30 September 2015

British Newspaper Archive Additions for September

The British Newspaper Archive now has 11,756,577 pages from 509 titles online. Additions in September, alas nothing for Norfolk, are:

Win a Scottish Webinar Registration

FREE should attract a Scotsman's attention! See below for how you can win the opportunity to attend a webinar free of charge.

The Scottish Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Ontario Genealogical Society have organized a series of webinars over the fall and winter months.

The First webinar, this Saturday October 3, 1:00 pm EDT,  has Shirley Sturdevant on Gathering Oral and Family Histories
  • Discover how to plan for and conduct oral history interviews.
  • Discuss ways to encourage other family members to contribute their photos, history and memories.
  • Get motivated to tell your own story.
  • Of importance to the Scottish family historian is preserving the superstitions, old Scottish words and phrases, recipes and nursery rhymes for future generations.
To register:

The webinars are $14.95 Canadian ($11 US) If not able to attend the live event register and pay to get 30 days to access the recording.
After paying expenses any excess goes into the Symposium fund to bring a speaker over from Scotland in 2017 for a day or two of learning about Scottish genealogy.

The first person to email to < johndreid at gmail dot com > identifying all errors with the statement below will win free access to Saturday's or one of the other webinars scheduled  - information at http://scottishsig.ogs.on.ca/webinars/
"The founders of The Scotsman newspaper in 1820 were lawyer Charles Ritchie and customs official William Maclaren."

TNA Podcast: Kew lives – reconstructing the past

In this short (15 minute) talk from 3 September 2015 Emily Ward-Willis explains how to research the local history of an area, using the Mortlake Terrace shops in Kew as a case study.
The study is based on census and directory information found at TNA and local archives. Mention is made of the 1910 valuation office survey although it was not available for the area.
Two case studies are described, the robbery of a property by a police officer and the death of a First World War sailor and remarriage of his widow..
The talk, a contribution to the Know Your Place festival, a celebration of the heritage of Richmond upon Thames is well organized and was clearly presented.
Unfortunately, as is too often the case with TNA podcasts, the audio has intermittent problems and there is reference to illustrations which are not available. Such technical difficulties, which should not be hard to address, reflect poorly on TNA.'s consideration for its online clients.

29 September 2015

Help Peter Calver make 100,000

The Lost Cousins newsletter is a steal. It's free and full of news and great tips for those with British ancestry. Issued twice a month you can subscribe by going to the LostCousins website  and join using the link in the left hand column.
Peter is aiming to reach 100,000 subscribers by the end of September and has less than 100 to go. Help make his day, and do yourself a favour.
The most recent issue has a article Understanding DNA #5: choosing the right test which starts "Most people who take DNA tests are in danger of wasting their money - because they haven't developed a strategy."  As well as being a worthwhile article it typifies Peter's concern that subscribers get value for money -- and in more than genealogy.

UPDATE: Pater made 100,000.

New Ancestry

Ancestry favoured me with a message that on Tuesday (that would be today) "Canadians will have the chance to try an updated Ancestry experience, with the site redesigned to transform how Canadians discover and tell their family story."

According to this information the new features are:

•                    LifeStory, which uses events, sources and relationships you’ve collected in your family tree to create a holistic, time-based narrative of these moments;

•                    Historical Insights will now appear within your ancestor’s life story, giving you context about the events that impacted their lives;

•                    Facts and Galleries will transform how you view, arrange and share the details of your ancestors’ lives.

You can check out the promo video.

It seems I've been seeing these new features for a couple of weeks, maybe longer although perhaps not on the .ca site.

It's best to refrain for making snap judgements on whether these are just new, or new and improved. Anything new involves a learning experience; I found myself floundering to find a path to things I previously knew how to access.

The historical insights are rather rudimentary.  My great-grandfather died in October 1914 but the only two historical insights for his 77 year-long life were World War One-related.

Uncertainty in Science and Genealogy

Can you handle the truth? Some ugly facts in science and sensibility, an article in Monday's Guardian rehearses the points made by Tracey Brown in a lecture at the British Library.  Tracey is director of Sense About Science, a charity that works to put science and evidence in the hands of the public.

