Wednesday, 20 March 2019

CWGC Evasive

A few weeks ago I made an enquiry to the Commonwealth War Grave Commission. Two tries did not yield the information I requested — just properly bureaucratic responses giving only information that is already available on the website.
I let it drop until yesterday, no point in pushing on wet noodles. Then I received an email with a link to respond to a survey on my satisfaction with their response. On clicking that link "Invalid Key" appeared. Responding directly to the request email returned "Address Not Found".
I'm not impressed.
That's in contrast to my admiration for the work of the Commission in caring for cemeteries and memorials and the information provided through

Spring Equinox 2019

The Vernal (Spring) equinox occurs today at 5:58 pm EDT, a few hours before the full moon crests at 9:42 pm. It's the closest coincidence of a full moon with the March equinox since 2000.

The idea that there are equinoctal gales was widely believed by our ancestors — embedded in the culture of earlier generations:

There began the sea, the tumult of which could be distinctly heard during the equinoctial gales.

"The Underground City" by Jules Verne
It was in the latter days of September, and the equinoctial gales had set in with exceptional violence.
"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" by Arthur Conan Doyle
Part of the cliff had been partially beaten down, no doubt, by the sea in some equinoctial gale.
"In Search of the Castaways" by Jules Verne

Perth & District Historical Society March Meeting

“The Fair Deal”

Our Society can expect to have a fair appeal to all who attend the March 21, 2019 meeting.  Loree Tannett returns, but with a different topic from her previous visit in February 2017.  This time, she takes us on a trip to the annual fall fair.

Fairs, in one form or another, have been around for centuries.  While they may exist for many reasons, it is the annual agricultural version we are most familiar with in our area - and the theme for our presentation.  Fairs in Canada are governed by the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, the umbrella group for the provincial organisations – for our province, the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies.  These local fairs can be large and extend for several days, or small, and measured in hours. 

When we were young, the annual fair was exhilarating, magical, fascinating – a feast for the senses.  For the adults, the fair was an opportunity to see the results of the year’s labours, whether for agricultural or the domestic arts.  The competitions touched on every imaginable category, from best in class farm animal or crop to the top product from the kitchen or the sewing basket – and they could be lively.  The fair was also a social activity, providing the opportunity to catch up on the latest news or gossip in the community.  Not least, the fairs helped the younger generation to develop, and receive recognition for, their skills through the 4H programmes. 

Loree, who has a longstanding interest in local fairs, has frequently entered the competitive fray with her own work, often successfully.  For her presentation, she will look at the background, history and evolution of the rural/agricultural fair found throughout Ontario and Canada.  It will also touch on a more recent attraction to the annual fair, the “Midway” - how it has altered the perception of the fair and has become so commonplace in the fairs of today.  A major challenge for modern-day fairs is ensuring that they remain relevant, and, while recognising the community’s roots, also adapt to changing times and attitudes. 

Please join us
Thursday, March 21, 2019- 7:30pm
at Perth's Royal Canadian Legion,
26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, (Toonie Donation).

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Genealogy Publisher F+W Media Files for Bankruptcy Protection

According to the 11 March 2019 Wall Street Journal, F+W Media Inc., the company behind the US Family Tree Magazine and marketer of enthusiast magazines, books, conferences, trade shows, and interactive media properties, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Wilmington, Delaware on Sunday. It has already laid off 40% of its workers.
Roberta Estes posts on her blog DNA Explained about the impact on her and many other independent genealogy entrepreneurs.
The company, through subsidiary Family Tree Books, is the publisher of many family history books including Blaine Bettinger's Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy and Tamar Weinberg's The Adoptee's Guide to DNA Testing which I'm currently reading.

LAC Co-Lab Update

Here's an update on Co-Lab projects since last month.


Legendary train robber and prison escapee Bill Miner is 56% complete (50% last month).

War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division is 92% complete (41% last month).

The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters is 72% complete (71% last month).

Rosemary Gilliat (Eaton)’s Arctic diary and photographs is 34% complete (33% last month).


Japanese-Canadians: Second World War is 64% complete.

New France and First Nations relations is 22% complete.


The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918–1919.

Correspondence between Sir Robert Borden and Sir Sam Hughes.

Letters from Wilfrid Laurier to Zoé Lafontaine/Laurier.

Thomas J Moxley, CWGC Beechwood

Born in Ottawa on 4 June 1899 Private Thomas James Milton Moxley (510390) was the son of Milton and Florence Grant (nee Hill) Moxley. His father, a stonemason, died in January 1907 and is also interred at Beechwood Cemetery as was his mother who died in 1943.

On enlistment with the Canadian Army Service Corps in November 1915 he claimed he was a papermaker born in 1896. He arrived in England in December 1915 and in France in February 1916. He was active service for one year until admitted to hospital for a bronchial condition, and later tuberculous. He was invalided to Canada in March 1918. A notice in the Ottawa Journal at his death stated he was overseas for 2 years and three months seeing considerable heavy fighting.

He died on Wednesday, 19 March, 1919, age 19, of pulmonary tuberculous at Ottawa's Lady Grey hospital (now the Royal Ottawa Hospital). A full military funeral saw the Union Jack draped coffin carried to Beechwood Cemetery on a gun carriage drawn by six black horses. Burial was in Sec. 29. Lot 15. South-West. No. 19.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Which is the best England & Wales Civil Registration Birth Index?

Ancestry has just updated its index to England and Wales births now claiming 71,311,303 entries from 1916 to 2007. For the prior period, from 1837, Ancestry has 62,793,107 entries making a total of 134,104,407 entries. Is it the most complete?

FreeBMD has 112,732,688, mostly complete to the early 1980s.
Findmypast has 124,866,012 entries to 2006.
MyHeritage claims 191,016,478 records in England & Wales, Birth Index, 1837-2005 and a separate database "England & Wales Births, GRO Indexes, 1911 - 1954" with 59,734,601 records.
The Genealogist claims "Complete Birth, Marriage & Death records index for England and Wales as published by the GRO (1837-2005)" without giving a number of births indexed.
FamilySearch's "England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008" has 132,174,287 entries sourced from Findmypast in 2014!

I most often use FreeBMD as I prefer their search and presentation of results. The GRO itself has indexes to 1837-1918 births with extra information, but a more restrictive search which is invaluable for finding siblings in that period as the mother's maiden name is included as a  search option.

The Genealogist’s Best Friend

As true today as when I wrote it 3 years ago, with updates.

If you’re just getting into family history it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Google “genealogy” and find well over 100 200 million hits. Where to start? One good place is your local library. Larger libraries often have one or more genealogy specialists. Yours may offer a free one-hour one-on-one consultation to help you start off on the right foot and focus your research. The resources available will depend on your ancestry. The librarians will be able to direct you to the most promising sources once they understand your particular needs.

If you’re moving beyond the beginner stage but still learning—a happy place to be—you may seek advice from someone you met through Facebook or another social network, a fellow member of your local family history society, or a volunteer at a nearby family history centre. Keep an eye out for educational opportunities being offered as webinars as well as in-person talks offered by a local society or your public library. These delve more deeply into specialized topics such as genetic genealogy, military records or Jewish ancestry.

As you explore your family history in depth, beyond names and dates to your ancestor’s life and times, you’ll find libraries and librarians coming to the fore again.

Database resources are given ever more profile by libraries. Through library access to a collection of British newspapers online I have found a great-grandfather, a Church of England minister, being fined for keeping a dog without a licence. Another relative was convicted for purloining money from the bank where he worked, a third fined for selling fake patent medicine. A distant relative exhibited a contraption at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London to forecast the weather based on jumping fleas. Look hard enough, if you dare, and you’re bound to find interesting stories in your ancestry!

