Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Internet Genealogy: Aug/Sept 2015

Here is the table of contents for the new issue with the articles I found particularly worthwhile bolded.

Rich Resources: Online State Archives
Carol Richey reveals the wealth of resources you can uncover in online archives

Seven Resources For World War II Reunion Groups and Associations
Jennifer Holik shares her findings on websites that carry on the memory of those who fought in the US Military in WWII

Digitization Project: Snapshots from The Korean War!
Tony Bandy examines a great resource for anyone researching Korean War ancestors

Uncovering the Bairnsfather Story
Gabrielle Morgan discovers a link to her family in an historic Australian newspaper article that leads her to uncover the real story behind her aunt’s marriage 

National Folklore Collection of Ireland: Schools’ Collection
Joe Grandinetti shows how a 1930s homework assignment in Ireland captured the words and wisdom of elders for posterity

The Wellington Boulder
Constance R. Cherba digs down to find the secrets behind a unique gravestone

Know Your Historical Societies and Find Your Ancestors
Amanda Epperson reveals that there is much more to historical societies than you think

Published and Digital Record Sources of the Revolutionary
Era: A State-by-State List
David A. Norris gives us a peek at some of the resources available for researching Revolutionary War ancestors

Four Essential Keys for Genealogy Backups! 
Tony Bandy reminds us that there is nothing more important than preserving your research work with a diligent backup plan

The Back Page
Never Give Up On a Difficult Ancestor!

LAC Profiles Yousuf Karsh and Nursing Sisters

New from LAC a Flickr Album on the Photography of Yousuf Karsh with 28 of his portraits to go along with a new podcast Yousuf Karsh: Pursuing Greatness with Karsh expert Dr. Robert Evans and LAC photo archivist Jill Delaney. LAC has an unexcelled Karsh fond.

Also from LAC, a blog post on Canadian Nursing Sisters in the First World War pointing to some published resources, including one by BIFHSGO conference speaker Sher Leetooze. It's a popular topic. September's BIFHSGO meeting will see Glenn Wright giving a Before BIFHSGO Education Talk on major sources for researching Canadian nurses in the Great War, including an overview of less well-known archival records. That will be followed by Brooke Broadbent on The Life and Times of Nursing Sister Laura Gamble, WWI. She was from Wakefield.

More Best Canadian Genealogy Website Nominations

Several nominations have come in and been added to the list.. A couple, although good, were not included being too local. Including sub-provincial sites would make the list too long.

As Leanne Cooper mentioned in a comment, you may find just browsing the nomination list helps you find useful sites. Check it out here and add any additional nominations.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

FamilySearch adds England and Wales Census, 1871

Transcripts of  25,330,945 entries in the 1871 census of England and Wales are now searchable at FamilySearch. The source is the Findmypast transcript with results are now linked to their images of the original accessible on a commercial basis.

One World One Family Conference

The sixth annual One World One Family Conference of the Brampton Ontario Stake Centre of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is scheduled for Saturday, August 22nd, 2015.

Go to the conference web page and see the smiling faces of Lesley Anderson and Glenn Wright, featured speakers at the year's conference. Lesley will give the keynote address: Connecting with our Ancestors is an Incredible Journey. Lesley and Glenn will join present a plenary address on their Ten Best Genealogy Tips.

There's a long list of other presentations and presenters

Accessing and Preserving Family Heirloomsby Adriane VanSeggelen
Exploring the Holdings of the Peel Archivesby Kyle Neill
French Canadian Researchby Marie-Chantal Hogue
How the LDS Church Archives Helped Me Publish My Bookby Andy J. Semotiuk
How To Plan a Family Reunionby Audrey Quatrale
How to Start My Family Historyby Dorothy Kew
In Search of Your Scottish Ancestors: Search Your Roots; Discover Your Heritageby Christine Woodcock
Lesser Known Databases for Scottish Genealogy Researchby Christine Woodcock
Mennonite and Quaker/Society of Friends Recordsby Fran Murphy
Preserving Family History and Other Technologyby Steve Fulton
Preserving Your Family Memories Now Through FamilySearchby Shirley-Ann Pyefinch
Self-Publishing Your Genealogy & Family Historyby Harry van Bommel
Silent No More: Researching Our Great War Deadby Glenn Wright
Ukrainian Genealogy and the Family History Libraryby Sonia van Heerden
Using the Family History Centre Online Services Portalby Shirley-Ann Pyefinch
What’s New in Ancestryby Lesley Anderson
Why Mormons Build Templesby Pres. Gordon K. Macmichael
尋根 - 中國家譜研討會 Finding Chinese Ancestorsby Grace Chan

At $25 it's a bargain, one I enjoyed a couple of years ago. Don't miss it if it fits your schedule.

