31 March 2019

British Newspaper Archive additions for March

The British Newspaper Archive now has a total of 31,216,068 pages online (30,635,252 last month.) 35 papers (32 last month) had pages added in the past month. Dates range from 1723 to 2005, mostly 20th century. There were twenty new titles, many from the London area.

Major additions, with more than 10,000 pages,

Ealing Gazette and West Middlesex Observer1898-1910, 1912-192310850
Harefield Gazette1989-1990, 199310122
Harrow Leader1987-199320342
Kensington Post1918-1972, 1987-1988, 1990, 1992-199346994
Middlesex County Times1939-1941, 1953-1954, 1957-1976, 1978, 198036240
Orkney Herald, and etc.1923-1928, 1932-194910158
Pinner Observer1987-1990, 1992-199330802
Portadown News1859-192121122
Reading Evening Post1993-199881636
Staffordshire Sentinel1930-1938, 1940-1941, 1943-195043270
Staines & Ashford News1950, 1987, 1989-199117172
Sunday Life2003-200519246
Sunday Times1823, 1825-1827, 1831, 1833, 1853, 1890-191214566
Tablet1843-1851, 1855-1864, 1866-190795462
Thanet Times1958-1980, 1988-198925540
West Middlesex Gazette1894-1895, 1898-1910, 1912-194128120

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

What do you think is the most popular book at the Ottawa Public Library?
See below for the answer.

Legacy of Liberation
2019 marks 75 years since some of the key moments of the Second World War. From Normandy to the Netherlands and beyond, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s cemeteries and memorials are vivid reminders of the conflict and those who lost their lives. Discover the Legacy of Liberation and the history behind CWGC's incredible sites.   

Bar Chart Races
It's all the rage. A couple of examples.
Canada’s Greatest Most Populous Cities CMAs, 1867-2017
England and Wales First Names

Call for Proposals: Toronto History Lecture
The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is now inviting proposals for the ninth annual Toronto History Lecture, to be held on the evening of Wednesday, 7 August 2019 at the City of Toronto Archives. Check out https://torontofamilyhistory.org/learn/toronto-history-lecture/

Global Energy & CO2 Status Report
The latest trends in energy and emissions in 2018

Why fear and anger are rational responses to climate change

41 Places to Find Free Images Online
Good suggestions but annoying popups.

Genealogy Events at the Ottawa Public Library in April, and Beyond
Find the list by clicking above. The highlight is the Discover Your Roots: Genealogy and Local History Fair at Nepean Centrepointe on 27 April.
Advance notice an all-day event with an international speaker is coming on 8 August.

The most popular book at the Ottawa Public Library?
With 1071 holds on 20 copies of the eBook, 919 holds on 10 copies of the eAudio book, the most popular OPL book at present, and #1 non-fiction best seller in Canada and the USA, is Becoming by Michele Obama. 146 hardcopy books are circulating as OPL Express Reads.

30 March 2019

The Scottish Emigration Database

From the University of Aberdeen comes a database of over 21,000 passengers who embarked at Glasgow and Greenock for non-European ports between 1 January and 30 April 1923, and at other Scottish ports between 1890 and 1960. Those searching for individuals, or for occupational or regional patterns of emigration, should use the Passengers’ Table in the first instance. Those seeking information about vessels should consult the Ships' Table

The fields shown within each table differ according to whether the user selects a simple nominal, locational, occupational or date-limited search, or a more detailed investigation based on the results of the first selection. Click the index number against a name for additional information.

It includes 8,397 people who gave their destination as Canada. Some came in organized parties: 463 with an Ontario Government Party, 192 the Salvation Army, 58 with Quarrier's Homes, 32 the Hudson's Bay Company, 22 a Dorchester House Party.

Not all gave their home as Scotland; major Scottish source counties were 2,259 were from Lanarkshire, 915 came from Ross and Cromarty, 673 from Aberdeenshire, 502 from Angus, 492 from Midlothian, 428 from Ayrshire, 342 from Fifeshire, 318 from Dunbartonshire, 238 from West Lothian.