Reality for researchers and genealogists is that our facts are always probabilities. Is the presumed father the biological father? Was there a hidden adoption? It's never “are you sure?” but “do we know enough.”  In genealogy are we certain enough of the identity of an ancestor to move on and research their ancestors sufficiently confident we're not barking up the wrong family tree? Is the patiently researched, or not-so patiently researched, path back to Edward I, or another prominent or notorious ancestor, sometimes one and the same, we might like to claim the truth?

I'm looking forward to listening to Tracey Brown's lecture as a podcast on the Guardian site available from Friday 2 October.

If you're interested in probability in genealogy come to my BIFHSGO talk on Saturday 10 October 2015 You Be the Judge: Did DNA Prove the Skeleton under the Leicester Car Park was Richard III? There will be a reminder closer to the date.

28 September 2015

The Financial Health of Canadian Genealogical Societies

Each year organizations federally registered as charities in Canada for tax purposes are required to file returns with the Canada Revenue Agency. Part, including financial information, is available on the Revenue Canada website.

You can search for individual society reports at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html. Of 11 societies with information available three had a surplus of income over expenditure. Four others have deficits covered more than ten times by assets.

Below is a summary of reports for 2014 with comparative figures for 2013 and 2012 in parentheses where available.

Alberta Genealogical Society 
Total assets of $558,845 ($606,312, $540,282), and liabilities of $213,134 ($257,883, $200,592). The total revenue was $208,033 ($229,344, $254,380). Expenditures totaled  $210,752 ($250,276, $218,231). The membership fee remained at $50.

British Columbia Genealogical Society
Total assets of $206,451 ($203,542, $203,016) and liabilities of $7,810 ($9,268, $10,085). Total revenue was $33,923 ($27,625, $24,783). Expenditures totaled $29,555 ($24,991, $22,502). The individual annual membership fee remained at $45.

British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa 
While no report for 2014 is yet posted the following are the figures.  Total assets of $121,878  ($104,683, $90,374) and liabilities of $20,170 ($32,716, $30,607). Total revenue was $71,443 ($70,738, $54,675). Expenditures totaled $63,844 ($55,000, $50,366). The individual annual membership fee remains $40.

Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador Inc
The society was newly incorporated as a charity in 2013. Total assets were $29,166 ($43,130) and liabilities $16,072 ($15,867).  Total revenue was $29,729 ($35,226) and expenditure $44,364 ($32,525). The individual membership fee is $42.

Manitoba Genealogical Society
Total assets of $37,118 ($55,341, $50,743) and liabilities of $7,208 ($19,157, $22,458). Total revenue was $47,388 ($47,727, $60,780). Expenditures totaled  $49,679 ($48,942, $59,162). The individual membership fee of $40 increased to $50 on 1 April 2015.

New Brunswick Genealogical Society 
The 2014 figures are not yet posted.  The report for 2013 was "Total assets of $182,016 ($194,048) and liabilities of $13,224 ($21,542). Total revenue was $33,846 ($37,121). Expenditures totaled $39,396 ($36,974)." The individual annual membership fee remained at $35.

Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia
GANS had total assets of $281,182 ($307,796, $303,274) and liabilities of $1,553 ($0, $0). Total revenue was $42,800 ($45,693, $32,549). Total expenditures were $69,858 ($44,703, $30,717). The Association's annual membership fee remained at $30.

Ontario Genealogical Society
Total assets of $2,398,885 ($2,486,135, $2,324,973). Liabilities totaled $253,590 ($263,728, $246,412). Total revenue was $557,053 ($680,411, $621,393). Expenditures totaled $626,736 ($602,563, $617,151). The membership fee for 2015 is $63 plus fees for any branch or special interest group membership.

Québec Family History Society
Total assets of $50,072 ($53,800, $65,742)  Liabilities totaled $7,304 ($5,111, $7,899). Total revenue was $42,545 ($44,095, $60,623). Expenditures totaled $49,054 ($50,878, $47,420). The annual fee remains at $75.

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society
Total assets of $86,875 ($106,334, $46,921). Liabilities totaled $127,116 ($125,662, $65,054). Total revenue was $239,577 ($256,667, $261,767). Expenditures were $260,490 ($268,140, $262,316) Basic membership for 2015 is $50.

Société généalogique canadienne-française
Total assets of $373,417 ($339,405  $347,834). Liabilities totaled $67,351 ($39,685, $68,013). Total revenue was $202,946 ($215,399  $248,240). Expenditures were  $202,782 ($201,759, $220,556.) Basic membership for 2015 is $45.

