31 January 2016

MyHeritage mobile app: Audio Recordings

The following news is from Daniel Horowitz at My Heritage which continues to attract increasing interest in the genealogical community as indicated by Alexa ratings.
We’ve just released a new feature in the MyHeritage mobile app: Audio Recordings. You can now interview your relatives directly from their profile in the family tree, and store your family's stories for future generations in your MyHeritage family site. 
The MyHeritage mobile app is free. It's available for iPhone, iPad and Android, and it lets you access and enhance your family tree on the go. The Audio Recordings feature is now available in both the iOS and Android versions of the mobile app.
Read the My Heritage blog post here.

British Newspaper Archive additions for January

The British Newspaper Archive now has  13,039,978 (12,588,119 last month) pages from 587 (556) titles online.
The full list of additions this month is:

Note that a long list of dates doesn't necessarily indicate a lot of issues. The Carmarthen Weekly Reporter has just 18 issues.

Irish Roots . . . to be continued

The Irish Times has axed John Grenham's Irish Roots column. The last column will publish on 8 February, seven years since it started.
That's sad news from John, but the good news is that he will continue writing about column topics on his blog at http://johngrenham.com/irishroots/.
As he writes, it will be without the benefit of "sub-editors and libel lawyers looking over my shoulder."  Let's hope they don't prove as essential as telephone sanitizers to Golgafrinchans in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker’s Guide series. If you don't get it Google it!

30 January 2016

An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman Walk into a Police Station

The start of a bad joke?

The latest post from The Kitchissippi Museum,What Ottawans were being arrested for in 1911 includes a tabulation of The Nativity of Prisoners Arrested During the Year 1911 (in Ottawa). There's a comment that there was a blitz on Chinese persons (arrested) in May and October. That's as many for the year as a whole as the Irish.

1911 was a census year and statistics on nativity of the population of Ottawa overall were compiled, found at https://goo.gl/VMn2m9 in page 372.


Arrest/Pop is arrests per 10,000 population. Overall arrests of those of British origin are at a rate only a quarter that for the population as a whole. The Scots have the highest among the British and the Irish least. So much for stereotypes!

Video: Ottawa Storm (1942)

They say you only see what you are looking for as illustrated by this video.
As if to prove it I'm running across more items on Ottawa and Ottawa Valley weather as I prepared a talk for the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives AGM on 6 February and a Gene-O-Rama banquet talk for Ottawa Branch of OGS on 2 April.
Recently post on YouTube by Library and Archives Canada is this silent video of a 1942 storm in Ottawa, or rather its aftermath.

LAC's description is "A heavy winter storm in Ottawa in 1942 showing: Bronson Avenue, Bank Street with skier, streetcars frozen in tracks on Laurier Street, Bank Street streetcar subway, E.J. McKhool, Laurier Street Tearoom sign where bulldozer frees work car with trolley derailed by ice. [Army] work force tries to clear tracks which took a few days, Byron Avenue, streetcar on Bronson has advertisement for Duke Ellington's Band. Tracks cleared at Bank Street subway, crew and passengers board streetcars. Mr. Somerville on Harvard Avenue. Rideau River barriers. Snow and ice laden trees, clearing roof of garage on Raleigh Avenue." The source is the Henry P. Sedziak fonds, 1986-0486, IDC 27583. Mr Sedziak died in Ottawa in 1999.

Environment Canada identifies this as "Eastern Ontario's Freezing Rain Storm - December 28-30, 1942. Ice "as thick as a person's wrist" covered telephone wires, trees and railway tracks. In Ottawa, 50,000 workers walked to work for five days. Because of the war, there were few men available to clear the streets and repair lines."

According to records from the Experimental Farm in Ottawa the temperature was below freezing from Christmas Day 1942 so any rain would be freezing on contact. December 27th saw 7.6 mm of rain and 12.7 cm of snow. After a one-day break the 29th recorded 15.2 mm of rain followed by 31.8 cm of snow on the 30th.

