30 November 2019

AncestryDNA Bargains

I mentioned it before, but Ancestry.ca is going all out to get our business this weekend.
AncestryDNA® is offered at $69Cdn which includes taxes but excludes shipping until 2 Dec 2019 at 11:59 p.m. E.T.  It's a great deal.

If you're going to the next BIFHSGO monthly meeting you'll be able to purchase an AncestryDNA test pick the kit up immediately so instant access and no shipping. The price will likely be $79Cdn.

Society of Genealogists Newsletter

Did you know that the SOG monthly newsletter, including back issues to December 2016, is available at http://www.sog.org.uk/about/newsletter/ ?

The December 2019 issue, just released includes news of transcription of petitions from  Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire and Worcestershire from the late sixteenth to the late eighteenth centuries. Search online at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/search/series/petitions.

It also reports on progress with the Royal Navy First World War Lives at Sea database from the Royal Museums Greenwich. Derived mainly from transcriptions of service records it has information on  Royal Navy officers and ratings who served during the First World War. Search online at https://royalnavyrecordsww1.rmg.co.uk.

British Newspaper Archive Additions for November

The British Newspaper Archive just passed another milestone with over 35 million pages digitized. It now has a total of 35,052,301 pages online (34,474,211 last month). 47 papers (31 last month) had pages added in the past month. There were 10 (12) new titles. Dates range from 1810 to 2003.

The 19 newspapers with more than 10,000 pages added during the month are:

Bristol Times and Mirror1871-1896, 1898-1899, 1908-1910
Sporting Gazette1862-1900
North British Daily Mail1849-1851, 1855-1856, 1862, 1864, 1866, 1868-1869, 1880-1881, 1884, 1886-1887, 1890, 1894
Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush Gazette1955-1963, 1965-1966, 1975-1981, 1987, 1990, 1997
Wells Journal1868, 1870-1871, 1873-1876, 1878-1881, 1883, 1885-1888, 1899, 1901-1904, 1951-1980
Wishaw Press1939-1955, 1973-1979, 1981-1984
Elgin Courant, and Morayshire Advertiser1863-1905
Sandwell Evening Mail1992-1993
Port-Glasgow Express1894-1959
Fifeshire Journal1833-1893
Kilmarnock Herald and North Ayrshire Gazette1906-1911, 1913, 1915-1916, 1918, 1920-1921, 1924-1926, 1928-1952
Musselburgh News1889-1941
Aberdeen Evening Express1999
Staffordshire Sentinel1990
Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser1867-1869, 1873-1875, 1877-1889, 1891-1906
Coatbridge Leader1905-1957
Northern Chronicle and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland1881-1905, 1907-1912
Aberdeen Press and Journal1999
Western Mail1902-1906
Banffshire Reporter1869-1920

29 November 2019

Dundee and Angus history from Findmypast

Dundee-based DC Thomson is never shy to promote its home town.  This week's release from subsidiary Findmypast is testimony. Here's the news release.

Findmypast is proud to announce a new online collection spanning nearly five centuries of Dundee and Angus history. Published in association with Leisure and Culture Dundee, University of St Andrews Library and DC Thomson, this vast archive of historical documents and original photographs provides researchers worldwide with the opportunity to discover their connections to the City of Discovery in unprecedented detail, for the first time online.

Findmypast has scanned in full colour from paper originals where possible, and created a full name index. This new release brings together millions of complementary records from multiple institutions, which, when placed alongside existing Findmypast Scottish collections, forms one of the most comprehensive collections of genealogical records from any area of the UK online.

These records give names, dates, residences, occupations and document life events of the people of Dundee and Angus, also including photographic records of streets and people, a goldmine for social and family historians alike. They contain some of the oldest photographs in existence, taken in the 1840s and showing parts of the city long since lost to redevelopment.

A particular highlight is a set of 50 images of ‘Dundee Old & New’ commissioned by the Dundee Police after the Improvement Act of 1871. This photographic album illustrates the changing landscape of a Victorian burgh in the firm grip of the Industrial Revolution through a unique ‘then and now’ perspective even at that time. When used alongside tenancy and electoral records of the people who lived in these streets released at the same time and going back to as early as 1823, a detailed picture of the people of Dundee can be seen, rich and fertile ground for tracing ancestors who stood on those cobblestones.

These exciting new records include:

● Fully indexed images of more than 23,600 Obituaries from local Dundee newspapers ranging from 1869-2018, added to a national Scottish collection of over 600,000

● Almost 4 million Dundee & Forfarshire (Angus) Electoral Registers 1857-1939

● Hundreds of thousands of indexed records of baptism, marriage & burial from across Dundee & Angus 1562-1855

● Over 5,000 comprehensively indexed original photographs of Dundee & Angus dating 1844-2010

By improving access to these rich documents and making them searchable for the first time, Findmypast provides family historians from around the world with even more opportunities to discover their Dundee & Angus ancestors. Researchers can now uncover details of their families past and add new generations to their family tree with greater ease than ever before.

With today’s release building on existing records from The National Archives, Scottish Catholic Archives, British Library, Tay Valley Family History Society, and more from the area, together with the publication of almost 10 million records from Scotland since January, (many exclusive and nowhere else online), Findmypast is cementing their reputation as the home of British & Irish family history, creating one of the most useful genealogical resources online for Scottish research.

Canadian Archivists Conference Co-Chairs Statement 2018-2019

This statement by Fred Farrell, Provincial Archivist of New-Brunswick & Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada is a summary of Canadian archival activity for 2018-2019.

Looking for the word genea* there is content in the section Access, Outreach & Partnerships

"Genealogy remains a high traffic use of archives. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) marked National Genealogy Week with events at its regional centres and drew almost 300 people to participate in the activities. Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick continue to support such research through making Vital Statistic records available, a sought-after source by genealogists. Nunavut is developing a unique genealogy project based on Inuit families’ history instead of immigration records."
For the word digitiz* there is content for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nunavut as well as LAC.

Unless the statement is overlooking something significant the limited scope of activities is a disappointment. Do achivies ever ask their genealogy clients what projects they would like undertaken?

Below is the total text of the statement.

The year of National, Provincial, and Territorial Archives saw a wide range of activities with many points in common. Collaboration, diffusion, information management, space, legislation, events and anniversaries were just some of the topics that were the touchstones of the past year. Of course, the acquisition and processing of collections were constants throughout the country with a rich and varied array of records brought in to enrich our country’s history. Let us explore some of Canada’s Archival Organizations’ key accomplishments during 2018-2019.

