Thursday, 15 November 2018

Postmedia newspapers digitized by Ancestry

Good news. The following Postmedia Canadian newspapers are now digitized and searchable from Ancestry subsidiary
Publisher Extra PapersBasic Years*Publisher Extra Years*
100 Mile House Free Press (100 Mile House, British Columbia, Canada)1968-2009
The Caledonia Courier (Fort St. James, British Columbia, Canada)1990-2008
Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)1888-19221923-2018
The Citizen (Duncan, British Columbia, Canada)1985-1996
The Eagle Valley News (Sicamous, British Columbia, Canada)1979-2007
Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)1903-19221923-2018
The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)1857-19221923-2018
Harbour City Star (Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada)1996-2009
Houston Today (Houston, British Columbia, Canada)1969-2007
The Journal (Ashcroft, British Columbia, Canada)1983-1988
Lake District News (Burns Lake, British Columbia, Canada)1975-2010
The Leader-Post (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada)1907-19221923-2018
The Morning Star (Vernon, British Columbia, Canada)1988-2008
Nanaimo Daily News (Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada)1874-19221923-2009
North Thompson Star/Journal (Barriere, British Columbia, Canada)2000-2004
North Thompson Times (Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada)1999-2004
Omineca Express (Vanderhoof, British Columbia, Canada)1990-2008
The Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)1898-19221923-2018
Prince George Free Press (Prince George, British Columbia, Canada)1995-2002
Quesnel Cariboo Observer (Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada)1985-2009
Richmond Review (Richmond, British Columbia, Canada)1932-2008
Salmon Arm Observer (Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada)1976-2007
Shuswap Market News (Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada)2004-2007
The Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)2018
The Sunday News (New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada)1989-1990
Surrey Leader (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada)1929-2006
The Times (Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada)1973-1996
The Tribune (Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada)1983-2006
The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)1898-19221923-2018
The Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario, Canada)2018

Papers up to 1922 are accessible with a Basic subscription — regular annual subscription $79.95 US /year with half price for Fold3 or subscribers.

The not so good news is that for later years an additional Publishers Extra subscription is required for $59.95 US /year or $11.95 US /month.

Other Canadian newspapers available with the Basic subscription are: The Brandon Sun (
1961–1977), The Chilliwack Progress (1891–2007), The (Regina) Leader (1883–1907), The Lethbridge Herald (1905–1964), Manitoba Free Press (1874–1931), Manitoba Morning Free Press (1893–1914), Ottawa Daily Citizen (1846–1897), The Ottawa Journal (1885–1980), Vancouver Daily World (1888–1924), (Calgary) Weekly Herald (1883–1901), The Winnipeg Tribune (1890–1949).

The Publishers Extra collection also includes the British newspapers The Guardian and The Observer from 1900 with prior years included in the Basic subscription.

How do you feel about your DNA being used by the police? - the results of a survey

On 11 October I posted How do you feel about the use of your DNA for non-genealogical purposes? publicizing a survey being conducted by Maurice Gleeson. That post was viewed 311 times.

The results of Maurice's survey were posted on his blog here on Wednesday. They are fairly consistent with those of a previous survey he references. 85% of people were "reasonably comfortable" with the use of their DNA results by law enforcement agencies (for catching serial rapists and killers).

In my October post I commented that the survey would have been even more valuable if it also had questions related to some of the possible downsides of DNA testing. For example:

1. Are you concerned about the possibility that you or a relative might suffer discrimination in obtaining insurance or a job based on DNA test results?
2. Does the possibility of discovering suppressed aspects of your family history, such as non-paternity, adoption or half-siblings, worry you?
3. Are you concerned that an authoritarian regime might use results of a DNA test as a basis for discrimination?

I note these same issues were also mentioned in comments posted with the survey results.

Quinte Branch OGS November Meeting

The 17 November, 2018 meeting of the Quinte Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will start off with the 2018 AGM including the election of officers and the appointment of volunteers to Branch Council Committees.  Followed by "Great Moments in the search for family history."  Bring your best stories.

The meeting is at the Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Dr, Trenton, ON commencing at 1 pm.  Everyone welcome, bring a friend. Visit and

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Not too old for Take Your Kids to Work Day

Via a tweet from Robyn Bresnahan.

LAC moves to centralize & preserve digital documentary history

Library and Archives CanadaA press release announces developments on how Library and Archives Canada will promote greater accessibility of documentary heritage records. It refers specifically to collections that include Government of Canada records, censuses, personnel records of the Canadian Armed Forces, genealogy and family history, immigration records, published works, and theses from Canadian universities since 1965, as well as its extensive audio visual collection.
Two companies are involved. Ottawa-based TeraMach will support LAC in the design, installation and maintenance of the overall solution. Boston-based Preservica technology will be used to protect and future-proof LAC’s unique digital records ensuring they can be easily found and remain accessible for future generations.
For many years LAC has recognized the need for a trusted digital repository for it's unique records. It's been unclear how that was to be achieved. The press release states that LAC's previous in-house built solutions were nearing end of life.
Terms of the fifteen year agreement were not disclosed.
It appears the agreement just announced has been in place for over month. Let's hope service will improve over the slow response and outage experienced in recent days.

Easter Births in England and Wales

Once more unto the Office of National Statistics Excel spreadsheet (xls) with day by day number of births from 1995 to 2016 dear friends!
Following on the previous posts, here and here, this post and bar graph is for the average number of births for every day around Easter Sunday for every fourth year (leap years) in England and Wales
Easter Sunday shows no difference in the number of births compared to the previous and following Sundays. However, Good Friday and Easter Monday, both of which are official holidays, show fewer births than the corresponding days previous and following.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

FTDNA (US) Thanksgiving Sale

Family Tree DNA has discounts up to 40% in its current sale, applicable until 22 November.
Other discounts available are for upgrades (find those when you order from your account) and bundles.
The Big Y test is reduced $150 to $499.
All prices are in US dollars.

Day of Birth in England and Wales

For this post it's back to the Office of National Statistics Excel spreadsheet (xls) with day by day number of births from 1995 to 2016. I wrote about that on 27 September in Most and Least Likely Birthdates in England and Wales which showed a big drop in births around Christmas and Boxing Day.

Based on a sample of every fourth year from 1996 to 2016 the graph shows the fraction of births for each day of the week. Friday or Thursday have most births, it varies from year to year, Sunday then Saturday have least.
Although the number of births has increased over the years the distribution has remained much the same.
Just as obstetricians and midwives prefer not to work at Christmas so they like their weekends free. Induced labour and C-sections (approaching a third of births are now C-sections) mean medical professional and mothers often have some control in choosing the day of birth.
If you believe in the old rhyme there are more Thursday's children who have "far to go", and Friday's children who are "loving and giving" that Saturday's who "work hard for a living" or Sunday's who are "bonny and blithe, and good and gay." I don't believe it, witness the current US President who was born on a Friday.

Perth & District Historical Society November Meeting

“In Memoriam: Protection, Peace, Security”

For the 15 November meeting PDHS welcomes Major General (Ret.) Clive Addy, and will consider the ‘messages’ received from the conflicts of the 20th and 21st Century and the reasons for perpetuating remembrance of Canada’s Fallen.

As the Royal Canadian Legion’s Act of Remembrance states “We will remember them”: in WWI – 60,000 (51,748 in enemy action); WWII – 44,000; Korea – 516; Bosnia – 23; Afghanistan – 159.  And, of the thousands who served and survived, many were injured. 