The National Library of Australia’s magnificent Trove collection of digitized newspapers became the source for finding out about my father’s return from being a German prisoner of war in the Pacific in 1940. The Chronicling America digitized newspaper collection, made available through the Library of Congress, provided insight on the life of my relative who left England to join the US Army, serving in Texas. Both Trove and Chronicling America can be searched through the MyHeritage newspaper collection.

You’ll also want to consult maps. Many libraries have local collections. Online, the National Library of Scotland website <> offers free high-resolution zoomable images of over 160,000 200,000 maps of Scotland, England and Wales. For locations further afield, consult the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection <>.

In word association tests library and book go together. Books, an essential resource for understanding historical context, remain the major component of today’s broad range of library services. Think about appropriate subject terms for a search in your local public library catalogue; it’s probably online, as are those for major specialist, university and national libraries.
WorldCat <> brings together many of those catalogues. If you find a publication of interest not in their collection, your local library may be able to obtain it through Interlibrary Loan. 

WorldCat provides links to many out of copyright digitized publications with free access through services such as the Internet Archive <> and Google Books <>. Not to be overlooked are specialist libraries, such as the Wellcome Library <>, one of the world's major resources for the study of medical history.

Libraries and librarians are about connecting people to the information they need and educating them about finding that information. That’s why they’re known as the genealogist’s best friends. Are you taking advantage of the free in-person and virtual services librarians and libraries have to offer?

Genealogy Drop-in Tuesday

The Ottawa Public Library offers two genealogy drop-in opportunities on Tuesday 19 March.

Genealogy Drop-In / Généalogie "Portes-ouvertes"
At the Greenboro Library, 363 Lorry Greenberg in the Computer training room, 10:30 am - noon.
Drop in to work on your family tree! A genealogy librarian will be here to answer questions and help you get the most from library. Venez travailler sur votre arbre généalogique!  Un spécialiste de la généalogie sera là pour répondre à vos questions et vous aider à tirer le maximum des ressources de la bibliothèque.

Local History & Genealogy Drop-In Club 2019
At Nepean Centrepointe, drop in anywhere from 2-4 pm to work on your family tree, share research strategies, & discover what resources are available for your research. Specialists to answer questions & help you get the most from library resources.  Bring your laptop, or tablet too!

Sunday, 17 March 2019

OGS/Ontario Ancestors

It was a surprise when the eWeekly Update landed in my email inbox early on Saturday morning. It arrived for the first time as the Ontario Ancestors eWeekly, not the OGS eWeekly. What's in a name? The information was much the same.

When OGS announced the new Ontario Ancestors branding it seemed this was borrowing from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. There NEHGS exists comfortably alongside American Ancestors. However, there are indications that's not the intention for Ontario. For instance, this most recent eWeekly includes "More new books authored by Ottawa Branch, Ontario Ancestors (formerly known as Ontario Genealogical Society, OGS)."

A comment posted by Paul Jones asked if those of us who live in Ontario but have no Ontario Ancestry will still be welcome in the society? As of the 2016 census 29.1% of Ontario's population were immigrants. Is that a segment the society is no longer interested in attracting and serving?

A rebranding for marketing to the large US market where the change was introduced at RootsTech, is one thing. Extensive replacement should surely be agreed by the Society as a whole?

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.


Great Famine Voices Roadshow 2019
Ottawa, 6-7 May
Eganville, 8 May
Kingston, 9 May
Quebec City, 11 May

A Genetic Basis for Insomnia Emerges from the Twilight
Links between sleep difficulties and cardiovascular and psychiatric illnesses. Two studies implicated a gene involved in restless leg syndrome.

Which countries have the most immigrants?
While the United States has the highest number of immigrants (48 million in 2015), six times more than in Canada (7.6 million), immigrants make up more (17.2%) of Canada's population than in the US (12.9%).

New tool uses Google Street View to track (Ottawa) neighbourhood gentrification

Donald Trump’s use of humiliation could have catastrophic consequences – a psychologist explains why and Economic Dignity: We must not lose sight of what economic policy is all about: allowing people to lead dignified lives.

Does a Carbon Tax Reduce CO 2 Emissions? Evidence From British Columbia
No Pain, No Gain

Free online tool for converting PDF to Word, Excel or Powerpoint.
Anonymous, without limits, quick and easy to use. I tried it with a 1943 document from LAC — a pdf in a column format to Excel worked surprisingly well.

Emoji menu built into Windows 10
Press Windows key + semicolon. 😊

BIFHSGO: What a wonderful resource for your "long distance" members, to be able to watch the videos of the meetings!

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Special Offer on Roots Ireland Annual Subscriptions

The following is from the Ulster Historical Foundation. I have no experience to share on Roots Ireland.

"From the 8th to the 31st of March, Roots Ireland are offering a 25% discount on their 12-month subscriptions.

To take advantage of this offer, go

RootsIreland have the most complete and most accurate set of Roman Catholic church records online. Their index is easily searchable and has features such as standardised surname and forename searches which make your searches even more user-friendly.
They hold over 23 million records, compiled from 34 genealogy centres around Ireland, which are being added to continually."

Friday, 15 March 2019

St Patrick Blessings: Free access

MyHeritage and Ancestry are opening up their Irish collections for free this weekend.

Until 20 March 2019, MyHeritage offers FREE access to all their Irish record collections.

Ancestry has free access to 140 million Irish records until Monday here.

Note: I haven't tried these; with free access, there can always be glitches.

Findmypast Additions an International Mix

In the additions this week St Patrick leads followed by countries with patron saints St George, the Virgin Mary and La Negrita.

Irish Newspaper Transcript Archive, ffolliott Collection 1756-1850
Search a comprehensive catalogue of more than 54,000 biographical notices from Irish newspapers compiled by the celebrated Irish genealogist Rosemary ffolliott. Each record includes a transcript and original image that enable you to discover details in birth, marriage or death announcement printed in a newspaper.

Kerry Histories & Reference Guides

  • A History of the Kingdom of Kerry - Published in 1871, written by M.F. Cusack. 
  • A Pictorial and Descriptive Guide to Killarney, The Kerry Coast, Glengariff, Cork and The South West of Ireland - First published in 1880, this is the seventh edition of the guide. 
  • The Ancient and Present State of the County of Kerry - Published in 1756, written by Charles Smith M.D. , this is the fourth county history written singularly or jointly published from Smith.
Limerick Histories & Reference Guides
  • Limerick and its Sieges - Published in 1890, written by Rev. James Dowd, A.B., T.C.D. This is the second edition of the book. 
  • Round About The County Of Limerick - Published in 1896 written by Rev. James Dowd, A.B., T.C.D. Dowd.
  • The History, Topography and Antiquities of the County and City of Limerick, 2 Vols - Published in 1826 and 1827, written by Rev. Patrick Fitzgerald and John James McGregor. 
England, Domesday Book 1086 Browse
Britain's earliest public record, the Domesday Book was commissioned in December 1085 by King William the Conqueror. It contained records for, 31 counties, 13,418 settlements, in England south of the rivers Ribble and Tees. Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk are not included. Good luck interpreting it!

United States Passport Applications
Over 62,000 additional records for1795 to 1925 from NARA collections M1372 and M1490. Each record will provide a transcript and, where available, an image of the original documents which includes a photo after 21 December 1914.

