Monday, 24 April 2017

Alberta Genealogical Society Conference: Day 2

It was a shock to open the bedroom curtains in the hotel in Edmonton to this sight on Sunday. This doesn't happen in Ottawa on St George's Day which is also Shakespeare's birthday. I obviously could not start my first presentation with the quote "Now is our winter of discontent made glorious summer ..."

With three presentations to give my perspective on the conference was limited. I enjoyed giving all the presentations on London Burials, British WW2 Child Evacuees to Canada and British Newspapers.

I did manage to attend the opening plenary by Kyle Betit on his experience with WDYTYA, the US TV program. ProGenealogists, the part of Ancestry in which he is involved, spends an average of 600 hours researching each episode, starting with building a family tree back 4 generations. These days the celebrities (or their agents) come of WDYTYA to be involved whereas for the first few series they had to be solicited.

Along the way Kyle mentioned that AncestryDNA now has 4 million tests completed, up from 3 million in January.

Thank's to the Alberta Genealogical Society for allowing me to be part of their event.

BIFHSGO Conference 2017 Speakers

With an enjoyable Alberta Genealogical Society conference just ended, and the Ontario Genealogical Society conference in Ottawa in June somehow the BIFHSGO conference seems a long way away. Registration doesn't even open until 1 May.
There was a deliberate decision made this year not to program any of the OGS conference speakers which meant declining some proposals that would certainly be accepted otherwise.
Keynote speaker Celia Heritage has never spoken here before. Celia is a regular at WDYTYA? Live. Paul Milner got rave reviews last time he spoke to BIFHSGO so was invited back. Rounding out the out-of-town contingent is James F. S. Thomson, one of my personal favourites.
BIFHSGO is fortunate to have local people to profile, all of whom have spoken before, adding to the diversity and strength of the program.
Find out more about BIFHSGO Conference 2017 at

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Ancestry Updates Obituary Collections

Canada, Obituary Collection, 1898-2015, 1,266,544 records
UK and Ireland, Obituary Index, 2004-2017, 1,077,844 records

are the most recent updates to the Ancestry obituary collections.

The US and Australia & New Zealand collections are also updated.

Alberta Genealogical Society Conference: Day 1

Congratulations to the organizers of the Alberta Genealogical Society conference being held in Edmonton this weekend, billled as "Ye Olde Genealogy Faire". The venue was expertly decorated on the theme by members of the Red Deer Branch.

Some of the presenters, including David and Celia Tyler from Raymond, Alberta, were dressed for the occasion.

The attendence was a record for the society, 300 counting presenters and exhibitors.

Winner of the Ancestry door prize for a 0ne year full Ancestry subscription was Solveig Anderson.

Aside for the organizers the hardest working person at the event was Diahan Southard who gave three presentations and the evening banquet talk.

St George`s Day Feast

It`s 23 April. Celebrate St George`s Day in style

What more appropriate than a serving of fish and chips

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Findmypast updates Easter Rising & Ireland Under Martial Law 1916-1921

With this addition of over 76,000 records this database now totals 204,630 records. Findmypast describe them as "prisoner lists, case files, search reports, court-martials and much more."

Dig slightly further and read that

 "created in partnership with The National Archives in London and contains 91 pieces from their WO35 series, War Office: Army of Ireland: Administration and Easter Rising Records. The pieces from the collection (from WO 35 and HO 144) include court-martial registers, reports of the events of Easter Rising week, search and raid reports, files of civilians tried by court-martial, and internment camp and prison registers."

"What We Leave Behind." War Memory, Vimy Ridge and the British Commonwealth

The Ottawa Historical Association,
in collaboration with
Library and Archives Canada, presents a lecture:

"What We Leave Behind."
War Memory, Vimy Ridge and the British Commonwealth 

by Robert Engen, Assistant Professor, Royal Military College of Canada,
and Andrew Horrall, Senior Archivist, Library and Archives Canada.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.
395 Wellington Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
Library and Archives Canada

Register at

Presentation in English
This free lecture is open to the public.

Friday, 21 April 2017 adds Guardian and Observer

British newspapers available on make a quantum leap with the addition of the Guardian and Observer -- 1,094,632 pages from editions between 1821-2003.

Gordon Flowerdew, home child?

Following on yesterday's post about the Yarmouth Independent becoming available on the British Newspaper Archive, I took the opportunity to check it out at the Ottawa City Archives. BIFHSGO has purchased a subscription for use by visitors to the Archives .
This article about Eric Flowerdew and his wife, successful poultry farmers in BC, caught my attention.  He came from a large Norfolk farming family, and served with British Forces during the First World War arriving in Canada shortly thereafter.
The article, from April 1927, ends with the advice that "Canadian farmers want real workers. For that class there is every chance. Others had better stay away."
A name like Flowerdew is one we all wish we had to research. Google popped up one Gordon Flowerdew, Eric's older brother, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
His biography in the DCB ends "Flowerdew is of some interest both for the way he lived and for the manner of his death. Like many other young Britons, he had come to Canada at the turn of the century to seek his fortune without giving up his British roots and had volunteered to fight for the empire in 1914. Tragically, but also typically, he died carrying on a military tradition centuries-old but set in a different, industrialized style of warfare."
Gordon Flowerdale arrived in Canada in 1903, one of the pre-war immigrants from Britain I'll be speaking about at the Alberta Genealogical Society conference this week end. He appears in the Home Child database on the LAC website but given his age on immigration, 18, and background he doesn't fit the profile of the typical home child.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Delightful DNA Day Deep Discounts

Don't dilly-dally. Devour DNA Day discounts.


The Living DNA test is $40 Cdn off, $159 discounted from $199.

Family Tree DNA have discounts on many of their tests, Family Finder is $59 US, down from $79 US.

AncestryDNA are advertising $30 Cdn off their test through 25 April.

MyHeritage has $20 US off, now $79 UK.

Nothing yet from 23andMe.


Don't dare dawdle!

Discounts disappear!

British Newspaper Archive adds Yarmouth Independent

One of my presentations to this weekend's Alberta Genealogical Society conference is on British Newspapers, a resource I enjoy using and speaking about.

Visiting the British Newspaper Archive site to update one of the slides I found the latest addition is an extended selection of issues, over 2,000, of the Yarmouth Independent, published in my home-town of Great Yarmouth. That's over 22,000 pages for the years 1862-1863, 1868, 1871, 1876-1877, 1879, 1882, 1885, 1889-1893, 1901, 1903, 1906-1910, 1913-1914, 1916-1917, 1919-1927, 1932-1937. No longer can I complain that my part of England is ignored by the BNA.

I'd planned on suggesting to AGS conference attendees that everyone with British ancestry try a one month BNA subscription. It's a bargain, half the cheap day return fare on Southwest Trains into London and the British Library when I stay with family.

Check out the places in your British and Irish family history. Chances are there's information on an ancestor in the BNA that will be new to you.

Ancestry adds UK, Military Indexes, 1920-1971

Ancestry describes these lists as comprising "the names and service numbers of those who were discharged from the armed forces after 1920 and born before 1901. Details given for over 300,000 (371,716) individuals found within this collection may include (where available):

Initial and Surname
Date of Birth
Their Service
Service Number
Ministry of Defence Reference Number."
It's most likely to be useful for the date of birth information.

