31 May 2020

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

The OGS/Ontario Ancestors Conference, this year a virtual event, starts on Monday 1 June and runs through Sunday 7 June. For more details and to register, visit: https://ogs.on.ca/ontario-ancestors-2020-virtual-conference.
Canada has lavished at least C$13.8 billion per year in public financing on oil and gas projects since signing on to the Paris climate agreement, making it the fossil industry’s highest per capita source of public finance in the G20

#AncestryExtra webinars are taking a short pause on their regular biweekly sessions. Expect more webinars in the future. If you want to view some of the previous episodes find them at https://www.facebook.com/pg/AncestryCA/videos/?ref=page_internal

Bruce Cockburn 75th
It hardly seems possible that advocate for a more just and peaceful world, and for a healthy environment, best known for Lovers in a Dangerous Time has just marked his 75th birthday.  

Virtual Genealogy Drop-In
A reminder about the Ottawa Branch OGS weekly drop-in, every Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00.
Share research strategies & discover what resources are available for your research. Volunteers from The Ontario Genealogical Society, Ken McKinlay, Gloria Tubman and a supporting cast will answer questions & help you get the most from on-line resources.

Join the meeting via Google Meet with this link: https://meet.google.com/nvz-kftj-dax


On Tuesday, 2 June at 10 pm Paul Milner will discuss the original, published and internet sources available for tracing your “upper crust” ancestors, those who are titled and/or owned land. This is part of the Legacy Family Tree Webinars Down Under series.

Thanks to this week's contributors: Anonymous, Brenda T, Bruce, Btyclk, Carolyn Lumsden, Celia Lewis, David Hook, E. Gail Benjafield, Kyla Ubbink, Mike More, reflective thoughts by barbara, Ruafoodie, Sharon Allen, Sophronia, Teresa, Unknown, Wendy Croome

British Newspaper Archives additions for May

The British Newspaper Archive now has a total of 37,141,188 pages online (36,920,238 last month).

6 papers (23 last month) had pages added in the past month. There were 2 (7) new titles. Dates ranged from 1875 to 1999. The Sunday Mirror, with editions from 1919 to 1999, lacking the war years, is the major addition.
The complete list of additions during the month:

30 May 2020

Stan Magwood RIP

Sad to record the passing earlier this month of Stanley George Andrew Magwood (1934-2020) from COVID-19. Stan will be well remembered by long-time BIFHSGO members.

Findmypast adds WW2 RAF Records

Royal Air Force, Operations Record Books 1939-1945
Findmypast has published an index to these records from The National Archives, not the actual records themselves. However, while TNA is closed to physical access the originals can be downloaded without charge. Now is a great time to take advantage.
My uncle was killed in a Coastal Command accident. His squadron and date of death, found in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database, are all you need with the Findmypast indexes to narrow the possibilities to 24 files arranged chronically. The file for September 1942 from TNA arrived within a minute, his name is among the fatalities. As he was a radio operator some of his last words are likely captured by the report.

British Royal Air Force, Combat Reports 1939-1945
Findmypast makes available an index to records at TNA,  thousands of first-hand accounts from Second World War pilots who engaged enemy aircraft and lived to tell the tale.
Again, to read the actual report you need to download it from TNA which normally costs £3.50 while free during the pandemic closure of TNA. Here is part of the report:

Report by Pilot
The fighter dropped two flairs but did not see us, owing to cloud. I did not see the airraft. I corkscrewed to port on instructions from the Rear Gunner. 

Report by Air Gunner
The Bomb Aimer, who was positioned in the Bomb Aimer’s position, informed the crew that there were two fighter flairs on the starboard bow. A twin-engine aircraft was then sighted making a run in from dead astern, after which it crossed over to the port quarter. I fired to one-second busts in the direction of his line of flight and he dived into cloud and did not reappear. At the time I fired, the range was 150 yards – my aim was point blank. The whole engagement lasted approximately 10 seconds.


29 May 2020

In case of flood

ResearchBuzz is one of my regular stops on my morning rounds. On Thursday Tara Calishain posted:

My mother-in-law passed away at the end of March. Not of coronavirus, if you’re wondering. She was in Alaska and we’re in North Carolina, so we’ve been trying to take care of everything from here. We had two huge boxes of her papers and her daughter’s effects (both daughters are deceased) sent to our house. They were delivered yesterday, but nobody knocked or told us. They sat on our porch for at least 12 hours. Unfortunately it was raining the entire time. One box was standing in an inch of water when I found it.

We won’t be able to salvage all of it, there’s too much damaged, but I want to save at least some of it for my husband’s kids and grandkids. If any salvage experts, archivists, etc have any ideas, please let me know. PLEASE don’t point me toward salvage documents — I know about those. I’m looking for advice like, “Don’t bother with the posterboard items, they’re hosed,” or “You can keep your Kodak slides from getting water spots by doing x.”
It immediately brought to mind Kyla Ubbink's talk to Ottawa Branch last Saturday, so I ask Kyla what her advice would be. Here's her reply which is now posted on ResearchBuzz:
“I am certain that you have had the good sense to get everything out of the wet box, and spread it out on towels to air dry. Watch out for any mould growth, and if anything important (that you wish to save) develops mould, place it in a plastic bag and into the freezer. A conservator can kill the mould and reverse any staining.

As for undulations, warping and distortion there are ways of flattening the documents. You will need to humidify them in order to relax the fibers. Use a large plastic container with a lid. Place a wet towel, at room temperature, flat against the bottom of the container. Place a plastic grid, that is at least 0.5 inches thick (sold as “Eggcrate or Plaskolite Light Diffuser” at hardware stores, cut to size with wire cutters) over the wet towel. Place the documents onto the plastic grid, making certain the wet towel does not touch the documents.  You could probably get away with stacking about ten documents at a time. Place the lid over top and leave them sit for two hours, or until they feel slightly damp. Remove the documents, place them on a flat surface, place Plexiglas sheet or plastic cutting board over top of them (do not use wood or metal board), and add some weight overtop – about 5lbs or so should be enough. Let it sit like this for about a week and then check them, if not flat, let them sit for even longer. Do not use this technique if there is any chance of mould being present.

