybrick (aka Jimmy Fuller) became a mining engineer in British Columbia. He died in April 1911. That story, with a speculative connection to the Jack the Ripper case, is at http://goo.gl/qUD9UK

23 August 2014

New on Ancestry - Ireland, Marriages in Walker's Hibernian Magazine, 1771-1812

This collection contains 26,957 records indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors from:
Farrar, Henry. Irish Marriages: Being an Index to the Marriages in Walker's Hibernian Magazine, 1771 to 1812. London, England: Phillimore & Co., 1897.
Included is an appendix listing of births, marriages, and deaths for the years 1793 and 1794 from the Anthologia Hibernica.

Google to find some issues of Walker’s Hibernian Magazine online.

Forthcoming genealogy events in Toronto

Sometimes I wish Ottawa and Toronto were closer together. Here's a list of upcoming events being stage by the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.

Using Legacy Family Tree Software
Saturday, 20 September 2014, 9 – 5 p.m.
This one-day workshop is intended for beginner and intermediate users of Legacy Family Tree software. We'll review basic techniques for using Legacy, highlight what’s new in version 8, and explain how Legacy makes it easy for you to make the best use of LDS Family Search.
Instructor: Geoff Rasmussen
Where: North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge Street, Toronto

Basic Genealogy and Family History
Wednesdays, 8 October to 26 November 2014, 2 – 4 pm
Are you thinking of starting your family history? Or maybe you have been working on it for a while but want to sharpen your research skills?  This course will cover the basics, including terminology, types of sources, the use of on-line resources, libraries and archives, including LDS Family History Centres, and record-keeping – to help you “think like a genealogist”.
Instructor: Jane E. MacNamara
Where: North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge Street, Toronto

Maps and Mapping for 21st Century Genealogists
Thursday, 6 November and Wednesdays, 12, 19 and 26 November 2014, 6:15 – 8:15 pm
This four-week course, designed for intermediate and advanced-level genealogists, explores sophisticated ways in which maps and mapping tools can contribute to family history research, analysis and writing.
Instructor: James F.S. Thomson
Where: Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, Toronto

Industrial England 
Saturday, 1 November 2014
details to follow, speakers will include Kirsty Gray

Searching for Ontario Ancestors
Saturday, 11 April 2015

Latest developments and best practices in Genetic Genealogy
Saturday, 6 June 2015
Keynote speaker: Maurice Gleeson.

Irish Genealogy: Focus on Ulster
Saturday, 19 September 2015
Lead speakers: William Roulston and Chris Paton

BBC WDYTYA? Tamzin Outhwaite

Tamzin Outhwaite, known to me for her role in the TV crime series New Tricks, explored her paternal line Italian heritage in this new BBC episode shown on Thursday.
She found her Italian immigrant ancestor who, despite being interned on the Isle of Man during WWII, found success with an ice cream business in Fishguard. Along we way we discover one of those unusual community pairings, between his home town of Barga in Italy and Glasgow. We also get a demonstration of how to make ice cream, the BBC loves cooking shows, with wonderful reaction shots.

22 August 2014

The War Measures Act

100 years ago today saw the passage of the War Measures Act in Canada which remained in effect until 10 January 1920. It was modeled on The Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) passed in the United Kingdom on 8 August 1914
"The Governor in Council shall have power to do and authorize such acts and things, and to make from time to time such orders and regulations, as he may by reason of the existence of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection deem necessary or advisable for the security, defence, peace, order and welfare of Canada; and for greater certainty, but not so as to restrict the generality of the foregoing terms, it is hereby declared that the powers of the Governor in Council shall extend to all matters coming within the classes of subjects hereinafter enumerated, that is to say:-
(a) censorship and the control and suppression of publications, writings, maps, plans, photographs, communications and means of communication;
(b) arrest, detention, exclusion and deportation;
(c) control of the harbours, ports and territorial waters of Canada and the movements of vessels;
(d) transportation by land, air, or water and the control of the transport of persons and things;
(e) trading, exportation, importation, production and manufacture;
(f) appropriation, control, forfeiture and disposition of property and of the use thereof." 
In 1988 the War Measures Act was replaced by the Emergencies Act.

21 August 2014

It's Black and White

Wolfram Alpha is a great way to play with statistics. Here's something from the US 2000 census.

The surname White is the 20th most common, Black the 160th.

Cross tabulating with ethnicity 77% of the Blacks are white, but only 68% of the Whites are white.
19% of the Blacks are black while 27% of the Whites are black.

Put another way, for the whites there are more Blacks than Whites, for the blacks its the other way round.

Still confused?  Here's the tabulation.


In exactly one month's time the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa conference will be over. If you can and don't attend I predict you'll be disappointed. Here's the program.

Friday, 19 September 2014 
Pre-conference Seminars

1. I’ve Got My DNA Results, But What Do I Do Next?
Speaker: Debbie Kennett
Debbie will lead you through the process of understanding your results, dealing with your
matches, using third-party tools and getting help. In the first part of the workshop we will look
at Y-DNA and mtDNA results. How do you decide which matches are worth pursuing? What do
you do if you have too many matches—or none? Which projects should you join? In the second
half, she will look at what to do with your autosomal DNA test results. What do those ethnicity
results really mean? What is chromosome mapping? What resources are available to help you?
Note that this workshop will focus specifically on results obtained from testing with Family Tree
DNA and 23andMe.

2. Research Your English and Welsh Ancestors
Speakers: Lesley Anderson and Ken McKinlay
Are you looking to get your English and Welsh family history research off on the right foot, or
catch up on newly available resources? Lesley and Ken will introduce the key sources you can
use to get started and go further in your family history research. Using case studies they will
focus on historical records available online through such sites as Ancestry, findmypast and
FamilySearch, while not overlooking offline resources. There will be plenty of tips for successful


3. New and Lesser-Known Genealogical Resources at Library and Archives 
Speakers: Sylvie Tremblay and Paul Marsden
In recent years, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has been changing how it provides services.
This seminar will highlight the latest improvements for genealogical and family history research
at LAC, and future projects to increase accessibility to its genealogical materials. Since special
LAC emphasis is being placed on the Great War, Sylvie and Paul will describe some of the
procedures and tools LAC used to manage the paper trail that followed each of the over 600,000
men and women in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. In following this story, they will point to
some lesser-known sources of genealogical information in LAC’s military records.
(A visit to LAC is included following this seminar, limited to the first 30 registrants (now full). Another
opportunity may be available at 08:30.)

