Thursday, 24 January 2019

The Genealogist adds further prisoner records

The Genealogist has added almost 700,000 entries for prisoners in its Court and Criminal Records collection. Sourced from the HO 8 Registers held by The National Archives, these documents contain records from the years 1821 to 1876. It expands the criminal record collection to over 2.3 million individuals.

These Prison Registers give family history researchers details of ancestors who were imprisoned in a number of convict prisons from Broadmoor to the Warrior Convict Hulk. The records reveal the names of prisoners, offences the prisoner had been convicted for, the date of their trial and where they were tried.

Use the quarterly prison registers to find ancestors guilty of crimes ranging from theft, highway robbery and libel to murder; discover the sentences received; the age of a prisoner; where they were sentenced and to which prison they were sent.

Note that Findmypast also has 5,762,300 records in a collection England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935 derived from the HO 8 Registers which TNA refers to as Home Office: Convict Hulks, Convict Prisons and Criminal Lunatic Asylums: Quarterly Returns of Prisoners.

Top 50 Closest DNA Matches - not US

On the Genealogy Tips and Tricks Facebook Group Blaine Bettinger posted a table "Of my top 50 closest matches (that I did not test) across all four testing companies (66 - 1,882 cM)." He used it to point out that if he had only tested at 23andMe he'd be missing 37 matches, at AncestryDNA missing 21 matches, at Family Tree DNA missing 43 matches and at MyHeritage missing 42 matches.

Inspired by Blaine I checked my results. Whereas Blaine's 50th match is 66 cM my top match at Ancestry is 63 cM, at 23andMe 58 cM (approx), at FTDNA 77 cM (without deducting small segments), and at MyHeritage 54 cM.

My top 50 matches are all at FTDNA, again without deducting small segments.

Could it be that so many more people in the US than elsewhere have had their DNA tested that those of us without US ancestry are out of luck? And, perhaps the prospects for the companies are limited unless they can grow their international customer base.

OGS Ottawa Branch January Meeting

Here is the schedule for Saturday 26 January at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive (Room 115)

10:30 – 12:00: Genealogy: Back to Basics - Genealogy Drop-In
All Welcome; Come join us! Drop in to get some help on your family tree, share research strategies, & discover what resources are available for your research.  Experienced researchers from Ottawa Branch will be here to answer questions & help you get the most from library resources.  Bring your laptop, or tablet too! If you are new to family history research or need a refresher, come out and join us! Sessions are free and open to all.

13:00: Ottawa Branch Presentation: Cemetery and Monument Conservation
Networking and refreshments followed at 13:30 by announcements and presentation Cemetery and Monument Conservation (rescheduled from September)
Speaker: Catherine Paterson, PhD
This presentation will focus on the principles and practices of monument conservation in Ontario cemeteries. Using examples from several recent projects, this talk will highlight how caring for cemeteries can draw from their significance to past and present communities.

15:00: Computer Special Interest Group

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Canadian Directory Search

Every so often you find yourself searching contact information for living people. A good Canadian resource to know about is likely online through your local public library.

In Ottawa the OPL provides the ReferenceCanada database from ReferenceGroup. Search 11 million Canadian households by name. phone number, address and more. It claims to be the largest such database available. Records are 100% publicly sourced to comply with Canadian privacy laws.

There's also a directory of 1.5 million Canadian companies compiled from telephone directories, annual reports, government data, chamber of commerce information, business magazines, newspapers, specialty directories, and postal services information. Non-profits like BIFHSGO and OGS are also included although the information is not up to date. and logon to your account.

HSO January Meeting

3D Aerial Photographs by J.-P. Dostaler and “Show and Tell” with Jon Church is the topic for the Historical Society of Ottawa meeting on Friday 25 January 2019.
As usual the meeting is at 172 Guigues Ave. and starts at 1 pm.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

FreeBMD January Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 17 January 2019 to contain 268,517,257 unique records, 268,185,403 at previous update.

Years with major additions, greater than 5,000 records, are: for births 1964, 1978, 1980, 1982-86; for marriages 1965, 1980, 1984-85; for deaths 1982-86.

First Name Popularity

The blog post Fun with Flourish – how popular was your name in Victorian Britain? is worth a look.

Based on 22 million birth records transcribed by the volunteer UK Local BMD project shows the percentage of all transcribed records in which the first name appears.

There are 143,259 unique names over 177 years, over seven geographically diverse counties — mainly English.

Check the trends for your own name from the link in the Fun with Flourish blog post.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Tobogganing in Ottawa

It's cold and snowy enough for this seasonal image —wood engraving by Sydney Prior Hall and Horace Harral.

Caption references John Campbell, Marquis of Lorne, married Princess Louise, the sixth child of Queen Victoria, in 1871. He was governor-general of Canada from 1878 to 1883. He succeeded his father as Duke of Argyll in 1900. Princess Louise was injured in a sleigh accident in Canada in February 1880

Credit: Wellcome Collection.

Eleanor Kathryn Lillico RIP

Sad to report that Eleanor Lillico, well known in the Ottawa genealogical community, passed on 7 January 2019.

Eleanor was a life-long member of Bethany United Church for which she wrote a history  (pdf) for the Gloucester Historical Society.

Read the obit.

Ancestor Mobility in 1911

This bar chart from 1911 census data shows in blue the fraction of people born in a province still living in it, and in red the fraction of those living there who were born there.

Those born in BC were most likely to stay, Manitoba-born least likely.

From Manitoba westward more than half the residents were born outside the province, a reflection of those flocking to "The Last Best West". PEI had a net outflow — more born there than living in the province.

The figures are sourced from census data.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Devon Heritage and Genealogist's Psalm

There's a cornucopia of county resources at

Topics are: Architecture, Census, Devon County, Devonshire Rgt., Directory Listings, Education, Genealogy, History, Industry, Parish Records, People, Places, Transportation, War Memorials. They hide some fascinating resources you'd never guess would be there just from those topic titles.

The image is from a page Gone to Canada.

Thanks to Brenda Turner for the tip and pointing to The Genealogists Psalm.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

National Library of Scotland Ordnance Survey Maps
Digitization of the 1:10,560 National Grid 1950s-1960s series of Ordnance Survey maps is now complete for the whole UK.

Naval Marine Archive: Canadian Collection - Ships Database
Canadian ships and many ships that were foreign built but traded regularly with Canada, or were sold to Canadian owners. Where available, further details of owners, masters and voyages are also included.
via a retweet by Jane MacNamara

Mitochondrial DNA can be inherited from fathers, not just mothers
Three families identified with mtDNA heteroplasmy that could not be explained by maternal inheritance.

Meteorological Mid-Winter

If you're shivering and looking at snow falling, take heart — this is on average the coldest day of the year in Ottawa. The 18th to the 22nd have an average minimum temperature of -15.7 C. The lowest average maximum of -6.4 C occurs on the 16th to 20th.

While daily record low temperatures are bitter for another month snow cover means bright days, the sun is rising noticeably earlier and setting later.