Any staining that has occurred due to the water damage can be reversed by a trained Professional Conservator. The quicker you have this done, the more successful the treatment will be; try to have any staining addressed within one year. This could get expensive, so pick and choose which items are most important. Stains contain products that will deteriorate the archival materials.

 You mentioned slides and seem to have a question about avoiding water spot. You could wipe the down with a Kim Wipe (or lint free tissue – not facial tissue) slightly dampened with 99% iso propyl alchol. Do not use rubbing alcohol, or disinfectant wipe; these contain impurities that will cause damage. A much better cleaning solution for film based materials is tetra chloroethylene, however, you would require a ventilation unit (not just sitting outside) and thick nitrile gloves to work with this chemical.

 If you have any specific questions, or would like to explore the options of using a conservator, I would be happy to provide advice – kyla@bookandpaperconservation.com.”


Ancestry Updates Surrey Parish Records

There's a substantial update, over 400,000 records added, to Ancestry's collection of Surrey parish records just placed online. A comparison with the number of records previously available, as of my last post on 10 October 2019 is in the table below.

 Title Dates Records Previous
 Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1538-1812 1,879,463 1,864,596
 Church of England Baptisms 1813-1917 2,504,849 2,262,611
 Church of England Marriages and Banns 1754-1937 1,206,228 1,108,226 
 Church of England Burials 1813-1997 565,353 519,990

Burials are added from 1987 to 1997. 

28 May 2020

Survey on Reopening Ottawa City Museums

Do you have an opinion? If so the City would like your feedback.
With the temporary closures of culture facilities due to COVID-19, we’d like to receive public feedback about returning to our new normal operations.

We would like the help of our community stakeholders to reach museum-goers. Please complete this survey yourself and feel free to share this survey link directly with any friends, family members, or local museum enthusiasts.

Please note we are following the Ontario Government for the timeline for reopening our outdoor spaces, facilities and programs. As we have heard from all levels of government, reopening will be determined by data and recommendations of public health officials.

By museum-goers taking a few minutes to complete the survey this will help us all in planning our reopening. These results, which we will share with you at future meetings, will address the types of measures we can put in place to make our public feel more comfortable coming back to our venues.

O/T: More Timely Civil Registration Data Needed

What do Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Belgium, England and Wales, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the USA have that Canada doesn't?

The Human Mortality Database recently added weekly death data for those 16 countries. For England and Wales, where deaths have to be registered within five days of the date of occurrence, weekly coverage is from January 2010 to 17 May 2020. While there are situations when this registration can be delayed this timely data captures major trends and is a basis for prompt action, not merely of historical interest.

This is the total death data, by week for England and Wales since January 2010. It showed COVID-19 death data through medical system sources were substantially underestimating fatalities.

Canada's provincial civil registration systems are letting us down.

27 May 2020

O/T: Family Lockdown

Thanks to Bruce Elliott (and Margot) for the tip.

Suggestions to LAC

Are there Library and Archives Canada holdings you'd like to be available online?

LAC have a large online presence for genealogy, notably census, military, immigration and land records. We are fortunate that it's all available without charge.

Through their partnership with Canadiana.ca, other large collections of monographs, serials and government publications held by LAC are online and also available without charge.
But that's only a minor proportion of LAC's holdings, most are only available to those who can get to a LAC physical facility, which is everyone during the pandemic lockdown. Even in normal times most people have the expense of travel, accommodation and the accompanying non-productive time to access documentary heritage not online. You have to deal with opening and closing times whereas the online experience is never, well hardly ever, closed.

While many LAC holdings can't be made available online owing to access restrictions much has been opened in recent years, thanks to block review, but not yet digitized.

You perhaps have your own favourites you'd like to access online. At present mine are passenger lists for repatriated servicemen and women, and war brides, for 1945 and 1946 on microfilms C-5623 to C-5655 and C-5714 to C-5725. Very timely.

Through their feed form I sent a suggestion to LAC.

Please make available online open access microfilms C-5623 to C-5655 and C-5714 to C-5725 which include passenger lists for repatriated WW2 servicemen and women and war brides for 1945 and 1946. I understand you may choose to make these available through Canadiana.ca.
Please help by also making this suggestion through the feedback form. Just cut and paste the paragraph above into the form and send it off. Only a few such suggestions should provide sufficient motivation to get it done.

If you have other suggestions, such as newspapers, don't hesitate — do it now.

25 May 2020

O/T: Longest Time - Quarantine Edition

Findmypast adds The War Illustrated 1939-1947

The War Illustrated 1939-1947 was a magazine that ran from September 16, 1939, to April 11, 1947. 255 editions were published, initially weekly, later biweekly.

Search results are available as a pdf document. There appears to be no way at FMP to select a particular issue and browse. Browsing is easy and free at The War Illustrated Archive.

The illustration is the cover of the issue published 75 years ago on this date, 25 May 1945.

Other releases from FMP last Friday were: United States, National Veterans Cemetery Index; Georgia World War II Draft Registration Cards 1940-1942; Louisiana Draft Cards.

CWGC Beechwood Cemetery: William Matthews

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission registration for William Matthews who died 25 May 1920 shows he was Company Quartermaster Sergeant and age 50. That would make his birth year 1870.

According to his service file, he enlisted on 22 February 1915 giving his birth as 24 December 1875 in Cornwall, England. Some of the documents in his service file show a middle initial J and his wife's name as Annie.

There's an 1896 Ontario marriage registration showing a William Matthews marrying Anna Thomas with his age as 28 implying birth ca 1868.  It gives his parent's names: Thomas and Mary. That's consistent with the 1901 census which has a birth date of 24 December 1868 and that he arrived in Canada in 1871.

