Friday, 23 June 2017

UK Who Do You Think You Are? 2017 celebrities

How many of these names mean something to you? Who do you think they are?

Charles Dance
Craig Revel Horwood
Clare Balding
Adil Ray
Emma Willis
Lisa Hammond
Sir Ian McKellen
Noel Clarke
Fearne Cotton
Ruby Wax

See their claim to celebrity here

Paper of Record and JSTOR at LAC

For months, perhaps years, I've been pointing out to the folks in the Genealogy Room at 395 Wellington that the link on their computers to Paper of Record has not worked. For almost as long I've been told it would be fixed.
This week I received an email from Julie Roy, Manager of Reference Services, who finally made it happen. I went to the building to check it out - joy of joys - success. Thank you Julie.
Julie also mentioned that links to three other databases: JSTOR, LLMC and MUSE have also been fixed.
hile on the 3rd floorI tried JSTOR which Marian Press mentioned at the end of her presentation at #OGSConf2017. US-based JSTOR is an online database of more than 2,000 full text searchable scholarly journals and some books providing an opportunity to put ancestors in historical and local context. Some of the older journals do provide lists of names.
If you missed Marian's presentation there's a  free webinar on How to Use JSTOR at which ends with an explanation of the various ways you can gain access including the limited free individual subscription at

Third anniversary: Dr Guy Berthiaume

Today, 23 June 2017 is the third anniversary of Dr Guy Berthiaume assuming the role of Librarian and Archivist of Canada.
Congratulations are due on having established partnerships, raised both the profile of LAC and the morale of the staff.
There is progress, and significantly more work to be done, in digitization and making collection materials available online for all wherever they live.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Findmypast free long weekend

Just as well it wasn't last weekend and #OGSConf2017!

Findmypast offers 5 days of FREE access to over 1.1 billion of their records for British and Irish research. FMP says that includes:

  • The world’s most comprehensive collection of British and Irish parish records
  • Double the Irish family history records of our closest competitor
  • More British military service and pension records than anywhere else online.
You will need a free registration for access.

It will not include the 1939 National Registration nor newspapers.

Those of us with subscriptions benefit too from a three day extension to our membership.

Many Families, Issue No. 3

Tad and Terry Findley's annual family history magazine Many Families, number 3, features the Wickham, Durham and Rotton families.
Wickham is found mostly in the south of England. It's Tad's maiden name so unsurprisingly, and given that information is available on seven generations, is the subject of about half this issue. I challenge you to start reading "Look Where You Step" and not be drawn into the Wickham family story which takes us to British Guiana and Trinidad, with journeys back to the UK, and eventually to Canada.
Rotton and Durham are families that married into the Wickhams.

In reviewing the previous volume I posed the question "Why buy a magazine for someone else's family?" The No. 3 issue again illustrates the truth of the answer given last time.
The articles are a model of research and writing;
The thrill of discovery is shared;
The layout is superb, an inspiration;
The content is an education, more than just about the families.
If you need more information, or to order a copy, email manyfamilies (at)

OGS Ottawa Branch June Meeting

The main event on Saturday, 24 June is a presentation "Osgoode Township Museum Resources" by Robin Cushnie.
"Robin will give an overview of the wealth of information and artefacts available at the Osgoode Township Museum. Resources include transcribed oral histories, census records, church, school, and tax records, maps, biographies and local histories. Many of these documents and publications are not available anywhere else and are not to be missed!"
Announcements and the presentation start at 1:30 pm. Socialize with drinks and cookies from 1 pm

Also on Saturday at 10 am  the Scottish Genealogy Group will meet, at 10:30 am Genealogy: Back to Basics offers "Evaluating Your Evidence" and following the main presentation the Computer Special Interest Group will meet.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Intelligent Searching

When Marian Press, a retired librarian and active genealogist gave her first presentation, Are You Really Finding It All When You Search?: Mining Databases for Every Nugget of Information, at #OGSCong2017 it was my pleasure to chair the session.

Marian started out covering the basics, Boolean  search operators: AND, OR and NOT. Whichever database you search they are the foundation of intelligent searching.

In thanking Marian I summarized what I saw as the key points:

1. Read the help screen. Each database has its idiosyncrasies. Time invested in understanding them will be time you won't thrash about with unproductive searches.
2. Start by taking time to formulate a specific search, then gradually broaden it for more results. Marian acknowledged that many people advise starting broad and refining.
3. Look beyond the first page. You may not be lucky on the first page of hits.


