31 December 2017

Farewell 2017, Welcome 2018

This illustration by George Cruikshank published to bring in 1838 shows the old year exiting to the right and new year arriving from the left. Everyone dances in celebration.
Thank you to all readers of this blog too numerous to mention, especially those who contributed with leads and comments.
Happy New Year.

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

As we enter a new year and set goals, below is a still from an animated graphic from Flowingdata.com worth contemplating.

To set your own gender and age click here and scroll down. The graphic was compiled in 2015 from US data.

Perhaps you have more years left than you thought. How will you use them?

British Newspaper Archive Additions for December

At the end of 2017 the British Newspaper Archive has 23,319,767 pages (22,673,989 pages last month). A year ago there were 17,567,270 pages. At the present rate the 40 million page project target would be reached by the end of September 2020.
The 39 (16) papers with new pages online this month are tabulated below with the major additions bolded.

Aberdeen Press and Journal1979
Ayr Advertiser, or, West Country Journal1881-1882, 1885-1886, 1889-1890
Birmingham Daily Post1974
Bolton Evening News1900
Bournemouth Daily Echo1909-1910
Cambridge Independent Press1874
Carmarthen Weekly Reporter1861-1871, 1873-1874, 1877, 1880-1881, 1883-1884, 1892-1893
Coventry Evening Telegraph1897, 1905, 1907, 1922-1923, 1925, 1927, 1930, 1932, 1936-1938, 1946-1954, 1960-1971
Coventry Herald1808, 1820, 1906, 1908, 1914, 1917-1938
Dublin Evening Telegraph1871-1873, 1876-1881, 1887-1903, 1905-1906, 1908-1915, 1919-1922, 1924
Eastern Daily Press1900, 1910
Eastern Morning News1877
Hamilton Herald and Lanarkshire Weekly News1888-1898, 1901-1910
Hampshire Telegraph1915-1923, 1927-1957
Hereford Journal1877-1878, 1889, 1891, 1893, 1900, 1902-1903, 1905, 1907
Hunts Post1897
Jedburgh Gazette1871-1886, 1888-1956
Leamington, Warwick, Kenilworth & District Daily Circular1896-1903, 1908-1910
Leominster News and North West Herefordshire & Radnorshire Advertiser1885, 1897
Londonderry Sentinel1869
Melton Mowbray Mercury and Oakham and Uppingham News1895-1896, 1901, 1903, 1910
Merthyr Times, and Dowlais Times, and Aberdare Echo1892-1894, 1898-1899
Northampton Chronicle and Echo1883, 1885-1887, 1889, 1892, 1906, 1908-1909, 1916-1917, 1919-1928, 1930-1931
Penarth Chronicle and Cogan Echo1889
Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser1872
Reading Observer1873-1896, 1899, 1910, 1915-1920
Shetland Times1908-1910
Shields Daily News1934-1935, 1954
South Wales Daily News1901-1909
South Wales Daily Post1902-1909
Sports Argus1897-1911, 1922-1938, 1946-1957, 1959-1963, 1965-1979
Tenbury Wells Advertiser1871-1895, 1898-1910
The Atlas1853-1854
Todmorden Advertiser and Hebden Bridge Newsletter1868
Waterford Chronicle1871-1875, 1889-1908, 1910
Weston-super-Mare Gazette, and General Advertiser1877
Windsor and Eton Express1883, 1894-1895, 1898, 1903, 1908-1910
Wisbech Standard1889
Woolwich Gazette1871

Yuletide R&R: Victor Borge Inflation and Punctuation 0001

30 December 2017

Temporary change in LAC opening hours

The following is an announcement from Library and Archives Canada

We are currently renovating our public spaces at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. From January 12 to February 9, 2018, inclusive, the opening hours of various consultation rooms will be modified temporarily.

Please note that staff will be working at service points according to the regular schedule. Access to the rooms will be affected as follows:

Microform Consultation
January 12: open 8:00 am–8:00 pm Microform consultation will begin in the usual location and move at 4:00 pm to a temporary location on the 2nd floor.
January 13: open 10:00 am–4:00 pm
January 14: open 10:00 am–2:00 pm
January 15 to 19: open 8:00 am–8:00 pm
January 20: open 10:00 am–4:00 pm
January 21: open 10:00 am–2:00 pm
January 22 to 25: open 8:00 am–8:00 pm
January 26: open 8:00 am–11:00 pm Microform consultation will begin in a temporary location and move back to the regular location during the day, with minimal interruption in service.
January 27: return to the regular schedule
During the renovation work, the self-service microfilm collection located outside the microform reading room will be accessible, and users will be able to take microforms to the temporary location.

However, the collection located inside the room will have limited access. For this material, users will need to request staff assistance during service hours.

Textual and Restricted Documents Consultation (except for microform)
January 22: open 8:00 am–6:00 pm
January 23: open 10:00 am–6:00 pm
January 24: open 9:00 am–6:00 pm
January 25: open 10:00 am–6:00 pm
January 26: open 9:00 am–6:00 pm
January 27: return to the regular schedule

Genealogy and Family History
January 29: open 8:00 am–6:00 pm
January 30 to February 2: open 10:00 am–6:00 pm
February 3: return to the regular schedule

February 5: open 8:00 am–6:00 pm
February 6 to 9: open 10:00 am–6:00 pm
February 10: return to the regular schedule

We apologize for any inconvenience that this renovation work may cause, and we thank you for your patience and support.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Would it be too much to anticipate the renovations in the microfilm read will mean the replacement of ancient microfilm reader museum pieces.

New Year's Eve in Ottawa

It's so cold in Ottawa they cancelled New Year's Eve shows on Parliament Hill. Fireworks will go ahead.

There's another way to celebrate and ring in the New Year on the 31st, and it's Scottish style (that's right, free entrance).  Hogman-eh! is from 5 p.m. inside at the Aberdeen Pavilion, Lansdowne Park.

The first part of the event is for kids. If like me you fade long before midnight arrive in time for the countdown to New Year in Scotland – balloons and Auld Lang Syne – 7 p.m. Then stay awhile for the  music, Scottish dancing demonstrations and food! Further info at https://ottscot.ca/.

BIFHSGO will again be there to answer your questions ... all welcome.

Yuletide R&R: Pam Ayres and 'Not you, Basil'

29 December 2017

106 webinars from Legacy Family Tree Webinars

The schedule of webinar presentations for 2018 from Legacy Family Tree Webinars is out. Once again they're free live and for a week following, and on a continuing basis with a subscription. In addition to the live webinar series, every Friday is "Member Friday" where subscribers can access a bonus pre-recorded webinar!

