Thursday, 21 January 2021

Tweet from Jon Ossoff (@ossoff)

Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) tweeted at 10:18 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 20, 2021:
Today, as I was sworn in, I held in my jacket pocket copies of the ships' manifests recorded at Ellis Island when my Great Grandfather Israel arrived in 1911 and my Great Grandmother Annie arrived in 1913.

A century later, their great grandson was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Get the official Twitter app at 

FamilySearch Weekly Update

Two databases for English records appeared on FamilySeatch in the past week.

An unusual pre-1841 title is England, Middlesex, Westminster, Marylebone, Census, 1821 and 1831 with 22,529 records

There's also the start of England, Devon, Plymouth, Militia Records, 1625-1831; you'll be fortunate to find an ancestor among the 806 records.

England, Herefordshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1583-1898 adds 10,257 records for a total of 1,244,548,

England, Northumberland Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-1920 added 7,348 for a total of 263,557 records.

England, Gloucestershire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1642-1996 added 5,420 records for a new total of 99,995.

The only addition for Canada is 193 Nova Scotia Church Records 1720 - 2001 for a total of 139,363.

Nova Scotia Church Records, 1720-2001193139,363

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Cecil Humphrey-Smith RIP

Sorry to learn of the passing of the founder of the Institute for Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. He was perhaps best known as the author of The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers.

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

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 19 January 11 am: Searching for Irish Ancestors, with Jen Baldwin and Lisa Lisson of Findmypast.

🇨🇦 Tuesday 19 January 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch  OGS and The Ottawa Public Library. Join here.

Tuesday 19 January 2:30 pm: Strategic Searching on Findmypast, by Jen Baldwin for the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Centre.

Tuesday 19 January 8 pm: Death and Burial Practices in World War I and WW II, by Rick Sayre. Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Note: This appears to be restricted to only US deaths.

Wednesday 20 January 11 am: The Story of Edith Cavell, with Ellie Overthrow-Jones, Peter Doll and Nick Miller for Findmypast

Wednesday 20 January 2 pm: Another 50 Websites Every Genealogist Should Know, by Gena Philibert-Ortega. Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Notes: Promises to "take our research around the world."

Thursday 21 January 11 am: Staff Stories: Panel Discussion, with Alex Cox, Jen Baldwin, Niall Cullen and Brian Donovan

Thursday 21 January 2 pm: 'You're Fired'? Reviewing the Trump Presidency. Presented by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library

Thursday 21 January 6:30 pm: Critical Connections: - Putting the Pieces & Strategies Together, by Curt Witcher for the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Centre.

Friday 22 January 9 am:  England's Mistress: Emma Hamilton, by Kate Williams for The (UK) National Archives.

Friday 22 January, 11 am: Fridays Live, with Myko Clelland for Findmypast

🇨🇦 Saturday 23 January 1 pm: Genealogy of Place, by Fraser Dunford for Ottawa Branch OGS

Advance Notice: Canadian War Museum Zoom Events + War Brides

On Wednesday 27 January at 1 pm The Canadian War Museum hosts a conversation with Andy Réti — Holocaust survivor, author and motorcycle enthusiast — as he recounts his incredible story of love, survival and resilience during the Second World War. More here.

On Thursday 28 January and 12 noon tune in for an event in the War Museum’s virtual Make Do and Mend workshop series that reacquaints participants with many of the household skills that were part of everyday life in wartime Canada. Each event features a wartime “skill” and one of the Museum’s experts to provide historical context.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, in conjunction with an exhibition "Forever Changed – Stories From the Second World War", the Canadian War Museum has developed a souvenir catalogue. It includes the story of Trooper Gordon Fennell and mentions his British war bride Joyce Cobb.

The exhibition associated with the publication (also titled Forever Changed – Stories From the Second World War) has a richer presentation of war brides, through the story of British war bride Gwendoline Green and her Canadian husband John McDonald. It displays Gwendoline’s wedding dress and her cookbook and tells her story through text, photos and a digital game. Unfortunately, the museum is currently closed to the public, due to public health restrictions.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Your Genealogy Today: Jan/Feb 2021

This issue, which arrived in the mail on Friday, is brimming with good content. 

I particularly enjoyed Sue Lisk's article For Whom the Bell Tolls. It's such a good read, the story details her research into finding an ancestor's grave, that I didn't mind that the mystery she tackled wasn't solved.

Robbie Gorr's story A Bigamist's Paradise of multiple and serial bigamies had a focus in the Ottawa Valley — Alymer, Bristol Mines, Ottawa, Pembroke, Quyon, Stafford Township — and further afield — Kingston — and further yet.

I skimmed Joe Grandinetti's article Photographic Memories and David Norris on Patent Remedies, Herb Gardens, and Phatmacopeias. Perhaps they're ones I should go back to if I find room in an overflowing office to keep back issues as advised by Back Page columnist Dave Obee's in his (muted) rant on bad information on Facebook.

As with all magazines, you don't expect all articles to appeal to everyone so I skipped Diane L, Richard's article on Free Persons of Color.

Subscribe to Your Genealogy Today from Moorshead Magazines here.

Co-Lab Update for January

Library and Archives Canada is now reporting some major progress since last month at Co-Lab, which may well be updating for months of backlog.

