Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Heritage Ottawa 2019 Phillips Memorial Lecture

Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 19:00 to 21:00

O.J. and Isobel Firestone were passionate collectors of Canadian art.  In the early 1950s, they embarked upon a collection that would grow to more than 1,600 works by noted Canadian artists, spanning the modern era from 1890 to 1985.

To complement their growing art collection, in 1960 Dr. Firestone worked with architects Sam Gitterman and George Bemi to design a landmark modernist home for his family in Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Park.  Both the home and collection were generously donated by the Firestones to the Ontario Heritage Trust, (then the Ontario Heritge Foundation) which in 1992 transferred ownership to the City of Ottawa.

Today, the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art is permanently housed at the new Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG).  While the family home no longer stands, its original modernist staircase is installed in the OAG where it leads, poetically, to the Firestone Gallery.

Join us for an evening with Brenda Firestone as she shares stories about the history of her family’s home and significant collection of Canadian artworks.

The talk is at Ottawa Art Gallery, Alma Duncan Salon, 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, will conclude with an opportunity to visit the Firestone Gallery and converse with Ms. Firestone.

The Jackson café will be open for drinks and light refreshments.

Brenda Firestone is a lifelong supporter and advocate of the arts.  She is currently the family spokesperson for the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art.

The lecture is free and there is no need to pre-register.

The annual Phillips Memorial Lecture honours the memory of Bob and Mary Anne Phillips, co-founders of Heritage Ottawa which began in 1967 as the Heritage Committee of "A Capital for Canadians".

Claude William Hull, CWGC Beechwood

Information from the Ottawa Journal.

Lieut. Claude William Hull died 20 February 1919, age 38, at St. Luke's Hospital as a result of strain received while on active service. 
Lieut. Hull was a veteran of the Boer war, where he fought for a year and a half with a Shropshire regiment in which he had enlisted from his home in Hereford, England. 
After spending seven years on the east coast of Africa, he came to Canada, where he was employed in the Natural Resources Branch of the Department of the Interior at Ottawa.
When war was declared In 1914 he enlisted with the Canadian Field Artillery under Colonel (now General) Morrison, going over with the first contingent as a Private. 
He was awarded his commission for very dangerous observations he volunteered to do at Posleres. Of 17 men who went with him to establish a post, only four returned alive. 
At Ypres—the second battle—he was heavily gassed with the Canadians who held the line.
Lieut. Hull had no immediate relatives. He was to have been married about a month ago, but owing to his illness it could not take place. 

He was interred in Section 29, Lot 15 at Beechwood Cemetery.

His parent were Henry James Hull and Prudence Clarke. and siblings Emily Prudence, Lillian Gertrude, Alfred Henry, Percy Clarke (organist at Hereford Cathedral), Amy Gladys and Mabel Francis.

Probate was granted in England to his widowed mother.

HSO February Meeting

The presentation at the Historical Society of Ottawa meeting on Friday 22 February has Jonathan Morris, speaking on Ottawa's Britannia.

Abstract: Britannia is a unique community in Ottawa, having evolved from rural to cottage country, to recreation centre, to outer suburbia and now inner suburbia. We will be overviewing the history of those changes, touching on the many stories that give this community a sense of place. Only faded echoes remain of much of once was, but these stories remain to connect us to what once was, and explain some of what now is.

Biography: Jonathan has lived in the Ottawa area most of his life, the last 20+ of it in Britannia Village. While employed in the local tech industry, he has also been active in various community initiatives for many years, and currently acts as president of the Britannia Village Community Association. Last year, he helped re-published a history of the area, Ottawa's Britannia, that had been out of print for many years. To call him an amateur historian would be a gross exaggeration, but he enjoys the connection to place that local history can provide.

Jonathan will be supported by Mike Kaulbars who authors a history blog about Britannia at

As usual the meeting is at 172 Guigues Ave. and starts at 1pm.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Photos from Heritage Day: 19 February 2019

Ottawa City Hall hosted the Annual Heritage Day event sponsored by CHOO-COPO. It's a great networking opportunity. Here are some of the organizations to which I belong which had displays.

BIFHSGO and OGS Ottawa Branch were at adjacent tables.

Glenn Clark, President of the of the Gloucester Historical Society was busy full time talking about local history and issues.

The Ottawa Public Library has an active group of genealogy specialist librarians ready to help people get started and use the library resources.

Perth & District Historical Society February Meeting

The PDHS 21 February meeting will be taking a grave approach - with an oral ‘visit’ to the Elmwood Cemetery.

The Elmwood Cemetery – A Resting Place

"Cemeteries and graveyards: “Space created by people for the act of honouring and memorializing  their forebears and recording the basic facts of the deceased”.  For many, a cemetery has an eerie 
air about it, which for some is enough to intimidate and they refuse to enter.  Others, however, are fascinated and intrigued by them and the stories of the inhabitants, finding them to 
be a rich source of research.  Our guest for this month’s meeting is the latter.

Eric Halpin, President and Chairman of The Perth Cemetery Company will take us through the gates of Elmwood Cemetery – presently, the only active cemetery in the town, dating to 1872.  Originally intended to be a Protestant burial ground, it is now available to everyone.  Eric’s talk will cover some of the residents, from notables to paupers of the Poor House to the “Dead House.”  In addition, he will explain the Cemetery’s attitude towards the clients, the atmosphere found within the grounds, and the interesting structures and unique markers.  As he explains, the history of a town is reflected in its cemetery.  Information about the cemetery and related topics will be available."

Further information at

The meeting at the Royal Canadian Legion, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, (Toonie Donation), strats at 7:30 pm.

LAC Co-Lab Update

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

Legendary train robber and prison escapee Bill Miner is 50% complete (21% last month).

The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters is 71% complete (66% last month).


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

War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division is 41% complete.