4. Specifically for FamilySearch, log on with a free account to get additional results and capabilities.

The Summer Solstice

The City of Ottawa Archives holds three scrapbooks with ads from R J Devlin, an Ottawa clothing retailer. They were recently transferred to the archives from the Ottawa Historical Society (OHS).

Today at 12:24 AM EDT the sun attained its most northerly point, the Tropic of Cancer.

The solstice was the topic of one of many humorous advertisements in volume one of Devlin's scrapbooks which are weather related. I've been looking at them as part of preparation for my talk on Ottawa weather history to the OHS in October.

The reference to the Scott Act is explained at

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Free Walking Tours of Ottawa Immigrant Neighbourhoods

Take a journey through some of Ottawa’s most interesting neighbourhoods.

As part of Welcoming Ottawa Week, June 20 to 30, 2017, the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP), Heritage Ottawa, the City of Ottawa – Cultural Development and Initiatives section, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada have joined together to host a series of guided walking tours to Chinatown, Little Italy, Lowertown West and Lowertown East.

The walks are designed to showcase the important contributions of immigrants to the social, cultural, and economic development and vitality of these neighbourhoods.

See the schedule and register online by clicking on Registration and the bottom of the walk description at:

Thanks to Jean Yves Pelletier for the tip

50th anniversary of 395 Wellington

Today marks the day when Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson opened the building which then housed the separately administered National Library and National Archives of Canada at 395 Wellington Street.

The anniversary is being marked by an exhibit Building on History: Fifty Years of Preserving Memory at 395 Wellington Street in the Pellan Room at 395 Wellington Street (2nd floor) until September.

