30 April 2016

British Newspaper Archives additions for April

The British Newspaper Archive now has 14,171,331 (13,629,517 last month) pages from 615 (606) titles online.
The full list of additions this month is:

Findmypast adds Dorset BMBs

Further transcripts of Dorset parish records abstracted by volunteers of the Dorset Family History Society have been added to Findmypast.

Over 68,000 new baptism records from 86 Dorset parish churches have been added bringing the total to more than 389,000 records from more than 250 parishes.

More than 42,000 new records from 47 Dorset parishes mean there are now a total of just under 648,000 marriage transcript records taken from the marriage registers of more than 384 churches, chapels and Quaker Meetings.

The Dorset Burials collections sees the addition of over 52,000 new records covering 57 burial sites bringing the total number of transcripts to more than 381,000 records from 342 burial grounds.

There's a list of Dorset links of genealogical interest at www.dorsetfhs.org.uk/links.htm

29 April 2016

Registration now open for BIFHSGO conference 2016

Be part of BIFHSGO's Irish and DNA themed 22nd Annual Family History Conference, September 9 - 11, 2016, at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa.

Hear presentations by headliners Kyle Betit and Maurice Gleeson.
Find out what Lucille Campey has been discovering as she's moved to investigate Irish immigration to Canada.
Take in pre-conference events.

Read all the details HERE 

Register HERE,

BIFHSGO members remember to LOGIN before completing registration in order to receive the Member's rate for the conference.

FamilySearch adds New Brunswick, Saint John...Burial Permits, 1889-1919

A browsable collection of 13,902 images for Saint John burials in 28 digital microfilm volumes by year.

The information on the permit varies and might include: date of death, name of deceased, age, color (sic), sex and marital state, name of husband if a married woman, residence, place of death, place of birth, occupation, name of father, birthplace of father, place of interment (need not be Saint John), cause of death, name of physician, name of undertaker.

Each volume begins with an alphabetical index by surname.


Earlier in the month at WDYTYA? Live in Birmingham I met Kelly Marsden, co-founder of Twile, at a display on the periphery of the Findmypast area. 
Twile had been in the news in February when it won two awards in the Innovator Showdown at Rootstech in Salt Lake City including People’s Choice. Findmypast made a strategic investment in Twile.

Some family historians enjoy the process of researching their family history and recording it.  It's all about the challenge of finding out about people in the family tree, Others get more of a thrill from sharing the information, unfortunately sometimes even with those who'd rather not know. Twile is for the sharers, presenting family history in a visual format appealing to generations who'd rather take advantage of flexibility of information on a screen rather than a piece of paper.

I was invited to try Twile for a free trial period, anyone can do so at twile.com.

What's it about?
With Twile you can create a rich, visual timeline of your family history, made up of milestones and photos that tell the story of you, your ancestors and your descendants.
You can view a timeline for your whole family, starting from your earliest known ancestor right up until present day.
Or you can view a timeline for a single person on your family tree, to explore their life from the day they were born.
A three minute video at  https://twile.com/video/timeline illustrates the basics.

There was a gentle learning curve in using Twile.
You can enter information person by person, event by event, or import a gedcom and add to it.
I found it sometimes easier to delete an item and re-enter rather than trying to edit.
It would be helpful to have a way to suppress all but the major life events so you can just see an overview of the BMDs in the family.
Two timelines are available, for WW1 and 2, to add to an individual or family timeline. While a good idea these are detailed and tend to swamp the family information. It would be good if one could select just the items of interest. This can presently be accomplished by adding custom events but requires re-entering the information.

Twile is filling a niche in the market for those who want to share their family story, or stories, in an attractive online timeline format.

28 April 2016

10 Cognitive Biases That Shape Our (Genealogical) Thinking

Bandwagon effect, availability heuristic and confirmation bias are just three of the traps I've seen in action in the genealogy community, including in my own genealogical research. They are covered in some books I've been reading: Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking by Richard Nisbett; Superforecasting: the Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner, and Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Not enough time to read those! Canadian librarian-blogger Stephen Abram, executive director of the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries, features a simple graphic which highlights some of the key messages into ten biases to which we all succumb.

Check it out at http://stephenslighthouse.com/2016/04/28/this-graphic-reveals-10-cognitive-biases-that-shape-our-thinking-with-examples/

DNA Special Interest Group meeting Saturday

This Saturday, April 30 the Ottawa DNA Special Interest Group will meet in Room 115, City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, 9:30 am to noon
A presentation by Bob Mallett on how Y-DNA testing works, and how he used it in his One Name Study, will be followed by a round the table opportunity for members to share experiences, information and ideas and learn about the use of DNA evidence in exploring family history.
Attendees will be required to sign in and out at the reception desk on the ground floor.

27 April 2016

Victoria Times Colonist archive now digitized up to 1950

The following is sourced from a Facebook post by Dave Obee.

Digitized issues of Daily Colonist now cover Depression, war years

Researchers interested in Victoria during the Depression and Second World War now will be able to search digitized back issues of the Daily Colonist from 1920 to 1950.

The historical British Colonist website — BritishColonist.ca — was launched in 2008 with searchable images of the first 100,000 pages published by the British Colonist, the Daily British Colonist and the Daily Colonist from 1858 to 1910. It was extended to 1920 a couple of years ago.