The two-page listing is here (pdf). I suggest you look through and, so you don't miss any of interest, note any you want to attend in your calendar.

While there are many presentations that are generic, not tied to a particular location, sadly Australia, Canada and New Zealand are overlooked and the gruel is very thin for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

On 22 August Kirsty Gray will present Researching Forces Ancestors (England and Wales).
Julie Goucher is scheduled for Examining Migration & Researching Migrants in the British Isles on 12 September.

Society Membership Renewal and Giving Back

Most family history and genealogy societies operate on a calendar year membership basis. You've probably received reminders about renewing your membership for 2018. Did you procrastinate? I did on my membership in the Society of Genealogists finally getting it renewed online on Thursday.

Canadians can reduce their tax bill by making a donation to a society, like BIFHSGO, OGS and most others online before the end of the year.
Remember too that the same deadline applies for donations to other worthy charities, such as your local food bank. Cash goes much further than food purchased for the same amount placed in a collection box, and you get a tax receipt.

Yuletide R&R: Argument Clinic - Monty Python's The Flying Circus

28 December 2017

Highlights of 2017 for Findmypast

With the imminent change of the calendar to 2018 UK-based Findmypast highlights 18 company achievements in the year ending. Read the detail at https://blog.findmypast.com/findmypast-in-2017-2519310141.html.

The Leicestershire Collection
British and Irish Newspapers
Australia Electoral Rolls
1939 Hints
British Early Emigration Records
Catholic Heritage Archive
United States Marriages
Six Counties in Six Months
Victoria Petty Sessions Registers
Canadian Censuses
The City of York Collection
PERiodical Source Index (PERSI)
Irish Maps
Country, County and Province Search
The Portsmouth Collection
British Army Medical Records and Pension Files
1939 Register
British and Irish Roots Collection.

Findmypast promises "more massive record releases and some nifty site updates for 2018."

Guest Post: Town I Loved So Well

A second guest post by my erudite friend Bryan Cook

A poignant modern Irish folk song by Phil Coulter, the “Town I Loved So Well” reminds me of how vital it is for us “golden years” genealogists to document our memories of our lives in the towns and villages of our youth.
I have gained wonderful insights with which to leaf out my family tree from, for example, Frank Atkinson’s “Life and Tradition in Northumberland and Durham” (1977, ISBN 0-460-04243-2); from the audio records of Northumberland County in which my great grandfather and great uncles recount on tape (now available as MP3’s), in broad “Geordie”  from their old age homes, their life and times in Newbiggin-by-Sea; and from Phyllis Surman’s “Eliza of Otmoor”, all about the life of my great great aunt. I got another suite of insights from a local history written by a 19th century vicar in Great Clifton, Cumberland.
It often took a number of Google searches to even know of the existence of such sources followed by an online hunt for sellers as they are generally out-of-print.
I have begun a little historical writing of my own experiences but am woefully lacking in dedication.That is why I applaud those authors in Anglo-Celtic Roots (the Journal of British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa) who have taken up this challenge. A fine example in recent issues is the series by Charles Morton documenting in considerable detail his life in Manchester through the Blitz of WWII and the Depression Years.

Yuletide R&R: Pachelbel Canon Medley

27 December 2017

The Year in Review from MyHeritage

Israel-based MyHeritage continues to prosper and enhance its service. Its Alexa rank against all websites climbed from 6,600 to 5,500 over the year ranking 2,120 in the USA, 2,181 in Australia, 2,263 in the UK and 2,497 in Canada.

Read about the company innovations and achievements in this year-end review.

New subscribers can bag a 50% discount on the complete MyHeritage subscription at www.myheritage.com/.

Guest Post: Bryan Cook on Volcanism

My erudite friend Bryan Cook penned this guest post, reflecting on the happenstances that bring us to where we are and those of the future, especially volcanism.

Reflections from the Gloom and Doom Sandwich Man

This Season of Giving and Hope, I reflect on how lucky those of us with Anglo-Celtic roots are to exist. Whether by a genetic resilience, fortune or immigration, voluntary or enforced, we are the descendants of those who survived the major famines and plagues which devastated the British Isles since the last Ice Age. Doubtless many branches of our family trees have been lost to such radical pruning!

This is not to downplay the cumulative losses in childbirth, to diseases from poor sanitation and to war, which certainly exceed the pandemics such as the Black Death which alone culled the global population from some 450 million down to 350-375 million in the 14th century (between 30% and 60% of Europe’s population).

Between about 1005 AD and 1879, 15 famines killed many millions in England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland due to blights afflicting mono-cultures of non-native food crops, notably the potato, to agricultural mismanagement and to seemingly cyclical poor harvests of crops and livestock struck by inclement weather at critical seasons. Some of these famines were severe enough to reshape agrarian landscapes throughout the British Isles. In the subsequent centuries, the Isles have been famine free, due to the progress of preventive and ameliorative science, transportation and international trade. However, we are not immune from one Sword of Damocles, volcanism.

1258 AD was described by medieval chroniclers as a “the year without a summer”. It was unseasonably cold with poor harvests devastated by heavy floods. Thousands perished from famine and consequent diseases to be buried without record in mass graves. The Samalas volcano on Indonesia’s Lombok Island had ejected a 25 mile-high plume of dust and sulphur dioxide which blocked sunlight and dramatically cooled the planet. This dwarfed by an order of magnitude the eruptions of Krakatau in 1883 and Tambora in 1815. But was itself much smaller than the eruption of the super-volcano Campi Flegrei in the boot-arch of Italy. Some 40,000 years ago, it blasted 250 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, resulting in acid rain and cooler temperatures across of Europe, Asia, and even parts of North America, likely giving the coup-de-grace to the last sparse Neanderthal communities.

The scientific jury is hung when it comes to predicting the next super volcanic event, the geological variables are complex and estimates range in the tens to hundreds of thousands of years. But this does not rule out one happening within the next century. It is reported that there are at least 10 candidates globally which include the Campi Flegrei (South Italy) and Yellowstone (Wyoming) calderas. The geologic record attests to these having potentials to cast Euro-Asia, the Middle East and North America, including parts of Canada, into a decade of perpetual solar winter and mass extinction against which all the consequences of anthropocentric and naturally-induced climate change will pale.