Start at www.abdn.ac.uk/emigration/index.html

29 March 2019

Findmypast Additions

There are over 1.2 million new records are available to search on Findmypast, including:

Kent Poor Law and Occupations
This small Kent collection, just 2,827 index entries of poor law and occupation records, includes church registers, alehouse keepers' licenses and poor law documents that may possibly reveal details on birth (only about 200 entries), death, residence and occupation. The date range is 1681 to 1912. Oddball facts will surface, such as that Mrs. Tilley sent buns on Good Friday 1892 to the Eastry Union Workhouse.

Family Histories & Pedigrees
A Devonshire title has recently been added to the Family Histories and Pedigrees collection; "Devon, Visitation Of The County Of Devon In 1620" by Henry St George and Sampson Lennard. The manuscripts documents the pedigrees and family trees of the families of Devonshire. An original copy is preserved in the College of Arms and another in the British Museum. This publication was edited by Frederic Thomas Colby, B.D., F.S.A and published in 1872. A full list of the family surnames can be found beginning on image number 12.

Berkshire Baptisms Index
Over 31,000 additional records coving the parishes of Beenham St Mary, Bray St Michael, Cholsey St Mary, Kintbury St Mary, Reading St Giles, Reading St Mary, Remenham St Nicholas and Tilehurst St Michael for the years 1538 to 1917 are now available to search. Each record comprises a transcript of the original baptism register. The collection now totals 252,202 entries.

Britain, Knights Of The Realm & Commonwealth Index
New records have been added to the Knights Of The Realm & Commonwealth Index. Dating all the way back to the 11th century, this fascinating index will enable you to find awards of orders of chivalry by the Crown. Each record consist of a transcript that will reveal a combination of biographical details as well as the date and type of award the individual received.

The majority of new records on Findmypast this week are from outside the UK

New England Passenger and Crew Lists
Over 116,000 records have been added to the collection sourced from the mystic seaport museum and include crew lists from the following ships: Charles W. Morgan, 1841-1921; Fall River Whaling, 1821-1912; New London, 1803 – 1878; and Salem, 1799 – 1879. They consist of transcripts that will reveal birth year, birthplace, ship names and the date added to the list.

International records Update – Guatemala
With over a million new records sourced from the IGI come:

Guatemala Baptism Index 1730-1917
Guatemala Civil Registration 1877-2008
Guatemala Death Index 1760-1880
Guatemala Marriage Index 1750-1930
Guatemala, Ciudad de Guatemala Census 1877

LAC Signatures

The theme of the spring/summer 2019 issue of Signatures magazine is the 15th anniversary of Library and Archives Canada (LAC)! Learn more about:
The birth of LAC: a unique institution
Aurora: our new national library catalogue
Portraits at Glenbow: Images of Women by Women
Our meaningful process toward reconciliation
And more!
This issue provides a look at LAC’s collection, its exceptional work, as well as at the technical expertise involved in acquiring, preserving, and supporting access to our shared history.

Signatures seeks to make known and interpret the living cultural, civic and historical record of Canada, as reflected in its documentary heritage.

OGS Conference Early Bird Deadline

The following is a reminder on behalf of OGS.

The Ontario Genealogical Society (sometimes known as Ontario Ancestors) reminds all that the Early Bird Pricing Discount ends March 31 for our 2019 Conference.

Our “Breaking Down Genealogical Barriers” Conference and Family History Show will run 20-23 June at the London Convention Centre in downtown London, Ontario. With local tours on Thursday 20 June, workshops on Friday 21 June, and lectures on Saturday and Sunday, all accompanied by Canada’s largest family history show of vendors, archives and societies this Conference should be the highlight of the 2019 conference season in Canada.

Keynote speakers David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of American Ancestors and
the New England Historic Genealogical Society; Mags Gaulden of Grandma’s Genes,
Maya Hirshman, curator of The Secrets of Radar Museum; and Stephen Young, native
of London and currently Deputy Chief Genealogical Officer of FamilySearch based in
Salt Lake City will set the tone of the Conference while our lineup of tours, workshops
and lectures is not to be missed. 