4. British Military Records to 1919
Speaker: Paul Milner
Different records are created for officers and enlisted men in the British Army. Paul will use case
studies to trace the involvement of officers and enlisted men in various theatres around the
world, during several periods, including the War of 1812. The numbers increased dramatically
with WWI, as over 5.5 million served in the Army. Paul will use case studies to show original
records and new indexes, and to highlight what is and is not online for tracing the British soldier
up to 1919.

Conference Opening
Official Welcome
Speaker: BIFHSGO President


Don Whiteside Memorial Lecture:
“The Girl I Left Behind”—The Eighteenth-Century British Soldier in Love
Speaker: Jennine Hurl-Eamon
The army helped to foster a bachelor culture amongst its lower ranks in a variety of ways.
However, a significant group of officers and men rejected this policy and sought what domestic
and conjugal felicities they could, within the constraints imposed by martial life. In this lecture
Professor Hurl-Eamon will explore accounts of common soldiers and officers in courtship and in
marriage and will argue that the traditional image of the hyper-masculine womanizing soldier
deserves re-examination.
(There is no charge to attend this lecture.)

Conference Program
Saturday, 20 September 2014
09:00–10:15 Session 1

Ignored But Not Forgotten: Canada’s English Immigrants (plenary)
Speaker: Lucille Campey
Lucille will describe the great migration of English people to Canada, which peaked during the
early twentieth century. Based on wide-ranging documentary and statistical sources, taken from
both countries, she will describe the various events that propelled this immigration saga, which
began in the seventeenth century. The great stream of English people who came to the prairies
and British Columbia in search of land and job opportunities represents one of the most iconic
periods of Canada’s pioneering history. Widely ignored in the past as an immigrant group, these
newcomers made an outstanding contribution to Canada's settlement and subsequent

10:45–12:00 Session 2

English Gazetteers: Their History and Practical Use in Genealogy
Speaker: Paul Jones
We researchers of English descent can turn to many gazetteers, including several published
during our ancestors’ lifetimes, but few of us have stopped to ask whether they are all equally
appropriate to our needs. In this lecture, Paul will first briefly trace the history of gazetteers in
England, with a focus on developments helpful to genealogists. Next he will identify those most
likely to be encountered by Ontario-based family historians, how they can be readily accessed,
and their comparative scope, comprehensiveness, accuracy and originality. Thirdly, he will
describe and assess other more modern geographical finding aids for England, both print and
online. Finally, he will give practical examples of how gazetteers and other geographical finding
aids can help you identify and describe places and determine the civil, parliamentary or
ecclesiastical hierarchies associated with the records for those places.

Running a Successful Surname DNA Project
Speaker: Debbie Kennett
A Y-chromosome DNA project can provide unique insights into a surname that cannot be found
by researching the paper records alone. It can be used to investigate a surname’s origins and
variants. It can also provide additional verification for family trees, further clues for research,
and assistance in demolishing brick walls. Debbie will look at how to run a successful DNA
project and offer tips on marketing and advertizing. The interpretation of the results can be
challenging. How many markers should you test? How do you determine whether a match is
valid? How do you interpret matches with other surnames? What is SNP testing and should you
be using it? What is comprehensive Y-chromosome sequencing and is it worth the investment?
All these questions will be answered using practical examples and success stories from the
Cruise/Cruse/Cruwys DNA Project and other leading surname projects.

Faith, Fish, Farm or Family: Motivations for Immigration from North Devon
Speaker: Janet Few (streamed in)
Emigration has a significant impact on the sending and receiving communities, as well as on the
individuals involved. In the mid-nineteenth century, most of those leaving England for overseas
destinations went to Australia. In contrast, the inhabitants of North Devon, in the southwest of
England, showed a marked preference for Canada. Using case studies to examine the
motivations for emigration, Janet will examine why this might have been so. Although this
presentation covers a short date span and a specific geographical area, it opens up possibilities
of similar in-depth research for different times and other migration paths.

13:30–14:45 Session 3

Overlooked Resources for 17th and 18th Century English Research
Speaker: Paul Milner
This lecture is designed to expose researchers to the time-relevant specifics of familiar
resources, potentially new resources and indexes for seventeenth- and eighteenth-century
English research. Paul will examine such things as parish register entries of the period, calendar
issues, heralds’ visitations, oaths, collections and taxes, poll books, Civil War and other military
records, as well as tools for record analysis.

DNA Panel
Members: Bill Arthurs, Dave Cross, Bob Mallett, and Arthur Owen
Leading members of the BIFHSGO DNA Interest Group will share their experiences. Arthur
Owen will reprise a Great Moment where he discovered a non-paternal event in his family. Bob
Mallett will discuss his more common case, where DNA confirmed the relationship of different
paternal lines. Bill Arthurs will describe how DNA allowed him to make a breakthrough and
establish his Arthurs origins in Ireland, along with a connection back to Scotland. Dave Cross
will recount how, using an autosomal test through Family Tree DNA, he was able to very quickly
locate a third cousin living in Portland from a line that he did not know existed.
The BIFHSGO DNA Interest Group meets quarterly under the chairmanship of Bill Arthurs to
exchange experiences and to acquaint members with the basic principles and scientific advances
of genetic genealogy.

Home Boys at War: Louise Birt’s Battalion
Speaker: John Dickenson
John’s lecture derives from seeing a war memorial to the children from Mrs Louisa
Birt’s Liverpool Sheltering Home who died serving with Canadian forces in World War I. He willfirst outline the sources available for researching such Home Children, their military careers,
and their commemoration. In addition, he will explore the wider context of other Home Boy
soldiers and consider ways in which evidence from their military records may counter some of
the standard received wisdom about the Home Child experience.

