30 June 2015

Manitoba First World War Casualties

The Archives of Manitoba has launched a new searchable index of Manitoba World War 1 casualties at www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/ww1_resources/ww1_soldier_index.html.

According to an announcement from the Archives "the index was created from index cards that make up  a series entitled "Index cards identifying soldiers killed in World War I".  These cards, created by the Government of Manitoba just after World War 1 (we believe to populate the Cenotaph on Memorial Boulevard just to the west of the Manitoba Archives building),  identify a Manitoban soldier killed in the First World War.. Some of the entries have a fair bit of detail, and others are quite limited.  We have titled the index "partial" because we know that not all Manitoba casualties were recorded in it - for instance, Manitoban George Battershill was fatally wounded at Vimy (we have his letters) and there is no card for him."

There are 1092 soldiers represented in the index which is fully keyword searchable.

If you go down to LAC today ...

... you're sure of a big surprise ... if you expect to find the lobby at 395 Wellington displaying gems from the LAC collection.

What you will find is a display put on by the Canada Science and Technology Museum: Harvesting Sunlight, in collaboration with SunCentral, and Underwater Imaging, in collaboration with 2G Robotics.

While the genealogist in me would prefer to see exhibits related to the LAC mandate it's still better to have the space used rather than remain empty in the forlorn hope ...

Read about the exhibit at http://cstmuseum.techno-science.ca/en/whats-on/exhibition-technozones-highlights.php

29 June 2015

Findmypast adds 1.9 million historic criminal records from TNA

Just posted.  See info from findmypast at http://blog.findmypast.com/2015/1-9m-brand-new-historic-crime-records-only-available-on-findmypast/ and TNA at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/1-9-million-historic-criminal-records-published-online-for-the-first-time/

Names of victims and witnesses as well as criminals are included. To be updated.

Paul Milner reviews Down and Out in Scotland researching ancestral crisis.

The take home messages from Paul Milner's review of Chris Paton's Book Down and Out in Scotland researching ancestral crisis are:

  • This is definitely not a book to begin your Scottish research with. 
  • There is much in this volume that I have not seen in other Scottish guide or reference books, so is highly recommended for those wanting new avenues to explore.
Read the full review on Paul's blog at http://www.milnergenealogy.com/?p=725

via Gail Dever at Genealogy à la carte

Surprise, surprise: Eugenie Bouchard related to royalty

The latest Ancestry.ca press release tells those in extreme desperation for celebrity news that Canadian tennis player, Wimbledon finalist in 2014, Eugenie Bouchard is half 11th cousin, twice removed from The Duchess of Cornwall through her father’s side of the family, a Quebec line.

In a world with three children per couple everyone would have 725.6 million 11th cousins.  That's a reasonable historical estimate as more than two children surviving to have children of their own are needed for there to have been any natural growth in population, The figure is based on the equation for the number of  nth cousins 2^(n+1)*c^n where c is the constant number of children per couple.

Estimates are there are 360 million people speaking English as their first language, and 80 million French speakers, in total much less than 725.6 million. With those odds the surprise would be if Bouchard were not related to royalty, and the same for us all.

What's more unusual in Bouchard's case is the ability to find the records thanks to those of Quebec and the British nobility having better survival than for the average British ag lab. Lesley Anderson discusses the records in an Ancestry blog post at http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/06/26/true-tennis-royalty-eugenie-bouchards-real-life-regal-connections-revealed/.

OGS Ottawa Branch AGM

On Saturday afternoon Chair Doug Grey got through the agenda of the OGS Ottawa Branch AGM in under 20 minutes - admirable.

Despite a major loss suffered on Gene-O-Rama in 2014, due to a major snowstorm on the day, and a 9% reduction in membership fee revenue, the Branch came in with a less than $1,000 loss for the year.

The Branch was able to fill all board positions for the coming year. A new editor for The Ottawa Genealogist is needed for January when Ed Kipp steps down.

Gene-O-Rama 2016 is scheduled for 1-2 April.

The AGM was followed by an excellent Home Children presentation by Gloria Tubman.

28 June 2015

July 8 confirmed as date NLI Catholic records go online

"The National Library of Ireland’s complete collection of Catholic parish register microfilms is to be made available online for free later this year.

On 8 July, the NLI will launch a dedicated website with over 390,000 digital images of the microfilm reels on which the parish registers are recorded."

That's the start of an article by Grainne Rothery from Business and Leadership found at http://goo.gl/MeBpKb

via a tweet from Kyle Betit.

Your Genealogy Today: July/August 2015 issue

When I started out reading this issue it seemed there'd be nothing much for me -- all US genealogy.  Up until page 39 there's just one page, on DNA & Genealogy which appealed.

Here's that part of the table of contents:

Historic Amusement Parks: Your Family & America’s Playgrounds
Sandy Hack looks at how vacation photos and clippings can add color to your family history research

DNA & Genealogy
Diahan Southard asks: In an ever-changing DNA world, is mtDNA testing still an important tool for family historians?

What the Widow Got
George G. Morgan looks at how your female ancestor may have been affected by property laws

Beginning Your World War II Research
Jennifer Holik explores the offline resources for researching your WWII military ancesto

Book Reviews
Lisa A. Alzo reviews two books by Jennifer Holik: The Tiger’s Widow, and Stories from the Battlefield

Finding Grandad at the Canal!
Isabelle Kettner Addis explores her grandfather's contribution to building the Panama Canal through Internet searches and family lore

Two articles from regular contributor David Norris helped save the issue for me.

The Unwritten Records of Pens and Pencils
David A. Norris jots down some thoughts about writing instruments that may have contributed to family history

Bringing Foreign Letters and Symbols Into Your Writing
David A. Norris offers tips for adding that little extra to your documents

This four page article gave a surprising number of options for inserting non-English alphabet characters into texts including my favourite, which he calls a stopgap measure of cutting and pasting for an existing document which I find using a Google search.

Additional articles are:

Advice from the Pros
Amanda Epperson reveals 10 ways to improve client reports

Research Trip 10
Carol Richey collects some valuable tips from key staff at the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library

Genealogy Tourism
Christine Woodcock examines the resources available to genealogists interested in researching their roots in Scotland

The Back Page
Dave Obee questions the future of genealogy on television after Ben Affleck

Preserve your family history for thousands of years

Fahrenheit 2451 is a Kickstarter project that claims to preserve your data in a sapphire disk that resists fire, water and time and can be read with nothing more exotic than a magnifying glass.

Documents are shrunk 30,000 times (that is over 170 times in each direction) and engraved between two thin sapphire wafers using high-precision photolithography technology.

Read about it at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/862339253/fahrenheit-2451-preserve-your-data-for-eternity

Note: This is for information, it is not an endorsement.

27 June 2015

FamilySearch adds Nova Scotia Vitals

The following browse images sourced from the Nova Scotia Archives have appeared at FamilySearch

Nova Scotia Deaths, 1864-1877
27,717 images organized by county (Annapolis, Antigonish, Cape Breton, Colchester, Cumberland, Digby, Guysborough, Halifax, Hants, Inverness, Kings, Lunenburg, Pictou, Queens, Richmond, Shelburne, Victoria, Yarmouth) and year range.

Nova Scotia Marriages, 1864-1918
21,950 images organized in the same way as above.

Nova Scotia Births, 1864-1877
35,025 images organized in the same way.

The records are name indexed at Ancestry.ca

Findmypast weekly update

Additions for England this week by Findmypast are:

The parish of Southfleet in North West Kent has added nearly 2,000 baptism, 500 marriage and 1,500 burial records, transcripts and images.

Over 2.8 million new searchable articles have been added to our collection of historic British Newspapers. The latest additions include 3 brand new titles, the Cornish Times, Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, Tadcaster Post, and the General Advertiser for Grimstone, as well as substantial updates to 37 existing titles.

