30 April 2018

Virtual Genealogical Society

Do you know Katherine R Willson, Christine Woodcock, Lisa Alzo, Gena Philibert-Ortega, Terri O'Connell.? Well known in genealogy circles in North America they constitute the founding Board of Directors of the Virtual Genealogical Society.

Not heard of it? Neither had I. It's new.
For information here's the text of their press release.

8 APRIL 2018



The Virtual Genealogical Society is a global organization serving family history enthusiasts of all levels, geared towards those:

● whose circumstances make it difficult to attend local genealogical society meetings
● who prefer online presentations, special interest groups (SIGs), conferences, and socializing
● with an interest in connecting, networking, and mentoring with global genealogists

The Virtual Genealogical Society began with the recognition that many family history enthusiasts are merging technology and globalization in their genealogical pursuits. We aim to provide a forum for genealogists to connect, network, and mentor with genealogists around the world through monthly meetings online, webinars, social networking, annual conferences, and in-person meet-ups at conferences, institutes and events around the world.

Membership is just $20 per year and provides:

● 24/7 access to Members-Only section of website
● Recorded monthly webinars by nationally-known speakers
● Webinar handouts
● Live chat with featured speakers in members-only Facebook group
● Fillable PDF forms for family history research
● Digitized monthly newsletter
● Eligibility for prizes offered during monthly webinars
● Access to Special Interest Group (SIG) discussions and handout
● Discount on annual virtual conference registration cost
● Eligibility for prizes during annual virtual conference
● Discounts on genealogy software, databases, publications and products
● Members-only Facebook group for networking, mentoring, and socializing

The Virtual Genealogical Society encourages all members to continue joining the genealogical societies in their local area and/or in the area where their ancestors lived. These societies can provide additional benefits that include:

● Access to their local database of records and indexes
● Mentorship from society members with expertise in local records and repositories
● Field trips to area repositories

The Virtual Genealogical Society will be hosting a three-day virtual conference from November 1-3, 2019. Confirmed presenters are listed on our website:  http://virtualgensoc.com/.

Comment: The legal status of the organization is not specified.

Charles Dickens' Inkwell

This story from what is a regular stop for me, Spitalfields Life, is seeking the help of genealogists and local historians to see if anything additional can be found about what is thought to be the travelling inkwell Charles Dickens used while touring in North America in the 1840s.
The story is interesting even if you can't help.

Update. In case you missed it the item is at http://spitalfieldslife.com/2018/04/29/charles-dickens-inkwell/. Also numerous comments added. Thanks to Jane MacNamara, who first made me aware of Spitalfield's Life,  for the additional information.

British Newspaper Archive additions for April

The British Newspaper Archive now has 24,974,993 (24,710,849 pages last month).

The 57 papers (58 last month) with new pages online this month include 22 (28) new to the collection. Researchers with Leicester or Newcastle interest take note of major additions.

Papers with more than 10,000 pages added are:
Bournemouth Guardian: 1883-1895, 1897-1910, 1912-1921
Christchurch Times: 1858-1897, 1899-1911
Crewe Guardian: 1869-1897, 1899-1910
Leicester Daily Post: 1872-1878, 1888-1921
Leicester Journal: 1882-1894, 1896-1912, 1914, 1918-1920
Newcastle Evening Chronicle: 1990-1995
Newcastle Journal: 1946-1959, 1961-1963
Southern Times and Dorset County Herald: 1852-1866, 1872-1886, 1890-1896, 1898-1899, 1902-1910
West Sussex Gazette: 1855-1891, 1910, 1912-1931, 1933-1937, 1945, 1957
Witney Gazette and West Oxfordshire Advertiser: 1882-1895, 1897, 1899-1910

29 April 2018

Half a million for Irish newspaper archive!

What price history?
According to The Times the archive of the defunct Irish Press newspaper group is being prepared for sale with an asking price of up to €500,000.
The Irish Press was an Irish national daily newspaper published by Irish Press plc between 5 September 1931 and 25 May 1995.
The paper has a colourful history.

How to Preserve and Test Old Letters for Grandma's DNA

Hold on to those old letters, especially the ones where a saliva sample may be preserved under a stamp or where the envelope was sealed. Here's a recent blog post by Denise May Levenick at thefamilycurator.com explaining how to preserve the artifact and prospects for DNA analysis.

via an item in David Rajotte's Documentary Heritage News

Findmypast add to Yorkshire Burials

1,101 records added to those for Sheffield, St Thomas Brightside brings the total for that parish in Findmypast's collection to 9,929 burials. They are part of the Yorkshire Burial collection which is now 4,813,651 records.

According to Wikipedia St Thomas Brightside was closed and deconsecrated in 1979 and is now a circus training centre.

OGS and OPL cooperate on Local History & Genealogy Drop-In Club

A reminder of the six genealogy drop-in sessions scheduled at the Nepean Centrepointe branch of the Ottawa Public Library.
Knowledgeable local volunteers from the Ottawa Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society, will be present along with OPL staff in Room 1B to help all comers.
The scheduled two-hour Tuesday sessions, starting at 2 pm, are: May 1, 15, 29; June 26; July 10, 24.

More here.

28 April 2018

BC Catholic Newspapers

The Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver is showing the way for those archivists who continue to practise hording records; and for those with large newspaper collections who refuse to digitize.
Now available free online are issues of the BC Western Catholic 1912 to 1914 and The Bulletin 1917 to 1929. And there's an 1892 collection of The Month, available either for individual months or as one consolidated annual file. It even has meteorological observations!
The ad shown, blatant racism in November 1918, reminds us of L. P. Hartley's "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." The same issue has an article on the Irish contribution to allied forces in the Great War, and on the influenza epidemic.

Reminder: A Blast from the Past - Ottawa’s Weather at its Worst

27 April 2018

Findmypast adds Surrey Baptism Transcipts

These 476,784 baptismal transcripts for 180 parishes in total include records from many locations you might think of as London—Battersea, Bermondsey, Lambeth, Southwark.
The earliest are from 1537, the latest 1901.

The transcripts are the work of the West Surrey Family History Society. Check the Society website for a map of parishes.

Some other Surrey collections at Findmypast include:

Surrey County Gaol Deaths 1798-1878
Surrey feet of fines 1558-1760
Surrey feet of fines place list
Surrey Quarter Sessions 1780 -1820
Surrey, Southwark, St Saviour Poor Relief 1818-1821
Surrey Recruitment Records
Surrey, Military Tribunals 1915-1918
Surrey, Southwark, Newington Apprentice Register 1891
Surrey & South London Will Abstracts, 1470-1856
Surrey Peculiars Probate index, 1660-1751
Surrey, Southwark, St George the Martyr Mortuary Register 1880-1891

Library and Archives Canada Introduces Co-Lab

Co-Lab is the next step for LAC's crowdsourcing transcription, and more. Pilot projects in 2016 and 2017 were completed in a timely manner—enough to encourage LAC to move on to this larger scale initiative.
Go to http://co-lab.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng for an introduction and 17 step tutorial on how to use the system.

There are presently 4 collections for transcription, translation, tagging and description.

