31 December 2020

MyHeritage Adds France, Nord Department Civil Births and Deaths

While I wouldn't normally cover French resources, those for Department Nord, just across the English Channel, including Dunkirk, may be of interest for strays. MyHeritage made the data available on 29 December.

The births, from 1820-1915, include 3,086 Smiths.

The deaths, from 1820-1935, include 2,959 Smiths.

Civil vital records were collected by government authorities in France starting in 1792. 

Interested in the trend of deaths during the First World War which was waged in and around the Department? Were more civil deaths recorded, or did the administrative system break down?

For the first 25 years of the 20th century, there is a marked decrease in deaths reported. The first two years of the war had large increases in reported deaths, as did 1918 which was influenza pandemic year.

British Newspaper Archive December Additions

The British Newspaper Archive now has a total of 40,568,308 pages online (40,111,574 last month). 

This month 47 papers had pages added (43 in the previous month). There were 21 (9) new titles. Dates range from 1766 to 1980.

Those with more than 10,000 pages added were:

American Register1873-1883, 1888, 1890-1893, 1897-1899, 1901, 1904-1907, 1909-1911, 1913-1914
Birkenhead News1881-1890, 1892-1896, 1900-1907, 1909-1910, 1913, 1915-1920
Bromsgrove & Droitwich Messenger1860-1913
Cotton Factory Times1885-1888, 1891-1895, 1897-1899, 1902-1911, 1913-1920
East Kent Times and Mail1866-1871, 1873, 1875-1891, 1893-1900, 1902, 1904-1932, 1935, 1937-1940, 1942-1943, 1946-1948, 1951-1952, 1956-1961, 1964-1977, 1979-1980
Fulham Chronicle1888-1904, 1907-1912, 1923-1933
Indian Daily News1881-1885, 1894-1897, 1899
Leicester Evening Mail1938-1943, 1946-1960, 1962-1963
Madras Weekly Mail1876, 1882, 1885, 1888, 1891-1892, 1894-1895, 1898, 1901-1906, 1908
Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette1871, 1874-1892, 1894-1895, 1900-1902, 1904-1906, 1908-1909, 1912, 1914, 1916, 1919, 1921-1929
Reynolds's Newspaper1912-1929, 1934-1938
Runcorn Examiner1881, 1883-1888, 1893-1895, 1898, 1900-1909, 1911-1920
St. Helens Examiner1883-1885, 1887-1888, 1890, 1892, 1894-1896, 1899-1908, 1910, 1912-1920

Yuletide R&R

The most popular Yuletide post from 2019.

Compiled from various sources.

A bar was walked into by the passive voice.
C, Eb, and G walk into a bar. The bartender says "Sorry, no minors."
An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.
Two quotation marks walk into a "bar."
Bartender asks a woman what she wants. “An entendre,” she says. “Make it a double.” So he gives it to her.
A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.
Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.
A question mark walks into a bar?
A rabbi, a priest, and a cliché walk into a bar.
A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly. Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Get out - we don't serve your type."
A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.
A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.
A Roman walks into a bar and asks for a martinus. "You mean martini?" the bartender asks. The Roman replies "Easy! I'll let you know when I want more."
Two atoms walk into a bar. One says to the other, "I think I've lost an electron!" "Are you sure?" "Yes, I'm positive!"
Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.
A synonym strolls into a tavern.
A spoonerism walks into a bar and asks where to find a shitted feet.
At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar — fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.
A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.
A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.
An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.
The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.
A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned by a man with a glass eye named Ralph.
The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.
A dyslexic walks into a bra.
A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.
An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television getting drunk and smoking cigars.
A Higgs boson walks into a Catholic church and the priest says "thank god you made it, we can't have mass without you."
A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.
A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.
An alliteration traipsed into a tavern, where it tangled tempestuously with an insistent, illiterate intern.
A black hole walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender asks if he'd like food with that. The black hole says 'No thanks, I'm a light eater'.
A typo wakled into a bar.
Voice recognition walks into a bar. You think he wood of scene it write in front of him.

30 December 2020

More Progress on English Parish Records from FamilySearch

Since Christmas Day FamilySearch has updated these titles with the number of new transcriptions shown, followed by totals in parentheses.

England, Gloucestershire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1642-1996: 5,947 (80,067).

England England, Herefordshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1583-1898: 7,812 (1,209,229).

England England, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988: 19,878 (1,404,589).

England England, Northumberland Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-1920: 10,817 (252,859).

Find an announcement of all updates this week in the FamilySearch Newsroom.

Guy Berthiaume, C.M.

Congratulations to former Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume, named to the Order of Canada in the New Year's Honours List. The citation is:

For his leadership in the preservation of our collective heritage and for making it more accessible to all Canadians.

Human sex ratio in Ancestry's 1911 Census

According to Wikipedia "the natural ratio between males and females at birth is slightly biased towards the male sex, being estimated to be about 1.05[2] or 1.06[3] or within a narrow range from 1.03 to 1.06[4] males/per female born."

The latest UK data shows males outnumbering females, a ratio 1.05, until age 54 — https://www.indexmundi.com/united_kingdom/sex_ratio.html/. The same is true for Canada and the USA.

Birth YearSex Ratio

So it was a bit of a surprise to find the data in the table above calculated from the 1911 census for England, as supplied by Ancestry, showing more females than males except for 1910. The stats are for births in +/- 10-year intervals around the decadal year. 1905 is for +/- 5 years, 1909 and 1910 for just that year.

As men have a shorter lifespan the predominance of older women and the trend toward equality in numbers for younger people isn't surprising. But why the much larger proportion of women?