For Ireland:
Sligo workhouse registers 1848-1859 contains over 9,000 records, a transcript and image of the original document listing the names of new arrivals and details including their age, occupation, religion, any illnesses or infirmities, family members, local parish, their condition on arrival (usually describing clothes or cleanliness) and when they were discharged or died.
Clare Board of Guardian Books has 63,918 records for the 1840s to the 1880s from the Kilrush and Ennistymon unions, minute books recording weekly reports on the number of inmates, new arrivals, births, deaths and discharges. Included is administrative information on the day-to-day running of the workhouses, disciplinary matters concerning both staff and inmates, individual case histories, foundling children’s fostering and upkeep and the hiring of foster mothers and wet nurses.
Historic Irish Newspapers have been enhanced with over 308,000 articles including substantial additions to Saunder’s News-Letter.

For Australia, New South Wales there are transcripts and images of:
Australia Convict ships 1786-1849 contains over 188,000 records dating back to the ships of  First Fleet and include the details of some of the earliest convict settlers;
Australia Convict Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1791-1867 has almost 27,000 records with details of  convicts who built new lives in the state;
New South Wales Registers Of Convicts’ Applications To Marry 1825-1851 contains over 26,000 records;
Almost 27,000 records in the Australia Convict Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1791-1867.

For Australia, Victoria there are additions of 7,000 records to Victoria Prison Registers 1855-1948 taken from the Central Register of Female Prisoners, held by the Public Record Office Victoria, of prisoners that passed through Pentridge prison in Coburg, Victoria.

26 June 2015

Free access to Canadian records at Ancestry.ca

Over the long Canada Day weekend there's FREE ACCESS to all Canadian records on Ancestry.ca.
The records are open until July 1, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. ET. You will need to register for free with Ancestry.ca with your name and email address. Once registered a user name and password will be sent by email. After July 1, 2015, you will only be able to view these records using an Ancestry.ca paid membership.

Annual Beechwood Cemetery Historical Walking Tour

Celebrate the spirit of exploration and adventure, with a special focus on the people that dedicated their lives to exploring Canada at Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery this Sunday, June 28, at 2:00pm

The tour will include stops at the gravesites of five men who explored hostile and isolated terrain, often alone, including: pioneering anthropologist and ethnologist Diamond Jenness, who lived with the Copper Inuit for two years; arctic explorer Albert Peter Low; and Canada’s foremost field naturalist of the 19th century, John Macoun. Costumed actors will bring these historical figures to life.

Temperatures won't be Arctic-like, 15C, but the forecast is for rain - no snow though.

Refreshments will be served after the tour. Enter by Beechwood Avenue entrance (280 Beechwood Ave.) The tour and parking are free. Bring rain gear and good walking shoes.

Irish famine migration to Canada in 1847-1848

The Digital Irish Famine Archive contains the digitized, transcribed, and translated French language annals of the Grey Nuns of Montreal, or Sisters of Charity, who first tended to Irish famine emigrants, especially widows and orphans, in the city’s fever sheds in 1847 and 1848.

It also includes annals from the Sisters of Providence and correspondence from Father Patrick Dowd, who worked alongside the Grey Nuns in the fever sheds, as well as testimonies from Irish famine orphans, like Patrick and Thomas Quinn, Daniel and Catherine Tighe, and Robert Walsh, who were adopted by French-Canadian families.

King, J. (2015): Irish Famine Archive, http://faminearchive.nuigalway.ie via http://documentary-heritage-news.blogspot.ca/

25 June 2015

Home Children presentation focus of Ottawa Branch monthly meeting

Gloria Tubman will seek to dispel previously accepted ideas about British Home Children in the featured presentation "Researching British Home Children – An Education" for OGS Ottawa Branch this Saturday, 27 June.
Gloria, a leading members of the Ontario East British Home Child Family, will discuss publicly available information about these children, the majority came to Canada during the period of 1869 to 1939. A research case will demonstrate the information in the public domain that one can expect to uncover while searching for information on a Home Child or any other person.
The meeting, which gets underway at 1 pm in the Ottawa City Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, with a networking session will also be the occasion for the Branch Annual General Meeting.

In the morning Mike More will be the speaker in the ongoing Genealogy: Back To Basics! sessions with a presentation on Ottawa Resources. that starts at 10:30 am.

The Computer Interest Group will meet following the afternoon session.

24 June 2015

Deceased Online: London's Nunhead Cemetery

There are nearly 300,000 burials in around 46,000 graves in the 52 acre Nunhead Cemetery now at deceasedonline.com. They are added to those of three other London Magnificent Seven Cemeteries: Kensal Green (1832); Nunhead (1840) and Brompton (1840).

Consecrated in 1840, Nunhead lies in the London Borough of Southwark to the north east of Peckham Rye and is the lasting resting place of much of the Victorian population of Peckham, Camberwell and Southwark.

Southwark is the 13th London council to add its records to Deceased Online and another council will add its records in September. There are now 60 burial and cremation sites in London with records on Deceased Online featuring over 3 million names and approximately 7.5 million records.

As James F. S. Thomson commented during his presentation to Toronto Branch on Monday, deceasedonline is becoming an increasingly important resource for British genealogy.

Canada 2017: Governor General David Johnston

Last Friday Governor General David Johnston addressed The Empire Club in Toronto on the topic
Towards 2017: What Are We Giving to Canada?

"As we look toward Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, I ask you to take advantage of this momentous occasion and come up with smart ways to give. Remember, that means being innovative, and measuring impact. Find three of your own special giving moments that will help make ours a better nation for our time and for generations to come."
You can read the text of his speech and watch at http://livestream.com/vvc/events/4135475/videos/90731709

Canadians family historians and their organizations will surely want to be a part.

23 June 2015

LAC and University of Ottawa sign partnership agreement

The following is a press release from the University of Ottawa:

OTTAWA, June 23, 2015  —  Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the University of Ottawa will collaborate in several key areas over the next five years to share expertise, knowledge and technology as well as support research and outreach initiatives.

This unique agreement—the first of its kind signed with a Canadian university—was announced today by Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume, University of Ottawa President Allan Rock and University Librarian Leslie Weir.

“I’m extremely pleased that Library and Archives Canada has shown a willingness to work together by signing this first memorandum of understanding with the University. And I’m doubly happy it’s with the University of Ottawa,” says Berthiaume. “The innovation and the skill level at the Library and the University’s School of Information Studies are well known across the country. I’m convinced this new partnership will position both our institutions at the cutting edge in library and archival sciences.”

“Being a bilingual, research-intensive university makes us a natural fit with Library and Archives Canada,” says Rock. “Our researchers and graduate students will enjoy greater access to the LAC’s wealth of indispensable resources and staff to support their research efforts—especially in the social sciences and humanities.”

As an example of the collaborations to be made possible by this partnership, LAC will work with students and staff at the University, providing advice and expertise to ensure the preservation of one of the University of Ottawa Library’s oldest and rarest books—Platonis Opera, a collection of Plato’s works, published in 1517.

“This unique collaboration will allow both Library and Archives Canada and the University of Ottawa to leverage the complimentary expertise and resources that exist at both of our great institutions,” says Weir. “I want to sincerely thank our partners at LAC for choosing the University of Ottawa as their first partner for this unique type of agreement.”

A coordination committee composed of four members from the University and four from LAC will recommend and evaluate possible projects to collaborate on.

Comment: Let's hope this is an indicator of things to come, including cooperation with institutions outside the Ottawa-Toronto-Montreal triangle.

Adios James Moore

Former Minister of Canadian Heritage and present Industry Minister James Moore announced that he will not seek reelection this fall.  He joins a growing parade of Conservative Ministers and MPs who will not been running.