In English
Rosemary Gilliat (Eaton)’s Arctic diary and photographs
2% complete
Correspondence between Sir Robert Borden and Sir Sam Hughes
26% complete

In French
New France and Indigenous relations
0% complete
Letters from Wilfrid Laurier to Zoé Lafontaine/Laurier
24% complete

My impression a week after launch is that Co-Lab is off to a slow start. That's not bad as bugs can be worked out without inconveniencing too many people.
Asking for transcription, translation, tagging and description may be too much all at once.  The previous projects were just transcription. We'll see.

26 April 2018

Populations Past – Atlas of Victorian and Edwardian Population

This map shows the percent population that were Irish-born in England and Wales in 1861. The Liverpool area you'd expect, but did you expect Farnham to be a hotspot? I suspect it's military personnel.

This is an example of the type of information to be found at a new interactive website http://populationspast.org exploring demographic and social change using maps of the UK 1851-1911.
You can explore a long list of demographic and household indicators and how these changed:

Population density
Type of place
Total Fertility Rate
Total Marital Fertility Rate
Legitimate birth rate
Illegitimate birth rate
Illegitimacy Ratio
Age at marriage (female)
Age at marriage (male)
Celibacy (women)
Celibacy (men)
Infant Mortality Rate
Early Childhood Mortality Rate
Lone parent households
Single person households
Households with boarders
Households with kin
Households with live-in servants
Dependency ratio
Child dependency ratio
Old age dependency ratio
Irish born
Sex ratio
SES 1: non-manual high skilled
SES 2: non-manual low skilled
SES 3: manual high skilled
SES 4: manual low skilled
SES 5: manual unskilled
RG's class 1: professional
RG's class 2: non-manual skilled
RG's class 3: manual skilled
RG's class 4: manual semi-skilled
RG's class 5: manual unskilled
RG's class 6: textile workers
RG's class 7: miners
RG's class 8: agricultural labourers
Married women working
Single women working
Widowed women working
Domestic servants (women)
Textile workers (female)
Children per teacher
Girls aged 10-13 working
Boys aged 10-13 working
Girls aged 14-18 working
Boys aged 14-18 working.

The facility is a product of The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure which provides several other demographic resources.

via a tweet from Debbie Kennett.

Ottawa Branch OGS April Meeting

For those interested in local history I can recommend Howard J. Simkover's presentation at Ottawa Branch OGS' meeting on Saturday, 28 April (1:30 pm) George A. Snider, his sign, and his family which I heard last year at the Historical Society of Ottawa.

In 2011, a building on Bank St. was removed from the block between Laurier and Slater. The opening up of this space revealed a sign (G.A. Snider, Photographer) painted on the side of a three storey, redbrick building at the southwest corner of Bank and Slater.

Any talk by Kyla Ubbink is to be recommended. Kyla will present Preserving Family Archives in the Genealogy: Back to Basics session at 10:30 am.

As usual the presentations are on the last Saturday of the month at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive (Room 115), to be followed at about 3:00 pm by the computer interest group meeting.

25 April 2018

Genetic Genealogy Test Review

Best DNA Test for Ancestry is an article at smarterhobby.com by Mark Orwig which answers many of the DNA questions I get. If you didn't get them answered already give it a try — it's right up to date. Just be aware that availability and pricing vary by country.
www.smarterhobby.com/ also has an archive of Mark's posts that could answer more specific DNA questions, like tests for African American or Jewish ancestry — even dogs, and under Guides articles on other hobbies.

Premiere: New Acquisitions at Library and Archives Canada

This new exhibition which opened on Tuesday evening is well worth the detour if you're in the vicinity of Library and Archives Canada at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa.

The eclectic collection of items new to LAC include a design for a never-produced prototype of the ill-fated Avro Arrow airplane, and a book printed in Quebec from the 1700s dealing with a mysterious (at the time) illness now thought to have been a form of syphilis with suggestions for treatment.

There's a manuscript of a play by writer Jane Urquhart when she was a child, a student of Dora Mavor Moore, and one of the oldest books in the collection making its first public appearance: Mivachar Ha-Peninim (Choice of Pearls) by Solomon Ibn Gabirol, published in 1484 appropriately advising that treasures are to be shared.

And much more.

The free exhibition, expected to run until December, is in the salon at the end of the corridor to the right as you enter the building (it's good to see LAC taking back more of the ground floor space).

Thanks to Dino Roberge of LAC Communications for providing a better copy of the image than I was able to get at the event.

Ancestry updates U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1960

There are now 5,395,724 records sourced from NARA, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85. This used to be known as the St. Albans records even though that's just one of the ports of entry included.
The database generally includes:
Birth date
Names of individuals accompanied by
Name of nearest relative or friend in former country
Name of nearest relative or friend at destination

HSO April Meeting

Friday 27 April, 2018 - Randy Boswell -- Ottawa's Original Renaissance Man: Dr. Edward Van Cortlandt

Details: For more than 40 years during Ottawa's transformation from backwoods Bytown to burgeoning capital of a new Dominion, the pioneer physician, naturalist and polymathic public intellectual Dr. Edward Van Cortlandt helped shape the city, its founding institutions and coalescing civic culture. Recent research has revealed the remarkable depth and range of Van Cortlandt's contributions to early Ottawa and illuminated his enduring imprint on the history of the capital and the country.

Biography: Randy Boswell is a professor at Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication, where he conducts historical research while continuing to work as a freelance writer and editor. During a long and varied career as a journalist with the Ottawa Citizen and Postmedia News, Boswell developed a unique national history beat that pushed edgy stories about Canada's past onto front pages across the country. Among his recent writings were an Ottawa Citizen front-page feature on the history of the marble cornerstone of the Parliament Buildings — which kicked off the newspaper's special coverage of the Canada 150 anniversary — a scholarly article revealing the origins of the 19th-century sawdust pollution controversy on the Ottawa River, published by the academic journal Histoire Sociale/Social History, and a magazine piece that solved the mystery behind Elvis Presley's 1956 mega-hit "Heartbreak Hotel", published by Rolling Stone.

24 April 2018

Two Billionth Image Added at FamilySearch

A news release from FamilySearch announced a milestone "The genealogy giant’s free online databases of digitized historical documents have now surpassed 2 billion images of genealogy records with millions more being added weekly from countries around the world."

"FamilySearch currently adds over 300 million new images a year online from its microfilm to digital and field operations efforts."

"A host of online volunteers (See FamilySearch Indexing), partners, and emerging technologies help to eventually create searchable name indexes to the images ..."

As much as FamilySearch is to be congratulated I was a bit surprised at the mention of Indexing. There are no projects going on for Canada, and haven't been for a long while -- I've been checking.

Where is the effort going? 11 indexing projects for Italy, 8 for the USA, 4 for Germany Brazil, and 3 each for France, Peru, South Africa, Sweden, UK and Venezuela. 

For the UK two are for England and one military:

  • UK, England, Lincolnshire—Parish Registers, 1538–1990 [Part B]
  • UK, England—Bedfordshire Parish Registers, 1754–1983
  • UK—War Office Registers, Enlistment Rolls 1772–1935 [Part B].
There are no projects for Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Family Tree May 2018

Here's the comprehensive table of contents for the May 2018 issue of Family Tree including sections I generally don't list.

