31 December 2014

Thanks to contributors for 2014

2014 saw 925 items posted on the blog, made possible by many of you who helped and encouraged this year by posting comments, questions, providing information, completing polls and surveys, or publicizing the blog, including;

Adam, Alex, Alison, Alona, Amber, Amy, Andrea, Ann, Anne, Anonymous, Antra, Arthur, Audrey,
Barbara, Betty, Bill, Blaine, Brenda, Bob, Bruce, Bryan
Cannuk, Catherine, Cea, CeCe, Cecelia, Celia, Chad, Charles, Chris, Christine, Claire, Cliff.
Daniel, Dave, David, Dawn, Debb, Debbie, Del, Denis, Derek, Diana, Diane, Dianne, Dick, Dorothy, Doug.
Edward, Elizabeth, Ellen, Else, Emma, Eric, Frank,
Gail, Geoff, Gerald, Gerry, Ginger, Glenn, Gloria, Gwyneth,
Heather, Heidi, Helen, Hilary, Hugh,
J, Jacqueline, James, Jane, Janet, Janice, Janie, Jean, Jeannette, Jess, Jill, Jim, Jo, Joanne, John, Judy,
Karen, Kathie, Ken, Kim, Kirsty (last name with an a), Kyla
Laura, Lee, Leighann, Lesley, Leslie, Lisa, Lorine, Louise, Lucille, Lynn, Lynne,
Malcolm, Margaret, Maria, Marie, Marilyn, Martin, Maurice, MHD, Mike, Miles, Mireille, Molly, Mully.
Nancy, Nathen.
Pat, Patti, Patricia, Paul, Pauleen, Persephone, Peter
Randy, Richard, Rick, Robert, Rod
Ted, Sandra, Sharn, Sharon, Shirley Ann, Stephen, Steve, Susan,
Terry, Thomas
Udy, Unknown,
Wallace, Wayne, Wendy, William

Included are bloggers, Facebookers and Google+ posters, tweeters and folks who send out information on new resources from various organizations from the family history community.

Thank you all, and not forgetting the silent majority of readers:

Happy New Year.

Yuletide R&R Classic: Rowan Atkinson

Enjoy a perennial favourite. http://youtu.be/91DSNL1BEeY

30 December 2014

Last Chance for Savings

The Lost Cousins newsletter is pointing to three saving opportunity that end imminently

Half-price subscriptions at Findmypast ENDS NEW YEAR'S DAY
Save £50 on Ancestry Premium membership ENDS NEW YEAR'S EVE
Last chance to save on DNA tests ENDS NEW YEAR'S EVE

Find out about these deals at http://lostcousins.com/newsletters/xmas14news.htm

Yuletide R&R: More Robin Williams

By popular demand, another very brief item from the late Robin Williams with Canadian content.

29 December 2014

Yuletide R&R: Robin Williams remembered

A sad loss this year, remembered here by his Royal Variety performance following the election of Barack Obama.

And to round off the performance

27 December 2014

Yuletide R&R: Brassed Off - Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez

The movie "Brassed Off" is based on the events during the 1992 Maggie Thatcher coalmine closures. The Grimethopre Colliery band play Rodrigo's beautiful Concierto de Aranjuez.


Holiday Stressed?

How did you deal with holiday stress -- buying and wrapping presents, writing cards sending them, baking, decorating, jostling crowds -- on the day cooking and entertaining?

The Tylenol supply may be depleted but you got through it. Congratulations.

For the future the perspective in this opinion piece No Money, No Time by Maria Konnikova from the NYT last June may be helpful if you're planning how you'll make a dent in your family history to do list in the coming year.

26 December 2014

Order of Canada Appointments

The following are among those honoured in the end of year list of appointments and promotions to the Order of Canada.

The Honourable Peter Milliken, Patron of the Ontario Genealogical Society, who served as Speaker of the House of Commons for more than a decade becomes an Officer of the Order.

Appointed a Member of the Order is Tim Cook, military historian at the Canadian War Museum and a Carleton University professor best known for his popular and authoritative books on the First World War. It is not that common for a Public Servant to be appointed.

Findmypast Additions: Friday 26 December 2014

United Kingdom
British Army officer Promotions 1800-1815 contains over 24,000 records that list the details of Wellington’s officers who went on to defeat Napoleon in 1815. The promotions range from ensign (for infantry) or cornet (for cavalry) upwards and a range of other positions are also included such as surgeons, assistant-surgeons, adjutants and – for the militias – chaplains.
Each record comprises a transcript of the promotion which was originally announced in The London Gazette. This will usually include the officer’s name, status, their rank, the date of their promotion and its announcement, any additional notes, their replacing vice as well as the original page and issue numbers.

South Yorkshire Lunatic Asylum (later known as the Middlewood Hospital) was established in Sheffield at Wadsley Park in 1872. This collection contains over 17,000 hospital admission records that span the years between 1872 and 1910. These fascinating records can reveal not only when a patient was admitted to the asylum, but also the suspected cause of their insanity and whether or not they recovered. Each record consists of a transcript of the original document.
Sheffield Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Paul burial index contains almost 45,000 records covering the period from 1767 to 1812. Each record contains a transcript of the original document that usually lists the deceased’s name, date of burial, next of kin and occupation.
Yorkshire, Sheffield Quarter Sessions 1880-1912
Established in 1880, the court of Quarter Sessions’ initial function was to hear criminal cases. The court sat every quarter, usually in January, April, July and October and, after each session, a Calendar of Prisoners was published to record the personal details of people tried at the session and their offences. Sheffield & District Family History Society have indexed these records from 1880 to 1912.
Quarter sessions were the middle tier of the court system and dealt with serious non-capital crimes, in other words, those that did not command a death penalty. Each of the 11,896 records is a transcript of original source material that lists details of the offender, any victims, the nature of the crime and the sentence handed down.
Devon Social & Institutional Records
This collection of over 60,000 records has been gathered by the Devon Family History Society from a wide range of local records covering daily life in the 18th and 19th centuries. Gathered from 127 separate sources, the records mainly cover working life but also contain a fascinating collection of criminal and poor law records as well as several early local censuses.
Each record contains a transcript of original document.  The range of material available means that the type and amount of information can differ considerably in each record. Ranging from details of bastardy cases and neighbour disputes to details of military service, mental health, crime and punishment, this eclectic collection can offer unique insights into life in historic Devon.

Lanarkshire, the people of New Lanark 1785-1953
Created by Allen E. Laurie and Nicholas Young, this collection was formed using all surviving Lanark church records (baptisms, marriages, communion lists, irregular marriages and cases of fornication), Sheriff Court and High Court records (small debt and minor and major crime) as well as the Lanark prison register. There are 41,577 results.
In 1785 Richard Arkwright, in partnership with David Dale, opened a new cotton mill on the River Clyde in New Lanark and created an industrial village for his workforce. The People of New Lanark 1785-1953 was designed to bring together all the surviving details on the life events of the village’s mill workforce in one place.

New South Wales Births 1788-1914 is a comprehensive index comprising the birth certificates from two distinct separate sets of records: the NSW Pioneers Index – Pioneer series dating between 1788 and 1889; and the NSW Pioneers Index – Federation Series covering 1889 and 1918. Although New South Wales is the oldest Australian state, it was not the earliest to establish civil registration. Instead, from the colony’s foundation in 1788 until as late as 1856, the only records of births, deaths and marriages in New South Wales were by established churches.