Costa Rica BMDs
Sourced from the IGI, these new indexes contain over 800,000 records covering baptisms, marriages, deaths and civil registrations between 1700 and 1975. Costa Rica Baptism Index 1700-1915
  • Costa Rica Marriage Index 1750-1920
  • Costa Rica Death Index 1787-1900
  • Costa Rica Civil Registration, 1860-1975 Image Browse

Hearth Tax Digital

The hearth tax was levied in England and Wales from 1662 until 1689. New, Hearth Tax Digital facilitates access to an increasing number of these Restoration hearth tax records in a single searchable database across returns and counties. At present the site has the records for London & Middlesex and Yorkshire East & West Riding, and over the next six months data for more cities and counties will be added.

OGS Kingston Branch March Meeting

On Saturday, March 16th Kingston Branch will welcome Ruth Blair for a presentation about Irish genealogy resources, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. The title of her talk is “Calling All Irish Ancestors: Researching Irish Records.”

This lecture will show you what online resources are available to help you research your Irish family history. We will look at the available digital images and repositories that can further your research in Ireland. It is not only records relating to civil registration, church, census and land but other sources that could lead you to discover more about your Irish ancestors.
Visitors are welcome. Meetings are preceded by a brief educational session that starts at 9:30 am, followed a short business meeting at 10:00 am, and then a guest speaker or program.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

FreeBMD March Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 14 March 2019 to contain 269,239,094 unique records (268,878,795 at previous update).
Years with major additions, greater than 5,000 records, are: for births 1964, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984-87; for marriages 1965, 1980, 1984-85; for deaths 1983-86.

Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections Anniversary

Today marks the 13th anniversary of the first post on this blog. Thirteen — lucky for some.

Over the years I've posted nearly 10,000 items including the popular Rockstar Genealogist polls. An item posted this month, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives records going online has over 9,000 views blowing away the previous record.

Thanks to the many folks who visit regularly, and to FeedBurner which provides a service so you can automatically get an email with headlines from the blog each day. See the left-hand column in the blog to subscribe.

I take this opportunity to acknowledge complimentary access to their databases granted by, as a member of their advisory group; also MyHeritage which has just released  6.8 million Norwegian census records from 1891, 1900, and 1910 for those chasing their elusive Scandinavian DNA ancestry.

Quinte Branch OGS March Meeting

The Saturday 16 March 2019 meeting of  Quinte Branch will feature a digital presentation "Organizing your DNA Matches" by Diahan Southard.

This digital presentation will explain various methods for keeping track of your DNA matches – especially your autosomal matches. The kind of information you need to keep track of and why will be covered using Excel, Word, email folders and correspondence.

Diahan Southard worked before and after graduation for the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. Growing up with the budding genetic genealogy industry lead her to her current position as Your DNA Guide, where she provides personalized, interactive experiences to assist individuals and families in interpreting their genetic results in the context of their genealogical information. 

The meeting is at Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Dr, Trenton 1-3 pm.
Visit and

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Videos on New DNA Tools

On Tuesday Blaine Bettinger posted two YouTube videos explaining the DNA tools released by Ancestry and MyHeritage at RootsTech. As I write this 13 hours after they were posted the AncestryDNA one has 1.7K views, the MyHeritage video over 500 views.
In both he starts with a warning "These tools are not the END of your work, they are the
BEGINNING." They generate a hypothesis, not a conclusion.
Both videos are clear and straightforward. Recommended. Do take your time as there's a lot of material. The beauty of videos is that you can pause the playback to try a tool before moving on to the next topic. Take advantage.

Blaine concludes each of these videos, before a very brief promo for his DNA Central membership site, with "There is NO single tool or piece of evidence that provides you with a conclusion."

There's a good chance these automated methods will find connections you didn't even though you previously had access to both the DNA and documentary evidence. There's also likely a greater chance you'll find connections suggested that don't stand up to scrutiny. However, it's early days. As matching techniques become refined and more documentary evidence is incorporated into the algorithms the balance will shift.

Just as the computer can more often than not beat the human at chess and Go that day can be anticipated for genealogy.

Ancestry adds Cork Marriage Licence Bonds Index

Ancestry makes available an index collection with 11,926 records to Cork, Ireland, Marriage Licence Bonds Index, 1623-1750. It covers the diocese of Cork and Ross.

This is taken from an 1896-7 publication by Herbert Ross Gilman available elsewhere without charge, including at Cork Past and Present.

John James Gawn, CWGC Beechwood

Born in Sunderland, England on 10 May 1888 John James Gawn enlisted in January 1916. He died in Kingston of pneumonia and tuberculous on this date, 13 March 1919, and was interred in Beechwood Cemetery.

The flawed article in Ottawa Citizen of 15 March 1919 recorded:
Full military honours will mark the funeral of the late Pte. J. Gawn, 18 Empress Avenue, who died at Kingston on March 13th. The funeral will take place on Saturday at 3 p.m. from his residence, under the direction of Comrade H. B. Miller, of the G.W.Y.A.
The late Pte Gawh was born in Sunderland. England, in 1888. He came to Canada eight years ago and before enlisting was employed for four years as a machinist with the Ottawa Electric Railway. Deceased was an Anglican. He leaves a wife and a three-year-old daughter. His mother. Mrs. Elizabeth. Gawn; one brother. Sergt. Alfred. A. Gawn C M R., and two sisters, Mrs. McGregor and Miss E. Gawn, all of Ottawa, also survive him. Sergt. Gawn was taken a prisoner at Sanctuary Wood and spent two years and eight months in a German prison camp. His widow has three brothers in the United States Army and one in the Gordon Highlanders. Deceased was a member of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers.

Newspapers are a first draft of history. A more reliable account is at

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

DNA Test Update

Current sales, with the number of tests completed and processing times from the DNA Geek.

A reminder that you can usually get a better deal on tests at a company stand at a family history show.

Legacy Family Tree Webinars this week

Two Legacy Family Tree webinars worth mentioning this week.

For the genetic genealogist intrigued by MyHeritage's Theory of Family Relativity™, Ran Snir will take an inside look today, Tuesday 12 March, at 2 pm EDT.

On Wednesday 13 March at 8 pm EDT, it's Reclaim The Records: Using Freedom of Information Laws for Genealogy by Brooke Ganz, the first genealogist to successfully sue a government archive for the return of records to the public.

Free Online Historical Photo Archives from Canada

Kenneth R Marks, of The Ancestor Hunt, has updated the Ontario part of his collection of now 310 online photo collection links for Canada.

As with his other collections, including newspapers, he updates approximately every six months.

Beware, the clock runs faster when you browsing these.

RootsTech in London

Two of my Ottawa genealogy friends are already booked to attend this event, 24-26 October in London. I'm going too.

Find out more about the event at How some in the genealogy industry are reacting to RootsTech's expansion to London

OGS has a package organized for this event. Find out more at

Monday, 11 March 2019

Deaths at Sea on British Registered Ships

At Saturday's BIFHSGO meeting I was asked about finding information on deaths at sea. I remembered having seen such an online collection but couldn't remember where.

So I asked a friend — Google.

Findmypast has a collection: British Armed Forces and Overseas Deaths and Burials. It "brings together an extensive collection of death and burial records from The National Archives and the General Register Office. Among the records, you will find members of the British armed forces who died while serving their country overseas, British civilians who died while travelling or working overseas, and individuals, including seamen, who died at sea."

By "an extensive collection " they mean 237 sources, from ARO2 - GRO War Death Army Officers Indices (1939 to 1948) to WO 69/71 - Register of Marriages & Baptisms, C Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery. It's more than ships and more than deaths. And more than I was expecting!