Family history news
Latest news with Karen Clare, including the online launch of the IWM’s War Memorials Register and one of the largest church festivals in Europe marking two major anniversaries of interest to family historians.
Walking ancestral homelands
Join David Venner as he walks in the footsteps of his forebears along a 50-mile riverside trail in Somerset and discovers family connections to the countryside and towns back to the 16th century.
Dear Tom
Get your monthly fix of genealogical gems and funnies with Tom Wood.
Comment: The article includes mention of the first name Singular. FreeBMD has 1 birth, 2 marriages and 3 deaths by that name. Ancestry's collection has about 30 BMD mentions  and 11 census mentions in the US. In Canada there are 2 BMD mentions and 2 in censuses.
Get your hands on history
Delve into a wealth of genealogical treasures with Helen Tovey as we explore some of the nation’s key archives and their websites and show ways we can use them to find clues about our family history.
Comment: A helpful overview of the National Archives, National Records of Scotland, National Archives or Ireland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, British Library, National Library of Wales, National Library or Scotland, National Library of Ireland.
3 questions my mother left unanswered
Bernard Barker grew up in a respectable home where curiosity was encouraged, but after his mother died, questions formed in his mind about the past.
The feel of fashion: 1880s & 1890s
Learn about the clothing worn by your late-Victorian ancestors with dress historian Jayne Shrimpton.
Building a better future
The housing crisis is nothing new, reports Amanda Randall as she explores the history of purpose-built towns created to improve the lives of our ancestors, right back to the 1700s.
A breaking point survived
Keith Gregson investigates the Spring Offensive of 1918, a series of attacks by the Germans along the Western Front towards the end of the brutal Great War. Many of our ancestors would have been seen action, been taken prisoner or lost their lives.
The lunch-hour genealogist
Squeeze just 60 minutes of family history into your daily routine and you'll soon see your tree start to blossom. Get cracking with Rachel Bellerby’s suggested projects and genealogical crossword fun.
Family Tree Academy
Improve your family history research skills with our Family Tree Academy, which has case studies to research, old documents to decipher and answers to last issue’s challenges. Tutor David Annal takes you through your genealogical paces.
Banished from Britain
The Irish poor Discover the Irish paupers who found themselves forced home from England, Scotland and Wales. Chris Paton finds rich pickings for genealogists in lesser-known records of poverty-stricken families.
Enjoy some of the latest genealogical reads with Karen Clare, including a Q&A with author Steve Ward about his new book on the life of Britain's founder of the modern circus.
Great War memorials project
Simon Wills finds out about a project that is proving to be a wonderful digital resource for family historians researching Warwickshire men killed in WW1.
Family Tree Subscriber Club
Don’t miss this issue’s exclusive competitions and discounts for subscribers to Family Tree.
The men who said no
This issue in her monthly website spotlight, Julie Goucher delves into a thought-provoking resource recording the history of conscientious objectors during the Great War.
Comment: Interesting database at http://www.menwhosaidno.org/.
Techy tips for family historians
Make the most of digital devices, websites, apps and gadgets, with genealogical web guru Paul Carter.
Spotlight on Bedfordshire Family History Society
Geoff Sewell and Mary Wooldridge introduce a family history society that has been helping people explore their ancestry for more than 40 years.
Latest exploits from our tree-tracing diarist Gill Shaw.
A taste of home
Learn all about the work of the unsung heroes and heroines of the NAAFI, who dished up a taste of home to thousands of members of the Armed services during WW2, with John Leete.
Coming next in Family Tree
Your Q&As: advice
Get top family history help with Mary Evans, Jayne Shrimpton, David Frost, Tim Lovering & guests.
Diary Dates
Find family history exhibitions, courses and events for your calendar this May.
Your entertaining and informative letters and Keith Gregson’s Snippets of War, plus crossword answers.
Comment. Includes Calgary genealogist Wayne Shepheard's recommendation of the book A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe’s Encounter with North America (Harvard University Press, 2017) by Sam White. 
Your adverts
Thoughts on...
Diane Lindsay is haunted by the story of a beautiful and tragic great-aunt who died in childbirth.

Did you know Family Tree is on Facebook < https://www.facebook.com/familytreemaguk/> and on Twitter <@familytreemaguk/>.

23 April 2018

Findmypast adds Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, and Somerset Registers & Records

For Northumberland you can now explore:
Early Deeds Relating to Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1100-1600;
records of baptisms, marriages, banns and burials in:
Parish Registers of Alnham, Ceadnell, Chatton & Ilderton, 1688-1812;
and baptisms, marriages and burials in
Parish Registers of Edlingham, 1658-1812
Parish Registers of Halton, 1654-1812
Parish Registers of Ingram, 1682-1812.

For Nottinghamshire five publications covering parish registers from the parishes of Gedling and Warsop, Archdeaconry Court Marriage Licenses and Parish Register Transcripts from the Peculiar of Southwell, the history of the county and its highways and byways.

Records for Rutland are augmented by Registers of North Luffenham, 1565-1832 containing baptisms, marriages, burials and monumental inscriptions.

Somerset adds material from volumes of the publication Dwelly's Parish Records;
Bishop’s Transcripts from Wells Diocesan Registry, Parish Registers from Chipstable, Raddington, Kittisford, Pitcombe and Wilton, as well as Wells Cathedral Monumental Inscriptions and Heraldry.

All are transcriptions sourced from the collection of the Anguline Research Archives which is well worth browsing, especially for your English counties of interest.

Celebrate St George's Day

Join me in celebrating English heritage with these tributes to ancient and beloved traditions.

Tongue in cheek.

