30 June 2020

The Week's Online Genealogy Events

Choose from online events in the next four days. All times at ET.

Tuesday 30 June, 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from OGS Ottawa Branch and The Ottawa Public Library. Join here.

Tuesday 30 June, 10 pm: The 1939 Register for Family Historians, by Fiona Brooker. Information and register here.

Wednesday 1 July, 11am:  Irish Research Q&A, with Fiona Fitzsimons and Brian Donovan (FMP)

Wednesday 1 July, 2 pm ET:  Three Key Canadian Resources from MyHeritage, and some Free Websites, by John D Reid, at www.facebook.com/myheritage/.

Friday 26 June, 11 am: Friday's Live, with Ellie (FMP)

British Newspaper Archives additions for June

The British Newspaper Archive now has a total of  37,517,070 pages online (37,141,188 last month).

24 papers (6 last month) had pages added in the past month. There were 12 (2) new titles. Dates ranged from 1747 to 1991. The South Yorkshire Times and Mexborough & Swinton Times, with
48,996 pages from 1877 to 1959, is the major addition.

The complete list of additions during the month:

29 June 2020

My Canada Day Presentation for MyHeritage

At 2 pm ET on Canada Day I shall be on Facebook with Canadian Esther Shuman, now working with MyHeritage in Israel, talking about Canadian resources on MyHeritage, and some complimentary free Canadian genealogical resources.
It's part of the MyHeritage Facebook Live series and available for replay after the event. It would be good to have a few friends online while it's live.
I'll be featuring the census, exclusive newspaper and military resources available through MyHeritage illustrating their use with an Ottawa case study.
Come join me at 2 pm EDT at www.facebook.com/myheritage 

The Reopening in Ottawa - Maybe

The first GLAM institution in Ottawa to reopen to the public is announced.

"The National Gallery of Canada announced on 26 June that it will reopen on Saturday, 18 July 2020. For this first phase of reopening, the NGC will reduce its operations to four days, from Thursday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. The number of visitors will be also limited to ensure the safety of the public and Gallery staff."

The Canadian Museum of Nature is tentatively planning to reopen in September.

There is no indication of an opening date for other NCR cultural attractions, the Canadian Museum of History, Canadian War Museum, Canadian Science and Technology Museum, Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum, Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, and Library and Archives Canada.

Similarly, there is no reopening news for the Bytown and other museums in the
Ottawa Museum Network.

There is no further news on any reopening of city facilities, including the City Archives. Meeting facilities seem likely to remain closed for some time.

Although this is an inconvenience let's understand and support prudence in reopening.

OGS President Steve Fulton on Advocacy

As shown at the top of the society website, advocacy is one of three signature OGS activities.

In his latest video, linked within the Ontario Ancestors eWeekly Update - 27 June 2020 and also on the society website, President Fulton talks about advocacy. It's in response to a query from a gentleman — I wonder who that might be?

Steve prefers to use the term Outreach rather than Advocacy. In the video, he mentions activities like attending RootsTech and digitization of the North Bay Nugget newspaper that he and another volunteer  (volunteers?) are doing as outreach. Good initiatives.

Google the terms. Advocacy is defined as "public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy." The definition of Outreach is "the extent or length of reaching out." Outreach is a more inclusive term that might be interpreted to include the other two signature activities, education and preservation.

Pure advocacy has an OGS history with effective initiatives going back many years such as preservation of cemeteries, the release of the census, recognition of home children, preservation of land records, and more. OGS used its corporate voice, along with others, to promote action for the benefit of our community and Canada.

Organizations like the Archives of Ontario and Library and Archives Canada identify family historians as their largest client group. They want to serve those clients well, but can only do so if they know what they want. Part of the difficulty they face, especially at the national level, is that there is no single voice speaking for the whole genealogical community. That's unlike librarians, archivists, historians, publishers and authors who have organizations they can include in consultations.

Unless you identify and communicate what you want how will AO and other organizations with which we interact know what we want?  Being consulted doesn't mean getting what you want, but as a community, we need our respected representative organizations like OGS to make our needs known. If not others with other interests and strong voices make their priorities known and win out.

28 June 2020

Tracing Family and Friends online

From Archives and Collections @ the Library of Birmingham (UK), a blog post covering, in five easy to follow categories, ways to reconnect with those in the UK you've have lost touch with or not seen in a while:
Telephone Directories
Marriage, Death & Burial Indexes
Electoral registers
Message Posting services
Tracing services

Also, check out their list of useful website for archives in the West Midlands at https://theironroom.wordpress.com/useful-websites-in-the-west-midlands/

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

If you enjoyed Catherine Tate in the video posted with David Tennant a few weeks ago

Why good people manage badly
Executives will almost always prefer to spend tens of millions on new IT systems (that rarely improve company performance) rather than spend 15 minutes a month speaking to front-line employees directly.

Why the Anthropocene began with European colonisation, mass slavery and the ‘great dying’ of the 16th century
An opinion piece from Mark Maslin, Professor of Earth System Science, University College London and Simon Lewis, Professor of Global Change Science at the University of Leeds and, UCL.

Free Scottish Indexes Conference - 11 July 2020 
The first few presentations at this online event are announced. Donations accepted to cover costs.

Thanks to this week's contributors: Anonymous,  BT, Btyclk, Dorothy Kew, E Gail Benjafield, Jon, Lisa Tremblay-Goodyer, Norm Prince, Paul Milner, Stephanie Stone, Unknown

27 June 2020

Findmypast Weehly Update: Saskatchewan Vital and England & Wales Roman Catholic Records

Canada, Saskatchewan Vital Records Birth Index has 64,614 records from 1867 to 1919. The coverage is incomplete, especially before 1885 and after 1908.
It's a fairly complete index with first and last name, sex, birth year, birth date, birthplace, father's and mother's first and last names.

Canada, Saskatchewan Vital Records Death Index has 55,302 records from 1893 to 1949. In addition to name, sex and death date the records may include parents' names, but not age

The above are freely available at the Saskatchewan eHealth website.

England Roman Catholic Parish Registers
Exclusive baptism, marriage, burial and congregational records from the Archdiocese of Southwark are added to the Findmypast Catholic collection.
Baptisms from 84 parishes in Kent and Surrey are typically from 1884 to 1910, a total of 213,484 records.
Marriages from 71 parishes are typically from 1892 to 1910, a total of 51,718 records.
Congregational records for 64 parishes, the bulk for Southwark Catherdal,  are typically from 1883 to 1909 and total 127,090 entries.
Burials typically from 1879 to 1910 total 22,403 records in 35 parishes.

England & Wales, Roman Catholics, 1717
In partnership with The National Archives, FMP adds to this collection which now has 107,019 records from the Forfeited Estates Commission: abstracts of estates of Popish recusants.

"Abstracts of estates usually incorporate alphabetical lists of convicted recusants registered in the various counties and some towns, in England and Wales. The returns include those estates which were described in the register, but for which no valuation was given.