2015 Shannon Lectures

The theme for the 2015 Carleton University History Department Shannon Lecture Series is Performing History: Re-Staging the Past.

Friday Sept 18 Dr Lisa Peschel (University of York, England)
“Theatre and the Holocaust: Recently Rediscovered Scripts from the Terezín/Theresienstadt Ghetto”

Friday Oct 9 Dr Bruno Ramirez (University of Montreal) on historical film and historical representation in film

Friday Oct 23 Mr Maxime Durand (Ubisoft, Montreal) on historical video gaming

Friday Nov 13 Dr Vanessa Agnew (University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany) on re-enactment

Friday Nov 27 Mr Peter Hinton (Shaw Festival Theatre) on historical representations in theatre

All five lectures will be in the Multi-Media Lab, Discovery Centre, MacOdrum Library starting at 1:30 followed by a reception in the History Lounge (433PA).

Further information at

Monday, 27 July 2015

Best Canadian Genealogy Websites: Nominations

Which genealogy websites do you most value for Canadian content? Rather than trust the judgement of self-proclaimed experts in other countries let's follow the model used for Rockstar Genealogist and conduct a survey.

Posted below is a list of Canadian genealogy websites, national and provincial, pre-nominated, if there is such a term. Sites with an asterisk are international but with a substantial Canadian component and widely used by Canadian family historians. Local society and municipal sites, and sites that are primarily blogs, including my own, are excluded.

To start things off here's an updated list of sites that I intend including:

Alberta Family Histories Society
Alberta Genealogical Society*
Acadian & French Canadian Ancestral Home
Archive CD Books Canada
Archives of Manitoba
Archives of Ontario
Automated Genealogy
BC Archives
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
British Columbia Genealogical Society
Canada GenWeb
Canadian County Atlas
Canadian Gravemaker Gallery
Canadian Headstone Photo Project
Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission**
Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
Fichier Origine*
Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia
Global Genealogy
Immigrants to Canada
Institut généalogique Drouin
Internet Archive*
Island Newspapers
Library and Archives Canada
Manitoba Genealogical Society
National Institute for Genealogical Studies*
New Brunswick Genealogical Society
Newfoundland's Grand Banks
Nova Scotia Archives
Olive Tree Genealogy*
Ontario Genealogical Society
Our Roots
Peel's Prairie Provinces
Prince Edward Island Genealogical Society
Prince Edward Island Public Archives and Records Office
Programme de Recherche sur l'Émigration des Français en Nouvelle-France
Provincial Archives of Alberta
Provincial Archives of New Brunswick
Quebec Family History Society
Saskatchewan Archives
Saskatchewan Genealogical Society
The Island Register (Prince Edward Island)
The Regimental Rogue
The Rooms (Newfoundland and Labrador)
United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada 
Yukon Genealogy

Please leave a comment with any additional nominations remembering that local society and municipal sites, and blog sites, are excluded. If you run one of the above sites and would prefer it be excluded also let me know via a comment, which will not be posted if requested.
Nominations will be open for a week and voting will follow shortly thereafter.

The Heritability of Academic Achievement?

Do the following findings reflect your life and family history experience?

Based on studies of identical and fraternal twins academic performance at school a study Pleiotropy across academic subjects at the end of compulsory education reports:

  • Genes explain a larger proportion of the individual differences (54–65%) in academic performance than shared environmental factors, such as home and school environment combined (14–21%)
  • Intelligence at age 16 demonstrates substantial heritability (56%), with negligible effect of shared environmental influences (5%).
  • To a large extent, the same genes influence achievement across a wide range of academic subjects, even when controlling for intelligence. 
  • Intelligence may play a stronger role in the heritability of mathematics performance than for other subjects.
  • Art seems to be influenced by different shared environmental factors compared to core academic subjects.
So performance differences for all subjects are highly heritable at the end of compulsory education and many of the same genes affect different subjects independent of intelligence.

via a tweet by Debbie Kennett

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Westboro Beach Genealogy Meetup: 25 July

There were a couple of new faces at Saturday's genealogy meetup, including a visitor from Ireland.
Thanks to photographer Christine Jackson.

