14 June 2021

CEF Beechwood Burial: Alexander P. Menzies

On 14 June 1921 Alexander Pratt Menzies, age 24, was found drowned at Britannia Bay on the Ottawa River. There's little additional information on his death certificate except birth 2-10-1897 in England. Newspaper reports were that he'd been in Ottawa for 3 weeks looking for work and staying at the Union Mission.

His CWGC record indicates "Son of William Menzies, of 34, Summerfield Avenue, Queen's Park, Kilburn, London, England, and the late Emily Menzies".

There is a civil registration of birth index entry giving his mother's maiden name Powell. A baptism on 1 January 1899 at St Mary Magdalene, Hollowell Road, Islington gives parents William James and Emily Elizabeth. 

The 1906 and 1911 censuses show the family living in Winnipeg having emigrated in 1900. His father is the manager of a hardware store in 1911 earning $1,500 annually. His mother died in January 1912 in Winnipeg and a brother in August 1913 following which his father returned to England.

Alexander had enlisted in Winnipeg in April 1916 giving his date of birth 2 October 1898. His personnel file shows he served with the Young Soldiers Batallion having enlisted with the 207th, the 18th Reserve and the 44th Battalions. He had served in England and France, received a gunshot wound and was discharged in May 1919 with defective vision.

A second attestation paper dated September 1919 gives his sister Margaret of Wildwood, Manitoba as his next of kin and his address as YMCA, Main Street, Winnipeg. He was demobilized in December that year.

His service file indicated he has suffered from epilepsy. Perhaps he had a seizure while swimming?

He is buried in Sec. 29. Lots 13 and 14. West. 23 at Beechwood Cemetery, the fourth Ottawa River drowning victim among the 99 CEF burials in the cemetery.

13 June 2021

Back to the Future

Having had to resort to this older blog for the past few days the distribution for the new one appears to be working. 

I ran over the monthly number of emails allowed free by MailChimp that I had used initially and they wanted 4c per email sent out, that's 4c each for 400 subscribers time 30 days in June. Not in my budget. 

MailPoet is now hooked up — it looks promising as long as subscribers stay below 1,000.

The new blog is at www.anglocelticconnections.ca

12 June 2021

Can we be even-handed?

 "Nellie L. McClung (1873-1951) is English Canada’s best-known first-wave feminist."

"Alongside the other Famous Five, including close friend Emily Murphy,  McClung was an advocate of eugenics and campaigned for the sterilization of the feebleminded."

Those statements are from her profile in https://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/players

There are many others at the site who were advocates for eugenics, and some missed such as Tommy Douglas.

Will those tearing down statues, renaming buildings and rewriting the biographies of those whose record in the history of  Canada is problematic, to say the least, be even-handed when it comes to the eugenicists?

11 June 2021

BIFHSGO AGM and Great Moments in Genealogy

Tomorrow, Saturday 12 June


10 am:  Great Moments in Genealogy 

Over the Sea to ... "Shetland" (Jill Thompson) – The story of two ancestors who moved from the Shetland Isles to Scotland and then to southern England.

The River Ran Red: The Homestead Steel Strike and Sylvester’s Part in It (Lynne Baxter) – The story of a steelworker and union leader who was tried for his role in a scrimmage that resulted in several deaths in Philadelphia in 1892.

A Gem from the Inveraray Archives (Dena Palamedes) – The story of discoveries and new friendships that grew from an email to BIFHSGO from somebody who came across information about her ancestor.

Online, but registration required. The presentation is free, but donations are gratefully accepted through Canada Helps here.

Findmypast Adds to England Roman Catholic Parish Registers Collection

What's new at Findmypast? Single year additions to Birmingham, Middlesborough and Westminster Catholic parish records.

Over 4,000 new England Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms from the Archdiocese of Birmingham in 1911, the Diocese of Middlesbrough in 1921, and the Diocese of Westminster in 1916.

Over 1,500 new England Roman Catholic Parish Marriages from the Archdiocese of Birmingham in 1911 and the Diocese of Westminster in 1944.

Over 400 new England Roman Catholic Parish Burials from the Archdiocese of Birmingham in 1911, the Diocese of Middlesbrough in 1921, and the Diocese of Westminster in 1942.

