Saturday, 25 March 2017

Ancestry updates Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1802-1967

Ten days ago I drafted a post regarding an update to this Ontario Catholic database. Ancestry announced an update to 1,604,863 records, up from 1,327,293 records when last mentioned here in January 2011.
However, the update broke the access to images. Good news, the images are back.

BCGS Canada 150 Seminar

The British Columbia Genealogical Society is "Celebrating our Canadian Ancestors" from Friday, 9 June to Sunday 11 June at various locations around Vancouver -- a movable feast!  

There are presentations by Claire Smith-Burns, Mary Read, Xenia Stanford and Susanne Sulzberger. The keynote speaker is Dave Obee.

Find out more here.

Findmypast adds Manitoba Probate Browse

The latest addition at Findmypast is Manitoba probate records 1871-1930 browse, 289 volumes and
289 volumes and 802,000 images of original estate files, application books and indexes.

These are browse files so no name indexing, just like those available from Ancestry. The source for both companies in FamilySearch which does have a (complete?) searchable name index at

Home Child Presentation in Arnprior

William Price, Arnprior town Councillor, Reeve and proprietor of the Canadian Tire Store, was a British home child. He was one of 100,000 who arrived in Canada between 1870-1940.

On Monday, 27 March Arnprior (formerly Patrick's) Family History Group is hosting Gloria Tubman presenting Researching British Home Children: An Education. Gloria will provide an overview of British Home Children, She will also provide an example on how to research a Home Child.

The meeting starts at 7 pm at Arnprior Public Library meeting room. Admission is $5.00 for non-members. For more information call 613-623-0001 or visit website

Friday, 24 March 2017

MyHeritage: Twice the Value

Until 2 April MyHeritage is offering their service at half-off to new subscribers, $125.37 US. Find out about the service, and enter a new subscription if the service appeals, from the badge at

OPL Event: Ken McKinlay on Managing Your Genealogy Research Projec

A shout out for an education session titled "Managing Your Genealogy Research Project" in the Auditorium of the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library (120 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa) starting at 7 p.m. Monday 27 March, 2017.
When we first start delving into our family tree research we often do it in a haphazard way. I will discuss tips and tricks to approach your genealogy research in a methodical manner. The session will touch upon using software or websites to record information, categorizing the information found, and alternate resources to fill in blanks in our research. Using real world examples, I will walk through some of the possible challenges you may encounter and ways to overcome them.
Ken is a member of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa and the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.  A genealogy researcher with over 15 years experience, Ken researches his family's history in Canada, United States of America, England, Scotland and Ireland.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

LAC to replace AMICUS

Over the next two years LAC will replace its 20-year-old library management system, called AMICUS, with a purchased service from OCLC. That's the news in this announcement from LAC.

OCLC, a US-based international nonprofit library co-operative with offices in Quebec, will provide services to support the management of acquisitions, cataloguing, serials control, public access, circulation, loans to other institutions and to assume responsibility for the management of Canada's National Union Catalogue. OCLC already partners with the national libraries of New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

According to LAC the total initial five-year contract cost for the system is $4.47 million, less costly for LAC over time than the current outdated one. In addition, users will have access to state-of-the-art services.

If you've used WorldCat, the OCLC public interface, you will know that most of the major collections included are for academic libraries. There are very few public library collections on WorldCat; they mostly use Toronto-based Bibliocommons to provide similar services. While this new arrangement for LAC will not improve that aspect of the present situation and provide a single window to search both academic and public libraries, this move away from the shop-worn AMICUS system is nevertheless a welcome move for LAC's public clients.

Satisfaction with Library and Archives Canada Services

In 2016 Nanos Research conducted a survey for Library and Archives Canada on customer satisfaction. An early version of the report and summary is available at I recently received a slightly revised Powerpoint version dated 12 September 2016.

Asked "How did you most recently interact with Library and Archives Canada? " 90% responded "through the website." Asked "What subjects are of interest to you at Library and Archives Canada?" more than 72% responded "Genealogy and Family History."

Of those using the website:
  • 68.4% did so "to consult collections for personal interest use", the category that includes genealogy and family history.
  • 55% answered "Yes" when asked "When I started my visit, I knew how to get the information or service I needed." Another 13% answered "they thought so but had difficulty."
  • Asked "How much effort did your search require?" 56% responded "a little", 22% "a lot", and 19% "none at all."
  • Regarding level of satisfaction with various aspects of the website, more than 40% were very satisfied with "the relevance of the content "(highest), "the appearance of the site" and "the clarity of the language." On the negative side less than 20% were very satisfied with the "ease of providing feedback", "ease of finding a person to contact", and "frequency of new content" (lowest).
  • Asked about the importance of various factors above 70% rated "the ease of finding what you were looking for" (highest), "the ability of search mechanisms to find useful results", and "the relevance of the content" very important. Below 30% as very important were "ease of finding a person to contact", and "ease of providing feedback."
The Nanos Research conclusions were:
Overall, being able to find things easily, good search mechanisms and knowledgeable staff are key drivers of who is satisfied and who is not. 
Of just over one in five who offered additional unprompted views about the LAC experience, 41% expressed overall satisfaction and/or satisfaction with the online information. Another 33% want increased access and digitization of materials. A small share of those who offered additional information said they were wanting more government support (six percent), or commented about the confusing building/poor hours/need to make the library mandate more clear/need more staff (five percent).