22 April 2018

A Blast from the Past - Ottawa’s Weather at its Worst

My next talk is for the Gloucester Historical Society on Sunday, 29 April following a brief Society AGM.
Society President Glenn Clark arranged for some publicity with Erin McCracken, reporter for the local paper, Community Voice of 12 April, 2018.
Here, with permission from Erin, is the text of the article.
There’s something about extreme weather that gets people talking.
“Its something they’ve got experience with. Weather means things to people. It affects their lives,” said John D. Reid, a retired weather expert, author and local historian. “And it keeps on delivering.”
The long-time Hunt Club resident will share his research on some of Ottawa’s extreme weather events during a presentation hosted by the Gloucester Historical Society.
During his upcoming talk at the Greenboro Community Centre on April 29, at 2 p.m., called A Blast from the Past - Ottawa’s Weather at its Worst,’ Reid will delve into:
the ice storm of 1998-99,
the snow storm of 1970-71,
the deadly hurricane-force winds of 1888 that wrought damage across the city and blew down the Roman Catholic Church in Billings Bridge, and 
• the Great Fire of 1870 that devastated the Ottawa Valley and parts of Gloucester Township. “This had almost died down by the time it got to Gloucester and then a big wind storm came up,” Reid said. “It fanned the flames.” 
Reid has been blending his passion for historical research with aspects of his former career as a weather forecaster, then as an atmospheric research scientist before eventually serving as director of policy and international affairs for the Meteorological Service of Canada.
In his upcoming presentation, he will go back as far as the days
of Samuel de Champlain to talk of the first mention of weather in the Ottawa Valley, as well as share the warmest and coldest recorded days in Ottawa and photos of major events, such as the ice storm of 1942.
One key source of historical weather information was William Upton, whose farm is where the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club is today in the Hunt Club community. He kept diaries, which included weather and temperatures.
Late in the winter of 1869, Upton described extreme snowfalls and impassable roads.
“He talks about having to dig a trench to get his cow in the bam,” Reid said, adding there was flooding when milder weather finally arrived in late April and the snow melted.
Glenn Clark, a Blossom Park resident and president of the Gloucester Historical Society, which has its headquarters in Leitrim, said his own family was impacted by some of Ottawa’s most severe weather events.
His great grandfather, Timothy Cutts, was moving his family in 1869 from Ottawa to Gloucester Township. That winter, the area was hammered by blizzard after blizzard.
Cutts got caught up in one especially severe snow storm and had to find shelter in a home at Bank Street and Hunt Club Road.
“That’s part of our family lore,” Clark said. “He got stopped in his tracks by this horrendous blizzard.”
In 1888, a storm with hurricane-force winds whipped across much of Ottawa and the township. The former Ellwood school was damaged and some of the schoolchildren sought refuge at the Cutts’ home, half a block away in what is today the Banff-Ledbury area.
“One of my earliest memories is weather-related,” Clark recalled of a bad storm that hit in June 1958.
His mother got Clark and his brother ready to flee their Blossom Park home when a barn across the street was struck by lightning and caught fire.
“There was hay in the loft and it was blowing across Bank Street onto the roof of our house,” he said, adding his father and uncle were on the roofs of their homes with hoses to douse any hot spots.
Weather events unique to each generation offer a deeper connection to community, said Reid.
“As you live here and start researching things, you realize there’s some interesting history here,” he said.
His free presentation, which begins with the historical society’s annual general meeting, takes place at the Greenboro Community Centre, located at 363 Lorry Greenberg Dr.

The weather predicted for the 29th is far from its worst with temperatures a bit below seasonal.

Ottawa Electors' Lists

Tucked away in a corner of the Ottawa Public Library's Ottawa Room are a series of oversize bound volumes of municipal electors' lists. According to the OPL catalogue they are for 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1988, and 1991. The books, organized by ward, poll, street and house number, give first and last name.
A more limited selection of lists for Kanata are at the Beaverbook library.
These nicely compliment the collection Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980 provided by Ancestry.ca where the lists for 1979 and 1980 are in most cases unusable owing to text bleed-through on the image.

21 April 2018

Sale Prices for DNA Day

The week of DNA Day, 25 April, is one of the best times of the year to buy a test for genetic genealogy. Check your preferred service provider. Prices are in USD and shipping is extra.

Family Tree DNA





Advance Notice: Toronto and Montreal Welcome the Great Famine Voices Roadshow

The Great Famine Voices Roadshow is a series of open house events in the United States and Canada that bring together Irish emigrants, their descendants, and members of their communities to share family memories and stories of coming from Ireland to North America, especially during the period of the Great Hunger and afterwards.
the event will be in Toronto on 22 May and Montreal on 27 May. Find our more at http://www.strokestownpark.ie/great-famine-voices-roadshow/

20 April 2018

Findmypast adds British Army Officers' Widows' Pension Forms 1755-1908

Each result for these 13,150 records from The (UK) National Archives series WO 42: War Office: Officers’ Birth Certificates, Wills and Personal Papers provides a transcript and images of the original records.

Transcripts usually includes the soldier's name, wife's first name, his birth year, their date of marriage, regiment, his death date, and more. The images include an application form and often certificates or letters showing marriage and death.

Based on a sample of 500 cases their median year of marriage is 1812 and median year of death 1832.

Most served with the various numbered Regiments of Foot and Veteran Battalions also in the sample were those whose service was with the King's German Legion, Galway Militia, Six Nations Indian Dept, Royal Waggon Train, Bengal Staff Corps, Newfoundland Fencibles, and Nova Scotia Fencible Infantry.

Casting call for Canadian DNA Diners

The following opportunity is from Ancestry.ca

Know someone who is curious about their roots?

Do they want to know what makes them unique? Have they always wondered where their ancestors came from? They can explore their cultural origins through the magic of DNA analysis on Gusto’s new culinary adventure show.

Ancestry in partnership with Gusto Worldwide Media and Bell Media Inc. is pleased to announce a groundbreaking new tv series about discovering your roots and exploring them through food.

Applicants must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, at least 19 years of age as of April 1, 2018 and must be available for up to 7 consecutive days for filming this year. To apply, click here. Application terms and conditions here.

Food for thought?

Tomorrow in Ottawa: Discover Your Roots: Genealogy and Local History Fair

All welcome at 101 Centrepointe
Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, Nepean on Saturday, 21 April, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Here's what's happening.

10:00 – 3:00 in the Atrium:  Exhibitors’ Hall
10:00 – 3:00 in the Library 2nd floor, Resource Room: Genealogy specialists on hand to answer your questions!


10:00 – 10:40 in the Chamber:    Discover Your Roots: Getting Started
Have you ever wondered about your family's history?  Where did they come from?  How did they live?  This talk by Barbara Tose and Glenn Wright will help you get started, find information online and organize your results.  It will also tell you where to get help along the way.  Everything you need to get started - all in one place!

10:40 – 11:00 in the Chamber: Finding Your Roots with DNA
The DNA inherited from your parents in trillions of cells of your body has a story to tell.  You've seen the TV ads showing people surprised at their DNA test results and maybe heard people casting doubt on the reliability.  In this short talk by John D Reid find out about the reality of DNA testing, which has revolutionized family history research, its amazing capabilities and its limitations.

11:00 – 11:30 in the Chamber: Question and Answer Session
Genealogists are here to answer your questions!

11:00 – 11:45 in Room 1B: Building and Sharing Your Family Tree
There are many options for building and sharing your family tree: paper or electronic forms, family tree software, online family trees on sites like Ancestry or MyHeritage, and collaborative family tree websites such as WikiTree.  Leanne Cooper explores the key features, pros and cons of each, along with things to consider when making the choice.

11:45 – 12:30 in Room 1B: “I have my DNA results.  What do I do now?”
Your inherited DNA links you to potentially thousands of new cousins - some closer than others.  Susan Courage helps you find out about what you will learn from different DNA tests; how to determine where to start when you get your results back; and the resources and tools available to you to decode the science and apply in practice.

12:30 – 1:00 in Room 1B: Patrimoine familial francophone (en français)
Francine Gougeon, présidente de l’Association du patrimoine familial francophone de l’Ontario (APFFO), qui discutera l’Association et l’importance de préserver le patrimoine familial.

1 :30 – 2 :30 in the Chamber: Ottawa’s Most Lost
Join David McGee, creator of the popular Lost Ottawa Facebook group, for an entertaining tour of the top ten things that people miss in our fair city, as voted by you the people – think malted milks at Freiman’s and you’ve got the idea!