The source, "public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0," leads to a collections of datasets hosted by the UK National Archives. I found little of genealogical interest, many are merely catalogue entries for unpublished datasets.

Ottawa Branch OGS April Meeting

This Saturday, 22 April 2017, the program from the Ottawa Branch starts at 10:30 am with a Back To Basics! educational session on the Ontario Genealogical Society given by President Patti Mordasewicz.

That's unless instead you plan on attending the Scottish Genealogy Group which meets at 10:00 am.

The main event in the afternoon, starting at 1 pm with a 30 minute social period, is a presentation on Library and Archives Canada's DigiLab by Melanie Brown.
"The digitization of collections held by Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is inviting academics, individuals, genealogists and community-based groups to engage in digitizing LAC collections. The newly-established DigiLab at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa is a hands-on facility for users to digitize and contextualize LAC collections of value to their study, work and communities. All of the material digitized through the DigiLab will be made available online for general public access.
The goal of the DigiLab is to facilitate digitization projects that make available a range of materials from LAC’s vast collections that may not otherwise be digitized.  By working with and meeting the needs of a variety of users and communities, LAC will expand its digital content and make this documentary heritage available to everyone."
As one of the few people who have used DigiLab, which only opened this month, I can attest to the potential. The image captures the three types of scanners available.

The computer interest group will meet following the main event.

It's all happening at the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

YouTube: Sources for Genealogical Research in the National Archives, Ireland

The Genealogical Society of Ireland was given a lecture on 11 April 2017 by Tom Quinlan, Keeper at the (Irish) National Archives on the organization holdings of genealogical interest.
It covers the main resources, available both online and those for which you need to visit the physical archive. You'll get a good understanding of why things are as they are, and right at the end a couple of minutes on plans for further records to be made available online.

OGS Kingston Branches April Meeting

The Kingston Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will meet at the Kingston Seniors Centre, 56 Francis Street in Kingston on Saturday, April 22 at 10 a.m.  Gary Foster, president of Campbell Monuments in Belleville, will speak on "The Story Behind the Stones: Reading the Monuments". Visitors always welcome.  Further details at

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Autosomal DNA Database Sizes

A week ago I pointed to a survey being conducted by The DNA Geek. Results from 243 responses are now posted.
The headline result is the effective size of the Family Tree DNA Family Finder database is 14.7% that of AncestryDNA's, 23andMe 13.2% and MyHeritage 0.4%.
Find all the deatils and caveats at


As long place-names go Ireland's Muckanaghederdauhaulia doesn't rival Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the pride of Wales. Irish place-name's don't have to be long to be maddeningly frustrating.
In his latest blog post John Grenham gives tips on online resources to identify those elusive Irish place-names. Find it at

Perth & District Historical Society April Meeting

The PDHS meeting this Thursday, 20 April 2017 is "The Unique Story of Ontario's Women's Institutes"

Deborah Ireton, of Drummond/North Elmsley Township, will speak on the work of the Ontario Women’s Institutes – an organisation critical to the history of our province, and now world-wide.

"Deborah Ireton is President of the Lanark South District of the WI and of the Drummond Centre Branch.  Her presentation will follow the WI’s significant contribution to Ontario communities from the formation of the first Branch, in Stoney Creek in 1897, through the organisation in 1919 of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario (FWIO).  Today the FWIO has 3500 members in 280 branches across the Province – and branches in many countries.

For 120 years, with the motto “For Home and County”, members of the Women’s Institute have actively worked together for family, home, community and country.  The objective of the first Women’s Institute Branch, in Stoney Creek, was to improve women’s skills in the art of homemaking and child care.  The FWIO was organized in 1919 to provide members with a stronger voice through cooperation.  Over time, its original focus expanded to include educational programming and community support, advocacy for social, environmental and economic change, and the personal growth of women.

An important example, the Institute’s ROSE Program (Reaching Ontario Sharing Education), helps increase awareness, and expand the skill sets, of members and others in Ontario communities.  Each year thousands of individuals become more knowledgeable on social, health, domestic and environmental matters through participation.

Deborah will bring copies for viewing of the Lanark South District Tweedsmuir Books – which are legendary to historians throughout the Province as a source of local community history.

Deborah grew up in Wemyss, attended school in Christie Lake and Perth, and took Home Economics at Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology.  She and husband Jim have lived in Drummond Centre, Ottawa and Kemptville, and are now retired in Drummond Centre.  They have two children and two grandchildren.  Deborah is a dedicated seamstress, and crafts person in knitting, crocheting and tole paint, and has volunteered at Drummond Central School, and the Canadian Cancer Society.  Deborah is also a member of the planning committee for the Provincial Conference of the FWIO, to be held in Pembroke in June this year."

The meeting is at Perth's Royal Canadian Legion, home of the Hall of Remembrance, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, at 7:30pm (Toonie donation).

Monday, 17 April 2017

Genealogy Society Dependence on Membership Fees

The bar graph, based Schedule 6 annual reports to Revenue Canada, are the per cent dependence of various Canadian genealogical and family history societies on membership fees.
At 40 per cent the Ontario Genealogical Society is in the middle of the pack. But it's not steady, over the previous four years varying between 38 and 49 per cent.
The two Prairie province societies show much less dependence on membership fees. That hasn't always been the case. In 2011 the AGS was 39 per cent membership fee dependent.
The Quebec Family History Society is at the other end of the range, 75 per cent membership fee dependent.
If "he who pays the piper calls the tune" what is the message from your society?

FreeBMD April Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Sunday| 16 April 2017 to contain 260,984,786 distinct records (260,466,571 at the previous update).

Years with major updates (more than 5,000 entries) are for births: 1963-64, 1976-79; for marriages: 1966, 1977,1979-81; for deaths 1976-80.

Here are the marriage statistics. 1837 has only a half year of data. The FreeBMD dataset is reasonably complete except for 1964-66, 1969 and 1977 and later

The record for marriages was 1941 with 966,941 followed by 1973 and 1948. The years 1916 and 1920 showed an especially large number of marriages.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Mostly at Sea: Captain Harry Grattidge and his landlocked ancestors

BIFHSGO members who enjoyed Gail Roger's presentation at the last monthly meeting, 8 April 2017, Mostly at Sea: Captain Harry Grattidge and his landlocked ancestors and would like to hear it again can now access a video in the Members Only section of the society website. Of course members who missed the meeting can also access it there. Highly recommended.

Gail has made available the text and images from that presentation at Although the talk was not about the Titanic the word is found 35 times in Gail's text! That's according to Voyant Tools.
At the same site find Gail's previous presentation A Scandal in Battersea, and some other interesting older items

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Findmypast serves up new BC, Norfolk and Sussex records this Easter

British Columbia Estate Files 1859-1949 are now available in browse format at Findmypast. You can narrow results by year, document, court, and one of 15 districts. There is no name index except a probate index for the district of Vancouver, sorted alphabetically by last name. This is most useful if you have death information for another source.

Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts 1687-1901 with over 210,000 records and Norfolk Archdeacon's Transcripts 1600-1812 with more than 76,500 records are browse files for baptisms, marriages and burials. Before searching these check out the Norfolk records at FamilySearch.