  • By searching for the name of the merchant navy ship on which my father was serving when it was sunk in 1940 I found entries for the 10 people "killed by enemy action."
  • My Great Uncle is included in the GRO War Death Army Officers Indices (1914 To 1921).
  • Searching Northwood, a family name, yielded records of deaths of two Australians in a mid-air collision involving a British Airways plane in 1976 over Zagreb in GRO Death Abroad Indices (1966 To 1994).

One of the sources goes back to before 1800. This would be a good place to look for people with a British connection you've had difficulty tracing.

Commonwealth Day

Today, the second Monday in March is Commonwealth Day, known until 1958 as Empire Day.

There will be no Commonwealth Day parade. You may see the Royal Union Flag, or Union Jack, flying alongside the Maple Leaf flag on or at government buildings and premises, such as federal buildings, military bases and airports. If there is only one flag pole the Maple Leaf flag takes precedence in Canada.

In addition to Canadian-born, over 2 million people born in other Commonwealth countries make Canada their home.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

London records update on Ancestry

Ancestry announces an update to the following London collections, records from over 10,000 Church of England parish registers (including Bishop’s Transcripts) in the Greater London area, from the original registers deposited at London Metropolitan Archives as well as those formerly held by Guildhall Library Manuscripts section. There are links to images of the original and a browse function by parish.

London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, now 17,095,256 records
London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917, now 21,605,324 records
London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932, now 13,305,217 records
London, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-2003, now 2,733,953 records

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Spring Forward
In case you forgot.

History of British & Irish Languages 400-2000 AD
Pretty map. No comment on accuracy.

How the Victorians Mapped London’s Cholera
Beyond John Snow and his cholera map, the Wellcome collection has high-quality scans of other maps. The Diagram of cholera deaths in England during 1849 is impressive in showing that daily data on deaths was available. Such data is not available in Canada (as far as I can determine) now.

The Battlefield Art of Mary Riter Hamilton
The latest LAC podcast episode discusses what drove a successful artist from a comfortable life in Canada to one of hardship in the battlefields of France and Belgium after the First World War. From 1919 to 1922, Mary Riter Hamilton undertook a “special mission” for The War Amps to document the scarred landscape where Canadian soldiers had fought and died.

Fab City Global Initiative
By 2054 70% of us will live in cities. This rapid urbanization presents a grand challenge as well as a system-changing opportunity.

The Ultimate Guide to Reinstalling Windows From Scratch
Guidance from Lifehacker for when your Windows installation needs the refresh you get from a clean installation — without losing valued add-ons.

Beware Heat Exhaustion
Be prepared. It could warm up to 7C in Ottawa by Thursday.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

FamilySearch Updates Derbyshire and Northumberland Parish Registers

England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1537-1918; 2,989,415  records, with 53,151 browseable images;
England, Northumberland, Parish Registers, 1538-1950; 1,923,637 records, with 61,776 browseable images.

Both appear as updated on the FamilySearch catalogue this week.

Searching delivers some with images of the original some of which were accessible to all, others only accessible at the FamilySearch authorized locations.


Should Library and Archives Canada (LAC)  make our collective history and culture accessible to everyone and in the highest digital quality available?

Bryan Frankfurth is on a mission to achieve just that.

Read the story at Maps and data freedom: How one man wants to put historic maps of Ottawa… on the map and sign up to show support at

Friday, 8 March 2019

Findmypast Additions

British additions this week are:

Scotland, Dundee & Forfarshire (Angus) Hearth Tax 1691
Search over 50,000 Hearth Tax transcript records for Dundee and the county of Forfarshire (Angus) from 1691 to find out the number of hearths found within their home. Details such as this will provide you with clues about the family's wealth and status.

In 1690, Parliament granted a tax of 14 shillings on hearths including kilns. Heads of households, landowners, and tenants were liable for the tax, only hospitals and the poor living on charity from the parish were exempt from the tax. The money raised from the tax was then used to fund the army.

Scotland, People of Banffshire 1334-1851
Explore more than 28,000 extracts taken from original Kirk Session minutes. Responsible for parish business, and the morals of the parishioners, the Kirk Session was the lowest level of a church court and minutes typically contained a detailed account of the parish business.

British India Office Deaths & Burials
Over 2,000 additional records have been added to the Findmypast collection of British India Office Deaths & Burials. The new additions consist of endowment registers spanning the years 1897 to 1947. These registers document private endowments for the upkeep of graves. Please note, the year given will be between one and five years after the death or burial actually took place.

British India Office Deaths & Burials now contains over 594,000 records giving details about the deaths of those who died in the UK, British India, Burma and other territories connected to the India office (St Helena, Sumatra, Kuwait, Aden, Penang, Macao).

Other Additions

The major addition this week is about 7.1 million United States Obituary Notices for a total of over 32.6 million.

Global Records Update (Caribbean roots)
Three new indexes of births & baptisms, marriages and burials containing over 600,000 records and spanning the years 1590 to 1928 cover a variety of nationalities and countries including Antigua, the Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama.

PERiodical Source Index (PERSI)
Over 18,000 articles from a variety of publications have been added to the PERiodical Source Index.

RootsTech 2019 Conference Syllabi Free Online

Whether or not you were at RootsTech you didn't get the full experience. With multiple concurrent sessions, nobody can.
What we can all do is browse the syllabus material, typically 4 page pdfs. Find links to the 250 documents at

Here are direct links to those specific to the UK and Ireland.

Museum Crush

Normally I'd save this for the Sunday Sundries. As it's International Women's Day, and the Museum Crush site is featuring "beautiful, intriguing and powerful objects that have one thing in common: they live in museums" relating to women, I'm moving this up. 

Check them out at

Thanks to Ann Burns for the tip.

International Women's Day

Today, 8 March is International Women’s Day.

The bar chart has data from and (posted on 1 March).

Canada is #1 in quality of life and #2, behind Spain, in believing women are as or more capable than men.

What if anything do you conclude?

Starting at 11:30 am, participants in a lunchtime walk in support of women and girls worldwide will gather at Ottawa City Hall.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

FamilySearch updates England, Warwickshire, Parish Registers

Find 2,852,294 parish register records for Warwickshire dating from 1535 to 1963 in a FamilySearch update.

The search results are available as index/transcripts. Results also indicate linked images of the original record are available for many cases. Some images are openly available, for others you need to be at a family history center or FamilySearch affiliate library.

A list of Warwickshire parishes facilitates clicking through to show an inventory of records available at Ancestry, Findmypast, FreeReg, FamilySearch and the Warwickshire Online Parish Clerk.

Library and Archices Canada Interim Estimates 2019-20

For the record, the government has tabled the 2019–20 Interim Estimates for funding supporting the government’s financial requirements for the first three months of the fiscal year.
Across all departments and agencies, the Interim Estimates request about one-third (33.4%) of the amount approved in the 2018-19 Main Estimates.
The amount for Library and Archives Canada (33.9%), comprises $25,030,491 for operating and $11,829,411 for capital expenses.

Non-profit institutions and volunteering

On 5 March Statistics Canada released a study Non-profit institutions and volunteering: Economic contribution, 2007 to 2017. Here are some highlights.

Community non-profit institutions, which accounted for 16.4% of the economic activity in the non-profit sector, would include genealogical and family history societies. Business non-profit institutions accounted for 10.4%. The most significant portion of non-profit activity (73.2%) came from government non-profit institutions, such as hospitals and universities.