Over 2,400 new England Roman Catholic Parish Congregational Records from the Archdiocese of Birmingham in 1911, the Diocese of Middlesbrough in 1921, and the Diocese of Westminster in 1916.

The whole collection is now 2.47 million records

10 June 2021

Uncovering Unusual Lives: Four Case Histories

From Toronto Branch OGS, an interesting series for summer enjoyment.

Wednesday 16 June  (7:30 p.m. EDT)
Misbegotten, Misled, Mistaken: Tackling the challenging quest to identify a mystery father.
Lecturer: Paul Jones

Thursday 17 June (7:30 p.m. EDT)
The Curious Case of Dr. Henry Head Gray: Piecing together the true fate of a young Toronto doctor.
Lecturer: Jane MacNamara

Wednesday 23 June (7:30 p.m. EDT)
FAKE News! Read all about it!: Debunking myths in the report of a young woman sold into slavery.
Lecturer: Guylaine Pétrin

Thursday 24 June (2:00 p.m. EDT)
The 1815 Murder behind Toronto’s Oldest Ghost Story: Digging up the facts of a lighthouse keeper’s untimely death.
Lecturer: Eamonn O’Keeffe

Find out more and register at https://torontofamilyhistory.org/event/uncovering-unusual-lives/

Advance Notice: Strokestown Famine Orphans in Quebec

Part of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies Annual Meeting, “The Marianna O’Gallagher Memorial Session: Strokestown Famine Orphans in Quebec” will take place on Tuesday, June 22 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. EDT. Dr. Mark McGowan will be joining Caroilin Callery and Dr. Jason King to discuss a recent short film entitled “Strokestown Famine Orphans in Quebec and New York.” 

In advance of this session, you may view the film at this link: bit.ly/Strokestown-Quebec

Dr. Jason King is the Academic Coordinator of the Irish Heritage Trust and a member of the Government of Ireland National Famine Commemoration Committee, among other positions. Caroilin Callery is the Director of the National Famine Museum, Strokestown Park. Register to attend the conference and contact usmc.principalsoffice@utoronto.ca for Zoom info.

Ancestry adds UK and Allied Countries, Index of International Bomber Command Losses, 1936-1966

Abstracts records from the International Bomber Command Centre. There are links to more detailed information at the IBCC website which records the details of 58,438 Bomber Command deaths throughout its existence (1936-1968), including pre-war and post-war losses. 

Searching keyword Canada finds 9,840 records, Canadian 10,344. 

09 June 2021

Ancetry Updates Bedfordshire, England, Workhouse and Poor Law Records

Updated, now with 628,011 records, Bedfordshire, England, Workhouse and Poor Law Records, 1835-1914 was originally published by Ancestry in August 2020.

Searching returns a transcript with headings: Name, Age, Birth Date, Residence Date, Residence Place, Poor Law Union, and Description of the instrument. Additional information is given in the linked image such as family information and the nature of the relief granted.

The records, sourced from the Bedfordshire Archives, cover the Poor Law Unions of Ampthill, Bedford, Biggleswade, Leighton Buzzard and Luton.

08 June 2021

This Week;s Online Genealogy Events

Still struggling with service on the new blog.

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

Tuesday 8 June, 2 pm: New breakthroughs in MyHeritage's photo tools, by Tal Erlichman for MyHeritage Webinars.

Tuesday 8 June, 7 pm: The Power of DNA, by Mags Gaulden for Lambton Branch OGS.

Tuesday 8 June, 2:30 pm: The (US) 1940 Census and Preparing for the 1950 Census, by Alison Singleton for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Wednesday 9 June, 2:30 pm: Reflections of Alan Turing with Dermot Turing, The (UK) National Archives.

Wednesday 9 June, 7:15 pm: Doing Family Tree Research in Your Pajamas, by Ken McKinlay for York Branch OGS.

Thursday 10 June, 6:30 pm: Fireside Chat: Migration. Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Friday 11 June, 7 pm: Memories of Merlin, by Julie Magerka for Kent Branch OGS.

Saturday 12 June, 9 am: BIFHSGO AGM and Great Moments in Genealogy. 

