Monday, 19 August 2019

North Lanarkshire, Scotland, Poor Law Applications and Registers, 1849-1917

Ancestry is working to add records for North Lanarkshire drawing on original data from the North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre, Motherwell.
This collection of applications and general registers, added on 15 August, is 230,468 records from institutions in Bothwell, Cambasnethan, Dalziel, New Monkland and Shotts.
The index gives name, birth date, admission date, admission place, and relatives. In the linked images find:

  • Name of applicant, including the maiden name of women
  • Age and/or birth date
  • Birthplace, including the county of birth (compulsory from 1865)
  • Religion (from 1865)
  • Dependants, including children’s names, ages, places of birth
  • Marital history
  • Names of applicant’s parents and parents-in-law, confirming where born and if still alive
  • Previous addresses

Ancestry updates England & Wales, Civil Divorce Records

There are now 81,843 records of civil divorces between 1858 and 1918 in England & Wales on Ancestry.
From 1858 divorce no longer required a private Act of Parliament — divorces were handled by a Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes.
You will find the following details:

  • name
  • gender
  • spouse
  • spouse’s gender
  • type of record
  • petition year
  • date and place of marriage
  • names and birth details of children
  • copy of marriage certificate.

What I did not find in a case I looked at is whether the divorce was granted.

LAC Co-Lab update

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

Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 is 29% complete (18% last month)
Legendary Train Robber and Prison Escapee Bill Miner is 98% complete (97% last month).
Personal Diary of the Baroness Macdonald - Lady Macdonald is 94% complete.

War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division is 94% complete (94% last month).
The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters is 85% complete.
New France and First Nations Relations is 28% complete (was 33% last month and 39% the previous!).
Rosemary Gilliat (Eaton)’s Arctic diary and photographs is 39% complete.
Japanese-Canadians: Second World War is 61% complete.
Letters from Wilfrid Laurier to Zoé Lafontaine/Laurier is 98% complete (was 100% last month).

The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918–1919.
Correspondence between Sir Robert Borden and Sir Sam Hughes.

One of the indicators for the LAC Three-year plan 2019-2022, released earlier this month, is the number of records enhanced by user contributions in the Co-Lab crowdsourcing tool. The indicator is to be released quarterly as is the indicator number of images digitized via DigiLab.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Eric Moore RIP

Long-time BIFHSGO and Ottawa Branch OGS member Eric Moore passed on Saturday 3 August at age 90.

Until recently a regular attendee at BIFHSGO meetings he had been active in the community having served as President of the Friends of the (Central Experimental) Farm (1997-2004) and on the Board of the Council of Heritage Organizations of Ottawa.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday 7 September at 11am at St. Basil's RC Church on Maitland and the Queensway.

Condolences to his wife Louise and family.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Q/A on Heritage Minutes

Using City Directories in Your Genealogical Research
A blog post by Alan Campbell, Ambassador, Ontario Ancestors [The Ontario Genealogical Society]

About Find A Grave
The Wild West for chronicling the dead?

Historical Directories of England & Wales
The University of Leicester Historical Directories collection provides access to scanned images and full-text of 689 trade and local directories for England and Wales from the 1760s to the 1910s.
The same content is now available in Ancestry UK, City and County Directories, 1766 - 1946 and the University recommends this means of access to genealogists with an Ancestry subscription or access via their local library.

Why Use a Chromosome Browser
Diahan Southard emphasizes that 98% of the time you do not need a chromosome browser to do successful genetic genealogy work and that triangulating segments on more distant matches, like third and fourth cousins, can be problematic.

400 years of slavery
In August of 1619, a ship appeared near Point Comfort, a port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists.

Why we can’t just blame rising inequality for the growth of populism around the world
Check out Ireland, and Canada.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Library and Archives Canada, by Guy Berthiaume

Published in Alexandria: The Journal of National and International Library and Information Issues, on the eve of his retirement Guy Berthiaume lays out his vision for the next ten years at LAC.

In conclusion, he writes:

The widening of national libraries’ base of clients and the willingness of those clients to act as partners are creating a posture that corresponds exactly to what Canadian theorist Marshall McLuhan predicted more than 50 years ago when he wrote: ‘There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew’. I believe these are the phenomena that are going to inform the foreseeable future of Library and Archives Canada.
As a former weather forecaster, I'm cautious about predictions. Looking back 10 years how well would one, even someone with the expertizes and experience of Guy Berthiaume, have done at predicting today's situation? What will be the impacts of artificial intelligence, automated transcription of handwritten documents, developments in concerns about privacy and undoubtedly many unknown unknowns?