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


New France and First Nations relations is 22% complete (28% last month)


The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918–1919.
Correspondence between Sir Robert Borden and Sir Sam Hughes.
Letters from Wilfrid Laurier to Zoé Lafontaine/Laurier.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Digitization of Ontario Vernon Directories

The following is an extract from a news release from the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) and Library and Archives Canada (LAC)

Initiative Begins to Digitally Preserve Ontario’s Historical Vernon Directories 

OTTAWA, ONTARIO (18 February 2019)—The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) and The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) are working with FamilySearch International to digitize the historical Vernon directories for the Canadian province of Ontario. The initiative will begin immediately to preserve and make the directories freely searchable online for family historians, researchers, and Canadians.

Vernon directories were published yearly, by city, from the 1890's to 2014, missing only 2010, when the company’s ownership changed. They cover most of Ontario, including the province’s capital city of Toronto. The name “Vernon directories” is derived from the name of the publisher. The initiative will span the next 2 years and encompass an estimated 1,300 directories in total.

OGS approached Vernon to request rights to digitize the historical publications. The publisher granted permission with the condition that OGS not monetize or profit from the digitized works. The nonprofit organization FamilySearch quickly emerged as a great partner, namely due to its optical character recognition scanning technology that will make the digitized images every-word searchable. As well, OGS approached LAC for the project, since the organization holds one of the biggest collections of Vernon directories in Ontario. In addition to providing access to its collection, LAC will be hosting the digitization project.

According to Steve Fulton, UE, president of the Ontario Genealogical Society, the directories are a rich resource for researchers, because “they list the names of local residents, their spouses, addresses, and sometimes even an individual’s title or position held at work.” Fulton explained that the directories were personally helpful to him in trying to determine when his grandfather passed away. “Through the directories, I determined he died between 1956 and 1957. I was then able to turn to newspaper obituaries for the area at that time to find him.”

This project will allow OGS and LAC to offer a very complete collection of directories for Ontario and beyond. The intent is also to reach out to local libraries for any missing directories that might be found in their collections.

Comment: A very welcome initiative. Directories are a go to resource and this initiative will make the LAC collection widely available while preserving the originals already suffering considerable wear and tear.

Note that directories for Ottawa and vicinity were mainly published by Might's.

Library and Archives Canada DigiLab Update

According to a tweet from LAC since 2017 researchers and the public have digitized 84,000 pages of textual records and photographs in LAC's DigiLab.

This week a partnership with the Canadian Research and Mapping Association will add 200 maps and 1,000 war diary pages from the Second World War.

More about DigiLab.

Presidents Day

In celebration of the day learn more about US Presidents. Google can help.

What were they like? Try a search using Google Incognito (to avoid the biases in your cookies). Check out "strong president" -- several are mentioned on the first page, and "weak president" -- only one, and it's not George Washington.

The British-Irish Dialect Quiz

From the New York Times, how much does your British or Irish accent tell about your origins?
I was raised in the very east of England as indicated by the mapped results of my responses to the 25 item quiz. The wider distribution in south-east England is likely a result of my parents upbringing.

FreeBMD February Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Saturday 16 February 2019 to contain 268,878,795 unique records, 268,517,257 at previous update.
Years with major additions, greater than 5,000 records, are: for births 1964, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984-86; for marriages 1965, 1980, 1984-85; for deaths 1983-86.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Ancestry Angst

John Sayers pointed out to me on Friday morning at LAC that searches on Ancestry's database Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-1937 were yielding no hits. It's an important database for those like John researching British Home Children as so many of them settled in Ontario.

Searching at home gave the same result so I let an Ancestry contact know and received a reply early Friday evening that it that had been "escalated to our teams to fix." The problem persisted through Saturday Sunday Monday morning. Given the US President's Day holiday on Monday it may not get fixed before Tuesday at the earliest!

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

London Poor Law, Selected Removal and Settlement Records, 1698-1930 
Following a post earlier in the week Gloria Tubman emailed to inform that the update is that some of the records are now indexed. Before one had to read each record via browse. There's also been a reorganization.

OGS News
The Ontario Genealogical Society has a new Executive Director. The appointment of Megan Houston, previously Education and Outreach Manager at the Sharon Temple National Historic Site and Museum in Sharon (East Gwillimbury)m, was announced by OGS President Steve Fulton. A graduate of York University with a major in History and a B.Ed., Megan is working towards receiving her Masters in History.

OGS now hosts the Manitoulin Roots database, with over seventy thousand people, created in 2007 by Marilyn Irish and Roberta Clark. Manitoulin Roots was originally hosted on Rootsweb.

Those two items come from the latest OGS eWeekly Update. It's free to all. Subscribe at

How to Clean Your Filthy, Disgusting Laptop

What Is Web Scraping? How to Collect Data From Websites
An overview of a broad topic.

Why governments are so bad at implementing public projects
"On time and on budget"?

Why do three buses always come along at once?

Buy (or Rent) Coal! The Coasean Climate Change Policy
... buy the right to delay mining the coal for say 10 years. Given the rate of improvement in solar (and other technologies), many coal plants will be uneconomic in 10 years.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Changes at the GRO

First the good news:

"GRO has been piloting a service providing PDF copies of historical birth and death records. From the 16th February 2019 PDF’s have become a permanent service."

Applications for PDF’s cost £7, must be made online and include a GRO index reference. England and Wales records which are available to order in PDF format include:

These are available for births from 1837 to 1918 and deaths from 1837 to 1957

Now the bad:

From 16th February 2019 GRO have increased the price of certificates and made changes to delivery options. Extra charges will apply if you do not order certificates online or include a GRO index reference (where available).

LAC Digitizes a Further Indigenous Newspaper

Now online, digitized copies of the Indigenous newspaper the Turtle Island News, from Ontario (2001–2013 editions). LAC obtained funding for the work from the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) through the support of the Salamander Foundation and the newspaper publishers.

This is the third Indigenous newspaper that has been digitized and made available, following the Windspeaker and Ha-Shilth-Sa last June.

The digitized editions are online as pdfs and searchable as individual issues. LAC is working on creating a database which will hopefully make the collection available as a corpus. Until then access is via direct links.

Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper digitized issues.
Windspeaker newspaper digitized issues.
Turtle Island News newspaper digitized issues.

Let's hope LAC management judges the project successful and is encouraged to take on further newspaper digitization.

Gene-O-Rama 2019

Online registration is now open for OGS Ottawa Branch, Gene-O-Rama 2019. It will be held 5-6 April at Confederation Education Centre, 1645 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa (corner of Hunt Club and Woodroffe)

This year the featured speaker is Glenn Wright who will give the Friday evening Pat Horan Memorial Lecture "Sex, Lies and Archives: True Stories of Love and Deception".

As is traditional that will be preceded, at 7:45 pm, by a Library and Archives Canada Update—New and Noteworthy, to be given this year by Lisa Tremblay-Goodyer & Megan Butcher.

Speakers on Saturday are Megan Butcher, Leanna Cooper, Ron Dale, Sadie De Finney, Ken McKinlay, Mary Munk, Shirley-Ann Pyefinch, Lisa Tremblay-Goodyer, and Glenn Wright.

Find full details and a link to register online at

Friday, 15 February 2019

Findmypast adds Records North and South of the Border

Scotland and the USA have new records in the Findmypast collection this week.

Scotland, Edinburgh Field Officers From Almanacs 1758-1800
Transcripts of 24,772 new Almanac entries reveal rank, regiment, date of service and where stationed.

Scotland, Irregular & Cross-Border Marriage Index
13,267 records from 1624 to 1898 cover places such as Gretna Green, Coldstream, and Lamberton Toll where couples eloped to be married, or had an irregular marriage.
These could be irregular in more than one way. Searching my name I found a couple of examples of unexpected additional information: " Married at Donaghadee, Ireland. Stranraer Parish Registers entry 13 May 1776", and "Sir Reid. Member of the Supreme Council of Justice of the Ionian Islands residing in Corfu."

There's a major addition to FMP's US records.

United States Marriages
Over 23 million additional marriage records covering 46 states. These come from FamilySearch.

and also
Arkansas First Draft Registration Card, 1940-1945 Image Browse

Deceased Online adds West Norwood Burial Records

After many months with no new content Deceased Online has added burial records for the 40 acre West Norwood cemetery in Lambeth. This is one of the 'Magnificent Seven' Victorian cemeteries, founded in 1836 and home to a great many listed monuments.

The 165,000 records available cover 1837 to 2005 and comprise microfiche scans of the original burial registers, information showing the other occupants of the grave, and maps showing the grave's approximate location in the cemetery.

A simple search can be performed without registration using first and last names a year range. Information returned from the free search is name, date of burial or cremation and place (not cemetery name). An advanced search is possible with registration and payment.

Among the notable famous people of the past buried in West Norwood cemetery are:
- Isabella Mary Beeton, author of the 1861 work Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, died in childbirth in 1865 at age of 28.
- Henry Bessemer, developer of the Bessemer process for the manufacture of steel.
- William Burges, among the greatest of the Victorian art-architects,described by contempories as eccentric, over-indulgent, and unpredictable, but his sense of humour and lively conversation won him many friends.
- John Dwight Doulton and his son Sir Henry Doulton. John Doulton, who died in 1873, was the founder of the firm that would become known as Royal Doulton.

Other Magnificent Seven cemeteries available on Deceased Online:
Kensal Green Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery
Nunhead Cemetery
Brompton Cemetery

Image courtesy of The London Dead at

Family History Reno Project (The Easy Do-Over)

The Quinte Branch OGS February meeting will help you if you want to clean up your family history file. This is the easy way to approach it.

Normally, a Do Over involves re-entering all of your family information from scratch while this approach allows you to continue using your file for research while cleaning it up. It allows you to take advantage of everything you've learned, over the years, as well as new resources, records and tools.

Presenter Bob Dawes is a past chair of Quinte Branch, and someone whose talks I'm always happy to attend.

This presentation will take place at 1 PM, Saturday, 16 Februay, 2019 at the Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Drive, Trenton, ON

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Ancestry adds Poor Law Hospital Admissions and Discharges for London

If you go to the Ancestry catalog today and sort by Date Updated the first few entries are intriguing. 

As usual there's no information about whether they're major or minor updates. Was a whole new year added to the Ontario records or where a few spelling errors corrected? Is it the same for the London records? Would it be worthwhile or a waste of time running previously unsuccessful searches?

Then there's the title London, England, Poor Law Hospital Admissions and Discharges, 1842-1918 indicated as NEW, but with zero records!

Prompted by a blog post from Claire Santry, who must have an inside source, there are in fact not zero but "nearly 300,000 records of the elderly and chronically ill – many of them Irish – receiving medical relief in infirmaries attached to workhouses."

Claire also reported the London Poor Law, Selected Removal and Settlement Records, 1698-1930 collection has 5,500 additional entries with details of settlement and removals in the Bethnal Green, Hackney, Poplar, Shoreditch, and Stepney areas of London's East End.

Ann Adams RIP

BIFHSGO member and dear friend Ann Adams died peacefully on Tuesday 12 February from a stroke and a possible heart attack following major abdominal surgery.
Born in 1935 to Charles Spall, a school master, and May Mumford, Ann was a native of Wrentham, Suffolk. Ann attended school in Lowestoft and was evacuated to Wales during the war. She came to Canada (Montreal) in 1961 where she met Cliff. Long-time residents of Ottawa they had also lived in Montreal and Hamilton. Over five years Ann was one of the main people helping Patricia Roberts-Pichette on the BIFHSGO Middlemore project.

Family and friends may pay their respects at Whelan Funeral Home, 515 Cooper Street (between Bay & Lyon) Ottawa, on Sunday, February 17, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 PM. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church, 1060 Baseline Road, Ottawa, at 11 AM on Monday, February 18, 2019. A reception will follow in the parish hall.

