31 October 2016

Turi King gives the Queen's Lecture 2016: King Richard III - the resolution of a 500-year-old mystery

On 1 November at 5pm German time (12 noon EDT), you will be able to watch the live stream of the Queen's Lecture 2016, King Richard III - the resolution of a 500-year-old mystery to be given by University of Leicester researcher, and Canadian, Dr Turi King.
Richard III, the protagonist in Shakespeare's play of the same name, is the focus of this year's Queen's Lecture. In August 2012, the University of Leicester in collaboration with the Richard III Society and Leicester City Council, began one of the most ambitious archaeological projects ever attempted: no less than a search for the lost grave of King Richard III. The last English king to die in battle.
Turi King led the international research team which provided overwhelming evidence that the skeleton discovered under a car park in Leicester indeed represents the remains of King Richard III, thereby closing what is probably the oldest forensic case solved to date.
At this year’s Queen’s Lecture, Turi King will speak about the Grey Friars project, from the early stages of planning the dig, through to the excavation and the results of the various strands of analysis carried out on the remains and modern DNA obtained from a straight descendant of Anne of York, Richard III’s eldest sister.
The presentation streams from www.britishcouncil.de/en/programmes/science/queens-lecture

Your library likely won't inform you there's a digitized copy

At Saturday's Ottawa Branch OGS meeting speaker Carol Reid, Collections Specialist with the Canadian War Museum, used a soldier from the Denison family of Toronto to illustrate how the contents of the George Metcalf Archival Collection and the Hartland Molson Library of the Museum’s Military History Research Centre could be of help to the genealogist.
During the question period I asked about digitized material and Carol responded they try to provide Google Books and/or Internet Archive links from their catalogue.
One of the MHRC Denison holdings is Historical record of the Governor-General's Body Guard and its standing orders / by Frederick C. Denison. It was published in 1876 so is well out of copyright. That should be a signal a digitized version is available for free. That's the case; see https://archive.org/details/historicalrecor01denigoog.
Linking to newly digitized books is a librarian's treadmill. Lots of work, little return.
If you search a library catalogue are you likely to find out whether there's a digitized copy? I checked out a few. Physical copies of Historical record of the Governor-General's Body Guard and its standing orders are held by Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian War Museum MHRC, and the Toronto Public Library. Only two had links to digitized versions, the TPL has what appears to be a local pdf copy online, while the U of Ottawa had a link through its WorldCat catalogue. A few Canadian public libraries had physical copies but no link to a digitized version, a facility not offered by their Bibliocommons hosted catalogue.
The bottom line is not to expect to find information on digitized copies of older publications on most institutional library catalogues. The best bet is to do a Google search for the title which will find Internet Archive and Google Books digitized editions, or a WorldCat search.

British Newspaper Archives additions for October

The British Newspaper Archive now has 15,926,840 (15,647,563 pages last month) from 693 (685) titles online. If you ancestor was a sportsman new availability of the Sporting Times and Athletic News may be interesting. More than 30 years of the Wiltshire Times and Trowbridge Advertiser are also new on the site. The full list of additions this month is:

30 October 2016

FreeBMD October Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Friday 28 October 2016 to contain 257,544,141 (256,972,888) distinct records.
Years with major updates (more than 5,000 entries) are for births: 1963-4, 1966, 1976-78; for marriages: 1966, 1969, 1971, 1976-79; for deaths 1853, 1974, 1977-79.
In the last 12 months 7,409,131 distinct entries have been added.

Three Videos from Genetic Genealogy Ireland

The first three videos from the Genetic Genealogy Ireland conference I attended in Belfast last weekend are now available.
In the first video, which opened the event, Maurice Gleeson introduces the three day event and Gerald Corcoran who heads up the Irish component of ISOGG and who gives an update on progress over the past year or so, some of which was dealt with at greater length in subsequent presentations.

The following video discusses progress to date on the first privately-sponsored project to extract ancient DNA from ancestral remains. René Gapert discusses the practical approach to receiving permission for the project and the forensic anthropological approach, then Jim Barry discusses the DNA analysis.

Third is a presentation on O’Brien, one of the most common in Ireland. Denis O'Brien from Australia discusses the large O’Brien surname DNA Project, how the O’Briens are genetically related to the rest of the Dál gCais, differences and synergies between SNP & STR marker results, and the implications of the DNA results for the future of O’Brien family tree research. He is joined in the Q&A session by the Clan Chief - The O'Brien, Conor, 18th Baron Inchiquin, Prince of Thomond.

29 October 2016

Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2016

Look to Debbie Kennett's most recent blog post for a comprehensive report on the recent Genetic Genealogy Ireland event.


28 October 2016

Surrey Monumental Inscriptions at Findmypast

There are 32 volumes organized alphabetically in this browse collection of card indexes of monumental inscriptions recorded from thousands of gravestones and memorials across the English county of Surrey. It appears to originate from Cliff Webb who has been responsible for many burial/MI compilations for the home counties.

27 October 2016

Ryan Taylor/ J. Brian Gilchrist Memorial Lecture

This annual lecture organized by the Ottawa Branch/OGS sees Carol Reid, collections specialist, (Archives) speaking on The Canadian War Museum's Military History Research Centre - Resources Available for the Genealogist.