Guy Berthiaume presentation at OGS Conference 2017

Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume was invited to speak at the opening of the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference last Friday evening. Below is a rough transcription of his remarks.
I'd particularly highlight the invitation in the penultimate paragraph.
A good part of my work is about creating connections with our clients, our stakeholders, the private sector and the general public. And I know the thrill of discovering connections is one of the reasons that genealogists and family historians are so passionate about what they do.
I recently came across an interactive website that uses digital technology to uncover fascinating networks of families in British history. Kindred Britain at Stanford provides all kinds of surprising connections. For example Winston Churchill is a direct descendant of King Henry VIII. Family ties connect Isaac Newton, Jane Austen, William Wordsworth and Florence Nightingale. The creator of the site calls it the social network of the past.
I begin with this example to illustrate that today's genealogy is not our grandfather's genealogy. The use of modern digital technology to illuminate family roots and history is producing surprising, creative and positive results.
Take our digitization work at LAC. We've worked closely with external partners to both digitize collections and to make more of them available, especially to our main client group - genealogists. As a result we've been able to digitize a lot more material than we could on our own and to make some of our biggest and most heavily used collections available to Canadians. I know that this external focus has not always been popular but in a time of limited resources I think it was the strategic choice. Mind you, working with partners is not a one size fits all solution, especially in the case of fragile and easily damaged documents.We want to digitize them while we can keep offering access to our clients. A case in point is the work on the Canadian Expeditionary Force service files you're all familiar with. I'm pleased to tell you the project is on track, at least according to John Reid. As of November 11 2018 all 640,000 soldier's files will be online. There are 340,350,355 files and they are some of our most consulted records, and for good reason. But a project of this magnitude uses a considerable amount of our resources so we have to look at other strategies to digitize additional collections.
Welcome DigiLab.
The way it used to be clients who needed digitial copies would either use our digitization on demand service for a fee or bring their own digital cameras into our reading rooms with mixed results. With DigiLab you can come into 395 Wellington and leave with digital copies of our collection for free. You come in and scan the material you need for your research. The space is easy to use and there's support to help you learn how to use the equipment. You leave with high quality scans and a spreadsheet with information on what you've scanned. But what's perhaps more exciting, LAC will them make the information you scanned available to anyone via its website. So DigiLab is crowdsourcing at its best.
This allows the public to help us with our work, meet the demand for accessible collections and harnesses knowledge about the material we have. and all we ask from you is some simple metadata so that others can search the information more easily online.
I'm happy to share three projects that have already been hosted by DigiLab.
Nichole Yakashiro who is completing her honours BA at the University of Toronto has an academic and personal interest in Landscapes of Injustice, a seven year project run out of the University of Victoria. Landscapes of Injustice is funded by SSHRC and its goal is to digitize historical records across the country related to the disposition and internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. As part of that project Nicole spent almost four weeks in DigiLab to digitize records that help tell the story of this sad chapter in our history. As a result over 130 related files will be placed online for everyone to consult.
Another interesting example is that of Marjelaine Sylvestre, the archivist from the Jardins de Métis in Québec. She spent a couple of days in the lab digitizing and describing 130 photographs taken by William Reford.
And there's also the work of one John Reid who digitized ten years of early Ottawa weather records from the late 1800s. As you know John holds a PhD in Atmospheric Science and he proposed this project to help support contemporary research into climate change.
So DigiLab is proof that crowdsourcing is an extremely effective way of making historical records available. But it's only one of our crowdsourcing tools.
There's another key initiative underway at LAC which I'm very excited about, and again it involves citizen archivists helping us tell the stories of history to a wider audience.
In June of last year the Manitoba Métis Federation celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Battle of
Seven Oaks, a battle which marked the emergence of the Métis nation. To support the anniversary LAC introduced software that lets people transcribe authentic historical documents. The first document to go through the process was the Coltman Report, handwritten in 1818 by William Coltman. The report provides one of the best sources on the fur trade war and is a key document in the history of the Métis Nation. the entire 521 page handwritten report was transcribed by members of the public eager to make a personal connection to history. A fully searchable pdf is now available in LAC's database, and we're about to launch a second initiative, the 91 page diary of Lady Susan Agnes Macdonald, the wife of Sir John A. I'm sure you'll agree that this diary is going to be fascinating reading - what was on her mind in that crucial time in our nation's history? How did she view the new Dominion of Canada starting in 1867 as her husband hammered out the details of the new confederation? What was her daily life like? What were her social obligations, her private experiences and her thoughts? By providing transcriptions of this material you can be a fly on the wall of history.
LAC is thrilled to open up these treasures from our collection to those who understand their importance and can add richer and enhanced information to them. Those who have valued knowledge of our collection and how it can be used. Those such as yourselves.
And here's another exciting development. As you may have heard, LAC is one of the founding members, not to say the architect - that's not a good term to use in Ottawa these days -  of the steering committee for the National Heritage Digitization Strategy. This strategy will make more content accessible to Canadians. It was developed by the major memory institutions of Canada, large public libraries, academic libraries and archives, provincial archives, national associations of archivists, librarians, historians and museums. We adopted a way to accelerate the digitization of the most important collections of Canada and to make them easily accessible to all, linking Canadians everywhere in their quest for culture and knowledge.The strategy will cover published and unpublished analogue materials of national, regional and local significance. That will include books, periodicals, newspapers, government records, posters and maps, thesis and artifacts, photographs and documentary art, film and video, audio recordings and more. I'm sure you'll agree that much of the material identified is of interest to genealogists.
You may also be interested in a small consultative project we launched to review best practices in the field of newspaper digitization. Thanks to a donation from the Salamander Foundation a pilot collection of indigenous newspapers will be digitized over the summer so we can give it a test run in the fall.
These are just some of the exciting initiatives we have on the go. And I would like to extend an open invitation to all of you to let us know what you need from us. What works in the DigiLab, what doesn't. Which of our collections do you want to see up on our site? This will be the key to our serving you well and allowing us to make the connections that define us as Canadians.

Thank you.

Monday, 19 June 2017

LivingDNA now has admixture confidence levels

Until today LivingDNA have provided admixture results for a standard level of confidence from global, regional and sub-regional geographic divisions. Now added are complete and cautious confidence levels. Here, to illustrate the changes you might expect to see between confidence levels, is a quick look at my results focusing on Europe.
Global level
At all confidence levels I have  European 98.5% and  unassigned 1.4%. At the complete level the  1.4% is specified as South Asia.
Regional level 
My cautious and standard confidence level European results are divided into Great Britain and Ireland 84.2%, Northwestern Europe-related ancestry 8.7%, and Europe (unassigned) 5.6%.
My complete level result retains Great Britain and Ireland 84.2%, with Europe (North and West) as 8.7%, add Europe (South) 4.3%, Europe (East) 1.4%.
Sub-regional level
My cautious confidence level results for Great Britain aggregate sub-regions to South Wales Border-related ancestry 42.9%, Lincolnshire-related ancestry 13.9%, Ireland-related ancestry 12.9% and Devon-related ancestry  7.6% and Great Britain and Ireland (unassigned) 6.8%.
The standard and (complete) confidence level results for Great Britain are almost identical:
South Wales Border 20.8% (20.8%)
Northwest England 10.6% (10.6%)
South Central England 9.9% (9.9%)
South Yorkshire 7.9% (7.9%)
Ireland 7.4% (7.4%)
Northwest Scotland 5.5% (5.5%)
Devon 5.3% (5.3%)
Southeast England 0% (4%)
Lincolnshire 3.3% (3.3%)
Central England 2.6% (2.6%)
Cornwall 2.3% (2.3%)
South Wales 1.6% (1.6%)

Note that LivingDNA recently added the ability to download your complete data which you can upload to Gedmatch.