In 2017, community non-profit institutions received nearly one-third of their income from governments (30.8%). Sales by these non-profits contributed an additional 27.8% of income while donations from households made up 17.8%. Membership fees accounted for 14.1% of income while investment income and funds provided by businesses and other institutions each contributed less than 6%.

The table below compares those Stats Can community non-profit percentages to those for the Ontario Genealogical Society and Alberta Genealogical Society for 2017 from their annual reports to the Canada Revenue Agency. Both societies obtain less revenue from sales and donations than for the overall community non-profit institution sector.

Revenue (%)Stats CanOGSAGS
From Governments30.85.463.2
Membership Fees14.133.110.7
Investment and other9.549.22.3

The economic value of volunteering, not normally included in GDP, would add an extra $41.8 billion to overall economic activity in 2013. 23.7% of that ($468 million) was in the culture and recreation sector which would include genealogical and family history societies.

BIFHSGO March Meeting

Here's the program for the BIFHSGO meeting next Saturday, 9 March.

9:00 to 9:30 am
Research Opens Doors
During 30 years of genealogical research, many doors have opened for Gloria Tubman, including genealogical brick walls, a public service career and different ventures in retirement. Gloria will demonstrate how the many skills learned along the way can transcend careers and open more doors.

10:00 to 11:30 am
A Trip to Northern Ireland - Research, Sightseeing and Ancestor Tracking
John McConkey shares his journey of ancestral discovery made during his third trip to Northern Ireland. John highlights his favourite research stops in Belfast: PRONI and the Newspaper Library and provides other tips. He identifies 2 persons of note in his tree and reports on some exciting finds in County Down cemeteries. Side trips to Carrickfergus and the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim are also featured in a display of photos he took. John concludes the talk with details of his latest research project -- confirming a long ago suspected relationship using documentary evidence and DNA.

As usual, the meeting is in The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario. All welcome. No charge for admission.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Ancestry updates Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1933

Ancestry now has 1,115,948 records in the collection "Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1933." They are linked to images of the original record where available.

FamilySearch also has Surrey marriages as part of the "England, Surrey Parish Registers, 1536-1992" collection. You need to be at a Family History Centre or affiliate library to view the images. 

The 282 parishes in the Ancestry collection are:

Abinger, St James; Addington, St Mary; Addiscombe, St Mary Magdalene;  Addiscombe, St Mildred; Addlestone, St Paul; Albury, St Peter and St Paul; Aldershot, Holy Trinity; Aldershot, St Michael the Archangel; Alfold, St Nicholas; Ash Vale, St Mary; Ash, St Peter; Ashtead, St Giles; Badshot Lea, St George; Bagshot, St Anne; Banstead, All Saints; Barnes, Holy Trinity; Barnes, St Mary; Barnes, St Michael and All Angels; Betchworth, St Michael; Bisley, St John the Baptist; Bletchingley, St Mary; Blindley Heath, St John; Botleys and Lyne, Holy Trinity; Bourne, St Thomas, Bramley; Holy Trinity; Buckland St Mary; Burgh Heath, St Mary and St Mark; Burpham, St Luke; Burstow; Burstow, St Bartholomew; Busbridge, St John; Byfleet West, St John; Byfleet, St Mary; Camberley, St George; Camberley, St Michael; Camberley, St Paul; Capel, St John; Caterham, St Mary; Chaldon, St Peter and St Paul; Charlwood, St Nicholas; Chelsham, St Leonard; Chertsey, St Peter; Chessington, St Mary; Chiddingfold, St Mary; Chilworth, St Martha On the Hill; Chipstead, St Margaret; Chobham, St Lawrence; Chobham, St Saviour; Churt, St John the Evangelist with Rushmoor; Claygate, Holy Trinity; Cobham, St Andrew; Coldharbour, Christ Church; Compton, St Nicholas; Coulsdon, St Andrew with St Francis of Assisi; Coulsdon, St John; Cove, St John; Cranleigh, St Nicolas; Crondall, All Saints; Crookham, Christ Church; Crowhurst, St George; Croydon Common, St James; Croydon, Holy Saviour; Croydon, St Andrew; Croydon, St John; Croydon, St Luke; Croydon, St Martin; Croydon, St Matthew; Croydon, St Michael; Croydon, St Peter; Cuddington, St Mary; Dorking, St Martin; Dorking, St Paul; Dormansland, St John; Dunsfold, St Mary and All Saints; East Clandon, St Thomas Of Canterbury; East Horsley, St Martin; East Molesey, St Mary; East Molesey, St Paul; East Sheen, Christ Church; Effingham, St Lawrence; Effingham, St Mary; Egham Hythe, St Paul; Egham, St John; Elstead, St James; Englefield Green; Englefield Green, St Jude; Epsom, Christ Church; Epsom, St Barnabas; Epsom, St Martin; Epsom, St Martin with Langley Vale St Stephen; Esher, St George Later Christchurch; Ewell, St Mary; Ewhurst, St Peter and St Paul; Farleigh, St Mary; Farnborough, St Peter; Farncombe, St John; Farnham, St Andrew; Felbridge, St John; Fetcham, St Mary; Fleet, All Saints; Frensham, St Mary; Frimley, St Peter; Gatton, St Andrew; Godalming, St Peter and St Paul; Godstone, St Nicholas; Grafham; Grafham, St Andrew; Grayshott, St Luke; Grayswood, All Saints; Great Bookham, St Nicolas; Guildford, Christ Church; Guildford, Holy Trinity; Guildford, St Mary; Guildford, St Nicolas; Guildford, St Saviour; Hale, St John the Evangelist; Ham, St Andrew; Hambledon, St Peter; Hascombe, St Peter; Haslemere, St Bartholomew; Hatchford, St Matthew, St Michael and All Angels; Hawley, Holy Trinity; Headley, All Saints; Headley, St Mary the Virgin; Hersham, St Peter; Hindhead, St Alban, Holmwood, St Mary, Hook, St Paul, Horley, St Bartholomew, Horne, St Mary, Horsell, St Mary; Hurst Green, St John; Kenley, All Saints; Kew, St Anne; Kingston Hill, St Paul; Kingston Upon Thames, All Saints; Kingston Upon Thames, St John; Kingston Upon Thames, St Luke; Kingston Vale, St John; Kingswood, St Andrew; Leatherhead, St Mary and St Nicholas; Leigh, St Bartholomew; Lightwater, All Saints; Limpsfield, St Peter; Limpsfield, St Peter and Titsey, St James; Lingfield, St Peter and St Paul; Little Bookham, All Saints; Long Ditton, St Mary; Longcross, Christ Church; Malden, St John; Merrow, St John; Merstham, St Katharine; Merton, St Mary; Mickleham, St Michael; Milford; Milford, St John the Evangelist; Minley, St Andrew; Mitcham, Christ Church; Mitcham, St Barnabas; Mitcham, St Olave; Mitcham, St Peter and St Paul; Morden, St Helier and St Peter; Morden, St Lawrence; Mortlake, St Mary; New Malden and Coombe, Christ Church; New Malden, St James; Newdigate, St Peter; Norbiton, St Peter; Norbury and Thornton Heath, St Stephen; Norbury, St Philip; Nork, St Paul; North Holmwood, St John; Nutfield, St Peter and St Paul; Oatlands, St Mary; Ockham, All Saints and Hatchford, St Matthew; Ockley, St Margaret; Okewood, St John the Baptist; Ottershaw, Christ Church; Oxshott, St Andrew; Oxted, St Mary; Peper Harow, St Nicholas; Petersham, St Peter; Petersham, St Peter and All Saints; Pirbright, St Michael and All Angels; Purley, Christ Church; Purley, St Barnabas; Purley, St Mark; Puttenham, St John the Baptist; Pyrford, St Nicholas With Wisley; Ranmore, St Barnabus; Raynes Park, St Saviour; Redhill, Holy Trinity; Redhill, St John; Redhill, St Matthew; Reigate, St Luke; Reigate, St Mark with St Philip; Reigate, St Mary; Richmond, Christ Church; Richmond, Holy Trinity, Richmond, St John, Richmond, St Luke, Richmond, St Mary Magdalene, Richmond, St Mary Magdalene with St Mathias; Richmond, St Matthias; Riddlesdown, St James; Ripley, St Mary; Rowledge, St James; Salfords, Christ the King; Sanderstead;
Sanderstead, All Saints; Sanderstead, St Mary; Seale, St Laurence; Selhurst, Holy Trinity; Send, St Mary; Send, St Mary (Formerly Send with Ripley); Shalford, St Mary the Virgin; Shamley Green, Christ Church; Sheen, North, St Philip and All Saints; Shere, St James; Shere, St Mark; Shirley, St John the Evangelist; Shottermill, St Stephen; South Croydon, Emmanuel; South Croydon, St Augustine; South Farnborough, St Mark;  South Merstham, All Saints; South Norwood, Holy Innocents; South Nutfield, Christ Church; South Wimbledon, All Saints; South Wimbledon, Holy Trinity and St Peter; South Wimbledon, St Andrew; Stoke D´Abernon, St Mary; Stoke Next Guildford; Stoke Next Guildford, St John the Evangelist; Surbiton Hill, Christ Church; Surbiton, St Andrew; Surbiton, St Mark; Surbiton, St Matthew with Tolworth, St George; Sutton Green, All Souls; Tadworth, Church of the Good Shepherd; Tandridge, St Peter; Tatsfield, St Mary; Thames Ditton, St Nicholas; Thornton Heath, St Paul; Thorpe, St Mary; Thursley, St Michael and All Angels; Titsey, St James; Tongham, St Paul; Upper Norwood, All Saints with St Margaret; Virginia Water, Christ Church; Walton On Thames, St Mary; Walton On the Hill, St Peter; Warlingham, All Saints; West Clandon, St Peter and St Paul; West Croydon, Christ Church; West End, Holy Trinity; West Horsley, St Mary; West Molesey, St Peter; Westcott, Holy Trinity; Weybridge, St James; Wimbledon, St Luke;
Wimbledon, St Mary; Windlesham, St John the Baptist; Wisley, Wisley with Pyrford, St Nicholas and Good Shepherd; Witley, All Saints; Woking, Christ Church; Woking, St John; Woking, St Paul;
Woking, St Peter; Woldingham, St Paul and St Agatha; Wonersh, St John the Baptist; Woodham, All Saints; Woodmansterne, St Peter; Wooton, St John; Worplesdon, St Mary; Wotton, St John the Evangelist; Wrecclesham, St Peter; Wyke; Wyke, St Mark; Yorktown.