Victoria Genealogical Society
Total assets of NA( NA, $24,786) and liabilities NA (NA, 0). Total revenue was $34,048 ($40,412, NA). Expenditures totaled $44,502 ($42,629, $35,790). Individual annual membership remained $50.

The Quebec Family History Society continues with the highest annual membership fee ($75), the Genealogical Society of Nova Scotia the lowest ($30).

Thanks to BIFHSGO Treasurer Marnie McCall for providing the society return.

Thanks to Gail Dever for the information for the update adding SGCF.

RationalWiki on the United Kingdom

  • Some folks get hot under the collar when their particular part of the British Isles is mischaracterised. Scotland is not part of England, Wales is not part of England. Some object to the Republic of Ireland being identified as part of the British Isles. 

This diagram reproduced from http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/United_Kingdom may help to sort things out - or may just further enrage the pedant.

Also on the RationalWiki UK page: The briefest possible history of the UK, The British Empire
Politics, Future, Religion, Money, Trivia, How to refer to its people.

27 September 2015

Election coverage: where the parties stand on the census

Read what Maclean's has to say on where each party stands on the census and access to scientific data - www.macleans.ca/politics/election-issues-2015-a-macleans-primer-on-vanishing-data/

Ottawa City Archives Update

Patrons of the Ottawa City Archives at 100 Tallwood will no longer be interacting with Claire Lee, a long-time staff member. Claire retired earlier this month, although had been away for some while using up annual leave. I'm grateful for Claire's help over the years and wish her well in retirement.
Jacinda Bain is now the archivist dealing with post-amalgamation records while Ann Lauzon handles pre-amalgamation records. Claire Sutton now staffs the reference desk.
A reminder about the opening of the Taverns and Troublemakers exhibit which will have its official opening on Thursday 1 October with opening reception at 6:30pm. RSVP to archives@ottawa.ca.

26 September 2015

It's in the book: Directories on Findmypast

There's a delight to finding an ancestor's name in a publication which was meant to be openly accessible, as opposed to an official record. Directories, just added by Findmypast, along with newspapers are the major sources for the family historian.

The 122 volumes in this collection, sourced from Anguline Research Archives, Gould Genealogy, Yorkshire Ancestors and Eneclann cover a lot of territory. They includes trade directories, county guides, almanacs and general directories ranging in date from 1772 to 1939.

Yorkshire, has the best coverage, over 50 volumes spanning a |Sheffield directory from 1787 to  a 1937 Kelly's Directory for the North & East Ridings. The adjacent counties are also included whereas southern English counties is scant, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Sussex, and Middlesex. (there are two London Post Office Directories). Wales is lacking, there are just three for Scotland.

Even if your county of interest is missing you may be some coverage for national and specialist directories. Examples are:

Colonial Office List for 1863 and 1870,
Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage & Companionage, 1923,
Dod's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage of Great Britain & Ireland, 1902,
National Telephone Co's Directory, Northern Section, 1904
Newspaper Press Directory 1913 and 1927
The Cotton Year Book, 1920
Thom's Official Directory of Great Britain & Ireland 1894
Thom's Official Directory of Great Britain & Ireland 1914
United Kingdom, Europe & Australasia, Crane's Directory & Buyer's Guide, 1899-1900

Don't overlook the collection of directories online from the University of Leicester.

For Canada there are digitized directories from Library and Archives Canada, the Internet Archive (texts) and from Archive CD Books Canada on Findmypast.

Helen Billing announces retirement from Toronto Family History Centre Bulletin

Buried in an issue celebrating ten years of the Toronto Family History Centre Bulletin editor Helen Billing slips in the news of her retirement. Helen writes
"I took over writing the Bulletin in 2007, eight years ago. It is time for me to retire to pursue other interests, including travel and hiking the Bruce Trail, an 894 km trail along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. My last Bulletin will be sent on October 15th."
Every week (almost) I've looked forward to receiving news and interest items in the bulletin. I thank Helen for that and wish her well as she pursues a newly chosen path.

25 September 2015

Gloucestershire, England, Wills and Inventories, 1541-1858

Ancestry has an updated collection, Gloucestershire, England, Wills and Inventories, 1541-1858, now with 86,384 entries. They are taken from Gloucestershire Probate Records. Diocese of Gloucestershire at the Gloucestershire Archives.