15:15–16:30 Session 4

Getting There: Sea Crossings and the Journeys Beyond
Speaker: Lucille Campey
Lucille will trace the improvements experienced by British immigrants in travelling across the
Atlantic and overland, once steamships and interconnecting railways became available. She will
compare the ordeal of travelling in the hold of a sailing ship for around six weeks with the more
luxurious accommodation and safety features of a two-week passage on a steamship. The
situation improved even more with the construction of large immigration halls at the main entry
ports of Quebec and Halifax and reception centres at the major towns and cities. Despite these
improvements, immigrants still found plenty to complain about, as is revealed in the letters and
journals that they left behind.

Designing an Efficient and Effective “Lost Cousins” Project
Speaker: Paul Jones
Paul says, “Much of what we know about effective genealogical research has to be thrown out the
window when tracing forward in time. You can spend months filling in obscure details of your
ancestors’ siblings’ descendancy charts and still find yourself stuck in 1930. Or, in a matter of
hours, you can be talking to a live “lost cousin.” It’s your choice. To achieve the faster result, you
need to focus your research, fight your normal instincts to dot every ‘i’, and adopt simple but not
intuitively obvious research tactics.” In this talk Paul will explain why it is important to, for
example, not sweat about the brick walls, follow the youngest child if possible, follow the female
line if possible, and follow the descendant who lives where records are indexed.

Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex: A Case Study on How to Find a Ton of Information
Speaker: Gary Schroder
There is much more to family history research in an English village than one might think. In this
presentation, Gary will explore how much information you can find about people living in a
typical English village like Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, where his ancestors lived. He will offer
examples of research techniques that might help you to fill your house with exciting genealogical
gems—letters, deeds, photographs, etc. Gary recommends thinking outside the genealogical
box, and believes kindness and courtesy to local historians and local history groups can be the
key to buried and not-so-buried genealogical treasures.

Sunday, 21 September 2014
09:00–10:15 Session 5

Irish Emigration to North America: Before, During and After the Famine
Speaker: Paul Milner
In this talk Paul will explain the stages of Irish migration into North America, showing what
changed over time and how the period and place of migration can be used to locate a place of
origin in Ireland. Covering the pre-1717, 1717–1783, 1783–1845 and post-1845 periods, he will
identify the external and internal factors affecting emigration and discuss the resources
available for each period.

Tips and Techniques for Analyzing Autosomal DNA Results
Speaker: Debbie Kennett
This lecture is an introduction to advanced techniques for analyzing autosomal DNA results.
Phasing, for example, is a process that allows you to identify which DNA was inherited from
your mother and which came from your father. By testing known relatives and mapping their
chromosomes, it is possible to establish which segments have been inherited from a specific
ancestor. Debbie will use well-known genealogist Kitty Cooper’s chromosome mapping tools to
help with this task, as the combination of phasing and chromosome mapping helps to eliminate
false positive matches and narrow down the search for the common ancestor. She will also take
an in-depth look at some of the most popular and useful tools for DNA results analysis,
including GedMatch and DNAGedcom, focussing specifically on results obtained from testing
with Family Tree DNA and 23andMe.

People in the City: Looking for Liverpudlians
Speaker: John Dickenson
Family historians are usually interested in “time”—the successive evolution of their
families through the generations. In this very introductory lecture John will draw upon his
training as a geographer to explore the possible use of “place” and “space” in trying to trace
family histories. He will take the City of Liverpool as a case study and try to assess what the
resources available in the Liverpool Record Office might tell us about people in the city—where
and how they lived—including such topics as ethnicity, education, work and health.

10:45–12:00 Session 6

How Facebook Made Me a Better Genealogist
Speaker: Gail Dever
Gail believes that if you are not taking advantage of Facebook for family history research, you
are missing out on a wealth of information that can improve your knowledge and skills and
perhaps help break down a few brick walls. Facebook provides a terrific opportunity to interact
immediately with genealogists around the world. Gail will help you discover thousands of
genealogical resources, from Canadian and British research to DNA and technology. You will
also learn how to join Facebook, control privacy settings, connect with distant relatives, create
your own family page, and maximize your research experience.

In My Mind I Oftentimes Visit Rillington: Canada’s Intrepid Yorkshire Settlers
Speaker: Lucille Campey
Lucille will consider Canada’s appeal to Yorkshire settlers like Luke Harrison who, even after 36
years of living in Nova Scotia, continued to reconnect with his Yorkshire past. Having colonized
vast swathes of the Maritimes from the 1770s, Yorkshire immigrants did the same in Upper and
Lower Canada, where they were among the first British arrivals. In fact, Yorkshire lost more
people to Canada in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries than any other English
county. Lucille will outline their settlement choices across Canada and consider the factors that
contributed to their undoubted success.

Home Child Panel
Members: Patricia Roberts-Pichette, Marjorie Kohli, and Gloria Tubman
In this session a panel of British Home Children researchers will discuss their findings. They
have learned that the differences between Canadian and British laws, the lack of formal
adoption laws in Canada, and the expectations of agencies had an impact on the child
emigration initiative. Thus a researcher may overlook information due to a lack of awareness of its meaning. The panellists will describe what information can be uncovered using resources
such as Home Child files, government files in Canada and Britain, newspaper reports, Poor Law
files in Britain, and family lore.

13:15–14:30 Session 7

How Historical Resources Can Shed Light on Those Elusive British Ancestors
Speaker: Lucille Campey
British immigration to Canada was influenced by a number of military, economic, social and
religious factors, which together determined the why, when and where of people’s settlement
choices. Very few of the British, however, left records behind, with the result that individuals are
often difficult to trace. Nevertheless, there are statistical sources—such as census data, land
grant records and contemporary reports written by observers and religious leaders—that can at
least shed light on settlement trends in a given period. Lucille will describe these resources and
use them to provide an overview of where the British settled in the various provinces. She will
also explain why the settlement choices of the Scots, Irish and English were so very different and
why they arrived at widely varying times.