According to the North American Ensemble Forecast System Ottawa temperatures stay well below normal through Tuesday, then a brief warming until dropping back Thursday to somewhat colder than normal conditions for the following week.

Millennials, Gen X, Gen Z, baby boomers: how generation labels cloud issues of inequality

Rationality: research shows we’re not as stupid as we have been led to believe.

Why you shouldn't follow the health regimes of these 'peak zen' people.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Ancestry Updates

Ontario or Gloucestershire ancestry? Check out the following collections which Ancestry lists as having been updated since the start of the year.

Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-1936:  8,717,643 records
Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas, 1869-1946:  3,241,953 records

Gloucestershire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1813: 4,855,897 records

The Lowestoftian

Chances are there are no regular readers of the blog who attended Lowestoft County Grammar School, now known as Ormiston Denes Academy. I was a student from 1956 to 1963. Nevertheless, that won't stop me mentioning that there now online are archived issues of the school magazine, The Lowestoftian.

The earliest is for 1924, the most recent December 2018. The series is spotty to 1969 with a big break to start up again in 2015. I was delighted to find a list of those gaining GCE A Level certificates in my graduating year and news of retirements of fondly, and some not so fondly remembered teachers.

Does your old school have an archived magazine?

LAC Co-Lab Update

Here's an update on Co-Lab Challenge project progress.

112 images were processed during the month.

Legendary train robber and prison escapee Bill Miner (81 images processed during the month) is 21% complete (0% last month). 

War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division (7 images processed during the month) is 41% complete (30% last month).

The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters (24 pages processed during the month) is 66% complete (64% last month).

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

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

New France and First Nations relations is 28% 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.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Findmypast adds Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough and new National Burial Index Records

England Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms
Over 65,000 exclusive new records covering 36 parishes across the Diocese of Middlesbrough for the years 1742 to 1917. With every result find an image of the original transcript from the diocese archive and a transcript.

England Roman Catholic Parish Marriages
Over 19,000 exclusive new Diocese of Middlesbrough Sacramental Register entries covering marriages preformed across 28 parishes between 1796 and 1944.

England Roman Catholic Parish Burials
Over 7,000 new and exclusive records held by the Diocese of Middlesbrough covering burial sites in 22 parishes between 1774 and 1974.

England Roman Catholic Parish Congregational records
Over 47,000 records from the Diocese of Middlesbrough covering 30 parishes and spanning the years 1743 to 1920 including anniversary books, confirmation lists, congregational lists, lists of benefactors and converts, parish diaries, and more.

National Burial Index for England & Wales
Over 717,000 new records have been added to the NBI from 288 burial places in the historic counties of Co. Durham, Northumberland and Cumberland as well as 656 burials sites across Lincolnshire. Each transcript will list a combination of name, age, death year, burial place, burial date and place of worship. The Index currently contains over 11 million records and will continue to receive regular updates.

Other additions this week are:

All Saints in Isleworth, Middlesex Baptisms 1543-1876
United States General Land Office Records 1796-2013
Irish Newspapers

The Halifax Explosion

Earlier this week I stopped by the National Gallery to visit the exhibition Masterpiece in Focus: Halifax Harbour 1918 which depicts the city’s waterfront through the eyes of artists Arthur Lismer and Harold Gilman.  The explosion devastated the area on 6 December 1917 — one of those landmark events of a lifetime.

It's a relatively small exhibit, just two rooms, one for each artist.

There's a preview video.

Library and Archives Canada offers another perspective through a podcast “Francis Mackey and the Halifax Explosion” interviewing retired teacher and author Janet Maybee about her book Aftershock: The Halifax Explosion and the Persecution of Pilot Francis Mackey which attempts to clear Mackey’s name and restore honour to the Mackey family.

Note that Janet Maybee, a real champion of LAC resources, mentions the late lamented LAC cafeteria — a resource that's now sadly lacking.

Forthcoming "Genealogy" Books

A search for genealogy on Amazon lists the following as soon to be published. Information is from the publisher.

Humanimal: How Homo Sapiens Became Nature's Most Paradoxical Creature--A New Evolutionary History
by Adam Rutherford
19 March 2019
Adam Rutherford, author of A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes explores how many of the things once considered to be exclusively human are not: We are not the only species that communicates, makes tools, uses fire, or has sex for reasons other than procreation. Evolution has, however, allowed us to develop a culture far more complex than any other observed in nature. Humanimal explains how we became the creatures we are today, uniquely able to investigate ourselves. Illuminating the latest genetic research, it is a thrilling account of what unequivocally fixes us as animals--and what makes us truly extraordinary.

Great British Family Names and Their History: What's in a Name?
by John Moss
30 March 2019
For better or worse, what we are is often determined by our family; the events that occurred many years before we were born, and the choices that were made by our forebears are our inheritance - we are the inexorable product of family history. So it is with nations. The history of Great Britain has been largely defined by powerful and influential families, many of whose names have come down to us from Celtic, Danish, Saxon or Norman ancestors. Their family names fill the pages of our history books; they are indelibly written into the events which we learned about at school. Iconic family names like Wellington, Nelson, Shakespeare, Cromwell, Constable, De Montfort and Montgomery... there are innumerable others. They reflect the long chequered history of Britain, and demonstrate the assimilation of the many cultures and languages which have migrated to these islands over the centuries, and which have resulted in the emergence of our language. This book is a snapshot of several hundred such family names and delves into their beginnings and derivations, making extensive use of old sources, including translations of The Domesday Book and The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, as well as tracing many through the centuries to the present day.

The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors
by Marsha Hoffman Rising
31 March 2019
The late US genealogist Marsha Hoffman Rising's newly updated bestselling book. Find answers to genealogy's toughest problems.
No information on what is added for this latest addition.

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors
by John Grenham
5 April 2019
The fifth edition of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors retains its familiar three-part structure, combining a detailed guide for beginners with thorough descriptions of all the useful sources and county-by-county reference lists. Additionally, all of the changes that have been brought about by modern technology – internet records and DNA testing, which make researching your family background easier than ever – are explained in this indispensable guide.

Kingston Branch OGS January Meeting

On Saturday, 19 January at 9:30 a.m. at the Kingston Seniors Centre, 56 Francis Street in Kingston.  Carol St. Clair will speak on "Tales of the Script: Reading and Understanding Old English Cursive".  Bring pen and paper and learn how to write Old English words. 

Also a brief educational session will be presented by Mimi Merrill, who will speak about the re-opening of the Family History Centre in Glenburnie.

Visitors always welcome.  Further info at

Extra.  Early Kingston city directories (1855-1923) and many other local genealogy resources are available online. The Quick Links page of the Digital Kingston website provides shortcuts to the most frequently-used sources.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Tell Multinational Publishers We Want Better eContent For Canadian Libraries

Lack of availability, high prices stand in the way of open, easy access to eBooks and eAudiobooks for Canadian readers at public libraries

The Canadian Urban Libraries Council, along with public libraries across Canada, is asking the public to help resolve these issues by demanding stronger #eContentForLibraries of major multinational publishers. Canadians can send the message on social media, tagging these publishers in their posts: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster.