Could it be that men have emigrated in larger numbers? Could it be they were overseas on military service? Or could it be there's a problem with the assignment of gender? 

This extract from a randomly selected census form shows there was a lot of confusion in completing the return. 

As neither Findmypast nor MyHeritage nor FamilySearch has the capability to compute statistics for 1911 by gender it's likely a tacit recognition the derived stats are not to be trusted.

Yuletide R&R

29 December 2020

This Week's Online Genealogy Events

Again this week the selection is very limited.

🇨🇦Tuesday 29 December, 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch OGS and The Ottawa Public Library. Join here.

Wednesday 30 December, 2 pm: Ten Databases You Need to Know About, by Shannon Combs-Bennett for FamilyTreeWebinars

If you missed the suggestions last week for websites where you will find free archived presentations, for family history and beyond, here they are again.

Legacy Family TreeMost free recordings are about MyHeritage resources there are others. If you have a Legacy Family Tree subscription, one of the very best values in family history today, you have well over 1,000 recordings and the associated handout covering a wide variety of topics.

The UK National ArchivesYou might be interested in Top level tips: First World War army records from Tuesday 29 September 2020 or What’s Online: ‘Top level tips – discovering your local history from Friday 24 July 2020. There are podcast episodes linked from the same page.

Gresham College

YouTube:  Lots to explore including archived presentations from the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Centre.

TED: Ideas worth spreading

Here's advanced notice from Findmypast of presentations they'll be giving on Facebook in January. 

5 January: Exploring School Records
13 January: Advanced Search Techniques
20 January: Edith Cavell: An Unexpected Hero
26 January: Australia Day Panel Discussion
27 January: Coats of Arms

Yuletide R&R

Folks seem to like Pam Ayres, so another.

28 December 2020

O/T: Thanks to The Few

Today's Globe and Mail editorial is worth reading - https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-thanks-to-the-few-we-may-just-beat-the-pandemic/. It concludes "For The Few of vaccine science, this has been their finest hour. For governments in Canada, it has been anything but."

Some claim it's a matter of population density. Here are the stats.

Toronto, population density of 4,334 per square kilometre, had 620 deaths per million

Ottawa, population density of 317 per square kilometre, had 390 deaths per million

Singapore, population density of 8,358 per square kilometre, had deaths 5 per million

Hong Kong, population density of 7,140 per square kilometre, had deaths 18 per million

Yuletide R&R

27 December 2020

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Poll finds a majority of Canadians are optimistic about 2021
Report from Radio Canada International — https://www.rcinet.ca/en/2020/12/24/poll-finds-a-majority-of-canadians-are-optimistic-about-2021/. With a switch of leadership in the US from celebrity to substance why not be optimistic? The challenges of 2020 were accompanied, even stimulated, massive progress - from vaccines, and not just for the Coronavirus but also malaria. There's progress in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, evermore affordable green energy, remote working and conferencing.

Festive brain food: Irish history - videos and podcasts
From Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News, a list of recent videos and podcasts, all freely available online, covering Irish history topics that genealogists may find of interest. 

What Was Accomplished During Lockdown?
According to the sage Google, in one study "those working from home were 13% more productive than their office counterparts."A post on the London Historian's Blog mentions one project with which staff of the London Metropolitan Archives were engaged during the lockdown.

In March, with the advent of the first lockdown, a project was put together by the LMA’s Digital Services team, when it became obvious that the archives would need to close for some time. It was primarily for staff but included volunteers.

The project involves checking, refining and expanding the information attached to the LCC photographs in the LPA. The original descriptions of the images, compiled for office purposes, and containing only addresses, are inadequate for online historical research. New expanded descriptions, which will be fully searchable online, are already making the archive much more useful for researchers.

About 40 staff members from different teams at LMA worked on it on a full-time or part-time basis during the first period of closure.

Would it be too much to ask the management of other organizations, especially the ones we fund through our taxes, to let us know what alternate projects their staff accomplished while we were paying them to remain at home?

5 Mind-Boggling AI Photo Editors to Transform Pictures Without Knowing Image Editing
From MakeUseof: https://www.makeuseof.com/ai-photo-editors-transform-pictures-without-knowing-image-editing/

What does Alice Believe?

Thanks to this week's contributors: Anonymous, astlemarilyn, Barbara T, carol-anne.hamilton, Daniel Horowitz, egalib, Gail, Gail B, jon ackroyd, Judith Hilliker, Rick Roberts, Teresa, Unknown

Yuletide R&R

26 December 2020

Findmypast Weekly Update

New records this week

1939 Register

Over 69,000 previously redacted records added keep FMP home to the biggest and most up-to-date version of the 1939 Register for England and Wales. Records get opened up as people pass the age of 100 years or are reported as deceased. The register includes 1,607,029 entries for people born in 1920 — compare that to 971,806 births registered in England and Wales in that year according to the FreeBMD birth index!

Northamptonshire Baptisms

This latest tranche of over 36,000 records covers 40 Northamptonshire parishes between 1538 and1866 are from transcriptions by the Northamptonshire Family History Society. The largest addition is 3,528 records for Crick, St Margaret. The total collection is now 151,554 transcription records from 1538 to 1901 for 200 parishes.

Northamptonshire Burials

Over 51,000 new burial records, covering 80 parishes dating from 1538 to 1922. The total collection has 431,637 transcript records from 1440 to 2006 for 312 parishes. Peterborough St John has over 18,000 entries from 1559 to 1881.

Devon Burials

Unique to Findmypast, over 19,000 new records from Drake Memorial Park, Plymouth; Dolvin Road Cemetery, Tavistock; and Plymouth Road Cemetery. The total collection is 2,126,823 records from 1320 to 1995. Stoke Damerel has over 130,000 records.