29 January 2016

Findmypast updates Greater London Burial Index,

There are now 1,455,836 records in the Findmypast Greater London Burial Index, now updated with an additional 279,000 records for 48 different locations across the historical county of Middlesex.
The graph shows number of burials in 20 year blocks with a peak around 1830 as churchyards became full.
342,635 burials are in London, 603,958 in Middlesex and 509,243 in Surrey.

Findmypast adds further Isle of Man transcript records

Over 422,000 transcript records have just been added to the Isle of Man, Births and Baptisms 1600-2010. Now totalling over 540, 000 records,

Isle of Man Marriages 1598-1979 has been updated with over 167,000 additional records. The collection is now 252,127 records.

Isle of Man, Deaths and Burials 1598-2011 now has an additional 249,000 records making the total 292,320.

All three comprise parish records transcribed by FamilySearch, and transcribed civil registration records.

RootsTech 2016: Streamed Sessions and Syllabus

What are you doing from Thursday 3 February to Saturday? The schedule for presentations streamed free from RootsTech is out. The table below has start times  in Eastern Standard Time. Sessions last 60 minutes except the opening General Sessions which are 90 minutes. While I have other commitments, notably on Saturday, I know what I'll be doing on Friday afternoon and evening.

DateStart (EST)Session TitleSpeaker
04-Feb10:30: a.mThursday General SessionSteve Rockwood
Paula Madison
Bruce Feiler
1 p.m 7 Unique Technologies for Genealogy DiscoveriesMike Mansfield
3:30 p.mBest Websites and Apps for Local HistoryAmy Crow
5 p.m.What's New in Family Tree in 2016Ron Tanner
6:30 p.m.Virtual Family ReunionsJoseph Richardson
05-Feb10:30 a.m.Friday General SessionJosh and Naomi Davis (Love Taza)
David Isay
12:30 a.m.RootsTech Innovator Showdown Finals
3:30 p.m.Proven Methodology for Using Google for GenealogyLisa Louise Cooke
5 p.m.Finding Elusive Records on FamilySearch.orgRobert Kehrer
6:30 p.m.My Ancestors Are from Britain—What Do I Do Next?Myko Clelland
06-Feb10:30 a.m.Saturday General SessionMichael Leavitt
1 p.m.Photos—Emerging Technologies in PhotographyJens Nielsen
3:30 p.m.Become a Master Searcher on AncestryAnne Mitchell
5 p.m.Homespun and Calico: Researching our ForemothersPeggy Lauritzen
6:30 p.m. Using the Genealogical Proof Standard for SuccessJames Ison

Now also available is the syllabus (handouts) from most of the sessions. They are presented by presentation umber which isn't especially information.

By the way, several videos from last year's RootsTech are still available at www.rootstech.org/video/4050134760001

UPDATE: Thanks to Nancy for pointing out the typos, and apologies to those who committed to raising at 3:30 am for a Friday presentation.

28 January 2016

Autosomal DNA triangulation. Part 1: the basics

Puzzled by how to use DNA evidence in your genealogy studies? Just what is meant by triangulation? Debbie Kennett has a new blog post to help you become unpuzzled. Read it on her blog at http://cruwys.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/autosomal-dna-triangulation-part-1.html

Canadian Library Association to Disband

The following is an announcement from the Canadian Library Association

Today the Canadian Library Association (CLA) took the first formal step to establish a new unified national library advocacy organization.

CLA has been the national voice of the Canadian library community since 1946 and has profoundly changed the awareness of libraries and advanced many issues of critical importance to libraries and to Canadians. The work of CLA has created a permanent legacy that positively impacts Canadian libraries and all Canadians. At the Special General Meeting of the Canadian Library Association held Wednesday January 27, 2016 in Toronto, the membership voted to dissolve the Association.

The dissolution of CLA follows an extensive process during which CLA worked with a large number of library associations across Canada to develop a proposal to advance the interests of libraries. The proposed Canadian Federation of Library Associations unifies the diverse library communities across Canada. CLA’s membership took this decision with a view to the future. Changing times and a proliferation of other library associations has seen a decline in CLA membership resulting in challenges in sustaining an effective organization. It was clearly time to reconsider the viability of the organization. The Executive Committee unanimously supported the motion to dissolve CLA in order to enable the creation of a new national federation. Over the next few months CLA will undertake the normal requirements to wind down an organization and pave the way for the Federation.