It's not unusual for men to lie about their age when joining up. Did that lie carry over to his obit in the Ottawa Journal of 26 May 1920, which gives his name as William John Matthews? It informs "He was born in Cornwall. England, 45 years ago and came to Canada when a boy." That's consistent with an 1875 birth date. It also mentions a brother Thomas, sister Mrs. B Burnside, both of Ottawa, half-siblings John and Richard of Ottawa, as well as his children.

Tracing the siblings, a death registration for Thomas Matthews at Ottawa's Civic Hospital in 1943 gives his birthplace as Cornwall, date of birth 9 October 1867, and parents names Thomas and Grace (with Mugford added later).

There's an 1892 Ontario marriage registration for Mary Matthews, spouse Thomas Burnside. her parents are Thomas and Mary; they are repeated in the 1931 Beechwood burial register which gives her age as 59 (born 1872).

Three siblings with two different mothers?

I checked the 1871 census in England and found a family in the Cornwall registration district of Camelford, sub-registration district of Boscastle

First name(s)Last nameRelationshipMarital statusSexAgeBirth yearOccupationBirth place
ThomasMatthewsHead-Male241847-Cornwall, England
GraceMatthewsWife-Female221849-Cornwall, England
ThomasMatthewsSon-Male31868-Cornwall, England
WilliamMatthewsSon-Male21869-Cornwall, England
Mary GMatthewsDaughter-Female01871-Cornwall, England

There's an Ontario marriage in Ottawa for a Thomas Matthews, age 28 in 1877, born in Cornwall, marrying Mary Nichol.  It seems likely William, and his sister confused their mother and step-mother. There is a marriage between Thomas Henry Matthews and Grace Stevens in the registration district of Penzance in the third quarter of 1868.

Sergeant William John Matthews was a member of the 31st Battalion, transferred to the 2nd Battalion, died of heart disease and pneumonia and is interred in Section 29, Lot 14 at Beechwood Cemetery.

CWGC Beechwood Cemetery: Alfred John Lawrence

Alfred John Lawrence had his birth registered in Pancras, London in the 3rd quarter of 1874, the son of John Alfred and Mary (Spaul) Lawrence. He married Matilda Pluckrose on 12 September 1891 at St. Phillips Church, Dalston, Hackney giving is occupation as telegraphic engineer.

His obit in the Ottawa Journal of 26 May 1920 reads

Lieutenant Alfred John Lawrence of 350 Driveway avenue, who had seen 25 years service with the army of which 11 years were spent with the Imperial Army, died yesterday at a local hospital; the cause of his death (arteriosclerosis) was from overwork during the war. He was born 50 years ago in London, England, and during his military career he served chiefly In foreign stations, 15 years of which were spent in Canada with the Militia Department as Inspector of Ordnance machinery and during the recent war he was attached to the Department of the Director-General of Ordnance. He was ill for six months. He was very highly thought of by his superior officers and. comrades and his death is deeply regretted.

Surviving him were his widow, two sons, Archibald and John Lawrence, Ottawa; four daughters. Miss Marjorie Lawrence, Toronto, and the Misses Edith, Winnifred, and Grace Lawrence, of Ottawa, also two brothers and one sister in England.

He is interred in Lot 15. Sec. 29. 10 at Beechwood Cemetery.

24 May 2020

Around the Island: A Tour of Ireland in Photographs

The National Library of Ireland has more than 60,000 images of Ireland and Irish life available online. Photographs from the middle of the 19th century to the late 20th century.

Select photos from the advanced search at http://catalogue.nli.ie/Search/Advanced

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Model generated words that don’t exist in real life and definitions for said imaginary words. 

Ancestry Extra: Tuesday, 26 May at 10:00 a.m. EDT Filling in the Blanks – Moving Past BMD Records with Ontario Ancestors
Description: Steve Fulton UE will show you how to uncover the everyday details that bring your ancestors’ stories to life, using Ancestry collections and local genealogical society records from the Niagara region as a case study.   https://www.facebook.com/AncestryCA/

COVID-19 Deaths in Perspective
If the rate of COVID-19 deaths since the first in Canada on 9 March were to be the annual rate it would rank as the third leading cause of death, behind cancer and heart disease. At the present rate, by the end of the week the COVID-19 deaths this year will have leapfrogged Altzheimers and diabetes to become the 7th leading cause of death compared to the latest figures from Stats Can (for 2017). It seems likely it will surpass the annual average death toll for Canadian forces in WW2

Ancestry Extra: Thursday, 28 May at 12:00 p.m. EDT
The 21st Century Genealogist – Family History and AncestryDNA
Description: A key part of every family historian’s toolkit, AncestryDNA can help you break through genealogical brick walls, open up new avenues of research, or even kickstart a family history journey. Join us as ProGenealogist Angie Bush shares her tips and tricks for leveraging AncestryDNA in your family history research, and answers your DNA related questions.

MyHeritage adds Greek Records
Greece Electoral Rolls (1863–1924) —1,006,594 records, males ages 21+ eligible to vote. Corfu Vital Records (1841–1932) — 646,807 BMDs, Sparta Marriages (1835–1935) — 179,411 records with images.

War Brides of the First World War
According to this CBC video there were 35,000 war brides who came to Canada after the Great War.

Thanks to this week's contributors
Anonymous, Barbara T, Btyclk, Charles Godwin, Chuck Buckley, Daniel Horowitz, Don, Don Hobson, E Gail Benjafield, Glenn W, Jenna Bruno, Leslie Weir, Nancy in Kingston, Paul Armstrong, Susan, Unknown

23 May 2020

WW2 War Bride Age Anomaly

This is the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Britannic in Halifax, one of the first ships to bring Canadian serviceman war brides to their new home country after VE-day.
I've previously posted estimates of the number of war bride survivors. I had read that their age distribution has never been published so I made an estimate of median age 25 years on arrival in 1946.