The Canadian War Museum’s Military History Research Centre houses, in one convenient location, the George Metcalf Archival Collection and the Hartland Molson Library. These extensive national collections of research material document Canada’s military history from the colonial period to the present.
The George Metcalf Archival Collection contains unique archival documents and photographic materials, and is especially strong on First and Second World Wars.
The Hartland Molson Library Collection has approximately 60,000 volumes including regimental histories, published personal memoirs, periodicals and newspapers, wartime pamphlets, military technical and field manuals, multi-media, and 5,000 rare books.
Saturday, 29 October, 13:00 – 15:00
City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Nepean (Room 115)

26 October 2016

Visit to PRONI

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast is certainly housed in an impressive spacious facility. On entry there's a security person who directs the newcomer to a registration desk where you show photo ID, fill in a form, have a photo taken and are issued a researcher card good for five years. There are lockers, an exhibition area, washrooms, an education area and restaurant. The restaurant isn't the only thing PRONI has that Library and Archives Canada lacks; they also have a sensible policy that allows you to wear a light windbreaker type jacket to the research area.
One floor up are the two research areas. One to the right as you ascend the stairs has seperate internet and catalogue computers, a help desk, a small collection of publications and a microform reading area. Original  material is ordered from the catalogue and, I was told, typically arrives within 15 minutes or so. That beats TNA by a 10 - 30 minutes and LAC by a couple of days. There are displays to tell you when your material is available.
What should be the role of the help desk? Is it to help the user access the institution holdings? Or is it to help the client achieve their research goal? Those are not always the same thing. During my visit I was directed to microform holdings by an advisor who didn't seem to know that a significant quantity of the Catholic parish records have been indexed by Ancestry and Findmypast, and did not seem to be aware of the Irish resources on the commercial sites.

Library and Archives Canada hosts the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark in Signature Series

Mr. Clark will be the guest of 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.

Reserve your spot now for this encounter, to be held on Thursday, November 24 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., at LAC, 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. Places for this free event are limited, so please register by email atbac.marketing.lac@canada.ca.

Documents from the Joe Clark fonds will be on display during the event.

The Code for Griffith's Valuation Broken

Claire Santry points out a new beta resource to determine the quality of land included in Griffith's Valuation.
See Claire's post at http://www.irishgenealogynews.com/2016/10/the-new-townland-valuation-translator.html?m=1

Historical Society of Ottawa: October meeting

This Friday 28 October 2016 delve deep into The Social History of Bytown, 1841-1875 with a HSO presentation by Mary Cox

"In January 1837, Thomas Hunton, age fourteen, arrived in Bytown, population only 1,300, to work as a clerk in a dry goods store. By the 1840s, he owned his own dry goods store, and by the 1860s operated a thriving enterprise at the corner of Sparks and Mecalfe Streets. In 1844, he married Amelia Houghton, whose mother was of the prominent Billings family. The couple lived at the corner of Laurier Avenue and Metcalfe Street, where the Ottawa Public Library is now located, in a home built by the architects who designed the Parliament buildings. Through their extensive courtship letters, Mary Cox explores the social history of Bytown and early Ottawa. What was Bytown like when Hunton arrived? How did the recession of the 1840s affect the Hunton family? How did the wealthy react to the arrival of Irish immigrants who brought typhus to Bytown? Finally, Mary asks the question why did wife Amelia take her son Frederick to court following the untimely death of her husband Thomas in 1875?"

Mary Cox is Ottawa born and raised. From an early age, she developed an interest in Ottawa history, inspired by an elderly friend of her mother who told amazing stories of her life growing up in Ottawa. As a teenager, Mary started to collect books on the history of Bytown, and researched Bytown's history at the National Archives. When ten years ago a friend handed her a story about Thomas Hunton of Bytown, her passion was rekindled. She combed every issue of the Bytown Gazette for information about Hunton and his family. Discovering on an internet search that courtship letters written between Thomas and his then girlfriend Amelia Houghton were extant, she subsequently transcribed more than 90 of these letters. One short story about Thomas has so far produced almost 200 pages of a book about his life and times in Bytown and Ottawa.

The Historical Society of Ottawa meets at 1 pm at the Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues Street in Ottawa. All welcome.

25 October 2016

Canadian First World War Records

The following is an announcement from Library and Archives Canada.

We are pleased to announce an updated version of our "Service Files of the First World War, 1914-1918 – CEF" database.

The new database, now called "Personnel Records of the First World War", provides access to the service files of members of Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) along with records for other First World War personnel.

As this new database replaces the former CEF database, don't forget to bookmark the page and add it to your Favourites list.

The new database includes records for the following groups:

Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF)Imperial War Service Gratuities recipientsNon-Permanent Active MilitiaRejected CEF volunteersRoyal Newfoundland Regiment and Forestry Corps

Discover the Personnel Records of the First World War collection today!

And be sure to visit the First World War pageof the Military Heritage section of our website for an overview of all our First World War records.

We wish to acknowledge the participation of the Provincial Archives Division of The Roomscorporation of Newfoundland and Labrador for access to its digitized personnel files

Survival of World War II Canadian War Brides and Their Descendants

Of the 43,454 war brides who came to Canada after the Second World War, 94 percent of whom were British, an estimated 5,500 survive in 2016. They had 20,997 European-born children; many more were born after their arrival in Canada. War brides and their descendants are estimated to number 640,000 in 2016, 1.8 per cent of Canada’s population.

This draft article provides summaries of the data sources and techniques used in the estimation. Comments welcome.

24 October 2016

NYPL Directories Initiative

An email from former OPL genealogy specialist Patricia Barlosky draws my attention to the New York Public Library which is starting to digitize 137 years of New York City directories (1786-1923), and will make them available free of charge online.

Patricia comments that although this may not be exciting news for most genealogists in Ottawa, of more general interest is the explanation of why city directories are such good research tools, as well as the potential that digitization provides to combine data in totally new ways.


Wouldn't it be great if all our public libraries recognized that in 2016 and beyond it isn't good enough to just make their city directories available in hard copy or microfilm, and assumed the public service responsibility for digitizing their community directories.