Saturday 12 June, 2 pm: Squiggly and Splt: How SNA Changed Family History Research, by Dave Obee for Simcoe Branch OGS.


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

07 June 2021

OPL-LAC Service Transition: Newspapers

Note: There's a hiccup with the new blog.

In an obscure corner of the LAC website is a document Transition 2019 – E-binder. Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, August 30, 2019. It provides a nearly two years old snapshot of the organization, its scope and a base on which to view subsequent developments.

The Operations Sector is of most interest for researcher clients. An organization chart at the time is here.

I looked particularly at the mention of newspapers.

The Newspaper Strategy section mentions a strategy  not found on the LAC  website.  The considerations section is:

  • Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has a strong retrospective collection of selected Canadian dailies, community newspapers, Indigenous and ethno-cultural papers in print and microfilm; print newspapers do not fall under Legal Deposit (LD) and have not been actively collected, aside from first and last copies, since 2007. LAC purchases microfilm, when it is available, to fill collection gaps. Electronic newspapers fall under LD and have been collected sporadically; this will become more routine once Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) is implemented.
  • The Newspaper Strategy focusses primarily on publications; stakeholder response suggests it should be broadened to include news archives.
  • A newspaper summit is under consideration at LAC. A decision whether to hold a summit, and its format, will be made in the third quarter of 2019-2020.
  • No resource(s) at LAC are dedicated specifically to this file.
  • If decided that newspapers become an area of emphasis, the file will need at least one Full time equivalent (FTE).
  • Digital ingest, access and preservation standards vary amongst multiple stakeholders and communities nationwide.
  • There are many community-based projects underway with their own access points; LAC is working with Ontario Library Association, Archives of Ontario and others, together with TorStar and PostMedia, to provide access to 36 shuttered Ontario community newspapers.

No newspaper summit was held. Apparently little has changed at LAC since this document was written.

The section Digitization mentions

The division is currently composed of 43 indeterminate positions, which are not always fully funded. As a result, it is difficult to plan long-term projects and commit to the Preservation Plan for purposes of long-term digitization.

  • In 2018-2019, DSD produced 5 million digital images from analog surrogates.
  • In 2019-2020, while continuing to serve internal and external clients, digitization efforts are supporting the Indigenous initiatives, litigation cases, the conversion of reference collections into digital format as well as other LAC priorities that may arise.

LAC is conducting less digitization!

A section OPL Collection Preparation and Move mentions that RFID technology will be employed to secure the collection after the move and that "Four Library and Archives Canada (LAC) collections will be featured in the new OPL-LAC joint facility set to open in 2024: Genealogy, Reference, Curated, and Lowy collections. Approximately 150,000 items will be relocated to OPL-LAC’s joint facility."

A separate section OPL-LAC Service Transition includes in a list of seven projects to be undertaken "Digitization of reference materials: To save space and to enhance access to LAC reference materials in Ottawa and across Canada, LAC is digitizing finding aids, directories, newspapers and other materials."

Military Monday: Surnames

NOTE: There's a hiccup with the new blog.

Smith, then Brown and then Wilson saw the most Canadian military fatalities in both wars. according to Commonwealth War Graves Commission records. For the population as a whole, for more than a century, Smith has been the most common surname in Canada, the next most common being Brown, Tremblay and Martin. 

The table below shows the most frequent surnames from CWGC records of Canadians who died in the two world wars.

SMITH (1)11
BROWN (4)22
WILSON (7)33
JONES (2)410
TAYLOR (6)56
McDONALD (-)722
MacDONALD (-)84
STEWART (-)1013
JOHNSON (5)118
SCOTT (35)1219
WHITE (11)1315
WILLIAMS (3)1417
THOMPSON (12)1511
MARTIN (15)169
WALKER (17)1725
MOORE (14)1818
MILLER (8)1912
CLARK (18)2016
YOUNG (36)2130
ROSS (-)2235
REID (-)2421
WRIGHT (22)2524

Tremblay ranked 530th in the FWW and 180th in the Second.

The number against the name in the first column is the rank given at https://www.findmypast.co.uk/surname/. Scots names are more prominent among the Canadian war dead.