30 April 2015

Robert Fitzroy and Origins of Weather Forecasting

Today 30 April 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the death by suicide of Robert Fitzroy, pioneer of weather forecasts in Britain. There's a good read about him from the BBC at The birth of the weather forecast.

More on the 1939 Register for England and Wales

On 24 September 1939 enumerators distributed forms which were compiled into a register of the population of England and Wales. The forms were collected on 29 September. Although it was not a census much of the information collected was census-like. Information in the record is Address; Surname; First Forename; Other Forename(s)/Initial(s); Date of Birth' Sex; Marital Status,Occupation, whether a member of the armed forces reserve (although that was not captured consistently.) For those in an institution there will be an indication of the person's status.

As there was no census in 1941, taking the regular decennial census was hardly a priority, this is particularly valuable information. Also the 1931 census was destroyed so this is the only thing close to as census between 1921 and 1951.

Findmypast in partnership with The National Archives are publishing the 1939 Register online. Digitization of 7,000 volumes with 40,000,000 entries is in progress. The originals are paper copies, not microfilm, so the image quality is good.

Good news is that the collection is substantially complete, no known missing pages, and organized with occupants of a house together. The cost to access is undetermined. Will it be part of the regular Findmypast subscription? Let's hope so but if not it will certainly cost less that the current £40.

Not so good news is that there is a legal embargo on availability of records for living people under 100 years of age. Findmypast will screen records to identify the deceased and open records if a person can be proved to be deceased. This will be particularly valuable for those who emigrated and died overseas.

There will be an indication of when people in a household have been redacted.  Also members of the Armed Forces were not listed as they had already been called up for military service. However, membership of Naval, Military or Air Force Reserves or Auxiliary Forces or of Civil Defence Services is available if collected.

Behind the scenes the project is a substantial employer with people conserving the originals since late summer last year, scanning, indexing and quality control.

The database should be available "towards the end of this year."

I'd like to thank Jim from Findmypast for filling in some of the gaps in information available on this dataset.

29 April 2015

British Medical Directories coming to Ancestry

The Wellcome Library has announced the start of a project to digitize some of its family history materials in partnership with Ancestry.co.uk.
The digitized images will be freely accessible through the Library website and will become available from early 2016.

The published journals included in this project are:

- the Medical Directory
- the Midwives Roll
- the Medical Students’ Register
- the Medical and Dental Students’ Register
- the Dentists Register.

Also to be digitized are the Queen’s Roll from the Queen’s Nursing Institute archive (Library ref. SA/QNI/J.3) and membership records from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy archive (Library ref. SA/CSP/D), as well as a manuscript dated 1658 that contains the names of witches in Scotland (Library ref. MS.3658).

Irish genealogy takes a big step forward on Wednesday 8 July

THE source for Irish Genealogy News, Claire Santry, has posted NLI announces date for launch of RC registers' website. Silicon Republic posted Irish genealogy resource with 400,000 Catholic parish records to go online.
The NLI website will be displaying images, unindexed except for the parish, which have previously been available on-site in Dublin.

FamilySearch adds Saskatchewan Cemetery Transcripts

Added to the sources for Saskatchewan burials are 164,737 index records covering 1850 and 1994 at FamilySearch. These are transcripts of tombstones from various unidentified cemeteries in the province made available by the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society.

There are other, better sources.

Ancestry has 274,801 records in an All Saskatchewan, Canada, Burial Index, 1802-2011.

There's a Rootsweb hosted Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project with entries from over 3,300 cemeteries.

An SGS database has over 500,000 records of individuals buried in cemeteries and/or burial sites in 299 rural municipalities in the province but the results returned by the free search are not very informative.

Want to be a better Ontario genealogist? Here's how.

From Sunday June 7, 2015 at 5:30 pm to Friday June 12 you can undertake guided research at Toronto's almost annual Genealogy Summer Camp,

Designed mainly for out-of-town family historians with Ontario roots, this unique program takes researchers to different archives and libraries each day. Each day starts with a tutorial or tour of the venue, followed by your own research with our guidance. Spend less time finding the archives, and more time finding information.

Jane E MacNamara, who is the leader, tells me there are still a few spots left. People are already coming from BC, AB, NY, PA, as well as Ottawa and the GTA.

Find out more here and consider adding on an extra day on Saturday the 6th for the OGS Toronto Branch Genetic Genealogy Workshop.

28 April 2015

Maximising Cultural and Genealogical Heritage in Ireland

When John Grenham writes in his Irish Roots blog, in an article with the title Catherine Murphy for Taoiseach, referring to a government report, that "Anyone with even the remotest interest in Irish genealogy should read it," we should pay attention. I'd go further as a few of the 37 recommendations several are of wider significance than just for Ireland.

For example:
"It must be recognised that the majority of our genealogical records are public goods and public access is the desired goal."
"We must explore private sector income options that would add to the income of the cultural sector. This income must be in addition to central funding and must be ring-fenced for the institutions."
"Any funds raised through commercial partnerships must be ring fenced and used in addition to State funding."
"The system must be designed with the end user in mind."
"Indexes must be made fully available online as well as physically on location. Online researchers should not be disadvantaged."
It will be instructive to witness the response to the report. Is the Irish government committed to cultural and genealogical heritage as part of a national post-industrial strategy?

27 April 2015

Get 40% off Ancestry.ca memberships

40% discount is about as good as it gets for Ancestry memberships.

Take advantage of the offer:

Canada Deluxe Annual Membership at the special offer price: $71.88,
World Deluxe Annual membership special offer price: $179.88.

Customers will be billed the annual price in one up-front payment. Offer available until 11:59 p.m. ET on April 30 2015. Go to http://goo.gl/jdF8go

Thanks for the tip to Susan Gingras Calcagni.

Your Genealogy Today: May/June 2015

For some people old family photographs are a focus of their family history interest. They produce multiple copies sending them to new found cousins as a way to draw their interest. A photo sent along with a Christmas card helps cement the relationship. This issue of Your Genealogy Today helps you understand, preserve and make good use of your heritage images.

Here's the complete table of contents for the 54 page May/June issue.

DNA & Genealogy. Column by Diahan Southard

Strangers in the Attic: The Era of CDVs and CCs

George Matheson looks at the once-popular Cartes de Visite and Cabinet Cards of a bygone era

Genealogy Tourism, Column by Ed Zapletal

Organizing and Caring for Old Family Photographs
Jacky Gamble offers six hints for giving those old family photographs a longer life

Family Time
David A. Norris explores watches and clocks as family history and heirlooms

Doubled! Baptismal Registrations of 19th Century Austrian Military Offspring
Smiljka Kitanovic explains why some births in 19 century Austria-Hungary were recorded twice leaving a bonus for family historians

Finding Caroline Tanner Bailey —Through Bits and Pieces

Robin Bailey discovers how several small clues from photos, books and other sources led to a successful search for her great-grandmother

Writing Your Family History in Five Steps
Barbara Krasner offers tips on how to record your family history in written form for future generations

Finding My Zitko Ancestors
Wynne Crombie shares her heart-warming experience of her first visit to an ancestral village on the island of Vis

Sacrifice for Victory: Rationing during World War II
Carol Richey looks at how your home front ancestors were affected by the measures taken to support the war effort

Advice from the Pros. Column by Lisa Alzo.

The Back Page. Column by Dave Obee

Archives Double Feature: 30 April 2015

If you're not completing your tax return just in time then reward yourself for having done so with a double feature presentation at the Ottawa City Archives.

Dr. Guy Berthiaume Librarian and Archivist of Canada will speak on Something old, something new: Access at the heart of LAC’s mandate

More than at any other period in history, records and archives play a vital role in our information-hungry society. The significance of archives for governance and democracy, the role of archives within the digital environment, the momentum of open government, and public expectations for access to the collective memory have all put archives at the forefront of the way our world works. Something old has become something new, and nowhere is this more evident than at Library and Archives Canada. Dr Guy Berthiaume, the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, leads a fascinating presentation on the new place of archives, an update on the work of digitizing the First World War records, a discussion on the status of the Canadian Archival Working Group, and a review of collaborative projects and public programming currently underway at LAC.
Two steps back, Two steps forward: Access and the Role of a Municipal Archives in a regional context will be presented by City Archivist Paul Henry and Archivist, John Lund
Reflections on directions for local and regional government archives, and on changing research trends and the demands they place on archives. Recent examples are the work that has been ongoing to repatriate records of regional significance through cooperative efforts with Library and Archives Canada and the recent launch of the Ottawa Museums and Archives Collection 
On Thursday 30 April 2015 6pm – 8pm, with check-in beginning at 5:45 at 100 Tallwood Drive Room 115.