To remember “The Fallen” is one thing, but it is another to determine what might be required to ensure that there would not be such sacrifices in the future.  The Fallen would undoubtedly appreciate the formal respect that is delivered across Canada.  However, to perpetuate these memories, Canadians might also consider how to follow a military course that ensures the maintenance of our quality of life and democratic principles, as well as the security of our country and borders from internal and external threats, while contributing to world peace. 

At the same time, world conflict is increasing, from racial, religious, economic, climatic and many other challenges, complicated by the growth of factors such as new weaponry and artificial intelligence.  Withdrawing from these challenges is not an option for Canada, but what might we do?  Join us to hear Major General (Ret.) Clive Addy address this topic, and what route Canada might follow locally, provincially and nationally. 

Clive Addy has a personal history of service to Canada through 43 years with the military.  He also has extensive volunteer experience in defence and security matters, and other sectors such as sustainable communities, architectural conservation, and family counselling.  Our guest was born in Ottawa in 1944 and followed a family tradition in the military.  His post secondary school education included Collège Militaire Royale de Saint Jean, Royal Military College, and, in France, École Supérieure de Guerre.  He is multilingual and has lived in, or travelled to, 35 countries.  He has been married to his wife, Marlene, for over 50 years, has two children and two grandchildren.  His other interests include sports, theatre and community life. 

Come early this month, as the Legion will open their Hall of Remembrance from 6:00 pm to the meeting start at 7:30.   

Location is Perth's Royal Canadian Legion,
26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, (Toonie Donation).

Monday, 12 November 2018

Issues with LAC Website

As of this morning there is no response from the LAC website. The request times-out. Yesterday response was extraordinarily slow. I suspect there has been lots of demand on military records.
As today is a public service holiday there's no point in calling LAC. I'm wondering if the site will be fixed today or if Shared Services Canada, responsible for web services, will leave it until Tuesday.

Update:  When I checked back in the early evening the problem had been fixed.

Dear Sadie: Love, Lives and Remembrance from Ontario's First World War

The Ottawa Public Library and Archives of Ontario join to commemorate the First World War centennial. The presentation  "Dear Sadie" highlights unique, personal stories underlying the war, based on a series of letters between a Canadian soldier fighting overseas and his sweetheart back home.

Nepean Centrepointe
Thursday 15 November, 7:00 - 8:30 pm

After the Armistice

The Armistice didn't mean the end of war deaths.

Not quite half of the 100 buried at Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery with Commonwealth War Graves Commission First World War headstones died after 11 November 1918. For Ottawa's Notre Dame it's exactly half (22 of 44).

Those who died from war-related causes after 31 August 1921 did not qualify for inclusion in the CWGC database.

Canada's Books of Remembrance extends the period with entries for deaths until 30 April 1922. They record 640 deaths in 1921, and 187 in 1922 for only the first third of the year. How many later deaths were premature owing to war-related causes and not acknowledged?

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

MyHeritage LIVE Videos
MyHeritage will be releasing videos of each one of the 25 main lectures last weekend in Oslo, Norway. Now available is the emotional keynote address given by MyHeritage’s Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet.

Talk Genealogy Podcast: Episode #31 Churchwardens of Old England

The war that did not end at 11am on 11 November

John Dempsey’s Street Portraits
Via Spitalfields Life, colour portraits, likenesses of public characters, from the 1820s.

The St Louis Apology
Prime Minister Trudeau issued a long overdue apology in Parliament on Wednesday for the rejection by the Government of Canada for refuge in Canada of 907 German Jewish passengers fleeing persecution by the Nazi regime on the MS St. Louis.
There's context in the article Why did Canada Refuse to Admit Jewish Refugees in the 1930's? It makes the point that, while the percentage of Jews in the overall number of immigrants to Canada in the 1930's did not decrease compared to the period of 1896 to 1929, immigration levels were drastically reduced during the depression years, the government responded to a broad antisemitic sentiment in Canada, especially in Quebec, and had no refugee policy.

Meat tax: why taxing sausages and bacon could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year
The study calculated that in 2020 there will be 2.4 million deaths attributable to red and processed meat consumption. To put that in perspective, the military and civilian death toll during the First World War was about 3.6 million deaths annually (based on

Celebrating the Armistice

These days 11 November is a solemn occasion, Remembrance Day. A century ago it was different. The front page of the newspaper carried the facts; inside the paper covered celebration under a headline across a full page "OTTAWA CELEBRATES WAR'S END WITH UNPRECEDENTED ENTHUSIASM". The Armistice meant victory, the terms of the Armistice left no doubt, and the end of war.

"Within two minutes of the receipt of the news in Ottawa that the armistice had been signed, scores of whistles at industrial plants conveyed, as per arrangements made by The Journal Newspapers, the great news that the world war had come to successful conclusion in favor of the Allies. Even at the early hour of 3:01 scores of citizens arose from their beds and made their way down town. In front of The Journal building there was quite a demonstration.
The fire department, church bells, and citizens with guns and revolvers created a din that could be heard in the four comers of the city. Ottawa was awakened."

Sub-headings were:

Noise of all kinds let loose
Autoists disregarded traffic laws
Enormous Bonfire (at Sparks and O'Connor, also Wellington and Metcalfe)

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Could a student help get that project moving?

The 2019-2020 Young Canada Works Campaign has launched offering eligible employers wage subsidies and access to a pool of talented youth with innovative ideas and competitive skills.

The summer job program lasts between six and 16 weeks, and supports organizations in Canada that have a heritage mandate.

Find out more about Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations.

The annual application deadline is 15 January 2019.

Served in the First World War

This would be a good time to remember those in your family tree who served during the war.

Here are those in my family tree who served.

Braham Cowen (Cpl, Royal Engineers, motorcycle dispatch rider, survived)
James Digby Reid (Pvt, 51st Provisional Battalion, Welsh Regiment, survived)
Edward Cohen, MC (T/2nd Lt, 12th,  Royal Fusiliers, killed 31 July 1917)
John Alfred Derby Barnett (Lt, 28th Battalion CEF, survived but totally blinded)
Edward Digby (Pvt, 1/14 London Regiment (London Scottish). killed 1 July 1916)
Albert Digby (CSM, 14th Battalion, London Regiment, survived)
Herbert Ordish Reid (Pvt, 29th Battalion. Middlesex Regiment, survived)
Bernard William Arthur Ordish (Pvt, 28th London Regiment, survived)

Also give a thought to those who lost a child, sibling or parent.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Genealogy Companies Marking 100 Years Since the End of the First World War with FREE Access

Here's how the various companies are marking the occasion.

MyHeritage is making all 47 million military records from around the world a free from 8 - 12 November. Find the free records here. is providing free access (with registration) to Canadian service records, medal cards, casualty lists and much more – free until 11 November. Current subscribers should be receiving free access to Fold3 and until 11 November.

Findmypast makes the entire collection of more than 9 Billion records and all historical newspapers free for three days. All UK, Irish, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and US records as well as all British, Irish and World Newspapers are free from the 9 (noon GMT) - 12 November 2018.

TheGenealogist has added to its Great War resources.

Findmypast adds Royal Air Force Lists 1919-1945 — and more

Digitised copies of the original  Royal Air Force List publications from 1919-1922 and 1938-1945 are added this week. Search by name and/or a keyword.
The Lists contain over 62,000 names and include the women's branches of the military including the WRENs, WAAF, and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service.
The lists may give rank and branch. Initials appended show if they received a military medal; for example, DSO means the officer received the Distinguished Service Order.
Most publications have a table of contents and provide you with a list of symbols, abbreviations and letters denoting honours and awards which will help in understanding the somewhat cryptic content. The lists also include the names of those who had resigned and reasons such as ill-health.
These records are sourced from the National Library of Scotland where there's free access — 1919-1922 and 1938-1945.