All activities are free. Registration not required.  Offered by the Ottawa Public Library in partnership with British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.

19 April 2018

TheGenealogist adds another 64,920 War Memorial records and 13,487 new headstone records.

A press release from TheGenelogist gives information on an eclectic mix of 64,920 War Memorial records just added:
- a complete roll of honour for both WW1 and WW2 for Shetland, with men's units and the Shetland village in which they had resided. - other war memorials including the Abercarn Tinplaters Memorial Institute in Wales.
- plaques and monuments in Bedford, Bolton, Lancashire, London, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Warwickshire and even further afield.
- a fascinating, but sadly very worn, WW2 memorial from Calgary that names 227 aircrew from Australia and New Zealand who died while training in Canada.
- from the USA WW1 and WW2 war memorials from New York, including a fine one in Battery Park, a roll of those men and women who lost their lives in the Atlantic coastal waters in WW2 and had no known grave as a result of U-boat action. The war memorial gives researchers the ranks, units and the US state from which they had come.
- a number of Boer War memorials - for example the tribute within Blackpool Town Hall that commemorates the 74 Blackpool men who volunteered to join various units for service in South Africa.

These new records and more are available as part of the Diamond Subscription at TheGenealogist.

Using DNA with Your One-Name Study

If like me you missed Maurice Gleeson's webinar presentation on Tuesday 17 April 2018, I did owing to a timing problem, it's now available for review.
Using DNA with Your One-Name Study, dealing mainly with Y-chromosome DNA, is available to everyone free for a limited time after which it will go into the Guild members only area, Don't miss the opportunity to view it.

OGS Kingston Branch April Meeting

The Kingston Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will meet on Saturday, April 21st at 9:45 a.m. at the Kingston Seniors Centre, 56 Francis St. in Kingston.  Kyla Ubbink, professional archival conservator from Ottawa, will speak on "Preservation of Documents and Photos".  Visitors always welcome.  Further details at www.kingston.ogs.on.ca

18 April 2018

Ottawa's New Library - "We're not building a box here"

Good news on a dreary day was a quote from the City of Ottawa Library Board Chair, Councillor Tim Tierney:
"We're not building a box here." 
His comment, which hopefully extends to a collection of boxes, came as the city released a list of five teams in the running to design the joint Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada superlibrary at 557 Wellington Street.

Here's the list with links where you'll find showcase projects they have been involved with:

Bing Thom Architects (Canada) – GRC Architects (Canada)
Diamond Schmitt Architects (Canada) - KWC Architects (Canada)
Mecanoo International b.v. (Holland) - NORR Architects & Engineers Ltd (Canada)
Patkau Architects (Canada) - MSDL Architects (Canada) – GRC Architects (Canada)
Schmidt/hammer/lassen/ architects (Denmark) - KPMB Architects (Canada) - Hobin Architecture Inc. (Canada).

Library and Archives Canada Departmental Plan 2018-19

Tabling of the 2018-19 Estimates for the Government of Canada, including Departmental Plans, was delayed from previous years, until Monday 16 April.

Here's the bottom line for LAC. Spending drops in 2018-19 from the previous year, still above the 2016-17 level, then increases with the start on the new archival facility in Gatineau.
As a client and genealogist I'll focus here on the Providing Access to Documentary Heritage component of the plan. That's not to downplay the vital "behind the curtains" parts of the mandate that are essential if there is to be something to access now and for the future.
Librarian and Archivist Guy Berthaiume's opening message highlights:
"First, for client service and access to our collection, we are implementing an agreement with the Online Computer Library Centre (OCLC) co-operative to create a new union catalogue that will provide Canadians with easier access to the resources of hundreds of the country’s libraries. The digitizing of some 640,000 Canadian Expeditionary Force records, which we expect to complete in 2018, will also increase access to our documentary heritage."
"To showcase our collection, we will move ahead with two major new projects to preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages and cultures. See Our History will digitize records in our collection relating to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, while Hear Our Voices will help Indigenous communities to record their oral histories."
To support its Indigenous languages and cultures initiative LAC receives a spending increase of $4.3 million.

Genealogy (genealogists) are mentioned three times; two are repeats with virtually the same wording.

Again this year there is no mention of newspapers or newspaper digitization. Considering the value of newspapers as an historical resource for all sectors of society this is a continuing blind spot in an otherwise admirable program. Why the neglect?

Something new. To increase online access to its collection "LAC will experiment with a crowdsourcing web platform where the public can transcribe and describe contents of the collection to make them findable and accessible." This follows the two crowdsourced transcription projects run in the last two years judged as successful. LAC introduced this capability, call Co-Lab, on Tuesday 17 April 2018.

This is part of the content of one of the two highlights boxes included. The other most welcome one is: "The “Dragon’s Den” activity in 2017–18 as part of Blueprint 2020 was a great success. LAC will repeat it in 2018–19, to take advantage of its employees’ creative skills and to use their ideas. Employees are invited to present innovative projects to the LAC’s “dragons.” Projects selected have resources allocated for their development ($25,000 per project)."

This table shows two of the performance benchmarks included which have a history, there are others with none. We will have to wait to see how the target compares with the achievement in the fiscal year just ended. I'd hoped for more ambitious targets.

There is no mention of the initiative of a co-located service facility with the Ottawa Public Library.

OGS Quinte Branch April Meeting

The Quinte Branch of Ontario Genealogical Society meets on 21 April, 2018 when Peter and Angela Johnson UE present "United Empire Loyalists - applying for UEL standing".
At Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Dr, Trenton 1-3 pm. Everyone welcome, bring a friend.
Visit www.quinte.ogs.on.ca and  facebook.com/QuinteBranch.OGS

Frederick Alexander Mitchell: CWGC Beechwood

Drafted on 12 March 1918 Frederick Alexander Mitchell, posted to Canadian Infantry 1st Depot Battalion (Eastern Ontario) in Kingston, reported sick on 13 April 1918. Admitted to Hotel Dieu Hospital he was diagnosed with typhoid fever and pneumonia and died 5 days later.
He was born on 15 August 1895, occupation tailor, the son of John and Lucy Mitchell, of 505 Cooper St., Ottawa according to his military and death records.

17 April 2018

Book Review: Children's Homes

Children's Homes: a history of institutional care for Britain's young. By Peter Higginbotham. Published by Pen and Sword (Oct. 17 2017)
ISBN-10: 1526701359; ISBN-13: 978-1526701350
Paperback $26.73 Cdn on Amazon
Kindle $18.58 Cdn.

Peter Higginbotham is best known for www.workhouses.org.uk/, a goldmine of information for anyone with ancestors who were in or connected to a British workhouse.

Most of us have a workhouse connection. We may not know it. Apparently UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn had a great-great-grandfather who was "the despotic master of the Farnham workhouse." Even more have a connection to a children's home.

From 1552 and the founding of Christ's Hospital in London, to 2016 when its final chapter was written, Peter Higginbotham's latest book recounts the story of the means by which society dealt with orphaned and indigent children, and those abused by parents or guardians.