This is a Friends of the City of Ottawa Archives event co/sponsored by the City of Ottawa Archives and Archives Association of Ontario Eastern Chapter (AAOEe), for further information please contact City of Ottawa Archives at 613-580-2857 or archives@ottawa.ca

26 April 2015

Melissa Etheridge on WDYTYA

The last episode of Who Do You Think You Are? for the current US season, featuring Melissa Etheridge, is one of particular Canadian interests as it explores her Quebec connection.

The episode airs Sunday, April 26 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time on TLC. Let's hope it's repeated or becomes available on YouTube for those who miss it.

Research Gaspe Ancestors at the Quebec Family History Society Library

I had the opportunity for a quick tour of the Quebec Family History Society Heritage Centre and Library, to give it its official title, which occupies part of a fairly nondescript building at 173 Cartier Avenue in Pointe-Claire. The main entrance is marked by this logo.
The library has recently been given a spring cleaning when outdated resources were deacquisitioned. There are a lots of resources, electronic, microform and hardcopy.

The unique holdings are what attracted my attention. If you have research interests in the Gaspe the collections in the Dr David McDougall and and Robert A Guignon collections are ones you should know about. For Quebec City there's the Miss Norma Lee collection.
It's perhaps not unique but there's also a significant collection of cemetery transcripts.

While visiting I also learned that Normand Charbonneau, Curator and Executive Director, Archives, at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec will be leaving soon to join Library and Archives Canada.

25 April 2015

New Zealand Sheep,Teachers and the Dead

Ancestry have added two New Zealand databases.

For the 30,301 records in their New Zealand, Sheep Returns, Owners and Officers, 1879-1889
database Ancestry writes "You can use these records to ride herd on your sheep-owning New Zealand ancestors.They list name, residence, date, and number of sheep." Does one ride herd on a flock of sheep?

New Zealand, Teacher and Civil Service Examinations and Licenses, 1880-1920 has 205,044 records where you will "Find both teachers and students in these exams for would-be teachers and civil servants in New Zealand."

FamilySearch have updated their New Zealand, Probate Records, 1843-1998 database which now counts 245,362 records. There are images of the original document except for probates issued during the past 50 years.

Oldest Known Footage of London

This compilation courtesy of Yestervid

Toronto Branch OGS Meeting: 27 April

In the main presentation Bonnie Bell will speak on Out of the Shadows: Imaging the women of my family.

This presentation is one’s women personal project to inspire members of her family to become interested in the history of their female ancestors.   Using photographs, personal documents, and family stories and memorabilia, from England, Scotland, and Canada, along with my own vision, I set out to capture, in brief 2-3 page summaries, the essential character of each of the women who define me.  This talk will combine a look at these “snapshots” with a consideration of the roles that selection, bias/colouring, family stories and memory play in the ways in which we present our family histories to our relatives and the larger world.
Also presenting will be Elayne Lockhart giving a Mini-presentation: How DNA broke through my Irish brick wall and took me back 3 generations – in England!

The meeting starts at 7:30 pm in the Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Hall
5120 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M2N 6L4. This presentation is not being streamed.

24 April 2015

DNA Day Special from Family Tree DNA

For DNA Day 2015 Family Tree DNA is offering $100 off the Big Y test.

If you don't know about that test there's a very timely YouTube video of a talk given by John Cleary - It's not just 'deep ancestry' - how NGS & Y-STR testing can further your research - at a recent WDYTYA? Live DNA talk sponsored by FTDNA.

Big Y is presently only for the enthusiast. As even with the discount the price is $475 US few will order lightly. Be sure to be familiar with the information provided by FTDNA at https://www.familytreedna.com/learn/y-dna-testing/big-y/,  To get the discount use coupon code DNADayBigY. The coupon is valid from 12:00 AM 4/25/2015 through 11:59 PM 4/30/2015.

The rest of us may want to tune in a program segment on DNA in the CBS Sunday Morning program this Sunday.

Family Tree DNA is promising "many exciting deals beginning summer 2015."

FamilySearch adds Nova Scotia Deaths 1890-1957

These death records are sourced from the Nova Scotia Archives and available in two parts. Nova Scotia Deaths, 1890-1955 has records for Halifax to 1908 with the rest of the province included thereafter, a total of 336,983 records. Nova Scotia Deaths, 1956-1957 has 11,869 records. The records are indexed with links to images of the original archived document.

Genetic Genealogy YouTube videos from WDYTYA start appearing

Thanks to Maurice Gleeson who has started posting videos of the presentations at last week's WDYTYA? Live in the Family Tree DNA theatre.

The first posted was Debbie Kennett's I've got my autosomal DNA results but what do I do next? Despite a warning about background noise in the event venue it was quite acceptable in this recording as well as being informative. We may not be as lucky in some of the others.

Noise must have been more of the problem with two of Maurice Gleeson's talks Which DNA test is best for you? and Autosomal DNA: how to use it in practice as he went to the trouble to re-record them.

Although I'm fairly familiar with the various company offerings by way of autosomal tests I found the two talks by Debbie and Maurice contained updated information. It would be good if Maurice could pace the autosomal presentation to spend more time on using the third party tools DNAgedcom, DNAAdoption, and Genome Mate. Genetic genealogy fishing trips will be more successful the more fish their are to catch which means consolidated databases. If people know about and become familiar with the third party tools they are more likely to transfer results from the various company proprietary databases.

Look for further posting to the YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7HQSiSkiy7ujlkgQER1FYw

Halton-Peel Branch OGS Meeting: 26 April

Linda Reid presents "Using Autosomal DNA Tests to Confirm (or Deny) Relationships and Ancestors". The meeting starts at 2 pm on Sunday, April 26th, at the Oakville Public Library, 120 Navy Street, Oakville, Ontario. Information at http://www.haltonpeel.ogs.on.ca/.

23 April 2015

CBC on Online Genealogy

Lesley Anderson and Louise St Denis are quoted in this timely article.


Library and Archives Canada Main Estimates 2015-16

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage had a hearing regarding the Main Estimates on Monday in which the Heritage Minister was the main witness. After a 10 minute opening statement Minister Shelly Glover answered questions from committee members. The hearing lasted less than one hour and ended with approval of the Estimates as proposed.
During the opening statement and questions there was a single mention of Library and Archives Canada, and that related to the disposition of the archives of Radio Canada.
As a taxpayer I'm unimpressed; the committee spent less than an hour discussing the whole Department of Canadian Heritage and its portfolio agencies, then let the package go through on the nod. If parliamentarians spent more time in their offices in Ottawa and took less time away in recess there would be more time for scrutiny of programs that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

FamilySearch adds Newfoundland Census Index

Back in January FamilySearch added images from the 1935 and 1945 censuses of Newfoundland to their online collection, but without name indexes. Now that has been added.

The Newfoundland censuses are more comprehensive than those we're accustomed to in Canada and the UK. In 1935 there are headings for name and residence, description of home, personal description, place of birth, immigration, nationality, religion, education, occupation and industry, and total annual earnings.  In 1945 these are asked and in addition some information for 1935 is also included.

OGS Ottawa Branch April Meeting

This Saturday, 25 April, the topic for the 1 pm meeting of the branch is "Don't Fade Away: digitization and preservation of family photographs" presented by Kyla Ubbink.

Digitization is a great way to facilitate creative use and sharing of photographs and documents, but with so many options out there for scanners, cameras and software it is hard to know what will suit your needs. In this workshop aimed at beginners Kyla Ubbink will discuss the different kinds of equipment and software available as well as the techniques required for carrying out digitization, organizing the resulting images, and some of the creative projects you can undertake to make the most out of your memories.
It will be followed by a meeting of the Computer Special Interest Group.

The morning Back to Basics session, at 10:30 am is on Genetic Genealogy, to be given by Richard McGregor.

All events are at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive (Room 115)

More information is at http://ogsottawa.on.ca/

22 April 2015

St George's Day

Today is England's patron saint's day. How will you celebrate? Fish and Chips or Sausages and Mash? Eton Mess or Bread Pudding? washed down with Newcastle Brown Ale?