Canadian National Land Settlement Association is 90% complete, 20% last month.

Molly Lamb Bobak is 77% complete, 22% complete last month

Women Lightkeepers: heroes by the sea is 100% complete, 99% complete last month.

Diary of François-Hyacinthe Séguin is 92% complete, 56% complete last month.

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

Correspondence regarding First Nations veterans returning after the First World War is 99% complete, 100% complete last month.

Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 is 84% complete, 77% complete last month.

Legendary Train Robber and Prison Escapee Bill Miner remains 99% complete.

War Diaries of the First World War: 1st Canadian Division is now 100% complete.

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

The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters remains 93% complete.

Rosemary Gilliat (Eaton)’s Arctic diary and photographs is now 100% complete. 

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

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

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

For Scotland Only: New online – Country Life magazine (1897–2005)
Owing to licensing requirements you need a postal address in Scotland to register for and access this resource. Maybe you have a relative there. The magazine covers "country estates and all aspects of rural living, giving fascinating contemporary details of country houses, lifestyles and leisure pursuits, as well as an insight into the ideas and culture of the time.  ... It’s also full of amazing photographs, adverts and biographical information. It’s a useful resource for local historians and genealogists as well as a fascinating browse for all those who'd like to dip into the past."
This is from the free monthly email newsletter from the National Library of Scotland. Register at which has news on upcoming online events, new map resources and more.

Scotland Civil Registration Update
In case you missed the regular January annual civil registration update, ScotlandsPeople now has available records for 136,546 births for 1920, 48,728 marriages for 1945, and 64,943 deaths for 1970.

Scottish Indexes Conference VIII - 30 January 2021 
A great deal.

Rounding off items on Scotland, this —The Scotsman — that in a Tik Tok version kicked off a viral Sea Shanty meme.

An Apothecary at Bethlem
From the London Historians' Blog.

FHF REALLY USEFUL Family History Show: Saturday 10 April 2021
20+ speakers for £7.50 (early bird price before 31 January) is a good deal. Find out more, and about other resources from the Family History Federation, at

Climate Change
Depending on which analysis you consult 2020 either tied for warmest or was the second warmest year on record
According to the British Met Office, despite a transition into La Niña conditions in late 2020, which typically suppress global temperatures 2020 ranked second warmest in a series dating back to 1850.

OPL: Tech Café
Tomorrow, Monday 18 January at 4 pm is the first in the new Tech Café series, on Accessing Government Services Online . The second, a week later, is Recognizing Fake News.

DYK Windows 10 Can Magnify and Read Aloud?
Just type magnify where it says "Type here to search."

Thanks to this week's contributors: Anonymous, Brenda Turner, Christine Jackson, Kathy, KAYTHEGARDENER, Mary, Unknown

Migration Museum

The (UK) Migration Museum explores how the movement of people to and from Britain across the ages has made "us" who we are – as individuals and as a nation. The present location is Lewisham Shopping Centre.

Somewhat like EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin it's more an experience than a traditional museum with artifacts. 

With COVID both are closed at present. 

On the Migration Museum website is Departures, a podcast series exploring 400 years of emigration from Britain. The episodes are:

1: The Swarming of the English
Mass emigration from England first took off in the 17th century with the colonisation of America and the Caribbean. The number of people leaving the shores of England was huge and unprecedented.

2: Maidens’ Voyage
Women are largely hidden from the history of early English emigration. But if you look hard enough you can sometimes catch glimpses of their stories in the archives. For example, in the early 17th century shiploads of young women were despatched to America by the Virginia Company of London.  It was hoped they would marry the English planters in Jamestown and help grow the new colony.

3: The Company Men in India
ince the 1960s, large numbers of people have come to Britain from the Indian subcontinent. But for the preceding 350 years almost all migration was in the other direction. From the beginning of the 17th century when the first ships of the English East India Company set sail from London, India was seen as a place of fabulous wealth where huge fortunes could be made. As the Company’s trading posts around India flourished and the Company gained ever more political control, competition for Company jobs became intense. Tens of thousands of men from Britain ventured out to live an expat life in a country that was completely different to anything they had previously known. Most never returned.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Findmypast adds to Dorset Burials

Dorset burials cover 1531 to 2001 across 342 parishes in Findmypast's collection. This week index records for three parishes in the Weymouth area were added: 

Melcombe Regis: 16,195 burials from 1856 to 1980
Weymouth: 9,651 burials from 1885 to 2001   
Wyke Regis: 3,279 burials from 1887 to 1992   

While Findmypast provides convenient access you can download data for these three, as well as for Holy Trinity, a total of 29,125 records, for free as an Excel file from

The 5 Best Free Sites for Online Newspaper Research for Genealogy

On 14 January Kenneth R. Marks added this blog post to his site The Ancestor Hunt. Actually, it's an updated post.  While it's strong on US content some on his list include Canadian content — the quirky Old Fulton NY Post Cards, which wouldn't load when I tried, and  Google News Archive with its hobbled search capability.

Here's my list.

Canadiana Online
The only free national newspaper site for Canada. Newspapers are incorporated at CKRN, which runs the site, has been asked to separate out the newspaper collection.

The other's in my top five are provincial — the most populous provinces — the best way into these is via The Ancestor Hunt - Newspaper Links and scroll down to the Canada section.

