31 March 2021

British Newspaper Archive March Additions

The British Newspaper Archive added 104,078 pages in the last 7 days for a total of 41,992,236 pages online (41,596,848 last month). 

This month 51 papers had pages added (78 in the previous month). There were 22 (33) new titles. Dates range from 1805 to 1979.

Those with more than 10,000 pages added were:

Reading Standard1891-1895, 1897-1911, 1913-1961
The News (London)1805, 1807, 1809-1835
Herts and Essex Observer1939-1979
Alliance News1865, 1877-1883, 1885-1889
Belfast Weekly Telegraph1873-1893, 1895-1922
Evening Irish Times1880-1895
Bassett's Chronicle1863-1884
General Advertiser for Dublin, and all Ireland1837-1841, 1846-1852, 1856-1866, 1874, 1885, 1897-1923
Formby Times1895, 1900-1906, 1908-1909, 1911, 1919-1922, 1930, 1933-1939, 1943-1951, 1967-1974
Neath Guardian1927-1964

To date the total number of issues by country is:

Republic of Ireland487933
Northern Ireland246790
There are also issues for India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Canada, Jersey, Jamaica, Guernsey, Saint Kitts and Nevis, China. Antigua, Isle of Man, Barbados, Belize, and Dominica.

O/T: Fear Me Not! I Got My COVID Vaccine.

I can't say this until Saturday, and then will wait two weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective. Even then I'll be wearing a mask when required. But ...

Your social distancing doesn’t just harm your quality of life. Your social distancing also harms the quality of life of everyone who loses the pleasure of your company and the profit of your patronage.

Here are considerations ... https://www.econlib.org/fear-me-not-i-got-my-covid-vaccine/.

Find a Grave Index Updates on Ancestry

Each month Ancestry updates the index to Find a Grave which boasts over 190 million memorials. 

Since last mentioned at the end of January both the Canadian and UK & Ireland collections have increased by about 16%.
UK and Ireland1300s-Current10,918,486
Australia and New Zealand1800s-Current8,986,286

30 March 2021

TheGenelogist adds 1939 Register

Here's a press release about a major additional title on TheGenealogist.

TheGenealogist adds the 1939 Register with SmartSearch

TheGenealogist has released the 1939 Register for England and Wales, adding their unique and powerful search tools and SmartSearch technology. This offers a hugely flexible way to look for your ancestors at the start of the Second World War.

TheGenealogist’s well known brick wall shattering search tools include the ability to find your ancestor in 1939 by using keywords, such as the individual’s occupation or their date of birth. You can also search for an address and then jump straight to the household. If you’re struggling to find a family, you can even search using as many of their forenames as you know.

Once you’ve found a record in the 1939 Register, you can click on the street name to view all the residents on the street, potentially finding relatives living nearby.

TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch technology enables you to discover even more about a person, linking to their Birth, Marriage and Death records.

1939 saw the evacuation of thousands of children

The 1939 Register can often reveal to you important additional information about your ancestors that will help build your family’s story. The powerful keyword search can find evacuees by searching for their name and date of birth along with the keyword “evacuee”. The fact individuals are listed with their full dates of birth is a huge benefit that the 1939 Register has over the census, which simply lists the age of a person. 

Take your research journey quickly forwards by using TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch to jump to a person’s

  • Birth Record

  • Marriage Record

  • Death Record

TheGenealogist makes searching the 1939 Register more flexible. Search by

  • Name (Including wildcards, e.g. Win* Church*)

  • Address (e.g. Whitehall) 

  • Keywords (e.g. Admiralty)

  • First names from a family group (e.g. Winston, Clementine)

See TheGenealogist’s article on finding the highest-paid Film Star and Entertainer of the time, George Formby:


About TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist is an award-winning online family history website, who put a wealth of information at the fingertips of family historians. Their approach is to bring hard to use physical records to life online with easy to use interfaces such as their Tithe and newly released Lloyd George Domesday collections. 

TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch technology links records together to help you find your ancestors more easily. TheGenealogist is one of the leading providers of online family history records. Along with the standard Birth, Marriage, Death and Census records, they also have significant collections of Parish and Nonconformist records, PCC Will Records, Irish Records, Military records, Occupations, Newspaper record collections amongst many others.

TheGenealogist uses the latest technology to help you bring your family history to life. Use TheGenealogist to find your ancestors today!

This Week's Online Genealogy Events

Choose from free online events in the next five days. All times are ET except as noted. Those in red are Canadian, bolded if local to Ottawa. Assume registration in advance is required. Check so you're not disappointed.

Tuesday 30 March, 8 am: The South Sea Bubble of 1720, by Helen Paul for Gresham College. 

Tuesday 30 March, 2 pm:  Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library. https://ottawa.ogs.on.ca/events/.

Tuesday 30 March, 2 pm: See your ancestors like never before with MyHeritage's photo tools, by Tal Erlichman for Legacy Family Tree Webinars and MyHeritage. 

Wednesday 31 March, 2 pm: Fifty Overlooked Genealogical Resources in Fifty Minutes, by Diane L. Richard for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar_details.php?webinar_id=1621.

