Saturday, 8 August 2020

Canadian Newspaper Collection Missing from MyHeritage

As mentioned previously, a great addition to the MyHeritage collection in February was a large collection of full text searchable Canadian newspapers. They are the same papers previously available searchable at Google, and still available there but browse-only.

They've gone missing! Hopefully, it's only temporary. 

I only found out from Daniel Horowitz's presentation on MyHeritage's new search on Thursday where he showed that by scrolling down on the search page you can see new additions and get access to the catalogue.

I drew it to Daniel's attention. He replied, "We are working on resolving this and hope to bring them back soon."

Reading between the lines I'm wondering if it's a licencing rather than a technical issue.

Findmypast adds Hampshire Parish Records

BMB records for several East Hampshire parishes are added to Findmypast this week.  Crondall, Farnborough, Fleet, Headley, and Rowledge, shown on the map with red pins are in all the BMB lists. While mostly transcriptions there are some original images linked.

Hampshire Baptisms

Over 21,000 brand new records from seven parishes to this collection.

Crondall, All Saints from 1569-1812
Ewshott, St Mary from 1886-1912
Farnborough, St Peter from 1584-1912
Fleet, All Saints from 1863-1912
Headley, All Saints from 1540-1795
Rowledge, St James from 1871-1912

Hampshire Marriages

Over 15,000 new marriage records from 12 parishes. 

Cove, St John from 1917-1933
Crondall, All Saints from 1576-1933
Crookham, Christ Church from 1842-1915
Ewshott, St Mary from 1890-1933
Farnborough, St Peter from 1584-1933
Fleet, All Saints from 1863-1933
Grayshott, St Luke from 1901-1933
Hawley, Holy Trinity from 1839-1915
Headley, All Saints from 1912-1933
Minley, St Andrew from 1871-1933
Rowledge, St James from 1871-1933
South Farnborough, St Mark from 1906-1933

Hampshire Burials

Nearly 16,000 brand new burial records from 6 parishes.

Crondall, All Saints from 1570-1812
Crookham, Christ Church from 1842-1938
Farnborough, St Peter from 1584-1945
Fleet, All Saints from 1864-1917
Headley, All Saints from 1539-1795
Rowledge, St James from 1871-1940

Friday, 7 August 2020

Ancestry Updating Ontario Births and Canada School Yearbooks

As of 10 pm on Thursday, 6 August, the Ancestry card catalogue is showing these updates:

Ontario, Canada Births, 1832-1914 Birth, Marriage & Death 6,723,609
According to the Ancestry information for this title, on "03 Aug 2020: Added 239,106 new records." That includes 74,444 Ontario Births for 1914 just now available (they weren't earlier in the day) to search and browse. The original 1914 records, which were microfilmed in 2011, include the parent's names and their date and place of marriage.

Canada, Selected School Yearbooks, 1901-2010 Directories & Member Lists 2,475,234
The information on the updates is "10 Aug 2020: Added 561,284 new records from 1,941 new yearbooks."

You saw it here first! Or maybe you read it first from someone who copied!

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Ancestry Change in Ownership

I may be the last to blog about the sale of a 75% interest in genealogy company for $4.7 billion US including debt.

The company previously changed ownership in 2012 for $1.6 billion US and in 2016 in a transaction valued at $2.6 billion.

Reports mentioned has more than 3 million paying customers in about 30 countries, and earns more than $1 billion in annual revenue. 

The purchase is by Blackstone "a leading global investment business investing capital on behalf of pension funds, large institutions and individuals. Our mission is to create long-term value for our investors through the careful stewardship of their capital." Like Findmypast, and unlike MyHeritage, the new owners do not have genealogy in their DNA.

On Wednesday Blackstone Group Inc (NYSE:BX) closed up 1,5% on the day. Blackstone has committed to invest more than $2 billion in equity in Ancestry through debt financing.


Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine: August 2020

Here's information on articles in the two main sections of the latest WDYTYA? magazine.


Missing Birth Records
Genealogist and former deputy registrar Antony Marr shares his top tips, 10 resources for tracking down missing births.