#OGSConf2017: the end, a beginning

Over 300 people are registered for Using Ancestry Day on Monday, a separate event at the same Algonquin College location from the OGS conference. However, #OGSConf2017 proper wrapped up on Sunday afternoon. I heard many good comments.

Information was given at the closing ceremony about next year's OGS conference.

Location will be Guelph at the university.
Dates are 1-3 June.
The theme is “Upper Canada to Ontario - The Birth of a Nation”.
Sadly the marketplace will be in a different building from where the presentations will take place.
Conference co-chairs announced are Dianna Fulton and Kirsty Gray.
Program chair is Ruth Blair.
Headline speakers are Amy Johnson Crow and Jonathan Vance.
LivingDNA announced intention to repeat as Platinum sponsor.

Find the call for presentation proposals with details on the themes here.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Forever at #OGSConf2017

If you're looking for a service to collect, curate and celebrate your family history chat to Andria Barnstaple Andrews at #OGSConf2017. Just inside the doorway in Salon A she is running a display as an ambassador for Forever which promotes itself as the "complete memory-keeping solution".

TheGenealogist new release of Yorkshire records

The City of York and Ainsty Colour Tithe Maps, plus another significant batch of Yorkshire directories are the latest English release by TheGenealogist.

According to the press release the fully searchable records released online will allow researchers to:

  • Find plots of land owned or occupied by ancestors in early Victorian York and Ainsty on colour maps
  • See where your forebears lived, farmed or perhaps occupied a small cottage or a massive estate.
  • Discover addresses of ancestors before, between and after the years covered by the census in the Trade, Residential and Telephone Directories. (1735-1937)
  • Uncover details of the neighbourhood and understand communication links to other towns where your stray ancestor may have moved to.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

#OGSConf2017 Opening

Many attendees who had taken advantage of morning and afternoon concurrent workshop sessions, and exploring the marketplace, were present for the Friday evening opening events and presentations streamed live. They were hosted by acting conference chair Heather Oakley and OGS President Patti Mordasewicz.
Following acknowledgements of the sponsors there were brief welcoming remarks by Society Honorary Patron Peter Milliken.
Special guest was Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, who started his presentation with a lively video about LAC. He emphasized that today's genealogy is not yesterday's thanks to technology and partnerships. I hope to post a full text of his talk in the coming days.
Award of merit presentations were made to the City of Ottawa Archives, Sandra and Rick Roberts, and Louise St Denis.
The keynote speaker, introduced past president Allen Campbell, was Dave Obee, west coast genealogist and Editor-in-Chief of the Victoria Times Colonist. He discussed and illustrated with examples from his own ancestry the importance of WHY our ancestors came to Canada, not just when and how. I'll hope to write more about that presentation later.
The evening ended with a reception.
Follow the conference on twitter and other social media through #OGSConf2017

YouTube: What is SNP testing and how can it enhance a Y DNA surname or genealogy project?

The latest video from the genealogy sessions at WDYTYA? Live is aimed at those early in their Y-DNA journey. Presenter John Cleary gives a lucid presentation that will get you a bit further along, helping decide whether a SNP test is right for you at this stage.

Findmypast adds further England and Wales Crime records

It's a mystery. Of the 5,762,300 records in the England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935 database which are the 68,000 new ones? FMP could and should do a better job of informing exactly what is added to save paying clients doing needless searches.

Friday, 16 June 2017

#OGSConf2017 LAC Tour

Patricia Greber and Lynn Palermo, participants in the tour of Library and Archives Canada on Thursday, pose for the iconic photo on the Secret Bench of Knowledge at the entrance to Library and Archives Canada..

I heard nothing but good things about the tours conducted by Sara Chatfield and Nichole Watier and the advice provided by genealogy consultation staff. At one time I counted 25 of the 45 people on the tour in the Genealogy Room. The only complaint was about the abundance of material, One person commented they would return for the BIFHSGO conference and to delve further into the LAC resources of interest.

News uf interest from LAC is that a project to crowdsource transcription of Lady Macdonald's diaries will open within then next month.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

CEF June Update from Library and Archives Canada

As of today, 450,355 (438,679 last month) of 640,000 Personnel Records of the First World War files are available online in the LAC database.

Latest box digitized is 7646 (7452 last month) and last name Patterson (Oliver). At the present rate the project will be complete in October 2018.