The latest expansion means it will be much easier to do research about Victoria during the tough Depression years and the Second World War, said Dave Obee, editor-in-chief of the Times Colonist.

“This digitization work changes the way our history can be researched. It will be easier than ever before to find stories and advertisements in what was, for many years, the largest newspaper in the province,” Obee said.

“It also makes the back issues much more accessible. Until now, a person would have had to visit a library and use a microfilm reader to read these old issues.”

The Times Colonist is the oldest newspaper in Western Canada. In the past 157 years, it has published a massive storehouse of information about Victoria and Vancouver Island.

Lisa Goddard, head of digital scholarship for University of Victoria Libraries, says the 1941-1950 batch of newspapers includes 67,148 page images. The next batch, not yet online, will cover 1951-1960 and has 101,604 images.

“There are actually substantially more pages because, of course, the issues get bigger and bigger over time,” she said. “You can see the exponential growth of the issues over those decades.”

The first issues of the British Colonist had just four pages. “Now we’re getting into a mature newspaper with a large number of pages per issue,” Goddard said.

The site is complete for the 1940s, but not all issues from the 1930s are available yet. They will be added to the site when they become available.

The website is hosted by University of Victoria Libraries, which is the project’s primary sponsor. Other sponsors include the Times Colonist, the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, the Greater Victoria Public Library, the B.C. Electronic Library Network, the Libraries and Literacy branch of the Ministry of Education and the Legislative Library.

Distant cousins

You can tell when it's a slow news day. The media drag out stories like "Presidents Obama Bush are 10th cousins, once removed." That's according to research bu the New England Historic Genealogical Society reported in 2008.
To be fair, the newspaper item continues to state "While family trees such as these throw up interesting histories and links, genetically they are meaningless. While children carry half the genes of their father, cousins as far removed as Obama and Bush would have no more genetic link than someone they bumped into at random in the street."
The article Relatedness in the post-genomic era: is it still useful? based on a simulation study, by Doug Speed, shows less than 0.1% of possible 10th cousins would have any shared DNA.
Furthermore, with a NPE rate of 1 - 3% per generation, say 3%  when the biological father is not that recorded on paper records, about 1 in 3 of the 10th cousin paper trail links would be false.
Are those stories better than a blank space?

HSO April Meeting: Ottawa on Screen

In April the Historical Society of Ottawa meeting welcomes George A Shirriff on the topic Ottawa on Screen

The date is 29 April 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 April 2016

Explore Findmypast's crime, prisons and punishments records

Findmypast have a new short video by Abigail Rieley introducing the England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935 collection. These records from the (UK) National Archives has a name index which includes victims and others involved as well as criminals. You may find photos and personal details that are elusive for ancestors who stayed on the straight and narrow.

The records are from series:

Admiralty: registers of convicts in prison hulks (TNA Ref: ADM 6)
Central Criminal Court: after-trial calendars of prisoners (TNA Ref: CRIM 9)
Home Office: Convict Hulks, Convict Prisons and Criminal Lunatic Asylums: Quarterly Returns of Prisoners 1824-1876 (TNA Ref: HO 8)
Home Office: Criminal Entry Books 1782-1871 (TNA Ref: HO 13)
Home Office: criminal petitions Series 1 (TNA Ref: HO 17)
Home Office: criminal petitions Series 2 (TNA Ref: HO 18)
Home Office: Register of criminal petitions (TNA Ref: HO 19)
Home Office: Registers of Prisoners from National Prisons lodged in County Prisons 1847-1866 (TNA Ref: HO 23)
Home Office: Prison Registers and Statistical Returns 1838-1875 (TNA Ref: HO 24)
Home Office: Judges’ Reports on Criminals 1784-1830 (TNA Ref: HO 47)
Home Office: Newgate Prison Calendar 1782-1853 (TNA Ref: HO 77)
Home Office: Miscellaneous Criminal Books 1798-1831 (TNA Ref: HO 130)
Home Office: calendar of prisoners (TNA Ref: HO 140)
Home Office and Prison Commission: prison records (TNA Ref: PCOM 2)
Home Office and Prison Commission: Male Licences 1853-1887 (TNA Ref: PCOM 3)
Home Office: Old Captions and Transfer Papers 1843-1871 (TNA Ref: PCOM 5)
Metropolitan Police: Criminal Record Office: habitual criminals' registers and miscellaneous papers (TNA Ref: MEPO 6)
Treasury: Departmental Accounts: Convict Hulks 1802-1831 (TNA Ref: T 38/310-338)

FLAC mini book sale

This Wednesday, April 27, 2016
The Friends of Library and Archives Canada
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
395 Wellington Street, Ottawa
Main Lobby
For more information: (613) 992-8304

via a Facebook post by Ed Kipp
Curiouslly there's no mention at the Friends website www.friendsoflibraryandarchivescanada.ca/en/home.php

Free Rockstar Genealogist Webinars

Kirsty Gray and Thomas MacEntee, two favourite genealogists if the Rockstar Genealogist survey is to be believed, are on the schedule for presentations in the Legacy Family Tree Webinar series.

