30 June 2019

RootsTech London Organized Tour

Each year I go to one UK family history event. This year there have been a lot of choices — mine is RootsTech London. I know of several other Canadians who have already booked to attend.

For those who prefer to reduce the stress of making arrangements, there's an organized tour being arranged by Deana and Mel Fishman out of Toronto. Below for information, I have no affiliation, is a flyer I picked up at the Ontario Genealogical Society conference.

British Newspaper Archive additions for June

The British Newspaper Archive and sister database FindMyPast now has a total of  32,591,927 pages online (32,067,059 last month). 47 papers (29 last month) had pages added in the past month. There were 7 new titles. Dates range from 1825 to 1999.

Newspapers with more than 10,000 pages added during the month:
Field1853-1856, 1858, 1860, 1862-1863, 1865-1868, 1870-1877, 1879-1881, 1884-1900
Walsall Observer1873-1911, 1925-1933, 1958-1969
Staffordshire Sentinel1903-1910, 1913-1919
Newcastle Chronicle1875-1896, 1899-1900
Aberdeen Press and Journal1980-1984
Acton Gazette1871-1882, 1884-1885, 1887-1892, 1894-1917, 1921-1939
Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough1901-1905, 1907, 1910, 1912
Northern Ensign and Weekly Gazette1854, 1864, 1866, 1870-1871, 1879-1885, 1887, 1889-1892, 1895-1896, 1901, 1922-1926
Aberdeen Evening Express1939-1945, 1980-1984
Volunteer Record & Shooting News1884-1902
Wells Journal1986-1988, 1990
Reading Evening Post1982-1984, 1988
Sandwell Evening Mail1988, 1991, 1994

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

The Winnipeg General Strike trials: a new Co-Lab challenge
This Co-Lab challenge highlights some of the public expressions of support for the strike leaders and invites participants to reconsider the verdicts of the Winnipeg General Strike trials.

The Regimental Rogue
A good Canadian resource guide for researching CEF soldiers, especially the Royal Canadian Regiment.

Ancestry has updated Birmingham, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

From the Library of Birmingham, now with 1,217,337 records.

Celebrate Canada Day with your 'lost cousins' FREE
Peter Calver's Lost Cousins newsletter, a must read for anyone wanting to stay current in researching their family history in England, and often further afield, has a special Canada Day offer.

Did You Know?
We all know about European war brides. Did you know there were 3,750 marriages between Canadian women and RAF, RAAF, RNZAF and other allied nationals as a result of postings to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan? Source: https://open.library.ubc.ca/media/download/pdf/831/1.0100699/2

Applications are open for the Virtual Museum of Canada Exhibits Investment Stream

Why Weather Forecasting Keeps Getting Better

Alan Turing: how the world’s most famous codebreaker unlocked the secrets of nature’s beauty

Fossil Fuel Industry Documents
Find out about the strategies of delay, exculpating blame by making the consumer responsible, denying scientific consensus, conducting important science purposefully buried while publishing industry-promoting and -funded science, and fostering public confusion over the real impacts of their products, are common in the histories of both tobacco and fossil fuel companies.https://www.industrydocuments.ucsf.edu/fossilfuel/

29 June 2019

Backstory to Regina's Indian Industrial School Cemetery

You perhaps saw the story of the cemetery, burial place of about 35 Indigenous children, being handed over to the RIIS Commemorative Association.

What you likely don't know is that Linda Dunsmore-Porter started the process as Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society in the interest of SGS cemetery program. She phoned Regina City Hall to try to find out who owned or was in charge of the abandoned cemetery. They had no clue it existed until that phone call.

Thanks to Brenda Turner for the tip.

LAC drastically reduces access to restricted documents at 395 Wellington

Starting a month from now,  29 July 2019, those unable to research during regular business hours will have access to restricted document research at Library and Archives Canada cut off. Researchers coming from out of town will not be able to take advantage of extended hours meaning extra time and expense.

As of July 29, 2019, the restricted documents consultation room hours of service at 395 Wellington in Ottawa will be reduced to the following:

Monday – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesday – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday – No service
Statutory holidays – No service

To date, Saturday service has been from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the room has been open from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on weekdays, and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends.

That means the room will now be open for 35 hours per week (excepting statutory holidays), reduced from 41 hours with attendants, and 91 hours per week total.

There appears to be no provision for those for whom this major reduction in service will mean hardship.

The reason given for the change is to better align with the Government of Canada’s security standards.

FREE Event: DNA and Online Resources for Discovering Your Lost Family History

The Ottawa Public Library invites you to explore the mysteries of your ancestry on Thursday 8 August. So much is online; and easy, affordable DNA tests reveal your heritage and cousins you never knew you had. Using social meida you can find yourself exchanging information with those cousins and working together to build an ever-expanding family tree. Explore these amazing resources with our experts. Register now.

The Speakers:

Daniel Horowitz: MyHeritage Treasure Trove: An overview of features for family research, and Integrating DNA and Family History Research at MyHeritage
Daniel, the Genealogy Expert at MyHeritage, the world's fastest-growing genealogy social network, is a Venezuelan-born genealogist living in Israel. Computer engineer and linguist, he applies his training to his genealogical passion as one of the first to join MyHeritage.

Leanne Cooper: The Wonders of WikiTree: Collaborative Genealogy and DNA
Leanne +is a frequent local speaker with roots mostly in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and back to the UK.

Lesley Anderson: Secrets & Shenanigans: How AncestryDNA was used in an unexpected mystery
Lesley has worked for Ancestry.ca for over 11 years as their Canadian Spokesperson and has been involved in the personal research of her family tree for over 50 years.