For a modern take consider Jamie Oliver's St George's Day recipes

Ancestry adds UK WW1 War Diaries

Two new valuable record collections have appeared on Ancestry sourced from WO 95/1096–3948 at TNA.

UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920 Military, 402,770 records

Includes diaries for operations in Russia and the armies of occupation in Germany following the Armistice.
The diaries contain daily reports on operations, intelligence summaries, and other pertinent material, and they can provide an on-the-spot description of what your ancestor experienced. The range of dates shown for individual items does not mean there is a document inside the file for each day between the two covering dates.
UK, WWI War Diaries (Gallipoli and Dardanelles), 1914-1916 Military, 33,350 records
Included are diaries for Australia and New Zealand units.
The diaries include information on a unit’s movements, where the unit was stationed on a given day, what activities troops were engaged in, and other information, such as embarkation, travel, or casualties. 
For both these you can either search by Regiment or Unit, Diary Entry Start Date and Location, or browse the original records. There is no name index.

I searched for the diary for the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) on 31 July 1917, the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele. An exact search returned 12 entries with start dates from the 7th to the 31st of July. Included one for the 12th Battalion where my great uncle, a 2nd Lt was mentioned as having been wounded and died.

Ancestry have also updates the collections

UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920, 6,526,145 records
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919,  703,810 records

AncestryDNA looks at People of the British Isles (POBI) results

The AncestryDNA blog has a new post Recent University of Oxford study sheds light on estimating Great Britain ethnicity giving the company perspective.
Examining their database they find "the greatest concentration of Scandinavian ancestry in the East Midlands and Northern England, and higher proportions of Europe West ancestry in the South East of England." These findings complement those in the study published in Nature and summarized at http://www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxford/field/field_document/POBInewsletter06_March2015.pdf .
The blog post attempts to manage expectations that those of us with British ancestry will see the benefit of the POBI research in our AncestryDNA results any time soon.

"Realizing this possibility for our AncestryDNA customers would require the right statistical tools and adequate DNA samples from the British Isles. First, we need to obtain adequate genetic data from individuals with deep ancestry in these regions. Second, more basic research is needed to translate these results to individualized ethnicity estimates."
As I understand it the method used in the POBI project, fineSTRUCTURE, is different from the ethnicity approach used by Ancestry. No doubt there are other obstacles. One thing we can be sure of, AncestryDNA will not want to get left behind Family Tree DNA or 23andMe in exploiting the new information. Isn't competition wonderful!

Historical Society of Ottawa April Meeting

The topic of the Friday April 24 meeting is Ottawa civic pioneer William Pittman Lett, to be presented by Bryan Cook.

In 1820, the young family of a veteran Irish soldier landed in Upper Canada with a babe-in-arms. The child, William Pittman Lett, was destined to experience tumultuous changes in his fortune and those of Bytown on his long journey through the 19th century.
During that century, British North America and Bytown evolved rapidly through to Confederation and Ottawa’s selection as the nation’s capital. William’s life evolved with all this change throughout his 73 years from 1819 to 1892.
As Ottawa’s first and longest serving civic Clerk, he influenced the growth of the city in many ways. He engaged in the public debate over the choice of national flag, annexation, slavery, temperance, poverty, and the politics of the British connection and Imperial wars. He delivered his messages though the speeches of the mayors and city councils, public oratory, the newspapers and local societies.
His media were prose, speech, poetry and the power of holding the civic pen. He was Ottawa’s official chronicler and the city’s de facto poet laureate with a considerable lifetime production of poetry.
As usual the meeting is at 1:00 pm in the lounge of the Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues Street at Cumberland.

Further information at http://hsottawa.ncf.ca/coming.html

21 April 2015

WDYTYA? Live Handouts from Society of Genealogists

If you didn't get to Birmingham last week for Who Do You Think You Are? Live, or missed a talk of interest, you're in luck. The Society of Genealogists have speakers’ handouts or slides. Some are yet to be posted.

Those presently available are:

Ron Arons (Saturday 18 April 2015) Nifty & Powerful Technologies for Genealogical Annalysis & Documentation.

Carl Chinn MBE (Friday 17 April 2015) The Real Peaky Blinders

Else Churchill (Thursday 16 April 2015) What's Been Done Before? Finding Pedigrees Online and at the Society of Genealogists)

Else Churchill (Friday 17 April 2015) Parish Registers - On and Off Line

George English (Friday 17 April 2015) Problem Solving and Breaking Down Brick Walls

Janet Few (Thursday 16 April 2015) Are You Sitting Comfortably? Creating Your Family's Story

Nicci Fletcher (Friday 17 April 2015) Preserving Tomorrows History Today.

Janet Few (Friday 17 April 2015) Families in Context: Researching Your English Ancestors and their Communties in the Early Twentieth Centuries

Liv Marit Haarkenstad (Saturday 18 April 2015) Norwegian Ancestry

Celia Heritage (Thursday 16 April 2015) How Far Did Your Ancestors Travel Before the Railways?

Celia Heritage (Saturday 18 April 2015) I've Lost My Ancestors Before 1837. Where Did He Come From?

Jane Howells (Thursday 16 April 2015) The Patchwork of a Woman's Life: Finding Pieces and Stitching Them Together

Doreen Hopwood (Friday 17 April 2015) Birmingham Occupations

Doreen Hopwood (Saturday 18 April) Birmingham Ancestors

Paul Howes (Saturday 18 April 2015) How has the Internet Changed the Game? Testing the Limits of  A Huge One Name Study

Debbie Kennett (Thursday 16 April 2015) The Joy of Surnames

Michael Pearson (Thursday 16 April 2015) Tracing Your Black Country Surnames

Audrie Reed  (Friday 17 April 2015) Family History Scrapbooking. There's a link to the presentation on You Tube

Mike Sharpe (Thursday 16 April) 2015) Tracing Your Birmingham Ancestors

Jenny Swanson (Thursday 16 April 2015) Scottish Baptismal Names

Find the links at www.sog.org.uk/learn/who-do-you-think-you-are-live-2014-speakers-handouts/

As a bonus there are also links to handouts for the two previous WDYTYA? Live events in Glasgow and London.

Thanks to the speakers who agreed to make their material available and to SOG.

GEDMatch Basics

If you've taken an autosomal DNA test with AncestryDNA, 23andMe or Family Tree DNA (Family Finder) and heard about the GEDMatch utility allowing comparing results loaded to the site from any of these companies companies, but hesitated to try it, take a look at this YouTube video by Angie Bush. It's also embedded below. Recorded earlier this month it explains in relatively simple terms how to get the results from your autosomal test into GEDMatch and the basic analysis tools useful for genealogy. Recommended.
A follow on video is promised that will further explain these, and delve into other analysis features.

Explore by Location added at Ancestry

Ancestry's card catalog has been the way to find record sets for places up until now. That's remains available but now there's a new map interface for those of us visually oriented.
I found it via a tweet which pointed to http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/ from where you scroll down to the map at Explore by Location.
The default zoom level shows Canadian provinces, US states and elsewhere countries. Zoom in and you'll find no finer definition of records in Canada, county or town level resolution in the US and county level in the UK and Ireland.
At any zoom level mouse over the icon and a bubble pops up giving the number of record sets. Click and a panel to the right lists the record sets and the number of records. It's a way to find some of the more obscure items such as books.
It's new and there are issues. In England Lincolnshire is missing and the icon for Cambridgeshire is not over the county. It may not be an error but the censuses for Lower Canada 1825 and Canada East 1842 are listed as sets applicable to Newfoundland and Labrador.

20 April 2015

People of the British Isles Project Summary

As reported here last month a paper has appeared in Nature with detailed results of the People of the British Isles project. Aside from being behind a paywall it's written for an academic readership.

Now a good summary prepared for the volunteers who gave DNA samples is at
 http://www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxford/field/field_document/POBInewsletter06_March2015.pdf. It's written at a grade 9 level and so very readable even for the interested layman. Recommended. That simplification is quite an achievement in itself.

Two of the findings that struck me were:

  • Danish Vikings, in spite of their major influence through the “Danelaw’ and many place names of Danish origin, contributed little of their DNA to the English population.
  • a previously not described substantial migration across the channel (from Northern France)  after the original post-ice-age settlers but before Roman times. DNA from these migrants spread across England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, but had little, if any, impact on Wales.
The article also mentions that initial findings of a related project on the genetics of variation in facial features is expected to be published this summer.