Full details and registration are available at https://conference2019.ogs.on.ca/

28 March 2019

Guy Berthiaume announces departure from Library and Archives Canada

Guy Berthiaume 
Photo by Michel Gagné
I was saddened to read in the introduction to the latest issue of Signatures Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada writing:
This issue of Signatures is the last for which I will have the pleasure of writing an introduction. Over the past four years, I have done so on eight occasions, and each time, I have been amazed at the depth and breadth of knowledge of my colleagues at LAC. In the very first issue of Signatures, I began my comments by recalling the words of Alexander von Humboldt: “I feel every day that you only work well if the people around you work better.” Today, with the experience I have gained during my time as the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, I do not believe I could say it any better. 
Guy took over a dispirited organization, quickly turned it around showing strong leadership. All Canadians have benefitted, especially from material now online. Those of us fortunate enough to use the present facilities look forward to using the combined LAC/OPL building at 555 Albert which he championed.

I'm sure you will join me in wishing Guy all the best in whatever new challenges he chooses.

Which is the Best England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index?

Ancestry has just updated its index to England and Wales Marriages now claiming 63,960,279 entries from 1916 to 2005. For the prior period, from 1837 Ancestry has 32,698,349 entries making a total of 96,658,628 entries. Is it the most complete?

FreeBMD has 81,989,897 unique entries mostly complete to the early 1980s.

Findmypast has 90,138,320 marriage entries to 2005.

MyHeritage claims 95,986,906 records in England & Wales, Marriage Index, 1837-2005.

The Genealogist claims "Complete Birth, Marriage & Death records index for England and Wales as published by the GRO (1837-2005)" without giving a number of marriges indexed.

FamilySearch claims 95,810,897 records in England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005 sourced from Findmypast in 2014!

I most often use FreeBMD, except for the more recent year, as I prefer their search and presentation of results. The GRO does not have marriage indexes online. 

27 March 2019

University of Alberta Digitization; still waiting on LAC

The University of Alberta Libraries is digitizing more than 14,000 master’s and Ph.D. theses produced at the university since its establishment in 1908, part of a program that aims to digitize as much of the libraries’ print collection as possible and make it accessible to everyone. So far, 102,759 of the U of A libraries’ items have been digitized with Internet Archive, including more than 2,200 theses.
It's occasionally worth searching out a university thesis as it will cover a topic of family history interest providing context for your family happenings.
Find out more in this article from Folio.
Library and Archives Canada's Theses Canada Portal, with more than half a million theses, has not been updated since summer 2016. Reactivation is promised this year. Let's look forward to an announcement.

3,000 hours of oral Irish history available online

"Irish Life and Lore" has launched an online archive with over 3,000 hours of oral Irish history, from the Irish revolutionary period to local history, folklore and family history.

An Ireland-based oral history organization, Irish Life and Lore, invites educators, students and those with an interest in Irish history and folklore to browse its rich archive of audio material and books. While the audio is not free there are free text summaries.

Thanks to Ann Burns for the tip.

HSO March Meeting

Navvies and Nation Builders: The Irish, the Rideau Canal and Early Bytown is the topic for the Historical Society of Ottawa meeting on Friday 29 March 2019.

Navvies and Nation Builders will speak to the incredibly important and often overlooked contributions of the Irish to the development of Bytown (now Ottawa), with a special focus on the construction of the Rideau Canal, 1826- 1832. Using artefacts and images from the collection of the Bytown Museum, as well as first-hand accounts, historical documents, and biographical sketches, this talk will emphasize how the Irish, through their labour and perseverance, ensured that Bytown would progress beyond a backwater timber depot to become a thriving metropolitan centre and seat of national government.

The early Irish settlers were a diverse group, and built some of the first communities in the Bytown. Many workers brought their families, about whom we know precious little. For all, life was a constant struggle for survival. Despite old world prejudices, many of Bytown’s key figures were Irish-born or of Irish decent: community builders, businessmen and women, educators, and politicians, all with a role to play.

The presenter is Grant Vogl, collections and exhibitions manager at the Bytown Museum, who is featured in this video.

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

26 March 2019

“Panty boy”, “Alien apprentice” and “Penis tuner” in the Irish Census

They were in the census that is until John Grenham correct the entries, along with “Publican and Flasher” which became Publican and Flesher.
So while spoilsport Grenham deprives us of the joy of such transcription discoveries his work over the past 18 months on 90,000 emails (88% of the total) with almost a quarter of a million suggestions, 95,000 correct, 80,000 duplicate and 40,000 inaccurate leaves a more accurate transcription.
Read his blog post on the work.
The corrected transcription versions are at www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search/

The Battle of Normandy in 10 seconds

The Canadian Research and Mapping Association posted a time-lapse video showing over 20,000 units positions from the axis and allied units from the Second World War Normandy campaign.