Indigenous People Archives
No single topic was as predominant as archives’ efforts to work with Indigenous communities. Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) initiative to help digitize and preserve culture and language recordings Listen: Hear Our Voices, Yukon’s events focusing on the identification of First Nation individuals in photographs, Manitoba’s scholarship to encourage archival study by Indigenous students, or Northwest Territories (NWT)’s donation agreement with the Gwich’in Tribal Council, are examples of efforts to meet the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions’ recommendations. Of course, such engagement activities do not end there. Alberta is working on making Indigenous content more accessible, British Columbia (BC) is engaged in repatriation consultations, Manitoba is also working at making records more accessible through Hudson Bay Company records and its Name and Knowledge Initiative, while New Brunswick has an Indigenous language exhibit in the planning stages. Efforts to work with Indigenous Peoples continue in all regions of Canada, and we hope they become a recurring practice for all Canadian archival organizations.

Information/Records Management
Information and Records Management is inextricably linked to archival work, whether an Archives is responsible for its management or not. Efforts to improve the management of records and information were highlighted by several jurisdictions. Alberta is aggressively examining its retention schedules with a view to eliminate the option of selective retention and Manitoba has launched a Records and Information Management Framework and associated materials to assist departments in the management of records. LAC is reinvigorating its work with federal departments to strengthen the flow of records. British Columbia, in consultation with a variety of stakeholders, undertook a review of the format and content of government classification and retention schedules, as well as the processes relating to their development and implementation, to identify opportunities for improvement. In addition, provisions of the 2017 Information Management Act came into force by which government bodies are required to have in place an appropriate system for creating and maintaining government information. NWT is also in the process of sourcing a system to manage Government records. Ontario implemented changes to the Archives and Records Act that reinforce the importance of Government records keeping and grant new powers to the Provincial Archivist to proactively develop schedules.

Despite the emergence of the digital society, there are still plenty of analogue records and as a result, space is always an issue for archives. Currently, Yukon and Saskatchewan are consolidating and refining their storage facilities, while NWT and BC are exploring options for purpose-built facilities. Nova Scotia is acquiring compact shelving and Newfoundland and Labrador is reorganizing some of its current space. Prince Edward Island is currently in the midst of a relocation project in conjunction with the refurbishment of its former building. Nunavut is using a newly built storage facility for its substantial volume of departmental and agency records, while selected private archives are maintained in Gatineau with the Canadian Museum of Nature. In the nation’s capital, LAC sets forth with a new co-location with the City of Ottawa Library for its public services, while embarking on the Gatineau II project for additional storage space. Space of course has to do with acquisitions and with those, there is no shortage. Several provinces saw traditional holders of archives, historical societies, art groups, and religious orders close their doors and seek locations for their records. Québec, Alberta, BC, and New Brunswick saw such developments in the past year and no doubt other jurisdictions will experience similar occurrences.

Strategic Planning and Governance
Planning and governance are critical for archives to pursue their mandates. Nova Scotia, BC, and Ontario are looking at or have seen legislative amendments to better function within their jurisdictions, while Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, and LAC are at various stages of their strategic plans.

Access Requests and Electronic Records
A fairly recent development is the need for archives to handle Freedom of Information Request (FOI) or similar types of access requests for semi-active records preserved in digital form. Archives are more and more taking in electronic records directly from departments because there are no “records centres” for semi-active electronic records. Servicing such records for FOI requests or just research on modern issues is very time consuming and requires expertise to parse the records. In a more litigious society and with various investigative commissions and class action lawsuits being established, archives are challenged with Ontario, Alberta, and New Brunswick currently attempting to respond to such requests. LAC is also faced by this challenge, but has been successful in marshaling extra resources to meet the demand. These semi-active electronic records are voluminous and often lacking in structure, making research and dissemination complex due to the presence of personal information, solicitor-client privilege, and various other legal constraints.

Access, Outreach & Partnerships
Of course, access is what archives are all about and finding new ways to make this happen for a wider audience is always relevant. Archives continue to make content available in different ways. Saskatchewan has completed the last of its five videos on the First World War. Nova Scotia with its online exhibit Suffrage in Nova Scotia: Making our Mark and the African Nova Scotian Land Title Clarification Project, BC with oral history repatriation, and Newfoundland and Labrador’s revamping of its website are a few such examples. Saskatchewan’s ongoing digitization of its Court docket books will provide access to these records by a variety of user groups and Manitoba has digitized over 1,100 reels of microfilm through the National Heritage Digitization Strategy. Nunavut is also actively digitizing its collection, including the Douglas Wilkinson media fonds, the Baffin Regional Council records and the Thomas Manning holdings. Québec’s participation in « Libérez le cyberarchiviste en vous » (Free the cyber-archivist in you) to celebrate International Archives day was a more daring effort. This event included involvement in Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource, tools that enable citizens to contribute to archival description. Crowd sourcing is yet another means of engaging the public, while increasing access to holdings. LAC has taken an energetic approach with its Co-Lab initiative to improve and add metadata to the information the public can search.

Genealogy remains a high traffic use of archives. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) marked National Genealogy Week with events at its regional centres and drew almost 300 people to participate in the activities. Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick continue to support such research through making Vital Statistic records available, a sought-after source by genealogists. Nunavut is developing a unique genealogy project based on Inuit families’ history instead of immigration records. Of course, to maintain interest, diversify audience, and spur more research, it is necessary to be diligent in the pursuit of acquisitions. Québec accomplished all those goals through the acquisition of the International Cinema Festival fonds at BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda. Its 10,000 photographs alone will be an eye catcher. However, acquisition alone is insufficient: it is necessary to deliver content to the public. Archives around the country are refreshing their catalogues and online discovery systems: Manitoba continues to add information to the Keystone descriptive database, Ontario is updating its online catalogue, Québec is introducing a brand-new database, BC is testing a holdings location system, and Saskatchewan and Alberta are piloting AtoM (Access to Memory).

Galleries, libraries, archives and museums communities are increasing their collaborative efforts in BC, Ontario and at LAC, sharing initiatives and cultivating a space for future partnerships. Yukon Archives organized film-showing events in partnership with the Alpine Club of Canada. In partnership with the Francophone Secretariat, the Provincial Archives of Alberta (PAA) has established a 5-year plan to make Oblate of Mary Immaculate Alberta Province Records available through a detailed finding aid/publication. NWT Archives are currently working with community partners to identify people on approximately 250,000 photos, as part of the processing of the Native Press photograph collection. The Archives of Saskatchewan will soon work under the same roof as the CBC, which will multiply collaborative opportunities.

Anniversaries are an opportune occasion to profile documentary heritage and the archives that preserve them. New Brunswick has just completed its 50th anniversary celebrations and LAC is celebrating 15 years since the merge between the National Library and National Archives. Québec and Manitoba are planning to bring awareness to their archives with upcoming anniversaries. The biggest anniversary activity over the past few years is linked to the First World War with many school and research projects throughout Canada. Manitoba has used a multi-faceted approach including social media to draw attention to the centenary of the Armistice. BC is making available the photographs of Ernest Crocker during the period 1914-1919 in Victoria.