Webinar: Build A Custom Keyword List For Your Digital Genealogy Files

On Thursday 7 March at 7 pm Art Taylor of Upper Canada Genealogy will present an OGS webinar “Build A Custom Keyword List For Your Digital Genealogy Files”

You may be familiar with the idea of using keywords with your digital images and other documents (WordPerfect documents; MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files; PDFs) so you can easily and quickly find one or more specific files when you need them. Is there a convenient existing list you can download and use? For some subjects, yes, there lists available. Some are free while others need to be bought. However, there’s no universally useful list for genealogy files. Why? Each genealogist has unique needs for his or her files. Is there a solution for this barrier? YES! Learn how you can easily build a keyword list for your specific needs, including the names of relevant people, places, and events. See the questions to ask yourself. The answers to those questions will help you build a custom keyword list specifically tailored for your collection. Your custom list can be shared with others researching your family if you wish to do so.

Click this link to Register today!

Quebec Family History Society March Meeting

Topic: Father of Modern Medicine
Speaker: Sari Kelen:  A Descendant of Sir William Osler (1849 - 1919)

Sir William Osler, a Canadian born medical doctor, is considered by many to be the father of modern medicine.  He started his teaching career at McGill University and ended it at Oxford University, England.  In his mid-career, he was one of the founders of the John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA

Saturday, 9 March at 10:30 am at the Briarwood Presbyterian Church Hall, 70 Beaconsfield Blvd, Beaconsfield

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Webinar: A Guide to Third Party Tools For DNA Testing

Scottish professional genealogist Michelle Leonard will present "A Guide to Third Party Tools For DNA Testing" in the Legacy Family Tree Webinar series on Wednesday 6 March at 2:00pm Eastern.

"While all of the different testing companies boast helpful internal tools, it's important to familiarise yourself with the many excellent third-party tools that can aid you on your DNA testing journey. This presentation will provide an overview of all the major and minor third party tools available and will include practical hints and tips on how to get the most out of them. These tools can help with understanding, interpreting and organizing your DNA results and, ultimately, can contribute to how successful you are in identifying matches and making family history breakthroughs via DNA."

Michelle spent several years working on the ground-breaking Fromelles Genealogy Project tracking down appropriate DNA donors to identify WWI soldiers buried in a mass grave in France and served as the Genealogical Consultant on the official Fromelles documentary.  She regularly works on new historic soldier cases when battlefield remains are found and DNA testing is conducted.

Find out more and register here.

Another Rebranding: Family History Federation

It seems to be the season for rebranding.

The Federation of Family History Societies, UK based, is rebranding as 'Family History Federation'.

The announcement
Rebranding to Family History Federation will officially launch at Family Tree Live in April 2019 along with a new-look website.

The rebranding to Family History Federation acknowledges that the membership of the Federation is wider than just family history societies, encompassing a range of associated organizations. ‘Family History Federation’ also reflects how its focus is firmly on family history: the primary purpose being to encourage, educate and support all family historians.

The Family History Federation will launch at Family Tree Live, at Alexandra Palace on 26 April 2019 which is opportune as this new event is brought to London thanks to a partnership between Family Tree magazine and the Federation. A new website will showcase member organizations and act as a gateway for family historians to find the help and expertise they need to grow their tree.

Ian Waller, Publicity Officer for the Federation, said “As we move forward as a Federation we are working towards encouraging more and more people who pursue their family history to become actively involved in their local organizations and to make it easier for them to find help, gain knowledge and be aware of the many resources available to them as they pursue this absorbing hobby.”

Steve Manning, Education Officer for the Federation, added “The Federation has a long heritage, which we are very proud of, but it is still important to look to the future, so that the Federation can continue to help grow camaraderie among family historians and encourage them to tap into experienced groups well into the 21st century.“

About the Federation
The Family History Federation is an educational charity with member organizations throughout the world. Most of these focus on a particular geographical area or on a specific surname but there are other specialist organizations with associated disciplines. Using its website, social media and other means of communication, the Federation ensures that family history news, book reviews, and guidance on how to learn more about the subject are readily available to the general public as well as to its member organizations.

Maybe it's time to rebrand Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections. Suggestions?

Celebrate Cornish Ancestry

It's 5 March. Happy St Piran's Day.

The day is named for one of the patron saints of Cornwall, Saint Piran, who is also the patron saint of tin miners.
The Toronto Cornish Association will raise the Cornish flag at Toronto City Hall at 10:30 a.m. and, after a small amount of Cornish singing and reciting, will retreat to the Duke of Cornwall pub on University, where it will be warmer.