Each of the 2,220,099 records includes a transcript of the original document that will usually include the child’s full name, year of birth, year of registration, religious denomination, registration district, parent’s first name and registration number.
New South Wales Marriages 1788-1945 is a comprehensive index comprising the marriage records from three distinct separate sets of records: the NSW Pioneers Index – Pioneer series dating between 1788 and 1889; the NSW Pioneers Index – Federation Series covering 1889 and 1918; and the NSW Pioneers Index – Between the Wars, spanning 1919 to 1945.

Each of the 2,700,818 results  includes a transcript of the original document that will usually include the individual’s full name, year of marriage, year of registration, district, religious denomination, spouse’s full name and registration number.
New South Wales Deaths 1788-1945 is a comprehensive index comprising the death certificates from three distinct separate sets of records: the NSW Pioneers Index – Pioneer series dating between 1788 and 1889; the NSW Pioneers Index – Federation Series covering 1889 and 1918; and the NSW Pioneers Index – Between the Wars, spanning 1919 to 1945.

Each of the 1,686,926 records includes a transcript of the original document that will usually include the deceased’s full name, birth year, year of death, parent’s first names and registration number.

United States, Revolutionary War Pensions date from the early 19th century when the United States began issuing pensions to military veterans from various early conflicts.  Most pensions are for veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families although pension applications for veterans of the Barbary and Indian can also be found.

There are more than 90,000 records in this collection, each including a transcript along with images of original documents submitted to the government to prove military service. The amount of information contained may vary but most will list the veterans full name, service number, rank, service state and spouse.
Utah marriages 1854-1935 contain over 781,000 records that date back to before the state wide registration of marriages became compulsory in 1887. Each record includes a transcript of the original document that usually lists an individual’s full name, date of birth, marriage date, marriage place, residence, parent’s names, spouse’s full name, age, birthplace and parent’s names.
Arizona deaths & burials 1881-1917 contain over 2,000 records. Arizona first began recording deaths in the state in 1909 and by the early 1920s compliance across the state had been achieved, although there are some significant gaps in the records after 1911.
Each record consists of a transcript of the original document that usually includes the deceased’s first and last name, age, birth year, birth place, date of death, place of death, marital status, parent’s  names and parent’s place of birth.

Yuletide R&R: Tower of London Humour

Something new!

24 December 2014

Yuletide R&R: Animation

This Yuletide R&R Classic from Terry Gilliam

came to mind viewing ths animation.

It's one of several at www.panoply.org.uk.

23 December 2014

Free Access to Ancestry.co.uk

In case you don't have much to do for the next couple of days (!) Ancestry is providing free access to more than a billion UK records until the end of Boxing Day, UK time.

Quebec Actor Antoine Bertrand Discovers His English Roots

Qui êtes-vous? the Radio Canada's version of Who Do You Think You Are? recently followed the ancestry of Quebec actor Antoine Bertrand back to a young girl captured from New England during the inter-colonial wars, She was among the 112 people taken prisoner, others were massacred, on February 29, 1704 in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and forced to walk in winter to Montreal.
The program follows the ancestry back to Essex.
Much of the program after the first few minutes is in English with French subtitles.
See it at http://ici.tou.tv/qui-etes-vous

Yuletide R&R: Politically Correct Christmas

This seasonably appropriate short item from the Royal Canadian Air Farce

22 December 2014

Bexley and Rydale Records at Findmypast

Kent, Bexley Asylum Minute Books 1901-1939
Bexley Asylum opened in 1898 and was London’s 7th asylum. Built on 750 acres of land next to Dartford Heath, the so-called ‘Heath’ Asylum housed 2,544 patients at its occupancy peak in 1915. None were there on a voluntary basis.

Containing over 11,000 records, the Bexley Asylum Minute books were transcribed by the North West Kent Family History Society and cover a wide range of material. Patients can be seen going on temporary release before their eventual discharge. Each record is a transcript of the original document that lists a patient’s or staff member’s name and age, the date of entry and a summary of the entry. This includes details of release and temporary release of patients as well as the hiring and promotion of staff, and tradesmen’s contracts.

Ryedale baptisms 

The Ryedale Baptisms contain over 12,000 records listing the details of Baptisms that took place in nine parishes across the Ryedale district in North Yorkshire. They are:  Allerston, Ampleforth, Bilsdale Midcable, Bilsdale, St Hilda, Birdsall, Bransdale, Cold Kirby, Ellerburn, Gilling East, Great Edstone, Middleton By Pickering, Old Byland, Rillington, Rosedale, Sinnington

Each record includes a transcript of the original parish baptism records that will usually include the child’s name, baptism date, birth date, residence, their parent’s first names, father’s occupation, place, any additional notes and the name of the officiating minister.

Yuletide R&R: Halleluia

21 December 2014

Yuletide R&R: The London Sitcom Map

As things get quiet on the family history front we'll resort again to British and a mix this year of Canadian culture.

First an overview, The London Sitcom Map.

North West Kent Church Records at Findmypast

North West Kent, Westerham Baptisms 1560-1962
Over 7,000 transcripts of North West Kent Baptisms from the Parish of Westerham have been added to our collection of UK Birth and Baptism records. Information in the transcripts can vary, but most records will list the child’s name, birth date, baptism date, place, parent’s names, father’s occupation, residence and any additional notes. For example: here's the record of James Wolfe, the victor at the Battle of Quebec.
First name(s)James
Last nameWolfe
Birth year1726
Birth date02 Jan 1726
Baptism year1726
Baptism date11 Jan 1726
ParishSt Mary
Father's first name(s)Edward
Father's occupationColonel in Military
Mother's first name(s)Henrietta
Mother's last name-
NotesHero of Quebec
Record setNorth West Kent Baptisms
CategoryBirth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers)
Record collectionBirths & baptisms
Collections fromUnited Kingdom

North West Kent, Westerham Marriages 1562-1951
Comprises 2,706 transcripts of North West Kent marriages from the Parish of Westerham have been added to our collection of UK marriage records. Information in the transcripts can vary, but most records will list the couple’s names, place of marriage, date of marriage, marital status, any additional notes and whether married by banns or licence.
Other marriage transcripts for the area at Findmypast include Bromley, Darenth and Greenwich, numbering15,081 in total.

North West Kent, Westerham Burials 1686-1981 and Greenwich Burials 1748-1937
5,545 North West Kent burials from the Parish of Westerham and just under 36,997 burials for Greenwich have been added to Finfmypast. The records consist of a transcript of the original burial registers.
Information in the transcripts can vary, but most records will list the deceased’s name, residence, place of burial, date of burial, age, description and any additional notes.
There are now a total of 149,243 burials for Noeth West Kent in the database for Beckenham, Bexleyheath, Bromley, Charlton, Chelsfield, Chislehurst, Cudham, Darenth, Dartford, Downe, Farnborough, Gravesend, Greenwich, Hayes, Keston, Northfleet, Orpington, St Paul's Cray and,

Major Photographic Processes Used Throughout History

Want to understand the techniques and background of the various photos you may have in your collection? You'll need a bit more than an hour to view all twelve of videos showing major photographic processes spanning from before the Daguerreotype all the way up through digital photography in this series from George Eastman House.