Ancestry Teaser

Stay tuned for announcements of welcome new capabilities from Ancestry and AncestryDNA at RootsTech. They will start rolling out to subscribers on the 27th.
Ancestry's Crista Cowan will be previewing these "cool new tools" in her Ancestry-sponsored streamed presentation "What You Don’t Know about Ancestry" direct from RootsTech at 1:30 p.m. MST, that's 3:30 pm EST, on Thursday 28 February.

Kingston Branch OGS February Meeting

The next Kingston Branch meeting taking place on Saturday 16 February, 2019 will be the Annual General Meeting, followed by Queen's University Archivist Paul Banfield speaking about Queen’s University libraries and archives.
The meeting starts at 9:30 am in the Sir John A. Macdonald Room at the Seniors Centre East, 56 Francis Street, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Parking is plentiful and free.

Thanks to Margaret MacDermaid for providing the information and who will be leaving the publicity role for Kingston Branch at the AGM.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Extreme Snowfall in Ottawa

As I write this, on Tuesday evening, 25-35 cm of snow are forecast before this storm blows itself out.

For perspective:

The greatest daily snowfall in any February in Ottawa, according to records from the Central Experimental Farm, was 45.7 cm on 8 February 1895. The contemporary Ottawa Journal article indicates a belief that such snow storms were routine in earlier times.

The greatest one day snowfall at the Farm was 55.9 cm on 29 January 1894. Many of us remember the 51.2 cm which fell in the storm of 16 February 2016, especially those of us who were at the Heritage Day event at Ottawa City Hall.

One of the greatest multi-day snow storms was 2 - 4 April 1885 with over one metre of snow officially recorded. According to an Ottawa Citizen report it snowed continuously for 60 hours.

More Sussex Parish Record Transcripts at FamilySearch

In August 2016 I mentioned here that FamilySearch had posted transcript records from the East and West Sussex Record Offices. There were 531,746 baptisms, 308,775 marriages, and 274,294 burials.
The collection was updated on Monday to now contain 1,994,348 records.
This is an index/transcript collection. There's a coverage list at,_Sussex,_Parish_Registers_(FamilySearch_Historical_Records) and information on availability of electronic images of some of the original parish records at

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

How Many DNA Tests Taken?

According to MIT Technology Review more than 26 million people have taken an at-home ancestry test with one of the top four companies. It includes tests sold, not necessarily taken, and will double count or more those who tested with more than one company.
The article includes sections on: what the tests do, counting users, network effect, health debate, crime and privacy.

Will the next Flagship EU Science project address the Humanities?

One of these might seem out of place on the list?

Enhancing human capabilities through AI;
Making cell and gene therapies available to the clinical community ;
Developing personalized-medicine;
Making solar energy more efficient;
Developing methods for enabling digital search of historical records in European cities.

The European Commission has selected six research projects in these field to compete to become one of its next billion-euro ‘flagship’ science initiatives.

Inclusion of the digital search of historical records project, known as The Time Machine, was a surprise.

A news item from Nature quoted Frédéric Kaplan, a computer scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, and one of the principal investigators on the project, which has already worked on Venice’s historical records as saying “As a project in cultural heritage, we were an outsider — it is a great victory to get this far.”

Find out more about the Time Machine Project, with a linked video, here.

George M Macaulay, CWGC Beechwood

Born of 2 June 1885 at Pushlinch, Ontario, George McVicar Macaulay (Service Number 1096174) was the son of Scottish-born Presbyterian clergyman Evan Macaulay and his wife Margaret (Munro).

By 1901 the family was in Ottawa. His father died in 1907. He is likely the Geo Macaulay, age 24 in the Chicago Ward 7 in 1910 as a Linotype operator.

Enlisting in Toronto in February 1917 he was assigned to the 255th Battalion giving his occupation as printer and his wife and son's address in Ottawa, Illinois.

He served with the 3rd Battalion of the Canadian Infantry in France but suffered a variety of medical ailments.

Shortly after returning from Europe he died of influenza, in Halifax, Nova Scotia  on 12 February 1919. He is interred in Sec. 29. Lot 144. North-East of Beechwood Cemetery.

Monday, 11 February 2019

MyHeritage LIVE

The second MyHeritage user conference, MyHeritage LIVE 2019, is just announced to take place on 6-8 September, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
While the speakers are not yet announced you can be sure there will be a host of internationally renowned genealogy and DNA experts.
The venue is the historic Amsterdm Hilton  located south of central Amsterdam, near the museum district. There's a special rate for guests who choose to stay at the hotel.

More information at

Gloucester Remembers Its War Veterans

The Gloucester Historical Society has a Virtual War Memorial, updated last month, listing about 1,850 veterans of Canada's wars associated with the former City of Gloucester, now part of Ottawa. It includes those who served as well as those who died, and covers the Northwest Rebellion, the South Africa, the two World Wars and Korea.
Information tabulated is: Surname, First Name, Rank, Position, Residence, Service, War, Burial Location, Death, and Reference.

They Shall Not Grow Old

If you're looking for a diversion from cold and snow head out to the cinema to see this film playing in Ottawa for another few days. Using First World War film from the IWM processed to take out the jerky motion introduced with hand-cranked cameras, colourized and accompanied by narration extracted from BBC interviews with veterans of the war it gives unique insight.

I saw it last week, having not been able to get in earlier, and recommend it. I also recommend staying after the movie for Peter Jackson's 30 minute explanation of the techniques developed and used to bring the events alive.

In Ottawa it's playing at the Scotiabank Ottawa Cineplex (Silver City) to Wednesday and Landmark Kanata to Thursday.

Norman McLeod Grainger Weir, CWGC Beechwood

Captain Weir, an accountant with the Canadian Army Dental Corps, died on this date a century ago, 11 February 1919 of pulmonary tuberculous.

Born on 9 July 1878, the son of James and Agnes Weir, of Uddingston, Scotland he initially earned a living as an auctioneer in Glasgow. He was divorced from Edith Radford with whom he had a son James in 1908. Ancestry has a compiled genealogy including newspaper clippings regarding the divorce proceedings.