19 April 2015

WDYTYA? Live Final Day Report

Having spent two days taking in all that was on offer, or all that was physically possible, my Foreign Correspondent went AWOL on Saturday afternoon, better than collapsing from exhaustion.

I can't imagine how performers deal with this. The crowds, the noise. It was the morning and my feet were already sore again. After lunch I wanted to hear Tony Robinson speak, at 4 pm, about his own DNA result but was so tired I decided he'd get along fine without me and left.
The temporary remedy in the morning was taking in a lecture:
I attended a session with Kirsty Gray where she was talking about power sources in the development of the industrial revolution, wind, water, gas, coal, etc. Most interesting. One of the reasons her talks are so interesting is that she stands back and takes a very broad look at historical changes. 
Kirsty will be giving several presentations at the OGS Conference in Barrie.

Having been round and round the hall a few times you start to wonder about the booths with vendors that seem out of place. Some noted were: Guide Dogs, Cats Protection League, Cyclo-ssage, Family Silver. You also meet people while sharing a table in the snack area or waiting for a talk to start.

Here are links to other reports from the final day: Dick EastmanJanet Few, Kirsty Gray Andrew Martin.

A big thank you to my foreign correspondent and others linked for their reports allowing us a glimpse of WDYTYA? Live 2015. Next year's event is said to be booked for the same location for April 7-9 which is now confirmed. It will be on my wish list.

UPDATE: Chris Paton has an overview of the event with his experience and opinion at http://britishgenes.blogspot.ca/2015/04/who-do-you-think-you-are-live-2015.html

Irish Emigration to Canada Popular

They're not coming in the numbers they did during and after the potato famine years but Irish immigration to Canada is still sought after.
According to TheJournal.ie it took just 12 minutes for almost 4,000 Canadian visa applications to be snapped up by Irish people this past week. In addition about 7,000 working holiday places were available for Irish passport holders under the age of 36 who do not have pre-arranged job offers. See http://goo.gl/RjhWb8.

Genealogy Tours of Scotland Adventure Starts Today

Best wishes go out to Christine Woodcock and her Genealogy Tours of Scotland group starting out on their adventure today. Christine has been in Baja-Scotland for a few days adjusting to the time difference.
Check out Christine's blog Scottish Genealogy Tips And Tidbits with information and opinion. It's worth following if you have any Scottish interest. The latest post tells how you can get 20 credits free on ScotlandsPeople.
BTW, if you're interested in a Scottish genealogy tour take a look at the detailed information Christine has on the one she has scheduled for May 30 - June 8 2016 at https://www.genealogytoursofscotland.ca/.

Deceased Online adds Black Country Cemeteries

Heath Lane Cemetery, West Bromwich with records from 1858 and; Tipton Cemetery with a broken record collection from 1873, are the first two cemeteries from Sandwell in the Black Country area of the West Midlands now at Deceased Online. There are 110,000 burials representing around 200,000 records including burial register scans and grave details to search.

This collection will soon include other cemeteries from Sandwell:

  • Holly Lane, Smethwick, records from 1868
  • Oldbury Cemetery, Smethwick, B66 1QT: 
  • Rowley Regis Cemetery, Rowley Regis, B65 0AG: records from 1921
  • Rowley Regis Crematorium, Rowley Regis, B65 0AG: records from 1962
  • Sandwell Valley Crematorium, Newton Road, West Bromwich, B71 3SX: records from 1962
  • Thimblemill Cemetery, Smethwick, B67 6LS: records from 2008
  • Uplands Cemetery, Smethwick, B67 6EF: records from 1890
  • Wednesbury Cemetery (aka Wood Green Cemetery), Wednesbury, WS10 9QS: records from 1888
  • Wood Green Cemetery, Wednesbury, WS10 9QS: records from 1868.

18 April 2015

FreeBMD April Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Wednesday 15 April 2015 to contain 246,071,195 distinct records.
Years with major updates of more than 5,000 index entries are: for births 1943, 1964, 1966, 1971, 1973-74; for marriages 1952, 1965-66, 1968-69, 1971-75; for deaths 1971-74.

WDYTYA? Live Day 2 Report

My "Foreign Correspondent" at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre had another interesting, and exhausting day.

First up was a talk by Turi King, sponsored by FTDNA, on her involvement with the Richard III project.

The sheer excitement she brings to any talk is terrific. It infects you, and keeps your interest. She related how she was asked to participate in a dig for the remains of Richard the third, where the research Director who asked her assured her that they would find nothing, and it would take a half day of her time and effort. Two and a half years later, she still has not finished working on the Richard file. Apparently he had said that if they found Richard he would eat his hat. Turi showed a slide of two construction helmet shaped cakes, which the poor man had to eat, publicly
Then it was off to see Eric Knowles of the UK Antiques Roadshow -- people brought in family artefacts for identification. My Foreign Correspondent had carried from Canada a silver spoon which family sources claimed was purchased as new in the 1940s
It turned out to have been made in the reign of George III, in Exeter, circa 1805. As such, it was quite rare compared to silverware made in Sheffield or Birmingham, and worth more than double what those would have been worth. 
Also spoken to was Dr. Peter Jones, who was active in the DNA analysis of about 250 WWI dead of the battle of Fromelles who had not been identified when they were buried in 1916, and had been discovered a few years ago.
They were able to contact many families of the soldiers whose records they were able to piece together, and ask them to contribute DNA to assist in the identification. Most of those soldiers were Australian, and a small number of British. Eventually, in a complex situation where the UK and Australian governments had different legal and administrative requirements for dealing with such exhumations, the team was able to confirm the identities of 144 soldiers, leaving 2 unknown UK soldiers, 75 unknown Australians, and 29 soldiers whose countries were unknown. In some cases DNA analysis was problematic, and artifacts discovered with the remains were able to help in identification. In some cases, German records of burials were located in an archives, and in such cases sometimes names and units of soldiers were recorded, where there were no English equivalent records available. The remains were reburied on a wintry March day in a newly constructed CWGC cemetery close to where the battle occurred. 
Other contacts were with Else Churchill, Janet Few and, at the stand where she was selling her books, Rebecca Probert. Shown is the cover of her new book which provides "fresh insight for genealogists into attitudes towards divorce, bigamy and bereavement through the ages.. Read about it at http://goo.gl/wTJ6MZ.

There are other reports on day 2 from Kirsty Gray, Janet Few, Andrew Martin, Christine Woodcock and Dick Eastman.

17 April 2015

Lost Cousins Newsletter: Special Show issue

Peter Calver, who organized the Genealogy in the Sunshine event I was at last month in Portugal, has sent a show special (the show being WDYTYA? Live) of his Lost Cousins Newslatter containing such interesting information that I'm posting about it as soon as possible.

The contents are:

Great news: half-price Findmypast offer extended EXCLUSIVEIs there an extra census due for release in 2022?
The token books of St Saviour Southwark
Who Do You Think You Are? Live - in pictures
Ancestry offer free access to immigration records ENDS MONDAYMore tithe records and maps online
Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland
Get 20 free credits at ScotlandsPeople
Derbyshire records at Findmypast
Iceland's groundbreaking DNA study
I found my first DNA cousin....
....And maybe my second?
A fairy-tale tree
Checking your data is now so easy
Big data reveals trends in mediaeval longevity
See your ancestors in colour COMPETITIONThinking of publishing an ebook?
Peter's Tips
To read the newsletter, go to http://lostcousins.com/newsletters2/lateapr15news.htm( or else, highlight it, copy it, then paste it into your browser).

Findmypast adds Derbyshire Records

Derbyshire, moves into the Findmypast spotlight with a collection of index parish records. Baptisms for 1538-1910 has 692,955 entries; Marriages for 1538-1910 has 775,447; Burials for 1538-1910 has 519,760.

There's no list of parishes but this index is sourced from FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1911752 where there are images of the original records from the Church of England. Record Office in Matlock. You need to be a registered FamilySearch patron to view these originals online.