Deceased Online adds Ladywell Cemetery

The following is an announcement from Deceased Online.
Deceased Online is delighted to announce that the Lewisham, South London, record collection has been increased with the addition of the historic Ladywell Cemetery, which dates from 1858.
The Ladywell Collection comprises nearly 90,000 names (burials) with around 250,000 records including scans of original burial registers, details of all grave occupants and section maps for approximately 80% of the graves.
Lewisham records already available on www.deceasedonline.com are for Grove Park Cemetery and Hither Green Crematorium. The remaining records for Brockley and Hither Green Cemeteries will be added over the next few weeks. When complete, there will be nearly 400,000 burials and 1 million records for Lewisham on the Deceased Online website.
As with its neighbouring sister cemetery, Brockley (records soon on Deceased Online), Ladywell was opened in 1858 and features thousands of Victorian and early 20th century headstones and memorials. Due to its proximity to central London and the old naval shipyards at Deptford, there are many interesting and notable graves. 

Just Jam and Jerusalem? The Women’s Institute Centenary:

A blog post explores some of that organization's records at TNA in this the WI's centenary year. The Women’s Institute: it’s not all jam and Jerusalem mentions that the National Federation of Women’s Institute and Denman archive is held by the Women’s Library, at the London School of Economics and Political Science Library.

Most of the material there has not been digitized. You have to visit in person. A selection of materials in The Women's Library @ LSE collection is accessible from the Digital Library comprising "a representative sample of the collection, featuring more than 300 items from the 16th Century to the present day and 35 rare books digitised in full." Those rare books pre-date the WI.
The WI material seems to be single images such as this one of the first WI building.

While developing this post I wondered about the institution in Canada, and specifically about the OGS plans to digitize the Tweedsmuir Histories as announced in November 2009. It was supposed to be a three year project.  It appears this was seed that fell mostly on stony ground.  That's unfortunate although a few are linked from the Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario site at http://www.fwio.on.ca/tweedslinks.

24 September 2015

What's Wrong with the Rockstar Genealogist poll: and what's right?

Of the over 2000 people who voted for their favourite Rockstar Genealogists 174 left comments.

They were compiled and processed through wordle.net. Many comments expressed appreciation and admiration for those for whom they voted.

Several reflect a misunderstanding of the vote. The Rockstars aren't necessarily "professional genealogists" -- which means different things in different jurisdictions. It's a people's choice award as indicated in the instructions
"Rockstar genealogists are those who give "must attend" presentations at family history conferences or as webinars; who, when you see a new family history article or publication by that person makes it a must buy; who you follow avidly on Facebook or Twitter."
The poll started four years ago as I was struggling to select speakers for meetings and thought it would provide guidance which would be more widely useful. Despite some doubt expressed in a couple of comments most seem to find it useful, or at least interesting.

Despite the list being open to nominations for a week, and widely publicized as open on social media, 48 additional names were mentioned as worthy of inclusion. A few of those had been included in previous years but were dropped as they received few votes. That's likely because they are known locally but don't have the extended profile needed to gather many votes. I hope folks mentioning those names take the initiative to recognize them and have them recognized locally. Not everyone of them would choose a Rockstar life!

If all the additional people mentioned were included the list would be almost 200 names. Some folks thought there were too many to choose from already. There were  a couple of suggestions of names to drop. Suggestions on how to deal with the length of the list appreciated.

Some Canadians were concerned that there were so many non-Canadians on the Canada list. Those on the list are those chosen by Canadians and, presumably, those they would like to hear at conferences and meetings or follow online.  I prefer to look at it positively as reflecting an openness, a lack of insularity, in Canada to hearing and learning from a broader international community.

Thomas MacEntee Interview on Genealogy as a Business: Part III

At BIFHSGO Conference 2015 I found myself talking to people who were interested in genealogy as a business. That prompted me to sit down with Chicago-based Rockstar genealogist Thomas MacEntee for an interview on his experience in the business of genealogy.

Thomas, a speaker and author, came to a genealogy career from an information technology background and is very active on the web with sites including High Definition GenealogyHack Genealogy and Geneabloggers.

The first two parts of the transcripts were posted here and here. In this final part we start by asking Who else in the Genealogy business, or in the larger business world do you most admire, and what attributes do you appreciate the most in your genealogy business friends?