Included is a large collection of deeds and other documents produced before the Commissioners of the Forfeited Estates and relating to the estates of persons attainted during the rebellion of 1715. Some of these documents date back at least to the sixteenth century. They are arranged for the most part under the names of the attainted persons. They include original claims of the various persons upon the several estates forfeited to the Crown; proceedings of the commissioners, including correspondence, minutes and memoranda, accounts, lists and schedules, and inventories of documents; returns by clerks of the peace of the names and estates of papist recusants in England and Wales arranged by counties; rentals and particulars of estates sold; and information respecting lands given to superstitious uses."

26 June 2020

Ancestry Opens Canadian Records for Canada Day

Ancestry's Canadian census, immigration, marriage records and much more are now open, with registration, until the end of day 1 July.  To see the full list of records available click here.

Update from LAC Reference Services

The following is information I received in an email from Lisa Tremblay-Goodyer, Director, Reference Services, Public Services Branch, Library and Archives Canada.

Online services to the public continue to be available through the website and by telephone at 1-866-578-7777 (toll-free in Canada and the United States). Orientation, reference and genealogy teams have continued to be active in helping researchers with navigating our website and advancing research via digital collections.

This “opportunity” has been used to tackle various projects with an aim toward improving access to LAC’s collection: research guides, linking of digitized images of the collection to our online descriptions, renewal of webpages. As an example, the Reproduction Web section has been redesigned and is now called Copy services. It was restructured to, hopefully, make it easier for clients to find the information they need with regard to our online services (Home> Services for the Public > Copy services at LAC). The Collection Search tool is improved by adding a new and improved viewer to ease access to LAC’s collection of digitized material.

For now, all public service points and consultation rooms are and will remain closed until further notice, and Copy services are also suspended. There's no official reopening date to announce yet, currently planning underway for how and when gradual reopening of our service points across Canada will occur. It is a complex process, and the health and safety of employees and users are key concerns.

COVID-19: Latest update for LAC’s public services and programming: https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/news/Pages/2020/service-points-closed.aspx

Ottawa Branch Publications

The following is a reminder, posted to Facebook by Mike More.

Since 1973, Ottawa Branch of The Ontario Genealogical Society has produced over 250 publications to assist genealogists and family historians in researching their ancestral roots.

Most of these publications relate to the counties of Eastern Ontario for which the Branch has particular responsibility: Carleton, Lanark, Renfrew and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. However, a number also cover other counties of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. These publications include cemetery inscriptions and burial records, census records and indexes, vital statistics from local newspapers, parish registers and records, and land, settlement and immigration records.

All of these publications are now available on the Global Genealogy website which can be found at:

If your ancestry includes people in Eastern Ontario there could be gold in them thar hills books.

25 June 2020

Dictionary of Old Occupations and JSTOR

During her Facebook presentation on occupations for Findmypast on Wednesday Jen Baldwin mentioned a couple of resources that caught my attention.

From Family Researcher, the Dictionary of Old Occupations: A-Z Index at https://www.familyresearcher.co.uk/glossary/Dictionary-of-Old-Occupations-Index.html. Jobs are listed alphabetically by job title; browse through the dictionary to find interesting and obscure old occupations and their definitions. What did a Loblolly Boy do? Is a Looker what you'd think?

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. Jen mentioned using it to explore the historical background of something that comes up in family history research. It could be almost anything, railroads, an occupation, an event ...

There's normally limited free access but during the current COVID-19 crisis, JSTOR and participating publishers are making additional content freely available. Get the details at https://about.jstor.org/get-jstor/.

This is another resource that can lead you well off the path of initial interest. Before I knew it I'd rediscovered the Return of Owners of London 1872-73 database on Ancestry.

Summer Highlight: Glenn Wright — Ottawa Branch OGS June Meeting

Tune in on Saturday 27 June at 1 pm when Glenn Wright will be speaking on:

Dr. Henry P. Wright and the Mystery of His Family Photographs; or The Royal Navy, Napoleon and the Improvement of Health Care in Late 19th Century Ottawa

Dr. Henry P. Wright (b. 1851), no relation to Glenn, born, raised and educated in Canada, was one of the best-known and influential medical doctors in Ottawa for many years until his untimely death in 1898. More than 115 years later, a packet of family photographs was sent from a woman in England to Ottawa Branch because the photos had an Ottawa “connection.” Important as it was that the photos were returned to Ottawa, who was Dr. Henry Wright and how did photos of his family find their way to England more than a century ago? Learn the answer to these questions and more in this exploration of Dr. Henry Wright, his family and his contribution to late 19th century Ottawa.

All are invited to this Zoom meeting. Register in advance at


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

24 June 2020

Bye Bye Genographic Project

After fifteen years of research, the public participation phase of this research project will end on June 30, 2020. After that time, National Geographic’s Geno website will be discontinued and “Geno” DNA Ancestry Kit results will no longer be available on the website or otherwise.

If you tested you can save your results by going to the Genographic Project website prior to June 30, 2020, and downloading a printable version of your results through the Print Your Results link available on your individual results homepage.

Without my results I'd have remained ignorant of my 2.2% Neanderthal ancestry, the average is 2.1% or my 1.5% Denisovan, the average is 2.1%.

The Festival of St John the Baptist

A post on Spilalfields Life blog by Margaret Willes introduces her new book The Domestic Herbal, Plants for the Home in the Seventeenth Century to be published by the Bodleian Library on 26th June. It includes the following about today's festival.

There was also a floral tradition at the opposite part of the year, to celebrate the festival of St John the Baptist on 24th June. John Stow in his chronicles of London described how every door was garlanded with birch, fennel, orpine and lilies. Orpine, a sedum, has the alternative names of ‘livelong’ because of its lasting qualities, and ‘midsummer men’ because of its connections with the summer festival. Another herb connected with midsummer was mugwort, which Culpeper attributed to Venus, hastening delivery in childbirth. Along with St John’s Wort, the herb was burnt on St John’s Eve to purify communities, probably one of a series of examples of how a pagan practice was adopted by the Church.

23 June 2020

Internet Genealogy: June/July 2020

There was a delay in getting this issue out from the publisher, and further delay in providing this annotated table of contents.

Vivid-Pix RESTORE: More Than Just Photos, George G. Morgan looks at the genealogist’s best friend for retouching and restoring all sorts of difficult images. 
George gushes about the software capabilities, the images showing the improvement are impressive. There is no comparison with other utilities which now include the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer.

In Search of a Cure: Sanatoriums and Our Ancestors, Sue Lisk highlights websites about tuberculosis sanatoriums and the experiences of patients who received treatment.
Covers the situation in the US and Canada.

Free Luxembourg Records Online, Julie Cahill Tarr examines resources available for researching ancestors from Luxembourg

Coroners’ Inquests: Death Records by Another Name, Diane L. Richard looks at where to find the records completed by coroners.
The focus is North Carolina. There is a listing of a few records elsewhere including Middlesex County [Ontario Canada], Coroner Investigations and Inquests,  1831-1893.