Let's reflect on his achievements:

- cutting Library and Archives Canada budget by a greater percentage than any other part of the Canadian Heritage portfolio
- reinventing the Museum of Civilization and augmenting its funding
- presiding over the virtual dismantling of the Interlibrary Loan Program at LAC.
- presiding over the abolition of the National Archival Development Program
- appointing and largely tolerating mismanagement by Librarian and and Archivist of Canada Daniel Caron
- washing his hands of responsibility for LAC by claiming it's an arms-length agency while the LAC Act states that the organization is "presided over by the Minister." Quite how arm's-length agencies are was shown just on Monday when the president of the Treasury Board saw fit to hand down regulations regarding travel binding on real arm's-length agencies such as the Mint.

Dr. Guy Berthiaume: What a difference a year makes

Today, June 23 2015, marks one year since Dr. Guy Berthiaume assumed the role of Librarian and Archivist of Canada. What's been achieved?

On arriving at LAC Berthiaume stated four commitments for LAC:

  • Be dedicated to serving its whole range of clients;
  • Be recognized as being on the leading edge of archival and library science and new technologies because of the quality of its staff;
  • Be proactively engaged with national and international networks, listening and showing respect, and;
  • Have greater public visibility.
I'm not in a position to appreciate everything that happening. In my view it's for the last of these that he deserves the greatest plaudits. The previous Librarian and Archivist was loath to appear in public, Guy Berthiaume is out and about telling the LAC story and responding to questions. There's a more relaxed attitude to other LAC staff speaking at public events. LAC more than ever puts its materials on exhibition in other venues, and has taken small steps to exhibit materials at 395 Wellington. That's good.

On the other three items my feeling is that progress has been made, and is reflected in higher morale at LAC. Some is detailed in this speech

But there's more to do, particularly more effort in making resources, and encouraging others to make their resources available across the country through digitization.

For an objective evaluation will LAC benchmark its performance against that of peer institutions internationally?

22 June 2015

British Home Child Story

From the Toronto Star, Katie Daubs relates the story of the century-long family secret . . . and a 30-minute unravelling. Bert Jefkins came to Canada with Barnardos when, as was so often the case, a single mother was no longer able to provide for her children and had to take the difficult decision that they would be better off on the care of Barnardos.
Read the story of the child and how descendants reunited at http://goo.gl/CavpKP.

Thanks to Anne and Evan Sterling for the tip.

Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes of the Belleville Intelligencer

In his talk to Voices from the Dust LDS Ottawa event in Saturday afternoon Ken McKinlay, who blogs at Family Tree Knots, mentioned a resource new to me. Belleville History Alive, a partnership between the Belleville Public Library and Community Archives of Belleville, has produced an index to births, marriages and deaths mentioned in the Belleville Intelligencer.

The files are pdfs and some are big. Exercise patience. Entries are in alphabetical order by last name, first name and provide a date of the event and when published.

Your summer reading list

Now that summer is officially here for us in the northern hemisphere I'm looking forward to digging into a backlog of books.
In the admittedly unlikely event that you don't have a pile of literature waiting to be devoured check out Your summer reading list: 70+ book picks from TED speakers and attendees.
For a British perspective there The Telegraph's list of the best books of 2015 (so far), or this list of five top summer holiday reads from The Week.
To avoid accumulating more book clutter check out availability at your local public library including eBooks.

If you'd rather listen than read there's a list of 45 great podcast picks from the TED staff.

21 June 2015

Researching the wrong family tree? - refining documentary relationships with an autosomal DNA test

Following on the post Forlorn hope DNA matches I received the following email which I've made anonymous.
"I have done work on my T***d line to the late 1790’s where my 5 x great grandfather was baptized as the illegitimate son of Mary T***d. Her brother Thomas also has descendants."
Can a DNA test confirm/refine/refute the relationship?

I've been struggling with this post. Hopefully someone with a clearer head can help refine the analysis. Here goes.

Assuming two living people, descendants of Mary and Thomas, are of the same generation they would be half-sixth cousins.

Let's consider two mutually exclusive hypotheses, that the two living people are related through a parent of Mary and Thomas T***d as half sixth cousins (H), or that they are not (-H).

The documentary evidence isn't conclusive. It never is.  There could have been bad information, misunderstandings in recording or interpreting the information, or non-paternity events. You can undoubtedly think of more.

Say fourteen generations separate the two living people with all but two being inheritance through a paternal line. If the chance of there being bad information is 2% per generation, a figure typical for NPEs, then using the conservative assumption that uncertainty in the documentation is dominated by the 12 paternal link generations, the chance of at least one piece of false information existing in between is 1- ((1-0.02)^12), or about 23%.

Based on the documentary evidence we have the probability that the two living people are related through a parent of Mary and Thomas T***d  as P(H) = 77%,  and the probability they are not as P(-H) = 23%

Both living suspected T***d  descendants took an AncestryDNA autosomal test and matched at the 5th-8th cousins level. We would like to know the probability of the hypothesis H being true given the DNA evidence, P(H|E), which may be calculated from Bayes Theorem.

P(H|E) = P(E|H)*P(H) / (P(E|H)*P(H) + P(E|-H)*P(-H))

As we already have estimates for P(H) and P(-H) we need estimates for P(E|H), the probability of finding an autosomal DNA match given that the two people tested are related at about the 6th cousin level.

According to Family Tree DNA's figures, on the assumption AncestryDNA's aren't any different, there is typically a less than 2% chance for an autosomal DNA test to match 6th and more distant cousins. So the estimate is P(E|H) = 2%.

We also need an estimate for P(E|-H), the probability of finding an autosomal DNA match given that the two people tested are not related at about the 6th cousin or closer level.

If P(E|H) = P(E|-H) then P(H|E) = P(H) and the DNA evidence provides no additional information. This would be the case for highly endogamous populations such as Ashkenazi Jews where most people's DNA test shows a relationship at about the sixth cousin or better level.

Only if P(E|H) is greater than P(E|-H) does the DNA evidence improve the confidence in the relationship.

The extreme is the unlikely event that P(E|-H) = 0 when the confidence in the relationship becomes 100%. This would imply no other way the two people tested could share DNA at the 6th cousin or closer level.

The actual value of P(E|-H) should be somewhere in between.

It's not the most credible source but according to a UK Sun article:
"Analysis by AncestryDNA - part of the online family history resource - of birth rates and population figures for the past two centuries suggests that the typical Brit has 193,000 living cousins. These relatives are sixth cousins or closer and share a traceable ancestor born in the last 200 years."
That's a "one in 300 chance that a total stranger is a relative."

[Note: Thanks to Ancestry's Bryony Partridge who subsequently provided a link to their press release, http://goo.gl/Ewhn1n. Also acknowledgements to Jamie at Ancestry email support who independently provided the type of non-answer we all hope never to receive.]

A one in 300 chance can be interpreted as P(E|-H) = 0.3333%, which makes no allowance for the limited number of people who've been tested. It should arguably be less as not all real relatives will show evidence of it in their DNA, and arguably more owing to endogamy. Accepting for the time being the one in 300 figure leads, from Bayes equation above, to P(H|E) = 95%.

So the DNA test ups the confidence in the relationship from 77% to 95%. That's very tentative, estimates may be way off.

In his book Proving History Richard Carrier suggests 95% as a benchmark for very probable whereas 77% is below the 80% benchmark for probable.

Is 95% good enough?  That's a judgement call. How many people would buy a ticket on a plane if told there was a 5% chance of it crashing and burning? Consequences colour our perception of probabilities. How important is it to you to perhaps, with 5% probability, proceed to research further the wrong family tree.