It turns out that some of the outgoing passenger lists for those voyages do give ages. Two ships, the Drottningholm and Stavangerfjord recently came to my attention through a BIFHSGO Facebook post so I extracted the bride's ages.
The distribution is shown in the bar chart, median age 24. Not shown are the 11 in their 40s, 2 in their 50s and one in her 60s.

I do wonder how reliable the stats are? Would these women prefer to be 25 rather than 26 and 29 rather than 30?

The Missing Millionaire

Toronto Branch OGS's monthly meeting for May, open to all on Zoom, will take place on Monday 25 May beginning at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time).

Journalist Katie Daubs will tell about researching the mysterious disappearance of a Toronto theatre mogul in 1919 for her recently-published book The Missing Millionaire... Ambrose Small, and the resources she drew on to create a rich portrait of life in the city a century ago.  It's a cold case tale that is stranger than fiction!

In addition there's a short presentation by Michael Nettleton titled What will you find at the House of Industry?
Find out more.

Also check out the Ontario Research Lecture Series: Online.

22 May 2020

Ontario Archives Situations During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Archives Association of Ontario (AAO) Municipal Archives Interest Group have taken a COVID-19 situation survey of 17 Ontario archival organizations: Simcoe County Archives, Oxford County Archives, City of Toronto Archives, Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County, St. Marys Museum and Archives, City of Vaughan - Archives & Records Management Services, Museum of Dufferin, Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre, Stratford-Perth Archives, Grey Roots Museum & Archives (Grey County), City of Ottawa Archives, St. Catharines Museum, Lambton County Archives, Region of Peel Archives at PAMA, Dundas County Archives, Archives of Ontario, Norfolk County Archives.

The largest, the Archives of Ontario (AO), has 106 full-time employees and 6 part-time. All are working from home. In response to "What projects are staff working on, especially while physically
separated from your collections and facilities?" AO responded "...updating and revising internal documents like policies, procedures and protocols and reviewing our public-facing products such as research guides and pathfinders. Collections management analysis also continues, including description and authority record clean up and appraisal activities for both government and private records. More specifically, we continue to advance key initiatives and projects ... increasing our focus on engaging audiences via digital platforms, enabling increased digital access, working on digital online exhibits, creating online educational resources and maintaining an engaging social media presence, and conducting preparatory work in anticipation of a new collections management system.

The City of Toronto Archives, second largest with 20 employees, has some working from home, some not continuing to work. All 15 full-time and 1 part-time staff of The City of Ottawa Archives continue to be employed working from home except 2 who are redeployed.

Two of the smallest archives have no employees working.

All responses indicate that to the best of knowledge environmental conditions continue to be maintained for archives storage.

Thanks to Nicholas Moreau for AAO the information.

AAO has a collection of COVID-19 resources on collection care, documenting the pandemic and, working from home. The latter has a long list of things that can be done remotely.

Deceased Online adds Norwich Cemeteries: the Rackham Family

Rosary and Earlham Cemeteries, both owned and run by Norwich City Council, have just been published on www.deceasedonline.com.

Rosary Cemetery with 20,627 records, from 1821 to 2007 was the UK's first non-denominational burial ground. It has Grade II* listed status. It lies 1.5 km east of the city centre.

Earlham Cemetery with 170,930 records, from 1856 to 2008, is 2.4 km west of the city centre.

An illustration in the announcement of this addition showed a Rackham family entry in Earlham cemetery. Mary Elizabeth Mann, nee Rackham is the wife of my 1st cousin 4 times removed, so not a blood relative. As an author she was described as "brutal as Hardy, as sharply satirical as Thackeray."
She was born in Norwich on 14 August 1848 to merchant William Simon Rackham. With relatively few Rackhams in Norwich, or Norfolk, in the 1851 census it's likely the Thomas in the extract is of a previous generation. That's a rabbit hole I'll avoid at present.

21 May 2020

Ottawa Branch Meeting Online

This Saturday, 23 May at 1 pm tune in free on Zoom for a presentation by Kyla Ubbink on Preserving Family Archives.

Preserving Family Archives: Family documents, photographs, clippings, works of art, diaries, bibles, trinkets and treasures are the physical evidence that tell the stories of our ancestors. As genealogist, much these materials wind up in your care, and knowing how to preserve them is paramount to ensuring the longevity of these pieces of family history. This presentation will explore methods of employing archival principles of preservation to the care of family memorabilia. Current and up to date practices for storing archival materials, how to detect processes of deterioration, and methods of intervention will be shared within the context of practical ‘at home’ application. Topics include proper boxes and enclosures, the use of albums, shelving, climate control, pest and mould prevention, basic cleaning and repair, and digitization.

Register in advance at:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Genealogy Meetings Online: Survey Results

57 people took the survey Are Online Meetings Toooo Looooong?

31 (54%) regularly attend in-person meetings of a family history society
42 (74%) wanted societies to offer online presentations as a regular membership benefit. Of those who regularly attend meetings only one opposed online presentations.
31 (54%) were neutral on whether online family history society meetings should mirror to the extent possible the format of in-person meetings. 23% thought they should not, 16% that they should.
28 (49%) were of the view that the optimal length of time for a presentation online is 20 - 30 minutes. 37% favoured online meetings from 30 - 50 minutes.
The question on willingness to pay for online events should have been separated into one for meetings and another for conferences. My bad. A small majority indicated a willingness to pay.