There will be seismically recorded warning periods of perhaps decades; however it is doubtful that global safety nets will be established due to costs and national self-interests. Global political power will shift to nations or territories which are relatively unscathed which would include Africa, China, India, Scandinavia, South America, Australia and northern elements of the former USSR. I suspect that our world will go on with business-as-usual until this inevitability happens, though we may well have destroyed ourselves by some other means, been hit by an “extinction” meteorite or be in some state of advanced artificial intelligence by then!

Happy New Year and a Volcano Free 2018!

Read some of Bryan's earlier Poetry and Reflections.

Yuletide R&R: Scottish Elevator With Voice Recognition

26 December 2017

Ancestry.ca free access

If you don't have an Ancestry subscription take advantage of this free access, with registration, until December 31, 2017 at 1 a.m. ET.


Yuletide R&R: Classic

These were the most popular last year.

25 December 2017

FreeBMD December update

The FreeBMD database was updated on Sunday 24 December 2017 to contain 265,463,493 distinct records (264,917,588 previous update).

Years with updates of more than 5,000 records are, for birth 1963-64, 1966, 1977-82; for marriages 1966, 1969, 1977, 1979-80, 1982-83; deaths 1979-82.

Yuletide R&R: Rowan Atkinson Live - The devil Toby welcomes you to hell

24 December 2017

Meteorologist Humour

This statement reminds me.
5:53 AM EST Sunday 24 December 2017
Special weather statement in effect for:
Ottawa North - Kanata - Orléans
Ottawa South - Richmond - Metcalfe
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre
Not a creature was stirring, except the meteorologists
As all eyes were transfixed on jolly Old St. Nick, his herd of furry friends, and an approaching snow storm just in time for Christmas.
So, for those dreaming of a white Christmas, you will get your wish. A Texan low is gathering strength this morning and will race towards us approaching the speed of Rudolph later today. It will transport snow into Southern Ontario beginning this afternoon. As the low pressure centre dashes just south of the lower Great Lakes tonight, snow will intensify across Southern Ontario this evening. Somewhat heavier snow is likely in some areas, especially in the Greater Toronto Area where a snowfall warning is in effect. Visibility may be limited likely making travel challenging. Snowfall totals of 5 to 10 centimetres are expected by the time it tapers off overnight or on Christmas Day in Eastern Ontario. Travelers are encouraged to adjust their plans if possible.
The forecasters at the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre wish you warm holiday greetings and a happy, healthy and safe 2018!
Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to ec.cpio-tempetes-ospc-storms.ec@canada.ca or tweet reports using #ONStorm.
Many years ago, on night shift in Halifax prior to the Trudeau-mania election, we issued a forecast which began "Liberal amounts of sunshine and conservative amounts of cloud will be democratically scattered across the region on election day."

Yuletide R&R: Hungarian Rhapsody #2 Victor Borge

23 December 2017

Gifts for Canadian Genealogists

It's good to see resources for the Canadian genealogist becoming available online, and not just from the commercial sites,

Toronto directories from 1833 to 1969 are highlighted in a post by Jane MacNamara on her Where the Story Takes Me blog. Jane writes that the more recent years are new and there may well be more to come. Included in her post is a handy table so you can click through to a particular year, and hints on searching.

Jane has quite a few presentations scheduled for 2018 including at the OGS conference.

A large selection of Quebec newspapers have become searchable thanks to Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ).

While not all the papers are in French the search interface is. For those of us whose French is rusty, or non-existent, it's Gail Dever to the rescue with a detailed two part post (part 1, part 2) on her blog Genealogy à la carte.

I didn't find anything on her site about presentations in 2018, but Gail seems to have boundless energy. Could it be she's writing something beyond blog posts?

Findmypast adds England, Greater Manchester Marriages 1570-1936

Banns and marriage records, 910,776 of them, from the Diocese of Manchester 1570-1936 are new on Findmypast. There are 138 parishes included, eight each for Manchester and Hulme, five each for Ancoats and Oldham.
Most records I looked at included an image. While the banns images aren't very informative the marriages I looked at were complete saving the cost of a GRO certificate.

Yuletide R&R: 2 Ronnies Pub and Wallpaper Sketches

22 December 2017

Findmypast adds Greater Manchester Burials, 1570-1990

A quick plot, with a few errors, of the 87 burial locations included in the newly posted Greater Manchester Burials collection on Findmypast. Greater does mean it; there are lots of communities outside the M60.
There are 499,216 entries in the collection sourced from the Diocese of Manchester.

Yuletide R&R: Star Trek

21 December 2017

TheGenealogist adds further Sussex parish Record transcripts

The following is a press release.

TheGenealogist has added over 1.9 million individuals to its parish record collection covering the county of Sussex. Published In association with The Parish Record Transcription Society, this second release of records for the English county more than doubles the number of parish records available for the area.

TheGenealogist now has over 3 million individuals in the Sussex Parish Record Collection.

The new batch covers individual records of:

1,278,413 Baptisms
   308,746 Marriages
   327,091 Burials

The Parish Record Transcription Society (PRTSoc) have worked with TheGenealogist and S&N to make their records available online. With a combined 3 million plus individuals from baptism, marriage and burial records now fully searchable it is easier than ever to discover ancestors from Sussex by turning to TheGenealogist’s parish records collection.
These records are published as a result of a major project undertaken by PRTSoc staff and dedicated volunteers to transcribe the parish registers of West Sussex with the aim of preserving them for generations to come. By working with TheGenealogist these are now also searchable by online researchers on TheGenealogist.

Scotland's Baby First Names 2017

National Records of Scotland released the annual provisional names list (pdf) on 19 December

Jack remained the most popular first forename for baby boys, for a tenth consecutive year, the first forename for 1.8 per cent of the boys. Oliver rose from third to second place, James was down from second to third, and Lewis remained in fourth place.

The rest of the boys’ Top Ten were Noah and Logan (who remained fifth and sixth, respectively), Harris (up six places to seventh), Alexander and Leo (who remained eighth and ninth, respectively), and Harry (down three places to tenth). Harris was the only entrant to the boys’ Top Ten; Charlie (down four places to fourteenth) dropped out of it.

The fastest climbers within the boys’ Top Twenty were Harris, Alfie (up four places to eleventh) and Aaron (up four places to fifteenth). There were three entrants to the boys’ Top Twenty: Thomas (up six places to joint seventeenth), Archie (up two places to nineteenth), and Rory (up five places to twentieth).

Olivia was the top girls’ name for a second year, the first forename of 2.0 per cent of the girls. Emily remained second, Isla rose one place to third, and Sophie fell from third to fourth.