20 December 2014

1871 Worldwide British Army Index at Findmypast

Transcripts of records of over 200,000 officers and men of the Cavalry, Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Guards, Infantry and Colonial units serving in Britain and elsewhere in the British Empire are in the new Findmypast database 1871 Worldwide British Army Index - British Army Other Ranks & Locations

The information contained may include: Name; Service number; Rank or description; Regiment or unit and ; Location of regimental headquarters for those serving in the second quarter of 1871. You will not usually find age or service location at the time.

See the full description at http://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/1871-worldwide-british-army-index---british-army-other-ranks-and-locations?_ga=1.144387964.898347840.1353033172

Ancestry Additions Include UK, Coal Mining Accidents and Deaths Index, 1700-1950

Three databases new to Ancestry and an update to the Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1945, are now available through Ancestry.

These "Web" databases are incorporated into Ancestry for convenient one-stop searching. The same information is available without an Ancestry subscription by going to the website references, which may be more up to date.

Web: UK, Coal Mining Accidents and Deaths Index, 1700-1950 has 102,978 records scraped from the The Coalmining History Resource Centre at http://www.cmhrc.co.uk/site/disasters/index.html which is "the UK's largest and most comprehensive website concerning the history of coalmining - including a searchable database of over 164,000 recorded accidents and deaths."

Web: United Kingdom, Women's Royal Air Force Index, 1918-1920 has 31,086 records derived from a The (UK) National Archives at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/airwomen-ww1.htm

Web: Gloucestershire, England, Overseers Index, 1615-1888 contains 44,943 records from Gloucestershire Archives Genealogical Search. Gloucestershire County Council. at http://ww3.gloucestershire.gov.uk/genealogy/Search.aspx. Check out the other Gloucestershire Archives databases at http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/archives/article/107400/Genealogical-database

Ancestry also updated the 14,507,979 record database Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1945, an addition for 4 million additional records since December 2013.

19 December 2014

Top Baby Names

Scotland is first out of the gate with the top baby names for 2014. National Records of Scotland (NRS) announced Jack was the top boys’ name for a seventh consecutive year, and Emily rose from third to replace Sophie as the most popular girls’ name.  Read the announcement here.

Meanwhile Ontario is lagging. A media push, including an interview on the CBC Ottawa morning show does not mention they're announcing the list for 2013! If Scotland can do it why not Ontario?

One nice facility for looking at Ontario names is this interactive app released by Global News based on Ontario Government data to 2010.

Toronto Family History Centre Blog

Here's a shout-out to one of the genealogy blogs I'm subscribed to.  Almost every week Helen Billing puts out a blog/newsletter from the Toronto Family History Centre; she's smart enough to take an occasional week off over holiday periods.

Much of the content is not specific to Toronto. You'll find good coverage of developments in British resources, and beyond, as well as genealogical advice of all kinds.

Give it a look at http://torontofhc.blogspot.ca/

Coming in 2015?

Who Do You Think You Are Magazine blog has a list of 10 things in family history to look forward to in 2015. The top three are:

1) A potential change in legislation that would enable family historians to order digital copies of English and Welsh BMD certificates at a much lower price. Fingers crossed on this one – plus the wheels of government turn so slowly, who knows when family historians will see the benefit. Still, let’s hope, if it happens, that they set the price for a digital certificate at a sensible level.

Comment: Considering where this proposal sits, introduced as an amendment to legislation in the House of Lords, and the time it typically takes the British parliamentary system to adopt most non-urgent change, the chances of seeing any change implemented in 2015 are slim.

2) Irish Catholic parish registers coming online via the National Library of Ireland. Hopefully that will help me sort out my Caldwell family (that's them above!)

Comment:  As these will be page images of records, not indexed, for practical purposed you'll need a shrewd idea of where the event took place for these to be of benefit for most people.

3) The 1939 Register coming online. This will be a massive boon for those with 20th century brick walls.

Comment: Agreed. Considering there's no surviving 1931 census and the 1941 census was never taken this fills a big hole.

Read the complete WDYTYA Magazine list of  10 things in family history to look forward to in 2015

18 December 2014

A Small Sign of Progress at LAC

Sean Graham, frequent researcher at Library and Archives Canada and PhD candidate in history at the University of Ottawa, tweeted out this photo of a new carpet installed in the second floor south reading room at 395 Wellington.

Sad to reflect that expectations of the institution sank so low that new carpet is tweetworthy.

The room has been underused for years. Let's look forward to the space becoming more functional, not just storage for obscure open shelf reference materials as previously.

New and Updated Southern Hemisphere Commonwealth Records at Ancestry

Got relatives who went south? These records on Ancestry may be of interest.

There are now 5,157,166 records in the updated Australia Birth Index, 1788-1922 comprising incomplete records for:

New South Wales — 1788-1910
Northern Territory — 1870-1910
Queensland — 1829-1910, 1915-1919
South Australia — 1842-1922
Tasmania — 1803-1910
Victoria — 1836-1910
Western Australia — 1841-1905
The information available varies. Some early index records give the mother's maiden name, some later ones only the father's and give only a range of years in which the birth fell.

For New Zealand there's a new database with 9,537 records from Who's Who in New Zealand and the Western Pacific, 1908, 1925, 1938 linked to images of the publication. Many of those included are originally from the UK.

Eastern Cape, South Africa, Estate Files, 1962-1971 has 425,696 records new to Ancestry sourced from FamilySearch. You can browse the files year by year; there is no name index and they don't appear to be in alphabetical order.

Try BIFHSGO on Facebook and Twitter

Did you notice these symbols in the right hand column of the BIFHSGO web site? They are the icons for BIFHSGO's presence on social media sites Facebook and Twitter.
Go ahead and try clicking on an icon. It won't bite!

f for Facebook gets you to a page which has news items added most days. 308 people, perhaps more now, likely genealogist friends, have clicked that they Like the site.

The little bird is for Twitter, the 140 character social network. Since July 2011 when BIFHSGO started on Twitter there have been 846 posts and 306 people follow it meaning that posts, mostly in association with monthly meetings and the annual conference, automatically appear in your Twitter feed.

17 December 2014

Macleans on "Why are our national archives being locked from public view?"

An opinion piece by Anne Kingston in Macleans rehearses the familiar and sorry story at Library and Archives Canada. Few would argue with the article's view that Daniel Caron left the organization reputation shattered, its credibility in ruins. New management under Guy Berthiaume is working on restoration but can't do so alone.

Accepting recent recommendations from the Auditor General and sage advice from a Royal Society Expert Panel is encouraging. Even more so would be recognition from Minister of Canadian Heritage Shelly Glover that previous cuts went too far.

$80 million can be found for the Science and Technology Museum. $110 million is promised for the National Arts Centre. Both address structural deficiencies. The pressing deficiencies at aren't in the buildings but in the programs at LAC. A meaningful gesture toward restoring credibility in the organization's role in preserving and sharing Canada's documentary heritage would speak volumes. Not doing so would equally send a clear message about the Harper government.