While the demise of CLA is regrettable, the rise of the Federation as a new and more effective voice for Canada’s libraries is a reason to celebrate.

Those of us who use newspaper archives will have noted that many of the microfilms of heritage Canadian newspapers were produced because of the efforts of the Canadian Library Association.

The decision to reform into an umbrella advocacy group for provincial and local library organization rather than remaining an individual membership organization is one that some genealogical societies in decline might want to emulate.

Lesley's Ireland Genealogy Tour is ON

Having mentioned Lesley Anderson's Ireland Genealogy Tour, April 16 to May 2, several times so I was pleased to hear from her yesterday that it's definitely on.
There are a couple of spaces still available but act fast if you've been procrastinating.
To find out more contact Lesley at anderley at sympatico dot ca.

27 January 2016

Ancestry.ca emphasizes the negative

Every so often I receive a PR shot on behalf of Ancestry,ca. The latest, aimed at promoting the company autosomal DNA test, starts:

Ancestry report reveals nearly one-quarter of Canadians unaware of where ancestors emigrated from

As Canada commits to welcoming 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February, new research reveals that many Canadians are in the dark when it comes to their own family’s immigration story.

·         Majority of Canadians (90%) feel that immigration is important to Canadian culture

·         Yet, almost one-third (32%) say they don’t know when the first member of their family immigrated to Canada

I suppose good news is no news.

Looked at positively, over three-quarters of Canadians are aware of where their ancestors emigrated from, and more than two-thirds know when. Does that really warrant emphasising the negative and characterising many Canadians as "in the dark"?

Read the full Ancestry.ca news release at www.newswire.ca/news-releases/a-quarter-of-canadians-unaware-of-where-ancestors-emigrated-from-566546151.html

As for AncestryDNA, Have you seen the lederhosen ad www.ispot.tv/ad/7c4Y/ancestrydna-lederhosen and wondered why the German tradition wasn't substantiated by DNA testing, a more interesting question to follow up from the results. Was there an NPE?

An overlooked family history resource: bank shareholders in Canadian Sessional Papers

Commercial genealogy companies LOVE name rich sources. So do genealogists.
It's surprising then that the listings of bank shareholders in Canadian Sessional Papers haven't attracted more attention. Have you used them?
The image is the top of a page from Sessional Papers 6, Vol XVVIII, No 3, 1914 found on the open shelves at Library and Archives Canada. The heading of the table columns are name, description, post office address, number of shares and amount paid. Look down the names and find the same surname in the same location - likely members of the same family.
This listing is for the Bank of Ottawa, one of the smaller institutions, 12 pages of names and 60 names per page.
This volume has data for 26 banks with headquarters in Halifax, Hamilton, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec, Vancouver, Weyburn, Winnipeg shareholder and names listed on more than 600 pages. And that's just for 1914!

HSO January Meeting: Ridge Road Settlers in Gatineau Park 1834-1907

For January the Historical Society of Ottawa meeting welcomes Bill McGee on the topic Ridge Road Settlers in Gatineau Park 1834-1907.
In the 1800s, many families settled along Ridge road, now trail 1 in Gatineau Park, on what was called Kingsmere Mountain. They settled in Hull and Eardley townships in the County of Ottawa, Quebec. The mainly Irish family names include McKinstry, McCloskey, Bradley, Ryan, Laing, Marshall, Kennedy, Doyle, McSweeney, Heyden, Higgins, McGuire, Jeffs, Egan, Keogan, Sheahan, Fortune, Leahey, Dunlop, Mullins and Walsh. The location of the various family farms will be displayed, and referenced to today's ski trails, and a short biographical note of each of the settler families presented.
The date is 29 January at 1pm. As usual, the location is the Routhier Community Centre, 172 Gigues Ave, Ottawa. Further information at http://hsottawa.ncf.ca. Everyone welcome.