Thanks to Sue Cox for the tip.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Advance Notice: Sir Guy Carleton Branch, UELAC AGM features Mags Gaulden presentation

The following is an announcement of a meeting on Saturday, 6 April, 1:00 pm (Meeting at 1:30)

Carlingwood Branch Meeting Room, Ottawa Public Library
281 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K2A 3W4; 613-580-2940
(OC Transpo Routes 11, 16, 87)
Come join Branch members for an afternoon of conversation.
After a brief Annual General Meeting, our guest speaker will be Mags Gaulden. Her topic will be “The Power of DNA”.
Light refreshments will be served. To help with cleanup, please consider bringing your own coffee mug!
Guests are welcome!
Please confirm your attendance by April 3, 2019 at the Branch email – – or by calling the Branch Secretary at 613-824-0980.

Unfortunately this is a conflict with Gene-O-Rama 2019.

2019 RootsTech Sessions Online for Replay

Thank you RootsTech for putting quality videos free online for us all to view, learn from and enjoy.

Find them all linked from

They include three genetic genealogy sessions,

Connecting Your DNA Matches: Diahan Southard
Essential Considerations for DNA Evidence: Blaine Bettinger
Examining Your DNA Matches with DNA Painter: Jonny Perl

Also watch the winning entry in the RootsTech Video Contest

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Free DNA Test for Adoptees

The following is an announcement from MyHeritage.

MyHeritage Extends DNA Quest Initiative to Help More Adoptees Reunite with Their Birth Families
MyHeritage pledges 5,000 additional free DNA kits for global distribution to eligible participants, following the success of the first phase of its pro bono initiative

March 01, 2019 01:18 PM Eastern Standard Time
TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MyHeritage, the leading global service for family history and DNA testing, announced today that it is extending DNA Quest, its pro bono initiative to reunite adoptees with their birth families through at-home DNA testing. The first phase of DNA Quest was launched in March 2018 and offered 15,000 free DNA kits to adoptees and those seeking to reunite with family members who were placed for adoption. This resulted in many successful reunions. Due to the large number of applicants, a waiting list of several thousand people was established after registration closed in May 2018. The next phase of DNA Quest announced today re-opens applications on the project website ( and will offer an additional 5,000 free DNA kits to eligible applicants from all countries. Preference is given to applicants who are unable to afford genetic testing.

MyHeritage helps people find their relatives using its DNA Matching technology. The MyHeritage DNA database is one of the fastest-growing in the industry and currently numbers 2.5 million people, including people who tested on MyHeritage and others who uploaded the results of their DNA test for free from other providers. Numerous participants have already reconnected with long-lost family and others have obtained vital clues to assist them in their search. New discoveries continue to emerge, offering participants newfound hope of reuniting with their long-lost loved ones. The search for biological family, especially for birth parents, is time sensitive, as each year older relatives pass away.

Mitch Yurkovich, a Michigan resident and father of four, was adopted as a baby and recently reunited with his biological parents and siblings through DNA Quest. Mitch described the moment that he pieced together the story of his past: “I began to shake, and couldn’t stop smiling! My heart started to race and I was utterly blown away! This was news better than anything in my wildest dreams… I had found my biological family!”

MyHeritage is committed to ensuring that participants receive support on their journey to find their birth families. Last year, the company formed a top-notch advisory board for DNA Quest comprised of world class adoption experts and genetic genealogists, to provide guidance to MyHeritage and the participants. The current project will continue in this manner in 2019 with the same advisory board.

Eligible DNA Quest participants will receive a free MyHeritage DNA kit, which consists of a simple cheek swab. DNA samples are processed in the company’s CLIA-certified, CAP accredited lab in the U.S. and results are available 3–4 weeks after the sample is received. All data is kept private and secure and personal information is never shared with any third parties.

Applications for DNA Quest are now open on the initiative’s website: Applications will close on April 30, 2019.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Ontario BMDs, what's where?
The 1937 marriage and 1947 death registrations are available now on . now hosts the 1869-1913 births, 1801-1937 marriages and 1869-1947 deaths.
FamilySearch International continues to host the 1869-1912 births, 1869-1927 marriages and 1869-1937 deaths.
via Archives of Ontario

Ulster Historical Foundation lecture tour March 2019
A shout out for two Irish events this month in the US.  Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt from the Ulster Historical Foundation in Belfast are on their fifth annual Irish Genealogy tour. There are no Canadian stops this year. The closest opportunities are 9 March in Concord, NH and 19 March in Pittsburgh, PA.

Is DNA Left on Envelopes Fair Game for Testing?
The genealogist’s dream of testing old, spit-laced artifacts is coming true—but raising questions about who controls dead people’s DNA.

Genomics Testing Leads List of Fastest Growing Technologies Based on Patent Growth

Better Than Dropbox: The 6 Quickest Ways to Share Any File With Anyone

Is Sir John A. Macdonald to blame for the Wilson-Raybould affair?

So February caused you to doubt we're heading for a warmer climate?
February's mean temperature at the Ottawa airport weather station was -9.2C. That's 1.1C colder than the climate normal of -8.1C. 67.8 cm of snow was reported compared to a normal of 43.3 cm. Its been harsh.

But look elsewhere

On 1 March the British Meteorological Office posted a summary. No one could have missed that February was record breaking.

Daily maximum temperatures have been the highest on record (dating back to 1910), averaging out at 10.0C, ahead of the 9.8C recorded in 1998. When considering mean temperatures (24 hour temperature totals) the provisional end-of-February statistics show it is the second warmest with 6.0C recorded, behind 1998 at 6.8C.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology posted Heat wave events headline a record warm summer for Australia.
For the country as a whole it is the warmest summer on record for mean, maximum and minimum temperatures. 

A Couple of Things to do for the Planet
From the New York Times
  • Instead of buying a new phone, try to keep yours in working condition for as long as possible. 
  • Use a modern EnergyStar rated dishwasher, not the sink.
  • When shopping online combine orders to avoid multiple deliveries.
  • To limit food waste when you’re hosting a get-together, try “Guest-imator” to calculate the amount of groceries you’ll need. 

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Hudson’s Bay Company Archives records going online

The Hudson’s Bay Company Archives (HBCA), part of the Archives of Manitoba, is digitizing over 1000 reels of microfilm copies of pre-1870 trading post records.

The project, for post records created between 1670 and 1870, includes journals, accounts and district reports.

HBCA archivist Bronwen Quarry is quoted as saying there's information about what’s happening at the post, who’s arriving and who’s leaving and, goods being traded. "People use them to look at animal population, weather conditions and weather patterns.” Genealogists are major clients.

Read more and see a video at Province digitizing centuries-old trading post records to mark Manitoba 150.

Comment:  Credit should also be given to the previous work of putting the original material on microfilm which is much more labour-intensive than microfilm digitization.

Closing and Hidden at LAC

There's a rumour that hours in the restricted documents room at Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington in Ottawa will be reduced as of 1 April 2019. Opening hours listed at will be reduced to service hours, the major impact being losing access in the late afternoon and evening. I've tried to get confirmation but was told that four weeks notice will be given of any change. Sad for those who already booked a trip to Ottawa planning to take advantage of the evening hours.

There is an announcement on the LAC website and in the building that facilities at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa will be closed on Saturday, March 16th 2019, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., due to building maintenance.