British Columbia Sessional Papers collection online

One hundred and six years of British Columbia’s governmental papers are now available to anyone with a wifi connection and a device.
The British Columbia Sessional Papers, an annual collection of selected papers tabled in the Legislative Council of British Columbia and the Legislative Assembly is now publicly accessible through UBC Library’s Open Collections.
The greatest likelihood of finding a resident is in the voter's lists, search at for "entitled to vote" and the district.
This is an initiative under the British Columbia History Digitization Program.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Findmypast adds Queen's Birthday Honours, Colonial America, Peterloo records

Britain, Knights Of The Realm & Commonwealth Index 
Records dating back to pre-15000 are now updated with over 14,000 additional records reflecting additions from the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Maryland, Index To Colonial Probate Records, 1634-1777
Transcripts and original record images of more than 107,000 probate records prior to the first Maryland State Constitution.
Maryland, Wills and Probate Records 
Based on the General Index of Wills of St. Mary’s County, Maryland, 1633 to 1900, compiled by Margaret Roberts Hodges from original indices, the collection of records were published by the Carter Braxton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Manchester, Peterloo Witnesses and Casualties, 1819 
Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre on 16 August 1819 at St Peter’s Field, Manchester, this new collection containing more than 1000 names. The records showing whether a person was injured and how; such as, “right elbow and head cut severely” also includes witness statements like, “saw constables hitting [John] Lees with truncheons and a broken flagpole. The records were created from the database by Peter Castree.

Ancestry corporate news

Under the headline " Owners Aim to Extract $900 Million Payout With Loan" Bloomberg report that "An investor group led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and private equity firm Silver Lake Management LLC is looking to pull out more than $900 million from the company through a special dividend mostly funded by new borrowings. They are also seeking approval for another one-time distribution before year-end."

Read the full story at

Tip on the hat to Susan Courage for the link.

WDYTYA Magazine September 2019

There are three feature articles in the September WDYTYA magazine, likely available free online in Canada through your public library Press Reader subscription.

WW2 Army Ancestors: a seven-page guide to records revealing the heroes in your family tree. It covers service records, war diaries, medals, the Home Guard and Prisoners of War. My experience in obtaining service records
Canadian Catch: Why English fishermen crossed the Atlantic and made their fortune catching cod in Newfoundland. History but precious little in the way of genealogical resources.
The Magic Of Music: How music hall smashed the class barrier to offer truly mass-market entertainment.
And much more.

Genome Mate Pro Workshop

Jason Porteous, Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, explain how to use Genome Mate Pro and other advanced tools such as Borland Genetics which allow you to partially/fully phase your DNA test results.  More information.
At Nepean Centrepointe Library, 2 pm on Saturday 17 August.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Ancestry adds North Lanarkshire Electoral Registers

This new collection is of registers listing names and residences of people in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, who were eligible to vote in elections between 1847 and 1969. The 714,769 entries are for:

Airdrie: Annotated List of Parliamentary Electors: 1856-1857; List of Females Entitled to Vote, Fourth Ward: 1886-1887; List of Parliamentary Electors: 1851; List of Voters: 1847; Parliamentary Register, Wards I-V: 1900-1901; Register of Voters: 1905-1906, 1910-1911; Voters´ Roll, First Ward: 1880-1881.
Coatbridge: Register of Electors: 1919-1920, 1920-1921, 1925,1925-1926,1929-1930, 1930-1931, 1931-1932, 1935-1936, 1945-1946.
Coatbridge and Airdrie: Register of Electors: 1955-1956, 1960-1961, 1964-1965.
Motherwell: Register of Electors: 1935-1936.
Motherwell and Wishaw: Register of Electors: 1939-1940, 1945-1946, 1950-1951, 1968-1969.

Just a few more hours, that's all the time you've got

The early bird BIFHSGO conference registration discount ends at 11:59 pm on Friday, 16 August.

Nuff said?

Not quite.

As Kathy Wallace wrote in an email to BIFHSGO members:

"We have an exciting Marketplace this year with some new vendors selling unique items, especially for genealogists. DNA kits will be on sale from Ancestry, Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage.

Visit our Research Room where you can access – FOR FREE – subscription websites such as Ancestry, British Newspaper Archives, Findmypast, Genealogy Québec: Drouin Institute, Genes Reunited, MyHeritage and TheGenealogist."

Epsom Cemetery Burials 1871 to 1950, and Canadian connection

Volunteers of the Epsom & Ewell Local and Family History Centre have transcribed the burial register of the Ashley Road Cemetery, Epsom, Surrey, close to Epsom Racecourse and the Surrey Hills AONB.

Divided into 26 alphabetical files by surname with no entries for X and most listed under U being Unknown - newborn infants, the transcription contents are Last Name, First Name(s), Description, Age at Death, Place of Death, Date of Burial, Grave No., and Register No. / Comment.
Start at and click on the surname initial of interest.

The cemetery contains 232 Commonwealth War Graves Commission graves or memorials, including for 62 men who served with Canadian forces during the First World War.

Having found this cemetery transcription, via a Facebook post by Paul Featherstone of the Guild of One-Name Studies, I went poking around the Epsom and Ewell History Explorer website. there's a collection of History Centre Newsletters with interesting items, many related to queries received. There's also a search function which gave 241 hits for "Canada" and 21 for "Ottawa." Beware — Rabbit Hole Ahead.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Gravestone Photographic Resource is an individual initiative, mainly English resource, with over 1,120,000 names from English grave monuments and 1,573,000 worldwide. To date, in 2019 70,000 names have been added.