Our Ontario Community Newspapers and Canadian Community Digital Archives
Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Quebec - Newspapers
British Columbia Historical Newspapers
Peel's Prairie Provinces: Newspapers 1871-2007

Friday, 15 January 2021

Ancestry adds Canada, Marriage Index

This database consists of facts extracted from marriages found on™ Canadian newspapers dating from the early 1800s to 1999.

This database is presented index information only, with a link to the digitized page on™. 

Ancestry warns these facts were pulled from a record by a computer and may not be accurate. For instance, an entry for a Hawaii marriage in August 1941 in the Ottawa Citizen

Name: John D'arcy Northwood
Gender: Male
Residence Date: Abt 1941
Residence Place: Birmingham . England
Marriage Date: Aug 1941
Marriage Place: Honolulu . Hawaii
Spouse: Olive Margaret

It's actually an announcement of a forthcoming marriage that may or may not have occurred. You wouldn't know that without checking the original image on the™ site, "which may require an additional upgrade or subscription."

Ancestry Exits Health-Genetics

Bloomberg reports that " LLC is ending a 15-month effort to sell customers genetic insights into their health, the latest sign of trouble in the consumer DNA-testing industry."

This comes prior to the appointment of a new Ancestry CEO following the departure of Margo Georgiadis at the end of December.

Withdrawing from the health business is an interesting contrast to the recent news from Family Tree DNA in its "merger" with Australian genomics company myDNA.

Findmypast Weekly Update: Burials

 New records this week

Ireland, Londonderry (Derry) City Cemetery Burials 1853-1961

Londonderry (Derry) transcript burial records for City Cemetery.

Records for the cemetery are also freely searchable at 
the City Cemetery Records Project.

Ireland, Dublin City Cemetery Burials 1805-2006
This new transcription collection covers three Dublin cemeteries and over 200 years of burials. 

St John The Baptist, Castle Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin
Drimnagh (Bluebell), Old Naas Road, Dublin
St Canice’s, Finglas, Dublin

These are freely available from Dublin City Public Libraries & Archive where you can search the cemeteries individually and there are several other area databases such as directories, parish records, electoral lists and more.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

FreeBMD January Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Wednesday 13 January 2021 to contain 278,329,114 unique records (277,981,357 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.

Two New Titles for England from Ancestry

Archdeaconry of Richmond, England, Church of England Marriage Bonds, 1611-1861

184,730 records provided in association with Lancashire Archives. The Archdeaconry of Richmond covers Lancashire north of the River Ribble and parts of present-day Cumbria. There are relatively few records prior to the 18th century.

Search results give the name, birth date, marriage bond date, marriage bond place, and spouse name. There are links to an image of the original which you can also browse in files organized by year and letter range.

Wiltshire, England, Non-Conformist Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1810-1987

229,276 records provided in association with Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council. They include Methodist, Quaker (mostly burials), Wesleyan, Independent, Baptist, and other denominations. Some records for Somerset, especially Quaker, and a few for Hampshire are included.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Ireland Mother and Baby Home Report

Nine thousand children died in Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes since Irish independence and 1998, In all, 15 percent of the approximately 57,000 children who were in the 18 institutions investigated by the Mother and Baby Homes Commission died during their time there. That's a finding from a long-awaited report 4,000 pages, including 1,000 pages of personal testimonies dated 30 October 2020 and released on Tuesday.

1,638  children from these institutions were placed for foreign adoption. 1,427 children were adopted to the USA; 149 to Great Britain; 39 to Northern Ireland; five to Canada; four to Saudi Arabia; two each to Australia, Egypt, Italy and Venezuela; one each to Guernsey, Germany, Serbia, Singapore, Norway and the Philippines.

The report includes the following chapters on individual institutions:

Chapter 13: Dublin Union/Pelletstown/St Patrick's, Navan Road/Eglinton Road
Chapter 14: Belmont Flatlets
Chapter 15: The Tuam Children’s Home
Chapter 16: The County Clare Nursery, Kilrush
Chapter 17: The Sacred Heart Mother and Baby Homes
Chapter 18: Bessborough
Chapter 19: Sean Ross
Chapter 20: Castlepollard
Chapter 21: Regina Coeli
Chapter 22: Bethany Home
Chapter 23: Denny House, formerly the Magdalen Asylum
Chapter 24: Dunboyne (Árd Mhuire)
Chapter 25: Miss Carr's
Chapter 26: The Castle
Chapter 27: St Gerard's
Chapter 28: Cork County Home
Chapter 29: Stranorlar County Home
Chapter 30: Thomastown County Home

The report mentions "Developments in DNA should be helpful in this regard (identification of parents) and consideration should be given to financially assisting those born in mother and baby homes/county homes who wish to avail of such a test."

A pdf copy of the report which can be searched in its entirety is available at

FamilySearch Updates

The following are titles at for Canada and the UK updated in the past week.

CountryTitleTotal Records
CanadaNova Scotia Church Records, 1720-2001136,437
CanadaQuebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-197979,535
UKEngland, Gloucestershire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1642-199693,692
UKEngland, Northumberland Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-1920257,689
UKEngland, Herefordshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1583-18981,227,661
UKEngland, Essex Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-197186,403

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

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. Plenty of FREE parking!