Overlooked Resources for 19th and 20th Century English Research
Speaker: Paul Milner
In this talk Paul will expose researchers to the time-relevant specifics of familiar resources,
potentially new resources and indexes for nineteenth- and twentieth-century English research.
Examples of the topics covered are tithe and valuation office surveys, urban social studies,
educational records, poll books, voters’ lists, newspapers and photos.

Getting Everything Out of a Family Photo: A Dramatic English Case Study
Speaker: Paul Jones
While Paul’s wife and all her cousins own a copy of a portrait featuring the family patriarch,
matriarch and their seven children, no one had given much thought as to when, where and why
it had been taken. At first glance there were few promising clues, and three different continents
were proposed as the location. Paul will explain how he narrowed the timing of the sitting to a
single period of about four weeks and the location to a specific English address, along with what
he learned about why this photo had been so treasured by all branches of the family. In the
process, he benefited from historical records, expert advice on the photo’s content, satellite
imagery, site visits and the kindness of strangers.

15:00–16:15 Session 8

The Joy of Surnames (plenary)
Speaker: Debbie Kennett
Surnames provide a fascinating insight into the past, and each surname has its own story to
tell. And an online presence for a surname study gives you the opportunity to share the
workload and make friends from around the world.
In this talk Debbie will provide an overview of the history and distribution of surnames, with a
particular focus on those originating in the British Isles. She will offer hints and tips on doing a
one-name study, using techniques such as surname mapping to pinpoint the possible
geographical origin of the name. The whole-surname approach can sometimes provide
breakthroughs that would not be possible by restricting your research to your own family tree. A
DNA project can help to establish which branches are related and whether a surname is likely to
have a single origin or multiple origins.

16:15–16:30 Conference Closing

Go to http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=126 for further information and to register.

20 August 2014

Views on I4GG

There's little point to writing my own review of the first Institute for Genetic Genealogy conference I attended last weekend. Just read the posts Recap: I4GG by Judy Russell and I4GG's First International Conference on Genetic Genealogy by Maurice Gleeson.

As expected the plenary presentation by National Geographic Explorer in Residence Spencer Wells was a highlight. He pointed out that the past year had seen the same number of tests taken as in all previous years combined, and that the existing companies in the field had a lock-hold on the business.

The fastest growth is in autosomal DNA testing. 23andMe claimed to have 750,000 clients tested and AncestryDNA 500,000. Family Tree DNA didn't give a figure but one estimate shown was less than 100,000 autosomal test clients. Gedmatch, which permits testers at any of those three to upload their results for comparison with the other company uploaded data, has 25,000 records.

Maurice Gleeson's presentations were extremely well received, you can see the major one at http://youtu.be/h5CQsmu8HMA.

It was good to see a solid attendance from the genealogy establishment - from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. It would be helpful if BCG would make it clear that they regard DNA evidence to be as essential as that from any conventional record type in meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard.

38th Ottawa Battalion to WW1

Pinhey's Point Foundation is hosting a lecture by Dr Duncan McDowall of Queen's University,"From the heaven of Bermuda to the hell of the Somme: Ottawa's 38th Battalion enters the Great War".
Many Ottawans are descended from members of this locally-raised regiment (now the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa).

Pinhey's Point Historic Site
Friday, August 22, 2014, 7pm
Refreshments follow

18 August 2014

Loyalist Descendants in Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa 14 Sept, 2014

In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada the Sir Guy Carleton Branch will conduct a tour of Beechwood Cemetery featuring the lives of some Loyalists and their descendants who are buried there.

Sunday, 14 September 2014, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Beechwood Cemetery, 280 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa ; meet in front of the Main Office by 12:50pm

Light refreshments will be served after the tour. All are welcome

To book your place on the tour please contact:mailto:carletonuel@hotmail.com by Sept. 4, 2014

17 August 2014

Illustrated London News First World War Online

Illustrated London News Ltd (ILN) has launched a website featuring 1914-1918 archive material from the Illustrated London News, the world’s first illustrated magazine, and seven other titles in its collection.
ILN was awarded £96,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in April 2014 to create a free-to-access website, which will host the digitised wartime magazine pages of the magazine archives and rare pictorial material.
The project means that for the first time in 100 years, the public will be able to browse the wartime pages of The Illustrated London News and its sister titles; discover paintings, illustrations and sketches by war artists; and read articles, many of which have not been seen since they were first published.
The first-phase website includes the digitised pages from the Illustrated London News 1914-1918; a wealth of editorial features providing rich context for the source material; a timeline; a range of topical insights from "Animals and War" and "Trench Life" to "Sport and the War"; and a blog written by young historians appointed for the project.
In the coming months, 70,000 digitised pages of ILN’s sister publications, including The Illustrated War News, The Sphere, The Sketch, The Tatler, The Bystander, The Graphic and The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News will be added to the website.
Browse the Illustrated London News First World War Online Archive at http://www.illustratedfirstworldwar.com/

Grace' s Guide

Chances are that while your British ancestor didn't own a business he or she did work in industrial Britain.
Grace's Guide proclaims itself "the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 102,175 pages of information and 143,314 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them. Additions are being made to the information daily. Sources include:The Engineer 1856-1960; Engineering 1866- ;Institution of Mechanical Engineers 1847-1930 Obituaries and Works Visits etc.; Institution of Civil Engineers 1820-1930 Obituaries."
That's a huge amount of information.
I checked Duple Coach where my grandfather worked and found enough company history to contribute an extra paragraph next time I update his bio.

Via a tweet from 1PlaceStudtRegister.

16 August 2014

I4gg conference

Two Hertfordshire cemeteries added to Deceased Online

Deceased Online has added all 14,500 individual records for two cemeteries.

Hatfield Hyde Cemetery (Hollybush Lane, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 4JU) is the older and larger cemetery with most records dating from 1923 to 2010; there are a few earlier records and one from 1842.