WDYTYA? Live Day 1 Report

Thanks to a BIFHSGO member, who shall remain anonymous, who emailed me with impressions of day one of the event. My comments in red.
I sat outside the venue, Hall 2, from just before the doors opened at 9:30 a.m., until 9:40, sipping a coffee. There was a queue outside the door which snaked down the hallway, several persons deep. It must have held about 2,000 people behind velvet ropes. There were benches against the wall for any people having mobility issues. Staff went down the line, selling programs for 2 pounds each. When the line began to move into the HaIl, I sat and watched in amazement that within ten minutes, that whole line of people had been processed through reception, the velvet ropes had been removed, and the benches had been stacked and removed. I spoke to one of the staff, who agreed that, yes, they are expert in moving large groups of people with no fuss, no muss. Thumbs up for organization!
Inside, it's almost like being in an airport hall. Huge enormous overhead space, wide aisles, and acres of genealogy and other vendors from the SoG itself and of course, WDYTYA magazine, to a big "Ask The Experts" area where one can have personal time with experts from many fields.
On the ground, there is very good signage by the SoG, which have taken over running WDYTYA (the conference) for the company. The signage is consistent, attractive, and accurate. There were four separate SoG workshop areas. Though they were physically distant from each other, there were no real sound barriers between those areas, which in some cases made it hard to hear what was going on in some locations. One had to know to go first to the workshop counters to ask for tickets to attend special interest workshops. Of course, most were already gone by the time I got there, at about 10:00.
I was interested to see that Rebecca Probert had taken a stand, to sell her books. I introduced myself, telling her that I had heard her speak last year. On Amazon there is a big selection of her stuff. I was especially interested to see one title called Nutcases: Family Law Revision Aid and Study Guide. She really knows her stuff! I'll be attending one of her sessions tomorrow.
There are seven different workshop locations available to everyone. Four for SoG, one each for TNA, The Genealogist, and Family Tree DNA!  That's outstanding! And some people complain about three parallel session at the BIFHSGO conference.
I attended a first session by Dr. Eran Elhaik on DNA  Geographic Population Structures and Ancestry Information Markers, speaking about how it is possible using algorithms developed by himself and his colleagues, to pinpoint 100% of DNA to a continent, 86% to a country, and in some cases, about 76% to particular village districts, but ONLY within the last 1,000 years. This is not available yet commercially; the scientists are hoping to be able to drum up some investment money as a result of this kind of promotion, in order to be able to find a way to do such analyses which are commercially feasible. But it sure sounds good! I'm wondering how this is different from what the companies already provide and if so how that's possible.
Janet Few's first session was packed with people. There were overflows of people standing around the workshop area to hear her. And, as usual, she knocked my socks off. She spoke about making sense of a small group of your family, perhaps just one family in one period of time, and how knowledge of the contexts in which people lived could be developed with the introduction of such diverse info. as
- who was King?
-was there a war on?
-was something significant going on, perhaps such as the 1851 Exhibition?
-what was significant in art, literature, health, and religion?
She mentioned all sorts of ways to find such information, from the Shire Book series, to TNA's currency equivalents site to even suggesting that one search for Estate Agent's records of house sales online, to locate where one's ancestors lived and gain insights from that! I sure never thought of that last one! I notice Janet has posted on her own experience on day one at https://thehistoryinterpreter.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/a-day-at-who-do-you-think-you-are-live/
In this expanded format with seven sets of possible workshops of interest, well, there is more that's educational and enjoyable here than when I was last at the event in 2012. 

LAC Progress on the Government Record Backlog

The following note was posted on the LAC website on 12 April

The 2014 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada examined whether Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has fulfilled its responsibilities for acquiring and preserving government documentary heritage from federal institutions, and for facilitating access to these records for current and future generations. LAC accepted the Auditor General’s recommendations. In the fall of 2014, LAC approved a plan to eliminate a backlog of 98,000 containers of Government of Canada documentary heritage by December 2015. A report on results of the backlog reduction project is provided on a monthly basis to LAC’s senior management. Here is an overview of progress made as of April 10, 2015.
The overview consists of a single chart showing 63% completed, 37% remaining.

Kudos to LAC for posting this report.

I would have liked somewhat more information - What's been done? How is it now accessible? What's remaining? Is the part that's been completed typical of the remainder? I'm reminded of the ninety-ninety rule in software development
"The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time."

Another reason to volunteer with your FHS

During National Volunteer's Week at last Saturday's BIFHSGO meeting everyone who volunteers with the Society was asked to stand --  a goodly number did, but not a majority -- and were recognized. Do you know a non-profit, including family history society, that's not looking for volunteers?
New research from Johns Hopkins University "suggest that retirees who take part in meaningful social activity can prevent shrinkage in their brains’ memory centers and avert age-related cognitive problems."  There are benefits both ways.
Read the story Senior Volunteers Ward Off Brain 'Shrinkage' at http://www.futurity.org/seniors-brain-atrophy-897882/
And in case you think an extra round of golf would be just as effective, check out this article from Deric's Mindblog which concludes:

"there is no evidence for an increase in relative risk reduction in cognitive decline as a function of increasing levels of physical activity."

16 April 2015

WDYTYA? Live Underway

Twitter is buzzing with news from Who Do You Think You Are? Live which seems to be busy on its first day. This image, via a tweet is from a Society of Genealogists.
presentation, this one to a packed house by Janet Few who will be at BIFHSGO's September conference as well as giving a remote presentation at the OGS conference in Barrie.

Every year Findmypast puts on a special promotional effort, this time, to mark the initiative to place online the British 1939 National Registration, they have a Tea Room with period costumes for the waiters and waitresses. Apparently the Findmypastries are rather tasty! See the Vine video below.

There are specials.
The May issue of Family Tree magazine is available in web edition for just 99p during the event. Go to http://www.pocketmags.com/viewmagazine.aspx?title=Family+Tree&titleid=645
Ancestry has free access from the 16th to the 18th to over 21 million records from Birmingham & The Midlands. Criminal, Parish & more at http://www.ancestry.co.uk/UKMidlands

Soldiers of the First World War Digitization Update for April

As of 15 April, 143,613 of 640,000 files are available online on the Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918 database.
A month ago, on March 13, 129,271 files were available so 14,342 files were digitized during the month. At that rate the digitization would be complete in another three years and it will have taken about as long to complete the digitization as it did to fight the war.
LAC informs us that they are "digitizing the service files systematically, from box 1 to box 10686, which roughly corresponds to alphabetical order. Please note that over the years, the content of some boxes has had to be moved and, you might find that the file you want, with a surname that is supposed to have been digitized, is now located in another box that has not yet been digitized. The latest digitized box is #2057, which corresponds to the surname “Cussons”."

Ancestry links Gloucestershire, England, Gaol Registers, 1815-1879

Ancestry identifies them as "Web", a name index with links to, in this case the Gloucestershire Archives Genealogical Search for gaol records from Gloucestershire County Council.

You can click on the link to pay and look at the official record, but, before doing so I suggest searching with the name and year to see if there's a newspaper article on the case at the British Newspaper Archive or Findmypast's newspaper collection.

I tried a search on Reid and found a Michael Reid committed on 8 Aug 1860. The newspaper search found an eight paragraph article in the Gloucester Journal for August 18, 1860

Kingston and Quinte Branch OGS April Meetings

On April 18, 2015 Kingston Branch of OGS will hear Janet Connor will speak on the topic "Social Media and Internet Sites for Genealogy - for Beginner to Advanced." She will discuss the use of different types of social media such as blogs, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, etc. for use in your genealogy research.

The meeting starts at 10 am in the Wilson Room (second floor) of the Central Branch, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson Street, Kingston

On the same day Quinte Branch of Ontario Genealogical Society will feature a digital presentation by Geoff Rasmussen from the Legacy Webinar Library to learn about the 2014 innovations in Legacy Family Tree 8 software.

This session will cover:
~ Origins reports
~ Migration reports
~ Migration mapping
~ Instant duplicate checking
~ Potential problem alerts and gaps
~ Enhanced sourcing
~ Enhanced chronology view
~ New wall charts
~ Shared events
~ Expanded color coding

and much more.

The event starts at 1 pm at Quinte West City Hall Library, 7 Creswell Drive, Trenton, Ontario

15 April 2015

Ancestry.ca adds Canada, Imperial War Service Gratuities, 1919-1921

It's only 17,702 records, but what records!

"This collection contains records of Canadians who fought in British Imperial services (navy, army or air) instead of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during WWI and received payments (gratuities) after the war was over. Recipients had lived in Canada before the war and returned there afterward. The payments were equal to what the soldier would have received as a member of the CEF and depended on rank, length of service, etc.
Documents typically provide name, residence/address, year of registration, beneficiary, rank, and unit. The listing of a beneficiary is particularly helpful because this may be a spouse or next of kin."
It should be emphasized that these records relate to those who served in the British forces so will be of particular interest owing to the destruction of First World War British military records during the Second World War.

