Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Rockstar Genealogists Voting Progress

As of 8 am (EDT) on Wednesday 18 October 739 people had voted for their favourite Rockstar Genealogists. Three quarters of those voting were women.
There were 411 voters from the USA, 117 from England and Wales, 97 from Australia and New Zealand, and 75 from Canada.
Slightly over 50% considered themselves genetic genealogists, a majority everywhere except England and Wales.
Vote for your favourite Rockstar Genealogists by following this link.

Conference 2017 Resources for BIFHSGO Members

BIFHSGO members, even those who did not register for the conference, now have access to conference materials.

The audio and slides for Glenn Wright's Whiteside Lecture Another Bloody Englishman! Britannia in Red Serge, 1873-1920 are available. Handouts for the presentations below are also online, and audio and slide should be coming soon.

Beyond All Reasonable DoubtCelia Heritage
Buried Treasures: What's in the English Parish Chest?Paul Milner
Working with SourcesGillian Leitch
Researching in English and Welsh ArchivesCelia Heritage
Occupational, Guild and Freedman RecordsPaul Milner
Genealogy and the Age of ShakespeareJames F.S. Thomson
British Military: Finding Your Pre-WWI SoldierPaul Milner
Using Death Records in Family HistoryCelia Heritage
Tips and Tools for Navigating the English Probate SystemPaul Milner
Historical NewspapersJames F.S. Thomson
I've Lost My Ancestor Before 1837: How Can I Find Him?Celia Heritage

Kingston Branch OGS October Meeting

The Kingston Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will meet on Saturday, October 21st at 10 a.m. at the Kingston Seniors Centre, 56 Francis St., Kingston.  Ron Mann will speak on "Some Hints and Guidelines for Beginning and Veteran Genealogists."
Visitors always welcome.  Further details at

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Clarity on Rootweb

Quite understandably the notice posted on the Rootsweb site last week,

"We will be discontinuing the Rootsweb Surname List and Genealogy Forum features on Tuesday Oct 24, 2017."

caused a lot of angst.

That notice has been removed, One of my readers contacted Rootsweb and received the following clarification.

We appreciate your concern that some information is being removed from the site. We will do all that we can to answer your questions. The Message Boards are not being removed. The " Genealogy Forum " references a web page maintained by the " Golden Gate Genealogy Forum ". It is accessible from the link below. They are moving their page.

Deaths and Great War Deaths

From time to time it's worth looking at figures like this
referenced in a post "UK drops in European child mortality rankings" by the UK Office of National Statistics. Obvious for births are the post war baby booms and baby boom echo of the early 1960s. Peaks in deaths at the end of WW1 during the influenza pandemic and associated with WW2 bombing are evident.
The deaths are those registered in England and Wales and don't attempt to account for those who died overseas. A rough calculation using British Forces deaths in WW1 from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, allowing roughly for those who died in Britain and subtracting those from Scotland and Ireland, indicates another 25% can be added for the overseas deaths of those from England and Wales.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Rockstar Genealogist(s) 2017 voting now open

Choose your favourites from a galaxy of stars from the English-speaking genealogy world. Let them know you appreciate their contributions.
Voting requires access through your Google account. That will limit the possibility of people voting more than once and mean you can change your vote by signing in again with your account. If you don't already have an account, most of us do to take advantage of the many Google apps, sign up for one for free here.
By voting you help folks organizing a speaker program to know who is popular internationally and in different regions.
Tell your genealogist friends. Ask them to vote, suggest who to vote for and multiply the power of your vote.
Note that two people are nominated who have declined to have their votes tabulated. Their names are included to indicate they have not been overlooked. Everyone who received two or more nominations is included, those who received only one are not.
What surprises will there be in this the sixth year of the survey?


Voting will close on Saturday.
Thanks to Chris Goopy for the graphic and help testing the system.

Some Progress at LAC on Newspaper Digitization

Library and Archives Canada has received funding over two years from the Salamander Foundation as a contribution to the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS).

The $25,000 grant in 2017, for a Pilot Digitization Project of Newspaper Material is described as"serving to demonstrate best practices for digitizing select collections that can be shared with memory institutions across Canada to help build a national, representative newspaper collection."  A small collection of Indigenous newspapers is being digitized.

The same funding in 2016 focused on prioritizing digitization of "'last copy' and 'at risk' material covering published heritage prior to 1917 including books, periodicals and newspapers, scientific journals and theses, audio and audio-visual recordings, high-interest archival fonds, photographs, artefacts, and fragile historical maps."

What are the products of this funding? NDHS Corporate Secretary Caitlin Horrall told me that they initially consulted experts across Canada to determine the state of newspaper digitization practice. I was surprised there was no consultation with major newspaper digitization initiatives internationally which are way ahead of Canada. Likely the Canadian expert's advice would be informed by that experience. One finding was that copyright is not as big an issue as it once was as newspapers are realizing their archives will not be a major revenue source given the up-front cost of digitization. That removes a major obstacle, but up-front cost is still a hurdle. A report on the consultation is scheduled for release next spring.

With the Salamander grant LAC is presently digitizing three Indigenous publications, likely the best known being Windspeaker. Published 12 times each year since 1983 this is a modest challenge and results should be available in the spring.

If any inroads are to be made in digitization and OCR of the many Canadian newspaper titles that remain in archival obscurity LAC will need to stop avoiding the obligation long since embraced by peer organizations internationally.

Perhaps like me you you are not aware of the Salamander Foundation which exists to promote continuity and discovery in the arts and in culture, and to recognize the forms, functions and interactions of natural systems in the environment. Approximately 20 - 25 grants per year are made "to specific initiatives or projects with clear objectives and measurable outcomes." Projects likely to benefit a broad population base either across Canada, regionally, or via the Internet are favoured with those based in Ontario given first consideration.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

CEF Service Files October Update

As of today, 15 October 2017, 502,740 (491,373 last month) of 640,000 files are now available online in the LAC Personnel Records of the First World War database. That's according to a LAC Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Service blog post. Unusually it was posted on a Sunday.
The latest box digitized is number 8555 (8363) for last name Russell (Robertson).
If my calculations are correct at last month's rate the project will be finished by October 2018.

Maybe LAC can then move on to another major digitization project. Newspapers anyone?

Rootsweb's Future?

"We will be discontinuing the Rootsweb Surname List and Genealogy Forum features on Tuesday Oct 24, 2017."

That's the announcement appearing at the top of the Rootsweb home page at

How much will disappear? As the word Forum does not appear anywhere else on that page the extent of what's being dropped is not clear to me. Mailing Lists? Message Boards?

Use of Rootsweb, as reflected in this chart of the number of messages posted on ROOTS-L, has been in terminal decline for years.

You have a week to search and perhaps rediscover any information you originally found through Rootsweb, the pioneer genealogy social network.

Rockstar Genealogists Voting Delayed

As it's taking longer to sort and set up than anticipated voting will not start until Monday (ET), all being well.

Congratulations to Jane Down

Former BIFHSGO program director Jane Down was announced as the winner of the Alan Neame Award for 2017 at the Kent FHS AGM on Saturday. It was for her article "Finding 21 Children: Simple—Not so Simple!"

Jane tells me it is the story of trying to find the siblings of her maternal grandmother's adoptive mother. She was supposedly one of 21 children. Jane investigated the family to see if any of the siblings or spouses might be related in some way to the biological family. Both families were from Kent in England.

Jane said "It was a fun piece of research .... frustrating at times .... but really interesting. It was also fun to write the article. It really made me examine all the pieces of evidence again and again."

I hope Jane can find the time between her other commitments, including as Administrative co-Chair for BIFHSGO conference 2018, to tell BIFHSGO members about this research.

Last year another Canadian, Lesley Wood, was awarded 2nd prize in the competition for her article "Tangled Web".