He came to Canada in June 1910, worked in Toronto and Northern Ontario before enlisting in Ottawa in November 1916. In May 1918 he married Florence Augusta Sproule.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Suffolk War Memorial Roll of Honour, 1914-1918

Full colour digital copies of the pages in this volume recording the names of those from the English County of Suffolk who lost their lives in the Great War, with the exception of the Borough of Ipswich, can now be accessed for free. Available from you'll also find the same information in pdfs organised by surname and by parish.
In most cases there's more information in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database, but not always. I found a case where the parish was given which was missing from the CWGC information.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Talk of the Town: How Places Got Their Names
An episode of BBC Radio 4 Word of Mouth series on the origins of UK town and village names. Links to a big back catalogue of all Word of Mouth episodes at

The Great War at Sea 1914 - 1918
This summary, in a little over 3600 words, is a mainly British perspective by John Slaughter. It includes sections: Outbreak of War; Naval Battles; Dardanelles; U-boat campaign; Jutland; Death of Kitchener; Unrestricted Submarine Warfare; Zeebrugge; and End of War.

How lucky was the genetic investigation in the Golden State Killer case?

Average Earth From Space 2018

How to recover quickly if you get locked out of Google.

Crème de la Crème 
Every week Gail Dever lists "the bijoux I discovered this week" on her Genealogy à la carte blog. Not to be missed.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

TheGenealogist releases Second World War Casualty Lists

The following is a news release from TheGenealogist.

TheGenealogist is adding to its Military Records collection with the release of more than 1 million entries for people recorded in the Second World War Casualty Lists. Sourced from collection WO 417 held at The National Archives, these documents contain records from the war years of 1939 to 1945 and list casualties sustained by the British Army during the Second World War. There are volumes for Officers and Nurses, with separate volumes for Other Ranks. The Casualty Lists were compiled from daily lists that had been prepared by the War Office Casualty Section and cover the various expeditionary forces deployed in different locations across Europe, Africa and Asia as well as for personnel at home.

British Army Second World War casualties include wounded and POWs

WW2 Casualty Records will give family history researchers details of ancestors’ names and regiment as well as ranks and service numbers for those recorded. The World War 2 casualty lists contained more detail than their WW1 counterparts and often list the date of the casualty (as well as the list date), plus other information such as the unit a soldier had been serving in at the time. 

Included in these lists are those who had been unaccounted for by the military, been dangerously ill or injured, captured as a Prisoner of War or died. The records include troops who had been serving in a number of places across the world, but also cover personnel who had lost their lives, were injured at home or were serving at an overseas station outside the theatres of war. Updates and corrections appear in the records as new information was received by the War Office. 

These records allow a researcher to use TheGenealogist’s unique SmartSearch by simply clicking the magnifying glass at the bottom of the transcript. This will automatically search for any other records relating to that person. For example, if they were a Prisoner of War this will return other records from TheGenealogist’s military collection, including PoW records that reveal what camp that soldier had been recorded in.

If a person had died, you also get a smart link to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) which brings up details of their war grave, with further information. 

Use the WWII casualty list records to:
Find ancestors who were Missing, Wounded, Killed in Action or Prisoners of War
Discover army personnel seriously ill or accidentally killed serving at home or overseas
Check an ancestor’s rank and service number
Find the theatre of war in which your ancestor was serving when they became a casualty

Read our article:  WWII Casualty Lists finds two motor racing aces executed by the Nazis

Lights. Camera. Action. : RootsTech Film Fest.

Last Fall RootsTech, with partner Deseret News, initiated the RootsTech Film Fest. Participants in three categories: youth, amateur, and professional, were to submit a short video (under 3 minutes) centered around the conference theme Connect. Belong.

Videos were posted on YouTube. The 7 Youth, 61 Amateur and 15 Professional semi-finalists are posted at

Judging will be a delightful task. I've not looked at even half so may not have seen the best. Of those I did view I liked Part of the Beat in the Pro category, and Serendipity in the Amateur.

I'm hoping that these might motivate genealogical and family history societies to go beyond writing competitions.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Scottish and English additions at Findmypast, and more

The major additions at FMP this week are for New York and Mexico. For the UK it's:

Lancashire Wills & Probate 1457-1858 (Index)
Over 38,000 additional index records taken from the Lancashire Archives Probate Index for the Archdeaconry of Chester have been added the collection. The new additions span the years 1700 to 1799 and consist of wills where the deceased's estate was valued at over £40.

The records in this collection are sourced from the Lancashire Record Office and the Lancashire and Cheshire Records Society. The index will give you details about the type of material available, the probate year, occupation and residence.

Scotland, Newspaper Death Reports
A collection of 72,276 death notices printed in Scottish newspapers between 1807 and 1990.  Death notices were paid announcements usually written by a family member and sent to the newspaper. It would have been a cost to the family to have a notice in a newspaper. The titles and publication years covered by this collection include:

Inverness Herald (1839-1846)
Inverness Journal & Northern Advertiser (1807-1823)
Northern Ensign & Weekly Gazette (1850-1855)
The Aberdeen Journal (1823-1839)
The Scotsman (1852-1854)
The Shetland News (1885-1963)
The Shetland Times (1872-1990)

Scotland, Renfrewshire, Paisley Poll Tax 1695
For each of these 2,488 transcripts records the amount of information in each varies. You may find a combination of occupation and the name of their employer, spouse or parent.

There are also additions to the newspaper collection accessible through FMP including the Middlesex County Times, and The People.

New to FMP from outside the UK are 93 volumes of New York City Directories spanning the years 1786 to 1923 and over 55 million transcripts of Mexican baptisms, marriages and burials between 1560 and 1950 sourced from the International Genealogical Index.

OPL Offers Digitization Lab for VHS and 8mm film

Did you know that OPL now has a digitization lab located at the Beaverbrook Branch,
2500 Campeau Drive, Kanata?

The lab is equipped with bookable work stations that allow you to digitize your old photographs, slides and negatives.