One record I looked at, for John Campbell Wright Reid included correspondence from the 1960s including the date of his death in the USA.

The records originate at Library and Archives Canada.

Second World War Canadian Unit Diaries and Col. C. P. Stacey

You may not be aware, I wasn't, that there are extensive war diaries for every unit of the Canadian forces during the Second World War. If your relative was on land, sea or air, even at one of the many Canadian bases of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan, there should be a diary for his or her unit at Library and Archives Canada. Start the search at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/Pages/war-diaries-ship-logs-operations-records.aspx/. It may not mention your relative but will recount the unit experience.

That these diaries were maintained is largely due to one man, Historian Col. C P (Charles Perry) Stacey whose contributions are being celebrated in a display History in the Making – C. P. Stacey and Canadian Military Headquarters, at Canada House in London. It is created by the Canadian War Museum in co-operation with the Canadian High Commission.
Read more about the display in this article from the War Museum and about Stacey in this wikipedia article.

Thanks to Glenn Wright for the tip he managed to send even while busy putting last minutes touches to the presentations he's given this coming weekend for a conference of the Alberta Genealogical Society.

Note: Col C P Stacey is no relative of Col Stacey of Chicken Cannon fame.

Perth Historical Society Meeting Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Rare Man - A Rare Flower
The Purdon Conservation Area Story

For the Perth Historical Society April meeting, Rhodena Purdon Bell presents the story of the Purdon family's 1840s farm that evolved into one of Lanark County's Seven Wonders - the Purdon Conservation Area. It is unusual, to find an original homestead in the same family for almost two hundred years - and even more unusual that their land would become a famous conservation area.

The Purdon ancestors arrived from Scotland in 1821 and settled on 300 acres near McDonald’s Corners in the township of Dalhousie. Rhodena’s father, Joe Purdon left his mark on this land in many ways. He was a skilled carpenter, and came to be famous for his handmade boats, a Purdon boat, and for his hand-fashioned oars. But the most innovative and dedicated work in his lifetime, was the collection and protection of the exquisite Lady’s Slipper Orchid – a flower he found, in his childhood, growing near his one-room schoolhouse in the 1930s.

Joe Purdon discovered that orchids aren't particularly attractive to pollinating insects, and their cycle takes 15 years from pollination to flowering, so he painstakingly hand-pollinated plants for decades. He also thinned the brush to let in more sunlight and dismantled beaver dams to control the water level. Under his care, the colony grew from a few dozen plants to over 10,000 blooms. Today, the Purdon Conservation Area attracts thousands of visitors from far and wide, who make the trek to see these rare orchids and one of our County's most important natural sites.

Six generations later, Rhodena Bell carries on her family’s traditions, as the keeper of the original farmhouse and surrounding homestead, providing a pristine holiday place at the rustic cabins that her father built at Purdon Lake. She has also ensured that the love of their heritage has been passed on to her two children – the seventh generation.

The location is Perth's Royal Canadian Legion, home of the Hall of Remembrance, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, Thursday 16 April at 7:30pm
(Toonie donation)

Thanks to David Taylor for the information

14 April 2015

FamilySearch adds Cornwall and Devon Parish Registers, 1538-2010

This FamilySearch database of Cornish and a few Devon records of baptisms (to 1910), marriages (to 1935), banns, and burials (to present) looks like an update. The database presently contains 202,325 images which appears to have been recently updated by 171,083 records.

Most of the records are for parishes in Cornwall.

Altarnon, Antony, Baldhu, Blisland, Boconnoc, Bodmin, Bolventor, Botus Fleming, Boyton, Bradoc, Breage, Budock, Calstock, Camborne, Camelford, Cardinham, Carnmenellis, Charlestown, Colan, Constantine, Cornelly, Crantock, Creed, Crowan, Cubert, Cuby, Cury, Davidstow, Duloe, East Looe, Egloshayle. Egloskerry, Falmouth, Feock, Flushing, Forrabury, Germoe, Gerrans, Godolphin, Gorran, Grade, Gulval, Gunwalloe, Gwennap, Gwinear, Halsetown, Hayle St Elwyn, Helston, Herodsfoot, Hessenford, Illogan, Isles of Scilly, Jacobstow, Kea, Kenwyn, Kilkhampton, Ladock, Lamorran, Landewednack, Landrake with St Erney, Landulph, Laneast, Lanhydrock, Lanivet, Lanlivery, Lanreath, Lansallos, Lanteglos by Camelford, Lanteglos by Fowey, Launcells, Launceston St Thomas, Lawhitton, Lelant, Lesnewth, Lewannick, Lezant, Linkinhorne, Liskeard, Little Petherick, Lostwithiel, Ludgvan, Luxulyan, Mabe, Maker, Manaccan, Marazion, Marhamchurch, Mawgan-in-Meneage, Mawnan, Menheniot, Merther, Mevagissey, Michaelstow, Millbrook, Minster, Morvah, Morval, Morwenstow, Mullion, Mylor, Newlyn East, Newlyn St Peter, North Hill, North Petherwin, North Tamerton, Otterham, Padstow, Par, Paul, Pelynt, Pencoys, Pendeen, Penwerris, Penzance Madron, Penzance St Mary, Penzance St Paul, Perran-ar-worthal, Perranuthnoe, Perranzabuloe, Phillack, Philleigh, Pillaton, Port Isaac, Porthleven, Poughill, Poundstock, Probus, Quethiock, Rame, Redruth, Roche, Ruan Lanihorne, Ruan Major, Ruan Minor, Sancreed, Sennen, Sheviock, Sithney, South Hill, South Petherwin, St Agne, St Allen, St Anthony in Meneage, St Anthony in Roseland, St Austell, St Blazey, St Breock, St Buryan, St Cleer, St Clement, St Columb Major, St Columb Minor, St Day, St Dennis, St Dominick, St Endellion, St Enoder, St Erme, St Erney, St Erth, St Ervan, St Eval, St Ewe, St Gennys, St Germans, St Gluvias, St Hilary, St Issey, St Ive, St Ives, St John, St Juliot, St Just in Penwith, St Just in Roseland, St Keverne, St Kew, St Keyne, St Levan, St Mabyn, St Martin by Looe, St Martin in Meneage, St Mawgan-in-Pydar, St Merryn, St Mewan, St Michael Penkevil, St Minver, St Neot, St Pinnock, St Sampson, St Stephen in Brannel, St Stephens by Launceston, St Stephens by Saltash, St Stithians, St Teath, St Tudy, St Veep, St Wenn, St Winnow, Stoke Climsland, Stratton, Talland, Temple, Tideford, Torpoint, Towednack, Tregony, Treleigh, Tremaine, Treneglos, Treslothan, Tresmere, Trevalga, Treverbyn, Trewen, Truro, Truro St George, Truro St Mary, Truro St Paul, Tuckingmill, Tywardreath, Veryan, Warbstow, Warleggan, Week St Mary, Wendron, Whitstone, Withiel, Zennor.

Don't forget that Cornwall has an active online parish clerk program.

There are just a couple of parishes from Devonshire.

St Giles on the Heath, Werrington

Find the Devon online parish clerks at http://genuki.cs.ncl.ac.uk/DEV/OPCproject.html

FamilySearch update Ontario Marriages

There are now 1,382,652 records in the FamilySearch Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927 collection, an increase from 1,136,379 records when I last posted on this collection in October 2013. The Ancestry.ca collection has an extra year, to 1928, and also includes some scattered earlier marriages, as early as 1801.

WDYTYA? Live News

The UK's biggest family history event, Who Do You Think You Are? Live gets underway on Thursday in it's new location in Birmingham. It's the go to place for British, especially English and Welsh, family historians.

As well as the many stands from commercial and non-commercial organizations a major attraction is the Society of Genealogists Workshop Programme which runs four parallel sessions from 10 am to past 5 pm. Speakers who have already been to Ottawa include Else Churchill, Audrey Collins, Janet Few, Kirsty Gray, and Debbie Kennett.

There are others I hope we can have in Ottawa in the future including Rebecca Probert. Fortunately I was able to hear the two talks she's giving at Genealogy in the Sunshine last month. I recommend attending her presentations if there are still seat available. If not you may be able to find standing room. Rebecca will also be selling her books including a new one. Stop by and wish her success in her new role, and this is the news, as department head of the School of Law at the University of Warwick, as of next September.