The first three chapters deal with the evolution of the "system"—the  term giving the impression of more organization than existed. Many children would have fallen between the cracks, especially in earlier times.

The heart of the book is chapters on the various organizations. Barnardo's, National Children's Homes, Waifs and Strays familiar because they migrated many children to Canada, merit their own chapters. Others relate to various specialized homes. The is a separate chapter on Emigration Homes covering some of the less prominent organizations who emigrated children.

If researching a particular child the chapter Children's Home Records will be one to turn to. To learn about their likely experience read the chapter Life in Children's Homes.
Some of the other material is detailed and more useful as reference for the family history researcher once they are able to narrow their interest.

There's also food for thought for the social historian interested in the way society ideas on the best way to deal with children who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances have evolved.

The book concludes with 10 pages of references and notes, an 6-page bibliography and 8-page index.

This blog post is based on a review copy received from the publisher.

Britain from Above

Over 95,000 images taken from the air dating from 1919 to 1953 are on the website Britain From Above. It includes urban, suburban, rural, coastal and industrial scenes. Chances are there's something of interest for locations in your family history.

With England, Scotland and Wales the focus it's easy to overlook the images for the island of Ireland and other nearby jurisdictions.

On the topic of geography, don't overlook the massive collection of maps for all areas available through Old Maps Online

16 April 2018

Stephen Harper: LAC's million dollar man

According to the Main Estimates for 2018–19 tabled in Parliament on Monday Library and Archives Canada is proposed to receive a net increase of $4.5 million over the 2017–18 Main Estimates.  The changes are:

An increase of $4.3 million for the revitalization of Indigenous languages and cultures initiative;
An increase of $2.3 million for negotiated salary adjustments;
An increase of $1.1 million for the private records of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper;An increase of $0.5 million for adjustments to the contributions to employee benefits plans; and
A decrease of $3.7 million for the implementation of the Long Term Real Property Plan.
The full LAC Departmental Plan 2018-19 which might have further details is yet to be posted.

MyHeritage expands DNA Quest

More than 10,000 applications have been submitted so far to receive free MyHeritage DNA kits to help adoptees and their birth families reunite through genetic testing. They are all from the USA which was the initial target.
Now MyHeritage is opening the offer internationally until the quota of 15,000 kits is filled, or the end of April, whichever come first.
Find out more and apply at www.dnaquest.org/

Casualty Identification at DND

Were you one of the Ottawa genealogists, and others, who missed the main presentation Identifying the Remains of Canadian Soldiers from the First and Second World Wars by Dr. Sarah Lockyer at the BIFHSGO meeting on Saturday 14 April 2018?

If so you can review much of the material presented at the the Casualty Identification section of the DND Directorate of History and Heritage website. It includes information on more cases than there was time to present at the meeting.

I was impressed by the achievement given that Dr Lockyear revealed she is the sole full-time staff member, assisted by part-time staff, and operates with a budget of $100,000.

There was a lively question period following the presentation.

Asked about the budget she replied that any increase would have to come from funds for more immediately pressing DND responsibilities.

There is a backlog of (30?) unresolved cases. Puzzlement was expressed that more is not being done to solicit the help of the public in solving these cases, such as by presenting what is known, including DNA profiles, in a public database.

I was surprised that only mitochondrial and Y-chromosome STR DNA data is being employed when there is now the capability of extracting much more from degraded samples. That could lead to improved probability and more definitive identification.

I was also surprised that in one of the recent cases presented DNA evidence was not obtained. A review panel judged the other evidence was sufficiently conclusive, apparently without any quantitative assessment of the confidence in that conclusion.

Paul Milner reviews Manorial Records for Family Historians by Geoffrey Barber

Book reviews are a staple of Paul Milner's blog/website although it's a staple that would leave one famished, he doesn't post often. The previous review was in January.
This time Paul reviews Manorial Records for family historians. By Geoffrey Barber, published by UnlockThePast Publications.
Read the review here.

15 April 2018

CEF Service Files Update for April 2018

As of 15 April 2018 there are 581,553 (568,203 last month) of about 640,000 files available online in the LAC Personnel Records of the First World War database.

The latest box available is 9,926 and last name Venables (Timson).

At the last month's rate the last file will be online in September.

Don't dismay, spring is on its way

Thankfully we mostly dodged the snow bullet at Gene-O-Rama and BIFHSGO's event on Saturday. Attendance was down, expected with two simultaneous genealogy events and the dismal forecast. 
Signs of spring; birds are singing—and shivering.
Get through another couple of miserable wet days then enjoy a nice warming trend with double digit temperatures predicted for the end of the week by the North American Ensemble Forecast System and continuing to warm.

Remittance Men

My short article Canada's Silver Spoon British Migrants is published on the site for the Secret Lives conference, 31 August - 2 September 2018.

Titanic Anniversary

William W Louttit: CWGC Beechwood

William Wallace Louttit was born 12 July 1891 in Castleford, Ontario.
He was single, son of William Louttit, a ticket agent for the CPR with paternal origin in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. His occupation was accountant (Assigned Pay Branch of the Militia Dept) and residence 86 Elm Street in Ottawa which was his father's address.
Having received an exemption the previous November until men in category B2 (fit for base units of the medical service, garrison, or regimental outdoor duty) were call up, he enlisted on 25 March 1918. In Ottawa he was quartered at Lansdowne Park while attached as a Gunner to the 74th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. Admitted to St Luke's Hospital on 9 April with a temperature of 105F he died of pneumonia, age 25, on 15 April 1918 having served less than one month.

George M Atchison: CWGC Beechwood

Honorary Captain George Milton Atchison died on this date of  epidemic cerebo-spinal meningitis.
Age 40, a bookkeeper prior to the war, he was employed with the audit branch of the Militia Department.
He was survived by his wife, Lena Maud Atchison (nee Whittaker), of 30 Euclid Avenue, and his father Joseph Atchison, of Woodbury, Conn., U.S.A. His mother was the late Adelaide Amelia Atchison (nee Tough).

14 April 2018

Maurice Gleeson Free Webinar: Using DNA with Your Study

Tuesday, 17 April, 2018 at 2:00 pm EDT (7:00 pm GMT) the Guild of One Name Studies invites you to the fifth in their webinar series—free and open to the public—both members and non-members welcome.
Popular genetic genealogist Maurice Gleeson will discuss Y-DNA projects and how they can be a very useful addition to a One-Name Study or Surname research.
Non-members will be able to attend the webinar live and/or watch the recording for one week after the webinar broadcast.

Register using this link.