While many branches are equipped with scanners Beaverbrook apparently has the ability to digitize VHS and 8mm film too.

There's a tour and orientation to the equipment at Beaverbrook, the stations and the online booking system on Wednesday 20 February, at 10:30am.  Find out more and book (it's likely to be oversubscribed) at

Grandparents in Canada

This infographic presents results from the part of the new 2017 General Social Survey on Canadians aged 45 and over who are grandparents.

The General Social Survey is based on a sample size of about 18,000.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

FamilySearch adds 5.9 million Family Notices from the British Newspaper Archive

These "Family Notices" added to the collection on 5 February come from a variety of newspapers from the British Newspaper Archive. Major newspapers from the nineteenth century include The Courier, The Scotsman, The Chartist Northern Star, The Daily Telegraph, The Illustrated London News, the Western Mail, and the Daily Mail.
It contains information on deaths, marriages and births which are advertised as from 1800 to 1900. Some entries are from as late as the 1940s.
This is another collection were only abstracts are available unless you're at the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, affiliate libraries or a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

Arnprior Area BMD Abstracts

The Arnprior & McNabb/Braeside Archives announces availability of birth, marriage, and death (BMD) abstracts online. They are short summaries of birth and marriage announcements, obituaries and death notices from the earliest issues of area newspapers (from the late 1800s up to 1934.) Each abstract is its own searchable record and, where available, there is a link to the digitized page of the newspaper where it originally appeared. The abstracts are from a variety of newspapers, with the Arnprior Chronicle being the most prevalent by far. The complete list of the newspaper titles that were digitized is available here were you'll find more details on the content and how to search.

The Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society gets credit for providing funding for the project.

BIFHSGO Monthly Meeting: 9 February

9:00 to 9:30 am
An Exciting Future for BIFHSGO: the next 25 years
BIFHSGO President Duncan Monkhouse will present the Board's plans for the coming years

10:00 to 11:30 am
Lord Bathurst’s Settlers to Murray Township 1815-1817
Many people are aware of the military settlements in Perth and Richmond established by Lord Bathurst, but a smaller settlement that also took place on the Bay of Quinte at the same time is largley forgotten. Brian Tackaberry will talk about this settlement, which was focused on the Canal Reserve lands set aside by Simcoe in 1796. Disbanded soldiers from several regiments, including the Glengarry Fencibles and the 41st Regiment, were given lands for their service. A small group of  loyal "Emigrants" and their families, mostly from London, England, were also settled on the land, to secure this important transportation site in case of future hostilities with the Americans.

Brian Tackaberry, a retired teacher, has served as a director with the North Lanark Highland Games in Almonte since 1984 and is a member and researcher for the North Lanark Historical Society. He has done extensive research on the Bay of Quinte region, doing several local cemetery and census transcriptions. His first book, entitled James McMasters and Family: to Quinte and Beyond, described his researches on the McMasters family. He has done extensive research in the military history of the Almonte area and was co-author of the publication The Lost Generation of Mississippi Mills: WWI Casualties to mark the 100th Anniversary of the start of WW 1.  His second book, Forgotten Heroes, dealt with Valour Award recipients from the war. He is currently a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada, and the Ontario Genealogical Society.

The meeting is in The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

1926 Census and other Library and Archives Canada Items

1926 census of the Prairie Provinces 
While at LAC on Tuesday I asked about progress on making the 1926 census available. You will recall that the census moved into LAC custody on 1 June last year. It was indexed by FamilySearch volunteers and handed back in December. LAC posted here "We expect to have an online database by March 2019". The response to my query at the Genealogy desk at LAC was that there is no further news, that whatever work is being done on the census is happening in Gatineau and does not involve the genealogy group at 395 Wellington.

In the meantime there is access, news via a post by Gail Dever, that images from that census have been placed online by FamilySearch at They are not indexed even by location finer than province. A partial location index, at present only for Saskatchewan, is at There's also a statistical summary of the census results with maps and lists of communities (search for appendix) at if you're prepared to do some old fashioned hunting though images to find a person or family of interest.

New LAC/OPL Library
A public consultation and engagement process will soon be underway in connection with plans to build a shared facility to house Library and Archives Canada and the Ottawa Public Library downtown in a few years’ time.  The architectural firms tasked with designing the building will launch public engagement in a few weeks with local residents and people from across Canada.
At meetings on 28 February and 2 March – and online from 1 to 15 March – individuals interested in the project can participate in the first reflection activity specifically centered on the site: its potential, its influence on the building (panoramic views, physical orientation, etc.). Learn more about these activities<>.

Canadian Prime Ministers
There's a new display in the sunken lobby on the ground floor of LAC — a panel with a portrait of each Prime Minister and a short bio. If you happen to be in the building with up to five minutes to spare it's worth the detour.

Thanks to LAC Staff
While at 395 Wellington I had occasion to go to the registration and reference desks on the 2nd floor, the document order and retrieval area and genealogy desk on the 3rd. In each location I found the ladies pleasant and helpful -- thank you. If only they could find a way to teleport materials from remote storage to 395!

Titus One-Name Study Reborn

After a considerable hiatus, as his site was hacked, BIFHSGO member Bill Arthurs Titus Family website is back with over 186,000 names. They aren't all named Titus — Titus spouses and other relatives are also included — so the collection may not make it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

As Bill includes female lines it's a place to look on the off-chance someone you're searching married into the extended family as well as for Tituses.

The index shows each name associated with a Titus line classified as either New Brunswick (15), Dutch or Netherlands (14), German (12), or American (17).  There's a description of each line found by scrolling down on the Index page. Bracketed above are the number of generations in each line counting foward from when the progenitor immigrant arrived in North America. You may be tempted to estimate the approximate age from the generation but Bill cautions that can be deceiving. 

Bill also reproduces some of the articles he's published, like Reaching Ten Million the Easy Way.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Webinar: Reconstructing Your Genetic Family Tree

I'm posting this a week ahead as I'm betting it will be popular and may be oversubscribed.