Spines of the Thistle

BIFHSGO member Hugh Reekie emailed to draw attention to Spines of the Thistle from the University of St Andrews. It's "a digital hub of 18th-century studies and fledgling Virtual Research Environment intended to offer two main functions: one, to collect, house, and promote emerging scholarship related to Jacobite Studies, and two, to provide useful links to connected subjects in the Humanities and Digital Humanities."

The well designed site has little content at present, just four posts under the tag Little Rebellions, still in development and with nothing added recently. I hope they haven't lost motivation.

20 June 2015

Diana Hall moves on

At a busy Voices from the Dust LDS Ottawa event in Saturday afternoon, that even attracted a visitor from Montreal, I learned that Diana Hall, long time Ottawa Public Library genealogist-librarian, quietly entered retirement two weeks ago.
Diana was for many years the go to person for genealogy at the OPL only in recent years having been joined by two other family history specialists.
Many of us have benefitted from Diana's advice and work to add family history resources at the OPL. Thank you Diana. We hope to see you at more local genealogy events as you settle into retirement.

British Goad Fire Insurance Maps

Now online from the British Library, Goad fire insurance maps for:

England: Batley, Bath, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Colchester, Coventry, Dewsbury, Dover, Exeter, Gloucester, Goole, Great Grimsby (Lincolnshire), Great Yarmouth, Halifax, Hartlepool Docks, Huddersfield, Hull, Ipswich, Kidderminster, Kings Lynn, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln, London, Luton, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Reading, River Tyne Docks, Sheffield, Southampton, Sunderland.
Ireland: Cork, Dublin, Limerick.
Northern Ireland: Belfast, Londonderry.
Scotland: Campbelltown, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Granton, Greenock, Leith, Paisley
Wales: Cardiff, Newport (Monmouth), Swansea.

These are at a scale of 1:480 (1 inch to 40 feet). Various display options are available including view in Google Earth.
The map displayed is the area around the car park burial site of Richard III in Leicester.

19 June 2015

Family Finder DNA test on sale

Family Tree DNA is discounting the price on the Family Finder kit to $89 until Sunday.

Thanks to Linda Reid for the note.

Findmypast weekly update

Over 25,000 new records from West Norwood in south London have been added to the Greater London Burials Index covering the years 1399 to 1902.

The following transcripts and images of the original document have been added for Gibraltar, St Andrew’s Kirk:

- baptisms, over 1,000 records
- marriages, nearly 600 records
- burials, over 500 records
- congregation Records 1840-1947, over 3,500 records
Over 71,000 new Napoleonic Prisoner of War records are added to a wider Prisoners of War 1715-1945 collection with transcripts and images.

Also there is now access to additions to the British Newspaper Archive including 3 brand new titles, the Cornish Times, Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, Tadcaster Post, and the General Advertiser for Grimstone, as well as substantial updates to 37 existing titles.

23andMe now at one million clients

23andMe is sending out emails to their clients in celebration of their one millionth test.

The company passed the 100,000 mark in June 2011. One million is a target they set for themselves in December 2012 - see press release.

It's been a longer haul than the company anticipated owing to the US Food and Drug Administration embargoing their health-related service in the US in the fall of 2013.

FreeBMD June update

The FreeBMD Database was last updated on Thursday 11 June 2015 to contain 247,300,180 distinct records. The update adds 630,619 records. Major updates of more than 5,000 records this month are: for births 1940, 1943, 1963-64, 1966, 1971, 1973-75; for marriages 1952, 1965-66, 1971-75; for death 1973-74.

18 June 2015

Voices from the Dust - Ottawa's RootsTech 2015

This Saturday, 20 June, I'll be spending the afternoon enjoying the company of fellow genealogists at the Ottawa Family History Centre. This free annual event open to all features live presentations augment by selected videos from RootsTech earlier this year.

The live presentations are:

Session 1 (1:30pm - 2:30pm)
FamilySearch.org A Place for You and Me by Shirley-Ann Pyefinch
Parish Records – A Resource For Family Historians by Gloria Tubman 
Your Family History in Book Form as an Enduring Heirloom by Magdalene Carson
You've Mastered the Census and Basic Search, What Next? by Karen Auman (RootsTech video)

Session 2 (2:45pm - 3:45pm)
Keeping the Past: Storing and Preserving Family Archives and Memorabilia by Kyla Ubbink
Doing Family Tree Research in Your Pajamas by Ken McKinlay 
Genealogy Resources and Services at the Ottawa Public Library by Romaine Honey
Family History on the Go Using SmartPhones and Tablets by Rhona Farrier and Crystal Beutler (RootsTech video)

Session 3 (4:00pm - 5:00pm)
Researching Your Family History at Library and Archives Canada by Sara Chatfield
Learn FamilySearch Indexing by Brenda Bowman
Overview of the City of Ottawa Archives by Grace Lewis
Building a Genealogy Toolbox by Thomas MacEntee (RootsTech video)

Guess which presentations I'll be attending.

The Ottawa Family History Centre is at 1017 Prince of Wales Drive. There's plenty of free parking.

FamilySearch adds Vermont, St. Albans Canadian Border Crossings, 1895-1924

It's at least a hot contender for the most misleading title in genealogy. FamilySearch is no help in its description "This collection contains an index to Canadian border entries through the St. Albans, Vermont, District, 1895-1924 and corresponds with NARA collections M1461, M1463, M1464, M1465." It's a browse file with 4,140,062 images - pretty impressive for a town with a population of 6,000.
Click on the browse and you start to get a hint that the collection is more extensive.

(M1461) Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries through the St. Albans, Vermont, District, 1895-1924
(M1463) Soundex Index to Entries into the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1924-1952
(M1464) Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, VT, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895-1954
(M1465) Manifest of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific Ports, 1929-1949

The FamilySearch help file US Immigration Canadian Border Crossings reveals the scope, "from Washington to Maine." Also look for lists of passengers arriving in Canadian ports destined for the US.

Like Gilroy, Ancestry was already there. There's an index so FamilySearch suggests using Ancestry.

Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo

June 18th, 2015, is the Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, actually 4 battles fought over 4 days - the first three of which were critical to the final outcome.
Want to know a little more. Here's Waterloo in a Nutshell.

17 June 2015

Disruptive Innovation in Genealogy

John Grenham's most recent Irish Roots column asks "Is professional genealogy dead?"

He concludes that "Like many other things the internet was going to sweep into the dustbin of history, professional genealogy lives."  Grenham has acquired a slight rose tint to his glasses. The profession may live but is it healthy?

Ancestry tells anyone who watches TV "You don't even have to know what you're looking for, you just have to start looking." They're not running those ads because nobody pays attention.

What we're seeing in genealogy is an example of disruptive innovation.  This theory holds that an innovation comes along that adequately serves the low end of the market. It takes clients away from traditional suppliers while also attracting new clients because of the lower price. The low end, for genealogy it's searching the census and other records now made accessible through the innovation of digitization and indexing, becomes a commodity. Why pay a professional to find what you can find yourself, and get the satisfaction of finding it yourself, for a fraction of the cost?

That leaves the professional to tackle the more challenging and interesting projects. By expanding the market the innovation perhaps benefits the professional by drawing in those folks who've already done the research they can do themselves but want to go further. But does that compensate for the loss of the low end of the market?

Disruptive innovation theory has the new lower-cost service moving up-market as capabilities improve. As more convenient resources come online the domain of the professional is whittled away. The product doesn't have to be as good as that from a professional, it will certainly lack the professional stamp of authority, but can meet the client need.

The history of disruptive innovation is that it takes years for the process to run to completion, but beware of Big Bang Disruption.

Roots 2015

A final reminder that the Quebec Family History Society Roots 2015 conference on family history in Quebec is being held this coming weekend, June 19-21, at McGill University, Montreal.

