28 February 2015

OGS Toronto Branch Call for Speakers - Irish Genealogy

Do you have a story or other presentation of Irish interest? Toronto Branch of OGS is planning a one-day workshop on 19 September 2015 on Irish genealogy and family history with a specific focus on Ulster.
Historian Dr. William Roulston and genealogist Chris Paton have agreed to lead this workshop as keynote presenters, and we are now seeking other speakers with Irish expertise who would like to be part of the team.
The Branch invites proposals for presentations at either a beginner or more advanced level aimed at family historians researching ancestors in the nine counties in the historic province of Ulster. You’ll find the detailed call for presentations at http://torontofamilyhistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Call-for-Speakers-Irish-Genealogy-Workshop-Sept-2015.pdf.
The deadline to submit a proposal for this workshop is Saturday, 18 April 2015.

Findmypast adds British Union Records

There are 257 unindexed volumes on the new Britain, Trade Union Membership Registers collection at Findmypast.

They include records for the Amalgamated Society Of Carpenters & Joiners, Amalgamated Society Of Carpenters, Cabinetmakers & Joiners, Amalgamated Society Of Lithographic Artists, Designers, Engravers & Process Workers, Amalgamated Society Of Lithographic Printers, Amalgamated Society Of Paper Makers, Amalgamated Society Of Railway Servants, Amalgamated Society Of Watermen, Lightermen & Bargemen, Amalgamated Society Of Woodworkers, Association Of Correctors Of The Press, General Union Of Carpenters & Joiners, Incorporated Association Of Assistant Masters In Secondary School, Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, Liverpool Victoria Employees' Union, London Society Of Compositors, National Association Of Local Government Officers, National Society Of Operative Printers & Assistants, National Union Of Printing & Paper Workers, National Union Of Railwaymen, National Union Of Teachers, Northern Association Of Publishers' Educational Representatives, Operative Bricklayers' Society, Printing Machine Managers' Trade Society, Typographical Association, Union Of Engravers To Calico Printers & Paper Stainers, United Society Of Boilermakers & Iron ShipbuildersWorkers' Union

Records can be found as early as the 1870 and as late as the 1940s. The bulk are for the years of and around the First World War. Some I scanned were recorded those who served with the military during the war with special mention of those who died or received special recognition.

A separate indexed database of 55,482 results is Britain, Trade Union Members, Service & Casualties 1914-1918 which contains the details of members from 18 different unions. The records are a collection of union documents from the war years and do not solely feature individuals who participated in the First World War. The records include daily trade union news and business and frequently acknowledge members who have left for war or joined the services.  Many include pages of the union’s Roll of Honour and some include photographs of the members or feature short profiles about specific members.  The most extraordinary of the records is the Workers’ Union Record, which regularly features full pages of photographs of service men.

27 February 2015

Missing Sub-Districts in the Canadian Censuses

Ken McKinlay has added a useful post on his Family Tree Knots blog suggesting that "Before you go insane looking for (Canadian census) records that may not exist become familiar with what records have survived."
You do that on the Library and Archives Canada website, you won't find it on Ancestry or FamilySearch, starting at the About pages for each census. Check out Ken's blog post for full instructions.

OGS Ottawa Branch February Meeting

On Saturday February 28, 1pm – 3pm, the presentation at the Ottawa City Archives is The First World War Beyond the Western Front, to be given by Mike More.

The First World War was truly a global war with a great deal of fighting outside of France. British Empire soldiers were involved in all theatres, along with many other nations. Mike More will provide a summary of the various fighting fronts.

This meeting will be simulcast for members who can't join in person.

The meeting is preceded by a morning beginner session that sees Heather Oakley speaking on "Are you a trust me genealogist." That starts at 10:30 am.

The Computer SIG will convene immediately following the afternoon meeting.

Two Nottingham Cemeteries added at Deceased Online

You won't find the historic Robin Hood, the closest is Robert, one of  43 Hood records of burials in historic Nottingham cemeteries' records now available on Deceased Online. There are also 38 Tucks, none indicated to be Friars!
Two new additions are Rock (aka Church) Cemetery, opened 1856, and Basford Cemetery, opened 1870. That makes a total of approximately 430,000 records available online at Deceased Online for five cemeteries and the crematorium managed by Nottingham City Council.

The records now available comprise:

digital scans of original burial and grave registers
details of all grave occupants In each cemetery
maps indicating the section in each cemetery for all graves
Records for one more historic Nottingham City cemetery are pending.

Nottinghamshire history interest? Then you may enjoy the community history website www.ournottinghamshire.org.uk

26 February 2015

Chris Paton's new podcast

If you've heard Scottish-Irish genealogist Chris Paton talk you'll know he has an engaging manner as well as being knowledgeable. Both those attributes are to the fore in a new podcast initiative he's just started. There's information of relevance for the whole of the UK, with an emphasis on Scotland. Recommended.


Your Genealogy Today

The March/April issue of this magazine from Moorshead Magazines, evolved from Family Chronicle, is out. What's changed? As editor Ed Zapletal writes "Our content will not undergo dramatic changes at this time." That's my impression, it's more a makeover than a new magazine.

The only real clue to the direction being taken is the launching of three new regular columns, each a single page: “Genealogy Tourism”, “DNA & Your Genealogy”, and “Advice from the Pros” to be authored on a rotational basis by contributors who are "experts in their respective fields."

In this premiere issue Advice from the Pros is written by Gena Philibert-Ortega who offers the revolutionary advice to adopt a balanced approach between offline and online sources. Genealogy Tourism is written by Lisa Alzo who, you'll be astonished to read, recommends you plan, prepare and pack. Colleen Fitzpatrick authors the first column on DNA and Genealogy by reviewing the three kinds of DNA used in genetic genealogy.

Other content includes:

The Old Dead Folks Club
Robbie Gorr, from the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogy Group, admits that transcribing headstones is a solitary past-time, but also relaxing and pleasant, not to forget a valuable hobby. 

Searching for Ancestors in the British Department of State
The reference to the British Department of State, brazened across the cover, threw me.  As far as I know that was no such entity. The content refers to material from the British Foreign Office and the Colonial Office, and that's interesting and well described. The author, Ed Storey, lives in Colorado and must be thinking in terms of the US equivalent the Department of State. File this one under editorial blunder.

Stuck in a Rut? Recharge Your Research!
Lisa A. Alzo seems to have been in an alliterative mood. While the ps were her watchwords in the tourism column in this it's es, for evaluate, estimate, execute. Is the use of rs in the title, rut, recharge and research, deliberate?

"Why Guernsey?"
Most of us don't have genealogical interest in the charming island of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, yet George Matheson recounting of how he became enthralled by the island's culture and history, as well as offering practical travel advice, makes for good reading.

Pick a Card... Any Card!
David A. Norris looks at what you can learn about your ancestors from collections of old cards in various forms

Go Paperless
Carol Richey looks at five easy steps to reduce the paper clutter for family historians

Pompey Russell: Revolutionary War Patriot
Merrylyn Sawyer researches the life of a New Hampshire patriot of the Revolutionary War

Journaling a Genealogical Journey — Creating a “Vital Record”
Joe Grandinetti shows you how to create a valuable record of your ancestral travels

Will the Middle Initial Disappear?
David A. Norris wonders what the implications would be for future family historians if the middle initial faded into obscurity

DNA: Unraveling a Pomeranian Mystery
Lori Alexander shows how she used DNA testing to back up her genealogy research for her Pomeranian ancestors.

Read more about the magazine at http://yourgenealogytoday.com/

BIFHSGO DNA Special Interest Group Meeting this Saturday

A special BIFHSGO DNA Special Interest Group meeting will be held next Saturday, 28 Feb. commencing at 9:30 am at the City Archives at 100 Tallwood Drive.

Bill Arthurs will open the meeting with a half-hour presentation of basic “DNA 101” of interest to newer members and those still trying to grasp the basics.