Wednesday, 13 February at 8pm ET is for your calendar when Blaine Bettinger will present Reconstructing Your Genetic Family Tree in the Legacy Family Tree Webinars series.

"A genetic family tree is the list of genealogical ancestors from whom you inherited DNA. One of the goals of genetic genealogy is to recreate this genetic family tree through a process called “chromosome mapping.” Chromosome mapping uses cousin matches to identify which segments of DNA came from which ancestors, thus recreating your genetic family tree. We’ll look at the fundamentals of chromosome mapping and some tools you can use to begin to map your DNA."

Register here.

The Five Newest Additions in Genealogy at OPL and TPL

The following are newest additions for "Genealogy" at the Ottawa Public Library.

The Book of Humans - Rutherford, Adam
The Story of How We Became Us

Inheritance - Shapiro, Dani
A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love
by Shapiro, Dani
Book - 2019 | First edition.

Roots Quest - Hogan, Jackie
Inside America's Genealogy Boom
by Hogan, Jackie
Book - 2019

DNA for Genealogists - Farmer, Kerry
Book - 2017 | 4th edition.

Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors - Roulston, William J.
The Essential Genealogical Guide to Early Modern Ulster, 1600-1800
Book - 2018 | Second edition.

Newest additions for "Genealogy" at the Toronto Public Library

How to weed your attic : getting rid of junk without destroying history
Dow, Elizabeth H., author.
Book , 2018.

Si on parlait de nous... : 1861-1986, St-Valère, plus de 125 ans d'histoire.
Book , 1985. 408 pages :

Tricentenaire Seigneurie Lévrard-Becquet, 1672-1972
Book , 1972. 261 pages :

Bristol hearth tax 1662-1673
Book , 2018. xiii, 411 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates :

Mémoires d'un canton : Saint-Bruno-de-Kamouraska, 1893-1993.
Book, 1992. 350 pages :

Monday, 4 February 2019

Highlights from Internet Genealogy Feb/March 2019

My copy of Internet Genealogy arrived too late for my comments on articles to be included in the first of the month blog post. It just had a table of contents. Here are three articles I found of interest — my non-US perspective.

We're Virtually in Clover with Irish Records
Joe Grandinetti provides a primer for Irish research. Section headings are: BMD- Civil Registration; Catholic Parish Records; Caveats and Fringe Benefits in the Civil and Church Records; Censuses; Tithe Applotment Books; Griffith's Primary Valuation; Ancillary Records for Griffith's Primary Valuation; Subsequent Valuation Revision Books; The Schools' Collection; Petty Session Court Registers; Conclusion.

The History and Sacrifice of Many
The International Bomber Command Centre  "provides a world-class facility acknowledging the efforts, sacrifices and commitment of the men and women, from 62 different nations, who came together in Bomber Command during WWII." Not include are operations outside Europe and United States air operations. Tony Bandy looks at online resources in this article on the Centre's Digital Archive sent me to the IBCC website which is worth browsing and searching for names and places in your British family history.

Bay Watch
Sue Lisk describes five ways that you can use eBay to help research your ancestors and find "sunken treasure": She suggests searching by surname; town name; item name; institution; and combinations of them.

The magazine has now gone full colour; before pages in the centre were monochrome.

Robert James Epton, CWGC Beechwood

Private Robert James Epton, service number 144393 died a century ago, Tuesday, 4 February, 1919.

Born in Croydon, Surrey on 26 December 1896 to George and Bessie (Bruce) Epton. The family, including four siblings, emigrated in 1908 and settled in the Cummings Bridge area of Ottawa.

He was spouse of Florence Rose Wale who he married in England in 1916 and had a daughter Phyllis Violet Bessie born in England in the 1st quarter of 1917. Florence and Phyllis moved to Ottawa where they were living for the 1921 census and made their home. Phyllis married Daniel Smith and died 10 January 2015 (corrected).

A big man, height 6ft 2in, weight 185 lbs, he had served with the 77th Battalion, then the Canadian Ordnance Corps. He returned to Canada on the SS Grampian, which carried a large contingent from Ottawa and vicinity, and was immediately admitted to St John Military Hospital when he succumbed to pneumonia.

He was buried with military honours in Sec. 29. Lot 15. North-West. 3 at Beechwood Cemetery on 8 February 1919.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Transcription of handwritten documents

For those of us who struggle reading cursive writing, especially older forms, initiatives like Transkribus can't bear fruit soon enough. See how much progress is being made in videos posted to the READ (Recognition and Enrichment of Archival Documents) website:

Crowdsourced digitisation with DocScan

Transkribus around the globe – coverage on TVNZ

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Moon Phase
Adding environmental and astronomical information to your family history would be easy to overdo, like too much salt in the stew. I had not known I was born under a new moon until I thought to check at

Urban Centres Database
From the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission's science and knowledge service a new database provides detailed information on cities location and size as well as characteristics such as greenness, night time light emission, population size, the built-up areas exposed to natural hazards, and travel time to the capital city. For several of these attributes, the database contains information recorded over time, dating as far back as 1975. The database covers over 10,000 cities worldwide.

America colonisation ‘cooled Earth's climate’
60 million people were living across the Americas at the end of the 15th Century (about 10% of the world's total population), and that this was reduced to just five or six million within a hundred years.
An area is in the order of 56 million hectares, close in size to a modern country like France previously cultivated by indigenous civilisations would have fallen into disuse, and the ground repossessed by forest and savannah. This scale of regrowth is figured to have drawn down sufficient CO₂ to contribute to the Little Ice Age cooling.

Trace your Fenland family history back to the 16th century 
Cambridgeshire Family History Society has teamed up with the Wisbech and Fenland Museum - where the registers of 32 parishes are lodged for safe-keeping - to get them scanned and digitised.

Talk Genealogy Podcast: Episode #36 The Cartularies
How the archive of old charters and deeds relating, especially, to priories and minsters can help the family historian.

Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development records: Estate files
A blog post from Library and Archives Canada.