Welwyn Hatfield Lawn Cemetery (Southway, Hatfield, AL10 8HS) is a relatively new cemetery, opened in 1984 and our records go from then until 2010.

The records available comprise:

  • digital scans of burial registers until 2004; thereafter, electronic records
  • grave details indicating all burials in each grave
  • cemetery section maps indicating the section location of each grave.

Other records for the county on Deceased Online include Dacorum (Hemel Hempstead) Council; Broxbourne Council (around the Cheshunt area); and headstone removal records from The National Archives for the closed cemeteries of Beechen Grove Baptist Burial Ground, Watford (from 1801) and Boxmoor Baptist Church, Boxmoor (records from 1840.

Animals in history

The 2014 Shannon Lectures at Carleton University will be focused on animals in history. What role did an animal play in your family history? My great grandfather clergyman was fined for keeping a dog without a license ... that's as good as it gets. Please leave a comment if an animal story comes to mind in your family story.

15 August 2014

Gail Dever survey discovers why genealogists leave societies

With more than 300 people having answered Gail Dever's recent survey family history society management should pay attention to her finding that "the top reason people decide not to renew their membership has less to do with networking with people and learning from other genealogists and more to do with what they receive for the cost of their membership."
That leaves lots of room for interpretation and her further analysis helps. A member's perception of the value proposition in their membership depends on what they want, which will depend in turn on their experience and approach - are they scrap-bookers, authors, looking to extend a lifetime of work experience for societal benefit, to get completely away from the area they worked in, looking to access others experience or hard to find resources, or maybe just comradeship around a common interest? There's more. A challenge for society boards is to find something for them all, or to deliberately decide what areas not to cater to.
Read the results of Gail's survey at http://genealogyalacarte.ca/?p=4585

WDYTYA UK: Brian Blessed

The second subject in the new series of the BBC Who Do You Think You Are? was British actor and TV personality Brian Blessed.
Being able to watch without the annoyance of advertising continues to give pleasure.
This was the story of his paternal Blessed line and the descent of a journeyman bookbinder in London in the early 19th century who took a gamble moving to Portsmouth and being unfortunate enough to do so as the market for his services collapsed after the defeat of Napolean. Four family members ended up dying in the workhouse, two sons surviving but separated. The episode ended showing that the brothers, who both established themselves in businesses, were reunited.
Brian Blessed, a very much a larger than life character, has an imagination that enables him to build up an optimistic scenario for how things will develop, only to have it blown out of the water by the evidence, and then to bounce back again with another favourable scenario.

Institute for Genetic Genealogy

I'm on my way to the Institute for Genetic Genealogy conference in Chevy Chase, Maryland and looking forward to meeting some folks I only know through the Internet. Don't be surprised if posts are curtailed for the next few days.

14 August 2014

Immediate Media and WDYTYA? Live (Scotland)

I've been reading posts by folks upset about WDYTYA? Live, being held in Glasgow at the end of the month, being cut back from three days to two.  Susan Jensen wrote to tell me she and her husband planned a trip around that event including hotel reservations; now those plans are disrupted causing considerable inconvenience. Susan is far from being the only disappointed client. Irish uber-blogger Claire Santry called it Disgraceful.

Why the change?  An email from Annie Dodd, Marketing Manager for Who Do You Think You Are? Live, explains it's "due to changing circumstances," which says precisely nothing! It sounds like a business decision taken because registrations were lagging, and to be fair a nearly empty hall can be depressing for both visitors and exhibitors.

The WDYTYA? Live events are organized by Immediate Media Ltd which is no small organization. It's growing. Earlier this year Immediate Media announced the acquisition of Future Publishing’s Sport and Craft titles. Incidentally, Future Publishing's genealogy magazine Your Family Tree was not part of the deal, but one wonders how much longer it will survive on the crowded UK magazine shelves.

Immediate Media has over 950 staff in London and Bristol, over one million subscribers, a brand reach of over 25 million UK consumers monthly and revenues of £150m per annum. It publishes Radio Times (which generates 60% of the company profit), BBC History, and Lonely Planet Traveller among many others. With the decision to curtail the Glasgow event the company has surely lost considerable goodwill, maybe they don't care about the market in a country that may soon vote to become foreign to London and Bristol.

One bitten twice shy. Beware of committing to the WDYTYA? Live event scheduled for Birmingham in April 2015.

First Canadian WW1 death: Harry B Little

Private Harry Benjamin Little, who died at age 26 on the 14th of August 1914, was the first WW1 Canadian forces serviceman death.
A member of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry he is listed as the son of the late David Benjamin Little and Fanny Wilkes Little, of 3, Fair View, Horns Rd., Stroud, Gloucestershire, England.
He had enrolled with the British forces, 14th Hussars, in 1906 but was discharged after 88 days as unlikely to become an efficient soldier. In the 1911 census he was in Stroud working as a jobbing gardener, then traveled to Canada the following year.
He died from heart failure at Hughenden, Alberta, on an Edmonton troop train carrying the second contingent from the city on it's way east. His body was removed at Hardesty to the care of the Royal North West Mounted Police. He was buried at Czar Lutheran Cemetery, Provost, Alberta. There is a CWGC marker.

13 August 2014

LAC update the 1861 Census of Canada Database

LAC have announced on the organization blog a Major Update to the 1861 Census of Canada Database.

Most changes are for Canada West (Ontario), for Hamilton, Kingston, London, Ottawa and Toronto. Also affected are records for the rural districts of Chatham, Kent, Renfrew and Russell, while images in the districts of Brant and Dundas are now correctly linked.

In Canada East, several image linking errors are corrected, particularly in the districts of Argenteuil, Montcalm and St-Jean.

The future of Family Tree Maker

I fired up my copy of Family Tree Maker (FTM) and the following notice popped up:

We’re making updates that may impact your Family Tree Maker experience. Starting in October 2014, Ancestry Web Search within Family Tree Maker software will have reduced functionality or may not be supported by Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista or Internet Explorer 8 or 9. Moving forward, Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 will be required for Ancestry Web Search functionality to work properly. 
Windows XP is still widely used. While this may just be Ancestry not wanting to support out of date operating systems it also hints at a transition from robust support for FTM.