Findmypast adds Waterford Registers & Records

The largest addition to Findmypast this week is 137,384 records comprising transcriptions from:
Freemen pre-1700 (1662-1700)
Freemen (1700-2006)
Freedom petitions (1824-1842)
Burgess list (1879-1893)
Langable rental (1832) – a langable was a term used for a rent roll
Register of electors – Waterford city (1900)
Register of electors – Centre Ward (1903)
Rate books (1906-1907)
Rate books – Centre Ward (1912)
Rate books – South Ward (1912)
Register of electors – Centre Ward (1913)
Register of electors – Custom Ward (1913)
City Council Members (1889-1895)
Trade directories (1824-1910)
Grave memorials/inscriptions
Lismore estate papers emigration record database (1815-1905).
The indexes are © Waterford City & County Council

13 April 2018

Forthcoming: Referencing for Genealogists: Sources and Citation

Is there a particularly British way for a genealogist to cite a source?
Publisher The History Press Ltd must think so as they will release this new book on 1 May.
A paperback of 144 pages the author is Ian G. Macdonald, BSc. PhD MSc.(Genealogical Studies) PGCE CITP CEng FBCS MIoD. The postnominals are from his listing at Chair of The Register of Qualified Genealogists (RQG).
As the organization's mission is "to improve standards of professional genealogical practice and deliver these improvements to customers for genealogical and family history services" this book is most appropriate.
According to this post "fees from the book will go directly to the Journal of Genealogy and Family History so buying a copy will be doubly beneficial to RQG."
The book is listed on Amazon.ca here.

FreeBMD April Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Wednesday 11 April 2018 to contain 267,316,381 distinct records (266,897,565 at last update).
Major additions, more than 5,000 entries, this month are: for births 1963-4, 1978-83; for marriages 1965-6, 1980, 1982-3; for deaths 1858, 1981-2.

12 April 2018

Five feet to the mile map of London, 1893-6

From the National Library of Scotland, a fabulously detailed map of late Victorian London.
What was the exact location and layout of the Royal Mews?
Where was the nearest public urinal to your ancestor's house?
What was on the site of The (UK) National Archives - this year celebrating its 40th year at its Kew location? It's all here.

BIFHSGO April Meeting

Saturday, 14 April
Identifying the Remains of Canadian Soldiers from the First and Second World Wars
10:00 am to 11:30 am
The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

Dr. Sarah Lockyer, from the Directorate of History and Heritage at the Department of National Defence, will talk about the Casualty Identification Program and its aims to identify the newly discovered skeletal remains of Canadian service members. The process involves many disciplines, including archaeology, history, forensic anthropology, genealogy and DNA analysis. She will explain the process, as well as the recent successful identification of Sergeant James Alexander Milne, who was laid to rest on August 25, 2017 alongside his fallen comrades in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Orchard Dump Cemetery near Arleux-en-Gohelle, France.

Dr. Lockyer will also discuss a recent case where identification was not possible: remains were buried on August 23, 2017 in CWGC’s Canadian Cemetery No. 2, in Neuville-St. Vaast, France as “A Canadian Soldier of the Great War. Known Unto God.” She will talk about the limits encountered by the Program, as well as its practices for inconclusive cases in the hopes that identification may be possible in the future.

Sarah Lockyer has a BSc in Anthropology from the Université de Montréal, an MSc in Forensic Archaeological Science from University College London, and a PhD in Bioarchaeology from Bournemouth University. She is the casualty identification coordinator for the Department of National Defence’s Directorate of History and Heritage and the Casualty Identification Program’s forensic anthropologist.

ICYMI: Recent identification of 9 more WW1 Australian soldiers. from the 1916 Battle of Fromelles.

The Before BIFHSGO presentation is:

No.1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station
9:00 am to 9:30 am
No.1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station was a medical unit of the Canadian Army Medical Corps located a few miles from the Front in World War I. It provided medical services to all soldiers wounded nearby, but the majority were British and Canadian soldiers. The chaplains stationed at No.1 CCCS kept journals of all deaths at the station. BIFHSGO volunteers transcribed the diaries and, as a WWI centenary project, decided to honour these soldiers by writing a short biography for each soldier. Sheila Dohoo Faure will explain how this research, almost exclusively based on public records, is done, how the biographies are written, and she will highlight a few interesting examples of soldiers’ lives.

11 April 2018

Advance Notice: Jane's Walk Ottawa

I've enjoyed participating in at least four Jane's Walks over the years. They're a great way to get to appreciate local history, and the environment in which your local ancestor lived.
Set aside time on Saturday & Sunday, May 5 & 6 for the 2018 edition of Ottawa's Jane's Walk. The program is yet to be set although I'm told there will be one on Saturday morning about the Old Bowesville Road.

Ancient DNA

Recent advances in ancient DNA analysis are exciting. Why?  An item from the BBC this morning explains.

How ancient DNA is transforming our view of the past

A second BBC item is specifically British.

Iron Age study targets British DNA mystery

These both highlight the work of David Reich and his lab at Harvard Medical School. I'm hoping to read his book Who we are and how we got here  and have suggested it as an acquisition for the Ottawa Public Library.

Pat Horan Memorial Lecture

Friday evening is the occasion for this annual named lecture of the Ottawa Branch of OGS, held as part of the opening session of Gene-O-Rama (pdf).

This year well known Ontario genealogist Ruth Burkholder will speak on What’s at the Archives of Ontario.

The event gets underway at 7:30 pm with opening remarks and a short LAC Update—New and Noteworthy by Lisa Tremblay-Goodyear.

The event is at the Confederation Education Centre, 1645 Woodroffe Avenue in Ottawa (Corner of Hunt Club & Woodroffe).

As in previous years there is no charge to attend this lecture.

10 April 2018

Coming to OGS Conference 2018 in Guelph

One of the speakers at the next OGS Conference I'd not heard of is Melanie McComb.
Melanie is the Social Media Coordinator for the non-profit NextGen Genealogy Network; OGS recently became a funding partner. I know little about NextGen beyond the name—perhaps as its a community of young genealogists.
I'd expected Melanie, who lives in Syracuse, NY, to be speaking on social media, so the topic of her first talk, Prince Edward Island Repositories and Records with a focus on Irish immigrants came as a surprise. It turns out her father's Irish family came through the province.
Her second talk is How to Incorporate NextGen Tech Into Your Research.
Find out more at her blog The Shamrock Genealogist.

WW2 Bombing Maps

In both world wars the Norfolk seaside town of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston-on-Sea, my childhood home town, was a target for German bombing. By the time I came along the bomb sites had been cleared— much of the land was vacant. Overgrown bomb sites and abandoned pill boxes made for informal play areas. There were still notices about bombs that might be washed up on the beach.

Like many communities Great Yarmouth has a variety of online resources on local history, one being Our Great Yarmouth. What I had not expected was a reproduction of a post war publication by the Borough Council commemorating the town's role containing day-by-day lists of air raids, photos of the damage, and a table showing 217 were killed and 588 injured.

At the end of the publication are maps of where the bombs fell. Given the number of bomb sites near where I lived I shouldn't have been surprised at the number than fell in the one square mile area shown.

Still in Norfolk, the Norfolk Record Office have detailed images of the bomb map for Norwich available to buy on CD.

The (UK) National Archives has a research guide to the Bomb Census survey records 1940-1945 which points to their archival resources. It reference a London map at http://bombsight.org/. You can likely find maps for other areas by Googling—examples are Birmingham and Liverpool.