Other additions this week are:

Queensland, Windsor Town Council Honour Roll 1914-1925

Billion Graves Cemetery Indexes:
  • Over 68,000 new additions to the Canada Billion Graves Cemetery Index
  • Over 61,000 new additions to the England Billion Graves Cemetery Index
  • Over 4,000 new additions to the Ireland Billion Graves Cemetery Index
  • Over 19,000 new additions to the Scotland Billion Graves Cemetery Index
  • Over 5,000 new additions to the Wales Billion Graves Cemetery Index
  • Over 296,000 new additions to the Australia Graves Cemetery Index
  • Over 28,000 new additions to the New Zealand Billion Graves Cemetery Index

Middlesex Monumental Inscriptions 1485-2014: over 1,300 additional records for burial sites in Cowley

Family Tree Magazine: December 2018

Here are some of the articles featured

GENERATIONS OF CHILDREN IN CARE Find out how Bernadette McBride put the past to rest after uncovering more than 100 years of inherited trauma in her maternal line. Includes a list of web resources including
LOOK BACK A THOUSAND YEARS Steve Roberts guides us through Norman history, the succession of kings and queens following the Norman conquest, plus information about possible gateway ancestors, if you can research far enough back to link to them.
Stick to these 10 key points for success on the ancestral trail, advises Katherine Jenns. Tried and true steps, but no mention of DNA!
Explore your sense of self and identity with Charlotte Soares. I liked the line "Possessions are nine-tenths of the floor."
THE MARRIAGE LOCATOR Julie Goucher shines the spotlight on a little-known web search "gem" — It is far from complete.
Try Chris Paton's multi-disciplinary approach, such as using local history resources, and more, to grow your family tree
A CRIMINAL OR A VICTIM? Julie Watkins investigates the trials and tribulations of a 19th century ag lab who was transported to Australia
Explore the Mills Archive, a national collection of documents and images that could have been lost to the nation. Simon Wills finds out more
From letter censoring to buying a round of drinks, Ruth A Symes examines 10 wartime restrictions endured by ancestors on the Home Front to help win the war

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Quebec Family History Society AGM

Saturday, 10 November
Annual General Meeting  (Annual Meeting (Members Only))
10:30 am
Briarwood Presbyterian Church Hall, 70 Beaconsfield Blvd, Beaconsfield
Annual General Meeting of The Quebec Family History Society
(Presented before Lecture)
Approval of Minutes of the previous meeting
Presentation of Board of director's Report
Presentation of Financial Statements
Election of the Board of Directors for 2018 - 2019
Lecture After AGM
Subject: The Origin of "DIT" Names in Quebec
What Are They?
Presentator: Luc Lépine

TheGenealogist adds Great War records

The following is extracted from a news release by TheGenealogist

To mark the end of World War 1 that came to a close on 11 November 1918 with the signing
of the armistice, TheGenealogist has just released over 42,000 records of Officers that
died in the Great War, along with additional Rolls of Honour and over 30,000 War
Memorials, War Graves plans, maps and listings.
This new release will allow researchers to:
● Discover Officers who gave their lives in the First World War
● View images of the HMSO’s Officers Died in the Great War Part I & II 1914-1918
● Find an officer’s rank, cause of death, date of death and regiment.
● Look for names commemorated in Rolls of Honour and War Memorials
● See War Graves plans, maps and listings

Find out more in the article How to Find Officers that Died in WW1.

Family Tree LIVE: 26 - 27 April 2019

The program of talks for this event at Alexandra Palace in London is now released and there's a BIFHSGO surprise.

Each day features three streams of general family history with nine slots in each under the headings SoG Theatre, My Heritage Theatre and FFHS Theatre. That's a huge amount of choice, and an emphasis on UK speakers and UK topics making the event a worthy successor to WDTYTA Live.

Well known UK speakers include David Annal, Nick Barrett, Gill Blanchard, Paul Carter, Peter Christian, Else Churchill, Audrey Collins, Bruce Durie, Janet Few, Julie Groucher, Sharon Hintze, Diane Lindsay, Eric D Probert, Jayne Shrimpton, Ian Waller and, Simon Wills

There are also stars from Canada.

Donald W Davis from BC will speak on Seeing the UK Census with new eyes.

Christine F Jackson will make her award winning presentation Researching the life of a royal servant―from Ag Lab to the Queen’s coachman.

Speakers in an additional stream at the DNA Hub are TBA.

BIFHSGO November Meeting

Beechwood National Cemetery: Its History, Stories and Records is the topic for the main BIFHSGO presentation at 10 am on Saturday, 10 November*.

Beechwood Funeral, Cemetery and Cremation Services was founded in 1873, on a 160-acre tract of land on the outskirts of Ottawa. It became a prime example of the type of rural cemetery that emerged in the U.S. and Canada in the nineteenth century, characterized by winding roads, picturesque vistas, wooded groves, and unique landscaping, as well as monuments and markers of considerable architectural and historical interest. Originally Ottawa's Anglo-Protestant cemetery, today Beechwood is a reflection of Canada’s identity as a multicultural, multi-faith society. Since the creation of its Foundation in 2000, it has grown in national significance: home of the National Military Cemetery (2001), recognized as a National Historic Site (2001), home of the RCMP National Memorial Cemetery (2004), given honorary recognition as the national cemetery of Canada (2009), and home of the Ottawa Police Service Memorial Cemetery (2011). With almost 400 famous burials, and over 75,000 total burials of people from all walks of life, Beechwood serves as a place of national tribute and remembrance for all Canadians.

About the speaker

Dr. André M. Levesque is a leading expert in history, heritage, commemoration and recognition. He served with the CAF Army Reserves for 35 years and retired in 2008 at the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In his civilian career, he worked in the area of planning and economic development with the City of Ottawa. In 2001, he became a public servant with DND and in 2006 was appointed Director Honours and Recognition for the CAF. From 2013 to 2016, he was DG Commemoration at Veterans Affairs and is currently a visiting scholar with the Royal Military College of Canada. André holds a B.A. and M.A. in geography from Carleton University and in 2013, he completed a Ph.D. in history from the National University of Ireland, Cork. Since 2016 he has been Chief Historian (volunteer) with Beechwood Cemetery. He was admitted in the Canadian Who’s Who, and is an Officer of the Order of Military Merit and a Knight of the French Legion of Honour.

At 9 am Marilyn Lindsay and Pam Cooper will give an Introduction to the Scottish Special Interest Group: who we are, how the group works, and some examples of what we do.

Marilyn Lindsay was born in Montreal and moved to Ottawa in 1982. Her four grandparents emigrated from the Edinburgh, Midlothian area between 1864 and 1905.  She became interested in her family's history when going through papers left to her by her family. She is a member of BIFHSGO, OGS, and several other family history societies, and is a member of the planning group for the Scottish SIG. She is interested in continuing to expand her family's story.

Pam Cooper has been actively working on her family history for about four years.  She had three Scottish-born grandparents who emigrated to Canada between 1907 and 1913, and her Ontario-born grandmother in turn had three Scottish-born grandparents who emigrated to Canada West in the 1840s. She is applying the skills honed during a career in the public service to researching her family history and is working towards her next research trip to Scotland in 2019.

The meeting is open to the public at The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario.

* Note that in the unlikely event the event has to be cancelled owing to adverse weather or other reasons emails will be sent to members by 8 am on the day.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Documentary Heritage Communities Program Extended

On Tuesday at an event in Ottawa Dr. Guy Berthiaume, the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, shared the news that the Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP), which is dedicated to provides funding support to Canada’s local archival and library communities, is now extended beyond 2019. Eligible organizations will continue to share $ 1.5 million annually.