Monday in Dublin

Following on three fascinating days at BTOP/Genetic Genealogy Ireland a series of visits in Dublin were arranged.

The first was to the new EPIC Ireland Museum, an audiovisual experience exploring aspects of the Irish Diaspora. That was preceded by a discussion led by Brian Donovan on how genetic genealogy could be incorporated. That part of the tour ended at a genealogy centre incorporated in the same area of the huge building. It's well worth a visit when in Dublin.

The group walked over to the offices of Ancestry for lunch and a presentation on the company operation. Dublin is the centre for the company non-US operations. We learned that the 5 minute video Momondo, available on YouTube, is most responsible for the growth in AncestryDNA testing, followed by the Lederhosen ad. We also learned about the ways in which the company explores options for improving its services. I was pleased to hear that we may be relieved of receiving hints derived from our own trees, by way of another patron, within 9-12 months.

I had to leave the tour which was going to an exhibition at the GPO on the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising and the First World War, one of three additional stops.
Thanks to Gerard Corcoran, ISOGG Ireland Rep, who organized the day.

Rockstar Genealogist Extra: USA

The national Rockstar Genealogist standings in 2016 were based on the nationality of the person voted for. In previous years the ranking was based on the nationality of the voter so that those with a high profile from another country were often listed.

Here's what the list for the USA would have been under the previous nationality of the voter system.

1. Judy Russell
2. Blaine Bettinger
3. Roberta Estes
3. CeCe Moore
5. Dick Eastman
6. Thomas MacEntee
7. Joshua Taylor
8. Thomas W. Jones
9. John Philip Colletta
10. Megan Smolenyak

Note that Elizabeth Shown Mills declined to have her votes tabulated.

23 October 2016

Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2016

Three days, 21-23 October, of top quality talks in Dublin organized by Maurice Gleeson were a feast for the genetic genealogist. Sponsored by Family Tree DNA, the event was held in conjunction with Back to Our Past, a more general genealogy show with the presence of all the major international commercial players active in Ireland, Ancestry, Find my past, Family Tree Maker, Family Tree DNA, and many of the Irish family history organizations - governmental and societies. Also exhibiting was the new UK company Living DNA with their new autosomal test featuring higher geographic resolution for the UK than available from the big three DNA genealogy companies.
BTOP was in turn part of a 50+ show, the whole thing sponsored by Ancestry. I understand the genealogy component was considerably busier than last year.

Highlighting some talks from the third day.

Robert Casey spoke on Y-SNPs: Key to the future, one of several presentations that explained using SNPs, STRs and genealogical information in conjunction to sort out genetic family trees and link to paper record trees. The rate at which new Y-SNPs are being found is revolutionary. There is the prospect of new technology that will make the analysis less time intensive, and an anticipated improved Big Y test from Family Tree DNA.

The first of two amazing presentations showing developments in autosomal DNA analysis was The genetic identification of the 1916 Cork Rebel, Thomas Kent,  by Jens Carlsson. Executed in 1916 Kent's body was buried in a shallow grave where it was subject to moisture that degraded the DNA. Nevertheless short strands of autosomal DNA were recovered and analysed using a shotgun technique (don't ask). By comparing the recovered DNA against that of two relatives the analysis established the identity with a confidence better than the one in the number of humans who have ever lived.

The second amazing presentation was by
Edmund Gilbert on the Irish DNA Atlas. This is work in progress and the audience was asked not to take photos or record the presentation. My notes are rough as the material came at us quickly - don't rely on it. This is a project complementary to the People of the British Isles project using similar techniques but with even stricter recruitment criteria. Samples from 194 people were used. The analysis is computationally intensive using the equivalent of 94 four processor personal computers for 12 hours each. At the most course resolution the data falls into groups for north, south and east Ireland and Planter group. At finer resolution groups were identified which could be associated with the ancient kingdoms of Ireland. An analysis was shown which split the Planters into three groups and identified differences in origin balance.

Diahan Southard gave a tear-jerker of a presentation on how she gradually came to identifying the ancestry of her adoptee mother, who was in the audience. The story was superbly told and illustrated with exceptionally well prepared visuals, which were also evident in a previous presentation Diahan gave.
The whole event was well chaired as well as organized by Maurice Gleeson who must be counted a treasure of the genetic genealogy community. Many of the presentations from the three days will become available on YouTube, again thanks to Maurice.

Rockstar Genealogist Extra: England, Scotland and Wales

The national Rockstar Genealogist standings in 2016 were based on the nationality of the person voted for. In previous years the ranking was based on the nationality of the voter so that those with a high profile from another country were often listed.

Here's what the list for England, Scotland and Wales would have been under the previous nationality of the voter system.

1. Janet Few
2. Kirsty Gray
3. Debbie Kennett
4. Paul Howes
5. Celia Heritage
6. Else Churchill
6. Maurice Gleeson
8. Dick Eastman
9. Peter Calver
10. Jackie Depelle

22 October 2016

PRONI Historical Maps

Check out www.nidirect.gov.uk/PRONI for historical maps from the six inch county series coming by the end of year.
It will include maps for the six counties of Northern Ireland from the 1st edition (1832-1846), to the 1:10,000 metric Irish Grid edition (1957-1986).

This is from an announcement sheet at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland stand at the Back to Our Past event in Dublin.

Ancestry adds Deceased Online Index

You now have the possibility of finding a UK burial or cremation of interest on Ancestry in their new Web: UK, Burial and Cremation Index, 1838-2014 database.
It was taken from www.deceasedonline.com on 18 July 2016.