At 10 am David Pike of Memorial University will be giving an internet Skype presentation on autosomal DNA analysis. Here's the summary:
Phasing of a person’s autosomal DNA data entails partitioning the data so that the portions inherited from the person’s two parents are separately identified. Once this is done, it can greatly assist with determining whether genetic matches with the person are on the father’s side, the mother’s side, both, or neither (as may be the case with false matches that can sometimes arise when comparing unphased data). Phasing can also assist with mapping blocks of autosomal DNA to particular ancestors and in situations where DNA results are available from several family members, it may even be possible to reconstruct DNA results of deceased family members. This presentation will provide an introduction to phasing and some of the techniques and online utilities that can be used to help accomplish it.
Find out more about David's DNA interest at http://www.math.mun.ca/~dapike/FF23utils/

25 February 2015

3% reduction to LAC Funding in Main Estimates 2015/16

The Main Estimates tabled in Parliament show total budgetary funding for Library and Archives Canada falling from $95,864,788 in 2014/15 to $93,011,489 in 2015/16.

LAC continues to be treated at poor man of the Heritage Portfolio. Minister Shelly Glover awards substantial increases to the Canadian Museum of History, the Museum of Science and Technology, for the construction of the National Holocaust Monument and the Victims of Communism Monument.

Looking at changes in emphasis within LAC, reflected in changes to expenditures by strategic outcome, gives a indication of the priorities of Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume.

Increases go to Access to documentary heritage where funding goes from $28,589,912 to $29,762,349, a 4% increase reversing the previous year cut. Funding for Internal Services rises from $19,927,061 to $25,948,930, a 30% increase!

UPDATE: Guy Berthiaume informs that "Central agencies issued a new guide on how to allocate central services expenditure, which simplify our work and standardise practices across departments. As a result,  funds that were previously associated with the programs on a pro-rata basis are now considered internal services, especially in the area of communication and IT."

There are decreases for Stewardship of documentary heritage from $23,377,784 to $16,742,862 (29%), likely mainly due to the completion of a facility project; for documentation of Canadian society from $12,902,706 to $11,591,441 (7.4%); for Collaboration in the management of government records from $7,595,563 to $6,212,732 (18.3%) and; for Development of regulatory instruments and recordkeeping tools $3,471,762 to $2,753,175 (18.7%).

BCG Webinar: F Warren Bittner CG

On Tuesday evening F. Warren Bittner, a Trustee of the (US) Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), gave a well presented webinar "Complex Evidence: What it is, How it Works, Why it Matters." The major part was a case study showing how putting together diverse sources built a case for who the parents were for the person of interest (known as Minnie - with substantial name variations in the different sources.) There was no one smoking gun document.

As Bittner pointed out piecing together evidence is something that most experienced genealogists do although perhaps not deliberately following the formality of the genealogical proof standard. The case built seemed convincing in demonstrating the affinity between child and parents.

I found the last two questions posed after the talk interesting.

One was on DNA evidence. Bittner had not apparently pursued or considered whether such evidence might be available for this case study or would be necessary for a reasonably exhaustive search. His answer was a general one, that DNA evidence could either confirm the conclusion or perhaps blow it out of the water.

The second question posed related to quantifying the degree of certainty in the conclusion. Bittner dismissed the idea saying that it moved back toward the preponderance of evidence approach which BCG abandoned in 1998. He said several times that genealogy is more an art than a science.

Has BCG thinking advanced since 1998?

FreeBMD February Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 19 February 2015 and to contain 244,807,530 distinct records. Years with major updates, more than 5,000 entries since the January update, are: for births 1940, 1943, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1971, 1973-4; for marriages 1952, 1965-6, 1968, 1971-5; for deaths 1971-4.

Christine Jackson presentation at The Historical Society of Ottawa

The Historical Society of Ottawa meeting on Friday will feature BIFHSGO member Christine Jackson speaking on "The Ottawa Valley's Pioneering Cowley Family."

Daniel Keyworth Cowley, a pioneering Ottawa Valley riverboat captain, was the patriarch of a family which produced significant contributors to the area’s history and economic development. These included another riverboat captain, an educator­-cum-­land developer who founded the Ottawa subdivision now known as Champlain Park, several medical doctors—and an NHL Hall of Famer.
Christine will touch on the Cowley family’s English origins, trace the 19th century Ottawa Valley history of ‘Captain Dan’ and his connection with Champlain’s iconic lost astrolabe, and look at the family’s role in developing Ottawa, as well as their great contribution to Canada’s national winter game. And what, she wonders, would Captain Dan have made of that?!

The meeting starts at 1:00 pm this Friday, 27 February, in the lounge of the Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues Street at Cumberland. There's no cost to attend monthly meetings and all are welcome.

24 February 2015

TNA Podcast: Antonia Fraser

Antonia Fraser is the prize-winning author of many widely acclaimed historical works which have been international bestsellers including Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant, The Six Wives Of Henry VIII, Perilous Question: The Drama of the Great Reform Bill 1832, Mary Queen Of Scots, The Gunpowder Plot: Terror And Faith In 1605. She was made DBE in 2011 for services to literature.

Antonia Fraser’s memoir My History: A Memoir of Growing Up describes her life in the 1930s and 1940s but its real concern is with her growing love of History. The fascination began as a child – and developed into an enduring passion; as she writes, ‘for me, the study of History has always been an essential part of the enjoyment of life’.

This podcast was recorded live on 25 January 2015.

Save on GENE-O-RAMA Registration

You can save $5 if you register for GENE-O-RAMA online or by mail on or before Friday, February 27, 2015.

Janice Nickerson will be giving three presentations including the Pat Horan Memorial Lecture "Castlecomer to Montague: A Case Study in Irish Protestant Immigration to Upper Canada."

See the event brochure and registration form at http://ogsottawa.on.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/GOR2015.pdf

23 February 2015

Ancestry adds baptism and burial records for Northamptonshire.

The Northamptonshire Record Office is the source for Ancestry's new baptismal and burial records for the county.
There are 478,523 burials from 1813 to 1912 in 358 parishes and 781,205 baptisms from 1813-1912 in 375 parishes.
The index record is linked to images of the original.
Often there are parish register and bishops transcript records for the same event.

Family Tree March 2015

The new issue is out.

The cover story The Parish Chest: a review of its contents discusses the miscellaneous records, beyond baptisms, marriages and burials, that may have been kept in the parish chest. These might include records of apprenticeships, removals, churchwardens account, and more. It's written by Stuart Raymond. Its based on his new book Tracing Your Ancestors' Parish Records: A guide for Family and Local Historians which is also reviewed by the magazine editor Helen Tovey. She calls it "hugely useful."

Having run into issues in Lancashire around the time of the US Civil War I was interested to read Trouble at mill – the Lancashire Cotton Famine by Stephen Lewis.

I appreciated the article by British dress historian and photo detective Jayne Shrimpton Dressing to Mourn, Amanda Randall's look at Victorian literary societies in Self-motivation - Victorian style, and Dave Annal's review of records that can help in researching Emigrants and Immigrants.

Other content, includes:
The joy of index Genealogical indexes can provide new research leads, save you money – and are more accessible than ever before.
Navy service records Navigate your way through WW1 records for your naval seamen and officers.
App know-how for family historians Keep your device up to date with our guide to genealogy apps and trends.
The cataloguing battle Discover a major initiative helping archives to catalogue the nation’s hidden resources.
The Women’s Institute: a voice to be reckoned with The WI celebrates its centenary year.
Countdown has started! Get ready for Who Do You Think You Are? Live!
Picturing the past – could the new Histropedia website transform the way we study our family history?
Where did they come from? – Discovering the origins of a surname.
The dead of Dundee – how a photographer’s hobby blossomed into a wonderful online graves resource.
Reader story – a country boy’s sum book
Dressing to mourn – how rituals surrounding death dictated what our bereaved ancestors wore.
You & your followers – our top tips to maintaining a popular family history blog.
Reader story – finding grandfather
Twiglets – catch up with the latest adventures of our tree-tracing diarist Gill Shaw.
Thoughts on… Diane Lindsay picks up an old research trail and solves a mystery…

      .... plus the regular columns.

OGS Toronto Branch February Meeting - now streamed free

Monday, the last of the month, is the regular day for the evening meeting of OGS Toronto Branch. You may not be in Toronto Monday 23 February but you can still attend, free.