Although genealogical organizations have had limited success in obtaining funding from DHCP many organizations receiving funding have been able to enhance their local history programs of genealogical interest.

The event was a one-day session The Past Becomes the Future: Strengthening Communities Through Documentary Heritage in which representatives of some of the successful projects presented their achievements and remaining challenges, LAC reviewers of projects explained what they look for in proposals, and representatives of other federal funding programs explained them.

Material from those presentations should become available online in the near future, likely from

Shannon Lecture: Good Intentions, Bad Archaeology

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

More Ontario Deaths on FamilySearch

On 5 November FamilySearch updated the catalogue entry for Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947 to contain 2,050,112 entries. They are linked to images of the original register, open without cost to anyone on the web.
While not specified these are likely the entries for 1937 — 40,841 of them.

Archives of Ontario Customer Feedback

In 2017, the Archives of Ontario conducted a public Customer Service survey to evaluate overall customer satisfaction. Over 500 responses were received. I just came across a summary of the result on the Archives website — it may have been posted for some while.

Overall, customer satisfaction ranked very high with 85% of respondents satisfied with the service. Not reported is how that broke down between those accessing service on site and elsewhere or online.

Increased digital content online was identified as an opportunity for improvement with 45% of respondents aiming to access records online. 80% of respondents rely on the website and online databases when searching for records.

AO accepted that clients want increased digital content online, especially for popular archival records.

AO point out that they have successfully completed another annual release of marriage and death records online through Access to over 50 previously inaccessible sound and moving image records has been made available through YouTube. Also a review of services to determine ways of improving customer access is underway.

AO evidently is proceeding very cautiously toward providing access to popular archival records online.

Long time readers may recall the results of a survey on this blog last November. The results from 384 responses were:

In general are you in favour of greater online availability of Ontario records of genealogical interest?
YES - 99.2 per cent; MAYBE: 0.3 per cent; NO - 0.5 per cent

Do you favour the Ontario Genealogical Society advocating for online availability of Ontario materials of genealogical interest?
YES - 98.2 per cent; MAYBE - 0.8 percent; NO - 1 per cent

Specifically, do you favour Ontario probate indexes presently available on microfilm being made available online?
YES - 98.2 per cent; MAYBE - 1.6 percent; NO - 0 per cent

Specifically do you favour all Ontario probate documents presently available on microfilm being made available online?
YES - 94.5 per cent; MAYBE - 5 percent; NO - 0.2 per cent

Specifically, would you favour the Ontario Genealogical Society advocating for online availability of Ontario probate records now available on microfilm?
YES - 95.5 per cent; MAYBE - 3.4 percent; NO - 1 per cent

Would you accept Ontario probate indexes and documents being exclusively available online for a limited time, after which they would become freely available, through a commercial arrangement, such as with Ancestry, Findmypast or MyHeritage, in order to fund online availability and as long as the existing availability through microfilm was retained?
YES - 70.9 per cent; MAYBE - 21.7 percent; NO - 7.3 per cent

AO does not appear to have taken any action regarding probate records. I'm unaware if OGS did anything —  I'd hope so as Advocacy is one of the three core reasons OGS gives for membership.  Provided a draft of this post for comment OGS responded "the Society is listening and open to opportunities with partners to further genealogical research in Ontario."

Monday, 5 November 2018

Three talks from October 2018 Genetic Genealogy Ireland conference now on YouTube

Pre-famine Irish Newspapers Online

The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) has been placing emphasis on adding digitized Irish papers to its collection in recent months. While most content is for the last half of the 19th century, then the first of the 20th, earlier years are not overlooked.
As of early November the papers with most pre-famine content are for Northern Ireland: Northern Whig (1832-1919, 1921-1957); Belfast News-Letter (1828-1951, 1954-1956); Londonderry Sentinel (1829-1848, 1851-1852, 1854, 1856-1958); Derry Journal (1825, 1835-1885, 1891-1924, 1926-1942, 1950-1955); Belfast Commercial Chronicle (1805-1813, 1816-1817, 1819-1822, 1825-1829, 1831-1847, 1853-1855); Newry Telegraph (1829-1871); Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet (1813, 1824-1880, 1882, 1884-1893).
For the Republic of Ireland: Freeman's Journal (1820-1821, 1830-1833, 1837-1924); Saunders's News-Letter (1773-1787, 1789, 1792-1797, 1799, 1802-1811, 1813-1815, 1817-1830, 1832, 1835-1837, 1839, 1843-1844, 1846, 1853-1871); Dublin Evening Mail (1824,1826-1828,1831,1833,1838, 1840-1871,1876-1907); Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier (1823, 1825-1870); Drogheda Journal, or Meath & Louth Advertiser (1823-1840).
There are several others with scattered pre-famine issues, too many to list. Check them out at
Another source, some covering many of the same publications is the Irish Newspaper Archives at
You are more likely to find items of interest for a townland or parish than an individual.
For those who fled to Liverpool the BNA has the Liverpool Mail (1836-1837, 1839-1858, 1860-1868, 1870-1874, 1877, 1880) and Liverpool Mercury (1811-1835, 1837-1871, 1873-1897, 1899-1900).

Guy Fawkes Day

Today, 5 November, is known as Guy Fawkes Day, when traditionally people in Britain took to the streets and fields lighting bonfires and setting off fireworks to remember the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Guy Fawkes (13 April 1570 – 31 January 1606) and accomplices were captured in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder, enough explosive to send King James I of England and VI of Scotland and members of Parliament to the next life a few hours later at the opening of Parliament.

Over the years the Gunpowder Plot remembrance morphed into an annual tradition sustained by the economic benefit in the manufacture and sale and of fireworks (money up in smoke). The bonfires were a useful means of disposing of the year's detritus and anything else flammable. In my childhood community of Gorleston, Norfolk, the bonfire would be build on the beach well away from anything that could be accidentally burned. Traditionally the fire would be topped with a Guy made of straw and old clothes which had previously been paraded in a handcart round the community by kids asking for "A Penny for the Guy."

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Armistice Babies

A blog post from the (UK) National Archives by Jessamy Carlson takes a look at some of the names occurring in birth records for England and Wales. Some of the first names that became more popular from 11 November 1918 were Victor, Victoria, Peace, Irene (derived from the Greek work for peace), Versailles, Poppy and Armistice. None of these challenged John and Mary but did see an increase.

Did the same thing happen in Canada? Privacy restrictions means provincial birth registrations for the period are not yet public. The 1921 census is. The table shows the occurrence of the names, first or middle, for the specified birth year from that census. Except for the name Poppy there is a similar trend to that in England and Wales.


Looking beyond the names mentioned by TNA to those of military leaders, both Haig and Currie had maximum occurrence for births in 1919 in the Canadian census.
The name Kitchener was popular in Canada from 1915 to 1917 but faded following the death of Field Marshal Kitchener in June 1916. In England and Wales there were 74 Kitcheners in 1915, 54 in 1916, 13 in 1917, then no more until 1921.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

14 weird things that have happened in November through history
From History Extra

Six things to do with your data before you die

Extreme (UK) weather reveals changing climate

Tyler Cowen on Economic Growth, Liberalism, and Philosophy (podcast)

British icons to throw off the white cliffs: what’s on your list?
What Canadian icons would you dump? Hockey? Tim Hortons? The RCMP Musical Ride?