Victorian Tax Rolls for Scottish Research, Christine Woodcock recommends a visit to the free ScotlandsPlaces website to understand how your ancestors were taxed.
Includes a list of 11 different taxes that were levied in Scotland at various times.

Remembering the Forgotten: Stories of British Home Children, Sue Lisk looks at websites that share the experiences of Canada’s “home children”.
Early in this article, Sue writes about home child experiences "The results were mixed. The topic remains controversial."

First Look @ Heredis 2020, Tony Bandy looks at the latest version of  Heredis genealogy software.
Tony recommends "try before you buy." Like most software, there's a learning curve and you need to be convinced it's worth switching.

Holland America Line Ticket Sales Registers Online: 1900-1920, John M. Hoenig explains that this source can have some surprises for genealogists.
A concise article about a new database from the City Archives of Rotterdam.

British Online Archives, Diane L. Richard discovers the BOA and its extensive collections of unique primary source documents
Now described as 3,832,343 records covering 1000 years of world history: from politics & warfare, to slavery & revolution. One I didn't know.

Military Sounds: Drums, Trumpets, Bugles & Fifes, David A. Norris looks at military musical sounds your ancestors may have performed

Net Notes: Internet Genealogy looks at websites and related news that are sure to be of interest

Back Page: Seek the Hidden Stories Behind the Bare Facts, Dave Obee looks at how disease has shaped  your family tree

The Week's Online Genealogy Events

Choose from online events in the next six days. All times at ET.

Tuesday 23 June, 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from OGS Ottawa Branch and The Ottawa Public Library. Join here.

Tuesday, 23 June, 2pm ET: Working with SuperSearch™ to Find the Correct Historical Records, by Daniel Horowitz, Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Register here.

Tuesday, 23 June, 7pm: Epidemics in Quebec Parish Records, by Marielle Cote Gendreau, Quebec Family History Society. Information here.

Wednesday 24 June, 11am ET:  Occupational History, by Jen Baldwin (FMP)

Wednesday, 24 June, 2pm ET: Utilizing the HathiTrust Digital Library for Family History... by Colleen Robledo Greene, Register here

Thursday, 25 June. Nothing Live! Check out CeCe Moore's keynote from I4GG earlier this month here.

Friday 26 June, 11 am: Friday's Live, with Alex Cox (FMP)

Saturday 27 June, 1 pm ET:  Dr. Henry P. Wright and the Mystery of His Family Photographs; or The Royal Navy, Napoleon and the Improvement of Health Care in Late 19th Century Ottawa, by Glenn Wright, from OGS Ottawa Branch, Register here.

22 June 2020

Deserving Poor — British Women to BC

When you research war brides and start Googling it's surprising what you find.

You've heard of Filles du Roi. Did you know of the much later somewhat parallel immigration to the West Coast?

Voyages of Hope: The Saga of the Bride-Ships by Peter Johnson tells the story of the ships Marcella, Tynemouth, Robert Lowe and Alpha which in total from 1861 to 1870 brought 116 "eligible" women to the colonies now part of British Columbia.

Read a summary in Haphazard History: The bride ships of Europe by Barry Sale

O/T: LRT Live

Mapping London posted about TUBE CIRCUIT BOARD WITH LIVE TRAIN LOCATIONS showing trains running, live, on a custom-made circuit board.
An array of lights, one for each tube and DLR station, uses open data from Transport for London to show the approximate positions of the full fleet of trains running along the various lines. As trains enter stations, the corresponding LED will light up. So, at a glance, you can see if the Piccadilly Line is down again.

Not to be outdone, here's the array for Ottawa's LRT on Sunday.

Don't wait for the lights for too long. The system is shut down again!

21 June 2020

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

The Canadian Statistics Hall of Shame
Shame on you Ontario, New Brunswick and the Yukon.
Statistics Canada has started publishing weekly death counts, by age group and sex. The most recent data, published on Friday, is for the week of 2 May, which itself is tardy. There's no data for Ontario, New Brunswick and the Yukon.

Theses Canada
An update from the last information on updating and opening this Library and Archives Canada facility. Staff have continued to harvesting theses working from home, 14 universities are now harvested. There are still a few technical issues to iron out with the catalogue vendor before these will be available online.

Canada Coast to Coast in 2 Minutes
A lovely animated two-minute film from Mercury Filmworks. To view it go to https://blog.toonboom.com/this-animation-shows-canada-coast-to-coast-in-2-minutes? and scroll down.

If You Want to Go Far, Go Together (doing more with more)
An article by retired Librarian and Archivist of Canada  Guy Berthiaume. “If You Want to Go Far, Go Together: The Collaboration among the GLAM Community in Canada (2016–2019).” Research Library Issues, no. 300 (2020): 6–17. https://doi.org/10.29242/rli.300.2.

Colors from RadioLab
To what extent is colour a physical thing in the physical world, and to what extent is it created in our minds? https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/episodes/211119-colors

Ancestry's title Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1531-1812 is updated with records for the parish of Babcary from 1648 to 1812.

Paul Milner Book Review: Tracing Your Georgian Ancestors 1714-1837: A Guide for Family Historians by John Wintrip

Recovery podcast part three — The slow recovery after the combined shock of Spanish flu and the first world war –https://theconversation.com/the-slow-recovery-after-the-combined-shock-of-spanish-flu-and-the-first-world-war-recovery-podcast-part-three-140877

Thanks to this week's contributors: Anonymous, Arlene, BT, Cliff, Gail B, Susan, Unknown.

20 June 2020

The Reopening in Ottawa - NOT

A special meeting of the Ottawa Public Library Board next Tuesday will consider a proposed OPL COVID-19 RECOVERY PRIORITY 2-5 PLAN — https://app05.ottawa.ca/sirepub/cache/2/1jmsuyzro4mmdy2uurqww1su/64364406202020081341826.PDF.

Here's an extract

Many of the agencies and organizations that partner with OPL are currently planning virtual programs only for both the summer and early fall and have not yet committed to a start date for in-person programs. At present, Hamilton Public Library and Vaughan Public Library have cancelled all in-branch programs until 2021, and other public libraries have suspended in-branch programs until further notice.
Since the pandemic, OPL has pivoted to providing virtual programs, including partnered author events such as the Tech Café, weekly storytimes and babytimes, and all programs tied to our Aging Well at the Library initiative funded by the City of Ottawa`s Older Adult Plan. These programs have been well attended, and staff are currently planning virtual programs for the summer and into the fall. OPL will continue to review the need for their meeting room spaces and requirements for physical distancing, and will bring back in-branch programming when permitted under the provincial re-opening plans, when space is available, when it is safe to do so for both employees and customers, and when staff have the ability to plan and promote accordingly.
I don't read that as encouraging for organizations such as Heritage Ottawa and the Historical Society of Ottawa that use OPL meeting facilities for their popular events. It seems likely meeting facilities at other city buildings will be similarly affected.