This Wednesday, 27 April at 2 pm EDT in England and Wales - Rummaging in the Parish Chests Kirsty will cover how:
The parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials in England and Wales give many genealogical clues to help build a family tree. Kirsty Gray also highlights other documents kept by the parish, the diocese and the archdeaconry and the invaluable information which can be gleaned about the lives of our ancestors.
The following week, Wednesday 4 May also at 2 pm EDT, Thomas MacEntee will speak on Google Drive for Genealogists:
Learn how to use Google Drive - a free cloud computing application complete with spreadsheets, word processing and more - to your advantage while performing genealogy research. We’ll cover how to create new documents, import documents from your hard drive, and how to use the basic functions of each component.
Find out more and take advantage of required free registration for these, and one other presentation on Friday on the new book matching technology from MyHeritage, at http://familytreewebinars.com/

25 April 2016

OGS Conference 2016

It's now a little over a month to the start of the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2016.
I'm impressed with the speakers, that's my main motivation for going. Check the full scope of the conference here. if you're not done so or have been holding back.

I'm also impressed with the promotion. For example, this "in their own words" video.

Ottawa Public Library genealogy events in May

FamilySearch Basics, Tuesday May 3, 2016 - 7:00pm
Beaverbrook Branch
Learn about the tools and resources available for free to assist you in researching and preserving your family history through FamilySearch.
Further information and registration here.

Using Ancestry Library, Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - 2:00pm
Greenboro Branch
Discover the content and use of this popular genealogy database and learn some tips and tricks in this hands-on demonstration. Ancestry Library is free to use in all library branches.
Further information and registration here.

Starting a Genealogy Research Project, Monday, May 30, 2016 - 6:30pm
Carlingwood Branch
When we first start delving into our family tree research we often do it in a haphazard way. This presentation by genealogist Ken McKinlay will discuss tips and tricks to approach your genealogy research in a methodical manner. It will touch upon using software or web sites to record information, ways of categorizing the information found, and alternate resources to fill in some of the blanks in our research. Using real world examples, Ken will walk through possible challenges and ways to overcome them.
Further information and registration here.

In addition OPL is offering drop-in sessions during May at:
Main Branch: Wednesday, May 18, 2016: 2:00pm to 4:00pm in the Ottawa Room
Cumberland Branch: Wednesday, May 25, 2016: 2:45pm  to 4:45pm in the Computer Lab
No registration required.

24 April 2016

OGS Toronto Branch April meeting

A last minutes reminder for Toronto area readers of the branch meeting on Monday evening.

The featured speaker is Branch member Susan Reid, no relation, who will tackle some of the trials and tribulations of family history in her talk, (Mis)Adventures in Genealogy–Labyrinth, Maze or Rabbit-hole? When you come across missing records, conflicting dates, name changes or accounts that just don’t match up with the evidence, what’s a genealogist to do?

The evening will conclude with a short presentation by Branch Chair Richard Yeardye titled From rags to riches—a Home Child success story. There are many of them!

Further details at http://torontofamilyhistory.org/april-meeting/ including a reminder about the new meeting location, Eglinton St George’s United Church at 35 Lytton Blvd in North Toronto.

The Life Project, and home children.

There's an interesting video presentation on the LSE YouTube channel by science writer Dr Helen Pearson on The Life Project which is also the title of her book. It discusses a series of UK cohort studies started in 1946 which is the longest-running study of human development in the world, and has grown to encompass six generations of children and over 70,000 people.
An important if unsurprising finding is that children born into disadvantage have tended to follow more difficult life trajectories. They've been more likely to struggle in school, more likely to suffer poorer health, and to earn less later on. It's true of children born in 1946 and it's true of children born at the turn of the millennium as well. The circumstances we're born into seem to have a profound influence on the rest of our lives. People born into disadvantage in the earliest cohort are more likely to have died by now and to suffer various diseases.
A finding that interested me, because it is perhaps relevant to the situation of home children, is that not everyone born in difficult circumstances ends up in them. For children born in the 1958 cohort, in the most difficult circumstances of all, the studies examined those who had succeeded nevertheless. They found factors which led to this success were: children who had interested engaged parents ambitious for their children's future; having an interesting, engaged, ambitious school behind the child; living in a location where there were jobs; and motivation of the child him or herself although that alone was not enough.
For home children many were not in a situation where they had the benefit of supportive parents. The emigration agency provided a path out of that difficult situation. Canada offered lots of job opportunities. While too many were still not able to succeed these studies suggest their chances were greater.

Deceased Online adds three Yorkshire cemeteries

Deceased online has added three cemeteries located in villages around Halifax to the two from Calderdale Council area in West Yorkshire, England added earlier this month.

The new sites are Rastrick (1884 to 1994, 7,400records), near Brighouse, south east of Halifax; Luddenden (1860 to 1996, 5,000 records), west of Halifax; and Elland Cemetery (1861 to 1996, 13,000 records), the largest of the three sites, immediately south of Halifax.

Records for three additional Calderdale Council facilities: the Parkwood Crematorium, Sowerby Bridge Cemetery, Stoney Royd Cemetery, which each have a large number of records, are pending.

23 April 2016

Today only: free access to Ancestry UK parish and probate records.

Act fast. Ancestry are only opening these UK Records today, Saturday, until 7pm EDT.
Parish and probate records have the potential to take your family history back hundreds of years, even to the time of Shakespeare if you're lucky. Take a look at the will of Shakespeare which reports the £380,000 he left to his daughters, and the 'second best bed' his lucky wife received!

The small print is "Access to the records in the featured collections will be free until 23 April 2016 at 23:59 GMT. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using an Ancestry.co.uk paid membership. To see a full list of the records in the featured collections please click here."