Bargains: Archive CD Books Canada changes tack

A change in business strategy by Archive CD Books Canada is an opportunity for those visiting the marketplace at #OGSConf2017.

With CD and DVD drives going the way of the floppy disc on new computers the writing was on the wall. NO more CDs.

This is a clearance of current non-Canadian CD stock so Malcolm and Chris Moody may not have everything in their a huge catalogue on the company's website at available at the OGS conference.

Give us back our 11 days

It's popularly believed that there was rioting in the streets when the calendar was changed  in England in 1752.

That's a myth.

It's one of the myths exploded and curiosities revealed in an article Confusion and Myth in the Gregorian Calendar Reform by Peter Maggs published in the June issue of the Genealogists' Magazine, the journal of the (UK) Society of Genealogists.

Did you know:

Queen Elizabeth I was in favour of calendar reform in 1582, despite having been excommunicated by Pope Gregory, but the Archbishop of Canterbury opposed the change.

In Sweden a change was made in 1700 when February 29 was omitted. That put Swedish calendar out of phase with both the Julian and Gregorian calendar. In 1812 the country reverted to the Julian calendar only adopting the Gregorian in 1753.

In England before the change in 1752, 31 December 1750 was followed by 1 January 1750, but 24 March 1750 was followed by 25 March 1751.

The tax year in England starts on 6 April, switched from 25 March with the change in calendar so that those who paid quarterly rent were not shortchanged 11 days.

There's much more in this interesting article.

The Genealogists' Magazine is a benefit of membership in the Society of Genealogists.

Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2017

Last October I attended Genetic Genealogy Ireland in Dublin. I'm glad I did. Maurice Gleeson went all out to line up good speakers.
The speakers just announced for Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2017, 20-22 October, are equally as good. If you're planning an Ireland research trip consider timing it to take in GGI 2017.
Read all about it at

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Who Do We Think We Are at Library and Archives Canada

What does it really mean to be a Canadian? If you have the opportunity, either in association with #OGSConf2017, or any other time until the end of February, take in the exhibit at 395 Wellington in Ottawa which addresses the question.
The exhibition contains a number of seldom-seen materials including a leather-bound book Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain and the map attached to it, published in 1613. Also the only surviving journal of Catharine Parr Traill. There's much more.
The exhibition is one of several places LAC treasures will be on display for Canada 150. In Ottawa/Gatineau they include the Canadian Museum of History (Museum of Civilization) and the Library of Parliament.

More relevant than ever: archives, Google, and the paradox of healthy disruption

This title was given to a speech delivered by Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Guy Berthiaume, to the Association of Canadian Archivists on 9 June.
I expect he will be an invited guest at the opening of the OGS Conference on Friday evening, but unfortunately may only speak briefly. Dave Obee is the evening's theme speaker.
If you'd like to know more about his views of Library and Archives Canada, and where it fits into the broader heritage and  cultural community, his speaking notes from 9 June were made available to me by his office. Read them here//

#OGSOttawa2017 Parking

If you've visited a college or university these days you know they must make almost as much income from parking fees and fines as from any other source. Algonquin College is no exception, and in their case it likely provides paid practical experience for students in their Police and Public Safety program.

If you'd like to make a handsome contribution to the college budget feel free to park anywhere during the OGS conference. It would surely be appreciated.

If you'd rather stay solvent pay attention to the advice provided at

The bottom line for Saturday and Sunday, and other days after 5pm, is you can park free in Lot 8 and the western section of Lot 9. For information about other times and circumstances go to the link above.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

YouTube: Autosomal DNA demystified by Debbie Kennett

The third talk from WDYTYA? Live genetic genealogy sessions earlier this year in Birmingham is now posted.

In Autosomal DNA demystified Debbie Kennett starts out with an overview of DNA testing, nothing much new unless you're a newbie.

Where it gets really interesting, especially to those looking to identify the father of an illegitimate, child, is the story starting at minute 27. It points out the benefit of testing more than one sibling. Highly Recommended.

A reminder that these DNA talks were sponsored by Family Tree DNA

FreeBMD June update

The FreeBMD database was  updated on Monday 12 June 2017 to contain 261,901,465 distinct records (261,459,855 previous update).
Years with major updates (more than 5,000 entries) are: for births: 1963-64, 1976-80; for marriages: 1966, 1977, 1979-83; for deaths 1978-81.

Here are the annual death registration statistics. 1837 has only a half year of data. The FreeBMD dataset is reasonably complete except for 1976, 1978 and later.
The influenza pandemic year 1918 holds the record for deaths. The exception to the trend of an increasing number of deaths with time, reflecting population increase, is the late 19th century to the early 1920s due to improved sanitation and health care.