Wednesday 31 March, 11 am: History of the Black Country and West Midlands, with Mylo Clelland and Simon Briercliffe for Findmypast. https://www.facebook.com/findmypast

Wednesday 31 March 7 pm: Murdered Midas, by Charlotte Grey for Historical Society of Ottawa. historicalsocietyottawa.ca/.

Thursday 1 April 7pm: Discussion: Zotero: Your Personal Research Assistant, by Lynn Palermo for OGS. https://ogs.on.ca/zoom-meetings/april-webinar-lynn-palermo/.

Friday 2 April 11 am: Fridays Live, with Ellie Jones for Findmypast. 


4 — 6 June 2021: OGS Conference. conference.ogs.on.ca (registration opens 1 April) 

19 – 26 September 2021: BIFHSGO Conference. Irish Lines and Female Finds: Exploring Irish records, female ancestors and genetic genealogy. www.bifhsgo2021.ca/.

Border Reiver Surnames

Way back in 2018 I mentioned Howard Mathieson's site The Geography of Surnames.

He recently added a web page on Border Reiver surnames. It includes maps of surname density for 67 of the most common surnames. All the usual suspects — Armstrong, Bell, Dacre, Elliot(t), Graham, Little, Moffat, Nixon, Scott and many more, but not Reid — are there. If you have the Archer Surname Atlas based on the 1881 census you'll already have the distribution for England.


29 March 2021

Timetoast & What Was There

Two of the free resources mentioned by Thomas MacEntee in his Pat Horan Memorial Lecture Successful Collateral and Cluster Searching for Gene-O-Rama 2021 I'd not encountered previously.

Timetoast (http://www.timetoast.com) is a timeline maker, an easy-to-use method of documenting information along a timeline. You can share the timeline with other researchers and also incorporate it into documents or websites.
I gave it a quick trial using data for George Sparkes, great-nephew of Sir John A Macdonald.

What Was There (http://www.whatwasthere.com) is "a virtual time machine of sorts that allows users to navigate familiar streets as they appeared in the past." Thomas illustrated the use with a photo of Sparks Street. Here is another Ottawa example showing the National War Memorial and the Russell Hotel that previously occupied the site. Fade between present-day and historic images.

Monday Memories: Music CDs

CDs followed vinyl, covered last week. I skipped 8-track and my cassette collection was never large. Some that bring back memories are:

"Hev Yew Gotta Loight Bor? by the Singing Postman, Allen Smethurst.  He was active in the 1960s with his broad Norfolk accent, something I never picked up. It's on YouTube

"Water Under Snow is Weary" by Tapiola Choir, one I picked up in Helsinki on a business trip. It's on YouTube. Finlandia is also in my collection (love this video).

A collection "Portuguese Folk Music" reminds of happy holidays with family.

Al Brisco, steel guitar virtuoso, gave me "Pickin Up the Dust" as a thank you for finding him and "returning" a family bible that Bob Lamoureau found in a collection of donated books. Al is on YouTube

"Hymns of Faith," a thank you gift for making a presentation at a Voices from the Dust event organized by the Ottawa Stake, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"Roseberry Road" is likely the most recent CD I own. Who doesn't enjoy Shelly Posen's songs with or without the group Finest Kind? Although not on that CD his song No More Fish, No Fishermen reminds me of the way technology killed the herring fishery in my old hometown in Norfolk. It's on YouTube.

28 March 2021

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

The Bayeux Tapestry Digitized

COVID-19 silver linings: Technology has helped universities be more innovative and inventive
This made me wonder whether LAC and other government organizations we deal with could benefit from ThoughtExchange, if they were brave enough. Also whether the flipped classroom has application for family history societies.

Canadian Income by Geography, Sex, and Age

AnAge Database of Animal Ageing and Longevity

British Air Raid Precautions Film- 'Your Book' WWII (1939)

Louvre museum makes its entire collection available online.

Do you have a news blindspot? Analyze the news diet of any account on Twitter with the Blindspotter tool.

Thanks to this week's contributors:  Anonymous, BT, Nancy Cutway, nlf, Peggy Homans Chapman, Susan, Tess, Teresa, Unknown

27 March 2021

How is LAC Preparing for the Next Census Release?

According to Preparing for the 1950 Census The (US) National Archives will release those records in April 2022.  They got to work on it immediately following the release of the 1940 census. To date

.. selected staff who have received special clearances to work on these records have scanned the majority of the pages and are also able to work remotely on indexing efforts. Our staff are busy ensuring that state, county, city and enumeration district metadata will be available at the time of launch. 

Toward the end of the post read:

We know that the Census data is important to so many of you. Supporting public access to these records is right at the heart of our mission–to make access happen. 

Does LAC management agree public access to records is right at the heart of their mission? Do they know the importance of census data, and not only for genealogists?

In Canada, the 1931 census was taken on 1 June so should become available 92 years later, on that date in 2023? Like its US counterpart, is LAC working toward the timely release of that census?

Mapping Irish Roman Catholic Marriages by County and Parish.

John Grenham has done it again, adding a capability to map RC marriages by surname to his already extensive at his subscription site www.johngrenham.com/surnames/. They are based on the Ancestry/FindMyPast Roman Catholic parish transcripts.

His blog post introduction gives a warning about the reliability of the results — here.

26 March 2021

Gene-O-Rama Reminder

Ottawa Branch OGS Gene-O-Rama starts tomorrow, Saturday 27 March. A reminder there's an early start.