Thursday, 8 August 2019 starting at 9:30 am at Ben Franklin Place, Chamber, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K2G 5K7.

Register here.

Global Genealogy will be present with special prices on DNA test kits. Archive CD Books Canada will show a selection of their digital reproductions of old books and documents available for download.

In partnership with British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) and Ottawa Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society.

28 June 2019

Additions to Findmypast this week

Donegal Workhouses Registers and Minute Books
Search Irish ancestry through more than 400,000 new and exclusive records from the Donegal workhouses. The records include admission and discharge registers as well as the board of guardians' minute books. The books span from 1840 to 1922, comprise records from 7 poor law unions across Donegal and join a growing collection of Irish Work House and Poor Law records. These records are also available to browse.

The unions covered include Ballyshannon, Donegal, Dunfanaghy, Glentis, Inishowen, Letterkenny, Milford, and Stranorlar. The original records are held by the Donegal County Council and have been digitized through a partnership with Findmypast. Within the collection, you will find a wide variety of records. In addition to inmates find appointments such as that of Mr. John Reid as a Parish Warden in the Letterkenny Union in November 1846.

Scotland, Highland Poor Law 1845-1929
These detailed transcripts of more than 9,000 new poverty relief records can reveal a wide range of information such as a description of the relief received, location, occupation, residence, earnings, the names and earnings of relatives, how poor they actually were and the nature of their disability (if disabled).

Responsibility for administering funds for the poor lay initially with the church. The Poor Law Act (Scotland) 1845 established parochial boards in rural parishes and in towns, the Central Board of Supervision was in Edinburgh, gradually removing the responsibility away from the church. Each parochial board had to keep a roll of the poor to whom it gave relief.

An example of these records is John Reid, born in 1786, a gardener, who in 1872 received 2/- per week which was gradually "raised to 5/6 per week in consequence of the increasing age and debility of John being unwieldy and daily assistance required in taking him out of and putting him again to bed, 16 May 1879 – Died this morning at 8."

Scotland, Highlands and Islands Assisted Emigration 1852-1857
Search the names of those who received assistance from the Highlands and Islands Emigration Society in emigrating from the Highlands of Scotland for Australia. Each transcript will reveal dates and ports of both departure and arrival, age and residence, the ship sailed on, the name of the sponsor and the amount they received.

British & Irish Roots Collection
More than 1.2 million records have been added to Findmypasts's exclusive British and Irish Roots Collection, a vast database of nearly 100 million records that identify British or Irish emigrants in North America. These records have been added from existing collections, notably census records.

International Records Update – Luxembourg
Three new indexes of births & baptisms, marriages and deaths & burials cover the years 1662 to 1840.

LAC’s Annual Report 2018–2019

Highlights of the 2018-2019 LAC Annual Report include:
  • Phase 2 of LAC’s Preservation Centre in Gatineau, scheduled to open in 2022;
  • The new LAC/OPL joint facility at 555 Albert Street in Ottawa, scheduled to welcome users in 2024;
  • Extensive public consultations held across the country;
  • Updates on crowdsourcing programs like DigiLab and Co-Lab;
  • New acquisitions, from the fonds of filmmaker Denys Arcand to a book that once belonged to Adolf Hitler;
  • The launch of the Listen, Hear Our Voices funding initiative; and
  • The establishment of both the Youth Advisory Committee and the non-profit LAC Foundation, which was set up by volunteers to help the institution develop new initiatives and expand its collection.
Each year the annual report includes statistics on the operation. Below is a three-year comparison.

The years in numbers2018-20192017-20182016-2017
Pages of government records opened3,580,22610,190,6318,033,794
Questions answered by reference services:22,30223,49126,155
Images digitized4,723,91110,201,9509,100,000
Publications collected under legal deposit60,717101,889122,075
New private acquisitions154111137
Items loaned to museums and galleries:165362102
Tours of the LAC Preservation Centre107106170

Notable declines are shown in government records opened, images digitized and publications collected under legal deposit. There were nearly 9 million website visits — the number is not comparable with previous years which reported website views.

YouTube: The Treaty of Versailles Centenary

The treaty to end the Great War was signed on 28 June 1919. Here's eminent Canadian historian  Margaret McMillan speaking at Gresham College.

27 June 2019

Order of Canada Promotion

Congratulations to former Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Ian E. Wilson, O.C. promoted to Officer of the Order of Canada for "For his sustained leadership in the development and accessibility of public archives, and for his published works on history, heritage and information management."

See the full list of appointments and promotions within the Order of Canada announced 27 June 2019.
Thanks to Glenn Wright for the tip.

The Ulster Sourcebook: County by County

At the OGS Conference last weekend Sher Leetooze, seen here with Roger, was offering her Ulster Sourcebook, now published as nine individual books, one for each county. Each has new and updated information — updated to the time of printing — which almost didn't happen in time for the conference.
Sher has many interests. Durham County which is home, Bible Christians in Devon and, her Irish roots which stimulated these new volumes.
They're so new they're not on her website yet.  Read about the previous Ulster Sourcebook.
Contact Sher through https://sherleetooze.com/

James Hiney: CWGC Beechwood

James Peter (occasionally Patrick) Hiney of 165 Florence Street, age 63, died at St Luke’s Hospital on 27 June 1919 following an accident at Clarella Park on the Britannia line, two days previously. The inquest found he had aggravated a prior injury while attempting to board a street car that pulled away prematurely.

Born in Dublin, Ireland he first enlisted on 4 April 1916 in Ottawa giving his birth as 28 May 1873.   A professional musician, he was married to Mary Elizabeth nee William with three sons and one daughter. After a few days, he was discharged as overage and declared not eligible to reenlist.