Movements of British units are in orange, Canadian in red, American units in blue and Axis in black. The time-lapse video represents approximately 87 days of combat in 10 seconds. You'll want to run it several times to grasp the information.

Circumventing YouTube's Disabled Filter

Within the past few days, YouTube deactivated the ability to filter search results by upload date. Try it yourself by going to youtube.com and searching for a term like genealogy. Then click on filter and under UPLOAD DATE select This week. Top of the list you'll find videos from year's ago.

Speculation is that YouTube found it impossible to censor content, such as the NZ shooting, in a timely enough manner. So the filters were disabled.

Here's a way around it using a regular Google search, at least for the present.

Go to your Google search page and search for site:youtube.com genealogy. When you get the results click on Tools, then click the drop down Any time and select the time frame of interest. You can go further and change Sorted by relevance to Sorted by date.

Ontario and Ottawa Maps

The Changing Shape of Ontario looks at the evolution of districts, counties and other administrative divisions since 1788, that's well before Ontario existed as an entity. Although the emphasis is to 1899 there are links to information as late as the beginning of this century.

The CBC ran a story in January on 7 maps that tell the story of Ottawa leading with maps held at the City Archives. The maps are reproduced in the article but in low quality. Several people commented the maps would need to be of higher quality to be useful. The archives do make a bit of money selling high-quality copies; I ordered an e-image version of one several weeks ago and am still waiting!

For more recent Ottawa information check out Maps of Ottawa from the City, especially geoOttawa which takes you right down to building level information.

25 March 2019

TheGenealogist’s New Map Explorer

The following is an announcement from TheGenealogist.

Press Release: Announcing Map Explorer
Powerful new map tool helps trace ancestors properties through time 
TheGenealogist’s latest innovation helps you find an ancestor’s property and watch the landscape change over time. The team have georeferenced their Lloyd George Maps for Greater London which are available at launch, with further exciting developments planned for the coming months.

TheGenealogist’s Map Explorer displays maps for different historical periods up to the modern day
Maps are fully searchable by county, parish, street and even postcode
Zoom down to show the individual properties as they were at the time
Use the transparency slider to reveal a modern street map underneath
Change the modern base map displayed to more clearly understand what the area looks like today
Georeferenced pins link to the records for each property
Display county or parish boundaries
Find out more and watch the video at TheGenealogist.co.uk/maps/

The powerful Map Explorer has been developed to view these georeferenced historic maps overlaid on top of modern background maps including those from Ordnance Survey and Bing Street maps, as well as a satellite view, letting you see where your ancestor's house is today. 

To complement the launch of the new Map Explorer, TheGenealogist has also released historic Ordnance Survey maps covering England, Scotland and Wales between the 1890’s and 1960’s. These have also been georeferenced, allowing you to see how the landscape changed over time.

Find out more and view a video at www.thegenealogist.co.uk/maps/

Doctors of Death?

You've likely heard that 19th-century doctors resisted washing their hands as they moved between patients and according to The Dirty History of Doctors’ Hands "mortality rates were perplexingly lower among women who insisted on giving birth in the streets and fields of Vienna rather than risk setting foot in the maternity clinic."

I wondered about the situation in Great Britain and specifically England and Wales.

Data from the University of Cambridge database at Populations Past includes, for most census years, 1851 to 1911, around 2,000 census sub-districts in England and Wales, statistics on the number of doctors per 10,000 population and infant (less than one year of age) mortality.

For 1851, eliminating sub-districts with large numbers of doctors, likely the home of national specialist hospitals for research and teaching, statistically each additional doctor per 10,000 population correlated with 1.0 more deaths per 1,000 infant births. While the trend line is more doctors — more deaths, there's a wide scatter.

The data for 1881 show, again eliminating the outliers, statistically, each additional doctor per 10,000 population correlated with 0.7 fewer deaths per 1,000 infant births. Again there's a wide scatter around the trend line.

The similar data for 1911 shows the trend continuing — each additional doctor per 10,000 population correlated with 1.4 fewer deaths per 1,000 infant births.

The graph includes the intermediate census years, the data for 1871 is missing. While the overall trend is clear, sub-districts with more doctors per capita having higher infant mortality in 1851 and 1861 and lower from 1881 onwards. The vertical bars, showing the 95% confidence range, indicate no significant change from 1881 to 1901.

