Friday, 6 March 2015

2015 Southern California Genealogy Jamboree

If you're considering a visit California this year June 5 - 7, 2015 and would like to add in a major genealogy event the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank, Burbank, CA. is it.

Among the Who's Who of genealogy speakers are:
Lisa A. Alzo, Ron Arons, Blaine T. Bettinger, Lisa Louise Cooke, Jean Wilcox Hibben, Janet Hovorka, Cyndi Ingle, Tim Janzen, Thomas W. Jones, Denise Levenick, Thomas MacEntee, Rhonda R. McClure, George G. Morgan, Stephen Morse, Geoffrey D. Rasmussen, Judy G. Russell, Craig Roberts Scott, Drew Smith, and Paula Stuart Warren.

Thursday 4 June is set aside for Genetic Genealogy: DNA Day Plus! with speakers including Angie Bush, Blaine T. Bettinger, Kitty Munson Cooper, Tim Janzen, CeCe Moore, Judy G. Russell and Diahan Southard.

Read all about it at There's an early bird rate until 30 April.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Value of Scientific Genealogy

Exactly a century ago, on 5 March 1915, the journal Science published an article by Chas B. Davenport The Value of Scientific Genealogy. Davenport was Director of the renowned Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, earned a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University where he later became professor of zoology.
Davenport was a leading advocate for eugenics, "the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics)."
The article argued the merits of eugenics and suggested that in addition to "the usual statements about birth and marriage and also biographical and social data, records should be kept of  ... physical and mental data including build, proportions, pigmentation, quality of sense organs and other important physical traits, also the mental equipment, tastes for particular occupations, temperament and social reactions ... liability to disease, of grave illnesses and of surgical operations ... and precise cause or causes of death."
Repulsive as such racial and class based ideas are today we always have to remember not to judge the past by today's standards. Many of us have been uncomfortable when faced with evidence of our ancestors beliefs and actions.
Davenport recommended compilation of a detailed analysis of the personality based on work of Francis Galton using forms in Record of Family Faculties (pdf). He claimed to have distributed about 20,000 such forms to individuals and to hold a collection of such completed forms in a confidential repository at his office at Cold Spring Harbour. Do any such completed forms exist? If so they would be an interesting source for the family historian.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Findmypast FREE this weekend is opening its record sets this weekend.

Existing members will have subscriptions automatically extended by three days at no additional cost. 

"Our Free Weekend will include help guides and useful family history hints and tips from our resident experts. If you have any brick walls that need to be broken down, or any questions you’d like to put to our experts, be sure to tune in! 

British Newspaper Archive Updates

There are more than 100 titles in the list of recently added issues, within 30 days, at the British Newspaper Archive.

Those with ten or more years added are|:

Arbroath Herald and Advertiser for the Montrose Burghs 1941 - 1955
Berwickshire News and General Advertiser 1905 - 1951, 1953, 1955
Brighton Gazette 1825 - 1834, 1836 - 1855
Cambridge Chronicle and Journal 1832 - 1835, 1837 - 1844, 1846 - 1847, 1849 - 1858, 1860, 1864 - 1866, 1868 - 1870, 1872
Carlisle Patriot 1822 - 1846, 1848 - 1852, 1854, 1856 - 1870
Clerkenwell News 1856 - 1866, 1868
Coventry Standard 1841, 1843, 1851 - 1852, 1854, 1859, 1861 - 1862, 1864 - 1867
Cumberland Pacquet, and Ware's Whitehaven Advertiser 1778 - 1779, 1781 - 1783, 1786, 1788, 1811, 1837, 1843, 1850 - 1853, 1857 - 1865, 1870 - 1871
Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald 1904 - 1906, 1912, 1914, 1917, 1920, 1923 - 1924, 1928, 1930, 1932 - 1933, 1935 - 1937
Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser 1887 - 1888, 1890 - 1892, 1894, 1899 - 1918
Dublin Evening Post 1781 - 1785, 1787, 1792, 1794 - 1797, 1804 - 1810, 1813 - 1817, 1827 - 1828, 1830 - 1832, 1834 - 1851, 1853, 1856 - 1858
Gloucestershire Chronicle 1842, 1845, 1848, 1888, 1890 - 1892, 1894 - 1895, 1897 - 1910, 1912 - 1926, 1928
Gloucestershire Echo 1884, 1901 - 1910, 1914 - 1915, 1924 - 1927
Greenock Advertiser 1839, 1844 - 1845, 1847, 1849 - 1852, 1859, 1865, 1870
Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette 1857 - 1866
Hawick News and Border Chronicle 1910, 1912 - 1913, 1926 - 1929, 1943 - 1944, 1950 - 1951
Holborn Journal 1858 - 1863, 1866 - 1867, 1870 - 1871
Oxford University and City Herald 1831 - 1844, 1855
Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier 1828 - 1829, 1834, 1836 - 1838, 1859 - 1865, 1869 - 1870
Teesdale Mercury 1855, 1857 - 1862, 1864 - 1869
Tipperary Vindicator 1844 - 1849, 1860 - 1863, 1867 - 1868
Whitby Gazette 1884 - 1886, 1889 - 1892, 1895, 1897 - 1900, 1902 - 1904, 1912, 1917 - 1918