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Findmypast adds to London and Canterbury Archdeaconry collections

London, Docklands and East End Marriages, 1558-1859  
10,512 transcript of the original registers for  St John Wapping, St Leonard Bromley, St Mary Bow & St Mary Whitechapel have been added for a total of 102,762 records.

London Docklands and East End Baptisms
40,394 new transcript records for St John Bethnal Green, St John Wapping, St Leonard Bromley, St Luke Limehouse & St Mary Whitechapel are added to a collection which now totals 783,077 records.

Greater London Burial Index 
St James Clerkenwell with 35,438 new transcript records brings the total to 1,670,403 records. It includes Anglican and non-conformist parishes in the City of London Burials, Middlesex Memorial Inscriptions, Middlesex & City of London Burials Index and the South London Burials Index. The bulk of the records are for the last half of the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries.

For Kent, transcripts and images of the original registers for the parishes of Chilham, Stalisfield & Staple are added to:

Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Baptisms 
13,870 new bring the total to 937,319. The collection is strongest for the 19th century.

Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Banns
2,416 new records , now totaling 219,155.

Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Marriages  
6,201 new records for a total of 496,386 records. The collection is strongest for the 18th century.

Kent, Canterbury Archdeaconry Burials 
9,799 new records for a total of 700,205 records. The earliest is dated 1431, the most recent 1992.

Circle of Life: Exploring Ontario Vital Records AND Using Ancestry DNA

OPL invites you to enjoy a two part full morning of Ontario genealogy with experts Glenn Wright and Lesley Anderson!

First, provincial birth, marriage, and death registrations are a fundamental resource for genealogy in Ontario. This presentation will discuss the history of civil registration in Ontario and show how the forms have evolved over time to reflect changes in society.  Find out where to access the records and how to make the most of them for genealogy and family history research.

Second, with Ancestry DNA you can add a whole new dimension to your family history experience.  Uncover your ethnic mix, connect with living cousins and distant relatives - perhaps even solve a mystery or break down a brick wall!

This 2 hour free event is on Saturday 21 October, 2017 at 9:30am in the Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, Nepean Centrepointe.

Registration required.

Friday, 13 October 2017

New OGS Website

That's right. According to a notice from OGS:

The new site has a fresh modern look and feel, and it will display properly on all access devices – desktop and laptop computers, tablets and cell phones. We’ve made it easier to find information quickly, and drill down for additional details where needed. Our indexes are available for everyone to see, and we are working on building better information delivery options for members and nonmembers.
OGS members are asked to log in to the Members’ Only section of the site before the end of October.

If you have forgotten your password, just click on “Lost your password?” to reset it. Please report any problems that are encountered to so that we can get them fixed before membership renewal begins on November 1st.

The majority of our transition is complete; however, you may encounter pages which ask you to return later for more information, as we work on rolling out additional elements of the site. We thank you for your patience and tolerance as we finalize all of the features.

As you explore the new site, we anticipate that there will be glitches – things which don’t work for you, or areas where you can suggest an improvement – and we want you to let us know when that happens. Email us at, copy and paste the URL (web address) of the
page and explain the problems you have experienced or suggestions you have.

This new site is the result of design/build expertise from our business provider, Cavera, Inc., and hundreds of hours of volunteer time on the part of Steve Fulton and Charles Godwin and other members of the Technical Support and Innovation Committee, and we thank them for the sleepless nights and endless days devoted to this task.


What's new at the site? One thing, or maybe I'd not noticed before, is that you can now contact some branches which have an Ext: shown beside their name from the Branch/Sigs dropdown. Contact that branch by phone by calling 1 855 MYROOTS and then entering the extension number. These extensions lead to a voice mail system that will capture your message and email it to the responsible volunteer.

Steve Fulton tells me that as a temporary measure the old OGS web address is auto-forwarded to While that's the case you'll find a saved username and password will not auto-populate. First world problems. You can always reset the password according to the instructions above.

Asked about that new ontarioancestors address Steve replied cryptically "it may be we have some plans, that you will soon be aware of."

Gloucester Historical Society: Blood on the Rapids

Escape the rain this Sunday, 15 October for a presentation by Ottawa author Terry Currie with the story of Ottawa's early reputation as one of the continent's most violent communities.
The presentation at the Gloucester Seniors Centre, 4550 Bank Street, intersection with Leitrim Road, starts at 2 pm. Free admission and free parking.

Military Records from TheGenealogist

The following is a press release of particular interest to those with British military ancestry.

TheGenealogist is pleased to announce it has added two new record sets that will be useful for researching the First World War and Victorian soldiers.

Part one of this release is The Worldwide Army Index for 1851, 1861 and 1871 which adds another name rich resource to the already vast Military record collections at TheGenealogist with over 600,000 records
Also released at the same time is another 3,368 pages from The Illustrated War News covering 6 September 1916 to 10 April 1918 and adding to those previously made available for this First World War paper from 1914 to 1916

The Worldwide Army Index for 1851, 1861 and 1871

If you have not found your ancestor in the various British census returns, and you know that they may have been serving at the time in the British Army, then this new release from TheGenealogist may help you to find these elusive subjects.

Many thousands of men of the British Army were serving overseas in far flung parts of the British Empire over the 1800s. This index of names is compiled from the musters contained in the WO 10-11-12 Series of War Office Paylists, held at the National Archives, Kew. The 1851, 1861 and 1871 Worldwide Army Index lists all officers* and other ranks subjects serving in the first quarter of 1851 and second quarter of 1861 and 1871, together with their regimental HQ location. The index is, therefore, effectively a military surrogate for the relevant census.

Over 70,000 records have extra notes that can indicate whether a soldier was a recruit awaiting transfer to a regiment, detached from his regiment or attached to another, possibly discharged, on leave, had deserted or retired. Men identified as using aliases are also included. Many notes include a place of birth and former occupation.

Also included within the records are recruits, boy soldiers, bandsmen and civilians working in the armed forces as clerks, pension recruiters, teachers and suchlike. Colonial regiments which invariably had numbers of British subjects are also featured.

The Illustrated War News was a weekly magazine during the First World War, published by The Illustrated London News and Sketch Ltd. of London. The IWN publication contained illustrated reports related entirely to the war and comprised articles, photographs, diagrams and maps. From 1916 it was issued as a 40-page publication in portrait format, having been landscape prior to this. It claimed to have the largest number of artist-correspondents reporting on the progress of the war until it ceased publication in 1918.

To search these and many other records go to: 
or read our article at:  

*While the 1851 and 1871 include officers, the 1861 index excludes officers as they were not mustered in all the Paylists.

Rockstar Genealogist Nominations Closing

Several people have sent in nominations for people to add to the list. Those accepted so far are in the updated original post here.

Others are under review or proponents have not yet made a convincing case from two nominators that they meet the criteria - repeated below.

Rockstar genealogists are those who give "must attend" presentations at family history conferences or as webinars, who when you see a new family history article or publication by that person, makes it a must buy. If you hang on their every word on a blog, podcast or newsgroup, or follow avidly on Facebook or Twitter they are likely Rockstar candidates. For clarity, it's about communication and influence not who's the best researcher.

Nominations can still be submitted following the procedure here. They will close at 2 pm ET on Saturday.

CanGen Summit

Greetings to all attending the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit this weekend. Special greetings to Ottawa genealogists and conference speakers Brain Laurie-Beaumont, Mags Gaulden and Patricia Roberts-Pichette.
Peggy Homans Chapman, Eastern Canada representative for the Guild of One Name Studies, invites you to stop by her table and perhaps win the prize now available as she wasn't able to get to the OGS Conference on Ottawa.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

GRO birth and death record pilot

Welcome news. Obtain everything an official England and Wales birth or death certificate contains for genealogy at about one third off.