Yuletide R&R

24 December 2020

Merry Christmas

Whether limited traditional or under COVID lockdown — MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Is Handel's Messiah part of your Christmas tradition? If so you may enjoy the performance broadcast on CBC Radio One on Christmas Day starting at 9 am across Canada (half an hour later in Newfoundland and Labrador.). 

Yuletide R&R

Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self

23 December 2020

Breaking News: MyHeritageDNA Genetic Groups

From a MyHeritage blog post.

We’re excited to announce the release of Genetic Groups, a long-awaited enhancement of ethnicity results on MyHeritage DNA. With this very exciting addition, the resolution of MyHeritage’s ethnicity breakdown increases dramatically to 2,114 geographic regions, providing more depth and resolution than any other DNA test available today, and complementing the current 42 top-level ethnicities. This is a huge milestone for MyHeritage and a great step for millions of people fascinated by family history and curious to learn more about their origins.

There's also a press release here.

I've not yet had an opportunity to explore this interesting development. If you have a DNA test with MyHeritage please post your reaction in a comment.


It looks like problems with EasyNetSites are now appearing for BIFHSGO. There's a lot of work going on behind the scenes to re-establish full service. 

Mail blasts cannot be sent. If you want to join the BIFHSGO Social on Wednesday refer to the link in an email subject December Socials sent on 7 December.

Also, the following notice is posted on the website.

Unfortunately, our online membership renewal is not currently working. Please register "by mail" and contact the Membership Director (membership@bifhsgo.ca) if you require assistance. We apologize for this inconvenience.

If unable to download the appropriate form from the BIFHSGO website use the copy below.

Yuletide R&R

22 December 2020

This Week's Online Genealogy Events

Every Tuesday choose from free online events over the next five days listed here. Except, things are mostly quiet over the holiday period. There is one live event.

🇨🇦Tuesday 22 December, 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch OGS and The Ottawa Public Library. Join here.

Making a virtue of the situation here are some websites where you will find free archived presentations, for family history and beyond.

Legacy Family Tree. Most free recordings are about MyHeritage resources there are others. If you have a Legacy Family Tree subscription, one of the very best values in family history today, you have well over 1,000 recordings and the associated handout covering a wide variety of topics.

The UK National Archives. You might be interested in Top level tips: First World War army records from Tuesday 29 September 2020 or What’s Online: ‘Top level tips – discovering your local history from Friday 24 July 2020. There are podcast episodes linked from the same page.

Gresham College

YouTube:  Lots to explore including archived presentations from the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Centre.

TED: Ideas worth spreading

Many family history societies have videos of past presentations available to members only.

Yuletide R&R

Over the quiet holiday period, for the next few days, you'll find a variety of Yuletide R&R videos posted, mostly humourous, mostly British, quite a few repeats from previous years.

21 December 2020

Herefordshire History

If you're looking for newspapers, photographs, and other resources illustrating the history of Herefordshire look no further than this local history project run by Herefordshire Libraries.

The collection is an amazing miscellany. For Withington, a village where I have ancestry, I found images of a Home Guard 1940 logbook with name, age (birthdate), military experience and next of kin. 

The newspaper collection comprises:

Kington Reporter - 1914, Jan - Aug.
Ledbury Reporter - 1940, Jan - Dec; 2014, Jan - Dec.
Hereford Journal - 1914 - 1919, 2014.
Hereford Times - 1832 - 1835; 1844 - 1847; 1855 - 1858; 1865 - 1868; 1914 - 1919; 1939 - 1945; 1949 - 1959; 2014 - 2016.
Hereford Mercury - 1914 - 1919.
Kington Times - 1914 - 1919.
Ledbury Guardian - 1914 - 1919.
Leominster News - 1914 - 1922.
Ross Gazette - 1867 - 2007, 2011 - 2013.

Don't miss this if you have Herefordshire ancestry.


20 December 2020

Bryan Sykes Obituary

Bryan Clifford Sykes, author of The Seven Daughters of Eve died 10 December 2020 aged 73. 

He played a leading role in advancing public awareness of DNA testing for genealogy. 

Although not always right he was a colourful personality — https://youtu.be/rzYLGWudaLI


Sunday Sundries

 Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

The Ancestor Hunt BMD Record Links Aside from Ontario, mentioned previously, links for some other provinces are updated.

The Pandemic Safety Rule That Really Matters: Don’t spend time indoors with people outside your household. Be aware of hygiene theatre.

Documentary Heritage Communities Program The deadline for proposals is 12 January, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time). Queries to bac.contributions.lac@canada.ca / Tel: 1-844-757-8035 / TTY:1-866-299-1699.

The Art and Science of Quebec Genealogy: Virtual Genealogy Conference: 14 to 17 January 2021. Conference menu at www.genquebec.com

A Look at the History of Britain’s Extreme Winter Weather

How to make public transport an attractive option in your city.

Online Jigsaw Puzzles from the Archives of Ontario

Fun from MyHeritage
Thanks for the creative seasonal and 2020-appropriate gifts from MyHeritage delivered on Friday. You can't see the smile on my face — there was a mask for that too.

Last-Minute Gift. Internet Genealogy,  Your Genealogy Today and History Magazine from Moorshead Magazines are available at reduced subscription prices.

Thanks to this week's contributors: Anita Nevins, Anonymous, Btyclk, Edward M. Chadwick, Helen Tovey, Kenneth R Marks, Megan Houston, Mike More, Unknown

The Canadian Letters and Images Project

An online archive of the Canadian war experience, from any war, as told through the letters and images of Canadians themselves. 