Correlation is not causation — a similar trend would occur if doctors chose preferentially to practice in low infant mortality sub-districts in later years.

The change between 1851 and 1861 may in part be explained by the 1858 Medical Act which required all medical practitioners to register with the newly established General Medical Council and may have led to a reduction in the number of unqualified persons reporting themselves as doctors.

For the majority of the period, these results are consistent with the expectation that having additional doctors in an area reduces infant mortality. However, in the early years, more doctors did not correlate with better health outcomes. Education does, but as in many established fields, only over time.

Advance Notice: Wallot-Sylvestre Seminar

On 17 April Library and Archives Canada will host Jim Neal, University Librarian Emeritus at Columbia University in the Wallot-Sylvestre Seminar series. The seminars provide opportunities for Canadian and international leaders and strategic thinkers to share their ideas on topics in information science, librarianship, archival science, and history.
Find out more at www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/about-us/events/Pages/2019/wallot-sylvestre-seminar-jim-neal.aspx

24 March 2019

BREXIT: blame it on Henry VIII

In the April issue of BBC History Magazine columnist David Starkey argues that Henry VIII's break with Rome in 1532-33 established the idea of English exceptionalism and paved the way for BREXIT.
He points out that, while England became a pariah after the Reformation, it stimulated an enormous programme of internal investment, the concept of empire and an island that looked outwards across unknown waters.
Will this work in an era of globalization?
I was able to read this article owing to BBC History Magazine being available through PressReader, one of the online resources I access for free at home using the Ottawa Public Library website and my reader card. Many other libraries offer PressReader to their clients too.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Extraordinary war pictures
A slideshow of extraordinary photographs, paintings or drawings from the First World War. Some are horrifying.

Silences of the Great War: all the things we cannot hear
Podcast of a lecture by Professor Jay Winter given on 18 March at the London School of Economics.

On 20 March there was an update (various corrections) of the Middlemore Index available in Research section. An updated Women's Emigration database is also now available in the Research section.

OGS Conference Early Bird Discount Expires 31 March.

Canada's population
On Thursday Statistics Canada posted preliminary population estimates for 1 January 2019 population — 37,314,442, up 71,871 from October 1, 2018.
See Canada's real-time population clock

How Does Ancestry Search Work?
A preprint of an article Ranking In Genealogy: Search Results Fusion at Ancestry. If you wonder about Ancestry as a technology company read about coordinate ascent, stochastic search and normalized cumulative entropy.

Was Irish migration negative selection?
The Cream of the Crop? Geography, Networks, and Irish Migrant Selection in the Age of Mass Migration is an article in the Journal of Economic History; sadly it's behind a paywall but the abstract is available.

Nature's Mutiny: How the Little Ice Age of the Long Seventeenth Century Transformed the West and Shaped the Present by Philipp Blom
To what extent was innovation in the 17th century motivated by climate change in the form of the Little Ice Age? In this new book, Blom explains why the impact on innovation was major. Reviewers in the New York Times and BBC History Magazine comment he goes too far. The book is on order at the OPL although I'll have to wait to read it — I'm 15th on the hold list.

Data and the war on snow: How Ottawa could share plow information — but chooses not to
From the Ottawa Citizen, the sad story of how city snow clearing operations have failed to keep up with the times costing us time, money and excess greenhouse gas emissions. If Montreal and Syracuse can do it why not Ottawa?

Today is the last chance to visit Inspire555.ca to help inform how the new Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada joint facility will take shape on the site at 555 Albert Street.

23 March 2019

New London Brompton Cemetery Free Database

South of Earl's Court, adjacent to the Chelsea  Stamford Bridge football ground lies Brompton Cemetery, a Royal Park and one of London's Magnificant Seven Cemeteries. Thousands of people have been buried there since it opened in 1840.
Between the trees are memorials to many notable people: artists, actors, activists and industrialists, as well as soldiers, scientists, sportspeople and socialites. It's where Nova Scotian Samuel Cunard, the founder of the shipping line, is interred.
There are also many ordinary people buried in common graves. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists 298 burials from the First World War, including three Canadians, and 81 from the Second.
The free Brompton Cemetery database contains over 200,000 records dating from 1840 captured from historic burial records. Search by the last name and (optionally) first name and year of death. From a search result, you can click through to see the location and an image of the original burial register.
Search from here.