"The GRO is piloting a service from 12 October 2017 to provide portable document format (PDF) copies of digitised historical birth and death records. The pilot will run for a minimum of 3 months to enable GRO to assess the demand for this service over a prolonged period.

Applications for each PDF cost £6, must be made online, and include a GRO index reference.

England and Wales records which are available as PDFs in this extended pilot include:
Births: 1837 –1916
Deaths: 1837 –1957".

Ancestry adds Devon, England, Extracted Church of England Parish Records

This "new" database in the Ancestry catalogue claims 43,018 records. "New" appears to refer to a repackaging of records from the UK Parish Baptism, Marriage and Burial Records database.
Mousing over the title for Devon opens a window claiming 560,200 records! I've reported the discrepancy to Ancestry.

Some of the resources listed as included are:

Devon: - Parish Registers Devon: Barnstaple - Parish Register, 1538-1812
Devon: Clyst St. George - PRS, Register of Clyst St. George, Devon, 1565-1812, vol 25
Devon: Lapford - Register of Baptisms, Marriages & Burials, 1567-1850
Devon: Exeter - Militia List for 1803
Devon: Exeter - Freemen 1266-1967
Devon: - Registers of Marriages, 1538-1837
Devon: - Registers of Marriages, 1581-1654
Devon, Somerset: (A-H Parishes), Wells - Parish Registers and some Bishop's Transcripts at Wells

Recognition for Brenda Dougall Merriman

Congratulations to Brenda Dougall Merriman on well deserved recognition by the Board for Certification of Genealogists as an Emeritus Member.

A Toronto resident and long-time OGS member, Brenda was for many years one of very few Canadians with BCG certification. She served as a Board Trustee and founded the Ontario Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Author of the widely referenced books Genealogical Standards of Evidence, Genealogy in Ontario and, United Empire Loyalists: A Guide to Tracing Loyalist Ancestors in Upper Canada, Brenda continues to contribute to family history, and celebrate her passion for camels, through her blog at

Brenda established courses for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Institute Managing Director Louise St Denis commented on Brenda’s "meticulous methodology skills (that) made her the perfect author/instructor to be on the team to prepare the three part group of courses called the Analysis & Skills Mentoring Program" and that she "was terrific at making sure that everything that was in print was the most accurate it could be."

Find the complete list of BCG Emeritus members on the new BCG website at

BIFHSGO 14 October Meeting

Having given up her role as BIFHSGO Director, despite employment and family commitments, Susan Davis has found time to prepare two presentations for the Saturday, 14 October BIFHSGO meeting.

The Drouin Collection – Research Strategies 
9:00 am to 9:30 am
While the Drouin Collection offers an invaluable source of vital records for those searching for ancestors in Quebec and some surrounding areas, it can be quite challenging to decipher what was recorded. From understanding the French terms to collecting signatures, researchers can improve the results of their efforts by using these and other simple research strategies. 

Untangling a Parish to Find Family 
10:00 am to 11:30 am
The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive Nepean, Ontario
In the spring of 1852, the parish of Saint-Sylvestre was home to 3,733 people, including 1,059 Irish-born and 44 British-born immigrants. For the most part, these immigrants and their Canadian-born descendants got along well with each other and their 1,048 French-speaking neighbours. After 30 years of settlement, the parish located 70 kilometres south of Quebec City included two villages, a secret society, a peace-making priest and members of the Dougherty, Gormley, Doran and Shorten families. 

Susan Davis learned lots about her Protestant roots while visiting family in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. During one trip, she visited the two cemeteries in her father’s home town of East Angus. It turned out that while her great grandfather Edward John Henry Dearden was buried in the Protestant cemetery, her great grandmother Mary Ann Dougherty was buried in the Catholic cemetery. For the past year, Susan has been researching her Irish Catholic roots and recently found out through a DNA test that she is 31% Irish.

The presentations are in The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive Nepean, Ontario. All welcome. Free entry. Free parking.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Paul Milner reviews Tracing Your Pre-Victorian Ancestors: A Guide to Research Methods for Family Historians by John Wintrip

"This book is highly recommended, especially for researchers wanting a thorough framework by which to do their English research ..."

That's the bottom line in the most recent book review by recent BIFHSGO conference speaker Paul Milner on his resurrected blog - the first post since January.

As Paul writes, "Usually these (Pen and Sword) guides focus on the records and the contextual history. Here the author focusses on the methodology for doing research, thus the book is a well written complement to all the other books in the series."

Read Paul's full review at

OPL Presentation: A Store Older than Ottawa

Bruce Elliott has something old that's new.

Before there was Bytown, there was the Town of Sherwood, dating from 1822 and located at Chaudière Falls.  One of the stores that flourished there was Bellows & Stacey, from 1824 - 1828, when the townsite vanished.  Earlier this year the account book of Bellows & Stacey's store was discovered in a museum in Vermont.  It has much to tell us about the local economy of the region and about the earliest settlers on both sides of the Ottawa River, from Quyon to Cumberland and south to North Gower.  And it's coming home.

Bruce S. Elliott, Professor of History at Carleton University and author of The City Beyond: A History of Nepean, Birthplace of Canada's Capital, tells the story of this newly-discovered piece of Ottawa's history to a session on Monday 16 October at 6:30pm at Nepean Centrepointe Branch of the Ottawa Public Library. Register at

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Rockstar Genealogists Nominations

Thanks to Australian genealogist Chris Goopy, also a nominee, who sent this graphic.
Chris posts at her sites below, when not plagued by ISP issues!

Music of Times Past

Get inspiration from listening to the music that might have entertained your ancestors. 
Radiooooo, presently in beta, delivers music from around the world by decade starting in 1900. Just click on a country on the world map and select a decade. Music will start playing if available. You don't need an account unless you want to go further and contribute by uploading music.

Radiooooo is available as an app in both Google Play and on iTunes.

via Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teachers.

Perth & District Historical Society Meeting on Thursday

On Thursday, 12 October, 2017 at 7:30pm P&DHS has scheduled the presentation

Our One-Room Rural Schoolhouses

Archives Lanark documents the stories of the area’s early schools. One room schools are an element of the past.  A school where students shared the classroom with all ages and where the teacher taught all grades and classes.  It could be a case where every student was first in his or her class, and at the same time was last in that class.  A school where, in earlier days, there was no electricity or plumbing – and the first to school in the morning was expected to start up the stove.  However, despite these conditions, there were great teachers and successful students.  These one room schools, full of so many memories, are the topic for the October 2017 meeting, documenting the community roots and educational system. 

By the 1960s, most of the area’s small country schools had been closed in favour of large, central institutions.  In time, it became apparent that the many stories of these traditional parts of the area history, and their teachers and students, were becoming lost.  In 2005, a group of six Archives Lanark members recognised the need to preserve these stories, and formed a Volunteer Group to research and record the histories for Lanark County.  Then they undertook the major task of publishing a series of books documenting the stories for individual townships in the County. 

Since the beginning of the project, Archives Lanark’s Volunteer Group has published one-room rural school books for ten Lanark County townships including: Darling and Lavant; Beckwith; Dalhousie; Drummond/North Elmsley; Lanark; Pakenham; and Ramsay Township.  The most recent, published in 2017, is “The One Room Rural Schools of Montague Township.”  Research has commenced for books on four more townships: North and South Sherbrooke; Bathurst; and North Burgess.  These books have proved popular and some are sold out. 

The speaker, Frances Rathwell, is a member of this Volunteer Group, and, also, on the Society’s Committee.  Frances was born in Almonte, and moved to Perth with her parents and older brother when she was one.  She attended Stewart School and Perth & District Collegiate Institute, and, in 1967, moved to Ottawa to start a graphic design career, returning to Perth in 2002.  Since then, Frances has volunteered on our Historical Society’s committee, at a local nursing home teaching Internet, and taught basic computer skills at the public library.  She has served as Public Relations Officer, Vice President, President and Treasurer for the Lanark County Genealogical Society, and four times as Archives Lanark Chair.