VJ Day 75 Years Later
Kevin Telfer explains that in Britain VJ was a bit of an anticlimax after VE Day as the country moved from the wartime Churchill government electing a new Clement Attlee-led  Labour administration promising "food, work and Homes", full employment and a National Health Service. 

Slavery In Jamaica
Richard Atkinson reveals how it feels to discover that your relations owned slave plantations in the West Indies

The history of this hugely popular global movement from the first trial camp on Brownsea Island, Dorset in 1907.


Best Websites 
Unmissable online resources to help you get started. Heavily UK oriented.

Record Masterclass
Phil Tomaselli shares expert advice on index cards for prisoners of war held by Japan in the Second World War

Ancestors At Work
The hazards and hardships of life as a chimney sweep. Sad.

Tech Tips
Use Google Docs to extract text from scanned images. Clear instructions. You may know of other tools.

Focus On
How to find and understand 19th-century Navy records; officers from the beginning of the century, ratings from about mid-century.

When you go to the magazine, free at PressReader at many public library websites, don't overlook the news and other content including advice on searching Lancashire ancestry.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

The Experienced Genealogist

Accomplished, mature, seasoned, and many other synonyms for an experienced genealogist who knows to approach sources critically as well as optimistically.

More often than we might like to think original records contain deceit, deception, dishonesty, evasion, fabrication, falsehood, forgery, misrepresentation and other descriptions from a whole list of synonyms for lies

Repeated lies give the impression of being more trustworthy; they're not. Maybe you're an example. How do you know your date of birth is as stated on the certificate? You grow up celebrating a day as your birthday and find that date confirmed by the date on the certificate. But you wouldn't be the first to have the date adjusted to avoid payment of a late registration fine.

On Canada Day I gave a talk for MyHeritage illustrating the use of the Canadian records they have available, and from other sources that are free. I choose William Northwood, an immigrant to Ottawa from Wolverhampton for a case study.

The table shows the evidence gleaned from various records for his birth and immigration date. If you just relied on one source you might be quite confident of the date, and probably wrong.
Was he born on 9 August 1844, the 13th or some other date? There's a baptismal record in early September 1844.

Does the exact date matter, unless you care whether he's a Thursday's a Monday's child, or want to cast an astrological birth chart!

As for immigration, as far as I can determine none in the table is correct. He appears to have landed not in Quebec City as in the passenger list for the Nestorian from LAC but Portland, Maine, late on Sunday, 1 December 1867.

You can view my MyHeritage talk  at

On top of lies, there are faults, flaws and other inaccuracies — synonyms for errors. Be it in Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage, FamilySearch, LAC ... on and on, Transcriptions are rife with errors  If it's an OCR transcription of a newspaper, directory or voters list expect more such errors.

The inexperienced genealogist will get upset, perhaps post a rant on social media — "Don't they know that Prince Edward County and Prince Edward Island are different places, as far apart as London is from Barcelona!" It only takes a few minutes trying to transcribe a page of a poorly written document to understand why such errors occur.

The experienced genealogist takes transcription and OCR errors in stride; they're inevitable. The obligation is on the researcher to get as close to the truth as possible using all clues from all resources and favouring those most credible — recorded as close to the date of the event as possible with a credible informant. When you've exhausted best practices you're still left with uncertainty owing to lies and errors.

Father James Nugent of Liverpool

A 2-page article in the 5 August 2020 issue of This England magazine celebrates the life and work of Father James Nugent. He is known as one of those who organized the emigration of orphan and neglected children to Canada. 

The article describes the situation he faced
"Liverpool at the time (1846) had a population of about 210.000. But 1847 saw the Irish potato famine at its height, and some 300.000 people in this single year paid the sixpence fare to flee to Liverpool. There, those that stayed - some 60 to 80.000 - found themselves living in appalling poverty, in overcrowded and insanitary courts, alleys and cellars. Epidemics of fever, cholera, and dysentery ran rampant.
Liverpool. the “black spot on the Mersey.” was perhaps the worst city in the country. The 24 Catholic priests tried to do what they could. Ten succumbed to illness and died; eight became ill but recovered. The sick calls were unending and the churches filled with unburied corpses. The number of orphans skyrocketed, and homeless children were everywhere, with some 23.000 running wild along Liverpool docks."
It's clear (to me) from the article that Nugent had the children's interests at heart and not, as some would have it, just looking to benefit from subsidies for child immigration.