Walk in registration is accepted. Find details at http://www.qfhs.ca/cpage.php?pt=174

16 June 2015

Dr J David Roger, RIP

BIFHSGO members will join me in offering condolences to the family of Dr. J. David Roger, until fairly recently enthusiastic attendee at BIFHSGO meetings and its oldest member. Here is his obituary from the Ottawa Citizen.

Dr J David Roger, M.R.C.P. (Lond.), F.R.C.P. (C.), F.A.C.C.
David died at home, in Ottawa; at the age of 98 after what he himself said was "more than his fair share of a long and happy life". He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 51 years, Doris (Brown) in 2002. He is the dearly loved father of Margie (Dave Howsam), Jean (Guy Brault) and Dave "Rouge", proud grandfather of Shannon and Dave Farrall, Vivianne, Christian, and Sophie Brault and step-grandfather of Gayle (Brandon Malone) and Kaitlin Delahunt as well as the great-grandfather of Aryanna Malone, and Anais and Justine Marceau. He will be remembered with love by his sister Ann (Ian Berwick) of England. Born on July 13, 1916 and raised in Alta Vista, Ottawa, he was one of five children of Alexander and Elsie Roger. He studied Medicine at the University of Toronto where at age 17 he was second youngest in a class of 180 students. After graduation he interned at The Ottawa Civic Hospital where, as a Junior Intern, he delivered fifty babies in one month. In 1942 he did postgraduate work in New York City before returning to Ottawa to "get into" the war. From 1942-1945 he served as R.C.A.F. Medical Officer of 410 Squadron, a Mosquito Night Fighter Squadron, in England, France and Holland. Before returning home after the war he wrote and passed the Royal College of Physicians of London (England) exams for specialization in Internal Medicine. Later he added a second speciality, Radiology, to his skills. David knew that he wanted to be a doctor from the age of 10 and it was a vocation for him, not just an occupation. He practised in Ottawa for over 50 years in which he looked after referred patients in internal medicine, cardiology and radiology. His children vividly remember the phone ringing in the middle of many nights when he was frequently called by colleagues to consult on ill patients. When he was called out of town for consultations in the hospitals of Ottawa Valley and Western Quebec towns (e.g. Shawville, Kemptville, Wakefield, Renfrew, Pembroke), his wife Doris often drove so that he could get some sleep on the way. As well as the Ottawa Valley and Western Quebec he also travelled to the Baffin Regional Hospital in what was then Frobisher Bay (now Iqualuit). He was on staff at The Civic Hospital for over 60 years, as well as the Grace Hospital, and briefly at the General Hospital and the Rideau Veterans Hospital. He was also President of The Medical Arts Building at 180 Metcalfe Street for several years. He served his patients with dedication and his profession with distinction. Recently The Academy of Medicine Ottawa honoured him by naming an award after him. "The Dr. J. David Roger Distinguished Service Award" will be awarded annually to an AMO physician who demonstrates excellence in advocacy and professional roles, as well as providing outstanding service to the community both as a physician and a public spirited citizen. As well as his busy practice, he was involved with Beechwood Cemetery for over 40 years, first as a Director of the Board and then as President. His sense of honour and great integrity were never more apparent than during the 10 year legal battle in the 1990's to protect the cemetery by saving cemetery land from being sold off for townhouses. He felt his obligations and responsibilities deeply. His tremendous contribution to Beechwood and the Ottawa community is recognized with a plaque and garden in his name at the entrance to the National Memorial Centre of what is now Canada's National Cemetery. He had many friends whom he took pleasure in knowing and for whom he had a great appreciation. His children are grateful for the pleasure that his friends brought him in his last years, including those from the Friday Luncheon and Discussion Club, The Canadian Club and the seventy-five who attended his 98th birthday party last year. He leaves a legacy of love and friendship, honour and integrity. He was a loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather and his family will always remember him with love and with many memories of "happy times" together. His children would like to thank his caregivers, Jocelyn and Teresita from Home Instead Senior Care, who looked after him with both professionalism and affection. As per his wishes his body has been donated to the University of Ottawa for the advancement of science and medical education. Later his cremated remains will be interred in the Roger family plot at Beechwood Cemetery beside his "dear Doris". Friends and family are invited to visit at the Beechwood National Memorial Centre, 280 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa on Thursday, June 18, 2015 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.

What's with the flag Ancestry?

In recent weeks the Ancestry hints I've been receiving have included this one, an image of "a Holland Flag."  It looks more like the Netherlands flag. Pray tell Ancestry, how is that a hint for pursuing ancestry? Please tell me it's not a cheap tactic to increase the number of hints delivered.

LAC June update to the Soldiers of the First World War database

As of June 15, 2015 there are 162,570 of 640,000 files are available online at the Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918 database.

A month ago, on May 15, 155,110 files were available so 7,460 files were digitized during the month, an average of 241 files per day. At that rate the digitization would be complete in another 1,981 days.

Not found the file you're looking for?
Library and Archives Canada is digitizing the service files systematically, from box 1 to box 10686, which roughly corresponds to alphabetical order. 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 #3655, which corresponds to the surname “Gore”.

Forlorn hope DNA matches

A friend of mine recently emailed enthusiastically saying new AncestryDNA test results showed a match with a 5th to 8th cousin with a fairly rare surname. It could be a real connection, and one hates to stifle enthusiasm, but that's so distant possible relationship it's only a faint hope.

Today along came a link to a PowerPoint presentation by Tim Janzen where he lists some misconceptions of chromosome mapping, the first relevant to this situation being:

Just be cause you find a surname in common (or even a shared ancestor) with one of your matches doesn’t necessarily mean that the DNA segment you share in common was passed down from an ancestor with that surname or the shared ancestor.
Chromosome mapping helps you sort these issues out quickly and efficiently.  It prevents a lot of “wild goose chases”!
AncestryDNA doesn't provide a facility for chromosome mapping. unless you transfer the raw data to FTDNA or a utility like GEDmatch, and can persuade your match to do the same, so AncestryDNA just leaves you with the, likely, false hope.

You may be interested in reviewing all Tim's most recent presentation PowerPoints from the recent Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree. They may be downloaded from

http://tinyurl.com/pedxr4b (Examples of How Autosomal DNA Testing Solved Genealogical Questions),
http://tinyurl.com/pjg4akw (Autosomal DNA Chromosome Mapping Workshop),
http://tinyurl.com/nzkhhvw (Programs to Help You Analyze Your Autosomal DNA Data),
http://tinyurl.com/ntbe3zs (Using Autosomal DNA Testing as a Means to Trace Your Family Tree).

Recent additions at Newfoundland's Grand Banks

For those with a Newfoundland genealogical interest, a reminder that Newfoundland's Grand Banks makes frequent additions. Major additions of vital records in the past month have included:

Pre-1891 Registration - CE Marriages 1842 - 1891 - Exploits - Twillingate District (55 Pages)
Pre-1891 Registration - Methodist Baptisms/Births - 1858 - 1891 - Exploits - Twillingate District (98 Pages)
Pre-1891 Registration - Methodist Marriages - 1867 - 1891 - Exploits - Twillingate District (32 Pages)
Pre-1891 Registration - Methodist Marriages - 1831 - 1891 - Hbr Grace - Harbour Grace District (123 Pages)

14 June 2015

Derbyshire Record Office Blog

A surprising number of genealogists I know have interests in Derbyshire. They should know of the Derbyshire Record Office Blog which has frequent posts of interest to researchers of the county, and some of wider appeal. There have been ten posts already in June.
As a former meteorologist I was interested to read A volcanic eruption leads to Derbyshire rebellion about the Year Without a Summer.
Christine Jackson drew my attention to the blog post More on lead-mining which starts "Last month, we heard from a researcher based in Ottawa, Canada, who had decided to get in touch after seeing the video post about the Gregory Mine Reckoning Book. She was hoping we could answer a question about another source that has historical information on the lead industry .."
This was part of Christine's research into the Cowley family, another article on which is keeping her occupied this month. Who would ever guess research on an Ottawa street would lead to enlightenment on lead mining in England!