The records are for:

Blackburn & Darwen
Nottingham City
Lincoln City
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Eltham Crematorium
Wiltshire County Council

Rockstar Genealogist Extra: Canada

The national Rockstar Genealogist standings in 2016 were based on the nationality of the person voted for. In previous years the ranking was based on the nationality of the voter so that those with a high profile from another country were often listed.

Here's what the list for Canada would have been under the previous nationality of the voter system.

1. Gail Dever
2. Lisa Louise Cooke
3. Thomas MacEntee
4. Lorine McGinnis Schultz
5. Judy Russell
6. Dave Obee
7. CeCe Moore
8. Chris Paton
9. Maurice Gleeson
10. Christine Woodcock

21 October 2016

Rockstar Genealogist Extra: Ireland and Northern Ireland

The national Rockstar Genealogist standings in 2016 were based on the nationality of the person voted for. In previous years the ranking was based on the nationality of the voter so that those with a high profile from another country were often listed.

Here's what the list for Ireland and Northern Ireland would have been under the previous system.

1. Paul Gorry
2. Claire Santry
2. Fiona Fitzsimmons
4. Brian Donovan
5. John Grenham
6. Joe Buggy
7. Kyle Bettit
8. Steven Smyrl
9. Maurice Gleeson
9. Chris Paton

Find the list based on nationality of the genealogist published in September here.

20 October 2016

Deceased Online adds Bath and North East Somerset Cemetery Records

The following is an announcement from Deceased Online.

Over the next few weeks, all records for eight cemeteries and a crematorium managed by Bath and North East Somerset Council in south west England will be added to www.deceasedonline.com

Immediately available are over 120,000 individual records for two cemeteries near Bath city centre together with Haycombe Crematorium located on the south west edge of the city.

The two burial sites are Twerton Cemetery in Bellots Road and St James Cemetery (formerly Lyncombe, Widcombe and St James), with records that date back to 1861. Haycombe Crematorium records date from its opening in 1961.

As well as digital scans of registers, the records available on Deceased Online also include grave details, indicating all those buried in each grave, and section maps for both cemeteries indicating the section of the cemetery where each grave is located.

Over the next few weeks, records for another five cemeteries managed by Bath and North East Somerset Council will be added to Deceased Online.

Ancestry add UK and Ireland Military Pensioner Records

Latest additions to Ancestry are:

UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Admissions and Discharges, 1715-1925,  919,874records is sourced from the Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Disability and Royal Artillery Out-Pensions, Admission Books WO 116 at TNA. Information returned is Name, Pension Admission or Examination Age, Birth Year, Birth Place, Pension Admission or Examination Date, Regiment, and Rank: Links to Fold3 did not work when I tried it.
Ireland, Royal Hospital Kilmainham Pensioner Discharge Documents, 1724-1924,  104,638 records is sourced from  Royal Hospital, Kilmainham: Pension Admissions; Class: WO 118; Piece Number: 26 at TNA.  Information returned is Name, Pension Admission Age, Birth Date, Pension Admission Date, Pension Admission Place: Dublin, Leinster, Ireland, Regiment, and Rank. My test found no images linked.

Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary Pensions, 1873-1925, 130,318 records is sourced from Royal Irish Constabulary Pensions PMG 48 at TNA. Information returned is Name, Commencement Date, Payment Year, Where Paid, and Rank. There are inks to images.

I found the connection unreliable with many requests to search again; hopefully just teething problems!

Rockstar Genealogist Extra: Australia/New Zealand

The national Rockstar Genealogist standings in 2016 were based on the nationality of the person voted for. In previous years the ranking was based on the nationality of the voter so that those with a high profile from another country were often listed.

Here's what the list for Australia/New Zealand would have been under the previous nationality of the voter system.

1. Jill Ball
2. Shauna Hicks
3. Michelle Patient
4. Judy Russell
5. Chris Goopy
5. Chris Paton
7. Helen V. Smith
8. Thomas MacEntee
9. Merron Reddiford
10. Kerry Farmer

Find the list based on nationality of the genealogist published in September here.

19 October 2016

Ancestry adds Canada, Certificates of Military Instruction, 1867-1932

This collection consists of subseries R180-128-9-E within Library and Archives Canada series R180-122-8-E -- certificates granted by Schools of Military Instruction. Details available on each certificate typically include the name and rank of the recipient, residence, certificate type and date, and the name and location of the school where any training and/or examination took place.
There are 93,655 records in total with links to images of the certificate on Fold3. I found the link often didn't work, sometimes it did,but the certificate added little additional information

On the Road

I'm leaving today on my first trip to Ireland, mainly at the Back to Our Past/Genetic Genealogy Ireland event in Dublin, and also a side trip to Belfast.
I hope to write a few blog posts while away with highlights of GGI.
Even if those don't happen a few blog posts are scheduled. Mostly they take another look at the Rockstar Genealogists votes, this time focusing on the most popular genealogists according to voters from the various countries, not necessarily genealogists from that country.

The Periodic Table of Genealogy Technology

I've been toying with organizing the world of genealogy technology, inspired by a post at the Daily Genius. As yet it's a draft and likely always will be, just as with the periodic table of the elements.

You likely can't read the image. There's a pdf version here. You can help improve it by making suggests as a comment.

18 October 2016

Library and Archives Canada Revitalization

After years of austerity, Library and Archives Canada is ready to (re)meet its public. That's according to an article in Quill & Quire, Canada's magazine about the book and publishing industry.

The article cites examples of LAC's resumed public programming after Guy Berthiaume's appointment as Librarian and Archivist of Canada.

While the situation has certainly improved can anyone be happy that the auditorium and other formerly public cultural spaces on the ground floor at 395 Wellington now only echoeswith memories of the vitality of years gone by?