For Sussex find an addition to the burials collection, this for the parish of Northiam and the memorial inscriptions for Herstmonceux & Friston.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

OGS Quinte Branch April Meeting

The Quinte Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society digital presentation is"Taming Your Inner Packrat" by Thomas MacEntee and Lisa Alzo.

Are you drowning in a sea of papers, documents, old photographs and other research materials? Learn how to purge and bust through the clutter, taming your paper and electronic monsters.

Everyone welcome, bring a friend.  Quinte West Public Library, 1-3 pm. Visit

Ancestry FREE Weekend for British Commonwealth Records

This Easter weekend Ancestry has free access, with registration,  to all Commonwealth Records (Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, New Zealand, UK) to April 17.

CEF Service Files Digitization:April Update

As of 13 April 2017,  427,651 (416,749 last month) of 640,000 files are available online via the LAC Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918 database.

The latest digitized is from Box 7260 (7059 last month) and last name Nelles (McLelland). Library and Archives Canada is digitizing the service files systematically, from box 1 to box 10686, which roughly corresponds to alphabetical order.

10,902 (12,585) files were digitized in the last month. At that rate the project would be complete by November 2018. It's unlikely it will be that late as this reporting period is particularly short.

Findmypast adds Scottish Catholic Records

There are 492,616 baptism, 197,926 marriage and 324,670 burial results, plus 268,286 congregational records dating back to 1730 in the latest addition to Findmypast.

They cover the dioceses of St Andrews & Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Argyll & the Isles, Dunkeld, Galloway, Glasgow, Motherwell and Paisley; 115 parishes

The records date back to 1730.

Congregational records include registers of confirmations and communion recipients, as well as parish lists, seat rentals, and lists of people who converted to Catholicism.

Further Scottish records and additional updates from a variety of British, Irish, US and Canadian Dioceses will be added to Findmypast's Roman Catholic Heritage Archive throughout 2017.

More Speaker Handouts from WDYTYA? Live 2017 from the SOG

In addition to those mentioned before, now find the following ten handouts:

Peter Bailey  (Saturday 8 April) Baptism, Marriage and Burial Records in British India - Not Available in the "India Office" Records

Peter Christian (Thursday 6 April 2017) Parish Registers Online.

Gill Draper (Saturday 8 April 2017) Going Back In Time. Free Resources for Finding People 13th-19th Centuries

Celia Heritage (Friday 7 April 2017) Surnames and Family History

Sue Mitchell (Thursday 6 April 2017) In Pursuit of Lots! Using Forenames to Build the Family Tree

Sue Mitchell (Saturday 7 April 20170 Do As I Say Not As I Did. Confessions of an Imperfect Genealogist

Robert Parker (Friday 7 April 2017) A Quick Guide to Getting Started

Robert Parker (Top Tips for racing Tour Ancestors 1939-1845

Mike Sharpe (Saturday 8 April 2017) True Brummies. Birmingham Research Before 1837

Erin Tilley (Friday 7 April 2017) How to get Your Kids Interested in Genealogy.

The complete list with links is at

FamilySearch adds England, Durham Diocese, Marriage Bonds & Allegations, 1692-1900

Ancestry from Northeast England. If they were in County Durham, the southern part of Tyne and Wear, the boroughs of Darlington, Hartlepool and the area of Stockton-on-Tees north of the River Tees perhaps one of the 93,983 entries in this collection of Marriage Bonds & Allegations will help push your ancestry back further.
The records may contain:

Names of the marriage partners
Ages of the marriage partners
Occupations of the marriage partners
Marital statuses before marriage
Parishes of residence
Parish where the marriage was to take place
Names and signatures of parents, esp. if one of the marriage partners was a minor.
Only a few records pre-date the middle of the 18th century.

 The index entry is linked to an image of the original.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

YouTube: Touring Ottawa 1968-69

BIFHSGO member and photographer Dena Palamedes let me know about a home video taken by her uncle nearly 50 years ago now on YouTube. Thank you Dena.
How much of Ottawa can you recognize?

Free Weekend at FamilyTreeWebinars

Every so often I mention some especially pertinent webinars being offered by Family Tree Webinars. The quality is always high, I'm selective about the topics I recommend.

In celebration of reaching a milestone, congratulations Geoff,  beginning on Friday and continuing through Sunday evening, the entire library - all 500 classes - will be open and free to the public.

Visit and browse or search for any topic or presenter and enjoy!

You may also enjoy Geoff's reflections on his webinar journey.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Terrence Michael Peter Punch R.I.P.

Sad to report that Atlantic Canada genealogist and historian Terrence Punch OC, died in Halifax on 11 April.
Read about him in this appreciation by Brenda Dougall Merriman and a summary of his career to 2013 on being awarded a Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) from Saint Mary's University.

Speaker Handouts from WDYTYA? Live 2017 from the SOG

The following handouts from Who Do You Think You Are? Live @Birmingham NEC 6-9 April 2017 are now available at

Paul Carter (Saturday 8 April 2017) Six Tips for Publishing Your Research on the Web

Else Churchill (Thursday 6 April 2017 & Saturday 8 April 2017) The Society of Genealogists On and Off Line

Else Churchill (Thursday 6 April 2017) Country Bumpkins.Tracing Rural Ancestors

Else Churchill (Friday 7 April 2017) I'm Stuck. Some Ideas for Solving Genealogical Problems

Else Churchill (Saturday 8 April 2017) Tracing Women Ancestors

Brian Donavan (Saturday 8 April 2017) The Digital Revolution in Irish Genealogy

Janet Few (Thursday 6  April 2017) Engaging Young Children in Family History

Janet Few (Friday 7 April 2017) The Ones That Got Away.Tracng Elusive Ancestors

Doreen Hopwood (Thursday 6 April 2017) Where Did They Come From and Why?

Dr Jane Howells (Thursday 6 April 2017) Townies. Ancwstors in Small Market Towns

Michelle Patient (Thursday 6 April 2017) Creating a Family History Website

Graham Walter (Friday 7 April 2017 & Saturday 8 April 2017) Five Killer Aps for Family Historians

More will likely be added.

Ancestry adds Bedfordshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1986

17,982,277 entries appear in this set of electoral registers from the Bedfordshire Archives and Records Service newly added to Ancestry. It allows you to follow the residence of those qualified to vote from year to year.
The index was created from the printed registers using text recognition software, not transcribed, so expect lots of anomalies.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Help Estimate Autosomal Database Sizes

If you've taken an autosomal DNA test from more than one company please considered completing a short survey.

While AncestryDNA and 23andMe release updates on the size of their databases Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage have yet to do so.  Size matters if you're looking to make genetic matches. \\

By crowdsourcing information from people who have tested at more than one company The DNA Geek aims to assess the relative sizes of the databases and, for 23andMe, determine how many are participating in relative matching.

Find the survey by following the link

Genetic Genealogy presentations from WDYTYA? Live 2017

Each year Maurice Gleeson posts YouTube videos of some of the presentations made in the Family Tree DNA sponsored DNA Workshop at WDYTYA? Live in Birmingham.

Now the event is over Maurice is taking a week off before beginning posting the videos. See what you might have to look forward to in the post by Debbie Kennett, a schedule of presentations made in Birmingham. Those in the SOG Theatre 2 are not normally posted.

In the meantime Debbie has made available as a pdf the slides from her presentation Autosomal DNA demystified.