Toronto Genetic Genealogy Videos by Maurice Gleeson

Recommended. If you are interested in watching the videos of Dr. Maurice Gleeson's presentations at the 6 June Toronto workshop on Genetic Genealogy the following YouTube links are now available:

Genetic Genealogy & the value of DNA testing  - https://youtu.be/muKDBs61Rt4

How Y-DNA can help your One Name Study - https://youtu.be/vOx971zy6LI

Adoptions & illegitimacies - using DNA to solve adoption mysteries - https://youtu.be/Wicb2_bEIYo

TNA Podcast: Fanny and Stella: the young men who shocked Victorian England

Warning: the material of this podcast may not be suitable for all. The presentation was given as part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) History Month at The National Archives last February by award-winning author and journalist Neil McKenna.

The gripping story of the trial that shook Victorian England – a tale of cross-dressing, cross-examinations and the invention of camp. The presentation includes a reading of a short chapter from the book http://www.amazon.ca/Fanny-Stella-Shocked-Victorian-England-ebook/dp/B00A9MOAL4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434243310&sr=8-1&keywords=Fanny+and+Stella%3A+The+Young+Men+Who+Shocked+Victorian+England


Want to know about the awards given at the British Isles Family History Society of Greater  Ottawa Annual General Meeting.  I'll nor reinvent the wheel, check out some in the report on the society Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/British-Isles-Family-History-Society-of-Greater-Ottawa/149788348437126/.
At the end of my Great Moments presentation I was asked to post a link to the YouTube video which showed the progress through Australia of captives released from German raiders in the Pacific. My father, an Engineer on the Rangitane, was among them. The whole story is told in The Rangitane Riddle.

13 June 2015

Honours for Richard III Service

The 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours List announces recognition of Member of the Order of the British Empire to Dr Louis John Frederick Ashdown-Hill "For services to Historical Research and the Exhumation and Identification of Richard III" and to Mrs Philippa Jayne Langley "For services to the Exhumation and Identification of Richard III.

12 June 2015

LAC announce Documentary Heritage Communities Program

Genealogical organizations/societies are specifically mentioned as eligible to apply to the new Documentary Heritage Communities Program. Could your society benefit?

The objectives of the DHCP are to:

  • Increase access to, and awareness of Canada's local documentary institutions and their holdings, specifically:

- Conversion and digitization for access purposes;
- The development (research, design and production) of virtual and physical exhibitions, including travelling exhibits;
- Collection, cataloguing and access based management; and
- Commemorative projects.

  • Increase the capacity of local documentary heritage institutions to better sustain and preserve Canada's documentary heritage, specifically:

- Conversion and digitization for preservation purposes;
- Conservation and preservation treatment;
- Increased digital preservation capacity (excluding digital infrastructure related to day-to-day activities);
- Training and workshops that improve competencies and build capacity; and
- Development of standards, performance and other measurement activities.
Read the details at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/documentary-heritage-communities-program/Pages/guidelines.aspx

This week's additions to Findmypast

Findmypast add to their Kent Marriages collection with over 16,000 marriage record transcripts from the parishes of Queenborough, Shepherdswell, Ashford, Aldington, Birling, Chart Sutton, Snodland, Ryarsh, Kemsing, Halling and Lower Birling.

Also from Kent, more than 2,700 records of Banns transcripts from the parishes of Birling, Brenchley, Ryarsh, East Sutton, Borden and Lower Halstow.

3,968 transcript records have also been added from Surrey, Southwark, St Saviour Poor Law relief 1818-1821 listing details of individuals who applied for outdoor relief from the parish of St Saviour’s Poor Law authority.

Over 16,000 index entries, the Hue & Cry Index 1797-1810 are from the English newspaper that published notices of wanted criminals and the offences they committed.

Findmypast’s existing collection of over 2.8 million Staffordshire parish records, 1538-1900, are now available to browse.

Over 430 new images have been added to The PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) with additional years added to the American Genealogical Record, American Pioneer, Collections Historical and Archaeological Relating to Montgomeryshire and Its Borders, Missouri Historical Review, Nova Scotia Historical Society Collections, Now and Then, Oregon Historical Quarterly, Our Home: A Monthly Magazine, Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Ulster Journal of Archaeology and the Yorkshire Genealogist.

Deceased Online adds Burial Records for Bandon Hill Cemetery, London Borough of Sutton

Burials at Bandon Hill Cemetery, Wallington, in the London Borough of Sutton, which commenced in 1900, are now at deceasedonline.com. Up until January 2012, the period covered by this database, there are 32,724 entries. Of those 125 are also in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database, 55 for the First World War.

A newspaper report suggests the authorities were particular about who was buried. The Western Daily Press of July 14, 1950 noted an application by the Croydon Group Hospitals Management Committee to exhume the body of a Croydon general labourer believed buried by mistake at the cemetery in place of the body of a retired Wallington accountant.

11 June 2015

More on AncestryDNA in Canada

Now that the AncestryDNA test is sold in Canada we have the Canadian price, $149, presently $122 US. There's also a $19.99 Cdn shipping charge so the effective price is $169 Cdn. Prices ending in 9 have marketing appeal.

As blogged at the end of May, in Australia the test costs $149AUS ($114 US), in the UK it's £99 ($152 US) and in the US $99. Shipping is added. In Canada we pay more than in the US or Australia, but substantially less than in the UK. For most Canadians if you want to test with AncestryDNA the difference isn't enough to make it economic to drive to and across the border to pick up a package from a service site, such as the UPS Store.

How about the competitive tests?

23andMe charge $199 Canadian. That test also includes a lot of health-related information which you won't get from either of the competitors, although there are indications Ancestry wants to enter that market. Although their database is larger than Family Tree DNA's many of 23andMe's clients aren't interested or don't know much about their ancestry; their effective database size for genealogy is significantly smaller. The analysis tools are quite extensive including a chromosome browser.

Family Tree DNA charges $99 US which is $121 Canadian. They have the smallest database but likely the most knowledgeable and involved genealogy user community. FTDNA also has extensive analysis tools and a chromosome browser. They also offer to include test results from other companies in their database, there are some limitations depending on the company and dates when you tested. The transfer is free but you pay to unlock your matches.

Unless you're interested in the health information 23andMe has priced itself out of the market.

There's small print you need to be aware of with AncestryDNA.

"Users of the AncestryDNA Website may be unregistered visitors or paying members. The different payment options and services offered will be published on the AncestryDNA Website or at the time a DNA Test or other service is offered."
What that means at present is you can see ethnicity and match information for no additional charge and contact matches through Ancestry. You will not be able to view trees posted by matches unless you subscribe.

If you enjoy this post you'll also be interested in Debbie Kennett's recent post at  http://cruwys.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/the-ancestrydna-international-roll-out.html

This Saturday: BIFHSGO AGM and Great Moments

On Saturday, following the BIFHSGO Annual General Meeting chaired by Society President Barbara Tose at 9 am, there's the popular semi-annual Great Moments in Genealogy session with:

Tara Grant presenting Elizabeth White, Elizabeth Dwight or Elizabeth Jones? Mother of 39 and My 8x Great-Grandmother,
Ken McKinlay on Misplaced Twigs on a Branch
Lesley Anderson Digging Up the Bownes in My Family Tree
John D. Reid on Tragedy at Sea: How My Family History Nearly Ended Before It Began

In between enjoy Discovery Tables with Patricia Barlosky, genealogy librarian at the Nepean Centrepointe Library sharing information about Ottawa Public Library resources; Brenda Turner displaying a field name map and documents related to an area of Northhamptonshire and; Bryan Cook profiling the book he has written about the life of William Pittman Lett, Ottawa's first city clerk and bard.