08:30 Update from Library & Archives Canada Lisa Tremblay-Goodyer
09:00 Pat Horan Memorial Lecture: Successful Collateral and Cluster Searching Thomas MacEntee
10:00 Break & Browse Marketplace
10:30 Silver Spoons and Short Straw: British Immigrants to Canada John Reid and Glenn Wright
11:30 Lunch Break & Browse Marketplace
12:15 Strategies to Analyze Endogamous DNA Alec Ferretti
01:15 Break & Browse Marketplace
01:45 All Kinds of Loyalists Kathryn Lake Hogan
02:45 Break & Browse Marketplace
03:15 Genetic Genealogy Tools Mags Gaulden

Gene-O-Rama continues with presentations on Sunday.

If you have registered but have not received the instructions, please check your spam or junk folders. If it is not there, please contact Mike More at ottawaprogram@ogs.on.ca; include the Reference Number from your initial registration message. 

Findmypast Weekly Update: Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Essex

Norfolk Baptisms
Over 9,000 additions for 1937, now totalling 2.4 million, sourced from the Norfolk Record Office with linked images of the original. There are 713 parishes, 253 with additions in the collection

Norfolk Banns & Marriages
Over 16,000 new records from 1921, now totalling over 2 million, sourced from the Norfolk Record Office with linked images of the original. 402 of 714 parishes have additions.

Norfolk Burials
46 out of 699 parishes have additions, all for 1996, sourced from the Norfolk Record Office with linked images of the original. 

These Norfolk records include some parishes in adjacent Suffolk which moved to Norfolk in 1974.

Lincolnshire Monumental Inscriptions
Over 36,500 new records. These records include 295 parish churchyards and burial grounds transcribed by the volunteers of the Lincolnshire Family History Society. 

Essex Memorial Inscriptions
Over 22,000 new records from various denominations such as Anglican, Roman Catholic, Quaker, and non-conformist, as well as community and war memorials. There are 352 places mentioned including Matching, Messing, Mucking and Ugley.

10 British Websites For The History Of Ordinary People

Natalie writes "I’m obsessed with family history and I firmly believe that there’s no such thing as a boring ancestor. In fact, if you think your ancestors are dull, then I’ll give it to you straight – you are doing something wrong!"

Who is Natalie? Her website is https://genealogystories.co.uk/, 

One of the resources is "10 British Websites For The History Of Ordinary People." You probably have lots of those and find it a challenge to write about them. Most of the websites were new to me, the first five are:

1. The British Library Oral History Collection
2. Working Class History
3. Working Class Movement Library
4. History Workshop Org
5. British Agricultural History Society

For the links and the other five go to https://genealogystories.co.uk/10-websites-for-the-history-of-ordinary-people/. There's more worth browsing at the site.

25 March 2021

3rd York Militia

The War of 1812 had three militia regiments formed in York County. The 3rd York mustered from the Townships of Whitby, Pickering, and Scarborough in the east, the Town of York and York Township, and the Township of Etobicoke in the west. Just inaugurated from The Toronto Branch of OGS is a project page and database for the 3rd.

As well as a link to a blog War of 1812 Canadian Stories by Fred Blair the 3rd York Militia project site includes profiles of veterans who served, initially for surnames beginning with A to F.


Ancestry updates Alberta BMD Indexes

With the passage of time provinces release extra index data for their civil registrations. It was December 2017 when I last noted that Ancestry had updates for Alberta BMDs. Two years are now added with data sourced from the Provincial Archives of Alberta in Edmonton.

Alberta, Canada, Births Index, 1870-1898 now has 8,961 records, augmented with 2,294 index records. It provides name, birth year, birthplace and certificate number.

Alberta, Canada, Marriages Index, 1898-1944 has 399,584 records,  15,614 additional index records. The index provides name, gender, marriage year, marriage place, spouse name and certificate number. 

Alberta, Canada, Deaths Index, 1870-1968 has 594,246 records — 26,846 index additions. It provides name, gender, exact death date, death place and certificate number.

The provincial archives website provides indexes for even more recent years. Check out https://provincialarchives.alberta.ca/index.php/how-to/find-birth-marriage-and-death-records for images of paper copies of indexes to 1901 for births, 1946 for marriages, and 1971 for deaths. There's also an index to stillbirth registration from 1914 to 1946.

Forthcoming Book: Our Village Ancestors: A Genealogist's Guide to Understanding the English Rural Past

Title  Our Village Ancestors: A Genealogist's Guide to Understanding the English Rural Past
Author Helen Osborn
Publisher Crowood Press (UK), 2021
ISBN 0719814162, 9780719814167
Length 192 pages
Price on Amazon.ca    $46.08

"This book will be a source of help for anybody researching their farming and countryside ancestors in England. Looked at through the lens of rural life, and specifically the English village, it provides advice and inspiration on placing rural people into their geographic and historical context. It covers the time from the start of parish registers in the Tudor world, when most of our ancestors worked on the land, until the beginning of the twentieth century when many had moved to the towns. Helen Osborn demonstrates how genealogical records are integral to their place of origin and can be illuminated using local newspaper reports, and the work of local historians. She explores the stories of people who lived in the countryside in the past, as told by the documents that record them, both rich and poor. The book will be particularly valuable to anyone who is looking for a deeper understanding of their family history, rather than simply collecting names on the tree."