Perth & District Historical Society Meeting: 15 June

On 15 June PDHS will welcome back municipal planner and historian Glenn Tunnock to present a review of past occurrences that led to Truth and Reconciliation, with insights into local opportunities for addressing them.

"Truth and Reconciliation is on the minds of many Canadians these days as they reach out to grasp a better understanding of the interaction between the settler population and government with the Indigenous peoples of the land we now share.  Glenn Tunnock, an amateur historian, will trace the historical events since colonial times that have set the context for today’s movement to reconcile the difficult relationship Canadians have with the First Nations of this country.  His talk to the Historical Society will bring insights into the initiatives of the federal government and other organisations in moving towards a healing process.  Even more importantly, Glenn will outline some opportunities we have locally to foster a stronger sense of social justice."

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

Follow my #OGSConf2017 Tweets

Expect a lot of social media activity from a team chosen by OGS for Conference 2017. They are Ruth Blair, Elise Craighen, Lisa-Dawn Crawley, Gail Dever, Mags Gaulden, Kirsty Gray, Patricia Greber, Andrea Harding, Kale Hobbes, Christine Landry Matamoros, and your's truly.
The hashtag for the conference is #OGSConf2017. Use it to follow what's going down. Use it yourself in posting about the conference. You don't have to be an official team member.
Need reminders when events are about to start and about other conference information? I've scheduled a series of tweets that will act as reminders about the program. Check the hashtag #OGSConf2017 or, even better follow me on Twitter @JohnDReid.

Monday, 12 June 2017

LivingDNA activates data download

One of the questions on my list for LivingDNA at OGS Conference 2017 was when raw data downloads would be made available. Now I don't have to ask, the facility is available, after a fashion.

Clicking "Download Raw Data" brings up a page headed:

Please be aware that this is our first version of raw results available for download. The contents of download file is subject to change as further validation of Living DNA Orion chip takes place.

The text that follows ends with a consent statement that you have to agree to. It immediately follows the warning
By choosing to download your data you agree to indemnify (which broadly means to reimburse) Living DNA and its related companies and their directors and employees for any losses, damages or costs they incur as a result of any claims being made against them which relate to you downloading your data and the use by you of your data, or as a result of you having shared your data with any third party.

Now that the download capability is in place what can you do with the data? Look at it, obviously. Bu  gedmatch, MyHeritage,  Family Tree DNA and Promethease (for health) don't accept uploads from the Living DNA test.

#OGSConf2017 Canadian War Museum visit

If you're part of the official conference tour group to the Canadian War Museum on Thursday you're in for a good time. The museum is most interesting. Check out what's happening at .

One frequently overlooked facility is the Military History Research Centre.  Two extensive national collections of primary and secondary research material document Canada’s military history from the colonial period to the present.

If there's something in particular you want to consult as with any visit to a similar facility it's a good idea to check they have what you want available so it can be waiting for you. Unfortunately at present the online catalogue of holdings is not available. I suggest calling the toll free number 1-800-555-5621 instead.

The CWM has a cafeteria with a patio. It could be pleasant as the forecast is high 21C, but with 40 percent chance of a shower. You may possibly find the used bookstore of the Friends organization open, it's on the right as you approach the Research Centre.

Sussex Bibliography

Do you have Sussex ancestry? Although the county only accounted for 1.9 percent of England's population in 1801 many of my genealogy friends have Sussex roots.

The Sussex Record Society commissions and publishes research by individuals who are experts in their field.  Over the last 100 years the Society has published over 90 volumes of detailed historical research into the county from 1066 to World War I. This research has also led to the creation of databases, records, images and texts covering many aspects of historical Sussex which are presented as Online Records. Many look to be of interest to the family historian.

There is a new bibliography available that "catalogues and indexes publications about Sussex from over 6,500 authors who have written over 9,000 books, pamphlets and digital media and over 13,500 articles in listed journals or available online". Use it to dig deeper into the county's history. Find the bibliography, the work of Peter MacLeod and a small team, at .

Thanks to Christine Jackson for the tip.

Anglo-Celtic Roots: Summer 2017

When I was preparing my regular Cream of the Crop column for the summer issue editor Jean Kitchen told me there would be room for only 1,000 words. With four substantive articles in the issue we're seeing the one side of the editor's feast or famine.