2018-2019 Co-Chairs:
Fred Farrell, Provincial Archivist of New-Brunswick & Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada

CWGC burial at Beechwood Cemetery: Andrew Beschta

On this date a century ago Andrew (Andrey) Beschta (Bischta), regimental number 2160280, died of tuberculous at the Lady Grey sanitorium in Ottawa.
He was born on 3 November 1895 in Triesk, Russia, son of Gregory Bischta, husband of Vermara Bischta and had 3 children. Enlisting in Renfrew, Ontario on 15 May 1917 for service with the Canadian Forestry Corps he was 6 ft 4 in tall and weighed 180 lbs.
He served in France with several disciplinary actions on his record.
He is interred in military lot 13-14. section 29 at Beechwood cemetery.
Perhaps as many as 4,000 men of Russian origin served in the CEF.

28 November 2019

Fold3: Lowest Price Of The Year

While I don't find Fold3 useful for my particular family history research you may. For the company, a part of the Ancestry, to stay in business many people must find it's military records, from the US Civil War to Vietnam, worthwhile.

There's a Black Friday discount offer, for new members only, until 1 December 2019 at 11:59 PM MT. There's also a 7-day free trial if you're not ready to purchase.

The usual small print applies
Membership will automatically renew at the current rate after the introductory offer. If you don't want to renew, cancel before your renewal date. Terms apply.

What should I ask Charlotte Gray?

Charlotte Gray:  credit Valberg Imaging
Tomorrow, Friday, I'll be at Carleton University to record an interview with award-winning biographer, writer of historical creative non-fiction, and Order of Canada member Charlotte Gray.

We'll be talking about her latest book, Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise. I also want to delve into her background that led to becoming a journalist and author and how she deals with some of the challenges in her writing she has in common with those of us writing or attempting to write a family history.

Advice and suggestions for the interview welcome.

Spitalfields Life: So Long, Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller, English theatre and opera director, actor, author, television presenter, humourist, and medical doctor, died this week at the age of eighty-five.

What isn't covered in the Wikipedia article linked above, his family origins, is nicely treated in a blog post by The Gentle Author with a description of his conflicted views of his Spitalfields Jewish origins.
“I’m not interested in my ancestry,” “I’m descended from chimpanzees but I am not interested in them either.”

Service Changes at UK Record Offices

There is a proposal to make cuts at the Derbyshire Record Office. Opening hours would go from 30 to 22.5 hours a week and staffing levels reduced to save £60,000. There is no proposal to change the current pattern of Saturday opening.

A consultation on the proposals is underway. If you've used that record office, and change would impact you have your say online at: www.derbyshire.gov.uk/recordofficeconsultation before the closing date of 22 December 2019.

Meanwhile, changes are underway in Suffolk at the three centres serving the county. In Spring 2020 a new building will replace the existing Ipswich Record Office.

A new space with staff presence for at least 30 hours a week will be in place in Lowestoft, and service at the Bury Record Office will continue. Some collection holdings from those two sites will be consolidated at the main site in Ipswich. Read the details here.

Bedfordshire Colour Tithe Maps added to TheGenealogist

The following is a press release from TheGenealogist of interest to those with Bedfordshire ancestry.

TheGenealogist has just released a collection of Colour Tithe Maps for Bedfordshire to join the previously published greyscale maps in their National Tithe Records collection. This release of attractive colour digitised maps will provide the family historian with highly detailed plans sourced from The National Archives (TNA). TheGenealogist has linked these to the appropriate apportionment books that provide researchers with the details of the plots, their owners and their occupiers at the time that the survey was taken in Victorian times. These make the maps easier to understand as the streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, houses and trees are often highlighted in different colours. 

Subscribers to TheGenealogist’s Diamond membership can now select to view the latest colour or grayscale maps when using the Tithe & Landowner records for this county of England.

The new release covers:

Bedfordshire colour tithe maps showing plots of land 
The years 1837 to 1855 with some much later plans for any altered apportionments
Owners and Occupiers recorded means that all levels of society were surveyed 

These tagged colour maps join the previously released apportionment record books, national greyscale maps and colour maps for Warwickshire, Rutland, Huntingdonshire, Buckinghamshire, City of York, Middlesex, Northumberland, Surrey, Westmorland, and the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire. The National Tithe Records collection gives the family history researcher the ability to search by name and keyword (for example parish or county) to look for property holdings from large estate owners to occupiers of small plots such as a homestead, or a cottage.
Read the article, Bedfordshire Tithe Records pinpoint ancestors’ homes large and small at: 

27 November 2019

Shannon Lecture: “As I remember it: Building digital space to share the life history and teachings of an Indigenous elder.”

The Shannon lecturer this Friday, 29 November 2019 is co-presented by Davis McKenzie, Harmony Johnson & Dr. Paige Raibmon.

Attempts to bring Indigenous knowledge and life history to the internet carry the potential for great promise and enormous pitfalls. The speakers will discuss a ground-breaking digital book that challenges common assumptions about the biographical form. As I Remember It: Teachings (Ɂəms tɑɁɑw) from the Life of a Sliammon Elder aims to share the teachings and life history of Elsie Paul, ɬaʔamɩn (Sliammon) Elder and knowledge keeper who has dedicated her life to community service. Written with the particular needs of ɬaʔamɩn community members and students from kindergarten through university in mind, this open access book is aimed at a broad audience. The product of a deeply collaborative process, the narrative structure seeks to represent ɬaʔamɩn ways of knowing and being in the world.  The authors invite ɬaʔamɩn readers to experience this digital space an extension of their traditional territory, while they invite non-ɬaʔamɩn readers to “come ashore” as guests.

Open access: http://publications.ravenspacepublishing.org/as-i-remember-it

Speaker Bios

Davis McKenzie of the Tla’amin Nation is Elsie Paul’s grandson. He holds a BA in sociology/anthropology from Simon Fraser University and an MA in communication management from McMaster University. He serves as executive director of communications and public affairs at the First Nations Health Authority. 

Harmony Johnson is of ɬaʔamɩn ancestry and is Elsie Paul’s granddaughter. She holds a BA from Simon Fraser University and a Master’s in Health Administration from University of British Columbia. She has served in a number of policy and executive roles in BC First Nations organizations and is the Vice-President, Policy, Planning and Quality at the First Nations Health Authority. 

Paige Raibmon is a mother and scholar of settler descent, and professor of history at the University of British Columbia. She lives on the unceded ancestral territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm people, where she was born and raised. Her previous books include Authentic Indians: Episodes of Encounter from the Late-Nineteenth-Century Northwest Coast (Duke 2004). 

Unable to attend, Elsie Paul is an Elder of the ɬaʔamɩn people and a mother-tongue speaker of the Sliammon language. She is the recipient of the Canadian Historical Association’s Lifetime Achievement award and received an honorary doctorate degree from Vancouver Island University in 2010.

The presentation is in Room 2017 in Dunton Tower starting at 1:00pm followed by a reception at 2:30pm.