When was a word first used in print? You may be surprised! Enter a date to see the (US) words first recorded on that year. Merriam-Webster Time Traveler.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Findmypast additions for Ireland and Scotland

New records and newspapers available to search this week from Findmypast:

O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees
Published in 1915, these are two volumes of genealogy for Irish families.

Volume one, as quoted in the book, 'We give in the "Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation", and, so far as we could collect them, the genealogies of the families which branched from that ancient stem'.

Volume two, as quoted in the book, 'We give the "Families in Ireland from the twelfth to the end of the sixteenth century", with the counties in which they, respectively, we located'.

By no means are all families from Ireland included. Each record is available in a PDF format and will reveal biographical details such as birth dates, death dates, marriage dates, spouse's names, children's names, occupations and more.

Ireland 1931 Trade Directory

The 1931 Trade Directory is useful if you have an interest in a business, from large companies, banks, tradesmen to small local businesses. With each record find a transcript of the directory including a combination of name, business or company, occupation and address.

Ireland, Gravestone Records
Covering all 32 Counties in Ireland, these records reference hundreds of graveyards. The gravestone records contain the details of almost 57,600 individuals. The transcript of the original gravestone record usually includes a combination of age at death, birth year, death year, death date, occupation and burial location.

Scotland Monumental Inscriptions
Over 30,000 records covering Abernethy, Greyfriars, Kilmore, Urray, Clachan, and more have been added to the collection of Scottish Monumental Inscriptions. Each result will give you a transcript of the burial monument. These records were created by a variety of family history societies and independent licensors, with transcripts that will vary depending on the age of the monument and its legibility. Most will include death date and burial location at the very least.

Is Ancestry running out of steam?

Part of my regular routine looking for blog material is visiting Ancestry's Card Catalog. It's a great resource for finding out whether the record you want to refer to is in the company collection.
October has been a bust — according to the catalog a drought month for new Ancestry collections. The most recent update posted, UK, Historical Photographs and Prints, 1704-1989, was originally published on 26 March 2018 and updated on 29 September.  You have to go back further to find a completely new collection.
By contrast Findmypast adds things each week. MyHeritage added 6 new databases in October and updated 10 others, not counting the updates contributed to family trees. I posted twice during October about additions to The Genealogist. FamilySearch lists 73 new or updated titles.

Ancestry's corporate website shows other signs of lethargy. There's only a single press release in 2018, the appointment of a new CEO. That compares to more than 10 in preceding years. Posts on the news section of the corporate site dried up at the end of June whereas there were two and usually more per month earlier in the year.

Is Ancestry running out of stream — resting on its laurels as still the largest genealogy database and with its large DNA client base?

Genealogists Benefit from Research Libraries

I recently had the pleasure of a brief conversation with Susan Haigh, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL). She mentioned that changes in copyright have been occupying much time recently. I mentioned the aggravation experienced by genealogists and other independent researchers when online databases are only available to academic institutions.

That encounter stimulated a visit to the CARL website where I found a publication CARL Statistics | Statistiques de l’ABRC 2016-2017 (pdf) published last month. The statistics provide an interesting perspective on the cost of the benefit non-university users receive and on Library and Archives Canada.

Most of the 31 libraries in the survey are at universities, from U. Victoria to Memorial. The exceptions are Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the National Science Library.

Library Materials

The median university has a collection of nearly 2.3 million titles in all formats. They range from over 9 million titles at the University of Toronto to 800 thousand at Brock. LAC holds 12.4 million titles.
With legal deposit the major source for the LAC collection its total library materials expenditures of  $352,539 is low compared to the median for the universities of $10.7 million. However, the major reason for the difference is that LAC spends much less on ongoing resource purchases such as databases ($274,598) compared to the median for the universities ($8.8 million).

Total Library Expenditures

Adding costs of salaries and wages to that for library materials shows LAC with annual library expenditures of $35.6 million whereas the median for the universities was $22.8 million. The University of Toronto ($97.5 million), University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, and McGill all had library expenditures greater than LAC.

For each title in the collection the median university spends $9.59 annually, whereas LAC spends $2.87.


1. LAC makes major savings in maintaining its collection through legal deposit passing on the capital cost of acquisition to the author/publisher.
2. LAC spends much less on ongoing resource purchases than one-time purchases compared to universities.
3. As occasional visitors to a university library, perhaps to examine a resource that you are the first to consult for years, we genealogists and independent researchers should be aware the annual cost of maintaining that title is $9.59. The same title consulted at LAC costs $2.87 to maintain. Let's be grateful for that service offered by university libraries, while recognizing that they too receive funding, directly and indirectly, from the public purse.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Time to Join or Renew Membership in OGS

The Ontario Genealogical Society claims three core reasons to be a member: COMMUNITY, EDUCATION, and ADVOCACY.
Then there are 21 additional member advantages including the latest — new for 2019 —subscribe to the electronic (.pdf) version of Your Genealogy Today (formerly Family Chronicle) for $9.95 (+ tax), an $8.00 (45%) saving off the currently available price.

Want more motivation?  The Grow Our Family membership program is back for another year. The program permits any renewing member to “partner” with any new member at the time of renewing/joining and BOTH receive a 50% discount on their Society membership ($31.50 instead of $63!). That opportunity is open until 5 pm on December 15.

If you would like to join OGS for half price I'd be pleased to partner. One person only although I may be able to find a match for others. Just email me at john dot d dot reid at gmail dot com/

What even more motivation?
All new and renewing members who are registered by 5 pm on November 30 will be entered in an Early Bird Registration Prize draw. All prize winners will be notified by December 7th by email.

Find out more at

MyHeritage Presentations Streamed from Oslo

You have the opportunity to view streamed presentations from the MyHeritage User Conference happening this weekend in Oslo.
Saturday's opening keynote will be by Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage Founder & CEO, starting at 9 am Oslo time, which is 4 am EDT.
MyHeritage and well known US speakers will be presenting separate Genealogy and DNA streams, six presentations in each stream each day. All free online.
Watch here and scroll down to see the full program.
Remember that the times given in the program are for Oslo. On Saturday the Eastern Time Zone is 5 hours behind Oslo. When the clocks are set back on Sunday the difference will be 6 hours.

Remembrance Survey

Ancestry commissioned a Leger Marketing survey of 1,524 Canadian adults between 12 October and 15 October, 2018 showing a dip in the number of people that plan to commemorate Remembrance Day at all; down to 80 per cent this year from 86 per cent in 2017.

The survey shows those under 35 are the least likely to commemorate Remembrance Day in 2018 (72 per cent, down from 78 per cent in 2017).

Here's the complete news release from


Ancestry study reveals knowledge gap around WWI and the 100th Anniversary of Armistice;
Less than a quarter of Canadians able to correctly identify Canadian Prime Minister during WWI – 8% think it was Winston Churchill;

Commemoration of Remembrance Day also declining among Canadians

Toronto, ON (November 1, 2018) – Ahead of 11th November, a study commissioned by Ancestry reveals that the majority of Canadians are unaware that this Remembrance Day marks a significant milestone: the 100th Anniversary of the end of ‘The Great War’.

The survey, conducted by Leger Marketing[i], also indicates a substantial dip in the number of people that plan to commemorate Remembrance Day at all; down to 80 per cent this year from 86 per cent in 2017. Those under 35 are the least likely to commemorate Remembrance Day in 2018 (72 per cent, down from 78 per cent in 2017).

Originally referred to as Armistice Day by the British Commonwealth[ii], the end of the First World War has been commemorated by Canadians for a century as of November 11th this year. The poppy has been a prominent symbol of Remembrance during this time, yet the survey reveals only 59 per cent of Canadians will mark Remembrance Day with a poppy purchase (down from 70 per cent in 2017) and fewer still (46 per cent) will observe a moment of silence. Canadian women are more likely than men to buy a poppy (65 per cent for women, 53 per cent for men) or observe a moment of silence (51 per cent for women, 41 per cent for men).