Toronto Branch OGS June Meeting

The Toronto Branch meeting on Monday, June 22 at 8:00 p.m. will follow the members’ only Annual General Meeting.

Popular speakers Carol Ufford and Dawn Kelly will be back with Murder and Mayhem / Settlers and Sinners / Colonists and Criminals—More Thrilling Stories from New France.

Learn about unusual deaths, illegitimate children, and a little witchcraft — and the resources they used to piece together details and flesh out the characters involved.

Find out more and register in advance at https://torontofamilyhistory.org/.

Findmypast weekly update

Britain, Royal and Imperial Calendars 1767-1973
Over 1.2 million records are added to this unique collection of records of persons employed in various posts in Britain's public sphere from The National Archives.  The Royal and Imperial Calendars: contents include:

Regiment and rank if served in the military

From the 1809 Calendar, it contains "accurate lists of all the official departments of state, and branches of public service; the law; the church; national or commercial companies and institutions; and many additional articles of public utility."

The later calendars from the 20th century evolved to include the Civil Service List and additional departments such as Home Office and Treasury.

One person in my family tree is listed through his civil service career with last name, initials, department and section in which he worked and grade. His address is also given for a short while when he was Hon. Sec. of a Society.

British Armed Forces, First World War Soldiers' Medical Records
Over 2,000 new records added to this unique collection, a representative selection saved from the full collection of medical records created during the war. Along with details on where wounded and how long they were held at a medical facility for treatment, the records can reveal:

Names and birth years
Rank and corps
Number of years spent in service
Admission and transfer dates
The name of the hospital where treated
A description of the disease or wound
This collection comprises The National Archives’ series, MH106, War Office: First World War Representative Medical Records of Servicemen.

England BillionGraves Cemetery Index
More than 106,000 records have been added to the cemetery index for England.

Nicaragua Civil Registration 1809-2011
Over 287,000 new civil registrations of births, marriages, and deaths from Nicaragua.

19 June 2020

UK to Canada Genealogy

Penny Allen, a Canadian librarian living in London, has been helping me with some information for a presentation I'm scheduled to give in Canada Day. She found that about three-quarters of most;y UK genealogists who responded to a survey knew of people from their family tree who came to Canada. A few additional percent had stories they hadn't confirmed.

I'm returning the compliment by highlighting Penny's blog https://ukcdngenealogy.blogspot.com/ and in particular a post from a while back on
Phone Books for Canadian Prairies Genealogy

For more there's an Index to Articles at https://ukcdngenealogy.blogspot.com/p/provincial-index.html?m=1

How are genealogy companies addressing racism?

Findmypast posted a message from the CEO Tamsin Todd. Findmypast identifies four actions it will take to confront racism?

  • reviewing how we can make our historical records and newspapers work harder to educate about the history and context of slavery, racism, and the struggle for equality.
  • step-up our search for opportunities to digitize or publish such archives and make them accessible. In partnership with The National Archives, we have digitized thousands of passenger lists and records from the Royal African Company 1694-1743. The Royal African Company played a large role in the transatlantic slave trade. 
  • listen to the perspectives of our employees, customers, and the genealogy community. We will continue to review our recruiting and hiring practices. We will improve our reporting on diversity.
  • measure our progress. We will report back to our community by the end of the year on how we are doing.
Margo Georgiadis, President & CEO of Ancestry posted a note to our global community. What is Ancestry doing?
  • assessing all of our core human resource processes and working to ensure that Inclusion & Diversity best practices are woven into every step — from the way we hire, develop, promote, and pay our employees.
  • created an intercultural advisory council of experts internally and externally to review every new product, marketing campaign and program to ensure that what we do is as culturally sensitive as possible. 
  • hold ourselves accountable and ask that our valued members do so as well.

Let's look forward to updates on how these community leaders follow through.

18 June 2020

LAC Co-Lab Update for June

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



Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 is 71% complete

Correspondence regarding First Nations veterans returning after the First World War is 96% complete

Diary of François-Hyacinthe Séguin is 16% complete

Women Lightkeepers: heroes by the sea is 96% complete.

George Mully: moments in Indigenous communities is 2% complete.

Legendary Train Robber and Prison Escapee Bill Miner is 98% complete

New France and First Nations Relations is 78% complete

War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division is 94% complete

Japanese-Canadians: Second World War is 61% complete (64% last month)

The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters is 97% 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

The Reopening

The first few physical facilities used by genealogical researchers have started to reopen.

Claire Santry reports the GRO Research Room in Dublin reopens with restrictions, appointments only.

Library and National Archives of Quebec (BAnQ) announced the reopening of its 12 buildings across Quebec in the coming weeks including La Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal on 2 July.

The Manitoba Genealogical Society is reopening on 7 July, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on an appointment basis for 4 appointments each day.

Facilities in Ottawa and Toronto remain shuttered, and the BC Archives has announced it won't open until sometime in 2021.

If you have additional information please post a comment.

Personally, I'm in no hurry to see these facilities reopen until management is confident that procedures are in place for the safety of staff and clients. This Twitter stream shows the kind of problems than can be encountered if not handled properly.

I also hope the closure will provide additional motivation for management to enhance digitization. For Library and Archives Canada is that message being conveyed by members of the Services Consultation Group, even though it does not appear to have met in over a year, https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/about-us/Pages/services-consultation-group.aspx.

17 June 2020

Celtic Connections Virtual Conference 31 July - 31 August 2020

Some online conferences which charge are not good value for money.

This is an exception if your genealogical interest is Celtic. Sponsored by The Irish Genealogical Society International (IGSI)  & The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) $99US for 25 pre-recorded presentations $5.36 Cdn per presentation, by mostly name speakers, plus nine live chat sessions with the presenters is a bargain. Go to an in-person conference and you'll likely be paying $8-10 per presentation you can actually attend as there are parallel sessions. Here you can view than all over the course of a month.

The speakers are: David Rencher, Chris Paton, Donna Moughty, Fiona Fitzsimons, John Grenham,  Karen Stanbary, Maurice Gleeson, Melanie McComb, Pamela Guye Holland, Paul Milner, Tina Beaird.

More from The Derbyshire Record Office

Since I posted Not in Hibernation about additions to the Derbyshire Record Office blog on 3 June the following articles about common genealogical sources have been added

Census Returns
Derbyshire Probate
Tithe Maps

Those already mentioned were:

Electoral Registers
Bishops' Transcripts
Building History _Next Steps
Civil Registration
Derbyshire Burials
Historic Maps

That's in addition to new feature articles like The Monocled Mutineer’s early career at Blackwell Colliery.


16 June 2020

The Week's Online Genealogy Events

Choose from online events in the next six days. All times at ET.