Maurice Gleeson, who will be a speaker at OGS Conference 2015 and the Toronto Branch OGS Genetic Genealogy event on 6 June has posted that he will be be placing videos on presentations given at the Family Tree DNA presentation area during WDYTYA? Live on YouTube.

Why not Watson for Genealogy?

A couple of worthwhile blog posts on the future of genealogy came my way over the weekend courtesy of Randy Seaver's weekly roundup Best of the Genea-Blogs.

Expanding Our View of What is Possible in Genealogical Research by James Tanner caught my attention with:

"Huge online programs have begun using sophisticated search algorithms to find source hints with digitized documents. For many new genealogists, finding their ancestors is just a matter of rapidly reviewing and evaluating documents suggested by the programs. Of course, as always, there are the detractors who claim that using the technology is somehow unacceptable, but the changes will come even more rapidly in the future. The old way of doing genealogy that I used thirty years ago is gone."
The Future of Genealogy - 6 Predictions by Louis Kessler attracted my attention with the following in the 4th prediction "Down with Standards. Up with APIs."
"We don’t want to transfer just data anymore. We want to connect the information available at the online repositories and online services to what we have and make corrections, add conclusions and connect the conclusions to their evidence. In other words, we want our data AND our reasoning AND the evidence behind our reasoning to transfer and connect seamlessly with the online resources."
"Once there is a company big enough that connects to everywhere by linking to all these APIs, it will becomes hugely popular, and the genealogical world will take another giant leap.
That company does exist, its called IBM and it has a technology called Watson - the same one that beat the two top champions of the long-running TV program Jeopardy in 2011. Watson can only have improved in the intervening four years. It's already at work in financial services, marketing and medical applications. A smart genealogy company would seek a partnership with IBM rather than reinventing the wheel."

13 April 2015

Tobacco to win the war

100 years ago today, 13 April 1915, the Ottawa Journal in conjunction with the Montreal Gazette was promoting a subscription program to support our troops in Europe.  People were asked to send one dollar, or 25 cents to provide a parcel of comforts for the troops - in the parcel -- tobacco.
The 25c parcel had 50 cigarettes and 4 ounces of smoking mixture, some matches and a postcard addressed to the donor. The dollar pack had in addition one briar pipe, one rubber-lined tobacco pouch, one tinder lighter.
I suppose if the German poisonous gas didn't get you the tobacco smoke would -- eventually. But not before the tobacco companies had made a good profit from the addicted survivors.
How times have changed.

Norm Christie and ‘missing’ soldiers from the Battle of Vimy Ridge

A recent worthwhile read is Robert Sibley's article from the Nationl Post Ninety-eight years later, historian finds ‘missing’ soldiers from the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
I'm certainly in favour of identifying the remains of 44 Canadian Scottish soldiers who "died in one of the great battles of the war" (Vimy Ridge) and that "we should do them the honour of recovering their bodies." 
However the comments attributed to Christie, that the notion of Canada as a nation of peacekeepers is an ideological fabrication, do no honour to our military. Nobel Peace Prize winning Prime Minister Lester Pearson, who served during the First World War, is the name most associated with peacekeeping.There's no need to denigrate peacekeeping to promote valuing war-time service. Peacekeeping too is an important part of Canadian history.
This government could well afford to fully fund the recovery project Christie promotes, if it chose. By not doing so is Christie condemning the present government's neglect of Canada's military history - something of which they've rarely been accused? Perhaps if the article had been published anywhere other than that particular newspaper it would have had a more even perspective.

12 April 2015

Carleton Place at War

Part 1 of the story of Carleton Place's volunteers in the First World War is here

Thanks to Gail Dever at Genealogy à la carte for the tip.

BIFHSGO April 2015 Meeting

Saturday morning saw another good crowd, for the regular monthly meeting of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, not record breaking as last month, but then the theme - Sussex ancestry - is not as well represented in the Society membership as is Ireland.
Jane Down, John Sayers and Christine Jackson who all have Sussex ancestry displayed three tables of their personal family history publications and other resources in the lobby.

Christine, who was the speaker for the main presentation My Ancestors Were All “Ag Labs” – or Were They? displayed items from the Sussex Family History Group including having a copy of the Sussex Marriage Index CD available for trial which has over 300,000 county marriages and licences.
Christine's presentation took her back, via molecatchers and a death in India, to researching her ancestral roots in the iron industry in the Weald of Sussex and Kent, mainly with the help of probate records and information from the Wealden Iron Research Group. She mentioned advice from Helen Osborn's book Genealogy: Essential Research Methods.

The educational presentation Genealogy 101 prior to the main meeting saw Bill Arthurs sharing basic knowledge of cell structure, the Y Chromosome and the X Chromosome.

Thanks to Barbara Tose for the first photograph.

Ancestry makes major additions to West Yorkshire, England, Select Rate Books, Accounts and Censuses, 1705–1893

In early December when West Yorkshire, England, Select Rate Books, Accounts and Censuses, 1705–1893 first came online at Ancestry there were 163,445 records. This major update sees that jump to 422,295.
These records 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. In some cases you may need to page forward for the rent and rate details, which appear on the next page.
There are 51 communities with records in the collection. The largest is likely Leeds with most of those records (35 sets) described as coming from Leeds Township Overseas Record Rate Books between 1713 and 1805.
For Halifax the records include Highways Compositions from 1819-1834, Poor Relief Assessment 1803-1818, and six sets of Valuations of Property between 1735 and 1878.
Original data for this collection is from the West Yorkshire Archive Service: Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield, England.

11 April 2015

Findmypast adds Essex Wills Beneficiaries Index, 1505-1916

One of the missed opportunities in Ancestry's indexing of the post 1858 Probate calendar's for England and Wales involves the lack of any mention of anyone but the deceased in the index.

It's not an opportunity missed by Findmypast in placing online a database of 156,616 records, the Essex Wills Beneficiaries Index 1505-1916.

Findmypast information is that it records all people mentioned in a will, with the exception of witnesses and those with the same name as the testator – therefore not only beneficiaries and relatives appear but also executors, trustees, occupiers of property and adjacent landowners and so on. Most records include a combination of the Testator’s name and location, the Beneficiary’s name and their relationship to the testator, the year the will was made, any additional notes and an archive reference. Each record contains a transcript and an image of the index.

Less than 100 records are for the period after 1858 and the civil system of probate. The best coverage is for the latter part of the 17th and early18th centuries.

Cramahe Township Digital Archives

I needed a map to find the location of Cramahe Township - in Northumberland County approximately 140 km East of Toronto including Colborne as the largest town. It has a population of about 6,000.

Despite the small population it puts much larger communities to shame in putting local historical resources online. Read about the Township initiative at http://www.cramahenow.com/?p=1758.

Online resources include Colborne & Cramahe class photos between 1895 and 1959; page images of The Colborne Express, a weekly, for 1927, 1928, 1934-35, 1938-39, 1944-45 and 1947-48.; and two issues of The Enterprise Of East Northumberland for November 1948. There are also online exhibits of people and places from the community history. Start at http://vitacollections.ca/cramahelibrary/search

10 April 2015

More on "New Ancestor Discoveries" through AncestryDNA

Last Saturday in a blog post I commented on this new AncestryDNA feature pointing out that, in contrast to the usual hype from the Ancestry PR machine Kenny Freestone, AncestryDNA’s Director of Product, had produced a video stating to expect that:

about one-third of subscribers will have no new ancestors identified,
about one-quarter of the matches will be false.
Now he's posted on the Ancestry blog New Ancestor Discoveries: Clues (Not Proof) to Your Past in an attempt to"explain more clearly what this feature is and is not." It's welcome, addresses the questions:
What is a New Ancestor Discovery?
Why do we think you are related to this person?
What is the confidence you are really related to this person?
How is the confidence determined?
and includes the statement, pretty much in line with the statistic quoted previously:
In general, the confidence that a New Ancestor Discovery really fits in your family tree is pretty good—about 70%.
I have no way to independently evaluate whether about 70% is an accurate figure, although if it is it's for relatives, not ancestors.

If you've had experience with Ancestry's "shaky leaves" on family trees you'll appreciate that they are often wildly off. My last two were for people in a different continent, even cursory examination showed them to be false - false positives.
With statistical techniques you have to choose the balance been false positives, giving too many leads that are incorrect, and false negatives, not giving leads which would have been helpful.
With the shaky leaves, as with the "New Ancestor Discoveries" Ancestry has evidently chosen the former, perhaps because it gives the appearance of working harder for the client. I wonder if this has been focus group tested?
Explanations as in the blog post help, but Ancestry could do more. One relatively simple thing would be to stop referring to relatives as ancestors. It only alienates. Beyond that fire the person who refuses to give us a chromosome browser, continue to work on improving the technique, and put an enhanced effort into expanding the database. Not charging so much more for the service in the UK than the USA would help.