Say/don’t say sorry

The Globe and Mail publishes two letters with opposite opinions on the desirability of the Canadian government apologizing for its historic involvement in the migration of Home Children from Britain to Canada. www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/letters/april-22-truthiness-shortage-plus-other-letters-to-the-editor/article29713704/

Overview of British Directories Online

Findmypast has just added 90 British directories and almanacs to a collection of volumes sourced from Anguline Research Archives, Gould Genealogy, Yorkshire Ancestors, Eneclann and Devon Family History Society. Dates range from the 1770s to the 1980s. Yorkshire is particularly well covered.
Each records consists of a transcript and an image of the original document that will reveal your ancestors address, occupation and business interests. Find a list of the complete collection of 226 volumes at www.findmypast.com/articles/britain-directories-and-almanacs-publication-list/.

The Genealogist (www.thegenealogist.co.uk) has 389 directories available to Diamond subscribers from 1677 to 1956. That includes 135 for London with the large Kelly Post Office directories for 1846, 1856, 1859, 1869, 1880, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1910, 1012, 1916, 1920-21, 1925-36, 1939-40.

Ancestry has a collection UK, City and County Directories, 1766 - 1946 with a more than 27 million item index created using text recognition software. There are 24 directories for London.

The University of Leicester Historical Directories collection http://specialcollections.le.ac.uk/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16445coll4 replaces the previous directories-online facility. It has directories from 1766 to 1919 with good coverage for London from the 1890 to 1910s and nearly 50 directories for Leicestershire. This is a free website.

If your interest is Scotland don't overlook the National Library of Scotland collection at https://archive.org/details/scottishdirectories

St George and Shakespeare

April 23 is St George's Day and the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death. It's also his likely birthday.
Let's raise our cups of tea to celebrate it in Canada, where in the 2011 census 19.8% of Canadians claimed English heritage, compared to 15.2% French, 14.3% Scottish and 13.7% Irish.

22 April 2016

DNA Day Discounts

Family Tree DNA is commemorating the publication of a paper on the structure of DNA published in the journal Nature on 25 April 1953 with a DNA Day sale.
Until 26 April 2016 FTDNA has discounts on the tests detailed here.

Update:  AncestryDNA is on sale in Canada until Tuesday at $40 off the regular price, $109 compared to $149 regular. In the US the usual price of $99 is reduced to $79 until the end of day Tuesday.

There's a Mother's Day sale at 23andMe - for existing customers only, until 8 May.

London Evolution Animation

I came back to Ottawa on Tuesday after two weeks in England to discover that the BIFHSGO member who blogs under the name Persephone at Post it Notes from Hades is blogging this month. The blog is a mix of personal adventure, arts experience and a dash of family history interest.

Having just spent a five days in London, including a visit to the Museum of London, I wish I'd had the context included in Persephone's post Claiming London.

21 April 2016

Ancestry first quarter results

The first quarter financial statement from Ancestry.com shows total revenues of $196.5 million compared to $164.6 million in the first quarter of 2015. This is attributed to growth in revenues from AncestryDNA and the core Ancestry websites.
AncestryDNA is stated to have more than 1.5 million, quickly approaching two million, DNA samples.
Net subscriber additions were up 4 thousand from those of the first quarter of 2015.

Genetic genealogy lectures from WDYTYA? Live online

Some, not all of the lectures from the DNA Workshop, organized by Maurice Gleeson and Debbie Kennett of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) and sponsored by Family Tree DNA, are now available on YouTube.
One I caught in person and will want to view again is Who's your cousin? Using DNA to determine relatedness , an interesting simulation study to derive statistics of relatedness from autosomal DNA testsgiven by Doug Speed from University College, London.

Free the census

Paul Woodrow from Kingston emailed me regarding census day coming up on May 10.   
I searched for and found the questions on the 2016 census, as I wanted to see how the 92 year question would be worded.  Here is the text just before question #10:
"This question is for all persons listed on the questionnaire.  If you are answering on behalf of other people, please consult each person."
Then follows Question 10:
"Does this person agree to make his or her 2016 Census information available in 2108 (92 years after the Census)?
Only if you answer "Yes" will your responses be available to future generations and historical researchers, 92 years after the 2016 census, in 2108."
1.  Yes
2.  No"
The same wording appears in the Short and Long Form Census.  In the Long Form, there is a "Step G" at the end, in which the same question is asked again, with the word "Census" replaced by "National Household Survey".  The preamble includes the added phrase "including children younger than 15" at the end of the first sentence.
While this is likely preaching to the choir I, and Paul. encourage you to answer Yes and so make your information available to future researchers after 92 years.

20 April 2016

Ancestry adds Australia, World War II Military Service Records, 1939-1945

Looking for British strays? Second World War era folks could just be in these Australian forces service file indexes new online at Ancestry.

The over 1,1 million records included in this collection, nearly 10% for those born in England, will typically provide the following information:
full name
date of birth
place of birth
service number
marital status
previous employment / trade details
next-of-kin details
place and date of enlistment and initial unit posting
prior military service
movements and transfers between units (including names of troop ships)
promotions and awarding of important decorations and medals
details of illnesses and injuries, and treatment received
when and where a soldier was killed, and basic burial details

While the index is accessible from Ancestry.com, the original images may be found on Ancestry's sister site Fold3.com.