Comments were:
  • Agree that presentations can be shorter but depends on the topic and how much there is to cover.  Thanks for setting up this survey.
  • I never considered it before.  But, shorter presentations make sense
  • Hard to say what is "optimal".  I think the availability of online presentations is reaching people who need it and so the more indepth we can go plus ample time for questions is Optimal.
  • Quality of speaker's voice matters to me.
  • The length of a session is dependent on the topic IMHO. Additionally, if the questions outweigh the length of the session, that usually indicates more should have been covered by the presentation 
  • Yes to a presentation, no to a conference. There was no way to give both of these answers.
  • Willingness to pay would depend on the potential quality Of the presentation. There is ample available material without a fee. 
  • For virtual meetings it would be good to see the speakers for announcements, introductions, start of presentations, and questions -- maybe the people asking questions too, if their cameras are on.
  • I think that given the demographic of genealogists and the restrictions on us going to public events, Zoom meetings will become more and more important, as we are discouraged from being together. I can cope with someone talking to me for about 40 minutes but presentations either live or online should not be longer than that. I would like to see online society meetings make better use of break out rooms where a few people could chat about the presentation. The social time and resulting friendships is an important part of why we belong to a society. On line presentations with members who live to far away to attend physically are also a great thing. Adapt or die.
  • Every time I have tried to do a presentation or register I have never been able to get registered????
  • Depends if we are still under lockdown. You did not make that clear. The on-line branch meetings are great for those of us who belong to many branches that we cannot travel to (e.g. Sudbury, Ottawa, Lanark. [We live in Toronto]. We have noticed attendance of over 200 people on-line - even some from America participating - don't get that many at physical meetings.
  • There are still members without a computer or a reliable high-speed connection. There are others who won't use many of the social media services. Genealogy meetings are social events which are much more enjoyable than sitting in front of a monitor.
  • "I do not attend Canadian online meetings because they are held in the middle of my night. Not all are repeated later for far afield members.
  • "
  • I would and have paid for specific online meetings or presentations but would not pay for online conferences. 
  • Thank goodness for ZOOM and similar platforms, that can keep us in touch, and provide on-line courses to us. I have now attended meetings in Ottawa, Kingston, Halton-Peel, & Toronto that would not have been otherwise possible. We may well be in this isolation boat for quite some time to come otherwise.
Thanks to all who took the survey, and in advance to those organizing events who consider these opinions in their planning.

O/T: Windows 10 Clipboard

I've struggled for a long while with copy (Ctrl+C) and paste (Ctrl+V). They or the right mouse click equivalent work well. But it has no memory back from the current item. That's annoying when you copied something, then something else but want to paste the former.

What I did not know until a couple of days ago is that Windows 10 has had a Clipboard since October 2018.

Activate it by following Settings > System > Clipboard. Then turn the Clipboard History switch on. You copy in the same way, but instead of Ctrl+V use Win+V - that's the key with the four window panes. A window opens and you select the item you want.

20 May 2020

When will LAC reopen?

The following information is from Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Leslie Weir.
We are being very cautious in our planning for return.  Our initial top priority is the safety and security of our staff.  We have a team looking at the building, people and work to find the best ways forward.  We will maintain telework in the long term and phase onsite work back in slowly while we practice social distancing and will define have isolation of all materials coming into the facility.  And we know that we need to be ready to return to the approach over the past 9 weeks at a moment’s notice. 
And we are planning for welcoming back our users, but in a later phase, likely during the summer.
Comment:   I'm sure we all support a prudent approach to reopening the LAC physical facilities. The closure reinforces the message that the more resources digitized and online the better LAC's ability to serve clients Canada-wide whatever the physical access conditions.

The Three County Geographical Genealogy (GeoGen) Mapping Project.

As previously mentioned, in the Documentary Heritage Community Program competition for 2020-21 GANS was successful in being awarded $24,964 for the Three County Geographical Genealogy (GeoGen) Mapping Project.

The following information was kindly supplied by Paul Armstrong, Project Manager.
"This is a joint venture among several Nova Scotia Heritage organizations formed last fall with an interest in preserving and digitizing a set of very interesting historical maps created in the late nineteenth century. The maps got their name from the cartographer, Ambrose Finson Church, who led and organized the work. They are referred to as the A.F. Church maps.
Preserving these maps is an important first step, but their importance is related to the uniquely valuable genealogical information on them. As part of his topographical mapping, Mr. Church identified the location of households on the map, and wrote in the first initial and last name of the owner or head of household beside the dot. With appropriate research, the surnames can be used as a means to create links to household-level census information and other genealogical and historical data.
At the end of November, these Heritage organizations issued a Public Announcement calling for donations of the original lithograph prints, and a considerable number of donations were received. The members of this joint venture, which happen to be located in three different counties, have moved forward with a project to physically conserve and digitize a partial set of these maps. Library & Archives Canada has generously agreed to help with the financial costs of this work.
The work ultimately leads to a connection between geographical and genealogical data. We are referring to it as the GeoGen Project."
Find further information at https://www.mircs.ca/geogen/

19 May 2020

LAC Co-Lab update for May

Here's the monthly update on Co-Lab challenges projects as of 18 May.


Diary of François-Hyacinthe Séguin is 16% complete (7% last momth)
Correspondence regarding First Nations veterans returning after the First World War is 96% complete (84% month)
Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 is 71% complete (69% last month).
The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters is 97% complete (93% last month)
New France and First Nations Relations is 78% complete (50% last month)


Women Lightkeepers: heroes by the sea is 96% complete (97% last month)
George Mully: moments in Indigenous communities is 2% complete.
Legendary Train Robber and Prison Escapee Bill Miner is 99% complete
War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division is 94% complete
Japanese-Canadians: Second World War is 64% complete


The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918–1919
Correspondence between Sir Robert Borden and Sir Sam Hughes
Letters from Wilfrid Laurier to Zoé Lafontaine/Laurier
Rosemary Gilliat (Eaton)’s Arctic diary and photographs (newly completed this month)


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 — I understand this is under review.

However, the last quarterly report posted was for the period July-Sept 2019. I'm told a report will be forthcoming by the end of the month.