The rest of the girls’ Top Ten were Jessica (up two places to fifth), Amelia (remained sixth), Ava (down two places to seventh), Ella (remained eighth), Charlotte (up one place to ninth) and Aria (up two places to tenth). Aria was the only entrant to the girls’ Top Ten; Lucy (down two places to joint eleventh) dropped out of it.

No name climbed more than two places within the girls’ Top Twenty. There were two entrants to the girls’ Top Twenty: Harper (up twelve places to eighteenth) and Hannah (up five places to nineteenth).

Other big climbers within the 2017 baby name Top Fifty charts included (for boys) Theo (up 18 places to joint 27th), Muhammad (up 11 places to 36th) and Jude (up 12 places to 37th), and (for girls) Poppy (up 13 places to 30th). Particularly fast rising entrants to the Top Fifties were (for boys) Freddie (up 26 places to 46th), and (for girls) Sienna (up 36 places to joint 32nd), Willow (up 17 places to 45th) and Mila (up 20 places to joint 50th).

National Records of Scotland registered the births of 25,384 boys and 23,935 girls in the period covered by these figures. In total, 3,314 different boys’ first forenames and 4,221 different girls’ first forenames were registered; 2,063 boys and 2,767 girls were given names that were unique (within the period). The numbers of different names, and of unique names, were well above the levels of 10, 20 and 40 years ago. For example, the number of boys with unique first forenames was greater this year (2,063 in the period covered by these figures) than in the whole of 2007 (1,797), 1997 (1,126) or 1977 (761).

The top 50 boys’ names accounted for 39 per cent of all boys’ first forenames registered, and the top 50 girls' names accounted for 38 per cent of the girls' registrations.

Yuletide R&R: The Tragical Death Of An Apple Pie

Every year around the Christmas and New Year period the flow of family history news slows to a trickle. So to keep the blog active, and give us a break, every year since 2010 I've fallen back on a series of non-genealogy posts, most humourous, that reflect the blog's Anglo-Celtic theme.

A recent post from the Spitalfield's Life blog http://spitalfieldslife.com/2017/12/09/the-tragical-death-of-an-apple-pie-x/

20 December 2017

Presentations Online for BIFHSGO Members

The collection of recordings of presentations at Conference 2017 is now complete and available under the Members Only link at the BIFHSGO website.
  • Another Bloody Englishman! Britannia in Red Serge, 1873-1920, by Glenn Wright
  • Beyond All Reasonable Doubt, by Celia Heritage
  • Buried Treasures: What's in the English Parish Chest?, by Paul Milner
  • Working with Sources, by Gillian Leitch
  • Researching in English and Welsh Archives, by Celia Heritage
  • Copyright for Family History, by Marnie McCall
  • Occupational, Guild and Freedman Records, by Paul Milner
  • Genealogy and the Age of Shakespeare, by James F.S. Thomson
  • British Military: Finding Your Pre-WWI Soldier, by Paul Milner
  • Using Death Records in Family History, by Celia Heritage
  • Tips and Tools for Navigating the English Probate System, by Paul Milner
  • Historical Newspapers, by James F.S. Thomson
  • I've Lost My Ancestor Before 1837: How Can I Find Him?, by Celia Heritage
  • My God, Nobody Told Me!, by Paul Milner.
In fact the collection is not quite complete, the presentation by David Jeanes is held back as he will be presenting it at the society monthly meeting in January.

Revisit the 1939 Register

Although it has been online for a while now it's easy to overlook all the capabilities of the 1939 Register at Findmypast.
Has someone's information been opened up since you last looked? As people die or pass 100 years of age their information is added.
You can search by address as well as person.
There's supplemental contextual information about the community you only see by scrolling down from the transcript.

19 December 2017

Last minute: Judy G. Russell webinar

The Law and the Reasonably Exhaustive (Re)Search is the topic for a webinar today, 19 December at 8 pm EST by Rockstar Genealogist Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL.
It's one of a series hosted and sponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
There's a difference between searching and researching, and understanding how the law impacts records and research is critical to the reasonably exhaustive research needed to meet the Genealogical Proof Standard. Learn how the law impacts records -- and how finding the right law for the right place and time is critical to genealogy.
 Register here.

Advance Notice: Find Your Ancestors in Church Records

The Carlingwood Branch of the Ottawa  Public Library at 281 Woodroffe will host Gloria Tubman for the first genealogy presentation of the year on Wednesday 7 February, 2018 at 6:30pm.

Find Your Ancestors in Church Records
Church records of all denominations can be a treasure trove for genealogists.  Gloria Tubman will discuss these valuable records and their place in family history research.  Discover the information that is available from the record of a church rite, regardless of location, and learn some further clues to get the most from church records.

Gloria tells me there will be coverage of selected Canadian, British and Irish records.

 Register at https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/event/find-your-ancestors-church-records

The Future for LAC?

"I also believe that the coming years will bring legislative changes that enable LAC to develop its own revenue streams.While maintaining quality services and offering them free of charge to our users, we could emulate many of our sister institutions—museums, and even national libraries and archives, such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Library of Congress and The National Archives in the UK—in developing complementary revenue sources, such as sponsorship and philanthropy."
This is an extract from a speech by Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada on 21 October, 2017 at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario.

While the whole speech is worth reading, and should be read for context of the initiatives already taken, the quote gives hope that LAC may aim to increase the resources available to it while fully respecting its public service mandate.

I hope LAC will look at opportunities beyond sponsorship and philanthropy. Canada's National museums and galleries, and those in the UK all generate revenue from special exhibitions, shops and restaurants that can contribute to enhanced public service -- except LAC.

18 December 2017

Visiting the Archives of Ontario just got easier

TTC Subway Map
It's open. The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension officially opened on 17
December. The Archives of Ontario is just steps (100 metres) from the York University station.

If arriving in Toronto by train the trip from Union Station is direct, no changes required. The same Presto card you use elsewhere in Ontario works on the TTC. The journey takes about 40 minutes so you'll have time to go over your to do list while you ride.

Could researching the AO resources be even easier? Yes, if they weren't mired in the dark ages and embraced digitization.

Genealogy Courses in Toronto

The instructors for these genealogy educational programs being offered by OGS Toronto Branch and the Toronto Public Library are all well know and respected in the community.

Enquiries about these courses and other educational events should be sent by e-mail to courses@torontofamilyhistory.org. For course and workshop details, and for registration information, go to: https://torontofamilyhistory.org/learn

17 December 2017

Ottawa Branch donations

Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society received 50 per cent of the surplus from OGS conference 2017 and has been seeking good projects to fund.

Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives will receive $9,800 for a newspaper digitization project. This builds on the development made possible by a project funded in the first round of the LAC Documentary Heritage Communities Program.

The Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogy Group will receive $650 for outreach and publicity.

The Ontario Name Index project (TONI) will receive $5,000 to support indexing Carleton County Township Papers. TONI recently surpassed five million entries.

Canadian Headstones is planned to receive $5,000 for website upgrade.

Agreement on another digitization project is pending which will exhaust the funds available.

SCGS Free Webinars 2018

The schedule is out for the Southern California Genealogical Society free 2018 webinar series. There are two per month, except one each in June through August.
Many of these presentations are applicable to everyone, not only those in California or the USA.
Find the schedule here.
Want a free preview? On 20 December 2017 Tammy A. Hepps, technologist, storyteller and life-long genealogist, will present 100 Days to a Better Family History. She promises it will help you  prioritize research activities, pace work, and set deadlines. Register here.

16 December 2017

Findmypast weekly update

60,000 new records in the 1939 Register for England and Wales have been opened up and are now available to search and explore. They become available as people die, reach the age of 100, or entries erroneously closed are corrected.

The new Jersey Wills 1564-2000 database contains 14,342 entries giving name, place, date, and original text which is a cryptic one line transcript.

The remaining additions this week are four databases for Portsmouth, New Hampshire and about 10,000 additions of US marriages.

Music and Meyhem from Fife

Two recent Ancestry databases are from the Scottish county, or Kingdom, of Fife.

Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, Carnegie Music Institution Registers, 1910-1920 has 13,699 entries from the Fife Archives. For each individual found within the collection, you may be able to find name, year and term of attendance, residence, subject, teacher, fee and occasional remarks. Follow someone through their study at the School of Music.

Fife, Scotland, Asylum Registers, 1866-1937 has 9,523 entries. Each entry includes name, birth year, admission date, discharge date and a link to the original record image. That gives more details including occupation, medical details, and often under Observations information on relatives.

15 December 2017

CEF Service Files December Update

As of today, 15 December 2017,  532,447 (518,124 last month) of 640,000 files are now available online in the LAC Personnel Records of the First World War database. That's according to a LAC Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Service blog post.

The latest box digitized is 9059 (8803) and last name Smith (Sharp).

If my calculations are correct at last month's rate, which is the same as the previous month, the project will be finished by July 2018.

A tip of the hat and season's greetings to the folks in the digitization team who have made such good progress this year.

YouTube: Strangers in a Strange Land? Challenges of Adjustment in the Experiences of Scottish Emigrants and Immigrants in the Twentieth Century.

A lecture by Professor Marjory Harper explores issues raised by migration for those moving from and to Scotland. She mentions early on that the Scottish experience is not vastly different from that of others except in details.
The first section is based on records of the Scots in an asylum in British Columbia. What wasn't explored was how factors used to explain why they came to be institutionalized were different for who adjusted well, and those of a similar cohort who remained in Scotland.
This YouTube version was placed online on December 13.

DNA testing companies and fabricated African ancestry

How reliable are DNA test results?
Snopes investigated whether DNA testing companies deliberately fabricated African ancestry to "screw with" racist customers as claimed by "a number of less than reputable web sites" pointing to DNA testing companies such as Ancestry.com and 23AndMe.
It found the claim was "mostly false" and that "DNA testing companies strongly denied any such practice. The claim was traced to "one anonymous worker and published on a humor site; even the worker indicated purported meddling was unusual."
Suspicion of results is understandable. My AncestryDNA shows 19% Great Britain which is a best estimate with a range of  0%—47%. One of my brothers might have 0%, another 45% and all would be entirely consistent.

14 December 2017

Hunting for lost cousins

AncestryDNA identities that I have 87 fourth cousin matches, none closer. Presumably some of those are removes, others from further back as many of the names are Jewish.

Back in June 2015 an Ancestry study in the UK, reported in the Mirror, was that a typical Brit had five first cousins, 28 second, 78 third, 1,570 fourth, 17,300 fifth and 174,000 sixth cousins. I'm nowhere near that. I had two first cousins, only one is living.

Yesterday morning checking my database I found six second cousins, one third cousin, five fourth cousins, two fifth cousins and no sixth cousins. So I decided to go cousin hunting on Ancestry, Findmypast, FamilySearch and a few others concentrating on closer cousins likely to be a DNA match. After several hours work I now list four additional second cousins and three more third cousins.

A more conventional way than DNA matching of making contact with cousins is through Peter Calver's LostCousins website. In his latest newsletter Peter mentions that while searching for cousins is always free to initiate contact with a new cousin normally requires a LostCousins subscription. He is relaxing the need for a subscription between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve and suggests completing or updating your My Ancestors page on the site in advance.

Ottawa Branch OGS December Meeting

This Saturday, 16 December 2017

At 10:30 Genealogy: Back to Basics - DNA Analysis Tools
Jason Porteus will discuss some DNA analysis tools including those available at DNA testing sites like Family Tree DNA.  Many people do the tests and can't make heads or tails of their results.  He will provide a short refresher DNA presentation then a demo on some of the different DNA test platforms (FTDNA and Ancestry), then demo on how to work with specific analysis tools. 

13:00 Networking

13:30 Ottawa Branch Presentation: Carleton University Library’s Ottawa Resource Room
Monica Ferguson & Maureen Leslie will present on researching the history of a specific location in this city which can present unique challenges.  The Carleton Library’s Ottawa Resource Collection bundles a variety of  materials including government documents, historical maps, GIS support, rare books, archival collections and ephemera, helping to bring the puzzle pieces a little closer together.   

15:00 Computer Special Interest Group

The venue is the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive. Free parking.

13 December 2017

Storify is closing

I hope none of my readers is caught by the end of the social media aggregation platform Storify. If you are please go to your account and review how you can export the content. There's an explanation of the steps you need to take. You have until May next year; better to do so sooner rather than later.
It's a reminder yet again of the risk of investing time and effort in cloud-based facilities which are liable to fail. Small start-ups are especially vulnerable but even big companies like Yahoo close unprofitable lines -- remember Geocities.

Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2018 Belfast

Now that the sun is setting later and snow on the ground makes things seem brighter it's not too soon to think about travel plans.
My first trip will be to Ireland. Having enjoyed Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2016 in Dublin the Belfast version looks like a good bet, especially as I can pair it with a few days stay in the Republic beforehand.
Maurice Gleeson has posted the program and other details of the event, 16-17 February 2018 at the Titanic Centre here.