Ottawa Branch OGS meetings: Saturday 23 April

The topic for Genealogy: Back To Basics! this month is "Flip-Pal, a portable, self-contained scanner" with David Walker.  That's at 10:30 a. m.

At 1:30 Goulbourn Museum Resources" will be presented by Kathryn Jamieson

Goulbourn Museum shares the story of Ottawa’s oldest military settlement and early life in the former Goulbourn Township. Located just south of Stittsville in Ottawa's west end, Goulbourn Museum houses a diverse collection of artefacts and many interactive exhibitions. These include The 100th Regiment of Foot, dedicated to the soldiers who settled Goulbourn Township in 1818; and Goulbourn Township's Pioneers, about early life in the communities.
This is preceeded by a 30 minutes networking opportunity and followed by the Computer group meeting.

Everything is in Room 115 at the Ottawa City Archives, 100 Tallwood

18 April 2016

OTD in history

Primrose Day, 19 April, is the anniversary of the death of British statesman and Conservative prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, in 1881, just a few days after the census was taken. He had left office as Prime Minister nearly one year earlier, on 21 April 1880, continuing as leader of the opposition.
Primroses, his favourite flower, are in bloom in England.

John Grenham and the Irish Times

In his weekly blog post John Grenham explains the background to recent and forthcoming changes.


Handouts from WDYTYA? Live 2016

Now available from the Society of Genealogists, the following handouts from WDYTYA? Live, 7-9 April 2016.

Kirsty Bennett & Imogen Middleton (Thursday  7 April 2016) Sources, People and Remembrance - Surrey in the Great War

Kirsty Bennett & Immogen Middleton (Thursday 7 April 2016) Surrey in the Great War Free Information Leaflet and link to Surrey In the Great War website

Peter Christian (Thursday 7 April 2016) Maps Online.  Here's a link to Peter's website where you will find his handout and a PDF of his slides

Else Churchill (Thursday 7 April 2016)  A Quick Guide to the Society of Genealogists' Library

Else Churchill (Friday 8 April 2016 ) What's Been Done Before? Finding Pedigrees online and at the society of Genealogists Library

Else Churchill (Saturday 9 April 2016) Research Before 1837. Church Records On and Offline

Jackie Depelle (Friday8 April 2016) Writing Your Family History

Dr Gillian Draper (Thursday 7 April 2016) Free Resources for Fleshing Out the Bones of Your Family History

Dr Gillian Draper (Friday 8 April 2016) The Best Place For Your Local History

Margaret Haig (Saturday 9 April 2016) Copyright and Family History

Doreen Hopwood (Friday 8 April 2016) Birmingham Ancestors

Jane Howells (Saturday 9 April 2016) Don't Throw This Out

Timo Kracke (Saturday 9 April) Start Your research For German Ancestors with genealogy.net)

Tahitia McCabe (Thursday 7 April 2016) Cluster Genealogy or the Fan Club

Dr Jim Ryan (Saturday 9 April 2016) Strange and Unusual Sources for Irish Famiy History

Mike Sharpe (Thursday 7 April 2016) Tracing Birmingham Ancestors: Hidden gems

Mike Sharpe (Saturday 9 April 2016) Researching Your Midlands Ancestors in Staffordshire, Wawickshire and Worcestershire

Dr Jenny Swanson (Saturday 9 April 2016) Original Images: Looking Beyond Indexes and Transcriptions

Find them here.

Thinking or a trip for family history research next year?  Keep in mind that Who Do You Think You Are? Live will be at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham April 7 - 9, 2017 (or thereabouts.)

17 April 2016

FreeBMD April update

The FreeBMD database was updated on Thursday 14 April 2016 to contain  253,717,235 (253,123,910 last month) distinct records.
Years with major updates, more than 5,000 new entries, are for births: 1963, 1964, 1966, 1974, 1976; 1977; for marriages: 1965-66, 1968-69, 1971-72, 1974-77; for deaths: 1974-79.

How to donate to Library and Archives Canada

Visiting the Museum of London, Science Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum (briefly), Imperial War Museum, National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery during the past few days in London, they all have free admission. But they shake you down at every opportunity with  prominent donation boxes and a notice suggesting a five pound donation. At the Science Museum there was a single narrow entryway with a staff member upping the pressure to donate by their presence. That's in addition to charges for special exhibitions, opportunities to buy at the Museum shops and to join Friends organizations. 

The sole exception was the British Library. It was the only one where I actually paid to enjoy a special exhibit - Shakespeare in Ten Acts - just opened and well worth seeing.

As with the British Library and TNA (the UK National Archives) you won't find donation boxes with suggested amounts at the entrance to Library and Archives Canada. 

Both the British Library and TNA have cafes, book and souvenir shops to supplement funding. While I'm sure LAC would provide those facilities if the space allowed, that it doesn't is something for which successive Canadian governments are culpable. That doesn't mean LAC won't gladly accept your donation. Find out how to donate to LAC

16 April 2016

Deceased Online on gravestone symbols

Deceased Online reports on there ecperience at WDYTYA? Live and follows on with some examples and explanations of symbols on British gravestones.

CEF Service Files Digitization by LAC: April Update

As of 15 April 2016, 275,299  (266,634 last month) of 640,000 files are available online via Library and Archives Canada's Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918 database.
The latest box digitized is #4617 (#4442) and the surname Hunt (Holland).
At the last month rate of digitization the project would be completed in (42) 30 months, by October 2019.