Quinte Branch OGS January Meeting

The Quinte Branch of Ontario Genealogical Society invites all to its 19 January, 2019 meeting which will be the Annual Crouse Wanamaker Lecture —"Irish Famine and the Settlement of East Hungerford township of Hastings County" by Jim Kennelly.

Jim will speak about Irish emigration prior to and during the Potato Famine. In particular, he will look at the emigrants from Lord Fitzwilliam’s estate in Shillelagh, Wicklow and the large number who eventually settled in the eastern section of Hungerford, Hastings County and in the townships of Sheffield and Camden in Lennox and Addington County. Why were so many from one corner of Ireland concentrated in this area of Ontario?
Jim is a retired school administrator and is actively involved in the Hastings County Historical Society. He has a large connection to the emigrants from Fitzwilliam’s estate and an even larger connection to the thousands of descendants of these people who sought a better life. He and his wife, Sandy, live in Lonsdale, Ontario where they raised four daughters and are proud of their twelve grandchildren.

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

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Thoughts on Finding Your Roots

After watching Finding Your Roots last evening:

I'm wondering if you're as moved by seeing your ancestor's name on a voters list the first time he was able to vote following the Second Reform Act of 1867 in the UK as Michael K. Williams was in seeing his ancestor's following the US Civil War.

Did anyone tell Felicity Huffman that millions of people in the US likely share her 9th great grandfather, that she likely inherited none of her genome from him, and that as a leader in the community he was likely complicit in suppressing rights for the indigenous people.

But none of that would make for the syrupy slop PBS served up in this episode.

Talk Genealogy Podcast: Episode #35 Marriage Registers of Old England

Another episode of Malcolm Noble's Talk Genealogy Podcast covering aspects of English marriages not dealt with in previous episodes, and several that were, was published on 4 January.
Did you know that for many years marriages could only happen in the morning, and that there were three periods during the year when marriages could not occur without special dispensation? There are other curiosities mentioned.

At the end of the episode, which runs for almost 34 minutes, Malcolm mentions that he has spoken for 20 and a bit minutes. Most of those extra 10 minutes could likely be cut to make the podcast more listenable without losing the good content.

Great Scots: Canadian Fiction Writers with Links to Scotland, 1867 to Today

Ayrshire-born Canadian publishing icon Douglas Gibson will cover Canadian history, discussing storytellers in their historic background. Among the Great Scots authors are predictable names like MacLennan and MacLeod, but also some that will surprise you!

Presented by The Scottish Society of Ottawa in partnership with the Ottawa Public Library.

Arts Court Theatre, 2 Daly St. Monday, January 21, 7:00 p.m.

Register here.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Western Canada Legal Land Description

How often when faced with the information that a relative received a land grant described as, say, Part: NE; Section: 20; Township: 24; Range: 3; Meridian: W2 have you felt no wiser. If you found it by a search in the Library and Archives Canada database Land Grants of Western Canada, 1870-1930 the map accompanying the search result is difficult to interpret..
Help is at hand at It converts to and from latitude and longitude and contains links to various map displays, including Google and Bing maps which you can zoom in and out to see the context. It's one to bookmark.

Perth & District Historical Society January Meeting

Thursday, 17 January, 2019 at 7:30pm
Perth's Royal Canadian Legion, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, (Toonie Donation).

"A Vision for the Perth Museum" 

Our Society's meeting for January 17, 2019 takes a different approach; we look not at history, but, instead, meet a guest who examines, displays and catalogues history, and then assists people in learning and enjoying the experience.  We take pleasure in introducing Kathryn Jamieson, the new Heritage/Tourism Manager for the Town of Perth. 

As a native of Westport, Kathryn Jamieson's new position in Perth is a return to her small-town roots in a familiar neighbourhood.  Kathryn's personal interests in arts and culture led her to Sheridan College, studying glass arts, including glass blowing.  She then incorporated an interest in history into her career as a glass artist, taking Algonquin College's Applied Museum Studies Program.  Her previous work experiences include positions at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canadian War Museum and 10 years at the Goulbourn Museum, culminating with Curator Manager.  In addition, Kathryn has taught two components of the Museum Management module at Algonquin College.  These previous experiences will serve her well with her position in Perth, which she assumed the past summer. 

Drawing on her past studies and work, Kathryn envisages expanding the way the Perth Museum is projected to the residents of Perth and visitors.  While she is still obtaining a feel for the job here, she is learning the strengths and weaknesses of the Museum and those of the Town.  Her concept for the future includes expanding on the heritage and tourism sector strengths that have worked so well in the past for the town, and engaging the public and their views of their local museum.  Keeping finances in mind, there are some notable points to consider: strengthening the museum's visibility, preserving and developing museum assets, and developing audience engagement. 

Speaking with Kathryn, her enthusiasm for her new position is evident.  She has noted that there is much that is positive already in place, including one of the main strengths - the people she has met.  This has been reinforced by her return to the area and the enjoyment that she, her husband and their young son have with life in Perth.  And, one might also see her at local markets with her glass blowing artwork. 

Monday, 14 January 2019

The Shutdown

Although my research doesn't normally lead me into US government websites it did this past weekend, and I was faced with this webpage from the US National Archives and Records Administration.
Dick Eastman has a list of some of the services closed by the President's shutdown.

How to access British Second World War Service Files

A BIFHSGO member asked me about accessing her father's Second World War British Army service file at the meeting last Saturday. I could only answer from memory — it's something I haven't done but it turns out I wasn't far off the mark.
The files, still with the Ministry of Defence, are open on application by snail mail for anyone who died 25 or more years ago, and otherwise to next of kin. You need to know the person’s full name, date of birth and (or?) service number in order to fill out the forms, and pay a £30 application fee. It can take several months for an application to be processed.
Official information on who can and how to apply, and the forms, is at

Free Webinar: Integrating old photos into your family history research

Maureen Taylor < >, who needs no introduction, will show how to analyze photos, upload to a personal MyHeritage website, and tag the people you want to stay connected with in this free webinar sponsored by MyHeritage.
It's at 2 pm EST on Tuesday, 22 January, 2019.

Register here.

Genealogy Drop-in at OPL/Greenboro

Three sessions are scheduled at the Greenboro Public Library 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 resources.

Wednesday, 16 January, 2019 - 10:30am - noon
Wednesday, 20 February, 2019 - 10:30am - noon
Tuesday, 19 March, 2019 - 10:30am - noon

That's in the Computer training room, 363 Lorry Greenberg

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Digital Archive Ontario has Ottawa Frozen in Time
Ottawa features in some of the vintage images from Digital Archive Ontario, a website for finding historical photos, maps, postcards and rare books — all digitized by Toronto Public Library.

Listen Real-Time
It's like Google Analytics Real-Time, but for podcast episodes. These are the podcast episodes being listened to via Listen Notes right now.

How to Delete Your Online Accounts but Keep Your Data
Basic steps for deleting your accounts across 15 different services.

Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories of 2018
From David Phillips and the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.

Near Real-time Airflow 
Various projections. Use the EARTH hamburger icon at bottom left to change parameters - before you leave for the airport check out the 250 hPa image to see whether your flight will be with or against the jet stream.
See the whole of 2018 here.

Enough is Enough
This review article finds no clear evidence of a beneficial effect of supplements on all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, or cancer.
NOTE: I'm not a medical doctor. Consult your own physician.
β-carotene, vitamin E, and possibly high doses of vitamin A supplements are harmful. Other antioxidants, folic acid and B vitamins, and multivitamin and mineral supplements are ineffective for preventing mortality or morbidity due to major chronic diseases. Although available evidence does not rule out small benefits or harms or large benefits or harms in a small subgroup of the population, we believe that the case is closed— supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful. These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Remove image background for free is a free service to remove the background from any photo to isolate at least one person in the image. It works 100% automatically.
Unlike other background removal utilities you don't have to manually select the background/foreground layers to separate them - just select your image and instantly download the result image with the background removed. The output image is limited to 500 × 500 pixels.

I find it works pretty well

I Vow to Thee ...

On this date 101 years ago in Washington DC outgoing British ambassador to the United States of America,, Sir Cecil Arthur Spring Rice, penned familiar words, his last poem

I vow to thee, my country—all earthly things above—
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love, 
The love that asks no question : the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best : 
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

And there’s another country, I've heard of long ago— 
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know—
We may not count her armies : we may not see her King—
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering— 
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are Peace.

Spring Rice came to Ottawa, before a planned return to the UK, staying at Rideau Hall where he died of heart failure on 14 February. He is buried at Beechwood Cemetery.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Kent is featured in Findmypast additions

New this week in Findmypast:

Kent Baptisms: over 23,000 new records covering Anglican and Wesleyan baptisms in Dover, Gravesend, Higham, Nettlestead and Maidstone have been added to our collection of Kent parish baptisms spanning the years 1736-1917 .

Kent Marriages: over 22,000 new records covering 9 Anglican parishes in Aylesford, Boxley, Higham and Nettlestead have been added to the collection and are now available to search.

Kent Burials: over 203,000 additional records covering the former Grange Road Cemetery in Gillingham, now a public open space, Fort Pitt Military Cemetery and the cemetery in Robin Hood Lane, Chatham have been added to the collection.

1939 Register update: over 53,000 additional 'open' records have been added to the 1939 Register.
The 1939 Register now contains more than 34 million searchable records.

Devon Social & Institutional Records: over 76,000 new records added to the FMP collection of Devon Social & Institutional Records gathered by the Devon Family History Society from a wide range of local records covering daily life in the 18th and 19th centuries. There are 132 separate sources mainly covering working life, but also containing a fascinating collection of criminal and poor law records, early local censuses, town lists, photographs and even admission registers for a homes for "Friendless and Fallen Girls".

TheGenealogist adds further Worcestershire and Headstones Records

The following is a press release:

More than 144,700 Worcestershire Baptism records added to TheGenealogist and a further 20,000 individuals on Headstones.

TheGenealogist is releasing the records of 144,793 individuals added to their Worcestershire Baptisms (in Partnership with Malvern FHS) and an additional 20,000 individuals on headstones from the UKIndexer project where volunteers help their fellow genealogists by indexing and/or photographing the monumental inscriptions in churchyards and cemeteries.
● Discover dates of ancestors’ baptisms
● Glean names of parents of those baptised in Worcestershire
● Headstones give dates and name details of those buried and sometimes familiar relationships
● Memorials can reveal information not recorded elsewhere for ancestors

Headstones being released this week includes the transcriptions and the images for those at St Giles, Imber on Salisbury Plain, useful for those with ancestors buried there as it is only open a few days a year. St Giles'; Church is in the deserted village of Imber, Wiltshire and was built in the late 13th or early 14th century. The village falls within the British Army's training grounds on Salisbury Plain and is deserted as a result of the entire civilian population being evicted in 1943 to provide an exercise area for American troops preparing for the invasion of Europe during the Second World War. Once the war came to an end the villagers would have liked to return but were not allowed. The church today is without its pews and its font was moved to Brixton Deverill while the pulpit has been sent to

Winterbourne Stoke. St Giles’ seating, bell and two effigies are now housed at Edington Priory. The Church of St Giles is open for visitors and services on specified days of the year when the Ministry of

Defence allows access. St Giles is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a Grade I listed building, and is now a redundant church in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.
These fully searchable records released this week are available now to Diamond subscribers of TheGenealogist.Read their article: TheGenealogist adds to its Headstone collection to reveal some fascinating celebrities.

List of churchyards and burial grounds in this release
Bedfordshire: Lidlington Graveyard, Lidlington; St Andrew, Ampthill; St Lawrence, Wymington Buckinghamshire: St Leonard, Chesham Bois Devon: St Clement, Powderham; All Saints, Kenton Dorset: St Andrew, Fontmell Magna; St Aldhelms, Upton; Church of the Ascension, Woodlands; St Wolfrida, Horton; Sherborne Abbey, Sherborne; St Mary Magdalene, Fifehead Magdalen; St Nicholas, Edmondsham; St Gregory, Marnhull; All Saints, Chalbury; St Laurence, Farnham; St Peter, Pimperne; Holy Trinity, Stourpaine; St Mary, Iwerne Minster; All Saints, Kington Magna Essex: North Road Burial Ground, Westcliff-on-Sea Gloucestershire: St Barnabas, Snowshill; St Peter, Daylesford; Hailes Parish Church, Hailes; St Mary, Driffield; Hampshire: All Saints, Minstead Herefordshire: St Peter and St Paul, Weobley Lincolnshire: St Paul, Morton, Gainsborough London: St Pauls Burial Ground now West Hackney Recreation Ground, Hackney North Yorkshire: St John and All Saints, Easingwold; St John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Easingwold; Christ Church Cemetery, Marton cum Grafton Northamptonshire: St Mary’s Rushden, Rushden; Rushden Cemetery, Rushden; All Saints, Earls Barton; Earls Barton Baptist Church, Earls Barton Oxfordshire: St Mary, Swinbrook Shropshire: St Catherine, Eyton on the Weald Moors; St Cuthbert’s Donington, Albrighton, Wolverhampton; St Bartholomew, Tong Somerset: St John the Baptist, Biddisham; St Nicholas, Brockley; Sawbridgeworth Cemetery, Sawbridgeworth; St Lawrence, Rode; St Lawrence, Cucklington; St Nicholas, Henstridge Suffolk: St Mary, Grundisburgh Wiltshire: St Editha, Baverstock; St Martin, Barford St Martin; St Margaret of Antioch, Corsley; Christ Church, Warminster; Holy Trinity, Bradford on Avon; Baptist Burial Ground, Crockerton; St Leonard, Sutton Veny; St Peter Ad Vincula, Tollard Royal; St Aldhelm, Bishopstrow; Holy Trinity, Dilton Marsh; Christ Church, Bradford on Avon; St Giles, Imber; St John, Warminster; St John the Baptist, Bishopstone Worcestershire: St Eadburgha, Broadway Yorkshire: New Connexion, Shepley, Huddersfield; St Pauls, Shepley, Huddersfield; St Thomas, Thurstonland; St Lucius, Farnley Tyas; Christ Church, New Mill, Holmfirth.