You are invited to this presentation at Perth's Royal Canadian Legion,
home of the Hall of Remembrance, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, 7:30pm (Toonie Donation

Monday, 9 October 2017

Rockstar Genealogist Nominations are Open

I've had several queries about the Rockstar Genealogist poll. So, by popular demand, nominations are now open for the 2017 edition, the 6th year, of Rockstar Genealogist.

Below is a list of those pre-nominated, mainly based on previous years.The pruning from last year's list has been severe, significantly greater than previous years. Some of my own favourites are missing.

Don't despair if a person you favour is not there. The list is open for further nominations until 2pm ET Saturday 14 October. As people who proved to get few votes were previously nominated two nominations will now be required. To do so send an email with your name, contact information and reason for the nomination, see the criteria below, to johndreid at gmail dot com. Then arrange for someone else to nominate. I will verify and only include those I judge have a fair chance of rating in the top ten for their country/region.

I anticipate voting will start on 15 October.

Rockstar genealogists are those who give "must attend" presentations at family history conferences or as webinars, who when you see a new family history article or publication by that person, makes it a must buy. If you hang on their every word on a blog, podcast or newsgroup, or follow avidly on Facebook or Twitter they are likely Rockstar candidates. For clarity, it's about communication and influence not who's the best researcher.

Anyone on the list who would prefer not to be ranked please let me know at johndreid at gmail dot com. Your name will appear, so voters will understand it isn't an omission, with an indication that any votes will not be tabulated. That's the case with Elizabeth Shown Mills.

The nominees are:

Jill Ball, Australia/NZ
Nick Barratt, UK
Blaine Bettinger, USA
Angie Bush, USA
Peter Calver, UK
Pauleen Cass, Australia/NZ
Else Churchill, UK
Audrey Collins, UK
Schelly Talalay Dardashti, Israel USA
Gail Dever, Canada
Brian Donovan, Ireland
Lisa Louise Cooke, USA
Bruce Durie, UK
Dick Eastman, USA
Roberta Estes, USA
Janet Few, UK
Fiona Fitzsimons, Ireland
Heather Garnsey, Australia/NZ
Maurice Gleeson, Ireland
Chris Goopy, Australia/NZ
Jan Gow Australia/NZ
Kirsty Gray, UK
John Grenham, Ireland
Celia Heritage, UK
Shauna Hicks, Australia/NZ
Kathryn Lake Hogan, Canada
Yvette Hoitink, Netherlands
Daniel Horowitz, Israel
Cyndi Ingle, USA
Debbie Kennett, UK
Thomas MacEntee, USA
Jane MacNamara, Canada
CeCe Moore, USA
Dave Obee, Canada
Lynn Palermo, Canada
Michelle Patient, Australia/NZ
Chris Paton, UK
David Pike, Canada
Mike Quackenbush, Canada
Judy G Russell, USA
Claire Santry, Ireland
Lorine McGinnis Schulze, Canada
Helen V. Smith, Australia/NZ
Megan Smolenyak, USA
Diahan Southard, USA
D. Joshua Taylor, USA
Alona Tester, Australia/NZ
Judy Webster, Australia/NZ
Sharn White, Australia/NZ
Katherine R. Willson, USA
Christine Woodcock, Canada
Glenn Wright, Canada

Findmypast adds to Thames & Medway BMB Transcripts

The following is based closely on the description from Findmypast.

Thames & Medway Baptisms
Over 22,000 transcript records covering parishes in Greenwich, Strood, Cuxton, Bermondsey and Rotherhithe have been added to the collection of Thames & Medway Baptisms. The collection now contains over 357,000 records and covers the period 1721 to 1984. Most transcripts will include name, birth date, baptism date, location, parent's names and any additional notes.

Thames & Medway Marriages
Over 8,000 additional transcript records covering parishes in Greenwich, Strood, Cuxton, Bermondsey and Rotherhithe have been added to Thames & Medway Marriages. The collection now contains over 145,000 records and covers the period 1750 to 1984. Expect to find the date of marriage, the location and the name of the spouse.

Thames & Medway Burials
Over 8,000 new transcript records from the parishes of St Alphege, Greenwich, St Nicholas, Strood and St Michael & All Angels, Cuxton are now available to search in Thames & Medway Burials. The collection now contains over 195,000 records and covers parts of Middlesex, Essex, Surrey and Kent for the period 1702 to 1997. The records also include prisoners from the Woolwich prison ships and the names of over 1,200 seamen who died on the Seaman's Hospital Society's hospital ships near Greenwich. Most transcripts include a combination of name, burial date, age at death, residence and burial place.

There's a complete list of Thames and Medway parishes covered with dates at

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Tom Jones on Systematically Using Autosomal DNA Test Results to Help Break Through Genealogical Brick Walls

Widely respected US professional genealogist Tom Jones gave a presentation in a BCG webinar last Friday showing again how DNA evidence has moved into the mainstream.

It's free online through Legacy Webinars until 13 October here. I highly recommend it for serious genealogists - that's despite the comments below.

What struck me was the use of percentages and probability when it came to the DNA evidence. Values from the case study were compared to expectation from theory. Yet despite having quantitative evidence confidence in the agreement was not quantified. And there was no attempt to quantify confidence arising from the conventional documentary evidence.

Also it was not clear there was any consideration that endogamy might have made the relationships seem closer than they are.

RootsTech and SLC Research with Jane MacNamara

If you're thinking of researching at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City here's an opportunity to do so in the company and with the guidance of very experienced Toronto genealogist Jane MacNamara. Jane has a lot of genealogy experience at SLC.
It's timed at the end of February and into March so you can research and attend RootsTech if you want the full experience of hearing and interacting with stars, even Rockstars from the genealogical community.
Find out more about the trip on Jane's blog at which has details, prices and an early bird discount if you book by mid-November.
For those in the Greater Toronto area note that Jane is booked for two presentations this month details of which are in the left hand sidebar of her website Where the story takes me ...

Family Structure Oddity

New mom Alice decides she will have children until she has a boy immediately followed by a girl. Barb decides she wants a boy immediately followed by a boy.
Counterintuitively, and assuming the chances of having a boy or girl are the same, Alice will on average need to have four children to achieve her wish. On average Barb will need to have six. That's even though boy and girl births have an equal chance of occurring.

That boggles my mind, it's so counterintuitive.

Beware. If you're a math-phobe you might want to stop now. If brave enough to continue here's the basis.

The article Mathematicians Discover Prime Conspiracy refers in the section Prime Preferences to the equivalent counterintuitive finding by mathematician Tadashi Tokieda regarding coin tossing. It's explored in greater detail here. There's a discussion on Reddit.

I verified the result for myself with a random number generator and spreadsheet program.You can too. What you find is the distribution of the number of children to get to the preferred end point (boy-girl or boy-boy) is skewed. The median (half more, half less) is four in both cases. It's the average (mean) that's different.

I did warn you!

Is it true in real life? An examination of the structure of large families would be the test.

However, the analogy with coin tossing isn't exact as according to the CIA World Factbook as of 2014 the sex ratio at birth is estimated at 106 boys to 100 girls in Canada and 105 to 100 in the UK.

Going back to the spreadsheet program and incorporating the sex bias, with more boys born than girls Barb has a slightly improved chance of birthing two successive boys.

Who knew!

Findmypast adds transcript records for Berkshire Baptisms, Marriages and Burials

Findmypast describes these transcript records as:

Berkshire Baptism Index

Over 79,000 records have been added to the Berkshire Baptism Index. Spanning the years 1538 to 1917, the collection covers over 80 parishes throughout the county and reveals details that will enable you to add another generation to your family tree. The entire collection now contains more than 219,000 records.