A second attestation paper has him enlisting again in Ottawa on 18 June 1918. Private Hiney (722269) served with the Canadian Army Corps of Military Staff Clerks.

He is buried in Section 40, Lot 139E at Beechwood Cemetery.

26 June 2019

Advance Notice: RootsTech London 3-Day Admission Give Away

As a RootsTech London Ambassador, I receive an admission pass to award to some lucky blog reader. This is a heads-up that the opportunity to enter will start on 1 July, Canada Day when I'll post the details on how to enter.

If you already purchased a RootsTech London pass you can still enter and will receive a refund if you're the winner.

The opportunity will be open until the end of the day (EDT) on 7 July to accommodate those who may be away on and around Canada Day.

Also in RootsTech London news, just announced, the popular UK vocal group Tre Amici will be special guest performers in the entertainment part of the event on the main stage on Friday, 25 October at 6 PM.

This Week's Free Legacy Webinars

Two well-known US presenters are featured this week in the Legacy Webinar series with suggestions helpful to all, beginner and beyond.

On Wednesday, at 2 pm EDT, Marian Pierre-Louis presents 5 Steps to Becoming a Good Ancestor

Genealogists are very good at researching and learning about their ancestors' lives. But sometimes they forget that it is important to provide information about themselves for their own descendants. In this presentation we'll provide five ways to leave traces of yourself (and your research) for those who come after you. Register here.

On Friday, also at 2 pm EDT,  Gena Philibert-Ortega presents A Month's Worth of Must-Have Tech Tips To Start Using Today
What technology tips can help you with your genealogy research? Make a goal this month to try a new technology tip each day and this webinar will help you! We'll look at tips to help you enhance your email, use shortcuts, conduct better searches, and use your cell phone for genealogy. When we are done, you'll be able to do more with less time and learn tools that will help you in your research and personal life. Register here.

If like me you have a conflict with the times these are live-streamed the presentations are usually available to view free for the next week, and you can always view a collection of free-for-ever webinars at https://familytreewebinars.com/.

DNA Circles is Going Away — Very Soon

Did you find Ancestry's DNA Circles utility helpful?  It was introduced in an AncestryDNA blog post in November 2014
Finding evidence that you’re a descendant of a particular ancestor is one of the powerful applications of DNA testing. AncestryDNA has created a groundbreaking new way to make those kinds of powerful discoveries. We call it DNA Circles™ and it’s currently available in BETA for AncestryDNA customers.
DNA Circles re-imagines what matching can do. It goes beyond finding a common ancestor with your DNA matches and can link you to additional AncestryDNA members with the same common ancestor thus creating a Circle of people who are all related.
Now, as of 1 July, DNA Circles is disappearing. When that was mentioned at the recent OGS Conference some were disappointed.

It's replaced by ThruLines™ which illustrates how you may be connected to a particular DNA match through a common ancestor. According to Ancestry it works by "using the public or private searchable tree linked to your AncestryDNA test to search for people who appear in both your tree or other Ancestry member trees that are marked as public or private searchable. ThruLines uses this information to illustrate how you and your DNA matches might be related through common ancestors."

I had no DNA Circles so for me losing it is of no consequence. I do have POTENTIAL MATCHES in ThruLines™ starting with a 2nd great grandparent. Strangely no matches at that level of common ancestor are supported by a DNA result — they appear to be only in trees or records.

ThruLines comes to the fore at my 3rd great grandparent level when DNA matches start to appear. Some are in endogamous populations are don't appear to be genuine relationships others point to newly found cousins.

If you found DNA Circles results helpful why nor save them with a screen grab or transcribing the information. You have until Canada Day.

25 June 2019

Sadly: another one bites the dust

The Huntingdonshire Family History Society, founded in 1985, is being wound up owing to lack of volunteers. Reportedly, arrangements are being made to assign the society tangible assets, such as transcriptions to GENfair so they will continue to be available.
The society has claimed membership of 350.

Looking for Samuel McNeice

This is the Irish death registration for Samuel McNeice in Ballymena, Antrim on 25 June 1919, a century ago today.
He served with the CEF enlisting in Winnipeg as #150166 with the 79th Bn Canadian Infantry.
Despite extensive research by Diana Beaupré and Adrian Watkinson during their Far from Home project and input from the local authority, he is one of only two CEF soldiers on the 1914-1918 Memorial wall at Brookwood Military Cemetery whose burial location has not been identified.
Far from Home continues to publish several articles on WW1 Canadian soldiers each month. As I write the latest is WW1 Canadian shot at dawn – 19 June 1918.

24 June 2019

The Scots in Montréal

BIFHSGO member Gillian Leitch's interest in the role of the Scots in the life and history of Montréal is revealed in a review of locations where you can see and feel Montréal's Scottish roots.

How do you judge the success of a conference?

Conferences offer a diversity of opportunities. I can't remember the last time I left one without a lot to feel positive about. Does that mean each one was a success as is invariably claimed by the organizers? What does success mean? Have you ever been to a conference which excelled in every dimension?

Perhaps the event was successful for me as an attendee, but what about the others involved ... exhibitors, speakers, organizers, sponsors, volunteers ... even facilities staff?

Was registration efficient with no long queues, material ready and as ordered?
Not overcrowded, or undercrowded?

Could you see the slides ... screen large enough, adequate contrast and size to be readable, adequate sight lines?
Could you understand the speaker ... audio technology worked, external noise, the speaker was clear and was comprehensible (accent!)?
Was the room comfortable ... temperature, seating, under or over-crowded?
Was there a session chair who took pains to ensure the speaker was as comfortable as possible (water, A/V working), briefly introduce and thank the speaker, make brief administrative announcements, handle unexpected distractions?