What do you think?

OGS Ottawa Branch March Meeting

Genealogy Quilt is the topic for the main presentation on Saturday, 25 March.
David Walker and his wife Suzan will talk about their genealogy quilt entitled “They Came on Ships”, which features migration routes of twenty-five of their ancestors beginning in the early 1600s. The quilt, which took several hundred hours to complete, is an inventive way to showcase the migration of David’s ancestors. The quilt was displayed at the annual conference of the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada in 2016.
That meeting starts at 1 pm with a 30 minute social period.

At 10:30 an the Genealogy: Back to Basics  session is on "Church Records"

Following the main meeting the Computer Special Interest Group will meet at 3 pm.

It all happens at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive (Room 115).

Find out more about the branch and its mission to encourage, assist and bring together all those interested in the pursuit of family history, with a focus on the counties of Carleton, Lanark, Renfrew, Prescott, and Russell.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

OGS Conference: Wall of Ancestors

Now up on the conference website a database termed the Wall of Ancestors. It's an opportunity for registrants to display some of the families that they are researching in the hope of making contact with others looking for the same family. It would be even better if they could meet up at the conference.
There are just a smattering of names there at the moment.
It's easy to add a name, although I notice one person who knows better switched first and last name, I added a great uncle in just a couple of minutes.

YouTube: Secrets to Successful Irish Family Research

Fiona Fitzsimons, who scored highly among Irish genealogists in the last Rockstar genealogists poll, gave a 35 minute webinar presentation for FindMyPast last week on some of the secrets of Irish research. While the webinar special offer and opportunity to ask a question are no longer available you can still go to YouTube to view this clear presentation with, naturally, an emphasis on the records available on FindMyPast.

New Book: The War of 1812 in British North America, Searching for your Ancestor's Elusive War Records

Do you have War of 1812 ancestors. There's a new book available from Global Genealogy.

The War of 1812 in British North America, Searching for your Ancestor's Elusive War Records provides researchers with an up-to-date guide to help you locate military service and other useful records from the War of 1812.

While the War of 1812 is well documented, the stories of our ancestors are often left to speculation. However, there are ways to discover some of their involvement in the conflict. Muster rolls, pay lists, medal rolls, pension requests, land grant applications, war loss claims, and various other records can help in the search.

Read more about it at

I hope to have a chance to review it in the near future.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Alberta Civil Registration Indexes online

Shannon's Research Services has very welcome news for Alberta researchers. The Provincial Archives of Alberta has digitized vital statistics indexes and or registers.

Don't expect to be able to enter a name in a search box, click and find all hits. These are basically images of the original indexes divided by year, or name, or whatever system the government choose. It will take a little time to understand and more to browse for your entry of interest. Maybe some organization will use the information to provide a searchable index.

The indexes are now available online for births (1870-1897)marriages (1870-1942), and deaths (1870-1967).

Ancestry's Genetic Communities

On Friday, St Patrick's Day, I received an email from AncestryDNA

From 28 March, your AncestryDNA results will be updated with Genetic Communities. The new feature will map where your family may have lived across 19 different Irish areas, from Derry to Cork. But you're probably not 100% Irish - so we'll also identify the communities that you belong to around Britain and the rest of the world.
I'm looking forward to seeing my results and finding out where specifically they think the 30% Irish DNA their test shows to be in my genes comes from.

For those wanting to dig deeper Ancestry have made available a white paper which goes into some detail on the technique used. Find it at

The technique uses not only the DNA results but combines them with surname, birthplace, ancestor's birthplaces and general information on community migration patterns using powerful statistical approaches. I'd be interested to know just how much value there is in that additional information beyond that from DNA, and how much could be estimated without the DNA results.

If the technique proves credible how will the champions of the genealogical proof standard react when faced with an additional example of statistically-based evidence?

YouTube: Manuscript Collections of the Genealogical Office of Ireland

Ancestry from the Irish nobility? This will be of especial interest.
A 30 minute talk by Ciara Kerrigan, Assistant Keeper, Genealogy and Heraldry, National Library of Ireland to the Genealogical Society of Ireland.