List of Worcestershire Parishes
Beoley, Birtsmorton, Clent, Cradley Nr Ledbury, Ripple, Severn Stoke, St. Peter The Great, Tenbury Wells, Upper Arley, Upton On Severn, Upton Upon Severn, White Ladies Aston, Whittington, Wolverley, Worcester All Saints, Worcester St Albans, Worcester St Clement, Worcester St Clements, Worcester St Helen, Worcester St John Of Bedwardine, Worcester St Martin, Worcester St Michael, Worcester St Nicholas, Worcester St Swithun, Worcester St. Helen, Wribbenhall, Wyre Piddle

Maintaining an Organized Computer

If you've ever had problems finding things on your computer you may find this explanation of an organization system helpful.

Cyndi Ingle, of Cyndi's List fame, gave this presentation on Wednesday evening. It's available free for the next few days.  There's nothing extra to buy, unless you want to use a lot of cloud storage.

Recommended. The sound occasionally drops which perhaps explains why it runs a bit longer than normal.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

FamilySearch adds Great Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935

This addition is from the (UK) National Archives in Kew, WO 25, which is a collection of documents of various kinds, including regimental descriptions, succession books, commissions, appointments, descriptions, returns of services, casualties, half pays, pensions, and gratuities.

Most are for the first half of the 19th century.

The indexed information is limited: typically name, event type, event place and sometimes age. More detailed information is in the image of the original record which is only available at FamilySearch authorized locations.

There's a long list of these WO 25 records here. Some are for the Royal Canadian Rifles from 1841 to 1870.

Also from WO 25, Ancestry has Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756-1900.

National Gallery and LAC Partnership

In a CBC interview, as he finishes a decade as head of The National Gallery of Canada, Marc Mayer gave a shout out to partnerships as a way of doing business, and makes specific mention of Library and Archives Canada.
Another point he made was about the need to attract visitors to the Gallery by presenting exhibitions by artists with name recognition. Is there a parallel strategy for LAC?

OGS Conference 2019 - registration now open

The website for the 21-23 June, 2019 OGS Conference in London, Ontario, is live and registration is now working. 

For information, to book tours, workshops, lectures and more..... .

Some events sell out rapidly so book early — unless you like being disappointed!

BIFHSGO January Meeting

Saturday, 12 January, 2019

A Brief History of BIFHSGO: celebrating 25 years  (Before BIFHSGO Education Talk)
9:00 am to 9:30 am
The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

The Cowkeeper’s Wish: Transforming Family History into a Great Story
10:00 am to 11:30 am
The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

Gathering names and dates of ancestors is an addictive, exhausting task, and while it’s satisfying to put the facts in order and fill in a tree’s branches, what’s more fascinating is exploring who these people were as individuals and how they fit into the times and places they occupied. Anyone who’s snooped in their own tree knows that even the most ordinary family contains great stories. Kristen den Hartog and Tracy Kasaboski discuss how to create a rich and wonderful story from a family archive, drawing on official documents as well as personal treasures like photographs, letters, and passed-down memories, and weaving them with events of the times. The sisters’ latest book, The Cowkeeper’s Wish, spans nearly a century, and is set in both England and Canada. They’ll talk about finding the thread of their story and putting several generations in context.

About the speakers

Kristen den Hartog and Tracy Kasaboski are sisters and co-authors of two family memoirs. The Occupied Garden: A Family History of War-Torn Holland was published to rave reviews in 2008 by McClelland & Stewart, and chronicles the lives of their father’s family in the Netherlands in WW II. Their most recent collaboration, The Cowkeeper’s Wish: A Genealogical Journey, delves into their maternal British roots, beginning in the 1840s, when their 3-times great-grandfather walked from Wales to London with his cows, in search of a better life. A working-class chronicle stitched into history, the tale follows the family line for nearly a century, through poverty, war, and love, and ends with the authors’ grandparents in London, Ontario, in the 1930s. The sisters blog about eclectic offshoots from their genealogical journey at

Open to the public

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The Middlemore Index

BIFHSGO has it's first success of 2019 — a very much updated version of the Middlemore Index. It's thanks to a project championed over many years for BIFHSGO by Patricia Roberts-Pichette, with help from many others in the Society.

The Index contains the names of the approximately 5,000 children brought for settlement in Canada between 1873 and 1932 by John T. Middlemore and his agency―known as the Children’s (Middlemore) Emigration Homes. There's much more than the names — it draws together references from up to ten documents for each child.

A good place to start in is with the Guide to the Middlemore Index and Sources for complete details. If like most of us you prefer to dive right in go here. You'll find an alphabetical menu organized by surname initial. Clicking on the file of interest brings up a mass of information; you'll then turn to the guide to help understand WDH you're seeing.

BIFHSGO has declared copyright for the Index and it may not be downloaded or printed.

Getting the best Ancestry deal

I received an email with this Ancestry 50% discount offer. It's likely not an open offer so please don't rush to take advantage. I've publicized those before only to be told it was directed specifically at me (and others who fit certain criteria). I suspect Ancestry somehow got the impression I am not already a subscriber.

So how do you get a good offer?
1. If you don't have an Ancestry account you can subscribe online at for a 27% discount. 2. If you call 1-800-958-9073 you can likely get a better offer, perhaps as much as the 50% discount.

3. Once you have a subscription immediately cancel automatic renewal. You don't want to be automatically renewed at full price.

If you're already a subscriber

4. Before your subscription expires you'll likely receive a renewal notice. Unless it offers a substantial discount ignore it. Once the subscription expires use the time to take a break and within a few days you'll likely receive an offer for renewal at a discount. A 30% discount is typical.
5. If you don't get an offer be patient. It will come. You may also get a better renewal offer if you attend an event where Ancestry is in the marketplace.

From a business perspective the marginal cost to Ancestry of serving an additional subscriber is minuscule. It costs Ancestry almost $100 to attract a new subscriber; much less to attract you to resubscribe and as a previous subscriber they know you're interested.

Here's a tip for those who've taken an AncestryDNA test but are not subscribers. When you get the email with your results scroll down and you should find a 50% discount offer.

Do you have other advice or experience? If so please share.

Thanks to those who commented about problems with cancelling automatic renewal. I'm going on the basis of the information at

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Webinar: Maintaining an Organized Computer

As I continue the search for a photo to accompany my entry for the BIFHSGO writing competition I'm thinking I might benefit from Wednesday's free FamilyTreeWebinars offering, to be given by Cyndi Ingle at 8 pm EST.