Suggest a New LAC Co-Lab Challenge

Co-Lab is a Library and Archives Canada crowdsourcing tool aiming to make their content more accessible and usable through transcription, translation, tagging and description. LAC is actively seeking your ideas for challenges,

How do I suggest an idea for a challenge?We would love to hear your ideas! Please send us an email at bac.co-lab.lac@canada.ca with your suggestions. Make sure to include a reference number, MIKAN number or e-copy number for the record you are interested in seeing in a Co-Lab challenge.
I took up the challenge of making a suggestion and found one appropriate for the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

At present, there is no database of those who served in the Canadian forces during the War. The best source, service files, are restricted access. There is a source for those who served in Europe in the lists of repatriated servicemen and servicewomen. They are on open access microfilms for the Directorate of Movements at LAC in the range C-5630 to C-5650. A few of those are on Heritage, C-5636, C-5639, C-5649 and C-5650 but don't appear to be repatriation lists. The rest were not open (category 90) when those four were made available to Canadiana. They are open now.

As a start on this project, I've suggested to LAC the repatriation list for the Mauretania which transported 6,011 passengers to Halifax arriving on 10/11 December 1945. Reference:RG24-C-24-a. File number: HQC 63-303-1029. Microfilm reel number: C-5643.

What do you think? Would you help with the transcription?

When I get a response from LAC I'll post again.

If you have other suggestions for Co-Lab challenges don't hesitate to email to LAC.

18 May 2020

Why and How to Backup Your Computer

Computer guru Charles Godwin emailed me with a backup story.
My hard drive failed Thursday morning. I do daily backups. It took to Friday to get a new drive but I fully restored by late Friday to my backup Wednesday. Probably lost 4 hours of stuff, but in my case none was irreplaceable.
I was surprised to find out it was a 3-4-year-old solid-state drive (SSD) that failed. Charles replaced it with one with double the capacity for $100.

My backup is an external HDD, and extra insurance with a Backblaze account. Backblaze should save me if a disaster at home sends both my computer and external drive to technology heaven — leaving me in the other place.

A couple of days later I got a renewal notice from Backblaze. It worked smoothly a couple of times I tested it. So I renewed.

Backblaze offers an extra month service if you use this link, and I'll get an extra month too.

Are Meetings OnlineTooooo Loooong ?

Family history society meetings online are following the physical meeting format. Why do online presentations still have to be 50 minutes plus time for questions?

When you go to a meeting in person you may well spend as much time travelling to and from the event as in the meeting. Then there's time to dress to go out. You wouldn't do all that for a 10 or 20-minute presentation, but with an online meeting there's no special dressing, no travel or parking. So why continue with the physical meeting length presentations?

TED Talks are 18 minutes, "long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention. It turns out that this length also works incredibly well online." That's from The Science Behind TED's 18-Minute Rule.

You might be interested in this series of short talks organized by The Walrus in November 2019. The average talk is 7 minutes.

The average YouTube video is less than 5 minutes.

BIFHSGO holds Great Moments in Genealogy sessions twice a year with three of four presentations of 15 minutes each. They're usually the most population meetings of the year.

And with longer presentations, there's more Zoom Fatigue.

Please respond to the short survey. It may need a Google account.

Thanks for responding to the survey.

17 May 2020

Ancestry updates New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

So many people arrived in New York on their way to Canada, either as immigrants or returning from pleasure or business trips that it's worth noting Ancestry's update to this collection, now with 83,000,681 records.
There are also listings for arrival in NY from or via a Canadian port. For Montreal, there are 145,344 passengers, for Quebec City 35,451, for Halifax 257,526.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

The Huguenots: London's First Refugees

Some argue there's no such thing as ethnicity. Others want ethnicity recorded on death certificates in England and Wales to start building a clearer picture of the impact of Coronavirus.
As F. Scott Fitzgerald is quoted “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

Ancestry Extra: Monday, 18 May at 10:00 a.m. EDT
Keep Calm and Carry On: Tips and Tricks for Researching Your UK Ancestors
with Celia Heritage: Ancestry ProGenealogist https://www.facebook.com/AncestryCA/
Is there a prehistoric stone circle, row or other feature in the UK and Ireland near your ancestral home?

Famous Hope Quotes as Charts
See 10 more by Nathan Yau at https://flowingdata.com/2020/05/08/famous-hope-quotes-as-charts/

Thomas Annan's Glasgow
Slides from 1868 mapped to a location.

Are you at greater genetic risk from Covid-19?
If you have your data from 23andMe, AncestryDNA or any other provider, you can participate in an international study to help develop new ways of analyzing your genome data (including some new COVID-19 research) and you’ll learn more about yourself from your DNA. Find out more, and be sure you're satisfied with the privacy conditions.

Ancestry Extra: Thursday, 21 May at 12:00 p.m. EDT La Collection Drouin : un incontournable de la généalogie canadienne-française, with Luc Lépine https://www.facebook.com/AncestryCA/

Thanks to this week's contributors
Ann Burns, Anonymous, Btyclk, Gail B., HChambers, Jean, Jenna Bruno, K, M. Anne Sterling, Susan Courage, Unknown, William Cookman

16 May 2020

Ontario Civil Registration Marriages for 1938 on Ancestry

Have you been waiting for Ontario civil registration marriage records for 1938?

Ancestry is loading them to the collection Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-1938.

On Friday evening when I checked there were 12 for 1938, this morning 61,373, although the total number in the collection, 9,681,280, had not changed. I suspect there are more to come.

Findmypast adds UK Electoral Registers & Companies House Directors, 2002-2020

Over 1.5 million transcript records from the original register provided by 192.com. Each transcript gives name, year, street, town, district, county, country, postcode, address, district, age guide – provides the age range of the individual, electoral roll, occupancy (years), other occupants. A company director field will show if that person is listed on the Companies House Directors register.

This is the resource you need for tracing cousins and "lost" British friends.