One aspect of the website at https://www.canadianletters.ca/ is letters read by celebrity guests. Check out those read by Rick Mercer, The Right Honourable David Johnston and, especially Alexx Trebek reading a 1915 letter by James McGill regarding the 1915 death of William Lockhard Campbell, a Carleton Place soldier.

A recent development for the project is in the press release Researchers Developing a Better User Interface for Historical Archive.

19 December 2020

News from BAnQ Gatineau

New genealogy databases announced:

Divorce files and judgments in the judicial districts of Québec, Beauce, Charlevoix, Montmagny and Thetford Mines, 1968-1987
List of irrevocable, conditional judgments and petitions for divorce from the judicial districts of the Montreal region
Land requests from the militiamen of the War of 1812
Haut-Saguenay marriage contracts 1840-1911
Census of Quebec City, 1825
Parish census of Notre-Dame-de-Québec, 1815.

Plus an updated database

Persons incarcerated in the prisons of Quebec, 1813-1907, 1914 

Find a list of databases with new and updated ones indicated (in French) at 

Co-Lab Update for December

Library and Archives Canada is now reporting progress since last month at Co-Lab, which is mostly since LAC last updated the files in the spring.

Canadian National Land Settlement Association NEW is 20% complete. Read about this collection.

Molly Lamb Bobak is 22% complete, 0% complete last month

Women Lightkeepers: heroes by the sea is 99% complete, 96% complete last month.

Diary of François-Hyacinthe Séguin is 56% complete, 16% complete last month.

George Mully: moments in Indigenous communities, remains 2% complete.

Correspondence regarding First Nations veterans returning after the First World War is 100% complete, 96% complete last month.

Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 is 77% complete, 71% complete last month.

Legendary Train Robber and Prison Escapee Bill Miner is 99% complete, 98% complete last month.

War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division is 100% complete, 94% complete last month.

Japanese-Canadians: Second World War, remains 61% complete.

The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters is 93% complete, 97% complete last month!

Image for Rosemary Gilliat (Eaton)’s Arctic diary and photographs

Rosemary Gilliat (Eaton)’s Arctic diary and photographs is 99% complete. 

New France and First Nations Relations, remains 78% complete.

Projects that remain 100% complete are no longer reported here.

Findmypast Weekly Update

Ireland, Belfast & Ulster Directories

Exclusive to Findmypast, these selected directories are: 

1890 The Belfast and Province Of Ulster Directory, Volume Xiii
1900 The Belfast and Province Of Ulster Directory, Volume Xxi
1904 The Belfast and Province Of Ulster Directory, Volume Xxv
1912 The Belfast and Province Of Ulster Directory, Volume Xxxi
1920 The Belfast and Province Of Ulster Directory, Volume Xli
1923 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Xliii
1924 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Xliv
1925 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Xlv
1926 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Xlvi
1928 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Xlviii
1931 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Li
1932 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Lii
1935 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Lv
1936 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Lvi
1937 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Lvii
1938 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Lviii
1942 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Lxii
1943 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Lxiii
1944 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Lxiv
1945 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Lxv
1946 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Lxvi
1947 Belfast and Ulster Directory, Volume Lxvii
1948 Belfast and Northern Ireland Directory, Volume Lxviii

Within each find sections on:

Civil establishment (government, courts, institutions, etc.)
Street directory (for Belfast only)
Residents list (for larger towns)
Trades and professional directory

Search for hits and follow the link to view the original.

Sussex, Eastbourne Newspaper Notices

Over 42,000 records are added to this unique collection, now 232,598 records with details on Sussex births, marriages, deaths and more. The additions date from 1865 to 1874 and have been extracted from the Eastbourne Chronicle by the Eastbourne & District Family History Society

Nottinghamshire Baptisms

Over 98,000 new and exclusive records, spanning from 1628-1904 from 80 parishes across Nottinghamshire. The parish list gives full details on all 1,530,706 entries and indicates which are the latest additions.

Nottinghamshire Burial Index

Over 66,000 additional burial records from 73 parishes and over 360 years of Nottinghamshire history from 1542-1905. 

18 December 2020

Genealogy Society Website Hiccup

The website service used by several Canadian societies, including BIFHSGO, Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick Genealogical Society, Quebec Family History Society, and perhaps others, has announced they are closing as of mid-2021. EasyNetSites has been a favourite offering many capabilities Societies need. 

While it's possible EasyNetSites assets may be acquired and the service continued under new ownership that's only one possibility. Societies are working behind the scenes to maintain their web service. BIFHSGO has sent a short note on the situation to members with information that all the content is backed up. If a switch in hosting is needed any lapse in service should be brief. 

This could be an opportunity to update a Society's website with an up-to-date appearance. The current design of the BIFHSGO site will be ten years old early next year. Capabilities have changed since EasyNetSites was established.

Although BIFHSGO is not looking for website help to address the issue at present other Societies may appreciate members with web skills volunteering their services. I pen that with some hesitancy as offers of help from well-meaning people without all the necessary skills may well slow rather than accelerate the process.

Last Chance

Looking for upcoming genealogy presentations there appears to be nothing new available in the coming week. The OGS Ottawa Branch presentation What Family Historians Need to Know About Canadian Copyright may well be your last chance to attend a live genealogy presentation before Christmas Day, and even into the New Year.

Speaker OGS Copyright Consultant Elise Cole will review what copyright is and what it protects, and when you need to ask permission to use an item under copyright, no matter the format including print or digital. She will also discuss how to ensure your own creations are protected by copyright. Finally, Elise will explore how to apply Fair dealing, and offer suggestions of other resources to use in place of materials under copyright like Creative Commons.