Ancestry Give-Away

Ancestry. I've had a subscription for years. There can hardly be a present-day genealogist who hasn't used their records. According to Ancestry's "Card Catalog" there are 1,954 Canadian titles,  2,027 UK titles, 207 Irish titles, and 25,247 US titles. If I didn't already subscribe Ancestry would be top of my Christmas list.

AncestryDNA. I took the test soon after it became available and have most of my serendipitous matches there, hardly surprising as Ancestry has more clients DNA tested. An AncestryDNA test is another good gift choice for that person who is curious about what a test can tell them.

With Black Friday sales now's a great time to buy or take your chances and maybe win an Ancestry subscription or AncestryDNA test for free?

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Ancestry.ca with an offer to make available a subscription and an AncestryDNA test to somebody who reads my blog. We agreed that as a means of supporting my local societies they would be awarded by a draw at the 14 December BIFHSGO (subscription) and OGS Ottawa Branch (AncestryDNA test) meetings. Anyone in Canada (only in Canada eh!) who sends me an email with a request to be entered is also eligible, but those at the meetings will have a better chance — two draw tickets each.

If you won't be at the meeting(s), and you're in Canada, enter by Email to john dot d dot reid at gmail dot com/.

Look around the graveyard with AR

Have you ever been to a cemetery and not found the marker you were seeking or missed one of a relative buried nearby?

Ancestry.com has an idea to help find them as shown by this summary of patent Providing Grave Information Using Augmented Reality US2019236366A1.

Augmented reality (AR) is a simulated environment created by combining computer graphics with the real world as perceived by a user. A typical AR system includes an AR headset that provides augmented views of a physical, real-world environment with computer-generated elements (e.g., images, video, sound, etc.). With recent development in mobile augmented reality, users can experience augmented reality through a mobile device (e.g., tablet, mobile phone) instead of having to purchase AR headsets. In some embodiments, the real-world environment captured through a camera of the mobile device is overlaid with computer-generated elements. The combined augmented reality image is displayed on the display of the mobile device.

Within a cemetery, there can be hundreds of graves, and it can be confusing and time-consuming to navigate the cemetery to find a grave of an ancestor. Currently, there are written registries, traditional records, websites, and databases that contain information about the deceased, but it is time-consuming to access and make use of the information.

The present disclosure relates to presenting computer-generated graphical elements that are related to a grave overlaid on a continually updating image of real-world environment using augmented reality. The graphical elements may visually provide information such as a geographical location of the grave, an image of the gravestone or an image of an ancestor associated with the grave, a number of years of life of the ancestor, a link to a website associated with the ancestor, and a path to the grave. The continually updating image of the real-world environment captured by the camera of the mobile device is overlaid with the graphical elements. The graphical elements are updated in response to time and motion of the mobile device. The augmented reality provides easy and quick access to information about ancestors buried at cemeteries and helps users navigate to the exact location of selected graves.

Augmented reality is used to display graphical elements overlaid on a continually updating image of an area around an augmented reality device (e.g., a mobile device). The graphical element may contain geographical location information about a grave of an ancestor and/or biographical information about the ancestor. The continually updating image is captured by a camera of the augmented reality device and updates in response to time and motion of the augmented reality device. Based on orientation data and geographical location data collected by the augmented reality device, the graphical element is updated and displayed on the mobile device.

26 November 2019

MyHeritage DNA — $55 Cdn

Until 29 November, MyHeritage DNA is offering its test at a Black Friday lowest ever price of $55. There's free shipping on orders of 2 kits and more.

Order here (this is not an affiliate link, I get no finder fee).

Manitoba Genealogical Society Cancels Sesquicentennial Event

Following the resignation of several members of the Manitoba Genealogy Society (MGS) Executive, the Society announced the appointment of an Interim Executive and the cancellation of their 2020 Conference scheduled for June 12-14, 2020. 
This is particularly unfortunate as 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the admission of Manitoba as Canada's fifth province. MGS will be announcing participation in another heritage event to celebrate Manitoba’s sesquicentennial. 
The future of the proposed Manitoba First Families project which, in conjunction with the conference, was to offer a certificate of recognition to descendants of original and/or early pioneers in what makes up present-day Manitoba, is unclear.

Yet More Vernon City Directories Online

A week ago I posted there were More Vernon City Directories Online with "more ready to be added." Now it's 465 — or 515. The first is the number advertized, the second the number actually present. Here's the content as I write, there could be more when you read this.

City# of volumesFirst YearLast Year
Fort Erie1319762006
Oshawa & Whitby5219292001
Owen Sound2719282006
Sault Ste. Marie119091909

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Offer expires on Cyber Monday, 2 December 2019 at 11:59pm MT.

25 November 2019

Ottawa Historical Society Lunchtime Lectures

For November's monthly meeting, on Wednesday 26 27 November, in the Auditorium of the Ottawa Public Library (Main), there's a rare double bill.

Ottawa's Urban Forest, by Joanna Dean (at 1.00pm)

Why tell stories about trees that cause trouble? Why talk about the elm trees that tangled with electrical wires in Centretown; the dying birch trees that prompted debate in the House of Commons; the looming Lombardy poplar that led a Glebe matron to threaten legal action against the Federal District Commission; the centennial crab apple that turned Ottawa pink; and the 156-year-old bur oak that got in the way of an infill project? Because nature is troublesome, and until we understand the history of our urban forest and acknowledge the unruliness, as well as the beauty, of the trees around us, we will not know how to adequately accommodate them in the city.

The lecture will situate these troublesome trees in the wider history of Ottawa’s urban forest. Drawing upon a rich set of historical aerial photographs offering a birds-eye view of the city and the opportunity for quantitative analysis, it will explain how, and why, Ottawa’s urban forest canopy has changed over time.

Joanna Dean is an associate professor in the history department at Carleton University where she teaches courses in Canadian environmental history, animal history and climate history. She is interested in the history of human relations with the nonhuman world, and writes about such things as city trees and working horses.
She is currently on sabbatical, writing a book on Ottawa’s urban forest. Over the last 15 years she has published a series of articles on the unruliness of city trees, the origins of the term “urban forest,” inequities in forest cover, and the use of geospatial analysis of historical aerial photographs to measure physical changes in urban forest. In 2012 she curated an exhibit, “Six Moments in the History of an Urban Forest,” at the Bytown Museum. Formerly an Ottawa resident, and chair of the Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee, she now lives among maple, beech, and hemlock trees in the Gatineau Hills. For further information, see https://carleton.ca/history/people/joanna-e-dean/.

Supreme Court Justice, Patrick Kerwin, by Stephen McKenna (at 2.00pm)

Chief Justice Patrick Kerwin (1889-1963) was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in 1935 as one of only seven Justices on the Court at that time. This is a man who overcame tough times in his hometown of Sarnia ON and managed to afford law school in Toronto while playing piano for silent movies to pay for his education between classes. From there, he became a leading lawyer in Guelph ON, then was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. This is a man who was known to have absolutely no bias and often said, “Justice delayed is justice denied”.