Findmypast updates and additions- 15 April 2016

An additional 71,000 marriage records from over 200 parishes have been added to the Suffolk Marriage Index created by the Suffolk Family History Society now on Findmypast. There are now 576 parishes in the collection dating back to 1536.

Kent, Bromley Absent Voters List 1918 has more than 9,000 names giving service number, rank, regiment and home address of those serving in HM armed forces.

15 April 2016

BC Vital Records database

Earlier this month the BC Royal Museum (BC Archives) launched a new database for vital events records. 1939 and 1940 marriage records, and the 1836-1888 baptism data are now included as are corrections to the index provided by the Vital Statistics Agency.
Although further updates to the genealogy data are pending new legislation means no new information will be added for births. Please post a comment if you know whether this mean forever, because of an extension of the embargo period or other reason.


Ottawa Historical Association presentation

The last talk of the season will be taking place next Tuesday, April 19th. OHA President, Jo McCutcheon, will present "Cutting Cultural Ties at Canada's Residential Schools - 'Apple Bobs' and Braids: Combing Through the Evidence." The event is on the second floor of Library and Archives Canada and begins at 7:00. All welcome.

14 April 2016

Quinte Branch OGS April meeting

LDS Resources for Genealogists, the Trenton Family History Centre and how to use the Familysearch.org website, by Wendy MacDonald and Mary Longmuir, is the presentation on Saturday April 16, 2016

Quinte Branch meetings start at 1 p.m. at Quinte West City Hall Library, 7 Creswell Drive, Trenton, Ontario

13 April 2016

Today only: free access to Ancestry's UK census records

Access to the records in the featured Ancestry UK census collections, from 1841 to 1911 including some for the Channel Islands, will be free until today,13 April 2016, at 23:59 GMT. 

British additions at Ancestry

Catching up on additions to Ancestry's collection from last week which are Ancestry catching up on items that have previously been available elsewhere.
Web: London, England, Proceedings of the Old Bailey and Ordinary's Accounts Index, 1674-1913, 1,246,537 records

Web: Ireland, Calendar of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1920, 519,330 records

UK, Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths From British Consulates, 1810-1968, 20,564 records
UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960, 437,190 records
UK, Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths at Sea, 1844-1890, 346,335 records

Kingston Branch OGS April meeting

Elaine Farley, from Athens, Ontario, will present "From Founder to Trustee: My Pilgrimage to the Old Hay Bay Church." on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

Kingston Branch OGS meets at the Seniors Centre, 56 Francis Street, Kingston. Members and visitors are welcome to come between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. to work on their genealogy or brainstorm with other members about brick-wall ancestors or other research questions. The meeting begins at 10 a.m.

12 April 2016

Vimy Ridge Museum exhibit

Via a post by Gail Dever

The Royal Montreal Regiment Museum has a new exhibition featuring 3D reproductions of carvings made by World War I soldiers, who lived deep underground in the days and weeks leading up to the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917.

Vimy Ridge cave carvings are on exhibit at The Royal Montreal Regiment Museum until the end of April. Source: Souterrain Impressions, The Royal Montreal Regiment Museum website.

The soldiers lived in a former chalk quarry that was connected to a network of kilometres-long tunnels dug underground around Vimy to keep safe. To pass the time, they carved regimental badges and other messages into the soft chalk walls of the caves.

A Canadian non-profit company, called Canadigm, visited the caves and captured the carvings, using non-invasive 3D laser scanners and high-resolution photography.

The Souterrain Impressions exhibit is made up of 20 self-standing 'modules', each highlighting one carving and the soldier who created it, along with an interactive multimedia kiosk, wall maps, graphic panels depicting the life of a typical Canadian leading up to the First World War, and "touch & feel" display panels that duplicate carvings for a tactile experience.  Included are photos of the soldiers who created them (wherever possible) and short biographies.

Souterrain Impressions is on display in English and French at The Royal Montreal Regiment Museum until April 28. Afterward, it will tour across Canada. The exhibit is open Monday to Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 4625 Ste-Catherine Street West in Westmount.

You can read more about this exhibit and see photos in this CBC report  -


and on The Royal Montreal Regiment Museum website



AGRA Conference: 16-17 September 2016

Demolishing Brick Walls is the theme for the conference of the (UK) Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives.

The Friday evening opening dinner talk will be given by Sarah Williams, Editor of  Who Do You Think You Are? magazine.

Conference speakers are a Who's Who of English genealogy: John Titford, William Spencer, Rebecca Probert, Colin Chapman, Debbie Kennett, Eric Probert, Helen Osborn, and problem solving panel members Ian Waller, Les Mitchinson, Simon Fowler, Antony Marr and Geoff Swinfield.

Find out more at https://agraconference.com/

11 April 2016

Jean Chrétien at LAC on 18 May

The following is an announcement from. LAC.

"Library and Archives Canada (LAC) invites you to an hour of lively conversation with the former Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien.

Mr. Chrétien will be the guest of Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, as part of the Signatures Series, which features original interviews with individuals who have donated their archives to LAC.

Almost 40 years of political life are contained in the documents held by LAC. These records not only cover Mr. Chrétien's long political career, but also provide a unique perspective on a large portion of Canadian history. Mr. Chrétien had an impact on world events such as major international summits, the Kyoto Protocol, the Iraq War and the Ottawa Convention to ban landmines, to name a few.