Tuesday 16 June, 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from OGS Ottawa Branch and The Ottawa Public Library. Join here.
Tuesday, 16 June, 8pm ET: Genealogical Treasures in Irish Archives, by David Ouimette: CG, Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Register here.
Wednesday 17 June, 11am ET:  Welsh Records and Research, by Ellie Overthrow-Jones (FMP)
Wednesday, 17 June, 2pm ET: Bridging the Gap: Finding Ancestors in the United States between 1780 and 1840, by D. Joshua Taylor, Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Register here.
Wednesday, 17 June,  7:30pm ET: Research, DNA and Serendipity: How I discovered who my ancestors really were, by Debbie Dee, Quebec Genealogical Society, Register here.
Wednesday 17 June, 7 pm ET: BIFHSGO British Colonial America Group, Register to join the group at the address given at https://bifhsgo.ca/cpage.php?pt=21
Thursday 18 June, 11am ET: Dating Photographs, by Myko Clelland and Kirsty Hassard (FMP)
Friday 19 June, 11 am: Friday's Live, with Ellie Overthrow-Jones (FMP)
Friday - Sunday, 19-21 June: Free Webinar Weekend: Great Britain Track. Find out more here.
Saturday 20 June, 10 am ET:  The Rideau Canal Workers, by Susan Warren, from OGS Kingston Branch, Register here.

Ireland Out of England?

A long article by John Wilson Foster, 8,598 words, from the Dublin Review of Books.

"By 1830, Irish soldiers “were estimated to represent 42.2 per cent of the regular British Army . . . By 1878 a fifth of all British Army officers were Irish. More than 200,000 Irishmen fought in the First World War and were volunteers rather than conscripts . . . at least 60,000 Southern Irish citizens served [in the Second World War] . . . Joining the British Army was a family tradition for many, and was not seen by them as either pro-British or anti-Irish.” That became “an inconvenient truth”, says Ferriter with some understatement. In the twentieth century, he tells us, “1.6 million Irish left for Britain, more than twice as many as went to North America”. Roy Foster reminds us in Paddy and Mr Punch (1993) that the Irish-born population in Britain in 1861 was 805,000; the combined first-generation and their immigrant parents would have boosted the figure to several million. By 2001, the Irish-born population was 850,000; after all, by the late 1950s, nearly 60,000 Irish were arriving in Great Britain annually."
There's lots more for this with Irish interest at The Dublin Review of Books

15 June 2020

Personality From Photos

When you look at a photo of an ancestor, one you never knew, do you get an impression of their personality?

A recent article Assessing the Big Five personality traits using real-life static facial images reports findings of a study in Russia. 

The "Big Five" personality traits are agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness.

The study finds "associations were strongest for conscientiousness and weakest for openness. Extraversion and neuroticism were significantly better predicted for women than for men."

While it's far too early to have much confidence in extrapolation from the Russian sample at present it is one to watch. Maybe MyHeritage with its recent interest in photo enhancement might be interested in pursuing this further.

Today Only: MyHeritage Newspaper Records FREE

MyHeritage makes its newspaper records free, 345 newspapers, for just one day.

Here are just some of the newspapers available?

More than 30 Montreal titles including 24,895 issues of The Montreal Gazette, Jan 1, 1878 - Nov 20, 2006.
The Ottawa Citizen, over 18,000 issues to Nov 2, 1990
The Toronto Daily Mail, 3,052 issues for May 23, 1851 - Sep 15, 1898
The Toronto World, 2,884 issues for Jun 4, 1813 - Apr 10, 1921
The Saskatoon Phoenix and Star-Phoenix, 12,693 issues to May 31, 1967.
The Victoria Advocate, 30,974 issues for Jul 2, 1824 - Aug 31, 2009

LAC Annual Report 2019-2020 on its 2019-2022 Three-Year Plan:

Now online by Library and Archives Canada, the 1st year annual report of cumulative results for its 2019-2022 Three-Year Plan. Performance indicators are grouped under the headings

1. Engaged citizens. Accessible holdings
2. Adaptable organization. Sustainable collection
3. Collaborative efforts. Magnified results
Overall of the 22 indicators:

2 were exceeded by a substantial margin, 
6 were exceeded
2 were met
2 were not met

For the remained there was a description of the activity undertaken but there was no quantitative benchmark against which to assess progress.

The group Engaged citizens. Accessible holdings is of most interest to public clients.

  • Number of user contributions in the Co-Lab crowdsourcing tool had a target of 1,500 which was exceeded - 1,796.
  • Number of images digitized via DigiLab had a target of 30,000.  28,175 was achieved with some of the minor shortfall attributed to closure of 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa because of the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • Number of transactions at LAC’s service points in Ottawa, Halifax, Winnipeg and Vancouver, through all service channels had a target of 80,000. By completing 84,418 transactions the target was exceeded despite the COVID 19 shutdown. The total for 2018–2019  of 81,399 transactions was surpassed.
  • Number of visitors to the LAC website had a target of  2,000,000 and was substantially exceeded - 2,778,682 unique visitors. Genealogical research was the main interest of those who visited LAC’s website, with a strong preference for censuses and First World War personnel records.
  • Number of images digitized from LAC’s collection had a target of  3,500,000 which was exceeded. 3,506,854 images were digitized from LAC’s collection, 60% in response to client requests. The balance of the digitized content focused on Indigenous, military and government documentary heritage.
As I pointed out in a letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the images digitized target is very modest compared to  4.8 million images digitized in 2018-2019, and 10.2 and 9.3 million in the previous two years.

14 June 2020

New Owner at Pharos Tutors

Karen Cummings is the new owner and Managing Director at Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd, having purchased the company from previous owner and co-founder, Helen Osborn.

Helen is author of the bestselling book Genealogy: Essential Research Methods. BIFHSGO members may well remember Helen as a speaker at the society annual conference in 2011 held at Library and Archives Canada. I particularly recall her talk "Round About a Pound a Week" which took its inspiration from a book by the same title. She co-founded Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd, with Canadian Sherry Irvine who was the theme speaker at that conference.

More information about the change in ownership can be found at https://wp.me/p4qxpa-4b.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Ancestry Updates
In the past week, Ancestry updated the collection UK, Officer Service Records, 1764-1932 with over 2,500 new images and 3,200 new indexes for a total of 132,421 records; also UK, WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 adding Officers Survived and Officers' Widows for a total 4,288,702 records.

Dataplotter - Boom & Bust: A History of Oil Prices and Consumption

OPL Tech Cafe
Online at 10 am on Monday, Chris Taylor, President of the Ottawa PC Users' Group and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, will show you the simple steps you need to take to keep your computer from being hacked.https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/tech-caf%C3%A9-protecting-your-computer

Podcast: Reinventing Canada after 1945

The US: Underpoliced and Overprisoned, revisited?
While I'm not entirely convinced this is an opinion worth an airing.

PULSE: high-resolution images from a corresponding low-resolution input

From Duke University, PULSE attempts to match the downsampled version of an image, and the output(s) will likely not resemble the higher resolution input image. I tried it on the William Northwood photo from the post Another Innovation from MyHeritage. I could be persuaded one of the output images was him as a younger man.

Don't miss out tomorrow
MyHeritage makes its newspaper records free, 345 newspapers, for just one day.
UPDATE: Looks like "tomorrow" has already started!