Description:Files here, programs there, lost bits and bytes everywhere. Are you tired of searching your computer fruitlessly? Frustrated when you can't find the notes you created in your word processor? Learn how to set up a foolproof filing system and an electronic workbook to correspond with your offline research.
Cyndi is the creator, owner and "webmaster" of the award-winning web site Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet.

WikiTree and GeneaBloggersTRIBE Scan-a-Thon

The following announcement was written by WikiTree and the GeneaBloggersTRIBE:

On the weekend of January 11-14, 2019, WikiTree and GeneaBloggersTRIBE will kick off the new year by hosting a 72-hour image scanning marathon. Genealogists and family historians from around the world are invited to participate.

The goal of the Scan-a-Thon is to scan and upload photos and other items such as letters, postcards, funeral cards, and primary documents. Like a marathon, this is a competition to see who can do the most, but most participants won’t be serious competitors. Most will be doing it for the sake of preserving family history.

Find out more at

Monday, 7 January 2019

What’s Coming to FamilySearch in 2019

Most of the announcements at don't excite.

Most notable is:

The FamilySearch Family Tree search capacity will be significantly updated to provide faster and better results. Another innovation will allow search engines such as Google to present names and limited facts from the Family Tree to online search queries without the searcher being signed into This feature will enable millions of people searching for their ancestors online to discover the vast, free services FamilySearch offers them.
There's also mention of RootsTech London, 24-26 October, 2019, at the ExCel London Convention Center.

Heritage Made Digital - the newspapers

The British Library is now going beyond its Findmypast partnership and the British Newspaper Archive to digitize further legacy newspapers.

Why this new initiative?

"... the British Library has 60 million newspapers, from 1619 to the present day. After a decade or more of intensive work, we have digitised just 5%. There is a long, long way to go."
The greater part of newspapers processed by Findmypast come from our microfilmed copies, because it is so much easier and quicker to do so (about eighteen times quicker than digitising from print). But only a third of our collection of some 60 million newspaper issues has been microfilmed. Of the newspapers for which we have only print, some get digitised, but many do not. In part this is because of the condition of many of newspapers, often produced using low-quality newsprint and for many years not stored in optimum conditions. We define preservation status of our newspapers under three categories: good, poor and unfit. Unfit no one gets to see, even onsite, unless we have a microfilm or digital access version. And around 4.5% of our collection (or 20 million pages) is in an unfit state and with no microfilmed or digitised copy available. That's a lot of newspapers not to be making available at all.
Read the full article here.

Help Improve FreeBMD

The following is a notice from one of my top genealogy websites — FreeBMD

The FreeBMD website will be undergoing a revamp over the next few months. The new website, which will run alongside the current one, will be in line with the design used for sister projects FreeCEN and FreeREG. We want to make sure that it continues to provide the service that family history researchers know and love, whilst possibly incorporating new features that will improve your experience.
We're asking you in this form, for how and why you use FreeBMD, and what, if any, improvements you would like to see. Please make your responses as clear as possible. If you feel you have more to say than the question structure allows, please make a note and use the answer space in the final question to tell us.

Start here.

Rootstech Live Streaming Schedule

For those of us choosing not to attend Rootstech in Salt Lake City, 27 February - 2 March 2019 the schedule of free streamed presentations is now published at
I've added the start time for the Eastern Time Zone in red.

Wednesday 27 February

9:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m. : What’s New at FamilySearch? 
Ron Tanner of FamilySearch International reviews the latest features and capabilities released on FamilySearch, their value, and why the changes were made. See the future of FamilySearch.

11:00 a.m. 1:00 p.m.: Hear Them Sing! Social History and Family Narrative 
Join Rebecca Whitman Koford as she discusses how the addition of social history enhances family narratives and clarifies the songs of our ancestors. She will discuss how to contextualize ancestors’ lives with social history research and use it to inspire others to want to know more about those who have passed.

1:30 p.m. 3:30 p.m. : Uncovering Family Stories with British and Irish Historic Newspapers (Sponsored by Findmypast) 
Myko Clelland discusses the numerous digitized collection of millions of pages of local and national historic newspapers, covering 300 years of history from every county in Britain and Ireland. Get the full scoop with the Findmypast vast collection, and discover how to make the most of the stories contained within this huge resource.

3:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.:  Connecting Your DNA Matches 
Diahan Southard takes you through your DNA match list and explains the Shared Matches tool. Learn how to create and employ a number of tools to boost your confidence in your genetic genealogy skills.

4:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m.: Wednesday General Session and Opening Event 
Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, will be the featured keynote speaker and will explore the connections that come through genealogy. Entertainment will be provided by the world-renowned a cappella group The Edge Effect.

Thursday 28 February

8:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m. : Making the Leap—Becoming a Professional Genealogist (Power Hour) 
In this power hour session, Luana Darby, Valerie Elkins, and Anne Teerlink explore how to make a successful transition from hobbyist to a career as a professional. Learn about the importance of diversifying your talents, and discover the ways to earn income as a genealogist.

9:30 a.m.11:30 a.m.  : Finally! German Church Records and How to Use Them on FamilySearch 
Join Trish Melander, and explore the German Church records that are now being published on FamilySearch. These are records rich in centuries of history and contain baptisms, marriages, burials, and even confirmations.

11:00 a.m. 1:00 p.m.: Thursday General Session: Patricia Heaton 
Nobody knows family quite like Emmy award-winning actress Patricia Heaton. Known for her humorous roles as a typical American housewife in big hit television series’ like Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle, Patricia has won many prestigious awards and the hearts of television viewers worldwide. Don’t miss this opportunity to watch one of the most recognized actresses in the world tell her story in person—a story that perfectly illustrates what it looks like to follow your heart, exercise faith, and persist until you achieve great success.

1:30 p.m. 3:30 p.m.: What You Don’t Know about Ancestry (Sponsored by Ancestry) 
Join Crista Cowan, and preview Ancestry’s cool new tools that are geared to improve and accelerate your family history research.

3:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.: “Jumping the Broom,” Oil, Inheritance, and African American Marriage in the South 
Kenyatta Berry will cover the tradition of jumping the broom, the informal marriage ceremony for the enslaved. Kenyatta will also share the story of her paternal ancestors in Arkansas and East Texas, and she will detail how she used primary and secondary sources to discover her ancestor’s connection to the oil industry in Arkansas and Texas.

4:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m.: Perilous Assumptions: Revisiting Those First Finds 
Despite the best of intentions, many family history researchers make incorrect assumptions about records that don’t quite fit. Kris Rzepczynski will explore false assumptions, revisiting those mistakes, and the family history discoveries that may await.

Friday 1 March

8:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m.: Why and How to Put Yourself into Your Family History (Power Hour) 
In family history, it’s easy to overlook ourselves and the generations we know because we don’t feel like history! But you are a part of your family history. In this Power Hour, Curt Witcher, senior manager of the Genealogy Center, will show you why putting yourself into your family history is so important (along with the science to back it up!). Amy Johnson Crow, author and host of the Generations Cafe podcast, will show you how you can include yourself without getting overwhelmed. Scott Fisher, host of the Extreme Genes radio show, will show you interview techniques to get more (and better) stories.

9:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m. : Essential Considerations for DNA Evidence 
Blaine Bettinger will explain how to use DNA evidence correctly and correlated with documentary evidence. In this session he will examine some of the considerations, limitations, and pitfalls we should consider when using DNA evidence.

11:00 a.m. 1:00 p.m.: Friday General Session: Saroo Brierley 
Perhaps no one knows the joy that comes from connecting with family better than Saroo Brierley. Saroo will share his remarkable story of how he used technology to reconnect with the land of his childhood and rediscover his family.

1:30 p.m. 3:30 p.m.: Getting the Most Out of Billions of Records on MyHeritage SuperSearch (Sponsored by MyHeritage) 
One of the best ways to maximize MyHeritage is to host your tree at MyHeritage, where the systems will automatically help you find new records, fill gaps in your existing tree, and provide matches that can help you efficiently discover new ancestors and family members. In this session, Mike Mansfield will help you learn how to move your tree from online tree systems to MyHeritage and how MyHeritage works with your tree to find new and additional information that you can easily evaluate and add to your tree.

3:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.: Discover Your Japanese Ancestors 
Join Valerie Elkins, and learn how to find your Japanese ancestors in Japan. Discover how to obtain your family’s vital records from Japan and climb your family tree. Japanese are wonderful record-keepers, but accessing those records can be challenging without knowing how to proceed.

4:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m.: The Research Road Map: Your Path to Success 
Amy Johnson Crow explains why having a research plan is more than making a to-do list. See how having a good plan is essential to making progress in your research and making it less frustrating.

Saturday 2 March

8:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m.: Trace the Story of Immigrant Ancestors in 3 Steps (Power Hour) 
Susan Miller, D. Joshua Taylor, and Frederick Wertz explore 3 key steps to unlocking the story of your immigrant ancestors with the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.

9:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m. : Examining Your DNA Matches with DNA Painter 
DNA Painter is a website that can help interpret and demystify your autosomal DNA results. Using practical examples, Jonny Perl will demonstrate how DNA Painter can be used for a variety of activities including chromosome mapping and relationship prediction for unknown DNA matches.

11:00 a.m. 1:00 p.m.: Saturday General Session: Jake Shimabukuro 
World renowned ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro will be the keynote speaker. Get ready to hear Jake’s inspiring story, and listen to the one-of-a-kind ukulele musician play the instrument like you’ve never heard it before.

1:30 p.m. 3:30 p.m.: Leading with Science at 23andMe (Sponsored by 23andMe) 
In this session, Sarah Lashkey will walk through how research works at 23andMe and how you can contribute to scientific discoveries.

3:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.: The Silent Language of the Stones: Reading Gravestones through Symbols and Carvings 
Symbols and icons have been used on tombstones for centuries, but it was not until the mid-1800s that this secret language on the stones became popular. Joy Neighbors will explore these symbols and statues that tell stories of the deceased, including family relationships, religious affiliations, military service, occupations, and society memberships.

Local History & Genealogy Drop-In Club 2019

The Ottawa Public Library and Ottawa Branch Ontario Genealogical Society continue to offer drop in sessions, from 2-4 pm to work on your family tree, share research strategies, & discover what resources are available for your research.
Meet on the second floor at the Nepean Centrepointe Library. Gloria Tubman, Ken McKinlay and Mike More ensure that at least one of them is available at each session along with an OPL genealogy specialist.

 Tuesday 8 January, 2019 and every second Tuesday until May 28, 2019

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Advance Notice: BCGS 2019 Seminar

The British Columbia Genealogical Society announces that Cyndi Ingle of Cyndi’s List will be keynote speaker at this year’s seminar. Date is Saturday, March 30, 2019. Tickets on sale now. Tickets are $70.00 for members; $95.00 for non-members.

Download the BCGS 2019 Seminar poster here (.pdf)

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Mother Nature’s Tests
That's a new blog from Wayne Shepheard to encourage genealogists to explore the natural world, especially with respect to the areas in which their ancestors lived and the physical events that occurred during their lifetimes.

Machine Learning May Be Able To Predict If You’re In For A Healthy Old Age

Keeping fit: how to do the right exercise for your age

Under the Influence
My favourite CBC radio program, yet to jump the shark, is back on the air. The first episode of the new season, about spokesperson fails - from Oprah to Eric Clapton, is available as a podcast (mp3). Also episodes from previous seasons are being made available, for free, at starting with the first season.

It’s taken thousands of years, but Western science is finally catching up to Traditional Knowledge

Seven charts that show the world is actually becoming a better place

How to Beat Science and Influence People:Policy Makers and Propaganda in Epistemic Networks

How not to fall for pseudoscience

Saturday, 5 January 2019

P.E.I. digital newspaper collection expanding

With a grant from the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) worth $45,685, the University of Prince Edward Island Island Newspapers project will add editions of the Examiner (Charlottetown), from the mid-1840s through the 1900s and L'impartial, a Tignish Acadian newspaper, from 1893 to 1915.

The money will go to a team of three or four people who will scan and upload the newspaper pages, and make them searchable. The work includes close to 35,000 pages just for the Examiner which merged with the Charlottetown Guardian in 1915. already includes more than 70 years from the Charlottetown Guardian, starting in 1890, along with other short-run papers from the 19th century.

You will perhaps recall a NHDS survey last spring. Genealogists were well represented in the those responding and identified newspaper digitization as the resource of greatest interest.

Findmypast adds Norfolk Parish Records

Norfolk Baptisms
Over 76,000 additional records have been added to the Findmypast collection of Norfolk parish baptisms. The additions span 1777 to 1990 and cover the parishes of North Creake, Ringland, Southwood, Thornham and Worstead. The collection now totals 1,910,448 records.

Each record will give you an original image of the parish register and a transcript of the details found in the records. The transcripts can vary depending on the age of the record and its condition, but most will include birth date, baptism date, parish and parent's names.

Norfolk Banns
Over 33,000 new Norfolk Banns are now available to search. These new additions cover the parishes of Rockland All Saints & St Andrew, Roughton, Snetterton and Yaxham. Banns of marriage are the public announcement in a Christian parish church of a forthcoming marriage and normally include the couple's names, residences, home parish and banns year. Images may reveal the second and third banns dates, the couple's marital statuses and the name of the minister who performed the banns.
The Banns collection now totals 484,649 records.

Norfolk Marriages
Over 27,000 new records with images covering the parishes of North Creake, Rockland All Saints & St Andrew, Snetterton, Somerleyton, Southwood, Wacton, Wells next the Sea, Westacre and Worstead. The new additions span the years 1777 to 1984 and will reveal a combination of names, dates and locations related to both the bride and groom.
The collection now totals 981,449 records.

Norfolk Burials
Search over 15,000 recent additions to our collection of Norfolk Burials covering the parishes of North Creake, Rockland All Saints & St Andrew, Southwood, Wells next the Sea and Worstead. The transcripts and images will list a combination of your ancestors' burial dates, ages and residences at time of death, and their birth years.
There are now 1,459,643 entries in this collection, not all conventional. What's the story behind the burial of "2 Men & A Boy" in 1580 in King's Lynn, "3 Russian Soldiers" and then "5 Russian Soldiers" in 1796 at Great Yarmouth.