That's at the old Nepean Council Chambers, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Nepean.

10 June 2015

Self-service photography at LAC

There's a useful summary of how to go about using the FREE self-service photography capability at Library and Archives Canada. That's right -- FREE. Many archives nickel and dime you with charges for doing your own photographic copying which doesn't cost them a penny. Kudos to LAC.

There are regulation and procedures, annoying but not usually burdensome, that you have to follow to stay of the right side of the bureaucracy.

Read the details at http://thediscoverblog.com/2015/06/10/self-serve-photography/

New on YouTube: The Genetic History of the United Kingdom: the POBI project

Do you want to understand the exciting results of the People of the British Isles project? This YouTube video by Garrett Hellenthal, a US educated statistical geneticist now working the the UK, explains how, using the DNA of individuals sampled across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, a striking correlation between an individual's genetics and their geographic origins was found. Also shown are the clear differences in ancestry among different geographic regions of the UK, reflecting the genetic imprint of the Anglo-Saxon and Norwegian Viking migrations from several centuries ago.

The lecture was presented at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2015 although it sounds as if the presentation was rerecorded. It's one of several lectures sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA and organised by Maurice Gleeson & Debbie Kennett on behalf of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy.

09 June 2015

It's official: AncestryDNA launched in Canada

Here's the press release marking the launch of AncestryDNA in Canada. Experts recommend testing with all three companies, FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe and AncestryDNA if you have a issue like an adoption to resolve.

TORONTO (June 9, 2015) – Ancestry, the world’s largest family history resource, today launched AncestryDNA in Canada. AncestryDNA allows individuals to learn about their genetic heritage and discover new family connections in Canada and around the world.

When coupled with Ancestry’s database of more than 16 billion historical records, AncestryDNA will enable family history enthusiasts and novices alike to discover even more about their own past, including the ability to find entire new cousin matches around the world.

“Historical records on Ancestry.ca provide an insight into one’s recent past, but usually go around 200-300 years, so it’s incredibly exciting to be able to offer DNA testing that takes your family history experience back many hundreds and even thousands of years,” said Christopher Labrecque, Country Manager for Ancestry Canada. “AncestryDNA enables users to learn more than ever about where they came from and discover new family lines and relatives. It really is the ultimate family history experience.”

AncestryDNA details the breakdown of one’s ethnic origins, predicting the likely locations of a person’s ancestors across 26 worldwide populations, providing a glimpse into one’s ancestral past that goes back to a time before historical records began to be kept.

The service also introduces users to new family members through DNA member matches which identifies unknown relatives pulled from more than 850,000 people who have previously taken the test. Many users can expect to be connected with 3rd and 4th cousins, allowing them to further grow their family trees and discover family members they may not have known existed.

In a recent survey, more than three-quarters of Canadians stated they would consider having their DNA tested to discover more about where their ancestors came from. Many said they know very little about their own family history, with 42 per cent indicating that they do not know where their grandparents were born, and 30 per cent stating they do not know where their ancestors lived before coming to Canada.

How AncestryDNA Works
The test uses microarray-based autosomal DNA testing to look at more than 700,000 locations across an individual’s entire genome through a simple saliva sample.  The AncestryDNA approach provides a much more detailed look at one’s family history than other existing Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA tests that only look at specific branches of a person’s family tree.

AncestryDNA kits are now available for purchase for $149 plus shipping at dna.ancestry.ca

Following up on Richard III

In my talk in Toronto on Saturday I mentioned that the economic benefit to Leicester from tourism generated by the Richard III find is estimated as nearing $100 million dollars. Updating that figure is a new report that "Leicester raked in more than 59 million pounds for the city's economy, from the time of the discovery to the reinterment.

Around 4.5 million pounds of this amount was generated during the two weeks of reinterment activities, which ended with the Leicester Glows event on March 27."

59 million pounds is 112 million Canadian dollars. Who says heritage has no economic benefit?

After my talk I was asked how deep Richard III's grave was. According to the book Finding Richard: The Official Account "the base of Richard III's grave was about 4ft 7 in below present ground level."

The Great War in Cinematic Memory

On Thursday, June 11, 2015, 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm as part of the Archives of Ontario's World War I Speakers Series Dr. Seth Feldman (Department of Film, York University) will explore the representation of the First World War on film, from the very early days of cinema to the present. What made films such as Paths of Glory (1957) so influential, and how have different generations of filmmakers approached war throughout the decades?

The event is organized by and presented at the Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian Macdonald Blvd. Toronto M7A 2C5. There is no live streaming of the event, in line with the Archives de facto policy of giving preferential treatment to those living in Toronto and environs.

For more information: http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/about/speaker_series.aspx

08 June 2015

Forthcoming genealogy books

Here are some selected genealogy books slated for release in the coming months according to Amazon.ca that may be of interest to readers of this blog.

How to Use Evernote for Genealogy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize Your Research and Boost Your Genealogy Productivity, by Kerry Scott. For release Nov 16 2015

Surnames, DNA, and Family History, George Redmonds, Turi King, David Hey. For release Nov 15 2015

The Origins of English Surnames: The Story of Who We Were, by Joslin Fiennes. For release Nov 1 2015

Common People: In Pursuit of My Ancestors, by Alison Light. For release Sep 22 2015
(also listed as Common People: The History of an English Family. For release Sep 1 2015)

Who Do You Think You Are?: The Genealogy Handbook: The Essential Pocket Guide to Tracing Your Family History, by Dan Waddell, For release Sep 22 2015

The Clans & Tartans of Scotland: A Guide to Scottish Family Names, by Peter B. Stuart. For release Sep 16 2015

Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org: How to Find Your Family History on the Largest Free Genealogy Website, by Dana McCullough. For release Sep 14 2015

Tracing Your Great War Ancestors: Ypres: A Guide for Family Historians, by Simon Fowler. For release Jun 30 2015

and recently released

Tracing Your Welsh Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians, by Beryl Evans.

BAnQ to image more newspapers online.

Under the heading "BAnQ speeds up newspaper digitization project" I learned that the The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) will be making available all of the 5,873 Quebec newspapers published since the 17th century that are not already available. Read about it at http://genealogyalacarte.ca/?p=9569.
This is a significant addition to the online availability of Canadian newspapers. What it does not mean is that the paper is searchable. You need to select the paper, year, month, and date to bring an image of to the screen.
I'd hoped it might mean the papers would be OCRd to make them searchable online. Alas. At least they're available to all and some day maybe BAnQ will be able to arrange the next step.

07 June 2015

Congratulations to OGS Toronto Branch

I for one thoroughly enjoyed Saturday's all-day session on genetic genealogy organised by the Toronto Branch of OGS, in conjunction with the Canadiana Department of the Toronto Public Library. Book-ended by excellent plenary presentations by Maurice Gleeson, which should soon be available on YouTube, the only frustration for the day was not being able to attend each one of the parallel sessions.

I had to be at my own talk but would happily have gone to those given at the same time by Linda Reid or David Pike. It was good to be able to explain to the small but knowledgeable audience why the investigation of the skeleton thought to the Richard III shows how vapid is the description of levels of confidence given in Evidence Explained, which discusses the terms “apparently, likely, possibly or probably” as “adhering to no universal scheme … taking on whatever sense the writers create with their supporting details and interpretations.”  Contrast that with the assessment of the evidence from the skeleton found in the Leicester car park which points to a 99.9994% probability that it was that of Richard III. That level of confidence greatly exceeds the 99% extremely probable level, but fails to meet the 99.9999% virtually certain level as proposed in the book “Proving History” by Richard Carrier.

I got to enjoy strong presentations by James F S Thomson and Susan Reid. I'm sure my enjoyment was shared by the other 120 attendees.whichever talks they selected.