Stephen G. McKenna is an Ottawa-born author and musician who enjoys history, traveling and music, to name but a few things in this life to enjoy. The book, ‘Grace and Wisdom’, about Chief Justice Patrick Kerwin of the Supreme Court of Canada, was written to ensure his grandfather’s life was captured for posterity.

New in the OGS Ottawa Branch Library

Since July the following books have been added to the OGS library at the Ottawa City Archives, which incorporates the former BIFHSGO library.

New Book Titles, July 1 to October 31, 2019
TitleDewey #
A Bishop and His People: John Travers Lewis and the Anglican Diocese of Ontario 1862-1902274.1 SCH
A Century in Retrospect: Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal 1859-1959276.00041 MTL CCC
Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of American on the Eve of the Revolution304.873 BAI
Driv'n by Fortune: The Scots' March to Modernity in America, 1745-1812356.10941 ALL
Catholic education and politics in Upper Canada: a study of the documentation relative to the origin of Catholic elementary schools in the Ontario school system371.0712 WAL
The Four Welland Canals: A Journey of Discovery in St. Catharines and Thorold386.4 JAC
Lumbering on the Riviere du Lievre: A Saga of Maclaren's and Buckingham634.9 TOM
The Cotton Industry (Shire Album #63)677 ASP
The Phillimore Atlas and Index of ParishRegisters, 3rd ed.912.42 HUM
Tracing History Through Title Deeds: A Guide For Family and Local Historians929.1072 ALC
Historical Research Using British Newspapers929.1072 BAT
Tracing Your Welsh Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians929.1072 EVA
Tracing Your Naval Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians929.1072 FOW
Second World War Lives: A Guide for Family Historians929.1072 GOU
Referencing for genealogists: sources and citation929.1072 MACD
The Genealogy Do-Over Workbook929.1072 MacE
Tracing Your Ancestors Through the Equity Courts: A Guide for Family and Local Historians929.1072 MOO
Tracing Your Docker Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians929.1072 OMB
Tracing Your Prisoner of War Ancestors: The First World War - A Guide for Family Historians929.1072 PATER
A Beginner's Guide to British and Irish Genealogy929.1072 PATON
Tracing Your Ancestors in County Records: A Guide For Family and Local Historians929.1072 RAY
Tracing Your Ancestors' Parish Records: A Guide for Family and Local Historians929.1072 RAY
Tracing Your Nonconformist Ancestors: A Guide for Family and Local Historians929.1072 RAY
Tracing Your Potteries Ancestors: A Guide for Family & Local Historians929.1072 SHA
Tracing Your Freemason, Friendly Society and Trade Union Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians929.1072 WEI
Tracing your pre-Victorian ancestors: a guide to research methods for family historians929.1072 WIN
Census: The Expert Guide929.1072041 CHR
The Genealogy of Benjamin Bullock and His Family929.2 BUL
A Melding of Cultures: Ancestors of George Turner and Bernadette Joanis, vol. 2 - Our Lapointe and Joanis Ancestors: Four Hundred Years of French Canadian Heritage929.2 CUL TUR v2
The Eatons: The Rise and Fall of Canada's Royal Family929.2 EAT
MacGregors: Kith and Kin929.2 FUR
Lynn Family Histories929.2 LYN
The World Book of Edwards, vol. 1929.201 EDW v1
Bethany United Church Cemetery, Ramsayville, Ontario, Concession 6, Lot 9, Gloucester Township, Carleton County (Pub 81-3)929.571383 GLO BET 1980
St. Peter's Anglican Cemetery, Alfred Township, Prescott County, Alfred, ON929.571385 ALF StPE 1996
Heraldry929.6 BED
Great British Family Names and Their History: What's in a Name?940.1 MOS
Retours of Services of Heirs 1544-1699: Inquisitiones Speciales (vol. A) Aberdeen - Kirkcudbright941 DUR vol.A
Retours of Services of Heirs 1544-1699: Inquisitiones Speciales (vol. B) Lanark - Wigton: Inquisitionum Generalium, Inquisitionum de Tutela: Glossary of Terms in Latin, Scots and English941 DUR vol.B
Retours of Services of Heirs 1544-1699: Inquisitiones Speciales (vol. C) Decennial Indexes to the Services of Heirs in Scotland 1700-1859, Inquisitiones Valorum (Sive Extentuum), Inquisitiones de Possessione Quinquennali 1544-1699 Tabula Generalis941 DUR vol.C
Poor Relief in Scotland: Historical Background Document Extracts and Copies941 POOR
The Drove Roads of Scotland941.1 HAL
The Scots: a genetic journal941.1 MOF
Census Returns for Birsay, 1841941.12 Birsay 1841 Census
Census Returns for Birsay, 1861941.12 Birsay 1861 Census
Census Returns for Birsay, 1891941.12 Birsay 1891 Census
Census Returns for Firth & Stenness, 1871941.12 Firth / Stenness 1871 Census
Census Returns for Firth & Stenness, 1891941.12 Firth / Stenness 1891 Census
Census Returns for Harray, 1841941.12 Harray 1841 Census
Census Returns for Harray, 1851941.12 Harray 1851 Census
Census Returns for Harray, 1861941.12 Harray 1861 Census
Census Returns for Harray, 1871941.12 Harray 1871 Census
Census Returns for Harray, 1891941.12 Harray 1891 Census
Census Returns for Hoy & Graemsay, 1841941.12 Hoy / Graemsay 1841 Census
Census Returns for Hoy & Graemsay, 1851941.12 Hoy / Graemsay 1851 Census
Census Returns for Sanday, 1891941.12 Sanday 1891 Census
Census Returns for Sandwick, 1841941.12 Sandwick 1841 Census
Census Returns for Sandwick, 1861941.12 Sandwick 1861 Census
Census Returns for Sandwick, 1891941.12 Sandwick 1891 Census
Census Returns for Stromness, 1821941.12 Stromness 1821 Census
Census Returns for Walls & Flotta, 1841941.12 Walls / Flotta 1841 Census
Census Returns for Walls & Flotta, 1851941.12 Walls / Flotta 1851 Census
Census Returns for Walls & Flotta, 1861941.12 Walls / Flotta 1861 Census
Census Returns for Walls & Flotta, 1871941.12 Walls / Flotta 1871 Census
Census Returns for Walls & Flotta, 1891941.12 Walls / Flotta 1891 Census
Index to Surnames in 1851 Census for Banffshire, vol. 1 (Marnoch, Forglen, Inverkeithny, Rothiemay)941.24 1851 Census Index v1
Index to Surnames in 1851 Census for Banffshire, vol. 1a (Rothiemay)941.24 1851 Census Index v1a
Index to Surnames in 1951 Census for Banffshire, vol. 2 (Gamrie, Alvah)941.24 1851 Census Index v2
Index to Surnames in 1851 Census for Banffshire, vol. 3 (Banff: county and town, Boyndie, Ordiquhill)941.24 1851 Census Index v3
Everybody's Historic London: A History and Guide942.1 KIE
Gosport: A Pictorial History942.27 EDE
The West Country942.3 GIL
Ledbury and District: Official Guide942.44 LED
Two Churches: Two Communities - St Peter's, Bromyard and St James's, Stanford Bishop, Bromyard Parish Registers, rev. ed.942.44 PEA
Ledbury: A Market Town and its Tudor Heritage942.44 PIN
Whitbourne: A Bishop's Manor942.44 WHIT
Bromyard: Minster, Manor and Town942.44 WIL
West Bromwich: A History942.46 CHI
The Malverns942.47 HUR
A History of Stourbridge942.47 PER
Potterspury: The Story of a Village and its People942.55 POT
The Norfolk Village Book942.61 NFWI
Stockport: A History942.71 GAR
The Peoples of Canada: A Post-Confederation History971.0 BUM v2
The Capital Years: Niagara-on-the-Lake 1792-1796971.338 CAP
Stanley Barracks: Toronto's Military Legacy971.3541 SEN
Picturesque Dundas Revisited971.375 NEW
Giants of Canada's Ottawa Valley971.38 FIN GIA
Ottawa: The Way We Were971.38 MIN
Halifax: Warden of the North971.6 RAD
Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700, 8th ed.973.2 WEI
Early New England Families, 1641-1700, vol. 1973.2 WIL