Coverage includes three counties with more than 100,000 names each — Yorkshire, Suffolk, and Norfolk.

St James' Church burial ground, Coundon, Durham, was added on 13 August 2019 with 708 graves and 1,600 person records.

Derek C Hopkins RIP

Brossard, Québec resident and friend Derek Hopkins passed on Tuesday night at the Charles Lemoyne hospital while waiting for surgery for a heart condition.

An engineer by background, a retired employee of Pratt & Whitney, his technology skills were expressed in his genealogical interest in databases and DNA. His greatest contribution to family history was likely as leader of the SCAN2 syndicate that transcribed a major portion of entries in FreeBMD. Derek was the co-author of a number of indexes to church and cemetery records for Québec, and author of an index to Abney Park Cemetery in Hackney, London, England.

Derek was a board member of the Québec Anglophone Heritage Network, a past Vice-President of the Québec Family History Society (QFHS), a member of the Society of Genealogists (SOG) of London, England, and the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO).

Born in England on 12 November 1934, he was educated at Loughborough College of Technology (University).

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

RootsTech London Keynote Speakers

Now I can post it; great news for those of us going to RootsTech London.

Dan Snow (@thehistoryguy) will be the keynote speaker for RootsTech London on Thursday, 24 October. 

Dan Snow's genealogy: he is the youngest son of Peter Snow, BBC television journalist, and Canadian Ann MacMillan, managing editor emeritus of CBC's London Bureau; thus he holds dual British-Canadian citizenship. Through his mother, he is the nephew of Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan and also a great-great-grandson of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

He is a frequent presenter of history TV shows in the UK. Check YouTube for some of his presentations.

For Friday's Keynote well known British genealogist Nick Barrett, Director of Senate House Library at the University of London, best known in the UK as a genealogical consultant for series 1 to 4 of the BBC show Who Do You Think You Are? as well as his books.  He is teamed up with Stephen Rockwood CEO of FamilySearch International.

As previously announced, on Saturday the Keynote will be given by Donny Osmond.

Maybe one of them will invite a woman on stage as a guest. It would be a pity if with 70% of genealogists being women none of the theme sessions included a woman.

RootsTech London adds speakers

Fourteen additional names have appeared on the list of speakers for RootsTech London. Most, not all, are associated with Ancestry. Two are from Canada.
Lesley Anderson (C)
Brad Argent
Pooran Bridgelal (C)
Joe Buggy
Peter Drinkwater
Eamon Healy
Celia Heritage
Michala Hulme
Ursula Krause
Simon Pearce
Gregg Richardson
Janette Silverman
Ruth Tennen
Darris Williams

The complete gallery of speakers, the good, the bad and the ugly, is at

Construction begins on Library and Archives Canada’s new preservation facility

Left to Right: Albert Iwasaki, Representative of Plenary Properties Gatineau;
 Scott Hamilton, Director General Real Property, Library and Archives Canada;
Steven MacKinnon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and Member of Parliament for Gatineau;
Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada;
Anick Ouellette, Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer, Library and Archives Canada

For the record, on Monday 12 August, Library and Archives Canada began construction on its new 12,900-square metre preservation facility in Gatineau.

Read the press release.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Tracing ancestors who lived or worked in China

Desk Hong Lists in safe at
Shanghai Library,
Zikawei Rare Books Library
 (Xujiahui), April 2015
An online research tool launched by the University of Bristol is helping researchers track down information about men and women of many different nationalities, professions and ages, who lived and worked in China between the 1850s and 1940s.

The free database contains 60,000+ records drawn from:
British Supreme Court for China, Intestate memo books register
British Supreme Court for China, Probate records, Index
Cemeteries database
China Navigation Company Staff
Chinese Maritime Customs Service
Civilian internees of the Japanese
Customs Service Outdoor Staff Register, Shanghai 1870s-1880s
Shanghai International Settlement, Death Registers, 1873-1877
Shanghai Municipal Policemen
Shanghai’s refugees, 1944

via the Cambridge Family History Society July Newsletter.

Ancestry updates Find a Grave content

Last Thursday, 8 August 2019 Ancestry updated their Find a Grave holdings:

UK and Ireland6,343,674
Australia and New Zealand5,151,146

You can also search directly at Find a Grave which claims to cover over 180 million memorials, many more than Ancestry's Find a Grave collection, in 494,048 cemeteries and 241 different countries.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Trends in sex ratios at birth

The chart for England and Wales since the start of civil registration shows marked multi-year trends in sex ratio at birth (SRB) expressed as live male births per 1,000 female births. Ignoring the short-term year-to-year variation, from a 5% male excess at the start of the period there's a decline to 3.5% excess, an increase to 6%, then a drop to steadying off in recent years at about where it started.
According to the article Gender Ratio, there is no difference in the number of males and females conceived. "For births to be consistently male-biased, there must be gender differences in the probability of miscarriage through pregnancy."

"..there is a higher probability that an embryo with chromosomal abnormalities is male – in the first week of pregnancy, excess male mortality, therefore, means pregnancy is female-biased;
in the next 10-15 weeks of pregnancy female mortality is higher, which increases the ratio in favour of males;
male and female mortality is approximately equal around week 20;
between weeks 28-35 of pregnancy, there is higher male mortality.