Forecasting the US elections
Updated daily from The Economist.

Thanks to this week's contributors: Anonymous, Btyclk, Elizabeth Vincent, Gabbu, K, Penny, Sheila, Teresa, Unknown, Victor Badian.

13 June 2020

LAC Curates Resources for Staying at Home

Compiled by Library and Archives Canada, a collection of resources offering a variety of ways to actively learn, stay curious and contribute to our collective memory during an otherwise isolating time. 

Presented under headings Archives, Arts, Learning, Libraries, Multimedia and ​Museums, the Archives tab includes:

Family Tree (LAC; create your family tree—explore genealogy!)
Family History Activities for Children (FamilySearch)
Personnel Records of the First World War (LAC; find your relatives' service files)
Collection Search (LAC; search our collection).

Good to see LAC putting partnership into action by providing links to non-LAC national and some international resources under the other headings.

Findmypast Focus on Scotland

Updates this week, to be served with haggis, neeps and tatties - optional whisky sauce.

Scotland Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms
Almost 69,000 additional records to this collection, with images, covering:

Dumbarton, St Patrick; Duntocher, St Mary; Glasgow, Bridgeton, Sacred Heart; Helensburgh,St Paul of the Cross; Renton, St Martin.

Haddingtonshire (East Lothian)
Dunbar, Our Lady of the Waves

Glasgow parishes of St Joseph; St Mark; Good Shepherd; St Aloysius; St Agnes; St Michael.

Expect to find: names, birth and baptism dates, parents’ names, where baptized. In the linked images find: names of godparents or sponsors; legitimate or not; and additional remarks.

The collection total is now 923,358 records.

Scotland Roman Catholic Marriages
Over 27,000 new marriage records.

Dumbarton, St Patrick; Glasgow, Bridgeton, Sacred Heart; Renton, St Martin.

Glasgow parishes of St Joseph, St Mark, St Aloysius, St Ninian, St Agnes, St Michael.

Linlithgowshire (West Lothian)
Winchburgh, St Philomena

Expect to find: names, ages and birth years, spouses' names, where and when married, fathers' names and additional detail in images.

The collection total is now 432,059 records.

Scotland Roman Catholic Parish Burials
Nearly 9,000 burial records providing details on the final resting place including: names, birth, death and burial dates, age when died, occupations, where buried. Parishes added are:

Glasgow, Bridgeton Sacred Heart

Croy, Holy Cross; Glasgow, Carntyne, St Mark; Glasgow, Dalbeth, Good Shepherd; Glasgow, Garrethill St Aloysius; Glasgow, Knightswood, St Ninian; Glasgow, Parkhead, St Michael; Glasgow, Riddrie, St Thomas.

The collection total is now 324,571 records.

Scotland Roman Catholic Parish Congregational Records
Congregational records include registers of confirmations and communion recipients, as well as parish lists, seat rentals, and lists of people who converted to Catholicism. Parishes added are:

Dumbarton, St Patrick; Glasgow, Bridgeton, Sacred Heart;  Helensburgh, St Joseph.


Coatbridge, St Patrick; Glasgow, St Joseph; Glasgow, Carntyne, St Mark; Glasgow, Dalbeth, Good Shepherd; Glasgow, Garrethill, St Aloysius; Glasgow, Lambhill, St Agnes; Glasgow, Parkhead St Michael, Glasgow, Riddrie, St Thomas.

The digitized image of the record will usually provide facts such as the names of confirmation sponsors or the location of seat rental.

The collection total is now 511,708 records.

Findmypast's list of all the parishes in the Scotland Roman Catholic collection includes detail on county, place, parish, diocese, start year, end year, and record count. There's more to come in this collection.

Scotland, Linlithgowshire (West Lothian), Electoral Registers 1864-1931
Published as searchable PDF documents, over a million names are added to this collection in partnership with the British Library. Compiled annually, expect to find:
Names and addresses
A description of the property
Their occupations or ages (sometimes)
The names and addresses of their landlords.
Scotland BillionGraves Cemetery Index
More than 59,000 Scottish records added from BillionGraves, now with 354,742 Scottish entries.

12 June 2020

Another Innovation from MyHeritage

Following hot on the heels of  MyHeritage In Color™ there's another innovation coming from the company — MyHeritage Photo Enhancer! "Using deep learning technology, Photo Enhancer takes blurry low-resolution or low-quality photos and brings them into sharp focus."

I put it to a real test with a fuzzy photo of an Ottawa worthy, William Northwood, from a newspaper. What do you think?

You can try the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer here.

You can also colorize the resulting image.

Genealogists' Magazine June 2020

The major contents of this latest issue of the Society of Genealogists magazine are:

Initiatives for the improvement of parish registers during the first half of the 18th century, by John Wintrip
Examines changes in the dioceses of York and Chester, the Archdeaconry of Bedford, and possibly the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon,  from 1715 onwards. They may have been precipitated by a draft Canon relating to marriages by licence produced by the Convocation of the Church of England in 1714. It looks at the churchmen behind these changes.

Croydon Worthies. 
Information on 118 "worthies", men and women from Croydon selected from and 1882 publication Croydon of the Past, by the Croydon Advertiser

Events that changed thousands of children’s lives, by Len Street.
Second World War child evacuations. No mention of overseas evacuations.

Sir Arthur Wheeler’s Investment Company - an early mailshot survives by accident, by Sherry l Abrahart.
Raising funds in Leicester in 1920.

Unusual times and a timely reminder of the 1918/19 pandemic, by Helen Dawkins.
Mostly about her photo restoration business.

WW2 Returm from Europe

After the Second World War, there were lots of people who needed to travel from Europe (mainly England) to Canada. Was one, or maybe more in your family?
While many were servicemen and servicewomen there were also those who had never been in Canada, most war brides, to those who had only recently made the voyage from west to east, such as those who chaperoned returning POWs from Canada. The return was a major logistical operation run by the Department of National Defence Directorate of Movements.
Library and Archives Canada has extensive documentation on microfilm. Since January this year following block review, anyone will be able to view them — when the physical facilities reopen.  They are on microfilm reels C-5623 to C-5655 and C-5714 to C-5725. There may be others.

Some films are already accessible through canadiana.ca at http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_mikan_135140/. I've been able to identify these voyages with those carrying war brides noted. Again, there are certainly others.