Lead off article is Battle of the Booksellers by Terry Findley, winner of the award for best article in the last volume of ACR. It's the story of Terry's wife's three time great grandfather's involvement in the struggle over copyright in the UK 240 years ago.
I'll have another post on Terry and Tad's Many Families magazine project soon.
Part two of First In, Last Out: But What Came in Between? by Irene Ip, former editor of ACR, concludes the story of her father in the First World War. A reminder that BIFHSGO members can go to the Members Only section of the society website to hear the whole story in her own words in a recording from last fall.
A presentation in April this year inspired a society member to write an article in time to be published in this issue. Impressive! The Story of the Aquitania tells about the storied ship which appeared in Gail Roger's presentation on Capt Harry Grattidge, that's on the society website for members too. The Aquitania also brought author Lynn Willoughby to Canada as daughter of a war bride. Who in your family tree was among the 1.2 million passengers carried by the Aquitania during its 450 voyage lifetime?
Finally, We Shall Remember Them, about Lieutenant George Frederick Jervaulx Jarvis, is the most recent in Sheila Faure's series on First World War soldiers who died at No.1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Change at #OGSConf2017

Stephen C. Young, Deputy Chief Genealogical Officer with FamilySearch International has had to cancel his appearance at the conference owing to a family emergency.

Shirley-Ann Pyefinch, Director of the Ottawa Stake Family History Centre and frequent speaker, will instead be presenting the scheduled Friday afternoon workshop W05 – Finding Your Family in Ontario Historical and Records Ontario and the Sunday morning presentation F3 – Resources and Records to Build and Link Your Family in Canada and the World.

BIFHSGO Awards 2017

 At Saturday's Annual General Meeting of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa three awards were presented.

Glenn Wright received the award for the best "Before BIFHSGO" educational talk, as voted by members, for his presentation in March "Canadians on Vimy Ridge, 1917: A Short Guide to Resources and Research."

The award for best monthly meeting presentation went to Christine Jackson for her February presentation "The Queen’s Coachman — Our Only Claim to Fame."

Terry Findley accepted the award for the article in the Winter 2016 issue of Anglo-Celtic Roots "The Cutler with a Social Conscience."

The election of Gail Dever to the BIFHSGO Hall of Fame was announced. Gail, a resident of the Montreal area,  will receive the award when able to attend.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Genetic Geographies: The Trouble with Ancestry

Searching for genealogy books on Amazon sorted by popularity up popped as #1 this academic book, published by the University of Minnesota Press, Genetic Geographies: The Trouble with Ancestry by Catherine Nash.

Nash is Professor of Human Geography at Queen Mary College, University of London. She describes herself as "a feminist cultural geographer with research interests in geographies of identity, relatedness and belonging. I am particularly interested in bringing together a cultural geographical perspective and a focus on kinship which includes attention to genealogical knowledges and imaginations and practices of making relations."

A stimulus for the book was the People of the British Isles Project, and also the Geno 2.0 test of National Geographic.

The start of the Acknowledgements at the front of the book reads "At the heart of this book is a critique of the idea that those to whom we are closest in terms of ancestry naturally matter most. It is an argument about the dangers of figuring genetic similarity through shared ancestry as the basis for senses of affinity, care, and commonality. In the pages that follow, I explore how that idea runs through what is widely taken to be either a simply fascinating or, more particularly, progressive exploration of ancestry, origins, and relatedness through the scientific study of geographical patterns of human genetic variation and their use in genetic genealogy."

In brief the book "pursues their (genetics) troubling implications for our perception of sexual and national, as well as racial, difference."

I've not read the book. I couldn't find any reviews online. Analysis of a section found it is written at well above college level. According to WorldCat there are copies at some Canadian university libraries, including the University of Ottawa, where it will likely be found on the shelves.

Findmypast adds 1881 and 1891 Canada Censuses

When you subscribe to one of the major genealogy websites you expect to have access to standard datasets like censuses. You look for the subscription services to provide an integrated search across a range of those databases.
Findmypast is playing catch up, having virtually ignored Canada for a long while. This week their addition is the 1881 and 1891 censuses.
Not sure which Canadian censuses are available at which site? Is there free access? This table should help.

CensusAncestry Findmypast MyHeritage FamilySearch LAC
Subs Subs Subs Free Free
1842 (Canada East)YesYesYesYesYes
1842 (Canada West)YesNoNoYesYes
1906 (Prairies)YesNoNoYesYes
1916 (Prairies)YesNoNoYesYes

Friday, 9 June 2017

Library and Archives Canada Annual Report

The LAC Annual Report 2016–2017 is described as part of the "opportunity—the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation—to tell our clients, our partners and the general public about our rich documentary heritage collection, and the full range of services we offer, which go well beyond the traditional image of what libraries and memory institutions do, in general."