Friday, 4 January 2019

The Celtic Connection

The Celtic Connection aims to provide a link between the Irish, Scottish and Welsh communities in Western Canada and the Northwestern U.S.A. and to extend the Celtic consciousness out into the larger community ... to provide a vital link between the Celts of ancient Europe and modern day Celts who have populated North America.
Published in Burnaby, BC it has a strong focus on music, theater, movies and interviews, current events and Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh community news.
You can read recent issues at Digitized issues from 1991 to 2004 are in the collection of Simon Fraser University Digitized Newspapers. The very first issue had an article A Wonderful Journey into Family History, by well known BC genealogist Eunice Robinson. A search for genealogy finds many more mentions.

BIFHSGO Past-Presidents

New Year's Day was the opportunity for BIFHSGO's two immediate past presidents to enjoy a laugh.

No collusion!

Thursday, 3 January 2019

The Poor Laws

From the BBC In Our Time series on Radio 4, Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how, from 1834, poor people across England and Wales faced new obstacles when they could no longer feed or clothe themselves, or find shelter.

Parliament, in line with the ideas of Jeremy Bentham and Thomas Malthus, feared hand-outs had become so attractive, they stopped people working to support themselves, and encouraged families to have more children than they could afford. To correct this, under the New Poor Laws it became harder to get any relief outside a workhouse, where families would be separated, husbands from wives, parents from children, sisters from brothers. Many found this regime inhumane, while others protested it was too lenient, and it lasted until the twentieth century.

One startling fact for me was that the workhouse in my home town of Great Yarmouth became a major source of bodies for medial education and research under the Anatomy Act of 1832.

Bonus material not in the original BBC broadcast is in the recording.

BIFHSGO DNA Special Interest Group

The first meeting of 2019 is on Saturday 5 January.

Leanne Cooper will talk about: Using Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) for Genealogy: A Case Study

The presentation demonstrates how mtDNA can be successfully used to answer a genealogical question.

There will be a round table discussion with remaining time.

9:30 am to 12:00 pm Room 115, City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

For your calendar, meeting dates for the year are:

2 March, 2019
4 May, 2019
24 August, 2019
5 October, 2019
2 November, 2019

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Yuletide R&R

Will LAC be SMART again in 2019?

One thing I've appreciated about LAC's operation over the past few years is the monthly reporting on digitization of First World War service files. LAC committed to having the job completed by the centenary of the end of the war. It was a model of the SMART approach:

Specific: Set concrete, clearly defined goals with specific points of success.
Measurable: Whatever the goal is, find ways to measure progress.
Achievable: Aim high, but within reason. Your goal should be a stretch, but something you could actually achieve.
Relevant: Find a goal that matters enough to you that you’ll be motivated to stick with it.
Time-bound: Set a reasonable timeline for your goal, and focus on the small wins along the way.

It worked. Monthly reporting meant that clients became aware of files within a month of them becoming available. The goal was achieved with time to spare.

Whenever I've asked about a follow-on to that project I've been told about "indigenous materials". What materials?  The SMART approach worked well for the service files. Why not carry on with it?

In 2019, as long as LAC makes the information available, I intend reporting monthly on Co-Lab progress. As a benchmark here's the status of various challenges as of year's end 2018 with green highlighting projects in which progress has been made since my last report.

Legendary train robber and prison escapee Bill Miner, 12% complete
War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division, 36% complete.
Japanese-Canadians: Second World War, 64% complete.
The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918–1919, 100% complete.
The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters 65% complete.
Rosemary Gilliat (Eaton)’s Arctic diary and photographs, 33% complete.
New France and First Nations relations, 28% complete.
Correspondence between Sir Robert Borden and Sir Sam Hughes, 100% complete.
Letters from Wilfrid Laurier to Zoé Lafontaine/Laurier, 100% complete.

LAC does have a variety of other benchmarks based on quarterly, annual or multi-year targets — see Progress Report Q2 (July to September 2018).

The overdue 1926 census of the Prairie Provinces is one dataset many genealogists are waiting for, supposed to become available this quarter. As LAC strives for greater visibility SMART monthly progress reporting would assist in maintaining contact with its largest client group.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Is Canadiana really free

I waited until the start of the year to see if all Canadiana content included in Early Canadiana Online, Héritage, and Canadiana Online would be free as promised.

The first few pages of Wiggins' storm herald, with almanac, 1883 displayed until I was faced with the message:

Subscription Required
Canadiana Online is funded by its users through subscriptions. Become a subscriber today to access all of the site's content and features.
The same thing happened with 77th Overseas Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Ottawa.

UPDATE:  Full assess without subscription was implemented on 2 January.

What's ahead for Ancestry

For the record, the following is a year end/new year message from Margo Georgiadis, CEO of Ancestry.

Dear Ancestry Community, 

As 2018 comes to a close, I want to personally thank you for being a member of the Ancestry community. We appreciate that you’ve chosen us to provide you with the tools to enable your journeys of personal discovery.

All of us at Ancestry are committed to making family history discovery simpler, easier and more valuable for our members. As an avid user of our products, I was honoured to join Ancestry in May and have the opportunity to lead this incredible company. During the past six months, many of you have sent me notes with suggestions to improve our services, for which I am enormously grateful. The power of Ancestry has always been in its community and the ability for all of us to partner together to create the best Ancestry experience for as many people as possible.

My goal for the future of Ancestry is to build on our 30 years of family history leadership, bringing together an obsession for great customer experiences and using technology to unlock more possibilities for our members to create family trees, find and share stories, and make meaningful connections.

We have already started that work. Throughout 2018, we invested to comprehensively upgrade our technology and customer service platforms which underpin our ability to provide a faster stream of improvements. This new capability already has allowed us to significantly increase the number and quality of hints, add over 260 million new records from around the world, and release our next generation of ethnicity estimates for our AncestryDNA® offering, making results more precise.

In 2019 we will continue to bring together the strengths of Ancestry with a laser focus on delivering even better experiences to you. We have listened to your feedback and our ambitious plans for the new year include debuting many features that you have suggested. These include new tools for making discoveries in your family tree, an enhanced experience for connecting with your DNA Matches, innovations harnessing the power of our unmatched digital records collections coupled with our DNA network, and making many new historical records available online.

Thank you again for being a part of our Ancestry community. We look forward to continuing to partner with you in the months and years ahead. Please continue to share your feedback and suggestions.

Wishing you and your families all the best in 2019 and a year filled with personal discoveries! 

Margo Georgiadis
CEO, Ancestry

Comment:  This is the first communication from the CEO since she assumed the role last spring. The goal of "making many new historical records available online" is the last mentioned. The pace of new titles has slowed since earlier in 2018, notably for Canada and the UK. It's not a lack of material; Findmypast continues to add British titles (almost) weekly.