Perth & District Historical Society October Meeting

Thursday, 20 October, 2016 will see the Perth & District Historical Society enjoy An Evening on Our Area’s Sporting History and Local Greats and the Perth & District Sports Hall of Fame

The speaker is Tim Zander, author, history teacher at PDCI and Chair of the Perth & District Sports Hall of Fame.  

On Tim’s previous visits, he presented the research by students of Perth & District Collegiate Institute into former students who died in the two world wars, and the school’s Wall of Valour (October 2009).  In November 2010, Tim informed us of the PDCI student involvement in the 2010 “Victory in Europe 65th Anniversary National Student Tour” of WWII battlefields.  

In this presentation, Tim will review the local area’s rich sporting history and the memorable events of various sports and games.  His talk will cover well-known sporting greats, such as famous NHL goalie, Billy Smith, and winning teams, such as the 1936 Perth Royals baseball team, and the Perth Blue Wings, 1938 Memorial Cup semi-finalists.  This deep history of sports has led to the Perth and District Sports Hall of Fame, and the new Rusty White Award for Sportsperson of the Year.

Tim Zander is a graduate of the University of Victoria, with a BA. (Hons.) degree in history, of Queen’s University with a BEd, and of the University of New Brunswick with a MEd.  In 2010, he received the Rotary Club Educator of the Year Award, and, in 2015, the Government of Canada History Award for Teachers. His students have received the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Youth Achievement, for research leading to the Wall of Valour memorial at PDCI.

Over his 19 years of teaching at PDCI, Tim has made contributions on a range of history and sports subjects, and for a diverse group of publications or papers, including the recent video “The History of Perth”.  In 2014, Tim helped form the new Perth and District Sports Hall of Fame in 2014, leading to the inaugural inductions in 2016.  He is currently Chair of the Hall, and, also, a member of the Society for International Hockey Research.  Tim is married and father of four.

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

17 October 2016

Findmypast moves to correct Canada error

Findmypast made a mistake on Friday when it listed Canadian records under the US heading, and added insult to injury by announcing the Canadian records with a US flag logo.
I complained on Friday, called them in London. Others had complained too. The person on the help desk was aware of the issue and apologised.
As you can see from the image, the title now reads United States and Canada records. The A-Z of Records still only has the US title but includes Canadian records.  A way to go yet.
Hopefully as they accumulated more records they'll give Canada its own site, instead of forwarding the .ca site to .com.  If they can host a separate .com.au site why not .ca?

16 October 2016

Fifty Years Ago

The Empress of Canada crossed the Atlantic in mid-October 1966, sailing from Liverpool, stopping at Grenock, rounding north of Ireland, passing the Bell Isle lighthouse in the late evening and stopping at Quebec City for immigration clearance. The ship continued to Montreal overnight. I was an immigrant passenger.
The Empress of Canada was the last passenger liner built for Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd. According to this description "her cabins were large compared to the modern cruise ships of today, and featured fine timber walls." As an immigrant I was in a shared interior cabin and spent much of the voyage in my upper bunk trying to avoid being seasick. I've rarely felt so lacking control knowing that whichever way the ship went land was days sailing away. Ever since, no matter how rough the flight, I've always appreciated that the agony couldn't last more than a few hours.

CEF Service Files Digitization: October Update

As of 14 October 2016, 347,005 (333,687 last month) of 640,000 files are available online via the LAC Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918 database.

The latest box digitized is Box 5848 (5608 last month) and the surname Mahony (Levesque).

13,318 (13,049) files were digitized in the last month.

At the last month rate of digitization the project would be completed in 22 months, by August 2018.

Book Review: The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy

I've been looking forward to reading Blaine Bettinger's new book The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy since it was announced, and especially since I saw the table of contents. I've suggested in presentations it will be the one to read for the beginner and more advanced genetic genealogist, mostly based on Blaine Bettinger's reputation.
The contents are:
Part One: Getting Started – Genetic Genealogy Basics; Common Misconceptions; and Ethics and Genetic Genealogy
Part Two: Selecting a Test – Mitochondrial-DNA (mtDNA) Testing; Y-Chromosomal (Y-DNA) Testing; Autosomal-DNA (atDNA) Testing; and X-Chromosomal (X-DNA) Testing
Part Three: Analyzing and Applying Test Results – Third-Party Autosomal-DNA Tools; Ethnicity Estimates; Analyzing Complex Questions with DNA; Genetic Testing for Adoptees; and The Future of Genetic Genealogy
Appendices – Comparison Guides; Research Forms; and More Resources.

I purchased the Kindle edition which became available on the official publication date. It certainly lives up to all my expectations. The Kindle edition has the benefit that the web links are clickable. A lot of work appears to have gone into making the text readable.

Part One gives the basics, for those thinking about testing. Addressing misconceptions up front is helpful. While I don't quarrel with the section on ethnics philosophers do differ on whether there is such a thing as universal ethics or whether they are ultimately situational (lifeboat ethics). The 12 Genetic Genealogy Standards were developed by a group of US genetic genealogists. Those from non-western cultures may differ.
Part Two is for those selecting a test and examining the basic results. The section on autosomal DNA is the longest not counting the separate section on X-DNA, Next longest is the Y-DNA section, 88% of the length of the autosomal section. The section on mtDNA is the shortest (62%). Each section ends with a summary of core concepts and examples of DNA in action.
Part Three, Analyzing and Applying Test Results, is mainly for the more advanced genetic genealogist and breaks new ground in genetic genealogy books. Nothing is perfect, particularly predictions, and I was surprised to see no mentioned of the People of the British Isles and similar projects.
Having the Kindle edition makes it easy to search, and gives an objective (statistical) view of the content. 
Family Tree DNA144

The bottom line; this is now the book I recommend for the genetic genealogist, beginner to expert.