Helen Osborn is the author of the popular Genealogy: Essential Research Methods, former proprietor of Pharos Tutors and a former featured lecturer at a BIFHSGO annual conference.

The publication date for this hardcover book, according to amazon.ca, is 28 June 2021. Strangely, it's not listed on the publisher's website.

24 March 2021

What coud LAC do to better serve Canadian Genealogists?

Surveys over the years show that genealogists are the largest client group for Library and Archives Canada. Many I connect with are not happy with the service provided. You don't learn that from LAC wanting to portray the organization in the best light. 

What could be done better? Here are three things.

1. Improve on slow response or lack of response. That applies to the website and response to requests for documents. 

Website response can be extraordinarily slow. It's frustrating when you're up against a deadline for preparing a presentation, demonstrating a search live during a presentation or helping someone. Slow response isn't the case all the time but more so at the LAC site than at others.

For Access to Information requests, which cost $5 "a response is required within 30 calendar days of the date the request was received." These days we just receive a notice that they're backlogged. Then you wait weeks. Requests through the regular request for documents can take a year and more. What action is LAC management taking to meet legal obligations and provide timely responses to ordinary requests?

The last time I did receive a response it came on a CD, a format that is no longer supported by newer computers.

2. Improve access to online materials. LAC did a great job in digitizing a range of materials, notably Great War service files, something management has been dining out on for years. The pace is now much slower as much less effort is being applied to digitization.

I read in Chris Paton's blog that the National Library of Scotland has a new agreement to extend access to licensed digital collections free for everyone in Scotland. The library edition of FindmyPast is newly available giving access to many of the site's UK holdings, as well as its digitized newspapers, at no cost for residents of Scotland. The NLS has existing licensed digital collections - access to the 19th-century newspaper collection, The Times, The Scotsman Digital Archive 1817-1950, JSTOR, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, SCRAN, Who's Who & Who Was Who, the UK Parliamentary Papers site, and much more.

When will LAC offer a similar Canadian-focussed service? It would be a way to compensate for the ongoing lack of newspaper digitization at LAC. For instance, with its existing relationship with Ancestry why not negotiate national online access to the Canadian newspapers at newspapers.com which is an Ancestry service?

3. Provide access as a FamilySearch affiliate library. Those of us able to use the facilities at 395 Wellington wonder why it is not an affiliate library already which would give broader FamilySearch access. Again there is an existing relationship and many libraries, including all branches of the Toronto Public Library, have such a relationship for visitors to branches. As a national institution that should be possible notwithstanding any passé objections.

Are there other things Library and Archives Canada could do, particularly things peer organizations already do, to better serve its largest client group? Post a comment below.


New Book: Carp Valley Families. Volume 1: the Irish Richardson Family of March Township, Carleton County, Ontario

The Richardson family settled in March Township in the Carp Valley in 1818 from North Tipperary, Ireland.

This September 2020 book by Susan Baird Rimmer, a 119-page paperback, is now available for in-library use at OPL Beaverbrook and Main. Both are now open for browsing, except Tuesday and Thursday mornings or Sundays. 

It's also for sale on Amazon where you can view a generous preview. The index shows extensive coverage for Armstrong, Bradley, and Cowan as well as Richardson.

Locals will recognize Baird as another prominent family name in the area. Susan is the daughter-in-law of the late Tom Rimmer, an immigrant from Lancashire who served BIFHSGO as treasurer.

23 March 2021

World Meteorological Day

Today, 23 March is World Meteorological Day as proclaimed by the World Meteorological Organization. Meteorology is the science of weather and the atmosphere. This year's theme is The ocean, our climate and weather. 

Oceans cover 70% as much of the Earth's surface as does the atmosphere. They are important determinants of heat exchanges from the tropical to polar regions that result in the weather.

What's that got to do with Family History? It's an opportunity to remind that the Canadian Meteorological Service makes historic weather information nationwide available from its observing network, going back to 1840 for Toronto, all without charge. Find out about the weather on the day when you or your parents in Canada were born, or for any other significant occasion in your family history from 

150 years of weather service in Canada.

Webinars from Lennox and Addington Museum and Archives.

You'll be familiar with several of the presenters in this webinar series from the L&A Museum and Archives.  The first is today, 23 March. They continue until June. 

Register for each session you choose to attend, at https://www.lennox-addington.on.ca/museum-archives/events.

Thanks to Nancy Cutway for forwarding the notice.

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 23 March 12 noon: The Welsh Language and Genealogy Records, with Ellie Jones and Martin Johnes for Findmypast. www.facebook.com/findmypast.

Tuesday 23 March 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library. https://ottawa.ogs.on.ca/events/.

Tuesday 23 March 2:30 pm: Genealogy Research in Poland and Their Former Territories, by Tom Szymkowiak for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. https://acpl.libnet.info/event/4916194

Tuesday 23 March 7 pm: Heraldry, its History, Myths and Use in Canada Today, by Jason Charles Burgoin for Wellington County Branch, OGS. https://wellington.ogs.on.ca/events/wellington-county-branch-heraldry-its-history-myths-and-use-in-canada-with-jason-burgoin/

Wednesday 24 March, 12 noon: British Army Regimental Numbers, by Paul Nixon for Findmypast. www.facebook.com/findmypast.