Overall, a male-biased sex ratio at birth is the result."

A 2003 article Secular trends in sex ratios at birth in North America and Europe over the second half of the 20th century concluded that "we still cannot put forward any reasonable explanation for the observed trends, which may well be attributable to several factors and not just one."

One data point that stands out is for 1919 where the SRB was 1060, or 6% male excess. It has been speculated that it might be related to the end of the Great War. However, the peak in births was in 1920. Perhaps it's related to the 1918 influenza pandemic which resulted in more challenging conditions for the development of the female fetus.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Early Canadiana Online integrated with Canadiana Online
The Canadian Research Knowledge Network reminds that as of 12 August the Early Canadiana Online (ECO) portal will be integrated with Canadiana Online to create a single access portal for historical publications available through Canadiana.

The past stinks: a brief history of smells and social spaces

Writing for genealogy magazines
This week Chris Paton recycled a popular article originally published in 2011

Millions of Books Are Secretly in the Public Domain. You Can Download Them Free
One secret of the publishing industry is that most American books published before 1964 never extended their US copyright, meaning they’re in the US public domain today.

Green growth is trusted to fix climate change – here’s the problem with that

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) now on sale

Chris Paton blogs that the 2nd edition of his popular book is now available  —Pen & Sword wouldn't be publishing the 2nd edition if it weren't popular.

I expect to have the chance to review it in due course. In the meantime here's the table of contents.

Chapter 1 – The Genealogical Landscape
 Recording information
 Gateway sites
 Irish Archives
 British archives
 Commercial vendors
 Commercial research services
 Networking and Communication

Chapter 2 – The Vital Records 
 Civil registration
 Other civil records sources
 Adoption and children
 Records in Britain
 Overseas British records
 Surname distributions
 Parish registers
 Wills and probate
 Biographical resources
 Books and other periodicals
 DNA testing

Chapter 3 – Where They Lived 
 Census records
 1901 and 1911 censuses
 1821-1891 census remnants
 British censuses
 1939 National Identity Register (UK)
 Other censuses
 Census substitutes
 Land records
 Other land listings
 Maps, gazetteers and place names

Chapter 4 – Occupations 
 The Military
 Merchant Navy
 Law and Order
 Other professions
 The Poor

Chapter 5 – The Decade of Centenaries
 Home Rule Crisis
 Women’s Suffrage
 The Dublin Lockout
 The First World War
 The Easter Rising
 Towards Independence
 The Treaty and Civil War
 Ireland's Revolutionaries

Chapter 6 – Ulster

Chapter 7 – Munster

Chapter 8 – Connacht

Chapter 9 – Leinster

Chapter 10 – Ireland's Diaspora
 United States
 New Zealand
 South America
 Ireland Reaching Out
 Irish Citizenship

Further Reading


British Newspaper Archive sale

The discounted price of  £56 UK, about $90 Canadian, for full search access to the more than 33 million digitized newspaper pages from all countries of the British Isles, even the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, is a deal.
The BNA has over 1,000 newspapers, from Penzance to John o'Groats.
You have until the end of day UK time on Sunday 18 August to decide.
Check it out at

Friday, 9 August 2019

New this week from Findmypast

Scotland, Published Family Histories
A collection of over 400 publications of Scottish family histories. Dating mostly from the 19th and early 20th centuries they include memoirs, genealogies, and clan histories. There are also publications that have been produced by emigrant families. Treat with caution as fabrication was known to occur in such documents in the period.

Scotland, Glasgow & Lanarkshire Death & Burial Index
Over 37,000 records have been added to the Glasgow & Lanarkshire Death & Burial Index. These additions cover Bent Cemetery in Hamilton and consist of transcripts of original documents that will reveal a combination of birth year, death and burial dates, age at death, burial place and mortcloth price.

Middlesex Monumental Inscriptions
Over 5,000 additional records are now available to search. The new records cover two cemeteries in Teddington as well as the Parish of St Mary's in Sunbury.

United States, Passenger and Crew Lists
Over 777,000 new records from the major port city of Baltimore in Maryland have recently been added to these passenger and crew lists.
This national collection brings together records of passengers and crew who arrived in America by ship or by plane from the East Coast to the West Coast and will reveal the place of birth, where they sailed from, where they arrived and when.

160 attendees at a summer Thursday event

Who says genealogists don't come to summertime events. I was amazed and delighted at the number of folks who came to the DNA and Online Resources for Discovering Your Lost Family History event on Thursday. Beyond the National Capital Region there were attendees from Montreal, Brockville and Kingston, and one from Windsor. 160 doesn't count all those staffing the tables in the foyer.

Daniel Horowitz from MyHeritage, who gave two professional and entertaining presentations, ran out of DNA kits to sell — always a good sign of success when sales exceed expectations.
Leanne Cooper on The Wonders of WikiTree: Collaborative Genealogy and DNA and Lesley Anderson on Secrets & Shenanigans: How AncestryDNA was used in an unexpected mystery showed that Ottawa speakers are just as capable of giving excellent presentations.