The main speaker is Richard Feltoe, author of “Redcoated Ploughboys”, who will speak on a history of the Volunteer Battalion of Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada, 1813-1815, their recruitment, training and active service. He will introduce some of the personalities who were on its muster rolls in the various battles during the War of 1812.

There will also be  a short presentation by Branch member Ken Godfrey on War and Remembrance: Three Brothers in WW I.

The meeting starts at 7:30 pm at the Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Hall, 5110 Yonge Street in Toronto and will be live-streamed. For instructions on how to connect to the live feed, visit the Live Meeting Stream page.

22 February 2015

Canadian Headstones Index at FamilySearch

All 1,006,536 entries in the Canadian Headstones database can now be searched from FamilySearch.org. You may find it easier to perform the initial search at familysearch.org but the results are not linked to the headstone images. For those you'll have to go to http://canadianheadstones.com/ and repeat the search using that information.

Coming to OGS Conference 2015

OGS has posted a series of short video interviews with presenters at the 29-31 May conference in Barrie. They are:

Janet Few, Maurice GleesonKirsty GrayThomas MacEntee and one more yet to be posted.

Find out about the conference program at http://www.ogs.on.ca/conference/program/

What's the Canadian Government Hiding?

170,000 historic files overdue for transfer to The National Archives (TNA), review and public release have been identifies by an audit of one British government department. http://goo.gl/glcrXS

While many of the files will be duplicates, and others will not be of archival value, some historians, accuse the British government of working to hush up unflattering episodes in British history.

In 2011, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office admitted that it was illegally holding 1,500 Kenya files, nearly 300 boxes, occupying 100 linear feet. Later, the office admitted to possessing 8,800 — and eventually 20,000 — colonial files, covering 37 former colonies, in breach of the Public Records Act.

In Canada we don't have an audit process that would uncover such illegal withholding of files. We do know we have a government that's unfriendly to public access. Can you say Residential Schools?

We do know that files, notably ships passenger lists post 1935, are being withheld. You can read about the restrictive terms under which those records can be accessed from Citizenship and Immigration Canada through the Library and Archives Canada description of the Access to Information process at http://goo.gl/9P9uqb.

21 February 2015

Forthcoming OPL Genealogy Programs

I was set to post about the session Tracing Your Canadian Ancestors in the First World War being offered by the Ottawa Public Library next Wednesday, but it's fully booked. Rather than wait until the following ones are full I'll let you know now about the next two OPL free genealogy programs

Digitizing and Preserving Family Photographs is being offered at Stittsville on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 6:30pm. This workshop will discuss equipment and software; digitization techniques; organization of images, and some projects you can undertake. It's being presented by Kyla Ubbink, owner of Ubbink Book & Paper Conservation so is sure to be popular.

Discovering Genealogy Resources will be presented at Nepean Centrepointe on Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 2:00pm. This workshop will focus on the basic types of print material for genealogy and family history research, and will include examples of resources which are available at the Ottawa Public Library.

Also, advance notice of Doing Research from a Distance being offered at Main on Saturday, April 18, 2015 starting at 10:30am. Archives of Ontario outreach officer Danielle Manning will provide a comprehensive tour of the Archives website and discuss how to use both the website and Microfilm Interloan program to access Archives of Ontario collections from a distance.

Find our more at http://goo.gl/448SX5

20 February 2015

British Home Children Presentations in Mallorytown

Topic, British Home Children
At the Mallorytown Community Centre, 76 County Rd. 5 south. Mallorytown, Ontario.
Sponcered by, 1000 Island River Heritage Society
On February 22, 2015 at 2:00pm.
Guest speakers are Gloria Tubman and Lorraine Reoch both members of the Ontario East British Home Child Family group.
There is a $5:00 admission fee and refreshments will be served.

Findmypast adds to North West Kent and Wiltshire Parish Record Transcripts

For North West Kent the Findmypast parish record collections have been augmented by transcriptions for the parish of Longfield, St Mary comprising 920 burials, 416 marriages and 1,304 baptisms.

Over 92,000 transcript records from 16 different parishes have been added to the collection of Wiltshire Parish Baptisms. The total number of records in the set is now 672,872 dating back as far as 1530 and from 150 parishes.

Findmypast adds to Royal Artillery Honours & Awards Collection

Nearly 10,000 new records are added to the Royal Artillery Honours and Awards collection.  There are details of 7,000 Military Crosses awarded between 1916 and 1945, over 1,500 Distinguished Service Orders awarded between 1886 and 1918 and over 1,200 other honours and awards given between 1947 and 2013.
The amount of information, you may find the following information although many of the fields are missing:

Soldier's title, first name (sometimes only initials, last name, rank and number
Soldiers post nominal letters at the time of the award
Date it appears in the London Gazette (found at https://www.thegazette.co.uk/)
Unit the man was serving in at the time of the award, when known
Award itself
Branch of the regiment
Award itself
Theatre of operations in which the soldier was serving at the time
Schedule number
File number
Who the award was recommended by
Theatre of operations
Remarks on the award
Further service notes, when known
Date of event
Cause of death
Place of residence
Date of discharge
Reason for discharge

Ancestry adds Canada, Quaker Meeting Records, 1786-1988

This database contains of 148,443 records derives from various Quaker meetings in Canada. The collection is not comprehensive, there are random gaps. Most records come from Ontario, the counties included are Durham, Frontenac, Grey, Hastings, Leeds, Lennox, Mariposa, Middlesex, Niagara, Oxford, Prince Edward, Wellington, and York. British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia are also reprersented as well as a part of Michigan that fell under jurisdiction of a Canadian yearly meeting and some scattered New York records.

The collection includes membership registers, marriage records, meeting minutes, certificates of removal, death registers, disciplinary records, and others. Details vary by record type; they may include:
place and date of birth
parents’ names
spouse’s name
place and date of marriage
place and date of death and/or burial
event date
meeting name and location

19 February 2015

Ancestry adds West Yorkshire Estate Rental and Poor Law browse files

From the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Ancestry has added two multi-part databases  of particular interest for those researching prior to the census and civil registration.  These are browse files, unindexed images of the original records.

West Yorkshire, England, Estate Rentals, 1380-1932,  These 7,713 records, contains rental and other records primarily from three West Yorkshire estates: Temple Newsam, Studley Royal, and Nostell Priory. Records include rents books, lists of servants, account and expense books, receipts, and similar items. You’ll find names, dates, places, and sometimes duties and hiring details for servants.
Organized by manor most are for the 17th and 18th century. A couple of the manors include records from Lincolnshire.

West Yorkshire, England, Select Poor Law and Township Records, 1663-1914. With 53,139 records this collection of various Poor Law and township records relates mostly to the disposition of relief in West Yorkshire, England. Some miscellaneous township records are also included.

The original data is for: Addington, Allerton cun Wilsden Township, Batley, Bingley, Bingley and Howarth, Bistworth - St James, Bowling, Bradford, Bramley, Brotherton - St Edwards, Burley, Carleton in Craven - St Mary the Virgin, Cumberworth, Denby, Elland cum Greetland, Emley, Emley - St Michael, Esholt cum Guiseley, Guiseley - St Oswald, Halifax, Halifax and Skircoat, Harrogate, Hartshead, Hemsworth, Heptonstall, Holbeck, Holmfirth, Honley, Horsforth, Huddesfield, Ibbotroyd, Keighley Township, Kippax, Kirk Deighton, Kranesborough Township, Landfield, Leeds, Manningham, Midgley, Netherthong, Netherthong - All Saints, Pontefract, Rothwell, Sanda Magna, Shelf, Shipley, Silsden Township, Slaithwaite, Soothill, South Kirby, Southowram, Sowerby, Spofford, Stansfield, Thornfield, Thurstonland, Todmorton, Tong-Bradford, Wadsworth - Midgey, Wakefield, Warley, West Yorkshire.

(This list is included not only as it might be found in a search but also for the joy of some of the quaint names.)