The magazine is available to read, free online, through PressReader available through many public libraries.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Family Tree DNA Summer Sale

Anxious to get a DNA test for genealogy? It's a competitive business and sales come around regularly. The latest from Family Tree DNA is for the month of August.

There are discounts on other tests too, including upgrades at

This Week's Online Genealogy Events

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

🇨🇦Tuesday 04 August, 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from OGS Ottawa Branch and The Ottawa Public Library. Join here.

Tuesday 04 August, 10 pm: Tracing Australian and New Zealand World War One Ancestors, by Helen V. Smith. Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Register here.

Wednesday, 05 August, 11 am: Wills & Probate Records Q&A, with Steve Rigden and Ellie Overthrow-Jones.

Wednesday 05 August, 2 pm: Using DNA to Solve Adoption and Unknown Parentage Mysteries, by Michelle Leonard. Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Register here.

Thursday, 06 August, 8 am: ?,with ???. Commonwealth War Graves Commission presentation. 

Thursday, 06 August, 11 am: Wills & Probate Records Q&A, with Steve Rigden and Ellie Overthrow-Jones.

Thursday, 06 August, 6:30 pm: DNA 101, by Sara Allen. Allen County Public Library. Register here.

🇨🇦Thursday, 06 August, 7 pm: Using ScotlandsPeople for ALL your Scottish Genealogy needs, by Bruce Durie, Ontario Genealogical Society, via YouTube

Thursday, 06 August, 8 pm: Preparing a Portfolio: Applying to Become a Certified Genealogist®, by Angela Packer McGhie, Legacy Family Tree Webinars for BCG, Register here.

Friday 07 August, 11 am: Friday Live, with Jen Baldwin.

Friday 31 July - 30 September: Celtic Connections Virtual Conference. 25 pre-recorded presentations and 10 live chat sessions with Fiona Fitzsimons, Maurice Gleeson, John Grenham, Chris Paton for $99US.

Monday, 3 August 2020

MyHeritage Updates Search

An announcement from MyHeritage about improvements to the user experience with a redesigned search engine.

  • Faster performance to allow users to run more searches in less time
  • Edit the search while viewing the search results, and run it again.
  • Display more results on each page.
  • Unifying simple search and advanced search into one search form.
  • Automatically suggest typical filters in global searches and more relevant filters that will facilitate narrowing down searches within the current category or collection. 

More improvements are in store including for mobile devices.

Find out more at

YouTube: City of Westminster Parish Records on Ancestry

Having taken advantage of a rainy day to take a closer look at the Church of England Parish Records made available on Ancestry on 30 July 2020 for the City of Westminister here's a quick video overview of what's available.

FreeBMD Second July Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Friday 31 July 2020 to contain 276,053,272 unique records (275,618,339 at previous update).

Years with major additions, greater than 5,000 records are: for births 1982, 1985-89; for marriages 1969, 1986-89; for deaths 1980, 1984-86, 1988.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Ancestry adds Westminster, London, England, Church of England records

Over 4.4 million records are new on Ancestry from the City of Westminster Archives Centre in the heart of London.

Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1558-18122,206,507
Births and Baptisms, 1813-1919969,776
Deaths and Burials, 1812-1910194,940
Marriages and Banns, 1754-19351,062,855

Each has a linked image of the original record. For marriages from July 1837 the image is an uncertified equivalent to the GRO certificate.