See more photos of the event by BIFHSGO photographer Dena Palamedes here.

Thanks again to all who helped make this an enjoyable event.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Ancestry updates Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probate, 1530-1858

There are now 102,570 records provided by Ancestry in association with Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council. Records are name indexed and linked to images of the original.

You may not need information on the court but difficulty with the spelling of names means it may not be written as you expect. It may be helpful to be able to narrow down by the court which covered the place. The collection is composed of records from 30 different courts.

Even if you know the ecclesiastical jurisdiction where the deceased died, if you know the parish look it up in England Jurisdictions 1851, it's possible probate may have been handled by a superior court. Ancestry suggests these may have been:

The Consistory Court of Sarum. This was the largest court, representing the Bishop's own probate jurisdiction in his diocese. This court was able to "inhibit" the operation of certain other probate courts (Berkshire, Sarum, Wilts Archdeaconries, and the sub-dean of Sarum), in effect dealing with cases which would have come before them for 6 months in every 3 years. The Court also had jurisdiction over the Bishopric peculiars of Berwick St James; Devizes St John and St Mary; West Lavington; Marlborough St Mary and St Peter; Preshute; Potterne; Stert and Trowbridge with Staverton.
The Archdeaconry Court of Sarum. The Archdeacon of Sarum had jurisdiction over the southern part of Wiltshire, excluding peculiars. This court was "inhibited" for 6 months in every 3 years by the Consistory Court.
The Archdeaconry Court of Wiltshire. The Archdeacon of Wiltshire had jurisdiction over the northern part of Wiltshire, excluding peculiars. This court was "inhibited" for 6 months in every 3 years by the Consistory Court.
The court of the sub-dean of Sarum. The sub-dean's jurisdiction covered the five parishes in and near Salisbury, namely, St Thomas, St Edmund, St Martin, Stratford-sub-castle and Milford (the inhabitants of the latter, having no church of their own, used St Martin's). The court was "inhibited" by the Bishop for 6 months in every 3 years. There are almost no surviving records for the years 1589-1610.
The Peculiar Court of the Dean of Sarum.

Deaths registered in England and Wales: male/female life expectancy gap narrowing

This latest release from the Office of National Statistics reports that 541,589 deaths were registered in England and Wales in 2018, an increase of 1.6% compared with 2017 (533,253); this is the highest annual number of deaths since 1999.

The gap between male and female life expectancy at age 65 has narrowed. In England, the life expectancy of 65-year-old women in 1991 to 1993 was 3.7 years higher than that of men, but by 2015 to 2017 (latest available), the difference had fallen to 2.3 years. A similar decrease was observed in Wales, where the difference between the life expectancy of 65-year-old men and women fell from 3.8 years in 1991 to 1993 to 2.4 years in 2016 to 2017.

The gap is narrowing but equality is still years away!

UPDATE: See Why do women live longer than men?

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Two good things from MyHeritage

This morning I received the best match I've ever had at MyHeritage, 97 cM shared in 4 segments, the largest being 42 cM. It's also the best match out of all my tests, except for known family members. I think I know who the common ancestor is. Will I get any response to my message?

The other good thing is knowing that MyHeritage's Daniel Horowitz has arrived in Ottawa in preparation for the DNA and Online Resources for Discovering Your Lost Family History event at Ben Franklin Place on Thursday.

New UK Library search from Jisc

Sometimes you'd like to refer to a book, one your local library can't help you with.

My first stop in this situation, after trying Library and Archives Canada's Aurora or Voilà, and local university libraries, is WorldCat.

Searching in the UK my first stop would be the British Library catalogue.

Now there's a new UK catalogue resource from Jisc (formerly the Joint Information Systems Committee), the library hub discover service. It's open to all; designed to make UK academic library collections visible through web searches, which means they’re available to a wider audience.  It gives access to details of materials held in many UK national, academic and specialist libraries, currently containing 40,280,184 records created from 95,197,654 records contributed by 115 institutions.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

News about the Statistical Accounts of Scotland

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland Online website is being hosted by the University of Edinburgh Library for a period of two years starting 1 August 2019. Scans, transcripts, map-based searching and our Related Resources will be available free of charge to all users. As a result of these changes, you no longer need a subscription or a user account to use the website.

The Old Statistical Account (1791-99) and the New Statistical Account (1834-45) are uniquely rich parish reports, written by Church of Scotland ministers, detailing social conditions in Scotland.

Over the next year, the Statistical Accounts Board will be working with the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, Historic Environment Scotland and the National Library of Scotland on their plans to integrate the Statistical Accounts of Scotland into their national collections.