Was there reliable wifi?

Was the marketplace area located so that exhibitors could get adequate traffic? 

AND as anyone who has reviewed the post-conference survey forms appreciates ... refreshments?

23 June 2019

Happy Anniversary Guy Berthiaume: Interview

On this date in 2014 Guy Berthiaume assumed the duties of Librarian and Archivist of Canada. While he has announced his retirement he has agreed to extend the term until his successor, Lesley Weir, assumes that role after Labour Day.
An audio of an interview he kindly granted me looking back at his time at LAC, and further back in his career, is no longer available online. If you'd like to review it please contact me at john dot d dot reid at gmail dot com/.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Podcast: History at Work – Danny Doyle, Parks Canada Conservator
Danny has worked on a wide variety of artifacts, but his specialty is in human remains. He discusses how to balance ethics with conservation practice when working with human remains, and compares human remains conservation with the conservation of other artifacts. He also explores what conservators mean when they talk about “intangible” issues concerning artifacts. With experience working in Canada, Egypt, Ireland, and the United States, Danny answers whether there are differences between Canadian conservation practices and the approach of other countries.

The ‘Knocker-Uppers’ 
A cause for some misunderstanding and amusement! Thanks Ann Burns for the tip.

Civic honesty around the globe
Lose your wallet - chances of getting it back.

Facebook’s new cryptocurrency
In an editorial calling it "Alarming and unnecessary" The Guardian writes  that Facebook’s new cryptocurrency must be resisted. “Overall, it’s not reassuring that Facebook is doing this. First, it has a track record of screwing up when it comes to looking after or respecting your data – Cambridge Analytica and the Onavo VPN that spied on users being just two obvious examples. Second, it has problems being consistent in how it applies its rules: see the many, many rows over content. It’s ignorant of its naivete, and so big it repeatedly causes huge problems.”

It's time to switch to a Privacy Browser
If you want to push back against online tracking, you've got several options to pick from when choosing a default browser.

22 June 2019

National Institute Graduation

Congratulations to the following graduates of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies program who received their diplomas at a Friday afternoon ceremony held in conjunction with the annual conference of the Ontario Genealogical Societ in London, Ontario.

Although many graduates could not be in attendance some joined virtually. Here, in the front two rows are the graduates present in London.

Among the graduates was Ottawa resident Bobby Kay seen with Institute Director Louise St Denis.

Discover: the National Library of Scotland Magazine, no. 41 (2019)

A dose of Scottish culture.

Unusually for a government institution magazine, it's ad-supported.

MyHeritage Live in Amsterdam

You could win Tickets to MyHeritage LIVE, including a Free Stay at the Iconic Hilton Amsterdam by entering the contest at https://blog.myheritage.com/2019/06/win-a-free-stay-at-the-iconic-hilton-amsterdam/.

There's a dazzing array of talent taking to the podium including, for genetic genealogy, Blaine Bettinger, Yaniv Erlich, Leah Larkin and Diahan Southard.

Sadly my budget doesn't run to a second trip to Europe this year, and I'm already booked for RootTech London in October. However, Blaine will be at the BIFHSGO conference as will Cyndi Ingle who will also be in Amsterdam.

21 June 2019

Foreign-born population in Canadian federal ridings

From the 2016 census, showing that cities now have large areas with more than 50% of their population foreign-born. That includes me!

20 June 2019

Additions to Findmypast this week

Lancashire Baptisms
Over 31,000 additional records, transcripts and images covering the parishes of:
Edge Hill, St Nathaniel -1869 to 1918
Liverpool, St John - 1785 to 1898
Liverpool, St Silas, Pembroke Place - 1841 to 1918
Liverpool, St Stephen the Martyr – 1851 to 1918
Newburgh, Christ Church – 1860 to 1917
Seaforth, St Thomas - 1839 to 1918
Stoneycroft, St Paul – 1916 to 1918
Toxteth Park, St Bede – 1882 to 1918

Lancashire Marriages & Banns
A further 179,000 records have also been added for:
Edge Hill, St Nathaniel - 1871 to 1943
Everton, Emmanuel – 1835 to 1943
Liverpool, St John – 1785 to 1898
Liverpool, St Stephenn the Martyr – 1852 to 1943
Seaforth, St Thomas – 1870 to 1943
Stoneycroft, St Paul - 1916 to 1943
Toxteth Park, St Bede – 1887 to 1943

Lancashire Burials
Over 54,000 new records, transcripts and images from the central Liverpool Parish of St John. These new records span the years 1767 to 1883.

Scotland, Darien Scheme Investors 1696
Explore the records of investors in The Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies, also called the Scottish Darien Company. It was funded by investments from people across Scotland. These transcripts will provide you with information on those who invested money and their representatives.

The Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to establish a colony called "Caledonia" in Panama in the late 1690s. Opposed by commercial interests from England, the company of Scotland raised subscriptions for the scheme in Amsterdam, Hamburg, and London. English investors soon raised their share but withdrew their money after King William and the English Parliament turned against the venture. However, by August 1696 the Scottish investors raised £400,000 themselves.

As the scheme was backed by approximately 20% of all the money circulating in the country at the time, its failure left the entire Lowlands in substantial financial ruin and was an important factor in weakening Scottish resistance to the Act of Union. In July 1699, the colony was abandoned due to inadequate provisions, the unfamiliar hot and humid climate had caused fever to spread, and many settlers died. Of the 1,200 settlers, only 300 survived.

United States Obituary Notices
5.7 million new records obtained from the tributes.com and currentobituary.com websites.