Wednesday 24 March 2 pm: 20th Century Immigrants to the (US) West Coast, by Linda Harms Okazaki for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar_details.php?webinar_id=1620

Thursday 25 March 6:30 pm: An Extraordinary Irish Immigrant: Dr. Gertrude B. Kelly, by Miriam Nyhan Grey for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. https://acpl.libnet.info/event/4907493

Saturday & Sunday, 27-28 March: Gene-O-Rama from Ottawa Branch OGS. 

Saturday, 27 March 2 pm: The 1786 Ernestown Project, by Richard Parry for Kingston and District Branch of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada. http://uelac.org/Kingston-Branch

And an extra
Sunday, 28 March, 2 pm: Last Post Fund: Our Quest to Find "Lost" Veterans, with Edouard Pahud (introduction), Bobbi Foulds and Kyle Scott (presenters) for the Quebec Family History Society. http://qfhs.ca/eventListings.php?nm=121#er262

22 March 2021

New Book: The Psychology of Family History

Published in August 2020 The Psychology of Family History: Exploring Our Genealogy by Australians Susan Moore, Doreen Rosenthal and Rebecca Robinson is the latest genealogy addition on the shelves of the Ottawa Public Library. I've reserved one of the five copies in the collection so will likely write more in due course.

In the meantime, the publisher's blurb,

"This important book examines the motives that drive family historians and explores whether those who research their ancestral pedigrees have distinct personalities, demographics or family characteristics. It describes genealogists' experiences as they chart their family trees including their insights, dilemmas and the fascinating, sometimes disturbing and often surprising, outcomes of their searches. Drawing on theory and research from psychology and other humanities disciplines, as well as from the authors' extensive survey data collected from over 800 amateur genealogists, the authors present the experiences of family historians, including personal insights, relationship changes, mental health benefits and ethical dilemmas. The book emphasises the motivation behind this exploration, including the need to acknowledge and tell ancestral stories, the spiritual and health-related aspects of genealogical research, the addictiveness of the detective work, the lifelong learning opportunities and the passionate desire to find lost relatives. With its focus on the role of family history in shaping personal identity and contemporary culture, this is fascinating reading for anyone studying genealogy and family history, professional genealogists and those researching their own history."

Monday Memories: Vinyl

Which ones of these album covers are for records you own or owned?

Tommy Dorsey takes me back to 1964. I brought the disc to remind me of the UK's first pirate radio station, Radio Caroline, whose first DJ, Simon Dee, used the iconic Sunny Side of the Street fog-horn- like intro for his programme.

You probably have, or had, Carol King's Tapestry and a disk or two by Paul Simon, with or without Art Garfunkel, from the early 1970s. 

Most of the others are ones I purchased in the 1970s, likely in Colorado.

These covers are only a few of the collection which includes well-worn popular classical albums, We'll Keep a Welcome which we used at my father's funeral, and one of Gregorian Chant, both useful to calm the savage breast.

21 March 2021

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Aren't you glad Spring has arrived? Prospects are we'll have the opportunity to be vaccinated sooner rather than later. Things are looking brighter.

Zoom Escaper: a free web widget that lets you add an array of fake audio effects to your next Zoom call in case you need an escape route.

Advance Notice: Archives Association of Ontario East - Virtual Tour: Ingenium Archives, the
Port Hope Archives, and the City of Ottawa Archives
Thursday 9 April.

White Slavery: the Scottish slaves of England and Americas

BIFHSGO Conference Update. The first week of conference registration has been very successful with triple-digit registrants from as far away as Australia and the UK. Registrations have come in from across Canada and the United States, with five provinces (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec) and 11 states represented.

How the West Lost COVID
A long article from The Intelligencer. This extract particularly struck me and the parallels to addressing climate change.

On March 13, 2020, Mike Ryan, WHO’s executive director of health emergencies, took the podium at a Geneva press conference and delivered in just a minute what is, to me, probably the most chilling and illuminating speech of the entire pandemic. Asked what lessons from a career fighting outbreaks of Ebola were called to mind by the arrival of COVID-19, Ryan replied with terse, cinematic force. “What we’ve learned through the Ebola outbreaks is you need to react quickly. You need to go after the virus. You need to stop the chains of transmission. You need to engage with communities very deeply — community acceptance is hugely important. You need to be coordinated, you need to be coherent.”

When it came to this pandemic, he said, speaking in a clipped Irish lilt, the lessons were the same: “Be fast. Have no regrets. You must be the first mover. The virus will always get you if you don’t move quickly.” He continued, “If you need to be right before you move, you will never win. Perfection is the enemy of the good when it comes to emergency management. Speed trumps perfection. And the problem in society we have at the moment is everyone is afraid of making a mistake, everyone is afraid of the consequence of error. But the greatest error is not to move. The greatest error is to be paralyzed by the fear of failure.”