Examples of the types of records found in this collection include
overseers’ disbursements, account books, and minute books
churchwardens’ records
township receipts and disbursements
workhouse records
relief records
disbursements for the poor
payment to mothers of illegitimate children
children’s register
dole rents and distribution
receipt and expenditure books
constables’ accounts
highway surveyors’ accounts
affiliation orders
relief registers
food vouchers
lunatic registers

Ottawa Scottish Genealogy Group

The next Scottish Genealogy Group meeting will be held on Saturday,  February 21st at 10:00 AM in Room 226 at the Ottawa City Archives.

Ken McKinlay will be talking about what resources are available on 'ScotlandsPeople', and also some of the strategies to save money when doing your searches.

A silent Auction of Scottish books will be held with all profits going to the BIFHSGO Library for the purchase of Scottish books, DVDs, etc.

18 February 2015

50% off Findmypast.co.uk

This looks like a great special! You should be able to purchase a 12 month subscription to findmypast.co.uk for half price until 11:59pm on Saturday, 21st February - that's British time.

Type the code RATIONING into the promotional code box at the bottom of the payment page at www.findmypast.co.uk and click 'apply'.

I can't verify this as I am already a subscriber. Please let us know of any problems by posting a comment.

OGS Quinte Branch February Meeting

On February 21, 2015 Quinte Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will hold their Annual General Meeting followed by a digital presentation by Thomas MacEntee on the topic of "Backing Up Your Genealogy Data."  More at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canqbogs/index.htm

Findmypast peers ahead

Post-RootsTech Findmypast posted "Findmypast subscriber numbers grow, as fantastic new developments and partnerships are announced at RootsTech 2015." What's new?

  • A partnership with  StoryPress Inc. so that "anybody to create rich and powerful stories to enjoy themselves or share with the world, and we’ll be working together to make this available for all our valued Findmypast subscribers."
  • "Findmypast and StoryPress have already created Story Guides specifically aimed at helping genealogists to bring their family history to life using audio, images and video. The service, which can be found at https://storypress.com/findmypast is completely free to use .."
  • A new partnership with FamilyTreeDNA. (However, it's unclear that it's anything but a marketing partnership.)
  • A partnership with BillionGraves, with which we will add more than 12 million grave marker indexes to Findmypast. 
What I don't see is information on other new record sets on the horizon. There will surely be some or have we reached the full extent of the cooperation with FamilySearch? I think they're keeping a few cards up their sleeves!
FMP keeps adding records each Friday, British newspapers keep being added through the partnership with the British Library, and I hear there's a possibility of new datasets sourced from somewhere in Atlantic Canada. 

17 February 2015

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

LAC blog that 125,954 of 640,000 files are available online from the Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918 database. A month ago that number was 110,260 files, so 506 files per day have been added, recovering from the 284 last month but still less than the 805 per day for the prior month. At that rate the digitization will be complete near the end of 2017.

Many Families: stories of our families

If I could receive an extra hour of life for everyone who has told me they will write up their family history when ....  I'd live forever. The when is often something like stop volunteering on other things Too often that day never comes. I'm doomed!
BIFHSGO colleague Terry Findley, with whom I served on the BIFHSGO Board, is an exception. I now have the first issue of a planned 12 issue collection of his and Tad, his wife's family history. It's an inspiration.
In 8-1/2" by 11" glossy magazine format the first thing that grabs your attention is the design and layout done by their son Kelly, a professional in the field. Even if the content was sub-standard, it's far from it, the design would keep your attention.
The contents are categorized by those relating to the Findley family (nine articles), the Pursel family (5 articles) and Researching (12 articles.) The Findley content includes the cover story, He Died for $1.75; the Purcel, Meet Teddy Roosevelt: City Slicker; and Researching Importance of the Irish Tithe Applotment Books, 1823 to 1837. They are written by Terry and edited by Tad. It's a real family production.

Future issues will feature:
Issue 2: Llanos, Cuenca
Issue 3: Wickham, Dunham, Rotten
Issue 4: Mason, Girling
Issue 5: Rostant, Kayne
Issue 6: McCalister, Milks and Moore
Issue 7: Jenkins, Bradley, Wilson, Erwin
Issue 8: Borrett, Olley, Goffin
Issue 9: Dowser, McCooey, Weatherall, Clements
Issue 10: Pantin, Ganteaume
Issue 11: Busby, Lacasse
Issue 12: Carige, Mariño, Meany
Interested to know more? You can reach Terry at manyfamilies at rogers.com

Perth & District Historical Society February Meeting

On Thursday, February 19, 2015 the society will meet for a presentation by  well-known local historical graphic artist Annie Dalton, The Story of the Passenger Pigeon. 

Can you imagine, in the early 1800s, seeing a flock of birds here in Eastern Ontario, so thick that its shadow blocked out the sun… so long it stretched from horizon to horizon… so vast it took three days to pass overhead?
Now, imagine these birds gone forever - a shadow, a ghost, a haunting memory. This is the story of the Passenger Pigeon – once numbered in the billions, and now gone, due to loss of habitat and commercial hunting, between 1870 and 1890.
 The passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was a wild bird - not to be confused with the domesticated carrier pigeon trained to carry messages.  It was once the most common bird in North America; mile-wide migrating flocks turned the skies black, producing a deafening noise, as they passed. Painter John James Audubon, watching them pass on his way to Louisville in 1813, described “the continued buzz of wings”.  The “the air was literally filled with pigeons; the light of noon-day was obscured as if by an eclipse…” When he reached his destination, 55 miles away, the birds were still passing overhead, and “continued to do so for three days in succession.”

Tragically, just over one hundred years ago, on September 1, 1914, Martha (named after George Washington’s wife) the world's last passenger pigeon, died at the Cincinnati Zoo, marking the extinction of this amazing species. 
Of particular interest for genealogists will be a follow-on first public demonstration of a regional historical mapping project under development to mark the anniversary. Employing digital mapping technology and resurrected original maps of the survey of 1815, this project will provide an interactive, online information system showing settlement locations of the soldiers and settlers by lot and concession, names of the original and subsequent families, and other data on their histories, as a lasting anniversary legacy.on a major area historical mapping project. The presenter is Barrie Crampton, a member of the 200th Anniversary Committees.

Following this,

Please join us for these interesting presentations, at Perth's Royal Canadian Legion, home of the Hall of Remembrance, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, Feb 19th at 7:30pm (Toonie donation)

Perth & District Historical Society is dedicated to studying and popularising our area’s rich history and culture, and providing a forum for discussion and celebration of our heritage.
Our meetings are open to the public, on the third Thursday of each month. For information, call 613-264 8362 or 264 0094.

Visit our website: www.perthhs.org, or Facebook:  www.facebook.com/

16 February 2015

Heritage Day: Ottawa

A bit last minute for this -- Ottawa City Hall hosts the annual Heritage Day celebration on Tuesday, 17 February starting at 11:30am.
BIFHSGO will return with a display staffed by Brian Glenn, Anne Sterling and Barbara Tose. It's a chance to learn about heritage facilities and activities in the city.
More information at http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/arts-culture-and-community/museums-and-heritage/events

England’s Immigrants database 1330-1550

England’s Immigrants 1330-1550 database is a result of a major research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which has run between February 2012 and February 2015.  It explores the extensive archival evidence about the names, origins, occupations and households of a significant number of foreigners who chose to make their lives and livelihoods in England in the era of the Hundred Years War, the Black Death and the Wars of the Roses.

The information has been drawn from a variety of published and un-published records – taxation assessments, letters of denization and protection, and a variety of other licences and grants – and offers a valuable resource for anyone interested in the origins, destinations, occupations and identities of the people who chose to make England their home during this turbulent period. For more information on the sources used, please click on Sources.

The project is a collaboration between the University of York, The National Archives and the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield.

via a blog post by Elizabeth Kipp who explores its utility for her Blake and Pincombe one-name/surname studies.

There and Back Again: Searching for Peterborough's Irish Roots

On Feb. 17 at Peterborough's Aylmer St. library guest speakers will explore how the Irish came to Peterborough and their impact and legacy.

2,500 families known as The Peter Robinson settlers came to what became Peterborough between 1823 and 1825.

Alan Brunger, a Trent University professor and an expert on the Peter Robinson settlement, will speak about the various immigrations from Ireland to Peterborough County.