Ancestry updates Canada, City and Area Directories, 1819-1906

There are now 8,299,563 indexed records in this predominately 19th century directory collection. Coverage reflects population.
In the West there's a single directory for Alberta, Calgary (1885), and a province wide directory for Saskatchewan (?) for 1888. The are 15 directories for Manitoba communities, mostly Winnipeg, and 25 for British Columbia with best coverage province-wide and for Victoria.
In Central Canada coverage is best: for Ontario for Toronto, Ottawa, London and Hamilton; in Quebec for Montreal and Quebec City.
Atlantic Canada has good coverage for Saint John (New Brunswick) and Halifax (Nova Scotia) with spotty coverage elsewhere. Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island are covered by six directories each.
Finally 13 are categorized as Canada and Multi-province which like the province wide counterparts are selective of high status individuals and businesses in their coverage.

16 December 2014

WDYTYA? Live: 16-18 April 2015

Thinking about a family history research trip to the UK in 2015. Consider timing it so you can take in the Who Do You Think You Are? Live event at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, 16-18 April.
The schedule of presentations organized by the Society of Genealogists is now posted with lots of names familiar to me scheduled to speak: Dave Annal, Gill Blanchard, Else Churchill, Jackie Depelle, Janet Few, Simon Fowler, Michael Gandy, Julie Goucher, Kirsty Gray, John Hanson, Celia Heritage, Sharon Hintze, Doreen Hopwood, Debbie Kennett, Rosemary Morgan, Eric Probert, Rebecca Probert, Alec Tritton, There will also be celebrities, stands from commercial and non-profit organizations to browse and an opportunity for one-on-one consultations with experts.
Check out the full details at http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/

BIFHSGO Conference Call for Presentation Proposals

The 21st Annual BIFHSGO Family History Conference will take place September 18 - 20, 2015. I'm told it will most likely be at Library and Archives Canada again. Conference themes are:
Scotland - family history
Photographs in Genealogy
Technology for genealogy (i.e hardware, software, apps, websites, databases, social media and DNA analysis tools)
The call for speakers is open until January 31, 2015. Proposals for lectures, workshops, seminars and panel sessions are sought. Submission details are at http://bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=125

15 December 2014

Progress on digitization of LAC Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918 database.

LAC announced on Monday that 101,452 of 640,000 files are available online via the Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918 database.
The previous total, on November 18, was 78,914 of the 640,000 files available online. 22,538 files added in 28 days is a rate of 805 per day.  If continued at that rate the digitization would be complete in about October 2016.
While initially it appeared the files were being digitized in alphabetical order lately I see no obvious pattern in the order they're being selected.

Anglo-Celtic Roots Winter 2014

The 44 page Winter 2014 issue of BIFHSGO's quarterly chronicle is hitting mailboxes and supermailboxes full of the usual assortment of news and articles.
It includes the only article I've contributed this year, aside from the regular Cream of the Crop column with Ken McKinlay. Canada's 1914 War Dead looks at some of those who gave their lives in the first few months of the war when the Canadian Expeditionary Force had not yet arrived in France. Did you know three Canadians were killed in a battle in the South Pacific in November 1914?
There are two other military articles, by Betty Warburton and a writing competition piece by Brenda Turner.
Anne Renwick, another successful author in the writing competition, writes about an ancestral home and Wendy Crome on DNA.
Anglo-Celtic Roots is a BIFHSGO benefit of membership.

Call for Speakers – Genetic Genealogy Day in Toronto

"Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is planning a one-day workshop on 6 June 2015 on Genetic Genealogy and its uses in family history research. We are looking for speakers who would like to be take part. The workshop will deal with the main types of DNA testing that are used by genealogists as well as how the results from genetic testing are used in conducting or supporting genealogical research. We hope to offer lectures for audiences at the beginner level as well as for people with a more advanced level of knowledge who have used DNA testing.

You’ll find our detailed call for presentations at http://torontofamilyhistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Call-for-Speakers-Genetic-Genealogy-Workshop-June-2015.pdf. The deadline to submit a proposal for this workshop is Saturday, 17 January 2015."

Thanks to Gwyneth Pearce, Secretary of Toronto Branch, for the tip.

14 December 2014

BIFHSGO's Last Monthly Meeting at LAC

Approaching 395 Wellington on Saturday morning, 13 December 2014, with banners restored in front of the building.

The Secret Bench of Knowledge is out in all weathers.

Terry and Tad Findlay arrived early as Terry was one of the speakers at the Great Moments event. He spoke of their travels to push back Tad's Kent ancestry.

Brian Glenn gave a "Before BIFHSGO" Education Talk explains the key dos and don’ts for a good PowerPoint presentation.

BIFHSGO President Barbara Tose prepares to give opening announcements and remind of the change in meeting location made necessary by a steep price increased imposed by Public Works and Government Services Canada. Two members were so keen on the move they went there a month early!

There was an appreciative crowd in attendance.

Program Director Jane Down introduced and thanked the four presenters.

Brenda Turner recounted the journey researching her ancestry many of whom found final resting places in West Templeton Cemetery.
Ian Browness revealed some out-of-the-ordinary sources he discovered in his talk A Lost Brother Re-discovered.

Sandra Adams explained why a search for Henry Shelverton, a name you'd think would be easy to research, was a challenge as he spent time hiding under an assumed name and how she discovered his whereabouts.

Those not at the meeting could still benefit from the advice tweeted out:

Stuck looking for info on lost ancestors? Remember to search Google Books for the names. Those old books can be a #genealogy treasure trove.

Can't find them in the census? Expand your search by looking for the family using first names only and leaving off the surname.

Always keep searching even when you think there is nothing more to find so you too can have a great moment! Thanks to our wonderful speakers.

13 December 2014

FREE Simple Guide to DNA Testing

The Kindle Edition of Richard Hill's eBook Guide to DNA Testing: How to Identify Ancestors, Confirm Relationships, and Measure Ethnic Ancestry through DNA Testing is FREE for the next four days at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O5SCY02.
The book is a short easy-to-understand introduction to the different test types, their strengths and limitations. It regularly sells for 96 cents so the 100% saving isn't huge but it may be just what you need to decide whether to dip you toe in the genetic genealogy waters, particularly while Family Tree DNA has its end of year sale in progress.Richard Hill is author of a longer book "Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA” if your looking for additional inspiration. I enjoyed it.

News from Library and Archives Canada

On Thursday evening Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume spoke at the Ottawa Public Library to an event organized bythe Library Association of the National Capital Region (LANCR) and L’Association des bibliothèques de l’Ontario-Franco (ABO-Franco).
The presentation was structured around five priorities and four commitments available as a handout.
In opening he reflected on the Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal which receives 2.5 million visitors annually, part of his former responsibilities. He acknowledged enjoying the scent of the book, and the scent of clients including the homeless with wool hats and mitts, enjoying the public library facility. He loved the mission of a public library helping everyone regardless of race, status or gender. He said they reminded him of the Emma Lazarus poem at the Statue of Liberty .
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
He mentioned Marianne Scott, Ian Wilson and Roch Carrier as important figures in the history of LAC from whom he takes inspiration, and Arthur Doughty for having laid the foundations.
He reviewed where the institution has been, its assets including documents, books, art, photographs, as many hours of audio and video recordings as he has lived, and more. In the first half of the fiscal year starting in April LAC acquired 65,500 titles and continues to build its collection of material from notable Canadians such as Marc Lalonde and Malak Karsh.