The free meeting is on Saturday 19 December 2020  at 1:00 PM Eastern Time.

Register in advance for this  ZOOM meeting.


FreeBMD December Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 17 December 2020 to contain 277,981,357 unique records (277,619,947 at the previous update.)

Years with major additions, greater than 5,000 records are: for births 1986-90; for marriages 1969, 1986-89; for deaths 1986, 1988-90. 

It's announced that FreeBMD will be receiving a refresh in 2021 to a format similar to FreeCEN and FreeREG.


17 December 2020

WDYTYA Magazine: January 2021


50 Hottest Websites: Jonathan Scott reveals 2021’s biggest record releases and key online resources in this unmissable preview.

Includes information that the newspaper digitization agreement between the British Library and Findmypast has been extended for five more years with the intention of adding another 19 million pages in the next three years.

Picture Perfect: Helen Dawkins explains how to safeguard your old family photographs to ensure that they are protected and preserved for generations to come.

Railway Mania: Harry Verity looks at how railway mania led to many of our Victorian relations losing money on the stock market.


Best Websites: Jonathan Scott surveys the most useful sites holding records for researching the victims of the Holocaust.

Record Masterclass: Simon Fowler explains why Victuallers’ Licences are a key resource if you have publicans in your family tree.

Ancestors At Work: Were any of your relations employed as policewomen?

Tech Tips: Sharpen blurred faces in old family photographs.

Focus On: Paul Blake and Maggie Loughran explain the finding aids that can help you research Irish probate.

A perennial reminder that WDYTYA magazine is free to view through PressReader from the OPL and other fine Canadian public libraries.

16 December 2020

The Ancestor Hunt updates Ontario BMD Links

There are 20 additions to Ottawa parish registers for the Catholic and United churches in The Ancestor Hunt's collection Ontario Birth, Marriage, and Death (BMD) Record Links which was updated on 16 December. Links are to items in the FamilySearch catalogue.

For Ontario, there are 478 links in total plus four links to Canada-wide databases. 



Family Tree Magazine: January 2021

Here are the contents of the newly released January 2021 issue of the UK Family Tree magazine.

Ancestry trees: a masterclass: Michelle Leonard provides useful steps to creating an online tree with Ancestry. Virtually all of the tree-building facilities that she has covered are accessible with a free account.

Investigating ‘public history: From jolly days out at living museums, to studying records in the nation's archives, we all participate in public history'. But what exactly is it? Susie Douglas considers

The importance of having a good research strategy: David Annal demonstrates why it is so important to have a good strategy for your family history, and how you can go about setting one up for your own research

Family history projects for 2021: Decide: what it is that, a year from now, you’ll look back on and wish you had started today

The Stories of our Streets: Paul Chiddicks set you a challenge, ‘The Chiddicks Challenge’, to discover - could you beat his family’s record of living on one street for over 83 years? These are the results

Where there’s a will: Where there’s a will, there’s a way to find out more about your ancestors. A will often contains unique information, and Simon Wills looks at how to locate these precious sources of family history

Also, TheGenealogist is giving every Family Tree reader a free 14-day Gold Subscription

Families: November 2020

Did you miss the announcement of a new issue of the OGS journal Families? As it's online and you have to go to the website to fetch it, rather than printed and sent in the mail, it's easy to overlook. It's linked in the Member's Corner. 

Here's what you're missing if you didn't find it, or aren't an OGS member.

Contents of the NewsLeaf supplement are:

Advocacy  Update - Land Registry Office Closures by HeatherMcTavishTaylor
A Little Spark - records and businesses by Coral Harkies
Off the Beaten Branch - four online military-related sources by Coral Harkies

O/T: What happens to my recycling in Ottawa

The more you understand the better you can decide what goes in what box. 

15 December 2020

This Week's Online Genealogy Events

Choose from free online events in the next five days. All times are ET except as noted. Assume registration in advance is required. Check so you're not disappointed.

Tuesday 15 December: 8:45 am: British Library Labs Symposium. https://www.bl.uk/events/bl-labs-symposium

🇨🇦Tuesday 15 December, 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch OGs and The Ottawa Public Library. Join here.

Tuesday 15 December: 2:35 pm: Cross Border Cousins – Tip Toe though Canadian Records and Information presented by Steve Fulton for the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. https://acpl.libnet.info/event/4724171

Tuesday 15 December; 8 pm: From the 18th to the 21st: The Records of Prohibition presented by Judy G. Russell, https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5837182291130884867

Wednesday 16 December, 2 pm: Ten Best Sources for Determining Your Immigrant Ancestor's Town of Origin presented by Lisa Alzo. Learn about the best US sources that might name your ancestor’s town or village, and how to prioritize your search and set expectations for tracking down key records in foreign repositories. https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar_details.php?webinar_id=1260

🇨🇦 Saturday 19 December, 1 pm: What Family Historians Need to Know About Canadian Copyright presented by Elise Cole. Ottawa Branch OGS. https://ottawa.ogs.on.ca/events/what-family-historians-need-to-know-about-canadian-copyright-ottawa/

The Financial Health of Canadian Genealogical Societies 2019

Each year organizations federally registered as charities in Canada for tax purposes are required to file returns with the Canada Revenue Agency. Financial and other information is available on the Revenue Canada website.

Eight of 12 societies ran an operating surplus.

Financial statements for the Ontario Genealogical Society for 2019 were not posted as of 14 December 2020. The figures included here are from the Consolidated Financial Statements presented to the Society 2020 AGM.