Good Genealogy Service at the Ottawa Public Library

How good are Ottawa Public Library genealogy services? To get some perspective I looked at the fourteen most recent genealogy book acquisitions at the Toronto Public Library and compared with the OPL holdings.

The TPL holds a total of 50 copies of these books and there are nine total holds. The OPL holds 68 copies of all the same books and there are no holds. It doesn't mean they're not being borrowed, just that an appropriate number is purchased.

It was interesting to note that the book with most holds at the TPL and most copies on loan at the OPL was The Family Tree Irish genealogy guide : how to trace your ancestors in Ireland by Claire Santry.

Only two OPL genealogy books have holds:  31 Days to Better Genealogy by Amy Johnson Crow has two holds on five copies; The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, 2019 edition by Blaine Bettinger, which is on order, has 30 holds.

Congratulations to OPL and the genealogy team.

22 March 2019

Findmypast additions feature Scotland, British Army and US Servicemen in North Devon

Scotland, Criminal Database 1801-1917
Search this database of 132,018 records of Crown Office Precognitions and High Court Trial Papers to find those in trouble with the law or victim of a crime. Each record includes a transcript of the original document that, depending on its age and nature, may reveal a wide variety of facts. Records may include biographical details such as birth, address, descriptions and occupation as well as details of the trial. This may include the date, location and nature of the offence, the names of victims, previous convictions, the date and location of the trial and the sentence received.

Crown Office Precognitions are factual statements that have been given by witnesses to both the prosecution and defence before the case goes to trial. Precognitions differ from a witness statement, a witness statement is an account of what the witness has said or seen whereas a precognition is an account of the witness's evidence.

The information is sourced from scottishindexes.com.

Scotland, Midlothian, 1834 Dalkeith Census
This collection of 5,508 transcripts reveals a combination of address, age, occupation, place of worship and corresponding details for fellow household members. For a child at the time, the records will also reveal the names of both their weekday and Sunday schools.

Located on the River Esk, Dalkeith is a former market town in Midlothian, Scotland. In 1831 the opening of the Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway was a significant development as it enabled the transportation of farm produce and minerals from the local area and, allowed producers to take advantage of larger and more distant markets. At its peak, Dalkeith was the most important grain market town in Scotland.

Those with ancestry in Dalkeith are fortunate to have even earlier census material in a book Scottish population listings prior to the 1841 census. The parish of Dalkeith, Midlothian : 1811 census, 1821 census, 1831 communion roll of the Established Church. ISBN 0-9542161-4-5.

British Army Records & Regimental Histories
Discover British military personnel with these regimental histories. Through regimental histories, you can discover where the regiment was stationed, read dispatches from the First World War and records of the deeds and achievements of the British Army. This collection has more than a thousand PDF images from three publications;

  • The 1st Battalion Royal Scots in South Africa, 1899-1902 – edited by Captain J H Cuthbert. It is an illustrated record of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards during the South African War. So many of the officers carried cameras that it was decided that on the return of the battalion a collection of the photographs take should be made, and a selection from them should be brought out in book form.
  • The Green Howards in The Great War - written by Colonel H C Wylly, CB and published in 1926. The publication includes the history of the Green Howards in the First World War, where they fought on almost every front, and the Third Afghan War of 1919.
  • The History of the Lincolnshire Regiment 1914-1918 – edited by Major-General C R Simpson, CB. Colonel of the Regiment with a forward by The Earl of Yarborough, O.C. The work is compiled from war diaries, despatches, officers' notes and other sources

US Servicemen in North Devon, England 1943-1945
Explore lists of 5,196 US servicemen who were stationed in North Devon during WW2. The records consist of original visitor books kept by the local servicemen's club. The servicemen served at the Assault Training Centre in North Devon, which was set up in 1942. It was established during the Second World War as a centre to develop and practice amphibious assault exercises to prepare for the Normandy landing on D-Day. They practiced on the beaches at Woolacombe and Saunton Sands.