Findmypast adds further WW2 Records

Durham Home Guard 1939-1945
Transcript records of 83,096 individuals who served in the Home Guard in the county of Durham between 1939 and 1945. The records consist of the enrolment forms and include name, birth date and regiment. There is also an entry for death which, unless they enrolled the deceased, is erroneous. All records appear to be for men. The records are from The (UK) National Archives series WO 409  .

Faces of The Fallen 1939-1945
Over 1,000 photographic images of service personnel who lost their lives in World War 2 originally published in The War Illustrated magazine. They cover all branches of the British armed forces.

15 May 2020

Surnames dictionary goes free during lockdown

According to an article from The Guardian, The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland is online for free for a limited time - one week.

Compiled by a team of researchers from UWE Bristol, it includes every surname that currently has more than 100 bearers, and all those that had more than 20 bearers in the 1881 census. That's tens of thousands of family names.

When I tried it here the site couldn't be reached. Try later if that's your experience.

Thanks to Susan Courage for the tip.

Newspaper Digitization Milestone

New Zealand, a country with a population about one-eighth that of Canada, has achieved six million pages digitized through the Papers Past initiative of the National Library of New Zealand. Read about it here.

To put the achievement in perspective, six million pages is 1.25 pages per person.

Australia's digitized newspaper collection TROVE, from the National Library of Australia, has 23,498,368 pages or 0.94 pages per person.

Both are free to full-text search and view.

When complete later this year the British Newspaper Archive, a cooperative project from the British Library, will comprise 40 million pages, or 0.60 pages per person on a subscription basis.

In Canada, how is Library and Archives Canada doing?  Neither the LAC project that digitized four First Nation’s titles, nor the Canadiana.ca newspaper digitization initiative gives the number of pages digitized.

14 May 2020

FreeBMD May Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 7 May 2020 to contain 274,673,618 unique records (273,825,854 at previous update).

Years with major additions, greater than 5,000 records are: for births 1982, 1984-89; for marriages 1964, 1969, 1986-88; for deaths 1984-86. 1988.


Kingston Branch OGS May Meeting Online

On Saturday, 16 May 16, 2020, at 10:00 am, Bob Dawes from Quinte Branch OGS will talk about “The Family History Reno Project”.
Most genealogists consider a DO-OVER as a way to correct inaccuracies that have crept into their family history file over time. We all improve on our research and recording skills as we get more experienced, leaving a lot of our earlier research questionable. Also, new databases and resources become available which might confirm or discount an earlier decision we made about an ancestor. 
There are two ways to approach this reconstruction: 
• The easy way or top-down approach where we methodically re-visit everyone in our file
confirming dates and adding or editing information about new individuals and events.
• The hard way or bottom up approach involves starting a new family file with ourselves and adding our parents and so on with the associated proof and sources. 
This presentation will discuss the easy, top-down approach which also allows you to continue your research while cleaning up any inaccuracies at the same time.

13 May 2020

Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia Awarded LAC Funding

In the Documentary Heritage Community Program competition for 2020-21 GANS was successful in being awarded $24,964 for the Three County Geographical Genealogy (GeoGen) Mapping Project.

There's no further information about the project available. I'll post further when I get a response from GANS. In the meantime see https://legacy.stoepel.net/en

Find the list of 40 projects funded by the DHCP for 2020-21 here.

Wealthier Grandparents: Healthier Grandchildren

A study Grandparents’ wealth and the body mass index trajectories of grandchildren by Ying Huang published 30 April 2020 published in PLOS ONE finds that

Grandparental wealth is a critical SES marker that can play a pivotal role in influencing their grandchildren’s weight status beginning in early childhood. Grandparental wealth is an important financial resource that shapes the opportunities structure that a child faces and the environment that a child lives in. Grandparental wealth may play a role in influencing grandchildren’s BMI growth trajectories through the “purchasing” function of wealth. In other words, grandparental wealth may help grandchildren to access material goods and services that mitigate obesity risks. 
Is the author suggesting a subsidy program for grandparents in concluding "elevating the wealth levels of the grandparent generation could potentially reduce their grandchildren’s obesity risk"?

How are you coping during COVID-19?

Researchers from Ontario and Quebec health institutions have launched a study to examine the psychological, social, and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the general population and in people receiving care from hospitals in these provinces.

Sharing your experiences could lead to the design of better tools to help people cope when the world around them suddenly changes.

Do you have time to help? It should take between 20 and 65 minutes to complete the online survey asking about your current living and study/work situation, your physical and mental wellbeing, and how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting your life. 

Find out more including about privacy before starting the survey at http://uottawapsy.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dmS38xaFQeSxRB3

12 May 2020

Short time Ancestry Free Access

Free to access on Ancestry for a very limited time — 12 May 2020 at 10 a.m. EDT to 13 May at 10 a.m. EDT. :

London, England, Poor Law School District Registers, 1852-1918
Canada Census collection
UK Census Collection
Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-1937
Canada, WWI CEF Personnel Files, 1914-1918
With a library membership, these records are available through Ancestry Library Edition which is also free at home for a limited time.

Florence Nightingale at 200

Today 12 May 2020 we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale.

In founding the first nursing school, at St. Thomas's Hospital in London in 1860, she helped raise nursing to the status of a profession.

She was a proficient statistician, not the only reason I feel an affinity, and the first woman admitted to the Royal Statistical Society.

It's a mark of her continuing influence that the UK used her name for emergency COVID-19 hospitals.

The Road Less Travelled

Dick Eastman posted an opinion piece on his blog on Monday — Is This the End of Genealogy Conferences as We Have Known Them? It's timely, but I'm left wondering what he really thinks.

He writes in response to a reader query:
“Every time I look at a genealogy website these days I see lists of events which are cancelled or postponed. Some societies have adjusted to this by offering webinars or remote sessions via Zoom. We are left wondering if we will ever meet in groups, or go to our local Family History Center again. Or is this the end of genealogy as we have known it?”
Dick's opinion is "I believe the opposite is true. I believe we are seeing the new opportunities being offered to many more genealogists, opportunities we never had before."