International Records Update – Iceland
Over 287,000 baptism and marriage records,  indexes for the years 1730 to 1920.


How important is the ability to read cursive writing?

Paleography is a staple of some genealogy courses; considered by some a pons asinorum for professional genealogy. As most records are handwritten if you want to extract the information you need paleographic skills. Mostly the emphasis is on older scripts - Secretary Hand and the like.

Today's educational system emphasizes keyboarding. Kids are losing the ability to read even quite modern handwriting. Some decry this as further deterioration of the educational system. In days gone by was the loss of ability to interpret hieroglyphics viewed in the same way?

LAC's Co-Lab provides a transcription facility. My impression from following progress on the challenges presented is that the uptake has been slow. Other organizations internationally have similar initiatives.

I came across an article from the Washington Post The National Archives has billions of handwritten documents. With cursive skills declining, how will we read them?  What I take away is that kids will take up the challenge if the content is interesting enough. That means looking at the challenge as an educational -- and turning the task into play. Once the skill is developed through play they may be inspired to more advanced tasks.

19 June 2019

Look for AncestryDNA Updates

Ancestry frequently updates ethnicity estimates. They're doing it again, and providing more spatial resolution — Ancestry Communities. Check your results to see if there's been an update. According to this AncestryDNA blog post over 225 new AncestryDNA communities, including more than 120 relating to Canada, are added.

What might you expect? As they say "your mileage may vary."

The major change to my ethnicity percentages has England, Wales & Northwestern Europe increasing from 19% previously to 44%. There's an error band on the present estimate of 44%—57%. The gain comes with the elimination of 11% for Europe West, 4% for Caucasus, 1% for Europe East, >1% for Iberian Peninsula and, a change from 11% Scandinavia to 3% Norway. Changes to other area are within the error ranges.

The greater spatial resolution shows ancestry in the overlapping areas East Midlands & the Potteries and The Potteries. Those both include the birthplace of a great-grandfather. My other seven great-grandparents origins are within broader areas identified.

MyHeritage DNA kits now on sale in Costco stores - only in the UK eh! - pity!

For those of us looking for UK DNA connections, increased availability of MyHeritage DNA kits in the UK (and Iceland) through sales at 30 Costco stores is good news.

LAC Co-Lab Update

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

Legendary Train Robber and Prison Escapee Bill Miner is 98% complete (92% last month).
War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division is 94% complete (92% last month).
Rosemary Gilliat (Eaton)’s Arctic diary and photographs is 39% complete (38% last month).
The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters is 85% complete (77% last month).

New France and First Nations Relations is 39% complete.
Japanese-Canadians: Second World War is 61% 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.

18 June 2019

News Release: Library and Archives Canada’s new preservation centre: a unique Canadian environmental project

Library and Archives Canada’s new preservation centre: a unique Canadian environmental project
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 – Gatineau, Quebec – Library and Archives Canada
Today, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the Plenary Properties Gatineau (PPG) consortium, which is responsible for constructing a second preservation centre in Gatineau, Quebec, revealed the design of the building that will be located directly behind the current Preservation Centre.
In many ways, the new building will set a global standard, following the example of the existing Preservation Centre, which is Canada’s pride and the envy of other memory institutions at home and abroad.
The new preservation centre will be the first “net-zero carbon” facility dedicated to archival preservation in the Americas, and the first federal building constructed to the requirements of Canada’s Greening Government Strategy. The main features of a net-zero carbon building are:
·       minimal carbon emissions from energy consumption, achieved through building design and efficiency measures;
·       energy needs met through carbon-free fuel sources; and
·       minimal embodied carbon in building materials.
It will also be the world’s largest preservation facility equipped with a high-tech automated archive storage and retrieval system. This means that our precious national collections will be kept under optimal preservation conditions.
The PPG proposal was selected for this public-private partnership because it meets all of the required technical criteria and can be implemented at the best possible cost to taxpayers. The consortium will:
·       design, build and finance the new building;
·       optimize storage space in the current Preservation Centre; and
·       operate and maintain both facilities.
The ultra-modern facility will increase LAC’s capacity to store Canadian archives and resolve the critical shortage of space expected in the very near future. Construction will begin in 2019 and lead to the creation of hundreds of new jobs, with the opening expected in 2022. 

This new, state-of-the-art preservation facility in the National Capital Region will help Canada remain a leader in the preservation and promotion of our invaluable documentary heritage. Our government is confident that this preservation centre will solidify Library and Archives Canada’s place at the forefront of preservation throughout the world, for the benefit of present and future generations.”
-          The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism
“Our government is proud to be a part of this important infrastructure project. The new Library and Archives Canada preservation centre project will create good middle-class jobs, foster innovation and protect the environment, all while improving services for Canadians and creating an iconic new building in the Gatineau landscape.”
-          Steven MacKinnon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility
“This new flagship building, which will accompany the award-winning and world-class Preservation Centre in Gatineau, is yet another testament to Library and Archives Canada being able to set itself apart in opting for a green and sustainable infrastructure. Once built, this new state-of-the-art facility will ensure the preservation and accessibility of our rich collection of treasures for centuries and for generations to come.”
-          Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Library and Archives Canada and to preserve the heritage of our country in what will be a state-of-the-art, iconic facility, and the first Net Zero Carbon archival centre in the Americas. We look forward to working with our partners to deliver this project, and supporting the Government of Canada in its commitment to sustainable infrastructure and the preservation of our documented history.”
-        Brian Clark, Project Director, on behalf of Plenary Properties Gatineau, a partnership combining the strengths of Plenary Group, PCL and ENGIE Services

Quick facts
·       By pursuing a sustainable, green approach, LAC has significantly reduced its environmental footprint since 2011. It has cut its number of preservation spaces from 22 to 5, while shrinking their total area from 237,000 to 124,000 square metres and maximizing the space used.
·       Construction of the new preservation facility, optimization of the current Preservation Centre vaults, and project funding will cost approximately $330 million. This amount does not include the operating and maintenance costs of the two facilities over 30 years.
·       Although LAC is adding new, essential space to meet its current and future needs for the storage and preservation of analogue documentary heritage (including official federal government records, for which it is the continuing memory), it continues to make significant strides in digitizing its collection to achieve greater accessibility.
The public will be able to consult LAC’s collections while this work progresses, apart from a few brief service interruptions.