The East Suffolk Mercury and Lowestoft Weekly News may only have been added for one year, 1859, but it gives hope the far east of England, up to that point totally ignored, may one day get a fair its share of attention.

More burials from Leicester's Grey Friars church

In July of 2013 the team from the University of Leicester that had excavated and retrieved the remains of Richard III returned to the Grey Friars site to excavate more of the church and, if possible, lift a stone sarcophagus found in the presbytery. This video documents the exploration.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

LAC Survey

If you've been to the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) website lately you will have been asked to take a survey, after you've finished your business. It's part of a usability study of to gather information about how visitors use the website. This study includes a question about digital content available on the LAC website.

The study can also be accessed at: until March 6th. LAC note the identity of respondents is strictly confidential.

Irish Records added at Findmypast

The latest additions to Findmypast's Irish newspaper collection include updates to 36 existing titles and 5 brand new titles from all over Ireland
– Belfast Protestant Journal, 16,211 articles from 1844 to 1850
– Current Prices of Grain at Dublin Corn Exchange, 272 articles from 1860 to 1861
– Newry Herald and Down, Armagh and Louth Journal, 44,204 articles from 1858 to 1862
– Tipperary Vindicator and Weekly Vindicator, 88,194 articles from 1844 to 1868

Also in this update, over 9,000 new records have been added to the Ireland National Roll of Honour 1914-1921. It now containing over 24,000 records. The Ireland National Roll of Honour 1914-1921 is a collection of transcripts created from all known available references and collections for Irish casualties published before 1922. They include Soldiers Died in the Great War, Ireland’s Memorial Records, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, newspaper items, articles and books. The material has also been cross referenced with the 1901 and 1911 Census to provide a more precise list of Irish casualties than was previously available to family historians.

My forthcoming presentations

Here is a list of speaking commitments I have so far for 2015

March 16-20:  I will be at the Genealogy in the Sunshine event in Algarve, Portugal. The presentation Did DNA Prove the Skeleton Under the Leicester Car Park was Richard III? is scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday 18 March. Two other presentations Researching Second World War British Child Evacuees to Canada and Finding English Emigrants to Canada and Their Descendants are to be scheduled. I'll also be participating in a panel on genealogical proof.

March 25: DNA Testing for Genealogy: Not Just for Men at Temple Sinai, 210 Wilson Avenue, Toronto, 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.)

June 6: Did DNA Prove the Skeleton Under the Leicester Car Park was Richard III? OGS Toronto Branch one-day workshop on Genetic Genealogy and its uses in family history research. North York Central Library Auditorium, 5120 Yonge Street, Toronto

June 13: Tragedy at Sea: How My Family History Nearly Ended Before It Began, part of BIFHSGO Great Moments in Genealogy  at The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Nepean, Ontario, session starts at 10 am.