In case you're wondering what else there is in the collection check out the catalogue here.

Thanks to the branch librarian Grace Lewis for providing the list.

24 November 2019

BIFHSGO Video: The Commonwealth War Graves: In Perpetuity

The recording of the BIFHSGO November monthly meeting talk by Dominique Boulais from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is now available in the members-only section at the BIFHSGO website.
Sadly the educational session that preceded it, given by Ken McKinlay and Glenn Wright, was not successfully recorded.

It's that time of year

Are Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas offers and suggestions flooding into your email inbox?
Not to be left out, lest you need even more ideas, I'll be posting suggestions of items the family historian would likely appreciate receiving as a gift in the next couple of weeks. If any of them appeal to you maybe you'd like to print the post out and leave it where it can be found by those puzzling over a gift for you.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Termination of the Genographic Project
The public participation phase of this research project will end on June 30, 2020. After that time“Geno” DNA Ancestry Kit results will no longer be available on the website. If you want to retain the results log in to the Genographic Project website and download a printable version of your results.

Contribute ideas online for the future OPL-LAC landmark destination
Until December 10, Ottawa residents and Canadians from coast to coast can help inspire the iconic features and finishing touches for the new building. You are asked to share thoughts on:
the design influences of the natural landscape;
how building materials can affect the way a space is perceived and enjoyed; and,
the ways in which the facility can become an inclusive destination for all.
Go to Inspire555.ca

Militarism and its role in the commemoration of British war dead
Militarism is the glorifying of war and invasion of the civilian sphere by military ideals. Has the commemoration of war dead been hijacked by militarism?

An Obituary: VHS Tapes Die of Loneliness at Age 30

Artificial intelligence won’t kill journalism or save it, but the sooner newsrooms buy in, the better

Recently published by The Walrus
How Do You Save Four Million Canadians from Hunger? by Raizel Robin
Is a Walk in the Forest Better than a Trip to the Doctor? by Peter Kuitenbrouwer
What Does It Mean to Have a Healthy Body? by Mojola Omole

One of the climate change resources compiled by the NYT

23 November 2019

Findmypast adds to Northumberland and Durham and to London collections

Transcript records for baptisms, marriages and burials for the Northumberland and Durham parishes of Berwick upon Tweed, Elsdon, Meldon, Newcastle St Nicholas and Tynemouth are newly available at Findmypast.
Over 42,000 new baptism transcripts make that collection now 932,340 records. Marriages are augmented by over 37,000 additions for a total of 880,409. Burials now total 776,384 with the addition of over 25,000 records.
You may not find your ancestor listed by name. Some burials are listed as "A Boy", "A Girl", "A Poor Man" "A Man Unknown", "A Begging Stranger", "A Poor Travalir", "A Soldier" etc.

The Greater London Burial Index receives over 35,000 additional records covering 15 parishes. The index now comprises over two million names from over 300 Anglican and non-conformist parishes in the Greater London area between 1399 and 1992.

Documentary Heritage Communities Program

The annual call for proposals to the Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP) is open until 11:59 pm, Pacific Standard Time (PST) on7 January 2020.

DHCP is a $1.5 million Library and Archives Canada (LAC) program providing funding to help ensure that Canada’s continuing memory is documented, preserved and accessible.

A good way to find out more, and whether a project from your organization might qualify, especially as guidelines have changed since last year, is through a webinar on 3 December at 1:30 ET.

Register here.

22 November 2019

The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry newspaper digitization

The Cornwall Standard-Freeholder reported on 18 November Newspaper digitization project well underway, needs additional $100k. The article reported that about 31,000 pages are now scanned. 

Find The Glengarry News (Feb 1892 - Dec 1960) and The Glengarrian (Feb 1887 - Dec 1910) browsable here. Searching is within each issue individually with hits highlighted in blue.

FreeBMD November Update

The FreeBMD Database was last updated on Tuesday 19 November 2019 to contain 272,440,112 unique records (272,099,029 at previous update.)

Years with major additions, greater than 5,000 records are: for births 1984-88; for marriages 1964, 1969,1984-87; for deaths 1984-86 and 1988.


Minister of Canadian Heritage: The Honourable Steven Guilbeault

The new Minister of Canadian Heritage was clearly not appointed for his knowledge of the file.
High profile Montrealer Steven Guilbeault, a freshman MP, represents a Quebec riding like the two previous Ministers of Canadian Heritage chosen by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Mélanie Joly and Pablo Rodríguez remain in Cabinet.
He was elected in the riding of Laurier—Sainte Marie, previously held by New Democrat Hélène Laverdière who did not run in the 2019 election.
Read his official bio here.
His commitment to climate change is good news for those of us looking for strong voices on the topic around the cabinet table even if his ability to speak openly on the topic will be muted by constraints of cabinet solidarity.
Will he bring the energy evident in his championing the environment to his new role with Canadian Heritage?

21 November 2019

Brit Mil Acc & Abbrev

After a long wait, several months, I finally received my mother's WW2 military service file. She served with the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) in England. This extract shows promotions while serving in the ranks. The military was and are, renowned for using acronyms and abbreviations. Perhaps you can guess what they mean.
Helpfully, the covering letter referenced a web page that links to a 16-page pdf of Useful Abbreviations, from  A for Acting or Assistant to ZION MULE C. Zion Mule Corps2. It did help a bit; wef is "with effect from." Some are not included like P, U and W.
Does S stand for Staff? It seems probable as she'd been a corporate secretary before enlisting.