LAC Planning a Newspaper Summit

Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume informed me during an interview last week that LAC is planning a newspaper summit in the Fall. The newspaper collection and need for a Canada-wide approach to digitization is something I've been advocating as a LAC role for years, with little success, even though LAC did hold a similar summit in October 2002 (pdf).

Maybe there's something in the air. Chris Paton's blog reports that The National Library of Scotland (www.nls.uk) is currently holding an online survey concerning its digital newspaper collections, which will run until Friday July 26th. Here's the NLS announcement:

Reader Survey of Digital Newspaper Collections

The National Library of Scotland is carrying out research into the accessibility and use of Scotland’s newspapers as they are to be found online. The National Library provides access routes to newspaper eResources to registered Library members. Other digital newspaper collections exist elsewhere either providing online open access to view digital newspapers or closed access behind paywalls. 

We will be very grateful to you for taking 3-5 minutes to complete 10 survey questions about your experience of using online newspaper collections and how they might be improved. The information you supply will be used to consider how to enhance access routes to newspapers of interest to Scottish audiences.

Any personal information you supply through this survey will be held and used by the National Library of Scotland for the purposes of handling your feedback. For full information about how we will hold and use your personal information, see our privacy page, in particular our fundraising privacy notice and our feedback and complaints notice.

Thank you.

The National Library of Scotland
June 2019

To take part in the survey visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QZT8JCG

Will LAC conduct a similar survey to obtain input from those not at the summit?

I expect to post the audio of my interview with Guy Berthiaume in the next few days.

Charlotte Grey publishing a new book

A gold mine. A millionaire. An island paradise. An unsolved murder. A missing fortune.

Charlotte Grey's new book, to be published in September, has all the elements of a winner — as if the author's name alone was not enough to recommend it.

Get a preview in this podcast from Canadian Geographic where Charlotte is interviewed by David McGuffin.

Perth & District Historical Society June Meeting

On Thursday, 20 June at 7:30pm PDHS turns to visual arts of paintings and sculptures - and the Canadian side of Frederic Remington’s work.

Frederic Sackrider Remington (1861-1909) is well-known as an artist of the American West.  He explored the frontier between civilisation and the wilderness, in a body of work that includes over 3400 flat works, 22 subjects in bronze and 8 books.  Remington placed an emphasis on the “types” who shaped, and were shaped by, the frontier experience: cowboys, soldiers, mountain men, explorers, coureurs de bois, voyageurs, and peoples of the First Nations. 

It is not well known that Canada was an integral part of Remington’s vision of the frontier experience.  From his earliest work in magazine illustration to the masterful oil paintings created at the end of his career, Canada was central to his basic concept of North America.  For him, the frontier was a region of international scope.  As an historical and cultural backdrop, the Canadian stage was equal to that of the U.S., and for some of his purposes, superior.  And, throughout his life and career, Remington was deeply tied to the culture and landscape of the eastern woods and waters, with Quebec, Ontario and northern New York a persistent focus of his work. 

Laura Desmond, Education Specialist at the Frederic Remington Art Museum in nearby Ogdensburg NY, will present an overview of Remington’s Canadian subjects, illustrating her presentation with a wide range of Remington’s paintings and drawings.  She will also explore how his Canadian-themed works are both typical and distinct from those depicting his U.S. subjects. 

Desmond has worked at the Remington Museum for two years, creating educational programmes that expand and deepen an understanding of Frederic Remington’s work, and of art and art-making more generally.  She also assists the Museum Curator in the design, research, installation and presentation of exhibits at the Museum.  Laura Desmond's previous museum experience includes collections, exhibitions and programme delivery at the Potsdam Public Museum and at the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery in Canton NY. 

The meeting is at Perth's Royal Canadian Legion, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, (Toonie Donation).

17 June 2019

How Do I Digitize and Share a Ton of Old Family Photos?

From Lifehacker. You likely already know.


The Future for OGS

To ratify the Actions of the Board of Directors for the period through June 21, 2019.

It's an agenda item for the Annual General Meeting of The Ontario Genealogical Society, something  I've not seen before.

The world has changed substantially reflected in reduced society memberships at a time when one might expect retiring baby boomers to swell the ranks. That's not just in OGS, not just in family history societies.

This precipitated the Society launch of a brand, Ontario Ancestors, legally registered as a business name for use by The Ontario Genealogical Society.

It's not unusual for businesses to have a variety of brands. Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Yoplait, Nature Valley, Pillsbury and Betty Crocker are General Mills brands.

But in the case of Ontario Ancestors, it's not a product under the company umbrella, it's the whole organization and so appears as a re-brand replacing The Ontario Genealogical Society. The Board of Directors denies this — "a re-brand was not the intention."

What was the intention? Ontario Ancestors distinguishes the Society from US Societies that also use OGS — Ohio, Oregon and Oklahoma. The hope is the brand will sell better in the large US market and bring in new members.