He admitted LAC has had a difficult month of November with the report of the Auditor General and the Royal Society Report on the Future of Libraries and Archives, but that concrete steps have been taken to respond to the issues and recommendation raised. He sees a willingness on the part of LAC staff and partners to see the organization regain its place nationally and internationally.

Berthiaume gave some examples of how LAC is changing such as digitizing and making available free online the service files of First World War Canadian service-men and women; loaning 40 items from the collection to the Canadian Museum of History for their Canada 2017 exhibition; hosting an exhibit on the Franklin Expedition while the Museum of Science and technology is closed; items placed on the Flickr account in 100 thematic collections attracting five million visitors; podcasts, eight of which are among the top ten federal productions, and, after considerable debate and effort to ensure preservation, loaning for a year the Canadian Constitution signed by the Queen and Prime Minister Trudeau  in 1982 to the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg.  This is all part of an effort to give LAC a higher profile in serving Canadians, including by revitalizing 395 Wellington Street as a memory institution location to visit in Ottawa, through partnerships and social media.

In closing Berthiaume  made reference to the Secret Bench of Knowledge which stands in front of 395 Wellington saying that it should not be a secret ... and neither should LAC.

During the question period I had the opportunity to ask about the organization plans for newspapers, the city directory collection and how input from the genealogical community, the largest single user group, would be obtained in further developing programs. On newspapers and directories he admitted these were items he had not been able to focus on. A member of the audience, a former reference librarian at LAC confirmed that city directories are popular but many of the them have "preservation issues" - they're falling apart. On consulting genealogists he had no firm plan but mentioned focus groups for both visitors to 395 Wellington and online clients.

Will we see action?

Much of the Ottawa presentation was taken from a speech in Montreal on 2 December the text of which is available at 

In other LAC news the Canadian Library Association Digest notes the retirement of Cecilia Muir, LAC's Chief Operating Officer, who had the misfortune to serve during turbulent times.

12 December 2014

Findmypast promotes additions to newspaper collection

Featured this week in findmypast's weekly update is:

"Over 800,000 new articles have been added to our collection of British Newspapers. Two new titles have also been added, the Aberdeen Weekly Journal, County Chronicle and the Surrey Herald & Weekly Advertiser for Kent.  Substantial updates to existing titles include over 112,000 additional articles from the Sheffield Independent and over 110,000 additional articles from the Western Daily Press. The full collection now stands at over 100 million articles."
This is the first time I've seen number of articles used as a measure. 100 million sounds big. It corresponds to 9,367,155 pages, about 10 articles per page. That's still impressive, but why do they have to use the old trick of expressing things in smaller units to make the numbers bigger? We see this all the time when oil spill volume is expressed in tons by the company and litres by environmental groups, in tons the number is 1136 times smaller.

The addition of the Aberdeen Weekly Journal for 1915 - 1919, 1939 - 1945, which includes a time when my ancestor was there, is impressive enough for me!


Other additions to Findmypast this week are, sourced from FamilySearch, over 31 million English Marriages, 1538-1973 and over 130,000 Welsh Marriages, 1541-1900. Also over 700,000 new Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers, completing the collection, sourced from the National Archives of Ireland.

11 December 2014

New RC Parish Records Online for Tipperary North

Tipperary North Genealogy Centre has added the Roman Catholic parish of Loughmore-Castleiney from 1798-1899 to its database at www.tipperarynorth.rootsireland.ie which is also where you can connect to other local records online.

England and Wales Probate Online

England and Wales family history researchers, bookmark this page. https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills

From it you can now search probate records from 1858 to 1996, it's a more complete collection than has been available on Ancestry although not completely name indexed. That's in addition to the later probate records and soldier's wills previously available.

A search on surname and year brings up the appropriate page of the probate calendar for the year specified even if there's no death for a person by that name probated during the year. The indexing uses the first three letters of the surname, common names may mean needing to scroll. You can click to move back and forth year by year. Remember, probate doesn't necessarily occur in the year of death.

The calendar entry usually gives the date and place of death, amount probated and name of the executor/executrix.

You can order a complete copy of the probate document online from the calendar page.

LAC holds Stakeholders Forum meeting

"A group of key organizations from the Canadian library and archival communities participated in the Stakeholders Forum, hosted at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in Gatineau on December 9–10, 2014.
The Forum provided an opportunity for participants to share the priorities of their respective organizations and to discuss key issues of interest. LAC also took the opportunity to inform participating organizations about its directions for the future, and to exchange ideas on upcoming projects and initiatives."
That's the start of an information item tweeted out by LAC; read it at  . Scroll down that page and you'll see a photo and read the names of participants and the organizations they represent: Diana Davidson, Provincial and Territorial Public Library Council; Maureen Sawa, Canadian Urban Libraries Council; Cecilia Muir, Library and Archives Canada; Kathryn Harvey, Association of Canadian Archivists; Hilary Morgan, Library and Archives Canada; Christina Nichols, Canadian Council of Archives; Gerald Beasley, Canadian Association of Research Libraries; Paul Wagner, Library and Archives Canada; Ian Burnett, Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists; Guy Berthiaume, Library and Archives Canada; Marie DeYoung, Canadian Library Association; John McAvity, Canadian Museums Association; Carole Urbain, Association pour l’avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation; Dominique Marshall, Canadian Historical Association.

Recognizing that groups rarely come to grips with the tough issues at a first meeting this nevertheless looks like a good start.

How does LAC management intend addressing user issues, the largest group of which are family historians?

BIFHSGO December Meeting

This Saturday, December 13, sees the last BIFHSGO monthly meeting of 2014, and the last at Library and Archives Canada. In January the meetings move to Nepean Centrepointe.

9:00 a.m.
Before BIFHSGO Education Talk — Brian Glenn will explains the key dos and don’ts for a good PowerPoint presentation and demonstrate a couple of features that will make your presentation really pop.
9:30 a.m.
Discovery Table — Guns and PowerPoint — Brenda Turner will display two rifles traded by Hudson's Bay and Brian Glenn will respond to questions about PowerPoint.
10:00 a.m.
Great Moments in Genealogy
Henry Shelverton: A Life in Hiding — by Sandra Adams
Look Where You Step — by Terry Findley
Going Sideways... and What I Found —  by Brenda Turner
A Lost Brother Re-discovered —  by Ian Browness.

The meeting is open to members and visitors alike with free admission and free parking nearby.

Shannon Lecture: Animals on Display: Transforming Exhibition Traditions in Natural History and Science Museums

For the final Shannon Lecture for 2014 is next Friday at 1pm 303 Paterson Hall at Carleton University. The speaker is Karen Rader, director of the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.

John Berger, critic and writer, famously said that “in the last two centuries, animals have gradually disappeared.”Those who share his view contend that animals have been removed from our daily lives and that we have been removed from the daily lives of animals. At the same time, a plethora of new museum representational practices have arisen that work to fill in the gap between humans and animals. Ironically, many of these may ultimately intensify the very nostalgia, distance, and ignorance they were devised to remedy. This talk will look at a range of examples of animals on display, situated in various historical and sociocultural contexts, in order to speak to the ongoing and
important role of museums in making animals visible.