Selwyn Mayor Mary Smith and professional researcher Dennis Carter-Edwards have prepared a special presentation regarding their 2013 trip to Ireland.

Colleen Allen will speak about Irish resources at the Peterborough Public Library and Examiner columnist Elwood Jones, professor emeritus of history at Trent, will explain how to research Irish ancestry at Trent Valley Archives.

Meghan Murphy, a popular local media personality, will share her story of a found diary, her journey to Ireland and tracing the Peterborough Robinson settlers, especially her Galvin and Murphy ancestors.


Nassau Mills, a local music trio, will entertain with a program of Irish music from the early days of Peterborough County.

The event is free and open to the public, with donations accepted, starts at 7:30 p.m. For more information please contact Heather Aiton Landry at Trent Valley Archives, 705-745-4404 or admin@trentvalleyarchives.com.

This is based on an article in the Peterborough Examiner.

Genealogy à la carte blogaversary

A tip of the hat to Gail Dever who today celebrates the first anniversary of her Genealogy à la carte blog which she describes as "genealogy news blog from a Montréal, Québec point de vue." Gail certainly works hard, I counted 47 posts in January, to bring her followers:
"everything from new resources and genealogy standards to education, issues, and societies. Sometimes, we even share stories about our ancestors from Quebec, elsewhere in Canada, and around the world."
She does it on Facebook and Pinterest too.
On Alexa Genealogy à la carte ranks 1,268,118 among all websites, excellent progress in the first year. That's a higher rank than bifhsgo.ca, where she's webmater, and qfhs.ca, where she isn't!

15 February 2015

Genealogy with Janice

Janice Nickerson has just had published her first Genealogy with Janice column, to be a monthly series in insidetoronto.com magazine where she shares her passion for genealogy. This one is introductory.

If your passion is Toronto check out what the magazine has to offer. If your interested is specifically what Janice has to say she tells me she'll post each column on her Facebook page.

A reminder that Janice will be in Ottawa at Gene-O-Rama being held on March 27 and 28, 2015 at the Confederation Education Centre (by the Nepean Sportsplex).

Janice will be presenting at the Toronto Branch 11 April 2015 workshop, Finding Your Upper Canada Ancestors.

14 February 2015

Gloucestershire records added by Ancestry and Findmypast

Sourced from the Gloucestershire Archives, Ancestry has added name indexed records linked to images of the originals for many of the county parishes:

Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1813, with 1,045,350 records
Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, 1813-1913, with 643,322 records
Gloucestershire, England, Confirmations, 1834-1913, with 14,295 records
Gloucestershire, England, Marriages, 1754-1938, with 850,725 records
Gloucestershire, England, Burials, 1813-1988, with 499,789 records

Findmypast adds 861,697 records for Bristol sourced from FamilySearch transcripts:

For baptisms 411,257  records cover the dates from 1660 to 1914
For marriages 243,084 records are for 1644 to 1939
For burials 176,626 records are for 1625 to 1950.

This is an example of Findmypast mostly playing catch-up. Ancestry already has an "England, Select Bristol Parish Registers, 1538-1900" collection of 2,414,712 records sourced from FamilySearch

February 14: death and disaster for the British in Ottawa

On the evening of Saturday 14 February 1880 Governor General Lord Lorne, his wife Princess Louise, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, and the vice regal party travelling from Rideau Hall were involved in a sleigh accident. Control was lost of the horses, the sleigh overturned and dragged 400 yards. Louise suffered a concussion, bruising on the face, shock and a torn earlobe when her earring caught on the side of the sleigh. "It was a wonder her skull was not fractured".

Official reports played down the severity of the accident.

Twenty-eight years later, on Thursday 14 February 1918, Cecil Spring Rice, British Ambassador in Washington from 1912 to 1918, died of a heart attack at Rideau Hall following a day skiing, He penned the words to "I vow to thee my country" which Gustav Holst set to music to become perhaps the most instantly recognizable British patriotic anthem of the 20th century. He is buried at Beechwood Cemetery.

Here's another of his poems.
I gave you joy without compare,
With joy I filled your very soul;
I gave you all my wealth to share,
My wealth of love entire and whole. 
I gave you all my joy to share,
And yet a gift remained for you,
A thousand times more rich and rare --
I gave you all my sorrow too. 
I gave you grief beyond compare,
For you I filled the bitter cup;
With hope deceived and fierce despair,
You took it; and you drank it up. 
Now one in joy, in sorrow one,
I am your master, and your friend,
And what we have today begun,
A million ages shall not end.

13 February 2015

What it takes to be a good genealogist

There's an interesting article in the February 2nd issue of Harvard Business Review What Research Tells Us About Making Accurate Predictions. While genealogists don't make predictions about the future both forecasters and genealogists marshal evidence to come to a conclusion. The activities are similar. If you have trouble accepting this please see 5 below.

Here are the eight factors that separate the sheep from the goats.

  1. Intelligence helps. Nothing profound there, smart people are smarter.
  2. Domain expertise helps. The more you know about the resources genealogists use and the techniques employed the better. The argument for education.
  3. Practice improves accuracy. Embrace opportunities to do genealogical research, even if it isn't on your family or a commission.
  4. Teams consistently outperform individuals. Run ideas past others; learn together. Develop a trusted network of colleagues.
  5. More open-minded people make better predictions. Think outside the box.
  6. Training in probability can guard against bias. This is the area with the most potential for improving genealogical practice.
  7. Rushing produces bad predictions. Take the time needed to think things through. Your deceased ancestors aren't going anywhere.
  8. Revision leads to better results. The genealogical proof standard emphasizes that proof is an iterative process.

LAC Podcast: “Canada’s Flag: The Maple Leaf Forever”

Glenn Wright is interviewed in this timely LAC eighteenth podcast episode, “Canada’s Flag: The Maple Leaf Forever” at http://goo.gl/5QuVrd. He recounts the historical background of the choice of the flag, the search for the original flag raised in Parliament Hill in 1965 and the story of the sewing of three flags the previous year.

In case you'd like to watch the CBC coverage of the ceremony surrounding the retirement of the Red Ensign and the first raising of the Maple Leaf flag mentioned by Glenn it's at http://goo.gl/sNb322.

LAC photo credit  http://goo.gl/MHz77Z

12 February 2015

Ancestry 2015 Product and Content Being Added for the Commonwealth

This press release from Ancestry.com details initiatives being taken by the company in 2015. There are several additions and improvements aimed to improve service for all.

For Canada the specific announcements are:

  • Following the successful launch of AncestryDNA in the UK, we will soon be bringing the service to our members in Australia and Canada, and in doing so, will connect the major English-speaking migrations and globally connect families like never before.
  • Last winter, Ancestry expanded the availability of Archives.com to users in the UK, and just last month in Australia and Canada.
No mention of any new Canadian records. I'm sure some are coming but they're obviously not as significant as for elsewhere.

For the UK and Ireland
  • Ancestry will make available in the UK, a variety of content collections including WWI War Diaries, Parish Baptism Marriage and Burial Registers, and a collection of Francis Frith historic photos gathered from over 7,000 individual cities, towns, and villages across the UK from 1860-1960.
Nothing for Ireland.

For Australia
  • Following the successful launch of AncestryDNA in the UK, we will soon be bringing the service to our members in Australia and Canada, and in doing so, will connect the major English-speaking migrations and globally connect families like never before.
  • Last winter, Ancestry expanded the availability of Archives.com to users in the UK, and just last month in Australia and Canada.
  • This spring, Ancestry will release the comprehensive service records collection for the Australian Imperial Forces -- the main expeditionary force of the Australian Army during World War 1. Made available in time for Australia's 100-year commemoration of its entrance into the war, the historical records will help honour (spelling corrected) the brave men and women that served.
Nothing for New Zealand!

FamilySearch adds Rouses Point, Waddingtonand Eastport Crew Lists

As with the images for Ogdensburg mentioned previously these new browse documents show crew members who are mainly Canadian.