The new brand surely won't be successful as just a cosmetic change. How will the organization evolve to serve the more distributed membership as well as the existing membership and society at large?

OGS has not been static. Province-wide or rather more than province-wide services like the eWeekly Update and webinars are examples of services recently introduced. There is a growing social media presence. Is that enough?

At the heart of the society are Ontario-based volunteers, and volunteer fatigue is a major issue. OGS Branches have closed, or struggle along with the same people in leadership roles. There's a hollowing out. Attend any meeting and you'll hear a plea for people to fill vacant positions, often to an audience many of whom have already done their time.

That's despite the established finding that volunteering provides benefits like better health, living longer, emotional support, less social isolation and, feeling of contributing to a greater good.

The move to market the Society in the US is unlikely to bring in volunteers at the branch level. Is the future of OGS as a stronger centralized organization with weaker branches?

Pro or con Ontario Ancestors I encourage you to attend the OGS Annual General Meeting to be held on Saturday, June 22nd at 10:00 am at the London Convention Centre, London, Ontario. Express your views, politely — Directors are volunteers too — but firmly.

16 June 2019

Victorian convicts in Milbank, Parkhurst and Pentonville prison records

TheGenealogist has released over 100,000 individuals into their expanding Court & Criminal Records collection. With this release, researchers can find the details of ancestors that had broken the law and were incarcerated in the harsh conditions of early Victorian convict prisons - including some that were only children!

The new data will allow the family history researcher to discover:

Over 100,000 individuals in records covering the years 1838 to 1875
Registers of prisoners inside Millbank, Parkhurst and Pentonville prisons.
Each prisoner's age on conviction
The marital status and whether the prisoner can read or write
The convict’s former trade
When and where they were convicted, their crime, sentence, where and whence received, previous offences, when removed and to where.

These fully searchable records are from the HO24 Home Office: Prison Registers and Returns 1838-1875 for Millbank, Parkhurst and Pentonville.
Read TheGenealogist’s article “Criminal records can reveal ancestors locked up in convict prisons” at:

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Essex's medieval history
A blog post summary of a meeting held on 18 May looking at Essex as a county on the Edge of England, London and rebellion. Thanks to Brenda Turner for the tip.

Old Photos of  Essex Kent & London
A Facebook page. Thanks to Ann Burns for the tip. Also from Ann, a map of London from 1572.

Kin support and the English poor: evidence from Lancashire, c.1620–1710

Advance Notice: Kitchener Public Library Genealogy Fair 
KPL is organizing its seventh annual Genealogy Fair on Saturday, November 2, 2019. The event will run from 9:30 am to 4 pm at the Central Library — open to the public with no admission charge.

The Strangers’ Guide To London
From Spitalfields Life — RootsTech London attendees beware!

Happiness may be a choice – except that it’s constrained by vested economic interests
Mentions the Canadian Index of Wellbeing.

Cars of the future that will help fight climate change
"EVs have great potential to reduce emissions, they won’t as long as they’re charged using electricity generated from the same old dirty fossil fuels."

The newly released BP Statistical Review of World Energy shows that fossil fuels continue to account for the major part of primary energy production, and world carbon emissions grew by 2.0% in 2018.

Carbon Capture and Sequestering is a Sham
Best Carbon Capture Facility In World Emits 25 Times More CO2 Than Sequestered is the title of an article in CleanTechnica showing there’s no green in air carbon capture the way that Carbon Engineering is doing it, but that there are small niches where much wiser solutions like Global Thermostat‘s make sense. Carbon capture is a distraction designed by fossil fuel interests to direct attention and money away from renewable technologies and conservation.

15 June 2019

Local Library Developments

How's your library service? How is it changing? Is the Ottawa Public Library typical?

Some items in a draft OPL Strategic Plan 2020-23 caught my attention:

  • The proportion of seniors is expected to almost double from 12.4 percent in 2001 to 20.3 percent in 2031.
  • “Holds” account for 1/3 of all circulation at OPL, a proportion that is trending upward. 
  • Cultural trends are not confined to those associated with reading, education, and the arts but should also include access to sports and recreation as opportunities for adding value and increasing the library’s market base of active card-holders. 
  • The continued preference for paper books despite an increase in digital reading.
  • Borrow-ship – Traditional models of ownership are changing resulting in a rethinking of the value of ownership and seeking out of more collaborative models of use. (Comment: Maybe à la Marie Kondo a book only sparks joy for the time it takes to read it.)

There's a lot more in the document. 

The proposed strategic plan is, by 2023, to increase the number of active cardholders by 25 percent by improving OPL’s community relevance by:

1. Redesign the Library Experience
- Conduct a programming review
- Define the ideal experience across physical and virtual channels
- Create the destination experience for the OPL component of the Ottawa Public Library - Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility. (Comment: Imagine zip lines and climbing walls in the new joint facility).
- Assess the impact of barriers to service
- Develop the physical space experience.

2. Build Organizational Capacity
- Redesign the employee experience
- Renew leadership accountability
- Develop data-driven decision-making.

3. Promote OPL’s value
- Develop and implement a brand strategy
- Develop and implement a fundraising plan
- Strengthen stakeholder relationships and advocacy
- Strengthen the Intellectual Freedom program.

Another item on libraries that came to my inbox is Dick Eastman's blog post Libraries without Librarians on the trend for open libraries giving patrons access to books, computers and other resources by themselves at times when the library isn’t staffed. It appealed to me as I live in a library desert — no community library. This might be an affordable way to provide more equitable library service.

British Postcard Images Free

The Newberry (Library) has launched a digital archive of over 26,000 high-quality images of picture postcards produced by pioneering British company Raphael Tuck & Sons during the first half of the 20th century.