Each record consists of a transcript that will reveal your ancestor's baptism date, parent's names, residence and the church where the baptism was performed. Some records may also reveal interesting details such as the mother's marital status and whether the child was an orphan or foundling.

Berkshire Marriage Index

An additional 67,000 records have been added to our collection of Berkshire Marriage records. Covering the years 1538 to 1933, the entire collection now covers over 156 parishes across the county and contains over 315,000 records.

The collection consist of transcripts created by both Findmypast and the Berkshire Family History Society using original marriage registers and bishop's transcripts held by the Berkshire Archives. A third category of records that include images of original Phillimore Marriage Registers is also included. Transcripts will reveal your ancestor's marriage date, marriage location, residence, father's name, father's occupation and corresponding details for their spouse.

Berkshire Burial Index

Search over 82,000 new additions to the Berkshire Burial Index. The index now covers 190 Berkshire burial grounds, spans the years 1536 to 1966 and contains over 830,000 transcripts.

Transcripts will generally list your ancestor's name, death year, burial date, burial location and occasionally the names of relatives. Later records may include further details such as your ancestor's birth year, age, residence, cause of death, a coroner's verdict and details relating the nature of their burial.

My ancestors Robert Digby and his wife Charlotte lived in Berkshire so I had a particular interest in these records.
Baptisms were recorded for a first child named Charlotte (my ancestor) who was baptised on 27 March 1817 at St Michael, Bray. with a date of birth 07Oct1816 (new to me) and mother's maiden name Martin. Father's residence is given as Redstone Farm, occupation farmer.
There is less baptismal information for two subsequent children, Robert and Hannah, when the family had moved to Dedworth Green. Robert and Charlotte had come to Berkshire from Suffolk where they had married at Ilketshall St Margaret on 29 December 1814.
The children all survived to marry after the family moved to Hertfordshire.
All the above is from transcripts so subject to transcription error.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Praise for Great Canadian Expectations: The Middlemore Experience

The latest bulletin of the Canadian Immigration Historical Society (no. 82, Sept. 2017) includes a book review of Patricia Roberts-Pichette's book on the 19/20C juvenile emigration movement from Britain to Canada (Great Canadian Expectations: The Middlemore Experience, Global Heritage Press, Nov. 2016). The review, written by Charlene Elgee, retired library manager, Citizenship & Immigration, starts with:

"Solid academic research on the history of Canadian immigration is always valued by the CIHS, and it is indeed a joy to share such a study with our readers."
Thanks to Christine Jackson for the tip.

Findmypast adds Warwickshire bastardy indexes 1844 - 1914

Although the child's name is not recorded, nor is there online access to the original documentation, with the information provided in many if not most cases the child in these bastardy records can be identified from other records.

Findmypast writes about this transcript collection:

Containing over 5,000 records (5,454) , the Warwickshire bastardy indexes consists of an assortment of bastardy applications, registers, returns and appeals spanning the years 1844 to 1914. Bastardy records were created to establish who is responsible for the financial maintenance of illegitimate children. At the time of these records, bastardy cases were held in the petty session. Mothers could ask the court for an order against the child's father to provide child maintenance. It was the mother's responsibility to provide evidence of the paternity. This could be in the form of witness statements about the individuals' relationship. Fathers were to pay the maintenance under threat of imprisonment.

Every record will give you a transcript created from the information found in the original records held at the Warwickshire County Record Office. The details in each record can vary, but most will including the following:

Mother’s name
Event year
Date – date of application or petty session
Putative father’s name
Child’s sex
Child’s birth year – in some cases this field is blank. This implies that the child had not be born at the time the record was created.
Petty session
Document type –bastardy return, bastardy register, bastardy applications, or appeal
Archive and reference.

LAC Blog: Highlights from the Sir Sandford Fleming Diaries

Renowned Scots-Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming kept extensive diaries from 1843 to 1912. LAC archivist Andrew Elliott's new blog post provides a perspective on  Fleming's life and times based on his diaries, journals of trips and miscellaneous journals and notebooks in the Sir Sandford Fleming fonds.

Elliott comments that the hundreds of mundane details Fleming recorded also reveal something of the world he inhabited. As I prepare for a talk on Ottawa Weather History I was interested to see Fleming's record for 1 July 1867 in Halifax “Up at 5 o’clock, very cloudy and rainy…putting up flags etc. Clouds cleared away. Halifax very gay, a perfect sea of flags. Beautiful day."
In later life Fleming kept a house in Ottawa as well as living in Halifax so perhaps there are also remarks on Ottawa weather.
Fleming is one of the notable people buried at Beechwood Cemetery.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Ancestry Canadian records free for Thanksgiving weekend

This just in. Ancestry’s collection of records, including logs from ships of new immigrants, census records and birth records, are open for free access, with registration, from 6-9 October .

Findmypast extends Ontario birth index

With the addition of over 334,000 records FMP's Ontario Birth Index claims to extend from 1860 to 1920 totaling more than 2 million civil registration records. The index entries are linked to images of the originals.
I was suspicious of the end date as the FamilySearch Ontario Birth Index extends to 1912 and Ancestry's to 1913. Did FMP get a big scoop up to 1920?
No. The FMP database has 60,934 entries for 1912, 57 for 1913, 4 for 1914 and one for each year until 1920. Transcription errors?

Landmarks of London

Mapping London, a website I frequently visit, has a post showing the Thames and the spaces beside it along its riverside frontage. The featured map is at The new building landmarks impress, the Shard, the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater.
Would it be too much to ask for some equally outstanding architecture for new landmark buildings in Ottawa, like the new main library, not the decorated conjoined boxes and piles of concrete that have been favoured.

BIFHSGO Conference 2017 Evaluation

If you attended the conference please take a few moments to complete the survey here.
As someone who has been involved with the conference organization, although less so now, I know those evaluation forms get careful attention.
It should take you about five minutes to complete.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

BIFHSGO DNA Special Interest Group meets on Saturday

At this meeting Marianne Rasmus and Mags Gaulden will each share their journeys with adoption challenges. Marianne will present That Empty Branch on the Genetic Family Tree, solving an almost 100-year-old adoption mystery. Mags’ presentation is entitled, Out of the Blue, the story of intense genetic research work over a couple of months’ time, and then out of the blue the answer just appeared.

There may also be a short surprise presentation from an overseas visitor.

That's 9:30 am to 12:00 pm on  Saturday, 7 October in Room 115, City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Ottawa, Ontario.

Visit DNA Interest Group section for more information and links to online resources.

St.Finbarr's cemetery, Cork City, now free online

Cork City and County Archives has uploaded a full transcription of the 25 February 1868 -- 14 June 1896 for St.Finbarr's municipal cemetery in Cork City. 

For the nearly 5,900 burials find surname, forename(s), date of death, date of interment, section, row, grave, cause of death, sex, age, unit, religion, occupation, place of birth, last place of residence, marital status, register page and record number.

Find further detail including a link to a resource for a group photographing and transcribing headstones go to Claire Santry's blog at

Search EThOS, and descendants of Canada's Home Children

One of the databases mentioned by Paul Milner during the recent BIFHSGO conference, one I've mentioned before but had forgotten, is a collection of 450,000 doctoral theses from the British Library. The collection title is EThOS.

Given recent debate on the blog I was interested to find in the collection Thy children own their birth : diasporic genealogies and the descendants of Canada's Home Children, a June 2006 PhD thesis by Andrew N Morrison.

The thesis is not about the Home Children, more about "the cultural practices and identities of those descendants of child migrants who have a particular interest in researching their Home Child roots."