Lesley Anderson announced that AncestryDNA will be making their testing available in Canada starting this week.

Birth, Marriages & Death Notices from the Carleton Place Herald, 1850-1923

Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society have just made available a new 9-volume series of transcriptions from The Carleton Place Herald by Dolly Allen and Joan McKay. It includes all birth, marriage and death notices published in  from its beginning as the Lanark Herald in 1850 through 1923, as well as a brief history of the newspaper.

The paper served eastern Ontario well beyond County of Lanark, including Renfrew, Carleton and Leeds-Grenville Counties. As usual at the time, the death notices provide interesting reading on their own. The publications. litsed below, are available online through the Ontario Genealogical Society Store at http://www.ogs.on.ca/ogsnewcart/ .

Pub No. 15-01, Births, 1850-1896, ISBN 978-0-7779-5015-9, 51pp, $12
Pub No. 15-02, Marriages, 1850-1896, ISBN 978-0-7779-5016-6, 109pp, $14
Pub No. 15-03, Deaths, 1850-1896, ISBN 978-0-7779-5018-0, 121pp, $15
Pub. No. 15-04, Births & Marriages, 1896-1904, ISBN 978-0-7779-5019-7, 180pp, $17
Pub. No. 15-05, Deaths, 1896-1904, ISBN 978-0-7779-5020-3, 212pp, $18
Pub. No. 15-06, Births & Marriages, 1905-1915, ISBN 978-0-7779-5021-9, 180pp, $17
Pub. No. 15-07, Deaths, 1905-1915, ISBN 978-0-7779-5022-7, 205pp, $18
Pub. No. 15-08, BMDs, 1916-1920, ISBN 978-0-7779-5024-1, 142pp, $15
Pub. No. 15-09, BMDs, 1921-1923, ISBN 978-0-7779-5026-5, 106pp, $14

Thanks to Branch Publisher, John Patton, for the information.

06 June 2015

Ancestry adds UK, British Army Muster Books and Pay Lists, 1812-1817

New on Ancestry, selected muster books and pay lists covering the period from 1812 to 1817, during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. A few rolls go back as far as 1779 and also up to 1821. There are images of the original documents as well as an index.
The records are from the National Archives in the UK which has a useful research guide.
"Muster rolls and pay lists were troop lists taken on a monthly or quarterly basis for pay and accounting purposes and may provide enlistment dates, movements, and discharge dates of soldiers. For most regiments or units in this collection, records have been indexed from one muster roll per year. Rolls and lists not indexed may be browsed by category and piece description.
Records vary but may include the following details:
  • name
  • start date
  • end date
  • regiment
  • where stationed
  • rank
  • pay"

Findmypast adds Kent and Cambridgeshire records

New records added to the Findmypast collection this week include:

For Kent transcriptions from over 42,000 additional baptisms and over 30,000 additional burials from the parishes of  Birling, Halling, Kemsing, Lower Birling, Ryarsh, Snodland, Stowting, Otterden, Newchurch, Ebony and Brenchley.

For Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, over 6,000 transcripts of baptisms and burials.

05 June 2015

Progress at Canadiana.ca

The following is a press release from Canadiana.ca

Canadiana.org and partners achieve digitization record with 21 million pages

June 3, 2015
Contact: Daniel Velarde - info@canadiana.ca

In 2014, Canadiana.org and its partners processed some 21 million pages, achieving the highest output of Canadian historical records ever digitized in a single year.

This achievement builds on the Heritage Project, an effort to make accessible a projected 40 million pages of archival material held at Library and Archives Canada. The completed digital collection, chronicling the institutions and people that shaped Canadian history from the 1600s to the mid-1900s, will be of major research value for scholars in a wide variety of fields.

Since 2013, the project has amassed 30 million digital images viewable on a free website, with the remaining content projected to appear online in 2015. Alongside mass digitization, important work has also been undertaken towards creating linked metadata for search and discovery.

Canadiana.org also expanded its online research resources with an additional 1 million digitized pages of non-archival content, chiefly early Canadian monographs and periodicals (journals and magazines, excluding newspapers). Canadiana.org continues its mission to digitize all periodicals published in Canada before 1921.


• Canadiana.org is a coalition of 26 research and memory institutions with longstanding commitments to expand the scope of digital content available for scholarly research

• 21 million pages is not the highest one-year throughput for mass digitization in Canada; however, it represents the largest single-year haul of historical primary sources whose subject matter and/or origin is Canadian

• Canadiana.org is committed to ensuring the long-term preservation and accessibility of all deposited content. Source material is processed in scanning centres in Ottawa-Gatineau, with storage of the digitized content distributed across several sites in Canada for safer preservation.

About Canadiana.org

Canadiana.org is a non-profit and charitable organisation founded in 1978 to preserve Canada's print heritage and make it accessible for future generations, with a special emphasis on material that is rare, scattered or at-risk. Canadiana.org's website, launched in 1999, was the first large-scale online collection of Canadian print heritage, containing a mix of digitized microfiche and original colour scans acquired from 237 lending institutions. The oldest online title, Les singularitez de la France antarctique autrement nommée Amérique & de plusieurs terres & isles découvertes de nostre temps, is a 1558 travel narrative describing early French voyages to North America

Ancestry adds Surrey Mental Hospital Admission and Prisoner Records

Will you find relatives in the 25,846 records in Surrey, England, Mental Hospital Admissions, 1867-1900 in the 11,670 records in Surrey, England, Calendar of Prisoners, 1848-1902?

The mental hospital record I checked spread over two pages, handwritten, and included date of previous admission, date of admission. name, sax, age, marital status, occupation and religion, abode, responsible authority, medical disorder, cause of insanity, date of discharge and other information.

The calendar of prisoners I viewed was a printed record. Look for prisoner’s name and age, occupation, name of the accuser, crime committed and some details about it (e.g., in cases of theft, what was stolen, etc.), trial date, warrant date, date committed to custody, magistrate, verdict, sentence, previous convictions.

04 June 2015

Free access to Ancestry.co.uk records 5-7 June

As if there aren't enough options of things to do this weekend, Ancestry.co.uk is granting free access to their records in the featured collections free from 5 June at 00:01 until 7 June, 2015 at 23:59 GMT. To see a full list of the available collections click here.

Richard III Leicester investigation background.

On Saturday I'll be presenting Did DNA Prove the Skeleton Under the Leicester Car Park was Richard III? at the OGS Toronto Branch Genetic Genealogy event. Here's a background video courtesy of the Royal Society Summer Exhibition which runs for a week starting on 30 June in London.

Younger Father, Healthier Child

Increased father’s age is a known risk factor for schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, and multiple other genetic disorders. Now a study of individuals whose fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers fathered their lineage on average under age 30 finds about 13% were more likely to survive to adulthood compared to those whose ancestors fathered their lineage at over 40 years. Females had a lower probability of marriage if their male ancestors were older.

Those are conclusions in Fitness Consequences of Advanced Ancestral Age over Three Generations in Humans by Hayward AD, Lummaa V, Bazykin GA published in PLoS ONE 10(6) which reports on a study of seven pre-industrial Finnish populations.

These findings are consistent with an increase of the number of accumulated de novo DNA mutations although the authors point out that other explanations are possible.

DNA presentation at Lanark County Genealogical Society

The next meeting of the Lanark County Genealogical Society is on Saturday June 6th, 2015. Ottawa Genetic Genealogy Group members Doug Hoddinott and Errol Collins will speak on DNA - its advantages in determining family lineage and research links that include Newfoundland ancestry. 

The meeting, which starts at 1:30 p.m., is at the Drummond Comunity Hall/Archives Lanark, 1920 Drummond Concession 7 Rd., Drummond Centre, ON http://www.dnetownship.ca/content/community-hall