Reserve your seat now for this encounter with Mr. Chrétien to be held on Wednesday, May 18 from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., at LAC, 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. Places for this free event are limited, so please register by email at àbac.marketing.lac@canada.ca<mailto:bac.marketing.lac@canada.ca<mailto:bac.marketing.lac@canada.ca%3cmailto:bac.marketing.lac@canada.ca>>. For those attending, please note that the event will be held in French with simultaneous English interpretation. If you live in Halifax, Winnipeg, or Vancouver, LAC regional sites in these locations will be linking in to the series via videoconference.  RSVP to mailto:bac.referenceatlantic-atlanticreference.lac@canada.ca, mailto:bac.referencewinnipeg-winnipegreference.lac@canada.ca, or mailto:bac.referencevancouver-vancouverreference.lac@canada.ca if you would like to attend.

Documents from Mr. Chrétien's fonds will be on display during the event."

The Nosey Genealogist's: Help Me With My Family Tree

Nick Thorne, someone I've known online for some while through his news releases for The Genealogist, was one of the first people I met at WDYTYA? Live. Nick, based in Jersey, has his own family history small endeavour as The Nosey Genealogist aiming to help you build your British Isles family tree.

It promotes a a collection of weekly downloadable guides that you can follow in your own time and at your own speed available at the Family History Researcher Guides Membership Site by subscription.

There are also links to four free short podcasts: Five Golden Rules, Stumbling Blocks, Non Conformist in the Family, IGI and Using Hugh Wallis' site as well as a blog.

Worth check out at http://noseygenealogist.com/.

Is the 200 year old skeleton your ancestor?

I read in the OGS weekly newsletter that there is a limited window of opportunity for family historians to help identify the remains discovered in downtown Ottawa and Toronto.

Why does there have to be such a limited window? DNA samples could be recovered and stored from all skeletons which could be reburied in identified graves giving time for links to living persons to be established. The DNA test wouldn't need to be done immediately, just the sample conserved pending a time when the test became more affordable.

Subscribe to the OGS weekly eNews here.

10 April 2016

WDYTYA? Live 2016 Day 3

The third and final day of WDYTYA? Live was as enjoyable as the first two. By arriving early I was able to reserve a seat for Turi King's presentation on Richard III. It was most entertaining and although there were snippets of inside information there was nothing substantive new. In a one on one conversation I was lead to understand more work had been done of resolving the question of the Y-chromosome mismatch between the skeleton and the family previously believed to be male line descendants of Edward III, the common ancestor of Richard III and them.

A brief discussion with a representative of the GRO indicated we are still some way from having any other access to BMD information that's any different than we've had for years. Although enabling legislation has been passed access still depends on regulations being agreed which is unlikely to be a priority within the Home Office. Even online access to BMD indexes will depend on ministerial approval.

I caught parts of presentations by The Kirsty Gray, Mark Bayley and Celia Heritage, heard the background to the privacy issue FTDNA had with GEDmatch and soon to be updated ethnic origins estimates from Max Blankfeld, and  enjoyed a chat with Dick Eastman over lunch.

Unofficial word is that attendance may have been up a bit from last year. UPDATE: Now confirmed as 13,215 which is up from the previous year.

09 April 2016

Ancestry adds Sutton, Surrey records

Catching up on a bonus crop of records for Sutton, Surrey from Ancestry. Don't overlook the 20th century electoral registers.with 3.8 million records.

Sutton, Surrey, England, Tax Collection Rate Books, 1783-1914.  320,807 records
Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812. 46,825 records
Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1940. 82,210 records
Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915. 123,760 records
Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985. 28,258 records
Sutton, Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1931-1970. 3,823,328 records.

Frederick Herbert Stevens: Ottawa WW1 Beechwood Burial

Private F H Stevens serving with the 139th Battalion, Canadian Infantry Service died on 9th April 1916 in Cobourg, Ontario having enlisted less than two months earlier. Cause of death was influenza (pneumonia.)
The eldest son in the large family of George Davi(d)son Stevens and Alice Howard Stevens (nee Craggs), Frederick Herbert Stevens was born on 4th May 1881, his birth was registered in Wandsworth in the third quarter of that year.
He had originally emigrated to Canada on the Empress of Britain arriving at St John, New Brunswick on 20 Nov 1908 giving his destination as Montreal. He returned to Britain at least once.

08 April 2016

Irish Quaker records added at Findmypast

Two new collections are now online from Findmypast with comprehensive Quaker records dating back to the mid-1600s. In addition to recording births, marriages, and deaths, Quakers also recorded migration details and school records.

Ireland, Society Of Friends (Quaker) Congregational Records has over 1 million records from minutes of half-yearly Quaker meetings. Each entry will include both an image of the original handwritten record and a transcript. Transcripts may include: name, congregation year, congregation date, address, meeting, archive and reference

Ireland, Society Of Friends (Quaker) School Records has over 47,000 records  Both transcripts and images of the original documents are provided for each entry. Transcripts will generally provide: name, age at last birthday, birth date, school and department, admission year, leaving year, document start year, document end year, father's name, mother's name, residence, occupation of parent, archive and reference. There is information for the following schools: Brookfield, Camden Street, Friend's Mountmellick, Leinster Provincial, Munster Provincial, Sunday School Register, United.