Extracting from the conclusion, p238-9:

First, the great majority of the descendants of Home Children with whom
I spoke during the course of my research have been profoundly affected by what
happened to their forebears. The influence of their background on their lives has
manifested itself in a number of ways. For instance, some have gained strength and inspiration from the fact that their parents and grandparents managed to make successful lives for themselves in Canada despite the difficult start in life that they had, while others recognise the negative impact that their background has had on them and are saddened when they think of how their families still suffer because of what happened to their Home Child ancestors. Then there are those who celebrate the contribution that the Home Children made to the development of modern day Canada -- these people often use every opportunity possible to "spread the word" about what these child migrants achieved -- while, on the other hand, there are people who do not believe that this is necessary at all; although they may recognise the significance of what happened to their ancestors, they do not believe that they should spend undue time dwelling on past events.

To read the complete thesis you need a free registration.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Beware genealogy credit card phishing scheme

Rick Roberts from Global Genealogy wrote to warn me about a scam being perpetrated on genealogists.

On 'offer' are "free download or printing of books (that are under other people's copyright) from a variety of publishers including Global Heritage Press, Dundurn and others."

You won`t get any book or books for the money, but you risk getting your credit card compromised. Rick`s warning is worth sharing.

When a person begins to 'register' on the website, to get free download of a book, they are asked to set up a password and user name.  The next screen ( asks for a credit card for identification purposes, which they claim will not be charged. At the very bottom of that screen is a light grey lettering on white sentence that states that they will be charged a regular repeating membership fee after 7 days.  Checking online testimonials it appears that the person doesn't get the free books, but they do get a monthly charge on their credit card that is for a variety values and cannot be cancelled thru the 'company'.

This looks like a scam to pull credit numbers from those who hope to get something for nothing.

The site I found our books on is (I suspect that it is not their only site insofar as the download/payment portal is different):  Surprise.... is registered to an unidentified person/company with email address in Indonesia. 

Here is a scam report on Filesfetcher downloads:  (of note is that there is an infamous browser hijacker by the name of 'filesfetcher' too... a coincidence?). 

Legacy and BCG webinars this week

In the Legacy Family Tree webinar series Lisa Alzo will present No Easy Button: Using “Immersion Genealogy” to Understand Your Ancestors at 7pm EDT on Wednesday 4 October. Register at

On Friday 6 October six live webinars from the Board for Certification of Genealogists will be available. I noted Using Timelines for Correlation and Analysis by Jill Morelli, and Systematically Using Autosomal DNA Test Results to Tom Jones as of interest to me. Register (free) and see what else is available at

Dorset County Hospital Staff Database

A small, about 500 person listing (pdf) of all known staff who worked at the Dorset County Hospital from 1841 to 1948.
Each entry gives the person’s name, the post(s) held, their age (if known), career events, and the sources of information.
The report begins with 16 entries where the individual has not been identified because only the job title is given in the original record.
There are also a few more complete profiles for the hospital’s medical staff, matrons, chaplains, clerks and dispensers.

TheGenealogist adds Somerset & Dorset Records

About  2.2 million records of individuals from Somerset & Dorset are the latest additions at TheGenealogist.

Included are baptism transcription records for Somerset covering the years 1538 - 1996, along with Burial and Crematorium transcription records for Somerset & Dorset covering 1563 - 2003. These additions covering hundreds of parishes for the counties are from the Somerset and Dorset Family History Society.

Find a complete list of TheGenealogist's collection of Dorset parishes here and Somerset parishes here.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Barrack Hill Cemetery Reinterment at Beechwood Cemetery

At an inter-denominational service on Sunday afternoon at Beechwood Cemetery the individuals whose remains were disinterred during the excavation for the Ottawa Light Rail Transit System were honoured. They had originally been buried in Barrack Hill Cemetery in the region of the city block surrounded by modern day Sparks, Elgin, Albert and Metcalfe Streets.

One box with remains, representative of the 32 children and 47 adults, perhaps more, was at the service under the UK flag. The others had already been reinterred on 25 September.

It is likely other remains will be found during further excavation for the transit project.

Home Child Ignorance

It was dismaying to read a member's statement in the House of Commons by Ms. Anita Vandenbeld (Ottawa West—Nepean, Lib.), an international expert on democracy and human rights, who shows a sad ignorance of the domestic history of British Home Child.

She stated "children were herded into camps", described the child immigration program as "stricken with corruption, and it was poorly implemented and virtually unsupervised" with children who "often found themselves forced into indentured servitude and hard labour, often facing physical and emotional abuse from their new parents, who viewed them as disposable, unpaid workers to be discarded if they did not perform."

Vandenbeld has swallowed the KoolAid brewed by embittered descendants of home child who experienced ill-treatment. While there are certainly documented cases of child abuse and deficient management of programs in Canada to paint that as the majority situation is unfounded, an insult to many Canadians who compassionately hosted British Home Children and the leaders and staff of philanthropic agencies that undertook well-meaning immigration programs. Where are the peer reviewed studies that justify such harsh criticism of programs that took orphan, neglected or abused children in Britain and gave them a fresh start from which some prospered, some unfortunately did not.

A more realistic view is in an item British Home Children – A Personal Journey by OGS Director Ali Thompson in the latest OGS weekly newsletter. It tells the sad story of Ali's dad, an orphaned child, as far as it is known. There is a period where his situation is unknown -  "I am hitting road blocks and brick walls as I continue to research into the missing years of dad’s life from 1923 to 1940!"

However, Ali Thompson's item starts with the statement "Our British Home Children represented 12% of the Canadian population, with their descendants now numbering over 4,000,000 Canadians.". This type of figure has been repeated often, but without any source showing the demographic basis for the statistics.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Over 150 British WW2 Service Men and Women

This group photo was found rolled in a box of my late mother's belongings. She served with the ATS in England during WW2 on anti-aircraft sites and as an instructor. I believe she, E D Cowan, is second to the right of the tall man in the centre in the second row who looks like he might be the senior officer.

Do you recognize the photo? Where else I might post it with a hope of someone recognizing it?

There are several names signed on the back, but most fairly common like Ferguson, Jones, Pearson,West and Wilson.

Two more distinctive are Beryl P. Elford and Brenda Tugwood. Both would appear to have married after the war and had one child.

Internet Genealogy: Oct/Nov 2017

To start the new month, an outline of the contents of the new issue of Internet Genealogy magazine from Ontario-based Moorshead Magazines.

Heredis 2017: Your Next Genealogy Software Package? 
Tony Bandy looks at the latest release of Heredis, a less well known program in a crowded genealogy software market. The latest release has added dashboards and "smart-search" options summarised on the company site at

COVER STORY: Always an Apprentice 
Sue Lisk offers five tips to help you bring new discoveries to light as you research your family history.

An Unusual Genealogical Resource
Michael van Turnhout looks examples of individuals found in a database at the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership at University College London.

Discover YMCA WWI Service Cards 
David A. Norris looks at an interesting new US source of civilian records, 27,600 personnel cards from the Kautz Family YMCA Library at the University of Minnesota.

Reaching the End of the Roll 
Joe Grandinetti looks at FamilySearch’s discontinuation of its microfilm distribution services. While nostalgic for the microfilm era he is "optimistically excited" about the future online access.

Slave Insurance Records
Diane L. Richard examines these often-overlooked, but valuable resources for slaves in the Southern States.

The Catholic Heritage Archive
Joe Grandinetti looks at Findmypast's release of Catholic parish records.

“Eli Mayo: Hero of the Old West…Or Was He?” 
Wynne Crombie tries to sort out the truth about her great-grandfather's storied life based largely on newspaper records.

Seeking Sarah 
Melody Amsel-Arieli recounts steps taken to find the final resting place of a lost ancestor.

Diane L. Richard looks at websites and related news that are sure to be of interest.

Back Page 
Online Trees: Dave Obee warns against being led astray when relying on the work of others.

Forthcoming Publication
Great news in this issue is that Moorshead is publishing a special DNA Research Guide scheduled to appear in January. It will be compiled by favourite speaker Maurice Gleeson renowned for organizing genetic genealogy sessions at WDYTYA? Live (RIP) and Back to Our Past, Ireland.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

British Newspaper Archive additions for September

The British Newspaper Archive now has 21,937,298 pages (21,284,568 pages last month). The 49 (55) papers with new pages online are tabulated below with the major additions highlighted.

Aberdeen Evening Express1958-1965, 1967-1969
Aberdeen Press and Journal1963-1967, 1969
Aberdeen Weekly Free Press1872
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald1854-1872, 1875-1878, 1888, 1893-1897, 1899
Athletic News1877-1879, 1888-1896, 1900, 1908, 1921, 1931
Birmingham Daily Gazette1901-1913, 1920-1925, 1927-1930, 1932-1937, 1951-1956
Bognor Regis Observer1890-1896, 1898-1899, 1901-1957
Bolton Evening News1879, 1883, 1896
Bucks Advertiser & Aylesbury News1897
Carrickfergus Advertiser1884-1895, 1897-1899
Catholic Standard1950
Chard and Ilminster News1875-1886, 1888-1910
Clitheroe Advertiser and Times1933, 1936-1957
Cornish Times1863, 1872
Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette1877-1878
Daily Herald1911-1912, 1919-1920
Daily Telegraph & Courier (London)1881-1889, 1892-1894, 1896-1897, 1899, 1903-1910
Denbighshire Free Press1884-1895, 1898-1910
Eastbourne Gazette1862-1887, 1889-1896, 1898-1905
Eastbourne Herald1951-1957
Galloway Express1872
Gravesend Reporter North Kent and South Essex Advertiser1886
Hexham Courant1864, 1879, 1889, 1897
Ilkley Gazette and Wharfedale Advertiser1889, 1891
Islington Gazette1902-1904
Londonderry Sentinel1881-1882, 1911, 1926
Market Harborough Advertiser and Midland Mail1923-1950
Morecambe Guardian1929-1935, 1938-1940, 1946, 1948-1949, 1951-1953, 1955-1957
Northern Constitution11908-1910
Nottingham Journal1910, 1953
Paisley & Renfrewshire Gazette1875-1876, 1878-1908
Poor Law Unions' Gazette1888, 1901
Portadown Times1956-1957
Rochester, Chatham & Gillingham Journal1908
Rugby Advertiser1890-1896, 1898-1899, 1901-1905, 1907
Salisbury and Winchester Journal1899-1910
Shields Daily News1897
Shrewsbury Chronicle1878-1891, 1898-1899
The Atlas1826-1852, 1855-1869
The Sportsman1872-1874, 1888-1889, 1910, 1912-1919, 1924
The Stage2001-2007
West Sussex County Times1875, 1890, 1901-1908, 1910-1911, 1913-1957
Western Daily Mercury.1895
Weston-super-Mare Gazette and General Advertiser1855-1868
Whitchurch Herald1875, 1879, 1889, 1897-1898
Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard1837-1874, 1876-1896, 1900-1910
Winsford & Middlewich Guardian1875-1887, 1889-1895, 1897-1904, 1907-1910
Woolwich Gazette1872, 1874, 1889-1890, 1893-1894, 1901, 1904-1910
Worthing Herald1921-1957

Friday, 29 September 2017

BIFHSGO Recognition for Gail Dever

Friday evening's opening session of the annual BIFHSGO conference saw the induction of Gail Dever to the BIFHSGO Hall of Fame.
Gail, as well as being very active in social media for genealogy including on her Genealogy à la carte blog, serves as society webmaster.

Roger Manchester: a man who never was

Myko Clelland‏, @DapperHistorian, who delights in unusual genealogical items, tweeted out this story with the comment "This ad was taken out in 1907 - Perhaps he's still waiting..."

It appeared in the Dundee Courier on Wednesday 14 August 1907.
But, there was no such Canadian. Not in the 1901 census, Not in the 1911 census.
Looking to the US there are articles in several newspapers in May 1907 and later referring to a man by that name from Washington County, South Dakota seeking a dumb wife.
The first mention I could find is on 9 May 1907 including in the The Evening World of New York in a column Oddities in News From all Over the World. Other items are "Bug in Lived in Ear of a Girl for 12 Years", "Man Eats 40 (Raw) Eggs in Quarter Hour". National Enquirer stuff.
What of Roger Manchester? There is no person by that name to be found in the US censuses of 1900 or 1910!

Ancestry adds Derbyshire Parish Records

Sourced from the Derbyshire Record Office, Ancestry now has the following indexed Church of England collections, with linked images of the original document.
Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1916, 1,949,884 records
Derbyshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932, 1,491,634 records
Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, 2,331,253 records
Derbyshire, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1991, 631,828 records
There are 282 parishes in total, many in each collection. There are 19 parishes in Derby and 4 in Chesterfield.

FreeBMD September Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 28 September 2017 to contain 263,803,089 distinct records (263,317,856 previous update).

Years with major updates (more than 5,000 entries) are: for births: 1963-64, 1966, 1977-1981; for marriages: 1965-66, 1977, 1979-83; for deaths 1976, 1979-81.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Finding Your Roots: season four

Finding Your Roots starts a new season on 3 October on PBS.

Here's a rundown on the ten episodes in this series from the blog.

Episode 1 | The Impression
Guests: Larry David and Bernie Sanders. Two guests linked by one hilarious impersonation trace their roots from 1940s Brooklyn back to Jewish communities in Europe. Premieres Tues., Oct. 3, 2017

Episode 2 | Unfamiliar Kin
Guests: Carly Simon, Christopher Walken, and more. In this episode, three guests each learn about a grandparent whose real identity and background had been a mystery to them. Along the way, two of them also discover that their close relatives were on the wrong side of history. Premieres Tues., Oct. 10, 2017

Episode 3 | Puritans and Pioneers
Guests: Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen and William H. Macy. Three mainstays of modern-day Hollywood discover family legacies that predate the United States itself. Premieres Tues., Oct. 17, 2017

Episode 4 | The Vanguard
Guests: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ava DuVernay and Janet Mock. Three guests who have helped to redefine Black America in the last decade find their identities challenged as they learn about their family origins. Premieres Tues., Oct. 24, 2017

Episode 5 | Immigrant Nation
Guests: Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, and more. In this episode, three guests explore the tremendous challenges faced by their immigrant forebears. Premieres Tues., Oct. 31, 2017

Episode 6 | Black Like Me
Guests: Bryant Gumbel, Tonya Lewis-Lee, and Suzanne Malveaux. Three African-American guests delve deep into their family trees, discovering unexpected stories that challenge our assumptions about black history. Premieres Tues., Nov. 7, 2017

Episode 7 | Children of the Revolution
Guests: Lupita Nyong’o, Carmelo Anthony, and Ana Navarro. Three guests explore how their family trees were shaped by political turmoil and violence, discovering sometimes unexpected ancestry along the way. Premieres Tues., Nov. 14, 2017

Episode 8 | Relatives We Never Knew We Had
Guests: Téa Leoni and Gaby Hoffman. Two guests whose lives have been shaped by family mysteries are introduced to biological ancestors they never knew they had thanks to genetic detective work. Premieres Tues., Nov. 21, 2017

Episode 9 | Southern Roots
Guests: Questlove, Dr. Phil, and Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Three guests of disparate backgrounds dig into their Southern roots, where slavery and its aftermath shaped families both black and white. Premieres Tues., Dec. 12, 2017

Episode 10 | Funny Business
Guests: Garrison Keillor, Amy Schumer, and more. Three guests who have found fame mining their family stories for comedy learn about ancestors who overcame immense suffering. Premieres Tues., Dec. 19, 2017

BYU Records of British Morman Immigrants

An article by Rebecca Curtis in the September issue of Genealogists' Magazine mentions four free databases that may be helpful if you're researching someone who disappears from British records in the 19th century. Did they convert to the Mormon religion and move to the USA? Toronto genealogist Linda Reid tells of her surprise in finding someone in her family tree who converted and left the UK for Utah. It's a mistake to assume that didn't happen in your extended family.
These databases are the work of students and staff of Brigham Young University Center for Family History and Genealogy.