TM: One is Lisa Louise Cooke. I like the way she runs her business. I like the layout of her web properties. I like what she offers. There's almost never a hard sell. What we're finding now is that people want to relate to a business on a personal level. They don't want the corporate feel. Lisa does much of what I do - we give away stuff for free. People at the start said you're crazy. Why aren't you charging for this. But we call them lead magnets. They actually bring people who say, oh! that's what Lisa's about. I'm going to look at her other stuff. I'm going to buy her Evernote video - subscribe to her premium podcast. That's what it's all about and why I admire her.  Dick Eastman has been in the space for coming up to 20 years now. His idea was having a premium newsletter. I have an e-newsletter but it's not paid for. I look to him and that's why I started developing my email list for coupons and contests and things like that.

JDR: We're always told we learn more from our mistakes. What mistakes did you make that you would council people against? 

TM: I think in the beginning I started to toot my own horn too much in terms of press releases, especially when I had new lectures. I think it's more important to build ... I have what I call a tribe, a loyal group of followers. Let them go out and cheerlead and evangelize for you. It's different than you being out with a bullhorn and tooting your own horn. Also genealogists are smart people. You really can't do much of this "fake it till you make it" stuff. You've got to prove you can walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Also you've got to go slow. It's just like genealogy; there's no easy button in genealogy and there's no easy button in running a business.

JDR: Do you have any final advice for those embarking on a genealogy business.

TM: There are a lot of free resources out there for starting a business and a lot of that will translate to a genealogy business. Make a list of what you like to do and avoid the things you don't enjoy. For speaking engagements you have to start out at a low price level, even free. My first year was free. I spent $5,000 on travel speaking around the US just to make a name for myself. That was an investment so set some money aside. Also find somebody in the genealogy business to mentor you. Join the ProGen group. To sell something I have - a GenBiz Solutions site. Those are guides on how to run a genealogy business and they're often discounted so look for them. You've got to be happy. |If you're not happy as a business owner -- people notice unhappy business owners, I notice them at genealogy shows and ask myself why they're killing themselves doing it.

I like to thank Thomas for taking the time to site down for the interview. 

Ottawa Scottish Genealogy Group

The next Scottish Genealogy Group meeting, the first of the 2016-16 season, will be held on Saturday, September 26th at 10:00 AM in Room 226 at the Ottawa City Archives located at 100 Tallwood Drive.

23 September 2015

Wellington County Museum and Archives.Workshops

Sometimes I wish I lived closer to southern Ontario*. It happens mainly when I learn of genealogy events like the one coming up this Saturday, September 26, at the Wellington County Museum and Archives in a Genealogy Workshop series.

Jane MacNamara is speaking on One Thing Leads to Another: Research techniques to help you follow the right ancestral trail
"Family history research is all about detective work imaging what records might exist around a life event, finding out how to find the records, gleaning every bit of information from them and letting those records lead you to the next source.  Whether you are new to genealogy, or you've been at it for a while, this workshop will reinvigorate your research with new ideas and techniques. And if much of your research has been online we'll definitely expand your horizons. There will be lots of practical examples and class participation."
Jane who writes about genealogy at wherethestorytakesme.ca is on my personal list of top ten Canadian genealogists for her educational activities like the Toronto Genealogy Summer Camp.
What you may not know, I didn't, is that Jane went to most of public school and all of high school in nearby Guelph and spent one summer during university working at the Wellington County Museum.

Forthcoming events in this series are:

Tammy Tipler-Priolo will conduct an Ancestor Investigator Biography Writing Workshop on Saturday, October 24, 2:00 pm

Glenn Wright will speak on  For King and Country: Canadians in the Great War, 1914-1918 and
Canada at War, 1939-1945: Documenting Your Second World War Ancestor on Sunday, November 15, 1:30 pm.

Find out more and register at http://www.wellington.ca/en/discover/Genealogy-Workshop-Series.asp

*That feeling about living in southern Ontario doesn't last.

FamilySearch adds England, Warwickshire Parish Registers, 1535-1984

There are 1,196,651 records in this new FamilySearch Warwickshire database; 577,673 birth/baptisms, 429,692 marriage entries and 392,680 death/burials. Many, but by no means all index entries are linked to images of the original record.

There's also the ability to browse 58,168 images for 148 parishes: Allesley to Wyken - but nothing for Birmingham.