NIEUW AMSTERDAM1945/09/09C-5636, C-5637
LADY RODNEY1946/02/23C-5649
LADY NELSON1946/03/23C-5649
LADY RODNEY1946/03/24C-5649
JOHNS HOPKINS1946/03/09C-5650
ILE DE FRANCE1946/03/17C-5650
HMS TRUMPETER1946/03/19C-5650
HMS PREMIER1946/04/01C-5650
EMPIRE MACCALLUM1946/02/21C-5651
ILE DE FRANCE1946/04/05C-5651
LADY RODNEY1946/04/20C-5651
LADY NELSON1946/05/08C-5652
QUEEN MARY1946/05/09C-5652WB
LADY RODNEY1946/05/25C-5652
ILE DE FRANCE1946/04/23C-5652, C-5651
QUEEN MARY1946/06/15C-5654, C-5655WB
QUEEN MARY1946/08/12C-5720, C-5721WB
LADY NELSON1946/08/19C-5721WB
LADY RODNEY1946/09/10C-5721
MAURETANIA1946/08/24C-5721, C-5722WB
QUEEN MARY1946/08/31C-5722
LADY NELSON1946/10/10C-5724WB
LADY RODNEY1946/10/17C-5724
EMPIRE BRENT1946/11/01-1946/11/30C-5724WB
LADY RODNEY1946/11/14C-5724WB
SEA ROBIN1946/11/12C-5725
EMPIRE BRENT1946/12/12C-5725WB

Judging by just one voyage, that of the Letitia with war brides on film C-5621, the detail is remarkable — husband's regimental number, rank, name, religious denomination, wife's name, denomination, if pregnant how far along, children name and age, the destination address, name of the person receiving them and their relationship. There's lots more detail on the voyage such as handling (and mishandling) of baggage.
While unindexed, so not easy to research, the records reward the diligent investigator with a lot of detail.

11 June 2020

LAC Collection Search Improvement

Collection Search now improved! is the heading on a LAC news post dated 8 June. At the start it reads:
As you may have already noticed, our Collection Search results panel has changed, and the LAC collection’s digital material that you research now appears in a new and improved viewer.
You can now see the digital material at first glance—including videos and PDFs! You can view items in full-screen mode, and download many of them for off-line research.
At Collection Search there's presently a warning:
Our team is currently adding new features to the Collection Search. In the meantime, you may notice some slowness or unexpected errors. We are working to resolve these issues and to bring you a better Collection Search experience.​​​​​​​​​
Progress ... one step forward, half-a-step back.

BIFHSGO June Meeting: Great Moments

From 10:00 to 11:30 am on Saturday 13 June, via Zoom, three members will speak about their “Eureka!” moments in genealogical research. Find out what they did, and just as important, how they did it.
Pre-register at: https://bifhsgo.ca/index.php. Be sure to update Zoom on your computer prior to logging in to the meeting or you won’t be able to join.

The Elmer-Leonard James Brickwall: Were they related?
Brian Glenn spent his formative years growing up in Mechanicsville with two sets of James “cousins”. One family was definitely related through marriage to Brian’s father’s sister but the relationship of the other James family was not so clear. A Christmas conversation in 2018 with his cousin Susan James started his quest to solve the relationship between the two James families.
About the Speaker
Brian had the honour of becoming a BIFHSGO Hall of Fame member in 2016. He has been involved in many aspects of the Society including Education, Research, web support and Conference online registration. He continues his family research with recent explorations of ancestors that migrated from Pontiac County, Quebec to western Canada and South Dakota, USA.
What is small, antique and eventually only belongs to just one person?    
A postcard!  Sally Doherty will share stories she unearthed through a collection of postcards her maternal grandfather, Alexander Yuill Laing, sent to his children while on the high seas (1903-1920).  It is her hope that this presentation will make people dream of far-away places which we cannot visit right now.
About the Speaker:
Sally (Carlisle) Doherty... is unlike her grandfather in that she has been afraid of large bodies of water since childhood.  However, sharing his passion for international travel, she enjoyed a wonderful 36-year career in the airline industry, in three countries and on three continents. Early retired, she volunteers with a bereavement support group for survivors of victims of homicide after her mother fell victim. Sally has tutored French, was a family counsellor for a funeral director, volunteered at the Info desk at YOW Airport, dabbles in genealogy and is an international cat-sitter. Her interest in postcards began when she found one postmarked Buenos Aires, written by her grandfather to his infant daughter Esther, Sally’s mother, living in Montreal; baby Esther was only 7 months old at the time.
A Battle of Wills
In 2008, Marianne Rasmus received from an extended family member a 1951 newspaper clipping about the death of her paternal grandfather.  Marianne will share how receiving that tiny piece of paper opened a door of possibilities: unearthing a passion and leading to discoveries about a family line she knew little about, including one particularly noteworthy conflict.
About the Speaker:
Born and raised in Vancouver, Marianne spent most of her life in BC, experiencing life on Vancouver Island, in BC’s north and in the Fraser Valley.  But when the opportunity for a mid-life adventure came, Marianne and her husband, Bill, took the plunge and moved to Ottawa in 2013. 
After reluctantly taking Canadian History as a “filler” course in college, Marianne discovered an interest in history she never expected. That interest took on new meaning, and some might say became an obsession, when she began her family history journey in 2008, and began to uncover long forgotten stories in both her, and her husband Bill’s family trees. Since becoming a member of BIFHSGO in 2014, Marianne has been active in the Society.  She has served on the Conference Planning Committee, is currently the Board Treasurer, and is a co-facilitator for the British Colonial America Special Interest Group.

10 June 2020

FamilySearch British and Canadian Updates

Since I last reported on updates to English records at FamilySearch the following updates for the UK have been posted.

TitleRecordsLast Update
England, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988148,880Jun 9, 2020
England, Northumberland Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-1920200,017Jun 9, 2020
England, Yorkshire Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1613-1887320,966Jun 9, 2020
England, Gloucestershire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1642-199663,570Jun 8, 2020
England, Cambridge Parish Registers, 1538-1983470,491Jun 3, 2020
England, Hampshire Parish Registers, 1538-19801,856,794Jun 3, 2020
Wales, Monmouthshire (Gwent), Electoral Registers 1839-1889455,348Jun 3, 2020
England, Dorset, Parish Registers, 1538-20011,498,417Jun 2, 2020
England and Wales Census, 186119,591,543Jun 2, 2020
England, Essex Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-197135,383May 30, 2020
England, Devon and Cornwall Marriages, 1660-191293,242May 28, 2020
Great Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935797,279May 27, 2020
England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1537-19182,975,530May 15, 2020
England, Essex Parish Registers, 1538-19972,746,297May 13, 2020
England, Devon, Plymouth Prison Records, 1821-191913,495May 11, 2020

The following updates for Canada were also made:

TitleRecordsLast Update
Nova Scotia Deaths, 1864-187744,259Jun 9, 2020
Canada, New Brunswick, County Register of Births, 1801-192033,092Jun 9, 2020
Manitoba Church Records, 1800-195910,585May 29, 2020
Canada Census, 18511,560,069May 6, 2020

FamilySearch does not reveal whether the updates are major or minor.

Film: Your Atlantic Holiday to Canada - 1933

The National Library of Scotland makes available a 1933 silent promotional film by Anchor-Donaldson Line, "inviting you on a luxury cruise from Glasgow to Quebec via Belfast." It shows scenes of life on the transAtlantic voyage on the Letitia, of Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls.