Based on information from the Statistical Accounts of Scotland via a post on British Genes. is a major resource

Digitized newspaper site, owned by, has been adding significant Canadian content, the latest being 23 years of the Whitehorse Daily Star, from 1995 to 2017. While still weighted to the US, Canadian coverage of 76 titles is now comparable with that for California which has a larger population.
Within Canada, coverage favours the Western provinces.
There are 44 papers from British Columbia, three of which extend for more than a century: The Nanaimo Daily News, Chilliwack Progress and Vancouver Sun.
The 12 Alberta newspapers include 132 years of the Calgary Herald and 111 years for the Red Deer Advocate.
While there are only 6 Saskatchewan papers they include 137 years of the Regina Leader-Post and 118 for the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.
Moving east, Manitoba is represented by 7 papers including 60 years of the Winnipeg Tribune starting in 1890 and 58 years of the Manitoba Free Press starting in 1874.
Ontario lists 5 titles. Ottawa is covered by the Daily Citizen for 1846 to 1897 and the Citizen for 1898 to 2019 — both together constitute the longest run, 174 years. The Ottawa Journal is available for 1885 to 1980. The Windsor Star has coverage from 1893 to 2019 and the National Post/Financial Post for 1907 to 2019.
Quebec has a single title, 163 years of the Montreal Gazette 1857 to 2019. has no coverage in the Atlantic provinces.

Much of the new content is from Postmedia. Access requires a premium subscription to It may be that revenue from the digitized archive is helping in a small way to stem the company net loss which decreased to $7.7 million in the quarter ended 31 May, 2019 from $15.5 million in the same period in the prior year. Postmedia holdings not yet available include the Edmonton Journal, London Free Press and numerous smaller publications the archives of which will be of considerable interest for family history for the years when Canada's population was more rural and local newspapers had extensive coverage of social happenings.

Where could, or any other organization look for additional content? Opportunities would include the Irving-owned Brunswick Group newspapers including the Saint JohnTelegraph-Journal, Moncton Times & Transcript and Fredericton Daily Gleaner. The SaltWire Network owns the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, Charlottetown Guardian and St John's Telegram among many other Atlantic Canada newspapers.

In Quebec it appears the Thompson organization owns the archive of the Montreal Star, for much of its 110 years the city's leading English language paper.

August in Algarve

Today, the seventh anniversary of the day my mother left us, I take a break to publish one of her many poems.


Relentless sun beat down to scorch the earth,
To tan its worshippers upon the sand,
To sear the clinging vegetation, and
bleach rocks exposed by winter’s pounding surf.

Ocre and umber cliffs and green stone-pine
Enthral the eye against the brilliant hue
Of shimmering summer sky, which never knew
A cloud’s intrusion. Little children play
Where rippling wavelets sink into the sand
As mighty ocean marries with the land.

Whilst inland, fruit hangs heavy on the vine
Imbibing sun for sweetening the wine,
And tapping poles of peasant gatherers cull
the ripened almond from the splitting hull.

Then comes a strong ‘Levanta’ wind to steal
All the calmness from this Algarve scene;
Paradise stays thus where it has ever been....

(c) E. Dorothy Reid

Monday, 5 August 2019

Inspire the public art and landscape for the new OPL-LAC joint facility

There's an open invitation to participate in a public consultation for the design workshops on Public Art and Landscape, with an emphasis on sustainability, for the new Ottawa Public Library (OPL) and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) joint facility. Find out more here.

I certainly hope this is more successful than a consultation for public art at the City Archives, the result of which was recently described as a lunch box in the sky.

TheGenealogist expands headstone collection

Nearly 60,000 new individuals from another 61 churchyards and cemeteries have been added, with an emphasis on Wales.

This release covers the following burial grounds:
Anglesey, St Tysilio; Atcham, St Eata; Badger, St Giles; Belbroughton, Holy Trinity; Betws-y-Coed;
Bishops Wood, St John; Blymhill, St Mary; Boningale, St Chad; Bristol, St Paul; Buckhorn Weston, St John; Bylchau, St Thomas; Capel Garmon; Cofton Hackett, St Michael & All Angels; Dolwyddelan, St Gwyddelan; East Orchard, St Thomas; East Stour, Christ Church; Edgerton Cemetery; Frankley, St Leonard; Gwytherin, St Winefride; Harlow, St Mary Little Parndon; Harlow, St Mary Magdalene; Heanton Punchardon, St Augs; Henllan, St Sadwrn; Ince, St James; Iwerne Courtney; Lickey Parish Church; Lickey Rose Hill; Llanedwen; Llanfair Talhaiarn; LLangernyw Capel Garnedd; Llangernyw, St Digain; Llanrwst Seion Methodist Chapel; Llanrwst, St Mary; Llansannan Capel Coffa; Llansannan, St Sannan; Llanwrst, St Grwst; Long Crichel, St Mary; Marnhull Cemetery; Marnhull, Our Lady; Meltham, St James; Newborough, St Peter; Penistone, St John; Penmachno Capel; Penmachno, St Tudclud; Pensford, St Thomas a Becket; Pentrefoelas Church; Publow All Saints; Purse Caundle, St Peter; Rhydymwyn, St John; Santon Downham, St Mary; Shillingstone, Holy Rood; Tal-y-Bont Capel; Tisbury Cemetery; Todber, St Andrew; Trefnant Holy Trinity; Trefriw, St Mary; Tyn-y-Groes; West Orchard, St Luke; Wilton, St Mary & St Nicholas; Wroxeter, St Andrew; Ysbyty Ifan, St John