🇨🇦Tuesday 12 January 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch OGS The Ottawa Public Library. Join here.

Tuesday 12 January 2 pm: MyHeritage Mobile App: All New Features From 2020, by Daniel Horowitz and Masha Novak.

Tuesday 12 January, 2:30 pm: The Times of Our Lives: Writing Our Stories, by Curt Witcher for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Tuesday 12 January, 7 pm: Using Canadian Records on, by Stephen Young for Lambton Branch of OGS.

Tuesday 12 January, 7 pm: Using Family Search to Find Land Records, by Ellen Giertuga for Thunder Bay Branch of OGS.

Wednesday 13 January, 8 pm: Do You Have an Artificial Brick Wall?, by Robyn Smith for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Thursday 14 January, 1 pm: Amelia Dyer: Baby Killers, by Joanna Bourke for Gresham College.

Friday 15 January, 2 pm: From Grandmother to First European Landowner of Canada, by Lianne Kruger for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Friday 15 January, 7 pm: New York State Vital Records, by Jeanette Sheliga for Niagara Branch of OGS.

Saturday 16 January, 10 am : The Bachelorette New France (Les Filles à Marier et Les Filles du Roi) Bigamy, Incest, Witchcraft and Murder, by Carol Ufford and Dawn Kelly for Kingston Branch of OGS.

Saturday 16 January, 1 pm: 40 Years of Genealogy: Look How Far We've Come! by Cheryl Levy. The Quinte Branch OGS Annual Crouse Wannamaker Lecture.

Monday, 11 January 2021

Share your Stuff at the OGS Conference

OGS/Ontario Ancestors announces a request for lecture proposals for its 2021 virtual conference to be held 4-6 June 2021. 

The Ontario Genealogical Society is celebrating its 60th Anniversary in 2021. The conference theme for this year is My Roots, Your Roots, Our Ontario Roots.

Topics being considered include: the origins of Ontario settlers including, but not limited to, Indigenous, Asian, and Black Canadians; migration into, within, and out of Ontario; immigration; Ontario history, its records, and repositories; land and military records; methodology, analysis, and problem-solving in genealogical research; technology; DNA; mobile devices and apps; organization; society management and development; and social media.

Virtual tours of museums, archives and libraries in Ontario will also be considered.

Specifically, we are seeking new, unique and enterprising proposals.

Interested speakers are strongly encouraged to submit multiple proposals for either one-hour general sessions, or two-hour workshops. There is no limit to the number of proposals a speaker may submit.

Submit proposals using the submission form found on the Ontario Ancestors website at https: / /

The deadline for submission of lecture proposals is Sunday. 7 February 2021 at 11:59 PM EST.

Speakers are required to use an electronic presentation program and will be required to present on-camera for the duration of their presentation.

Comment: The bold above is mine. OGS can usually rely on proposals from established Ontario speakers. With this being an online conference I'm hoping there will be pertinent proposals from speakers from a wider geographic area that will not require travel. If you know of anyone don't hesitate to bring the call to their attention. Find it at

Family Tree Magazine — Free

The February issue of the UK Family Tree magazine has just become available. 

For many months I've been mentioning that the Ottawa Public Library, and likely many others, provides free access to the British genealogy magazine Who Do You Think You Are? through PressReader.

We now have free access to the other major British newsstand genealogy magazine, Family Tree, through another service, RBdigital Unlimited Magazines (Zinio).

To find Family Tree log on to the OPL website with your membership card credentials. Scroll way down to Online Resources and under Read click on Digital Magazines. Now scroll to the bottom and click RBdigital Unlimited Magazines (Zinio). I couldn't find a search function so click on FILTER, then Genre.

Are you still with me? It's possible you may have to Register the first time you go there.

Select Other.  Family Tree is in the third row.

If you're not in Ottawa your public library probably has RBdigital access. Halifax, Kingston, Toronto, London, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria; and in Quebec via BANQ, all do.

NOTE: According to a notice on the Campbell River Public Library website RBdigital magazines will be migrating to OverDrive and the Libby app this month.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Sunday Sundries

This has been one heck of a week. Our attention has been on a lot of things aside from family history.

In Canada, Covid-19 cases are exploding with new more contagious variants. The health system, and those who work in it, are under severe stress. We must all be grateful to the many many often low-paid essential workers who keep our society functioning. Stay safe.

South of the border, we have seen the consequences of "the pen is mightier than the sword" when the pen in the hands of a deranged leader, still in power, is amplified by social media. Would it be too much to hope for a truth and reconciliation process? 

A very few miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

TheGenealogist adds more than 55,000 new Headstone records from 174 churchyards or cemeteries

Tech Café
A presentation series from the Ottawa Public Library restarts on Monday 18 January at 4 pm with Accessing Government Services Online, continues the following week with Recognizing Fake News

Online Jigsaw Pizzle: Ontario History

Thanks to this week's contributors: Anonymous, Brenda Turner, Btyclk, Donna Jones, Ellen C, Gail B, Judy Neville, june macnab, Kenneth R Marks, Lois Vancouver Island, Sophronia, Steve Fulton, Unknown

O/T: Deaths in Ottawa 2019-2020

A new Service Ottawa dataset posted at, the City of Ottawa Marriage Licenses, Death Registrations and Commissioner of Oaths, covers data from 2019 and 2020. With COVID-19 dominating domestic news, it's interesting to see the resulting deaths in perspective. On a month by month basis COVID-19 deaths can be derived from the database COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Ottawa from Ottawa Public Health.