OGS Ottawa Branch November Meeting

This Saturday 23 November all are welcome to events organized by OGS Ottawa Branch at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive

At 11:30 am the Genealogy Lunch Bunch will focus on Ancestry DNA with Richard McGregor guiding through using your results to further your genealogy. Bring a “brown bag” lunch.

The normal monthly presentation social time will start at 1:00 pm along with the regular cookies prior to announcements followed by Did you use all of the information? with speaker OGS past president Alan Campbell who is visiting Ottawa.

Alan will share elements of his personal research with the goal of helping attendees learn:
• to take nothing for granted
• to question sources
• to seek additional sources
• to build a hypothesis and prove or disprove it and
• to realize that genealogical research can at times be “messy”.

You can make a full day of it with the Scottish Genealogy Group meeting at 9:30 am and the Computer Interest Group at 3 pm.

20 November 2019

Another Ethnicity Estimate Update at AncestryDNA

AncestryDNA is releasing new ethnicity estimates this week, updated from those released in August. Do you have updates?

My results are below along with the uncertainty range and the value from August in parenthesis.

England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 41%, range 40 - 52% (44%)
Ireland & Scotland 35%, range 5-35%  (34%)
European Jewish 20%. range 16 -23%, (19%)
Norway 4%, range 0 - 14%, (3%)

The present and previous are both well within the range of uncertainty.

I've no idea where in the family tree the Norwegian ancestry lies. Perhaps there's some truth to the story that an ancestor came with William the Conquerer in 1066 — probably rowing! If AncestryDNA painted chromosomes with ethnicity like 23andMe I'd at least know if it's on the maternal or paternal side.

Virtual Genealogical Association 2020 Webinars

The Virtual Genealogical Association, a global (predominantly North American) organization founded in 2018, have announced an ambitious program of webinars for 2020. With annual dues of $20 USD this looks like quite a bargain.

Christine Woodcock – “Scots to Canada: Land and Opportunity”
Friday, January 3, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Rick Voight – “Introduction to Vivid-Pix Software”
Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Ursula C. Krause – “Preparing Your Heritage Travel to Germany”
Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 11:00 am Eastern

Sara Cochran – “My DNA Brought Me to the Forest, But Where are the Trees?”
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Debra Dudek – “Pinning Together Your Genealogical Past on Pinterest”
Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern

Julie Szczepankiewicz – “FAN Out! Using Cluster Research to Break Through Brick Walls”
Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 11:00 am Eastern

Colleen Robledo Greene – “Streamlining Your Toolbox: Cloud Applications, Strategies, & Workflows”
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Vincenzo Alfano – “Vittorio Emanuele & Giuseppe Garibaldi: Names in Post-1861 Italy”
Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern (note later start time)

Laura Hedgecock & Elizabeth O’Neal – “Social Media Strategies for Family Historians”
Friday, March 27, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Kate Eakman – “The Suicide of William A. James: More than Meets the Eye”
Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern

Cheri Hudson Passey – “Evidence: Direct, Indirect, or Negative? It Depends!”
Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 11:00 am Eastern

Michelle Chubenko – “Using the Resources of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum”
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Lisa Lisson – “Researching Genealogy the Frugal Way!”
Friday, April 17, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Lisa Alzo – Finding Your Femme Fatales
Saturday, May 9, 2020 at 11:00 am Eastern

Megan Heyl – “Road Trip Tips: Don’t Forget To…”
Friday, May 15, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Renate Y. Sanders – “Researching Formerly-Enslaved Ancestors: It Takes a Village”
Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern

Alec Ferretti – “Strategies to Analyze Endogamous DNA”
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Mary Hojnacki – “Beginning Italian Genealogy Research”
Saturday, June 6, 2020 at 11:00 am Eastern

Pam Vestal – “Finding What You Need and Using What You Find”
Tuesday, June 9, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Robert Parker – “U.K. Parish Registers”
Sunday, June 14, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern

Dan Earl – “Going Wayback: The Internet Archive and Your Research”
Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

No VGA webinars scheduled for July 2020

Jessica Trotter – “Occupational Records: Finding Work-Related Paper Trails”
Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 11:00 am Eastern

Ute Brandenburg – “Research in East & West Prussia”
Friday, August 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Caroline Guntur – “Introduction to Swedish Genealogy”
Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Julie Goucher – “Researching Displaced People”
Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 1 pm Eastern

Sara Campbell – “Using Historic Maps of New England and Beyond”
Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 11:00 am Eastern

Tammy Tipler-Priolo – “Simple Steps to Writing Your Ancestors’ Biographies”
Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Tamara Hallo – “How to Get the Most Out of FamilySearch.org”
Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern

Annette Lyttle – “Finding & Using Digitized Manuscript Collections for Genealogical Research”
Friday, September 25, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Patricia Coleman – “Beginning with DNA Painter: Chromosome Mapping”
Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 11:00 am Eastern

Kristin Brooks Barcomb – “Understanding & Correlating U.S. World War I Records & Resources”
Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern

Christine Johns Cohen – “Lineage & Hereditary Societies: Why, Where, When, What & How?”
Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

VGA 2020 Virtual Conference (details will be announced in Spring 2020)
Fri, Nov 13 – Sun, Nov 15, 2020

Judy Nimer Muhn – “Researching French-Canadians in North America”
Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern

Marian B. Wood – “Curate Your Genealogy Collection – Before Joining Your Ancestors!”
Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Diane L. Richard – “The Organizational Power of Timelines”
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Nancy Loe – “Using Macs and iPads for Genealogy”
Friday, December 4, 2020 at 8:00 pm Eastern

Jean Wilcox Hibben – “Family History Can Heal Family Present”
Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern

19 November 2019

More Vernon City Directories Online

FamilySearch is adding to the Vernon Ontario Directories online and searchable. Here's a count of those available by location.

GreyOwen Sound6
WellandFort Erie3
Cochrane DistrictTimmins2
Algoma DistrictSteelton1
Algoma DistrictSault Ste. Marie1
Stratford 1

There's a conflict between these 300 identified in the subject listing and 257 in the catalog.  That's still up from 198 volumes when I looked a few days ago. More are ready to be added and could be available by the time you read this.

Most are for the second half of the 20th century with some before and after.

Check them out at https://ogs.on.ca/vernons-directories/.

A Street Near You

Last week Lesley Anderson drew my attention to A Street Near You that maps, on a global scale, locations associated with those who died in the First World War.

Naturally, I had to look at Ottawa and the icon nearest my home. It's at the airport, although there was no airport at the time.

Clicking the icon showed it was for the National Research Council, Ottawa, Canada and Captain Harry Alden Whitby, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own).