Are there other hints? I suspect so. Ancestry is highly business savvy, ever ready to close lagging business lines. It recently announced the closure of genealogy.com/, with Alexa rank 13,301, so what are the prospects for Familytreemaker.com with an Alexa rank of 219,547?

12 August 2014

Check out the genealogy site contest

Who has the best genealogy site on the web?  200 sites including Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections , are nominated.

This "contest" is being run by County-Clerks.com, "a directory of every single county clerk's office in the United States. There are over 3,000 county clerks offices that we have contact information for." US counties are way outside the scope covered in this blog, but that's true of many others nominated.

Looking down the list here there are many well known sites nominated, and others that look interesting you may want to investigate.

There are also excellent sites not nominated which should be in the list. It's not too late. Send a nomination email to adam@county-clerks.com with subject= “add site for contest”.

A contest or poll is a good way for a site to generate traffic; I'll be interested to see how much the contest moves its Alexa rank, currently 1,556,248.

Ancestry adds UK, Naval Officer and Rating Service Records, 1802-1919

Nearly 90,000 records, sourced from ADM 29/1–32, 34–96, 105–130 at The (UK) National Archives, comprise:

... musters and pay registers, which were compiled by the Navy Pay Office. 
Besides pension applications, you may find applications and supporting service records relating to the admittance of orphaned children into Greenwich Hospital School, applications to remove erroneous mentions of desertion, and applications for discharge by foreigners or apprentices who were impressed into service in the British Navy. 
While the records vary in format, details you may find include the name of the sailor, dates and ships he served on, rank or rating, nature of work on the ship, and remarks.
If you're lucky you'll find detailed comments, from drunkenness to high commendation, to enliven the basic record of when he served on which ship.

Blogging Ottawa's built heritage

Interested in Ottawa history with an emphasis on built heritage? Casting around for information on the Ottawa Public Library I came across urbsite.blogspot.ca with well over 250 substantial blog posts.

The latest, GEORGE BEMI'S PUBLIC LIBRARY: IS IT REALLY A BRUTE? quotes from an Ottawa Journal, January 11, 1974 editorial Hail the new library.
Did you know that six years after the building was opened the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada bestowed an Award of Merit on the Ottawa Public Library. 
After the reviewing some of George Bemi's other buildings in Ottawa the post in lamenting destruction of the former Carnegie library asks sbout the present library"should we be seeking a more thoughtful solution?"

One of the other posts has a collection of old maps of Ottawa including the one reproduced below showing the location of the old burial ground, right where the tunnelers found it.

Start of the Great War: Britain vs Austria-Hungary

A century ago on this date, August 12, 1914 Britain declared war on Austria-Hungary.

11 August 2014

Robin Williams, RIP

Lamenting the loss of actor and comic genius Robin Williams. Well said President Obama
Embedded image permalink

BIFHSGO conference accommodation

If you are looking for accommodations for the BIFHSGO conference there's a special offer from the Radisson Hotel-Parliment Hill.
Please ask for the "BIFHSGO 2014" group or reference Block ID 261200 when making the reservation and you will receive the special rate of $124.00/night plus tax.
Reservations must be made before August 19, 2014.
To make a reservation, call one of these numbers:
Toll Free (Hotel Direct): 1-877-557-5565 or Local Hotel Direct: 613-236-1133

TNA Podcast: A Very British Murder

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces and presenter of history television programmes for the BBC discusses how the British people have enjoyed and consumed the idea of murder as entertainment. http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/writer-month-british-murder/.

The presentation, after a short promo for the historic royal palaces, starts with the Ratcliff murders and the murder of Maria Marten "daughter of a mole-catcher at Polstead, Suffolk, and was possessed of a very attractive person and but little discretion."

This is a Writer of the Month talk – one of a series featuring high profile authors who share their experiences of using original records in their writing. Lucy Worsley knows how to make an entertaining presentation.

10 August 2014

Is WDYTYA really reducing global climate impact?

According to the masthead of Who Do You Think You Are magazine, Wall to Wall, the producer of WDYTYA? claim that the television series is "committed to reducing its carbon emissions and has signed up to 10:10 (www.1010global.org). This has involved hiring more local crews and taking fewer flights while continuing to make a series that goes to wherever the story leads."

As a former atmospheric scientist firmly convinced that by our actions we are increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which is leading to climate change, it was encouraging to see the company committment to reduce its carbon emissions by 10% a year.

It did however make me think again about the company using a Utah-based genealogist as an expert at the Ottawa City Archives in the most recent episode of the US program. Was there really nobody closer to hand who could have done about as good a job? Or is perhaps the environmental commitment is only made for the UK operation?


It's a Long Way to Tipperary, the best known song and march of the First World War, was first performed at the Grand Theatre, Stalybridge, on 31 January 1912 by its composer and music hall artist Jack Judge.
Learn more about Judge on the Oxford DNB podcast accessible from http://global.oup.com/oxforddnb/info/freeodnb/pod/

Hear an early and classic performance by John McCormack at http://youtu.be/X3fbIGREh4Y and find numerous versions, from marches to jazz to ska, on YouTube.

New records in the NBI on findmypast

150,000 more burial records have been added to Findmypast’s collection of National Burial Index records, which now total 12 million.

Transcribed by the Cleveland Family History Society, thousands of these new records have never before been published by the Federation of Family History Societies and are only available at Findmypast.

09 August 2014

Wakey Wakey Wakefield researchers

Findmypast have added 28,372 records of  Wakefield and District baptisms, transcripts of original parish registers made by the Wakefield and District Family History Society, for 1622 to 1913. They add to Findmypast’s existing collection of Wakefield baptisms that now totals 213,000 records.

The additions are for: Wakefield All Saints, Warmfield St Peter’s, Chapelthorpe St James, Monk Bretton St Paul’s, Felkirk St Peter’s, Ryhill St James, Wragby St Michael’s, Wakefield St Andrew’s, South Ossett Christ Church,. There are now over 30 parishes from Wakefield district in West Yorkshire available to search on Findmypast.