You can also view presentations on YouTube from previous events, the most recent being at Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2016 last October.

Photos from the BIFHSGO April Meeting

Saturday 8 April 2017 saw a good crowd for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa monthly meeting. This image shows the first people leaving "The Chamber" after the first presentation by Glenn Wright for a break before the main presentation by Gail Roger.

Find a slideshow of candid photos of the meeting  at

British Newspaper Archive passes 19 million page milestone

As of Sunday the British Newspaper Archive had 19,025,286 pages passing the 19 million page milestone. That's on the way to 40 million pages.
If you haven't searched for your British ancestors you haven't done a reasonably exhaustive search, and even if you did a while ago new pages are added almost every day.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Ancestry: Centennial Anniversary of WWI Battle of Vimy Ridge

Ancestry has new a blog post written by Canadian First World War expert Glenn Wright. It includes a quick look up by surname for those Killed in Action at the Battle of Vimy Ridge and detail on other documentation you may consult for further information.

New Irish Genealogy Records 2011-2016

If you have trouble keeping up with all the new records that have become available for Ireland, the North and the Republic, in recent years consider purchasing this e-book summary compiled by Claire Santry.
Claire's Irish Genealogy News is one of the few on my "daily visit" bookmark list.

Findmypast adds Wiltshire BBMB Transcripts

A major addition of parish records for those researching in Wiltshire is now available at Findmypast

Wiltshire Parish Baptisms Index 1538-1917: 2,286,650 results
Wiltshire Parish Banns Index 1538-1933: 126,706 results
Wiltshire Parish Marriages Index 1538-1933; results
Wiltshire Parish Burials Index 1538-1991: 1,453,000 results.

The search can be performed at parish or whole county levels.

There are no images, except for the marriages taken from Phillimore's where those old transcript images are linked. Those Phillimore volumes are on the Internet Archives and the basis of most Wiltshire parish records on TheGenealogist.

Word from Dick Eastman is that similar parish records for Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset and Warwickshire will follow in the next six months.

Were your family members "stay at home" or "adventurer"?

A study reported here for Britain shows that while "the previous generation lived just five miles from where they were born on average, compared with 100 miles now."
Does that apply in your family?
I live 3,300 miles from my birthplace, 10 miles away until migrating. When I was born my parents lived 260 mi and 350 miles from their birthplaces, grandparents 3, 105, 140, and 145 miles. -- all within Great Britain.
What's the situation for your ancestors?

Friday, 7 April 2017


Recently discovered at the Library of Congress, City of Ottawa, Canada with views of principal business buildings. Fascinating detail. a bird's-eye view, not to scale.
On a broader scale, the Historical Topographic Map Digitization project digitizing and georeferencing early-to-mid 20th century historical topographic maps covering the province of Ontario at the scales of 1:25,000 and 1:63,360.
via tweets from David Reevely and Jane MacNamara.

YouTube: 8 Reasons You Should Consider Joining a Local Genealogical Society

A short video from the Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island. Eight reasons, can you think of others?

Ancestry adds London, England, Metropolitan Police Pension Registers, 1852-1932

Ancestry's new database of Metropolitan Police Pension Registers MEPO 21 from The National Archives of the UK, is a collection full of detail for London policemen.
These are registers of pensions awarded to Metropolitan Police officers who retired or resigned from the force between 1852 and 1932, and who were granted, or who (after 1890) qualified for, a police pension.
There's a wealth of personal information, place of birth, marital status, parents and next of kin, service details, and from 1923, details of spouse (date of birth and place of their marriage). Much of the information is on a second page so scroll to the right to see that.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

WDYTYA? Live Happenings: TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist has announced three releases to coincide with the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show, now underway in Birmingham, covering Britain and British India.

From England:
Hampshire Parish Records (Bishop's Transcripts)
With the addition of over 886,000 individuals, this brings the total number of records to over 3.1 Million with coverage of:

Baptisms: 1538-1940 (2,379,836 individuals)
Marriages: 1538-1940 (495,034 individuals)
Burials: 1538-1940 (324,950 individuals).

Durham Parish Records
With the addition of nearly 1.7 million individuals, this brings the total number of records to over 1.8 Million with coverage of:

Baptisms: 1556-1919 (1,253,273 individuals)
Marriages: 1540-1896 (198,845 individuals)
Burials: 1538-1939 (397,950 individuals).

The British in India Collection, includes
A broad-ranging set of resources ranging from the early 1800s up to the 1920s.

Parish Records of British in India
Headstone Records of British Cemeteries in India
British War Memorials in India
East India Registers
Indian Army and Civil Service Lists
Image Archive - British in India


I notice that Celia Heritage, theme speaker at next fall's BIFHSGO conference, is again this year speaking in TheGenealogist theatre at the show.

Why Are Your DNA Ethnicity Results Unexpected: Analysis

Just before Christmas I received an email from Living DNA to tell me my results would be delayed. The first sample had returned too many no call results.
When the results did arrive it was in advance of the original date promised. Good job Living DNA.

It made me wonder, how many no calls is too many? Do all the SNPs used in the analysis have to be called, or is there some flexibility? How many is enough? How much will the analysis be impacted if some are missing?

Some insight comes from the two sets of results, analysis of the same person by 23andMe at different times.

British & Irish55.7%56.7%
French & German3.1%3.5%
Broadly Northwestern European13.0%12.0%
Ashkenazi Jewish18.8%18.8%
Broadly Southern European4.5%3.7%
Broadly European2.3%2.0%

The results are close, all within 1 per cent. The companies should stop giving a false sense of how accurately the percentages reflect ancestry, at least by rounding out the decimals?

Another analysis factor is the reference databases used by the various companies. While there are some databases openly available the companies add data from other research including their clients results. The recent changes in Family Tree DNA's myOrigins assignments, which were introduced with minimal explanation - "smaller trace-percentage results" - "newly refined European, Middle Eastern and Native American clusters," illustrate the impact.

If you tested with more than one company adding to the confusion is the the different ways the companies segment and characterise regions. Reminiscent of the saying that a person with a watch knows the time, someone with two is never sure.

This is the final post in the Why Are Your DNA Ethnicity Results Unexpected series. If you missed the others, or want to read them again, they are:

Misattributed Parentage
Brick Walls

BIFHSGO April Meeting

With two favourite speakers the Saturday 8 April BIFHSGO meeting is a not-to-be-missed!

9:00 am to 9:30 am
Canadians on Vimy Ridge, 1917: A Short Guide to Resources and Research  (Before BIFHSGO Education Talk), by Glenn Wright

Did you have an ancestor in the Canadian Expeditionary Force who participated in the battle for Vimy Ridge in April 1917?  Just a few days before the 100th anniversary Glenn Wright's presentation will highlight the major sources of information: service documents, war diaries, unit records, useful websites, and published resources.

Glenn Wright is past-president of BIFHSGO and author of Canadians at War, 1914-1919: A Research Guide to World War One Service Records.

10:00 am to 11:30 am
Mostly at Sea: Captain Harry Grattidge  (Monthly Meeting)

Gail Roger’s mild obsession with the Titanic led her to the discovery of the closest thing to a celebrity in her family tree: Harry Grattidge — sailor, survivor, and a Commodore of the Cunard Line. No, she hadn’t heard of him either. We will meet some of the Grattidge ancestors that Harry and Gail have in common, ponder the blessings and drawbacks of a highly unusual surname, and discover how Harry came to be a consultant on a classic film by surviving Britain’s worst maritime disaster (not the Titanic).