The total at TheGenealogist headstone collection is over 174,500 individuals from across England, Scotland and Wales as well as Jersey in the Channel Islands, Cyprus and India.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

FamilyTreeWebinars Top Ten for July: the Ottawa connection

Geoff Rasmussen writes in an email — The top ten list of most-watched webinar recordings for this month (July) is impressive, led for the 2nd month in a row by the founder of - Cyndi Ingle:

  1. Remedies for Copy & Paste Genealogy by Cyndi Ingle — Cyndi is a featured speaker at the 25th anniversary BIFHSGO conference, 27-29 September/
  2. Evaluating Shared DNA by Paul Woodbury
  3. A Month's Worth of Must-Have Tech Tips To Start Using Today by Gena Philibert-Ortega
  4. Should You Take the Hint? Automatic Record Hinting on the Giant Genealogy Websites by Sunny Morton
  5. How to Better Manage Your MyHeritage Family Site by Daniel Horowitz — Daniel is giving two presentations this Thursday at the DNA and Online Resources for Discovering Your Lost Family History special event.
  6. Census Hurdles: How to Jump Over or Go Around by Cari Taplin, CG
  7. An Introduction to DNA Painter by Jonny Perl
  8. 12 DIY Photo Projects to Share Family Stories by Denise May Levenick
  9. Discover the new Legacy Family Tree 9 by Geoff Rasmussen
  10. Using DNA for Adoption & Unknown Parentage Work by Mary Eberle, JD

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

FamilyTreeDNA Summer Sale
Summer savings on Family Finder, Y-DNA, and mtDNA. $20 to $150 off select tests

Findmypast adds over 644,000 new Cincinnati records to the Catholic Heritage Archive
No new British records this week, except newspapers.

Thomas Coram: “Unmistakable honesty and sterling goodness of heart”
Blog post from the Dorset History Centre.

GLAM Collections as Data
A video from the fabulous Tim Sherratt.

UK Soundmap
The first nationwide sound map, invited people to record the sounds of their environment, be it at home, work or play. Over 2,000 recordings were uploaded by some 350 contributors during the period July 2010 to July 2011.

Intelligent Pothole Detection
Research on automated detection of potholes and rough roads using smartphone accelerometers. I'd love to see this tested here. Could Waze make this automated reporting a part of their service?

Top ten UK’s hottest years all since 2002
An updated analysis of the annual UK temperature records from the British Met Office shows that since 1884 all of the UK’s ten warmest years have occurred since 2002; whereas none of the ten coldest years have occurred since 1963.

REMINDER:  Have you registered yet for the BIFHSGO annual conference, the 25th is something special. See information here.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Does volunteering make us happier?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 
This blog reports on a UK study which found that:
  • Volunteering is associated with higher levels of wellbeing, better general health and fewer mental health problems. This finding has stood up to repeated analysis using the full range of quantitative evidence available in the UK. 
  • Formal volunteering as part of a group improves wellbeing significantly more than informal, irregular volunteering. 

Births in England and Wales: 2018 and historical perspective

The following, in italics, is from a 1 August press release by the (UK) Office of National Statistics (ONS).

There were 657,076 live births in England and Wales in 2018, a decrease of 3.2% since 2017 and a 9.9% decrease since the most recent peak in 2012.

The total fertility rate (TFR is how many children the average woman would have if she experienced that year’s ‘age-specific’ fertility rates throughout her life) decreased from 1.76 to 1.70 children per woman in 2018; this is lower than all previous years except 1977 and 1999 to 2002.

For perspective, the graph incorporates historic TFR data from The Demography of Victorian England and Wales, by Robert Woods with the recent ONS data.
In Canada, the TFR in 2017 (the latest year available) was 1.50 children per woman.

The crude birth rate decreased from 11.6 to 11.1 live births per 1,000 total population in 2018; this is the lowest rate since records began in 1938.

Fertility rates decreased in all age groups except for women aged 40 years and over, where the rate remained at 16.1 births per 1,000 women of this age.

The proportion of live births to non-UK born mothers fell for the first time since 1990, from 28.4% to 28.2%.

The stillbirth rate reached a record low for the second year running in 2018, with 4.1 stillbirths per 1,000 total births.

For additional historical perspective read The motherhood revolution: how the great fertility decline affected the lives of women from History Extra.

REMINDER: Have you registered yet for the BIFHSGO annual conference? As the 25th it's something special. See information here.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Enjoying a sunny Sunday at Westboro Beach

The forecast looks promising, 27C and sunny, so I plan on heading to the Westboro Beach Cafe at noon on Sunday. If you feel so inclined you're welcome to join me.

More Netherlands records on Ancestry

The following index records were updated on 31 July on Ancestry. The source is the commercial site WieWasWie — linked so you can purchase images of the original.