The total death registrations from Service Ottawa show some outliers, May 2019 reports 899 deaths, September 2020 reports 1,105.

An alternate death reporting system was put in place when Service Ottawa offices were closed for the pandemic. Death registration is required prior to disposal of remains. In these extraordinary circumstances could the September 2020 peak represents a backlog? The May 2019 peak remains an unexplained outlier.

COVID-19 deaths, first reported in March 2020, are a small component of overall deaths. The variations don't appear to correlate with those for COVID-19. And although COVID-19 inflections are way up in the second phase improved treatment means fewer deaths.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Findmypast Weekly Update

New records this week

National School Admission Registers

Over 13,000 new Yorkshire school records to this exclusive collection. Checking under Yorkshire on the list of 100 schools added in 29 communities, you'll find Sheffield and Brighouse for admissions are most prominent.

These latest additions bring the entire collection to 9,260,011 records. A short video from Paul Nixon is a good introduction to these school records.

Montgomeryshire Monumental Inscriptions

The over 40,000 records, spanning 600 years, added for 19 Montgomeryshire parishes include 10,456 for Newton, 6,442 for Welshpool, 4,462 for Trefeglwys and 4,058 for Llanrhaiadr ym Mochnant.

Devon Marriages
A relatively small number of new records from 44 parishes for 1845 to 2001.

British Home Children Calendar 2021

The Middlemore Atlantic Society had published a 2021 calendar. Each page has a background scene, on which are placed on one side the photo of the "child" either as a child or adult and on the other a box with the story of the child. There are some pages with siblings and at least one with a husband and wife, both emigrated under the Middlemore initiative. 

Underneath the page title, the names and dates of the child or children are described. The information (situation in England and what happened during life in Canada) was submitted by different members of the Middlemore Atlantic Society. Patricia Roberts-Pichette, who brought this to my attention, her book testifies she knows a thing or two about Middlemore, informs they are stories typical of many she has read about in the Middlemore records. They are straight forward and sound truthful, not exaggerated. 

If interested in purchasing a copy of the calendar contact Mrs. Norma Cook at lncksco at gmail dot com/.

Friday, 8 January 2021

LAC temporary suspension of digital copy services

The following notice is posted by Library and Archives Canada.

I​n light of the recent health and safety recommendations from the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and with the safety of its clients and employees in mind, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has decided to temporarily suspend most of its digital copy services. This measure will allow us to reduce the movement of staff and the handling of collections.

Starting today, it will not be possible to submit new copy requests except for the specific collections located in Winnipeg and in Vancouver. Requests previously submitted through our online copy form will not be processed until we resume this service. Visit our Reopening Library and Archives Canada for region-specific details.

Rest assured that we will resume these services as soon as possible. In the meantime, our reference and genealogy teams will continue to help researchers navigate our website and advance their research via digital collections. Contact us by using our Ask Us a Question or Ask Us a Genealogy Question forms, or by calling 1-866-578-7777 (option 8; toll-free in Canada and the United States).

FamilyTreeDNA: Merger or Takeover?

The release Pharmacogenetic and Genealogy Pioneers Merge for Historic Partnership on PRNewswire positions it as a merger. Is it? Does it matter? Let's speculate.

According to the release, Dr. Lior Rauchberger of Australian genomics company myDNA will be CEO of the merged companies, effective immediately. Gene by Gene and FTDNA co-founders Bennett Greenspan and Max Blankfeld will join the Board of Directors.

The announcement positions the new entity as "one of the leading global experts of genealogy, pharmacogenomic and nutrigenomic services."

As a serial entrepreneur CEO of MyDNA Rauchberger saw that business as one that enables you to use your DNA to make the right health choices around things like diet and medication. That's the focus on the MyDNA website. No reference to genealogy.

Is this a merger bringing a new genealogy business line? Is it a way of expanding the company with the client base from  Gene by Gene and FTDNA likely clients for health-related services?

FTDNA must have a financial concern that the slowing in growth in genetic genealogy testing leaves the company with reduced capacity to service the ongoing commitment to legacy customers? Their (Our) interests could be protected, as far as is possible, by being part of a larger entity with a growth component.

Books, Boxes and Boats: Maritime Resources

The website of this UK-based maritime and historical research service has links to some sources worth knowing in researching your UK seafaring ancestors.

Crew Lists of the British Merchant Navy 1915
Digitised crew lists available to search for free via a database featuring over a quarter of a million names. Contains all the surviving Merchant Navy crew lists from 1915. I was able to my information on a great-uncle by marriage.

Index to Lloyd's List Marine News 1740-1837
From copies of Lloyd's List deposited at the Guildhall Library, this database indexes the news items, ordinary shipping movements are not included.

Lloyd's List
A newspaper reporting shipping movements and casualties, maritime news and other commercial information. An incomplete run of issues from 1741 to 1846 digitized by Google and searchable

Lloyd’s Register
Reports on the condition of vessels surveyed by Lloyds. 18th & 19th Century volumes were scanned by Google and are searchable. Also included are volumes for 1930-1945 scanned by the staff of the Southampton Library & Archive. 