A service club was set up by the Red Cross in October 1943 at Bungalow Café, North Devon. It is now known as the Red Barn. The service club had a visitor's book which recorded the servicemen's name, date of signing, service number, location details, hometowns, and states. Not all servicemen who were based at the Training Centre signed in. A few have left a comment, although the layout of the pages did not encourage this. Some pages are neat and tidy, with names arranged in an orderly fashion. Other pages have names written sideways, diagonally, across one another and on top of each other. Sadly, for those young men who did not return home, this may have been the last time they signed their names.

LAC and Sir Arthur Doughty

Today, 22 March 2019, marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Library and Archives Canada Act receiving royal assent.

Today is also the anniversary of the birth of Canada's most renowned Dominion Archivist and Keeper of the Public Records Sir Arthur George Doughty, KBE CMG FRSC (22 March 1860 – 1 December 1936). Born in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, arriving in Canada in 1886 he served from 1904 until 1935. He is buried with his second wife in Ottawa's Notre Dame Cemetery.

Sadly the Dictionary of Canadian Biography has still yet to publish his biography. There are short articles in Wikipedia and The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Aside from Doughty's significant contributions, his colourful past will be a highlight of Glenn Wright's Pat Horan Memorial Lecture Sex, Lies and Archives: True Stories of Love and Deception at Gene-o-Rama on Friday 5 April.

OPL — working to maintain inequity

Shortly the Rosemount branch of the Ottawa Public Library, the red dot on the map, will close for renovations. To maintain local service the OPL will open at a temporary rented storefront location nearby.
The map shows the areas within 30 minutes by public transport from the Main library downtown (in blue) and the Carlingwood branch (in red). There's a huge overlap in service areas both of which include the Rosemount branch.
So why is it a priority to fill a temporary gap in service while ignoring areas of the city inside the greenbelt permanently more than 30 minutes from any OPL branch by OCTranspo?
The answers I received from OPL staff are (1) staff at the Rosemount branch need to keep employed, and (2) residents accustomed to local service kick up a fuss when they lose it.

21 March 2019

Reorganization at TNA Reading Room

As the London Family History Centre moves out changes are being made in the UK National Archives reading room. The work is scheduled to be completed by Friday 29 March. Disruption is expected to be minimal with no adverse effect on services.

Rearrangement will involve the microfilm readers and the Army, Navy and Air Force lists; the number of PC terminals will remain the same; soft seating areas for reading and private study will be added as will new low shelving for library material and informal lecture space to accommodate student groups.

In case you missed it the National Archives has agreed to become a FamilySearch Affiliate Library so access to all digitized records on FamilySearch will continue on PCs located in the reading rooms.

Where Were Early Ottawa Official Weather Observations Taken?

This has nothing to do with family history.

Soon after Canada's federal government appropriated funds for a Meteorological Service plans were to take weather observations from a site on Parliament Hill, starting in October 1871.  That didn't happen (1). A suggestion to take them from a rooftop location, made by the Department of Marine and Fisheries, was rejected as unsuitable when made to the Meteorological Service headquarters in Toronto.

It was not until March 1872 that Ottawa's first official observations were taken. I've long been curious about where exactly. (2)
A few days ago I obtained images of the original forms used to report the observations to the head office in Toronto. The top of the form, shown above, clearly states the observing site to be in Ottawa and at N45°26' 20.0" W75° 43' 30.0". However, entering those coordinates in Google maps places it on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River in Hull, just south of the intersection of highways 5 and 50.
The same meteorological observations are online with the location given at https://bit.ly/2VZpkri as Latitude: 45°24'00.000" N  Longitude: 75°43'00.000" W Elevation: 71.90 m. That's between Dow's Lake and the Ottawa River, very close to St Mary's Catholic Church on Bayswater Ave. The coordinates are rounded to the nearest minute.

Or perhaps there was a transcription error onto the form which should have been Latitude N45° 24'  20" Longitude W75°43' 30". That would place the observation on Ladouceur St in Hintonburg. Neither of those two locations is within the limits of the City of Ottawa at the time.

Having searched newspapers and directories I'm no closer to finding the exact location. My suspicion is it was close to the offices of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, in the West Block on Parliament Hill. Observations were taken as part of the responsibilities of a department clerk. Soon after it was established the station was changed from a Chief Station to an Ordinary Station which likely reflected dissatisfaction with the siting from Meteorological Service Headquarters in Toronto. Around that time an unsuccessful attempt was made to move the headquarters operation from Toronto to Ottawa, ostensibly to take advantage of administrative efficiencies.