Nauvoo Community Project
Nauvoo (Illinois) was established in 1838 by settlers fleeing persecution for their LDS religion. The database has a goal to identify the residents of the Nauvoo area from 1839 to 1846 and follow their later lives. The article states there were 2,479 residents born in England, 386 in Scotland, 221 in Ireland and 163 in Wales. The research is ongoing. Caution. Many entries include the notation that "The record on this page represents traditional data. This person has not yet been researched by the CFHG."

Immigrant Ancestors Project
The project uses emigration registers to locate information about the birthplaces of Mormon immigrants in their native countries, which is not found in the port registers and naturalization documents in the destination countries. There were 417,813 British entries in the database at the time Curtis was writing, including duplicates and multiple records for the same person.

Welsh Mormon Immigrant Project
An estimated twenty percent of the population of Utah is of Welsh descent. CFHG aims to document the Welsh immigrants. Currently there are 5,112 names in this database.

Mormon Migration
Contains information on about 90,000 LDS converts who crossed the oceans during the 19th century.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

TNA blogs on Indigenous Canadian soldiers in the First World War

Lance Corporal Henry Norwest, of the 50th Battalion, was one of over 4,000 indigenous Canadians (excluding non-status Indians, Metis and Inuit) who enlisted for 1914 -18.
His story is told in a recent TNA blog post. He had 115 kills credited as a sniper, for which he received a Military Cross and bar. Norwest was killed by enemy snipers on 18 August 1918, one of about 300 other indigenous Canadians who gave their lives in the conflict.
He is one of 45 CWGC burials at Warvillers Churchyard Extension, Somme, France.

Home Child Records at Rideau Township Archives

I took a trip to Rideau Township Archives, only open on Tuesdays or by appointment, and found the room buzzing with friendly volunteers.
Weather records for Kars, kept daily by Robert Bryan (a home child) from December 1923 to April 1959 are in the collection. They seem to be complete - three temperature readings a day as well as wind direction, sky condition, precipitation and comments.
While there I was shown a list of 140 home children who had come to North Gower or Marlborough townships. It showed the name, birth date, immigration date (year), the host family, sometimes brief comments, and whether found in the 1901 or 1911 censuses. There was also a cross reference list of host families.
Although the list didn`t show the agency that brought the child the opinion was that many came through the Fairknowe Home in Brockville.
The list is only available at the Rideau Archives. I`m exploring whether it can be placed online.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

StatsCan: Using historical censuses to research Canadian families

An article in the most recent, 25 September, issue of the Statistics Canada monthly blog, Connecting Stats, Stories and People includes an interview article Using historical censuses to research Canadian families with Lisa Dillon from the Université de Montréal.

Having missed her conference presentation in Ottawa last week I was particularly interested to read about her own research:

"Ms. Dillon has used the census as a primary tool in her own research, including on the living arrangements of the elderly in her 2008 book The Shady Side of Fifty: Age and Old Age in Late Victorian Canada and the United States. Using the census and drawing from diaries and letters, she researched, documented and highlighted how shifts in living arrangements, the advent of retirement, and an empty nest free of adult children changed the trajectory of old age during the late 1800s.
In collaboration with L’Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Ms. Dillon used the census to look at the residential autonomy of single persons in early twentieth century Canada, a topic of interest this year as the percentage of one-person households is at an all-time high in Canada’s 150-year history. And, in a project to link censuses from 1871 to 1881, she found some interesting conclusions on youth leaving home for the first time.
“I found this interesting pattern where young women were more likely to leave home early if they grew up in a household dominated by brothers rather than by sisters. This may have occurred because sisters had to act as the servant of the household, whereas with sisters, they could share the workload. This evidence suggests that young women were motivated to leave because of these gendered challenges.”
Comment:  It's encouraging to see Statistics Canada give some profile to the use of the census for historical studies. Too often we've heard that historical studies are not the purpose of the census and the questions asked are limited as a result.

What would the census look like if questions on the historical and genealogical wish list were incorporated? How about the collection of DNA? In Iceland at least one third of the population have given a DNA sample.

Top five free websites for Church of England ancestors:

From FamilyTree, the UK genealogy magazine, and genealogist Stuart Raymond comes a top five list of free of charge websites for finding Church of England ancestors, particularly those who lived before Civil Registration.
1. Family Search
2. Internet Archive
3. National Library of Wales: Wills
4. Cause Papers in the Diocesan Courts of the Archbishopric of York 1300-1858
5. CCEd: The Clergy of the Church of England database.
Find details and links at

Monday, 25 September 2017

Last Minute: Keeping the Past: Storing and Preserving Family Archives and Memorabilia

This evening Kyla Ubbink travels for a presentation to the Arnprior Family History Group in her continuing outreach to help us preserve family treasures.

IGRS Updates Early Irish Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes

The Irish Genealogical Research Society announce the addition of 5,000 records to the Society’s Early Irish Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes, bringing the total number of names to almost 260,000.
There are now 24,500 births (noting 47,800 names), 83,600 marriages (186,800 names) and 16,800 deaths (24,500 names) in the collection.

The IGRS Press Release adds
This particular update draws from a range of material: surviving 19th century census records; marriage licence indexes; pre-1922 abstracts from exchequer and chancery court records; memorial inscriptions; biographical notices from newspapers; a large number of long forgotten published works on particular families and places; and memorials from Ireland's Registry of Deeds.
One of the rare books from which data is drawn is the Memoirs of the Fultons of Lisburn, published in 1903, which includes references not only to folk called Fulton, but many other associated families from the area. With reference to the quality and usefulness of this material, project coordinator Roz McCutcheon said "As an example, the Fulton Memoirs provide great detail, allowing long dead people to be easily identified. Take Richard Fulton of Lisburn, as an example. We can conclude he was dead by April 1823, having outlived his wife, Elizabeth, whose maiden surname was Shanks, and who had died before him in July 1812 aged 60, and thus born about 1752."
"In addition to the publications,"
Roz continued "this particular update draws heavily from Registry of Deeds memorials, access to which is now much easier since FamilySearch uploaded images of the old 1950s microfilms at the beginning of this year. Contrary to popular belief, the memorials make reference to all sorts of types and classes of people. A deed of 1808 allowed us to flesh out an entry in the death index to a widowed shopkeeper called Jane Rooney, noting her address as South Great George's, Dublin and her maiden surname as Kirk. It also linked her to her married sister, Matilda McDonnell. Another deed, from 1795, named the late Robert Dempsey of Co. Wexford, noting his widow as Catherine, with a maiden surname of Cardiff."
The census data includes both original material - that which survived the conflagration of 1922 - and transcripts of that which did not. Counties Fermanagh. Kilkenny, Tipperary and Waterford are particularly represented. The return for the Greene family from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary in the 1841 census – data entered into the Death Index - was particularly poignant. It noted George Greene, a publican, and then lists the members of his household who had predeceased him. These were his first wife, Margaret, who died in 1828, and four of his children: Michael, Patrick, James and Margaret, who died in 1833, 1837, 1831 and 1833 respectively, aged from 3 months to 10 years.
Stop press - We hope to have an exciting, additional update of BMD data later in the year, so keep checking the IGRS website for more news! 
Search the databases here:
Marriage Index        - Free to all
Birth Index              - Name search only for non-members
Death Index             - Name search only for non-members
Thanks to Steven Smyrl for the tip.