Mercantile Navy List
Records all British registered vessels one-quarter of a ton and over, including coastal vessels, ferries and pleasure craft making it the most comprehensive listing of British vessels available. Coverage is incomplete from 1849 to 1938.

Books, Boxes and Boats will reward exploring the site with a variety of other resources. I was delighted to find deceased friend Chris Watts' TNA presentations Tracing Births and Deaths at Sea and Using Passenger Lists (every journey has two ends) available as podcasts.

BIFHSGO January Meeting: Researching British Home Children

On Saturday, 9 January, Gloria Tubman will offer an overview of British home children and the various resources available to research this topic. She will relate stories of individuals using the information discovered in various resources in Canada and in Britain. You may look at your own family research differently.

Gloria Tubman, the granddaughter of a home child, has researched this topic for over 28 years and authored A Genealogists’ Guide to Researching BRITISH HOME CHILDREN. Her areas of genealogical and historical research include British home children, Quebec, the Ottawa Valley, has led to research for “Who Do You Think You Are?” She is a co-instructor of a genealogy course at the Ottawa Stake Family History Centre and a volunteer at the Genealogy Drop-In co-hosted by the Ottawa Branch Ontario Ancestors and the Ottawa Public Library. She is a member of OGS Ottawa Branch Council, Ontario Ancestors, and BIFHSGO. As usual, the online meeting is10:00 am to 11:30 am, Online - registration required

Thursday, 7 January 2021

War Brides of the Second World War

BIFHSGO is pleased to announce the launch of its Canadian War Brides project. Find it linked in the Research & Projects section of the website under the "Migration" category.

1946 was the year that most war brides arrived in Canada and so it is appropriate to highlight this period of time 75 years later. The project website page includes an introduction to the project and also a list of war bride ships and voyages. 

For each war bride, there's a unique story. You can access some that have connections to BIFHSGO members through a handy chart which presently has ten stories.

The War Bride project will undergo further development.

Congratulations to BIFHSGO Research & Projects Director John McConkey who has championed this project.

Also, don't forget the BIFHSGO monthly meeting on Saturday.

War Brides by Air

As we continue to remember the 75th anniversary of the arrival of Canadian servicemen war brides in Canada it's worth noting they didn't all come by ship to Halifax. This article from the Hamilton Spectator published on this date 75 years ago, notes seven who came by plane.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Last Minute: Getting Started on Ancestry

Some folks tell me they've been beginning genealogists for 20 years!

If that sounds like you, tune in to Ancestry expert and genealogist Crista Cowan for a very special Ancestry Extra session this Thursday 7 January at 6 PM ET. 

Crista will run through getting started on Ancestry, touch on the building blocks of family history research, and share some of her favourite tricks for making the most out of the collections. 

If you cannot make the session, you can always watch the webinar at a later date by going to "Videos" on the Ancestry Canada Facebook page. 

Digitised East Sussex records are coming soon to Ancestry

Knowing some readers have an interest in East Sussex, here's a longish extract from a Facebook post by Sussex genealogist Clive Reedman to the Guild of One-Name Studies Group.

We are delighted that genealogy website Ancestry is digitising some of our most-used holdings. This will improve accessibility - the pandemic has made us all really appreciate digital resources - and provide useful income for The Keep. Three members of staff employed by Ancestry ... have been working at The Keep since September, they started by digitising the East Sussex pansh registers. When they become available via the Ancestry website, the scans will show all entries from the earliest 16th-century registers through to 1917 for baptisms, 1942 for marriages and banns, 1992 for bunals, and 1924 for confirmations.

Not only will they be accessible to Ancestry subscribers from home but they will also be available free on site for all visitors to The Keep and East Sussex Libraries through our People's Network computers.

The team ... have already completed work on the parish registers. They're now working on electoral registers and poll books .... They will then tackle the huge senes of probate records. It is anticipated that the project will take up to a year but some records will be made available dunng 2021.

history SCOTLAND

Here's another magazine available through your public library (certainly Ottawa's), this through RBDigital Reader.

The contents include a profile of the website; a one-pager on baby names (the 2020 most popular names have not yet been announced); a history of how Scottish settlers in Cape Breton, themselves displaced, displaced Mi'kmaq; and another one-pager on how to research agricultural ancestors.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Canada's 2021 Census

Tuesday 11 May 2021 is census day in Canada.

Statistics Canada has published the 2021 Census of Population short-form (2A) and long-form (2A-L, 2A-R) questionnaires.

As in 2016, you will probably complete and file your census return online.

What about the impact of COVID-19? 

 The Chief Statistician wrote in July 2020:

The COVID-19 pandemic is now very much a reality for Canadians, disrupting life as we know it, and changing many things we had taken for granted. It has certainly created a number of issues for the 2021 Census of Population, as Statistics Canada was in the final stages of preparing for data collection when it struck the country in 2020. The Census Program adapted to the situation to ensure that the 2021 Census of Population is conducted throughout the country in the best possible way, using a safe and contactless approach.


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 5 January 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch OGS The Ottawa Public Library. Join here.