Thanks to Bruce Elliott for the tip on this and all the Shannon lectures.

10 December 2014

FamilySearch adds Newfoundland Vital Records, 1840-1949

This new database from FamilySearch is an index and images of births, delayed registrations of births, marriages, and deaths. There are 16,711 indexed records and more to explore in 58,839 images.

There's a detailed description of the contents here. Many of the entries are images of transcribed church records.

There are 214 indexed entries for Pike, 245 for Collins, 86 for Baker, 33 for Hoddinott and, 7 for Smallwood

ScotlandsPeople adds 1925 Valuation Rolls

Valuation Rolls cover every kind of property in Scotland that was assessed as having a rateable value

There are 2,103,648 indexed names and 76,512 digital images in the 1925 rolls, all free to search.

This is the seventh set of Valuation Roll indexes and images on the ScotlandsPeople website, now comprising 1875 1885 1895 1905 1915 1920 and 1925.

Remember that like city directories there can be a lag between a change in occupant and it showing in the valuation rolls.

OGS Student Essay Competitions

The following is an announcement from the Ontario Genealogical Society
"The Ontario Genealogical Society has established two essay competitions for students. Both require a paper to be written on a topic within family history. Both carry a prize of $500 and publication in Families. 
The Dr. Don Brearley Genealogical Essay Prize is open to secondary school students in grades 11 and 12 in any Ontario school. See the Guidelines for complete information and a flyer for posting. Submission deadline is April 1 of each year (or the following business day should this date fall on a weekend). 
The Mike Brede Genealogical Essay Prize is open to any full-time student in a university or community college who is either a resident of Ontario or attending an Ontario university or community college. See the Guidelines for complete information and a flyer for posting. Submission deadline is April 1 of each year (or the following business day should this date fall on a weekend).
For more information on either of these essay competitions, please contact the OGS Awards Committee at awards@ogs.on.ca."
It's fair to say that OGS has not been overwhelmed with entries to these competitions in past years.  If student competitions are aimed to increase interest in family history OGS would be wise to develop a competition more appealing to the social media generation?

09 December 2014

Ancestry Global Family History Report

On Monday Ancestry.com posted the first part of a multi-chapter study aiming to show "how knowledge of the past has impacted the present, and how a greater sense of ‘connectivity’ has changed the concept of the modern family within the six countries in which we conducted the study."
The countries are Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden, UK, USA, all countries in which Ancestry is active.
As I commented in a post on Canadians and Their Pasts last week I put more trust in relative than absolute values in survey data so it was the differences in the reliance on different type of resources used by active family historians in the six countries that caught my attention. They are shown in a table on page 10 of the report at http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/12/08/ancestry-global-family-history-report/.
Canada is the closest to the six-county average use in all resources except old letters which are not as widely used. Canada's Commonwealth twin Australia makes significantly more use of military records and passenger lists than the average. Given that Australia has very few census records I was surprised to see equal use in Australia and Canada, perhaps reflecting the use of UK census data. Also surprising was that the Australia's TROVE database did not show in enhanced use of old newspapers.
The UK had the greatest use of censuses and occupational records and greater than average use of BMDs.
In the USA, where BMD use was the greatest, genealogists also make greater use of military records, old newspapers, passenger lists and court records.
One trend the report sees is what they term "verticalisation" of the extended family. With people living longer and parents choosing to have fewer children there are more grandparents and great grandparents living and fewer aunts, uncles and cousins.
A question to ponder is why Ancestry would want to publish this information? Obviously the company don't doesn't see anything in the data of great strategic advantage for their business or they wouldn't make it openly available.

Internet Genealogy: Dec 2014/Jan2015

The opening sentence of Joe Grandinetti's lead article Passing Ancestral Judgment: Irish Petty Session Court Registers struck a chord with me as I've struggled against my better judgement to help a friend with Irish ancestry.
"Irish ancestor hunting is not for the timid; especially when searching for 19th century forebears who weren't part of the Island's land-owning class"
The article describes researching in the Irish Petty Court Registers on Findmypast covering the counties now in the Republic from the mid-19th century to the early 20th. Lots of examples are given. I tried it but with a common name to search, and only a guess at a county I still have 380 records to examine!

Tony Bandy writes on Seven Low-Cost or Free Mobile Scanning Applications for your smartphone. He looks at apps for various smartphones reporting on his experience, his bottom line being to take your time, examine each app, particularly the features, and see how well it works in the context of your requirements.

Naturally I had to read Liza Alzo's article Confessions of a Geneablogger, her thoughts on the process of creating, building, and maintaining a better genealogy blog. She details five reasons why creating and maintaining a blog can be a very positive experience. Many family historians find writing a family blog a great way to gradually document your family history, and perhaps connect with relatives along the way. Liza lists five things that stop her from blogging, most of which in my experience prove to be less of an obstacle that they may appear.

Other contents in this issue of Internet Genealogy are:

Discover Online Libraries!
Ed Storey examines several sources, and offers examples to illustrate what you can expect in your searches

Fishin’ Holes, Fairways, and Footballs: Your Ancestors’ Sports
David A. Norris looks at sports databases and records for family history

What's App?
A selection of apps, news and reviews for the mobile environment

Probing Online Indexes at FamilySearch
Smiljka Kitanovic looks at why it's important to search indexes and registers to be certain you have found who you are looking for

In Memory: Fold3’s Honor Wall for US Veterans
Carol Richey looks at a great way to leave a lasting tribute to veterans who have served their country

Genealogy Jumpstarts
Are you suffering from “Genealogist’s Block”? David A. Norris suggests six ways to help you get back in the game

Getting Along With GRAMPS: Can a Free and Open-Source Program Replace Your Commercial Software?
Tony Bandy reviews the lastest version of this popular software

Staying Focused in Six Steps
Carol Richey offers tips to help us avoid distractions and find focus in our online research

Look Before Your Leap!
Dave Obee suggests we take a long, hard look at the integrity of the sources, or lack thereof, in some online family trees

All hail the frozen pea, and Clarence Birdseye

Today let's celebrate the birthday of Clarence Birdseye, born this day in 1886 in Brooklyn, New York, son of a lawyer, also Clarence and descendant of an immigrant from Berkshire, England in the early 17th century.
Freezing peas was a major industry in Norfolk when I was a child, and the fast freezing technique Birdseye pioneered has a Canadian connection. According to a Wikipedia article while working between 1912 to 1915 in Labrador Birdseye became further interested in food preservation by freezing, especially fast freezing.
He was taught by the Inuit how to ice fish under very thick ice. In -40°C weather, he discovered that the fish he caught froze almost instantly, and, when thawed, tasted fresh. The story in England was that frozen fish sold better on the coast than inland as inlanders weren't used to the taste of fresh fish.

Now frozen vegetables, and especially peas, one of the world's healthiest foods, means green vegetables are available to enrich the diet of even the Labrador Inuit.

08 December 2014

The Latest Databases from Findmypast

Wow! millions of records new to Findmypast from Britain became available last Friday.