Records for Rouse's Point (NY), on Lake Champlain, and Waddington (NY), across the St Lawrence river from Morrisburg, for 1954-6 are at https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2443343
Records for Eastport (ME), for 1949-1958, are at https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2426337

Again, the data is unindexed, arranged in chronological order, you'll need a shrewd idea of the year and that the person was a seaman to make browsing worthwhile.

BIFHSGO Valentine's Day Meeting

BIFHSGO will hold it's monthly meeting on 14 February at the new location, Nepean Centrepointe.

At 9:00 a.m. the before BIFHSGO Education Talk sees Dave Cross showing tips and tools for finding census records in Ancestry and Findmypast.

At 9:30 a.m. there will be at least three Discovery Tables
• Bill Arthurs will discuss DNA.
• Patricia Barlosky will provide information about print and microfilm resources available at the Ottawa Public Library.
• Brenda Turner will show her printed and embroidered post cards from WWI.

At 10:00 a.m. Brenda Turner will share the story of her husband's earnest search for his father and family in Lancashire in a presentation titled Ed's Story.

Last month about 20 members went from the meeting to the nearby Royal Oak pub for lunch. No invitation necessary. Join the party, and bring your Valentine.

11 February 2015

Watch Classes Streamed from RootsTech

The folks organizing RootsTech, happening this week, are cagey about releasing the scheduled of streamed presentations. Likely they don't want to discourage registrations in Salt Lake City.

Now the schedule is released, I resisted the temptation to publish based on unofficial sources, some of which have proven unreliable.

The official streaming schedule is at http://rootstech.org/streaming-help?lang=eng. Note that times are given for the Mountain Time Zone. Below I've translated these to EST.


10:30am - noon: Thursday General Session
Speakers are Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch International, Mike Mallin, Chief Product Officer of MyHeritage, and Tan Le, Technological Innovator and Founder of Emotiv

1:00pm - 2:00pm: 30 Pieces of Tech I Can't Live Without, by D. Joshua Taylor
From online subscriptions to the smallest accessories come explore thirty essential gadgets and gizmos genealogists should always have up their sleeve.

3:30 p.m.-2:20 p.m: You've Mastered the Census and Basic Search, What Next?, by Karen Auman
Unsure where to look next after you’ve searched Ancestry.com and FamilySearch? This course will help you formulate a plan to dig deeper into online sources, including unindexed material, local and state archives, and less-frequently used portions of popular websites.

5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m: What's New at FamilySearch by Devin Ashby
What are the latest tools from FamilySearch, and how do I use them? Come learn how to navigate familysearch.org and use the four main tabs at the top of the website. It's never been easier!

6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m: Getting Started in Genetic Genealogy by Diahan Southard
It is all the rage, this DNA testing for genealogy. But what can it tell you? Even more importantly, what CAN’T it tell you? Learn the basics of DNA testing and, walk away with confidence in this area of research.


12:30 p.m.–1:30 pm: Innovator Summit Challenge Event

3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m: Building a Genealogy Research Toolbox by Thomas MacEntee
Participants will learn not only some of the most important online resources for genealogical research, but also how to organize these resources into an easy-to-access and portable virtual toolbox.

4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m:  Bring Your Ancestor Back to the Future by Anne Leishman
You’ve learned the WHY of family history—now it’s time to learn HOW! Discover how to search original records to find family names and bring your ancestor back to the future.

6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m: The Write Stuff. Leaving a Recorded Legacy: Personal Histories, Journals, Diaries, and Letters by Valerie Elkins
Discover technology that makes leaving a legacy easier. Learn about apps and software to preserve your thoughts, stories, and memories. Still love paper? Find new ways for the old-fashioned pen and paper that gives you the best of both worlds.

10:30 a.m.–noon: Saturday General Session
Speakers are A J Jacobs, New York Times Best Selling Author and Donny Osmond, Singer and Entertainer.

12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m: Finding the Living among the Dead: Using the Internet to Find Your Living Cousins by Amy Archibald
The missing link in your family history may be one phone call or email away. We will explore clues available in family trees, obituaries, online tools, and the resources available to identify your cousin’s contact information. Come discover your living cousins online.

3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m: Family History on the Go Using Phones and Tablet Apps by Crystal Beutler
Too busy to do Family History? Learn creative ways to use tablets and phones to get work done while on the go: build a family tree, do research, create a digital scrapbook, keep a journal, etc.

4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m:  Personal History Triage: How to Tell the Best Ten Stories of Your Life 
by Alison Taylor
When writing a personal history, we struggle with questions such as: Where do I start? How much do I include? How do I handle sensitive issues? Learn a step-by-step method to make writing a personal history easier and more fun.

4:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m: Finding Your Family on Newspapers.com by Peter Drinkwater
This session will focus on how you can search, browse and use newspapers in your family history research. You'll learn how to find what you are looking for and what you can do with it once you have it.

Presentations will be streamed at RootsTech.org.

It appears that with the exception of the General Session the sessions on Saturday are recorded from earlier in the conference.,

Information on the Keynote speakers is at http://rootstech.org/agenda/keynotes?lang=eng#rootstech

Writing Your Family History

A January 19, 2015 article in the New York Times, "Writing Your Way To Happiness," by Tara Parker-Pope claims that "writing about oneself and personal experiences can improve mood disorders, help reduce symptoms among cancer patients, improve a person’s health after a heart attack, reduce doctor visits and even boost memory."

Perhaps you agree, but you still haven't got around to it. There's more food for thought, and perhaps action, in this blog post from the New York Public Library. It includes several references, some mentioned more than once, many from the 20th century.

A more recent one mentioned which I've suggested as a purchase for the Ottawa Public Library is

The Story of You: A Guide for Writing Your Personal Stories and Family History, John Bond, 2014

"The Story of You: A Guide for Writing Your Personal Stories and Family History is a practical guide for the novice writer about how to chronicle the stories of his or her life. The book encourages the reader to write the classic stories that everyone has, whether just for themselves, or for their family and friends or the future. 
Chapters include: “What is a Family Story?” “Finding the Right Format,” “Conducting an Interview,” “Revising and Editing Your Family Stories,” and “How to Present and Publish Your Stories.” As a bonus, the book includes: “219 Questions to Prime the Pump,” “22 Ways to Stir up Memories,” and a list of Resources that include over 100 books and websites to help the reader get started. 
The Story of You is written in a conversational tone that shows everyone the value and importance in writing the stories of their life, whether funny or heartwarming and everything in between. The book is a quick way to get started on turning memories into written stories that will last a lifetime."
You can find it at Amazon and preview with Look Inside.

10 February 2015

Search Coming to iOS Ancestry App

I've been using the Ancestry app more recently. It's not without its frustrations, freezing panes and mixing two different hint results. The good news is that later this month an update focused on searching their collections is coming.

"You’ll soon find two new options in the timeline view for your ancestors.  In addition to all the great hints we’ve already been bringing to you with the “View Hints” button, we’ll now be introducing the “Search Records” button where we’ll immediately take you to the most relevant records for your ancestor.  Also, within the timeline view, you will find our new Guided Search feature where we compare the details of your ancestor’s life and our record collection.  We’ll look for gaps we can fill with records that add new important information and add a blue bubble on to your timeline where we think we’ve got a strong match for a birth, death, marriage, or residence event.
Once you decide to search, from either starting point, you’ll immediately be given our best search results based on the details known about your ancestor. The interface in this view is tuned for mobile devices, providing a slider to narrow or broaden the search results according to commonly used search filters.  This allows you to focus on the records that most accurately match your ancestor, or broaden your criteria and find more matches with similar names and similar dates, looking for that hidden gem."
They explain that initially only the four most common categories of records; birth, marriage, death and census will be included with military and immigration added in the coming months.
Read all about the update at http://goo.gl/KokMv7

Hopefully the same functionality will be added for the Android app as well.

Learn Genetic Genealogy

Struggling to understand your DNA results? Is the book you purchased with the best of intentions just gathering dust? The educational material offered by the testing companies is pretty good but not for everyone. People have different learning styles.