26 January 2016

OGS Conference 2018, 2017 and 2016

The Ontario Genealogical Society has accepted the offer of the society Scottish Special Interest Group to host OGS Conference 2018. It will likely be at the University of Guelph.
The theme Genesis - From the Beginning  will encompass beginning genealogy, beginning methodology, and looking at the various ethnic groups that were here at the beginning of Canada (Scots, Irish, German, French, Native/Aboriginal, Ukrainian).

OGS Conference 2017 in Ottawa is accepting presentation proposals until 16 February. Here are the details:
The annual Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2017 will be held in Ottawa on June 16-18, 2017 at Algonquin College. The theme of the conference is Our Canada – Your Family: Building a Nation. As 2017 will be the 150th anniversary of the birth of Canada, Ottawa Branch OGS will host the annual OGS conference and give the Conference a national flair, bringing together genealogists and family historians from all over Canada. We are looking for speakers and talks of interest to genealogists from all provinces.
In keeping with this theme, we invite proposals for presentations on: family history from every region and territory of Canada (e.g. Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and British Columbia); migration to and from Canada and also within Canada and how this helped to not only build our families, but also Canada; pre- and post-1867 research in Upper Canada; religious associations; military connections; the latest updates on computer, social media and genealogy database technology; the ever growing use of DNA testing for genealogy; and skill-building for family historians (e.g. use of the genealogy proof standard, getting more out of online resources).  Speakers from other related disciplines are welcome! Statisticians, demographers, archaeologists, researchers, archivists, librarians, geographers, cartographers, scientists, theologians, doctors, PhD candidates, software gurus, internet intellectuals, social media mavens, and historians of all kinds have information of interest to family historians and we would like to hear from you!
Most sessions will be one hour long. Sessions may be streamed in or out of the Conference venue. Topics for interactive, hands-on workshops are also welcome (typically half-day sessions). Speakers will receive an honorarium, plus appropriate expenses and complimentary Conference registration. In early 2017, speakers will submit content for inclusion in a syllabus.
Please submit your proposals by e-mail. Include your full name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, website address (if applicable) and biographical information including recent speaking credits. For each proposal, please provide a unique title, a summary of your presentation (250 words maximum), the intended audience (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and your A/V requirements. Multiple proposals are encouraged.
 Registration is now open for OGS Conference 2016 in Toronto.

Irish Transcripts by David R. Elliott at LAC

Poking around on the third floor at LAC I came across three containers with cerlox bound publication by David R. Elliott, transcriptions of Irish records. As I don't do Irish research, for my sanity, I was unaware of them.

  • A comprehensive index of the Bellanaleck Church of Ireland Cleenish Parish registers
  • A comprehensive index of the Mullaghdun Church of Ireland Cleenish Parish registers (1819-1912)
  • Aghavea Church of Ireland cemetery, Aghavea Parish, County Fermanagh 
  • Bellanaleck Church of Ireland Cemetery, Cleenish Parish, County Fermanagh
  • Benmore Church of Ireland Cemetery, Inishmacsaint Parish, County Fermanagh
  • Births, baptisms, marriages and burials in Boho Parish, Church of Ireland, County Fermanagh (1840-1879)
  • Boho Church of Ireland Cemetery, County Fermanagh
  • Enniskillen Poor Law Union outdoor relief register (1847-1899) : covering parts of counties Fermanagh, Cavan, and Tyrone 
  • Finner graveyard, Bundoran, Inishmacsaint Parish, County Donegal
  • Garrison Church of Ireland Cemetery, Devenish Parish, County Fermanagh 
  • Garrison Roman Catholic Cemetery, Inishmacsaint Parish, County Fermanagh
  • Killadeas Church of Ireland Cemetery, Trory Parish, County Fermanagh
  • Lisbellaw Church of Ireland Churchyard, Cleenish Parish, County Fermanagh
  • Lisbellaw Presbyterian Church cemetery, Cleenish Parish, Conty Fermanagh
  • Maguiresbridge Church of Ireland cemetery, Aghalurcher Parish, County Fermanagh 
  • Maguiresbridge Methodist cemetery, Aghalurcher Parish, County Fermanagh
  • Maguiresbridge Presbyterian cemetery, Aghalurcher Parish, County Fermanagh
  • Monea Roman Catholic Cemetery, Devenish Parish, County Fermanagh
  • Mullaghdun Church of Ireland Cemetery, Cleenish Parish, County Fermanagh
  • Old Derrygonnelly Churchyard, Inishmacsaint Parish, County Fermanagh
  • Rossorry Parish cemeteries, County Fermanagh 
  • Slavin Church of Ireland Cemetery, Inishmacsaint Parish, County Fermanagh
  • St. Faber's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Boho Parish, County Fermanagh
  • St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Cemetery, Inishmacsaint Parish, County Fermanagh
  • St. John's Church of Ireland Churchyard, Fivemiletown, Clogher Parish, County Tyrone
  • St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Mullaghdun, Cleenish Parish, County Fermanagh
  • St. Michael's Church of Ireland Cemetery, Trory Parish, County Fermanagh
  • St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Derrygonnelly, Devenish Parish, County Fermanagh 
  • Sydare Methodist Cemetery, Magheracross Parish, County Fermanagh
  • The Cemetery of St. Molaise, Monea, Devenish Parish, County Fermanagh
  • Three Old Inishmacsaint Parish Graveyards : Inishmacsaint Island, Carrick and Old Slavin, County Fermanagh 
  • Two Magheracross Parish burial grounds : Old Magheracross Graveyard and the Ballinamallard Church of Ireland Churchyard, County Fermanagh
In April 2012 I mentioned and reviewed David's book Researching Your Irish Ancestors at Home and Abroad which is also on the shelves at LAC and his genealogical and historical services through Kinfolk Finders.