Trade Union Membership Registers
This is the big one. If your ancestor was in one of the trades Boilermakers & Iron Shipbuilders, Carpenters & Joiners, Lithographers or Railway Workers explore this collection of over three million British trade union records.  Made up of admission books, annual reports and membership lists sourced from the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick you'll find indexed digitised images of the original record books from 9 unions.
Information varies. You may find birth, marriage or death dates, whether married or single at registration, whether he/she applied for funeral benefit for a family member and if your ancestor transferred to a new branch, moving your family to a new town or country. Many trade unions included international branches from Ireland to Australia to Spain and Belgium.

English Births & Baptisms, 1538-1975
Sourced from FamilySearch so you may well have already scoured this collection, each of these 60 million records contains a transcript extract of the original source material. The amount of information varies but you could find out name, birth year, date of baptism, place of baptism.

Welsh Births & Baptisms, 1541-1907
Over 700,000 records sourced from FamilySearch with name and date of birth as well as the name of parents.

Peninsular War, British Army Officers, 1808-1814
A compilation on more than 9,600 officers from Army lists, Gazettes, despatches, official records and regimental histories.

07 December 2014

Deceased Online now has MIs for 20 Bolton, Lancashire burial sites

Digitised transcriptions of inscriptions on memorials and headstones in 20 burial sites and cemeteries in and around the Bolton, Lancashire area by the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society are now available at www.deceasedonline.com.

Look for advice on Emma Jolly's blog on how best to search the collection.

She mentions Bolton is known as the town with the friendliest population in Britain, I doubt those in the cemetery now share that distinction!

Finding Pre-1865 Ships Passenger Lists to Canada

Can you stuff an eBook in a genealogist's stocking? If so the Kindle edition of Lorine McGinnis Schulz's new Filling in the Gaps: Finding Pre-1865 Ships Passenger Lists to Canada is unquestionably worth considering.
Finding immigrants arriving prior to 1865 and the first systematic recording of arrivals at Quebec City is a continual issue. While there is no magic formula Lorine's 82 page eBook will help you explore possibilities such as shipping agent records, emigration agent ledger books and newspaper extracts which may record an arrival.

Thanks to Lesley Anderson for the tip. Don't forget to check out the Ottawa Catholic School Board courses Lesley is offering in the new year, equally unquestionably worth considering, on page 23 at at http://continuingeducation.ottawacatholicschools.ca/media.php?mid=1120

UPDATE: Web link for book updated to .ca

06 December 2014

Ancestry adds Jamaica Civil Birth? Registrations

It's cold enough outside here that a virtual genealogical trip to the Caribbean is a welcome diversion.

Courtesy of Ancestry, and the company cooperative agreement with FamilySearch, comes a database titled Jamaica, Civil Birth Registration, 1878-1930 with 4,553,171 records.


Searching for one of my ancestral names, Northwood, finds a record for

Name: Alfred Northwood
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 1867
Death Date: 29 Aug 1888
Death Place: Parish of Kingston, Jamaica
Age at Death: 21

Looks more like a death registration!

Name: William Arthur Lepold Cowley
Gender: Male
Marriage Date: 20 Jun 1901
Marriage Place: Parish of Kingston, Jamaica
Father's Name: William Iolmdsh Cowley
Spouse's Name: Isabella Lianora Lloyd

Looks like a marriage index!

Name: Cyril Adams Or Reid
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 1900
Death Date: 11 May 1900
Death Place: Parish of Kingston, Jamaica
Age at Death: 0
Mother's name: Margaret Adams

Looks like an infant death record!

It's a lucky dip. As there are no original images online recourse to the images in the FHL microfilm reference will be essential.

Gresham Lecture: Health and the Seven Ages of Man: Serious Ill Health in the Very Old and the Very Young

This is a recent Gresham College lecture by Christopher Whitty, Chief Scientific Advisor and Director of Research and Evidence at the UK Department for International Development.
Childhood deaths have declined due to various interventions although this has not been so marked for the newborn.
At the other end of life more people are living beyond their 70s. There has been a  dramatic reduction in circulatory diseases, now overtaken by cancers where rates remain stubbornly high as the major cause of mortality in the UK.
Whitty sees maximizing health and quality of life for the over 70s as a challenge for every society requiring at least the same determination, imagination and science across multiple disciplines which has led to the remarkable reduction in child mortality.
From a society benefit standpoint given the many years of productive life for society gained by increasing the lifespan of a young person, compared to the modest benefit from extending lives of seniors, what are the chances we will see the challenge taken up?

05 December 2014

Global Genealogy Annual Top 10 List

Here's the annual list from Rick and Sandra Roberts of Global Genealogy of their top titles and individual products for 2014.

1.      Le Tanguay Collection, Version 3.0 http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/canada/quebec/resources/101cd001.htm

2.      Loyalist Refugees, Non-Military Refugees in Quebec 1776-1784  By Gavin K. Watt http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/canada/loyalist/resources/101069.htm

3.      GLOBAL Brand Hinged Archival Boxes – Buffered   http://www.globalgenealogy.com/archival/index.htm#A2  

4.      Jetté - Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec     http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/canada/quebec/resources/601001.htm

5.      Old County Maps of England 1836    http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/england/resources/101005.htm

6.      A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland [1842]   http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/ireland/resources/101068.htm

7.      Peter Robinson's Settlers By Carol Bennett  http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/canada/ontario/general/resources/101251.htm

8.      Heritage Preservation Starter Kit

9.      Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada Before Confederation (pre-1867) Vol. 1, 2, 3 & 4 By Donald Whyte

10.   Ignored but Not Forgotten, Canada's English Immigrants By Lucille H. Campey http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/canada/general/resources/207145.htm

A reminder that there's a 60-minute YouTube video of a lecture with the same title given by Lucille Campey at the 2014 BIFHSGO Conference.

Rick commented that though they have enjoyed especially strong sales of MacDonald Research books this year (Stormont Dundas and Glengarry County, Ontario church records), no individual titles in that category made the list.

He also mentioned that the sales mix changed significantly mid-year with the release of all Global Heritage Press and MacDonald Research books as pdf downloads during the summer.  "That will likely make a big change in the top 10 list for 2015."

New Brunswick Scottish History

The New Brunswick Scottish History website at www.nbscottishhistory.ca launched on November 30, 2014. Phase 1 contains 1851 and 1861 census records for Albert, Carleton, Gloucester, Kent, Queens, Sunbury and,Victoria counties; teachers lists, land grants and more.

Other census counties, including Northumberland and Saint John which had the largest Scottish origin populations, will be added in 2015.

A Teachers’ Resource Centre is expected to be added this month.

Comments on "Canadians and Their Pasts"

In 2007 and 2008 a group of Canadian historians, The Pasts Collective, set out to address questions around the theme "How do people situate themselves in time, and construct a sense of the past that is usable in the present?"
In 2013 they published the results in the form of a book. These days that seems like a l-o--n---g time to deliver the results but probably typical of academic publishing. It took a while to get the book from the Ottawa Public Library but now, before another year passes, I've found time to look at it.

Published by Toronto University Press this is a book by and for academics. It has 160 pages of main text with tables and bar graphs, plus two appendices, notes, works cited, contributors short bios and an index, 235 pages in total plus front material.