If you're the type of person who learns best from a structured lesson environment consider the courses being offered by DNA Adoption. See the list at  http://moodle.dnagedcom.com/course/index.php

The one that caught my attention, for those who want to go in depth, is Working with Autosomal DNA Results. It's described as "designed to help people get started using autosomal DNA results to look for birth parents or to solve genealogy roadblocks. There is a lot of Excel basic instruction included. A forum is available for each lesson to ask questions and make suggestions. Cost is $35 US and the course has been updated to include recent changes at the three major autosomal DNA testing companies. It is a 6 week course with frequent start dates with teachers available for Q&A along the way."

09 February 2015

Niagara Branch OGS February Meeting

On Thursday February 12 at 7 pm, in recognition of Black History Month, Niagara Branch is presenting Wilma Morrison (a local to Niagara) who will share stories of early life for the African American Community of the Lincoln/Welland Counties. This will be a night of sharing and celebrating the Black History and their contribution.
You can join online via a Google Hangout – click on http://youtu.be/v5U2MM02VYc to connect:   No Login or special software to install!

Thanks to Steve Fulton for the information.

WDYTYA Magazine: February Issue

Better late than never has to apply for this belated look at the February issue of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine.

Parish records online is the cover feature highlighting the main parish register collections and some lesser-known local and regional sources. Ancestry, FamilySearch and Findmypast are mentioned for all English regions. Ancestry is missing for Wales and Scotland and Findmypast for Scotland. Mentioned for most regions are FreeReg, which was updated on 5 February to contain 10,781,155 Burials, 15,365,313 Baptisms and 4,953,249 Marriages, and the various Online Parish Clerk sites. The Genealogist is mentioned for most regions, although mainly for transcriptions from antiquarian publications many of which are on the Internet Archive texts and Google Books.

Well known genealogist Anthony Adolph has an article on Mapping Your Family. He refers to Google Maps and the Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers as essential tools. Among 10 great map websites I was surprised to see no reference to FamilySearch's England & Wales Jurisdictions 1851 facility.

Other content in the magazine this issue is:

Famine and food riots: How years of food shortages and foreign wars sparked civil unrest at the turn of the 19th century
Agricultural and rural workers: a look at the best online resources for finding ag lab ancestors
Royal Navy: Ancestry's latest addition to its Royal Navy holdings
Plus... how phone books can help you fill gaps in your research; the lives of Somerset tile-makers; a Jewish Gem from the Archive and more.

The magazine website is regularly updated with news and yoiu can subscribe for a newsletter, both at http://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/home

08 February 2015

Finding Your Upper Canada Ancestors

Find out how to research pre-Confederation records and how to use them to piece together the stories of the men and women of Upper Canada early Ontario.
The York Toronto Branch of the Upper Canada Ontario Genealogical Society have announced the program and opened registration for a workshop Finding Your Upper Canada Ancestors to be held in the Willowdale, York Township North York Central Library Auditorium on Saturday 11 April.

Early-bird rates apply until 14 March and OGS members enjoy additional discounts.

For full program and speaker details and to register online go to http://torontofamilyhistory.org/


As genealogists we recognize that librarians are our best friends so it's good to see a Canadian library business winning world recognition.

Toronto-based BiblioCommons is a growing company which aims "to help public libraries deliver the same kind of rich discovery and community connection experiences online that the library has always delivered in its branches -- all built around the heart of the library: its collections."

BiblioCommons serves 43 public libraries in Canada including Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Windsor, Hamilton, Ottawa and the New Brunswick Public Library Service; 35 in the USA including San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Boston, as well as consortia and four libraries in Australia and New Zealand.

In a recent announcement the (UK) Society of Chief Librarians announced BiblioCommons is awarded a contract, funded by £30,000 grant from Arts Council England, to research consumer and library sector needs and create a vision and roadmap for a unified digital platform for England. Work on stage 1 is expected to complete at the end of March 2015.

07 February 2015

Fergus Black: Ottawa WW1 burial at Beechwood Cemetery

Lieutenant Fergus N(athan) Black is the third soldier of the CEF to be buried at Beechwood Cemetery. According to his CWGC file he died on February 7, 1915, age 35 and was the son of the John and Mary Dougal Black, of Barrie, Ont.; husband of Margaret Isabelle Black, of 17, Webber St., Riverside, California, U.S.A.
The Beechwood burial register lists his birthplace as Barrie, Ontario and burial on 10 February.
The civil death registration shows he had suffered from myocarditis for 5 months.
He had returned from Liverpool to Halifax, NS, on the Grampian the previous month accompanied by his wife and two children.

The gravemarker in section 17, plot 21, reads
"In loving memory of Lieut Fergus N Black Canadian Ordinance Corps attached to 9th Batt Can Exp Force died on active service Feb 7, 1915 Aged 35 years."

06 February 2015

The Flag Debate

As we approach the 50th anniversary of Canada's maple leaf flag on February 15, the Canadian Museum of History has posted an item looking at some of the other designs proposed. Find it at
You can subscribe to the museum's new blog at http://www.historymuseum.ca/blog

Breakthrough - more convenient BMD Information for England and Wales

The Society of Genealogists has tweeted out a post "GRO information on Births, Marriages and Death doesn’t have to on expensive certificate".

"The Society of Genealogists is delighted to announce that the Government has accepted an amendment to the Deregulation Bill currently going before the House of Lords that allows for the publication of information from Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates in England and Wales to be issued otherwise than in the form of a certified copy. This is something the SoG has long campaigned for ..."
Congratulations to those who have campaigned long and hard for this, with Else Churchill and SOG in the vanguard. We're not there yet, but this is landmark progress.

Incidentally,  or maybe not so incidentally, this kind of advocacy action is why I continue my SOG membership despite not having visited to the society library in several years.

Findmypast adds British Merchant Navy First World War Medal Cards, 1914-1925

Transcriptions of 157,424 British Merchant Navy First World War Medal Cards from the UK National Archives are one of the additions this Friday to Findmypast.
Merchant Navy sailors with at least six months service during WW1 and who had served on at least one voyage through a danger zone were eligible for the Mercantile Marine Medal and entitled to the British War Medal.
Each entry in the database is linked to the card image at TNA which may have additional information. That access costs £3.30

Other additions at Findmypast this Friday are baptismal, marriage and burial index records for Dorset acquired from FamilySearch.

Facebook for Genealogy in Canada

Facebook's popular. Duh! We don't need a survey to tell us that.

Just how popular in Canada? According to a January 2015 poll conducted by Forum Research nearly 60% of adults in Canada use Facebook, far higher than Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
While there's no breakout for genealogists 47% in the 55-64 age bracket and 32% age 65 and over use Facebook.
As Gail Dever wrote in connection with her talk on Facebook at last year's BIFHSGO conference:

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. There are thousands of genealogical resources, from Canadian and British research to DNA and technology available through Facebook."
BIFHSGO members can read Gail's handout which is stored in the member's only area at www.bifhsgo.ca.

You don't have to be a BIFHSGO member to check out Gail's 14 page Facebook for Canadian Genealogy. Dive right in, explore and get in the swim of things with the most popular social network..

Paul Milner and Chris Paton Books at Global Genealogy

Rick Roberts of Global Genealogy wrote to let me know about two British genealogy books now being printed.
Buried Treasure: what’s in the English parish chest, By Paul Milner
Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis,  By Chris Paton

As BIFHSGO members know Chris and Paul are both knowledgeable and acclaimed speakers. Chris will be back in Ottawa in September, Paul was a conference speaker in September 2014.

Paul Milner's book covers English and Welsh settlement and removal records, bastardy records, apprenticeship records, vestry minutes, churchwarden accounts, constable accounts, militia records and more including where to find them. Unlike the familiar parish baptism, marriage and burial records, the topic of another of Milner's books, these records are generally less inclusive but more detailed. They're also less likely to be online.

Chris Paton's book looks at records of ancestral hardship in Scotland, to allow us to truly understand the situations that Scots ancestors had to endure and overcome across the generations. Contents are organized under the headings: family events and relationships; law and order; poverty; debt; medical problems; them and us.

The are books published by Unlock the Past in Australia and printed in Canada through Global Genealogy.