The Letitia made numerous transAtlantic trips from her maiden voyage in April 1925, served as a hospital ship during the war and transported servicemen, servicewomen and war brides to Canada in the aftermath.

The promotional material makes reference to singer Sir Harry Lauder. The outgoing passenger list shows he travelled on the Letitia from Glasgow in September 1932. His was not just a pleasure trip, he performed in major centres from Quebec City to Victoria. The Ottawa Journal reported a performance in Ottawa on 10 October that year at the Glebe Collegiate Assembly Hall.

09 June 2020

Blogger Issues

Several comments have come in since I switched to a new version of the Blogger software used to prepare posts. The major concern is broken links. Sorry about that, I know it's annoying. I've switched back to the old version. If the problem continues let me know and I'll include the web address text as well as the link. Please bear with me.

This Week's Online Genealogy Events

Choose from 10 online events in the next five days. All times at ET.

Tuesday 9 June, 11 am: Census Records, by Myko Clelland from Findmypast
Tuesday 9 June, 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from OGS Ottawa Branch and The Ottawa Public Library. Join here.
Tuesday 9 June, 2 pm: The FamilySearch/MyHeritage partnership and its tools for members of the LDS church, with James Tanner. Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Register here.
Wednesday 10 June, 4pm: Let's Discuss ... Ontario Sources, with Jen Baldwin  (FMP) & Steve Fulton (Ontario Ancestors)
Wednesday 10 June, 8 pm: Using DNA to Answer Real Research Questions: Three Case Studies, with Gail Blankenau. Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Register here.
Thursday 11 June, 11 am: Regimental Numbers, with Paul Nixon (FMP)
Friday 12 June, 11 am: Friday's Live, with Alex Cox (FMP)
Friday 12 June, 2 pm. Your DNA questions answered live with Diahan Southard. Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Register here.
Saturday 13 June, 10 am: BIFHSGO Great Moments. Register here.
Saturday 13 June, 2 pm: "Seeing Clear Across the Border: Palatine Loyalists from the Hudson Valley" by Garry’s Finckel for the Irish Palatine special interest group of OGS. Register here.

O/T: Let him who is without sin cast the first stone

They removed a statue of Gandhi in Ghana, spray painted 'was racist' below wartime leader's Churchill's name on a London statue, and want to deny such public recognition of Macdonald. Look into the eugenics history of Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung and Tommy Douglas.

International Archives Week

Happy International Archives Week to those we rely on in the Canadian archives community.

Find out more on this year's theme"Empowering Knowledge Societies" at https://ica.org/en/international-archives-week-8-14-june-2020

FreeBMD June Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Saturday 6 June 2020 to contain 275,163,471 unique records (274,673,618 at previous update).

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

08 June 2020

MyHeritage Exclusive Titles Free for a Day

MyHeritage has some huge databases opened up for free access in the next few days. It includes five exclusive databases with the highlight for Canada being the Canadian Newspapers, 1752-2007 next Monday. There are also lots of Canadians in the Ellis Island and Other New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957. Don't miss out.

Library and Archives Canada can help reduce GHG emissions

Here is the text of an email I sent to Minister of Canadian Heritage Stephen Guilbeault.

Dear Minister Guilbeault:

I am a retired Ph.D. atmospheric scientist who, among other things, was a negotiator on amendments to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Since retiring I have been involved with history and a client of the excellent resources of Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

Unlike myself, most of LAC's clients have to travel considerable distances to reach one of its offices with the inevitable consequence of emissions from fossil fuel combustion. You could contribute to reducing emissions owing to services offered by your department by requiring LAC to increase the archival resources it makes available online. 

Only a few percent of LAC's current holdings are presently online. While a wholesale increase is likely impractical what is practical is free digitization on demand. Access to LAC holdings is always free.

The National Archives of Australia has had a system of free digitization on demand since 2001. Archival records are available online for viewing through the Archives online database RecordSearch and new images are made available each week. That makes for more convenient access, reduces travel and the handling of the collection, helping to preserve it for future generations. Furthermore, it helps maintain social distancing.

Unfortunately, since LAC completed digitization of First World War service files the pace has slowed. In 2018-2019 LAC digitized 4.8 million images compared to 10.2 and 9.3 million in the previous two years.

I urge you to challenge LAC to change in its operations to greatly accelerate its digitization initiatives of archival and library holdings, subject to copyright clearance, and introduce timely free digitization on demand.

Stay safe

John D Reid

Survey Results: How useful are these INTERNATIONAL family history databases for your research?

There were 92 responses to this survey posted on the blog on Thursday 4 June.

Unsurprisingly, Ancestry stood out as the most useful. It has a huge data collection, online trees, hints, and autosomal DNA. 

FamilySearch and Findmypast were the only other services with the highly significant category dominant.
Ancestry has about 35 titles with more than 1 million Canadian records, excluding those where Canadian records are only part. FamilySearch has 16 and Findmypast 13 titles with more than 1 million Canadian records.

Not breaking into the top three was MyHeritage which has 15 titles with more than 1 million Canadian records.

The cost of access was mentioned in the comments. FamilySearch is free while Ancestry, routinely accessible at many public library branches, is available free from home through those same public libraries during the pandemic.

The category Not Significant or N/A is interesting as it combines those who didn't find it useful with those who have no experience. FamilySearch was the only resource where all responses found it at least somewhat significant. MyHeritage had more responses in this category than any other, likely due to cost and that many of its titles are also part of more popular collections.

The two dedicated newspaper sites, NewspaperArchive and Newspapers.com are about equally popular. Despite the value of newspapers for family history they likely suffer owing to the Canadian newspaper collections available through Findmypast and MyHeritage (and much less so Ancestry).

Find a Grave was significantly more popular than Billion Graves.

While Wikitree was more popular then Geni neither appeared to be well known or used.

FamilyTreeDNA was somewhat more popular than GEDMatch, both well ahead of 23andme.

07 June 2020

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Days Calculator: Days Between Two Dates
This week I needed to calculate a person's age given supposed birth date and census date. I was looking for consistency between the 1901 and 1911 Canadian censuses. My go to for all kinds of similar calculations is www.timeanddate.com/

What Do You Hear?
Take a minute to listen to the sounds that surround you as you research from home. The computer fan. A bird chirping. Distant traffic. A creek from the attic. What did you hear? How did it make you feel?
Via Lockdown Soundscapes from the Essex Record Office.
Why do Ontario and Quebec together, which have 61% of Canada's population, account for 91% of the reported deaths?

Happy Pollinator Appreciation Day
Today, 7 June 2020 is established to recognize the essential ecological services provided by pollinators. Ottawa is home to hundreds of species of pollinators, including many kinds of bees, flies, butterflies and moths, other insects, and even some birds. Learn more about pollinators and other wildlife, and the native plants they depend on, by using iNaturalist and other apps. 

Thanks to this week's contributors: Anonymous, Barb, BY, Btyclk, E Gail Benjafield, Jane E MacNamara, jon, MsAncestry, Paul Milner, Sophronia, Unknown.