Gail Roger has been a BIFHSGO member for over a dozen years, and it took her the first seven years to pluck up the courage to make her first BIFHSGO presentation. This is her fifth. Gail’s family will tell you that her obsession with the Titanic is not as mild as she claims. They are mistaken. They also say that her obsession with family history borders on the frightening. They may have a point.

That's not all. At the Discovery Tables
Four Soldiers of Vimy Ridge and Glass Plate Photographs
In June 2016, Brian Glenn gave us a Great Moments talk on the Stories Behind Glass Plate Photographs of The Great War. This month, he will bring in the glass plate photographs the talk was based on for us to view.

Irish Research Success
Anne Renwick has been helping a friend do some research of her Irish roots. While doing this detective work, she has so far gleaned some interesting artifacts and pictures which she is going to share with us. We will learn about Anne's success in an area where research is often difficult.

Global Genealogy
Rick and Sandy Roberts from Global Genealogy will bring some of their genealogy books and products to sell.

And more,

Pick up some surplus journals and magazine at the table run by Brian Chamberlain and express your appreciation by making a donation toward operation of the library.

Visit the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Bookstore.

Stop by the OPL Branch after the meeting.

UPDATE: Want another presentation on Saturday. Head over to Stittsville for a 1:30 pm DNA presentation by Jason Porteous -

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Ireland: Tracing Heritage & Traditions with AncestryProGenealogists

A note came in from Kyle Betit, one of the leaders of a tour of Ireland in October 2017. The tour is a partnership between AncestryProGenealogists and Go Ahead Tours.

The tour of the southern half of the island will include Dublin, Kilkenny, County Wexford, County Cork, Cork City, Cobh, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, County Clare, Cliffs of Moher, Galway City, Connemara, and Clonmacnoise.

There's detailed information at the tour website:

Kyle, who was theme speaker at BIFHSGO Conference 2016, is a presenter at the Alberta Genealogical Society Conference 2017 later this month.

Ancestry adds Dorset, England, Poor Law Settlement and Removal Records, 1682-1862

Find searchable images of removal orders, settlement certificates, papers and examinations archived at the Dorset History Centre now on Ancestry. If you find an examination for an ancestor you'll often be able to read their life story.

The communities included, you don't need to know that for the neame search, are: Beaminster, Bere Regis, Blandford Forum, Bradford Abbas with Clifton Maybank, Broadwindsor, Buckland Newton, Burton Bradstock, Canford Magna, Castleton, Cerne Abbas, Corfe Castle, Corscombe, Cranborne, East Stour, Folke, Fontmell Magna, Fordington - St George, Frampton, Glanvilles Wootton, Hammoon, Hampreston, Hermitage, Hilton, Holnest,, Holwell, Kington Magna, Langton Herring, Litton Cheney, Long Crichel, Longburton, Lydlinch, Lyme Regis, Maiden Newton, Melbury Bubb, Melbury Osmond with Melbury Sampford, Milton, Abbas, Minterne Magna, Mosterton, Motcombe, Nether Compton, Netherbury with Salway Ash, North Poorton, Pimperne, Poole, Powerstock, Puddletown, Rampisham, Sandford Orcas, Seaborough, Sherborne, Shipton Gorge, Sixpenny Handley, South Perrott, Stoke Abbott, Stour Provost, Sturminster Marshall, Sydling, St Nicholas, Symondsbury, Tarrant Monkton with Tarrant Launceston and, Wareham

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Family Tree DNA update Ethnic Origins

If you've taken the Family Tree DNA Family Finder test check the revised ethnic origin assessments just posted. Mine have changed but not dramatically.

European from 76 to 73 per cent, comprising:

British Isles from 71 to 66 per cent
East Europe from 5 to 7 per cent

Jewish Diaspora (Ashkenazi) from 19 to 23 percent. Sephardic is now explicitly mentioned, Other companies incorporate the Jewish with the European total.

There are also three areas which I'm analysed to have less than 2 per cent, but with a note that "A trace percentage indicates a very small amount of shared DNA in common with the corresponding population. In some cases this minor percentage could be attributed to background noise."

Did you your resultd show any significant change?

UPDATE: An update on the new version was posted on 7 April at  Sadly it gives nothing by way of detail.

LAC in 2030 -- NOT

Guy Berthiaume tweeted out this image from an IFLA visioning exercise about successful libraries in 2030. LAC regards newspaper digitization to be as fanciful as the other items on the list.

Why Are Your DNA Ethnicity Results Unexpected: Recombination

During meiosis half of each parent's DNA is lost to the following generation through the process of recombination. Some ancestral ethnicities may well be completely absent if they are a minor component of the parent's DNA. If an ethnicity constitutes more than half of either parent's DNA it will still occur in the child's, even in the most extreme case.

The table shows ethnicities for three siblings from a 23andMe analysis
Sib 1Sib 2Sib 3
British & Irish55.745.142.7
French & German3.12.48.8
Broadly NW Europe13.324.015.0
Broadly S Europe4.52.32.5
Broadly Europe2.33.73.3

For some insight into how this works use the analogy to a deck of cards. Your parent deals out 26 cards to you from their DNA deck of 52.

If all the cards except aces represent European ancestry the parent has 92.3 percent European ancestry. The 26 cards dealt could contain 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 aces. Zero aces, means ((26-0)/26) = 100 percent European. 4 aces means ((26-4)/26) = 84.6 percent European. It can't go lower. You could have a greater percentage than your parent.

If the red cards represent British and Irish (B&I) ancestry, and the black any other, the parent has 50 percent B&I ancestry. Dealing out 26 cards it's possible they could all be red (100 percent B&I) or all black, but neither is likely. Using the Hypergeometric Calculator most (90 percent) of the time the percent B&I will be between 35 and 62 percent.

If one suit, say hearts, represents Ashkenazi ancestry out of a deal of 26 cards a maximum of 13 and minimum of zero could be hearts (Ashkenazi). The Hypergeometric Calculator shows that most (90 percent) of the time the percent Ashkenazi will be between 11 and 35 percent. In case you're wondering, the three values for Ashkenazi in the table are well within range for the expected value of 20 percent.

Finally, take the case of one card out of 52 which represents a trace ethnic ancestry. In the deal of 26 cards half of the time that card is absent, zero percent, the other half it's present. That's 3.8 percent, a larger percentage than the parent.

While the analogy with cards is helpful it can be pushed too far. We may or may not inherit an entire parental ethnic segment  -- it's as if we could tear the cards in pieces.

Looking further back, at the 10th generation only about half your genealogical ancestors are genetic ancestors, see Cousin marriages amplify the contribution from their ancestry.

If you want to go back even further, contemplate this blog post from John Grenham.

Book Review: The War of 1812 in British North America

The sub-title tells it all -- Searching for your Ancestors Elusive War Records.

When author Kenneth G. Cox found himself lamenting the lack of a comprehensive inventory of Canadians who served during the War of 1812, not so for US and British regular forces, he set out to do something about it.
The result is this self-published book which is, in Cox's words, "an attempt to compile some of the records which do exist, although by no means exhaustive." Relevant documents continue to be uncovered.

To get you started on the right foot the first Chapter "Beginning Your Research" gives a little background on the war, an overview of resources from the main repositories, plus a ten-step guide to research.
The following chapters, many of which include appendices with lists of names or contents of archival microfilm, delve into the various sources.
Your Ancestor's Army: Muster Rolls and Pay lists
Your Ancestor's Navy: Ships' Musters and Seamen's Wills
The Records of the Loyal and Patriotic Society
Prince Regent's Bounty and Land Grants to Veterans
The War Losses Claims Commission
The 1875 Bounty paid to surviving veterans of The War of 1812
The Records of the Military and Naval General Service Medals
The Records of the Chelsea Pensioners, Royal Hibernian Military School and Greenwich Hospital
Searching for First Nation Warriors
American Records: Soldiers, Traitors, Prisoners of War, Colonial Marines and Black Refugees
Transcribed records, Rare books, Manuscripts and Documents.
The book does not venture far into the history of the war. Several resources developed during the bicentenary are available online.

Sadly there is no index. I looked for mention of De Watteville's Regiment and had to scan every page. You will likely notice font changes between chapters and some 
formatting problems 
which are annoyances without distracting from the content.

While I don't have ancestors or known relatives who served during the war, if I did I'd be continuing to refer to Cox's book to ensure a reasonably exhaustive search.

My review copy was provided by Global Genealogy, not the publisher but responsible for printing and distributing the book. Find it for sale at

Monday, 3 April 2017

Toronto Lecture: General Wolfe Letters

Those in the Toronto area may be interested in the 23rd annual George Kiddell Memorial Lecture being presented this Wednesday.

Who's Afraid of General Wolfe? Adventures in Archives and Authorship

Kathleen Winter, author of Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage, will discuss her use of General James Wolfe's letters held at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in crafting her latest work. Anne Dondertman, retired Associate Chief Librarian for Special Collections, will tell the fascinating story of how these remarkable papers were acquired.

When: 2:00-3:00, Wednesday, April 5
Where: Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, 120 St. George St, Toronto, ON
RSVP: or 416-978-3600

LAC's DigiLab Opens

Today is the opening of DigiLab at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa, a hands-on facility for users to digitize and contextualize LAC collections of value to their study, work and communities. Located on the 3rd floor of the building access is by application for a specific project.

I had the opportunity to trial the facility last week using the Book2net public scanner III (link is to a similar machine.) The learning curve is gentle, place the item to scan, press a button and the machine focuses, aligns and crops automatically. It even adjusts for moderate curvature on bound or bent originals. You see the scanned image on the screen to check for image quality. I choose to scan to a multi-image pdf. You log a basic description of each file on a nearby computer.

I was scanning original records of weather observations, three times a day, taken in Ottawa in the 1870s and 80s. Each sheet contained a week's observations. The image above is a just a small part of the sheet, observations for 3 April 1874.

There are several other smaller machines which I didn't try, I think they are model ScanSnap SV600

All of the material digitized through the DigiLab will be made available online for general public access. You get to walk away at the end of the session with a USB drive (bring your own) with all your images.

Judging by the number of people who photograph documents while researching at LAC, and the superior quality of the images from DigiLab equipment, it seems likely it will prove popular over time.

Melanie Brown, manager of the facility will be making a presentation to OGS Ottawa Branch later this month.

Why Are Your DNA Ethnicity Results Unexpected: Brick Walls

Living DNA states their sub-regional results refer to “founder populations,” about 10 generations back. Yet for most people that's beyond the genealogical horizon. So how can you judge the reality of your ethnicity results from a DNA test?

Typically people assume the earliest generation they know about along any line is representative of their ancestors.

In my case with parents born in Scotland and Wales, one grandparent born in Wales, the rest in England, it's not a very good assumption at that recent period, unless you look at a larger scale -- Great Britain.

Were people in earlier times less mobile? Perhaps, but the generations you don't know about are the ones more likely to have moved. That's likely why you can't find them.

Another approach is to use surname distributions. If you have an ancestor with an uncommon surname and no obvious ancestry in the area, they may well have come from the area where the name is most common.

Just because you don't find the area found by an ethnic ancestry test in your paper record based family tree doesn't mean the results are not reality.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

April Backup Nag

This past month I've had problems with one of my laptops. I was thankful the important data was backed up.

Have you done your start of the month backup yet?

Archives Appreciation Week?

3-7 April is Archives Awareness Week in Ontario. What's happening?

The Archives of Ontario have a program including a series of presentations exploring new pathways and initiatives in the delivery and preservation of historical materials in Ontario. It's on Thursday, 6 April from 1:30-4:00 p.m. and organized by the Ontario Historical Society.

Grey Roots is offering free admission to the Reading Room for researchers (although donations gratefully received - thank you for your support). A behind-the-scenes tour will leave the Reading Room at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 5 April.

The Hamilton Public Library has a week of activities starting with a talk A Lemon in the Lemon Tree by OGS Director-at-Large Mike Quackenbush on 3 April.

The Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre is offering free admission to the Archives and Research Room from April 3rd to 8th with guided tours and special presentations on 2 April. That will include an introduction to DNA testing for genealogy researchers, and an update on the Bruce County Historical Society’s Documentary Project.

Celebrations at Ottawa area archives are low-key as they work on Canada 150 projects. The City Archives issued a press release inviting visitors.

If you benefit from an archives why not turn awareness into appreciation and let them know that you value the services offered.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Blaine Bettinger Webinar on AncestryDNA Genetic Communities

Understand more about AncestryDNA's Genetic Communities by viewing a recording of a webinar in the Family Tree Webinars series recording on Thursday.  Find it at

Blaine makes the point that the facility is under continuous development. As if to prove it an Asia region has been added since his talk.

Blaine is a featured speaker at the OGS Conference this June in Ottawa.

New this week from Findmypast

Northamptonshire Militia Lists 1771, provides transcripts of 13,468 men, age 18-45 in the original militia lists held by the Northamptonshire Record Office. Find name, occupation and place. Occupations includes servant (2,336) and labourer (2,151).

Northamptonshire Freeholders 1795-1797, is a transcript collection of name, date, occupation and place for 4,103 freeholders. Occupations of this rural county include farmers (519), yeoman (195), grazier (155), esquire (100), gentleman (97), butcher (62), baker (45), blacksmith (18), maltster (18), weaver (14).

Collection additions this week are:

Dorset Memorial Inscriptions, the addition of  20,267 records of gravestones, tombs and monuments. The total is now 106,135 records.Half the records are for the 20th century.

Scotland Registers & Records, 10,488 records added for a total of 25,598 facilitating exploring life in the area, especially Renfrewshire in the additions.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Last Call: OGS Conference Early Bird Prices

Because there's so much going on registration is going well for June's Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Ottawa. I doubt the deadline for the discount for early registration will be extended. If you've not made up your mind today, 31 March is the last day to save.
There are still a couple of days to take advantage of the half price offer on a MyHeritage subscription, for those not yet subscribed.
Find information on both at

British Newspaper Archives additions for March

The British Newspaper Archive now has pages 18,909,558 (18,501,553 pages last month) from 750 (742) titles online.
 Major additions are highlighted.

Aldershot Military Gazette1883-1887, 1889-1890
Banffshire Journal and General Advertiser1876-1910
Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle1871-1886
Bolton Evening News1878
Boston Guardian1863-1865, 1868-1869, 1874, 1876-1881, 1883
Carlisle Express and Examiner1886, 1892
Dublin Evening Mail1876-1881, 1883-1896
Durham Chronicle1903
East Anglian Daily Times1879
Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette1884-1896, 1898-1899, 1901-1902
Freeman's Journal1901-1910
Hampshire Chronicle1895-1909
Hereford Times1901
Illustrated Police News1901-1902, 1904-1938
Irish News and Belfast Morning News1894-1895, 1897-1910
Irish Society (Dublin)1889-1894, 1920-1924
Isle of Man Daily Times1933
Jarrow Express1874-1876, 1880, 1882-1884, 1889-1905, 1907-1909, 1911-1913
John o' Groat Journal1873-1886, 1889-1910
Leinster Independent1872
Liverpool Echo1939-1945
Middlesex Chronicle1939-1945
Montgomeryshire Express1880, 1906-1907

Nottingham Journal1864-1867, 1881
Oxford Times1873-1876, 1878, 1880-1886, 1891, 1893, 1895-1896, 1898, 1900-1910
Pall Mall Gazette1901-1902, 1905-1907, 1912-1921
Poor Man's Guardian1831
Rutland Echo and Leicestershire Advertiser1877-1887
Sheffield Daily Telegraph1909, 1912, 1914
Sheffield Weekly Telegraph1893, 1950
Shipping and Mercantile Gazette1838-1869, 1871-1872
Sligo Journal1828-1861
Sligo Observer1828-1831
Sporting Life1871-1879
Weekly Irish Times1879, 1897-1910
West London Observer1884-1893

Thursday, 30 March 2017

AncestryDNA Genetic Communities

Several bloggers who focus on DNA and genealogy have posted their views of the new Genetic Communities component to the AncestryDNA service. As is often the case opinions differ depending on the individual case and expectations.

Lacking US ancestry my expectations were not high. I did hope to get some insight into the largest component of my ethnic ancestry according to Ancestry, 30% Irish. It's a component I have only a hint about how it arrived in my family tree, nothing passed down in family oral history. Yet 30% is substantial. In my recent studies of LivingDNA results everyone who had 30% of more from one of the UK areas could confirm it from their known ancestry. Alas Ireland was not one of the two communities Ancestry found, both were communities well established in my paper-based family tree.

English in the East Midlands
Ancestry provides the information that "You and 10 of your DNA matches, along with 21,791 other AncestryDNA members, are all genetically linked to form the Genetic Community English in the East Midlands." Ancestry considers it likely, 60% certain I'm in that community.
The area encompassed is where I have documented ancestry in East Staffordshire, Birmingham and the Black Country on my maternal side. Also listed in the community are two ancestors on my paternal side who never lived in the area and, as far as I know, had no ancestry from it!
Not identified in my list of matches in the region was a person with whom I share 5 times great grandparents found through an AncestryDNA surname search.

Jews in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg
Ancestry describes the connection as "You and 9 of your DNA matches, along with 20,725 other AncestryDNA members, are all genetically linked to form the Genetic Community Jews in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg." Ancestry describe it as  "possible you’re a member of this Genetic Community. Our confidence that you belong is 20%."
The area includes Amsterdam where my paper trail leads to a great grandfather born in 1864.

The results proved to be an attractive presentation of what I already knew. It's good as far as it goes, and it could go further. At present if Genetic Communities encourages those at an earlier stage of their family history journey that would be a benefit. What is needed is more family trees from those who have none, or don't post them. Could Ancestry be more proactive in encouraging people developing and sharing ancestral trees? Could there be a way to gamify that?  Could Ancestry find an automated way to develop straw man family trees for a client if they agreed to have it posted? While they might not all be accurate experienced genealogists know to treat compiled trees as clues rather than fact.

Why Are Your DNA Ethnicity Results Unexpected: Misattributed Parentage

Misattributed parentage, paternity and/or maternity, is an even more PC term for NPE (non-paternal event), an umbrella term for undocumented name change and adoption, illegitimacy, bastardy, etc.

NPEs are one factor to be taken into account in examining ethnic ancestry results of a DNA test. It's highly unlikely your genetic and genealogical family trees are the same, even for those occupying high office.

What ever you call it studies suggest the rate of NPEs is in the range 1-2% per meiosis (meaning for each child).

Back 10 generations, the timeframe now given by Living DNA as appropriate for the results of their sub-regional results, we all descend from a total of 1+2+4+8+16+32+64+128+256+512, or 1,023 meiosis.

At a rate of 1% meiosis that's an average 10.23 NPE events in your family tree; at 2% 20.46 NPE events.

On average half of them will be in the most distant generation. If the misattributed partner is from the same group of founders the ethnic ancestry will be unaffected.

In case you think that doesn't apply to you, at 1% the probability of no NPEs in 10 generations is
0.99^(512+256+128+64+32+16+8+4+2+1) = 0.99^1023 = 0.000034.

That's only 34 out of 1 million people with no NPE on any line back 10 generations. At 2% it's one in a billion.

NPEs are not the only reason you may have unexpected results from any DNA ethnic ancestry test. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Family History Daily

Tony Bandy, a librarian from Ohio whose presentations I've enjoyed at both BIFHSGO and OGS conferences, has written an article in Family History Daily.
Absolutely Free Genealogy Research Sites for Every Single U.S. State is beyond the normal geographic scope of this blog.  The Family History Daily site, broader than US, may be of continuing interest.
Thanks to Ann Burns, getting ready to return from a stay in Ireland, for the tip.

MyHeritage Delay

If you've transferred DNA results to MyHeritage, as I did a couple of weeks ago, you might have wondered why the results don't show anything for ethnic origins. I transferred my results when I saw an example posted by Daniel Horowitz.
I mentioned this to a sales rep and was advised to call technical service. After spending an hour on hold with the company I was told those results for DNA transfers would only become available in five weeks, although the company has the results internally. Be aware.

Historical Society of Ottawa: March meeting

The HSO meeting this Friday 31 March 2017 at 1 pm sees George Shirreff speaking on Crawley Films of Ottawa.

"Long before the term “Hollywood North” came to reflect the growing importance of an emerging film industry in Canada, Ottawa was home to a movie institution of great importance. Often overlooked, first by the National Film Board of Canada then later by the bright lights of the Toronto International Film Festival (T.I.F.F) and large scale television series production of Vancouver, this organization claimed many firsts in the motion picture industry. Crawley Films of Ottawa and its colourful and often controversial owner, producer, director, writer and camera aficionado Frank Redford Crawley blazed a trail for Canadian cinema unlike any other in their time. This is their story."
Meeting place is Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues Street

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

London Picture Archive

Warning:  Go away now if searching over 250,000 images of London from the collections at London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Art Gallery is likely to make your time evaporate today.

Search for buildings, cemeteries, occupations, schools, streets, transport . . . use your imagination. I found a video from 1929.

Start at

Monday, 27 March 2017

Visitation for Elizabeth Lapointe

There will be a visitation for Elizabeth Barclay-Lapointe this Wednesday, 29 March from 7-8 pm at the Cadieux Tubman Funeral Homes and Cremations, 322 rue Buckingham (rue Principale) Gatineau, QC J8L 2G5.

All welcome to attend. A memorial celebration of life is planned for the coming months.

Thanks to Mario Lapointe for the notice,

FreeBMD March Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Sunday 19 March 2017 to contain 260,466,571 distinct records (260,010,700 at the previous update).

Years with major updates (more than 5,000 entries) are for births: 1963, 1976-79; for marriages: 1966, 1969, 1977, 1979-81; for deaths 1976-80.

TheGenealogist Launches Various London Educational Records

News from TheGenealogist on a batch of London school and university records just added.

"This release covers the names of those who graduated from the University of London
between 1836 and 1926 - while for King’s College London, it also provides a list of Fellows
from 1847 to 1920, registered students for 1920-1921 and those awarded degrees in 1920
and 1921 as well as the prizes given at King’s.

With a number of school records, joining this London release, researchers can also find old
boys who served in World War I. For example it is possible to track down men serving with
the colours in the Great War in the case of the Old Wilsonians, as listed in The Wilsonian
Magazine. For those Old Alleynians and Old Haberdashers, who perished in the war, their
names and often a photograph are recorded in the First World War Roll of Honours for both
Dulwich College and the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hampstead School.

Records included in this release are:

● University of London Historical Record 1836-1926
● The Skylark Magazine from Haberdashers' Aske's Hampstead School 1918
● The Wilsonian Magazine April 1914-April 1919
● University College School, London Register 1831-1891
● Royal College Of Chemistry, Royal School Of Mines And Royal College Of Science
Register Of Associates
● Record of Old Westminsters Vols 1 and 2 earliest times -1927
● King's College, London Calendar 1921-1922
● Dulwich College War Record 1914-1919"
A tip of the hat to Nick Thorne who regularly sends me updates on developments at The Genealogist, even though I'm selective on the ones I blog.

Irish (and others) in the American Civil War

Jane E. MacNamara wrote to draw to my attention the website Irish in the American Civil War. In particular she pointed to a post that goes beyond the Irish, Mapping Mainland Europe’s American Civil War Widows & Dependent Parents: An Online Resource. 
That post is part of a project based on those listed in the 1883 List of Pensioners on the Roll.
While I don't normally cover US or mainland Europe resources there is a bit of information of Canadian and Scottish, as well as much of US/ Irish interest on the site.
The easiest way to find it is using the search facility labelled SEARCH OVER 480 ARTICLES ON THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR on the right-hand-side of the main website.
Additional posts covering other areas, perhaps including the UK, Ireland and Canada, are promised.
Thanks to Jane for the tip. Jane will be speaking at the OGS conference in June -- a reminder that you have only until the end of the month to get in on early bird conference registration pricing.

Book Review: Genealogy, Psychology and Identity.

Moving beyond basic genealogy, the names, dates and places of ancestors, we get an urge to understand what made them tick. Enter psychology, the scientific study of the way the human mind works and how it influences behaviour.
Paula Nicolson, emeritus professor in the Department of Social Work at Royal Holloway College, University of London, is both knowledgeable and articulate. Her book uses branches of her and her husband's family trees to tease out how various people have been impacted by their past and their ancestor's pasts.
The book is in two parts.
Part I: Developing Contexts starts with a chapter establishing the theoretical background -- the relationship between genealogy and the construction of self-identities, developing ideas from theories of psychology and social development. There is also a short chapter dealing with genealogical research methodology.
Part II: Psychological and historical process applies the theory to the experiences of people in the family trees. We see the approach to understanding the impact of the death of a parent, sibling or relative, family discord, immigration to a different culture, change in family circumstances and more. It's fascinating material.
But, as a physical scientist I'm uncomfortable with the qualitative approach based on case studies, albeit rooted as academic discipline and in psychiatric practice. There are so many factors at play, and people react to stresses so differently, that I question how confidently one can ascribe an individual's behaviour, likely deceased and not someone you can talk to, to his or her deceased ancestor's experience. Perhaps a psychologist could tell me the deeper reason for my discomfort!
The book is certainly thought provoking. I wondered, for instance, about the influence of physical geography on behaviour. What if any is the influence of living by the ocean, in a mountainous or prairie landscape, or a cold or highly variable climate? We've all experienced the depression of a string of cloudy dreary days, and felt invigorated by bright sunshine. Do sunny ways prevail for those raised in sunny climes?
The paperback has 132 pages which includes a 7 page index, 9 pages of references and 12 blank pages. I  borrowed the book from the Ottawa Public Library where, as I write, there are 13 holds on 2 copies. listing
Publisher: Routledge (December 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1138998672
ISBN-13: 978-1138998674
Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.1 inches
Kindle Edition
CDN$ 57.95

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Ontario Genealogist and Family Historian

Between July 1898 and April 1901 12 issues of The Ontario Genealogist and Family Historian were published under the editorship of Edward Marion Chadwick. Issues averaged 16 pages.
The volumes contain compiled genealogies and occurrences (marriages and deaths), mainly for those in the upper ranks of Ontario society.
While it would not likely be productive to read each issue, because they are scanned as part of the Early Canadiana Online collection those with access, including Ottawa and Toronto Public Library cardholders, can search the whole collection at one time free of charge. A limited number of pages can be viewed without subscription.
A Google search for Edward Marion Chadwick gives his dates as 1840-1921. Several other genealogical publications of his are free online.
The usual caution is to be observed, such published genealogies are clues, to be accepted only after skeptical evaluation.

Christine Jackson is Rollin' on the River with Captain Dan in Pembroke

On Wednesday 29 March Christine Jackson is the guest speaker at the AGM of the Ottawa Valley Historical Society.
 "The 400th anniversary in 2013 of Samuel de Champlain’s voyage up the Ottawa River prompted Christine Jackson’s research into a pioneering Canadian family with deep roots in England, who gave their name to the Champlain Park (Ottawa) street on which she has now lived for 30 years―Cowley Avenue."
In Rollin' on the River with Captain Dan: The Ottawa Valley's Pioneering Cowley Family, Christine will trace the early Ottawa Valley history of the entrepreneurial and pioneering riverboat captain, Captain Daniel Keyworth Cowley (1817–1897)—or “Captain Dan” as he was to become known.
She will recount what she has learned about the life and experiences of Capt. Cowley and his family in the Clarendon/ Bristol, Arnprior and Nepean areas. Included will be his brush with what is now thought by some to be Champlain’s lost astrolabe and the family’s role in the history and economic development of the Ottawa Valley—plus their great contribution to our national winter game! ("Cowboy" Bill Cowley 1912–1993).
A long-time family historian and active member of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa and the Historical Society of Ottawa, Christine Jackson is a retired federal public servant (Elections Canada) and former freelance editor and writer. She has previously presented and published her research on the Ottawa Valley’s pioneering Cowley Family, as well as her own family history from deep in the English County of Sussex."

The meeting starts at 7pm at the Champlain Trail Museum and Pioneer Village, 1032 Pembroke St. East, Pembroke, ON  K8A 6Z2 (Ph: 613-735-0517)  -  

If you're not able to get to that presentation it will be given again, somewhat modified, at OGS Conference 2017.

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.