05 February 2015

Exploring the Remains of English Kings

The publicity surrounding the search fort the remains of Richard III, subsequent investigation and soon to be interment in the cathedral has been a boon to the Leicester economy.
Now Winchester is getting into the act by exploring remains of early English kings in mortuary chests in the cathedral.

Read about it at the History Blog`s Winchester Cathedral Opens Mortuary Chests.

FamilySearch adds New York, Ogdensburg Passenger and Crew Lists, 1948-1972

When I saw this new browse database I thought, Ogdensburg is close enough to Ottawa for me to include it and its 988 page images even though I normally don't blog US records. When I looked at the records I found almost all the people, crew members, mentioned are Canadian.
As the data is unindexed, arranged in chronological order, you'll need a shrewd idea of the year and that the person was a Great Lakes seaman to make browsing worthwhile.

Report from Canadian Expert Panel on Memory Institutions and the Digital Revolution

Leading in the Digital World: Opportunities
for Canada’s Memory Institutions (pdf) is the report of an expert panel convened under the auspices of the Council of Canadian Academies at the request of Library and Archives Canada.

They were asked to answer the following question:

How might memory institutions embrace the opportunities and challenges posed by the changing ways in which Canadians are communicating and working in the digital age?

Additional direction was provided in four sub-questions:
• With the use of new communication technologies, what types of records are
being created and how are decisions being documented?
• How is information being safeguarded for usefulness in the immediate to mid-term
across technologies considering the major changes that are occurring?
• How are memory institutions addressing issues posed by new technologies
regarding their traditional roles in assigning value, respecting rights, and
assuring authenticity and reliability?
• How can memory institutions remain relevant as a trusted source of continuing
information by taking advantage of the collaborative opportunities presented
by new social media?
Here are their main findings:

1.  To keep pace with the fundamental and unavoidable digital change now reshaping society, Canada’s memory institutions must exercise their capacity to be leaders.
2. Many of the challenges that memory institutions face as they attempt to adapt to the digital age are rooted in technical issues associated with managing digital content, the sheer volume of digital information, and the struggle to remain relevant.
3. The digital world has the potential to fundamentally change the relationship between memory institutions and people for the better. The integration of a participatory culture into the daily operations of memory institutions will ensure that they establish a sustainable, authentic relationship with the public.
4. Collaboration is essential for adaptation. It allows memory institutions to access resources vital for delivering enhanced services that users now expect in the digital age.

There were no genealogists on the panel, nor on the list of those who reviewed the report. That's rather at variance with the statement that "Board members are drawn from the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS), as well as from the general public."  It's also ironic given the statement that  "Compared with libraries and museums, archives have been less focused on the needs of the general public, in part because scholars have dominated their user base."

Nevertheless, with family historians the single largest user group of LAC, their interests were acknowledged..

On page 5 we read "while Canadians are tremendously fascinated by family history, interest in
national, civic, ethnic, or religious history remains strong and facilitates a sense of citizen engagement with the past."

On page 6 the report displays a table from 2007 on how Canadians engage with the past showing, in 11th place, "Worked on [a] family tree/completed genealogical research"

On page 111 the report laments that Ancestry "a private, for-profit genealogy company," gives minimal visibility to the organizations from which it receives its data.

On page 120 we read
"In North America, genealogical users make up 50 to 90% of all traffic through memory institutions’ public portals (Tucker, 2007; Creet, 2011). LAC, too, has made genealogy one of its institutional priorities by collaborating with the U.S. genealogy giant Ancestry.com (LAC, 2007b). Ancestry.com has noted that baby boomers are a major and growing demographic in their user base (Kidd Stewart, 2011), which has over two million subscribers as of July 2012 (Ancestry.com, 2012). The public’s interest in digitally available ancestral information is only likely to grow as more and more baby boomers retire and take up genealogy as a hobby."
LAC responded to the report with this post.


Much of the report could have been written for almost anywhere. The challenges faced by LAC and other Canadian memory institutions aren't unique. However, Canada is now lagging behind other countries in its response to digital opportunities. The report cites numerous examples of good digital initiatives elsewhere, and a few at LAC.

An element that struck a chord with me is moving to an authoritative rather than an authoritarian approach.
"The key to an authoritative approach lies in using the expertise of library, archives, and museum specialists to facilitate access to documentary heritage and provide important contextual information (concepts, facts, and narratives) that helps the public appreciate preservation of culture. Adopting this mindset requires memory institutions to continually demonstrate their importance and let their audience become the “central determiner of value,” instead of simply declaring their significance by virtue of their status."
How does it work?  Look at this contrast.

Go to 395 Wellington, enter and you're greeted by a registration desk and security. There's no welcoming social space where you can chat over a coffee. You need to order almost everything in advance as it takes days to retrieve.

Go to TNA at Kew and you're greeted by a help desk, a bookstore, cafeteria and mini-museum. You're welcome to browse otherwise pay-to-access records on their computers (and view a few legacy microforms) and an extensive library, all free with no registration. Even the parking is free! Only when you want to consult unique documents do you need to register and you'll likely receive an apology if they can't deliver within 40 minutes of ordering.

Genealogy - a declining market?

Ancestry.com, the largest player in commercial genealogy, released its annual and fourth quarter financial results on Feb 3. Read them at http://corporate.ancestry.com/press/press-releases/2015/02/ancestrycom-llc-reports-fourth-quarter-and-full-year-2014-financial-results/. While the subtleties of non-GAPP revenues and adjusted EBITDA go over my head some of figures speak to me.

The company continues to report net losses, $18.3 million in 2014, $79.7 million in 2013, $1.9 million in 2012. The company last made a profit, $62.9 million, in 2011

Subscribers of Ancestry websites totaled approximately 2,115,000 as of December 31, 2014, compared to 2,140,000 as of December 31, 2013. That's a 1.2% decease. The previous year had seen a 6.2% increase, the year before that an 18.4% increase and the previous year 22%.

The trend of the maturing of the market is clear despite expectations that genealogy would boom as Boomers retire. The search for new markets explains the push on AncestryDNA, now in Europe, and the continuing expansion of digitized newspapers at newspapers.com.

04 February 2015

The British Newspaper Archive surpasses 10,000,000 pages

It's great to see good progress being made with British newspaper digitization by the partnership between the DC Thomson Family History company and the British Library. 10,000,000 pages is a major milestone. Keep on going -- the faster you go the sooner you'll get through the Scottish and Irish papers which appear to have priority and be on to Norfolk and Suffolk at the bottom of the priority list!

Internet Genealogy: Feb/Mar 2015

The lead article in this issue is "Off the Beaten Path: Hidden Immigration Resources for Your Genealogy Research,"  one of five articles written by Tony Bandy. For tracking down immigrant ancestors he recommends city directories, diaries and personal recollections, maps, books and magazines/newspapers, and academic portals. It's a good list although I wouldn't call them hidden.

Tony's other articles are:
Create Your Own Family History Book - using Apple's iBooks Author

50 Top Websites for 2015 - Tony starts with tips for what he looks for in a good site, but inevitably such lists end up being a personal selection. A partial exception is the annual list by genealogyintime.com. Even that misses important sites no accessible by Alexa.

It's in the Details  - about Ancestry.com's Associated Press Collections

Got Image Troubles? - fixing photo woes

David A. Norris writes on Yesterday's Weather for Today's Genealogist, how you can supplement your family history research with information about the weather of yesteryear. This is the same topic of his article in this month's Family Tree (UK) magazine the emphasis here is overwhelmingly the US.

Other articles are:

Reach New Storytelling Heights with Treelines
Lisa A. Alzo reviews a new online tool for sharing your most treasured family stories

Reduce Your Digital Clutter
Carol Richey offers tips to help you get organized and become a more efficient family history researcher

Rounding Up Those Black Sheep 
Karen Evans looks at criminal registers and online newspapers as sources for finding UK criminal ancestors

Piano With a History 
Gabrielle Morgan researches the history of a treasured family piano and recalls the vivid memories evoked by it's presence.

Reacquaint Yourself With Cyndi's List! 
If you have never visited this extraordinary free resource, or haven't visited recently, Dave Obee says it's time to check it out!

Find out more, and subscribe, at http://www.internet-genealogy.com/index.shtml