Thanks to this week's contributors: Alison-Vancouver, Anonymous, Bob H, BT, Btyclk, Celia Lewis, Chris Paton, Dibry, Ed Chadwick, Gail B, Jean, Jean A. P., Joyce M Butcher, Kenneth R Marks, Linda Stufflebean, Lynn, Nancy, Norm Prince, Paul Milner, Peggy Homans Chapman, reflective thoughts by Barbara, romaine, Unknown

Ancestry Updates Bristol, England, Non-Conformist Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers, 1644-1981

Incomplete, with information provided varying by denomination, the 413,736 records in this collection include Roman Catholic, Methodist, Quaker, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, Congregationalist, Baptist, Unitarian, and other denominations.

The previous update was a year ago, mentioned on 11 March 2020 on this blog when there were 409,374 records in the collection.

20 March 2021

LAC and Canada's Sad Newspaper Digitization Situation

"Canada, unlike many other countries (for example Chronicling America in the United States and Trove in Australia), does not have a national newspaper digitization program. With the lack of such a program, public libraries, historical societies, provincial and local archives, as well as university libraries and archives, are left to fill the void, digitizing their local newspapers, often in piece-meal fashion. In doing so, Canadian institutions face many challenges, such as copyright and permissions issues. Individual institutions do their best to manage these issues, but do not necessarily have the expertise that is often required. Lack of funding is also a constant challenge. Canada lags far behind places like the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia for funding newspaper digitization, and most projects in Canada have relied on one-time grants, volunteers, and non-government contributions to move forward."

That's a paragraph from a Heritage Content Priorities Task Group report to the Canadian Research Knowledge Network.

It's from a section of the report, starting on page 8, Environmental Scan of Newspaper Digitization mentioning a number of challenges, including:

A further obstacle lies in simply trying to discover what has been digitized and what has not. There is no national inventory or index and the most comprehensive listing, by province, of both free and subscription sites is on a US-based genealogy website called The Ancestor Hunt. With no national index, it is often challenging for organizations to avoid duplicating digitization efforts.

The sad situation in Canada is a result of many years, particularly since the amalgamation of the National Library and Public Archives, when the leadership given to the Federal government under the 1985 federal-provincial agreement, the Decentralized Program for Canadian Newspapers, was deliberately abandoned.

Newspapers are mentioned in two recommendations of the report:

1. The Canadiana Collections should be enhanced with 1) content that is more reflective of the diversity of Canadians; 2) at risk materials; 3) high interest archival collections; and 4) newspapers. CRKN should consider focusing its efforts in these areas through the creation of collection development strategies developed in collaboration with members.

4. It is recommended that CRKN work collaboratively with Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) and Library and Archives Canada and other major organizations (OurDigitalWorld, Internet Archive Canada) on solutions to enable digitization, access, and digital preservation of newspapers.

I wish I could be more encouraged by these two recommendations, but there have been numerous previous studies and recommendations all of which have come to nought -- paralysis by analysis. 

More of the same? The report mentions — Library and Archives Canada is currently working on a newspaper strategy with national implications.

OGS Toronto Branch Meeting on Monday evening

On Monday at 7:30 pm Toronto Branch of OGS  welcomes genealogist and historian Dan Buchanan to tell the story of the HMS Speedy: Tragedy and Mystery.

In October 1804, a British gunboat disappeared in a storm on Lake Ontario near Presqu’ile Point south of Brighton, and all 20 on board were lost. To this day, the circumstances surrounding this tragic chapter in the history of Upper Canada remain shrouded in mystery. Why did the ship set sail to begin with? Who were the people on board and what were their family connections?

That's followed by a short presentation on Why you should paint your chromosomes by Linda Reid.

Further information and registration at https://torontofamilyhistory.org/event/hms-speedy/

19 March 2021

Findmypast Weekly Update: Ireland and Leicestershire

Ireland, Dublin Guinness Brewery Employees

There are 8,697 records in this title typically giving name, occupation, birth date, age joined, date joined, department and date left. The source is https://www.guinness-storehouse.com/en/archives/archives-genealogy

Clare Poor Law Unions Board of Guardians Minute Books

Over 500,000 records added to this County Clare collection. The records include all the surviving Board of Guardians minute books from the Corofin (1850-1922), Ennis (1849-1877 with many gaps, 1883-1922), Ennistymon (1839-1924) and Kilrush (1848-1923) unions, four of eight poor law unions located in County Clare. 

Leicestershire Parish Records

Privacy rules have allowed the release of another tranche of baptism, marriage, banns and burial records from churches across Leicestershire.

Baptisms are added for 212 out of 307 parishes for a new total of 1.22 million records. Records are typically from 1572 to 1921. 

Banns are added for 130 out of 282 parishes for a new total of 335 thousand records. Records are typically from 1754 to 1935.

Marriages are added for 139 out of 306 parishes for a new total of 709 thousand records. Records are typically from 1574 to 1935.

Burials are added for 23 out of 287 parishes for a new total of 837 thousand records. Records are typically from 1570 to 1970.

Co-Lab Updates for March

Here's my monthly Library and Archives Canada progress report on its Co-Lab Challenges since last month.

John Freemont Smith is 2% complete and is a new challenge. 

The late 19th century saw thousands of people flock to British Columbia, but few were as remarkable as John Freemont Smith. With an enthusiasm for his new home and a determination to succeed, he flourished as a businessperson, a municipal and federal official, and a civic volunteer. His accomplishments were all the more outstanding given that he was a Black man in a white settler community. He endured racism throughout his life while also earning respect and admiration from his contemporaries. Library and Archives Canada holds many records relating to Smith’s work as the Agent for the Kamloops Agency from 1912 to 1923, and a selection of these documents has been prepared as a Co-Lab challenge. 