WDYTYA US TV Series starts this evening

Tonight on cable channel TLC in Canada is the first episode of the new series of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring US actress Ginnifer Goodwin.
The episode plays at 9pm EDT and will be preceded by a WDYTYA marathon of past shows starting at 5 pm with Josh Groban, then Julie Chen, Rachael McAdams and Sean Hayes.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Old Maps Online is a search engine for historical maps that indexes nearly400.000 maps from a variety of archives and libraries worldwide. Contributors from English speaking institutions include: USGS Historical Topographic Maps; National Library of Scotland; The David Rumsey Map Collection; New York Public Library, Map Division; British Library, Map Library; Harvard Library, Harvard Map Collection; Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library; State Library New South Wales; University of Manchester Map Library.

Search for a place, even a small one, and a list of maps that include it starting with that with greatest resolution, is returned.

There are no contributing institutions from Canada which may explain why coverage is not so good.

For a mobile app version with more than 280,000 maps, go to

Beware, this site may well draw you in and ruin your carefully scheduled day.

Bedlam Burial Ground Database: City of London

Based on church records a team of volunteers have compiled a database of over 5,000 people buried at the infamous Bedlam burial ground during the 16th and 17th centuries. An estimated 20,000 burials occurred at the site now being disturbed owing to the construction of the new Liverpool Street Crossrail station. About 3,000 skeletons are being excavated and examined. More from the Dail Mail. the BBC (with short video) and this full length video which explains how the research is revealing the life and times.

To search the database go to The names are not linked to remains found.

The search can be limited to 50 year ranges from 1550  and to one or all of about 70 London parishes. Note the search will find all occurrences so a search for Smith will find not only those with that surname but also smith anywhere in a record such as occupation goldsmith.

Ancestry adds U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007

This blog only mentions US records when of potential interest for Canadian, British or Irish genealogy. The new U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 is such a case. 

Unless some of the information is embargoed you may find: applicant's full name, social insurance number, date and place of birth, citizenship, sex, father's name, mother's maiden name, race/ethnic description (optional).

A substantial number of the 49,416,104 records of people in the databse are for immigrants. Searching the database for birthplace Canada yields 489,007 results; for United Kingdom 407,242 and for Ireland 192,656. It's not that many, there are obvious errors, perhaps as many as 20%. Still, that would make it 54th in Ancestry's list of Canadian databases.

Territorial Force Nursing Service Medal Rolls at Forces War Records

The following is a press release from Forces War Records
Long-Lost WW1 Nursing Record Collection is Rediscovered at the AMS Museum

Territorial Force Nursing Service Medal Rolls Records Release

Wiltshire, United Kingdom, July 16, 2015 --( When Forces War Records Director Phil Cooper realised what he was holding, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Found in a box that had been donated to the Army Medical Services Museum, but not yet properly examined, the stack of documents listed the names of 5-6,000 women who, as members of the Territorial Force Nursing Service, had been awarded medals for their work in the Great War. Excitedly, Phil shouted for Ceri Gage, Collections Curator of the museum, whose eyes widened with shock when she saw what he had discovered. “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” she said, “because for years I have been telling people that these records don’t exist.”

The Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS) was created in 1909 as a sister organisation to the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS), to support the Territorial Army. The TFNS was made up of civilian nurses working in civilian hospitals who would volunteer their time to work in military hospitals, and eventually overseas.

Over 7,000 women served in the TFNS during the First World War in about 25 UK based hospitals, hundreds of auxiliary units throughout the British Isles and eventually 18 overseas territorial hospitals. These women were awarded a number of medals for their efforts, including the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, plus one of the rarest First World War campaign medals, the Territorial War Medal.

Now, Forces War Records is pleased to present the transcribed medal rolls for TFNS women awarded the above decorations, handily searchable by name and exclusively available on the Forces War Records website and at the AMS Museum. The two organisations have worked together to ensure that all records were transcribed as accurately as possible, having originally collaborated to digitise the National Archive’s rare ‘War Office: First World War Representative Medical Records of Servicemen’ collection for the very first time. It was thanks to this close relationship that Phil Cooper had been invited to rummage through the AMS Museum’s archives, in the hopes that some other collection of interest to genealogists and suitable for transcription might come to light.

Indeed it had! These new records contain a lot more information than the TFNS records currently held on Ancestry or at the National Archives – they show nurses’ first name(s), address details, in some cases where the nurses were based and where they served, including dates of service. They also give married and maiden names and awards such as the Royal Red Cross along with additional comments. They are from a later date than the currently available records, which is perhaps why they contain more fields.

The entire collection will be available on the site from 16th July 2015, and can be searched from either the home page, search page or the appropriate entry in the Collections List.


Subscription to Forces War Records costs £8.95 for four weeks giving unlimited access to all the site's resources from 1800 to post-WW2.

via David Rajotte's Documentary Heritage News