Netherlands, Population Registers Index, 1720-1944 (in Dutch)11,324,119
Netherlands, Baptism Index, 1557-1902 (in Dutch)16,631,058
Netherlands, Marriage Index, 1575-1938 (in Dutch)3,410,859
Netherlands, Death Index, 1795-1969 (in Dutch)34,876,013
Netherlands, Birth Index, 1784-1917 (in Dutch)29,992,380
Netherlands, Newspaper Announcements Index, 1795-1945 (in Dutch)5,056,879
Netherlands, Dutch East India Company Crew Index, 1633-1795 (in Dutch)836,988
Netherlands, Burial Index, 1540-1899 (in Dutch)1,638,989

FreeBMD August Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 1 August 2019 to contain 271,040,162 unique records (270,691,539 at previous update).

Years with major additions at this update, greater than 5,000 records, are: for births 1964, 1978, 1982, 1984-86; 1988; for marriages 1965, 1969, 1980, 1984-86; for deaths 1984-86.

REMINDER: Have you registered yet for the BIFHSGO annual conference? As the 25th it's something special. See information here.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

FamilySearch Users Can Now Correct Name Indexing Errors

It's frustrating when you can't find a record you know should exist. You eventually find it but the name was indexed incorrectly. You'd like to help people find that record under the correct name in the future. Now FamilySearch has made that possible if the index refers to an image.

Find out how here.

Internet Genealogy: August/September 2019

Internet Genealogy" focuses on keeping today's family historian up-to-date with the vast and ever-growing collection of genealogy-related resources, software, tools, products, technologies and more."

Five Go-To Sites You Should Consider
George G. Morgan shares some of his favourite online resources leading off with Cyndi's List. Have I mentioned that Cyndi Ingle will be at the BIFHSGO conference this year?

In Search of Non-Conformist Family Records 
Robbie Gorr suggests ways to determine if your ancestors were non-conformists and where to find the records based on his ancestry from Surrey and Hampshire.

When Life Was a Picnic 
Sue Lisk looks into the past to see what picnics were like for our ancestors. A timely item for summer ... Sue doesn't forget to mention the ants and mosquitoes which were the first things that came to my mind.

Unusual Sources 
Ed Storey offers some tips and strategies for switching it up when the usual sources fail you

“Signed, Sealed, and Delivered” 
From wax to rubber stamps, David A. Norris says there may be quite a collection of seals in your family history papers. Much I hadn't appreciated!

Family History eBooks Made Easier! 
Lisa A. Alzo shares a blueprint for publishing a family history eBook. Researching and writing get you part way, the fun part. To see the glorious final product you need to tackle formatting and publishing challenges. The article includes a page giving tools and conversion platforms.

Some of my Favorite Places
Diane L. Richard looks at some key online resources to supplement your African American research

The Joys of Clutter
Sue Lisk polls the experts for tips on organizing your genealogical treasures — as you can see, a topic I need help with. The advice from various sources creates another kind of clutter — organizational. Sue falls back on "choose a system that works for you." Perhaps clutter works for you, which is why it's such a joy!

Lineal Links 
Joe Grandinetti examines a project that will focus on the historical slave trade and the lives of people who were part of it.

Washington State Archives – Digital Archives 
Tony Bandy revisits one of the first archives dedicated to the preservation of electronic records and a great family history resource.

Diane L. Richard looks at websites and related news that are sure to be of interest

Back Page
Dave Obee ponders the ethics of DNA testing for genealogy. Questions, questions and more questions! What answers will Blaine Bettinger have in his BIFHSGO conference presentation "DNA and the Aftermath of Uncovered Family Secrets"?

Heads Up: hints for the DNA and Online Resources for Discovering Your Lost Family History event on 8 August

It's just a week away from the DNA and Online Resources for Discovering Your Lost Family History event at Ben Franklin Place, Nepean Centrepointe – Thursday 8 Aug 9:30am - 4:00pm. Space remains but is limited. Register via Eventbrite.

Here are some helpful hints.

The Library has reserved 80 spaces for free parking to the southeast of Ben Franklin Place. An attendant will be there to direct you. The event is just a short walk from the Transitway. If the parking is full you may find space north of Ben Franklin Place around the Mary Pitt Centre at 100 Constellation Drive.

While the event is free there is no free lunch! There's a small cafe in the building with a limited selection. The Royal Oak is nearby to the south of Ben Franklin Place across the parking lot — service can sometimes be slow. There's a cafeteria with a selection of outlets (including a Tim Horton's) at 100 Constellation to the north of Ben Franklin Place. Or bring a sandwich and enjoy it inside or outside the building. Reduce plastic waste by bringing a water bottle to fill at one of the refill stations.

There will be a small number of exhibitors, including DNA test kits for sale at very good prices. To pre-order DNA kits from MyHeritage at $65 fill in the form at AncestryDNA will have test kits at a competitive price.
You may also want to check out the Friends of the OPL Association bookstore and the genealogy collection on the second floor of the Centrepointe Library.

Finally, the event is free to attend, just like all Ottawa Public Library genealogy events and the monthly meetings of the Ottawa Branch OGS and the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa. Optionally you may wish to show appreciation by bringing a book (no more than two) surplus to your family history or other collections as a donation, either to the OGS/BIFHSGO library or to the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association. Please, only hardcover or paperbacks, fiction or non-fiction, in good condition. There are detailed criteria at