Read the LAC blog post about him and you'll be amazed he's not in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

There are 90 images available in total.

War Diaries of the First World War: No. 2 Construction Battalion is 38% complete, 26% last month.

Canadian National Land Settlement Association remains 94% complete.

Molly Lamb Bobak remains 86% complete.

Diary of François-Hyacinthe Séguin remains 98% complete.

George Mully: moments in Indigenous communities remains 2% complete.
There are 297 images available for tagging by those who recognize someone or a location, or know when an event took place.

Correspondence regarding First Nations veterans returning after the First World War remains 99% complete.

Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 is 96% complete, 84% complete last month.

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

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

The Call to Duty: Canada's Nursing Sisters remains 94% complete.

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

18 March 2021

Prominent Women: NOT

Another post today refers to the Dictionary of Irish Biography now online. Digging into the advanced search I found there were articles for 9,515 men and 1,116 women, or about 9 to 1.

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography has 16,572 men and 1,118 women, about 15 to 1.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has 64,471 men and 9,265 women, about 7 to 1. 

The Australian Dictionary of Biography has 11,679 men and 1,681 women, 7 to 1

There appears to be no gender search in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

American National Biography has 19,206 men and 3,583 women, 5 to 1.

You may have come a long way ladies, but you've still got a long way to go.

The Dictionary of Irish Biography

Now online for free, an authoritative reference work of nearly 11,000 lives for scholars of Irish history, society and culture. 

Although it's unlikely you'll find your relative there will almost certainly be somebody from a place of interest to be found using the full-text advanced search.

Check out locations in your family history. Bunclody where I stayed for a vacation has seven mentions, Kilkeel where I may have ancestry has 13.  Look further afield too. There are 44 entries mentioning Ottawa.


17 March 2021

Kirk Session Records on ScotlandsPeople

News from ScotlandsPeople on long-awaited kirk session records.
Around 6,000 unindexed volumes have just been released. Others are promised. They're free to view, cost 2 credits to download. 

Thousands of volumes of historical records from the collections of National Records of Scotland (NRS) are now available online for the first time.

Images of more than a million pages from the kirk session and other court records of the Church of Scotland can now be viewed and downloaded on ScotlandsPeople. These records contain details of key events in communities across the country between 1559 and 1900 and are one of the most important sources for Scottish historical research.

The kirk session - the local court of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland - comprised the minister, the elders and a session clerk. The records they created offer remarkable insights into the everyday lives of ordinary Scots, capturing important moments such as births, marriages and deaths. The church court also adjudicated on the paternity of children, awarded relief to the poor and needy and provided basic education, as well as disciplining parishioners for what could be called anti-social behaviour – drunkenness, cursing and breaking the Sabbath. The most commonly known punishment was public repentance or penance. 

The newly added records document how people dealt with exceptional historical events such as wars, epidemics, crop failures and extreme weather.

They are not simple to use. The best way in is via the Virtual Volumes portal at https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/virtual-volumes. Read the full announcement at https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/article/news-article-virtual-volumes-records-released and take advantage of the other extensive information on these records on the site.

O/T: Hope in a Time of Pandemic

In his welcoming remarks, Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault mentions the importance of sharing our life experiences, something that's not news to family historians but bears repeating.

Here's the table of contents.

WELCOME REMARKS The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage
RENEWAL Charles Taylor

INCARNATING THE MESSAGE The Honourable Jean Augustine



Ancestry Updates

Two recent updates at Ancestry.

The 1939 England and Wales Register now has 45,915,027entries. In Dccember 2018 when first added there were 45,876,575 entries. That must reflect those who have subsequently died or passed their 100th birthday. Interestingly the Findmypast version, which pioneered this title, has 42,067,384 entries.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, RMS Titanic Fatality Reports, 1912 now has 328 entries.

16 March 2021

St Patrick's Day and Irish Newspapers

The British Newspaper Archives put in a special effort leading up to St Patrick's Day to add Irish papers to the collection. Here are the additions.

Belfast Weekly Telegraph1873-1893, 1895-1922
Cashel Gazette and Weekly Advertiser1865-1866, 1868-1887, 1889-1893
Evening Irish Times1880-1895
Evening News (Dublin)1859-1862
Bassett's Chronicle1863-1884
Drogheda Conservative1889, 1897-1908
Mayo Examiner and West of Ireland Agricultural and Commercial Reporter and Advertiser1868-1882, 1884, 1886-1903
Fermanagh Times1881-1886, 1888, 1891-1900
General Advertiser for Dunlin and all Ireland1837-1841, 1846-1852, 1856-1866, 1874, 1885, 1897-1923
Ulster Football and Cycling News1888-1896

St George's Day is coming!