Tuesday 5 January, 2:30 pm: Piecing the Census Puzzle Together, by Melissa Tennant for the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Centre.

Tuesday 5 January, 8 pm: Where else to look? When matches don’t reply, by Michelle Patient for Legacy Family Tree Webinars

Wednesday 6 January, 11 am: Exploring School Records, with Paul Nixon for Findmypast

Wednesday 6 January, 2 pm: Genealogy Unplugged: When Offline Records Are the Best, by James M. Baker for Legacy Family Tree Webinars

🇨🇦 Wednesday, 6 January, 7:30 pm: Land Records, by Heather McTavish Taylor for Huron County Brabch OGS

Thursday 7 January, 6:30 pm: How to Organize Your Autosomal DNA Matches at, by Sara Allen for the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Centre.

Friday 8 January, 11 am: Fridays Live, with Ellie Overthrow-Jones for Findmypast

🇨🇦 Saturday 9 January, 10 am: All you wanted to know ...... about researching British home children, by Gloria Tubman for BIFHSGO
Gloria Tubman will offer an overview of British home children and the various resources available to research this topic. She will relate stories of individuals using the information discovered in various resources in Canada and in Britain. You may look at your own family research differently.

🇨🇦 Saturday 9 January, 10 am: The UK 1939 Register: Why is it Invaluable? by Penny Walters for London Middlesex Branch OGS

Monday, 4 January 2021

Dave Lorente RIP

Major Joseph Arthur DAVID Lorente passed on Saturday 2 January 2021. 

Read the obituary here.

As Judy Neville wrote in tribute:

"Dave lit a huge torch and although it is dim today, I know Dave will want us all to keep it glowing and continue collecting, preserving and sharing the British Home Children stories and history."

Dave and his wife Kay were named to the BIFHSGO Hall of Fame in 2000. The citation reads:

"BIFHSGO acknowledged the influence and encouragement of Dave and Kay Lorente in initiating the Society's indexation projects arising from their outstanding advocacy role on behalf of Home Children and their families in Canada.

As the 1991 founders of Home Children Canada, they have assisted countless Canadian Home Children families and/or their descendants to access their personal records.They have also been active in raising national and international consciousness through lectures, reunions, the placement of plaques, and the compiling of Canadian Home Children's family histories.

In June 2003, the Lorentes signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing that BIFHSGO would take over their work of responding to requests for locating Home Children."

Churchill in Ottawa December 1941

Footage of Winston Churchill in Ottawa. 30 December 1941. Churchill delivers his famous "Some chicken... some neck" speech at the Parliament building in Ottawa.  

 via a tweet by Michael Evans, Windsor, Ontario

BBC History Magazine

Here are the feature articles in the January 2021 issue of BBC History Magazine, available free through public library subscriptions to Press Reader in Canada. 

Europe’s greatest martyr
Emily Guerry explores the cult that grew around Thomas Becket after his savage murder

Killers in the house of God
Kenneth F Duggan on the criminals who sought sanctuary in churches

An amazing life
Clare Mulley profiles the Nigerian jazzman who fought the Nazis

Miracle cures
Gareth Williams delves into four of history's most remarkable vaccines

South Asians in Britain
Kavita Puri on the experiences of British South Asians in the 'golden' nineties

D-Day dress rehearsal
James Holland mounts a defence of the maligned Allied invasion of Sicily

Bonnie Prince Charlie
Superhero or coward? Jacqueline Riding finds the man behind the myth

Britain’s Irish roots
Fergal Keane charts the influence Ireland historically wielded over Britain.


From the latest History Extra email comes the article, originally published in the August 2020 edition of BBC History Magazine, Living in fear: the dangers of Victorian London . It includes items on: The garrotting panic of 1862; The pig-faced woman of Manchester Square; Haunted to death at Berkeley Square; Spring-Heeled Jack’s reign of terror.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

The Conversation Canada Top 10 Most-read Stories of 2020.
Three of the top stories involved conspiracy theories. 

Coming from Pen and Sword
British publisher Pen and Sword promises a vast number of publications in 2021, Expect 114 of them to appear in January including Sharing Your Family History Online and Tracing Your Family History on the Internet, both by Chris Paton.

Correction on Legacy Family Tree Webinars O Canada Series
I was misleading in writing all the speakers in this were women. The complete list includes two presentations by Paul Milner: Tracing Your War of 1812 British Soldier; and Effective Use of England’s National Archives Website. Why didn't I recognize those as part of a Canadian series?

You can print a five-page brochure of all of the upcoming Legacy webinars for 2021 at

Did You Know
In Ottawa, over the past 100 years, the annual average temperature has increased by 1.22C, 1C of the increase coming in the last 50 years. That's largely due to overnight temperatures staying hotter — extreme minimum temperatures have increased five times faster than extreme maximums.

Thanks to this week's contributors: Ann Burns, Anonymous, Barbara T, Btyclk, Daniel Horowitz, Edward M. Chadwick, Gail B, jmjueland, Linda, Mike More, Old Census Scribe, Sharon Moor, Sophronia, Teresa, Unknown

An email from Steve Fulton alerted me to —an update to the website and data. It's a completely volunteer-staffed project operating under the umbrella of the Ontario Genealogical Society (Ontario Ancestors) capturing both digital images and transcriptions of headstones of our ancestors.