Check out Researching family history at the Archives Centre for a 7-page list of Anglican Parish Registers with dates for records available in Information Sheet 1. You may want to refer to some other of the 14 information sheets from the City of Westminster Archives Centre.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Flight shaming: how to spread the campaign that made Swedes give up flying for good

Advice from Maeve Binchy on the 8th anniversary of her death
"Learn to type. Learn to drive. Have fun. Write postcards. [Letters take too long and you won’t do it, a postcard takes two minutes.) Be punctual.
Don’t worry about what other people are thinking. They are not thinking about you. Write quickly. [Taking longer doesn’t usually make it better.) Get up early. See the world. Call everybody by their first name, from doctors to presidents. Have parties. Don’t agonize. Don’t regret. Don’t fuss. Never brood. Move on. Don’t wait for permission to be happy. Don’t wait for permission to do anything. Make your own life.”
via a tweet from Eimear McGovern

New Register Transcriptions from Lancashire Online Parish Clerk
32 parish registers have new entries in a 24 July update. Records for the Church of St Peter, Liverpool added baptisms from 1852 to 1854 for a total of 255,473 and additional marriages for 1864
brought the total to 37828.

Saskatchewan Archives Annual Report
A refreshingly factual annual report for 2019-20 notes that service delivery progress included:

  • Approximately 120 microfilm reels of newspapers including the Maple Creek News, Maple Creek Ranching News, Maple Creek Signal and Achimoowin papers were digitized, consisting of 106,000 images. 
  • In addition, the digitization of paper newspapers took place with our digital overhead camera, adding 18,675 digital images to Saskatchewan Historical Newspapers Online. Other digitization projects included the photo collection, poster collection, panoramic photographs and fire insurance plans.
A post on mudlarking on the Thames from BBC Travel site Unearthed on newly discovered archaeological sites and other hidden at few people have ever seen.

Malcolm Gladwell: How I Rediscovered Faith

Survey of the great and important River of St. John, &c; and of the British settlements of New Brunswick
The US National Archives blog post RG 76: Maps and Records Pertaining to the Northeastern Boundary of the United States – An Artistic Glimpse of Past includes a link to an 1812 map that "contains a great deal of information not only about navigating the St. John’s River, but also about the settlements along the river’s banks.  In some places, individual landowners are even identified by name."

Thanks to this week's contributors: Anonymous, Brenda T., D-Hugh Reekie, Gail B., Kenneth R Marks, Mike More, Unknown.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

How to Create and Manage Digital Family Documents

An article from PC World is aimed at ensuring the preservation of copies of important documents such as birth certificates; adoption papers; marriage, divorce, domestic partnership certificates; immigration certificates and forms, passports, driver's licenses, and identification cards ... and many more. It suggests handling historic family documents like photos at a higher resolution.

News from AncestryDNA

AncestryDNA has extended the timeline to save your 6-8 cM matches to late August.


More accurate number of shared segments (beginning early August)

See the length of your longest shared segment (beginning mid August)

Find these update announcements at the top of your DNA Matches page with further details in the FAQ.


Communities now have 20 Southeast Asian, 9 East Asian, 14 South Asian, 31 Oceanian, 2 African and 1 Central Asian & Russian community.  Read more on the blog.

Comment. Losing the small cM matches will be no handicap to most people but,  I understand, should clear out a whole lot of false matches.

Internet Genealogy: August/September 2020

Here are the contents of the issue becoming available on 10 August.

Finding Everyone and Their Mother
Joe Grandinetti embarks on a maiden (name) voyage to research female ancestors

Speakeasies & Our Ancestors’ Entertainment
Sue Lisk looks at online sources help you to understand your ancestors’ lives during Prohibition

Genealogy Podcasts
Julie Cahill Tarr shows us how to keep up with the latest news and learn from experts through podcasts

Genealogy Software Round-Up
Tony Bandy looks at an overview of the available genealogy software programs on the market

Dealing with Family Stories and Legends
George G. Morgan looks at ways to gather new clues to jumpstart your research

Genealogical Resources for the War with Mexico
David A. Norris goes on a hunt for records that are often overshadowed by other conflicts

Filae – French Genealogy Records
Diane L. Richard looks at a source for French genealogical records with an English language interface

Wanted: Black Sheep or Jailbirds
Sue Lisk highlights online resources for locating ancestors who may have spent time behind bars

From Stranger to Familiar Face
Carol L. MacKay explores identifying family photographs using online resources

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

Back Page: No-Travel Genealogy
Dave Obee looks at how some things we take for granted may no longer be possible.