Search for individual society reports at 

The amounts in parentheses are for previous years sequentially back in time

Alberta Genealogical Society

For the reporting period ending 2019-12-31. Total assets of 629,518 ($589,925, $612,912, $595,845, $558,845, $606,312, $540,282), and liabilities of $223,872 ($189,274, $229,017, $251,116, $213,134, $257,883, $200,592). The total revenue was $258,775 ($221,714, $264,331, $294,466, $208,033, $229,344, $254,380). Expenditures totaled $253,780 ($220,273, $225,165, $295,448, $210,752, $250,276, $218,231). The individual annual membership fee remains $50 for digital journal subscription, $60 for paper. 

British Columbia Genealogical Society

For the reporting period ending:  2019-12-31. Total assets of $71,650 ($207,055, $202,786, $209,347, $206,451, $203,542, $203,016) and liabilities of $20,808 ($10,096, $6,604, $7,600, $7,810, $9,268, $10,085). Total revenue was $23,867 ($36,988, $33,331, $34,030, $33,923, $27,625, $24,783). Expenditures totaled $26,653 ($35,385, $31,729, $30,925, $29,555, $24,991, $22,502). The individual annual membership fee is increased to $65 from $45.

British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa

For the reporting period ending 2019-12-31. Total assets of $114,685 ($105,229, $109,634, $98,897, $121,878, $104,683, $90,374) and liabilities of $22,280 ( $22,118, $23,796, $14,120, $20,170, $32,716, $30,607). Total revenue was $76,029 ($69,096, $57,978, $59,872, $71,443, $70,738, $54,675). Expenditures totaled $66,734 ($71,745, $63,939, $66,583, $63,844, $55,000, $50,366). The individual annual membership fee remains $50.

Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador Inc

For the reporting period ending 2019-12-31 total assets were$ 53,392 ($46,094, $ 35,802, $25,523, $29,166, $43,130) and liabilities $ 9,471 ($13,154, $11,088, $14,098, $16,072, $15,867). Total revenue was $35,562 ($37,804, $33,736, $34,368, $29,729, $35,226) and expenditure  $23,996 ($26,228, $21,668, $36,037, $44,364, $32,525). That's a $11.566 surplus. The individual membership fee remains $42.

Manitoba Genealogical Society

For the reporting period ending 2020-03-31. Total assets of $51,847 ($40,262, $43,476, $47,734, $37,118, $55,341, $50,743) and liabilities of  $10,400.00 ($4,494, $4,806, $7,927, $7,208, $19,157, $22,458). Total revenue was $53,382 ($57,503, $53,194, $41,899, $47,388, $47,727, $60,780). Expenditures totaled $ 55,633 ($55,585, $ 51,924, $32,060, $49,679, $48,942, $59,162). The individual annual membership fee remains $50.

New Brunswick Genealogical Society 

For the reporting period ending 2019-12-31. Total assets of $199,836 ($193,279, $182,646, $186,437, $180,604) and liabilities of $17,062 ($19,704, $14,159, $16,428, $14,045) . Total revenue was $51,283 ($32,741, $38,412, $35,424, $40,102). Expenditures totaled $47,406 ($28,384, $41,331, $33,639, $46,629). The individual membership remains at $40.

Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia

For the reporting period ending 2019-12-31. Total assets of $257,875 ($239,845, $274,044, $244,902, $281,182, $307,796, $303,274) and liabilities of $15,674 ($2,001, $4,011, n/a, $1,553, $0, $0). Total revenue was $79,278 ($32,372, $44,676, $ 44,448, $42,800, $45,693, $32,549). Total expenditures were $59,548 ($64,564, $57,812, $46,797, $69,858, $44,703, $30,717). The Association's annual membership fee remains $39.

Ontario Genealogical Society

For the reporting period ending 2019-12-31. Total assets of  $1,505,384  ($1,595,600, $1,710,405, $1,771,728, $1,730,483 $2,145,295) and liabilities of $256,756 ($261,319, $226,378, $252,635, $220,434, $253,590). Total revenue was $711,668 ($562,466, $698,220, $701,406, $694,265, $557,053). Total expenditures were $796,176 ($721,143, $740,546, $709,792, $711,897, $626,736). The annual membership fee remains $63.

Québec Family History Society

For the reporting period ending 2020-07-31 Total assets of $20,914 ($13,085, $26,400, $28,217, $48,701, $50,072, $53,800, $65,742)  Liabilities totaled $15,738  ($5,713, $4,091, $4,464, $8,529, $7,304, $5,111, $7,899). Total revenue was $32,601.00 ($29,743, $36,629, $40,495, $42,468, $42,545, $44,095, $60,623). Expenditures totaled $36,419 ($43,058, $47,071, $46,972, $45,064, $49,054, $50,878, $47,420). The annual fee remains at $75.

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society

For the reporting period ending 2019-12-31. Total assets of $205,243 ($182,979, $141,278, $114,170, $86,875, $106,334, $46,921). Liabilities totaled $122,549 ($118,732, $123,279, $135,921, $127,116, $125,662, $65,054). Total revenue was $252,599 ($252,198, $280,227, $237,391, $239,577, $256,667, $261,767). Expenditures were $234,152 ($224,265, $244,704, $252,436, $260,490, $268,140, $262,316) Basic annual membership remains $70.

Société généalogique canadienne-française

For the reporting period ending 2018-12-31.Total assets of $665,144 ($551,682, $391,317, $363,189, $373,417, $339,405 $347,834). Liabilities totaled $41,470 ($52,481, $58,153, $63,648, $67,351, $39,685, $68,013). Total revenue was $209,241 ($170,123, $171,002, $231,117, $202,946, $215,399 $248,240). Expenditures were $173,496 ($176,885, $165,584, $195,137, $202,782, $201,759, $220,556.) Basic annual membership remains $50.