WDYTYA? Live 2016: Day 1

I arrived in Birmingham early afternoon on Thursday in time to catch the first must-see presentation on my on my list. Mark Jobling of the University of Leicester speaking on Fathers and sons, the next generation: the Y-chromosome in the genome sequencing era. He explained the history of Y chromosome testing and why most of it will never likely be of much interest being highly repetitive. On the other hand the number of SNPs being found on the Y chromosome continues to grow rapidly.

One thing that impressed me at the conference was the wide aisles making it seem less busy that previous WDYTYA events I've attended. There also seemed to be more
small presentation venues than in previous years in addition to the main Society of Genealogists presentations. Some organised by commercial outfits were not so small rivalling the capacity of those of SOG and they were often shorter for those of us with limited stamina. The image is for a smaller venue where presentation were given by TNA staff.

After my presentation on Canadian genealogy, which was surprisingly well attended considering the other attractions, including a presentation by Janet Few at the same time, I went to a reception by Findmypast. It was a great opportunity to network with Debra Chatfield, Audrey Collins, Catherine Desmarais (from APG), Janet Few and Chris Braund, and Celia Heritage,

FMP showed a map of the counties for which they have detailed BMB records and announced they would be adding parish records from Leicestershire in the coming months.

MyHeritage enhances Book Matching.

Under the heading MyHeritage users to automatically receive relevant excerpts from digitized books that reveal information about their ancestors and relatives the company announces an expansion of their service to automatically match the records from a corpus of 450,000 books to the 32 million family trees uploaded by its users. 

Here's the start of the press release.

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, April 7, 2016 — MyHeritage, the fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, has launched today a revolutionary addition to its suite of technologies: Book Matching. This innovation automatically researches users' family trees in historical books with high precision.
In April 2012 MyHeritage launched SuperSearch™, a search engine for historical records, which has since then grown to include 6.6 billion historical records, including birth, marriage, death and census records. By implementing its vision of enhancing genealogy with technology, MyHeritage then developed a line of unique and sophisticated technologies that automatically match the records from the search engine to the 32 million family trees uploaded by its users. 

In December 2015, MyHeritage expanded its data collections to include digitized historical books, with an initial corpus of 150,000 books of high genealogical value. This collection was tripled last week to 450,000 books with 91 million pages. With a team of more than 50 dedicated curators, MyHeritage aims to add hundreds of millions of pages of digitized books to the collection each year.
As of today, MyHeritage users will receive matches between profiles in their family trees and the books from this collection. The Book Matching technology analyzes the book texts semantically, understanding complex narrative that describes people, and matches it to the 2 billion individuals in MyHeritage family trees with extremely high accuracy. This breakthrough technology is the first of its kind, and is exclusive to MyHeritage.
Book Matching has produced more than 80 million matches, and this number will continue to grow as the collection grows and as the family trees on MyHeritage continue to expand. Book Matching is currently available for English books, and the technology is being enhanced to cover additional languages. In addition, de-duplication technology is being added in the next few weeks to remove duplicate books that have been scanned and OCRed more than once by different sources.
“No one has ever done this before," said MyHeritage Chief Technology Officer, Sagi Bashari. “Our Book Matching technology reads hundreds of thousands of books for you, every hour, comparing them to your family tree and pointing you to relevant excerpts about your ancestors with almost no false positives. MyHeritage is the first to offer full semantic text analysis in this way, and the genealogical breakthroughs speak for themselves. You will be amazed at the value of books for your research."

News of FWIO digitization

The following is from Irene Robillard, Federation of Women's Institutes of Ontario Digitizing Coordinator. 
As of March 31, 2016 there is now a free online platform to allow researchers to access the many documents the Women’s Institutes (WI) of Ontario have created across the province since 1897, while the original documents remain within their communities.  Funding for the project was provided through the Documentary Heritage Communities Program of Library and Archives Canada.

This is the start of our virtual archives and, at this point in time, the following documents are available for viewing and searching.  More will be released on an ongoing basis.

§     The complete series of the FWIO newsletter, The Home & Country, from 1933 to present.
§     The WI original constitution, penned in 1897.
§     Award-winning Tweedsmuir Community History Collections which document the history of a community, from 10 Branches. (Private information has been removed.)
§     Three published books on the history of the WI, for our 40th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries.
§     Minute and record books for six Branches, including the minutes of Stoney Creek, the first WI Branch in the world. (Documents less than 50 years old are not available due to privacy considerations.)
§     Other miscellaneous documents, such as a photo album on a Stone Fence Project.
These documents are searchable across the platform, within a series, or within a document, as much as possible and if not hand-written.  For those documents that are not searchable, they can be easily browsed.
Within this site is also a record for each branch, district, and area.  Each record contains general information where available, such as location, whether active, when organized and disbanded, and the location of the actual Tweedsmuir Collections.
FWIO is applying for further grants to continue digitizing documents and adding them to their new archives.  It will take a number of years to digitize and review all the various documents across Ontario.  There have been approximately 2,000 branches through the years across Ontario. It is estimated 1,300 Tweedsmuir Community History Collections have been created, with about 1,000 collections not yet digitized.  Links are being created to documents that have been digitized by other organizations and available online.  Check out this virtual archives.
We gratefully acknowledge the Government of Canada’s support of this project.

Thanks to Irene for the update.