While at 395 on Wednesday I noticed staff working on the panels against the east wall above the sunken lobby. I was told the panels with images of prime ministers had fallen off and there were also some errors that had to be corrected. On leaving from taking the photo the commissionaire asked if I knew there was a much larger part of the exhibit at the end of the east corridor. Why would I? There was no notice that I could see. Proceeding along the corridor there was a lonely looking commissionaire at the exhibition entrance. Photography is prohibited in that room.
I also stumbled on a notice about the Friends of LAC bookstore. Located nearby it was guarded by a volunteer, also lonely looking, who seemed surprised and delighted when I purchased two used books — $2 each.

Both the main Prime Minister exhibit and the Friends bookstore are to all intents and purposes hidden.

Findmypast adds Liverpool Records

Here are British additions to Findmypast this week.

Liverpool Workhouse Registers
Search for Liverpool ancestors with well over 2 million admission and discharge registers, classification lists, registers of the sick, and other documents from seven different institutions including: Fazakerley Cottage Homes, Kirkdale Industrial Schools, West Derby Union Workhouse, Olive Mount Children's Home, Sefton General Hospital, Toxteth Park Workhouse, Walton Workhouse, and West Derby Union.

Within the admission and discharge registers, you may discover religion, last residence, name and address of nearest relatives, and discharge date. The classification lists would classify children as orphans, illegitimate, deserted, child of parents undergoing punishment, child of widows or widowers, or child of lunatics.

These records also contain a Register Of Children Sent To Canada with 322 entries. The lists, separate for Roman Catholic and Protestant, give the date the child was sent, the name and address of the foster parents, and the ship name.

Liverpool Church of England Parish records
Over 2.2 million parish baptisms, marriages, burials and congregational records have been added to our collection of Lancashire Church of England parish records. The new additions cover 157 parishes across the city and span the years 1653 to 1991 and are available to search through the following collections:

Lancashire, Liverpool Congregational Records
Lancashire Baptisms
Lancashire Banns & Marriages
Lancashire Burials

The records are also available to browse.

National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914
Over 646,000 additional records covering hundreds of schools across Liverpool and Lancashire between 1807 and 1952 are now available to search. The new additions include admissions, withdrawals and log books.

These records may reveal a variety of details including birth dates, admission years and the schools they attended. You may also be able to discover their parents' names, father's occupation, exam results and any illnesses that led to absence from school.

England & Wales Non-Conformist Records
Over 50,000 additional records have been added to collections of England & Wales Non-Conformist births and baptisms, marriages and burials covering Methodist churches in the English port city of Liverpool. The new additions span over 100 years of the city's history between 1800 and 1915 and are available to search within the following collections:

England & Wales Non-Conformist Marriages
England & Wales Non-Conformist Burials
England & Wales Non-Conformist Births and Baptisms

Friday, 1 March 2019

Findmypast adds Liverpool Roman Catholic Parish Records

Over 1.4 million baptisms, marriages, burials and congregational records covering 47 Liverpool Roman Catholic parishes have been released online for the first time by Findmypast in association with the Archdiocese of Liverpool. Spanning the years 1754 to 1988 they include images of the original documents.

I've heard it claimed that Roman Catholic priests opposed civil registration so I took advantage of the baptismal records to investigate how baptisms could also be identified in the FreeBMD birth index.

Of 28 people of last name Marmon in the baptismal record only 8 could clearly be recognized in FreeBMD. Another 5 might have appeared in the subsequent year as late registrations, or because they were born near year's end, promptly baptized and registered the following year. Others might have been given different names on the two occasions. In any event that's less than half the Roman Catholic baptisms evident in FreeBMD.

Unfortunately the Marmon I was looking for is in neither record set.

Celebrate St David's Day

It's 1 March, time to celebrate Welsh roots.

Wales shares many genealogical resources with England. A great specifically Welsh family history resource is the collection of digitized newspapers, free to search and view from the National Library of Wales.

Newspaper wedding reports are especially valuable giving not only the names of the bride and groom, parents names, where and when they married, and more. When my grandmother's sister married on 27 February 1905 in Carmarthen  the newspaper had a long list of gifts received from whom, and that my grandmother wore a cream dress and white hat.


These four frequently-used Welsh English words link Wales to the rest of the world.

Your Genealogy Today March/April 2019

The Problem With Half-Truths: White Lies and Genealogy 
Sue Lisk offers up five questions you should ask yourself while validating the work of other family historians.
Reminds me of the story of the man who passed away during an important civic function, held in his honor, when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.

Advice From the Pros
Diane L. Richard offers advice on hiring a professional genealogist in the US. Says nothing about hiring a professional genealogist elsewhere.

To Stalin’s Moscow and Back
Her child abducted by an ex-husband, an intrepid mother journeys to Russia alone – by Sandy Hack. Interesting story.

The Genealogy Adventure Vacation
Monty Joynes teams with a distant cousin to research the history of their shared family on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. A very interesting story a visit to ancestral homeland and serendipitous discovery at an archives.

Who Was the Real Becky Thatcher?
Constance Cherba researches the woman who was the childhood companion of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Rosemary and Forget-Me-Nots
Robbie Gorr suggests creating a memory garden to acknowledge your roots and celebrate your ancestors. Combining interests for those as addicted to gardening as family history.

Regnal Years
David A. Norris examines an ancient method of marking time. He provides a link to convert these to our regular system —  it's not Ian's English Calendar I previously used.

Threads of Connection: A Guided Search
Sue Lisk recounts the discovery of a wayward cabinet card and how a stranger was instrumental in its homecoming. An eBay story.

Surname Stumblers: Don’t Get Tripped Up!
Susan Aucoin Clark offers strategies for overcoming the difficulties in deciphering names found in documents. A five page primer on names and deliberate or inadvertent name changes.

Coffee Mugs and Family History
David A. Norris looks at how history and genealogy shine from a collection of coffee mugs. There's history in everyday artifacts.

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Thursday, 28 February 2019

Findmypast Announces Project to Digitise & Publish 1921 Census of England & Wales

The following is an announcement obtained via Findmypast

The National Archives in association with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has awarded leading British & Irish family history website Findmypast the contract to digitise and publish the 1921 Census online

In the most anticipated family history development since the online publication of the 1939 Register, Findmypast has been selected as The National Archives’ commercial partner to make the 1921 Census of England & Wales available online.

The census, which was the first to be conducted following the introduction of the Census Act of 1920, will be published online by Findmypast in January 2022.

The project will see Findmypast capture digital images and transcribe the records in a way that will enable family historians across the globe to conduct meaningful searches of these important records when they are opened for the very first time.

Taken on 19th June 1921, the census consists of more than 28,000 bound volumes of original household returns containing detailed information on close to 38 million individuals.

It provides greater detail than any previous census as, in addition to the questions asked in 1911, the 1921 returns also asked householders to reveal their place of employment, the industry they worked in and the materials they worked with as well as their employer’s name. Those aged 15 and older were required to provide information about their marital status, including if divorced, while for those under 15 the census recorded whether both parents were alive or if either or both had died.

The 1921 Census also included detailed questions on education, and was the first in which individual householders could submit separate confidential returns.


Comment:  This isn't too surprising given Findmypast was the commercial partner for the 1911 census and 1939 National Registration. Expect to pay. Both of those captured the consumer surplus in the data by initially charging more for access, except in the TNA building at Kew.

With this announcement, well before the January 2022 release, its highly likely release will be on the first day that law permits public access.

Is that a model Library and Archives Canada should follow? We had to wait nearly 9 months past the  date the 1926 census was officially passed to LAC until release — and without charge.