When asked about WWI, respondents aged 35-44 were the least likely to know the significance of this centenary year, with only 37 per cent correctly identifying this Remembrance Day as the 100th Anniversary of Armistice / end of WWI.

Across all age groups, less than a quarter (22 per cent) of Canadians correctly identified that Sir Robert Laird Borden was the Prime Minister of Canada during the WWI period. In fact, a shocking eight per cent selected British WWII Prime Minister Winston Churchill when asked to identify the Prime Minister of Canada during the conflict.

While the survey reveals some gaps around Canadians’ knowledge of WWI in general, it also highlights that many don’t know if they have a personal connection to ‘The Great War’ through their ancestors. Nearly four in ten (38 per cent) admit to having no idea whether their family served in the conflict, and of those who don’t plan to commemorate Remembrance Day in any way, 29 per cent (the largest group) say this is because they don’t know if they have a connection to WWI, WWII and our soldiers.

To empower people to discover the stories of veterans throughout history and explore the role their own ancestors played in wars throughout history, Ancestry is offering free access to all Canadian military records from November 8th to November 11th [Existing Ancestry subscribers will have free access to Fold3 and from 8th – 11th Nov] at

Lesley Anderson, spokesperson for Ancestry comments: “Ahead of Remembrance Sunday, it’s such a shame to see a decline in commemorations in Canada, yet given the lack of personal connection that many Canadians have to WWI and WWII, this is perhaps understandable. Knowing about an ancestor who served and learning about the role they played and how war impacted their life can be an emotional experience that brings relevance to Remembrance commemorations.

We encourage people to use the free access period on Ancestry to discover their own links to historic conflicts and hopefully commemorate the lives and stories of their own ancestors – and all those who have served - on November 11th this year.”

Provincial Differences:

The province with the lowest proportion of people likely to commemorate Remembrance Day is Quebec (50 per cent plan to commemorate)
Alberta (91 per cent) and the Atlantic provinces are the most likely to commemorate (91 percent)
Respondents from Alberta were also the most likely to correctly identify Sir Robert Borden as the Prime Minister during WWI at 29 per cent. Quebec was the least likely to identify this correctly at 16 per cent.
Ancestry is also supporting The Royal Canadian Legion’s campaign, the first-ever digital poppy initiative, growing a new generation of poppy supporters online.

Do you know about ancestors who fought in the Crimea or at Waterloo? Likely not. Does that worry you? Is it disrespectful to their memory? If we don't remember those distant ancestors who served their country in the military why should it be different as the lives of the 1914-18 generation recede?
At the rate of 6% decline per year found in the survey how long will it be until only a rag tag turn up for a Remembrance service? When you have no first hand recollection of anyone who was involved why would you remember? Will it just fade into the obscurity of "history" submerged by more immediate concerns?
The trend is probably amplified as one of the consequences of immigration, 22% of Canada's population being immigrants likely most of whom had no ancestors involved in the war.

Backup Nag

Find the tools and methods that work for you. Just make sure that you do your backups on a regular basis! Those are the bottom line of a blog post Easy Backups to USB Flash Drive by Ken McKinlay.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Ottawa DNA Group meets on Saturday

The final group meeting for the year is this Saturday, 3 November. There will be a short technical session on downloading chrome extensions for genealogy; Bill Arthurs, founder of the group will give his DNA Fundamentals 101; and there should be time for a Q&A session.

Meeting dates for 2019 are:

January 5, 2019
March 2, 2019
May 4, 2019
Aug 24, 2019
October 5, 2019
November 2, 2019.

Saturday's and future meetings will be in the Ottawa City Archives Building at 100 Tallwood, Nepean.

FamilySearch adds England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1537-1918

Map of Derbyshire boundaries plus Peak District2,708,896 index entries for Derbyshire baptisms, marriages/banns, and burials, include new items at FamilySearch as of 30 October.

In March 2015 I noted FamilySearch had 1,474,822 Derbyshire transcript records.

Now there are more records and links to images of some of the original register pages — 53,151 of them. To view these images you must be at a family history center or at a FamilySearch affiliate library.

Also, if you have Derbyshire interest, don't overlook The Blog from the Derbyshire Record Office.

Your Genealogy Today: Nov/Dec 2018

My subscription to the magazine expired. Renewal is arranged, but for the time being, without comment, here are the contents for the Nov/Dec 2018 issue as advertised on the company website.

Beyond Serendipity: Off the Beaten Path 
Sue Lisk highlights the adventures of two women who search for their ancestors in abandoned graveyards and "lost" cemeteries

The "Other" Military Pensions
Besides the Federal Government, David A. Norris reminds us that colonies and states also provided military pensions and bonuses

Louisiana State Archives Inherits a Big Donation
Leslie Michele Derrough looks at how one man’s passion for genealogy helps future generations in Louisiana and beyond

Biographical Narratives
Joe Grandinetti looks at a vicarious approach to ancestral encounters when you are missing that firsthand perspective

My Ancestor Was a Bastard
Robbie Gorr tries to solve the identity of the father of an illegitimate ancestor

DNA & Genealogy
Diahan Southard explains the importance of the centimorgan in genetic genealogy

Connect With Classmates to Discover Your Ancestor’s Story
Kim Simpson discovers that you can learn a lot from interviewing classmates of an ancestor to help fill in the missing pieces of their early life

Did Your Ancestor Have a Greenhouse?
Diane L. Richard says understanding the context of our ancestors lives helps to shine light on how they lived and the choices they made

Advice From the Pros
Diane L. Richard says no rock is too slimy to look under!

The Back Page
Dave Obee asks: Can you handle the truth?

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

MyHeritage DNA policy change coming 1 December

Are you doing all you can to find DNA matches? It means exploiting as many databases as possible.

MyHeritage, a relative newcomer in the field have welcomed uploads of autosomal test data from other companies for free. As of 1 December 2018 while DNA matching for new uploads will remain free additional DNA features, ethnicity estimates and a chromosome browser, will require an extra payment for uploaded files.

DNA data that is uploaded now and prior to December 1, 2018 will continue to enjoy full access to all DNA features for free. These uploads will be grandfathered in and will remain free.

In other news, previously MyHeritage did not support the upload of tests based on the chip called GSA (Global Screening Array), that is used by 23andMe (V5), and by Living DNA. Recent improvements at MyHeritage now support 23andMe V5 and Living DNA data uploads, in addition to data uploads from all major DNA testing services, including Ancestry, 23andMe (up to V5) and Family Tree DNA (Family Finder).

1926 Census Update from LAC

The following is from a news release by Library and Archives Canada

The 1926 Census of the Prairie Provinces database is on its way!

Statistics Canada has transferred the 1926 Census of Prairie Provinces, which contains over 45,000 pages, to Library and Archives Canada. Over the summer, we concluded an agreement with FamilySearch to index the thousands of census entries so Canadians can find the material on our website easily.

FamilySearch has completed the indexing and is now proceeding with quality control. On December 1, they will send us the index and we will start building our new database. The Census database will consist of a free searchable index as well as the digitized images from the 1926 Census of Prairie Provinces.

We expect to have an online database by March 2019. 

Read the full release here

Comment:  Well done FamilySearch and its volunteer indexers.

British Newspaper Archives additions for October

The British Newspaper Archive now has a total of 28,391,968 pages online (27,698,424 last month.) 45 papers had pages added in the past month including 16 titles new to the site..