The origins and significance of domestic Gothic architecture in Ottawa, Sept 26-27

A two-day conference will be held Friday, Sept. 26 and Saturday, Sept. 27 on the neglected subject of Ottawa's residential Gothic architecture, including tours, lectures, an exhibit, and a keynote address by Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin, an architectural historian from the UK.  The event, which is open to the public, is sponsored jointly by Carleton University Department of History and its Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Pinhey's Point Foundation, and Heritage Ottawa.

In the late 1850s the prospect of a design competition for Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings drew a number of English architects to the new city. Like Parliament and Ottawa’s Gothic churches, their Gothic residential commissions helped transform a frontier lumber town into a colonial capital, identifying Canada and its capital as progressive partners in the British Empire.  These stone villas shared both fashionable Tudor ornament and a revolutionary ‘pinwheel’ floorplan, in which four wings revolve outward from a central stairhall.  Architectural historian Tim Brittain-Catlin has recently traced this plan to A.W.N. Pugin, the father of the English Gothic revival.  Though Earnscliffe, the best known, was later home to prime minister John A. Macdonald, the houses were built for leading Ottawa merchants, industrialists and professionals, including three members of the Pinhey connection, who had built a Gothic-influenced church on their rural estate in March in the 1820s.

An authority on Pugin and the author of the most comprehensive work on his domestic architecture, Tim Brittain-Catlin of the University of Kent School of Architecture will introduce us to Pugin’s Gothic on the Friday evening at 7pm.  His lecture, hosted by Heritage Ottawa, will take place at St Alban’s Anglican Church (1867-68), once a controversial bastion of high church ritualism.  Saturday morning will feature lectures in 2200 River Building at Carleton University by David Jeanes of Heritage Ottawa on the adoption of the form in Ottawa, and Ian Badgley of the NCC on their archaeological legacy.

Optional tours on the Friday include Earnscliffe, the earliest and most prominent local example of the form, and two very different Gothic revival churches: the romantic ruins of Hamnett Pinhey’s Old St Mary’s (1822-25) and its successor New St Mary’s (designed 1909 by architect J.W.H. Watts, first curator of the National Gallery of Canada), adjuncts to the Pinhey estate on the Ottawa River, where our guests will enjoy a picnic lunch sponsored by the Pinhey's Point Foundation.  On the Saturday afternoon there will be a bus tour to view the surviving villas, beginning with lunch at Cabotto’s restaurant (a rural example of pinwheel Gothic near Stittsville).

An accompanying exhibit by the Pinhey’s Point Foundation that will also offer background on ecclesiastical and civic gothic will move onto campus from Pinhey’s Point Historic Site for the colloquium and will then take up residence in the Department of History for the remainder of the autumn term.

The conference is open to the public, but spaces will be limited (and must be booked for the tours), so please contact Bruce Elliott at Bruce.Elliott@carleton.ca as soon as possible to indicate your interest in attending.  The final program will appear closer to the event on www.carleton.ca/history and www.pinheyspoint.ca.

Thanks to Bruce Elliott for the tip.

Start of the Great War: British troops in France

A century ago on this date, 9 August 1914, the first Britain troops landed in France, at Boulogue and Le Havre. It's sometimes forgotten that over 33,000 UK servicemen were killed in 1914, before any Canadian troops landed in France.

08 August 2014

Final notice: BIFHSGO Conference

A word to the wise is enough. Early bird registration for the BIFHSGO conference ends 9 August.

WDYTYA UK series

I had a chance to watch the first in the new series of the BBC Who Do You Think You Are? featuring TV and film actress Julie Walters.
Having watched all the episodes in the current US series my first impression is what a pleasure it is to be able to watch without advertising interruptions. It must give the programme half as much again content.
The episode took her back to investigate her Catholic Irish ancestry. I thought we were going to hear again about the potato famine, but instead the episode focused on the 1880s and later when large Protestant landowners had absolute control over tenant farmers who could be thrown off the land they farmed for being in arrears with rent, or at the whim of the owner. The ancestor's story was used to illustrate the fight for greater rights, including by activist women, and eventually land ownership for the small tenant farmer.
At one point, when an ancestor was shown to have voted with the major landowner in denying outdoor relief, and subsequently taken up confiscated land, Julie Waters had a bit of an internal battle to rationalise her ancestor's actions.

07 August 2014

Are you heir to a fabulous UK Estate?

Is your family name here? If so you could be in for a fortune.

These are names in the current UK Treasury Bona Vacantia list of Unclaimed Estates.

It includes historic listings so is well picked over by heir hunters in the UK, but you may have inside information they don't.

The following names were added to the list on Wednesday. John George Carvell; Barry Edward Flood; Joan Gooch; Mark Haliday; David Henning; Alice Charlette Hubbard; Olwyn Patricia Innes; Harry Claude Keeble; George Albert Matthewson, Irenie Smart-Buck; Elizabeth Irene Stewart; Andreas Theodorou; Jennifer Warner.

Go to https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/unclaimed-estates-list to access the list which has additional information including birth and death dates and places.

The proposed Surname Society

Elizabeth Kipp mentions in a post on her English Research from Canada blog a proposal to form The Surname Society. At the moment it`s an idea. Expressions of interest are being sought through a survey.

The idea is:

  • A truly worldwide society that ensures its practices meet the needs of all members
  • Fully collaborative studies where more than one individual can research a surname
  • Full membership available to individuals and surname associations
  • Limited studies where research of a surname is restricted to a particular area or country, as well as worldwide studies
Elizabeth, who mentions she is one of the interested people behind the initiative, writes that - If the group launches, it will be complimentary to and not competitive with the Guild of One-Name Studies.

One wonders who else is behind this initiative and what the attitude of the Guild is toward the potential new organization. Is there space for both?

06 August 2014

Is there a WDYTYA message?