Victoria Genealogical Society

For the reporting period ending 2030-05-31. Total assets of $47,201 ($41,583, $34,781, $ 38,327, NA, NA, NA, $24,786) and liabilities NA (NA, NA, NA, NA, 0). Total revenue was $32,163 ($38,419, $40,354, $41,924, $34,048, $40,412, NA). Expenditures totaled $27,452 ($31,815, $43,789, $39,688, $44,502, $42,629, $35,790). Individual annual membership remains at $60.

14 December 2020

O/T: Reduce Background Sound in Zoom

If you're on a Zoom meeting and they decide to start drilling in a nearby unit in your building, or your neighbour has noisy construction underway, consider using the advanced audio settings for Zoom to apply noise filtering. 

Adjust the level of filtering background noise from the default setting of "automatic." to "aggressive."  The advanced audio setting is found by clicking the drop-down menu next to Zoom's microphone icon. Give it a try. Some people find it too aggressive and their own speech is clipped

It should go without saying to keep your microphone muted unless you're speaking to eliminate not only background noise but also interruptions such as a ringing phone. Some of us use a headset with a highly directional microphone and clearer incoming audio.

The (UK) National Archives Online Events

Sign up for online presentations from TNA for January thru March 2021. All times are for the UK so, depending on where you are, you may have to get up early to attend many of them.

Top Level Tips: Using Discovery
16 January | 10:00

Learn our top tips for using our catalogue, Discovery. Within half an hour you will come away with all of the tools needed to make the most of the catalogue for your research.

England’s mistress: Emma Hamilton
22 January | 14:00

Kate Williams discusses the tumultuous life of Emma Hamilton, and how her affair with Lord Nelson became one of the most epic love stories of all time.

Top Level Tips: Discovering your family history
23 January | 10:00

Our experts guide you through all the basics on how to get started with discovering your family history within half an hour.

Belsen and the British
29 January | 14:00

Dan Stone examines what the British found at Belsen in April 1945, and explains how the aftermath of the liberation was never just a British affair.

Top Level Tips: Discovering your local history
30 January | 10:00

Join our expert-led webinar that will give you guide you through all the basics to get started with discovering your family history within half an hour.

Top Level Tips: First World War army records
6 February | 10:00

Gain pointers on how to start researching your ancestor who served in the Army during the First World War, or someone listed on your local war memorial. 

Top Level Tips: Records of railway workers
13 February | 10:00

Discover tools and tips on how to research your ancestors who worked on the railways trace their work and employment records.

Public health and the 1918-19 Influenza pandemic
19 February| 14:00

Laura Robson-Mainwaring dives into the government’s response to the Influenza pandemic, at a time when the cause and treatment of Influenza was unknown.

Top Level Tips: Using Discovery
23 February | 10:00

Learn our top tips for using our catalogue, Discovery. Within half an hour you will come away with all of the tools needed to make the most of the catalogue for your research.

AIDS: Prejudice, prevention and publicity
26 February | 14:00

Mark Dunton examines how the government wrestled with the limits of frankness in a national public education campaign to address the AIDS epidemic.

Serving Winston: The life of Churchill’s cook with Annie Gray
5 March | 14:00

Annie Gray celebrates the life, times and food of Georgina Landemare, No.10’s society chef, and serves us a reminder that behind every great man lies a woman who can make a mean custard.

Agents for change: Women and protest in The National Archives’ collection
12 March | 14:00

Vicky Iglikowski-Broad reflects on women and protest in modern Britain, from the movement for women’s suffrage to the Ford Dagenham Campaigns of the 1960s.

Uncovering hidden stories: Women in archives
26 March | 14:00

Angelina Osborne gives a glimpse into the lives of women around the world, from their determination to receive a university education to raising awareness of injustices in institutions.

Register from here.

13 December 2020

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

What psychology can tell us about why some people don’t wear masks – and how to change their minds

How good is the Pfizer vaccine for older people?
No inference about the effectiveness of the vaccine for older people from the results for mid-life adults!

Santa and Mrs. Claus and the Christmas War of the Sexes

Bargain Books
On Friday's BIFHSGO Social there was mention of two websites for bargain books online. www.bookbub.com has ebooks, for audiobooks try www.chirpbooks.com/. The best bargain is the online books you can borrow for free from your local public library.

Is Your Zoom Up To Date?
New capabilities are available. Check out the YouTube video at https://youtu.be/WjwZTRve3Zc

Finest Kind Christmas Concert

Thanks to this week's contributors: Anonymous, Barbara Tose, Donna Jones, Gail B. K., Leighann Neilson, Mike Moore, Patti Mordasewicz, Sophronia, Unknown

Testimonies of Transition: Voices from the Scottish Diaspora

Below is a promotional video for an oral history book, Testimonies of Transition: Voices from the Scottish Diaspora by Marjory Harper. The book was the result of over a hundred Scottish emigrants’ testimonies and interviews, now available as audiobook. 

The first 28 seconds of the video is archival footage of the vessel Letitia which was used in bringing Second World War brides to Canada after the war.

12 December 2020

Find A Grave Updates

Ancestry regularly updates the Find a Grave Index databases. There's a large increase in records for the UK and Ireland since 30 October.