09 April 2018

LAC Preservation Centre Virtual Tour, and more

Those of us living in the National Capital Region are fortunate to have the benefit of Federal facilities at hand. It's one of the reasons international diplomats actually choose to retire here. They, and we, don't stay for the weather!
I mentioned last week that I took (another) tour of the LAC Preservation Centre and was again impressed. If you've not had the chance for a tour the next best thing is a comprehensive podcast A Look inside the Preservation Centre (the source of the image of the exterior) together with a series of photos on Flickr.
Before the project it finished LAC should not overlook documenting the work going on in the Preservation Centre on digitization of the CEF service files. If asked I'd advise to do so in a short video made available on YouTube. In these days of limited attention spans people look for information in bite sized chunks, 5 minutes is ideal, and as videos.

Ottawa-born who died at Vimy, 9 April 1917

Today marks the 101st anniversary of the start of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Here is a probably incomplete list of those born in Ottawa who died on that day.

JOHN DOUGLASARMSTRONG28Canadian EngineersCanadian
CHARLES ANDREWBUTLER19Canadian InfantryCanadian
ALEXANDER ALLENHALKETT29Canadian InfantryCanadian
GORDON RUTHVENHERON33Canadian InfantryCanadian
FRANK CAMERONJAMIESON26Canadian InfantryCanadian
GEORGE GEOFFREYMAY23Canadian InfantryCanadian
ALBERT EDWARDMOSS32Canadian Machine Gun CorpsCanadian
GEORGE EDGARRUSSELL28Canadian InfantryCanadian
REGINALD LAWRENCESLADEN19Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
GEORGE ARTHURTHORNE21Royal Canadian RegimentCanadian

A total of 2,400 Canadian troops died on the day, according to CWGC.org, and 4,386 UK troops. Fighting at Vimy Canadians captured about 4,000 Germans while the UK troops fighting simultaneously at Arras captured 5,600 Germans.

Kingston United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada Banquet

Kingston and District Branch, UELAC invite one and all to their annual Banquet, to be held on Wednesday, 30 May, 6:00 pm for 6:30, at Minos Village Restaurant, 2762 Princess Street, Kingston. Plenty of free parking. Displays, door prizes, and a wonderful meal with your choice among three entrees.
Speaker is author Jennifer DeBruin who will discuss “The History of Slavery along the St. Lawrence River”. (Yes, plenty of Loyalists did arrive with human as well as material property.)
To see the menu and order form, go to http://www.uelac.org/Kingston-Branch/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2018-banquet-flyer.pdf

via a note from Nancy Cutway.

08 April 2018

Advance Notice: Jean Wilcox Hibben at Watertown and the storm of March 1888

Those within striking distance of Watertown, New York, should consider attending a talk by genealogist Jean Wilcox Hibben on Thursday 19 April.

Jean is on the board of the Genealogical Speakers Guild, and West Representative of the International Society of Family History Writers & Editors, on the APG board and was lead researcher for the first season of Genealogy Roadshow.

She is also half of the duo of Genealogy Journeys; a semi-monthly podcast on social history. The other half is Gena Philibert-Ortega who I met in Edmonton a year ago.

One of the recent Genealogy Journeys episodes that attracted me was about the Blizzard of 1888, northward from Chesapeake Bay from 11-13 March 1888. You get to hear the first part for free, the remainder is by subscription.
I wondered whether the storm hit Canada. Yes. Ottawa recorded 22.9 cm of snow. Train travel, the measure of weather disruption at the time, was halted. Montreal received 39.9 cm. Toronto escaped with 3.8 cm and Quebec City on the northern edge 5.6 cm.
Newspapers reported 300 fatalities along the US Atlantic coast with snowfall of 2 feet (61 cm) in New York City. It was mainly a rain event in Nova Scotia.

News about CanadianHeadstones.com

As announced in September last year CanadianHeadstones.com is now under the umbrella of the Ontario Genealogical Society.
While CanadianHeadstones.com continued to grow, there are now 1,905,422 gravestone photo records in the database, its previous status was an issue for some.
This week OGS announced that Canada Revenue Agency has approved the application of CanadianHeadstones.com for registered charity status. All donors, individuals and organizations, will now receive a charitable donation tax receipt. CRA lists that status as effective 7 November 2017.
Also this week Findmypast added an index to CanadianHeadstones.com to its collection—1,881,403 items. A search there will link to a transcript of the information. To see the headstone image follow the link to CanadianHeadstones.com where you repeat the search.
Ancestry.ca also includes information from the CanadianHeadstones.com collection, 1,460,310 items which were current as of September 2012.

Celebrate Scottish Heritage

I'm sadly lacking the celebratory spirit of Scottish heritage—my birthright as a Reid—not yet traced north of the border.

Just missed celebrating Tartan Day on 6 April.

International Bagpipe Day on 10 March slipped by with nary a skirl to enliven that dreary time of year.

25 January saw me nowhere near a portion of haggis, neeps and tatties accompanied by a recital of Address to a Haggis.

No celebration of the birthday of Canada's Founding Father and first Prime Minister, Sir John A Macdonald on 11 January.

I did go to the Hogmanay celebration at Lansdowne Park on 31 December, in time to see the New Year in at midnight (Edinburgh time.)

St Andrew's Day on 30 November alas passed uncelebrated.

You notice these all occur during the darkest dankest, and in Ottawa bitterly coldest time of the year.

Mind the gap! With the exception of Highland Games, this year the Glengarry version at Maxville is on 3-4 August—May to October remain bereft of an occasion to rejoice in Scottish heritage.

Six months is a long time to go with only that single break.

There's plenty to celebrate. May I suggest to competent authorities:

Sporran Day
Harris Tweed Day
Thistle Day
Shortbread Day
Arbroath Smokies Day

Other suggestions, or did I overlook something?

In 2018 BIFHSGO is helping fill the gap with its annual conference theme "Scottish Family History, DNA—an' a' that !" 28-30 September. Find out more here.

07 April 2018

LAC - DHCP Experience

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to be involved as a volunteer member of the external review committee for the Documentary Heritage Communities Program of Library and Archives Canada.

The day before the committee meeting we were treated to a tour of the LAC Preservation Centre—something I've done before—every time I learn something new.

In the room where CEF Service Files are digitized were boxes of processed files, some marked for additional attention, and with a small box beside each large one to account for additional processing material added. Digitization is running about 6 weeks ahead of the date on which the files are posted online. There's more material than originally thought. Files for 30 (?) additional soldiers have been found and the round number of soldiers often mentioned 640,000 is actually closer to 642,000.
It's clear that LAC staff have a lot of work to do in relation to materials sent on loan to other institutions—in preparation, shipping and returning items to the collection. Shown is one of a collection of boxes used for shipping and constructed to ensure the materials are well protected in transit.

I can't say much about the committee meetings—the final decision on projects to be funded is made by the Librarian and Archivist and committee recommendations are confidential.

Two committee members scrutinized each qualified proposal strictly against the evaluation criteria and benefited from a written review by an LAC subject expert. To be successful organizations making proposals need to be scrupulous in ensuring they clearly address the criteria, project timelines are reasonable and that budgets are well justified.

Over lunch the external review committee for the Documentary Heritage Communities Program was privileged to meet with Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume.
(Photo credit David Knox).