October 10: Did DNA Prove the Skeleton under the Leicester Car Park was Richard III? (BIFHSGO Monthly Meeting) 10:00 am to 11:30 am, The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Nepean, Ontario

March Backup Nag

If, like me, you overlooked to backup your hard drive at the beginning of the month it's not too late..
Just do it.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Major Photographic Acquisition by Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada announce the acquisition of a major addition to the Malak Karsh fonds on the occasion of the centenary of his birth. This provides tangible proof that LAC will not restrict itself to collecting only materials from government sources or through legal deposition.

The acquisition includes approximately 200,000 photographic transparencies and negatives, ca. 1968-2001, as well as 13 exhibition prints and textual records.
Malak's portrayal of Canada's geographical and cultural diversity has been very influential in shaping how Canadians view their own country and its visual identity.
Malak's images have been used on at least 11 Canadian stamps, and his iconic photograph of the log drive below Parliament Hill appeared on the $1 note (1974-1989).

Read the press release at

Local BMD Updates in February

The following are February's Local BMD additions to the UKBMD records for the counties of Cheshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Wiltshire, Yorkshire


3,465 for Hazel Grove, registers at Stockport (1960-1969) 
1,007 for Stockport, registers at Stockport (1967-1968)
500 for Altrincham, registers at Trafford (1959-1960)
1,004 for Urmston, registers at Trafford (1957-1957)

505 for Bidston, St Oswald, registers at Wirral (1947-1958)
501 for Tranmere, St Catherine, registers at Wirral (1946-1953)
506 for Tranmere, St Paul, registers at Wirral (1949-1958)
506 for Bebington, St Andrew, registers at Wirral (1948-1959)
251 for Bromborough, St Barnabas, registers at Wirral (1947-1954)
251 for Higher Bebington, Christ Church, registers at Wirral (1947-1954)
260 for Hoylake, St Hildeburgh, registers at Wirral (1950-1976)
254 for Port Sunlight, Christ Church, registers at Wirral (1951-1958)

2,542 for Altrincham, registers at Trafford (1950-1954)
1,505 for Urmston, registers at Trafford (1958-1960)


4,655 for West Lancashire (Ormskirk) RD comprising: Ormskirk (1948-1964)

27,169 for Manchester RD comprising: Manchester Register Office or Registrar Attended (1990-2011)


513 for London Road (City General Hospital), registers at Stoke-On-Trent (1928-1942)
5,618 for Longton, registers at Stoke-On-Trent (1899-1951)
345 for Burton-on-Trent, registers at Newcastle-Under-Lyme (1983-1983)
13,501 for Cannock (old Penkridge Rural District), registers at Newcastle-Under-Lyme (1893-1905)

24 for Essington, St John, registers at Newcastle-Under-Lyme (2011-2014)
16 for Hednesford, Cannock, Salvation Army, Anglesey St, registers at Newcastle-Under-Lyme (1982-2008)
11 for Raunsley (Hednesford), St Michael, registers at Newcastle-Under-Lyme (1991-2002)


4,999 for Tisbury, registers at History Centre (1837-1892)


605 for Arkengarthdale, St Mary, registers at Harrogate (1837-1992)
43 for St James, Scarborough, registers at Harrogate (1991-2008)
268 for St Stephen, Snainton, registers at Harrogate (1869-1990)
43 for St Leonard, Speeton, registers at Harrogate (1864-1970)
71 for St John, Staintondale, registers at Harrogate (1930-2001)
375 for All Saints, Wykeham, registers at Harrogate (1837-1987)
584 for Holy Trinity, Scarborough, registers at Harrogate (1882-1989)

4,968 for Barnburgh, registers at Doncaster (1837-1878) 

Americans in the CEF

In February Active History posted at article by Chris Dickon  "An American Legion in the CEF? Crossing Borders during “Canada’s” First World War."
Just as more than 60,000 Canadians fought in the American Civil War, 35,612 American citizens by birth, and many more US residents of Canadian or British birth, enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.