Major additions, titles with more than 10,000 pages added during the month were.

Belfast Telegraph1172361921, 1923-1925, 1927-1929, 1931-1934, 1936-1950, 1952-1962
Liverpool Echo1139121890, 1906-1910, 1912, 1919-1936, 1948-1954, 1959, 1969
Irish Independent599221916, 1920, 1942, 1950, 2003, 2006
Drogheda Independent597861890-1894, 1896-1923, 1951-1955, 1960-1980, 1984-1985, 1988-1998
Wexford People523841853-1896, 1907-1908, 1917, 1987-1993
Wicklow People366421977-1985, 2002-2005
Western Mail345121924-1926, 1948-1951, 1953-1958
Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser313561858, 1862, 1899-1957
The Bioscope268501925-1932
Broad Arrow196401868-1869, 1871-1877, 1914-1917

Once again Ireland is the emphasis accounting for 59% of the pages from the major additions above added during the month.

Other publications with pages added are:  Drogheda Argus and Leinster Journal; Poole & Dorset Herald; Gloucestershire Chronicle; Newcastle Journal; Evening Herald (Dublin); War Office Times and Naval Review; Tavistock Gazette; Scottish Referee; Social Gazette; Deliverer and Record of Salvation Army Rescue Work; Birmingham Weekly Post; New Crusader; Heywood Advertiser; Landswoman; Norwood News; Congleton & Macclesfield Mercury and Cheshire General Advertiser; Surrey Advertiser; Ally Sloper's Half Holiday; Newport & Market Drayton Advertiser; Croydon Chronicle and East Surrey Advertiser; N.T.F. In Aid Of British Prisoners; Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser; Cumberland & Westmorland Herald; The Showman; Tit-bits; Henley & South Oxford Standard; Sports Argus; Westmorland Advertiser and Kendal Chronicle; Lakes Chronicle and Reporter; War Savings; Silver Bullet; West Middlesex Herald; Todmorden Advertiser and Hebden Bridge Newsletter; Irish Citizen; Lakes Herald.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

BIFHSGO Conference Presentation Videos Online for Members

Perhaps you were at the BIFHSGO conference but unable to be in two places at once. Or maybe you're a BIFHSGO member who was unable to be at the conference. Whichever, the power of your membership is the ability to travel back in time to view video recordings of all the conference presentations.

You do have to be a BIFHSGO member, and sign in on the website.

Tracing a Scottish Regiment over Three Countries (Sam Allison) 
Who Are the Scots? Not Celts! (Bruce Durie)   
Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda: A Look at Ethics in Genetic Genealogy (Diahan Southard)
Leaving a Legacy: Creating a Family History Book (Lynn Palermo) NOTE: poor audio quality due to microphone issue
Wills, Testaments, Inventories and Retours: Inheritance in Scotland (Bruce Durie)   
Back to 18th Century Scotland with Autosomal DNA (Linda Reid)
The Combined Power of Y-DNA and Autosomal DNA (Diahan Southard)
Finding Your Ancestors with FamilySearch (Shirley-Ann Pyefinch) 
Genes and Genealogy: Is Surname a Good Predictor of Ethnic Origin? (Bruce Durie) 
The Wonders of WikiTree: Adventures in Collaborative Genealogy (Leanne Cooper) 
A Day Out with Your DNA (Diahan Southard) 
Scottish Funeral Customs and Death Records (Sadie De Finney)
Regular and Irregular Marriages in Scotland Before 1834 (Bruce Durie) 
If I Had to Do it Over Again (Lynn Palermo) 
How DNA Made a Family Out of Strangers (Diahan Southard) 

FCOA: AGM 2018 and City Archivist Report

Sunday afternoon was the occasion for the AGM of the Friends of the City of Ottawa Archives. Preceding was an entertaining (and substantive) presentation by Wes Darou on the Orange Order in the National Capital Region.

There were more than enough members in attendance for a quorum. Two amendments to the by-laws were approved, reports accepted and a full slate of board members elected. The following report was presented by City Archivist, Paul J. Henry, CA

2018 has been a busy year for the Archives.

This year, we continued to transfer municipal records from off-site storage, previously identified in the system as “manual only”, made complicated by the fact that no extent stats were available to aid either our work-planning or our space prognostication. We have also begun the process of temporarily transferring boxes which arrived at the Archives in 2014 as part of the omnibus transfer, back through Information Management to have them catalogued in our Records Management System. The goal, of course, is to have every civic record documented at the file level and discoverable by City and Archives staff alike.

Continuous disposition authorities were issued for new or changed records classifications for civic-generated records, both paper and electronic, allowing automation of records transfer to the Archives to continue, and of course, routine disposition. In all, the backlog of civic records appraisal work, is proceeding at the expected pace.

Staff remain committed to reviewing existing practices to find efficiencies in transfer, processing, and providing access to collections. We review our policies and procedures annually, and develop new guidelines to address emerging issues, or approach new ideas in a thoughtful and documented way.

Work is also progressing in private records acquisition. Records now available online through the Ottawa Museum and Archives Collections portal stand at over 50,000 catalogue records, including just under 20,000 images, and over 3,000 books.

In support of documentation planning and analysis, this year we remained engaged with small archives, historical societies, and community organizations in the preservation of historical community records.  Last year, as I mentioned, we endorsed the new Provincial Acquisitions Strategy, adopted in 2016 by the Archives Association of Ontario, and remain in the forefront of transparent private record appraisal practice.

It has been an incredible year for exhibitions at the Archives. We launched our first mobile app, Time Traveller, available for Android and iOS, that places you in events of the past, with images from the Archives and engaging vignettes and stories that tell residents, visitors, and indeed, the whole world about Ottawa.

The Barbara Ann Scott Gallery is our second permanent exhibition space, located at City Hall. Skate with me, the Barbara Ann Scott story, closed in June after a six year run, so that we could reinvent the Gallery. Opening in August, Postcards from Ottawa embraces the Archives’ storytelling mandate with dozens of new stories from Ottawa’s past, through artifacts and images. We are honoured that our partners, both Algonquin first nations, worked with us to ensure that the indigenous story — one which is always with us — is told to new audiences. Cultural artifacts, and text in Algonquin, English, and French bring the narrative alive. And the story of the Nishiyuu Walkers is also told, and with it, our fourth language — Cree.

Work on many small exhibitions and displays, throughout the City, continues at the Archives' Hockey exhibition at Canadian Tire Centre, and City Hall with additions to the Mayor's Gift collection display and the Sports Hall of Fame, and of course at the Archives’ Gallery 112 here at Tallwood. 

While staff add more records and photographs to the Ottawa Museums and Archives collections database, interest in our online digital offerings continues with our content partners, Last year, over 1.5 million unique page views were logged by Ancestry's servers, up 722,000 from the year previous.

And I would be remiss if I did not mention several staffing changes at the Archives. Claire Sutton won the competition for Assistant Archivist, a new professional position, which assists the archivists with appraisal and a concentration on arrangement and description. Filling her vacant position in Reference is Olga Zeale, our former Education Officer. As I started with one, then two vacancies, and now have two vacancies, expect more staffing changes in the coming months.

In conclusion, I'd like to thank the Friends of the Archives for their continued support of the programs and initiatives of the Archives and welcome future opportunities to work together. Your collaboration helps make all of this possible.

OGS November Webinar: Tammy Tipler-Priolo

Thursday, November 1, 2018 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Presentation: Franco-Ontarians History & Genealogy
Presenter: Tammy Tipler-Priolo

Franco-Ontarians have their roots deep within the lands called Ontario. Their proud heritage has been celebrated for hundreds of years. This lecture will cover the history of Francophones in Ontario, as well as what records are available to conduct genealogical research for this part of Ontario's society today. Whether you can speak French or not does not matter, as once you learn the basics of French records you will see that it can be an enjoyable journey researching the Francophone past.