Anglo-Celtic Roots, Spring 2021

The new issue of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa quarterly chronicle, Anglo-Celtic Roots arrived in the mail on Monday and is online behind the members-only firewall. It's a special themed issue, something the society rarely does, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the arrival in Canada of war brides who constituted the largest cohort of immigrants that year. The articles are:

Canada’s War Brides: Love and Marriage in Times of Uncertainty, by Glenn Wright
Mary Imhoff, the War Bride on Our Family Tree, by Carol Annett
Researching WW II British War Brides to Canada, by John D. Reid
War Brides of the First World War, by Glenn Wright and John D. Reid

Further war bride stories will be published in the next issue, that's in addition to the ten online in a special section on the Society website at

What do you think of special issues? Do you want broader coverage in each? Should BIFHSGO use its quarterly chronicle to recognize special anniversaries with occasional themed issues?

Additions to FamilySearch Indexed Records

This week's update on FamilySearch Indexing for Canada and the UK sees a huge addition, over 200,000 records, to Cambridgeshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1538-1983.

CollectionNewly IndexedTotal Indexed
Canada, Nova Scotia Church Records, 1720-20011,435209,584
England, Cambridgeshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1538-1983200,954847,077
England, Essex Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-19711,10896,139
England, Gloucestershire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1642-19964129,330
England, Herefordshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1583-189813,5801,314,904
England, Hertfordshire, Marriage Bonds, 1682-18373181,513
England, Lancashire, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1746-179968320
England, Lincolnshire, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1574-18851,32368,451
England, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-198837,6671,557,941
England, Northumberland Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-19204,329297,127

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.

Reminder: Gene-O-Rama is coming soon. Don't miss it!

Tuesday 16 March, noon: Using the Census for Family History, by Myko Clelland for Findmypast. www.facebook.com/findmypast.

Tuesday 16 March, noon: Ask and Irish Expert, with Joe Buggy for Ancestry. https://www.facebook.com/AncestryCA

Tuesday 16 March 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library. https://ottawa.ogs.on.ca/events/.

Tuesday 16 March 2:30 pm: Introduction to Irish Internet Sites, by David Rencher for the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. https://acpl.libnet.info/event/4913183

Tuesday 16 March 8 pm: Reporting on Research: Standards Encourage Better Communication, by Nancy A Peters for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. 

Wednesday 17 March, noon: St Patrick;s Day: Irish Genealogy Q/A, with Brian Donovan and Fiona Fitzsimons for Findmypast. www.facebook.com/findmypast

Wednesday 17 March 2 pm: FamilySearch.org - 10 Links You Have to Try, by Devin Ashby for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar_details.php?webinar_id=1650

Thursday 18 March 2 pm: Nurse Ratched: Evil Nurses, by Joanna Bourke for Gresham College. 

Thursday 18 March 6:30 pm: A Lonely Voyage: Late 19th Century Irish Immigrant Women in the United States, by Elizabeth Hodges for the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. https://acpl.libnet.info/event/4907467

Friday 19 March 2 pm: Tracing Your War of 1812 British Soldier, by Paul Milner for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar_details.php?webinar_id=1663

Friday 19 March 7 pm: The Doan Gang: my notorious ancestors, by Janet Hodgkins for Niagara Branch OGS. https://niagara.ogs.on.ca/events/the-doan-gang-my-notorious-ancestors/

Saturday 20 March 10 am: Getting to Know TONI, The Ontario Name Index, by Mike More for Kingston Branch OGS. https://kingston.ogs.on.ca/

Saturday 20 March 1 pm: DNA, Law Enforcement and Your Privacy, by Terry Maurice for Quinte Branch OGS. https://quinte.ogs.on.ca/2021/03/12/march-20-dna-law-enforcement-privacy/

Advance Notice: The 2nd Annual 24-Hour Genealogy Webinar Marathon hosted by FamilyTreeWebinars.com and MyHeritage is announced - April 8-9, 2021. For once Canada is not overlooked. https://news.legacyfamilytree.com/legacy_news/2021/03/announcing-the-2nd-annual-24-hour-genealogy-webinar-marathon-april-8-9-2021-registration-now-open-an.html

15 March 2021

Monday Memories: Money

You come home from a holiday or business trip with a few bills in your wallet. 

Some aren't worth the trip to the exchange bureau, some you keep in the hope you'll return, or just as souvenirs. 

They pile up in the container where you throw them.

Occasionally you take them out, along with the coins and tokens you accumulated. That's all it takes for the memories to flood back.

Last Day for Gene-O-Rama Early Bird Rates

Save a few shekels by taking advantage of Ottawa Branch OGS Gene-O-Rama discount registration rates. It's just two weeks away, 27-28 March and virtual for the first time. Here's the program.

08:30 Update from Library & Archives CanadaLisa Tremblay-Goodyer
09:00Pat Horan Memorial Lecture
Successful Collateral and Cluster SearchingThomas MacEntee
Break & Browse Marketplace
10:20Silver Spoons and Short Straw: British Immigrants to CanadaJohn Reid and Glenn Wright
Lunch Break & Browse Marketplace
12:15Strategies to Analyze Endogamous DNAAlec Ferretti
Break & Browse Marketplace
01:35All Kinds of LoyalistsKathryn Lake Hogan
Break & Browse Marketplace
02:55Genetic Genealogy ToolsMags Gaulden

10:30Uncommon Websites to Help Your ResearchLianne Kruger
Lunch Break & Browse Marketplace
12:10Irish Research MethodologyDonna Moughty
Break & Browse Marketplace
01:30Female AncestorsGena Philibert-Ortega
02:30Live Chat with our Vendors