Thursday, 21 August 2014


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 for further information and to register.

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