12 December 2017

BIFHSGO Conference 2018: call for presentation proposals

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa is soliciting proposals for presentations at its 24th annual conference to be held in Ottawa, Ontario in September 2018
(dates to be announced in January).

Main conference sessions take place on Saturday and Sunday, with workshops or seminars on Friday.

This conference will focus on two main themes, plus other areas of interest:

• Scottish family history
• Genetic genealogy

• Family history-related topics, such as military, immigration, technology, photographs.

BIFHSGO seeks proposals on these topics for lectures on Saturday and Sunday, as well as for workshops or seminars Friday.

A lecture is expected to be about 60 minutes in length, followed by a 10 to 15-minute question period. A workshop or seminar should last three hours.

Please send proposals to conference@bifhsgo.ca before January 31, 2018.

Each proposal must be submitted using the conference proposal form that includes:

  • Your full name, postal address, telephone number, and email address;
  • Format of the proposed presentation:
    - a lecture (or several lectures) during the conference on Saturday and Sunday. 
    - a seminar or hands-on workshop on Friday.
  • Presentation title (nine-word maximum);
  • An abstract of up to 200 words describing the presentation;
  • A 50-word description of your presentation for the conference brochure;
  • A 100-150 word biography;
  • Whether your presentation would be aimed at genealogists working at the beginner,
     intermediate, or advanced (specialist) level;
  • Your audiovisual requirements.

Comment: Over the years BIFHSGO has presented top genealogists at its conferences. This year will be no exception. In past years, when I've been on the program committee, proposals from members and others locally have been especially welcome.

FamilySearch adds Devon and Hampshire Bishop's Transcripts

England, Devon Bishop's Transcripts, 1558-1887; 379,189 records from 524 parishes. See the coverage table.

England, Hampshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1680-1892; 849,707 records. There is no coverage table for this collection. A list of all parishes in Hampshire is at www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Hampshire_Parishes.

These are further collections where you can see the transcribed record freely, but need to be a LDS Church member, or go to a Family History Centre or an accredited library to see the image of the original.

A reminder that both Devon and Hampshire have OPCs. What's that you ask? An Online Parish Clerk, an unpaid volunteer willing to help others with their genealogical research. They collect, collate and transcribe records for various parishes within their respective areas. Find a list at www.ukbmd.org.uk/online_parish_clerk.

11 December 2017

Ancestry's UK, Electoral Registers, 2003-2010

Tracing relatives down to (almost) the present day is less of a challenge if you have a phone book or electoral register. So Ancestry's database, new and updated, with 65,219,361 records from UK electoral registers is welcome. One-namers and those seeking DNA matches will find it particularly valuable.
You can search by names, approximate birth year, location and keyword, which could include street name. When searching by location I suggest choosing from the drop-down list as you type as the search seems sensitive to the format.
There are no images, likely the original is digital. To find all the electors in a household search for a known person then use the address to find the others.

The BIFHSGO Match the Picture Challenge

A fun part of the BIFHSGO meeting on Saturday, before the Great Moments presentations, was the challenge of matching each of eight director's photographs to that of an ancestor or blood relative.
About 160 people were at the meeting and something like half participated. Nobody got all 8 right, nor 7, 6, 5, nor 4. Three people got three correct. If they were just guessing how many would be expected to guess three correctly?

Using the binomial distribution the bar chart shows with random guessing you'd expect on average one out of the 80 participants to get three correct. On average there's only a 10% chance of anyone of the 80 guessing four or more correctly.

Perhaps three people with three correct answers rather than the one expected shows skill. Or perhaps this is an example of a 5 per cent chance of there being three correct guesses among 80 people. The audience reaction suggested to me that one of the matches was easier to discern than the others.

10 December 2017

Farewell Bytown or Bust

On Sunday, 10 December Al Lewis posted the following message on his Facebook group.

"Good morning, all: After 52 years of working, I have decided it is time to retire. I will not be doing any further historical or genealogical research but will still be monitoring this Facebook group. In general, I need a rest and a change from working and need to spend some time pursuing other, less time-consuming interests. This group expanded rapidly and I did not anticipate how many posts and e-mails it would generate - between my website at www.bytown.net and this present facebook group, there is simply too much work. The web site will still be available for researchers of history and genealogy in the Ottawa, Canada area, but it will not be updated any longer. It has been a pleasure to work with you all and I will still be around but will not be posting new material here.  ... Allan Lewis, Ottawa, Canada."

Thank you Al for the tremendous contribution you have made to the local historical and genealogical community. Your contributions will be missed. Thank you also for ensuring the website will continue to be available.

Shane Wilson adds more useful Irish tools and content

Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News points to updates at Shane Wilson's website at swilson.info. Recent additions are census and BMD browse tools and a scanned booklet of Telephone Subscribers of Ireland 1900-1901.
Check out Claire's blog post.

Genealogists’ Magazine: December 2017

The December issue of Genealogists’ Magazine from the Society of Genealogists, dropped in my mailbox earlier this week.
As usual, after reading the Chairman's message I turned first to the list of books newly acquired by the SOG library, a couple are also the subject of book reviews in the issue.
Family First: tracing relationships in the past, by Symes, Ruth A.
The secret world of the Victorian lodging house, by O’Neill, Joseph.
I noticed one of the articles by Malcolm Noble, a crime writer mentioned earlier this year. In Why was Hannah Bowyer guilty? he writes "By studying one murder case in detail, this essay will demonstrate the strength and depth of the value of genealogy. Secondly, it will suggest a new line of enquiry which the Victorian sleuths might have followed in this case. Thirdly, it will show how laying the genealogy across the facts of a case can provide an insight to the social and criminal culture of a community."

I also read Anthony Camp's article George Gair (or Sutherland) a case showing why why Burke's genealogies should not be relied upon.

The other articles I've yet to delve into are:
Scandal, slander and seduction: Judy Kimber
John Wood, Master of the Peregrine: Michael M. Wood
The Burt Family of St Kitts and Nevis: Chris Birch
The Bailey Brothers: Benefactors of Bells: Adrial Walton

09 December 2017

Fine-scale Irish Genetic Genealogy

Two articles on Irish genetic genealogy in one day!

