Monday, 27 June 2016

Discovering archaeological heritage at Pinhey’s Point

A reminder that today, Monday, June 27, 2016, 7 pm, there's a lecture at Pinhey’s Point.

Photographs and archival sources indicate that a number of historical buildings and architectural features at Pinhey’s Point have disappeared over time. One such building is a carriage or drive shed, shown in an 1890s photo built against the barn. The results of public excavations of this building
conducted in August 2015 and May 2016 and their interpretive value are presented and discussed.

The speaker, Ian Badgley, is a noted archaeologist with the National Capital Commission and a member of the Pinhey’s Point Foundation’s board.

Arrive early to view a variety of exhibits at the museum this summer.

More at

The Shared cM Project update

Blaine Bettinger, DNA expert and scheduled speaker for the OGS conference next year in Ottawa, has posted an update to this project examining the statistics of more than 9,500 entries.

This blog post summarizes the findings which are discussed in detail in this pdf.

Note that you may share no DNA with a third cousin, second cousin once removed and more distant relatives.

There's even a slight overlap between the amount of DNA shared by siblings and half siblings, although you'd be unlucky if results fell in the ambiguous range.

Check out the data to get an idea of the range of possible relationships a particular number of shared cM implies. 40cM could be a 1st cousin twice removed (1C2R), 2C1R, or 3C down to 5C2R. Could it be even more remote for endogamous populations?

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Home Child Ages

This graph shows the distribution of ages on arrival of the approximately 100,000 home children who came from Britain to Canada between 1869 and 1947. It shows a double peak, one largely prepubescent (47.8% age 13 and less), the remainder post pubescent. The median age in the 19th century and for the first 25 years of the 20th was 13 years For the next decade, following implementation of the UK Empire Settlement Act which required that immigrants be passed school leaving age, the median age was 16.

Why the dip at age 12? For each year in the periods 1870 - 80, 1889-91 and 1903-15 and 1923-30 there were fewer children age 12 than both age 11 and age 13.

Home child data sources matter. Compilations were made for different purposes. They may refer to a calendar or fiscal year.

These statistics are based on entries in the Library and Archives Canada home children database using only entries from ships passenger lists as extracted by John Sayers and cooperators in a BIFHSGO project. It includes a long tail of older people, such as chaperones, and some who were on the list with names crossed out. Data was taken for up to 2,000 entries per year for the decade (0) and mid-decade (5) years, plus a few other years thought to mark significant changes. Data for other years are estimated by linear interpolation constrained by the total number that arrived that year. Data for the Fairbridge immigrants to British Columbia, who arrived between 1935 and 1947, was added with ages extracted from the British outgoing ships passenger lists. Age data for a few other young immigrants in the late 1930s are not available.

Findmypast free access to military & census records

Findmypast is offering a one week free access, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, to 65 million world military records and over 265 million British and Irish censuses.
Find out more at

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Prairie Homestead Grant Registers from Ancestry

Ancestry has added to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada, Homestead Grant Registers, 1872-1930 in searchable and browseable formats.

Within a register, each application for a homestead was recorded as a single-line entry containing the following:

homestead number
date of application
date of grant
land description (part of section, section, township, range, meridian)
area (acreage)
application number
district number
list number

First World War Victoria Cross recipients

Go to to read stories of 175 men from 11 countries who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War.
This UK government site developed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, presumably an organization anticipating significant new responsibilities after the BREXIT vote. It pays tribute to men from, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine and the United States of America.
For Canada there are 70 profiles, whereas the Canadian War Museum website lists 73.  Who is in one list and not the other?
Rowland Bourke who served with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. having lived in Canada before and after the war.
Benjamin Geary, who was awarded the VC for service in the BEF and moved to Canada after the war.
Michael O’Leary who served with the BEF, he lived in Canada before and after the war.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Change of date: Ottawa genealogy meetup

It looks like some people will have a hard time being in two places at once on Saturday, or might have to hurry through what they would prefer to be a four-hour Saturday meeting to make a noon rendezvous at Wesboro Beach.

As the weather for Sunday is looking more favourable than earlier in the week the genealogy meetup will now be on Sunday, 26 June at noon.

Checkout the map at The parkway is closed until 1 p.m. so use the free parking at Lanark and Kirchoffer is coming by car.

Ancestry workshop at Eganville and District Seniors Centre

Lesley Anderson, the most recent inductee into the BIFHSGO Hall of Fame, will be speaking on Ancestry and AncestryDNA this Saturday, 25 June to the Eganville & District Seniors, 30 Bell St. in Eganville, starting at 10 a.m. You do not have to be a Senior to attend. $5 registration fee.

LAC Transcription Project: The Coltman Report

On June 19, 1816 the Battle of Seven Oaks resulted in 22 deaths, and a 521 (534?) page handwritten report on the battle. LAC has produced page images and invites everyone to try transcribing at

As of 10 a.m. on the morning of Thursday 23 June 2016, 110 pages are complete, 164 need review, 6 are incomplete and the remainder not yet started.

I tried and completed a page which had 19 lines, well spaced, quite easy to read. It only took a few minutes.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Dr. Guy Berthiaume two years on

Today, 23 June 2016, marks two years since Dr. Guy Berthiaume assumed the role of Librarian and Archivist of Canada.

Last year, here, I wrote about some of the changes implemented and planned. I can't say I've followed every development. Under his leadership LAC has continued to improve its public visibility, gained respect for funding two rounds of the Documentary Heritage Communities Program, reversed a decision to no longer circulate newspaper microfilms, and taken on numerous cooperative programs including an agreement with the Ottawa Public Library with a view to developing a combined facility, and more.

In a speech earlier this month in Halifax, one I commend to anyone interested in the future of libraries, Dr. Berthiaume quoted from The New Yorker: "For leadership to exist, a leader must cross paths with a crisis." He was referring to the experience of the library community in general. He inherited a crisis at LAC. The simple fact of morale recovering since he assumed the role, and remaining generally high, speaks volumes.

A unique historic government fonds LAC refused

Every now and again I look at LAC's mandate and wonder. In case you don't have it memorized here it is:

  • to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations;
  • to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada as a free and democratic society;
  • to facilitate in Canada co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge;
  • to serve as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.
Why, quite some time before the tenure of the present Librarian and Archivist, would several hundred volumes of correspondence, letterbooks, and journals related to Canadian history between 1828 and 1967, including almost 900 archival boxes (an estimated 1.6 million pages) containing all of a government agency records between 1840 and 1960 not be something LAC would see as its responsibility to have in its collection?

Perhaps because the records relate to a scientific endeavour, those of the weather service, officially the Meteorological Service of Canada, now part of Environment and Climate Change Canada. Perhaps LAC isn't comfortable with science? That's a shame. Science and engineering have records that are just as much part of our documentary heritage as the humanities -- music, photographs and the papers of politicians, writers and artists.

The University of Western Ontario to the rescue. Read about how that university acquired (on loan) the records and how they are being stored and used at In truth they're probably more valued and being used as a basis for study at UWO than they would have been at LAC.