(1) The Beginnings of Canadian Meteorology, Morley Thomas, ECW Press, Toronto, 1991 ISBN 1-55022-149-3.
(2) In Instructions to observers connected with the Meteorological Service of the Dominion of Canada, G. T. Kingston, Copp Clarke and Co, Toronto, 1878, each station was to supply a map marked with the location observations were taken (not found).

Ottawa Branch March Meeting

Here is the schedule for Saturday 23 March at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive (Room 115)

10:30 – 12:00: Back to Basics - Ottawa Public Library Resources for Genealogy

Romaine Honey, OPL senior genealogist-librarian will introduce us to the genealogical resources at the Ottawa Public Library

13:00 – 15:00: The Trials and Triumphs of a Local Historical Society

The North Grenville Historical Society is a group of dedicated volunteers whose first objective is to arouse and stimulate public interest in the heritage and history of the people and places of the North Grenville area; including the historical townships of Oxford-on-Rideau and South Gower, the historical town of Kemptville; and the hamlets of Pelton’s Corners, Heckston, Oxford Mills, Burritt’s Rapids, Oxford Station and Bishop’s Mills. North Grenville is the township directly south of the City of Ottawa.

The Society also advances education by improving the public’s understanding and awareness of the history of North Grenville by hosting events, supporting programs, producing educational materials and scholarly articles and operating the North Grenville Archives, which is owned by the Society. 

Presented by Dr. David Shanahan, Irishman, Editor of the North Grenville Times, historian and past president of the North Grenville Historical Society. He has a lengthy career involving land claims research and related issues on behalf of First Nations, the Government of Canada and other organizations.

Preceded by networking and refreshments

15:00: Computer Special Interest Group


Don't forget Gene-O-Rama, 5-6 April 

20 March 2019

CWGC Evasive

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

Spring Equinox 2019

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

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

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

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

Perth & District Historical Society March Meeting

“The Fair Deal”

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

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

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

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

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

19 March 2019

Genealogy Publisher F+W Media Files for Bankruptcy Protection

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

LAC Co-Lab Update

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


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

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

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

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


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

New France and First Nations relations is 22% complete.


The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918–1919.

Correspondence between Sir Robert Borden and Sir Sam Hughes.

Letters from Wilfrid Laurier to Zoé Lafontaine/Laurier.

Thomas J Moxley, CWGC Beechwood

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

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

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

18 March 2019

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

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

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

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

The Genealogist’s Best Friend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genealogy Drop-in Tuesday

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

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

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

17 March 2019

OGS/Ontario Ancestors

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

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

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

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

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16 March 2019

Special Offer on Roots Ireland Annual Subscriptions

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

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

To take advantage of this offer, go

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

15 March 2019

St Patrick Blessings: Free access

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

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

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

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

Findmypast Additions an International Mix

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

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

Kerry Histories & Reference Guides

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

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

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

Hearth Tax Digital

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


OGS Kingston Branch March Meeting

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

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

14 March 2019

FreeBMD March Update

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


Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections Anniversary

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

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

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

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

Quinte Branch OGS March Meeting

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

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

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

The meeting is at Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Dr, Trenton 1-3 pm.
Visit www.quinte.ogs.on.ca and facebook.com/QuinteBranch.OGS

13 March 2019

Videos on New DNA Tools

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

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

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

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

Ancestry adds Cork Marriage Licence Bonds Index

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

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

John James Gawn, CWGC Beechwood

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

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

Newspapers are a first draft of history. A more reliable account is at www.durhamatwar.org.uk/story/13498/

12 March 2019

DNA Test Update

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

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

Legacy Family Tree Webinars this week

Two Legacy Family Tree webinars worth mentioning this week.

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

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

Free Online Historical Photo Archives from Canada

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

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

Beware, the clock runs faster when you browsing these.

RootsTech in London

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

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

OGS has a package organized for this event. Find out more at https://ogs.on.ca/rootstech-london-2019/

11 March 2019

Deaths at Sea on British Registered Ships

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

So I asked a friend — Google.

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

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

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

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

Commonwealth Day

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

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

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

10 March 2019

London records update on Ancestry

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

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

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Spring Forward
In case you forgot.

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

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

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

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

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

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