Ancestry adds UK military records

Five new UK military databases came online at Ancestry on Friday.

UK, Royal Air Force Muster Roll, 191894,814
UK, Naval and Military Courts Martial Registers, 1806-1930838,431
UK, Military Deserters, 1812-1927302,802
UK, British Army Lists, 1882-19622,421,506
UK, British Jewry Roll of Honour, 1914-191857,202

It would have been more accurate to have termed these partial transcriptions or index records. They all indicate, but do not actually provide a functioning link to the complete record at another Ancestry commercial database, Fold3.
The RAF Muster Roll and Jewry Roll of Honour are both available at Findmypast, without any additional charge to see the original records, as are some of the Deserters records. Some of the British Army Lists are also on Findmypast and thegenealogist, and for 1754-1879 in WO 65 as free digital microfilm from TNA. Search at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/
Ancestry also supposedly added/updated a database UK, British Army Recipients of the Military Medal, 1914-1920, but I could find no way to search or browse it!

15 October 2016

The Margins of History

Ottawa is always changing. Sometimes we don't notice at all. Other times we do notice, and sometimes we even oppose it. The stories that captivate me tend to be from all over the city.

That's how Christopher Ryan, a graduate student at Carleton University describes his blog The Margins of History.

Recent top posts, worth looking into if you have an interest in Ottawa history, are:

 Sharpshooters' Ambulatory Memorial
 Ottawa's Apartments, 1955
 Architects in Ottawa (1960)
 Can There Be Only One?
 Demolished Ottawa: Toronto-Dominion Bank, Sparks Street

Presentation: British Home Children in Western Quebec

Gloria Tubman, one of BIFHSGO's most knowledgeable members, in a presentation to the Gatineau Valley Historical Society, "shares her research expertise on tracing British Home Children, some 129,000 of whom came to Canada as child workers between 1869 and the 1920s. Herself the granddaughter of a Home Child, she will focus on those placed in Western Quebec."

Monday 17 October, 2016,
Refreshments from 7:30 pm; talk at 8:00 pm
Mill Road Community Space
8 Ch. Mill Chelsea, QC

14 October 2016

Further Canadian, NOT US, Records at Findmypast

Do you see any issue with the Findmypast announcement of Ontario birth records? 's A-Z of record sets list has subheadings for US, UK, Australia and New Zealand, and Ireland. If you're looking for an entry for Canadian records in the A-Z of records see the US. Apparently the news has not yet reached the appropriate level at Findmypast that Canadian is distinct from the US just as Ireland is distinct from the UK - and has been for longer than Ireland has been an independent country.

If the Canadian collection is too small at least change the subhead title to US and Canada. Why not?

The records new at Findmypast are

Ontario Birth Index 1860-1920
New Brunswick Birth and Baptism Index 1769-1899


In response to a Facebook post FMP wrote:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We apologize for this error in our recent email. In terms of the Canadian records under the United States in the A-Z index, this is something we're working on to correct and we've passed your feedback on as well. Thank you again for bringing this to our attention and we apologize.

Findmypast adds Scotland Monumental Inscriptions Index

Records from 14 Scottish counties, burials as early as 1507 and up until this year, 227,179 in total, are in this index. There's a list of burial grounds included here. Information available is: first name(s), last name, age, birth year, death year, burial ground, county.
Findmypast sourced the index records from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions where you may find additional information on a pay basis.

YouTube: The History of Europe Map animated

Occasionally it's worthwhile standing back and seeing things in a larger perspective.

You may also be interested in World War II in Europe, Every Day

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

Find 28,555 indexed entries with images of burial permits of Saint John sourced from the  Provincial Archives of New Brunswick at Fredericton new on FamilySearch. The transcription gives name, year and place of birth and exact date and place of death and father's name. There's more information in the image.

Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair: Sunday 16 October

Rare, unusual and collectible books of all kinds, including military history, maps, historical documents and ephemera will be on sale at the thirty-sixth Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair this Sunday, 16 October 2016.
Expect over 40,000 items, dating from the 15th century to the present day, to be on display by 40 dealers at Tudor Hall, 3750 North Bowesville Rd. (near Uplands & Riverside Drive).  Doors open at 10:30 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. Admission is $5.00.

13 October 2016

Canadian Weather Registers

Back in June I wasn't exactly accurate when I blogged about A unique historic government fonds LAC refused.
I recently discovered that LAC does hold some of the earliest meteorological registers in RG93 1984-85/002. Some are bound register books, some bundles of register sheets, one week per page. What's more they provide more detailed information than available online from the Meteorological Service of Canada's past weather and climate databases.
This example is a page from the Ottawa reporting station for the week ending 2 January 1875.

For each day there are observations reported in the morning, late afternoon and late evening. The barometric pressure, air temperature, humidity, wind sped and direction, weather description, cloud report, times of rain and snowfall beginning and ending, and rain and snow accumulation, are all recorded in imperial units. The summary reports maximum and minimum temperature and the amount of rain and snow.
These registers could be useful if you're looking to add colour to a description of a family event, such as a wedding,

Kingston Branch OGS October meeting

"Palatines - Refugees From Another Time" is the topic for the Kingston Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society meeting on Saturday, 15 October 2016.
This presentation will explore the factors that led up to the Palatine immigration of 1709-1710 and discuss the refugee experience to England and then New York.
The speaker is Debra McAuslan, a retired RN currently the Recording Secretary for the Kingston Branch OGS, a Director on the Board of the Southern Frontenac Community Services and Website person for the Kingston Action Group for Basic Income Guarantee.