Register here

Monday, 29 October 2018

LAC at the 38th Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair

Likely owing to the snow, unusual for the Book Fair, the space at Tudor Hall in Ottawa was not as crowded as in previous years I've attended.  It didn't mean viewing was that much easier as people lingered to examine the volumes on offer.

I was tempted by a brochure about the Empress of Canada, the ship which brought me to Canada.

Library and Archives Canada was present to publicize the activity by which LAC aims to acquire material published in Canada or abroad by Canadian authors, editors, translators, illustrators or interpreters, or on a subject related to Canada. Naturally duplicates of material already in the collection are not needed.
Learn more about the acquisitions program at

IGRS adds 14,000 names to its Early Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes

The following is a news release from the Irish Genealogical Research Society

Great news from the Irish IGRS. An additional 7,000 records have been uploaded to the Society's Early Irish Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes, a unique collection of life event references from lesser-used and obscure sources. The update delivers 14,000 names, creating a new total names count for the three indexes of 274,000.

This latest tranche of data includes references to many deaths culled from Irish newspapers. One poignant news item relates to the partial collapse of a Music Hall located in Fishamble Street, to the rear of Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin. A meeting of the Trade Guild of St Luke, which combined the city’s cutlers, painters, paper-stainers and stationers, was being held to nominate a candidate to stand for election to parliament. The room was about 20 feet above ground and was crowded with somewhere between 300 and 400 men. The thunderous applause and stamping of feet eventually caused one of the main support beams to give way and the entire body of men disappeared into the depths of the building below.

Máire Kennedy, former Librarian at Dublin’s Gilbert Library, says this of the event in her Blog: “Nobody seems to have been killed outright, but at least eleven people died shortly afterwards of their injuries. Many were carried to their homes stretched on doors, or taken in sedan chairs. Dublin’s medical personnel must have been under severe strain that afternoon and evening with so many casualties. Faulkner’s Dublin Journal reports that the sight of the maimed being carried through the streets caused the greatest consternation in the city. Finn’s Leinster Journal informs us that few escaped without severe injury and many were in a ‘situation that made death desirable’. The Hibernian Magazine predicted that many of the injured ‘will exhibit melancholy monuments, to perpetuate the memory of this dreadful event, by the loss of their legs and arms”.
From Walkers Hibernian Magazine we learn the names of some of those who died of their injuries: Mr Taylor, High street; Mr Deey, Attorney; Mr Byrne, cutler; Mr McMahon, Abbey Street; Mr Pemberton, Capel Street, Mr Johnson, Cutpurse-row; Mr Shaw, Essex-bridge; Mr Scot, Joseph’s-lane; and Mr Dobson, Capel Street.

Also included in this update are 850 references to marriages sourced from the Registry of Deeds. "Many of these marriage references came from formal marriage settlements, but which were hidden by the manner of their inclusion in the contemporary index volumes," notes Roz McCutcheon, the IGRS Early Irish Indexes creator and manager. "Including them in this index probably shines the first light on their existence in two hundred or more years.” Marriage settlements can be extremely illuminating documents about family relationships and alliances. For instance, one registered in November 1759 notes that Nicholas Biddulph was to marry Elizabeth Dempsey, the daughter of Charles Dempsey; the groom was to be given employment by the bride’s father; and that Nicholas had a brother called Francs who resided at Stradbally, in Queens (Laois) county. Other relatives of the bride named were Samuel Dempsey, noted as a clerk to another man also called Charles Dempsey, assumedly cousins.
You can search the databases here:
Marriage Index      – Free to all
Birth Index              – Name search only for non-members
Death Index             – Name search only for non-members

Two Year Trends in Genealogical Society Website Popularity

Long time readers will perhaps recall that for several years I followed the month to month popularity of various genealogy websites according to Alexa. It ranks website traffic stats, so the lower the rank the more traffic. While I came to the conclusion that month to month variation was mostly noise I've gone back to see how current Alexa ranking compare to those two years ago.

There are some minor changes in the order. The top ranked site remains so, second and third have switched places as have the sites with the least and second least traffic. With more societies choosing to communicate on social media website rankings are arguably less significant.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Althea Douglas RIP

DOUGLAS, Althea Cleveland (McCoy) McGill U., M.N.I., IMAX 1926-2018

On October 21, 2018 at Ottawa, ON in her 91st year. Predeceased by her husband of 58 years (m. February 28, 1948), J. Creighton Douglas. Only daughter of the late George E. and "Nan" (Chapman) McCoy of Moncton, N.B., Toronto and Montreal. She is survived by her good friend and sister-in-law Margaret Douglas of Sutton, QC, nephew Dr. David Douglas (Shelley) of Navan, ON, and nieces Deb Armstrong (Dr. Don) of Guelph, ON and Sharon Westbrook (John) of Ottawa, ON. Also survived by seven great-nieces and nephews; Meghan, Jessica, Stephanie, Lisa, Brittany, Trevor and Douglas. Born in Moncton, NB, Althea grew up in Toronto, attending Branksome Hall School. Her family moved to Montreal where she received her B.Sc. and M.A. degrees from McGill University, married and lived in that city for over 30 years. For 10 years she enjoyed herself as a costume designer in Montreal and New York, then changed careers and became an associate editor with the Burney Project at McGill University. This meant research in England, the U.S. and France. Later, as archivist of the Dr. Wilder Penfield Collection at the Montreal Neurological Institute, she served researchers from the other side of the desk. In the process, she became a genealogist and was certified by The Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes (Canada) in 1989. In 1981 her husband joined IMAX Corp., moving to Toronto where Althea was soon contracted as a technical writer and editor at IMAX. She is the author of numerous articles on genealogy, local Canadian history and heritage conservation. She and her husband collaborated on Canadian Railway Records: A Guide for Genealogists published by the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) in 1994, an expanded and revised edition of which came out in 2004. After moving to Ottawa where she worked as a professional genealogist, Althea continued to write. OGS published 3 books of genealogical advice, others on conservation and Genealogy, Geography and Maps (OGS, 2006) - probably her favorite. Finding Your Ancestors in English Quebec was published by Heritage Productions in 2001, Finding Your Ancestors in New Brunswick in 2002, and Research at the Library and Archives Canada in 2003 with several revisions in subsequent years. Her last book was A Time Traveller's Handbook- A Guide to the Past (published by Dundurn /OGS in 2011). Always the archivist, her later years were devoted to sorting and finding homes for family letters and documents accumulated over several generations as well as files and books from her own varied career.

The above paragraphs were written by Althea in August 2014 using her motto "On the principle that if you want it done right, do it yourself!" To carry on from this however, we would like to add that Althea was a unique soul. She was smart as a whip, with a quick wit and an enviable memory right to the end. She and Creighton were a perfect match and shared a love of travel and the arts - visual, theatre, music, the ballet (not the opera!). While she had very fond memories of the various places they lived, she was immensely proud of her New Brunswick roots and her cottage in Brulé held a very special place in her heart. Althea moved from her home in Ottawa to a retirement residence in 2015. We are grateful to the staff for the care she received. The family will hold a private graveside service at a later date. Should you wish to make a donation in Althea's memory we invite you to consider Habitat for Humanity, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and the Alzheimer Society Canada. Condolences/Tributes/Donations Hulse, Playfair & McGarry 613-233-1143

From the Ottawa Citizen, 27 October 2018