Library and Archives Canada enters negotiations with preferred proponent for second preservation centre in Gatineau
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has completed the proposal evaluation process and identified Plenary PCL Properties Gatineau as the preferred proponent to build an ultra-modern preservation facility adjacent to its existing Preservation Centre in Gatineau, Quebec.
The project will result in the construction of the first “net zero carbon” building dedicated to the preservation of archives in the Americas, the first Government of Canada building built to the requirements of Canada’s Greening Government Strategy, and the world’s largest preservation facility equipped with the advanced technology of an automated storage and retrieval system for archival materials. The vaults within the existing Preservation Centre will also be reconfigured as part of this project, to further optimize LAC’s collection storage capacity.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Global Genealogy Sale - Act Now

There's 20% off all products on the Global Genealogy website -- only until 4 February. That includes popular publications by:
   Chris Paton
   Thomas MacEntee
   OGS - Ottawa Branch
   Paul Milner
   Ron W. Shaw
Kyla Ubbink.
Gavin K. Watt

Findmypast in a New York State of Mind

While there is one UK addition to Findmypast this week it's so obscure that you're more likely to find a relative in the New York Catholic records added

New York Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms
Over 329,000 additional baptism records have been added to our collection of New York Roman Catholic Sacramental registers. The new additions cover nearly 60 parishes across the diocese and span the years 1787 to 1916.
The collection currently consists of transcripts taken from over 200 New York parishes. The amount of detail listed in each transcript will vary, but most will include a combination date of birth, place of birth, baptism date, baptism place, the names of their parents and first language.

New York Roman Catholic Parish Marriages
Over 95,000 Sacramental register entries from 65 New York Catholic parishes have been added to the collection. Spanning the years 1819 to 1916, these new marriage records will reveal the names, birth years, occupations, residences and parents' names of both the bride and groom as well as the date and location of their marriage.

New York Roman Catholic Parish Congregational Records
Hundreds of new records have been added to the collection of New York Roman Catholic Parish Congregational Records. The new additions cover the parishes of SS Joseph & Thomas in Richmond County (1910), St Columba in Orange County (1895 – 1915) and St Peter in Ulster County (1860).
Congregational registers incorporate sacramental records other than those pertaining to baptisms, marriages, and burials, such as communicants (those who received Holy Communion), confirmations (those who received Holy Confirmation), sick calls (those who received the Anointing of the Sick), and first confessions (those who received Holy Reconciliation). You will also find records of people who converted to Catholicism as well as those who chose to rent specific seats from their local chapel. Another register type you will discover is status animarum, Latin for 'status of the souls'. These records noted the names and addresses of all the Catholics in the area.

The English title is 500 additional images added to the collection of Lincolnshire registers and records. Specifically it's "Visitations of Religious Houses in the Diocese of Lincoln, Volume II" published in 1919 documenting visitations of monasteries by Bishop Alnwick in the 15th century.

Also noted in the company weekly update are additions to the British Newspaper Archive, accessible through a Findmypast subscription, notably editions of the Sunday Independent (Dublin) and Sunday World (Dublin) post 1994.

Home Child James McCabe, CWGC Beechwood

Private James McCabe (410827) who served with the 38th Battalion, Canadian Infantry was born 27 July 1881 in Glasgow, Scotland. He had come to Canada in 1886 with a group from the Quarrier's Orphan Homes of Scotland.
He served in Bermuda, England and France.
He died 2 February 1919 of pneumonia while returning from Europe on the ship RMS Grampian docked at St John, NB.
The funeral procession was estimated at 300 with the chief mourners his wife Jeannie McCabe of 336 1/2 Elgin Street, Ottawa, two children, Stanley and Viola and foster parents Mr and Mrs Thomas Chilcott.

Friday, 1 February 2019

UK child migrants sent to Australia offered $36k compensation

An article in The Guardian reads in part:

"On Friday, in a letter seen by the Guardian, the government said it would give former child migrants £20,000. It said the compensation scheme was open to any former British child migrant who was alive on 1 March 2018, or beneficiaries of any former child migrant who was alive on 1 March 2018 but had since died...
The claimant must have been sent by a church, state, voluntary or other organisation … and must not have been accompanied by an adult family member, or sent to live with a member of their birth family,"

Although the focus is Australia, where child migration continued much later than to Canada, there are a few living in Canada who would qualify.

Thanks to Charles Godwin for the tip.

FamilySearch adds further Welsh Marriage Bonds

The countdown is on to St David's Day.

FamilySearch has added to the collection Wales, Marriage Bonds, 1650-1900. There are now 140,742 entries, updated from 114,002 entries last July.

Taken from the holdings of the National Library of Wales about one in five are for the 18th century, most of the rest for the 19th.

Available to everyone are transcripts. Images of the original may be viewed at a family history centre or FamilySearch affiliate library.

Internet Genealogy Feb/March 2019

1867 Voter Registration
Diane L. Richard takes a further look at voter registration records and reveals some new resources

We’re Virtually in Clover with Irish Records
Joe Grandinetti looks at the vast and growing online collection of Irish genealogical resources and where to find them

The History and Sacrifice of Many
Tony Bandy examines the International Bomber Command Centre Digital Archive and your genealogy

Dear Diary
Sue Lisk looks at sources you can find to help you better understand your ancestors’ lives

Dating Old Photographs
David A. Norris looks at dating pictures through changes in the US flag

Probing the Past
Diane L. Richard looks into the Gunston Hall Plantation Probate Inventory Database

Review: MYndVault
Lisa A. Alzo reviews a new service that helps you create your digital immortality

Some Genealogy That is Out of This World
David A. Norris looks at US Air Force UFO Investigations

Bay Watch
Sue Lisk suggests five ways that you can use eBay to help research your ancestors

Lineal Links
Joe Grandinetti looks at the expanding Italian records collection at FamilySearch

Internet Genealogy looks at websites that are sure to be of interest

Back Page
Dave Obee suggests checking the fiction shelves when doing family research