The meeting starts at 10 a.m. at the Kingston Seniors Centre, 56 Francis St. in Kingston.

Quinte Branch OGS October meeting

Online Courses through the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, with speaker Cheryl Levy, is the topic for the Saturday 15 October meeting of the Quinte Branch OGS.

It's at the usual location, the Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Drive, Trenton from 1-3pm. Everyone welcome. For more information visit www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canqbogs/

12 October 2016

The DNA Craze

The first part of a two part program from Al Jazeera gets into discussion on the reliability of autosomal DNA tests for biogeographical ancestry.

Strategic Vision for the Archives Sector in England

The UK National Archives has just released a paper Consultation on a new Strategic Vision for the
Archives Sector. The vision has three themes:
Theme 1: Archives ensure people can have confidence in
information and data
 Archivists are skilled and trusted custodians of records, data and information
 Archive users are able to access relevant data and information
 Archives have a reputation for transparency and accountability and enjoy the
confidence of users and wider society
Theme 2: Archives encourage innovation and creativity
 The potential of archival material is realised by a wide range of users
including businesses, the creative sector and researchers
 People are clear about how they can use archival material in creative ways
 Archives empower communities to be more informed and involved
Theme 3: Archives enable collective memories to be kept alive for
future generations
 Archives are able to preserve and present digital records
 Archives are financially sustainable, working in partnership to maximise
commercial opportunities
 The archive profession and its collections reflect the diversity of all human
activity, including communities and organisations.

An appendix to the document Reference Group membership and stakeholder interviewees shows there has been no involvement of the family history client community, strange given the large fraction of archives clients that are genealogists.

An aim under theme 3 "to maximise commercial opportunities" seems perverse for a public sector organization. Most of us would be in favour of maximising public access, and accept that often for budget reasons that can only be accomplished by using commercial partners. But it should not become a means to restrict open online access for a period beyond that which the commercial partner needs to make back costs and a reasonable profit.

Hopefully the genealogical community in England will step forward to become involved in the further deliberations.

Shannon Lecture: Friday, 14 October, 2016

“Escaping Judgement/Embracing Judgement: Disability, Protection and Liberty in Twentieth Century Ontario”
Dr. Melanie Panitch
School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University
Discovery Centre, Room 482 Library
Co-sponsored by the Disability Studies Program, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies
Special Reception Event: During the reception of the October 14th lecture, Carleton University’s Disability Research Group will launch Envisioning Technologies, an accessible exhibit dedicated to the history of educational technologies for people who are blind or partially sighted in Canada from 1820-present.

11 October 2016

Adoption mystery solved with DNA

If you didn't hear Toronto genealogist Elizabeth Kaegi's adoption story at the OGS conference 2016 this short YouTube video summarizes her experience and lessons learned. It has over 2,300 views in one month.

Provincial Archivist John Roberts in Ottawa; 13 October

Provincial Archivist, John Roberts will make a presentation on the Archives of Ontario's role in the Archives Association of Ontario's Provincial Acquisition Strategy and the current direction of the Archives of Ontario. Learn what direction he is taking the Archives of Ontario!

Organize by the Archives Association Ontario East/Est Chapter, the presentation will be followed by  a town hall session on the Provincial Acquisition Strategy.  What value will it have for small and mid-size archival institutions?  What will the impact be?

Start Time: 6:30pm
Date: Thursday, 13 October, 2016
Location: City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive (corner of Tallwood and Woodroffe)

RSVP aaoeast@gmail.com

10 October 2016

The Great Canadian Genealogy Summit

You've no doubt heard about this first initiative to highlight Canadian genealogists being held 21 - 23 October, 2016 at the Courtyard Marriott in Brampton, Ontario. It's not too late to register if you've previously been unsure of your schedule. Check out the details at www.cangensummit.ca/

The Promise of Canada: 150 Years--People and Ideas That Have Shaped Our Country

The latest book by Charlotte Gray will be launched on Monday 17 October 2016 at Library and Archives Canada during the Writers Festival. Details of the book and the launch are here.

09 October 2016

Ancestry: New and Updated British records

New on Ancestry is Dorset, England, Poor Law Apprenticeship Records, 1623-1898, which has just 2,739 records sourced from the Dorset History Centre. Image originals are linked to the index.

Collections updated at the end of the week were:
Warwickshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1910, 760,552 records
Warwickshire, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1910, 277,236 records
Warwickshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1910, 1,515,334 records
Warwickshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812 , 2,562,810 records
Radnorshire, Wales, Marriages, 1813-1838, 8,226  records

Using DNA to identify soldiers of the Western Front

One of the best presentations at the recent BIFHSGO conference is now available to all thanks to Maurice Gleeson having rerecorded it for YouTube.

Over 330,000 WWI soldiers are still missing-in-action, many of them on the Western Front. Every year the remains of 30-60 soldiers are found during routine farm work. This presentation explores the process for identifying these soldiers and how the role of DNA testing will continue to grow in importance over the next few years.

The presentation is also on the schedule for Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2016.

08 October 2016

Google Alerts for Genealogy

There's nothing secret about Google Alerts, but many people aren't alert (sorry about that!) to the capabilities.
Set up an alert to inform you about new internet material Google finds during indexing the web. For genealogy search for terms for an organization, like "British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa", for a place in your family history, like "Rokeby" or a name, like "Smith". "Smith" isn't recommended without an additional search term or terms.
You get to choose how often you want to receive notifications. I have several alerts active many of which only deliver a hit very occasionally; those are things I'd probably miss otherwise.

There's a good short explanation in the video below from Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers where there are lots of other good tips applicable to genealogy.

Kyla Ubbink presentation for OPL:12 October

The Ottawa Public Library continues it's series of genealogy-related presentation with popular local speaker Kyla Ubbink of UBBINK Book and Paper Conservation speaking on Not Fade Away: Digitizing and Preserving Family Photos.

"Keeping and digitizing family photographs can be a monumental challenge. From long term care to digitization, this talk will focus on storage solutions, as well as digitization techniques and maintaining digital files."

This 90 minute session is on Wednesday, 12 October, 2016 starting at 7:00 pm. Registration required at https://goo.gl/MdxZC2

07 October 2016

Ancestry.co.uk free access weekend

An email from Ancestry announces a free access weekend, search more than 1 billion UK and Ireland records — until midnight (BST) on Sunday. As usual, with free registration,

Findmypast adds Britain, Registers of Licences to pass beyond the seas 1573-1677

This collection of early records is comprised of over 27,000 fully searchable transcripts and scanned colour images of original documents from series PRO 57/4548 entitled Registers of licences to pass beyond the seas, 1573-1677, E 157. There are two main register types in this collection:

Statutory oath of allegiance taken under the Act of 1609 by soldiers before leaving to serve in the ‘Low Countries’ (1613-1633)
Licences for individuals travelling to Europe (1573-1677).
Entries relating to the American colonies have been transcribed in J C Hotten, Lists of persons emigrating to America, 1600-1660 (London, 1874) - internet archive link. See also P W Coldham, The complete book of emigrants, 1607-1660 (1987) and P W Filby, Passenger and immigration lists index (1981)

Findmypast adds Monmouthshire records

Wales, Monmouthshire workhouse registers 1837-1929
The collection contains admissions, medical notices, religious creed registers, and school admission records. 138,000 in total from the Abergavenny workhouse in in Hatherleigh Place, Abergavenny. Monmouthshire. Each record includes both a transcript and an image of the original record from the Gwent archives.

Wales, Monmouthshire Electoral Registers 1839-1889
The collecction contain over 10,000 records that allow you to discover where your Welsh ancestors lived, whether they were eligible to vote and the details of any property they owned or rented. The electoral registers are presented as a portable device format (PDF). The format of each register can vary depending on the constituency or the year of the register. You can search and browse the images.

Wales, Monmouthshire marriage notices 1859-1877
Over 4,000 records that allow you to discover whether your ancestor submitted a marriage notice with the district superintendent registrar of Abergavenny. Each record includes a transcript of the notice that will list your ancestor's birth year, marital status and residence, as well as the name, age and status of their intended spouse.

Although Findmypast places Monmouthshire in Wales legally it has been considered part of England or Wales at various times. Since 1974 the territory has been in the Welsh administrative county of Gwent.

06 October 2016

The History of the Workhouse

Learn about the workhouse system which touched many of our British ancestor's lives. Peter Higginbotham, THE expert in the field, presents the topic in a webinar sponsored by Findmypast. Recommended, at https://blog.findmypast.co.uk/the-history-of-the-workhouse-with-peter-higginbotham-2028962505.html
His website www.workhouses.org.uk/is the standard online reference.

BIFHSGO October meeting

The main 10 am event for the first regular monthly meeting of the 2016-17 BIFHSGO season on Saturday, 8 October is Did Lucy and Isaac Actually Marry? And the Importance of Dying in the Right Sequence, presented by Brian Laurie-Beaumont. He will tell the story of Henry Wimburn Sudell Sweetapple Horlock's fascinating collection of family portraits and how they were identified.

The before-BIFHSGO educational presentation, starting at 9 am, is Online Family Trees presented by Lesley Anderson.

It's all happening at the usual location, The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario.
Find full details at http://bifhsgo.ca/eventListings.php?nm=127

05 October 2016

Ancestry adds UK Medical Directories

Several years ago browsing in the Wellcome Library in London I came across a hoard of medical directories  Ever since I've wondered when they'll be online. Now Ancestry has digitized them and placed them in the Schools, Directories & Church Histories category. The collections, which have a few year gaps in coverage and can be searched or browsed, are:

UK & Ireland, Medical Directories, 1845-1942, 738,852 records
UK, The Midwives Roll, 1904-1959, 398,334 records
UK, Physiotherapy and Masseuse Registers, 1895 -1980, 128,037 records
UK, Dentist Registers, 1879-1942 Schools, 124,647 records
UK, Medical and Dental Students Registers, 1882-1937, 92,436 records
UK, Roll of the Indian Medical Service, 1615 -1930, 8,443 records

You can search by name and also by place, which includes locations outside the UK.
The records usually include names, address, date first registered, and qualifications (postnominals).

These directories are a great resource for those pursuing a one-name study.

Ancestry adds Quebec, Canada, Notarial Records, 1626-1935

They're a treasure for the genealogist with roots back to or through Quebec and now accessible through an index on Ancestry.ca.  As described by Ancestry:
"Notarial records are private agreements (contracts), written by official notaries. This collection consists of notarial records for Quebec from the years 1626 to 1935. Each notary was assigned to a district, and kept three sets or types of records for that district. The following types of notarial records are included in this collection.
Actes notariés (Notarial Acts)
Répertoires de notaires (Notarial Repertoires)
Indexes de notaires (Notarial Indices)"
Only the notarial repertoires have been indexed, searchable by name, date and record type, and by notary and notarial act number if needed. You can click to view a linked image from the repertoire.

Images of the notarial acts and notarial indexes may also be browsed by district and notary name and year range. But, in many cases to view original documents, not just the index entry, you need to contact the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec centre closest to where the notary was in business.

The image above is from the David Rumsey Map Collection.