The first, heralded by news release from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, marks the publication of The Irish DNA Atlas: Revealing Fine-Scale Population Structure and History within Ireland. This is the peer reviewed article of material previously presented by lead author Edmund Gilbert in genetic genealogy sessions at Back to Our Past (Dublin) and Who Do you Think You Are? Live (Birmingham).

Based on data collected from 194 Irish individuals with four generations of ancestry linked to specific regions in Ireland, and complementary data from the UK and continental Europe,
"We show that the Irish population can be divided in 10 distinct geographically stratified genetic clusters; seven of ‘Gaelic’ Irish ancestry (surprisingly faithful to the historical boundaries of Irish Provinces and kingdoms), and three of shared Irish-British ancestry. In addition we observe a major genetic barrier to the north of Ireland in Ulster. Using a reference of 6,760 European individuals and two ancient Irish genomes, we demonstrate high levels of North-West French-like and West Norwegian-like ancestry within Ireland. We show that that our ‘Gaelic’ Irish clusters present homogenous levels of ancient Irish ancestries. We additionally detect admixture events that provide evidence of Norse-Viking gene flow into Ireland, and reflect the Ulster Plantations."
The second article comes as a yet unreviewed preprint Insular Celtic population structure and genomic footprints of migration. 991 Irish individuals DNA was available from a health database, they were not selected to limit geographic origins which was available for 544 of the samples in the form of donor home address. 23 discrete genetic clusters were found which segregate with geographical provenance.

The studies differ in where they place Orkney results, the first with the Irish group, the second with the British. Also the second study shows South Munster separating much sooner from the Irish group than the first study.

These results provide more geographic granularity in Ireland than presently available from the commercial DNA test companies. LivingDNA has an Ireland group and one bridging Ulster and Scotland. Their own Ireland project is ongoing. AncestryDNA recognize three broad clusters, Ulster, Connacht, and Munster sub-divided into 16 genetic communities the definition of which depends on more than DNA. FamilyTreeDNA has a single group for the UK and Ireland. MyHeritage has a single Irish, Scottish, and Welsh group.

Findmypast weekly update

British Army, Imperial War Museum Bond Of Sacrifice 1914-1918, has 18,105 results, many with links to images such as this of Captain Edward Kenelm Digby DSO MC of the Coldstream Guards.
Commissioned Officers predominate with 7,176 Lieutenants and 2nd Lieutenants, 3,328 Captains and 1,346 Majors. There are 819 NCOs and about 2,800 Privates, Sappers, Gunners and similar.
Although the database title is British Army 1,029 served with Canadian forces, 1,492 the Australian.

The largest single addition this week is over 49,000 new probate index cards to the Kent Wills & Probate Indexes 1328-1890. The contents consists of records from seven different ecclesiastical Church of England courts across the county and was compiled from the West Kent Probate index 1750-1890, West Kent Probate Index 1440-1857, Kent Inventories 1571-1842 and Kent Will Abstracts 1328-1691.

Other additions for Kent are over 13,000 baptism records and over 10,000 burial records for the parishes of Meopham, Luddesdown, Cobham, Nurstead and Ifield. There also more than 3,000 new marriage records and 400 new banns records.

TheGenealogist adds Outbound Passenger Lists for the 1930s

The following is a press release from TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist has just released over 2.7 million BT27 records for the 1930s. These Outbound Passenger Lists are part of an expanding immigration and emigration record set on TheGenealogist that feature the historical records of passengers who sailed out of United Kingdom ports in the years between 1930 and 1939. With the release of this decade of records, the already strong Immigration, Emigration, Naturalisation and passenger list resources on TheGenealogist have been expanded again. 

The fully searchable BT27 records from The National Archives released today will allow researchers to:

      Discover potential family members travelling together using TheGenealogist’s SmartSearch. This unique system is able to recognise family members together on the same voyage. In this situation it will display a family icon which allows you to view the entire family with one click.
      Find people travelling to America, Canada, India, New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere in the Passenger lists of people departing by sea from the United Kingdom.
      View images of the original passenger list documents that had been kept by the Board of Trade's Commercial and Statistical Department and its successors.
      Discover the ages, last address and where the passenger intended to make their permanent residence.
      These fully indexed records allow family historians to search by name, year, country of departure, country of arrival, port of embarkation and port of destination.

Those with ancestors who sailed from Britain in the 1930’s will welcome this fascinating new release from TheGenealogist, which adds to their current Emigration records, now totalling over 19 million and dating back to 1896. 

Findmypast has Passenger Lists Leaving UK 1890-1960 with 24,113,155 records.
Ancestry has UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 with 23,768,544 records.
MyHeritage has a collection British & Irish Passenger Lists 1890 with abstracts of all passenger lists for sailings in 1890 from British & Irish ports with US and Canadian destinations, 193,995 records.
FamilySearch has no corresponding collection.

08 December 2017

Ancestry adds Huntingdonshire, England, Extracted Church of England Parish Records, 1559-1836

Huntingdonshire, England, Extracted Church of England Parish Records, 1559-1836 is a small collection by Ancestry standards, just 10,118 records.
It appears to only contain marriage records, typically transcripts of name, gender, marriage date, marriage place and spouse name. There is no image of the original; these may be available through FamilySearch.

Registration for OGS conference 2018 now open

You can read all about and register for the next Ontario Genealogical Society conference, 1-2 June 2018, in Guelph here. There are a variety of affordable accommodation options. It's always wise to book early to secure your preference.

Are Perceptions Reality?

The Ipsos' Perils of Perception 2017 Survey looks at the gap between people's perception and the reality in 38 countries, and examines why people around the world are so wrong about basic facts about their population.
In general we’re often unduly pessimistic.
Our brains process negative information differently - it sticks with us and affects how we see realities. A few high profile examples bias our perception of the true situation.
The survey indicates 55% of people perceive people's health as good or very good, but actually 74% say their health is good or very good, a gap of 19% worse. In Canada the gap in the survey is 28% worse in perception than reality.
This negative bias is likely the basis of the opinions of the well meaning folks who perceive, on the basis of a few horrific cases, that many home children were ill treated. The perception, if repeated often enough, becomes the reality for many.

07 December 2017

Jim Lynn: RIP

Sad to learn of the death of Jim Lynn. He was a early member of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa serving as an associate editor and writing for Anglo-Celtic Roots. For many years Jim supported BIFHSGO by running the Irish Discovery Table loaded with Irish sources at society monthly meetings. I always found Jim kind, very knowledgeable and ready to help with sound advice.