Ancestry updates London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1659-1930

This Ancestry database now has more than 3 million records including recent south London additions for Greenwich (565,643 records), Lambeth (306,830), Lewisham (184,818) and Southwark (565,643) in this London Poor Law database.

If a person is in these records once you're likely to find multiple entries, especially for the elderly as they enter, are discharged to an infirmary for medical care and subsequently return to the workhouse, and the death is recorded.
The records comprise a partial transcript and images of the original, often with additional information, sourced from the London Metropolitan Archives.

09 April 2015

National Genealogy Conference Cancelled

The following was received from Heidi Wilker, organizer of the proposed Canadian National Genealogy Conference

"Regretfully, we must cancel the National Genealogy Conference in Canada for July 17-19, 2015.

Many thanks to the planned speakers for their willingness to support an inaugural national genealogy conference in Canada, to the companies and organizations who were willing to support the conference through sponsorship, and to those who generously helped to spread the word to their network of genealogists."

Although no reason is given I strongly suspect there was insufficient interest expressed by way of registrations to warrant the expense.

There has been some discussion of broadening the scope of the Ontario Genealogical Society conference in 2017, to be held in Ottawa during the year-long celebration of Canada's sesquicentennial.

Internet Genealogy Magazine: April/May 2015

The item that caught my eye in the latest issue of Internet Genealogy, which arrived in my mailbox on Tuesday, is Cloud Storage and Your Genealogy! the cover-featured article. There's something mysterious about clouds - perhaps on a summer's day you've rested on the grass, stared up at the sky and taken the time to look at how a cloud changes. In a few minutes watch them do extraordinary things.

It seems as if cloud storage services change almost as rapidly. The article helps us catch up.

Tony Bandy tells us the cloud is just a collection of computer servers and a vast array of supporting infrastructure needed to reliably and conveniently save and deliver back computer files. He reviews the major vendors, Apple's iCloud, Microsoft's OneDrive and Google Drive plus Dropbox and services from Amazon. He also mentions genealogy companies with their cloud storage services for genealogy files, with accompanying images, before summarising trends in cloud storage services - bigger, better, more comprehensive and more secure.

Here's the complete table of contents for the issue, one that's light on British and Canadian content, with some key words highlighted.

There is a Lovely Land 
Carol Richey explores the resources available for those who are seeking their Danish ancestors 

It’s in the Genes!
Gabrielle Morgan researches the incredible life of a Tasmanian doctor, his family and the lives of their descendants

Cloud Storage and Your Genealogy!
Tony Bandy looks at what is available in cloud-based storage services for family history researchers

Diane L. Richard looks at websites and related news that are sure to be of interest 

Was Your Ancestor a True “Child of the Sea”?
David A. Norris explores the many circumstances for births occurring at sea, and the resources where you might locate the records

Windows 8: All Forms and Factors
Tony Bandy looks at new Windows-based hardware for your family research

Parsons and Priests and Reverends and Rectors 
David A. Norris shows how to find those who tied the knot at your ancestors’ weddings, but also many other useful related sources 

The Great Migration, 1915-1970 
Carol Richey looks at the many resources available to assist in finding African American ancestors during this important period in American history 

Sam’s Adventure in Genealogy 
Constance R. Cherba and Samuel J. Ashkar discover the fun side of genealogy research 

The Back Page 
Dont' forget to search for the living!

BIFHSGO April Meeting

Saturday's BIFHSGO meeting feature presentation at 10 am is My Ancestors Were All “Ag Labs” – or Were They? by long-time member and genealogical researcher, and international traveller, Christine Jackson.

When Christine Jackson started researching her maternal grandmother’s family in West Sussex nearly 40 years ago, she had to use conventional tools on-site in England and printouts from the International Genealogical Index compiled by the Church of Latter-day Saints. Her efforts revealed a long but unexceptional line of agricultural labourers, reaching back to a brick wall in 1675. Many years later, Christine tackled that brick wall using a variety of online resources. Lacking key parish records, she accumulated what she calls ‘circumstantial evidence’ which also led her to a fascinating discovery. She learned about the skilled blast furnace workers, at least one of whom bore her family name, who migrated from Northern France in Tudor times to develop a new iron industry in the Weald of Sussex and Kent. In this presentation, Christine will recount her search for early genealogical evidence in a variety of lesser-known sources and for a possible link between that 16th-century immigrant French ironworker and her known 17th-century ancestors.will speak about how she uncovered a long line of agricultural labourers and the online resources that helped her break through a brick wall in 1675.
In the Before BIFHSGO Education Talk at 9 am, titled Genealogy 101, Bill Arthurs will offer an "understandable" explanation of DNA for Genealogy, starting with basic knowledge of cell structure, the Y Chromosome and the X Chromosome.

The venue is The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Nepean, Ontario

08 April 2015

OGS Early-bird Conference Registration deadline

A reminder that April 10th is the last day to save on registration for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference, May 29-31 in Barrie, Ontario. Comprehensive information and registration online at www.ogs.on.ca/.

Peter Carruthers: Ottawa WW1 Beechwood burial

Bombardier Peter McRae Carruthers, the fourth WW1 soldier to be buried at Beechwood Cemetery, died a century ago on April 8, 1915. A native of Ottawa born on 13 September 1881 to John and Margaret Carruthers, he died suddenly of heart failure at Lethbridge, Alberta, while in charge of the Guard at the 20th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. According to an article in the 9 April 1915 Ottawa Citizen he had been scheduled to go to Europe with the second Canadian contingent.

07 April 2015

Search Restored for Irish Civil Registration Indexes

It appears Irish authorities are now satisfied the earth will continue to rotate if civil registration indexes are returned to IrishGenealogy.ie/. You now have to enter your, or at least a name, and check a box to affirm you'll abide by Section 61 of the Civil Registration Act, 2004 to reach the basic search form. An advanced search is available by choosing the More search options.
Before you see the results there's the annoyance of a reCAPTCHA entry.
I was pleasantly surprised that a search with first and last name returned results where the first name specified was actually the middle name - useful when people choose to reverse the order in later life.

Years available are 1864-1914 for births, 1845 or 1864 (depending on religion - 1939 for marriages and 1864 - 1964 for deaths.

Durham Branch OGS April Meeting: 7 April

Today's meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Branch of the Oshawa Library (basement auditorium).
focuses on Free Websites: where to find them and how to use them.

A few good suggestions are already on the website and others are invited.  I hope they don't overlook blogs!

Also, new at this meeting - TONI Tidbits from this huge database of over 3 million genealogical entries

British Newspaper Archive Updates

There are about 75 titles in the list of recently added issues, within 30 days, at the British Newspaper Archive. Is there a paper for your area of interest?

Those with ten or more years added are|:

Bedfordshire Times and Independent 1873, 1942, 1945 - 1949, 1952 - 1954
Bury (St Edmunds) Free Press 1874 - 1896, 1898 - 1901, 1911 - 1913, 1915 - 1935, 1950 - 1955
Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser, and Penrith Literary Chronicle 1855, 1858 - 1859, 1861, 1863 - 1871
Cumberland Pacquet, and Ware's Whitehaven Advertiser 1777, 1791 - 1793, 1796 - 1804, 1808, 1813, 1815 - 1818, 1829, 1841
Derbyshire Courier 1888 - 1889, 1894, 1900 - 1911
Driffield Times 1869 - 1888, 1904 - 1916, 1918, 1929 - 1937, 1945 - 1949
Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian 1900 - 1945
Glossop Record 1859 - 1871
Gloucestershire Echo 1897, 1916
Hawick News and Border Chronicle 1904, 1909, 1914, 1916 - 1924
Nottingham Review and General Advertiser for the Midland Counties 1825, 1827 - 1852
Saunders's News-Letter (Dublin) 1773 - 1787, 1794 - 1795
South Eastern Gazette (Maidstone, Kent) 1852 - 1854, 1858 - 1865
Walsall Advertiser 1879 - 1896, 1898 - 1915
Whitby Gazette 1854 - 1883, 1887 - 1888, 1905 - 1907, 1909 - 1911, 1913 - 1916