Sarah Jennings interviewed on National Arts Centre History in LAC Signatures Series

It was a pleasure on Monday to attend a fascinating event in the new LAC Signatures Series with Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada interviewing Sarah Jennings. The topic, the fonds on the history of the National Arts Centre which she has donated to LAC, includes an extensive collection of audio recordings of interview conducted with people who have been involved with NAC over the years.

The content was rich, it would be an injustice to attempt to summarize her insights into how things got accomplished, and sometimes didn't. A recording, with French interpretation, and possibly a transcript, will be posted in a few months.

Sarah Jennings gave a shoutout for libraries and archives, lauding those she received help from over the years, mentioning the British Library, the Colindale Newspaper Library and the BBC archives as well as LAC. She especially appreciated staff who went out of their way to facilitate her access to materials. She praised the fact that she didn't have to be a scholar or academic to get access, which is also the case with LAC, and is why she was happy to make the donation of materials that she did without restriction on access so that others could benefit as she did in the past.

Photo of Sarah Jennings via Tweet from Zeïneb Gharbi ‏@z_gharbi

25 January 2016

LAC initiatives on the agenda for Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly

Today, as Parliament reconvenes, publication of Meet Heritage Minister Joly, Ottawa’s new political powerhouse in The Hill Times comes at a moment for maximum impact.

"With numerous big NCC projects underway and Canada’s 150th celebrations on the horizon, Ottawa is set to become a ‘critical file’ for the minister from Montreal, say insiders."
Mentioned are the potential partnership between the Library and Archives Canada and the Ottawa Public Library for a new central branch and the resurrected idea of a National Portrait Gallery, an LAC initiative mothballed if not killed by the previous government.

The final paragraph in Rachel Aiello's article makes mention that the Minister has been reading "Art and Politics by journalist Sarah Jennings, which covers the creation of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in the 1960s and 1970s and the beginnings of what would become the Department of Canadian Heritage."

That's timely as today at 12:15 at 395 Wellington Sarah Jennings is "in conversation with" Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, the first of a new Signatures Series features original interviews with individuals who provide insights into parts of the LAC collection  -- registration required.

What’s new in the LAC collection?

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has a new section on its website to announce additions to the collection. It will be updated every three months. Additions are listed under the headings.
New acquisitions - archives
Archives now open for consultation
New acquisitions - publications

I didn't see anything that immediately stood out as a genealogist's treasure trove, LAC has a much broader mandate than genealogy.

The Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada Fonds consisting of  "​Scrapbooks, photographs, advertising materials and extensive minute books are now included in this fonds which documents the Victorian Order of Nurses’ work across Canada" could be of interest for those involved with the VON.

24 January 2016

FreeBMD January Update

The FreeBMD Database was last updated on Thursday 21 January 2016 to contain 251,862,909 (251,294,896 ) distinct records.
Years with major updates, more than 5,000 new entries, are for births: 1940, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1971, 1973-76; for marriages: 1965-66, 1968-69, 1971-76; for deaths: 1973, 1975-76.

British Seaman Records New on Ancestry

UK, Shipping and Seamen WWI and WWII Rolls of Honour, 1914-1945  is a new database with 110,993 entries at Ancestry listing "the deceased and missing presumed dead from the ranks of the merchant marine fleets during World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945). Each of the eight volumes in this collection is organized in alphabetical order and includes details such as name of seaman, rank or rating, vessel name, and date of death or supposed death. In some volumes, details such as parents' or spouse's names and places of residence may be included as well."

The information is sourced from BT 339 at The National Archives of the UK, Kew.

Beware. I searched for Herbert Lionel Upton and found listings in 1917 and 1918 even though he was very much alive in 1940 as captain of a ship my father sailed on.

Ancestry have also updated UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1853-1928 which now has 829,176 entries sourced from ADM 188 at The National Archives of the UK, Kew.

Ancestry describes these as "record(ing) the service of seamen in the Royal Navy. Records include birthdate, birthplace, vessels served on, and dates of service. The registers include seamen who began their service as early as 1853, with dates of service up through 1928 for most records, though there are a few records with dates post-1928."

23 January 2016

Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto AGM and talk by Jane MacNamara

This Sunday, January 24 at  10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. sees the first meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto for 2016.

Following the Annual General Meeting and Elections renowned Ontario genealogist Jane MacNamara will speak on The Archives of Ontario: What's In it for Me?
The Archives of Ontario (AO) is a rich source for family history. You can find records of birth, marriage, death, and divorce, land records, and estate files, but that's just scratching the surface. Only some records are indexed by name online; the rest must be found using online and on-site finding aids.
This presentation will help you understand how archival records are organized and "described" and demonstrate how you can get the most from the AO's Archive Descriptive Database. There will be "insider" tips for both new and seasoned researchers and many techniques will be applicable to any modern archives.
Sounds like a good way to spend a Sunday morning. Maybe Jane knows of a way to keep up to date with new resources at the AO, something they are reluctant to advertise.

Growth of Family Tree DNA Databases and Matches

The following was prepared as background for an Introduction to Genetic Genealogy session at the Ottawa Public Library on 30 January, now full, which there won't be time to mention.

Total records and Y-DNA records in the Family Tree DNA database have increased steadily over the past five years, with a jump in the spring of 2013. Why the jump? FTDNA incorporated all the Y-DNA and mtDNA results from the first phase of the Genographic Project into their database. Information from Debbie Kennett is that unless someone actually made the specific Genographic transfer the results aren't incorporated into the matching database but they are included in the haplogroup origins reports.
After the jump Y-DNA records were 75% of the total and is now down to 72% as popularity of  other tests have grown, likely mostly Family Finder for which the company does not report statistics - estimated in the range 200 to 300 thousand.

What matters to the genealogist client is their matches. I've had no new 67 marker matches, even out as far as genetic distance 7, since 2011. At 37 markers there was one new genetic distance 3 match in 2015, the remainder date from 2011 and earlier. At 25 markers one match at genetic distance 2 was found in 2015, none in 2014.
Having an R1b haplogroup I have over 1,000 exact matches at 12 markers. Over the past four years an average 174 matches have been added annually.

Matches for my Family Finder (autosomal) DNA test at Family Tree DNA have been growing exponentially since 2010. In 2015 I had 605 new matches, a growth rate that should produce another 810 matches in 2016.
Many, averaging 94%, are remote cousin matches. Suggested relationship 4th cousin and closer matches keep increasing but not as quickly. In 2015 I had 32 of those closer cousin matches and already in 2016 there are another 5.