Find A Grave Title10 December30 OctoberIncrease% Increase
UK and Ireland, 1300s-Current8,527,4687,826,266701,2029.0
Canada, 1600s-Current7,258,9017,081,243177,6582.5
Australia and New Zealand, 1800s-Current7,745,0017,630,773114,2281.5

There are now 15,147,733 records in the collection Global, Find A Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current, a 4.7% increase.

The total for US Find A Grave, 157,371,227, dwarfs the others.

Findmypast Weekly Update

 Yorkshire Monumental Inscriptions

Over 28,000 new records to this collection, covering over 300 years of Yorkshire history. The new arrivals date from 1663-2008 and come from the following parishes in Yorkshire (West Riding):

Greetland, Methodist Chapel, Mytholmroyd, Norland, Northowram, Ogden, Ovenden, Pecket Well, Queensbury, Ripponden, Rishworth, Scammonden, Shelf, Sowerby, Sowerby Bridge.

This collection now totals 234,260 records for 270 locations with the most recent inscriptions for 2019.

United States Obituary Notices

Over 18.2 million new entries from all 50 American states, now totalling over 56.6 million. The collection is from the tributes.com and currentobituary.com websites. Death dates range from 1619 to 2020.

Ireland Billion Graves Cemetery Index

New records from all 32 Irish counties now totalling 152,515 index records. The most recent are for 2017, the earliest for 1623. Coverage is best for Northern Ireland with nearly 41,000 records for Down, over 28,000 for Antrim, and over 24,000 for Londonderry.

Ontario Newspaper Digitization

As someone who has grown old advocating and lamenting the lack of national leadership from LAC on newspaper digitization, the article One fire away’: Why Ontario communities are digitizing their newspapers by Marsha McLeod caught my attention.

As with Glengarry county, local people have the most interest in having their newspapers preserved and digitized. It's gratifying to find the type of effort described being made and funded by local councils. 

I'm wondering if OGS branches keep track of digitally available newspapers for their area, and newspapers that are vulnerable to being lost?

11 December 2020

MyHeritage adds United Kingdom, Death Index, 1980-2020

New from MyHeritage, this collection contains an index of 6,351,220 death records from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. 

According to MyHeritage, records may contain various information of the deceased, including full name, gender, birth date, age at death, death date, and place where the death occurred. 

Checking some known deaths in my family tree in England, I found information on full name, gender, death date, place and postcode sector. Ignore the place which appears to be an administrative centre. Look instead at the postcode sector, Google it and you'll find various sites that describe and map the sector.

There is no indication on the source of the information which is more detailed than that available from the General Register Office website.

Ontario Land Records and ONLAND

The closure of the physical Land Registry Offices as of October has stimulated a lot of interest in the availability of Ontario land records online.

Last Saturday's BIFHSGO workshop Ontario Land Records Made Easy given by Ken McKinlay was "well-received", I'd go as far as "highly-acclaimed."

For a limited time, the workshop handout and video in three parts are available to all at the BIFHSGO website. Then they will be moved behind the Society firewall — available to members only.

Handout — https://bifhsgo.ca/upload/files/Education/2020_Dec_Ontario_Land_Records_-_Where_are_They_Online_-_handout.pdf

Overview and Part I — https://youtu.be/s4RIs2A9IOI
Part II - The Abstracts — https://youtu.be/CgwqHxdqEY0
Part III - The Instruments / Chat responses — https://youtu.be/MeUD16WXsF4

Chat responses — https://bifhsgo.ca/upload/files/Education/2020_Dec_Chat_-_Ontario_Land_Records_Made_Easier_-_participants_contributions.pdf

On Wednesday evening OGS hosted a webinar ONLAND: Ontario Land Registry Access - A Insiders Guide on how to use it, with two speakers, Dan Petoran and Cat Bufalino from the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. Find it linked in a page with lots of other good land record information at https://ogs.on.ca/land-records/

10 December 2020

Christmas Lies and Legends

Do you have an open mind? If you don't mind having some of your cherished beliefs exploded?

"Is Santa really Dutch? Were Christmas Trees introduced by Prince Albert? Was Christmas once a time of faith, rather than riotous feasting? 

In this lecture, social historian Judith Flanders considers Christmas myths and Christmas memory, and will explore how everything you think you know about Christmas is wrong. She looks at the long history of nostalgia for a different kind of Christmas, and whether Christmas ever really existed at all."

Watch on replay at https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/christmas-legends

BIFHSGO December Meeting: Great Moments

On Saturday 12 December at 10 a.m. BIFHSGO's popular semi-annual Great Moments meeting features three members sharing Great Moments from their family history.

"Jamey Burr will tell the story of his mother’s family, who came from the east coast of Scotland to start a significant family fishing business on Lake Huron. We’ll hear about tales of international travel on the jute trade route, early political activity in Upper Canada, lighthouse keepers, the Klondike, family losses, and a sad role related to the greatest tragedy in Great Lakes history.

After the Irish famine, Hugh Reekie's forebear William Maxwell, a civil engineer and architect, was very involved in designing houses, farms and factories.  Hugh will take us on a grand tour of Ballinasloe, telling us the history of the town and area, finishing up with a family gravestone - in a very interesting location!

Michael MacNeil’s great-great-grandmother was believed to have survived a shipwreck in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on her way to Canada from Ireland sometime between 1830 and 1833.  Learn how Michael discovered that false news is not a recent phenomenon, but can be enduring."

The meeting will feature a Christmas Social.  While there won't be a lovely spread of holiday sweets this year, we invite you to munch on your favourite goodies while you listen to the Great Moments from the comfort of your home. 

Registration is required – register here for this ever-popular BIFHSGO event.

Reminder: Renewal of membership for 2021 is now due.  New members are always welcome. Information here.