So far in this season of the US WDYTYA series there have been two episodes with US murderer ancestors. Last night featured Canadian sisters with a British footman and Loyalist ancestors; no murder. Is someone, perhaps inadvertently, making a point about the relative homicide rates?

Never, ever trust an Irish surname

John Grenham's latest Irish Roots column Why can’t you find your Irish ancestors online? laments Irish creativity.

Westboro beach meetup

Join me and some friends for another Ottawa summer genealogy meet-up on the patio at the cafe at Westboro beach this Saturday 9 August, starting around noon.

The forecast is sunny. High 27.

Colonel By Day 2014

Ontario's Civic Holiday, the first Monday in August, is named for Colonel John By, the British Royal Engineer under whose leadership the Rideau Canal was constructed.

The heritage organizations exhibiting were housed in a single tent below the Bytown Museum.

The table for the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society was well staffed by a happy crew. It was hot and humid, before the rain came, but the OGS folks seemed to prefer those conditions to the cold of the St Patrick's Day parade in which BIFHSGO participates.

Kyla Ubbink attracted a small crowd for a demonstration of bookbinding.

Heritage Ottawa's Linda Hoad and David Jeanes were on hand to answer queries about the organization`s active program of walks and talks.

05 August 2014

US genealogists embrace DNA evidence

Two recent blog posts indicate a changing attitude to the use of DNA evidence in the US professional genealogy community.

The Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell (JR), a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, posted DNA and the GPS.  It poses the question

“Can it be that DNA is part of the Genealogical Proof Standard’s first element: the requirement of a reasonably exhaustive search?”
and answers it
"we need to consider it (DNA evidence), each and every time we are putting together a research plan to try to solve a genealogical question."
JR's post delves into circumstances which might exclude DNA evidence on the grounds that it goes beyond the reasonably exhaustive search condition on the Genealogical Proof Standard.

One of the commenters to the blog post expressed the view that
"When applying for professional certifications in genealogy today, I would be in favour of penalizing applicants if DNA could have helped solve a problem that they leave unresolved, and they don’t recommend it."
The second blog post is Methodology Monday with Elizabeth Shown Mills, the FAN club and DNA by Harold Henderson (HH) on his Midwest Microhistory blog.

It's a comment on an article "Testing the FAN Principle against DNA: Zilphy (Watts) Price Cooksey Cooksey of Georgia and Mississippi"by Elizabeth Shown Mills in volume 102 (June 2014): 129-152 of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

HH reflects on the paucity of articles that use DNA evidence in the NGSQ and opines that:
"The more high-quality peer-reviewed articles we have, the easier it will be for us to learn more about how these two streams of evidence can converge. We need more people crossing the documentary-DNA line from both sides."
While waiting for NGSQ to catch up it would be wise to check out articles published elsewhere, maybe even outside the bounds of the territory patrolled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, one is mentioned in a comment, and the many cases where DNA evidence has been used to breakdown the brickwall of adoption without the benefit of high-quality peer review.

The statement in the blog post that
(it does appear in bold all caps in the blog post) is seemingly oblivious to cases where DNA test have provided the lead needed to identify lines for investigating documentary evidence which might otherwise be considered beyond reasonably exhaustive.

It's encouraging to see DNA being increasingly given its due by professionals as a legitimate source of genealogical evidence.

Is it too much to hope that one day genealogists will acknowledge that adhering to the GPS does not mean that a case is proved, rather that best professional practices were followed, and that the confidence in a conclusion should be routinely quantified by a probabilistic statement?

BIFHSGO Early Bird Conference Registration Ends August 9

The headline says it all. Checkout the program at http://goo.gl/JOoj7F then move on to register online or by mail from http://www.bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=109.

04 August 2014

First World War prisoner records

As promised the Red Cross (ICRC) has made available online name indexed images of cards relating to First World War prisoners. Search and find additional information at http://grandeguerre.icrc.org/.
The images shown is for Ottawa-born George William Northwood who was an architect in Winnipeg before and after the war.

The CWGC cares

The story of how the Commonwealth War Graves Commission corrected history allowing a soldier's family to reclaim his grave


Thanks to Anne Sterling for the tip.

Start of the Great War: British Empire

A century ago on this date, 4 August 1914, Britain declared war on Germany as a result of Belgium's appeal to Britain as German troops moved through their territory. As a part of the British Empire Canada was automatically at war.
The Canadian Legion is recommending lighting a candle in remembrance on August 4th, after the sun has set, turn off all the lights in your home and light a single candle in honour and remembrance.

03 August 2014

National War Memorial ceremony

A commemorative ceremony will be held in Ottawa on Monday August 4, 2014 to mark the
100th Anniversary of the beginning of the First World War and the start of Canada's First and Second World Wars Commemoration period. The event serves to launch the National Sentry Program, complete with a General Salute and a Fly Past. Dominion Carillonneur will perform a musical interlude and Interpretation staff dressed in authentic World War uniform will be on-site. Plan to arrive at the National War Memorial by 10:40 am for an 11am start.

Thanks to Mike More for the tip

Colonel By Day and Night

Start of the Great War: Germany

A century ago on this date, 3 August 1914, Germany declared war on France moving through neutral Belgium to attack France.

02 August 2014

Name That Bridge survey results

The proposal by the Canadian Legion to name the new bridge across the Rideau River the Vimy Bridge received more votes (27%) than any other in the survey just completed. Second choice was to remain with the present Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge (20%), third was the Pierre Trudeau Bridge (10%). The only option that attracted no support was for Great War prime minister Robert Borden.
Suggestions left under "other" were: Algonquin Bridge, Walter Baker Bridge and Strandherd Bridge.

August backup nag

No need to think about it.

Just do it.

Your priority today, if you didn't do it yesterday, is to back up your hard drive.

01 August 2014

Tracing Your WW1 Military Ancestors

The most recent feature publication from Moorshead Magazines is Tracing Your WW1 Military Ancestors.

Two additional articles by Glenn Wright not included in that publication are available free as PDFs. There's a one-pager:

Royal Newfoundland Regiment and Newfoundland Forestry Corps 1914-1918

and a four page article: