31 July 2017

100th anniversary of Passchendaele

The Battle of Pilckem Ridge, the opening attack of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), occurred on this date in 1917.

Edward Cohen, my great-uncle, serving with the 12th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers was mortally wounded in the advance on Bodmin Copse. He was one of 6,525 who died on that day, including 91 from his battalion according to www.cwgc.org. Like 70 others of his battalion his body was not recovered and his name is on the Menin Gate.
He was awarded a posthumous Military Cross which was donated to Queen's College, Cambridge, where he had been a student.
The Third Battle of Ypres eventually cost a quarter of a million British Empire lives.
Read more about Edward Cohen at http://theyserved.wikia.com/wiki/Edward_Cohen

George Henry Friend, CEF: Notre Dame Cemetery

There are 42 First World War soldiers commemorated by Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorials at Ottawa's Notre Dame Cemetery. George Henry Friend who died on 31 July 1917 is one.

He was the son of George and Louise Friend, of 95, Friel St. in Ottawa husband of Mary Ellen Friend, his second wife, of Overton St., Eastview (Vanier), Ont.
Born 8 August 1882 in West Stretham, Lewisham, England, he travelled to Canada at age 5 with his parents and two siblings settling in Ottawa. He married Mary Ann Kelly in 1902 by whom he had four daughters.

Despite previous medical issues Private Friend served from 22 September 1914 and joined the 17th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry at Salisbury Plain. He fell ill in England, was returned to Canada in February 1915 and discharged from service on 19 March 1915.

Cause of death was pyelonephritis, inflammation of the kidneys.

30 July 2017

British Newspaper Archive additions for July

The British Newspaper Archive now has  20,773,926 pages (20,347,024 pages last month). The 44 papers with new pages online are tabulated below with the major additions highlighted.

Brighton Gazette1877, 1889, 1904-1910
Shields Daily News1875-1876, 1879, 1938, 1942-1943, 1946, 1957
Abergavenny Chronicle1889
Tenby Observer1869-1875, 1887
Milngavie and Bearsden Herald1904-1929, 1935-1957
Wharfedale & Airedale Observer1880-1896, 1898-1910
Hampstead & Highgate Express1872-1891, 1893-1910
Mid-Ulster Mail1891-1914, 1923-1925, 1927-1937, 1939-1940, 1942, 1944-1948, 1950-1951
Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow1878-1882, 1884-1888, 1890-1898, 1900-1910
Weekly Casualty List (War Office & Air Ministry )1917-1918
Londonderry Sentinel1885-1886, 1894, 1900, 1908, 1921-1925, 1927-1929, 1944, 1954-1957
Torquay Times, and South Devon Advertiser1869-1871, 1873-1895, 1897-1910
Kilburn Times1870, 1872-1892, 1894-1910
Southend Standard and Essex Weekly Advertiser1873-1896, 1898-1910
Wigan Observer and District Advertiser1890, 1905-1906
Carluke and Lanark Gazette1906-1913, 1915-1953
Kidderminster Times and Advertiser for Bewdley & Stourport1869, 1874, 1876, 1900
Irish Independent1891-1910
Fulham Chronicle1914-1918, 1939-1945
Southern Echo1892, 1896
Limerick Chronicle1832-1868
Sheffield Daily Telegraph1915, 1918-1932
East Anglian Daily Times1894, 1905
Knaresborough Post1868-1878, 1880-1898, 1900-1905, 1912
Galloway Gazette1891-1892, 1895, 1952
Forfar Dispatch1912-1952
Buchan Observer and East Aberdeenshire Advertiser1863-1917
Brechin Advertiser1879-1898, 1925-1957
Northern Constitution1877-1899
Isle of Wight County Press and South of England Reporter1885-1887, 1900
Eastern Evening News1882-1883, 1885, 1900-1904
Ilford Recorder1905
Islington Gazette1908-1910
Boston Guardian1938
Northwich Guardian1872, 1879, 1885, 1900, 1908
Nottingham Journal1893
Lancashire Evening Post1953-1957
Ballymena Weekly Telegraph1896-1902
Weston-super-Mare Gazette, and General Advertiser1901-1902
Staffordshire Chronicle1887-1888, 1890-1892, 1894-1896
Yarmouth Independent1895, 1938
Skegness Standard1922
Rothesay Chronicle1875-1877, 1879-1882, 1884-1892
Glasgow Evening Post1892-1893, 1895

TheGenealogist introduces circa 1921 directories

The following is an extract from a press release late last week from TheGenealogist, directories suggested as a 1921 census substitute.

TheGenealogist  just released a new circa 1921 resource, covering 23 counties, with over one million records. These form part of the Trade, Residential & Telephone record sets on TheGenealogist covering a period currently not served by a census.  

The fully transcribed, searchable records released today will allow researchers to:

search on forename, surname and profession
search by street, town and county
look for a business name
discover your ancestors’ addresses 
find professions listed .

These 1921 directories cover the North, South, East and the West of England, the Channel Islands and as far up the country as Aberdeen. 

29 July 2017

Findmypast adds Staffordshire, Lincolnshire, Monmouthshire and Yorkshire records

The completely new addition to FMP's English databases this week is 127,314 Staffordshire Monumental Inscriptions from 168 churchyards, burial grounds, and cemeteries, from Acton Trussell to Yoxall. These are transcriptions with first name(s), last name, death year (but not date), denomination, church and place. There's also a link for further detail ($).

There are the following UK additions:

Lincolnshire Burials 1754-1812, 90,437 new records for a total of 1,582,878 covering over 300 locations.
Monmouthshire Burials 1727-1987, 2,406 new records for a total of 374,312.
Yorkshire Memorial Inscriptions, 4,717 new records for Greasbrough & Wentworth for a total of 105,172 records.

Also new this week:

- 1.6 million articles from Irish newspapers including the Limerick Chronicle, Mid-Ulster Mail, Irish Independent, and Northern Constitution.
Philadelphia Roman Catholic parish baptisms and marriages.

England Workhouse Chic

What was it like to be a Victorian street trader, or sailor? Workhouse England has the men's clothes to help you live the experience.
The company hand-makes distinctive jackets, hats, and other garments in its period workshop in Bury St Edmunds from British material and patterns. Made to last.
Naturally you need to save up lots and lots of farthings and groats, time machines don't come cheap. Neither does quality.
Worth a look.

28 July 2017

NYG&B and the Ontario Genealogical Society Announce Partnership

The following is an extract from a 28 July press release received from OGS Director David Thompson.

Today the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) and the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) announced a new partnership offering reciprocal membership at a discount to all members. The two societies hope that this will allow their respective members to gain access to even more records and resources.

NYG&B President, D. Joshua Taylor noted “The NYG&B is delighted to partner with OGS. Numerous New York families had connections with Ontario and we look forward to working together to provide resources that help share and tell their stories.”

OGS President Patti Mordasewicz said: “We are excited to announce this expansion in our advantages of OGS membership for our members and to partner with the NYG&B. Our respective members should benefit greatly from enhanced access to resources for researching their Ontario and New York family histories. This is of particular importance when traditional migration and settlement patterns are considered.”

To get more information on this partnership and how to sign up for membership in either organization, please visit nygbs.org/ogs or https://ogs.on.ca

Comment: Another valuable benefit of OGS membership. Members can sign in under the Members Only tab to find out about other available discounts such as for a JSTOR subscription.

Ancestry adds UK, Royal Air Force Airmen Records, 1918-1940

This collection, taken from AIR 79 at The (UK) National Archives comprises 616,118 partially transcribed records of "Airmen serving in the Royal Air Force during the years 1918 up to, and including, 1940."
Transcribed information is typically: name, gender, age, birth date. birth place, service date, service number, mother (name), next of kin (name), relation to airman.
There are links to original images, available with a subscription to Ancestry's FOLD 3 website. These are two page service files; those I examined showed only service into the early 1920s.
Many of those included were not born in the UK. An exact search for born in Ontario, Canada gave 523 hits, although 12 of the first 20 were not!  There were sex with birth place Ottawa: Langford James Gannon (not Cannon as transcribed), Raoul Lawrence Esmonde, Maynard Stansfield (not Stausfield as transcribed) Fellowes, John Paul Laframboise, William Ernest Short, and Samuel Le Roy Switzer.

Other military sites worth checking for prior service of these men are the CEF files from Library and Archives Canada, and the Royal Flying Corps, prior to the formation of the RAF, www.airhistory.org.uk/rfc/home.html/.

27 July 2017

Ancestry adds London School Registers

London, England, Poor Law School District Registers, 1852-1918, 268,776 records, is lists of children admitted to and discharged from schools. Included (where available) are: admission date, discharge date, name, gender, school, address, birth date, and age. The school districts are: Brentwood,  Central London, Forest Gate, Kensington and Chelsea, South Metropolitan, and West London. 

Be sure to check the original document image which may have further information such as where the child went following discharge such as an apprenticeship. It's worth checking for home children from London.

London, England, School Admissions and Discharges, 1912-1918, 178,308 records, include (where available): admission date, name, parents’ names, parents’ occupation, address, birth date, age. It includes schools in the boroughs of Camden, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, and Westminster. 

For both collections you can also browse the original registers.

BIFHSGO DNA Interest Group meets on Saturday

A quick reminder of the group meeting at 9:30 am on Saturday, 29 July at the City of Ottawa Archives (Room 115), 100 Tallwood Drive.

Bill Arthurs will speak about “The High Points of Blaine T. Bettinger’s The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy.”

Shirley Monkhouse will present on Blaine T. Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne’s companion workbook “Genetic Genealogy in Practice.”

There will be a Round Table Discussion with remaining time.

26 July 2017

Theancestorhunt updates free Canadian newspaper list

Kenneth R Marks has added over 250 new links to historical newspapers for Canada at his the theancestorhunt site. That makes the Canadian total over 2,850.

For Ontario the direct link is http://www.theancestorhunt.com/blog/ontario-online-historical-newspapers-summary#.WXkr5ojyvIU/.

News from the Registry of Deeds Index Project

Irish ancestry? A quick link to Claire Santry's blog where she points to further guides to finding townlands in the Townland Index, and updates to the project. Posted on Tuesday at New user-guides from Registry of Deeds Index Project.

An exceptionally wet day: 190 years ago

You think Monday was wet?

John Burrows (sometime John Burrows Honey) was in a party exploring the route of the Rideau Canal in July 1827. He kept a diary, the original of which is in the Historical Society of Ottawa collection at the Ottawa City Archives, and has been transcribed in Sights and Surveys published by HSO in 1979.

The following are extracts on weather from the diary for Thursday 26 July 1827:
- Before leaving this place inspected the state of our provisions and found them a little injured by the rain, and divided the wet from the dry bread, and used the injured first.
- The 3 officers, Mr MacTaggart landed here and took shelter in Mr S. Burrit's house from the pelting pityless rain.
- Still the storms continued.
- Mr MacTaggart and party continued to explore under the rain for we could not be more wet.
- Though with wet and cold very uncomfortable, anxiety made us press on ...
- At the foot of Merrick's Rapids a thunder storm drove us under the hospitable roof of blacksmith, Mr. Kelly. 
Details of local weather so far in the past are rare in the Ottawa valley. I came across this while exploring for my talk on Ottawa Weather History to the HSO on 27 October.

25 July 2017

Edmund A. Scott: CEF Beechwood

Edmund Altman Scott arrived in Canada with his brother John from Malvern, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, via New York on 16 June 1917. He attested the following day giving his date of birth as 20 July 1893 and occupation messenger.
He enlisted with the Canadian Engineers Div. Signallers.

The clipping shows he died by drowning on 25 July 1917 while swimming in the Ottawa River. The Signal Training Depot at Rockcliffe was under canvas during the summer, removed from Lansdowne Park.
It was a hot day with the maximum temperature recorded at the Experimental Farm of 33.9C.

24 July 2017

Large Families

Wikipedia lists 15 women who had more than 30 children. That includes a woman said to have had 69. Questionable as some of those may be there appear to be well substantiated cases of more than 20. As children of large families tend to have large families of their own the phenomenon is significant for genealogy.

In November 2016 the UK Office for National Statistics issued a Statistical Bulletin Childbearing for Women Born in Different Years, England and Wales: 2015. It concludes that women born in 1970 who completed their childbearing by 2015 had an average 1.91 children, fewer than their mother's generation (born 1943) who had 2.24 children. A graph shows the average number of live born children reaching a peak of 3.9 in 1935, up from 2.0 in 1920 where the data starts.
The bulletin also shows that 15% of women in the 1943 cohort had four or more children; for the 1970 cohort that figure was down to 10%.

This table, from an article A Hundred and Fifty Years of Vital Statistics: Documenting Demographic Change in Ireland, by John FitzGerald shows the decline in average completed Irish family size from 6.5 in 1911 to 2.5 in 2011.
The trend to smaller Irish families is reflected in the 2011 census data showing women in their early 50s most likely had 2 children, those from their late 50s to early 70s 3 children, and 4 for older women. The percent of women with 8 children in their early 50s was only a tenth of those in their 80s.

The 1911 census for Ireland has been digitized for fertility data, available at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search/. The graph shows the number of children live-born to married women age 45 and older. Leaving aside child-free couples eight was the most likely family size. The largest family had 22 children; there were eight of 20 or more children.

As for Canada, with all caution regarding the credibility of the Huffington Post, here's their take on the Biggest Family In Canada.

What's the largest number of live-born children one woman had in your family tree. I asked that at a BIFHSGO get together on Saturday. From about 15 people the largest was 18.

23 July 2017

Ancestry Annual Update to Ontario Marriages and Deaths

Marriage records for 1935 are now added to the Ancestry Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1785-1935 collection.
New Records: 162,411; Total Records: 8,551,124
New Images: 54,608, Total Images: 1,460,555

Death records for 1945 are now added to the Ancestry Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas, 1869-1947 collection
New Records: 139,526, Total Records: 3,100,785
New Images: 40,818, Total Images: 1,009,142

The Mystery of Bytown Mayor John Scott

The Ottawa Citizen and Metronews recently published about a portrait of John Scott, first mayor of Bytown, in the Historical Society of Ottawa collection.

The previously unidentified portrait, see the article for a photo, was determined to be Scott by the City Archives, which now holds the HSO collection, as it's copied in a montage of early mayors.

There are two other images said to be Scott. The first here, his portrait as representative for Bytown (Ottawa) to the Legislature taken from Wikipedia, is similar but without facial hair extending below the ears.

In the second, included in an August 2016 Bytown Pamphlet, No 99, and attributed to The Historical Society of the Gatineau (GVHS), is a photograph supposedly taken a year of two before he died in 1857. I see similarities and differences but would guess he's older than the 33 calculated from his supposed birth year of 1824.

Interestingly his New York death registration gives his age as 45.

There are other reasons to think he might have been older. As pointed out in the Bytown Pamphlet, with the supposed birth year of 1824 he would have been 13 when he entered law school and 17 or 18 when he was sworn in as an attorney.

What do you think? Is the man in the second image the same as in the first and is he likely in his early 30s?

22 July 2017

Findmypast adds Somerset BBMB Indexes

Nearly 5 million index transcription records for Somerset baptisms, banns, marriages and burials are now available via Findmypast from records at the Somerset Archives.
Baptisms are from 496 parishes from 1501 to 1917 with a median start year of 1597 and end year 1887. Banns date from 1577 to 1933, marriages 1474 to 1935, and burials 1506 to 1972.

John Henry Clynick; CEF Beechwood

Private John Henry Clynick was buried at Beechwood Cemetery on 25 July 1917 having served with the Canadian Army Service Corps. There is no service file.
Death on 22 July 1917 was a result of internal injuries from a motor vehicle accident five days previously. An inquest reported in the Ottawa Citizen of 28 July found that the truck he was driving, which had stopped to avoid hitting two children, was struck from behind by a Bank Street streetcar near the Exhibition Grounds . He was pinned between the steering wheel and one of the boxes of cargo pushed forward by the collision.
The informant for the death certificate was his wife Annie Elizabeth Clynick of 6, Capital Park, Ottawa. Their marriage was registered in the December quarter of 1891 in Stoke Damerel, Devon where her maiden name was given as Mulley. The marriage was at Devonport on 15 December 1891 while he was a soldier with the Berkshire Regiment. He served from 1885 to 1897.
The CWGC entry states he was age 47, son of John Henry Clynick, of 7, Trafalgar Terrace, Brighton, England, and the late Elizabeth Clynick. From the 1864 marriage registration for the parents his mother's maiden name was Owens.
According to the 1871 and 1881 censuses he was born in Deptford, Kent about 1869 but the birth is not in the GRO index.
The 1911 census finds him in Brighton, Sussex, a boilermaker, with six living children, five at home age 16 to 2 years. He emigrated to Canada arriving at Boston, Mass, on 11 March 1913 on the Ascania giving the same occupation.

21 July 2017

Deceased Online adds Crewe area cemeteries

Records from six cemeteries and one crematorium from the Cheshire East Borough Council, totalling 130,000, are now available at Deceased Online:

• Congleton Cemetery – 500 records from 2004 to 2015
• Coppenhall Cemetery - 10,400 records from 1861 to 2015
• Crewe Cemetery - 51,750 records from 1872 to 2016
• Nantwich Cemetery - 11,150 records from 1870 to 2015
• Sandbach Cemetery - 3,950 records from 1935 to 2015
• Weston Cemetery - 1,150 records from 1908 to 2015
• Crewe Crematorium - 52,100 records from 1954 to 2009

The records comprise digital scans of all burial registers or cremation indexes and grave details for each of the graves and their occupants.

Deceased online notes that here is an historic lack of accuracy in some of the original register entries of older records in Nantwich cemetery. There are some duplicated records but as we have no way of ascertaining the correct grave details in these cases, we have included them for the completeness of the data.

Ontario Rural Diaries Archive

A project from the University of  Guelph "showcases over 150 Ontario diarists from 1800 to 1960." The archive "honours the daily lives of rural people. It encourages future research by making these under-used sources which are often handwritten and fading, accessible to all."
Searchable are 16 diaries transcribed by the project, and another 27 available from previous transcriptions.
Check it out at https://ruraldiaries.lib.uoguelph.ca/

20 July 2017

Shannon Lecture Series for 2017

The following is an announcement from the History Department at Carleton University on the annual Shannon Lecture series. Some years they're of interest to the family historian. Sadly this won't be one of them.
The History Department’s Shannon Lecture Series for 2017, will commence on September 22, 2017. This year’s lecture series looks at Expo 67 as the highlight of Canada’s centennial. A world’s fair held in Montreal, it dazzled the world with its daring architecture, innovative exhibits, and high-minded theme, “Man and His World.” Many Canadians regarded it as Canada’s coming-out party, a moment when the young nation burst into the international limelight and strutted its stuff to universal acclaim. Substitute “Quebec” or “Indigenous Peoples” for “Canada” in the previous sentence and it would be equally true – Expo 67 was a rich, multivalent spectacle that generated diverse messages. In Canada’s 150th anniversary year, the Carleton Department of History is revisiting Expo 67 to reflect upon the meaning of it all. A select group of lecturers will address key topics such as Expo’s intellectual origins, how it became a proud emblem of modernization for both Canadian and Quebec nationalists, its impact on Indigenous rights and culture, and its iconic stature in the histories of architecture and cinema. X out the dates in your calendar to experience exposition by Expo experts that will expand your mind exponentially. Visit the Shannon Lectures website for more information or click the individual event listings below. 
September 22: Gary Miedema: “A Painted Summer Scene: Expo 67 in the Context of Canada in the 1960s” 
October 13: Jean-Philippe Warren: “Quebec as a Woodstock Nation: When counterculture meets mainstream” 
November 3: Carmen Robertson: “Visibility/Invisibility: Art and the Indians of Canada Pavilion at Expo ’67” 
November 17: Inderbir Singh Riar: “Expo 67: Some Notes on Architecture, Nationhood, and Late Modernity” 
December 1: Janine Marchessault: “The Missing Archive of Expo 67”

Free access to Ancestry UK military records

From 19:01 EDT 20 July until 18:59 EDT 24 July, 2017 there's free access to the records in the UK military collection.

  • First World War includes Service Records, Pension Records and War Diaries.
  • WW2 records include Military Campaign Medals, Naval Service Records and British Prisoners of War.
  • Records for earlier conflicts include Casualties of the Boer War, Naval Reserve Records, and the Waterloo Medal Roll.
To view these records you will need to register for free with Ancestry.co.uk with your name and email address.

19 July 2017

Free Webinar: Journeys Through Time: Discovering Travel & Migration in Old Newspapers

From the British Newspaper Archive, a webinar exploring the themes of travel and migration, where to find passenger lists, news from abroad, as well as the reasons people emigrated, in the extensive BNA collection.

The presenter is BNA Data Content Specialist Mary McKee who holds a Master’s degree in Irish History from Queen’s University in Belfast.

The presentation will be broadcast live at 4pm BST, 11 am EDT and will later be available to replay on-demand.

Register here.

Probability: invaluable for the genealogist

In his latest blog post leading Irish genealogist John Grenham writes that

"Without some idea of how to measure the likelihood of what you’ve found, its place on the scale of probability, it’s very hard to interpret it."
Grenham illustrates with examples from his own experience. He's not (yet) at the stage of fully quantitative assessment, instead advocating a quick search to gain a rough and ready sense of how common name combinations are.

Read his article at https://goo.gl/zKiiRG

English Blue Plaque for a Home Child

On the 125th Anniversary of his birth, an English Heritage Blue Plaque is being placed on the house where British home child Claude Nunney was born.

19th July 1892 – 18th September 1918
38th Canadian Expeditionary Force
Home Child      
Was born here
Hastings Borough Council
The Blue Plaque is to be unveiled by the Mayor of Hastings with other dignitaries on Wednesday 19 July 2017 at 447 Bexhill Road, Hastings at 1.00 pm.

18 July 2017

85,279 maps of England

From the National Library of Scotland, and free, now complete coverage of 25 inch maps for England. Wonderful detail. Search for a place in your family history, browse around, experiment, and watch the clock if you need to get anything else done.

There's more than England and more than those maps. Start at http://maps.nls.uk/index.html

Last of the WDYTYA Live DNA presentations

Maurice Gleeson has posted the final video of presentations from WDYTYA2017. It's by Katherine Borges.  As Maurice comments what better way than to have our (ISOGG) Director close the set from the final WDYTYA Live? Katherine discusses the benefits of being a Project Administrator.

You may have noticed I've posted on only a few of the videos from this year's conference. I did check most of them out, but had difficulty with the audio on many. The audio on Katherine's is relatively good.

You can find an archive of all the talk videos for this and previous years at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7HQSiSkiy7ujlkgQER1FYw/. A big thank you is due to Maurice for organizing putting these online, to Debbie Kennett as co-organizer, the volunteer speakers, and to Family Tree DNA for funding the sessions.

Now that WDYTYA Live is no more what next?

17 July 2017

The Great Stink: disgusting not deadly

In retweeting a Guardian review of the just released book One Hot Summer. Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli and the Great Stink of 1858, by Rosemary Ashton, Deceased Online asked "Did any of your ancestors die in 1858 as a result of the "Great Stink"? Sadly responsible for the deaths of many Londoners."
I wondered how many, so turned to FreeBMD for statistics.

This bar chart shows deaths registered in the London City registration district from 1850 to 1860. There's an overall decline through the period with the major decrease between 1854 and 1855. While 1858 has the highest death toll of the five year period 1856-60 it's less than for any of the first five years of the decade.
The registration district recorded fewer deaths as a percentage of deaths in England and Wales in 1858 than in any prior year in the decade. That trend continued.

The Great Stink was primarily an event of July and August 1858. Did deaths recorded that year in the London City registration district peak in that period?

No. There were fewer deaths in the third (JAS) quarter, 173, than in the other three. 222 deaths in the second (AMJ) quarter was the next lowest. The district also recorded fewer deaths in the third quarter as a percentage of total deaths in England and Wales than in the other three quarters.

Obnoxious as the smell was during the Great Stink of 1858 in London the impact on mortality, as recorded in the London City registration district, was insignificant.

BBC History Magazine Items

From History Extra, the website of BBC History Magazine, comes an article 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about First World War uniforms. Not much extraordinary, but interesting.


They are also trialling a new audio version of BBC History Magazine, allowing you to listen to many of the articles featured in the July issue. You can download it for free by registering.
"Included in this audio edition is a feature where several leading experts tackle the biggest questions about the medieval Black Death. Meanwhile, Peter H Hansen describes the 19th-century mountaineering tragedy at the Matterhorn. Elsewhere in the audio edition, Frank McLynn considers whether Genghis Khan deserves his reputation as a monster, and James Holland offers a fresh perspective on the events of the 1940 battle of Britain."

16 July 2017

Library and Archives Canada: DHCP for genealogy

In June I posted on awards through the LAC Documentary Heritage Communities Program. Thanks to an access request I've received information beyond that given in the funding announcement for 35 projects approved and funded in 2017-18. The new information is a brief description of each project.

Somewhat surprisingly only one, from the Manitoba Historical Society, uses the word geneal*. Here's their summary.

Manitoba Local Histories Digitization Project
This project aims to digitize hundreds of Manitoba’s local histories and make them accessible online, not only for native Manitobans, but for all Canadians with ties to the province. The Manitoba Historical Society, in partnership with its fellow members of the Manitoba Library Consortium, will locate and digitize approximately 400 volumes that detail the genealogical and geographic histories of the people and places of Manitoba throughout its history. These local histories will then be uploaded to Manitobia, a website devoted to providing access to digitized resources documenting Manitoba's heritage, such as local newspapers and an already existing collection of local histories, in addition to the Manitoba Historical Society website. This project aims to augment this existing collection of local histories through the compilation of a list of resources yet to be digitized, ensuring the clearance of copyright for those resources, scanning the books, appending metadata to the scans, performing quality assurance procedures on the content, uploading the content to Manitobia and the Manitoba Historical Society websites, and promoting the completion of the project widely. The final result would be a highly accessible and discoverable online resource to facilitate for all Canadians the searching and browsing of a key component of Manitoba 's documentary heritage, in a year in which many Canadians will celebrate this sesquicentennial by learning more about themselves through researching their genealogy.

Several other projects deal with topics of genealogical interest, interpreted to include family history. Many mention digitization, but too many without a commitment to online access. It's as if they never heard that "if it's not online it doesn't exist" and want to do their bit to retain the ability to say "not everything is online." In the words of the description above too few emphasize making the material "highly accessible and discoverable." 

DHCP should make it a requirement that projects funded make their materials broadly discoverable beyond the physical organization and its own website.

It was disappointing that none of the projects funded were for newspaper digitization. There were projects for digitization of photographs from newspaper collections.

Genealogists, LAC's largest user group, want access to digitized and OCRd newspapers. While it's possible no such projects were proposed I doubt it. I'm awaiting information on projects not funded and live in hope for a Canadian coordinated newspaper digitization program.

TheGenealogist adds Northumberland Parish Records

Over 1,363,000 individuals, 903,314 baptisms, 157,329 marriages, and 302,378 burials have been added to TheGenealogist Northumberland Parish Record Collection.  Some of the records can take you as far back as 1560.

15 July 2017

Findmypast adds Westminster Catholic Parish Records

This week Findmypast adds to their collection of parish records for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster: 94,687 baptisms, 8,817 marriages, 1,857 burials, 16,245 congregational records, and 118,334 browsable parish records.
The diocese cover London north of the Thames west of the River Lea, and Hertfordshire.

14 July 2017

Death of John Vachon May, Ottawa Sharpshooter

At the time of compiling the book The Ottawa Sharpshooters I knew that John Vachon May, who took part in the Battle of Cut Knife, had moved to Chicago and become an attorney. A death date in the mid 1920s was known.
In the 12 years since the book was published much additional information has become available. On 13 July FamilySearch made available 6,560,088 Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994, a detailed index linked to a pay site for the original image. John V. May is among them.
As it's unlikely I'll ever update the book this will serve to record his death occurring on 9 December 1927 at Bremen, Cook Co, Illinois. His address was 2520 Leland Ave, Chicago and he was imterred at Beverly Cemetery, Blue Island, , Illinois on 17 Dec 1927.

Vimy: Beyond the Battle

You are invited to take in a talk at Pinhey’s Point Historic Site, Vimy: Beyond the Battle, next Monday, 17 July at 7 pm
Dr Mélanie Morin-Pelletier, Historian, War and Society, at the Canadian War Museum, and curator of the current CWM exhibit, probes how and why Canadians commemorate by exploring private and collective memories of Vimy Ridge, WWI, and more recent conflicts.


13 July 2017

Forthcoming Book: Ancestors: Who We Are and Where We Come From,

David Hertzel, professor of history at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, has a new interesting-sounding book being released on 4 August.

Here is an extract from the publicity blurb.

"In Ancestors, David Hertzel offers an introductory foray into the nature of relationships people today have with their ancestors, and explores the significance of ancestry and ancestral belief in our modern world. Guided by two questions—“who are your ancestors?” and “what is your relationship to your ancestors?”—Hertzel interviewed thirty-five elders and people of prominence within particular social or intellectual communities.

From these interviews, Hertzel identifies common themes to ancestral practices and beliefs, such as the way we sanctify our ancestors, how we create a living narrative of our ancestry, and how experiences like suffering and love are shared across generations and appear to transcend death. Excerpts from interviews ...  offer glimpses into the diversity of ways that people think about who they are and where they come from."

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 248 • Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-5381-0436-1 • Hardback • August 2017 • $39.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-5381-0437-8 • eBook • August 2017 • $37.00 • (£24.95)

12 July 2017

Lady Macdonald Diary Transcription Excellent Progress

Transcription of Lady Macdonald's diary was opened on 29 June. Today, 12 July, of the 91 pages 47 are complete having been transcribed and reviewed; the remainder are transcribed and awaiting completion of review.

That rapid progress should encourage LAC not to delay in offering further online transcription opportunities.

Ancestry adds Anglesey, Wales, Electoral Registers, 1832-1977

Are your ancestors among the 2.3% of the population of Wales that lived in Anglesey? If so check this database.
The Anglesey Archives is the source of the 57 volumes with 467,743 entries within the 145 years encompassed by this database.
Electoral registers typically provide a name and place of abode, and older registers may include a description of property and qualifications to vote. Registers were compiled at a local level, with names appearing alphabetically within wards/districts.
If you have problems bringing up the search box, as I did, you can either browse or wait for Ancestry to fix the problem.

11 July 2017

WVS Diaries 1939 - 1942 and Bulletin Free Online

31,401 pages of diaries from 1938-1942 from more than 1,300 different cities, towns and villages across Great Britain, previously unseen diaries from the Women’s Voluntary Services (WVS) during the Second World War, are newly available online.

The diaries record the work of the WVS to help win the war. "As well as sewing, cooking, knitting and helping their communities recover after raids, they learnt new skills such as extinguishing incendiary bombs, driving in the black-out and garnishing tens of thousands of camouflage nets; helping transform the way in which women were viewed by society."

The diaries are hand-written so not full-text searchable. Searching is by place name. Individuals are rarely mentioned.

Find a press release at https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/news-and-events/news/royal-voluntary-service-diaries-of-wartime-women-go-online.

Also available, fully digitized, is the WVS Bulletin and WRVS Magazine, a subscription publication produced monthly for 36 years. Over 419 issues were published between November 1939 to December 1974.  They "offer a very clear and accessible view of the activities and work that was undertaken". Some names are mentioned including those receiving long-service awards.

If you only want to search the Bulletins click 'Advanced search' and type your word of phrase into the Bulletin Text field.

Families of England: social mobility

"Families of England is a project to reconstruct the economic and social position, and the demography, of a representative set of English families from 1750 to the present. It looks at the determination of social outcomes over multiple generations, and the role of inheritance, family size, geography, and assortative mating".

The researchers are Greg Clark from UC Davis and Neil Cummins from the LSE.

One of the links from the project website is to a short BBC video item The generational wealth divide. It makes the point that social mobility is almost static, "glacial", over generations.

The item was shot at the EPIC Centre in Dublin giving an opportunity to see that as well as learn the research findings.

Other findings from the project include:

- less than half of wealth is inherited; wealth correlates strongly across generations mainly because of the inheritance of educational and occupational status, and not because of wealth transfers themselves. <http://neilcummins.com/Papers/cctlr.pdf>.

- status is inherited more strongly than height. <http://neilcummins.com/Papers/Clark_Cummins_Science_2013.pdf>.

The project is seeking information from surname and other studies that could help elucidate multi-generational social mobility, with a focus on England but not excluding families who migrated. Contact through the links at http://familiesofengland.com/.

10 July 2017

Family Tree Webinars this week

Two bite size genealogy continuing education opportunities are available this week from Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

On Wednesday at 8 pm EDT popular speaker Lisa Louise Cooke presents Google Books: the Tool You Should Use Every Day.
25 million digitized and searchable free books are at your fingertips. Learn how to make the most of this goldmine chock full of historical data! You’ll discover the best techniques for finding fully digitized book FAST, and search secrets for locating genealogical data. Learn to capitalize on and translate the foreign language volumes from your ancestor's homeland. Then we’ll go beyond the obvious and track down maps, images, photos and more.

Register here.

On Friday at 2 pm EDT professional photographer Jared Hodges presents Tips for Snapping Pics: How to Take Perfect Family Photographs.
Make your next family portrait the one you will be proud to hang on the wall or mail for the holidays. Learn how to compose and shoot the perfect shot. You will learn about proper lighting, the right poses, what to wear, and more.

Register here.

Findmypast adds Wiltshire Wills and Probate Index 1530-1881

This index provides Name, Year, Type (distinguishes the type of record i.e. administration bond, inventory, or will), Place, County and country, Occupation, Series title, Date, Series, Archive and reference, and Source. There are more than 130,000 index entries.
The original Wilshire wills are at the Wiltshire and Swindon Archive. Index results are linked to their site where you can view their index and request an image ($).

Last Name Uxor?

My erudite friend Bryan Cook wrote to tell me about the passenger list of the Hopewell berthing in 1635 at the Massachusetts Bay Colony listing Robert Titus and his wife Hannah with Uxor as her maiden name.
Those schooled in Latin might remember that uxor is the word for wife. Hannah's actual maiden name was Carter. This is far from the only mistaken use of Uxor as a last name.

09 July 2017

Genetic Genealogy Advice from Blaine Bettinger in Brief

It doesn't get better than this. Free on YouTube. In less than 10 minutes OGSConf2017 speaker Blaine Bettinger, interviewed by OGSConf2018 speaker Amy Johnson Crow explains in simple terms what you need to know in exploring your ancestry using DNA, with a focus on the popular AncestryDNA test.

The Winchester Press

Winchester, south of Ottawa in the Township of North Dundas (pop 11,000), was settled in 1835.

The Winchester Press is the weekly newspaper published out of offices on St. Lawrence St. in Winchester. According to Brian Gilchrist's 1987 Inventory of Ontario Newspapers it was first published on 1 May 1888. According to McKim's directory each issue was 8 pages, 13-1/2" by 20".

Library and Archives Canada holds originals for Mar.8, Aug.16,1934; Sept.21,28,1967, and on microform from 1985 - 88.
The Ontario Archives lists holdings as 1906, 1939, 1966 (incomplete)l
The local library holds only current issues.
The proprietor holds original copies from 1920, and a few from 1919. Unfortunately previous copies were lost in a fire.

There is no indication that any legacy issues have been digitized.

The community history is vulnerable.

This is the first of an occasional series examining availability of newspapers of Eastern Ontario. Further information and updates welcome.

08 July 2017

Ancestry adds England and Wales, Long-Term Workhouse Inmates, 1861

A database with every workhouse inmate who has been resident there for five or more years in 1861. There are 14,216 inmates named, 6,569 males and 7,647 females.
31 had been inmates for 50 or more years, the longest 70 years.
5,932 were there owing to old age and infirmity, 4,989 due to mental disease, 924 due to bodily disease.

For each union, the list shows:
'The Name of every Adult Pauper who has been an Inmate of the Workhouse during a continuous Period of Five Years'.
'The Amount of Time that each of such Paupers shall have been in the Workhouse'
'The reasons assigned why the Pauper in each case is unable to maintain Himself, or Herself'.
'Whether or not the Pauper has been brought up in a District or Workhouse School'.

Ancestry credits the original data to Peter Higginbotham of workhouses.org.uk. The data is from a parliamentary publication.

FreeBMD July update

The FreeBMD database was  updated on Thursday 6 July 2017 to contain 262,363,308 distinct records (261,901,465 previous update).
Years with major updates (more than 5,000 entries) are: for births: 1963-64, 1976-81; for marriages: 1965-66, 1969, 1977, 1979-83; for deaths 1978-81.

07 July 2017

Saturday Ottawa Genealogy Meetup

On Tuesday the weather forecast for Saturday was sunny.

Now, 1pm Friday, it's
"Cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers in the morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Risk of a thunderstorm in the morning. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 23. Humidex 25."

That doesn't look promising for a beach cafe meetup. Unless it looks better on the day I'll be heading at noon to the Bagel Shop at 1321 Wellington Street. All company welcome.

Handwritten Text Recognition

Encouraging news from the European Recognition and Enrichment of Archival Documents project about a technology we've long been waiting for.

A Swedish project achieved "an average Character Error Rate (CER) of 7.0%.  When a dictionary is integrated into the recognition process, the CER can be as low as 5.5%."

Remember that's the character error rate. For a five letter word at 7% CER the percent of words correct would be 70%. Read Trolls and water spirits – transcribing Swedish folklore records with Handwritten Text Recognition at http://read.transkribus.eu/2017/06/30/transcribing-swedish-folklore-records-with-htr/.

A second example without error statistics is at http://read.transkribus.eu/2017/07/06/keyword-searching-in-handwritten-text-new-breakthrough/.

Ancestry adds Ireland, Sustainability Loan Fund, 1821-1874

This collection of documents is from T91, Irish Reproductive Loan Fund records at The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England. The 645,357 records relate to loans provided to the industrious poor in Ireland for counties Cork, Clare, Galway, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo and Tipperary during the years 1821 to 1874.
The information is in various ledger formats with name, names of witnesses or others, date, residence, amount of loan and repayment information.

06 July 2017

PM Justin Trudeau's Irish and Scottish Roots

One of the politician's rules, I've seen it attributed to former Deputy PM Eric Neilson, is to not waste researching your family history -- some genealogist is bound to research it for you.

That was proven this week when Irish Family History Centre genealogists, led by Fiona Fitzsimons, uncovered the story of Trudeau's maternal line eight times great grandparents married in the Diocese of Cork & Ross in 1661.
The photo was taken during Trudeau's visit to the EPIC Centre in Dublin. Read the story at https://blog.findmypast.com/justin-trudeau-irish-roots-2453623330.html.

Trudeau then move of to Scotland and spoke when receiving a honourary Doctorate from Edinburgh university of his Scottish roots. http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/983986755909

05 July 2017

What's New in Genealogy Books at the Ottawa Public Library?

The following new acquisitions at the Ottawa Public Library have 2017 publication dates:

Les Filles du Roy pionnières de Montréal
920.9971428 FILLE
1 hold on 2 copies
In French. Here's the Google translation of the publisher blurb.

"Who are these young women, mostly poor and orphans who, between 1663 and 1673, left France and braved the perils of the sea to come and make a living in distant New France? Among them, 71 dared to go up the river to Ville-Marie to settle on this dangerous island, to marry and raise their families. What was their life like in this country?
Here are the pioneers of Montreal and their families. Immigrants rooted in New France, they helped to populate and develop French America. This is their story."

Tracing your Pre-Victorian Ancestors
A Guide to Research Methods for Family Historians
By Wintrip, John
929.1072041 WINTR
25 holds  on 2 copies
"Tracing Your Pre-Victorian Ancestors is the ideal handbook for family historians whose research has reached back to the early nineteenth century and are finding it difficult to go further. John Wintrip guides readers through all the steps they can take in order to delve even more deeply into the past.
Carrying research through to earlier periods is more challenging because church registers recorded less information than civil registration records and little census data is available. Researchers often encounter obstacles they don't know how to overcome. But, as this book demonstrates, greater understanding of the sources and the specific records within them, along with a wider knowledge of the historical context, often allows progress to be made.
Most important, John Wintrip concentrates on how to do the research on the practical steps that can be taken in order to break through these barriers. He looks at online services, archives and their catalogues, factors that can influence the outcome of research, wider family relationships, missing ancestors and mistaken identity.
Throughout the book he emphasizes the process of research and the variety of resources and search tools that can be used."

The War of 1812 in British North America, Searching for your Ancestor's Elusive War Records
By Cox, Kenneth G
"The War of 1812 in British North America, Searching for your Ancestor's Elusive War Records provides researchers with an up-to-date guide to help you locate military service and other useful records from the War of 1812.
While the War of 1812 is well documented, the stories of our ancestors are often left to speculation. However, there are ways to discover some of their involvement in the conflict. Muster rolls, pay lists, medal rolls, pension requests, land grant applications, war loss claims, and various other records can help in the search.
Cox's book identifies which records are available, how to access them, and discusses interpretation of findings. Generously illustrated with examples, this book will be of great help to those seeking to find surviving personnel records from the War of 1812."

Kids and Family History: Fun Ways to Spark Their Interest
By Niggemeyer, Vicki Korn
929.1 NIGGE
"Kids and Family History is a book for adults, but is filled with ideas for engaging children in family genealogy and history. We send our children to school to learn. As people of faith we take our children to church or synagogue. Why should our passion for family history be any different? Kids and Family History was written with kids in mind, but the goal is to give adults ideas for fun ways to introduce genealogy and family history to the next generation of family historians. You will find lots of ideas for games, crafts, projects and activities for children from pre-school to high school. This easy-to-read, how-to-guide has detailed instructions for the ideas within. Don’t leave it to chance. Plan today to acquaint your child with an important topic that too often is overlooked because we think our children are just not ready. You can do this!"

2016 publications

Researching Canadian Land Records
By Murphy, Sharon L.
3rd edition.
929.1072071 MURPH
In-library use only at this time

Finding your Child Migrant Ancestors From Britain
By Ellis, Phil
929.1072041 ELLIS

Westboro Beach Genealogy Meetup

For a change the weather forecast looks promising for Saturday, 8 July.  BIFHSGO is on summer break. I plan on being at the cafe at Westboro Beach around noon, feel free to join in for an informal get together.

04 July 2017

TheGenealogist adds Registers with over 100,000 Doctors/Dentist

Ten newly digitized registers of British medical and dental practitioners, from 1848 to 1937, are now available from TheGenealogist.

The Medical Directory 1848
The Medical Register 1861
The Medical Register 1873
The Medical Register 1875
The Medical Register 1891
The Medical Register 1903
The Dentists Register 1888
The Dentists Register 1937
The Royal College of Physicians List of Fellows 1908
St Thomas's Hospital List of Old Students, June 1936

These registers often include people registered in the UK practicing elsewhere.

Happy Fourth

I wish US readers a very happy, peaceful, and safe celebration on the 241st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

03 July 2017

Yorkshire Parish Records added to Findmypast

While the addition of Canada's 1861 and 1871 censuses were the headline items from Findmypast update last Friday that's playing catch-up. It's the new Yorkshire parish records that caught my attention.

Yorkshire Parish Registers and Bishop's Transcripts Browse has 11,000 volumes of vital Yorkshire records dating back to 1538 are now available to browse in their entirety. Records for all three Yorkshire Ridings plus Ainsty and the City of York are included.

Other Yorkshire additions are for Sheffield and Yorkshire's East Riding. Each record includes a transcript and an image of the original document.

Over 638,000 records added to the Yorkshire Baptisms collection which now totals 5,297,720.

Yorkshire Banns has over 31,000 new records making the collection 609,657 records.

Yorkshire Marriages has more than 419,000 new records for a total of 2,967,360.

575,000 new Yorkshire burials now available for a total of 4,744,063 records.

CWGC on Canada's role in the world wars

Here, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is taking a look back at Canada’s contributions in the First and Second World Wars, and the cemeteries and memorials where those lost in action are honoured.
July 1917 saw the death of 859 members of the Canadian and Newfoundland forces, 856 with the Army. two with the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve, and one with the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve.

02 July 2017

July Backup Nag

Too busy on Canada Day? If you didn't do so then it's time for the start of the month backup.