But then Dick proceeds to list the problems with large conferences, especially costs of travel, not even mentioning the contribution of aircraft emissions to climate change. He lists the advantages of online virtual conferences and writes "I hope (they) will become more and more popular in the future, even after the present pandemic fades away."

It's not clear if Dick expects large conferences to return in the numbers and popularity of late or what the new opportunities are except for events online.

For many organizations, genealogical and family history societies included, conferences have been significant contributors to the revenue side of the balance sheet. Now with so much more easily and relatively inexpensively available online how many such presentations will we want to attend? Will societies be able to compete with familytreewebinars which has a 10-year headstart and for $50US a year offers access to more than a thousand archived presentations with new ones added every week and free to view for a few days?

The glue that keeps organizations together is the social side. Event attendees, and organizers, get to be friends. Will the glue hold if social distancing continues to have to be practiced?  Let's hope it is relaxed, if and only when risk assessors judge it prudent. If there's a second wave that could be many months.

What other new opportunities does Dick imagine?

With the pandemic, we are travelling down a road less travelled. What will the new journey entail?

Ottawa Public Library Annual Report and Second Quarter 2019 Performance

Today at 5 pm the Ottawa Public Library Board will hold its monthly meeting via Zoom. The agenda and documents are posted at https://app05.ottawa.ca/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=7912&doctype=AGENDA

The OPL Annual Report 2019 is on the agenda for information. Written by OPL management, not the Board, it is a publicity piece emphasizing the positive. Activities are covered and services provided quantified. The highlight was the work toward the design of the future Ottawa Public Library-Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility at 555 Albert Street which attracted input from more than 4,000 people. The only challenge mentioned is that of fair library pricing and access to eContent.

The following agenda item is the semi-annual performance report for July - December 2019. During the period OPL achieved improved results in six of its nine Key Performance Indicator measures — Percent of Available Meeting Room Hours Booked, Percent of Physical Materials Checked Out, Reach and Awareness Ratio, Total Cardholders Active in the Last 12 Months, Total Circulation, and Total Program Attendance per Square Foot. The KPI was not met for Electronic Visits, Cost Per Library Use, and Hold Time to Availability.

The number of cardholders active increased by 2.8%. Sustained over four years that would achieve an 11.7% increase. That's less than half the increase needed to reach the 2020-2023 Strategic Statement’s goal of 25% growth. How will that be achieved, or will it need rethinking in the new circumstance for library service?

11 May 2020

OGS/Ontario Ancestors Virtual Conference 2020

What are you doing on 6-7 June? Some of us will attend the first OGS/Ontario Ancestors Virtual Conference in lieu of the planned Hamilton conference.

Here's what's on offer:

Find out about registration and bonus sessions in the days leading up to the weekend at https://virtual2020.ogs.on.ca/

TheGenealogist adds Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Oxfordshire Tithe Maps

The addition of black and white tithe maps for four English counties linked to the apportionment books will enable researchers to find the details of the plots, their owners and their occupiers at the time that the survey was taken in Victorian times.  By using the Map Explorer™ controls the researcher can then see how the landscape changes over time with the aid of the georeferenced historical and modern map layers.
Tithe maps and records were drawn up from 1836 to the 1850s, with additional altered
apportionments in later years when property was sold or divided. Tithes record levels of society from large estate owners to occupiers of small plots such as a homestead or a cottage.

Find out more in this article from TheGenealogist.

10 May 2020

YouTube: War Children - DNA

Follows four Dutch people who were born just after the Second World War and who suspect all their lives that their unknown father was a soldier. The track runs to Canada, America and France. But only thanks to the latest DNA techniques was the riddle is finally solved. Who was their father?
In Dutch, English and French with English or Dutch subtitles. Keep the Kleenex handy!

This is one of a Dutch series "War Children" that ran weekly from mid-March.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

VE Day as reported by British newspapers
"The Guardian paid particular attention to neutral Ireland, where only days earlier the Taoiseach, Eamon de Valera, had called on Dr Hempel, the German ambassador to express condolences for Hitler who had committed suicide on April 30."

Ancestry Extra Presentations

Researching British Home Children 
Date: Tuesday, May 12
Time: 10:00 a.m. EDT
Where: Ancestry Canada Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/AncestryCA/)
Description: From the late 1860s right up to 1948, over 100,000 children of all ages were sent to Canada from the United Kingdom. Known as the British Home Children, they are the ancestors of an estimated 10% of Canada’s current population. Join us as genealogist Gloria Tubman shares her advice and guidance on identifying the British Home Children in your family tree, and walks us through the resources available for uncovering their stories. 
We Must Have Swam Over - Research Strategies, Tips and Tricks for Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors 
Date: Thursday, May 14
Time: 12:00 p.m. EDT
Where: Ancestry Canada Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/AncestryCA/)
Description: Finding your immigrant ancestors can be tricky. Join us as Cara MacDonald, Manager of Reference Services at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, shares her research process and tips for locating those hard to find immigration records. From the "why" behind being unable to locate difficult records to effective wildcard searching and gathering information from non-immigration sources, this workshop will help take your genealogy skills to the next level.
Debutantes at the St Andrew's Ball in Montreal, 1897-2019
Archivist Gillian Leitch has compiled this list of 2131 debutantes and 111 escorts.

The Preparation of Records for Deceased Online

Why Are More Men Than Women Dying Of COVID-19, except in Canada?
An in-depth study of 5683 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in England and Wales (unrefereed) found that death from COVID-19 was strongly associated with: being male (hazard ratio 1.99, 95%CI 1.88-2.10). Data for 48 countries reporting at Global Health 50/50 show only Canada with more COVID-19 deaths for women than men. Why? See also FiveThirtyEight.

Thanks to this week's contributors
Brenda Dunne, David Thompson, Glenn Wright, Jenna Bruno, John McConkey, K. Clifford, Sophronia, Unknown.