With that many images, there's bound to be something relevant to your family history. The images are not only British. There are 91 labelled Australia and 169 Canada including several of Ottawa. This image is less than one kilometre from my Norfolk childhood home.


14 June 2019

Findmypast additions this week

Kent Baptisms
New transcript records covering two new parishes, Fawkham St Mary (1,501 records) and Northfleet St Botolph (18,125 records), have been added to the collection of Kent parish baptisms.

Kent Marriages and Banns
The parish of Northfleet St Botolph with 8,952 transcript records has been added to the collection.

Kent Burials
Over 14,000 new transcript records from the parishes of Fawkham, St Mary (947 records) and Northfleet, St Botolph (13,537 records) are now available to search.

England, Phillimore Marriage Registers, 1531-1913
A new, fully searchable collection of Phillimore Marriage Registers containing approximately 2.3 million names and record marriages is now available at Findmypast from more than 1,500 parishes in
Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Devon,
Dorset, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kent, Leicestershire,
Lincolnshire, London, Middlesex, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Suffolk, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Yorkshire West Riding.
Search to view a transcript or an image of the original published page.

Scotland, Scottish Peerages
Explore this comprehensive history of the Scottish peerage between 1716 and 1914. The collection includes nine volumes of The Scots Peerage along with six other titles including a single-volume Jacobite peerage, all pdfs.

International Records Update – Denmark
More than 6.9 million baptisms, marriages and burials in three new Danish indexes spanning the years 1635 to 1917 are now available to search and will generate hints against your Findmypast family tree.

Quinte Branch OGS June Meeting

On Saturday, 15 June "Doing research from a distance using the Archives of Ontario's website" is the topic for the Branch meeting at Quinte West Public Library, 7 Creswell Dr, Trenton 1-3 pm.

Speaker Danielle Manning's presentation will be of particular interest to researchers unable or unwilling to travel to Toronto to visit the Archives of Ontario in person. Learn how to use the Archives of Ontario’s website and Microfilm Inter Loan Program to access collections – particularly records that are helpful for genealogical research.

13 June 2019

FreeBMD June Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Wednesday 5 June 2019 to contain 270,304,784 unique records (269,939,666 at previous update).

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


Normandy 75th Anniversary Fields of Fire Tour

An interesting series of blog posts by Sara Karn, a student and teacher of history who has just completed a tour guide experience to the battlefields in France.

The eleven-day trip included visits to both First and Second World War sites, including the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, Hill 70, Pegasus Bridge, as well as the Normandy landing beaches.

Sara and tour partner Alex Souchen took part in two ceremonies, one on 6 June at the Juno Beach Centre to commemorate the D-Day landings and another a few days later to dedicate the Canadian Gunner Memorial.

Find the series of blog posts at https://storiesfromthebattlefields.wordpress.com/category/normandy-75th-anniversary-fields-of-fire-tour/. You may well get some tips if a battlefields tour is on your bucket list.

Thanks to Jane Down for the tip.

BC Archives Additions

The British Columbia Archives now offers online access to births (1854-1903), marriages (1872-1943), deaths (1872-1998), colonial marriages (1859-1872) and baptisms (1836-1888). The recent additions are 1943 marriages and 1998 deaths with 1904 births to be added soon.

Many but not all have images of the original registration. and it's free!

OGS Conference and RootsTech London

Two of the speakers at the Ontario Genealogical Society (Ontario Ancestors) conference in London, starting on Friday next week, are also scheduled speakers at RootsTech London in October. Yes, both conferences are in London — but on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

David Allen Lambert from the New England Historic Genealogical Society (American Ancestors) will present a Friday 21 June workshop Virtual Family Reunions: Embrace Social Media to Reunite Your Distant Cousins, the that evening Charity Begins in Our Home and two presentations during the regular sessions Before They Were Loyalists: Researching Colonial New England and New York Ancestors and Researching Canadian and American World War I Veterans. At RootsTech he is presenting Online Family Reunions – using Social Media to locate cousins to share and preserve Family History.

John Boeren will present How to Start Your Research in the Netherlands on Sunday 23 June. Sadly it's in the same timeslot as the presentation I'm giving with Glenn Wright. In October his RootsTech talk is Tracing Your Ancestors in the Netherlands.

Not to be overlooked at the OGS conference are the FastTrax sessions (pdf), 30-minute mini-information presentations, offered on Saturday and Sunday exclusively by exhibitors in the Marketplace hall.

Ottawa Branch OGS June Meeting

This Saturday, 15 June at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Nepean

10:30: Genealogy: Back to Basics - Genome Mate Pro Workshop
Presenter: Jason Porteous
Helps you to use Genome Mate Pro and new tools from Borland Genetics which allow you to partially/fully phase your DNA test results (ie. separate maternal from paternal chromosomes to create a "mono" DNA kit that on GEDmatch will return matches to one parent while also greatly reducing false matches). He's also open to discussing chromosome mapping as well. Bring your laptops or tablets and your DNA data (downloaded from your test company) to Room 226.

13:00: Presentation: Newspaper Digitizing Project of the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives
Presenters: Irene Robillard and Emma Carey.
As of June 2018, the AMBA complete collection of local area newspapers dating from 1863 to 1937 became available online and free to the public. Over 700 issues of local newspapers were digitized, the bulk from the Arnprior Chronicle. They are searchable, browse-able and downloadable. In February 2019, a project that links indexes of birth, marriage and death notices to the digitized issue of the newspapers that they originally appeared in. Ottawa branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society provided a grant that made this project possible.

15:00: Computer Special Interest Group