Like me, Steve finds the holiday period a good time to get some concentrated work done. Here, from his 30 December blog post, is what was achieved:

  • Moved close to 800,000 images and 1.9 million persons to a new website server – 99% Completed
  • Develop a Hybrid type of website, WordPress & HTML to give us options within the website – 99% Completed.
  • Develop a user registration system in the new site. 100% Completed
  • Resolve the Broken Links within for the CH Database. 100% Resolved.
  • Update the Public and Users of the website. – This is what we are doing now.
  • Create a Blog on the WordPress Site for News and Updates – Ongoing.
  • Develop the Database within WordPress to better manage the Database for Errors and Repairs using the WP Data Access Plugin. – Ongoing
  • Develop a submission system using WordPress.
  • Develop new ideas and opportunities for users.

With over 1.9 million gravestone photos from across Canada this is a major volunteer-powered free resource, particularly for Ontario which has about two-thirds of the entries.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Yuletide R&R



The Ancestor Hunt Newsletter Subscription Options

If you like to keep up with what's new in US and Canadian genealogy Kenneth Marks has two newsletter options. Here's how he describes them.

Option 1
For the last 5 years, if you have subscribed on my site, you receive 5 times a month in your email a simple list of the links to articles that I have posted on this website since the prior mailing. Sometimes there are about 10 links and lately, many more. I am changing the delivery dates to the 7th, the 15th, the 23rd, and the last day of the month. By subscribing, you will receive 4 emails a month.

Option 2
In the past month, I have started publishing a Bi-Monthly Newsletter (This!), with 4 to 8 pages of all kinds
of useful (I hope) information. It includes links to all the articles published since the previous Bi-monthly
newsletter, as well as articles that I think you might find interesting from other authors. It also includes research tips, a joke or two, and other useful genealogical stuff. By subscribing, you will receive the Bimonthly email twice a month, on the 15th and the last day of the month.

Choose the option you prefer at

Friday, 1 January 2021

Your Genealogy Today Jan/Feb 2021

The new issue will be available on 12 January. Cover and contents are subject to change

Table of Contents

COVER: Photographic Memories
Joe Grandinetti says a picture is worth a thousand words – if you know who’s in it!

For Whom the Bell Tolls
Sue Lisk shows us why we sometimes have to explore the past in unusual ways

Solving the 102-Year-Old Mystery of My Father’s Paternity
Doug Wren uses DNA testing and genealogy site resources to learn the identity of his grandfather

Free Persons of Color – Some Were Required to Register
Diane L. Richard looks at where some of the records might be available

Advice From the Pros: Learning to Pivot
Lisa A. Alzo discusses how to adapt your genealogy business during challenging times

Patent Remedies, Herb Gardens, and Pharmacopeias
David A. Norris looks at medicines and medical treatments of your ancestors

A Bigamist’s Paradise
Robbie Gorr looks at how the US and Canada were once considered to be go-to places for escaping to a new life

Gertrude’s Garden
Karen Dustman takes a tour of the Dangberg Home Ranch and gardens that were tended for generations in Northern Nevada

Settling Down or Moving Around
Stephen LW Greene and Monica Schirmer Eshelman look at an historical case study of three families

The Back Page: Stop and Think Before You Post!
Dave Obee says bad information is drowning out the good

2021 and 2020 in Review

Happy New Year 

There's already a lot of good genealogy news for 2021:

— free access to Ancestry Library Edition continues
— free downloads from TNA continue.
— RootsTech goes online and free.
— a Canadian series from Legacy Family Tree Webinars (with almost all women presenters!)
— on 20 July, a Legacy Family Tree Webinars presentation by Alison Hare of her acclaimed talk "The Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Historical Context."

I'll not revisit the horrors of 2020, and I'm not just referring to the leadership in the USA. 

Rather, here's a look back at the year on Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections.

Do you visit the site between 9 and 10 am on Tuesdays? According to Google Analytics, there are more visitors in that hour of the week than any other. For all days the 9 - 10 am timeslot is the most popular. 

Folks clicking links in an email, it usually arrives around 9 am, account for about two-thirds of all page views. The email comes through Feedburner. You can subscribe partway down the left-hand column at

You may be interested to know:

Over 80% of visits are from desktop and laptop computers, about 16% from tablets.

Chrome is the most popular browser used to access the site.

80% of visits are from Canada, 12% from the USA, 5% from the UK, 1.4% from Australia and 0.7% New Zealand.

The pages receiving the most views in 2020 were:

1. O/T: Longest Time - Quarantine Edition

2. Ontario Township Papers Online

3. FREE Canadian access

4. YouTube: Family Secrets Revealed in Free Archival Canadian Newspapers Online: Provincial Initiatives

5. Ontario Land Records and ONLAND

For many weeks the Sunday Sundries posts are the most popular. Don't miss them.

One of the positives for me personally in 2020 was the invitation to speak on Canadian resources for MyHeritage on Canada Day. 

MyHeritage highlights of the year, including the photo colourizing and enhancing facilities, are in this blog post.

Findmypast CEO Tamsin Todd posted this New Year message.

Ancestry did not appear to have posted a New Year message, possibly as President & CEO Margo Georgiadis departed the company at the end of 2020. She did post this on 25 November.