LAC Signatures: Fall/Winter 2017

The new issue of Signatures offers an “impressionistic overview” of how digitization figures meaningfully in the day-to-day workings at Library and Archives Canada.

Some of the things  I learned:

The LAC Digital Archive contains approximately 5 petabytes of digital content, equivalent to 1,338 metres (4,390 feet) of DVDs, a fragment of the total digital holdings of documentary heritage requiring preservation treatment.

The team digitizing the CEF service files can now produce more than 7 million digital images per year. When the project is concluded in the latter part of 2018 approximately 30 million images will have been digitized. (To put that in perspective, the British Newspaper Archive digitized and OCRd 6.1 million newspaper pages in the past year.)

LAC digitized over 10,200 photographs from Expo 67, including just over 9,300 colour slides.

During its first months of operation the LAC DigiLab supported the digitization of over 24,000 pages of textual material and more than 1,000 photographs by researchers from outside LAC.

LAC acknowledged it still has much to learn in digitization by stating "Canada is fortunate in that it can draw on these experiences" (of other peer organizations internationally.)

There's much more.

Read the Fall/Winter issue of Signatures at www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/about-us/publications/signatures/Pages/Signatures-2017-fall-winter.aspx

BIFHSGO December Meeting

Great Moments in Genealogy is BIFHSGO's ever popular December session. I wouldn't miss it, this month it looks like another winner. 

In lieu of the regular Before BIFHSGO mini-education session, this month will feature holiday shopping and jolly social time. From 9am-10am there will be coffee, tea, a few holiday treats and an opportunity to shop for family history-related gifts with Global Genealogy (contact them ahead of time if you have any special requests) and Ubbink Book and Paper Conservation. We are also having a "Whose Ancestor Is This?" quiz. Photos of ancestors will be posted along with photos of our Board members and our members get to match them up. Look forward to a surprise quiz, maybe more, and cash-shopping opportunities too!

Starting at 10 am on Saturday, 9 December 2017.

In Killin
In October 2016 Brenda Turner traveled to Killin, in Perthshire, firstly, to finally see the highlands, and secondly, to do some family history research for a distant cousin whose family had come to Canada from there. Intending to stay only perhaps just overnight, she stayed for several days, and had great fun and success in her researches. Her cousin was delighted to receive her evidence of her research. But then, back in Canada, several months later, she had new reasons to research what had been going on in Killin in about 1815.

About the speaker
Brenda Turner is a retired former public servant with a long history of family history research. She has been visiting the UK for many years pursuing her family’s stories.

The Skeleton in my Closet
Dr. Robert George Clements was a cousin of John McConkey’s grandfather. Bertie (as he was known) seemed to be a successful physician, having started his career in Belfast and later moving to England. Bertie had several wives – sadly each of them became severely ill and died before their time. None of these deaths were regarded as unusual – except for that of his 4th (and final) wife who died in May 1947. The events following her death created sensational headlines in British newspapers. John’s talk tells the story – it has a surprising finale!

About the speaker
John McConkey was born in the UK - on the Isle of Wight. He earned his B.Sc. at King's College London and worked for International Computers Ltd for 5 years. In 1971 he and his wife immigrated to Canada, with the intention of spending 2 years seeing the country and getting to know relatives - but that 2 year period got extended! They both found computer work in Montreal and then moved the family to Ottawa in 1982 when John received an offer from Nortel. He stayed with Nortel for 17 years and then ran a small network consulting business for 10 years. Now retired, he (and his wife) spend a considerable amount of their time engaged in family history research. John has visited Northern Ireland 3 times and has had significant success with ancestral discoveries there. He organizes reunions for Canadian and British family, transcribes for Ancestry and the North of Ireland Family History Society and is volunteer technical coordinator at BIFHSGO meetings and conferences.

A Young Soldier
Follow the lives of the Thomas Moor family and in particular the life of his eldest son, young Tom Moor. Follow their story, as told by Sharon and Jeff Moor, from London, England to Montreal, Canada, and eventually to Toronto, after periods of time in Detroit and Brantford.  At the age 18, young Tom Moor would make a decision in his young life that would have an impact on his parent’s lives and leave his own mark on Canadian History during the North West Rebellion.

About the speakers
Sharon Moor is a 14-year member of BIFHSGO and a past membership director. She has researched her family tree and her husband’s family tree across Canada, US, England, and Scotland.

Jeff Moor is the son of Sharon Moor. Jeff is a 27-year veteran of the federal public service. His own roots started as a child in Saskatchewan. He has taken an interest in how his family roots link to key Canadian historical events.

Einstein, eBay and the Red Cross – How I Found Fame and Fortune Using my Genealogical Superpowers
When Matthew Harding was going through a box of old books one day, he made an unexpected discovery. Learn how years of genealogy Conferences, workshops and courses paid off as he set out researching an unusual inscription, and instead went on a fascinating voyage into history.

About the speaker
Matthew Harding first joined BIFHSGO in 1995, way back before the Internet was even popular, when doing genealogical research meant becoming an expert at threading filmstrips into the !@#@#!@#@! Microfilm reader. Born in Essex, England, he has lived all around the world but is proud to call Ottawa his home. Matthew runs an IT Consulting firm called The KTL Group. He also happens to be married to BIFHSGO’s new Program Director, and was made to promise not to embarrass her during this talk (good luck). Please don’t ask him about his genealogical tattoo.

As usual it's all in The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

06 December 2017

Scotland: General Register of Lunatics in Asylum

Old Scottish Genealogy and Family History have indexed the first 14 volumes of the General Register of Lunatics in Asylum.
From the National Records of Scotland series MC7, the volumes in the series open are for 1858 to 1915,  The register includes every patient admitted to an asylum in Scotland in this period as well as nearly 4000 patients in asylums on 1 January 1858. It covers 180,731 admissions to asylums, involving 115,900 individual patients. 955 of them have last name Reid -- if only there were DNA test results!
The free index browsable by surname is fairly detailed. You can order an image of the original for a fee.

via a retweet from Helen V Smith

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Today marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 female engineering students at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. Horrific act -- committed by a deranged man.

In an opinion piece in The Conversation Yasmin Jiwani, Professor of Communication Studies, Concordia University, points out that it's not just one event, violence against women continues to take a toll, a woman is killed every six days by her intimate partner.

Repulsive as the behaviour of some powerful men, like Weinstein, Moore, Trump and others is, it in no way justifies demonizing men as a whole.

Another opinion piece in the same issue of The Conversation by Alan Sears, Professor of Education, University of New Brunswick, quotes Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago:

“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”