Now I was well embarked on the slippery slope. Why the airport when there was no NRC facility there at that period? NRC was only established on Sussex Street in 1916. Why someone serving with the West Yorkshire Regiment?

Searching the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website you find

Died 10/07/1916
Aged 27
11th Bn.
West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own)
Son of Stafford B. Whitby, C.C., M.B.E., and Hettie Whitby, of National Research Council, Ottawa, Canada. B.A.

A Google search found several hits. The first, from Brunel University, yielded:
Captain Harry Alden Whitby attended Borough Road College for three years, representing the college in tennis, and acting as the tennis secretary 1908-09. Whitby was also the editor of the B’s Hum 1908-09. After graduating Borough Road College he gained a double 1st BA at Cambridge and went on to be an HM Inspector of Schools, later being appointed Secretary of Academic Department at London University. Whitby joined up in September 1915 into the 11th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment. He was killed in action on 10 July 1916 whilst leading his men in a successful attack on the village of Contalmaison. He was awarded the Military Medal.
There's also a longer article, also with no mention of Canada. I was unable to locate him on any passenger list to or from Canada. No mention of Canada except as a location for his parents.

His father Stafford B. Whitby is listed in the 1901 and 1911 censuses as a hosiery manufacturer in Hull, Yorkshire. A newspaper obit in the Hull Daily Mail 5 March 1928 which mentions he had served on the Hull City Council since 1921 also names his son who died at the Somme.

The obit also mentions another son, G. Stafford Whitby as a Professor of Chemistry at McGill University. A Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_S._Whitby establishes his link to the NRC.

Beware putting your trust in sites like A Street Near You without investigation.

18 November 2019

Findmypast.com offers 25% off subscriptions

Until Saturday 23 November at midnight GMT you can bag 25% off a findmypast.com 1-month or 1-year subscription.
I've had a findmypast subscription for many years because they have many exclusive records, notably those from the British Newspaper Archive. New records are added each week.

Here's the small print.
The discount can only be used once per user and can only be redeemed using a valid credit/debit card. After the initial discounted period, your subscription will automatically renew at full price unless you switch off auto-renew on the 'My subscription' page when logged into the site. Previously viewed records that are saved in 'My records' are only accessible with a valid subscription.T&C's apply.

 Click here to subscribe

In case you're wondering, this is NOT an affiliate link.

LAC Co-Lab update

Here's the monthly update on Co-Lab challenges projects as of 17 November.

Correspondence regarding First Nations veterans returning after the First World War is 5% complete (new)
Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 is 51% complete (47% last month).
The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters is 86% complete (85% last month).
Rosemary Gilliat (Eaton)’s Arctic diary and photographs is 42% complete (40% last month)
New France and First Nations Relations is 33% complete (28% last month).
Personal Diary of the Baroness Macdonald - Lady Macdonald is xx% complete (95% last month).

Legendary Train Robber and Prison Escapee Bill Miner is 98% complete
War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division is 94% complete.
Japanese-Canadians: Second World War is 61% complete.
Letters from Wilfrid Laurier to Zoé Lafontaine/Laurier is 96% complete (previously 98% complete).

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 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.

Tracing Your Insolvent Ancestors

Paul Milner reviews Tracing Your Insolvent Ancestors: A Guide for Family & Local Historians by Paul Blake.

...not a book for the new researcher or beginner ... an excellent, very detailed deep dive.


17 November 2019

YouTube: How FamilySearch Finds Digitizing Projects

Do you know of datasets that FamilySearch might want to digitize?

Amie Bowser Tennant describes her experience shadowing FamilySearch as they went about trying to secure contracts for digitizing records in Ohio. Don't be put off by the intro!

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Discover: the Magazine of the National Library of Scotland, no. 42 (2019)

History as a giant data set: how analysing the past could help save the future
A long read from The Guardian.

The Fall/Winter 2019 edition of Library and Archives Canada's magazine is now online with an emphasis on partnerships and collaboration.

More than 30 inventions you wouldn’t expect to be Canadian
Many you'll recognize, others will surprise.

The smell of old books could help preserve them

A look at the historical details around the launch of Medicare suggests that political players in minority governments must play the long game.
An opinion piece by Shirley Tillotson who will be speaking to the Ottawa Historical Association on Tuesday, 10 December 2019, 7:15–9:00 p.m. at the Ottawa Art Gallery

Politically Incorrect Paper of the Day: The United Fruit Company was Good!

16 November 2019

Catholic GeoHub

The Catholic GeoHub allows people around the world to gain a global understanding of the Catholic Church providing access to data, maps, and applications about the presence of the Catholic Church and its people.
The maps may be useful to genealogists searching for the boundaries of Catholic dioceses and parishes if you have a desktop computer, patience and a high-speed internet connection.
Read more in this article at the Catholic news service Aleteia.

Find Canadians in new Findmypast UK and US Military Records

British Armed Forces, First World War Soldiers' Medical Records

There are 17,406 entries with corps "Canadians" and 752 "Canadian" in this British collection.

With over 36,000 additions from the (UK) National Archives record group MH106 (War Office: First World War Representative Medical Records of Servicemen), there are now 1,309,121 records available to search in this collection.
The originals are two-page registers. Optional search fields are the first name(s), last name, admission year, birth year, death year, piece, service number, rank, corps and, hospital. Initials are more common than the first names.
There's a browse capability for piece and hospital. The hospitals included are: 14th, 18th, 19th, 28th, 51st, 66th, 139th, 149th, Field Ambulance; 31st Ambulance Train; Nos 3, 11, 31, 34, 82 Casualty Clearing Station; No 34 Combined Casualty Clearing Station; Nos 34, 39 Combined Clearing Hospital; 2, 28, 85 General Hospital; 4th Stationary Hospital; Catterick Military Hospital; County Of Middlesex War Hospital At Napsbury; Craiglockhart Hospital; Hm Hospital Ship "Assaye".
The images indicate the nature of injuries or disease, dates of admission a discharge where they were treated, service details and occasional additional notes.
I noticed a number of entries for "coolies" of the Chinese Labour Corps. Many had no name entered.

United States, Official Army Register 1861-1865
Thousands of PDF images of official army registers created by the United States Adjutant General’s Office to uncover details of volunteer force service in the United States Army between 1861 and 1865. You can search by name but need to look at the PDF register for an individual's information — rank, name and enlistment date.
Ancestry, MyHeritage, and the Internet Archive all have versions of these records, helpful given the hit and miss nature of OCR.

United States, Massachusetts: Index Of Casualties, World War II
A collection of more than 9,000 records compiled by the Adjutant General of the Commonwealth and held by the Massachusetts Archives. Transcripts include rank, death date, death place, additional notes and a link to an image of the original document.

PERiodical Source Index Update
Over 6,000 new images have been added this month. These new additions add additional years for the Saint Louis Catholic Historical Review, Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine and the Friends Historical Society Journal