The chapter that caught my eye was "Family History in a Globalizing World" which explores responders' preoccupation with family pasts and delved into why family history matters so much to them.
It found the prime motivation for involvement in family history to be emotional attachment to the biological family (ancestors); giving a sense of belonging.
One in five, or more than 5 million Canadians based on this sample, had been involved in genealogical "research" in the past year through a photo collection, by scrapbooking (more popular than golf!), preparing a cookbook, keeping a diary, writing a family history or making home movies.
75% of respondents were intending to pass on heirloom material possessions to the next generation.
57% had visited places in the family past in the most recent 12 months.
However, 6% stated that family history was not very important.

How representative are these statistics of Canadians at large?

On page 8 we read "the study is based on a large representative survey: interviewers spoke to one in every ten thousand Canadians. More than half (53%) of those who received calls from our interviewers agreed to answer our survey, an above average response for this kind of investigation."
That leaves open the question, Why did the 47% who chose not to participate make that decision?

Is it possible that on learning about the topic they decided they aren't interested? This would bias the results. Certainly if I were asked to devote 20 minutes to a survey on a topic of no interest to me I'd likely decline.

I asked one of the Pasts Collective members, Del Muise, about this. He said they agonized over that from the beginning; but the people who did the job of surveying were ecstatic about that success rate and convinced that there was no bias in the sample as a result.
I remain concerned. If those who declined to participate in the survey were "not interested" the figures would significantly overestimate how much Canadians are interested in their pasts.

I'm inclined to put more trust in the survey's relative figures than the absolute values. Could it be that it's more like one in ten than one in five who had been involved in genealogical "research" in the past year?

04 December 2014

150,000 gravestone photos in one day

Congratulations to MyHeritage and collaborators who recently photographed three-quarters of the gravestones of Israel's largest cemetery, just south of Tel Aviv, in just one day.

Read about this achievement on the MyHeritage blog.

Donate to the Ottawa Food Bank

On Friday CBC Ottawa will have a special day of programming to raise money for the Ottawa Food Bank as part of the annual charity drive Project Give.

The Ottawa Food Bank continues to be my favourite local charity. Why?

  • They work with 140 partner organizations throughout Ottawa to provide nourishment to about 48,000 residents who use food banks every month.  
  • They have a top "4 Star" rating by Charity Intelligence Canada for the fourth year in a row based on the charity's transparency and accountability, need for funding, and cost efficiency. Only three local Ottawa charities received 4 stars. 

Please join me and donate to the Ottawa Food Bank or your local food bank.

Does Elephant Experience Matter to History?: Shannon Lecture

On Friday the Carleton University, Department of History, Shannon lecture is Does Elephant Experience Matter to History? presented by Susan Nance, a historian of communication and live performance, and Associate Professor of History at the University of Guelph.

The history of animals is the final frontier of the historical discipline, a discipline that has traditionally been concerned with human ideas, human activity and human development. Meanwhile, animals have always been historical actors. Their interaction with one another and people has shaped the common history of all species. To understand how non-humans have shaped North American entertainment Susan Nance has turned to the circuses of the 19th century. The paradox of commercial circuses was this: such companies offered the public idealized animal behaviour in narrative shows that asserted human dominance over the natural world. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, circus staff realized their livelihood was dependent upon animal power they barely controlled.

December 5  Humanities Lecture Theatre, 303 Paterson Hall, from 1:00-2:30 pm.

“These Old Walls”: Ottawa Branch Presentation

Join Phil Donnelly as he speaks about “These Old Walls” a project with the goal of identifying and learning the stories behind the homes of those who settled in the Ottawa Valley. If only old walls could talk, then what stories we might learn!
Saturday, December 6 from 1:00-3:00. City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive (Room 226). All are welcome. Admission is free.

03 December 2014

Australia Builds on Trove

A shout out for a project based at Griffith University in Queensland involving a group of academics and citizen historians who are indexing the court trials in each Australian jurisdiction. They are being linked to Trove and newspaper reports providing a free online database of trials for research by anyone.
It's the type of project made possible by the existence of Trove and the ready availability of digitized and OCR'd Australian newspapers online. No need to reiterate how far behind Canada is in this respect thanks to the shortsightedness of the former Library and Archives Canada administration - aided and abetted by the Harper government's blatant neglect of our documentary heritage.

Based in part on a blog post http://helenvsmithresearch.blogspot.ca/2014/11/uncover-details-of-australias-criminal.html by Helen V Smith.

It's Richard III - 99.999% certain

The Group at the University of Leicester and collaborators have now published a paper giving the evidence to show the skeleton found under a parking lot in the city in 2012 is King Richard III to a very high degree of certainty.
While the paper Identification of the remains of King Richard III published in Nature Communications is freely available, not behind a paywall, the easiest introduction to the work is the YouTube video Richard III – The DNA Analysis & Conclusion.
The work is important for its historical significance and also as a demonstration of the use of statistics in proving a genealogical case.  For the details of that look at the Supplemental Material, pages 47 - 52. BCG folks will perhaps shudder to see the phrase "weight of evidence" - twice.
While the paper emphasise the dominant significance of the mtDNA results in proving the case the other evidence alone is also compelling as shown in this blog post mentioned in the supplemental material.

West Yorkshire records added at Ancestry

Ancestry now have available, from the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield, England the following collections:

West Yorkshire, England, Bastardy Records, 1690-1914: 14,058 records containing the name of the mother and name and occupation of the putative father, the child's birth date. They may also list a parish for each parent as well as a date for the court action.

West Yorkshire, England, Select Rate Books, Accounts and Censuses, 1705–1893:  163,445 records that include a listing of who occupied the house, who owned the house, the type of dwelling, the name or situation of the property, how much rent was collected, and the rates paid.
This collection also includes some censuses for parishes, towns, and townships in West Yorkshire, including Holmfirth, Wapentake of Claro, Sandal Magna, Thornhill, Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse, and Spofforth, 1801-1837.

West Yorkshire, England, Select Land Tax Records, 1704-1932: 3,899,907 records listing all households in the areas and details such as who occupied the house, who owned the house, the name or situation of the property, and how much tax was collected.

West Yorkshire, England, Wakefield Charities Coroners Notebooks, 1852-1909: 19,384 records with the name of the deceased, date and location of the inquest, age of the deceased, circumstances surrounding the death, verdict, and sometime the names of the deputy coroner or jury foreman.

Ancestry also announce an update to:

West Yorkshire, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910
West Yorkshire, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985
West Yorkshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1512-1812

02 December 2014

Ottawa's Notre Dame Cemetery now on canadianheadstones.com

Yesterday in the November Benchmarks post canadianheadstones.com had 1,032,000 records. Now that's increased thanks to the completion of a two year project to photograph Ottawa's Notre Dame Cemetery. Interments there total 96,531 in 27,000 photos. This particularly valuable as it's the first and only complete online database for this cemetery.

Gail Dever, who drew this to my attention from a Facebook post, also mentioned that Ormond Protestant Cemetery, Dundas Co. Ontario was recently completed with 180 photos and over 700 entries.

And, Oxford Parish Anglican Cemetery, Oxford Mills, Grenville Co. Ontario was also recently completed with 275 photos and 823 entries.

Thanks to Gail for the tip. Look for news of more cemeteries on her Genealogy à la carte blog.