Table of contents

Look again!
LAC is ... inspiration!
LAC is ... community!
LAC is ... history!
LAC is ... movement!
LAC is ... partnership!
LAC is ... public programming!
LAC is ... dialogue!
LAC is ... collections!
LAC is ... Web and social media!
LAC is ... Canada 150!
LAC is ... you!
LAC expenditures in 2016–2017
The year in numbers, 2016–2017

Camels and Canalettos #OGSConf2017

Take some time during your trip to Ottawa for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2017 to explore the area museums and galleries.

Do you have a camel fetish? The National Gallery of Canada has a room for you. They have Canalettos too.

Opening on June 15 is the new reinvented exhibition space for Canadian and Indigenous Art. Here's a quick preview.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

20,009,426 Pages in #BNArchive

That's it! The British Newspaper Archive has passed the halfway mark in the project to digitized 40 million newspaper pages.
Here's the breakdown of pages by region.

Borders, Scotland8,010
Central, Scotland15,876
Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland3,122
East Midlands, England169,879
East, England124,692
Fife, Scotland14,838
Grampian, Scotland63,673
Guernsey, Guernsey4,263
Highland, Scotland11,939
Isle of Man, Isle of Man1,727
Jersey, Jersey3,412
London, England414,861
Lothian, Scotland78,837
Mid Wales, Wales2,903
North East, England133,560
North Wales, Wales13,339
North West, England166,865
Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland170,292
Orkney, Scotland603
Republic of Ireland, Republic of Ireland285,111
Shetland, Scotland1,887
South East, England188,045
South Wales, Wales38,238
South West, England279,605
Strathclyde, Scotland66,542
Tayside, Scotland87,736
West Midlands, England117,894
West Wales, Wales486
Yorkshire and the Humber, England246,381

BIFHSGO 10 June Meeting: AGM and Great Moments

9:00am: 2017 Annual General Meeting
The 23rd Annual General Meeting of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa will receive and conduct business in accordance with the bylaws. Details are at

10:00am: Monthly Meeting: Great Moments in Genealogy

1) A Mystery at Boughton Castle, by Brenda Turner
In late June of 2016, Brenda Turner visited Broughton Castle, not far from Banbury in Oxfordshire, and close to where she was living then. Broughton Castle is the home of Fiennes family, which includes the actors Joseph and Ralph Fiennes and the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Despite claims in the castle’s guidebook and web site that a disastrous sale had taken place of the family’s property of the Castle’s contents in 1837, she did not believe it, and decided to find out if she could figure out what had really happened… and used her family history research skills to do it.

2) A Big Surprise With YDNA Test Results, by Bill Arthurs
YDNA testing is an important vehicle for determining lineages for the relatively recent past. In his Titus family research Bill Arthurs has determined sets of modal YDNA markers for both the English and Dutch Titus lineages dating back to the late 1500s. The remaining German lineage has lacked a volunteer for testing. That is, until last October, when the test of a German volunteer produced unexpected results.

3) Despite What You Tell Your Children, More Than One Official Record Exists to Prove What Really Happened, Dianne Brydon
Family lore relates that Robert Brydon and Margaret Armstrong married in Scotland before emigrating to Galt, Ontario in 1841 with their infant son Francis. Robert’s sudden death in 1866, without a will, changed the course of his family’s history and Margaret’s subsequent petition for guardianship of her younger children provided evidence to suggest that Robert was not Francis’ father. A subsequent hunt for evidence turned up a variety of documents which proved Robert lived in Canada, as a single man, during the 1830s, before Margaret’s reported arrival. This talk will lay out the evidence compiled to appease the skeptics.

4) The Elusive George Mason Hales, by Gail Roger 
Ten years ago, all that Gail Roger knew about George Mason Hales was that in 1791, he had an inn in the parish of St Ann’s Soho, Westminster, and that he might be related to her. She eventually found out that he is indeed a relative, and that almost everything she knew about him was wrong — except that inn in Soho. This will be an illustration of how, sometimes, a seemingly dead end can lead to multiple great moments in genealogy.

The meeting is in The Chamber at Ben Franklin Place (101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa).

Internet Genealogy: Jun/Jul 2017

The last issue of Internet Genealogy magazine mention here was Aug/Sept 2015. I let my subscription lapse as, for me, there wasn't enough content to justify the cost. Just like a new pair of shoes  - nice and shiny but not my size; there was nothing wrong with the magazine except it didn't fit where I was at in my family history journey.
On Monday I was in a store prior to meeting a friend for lunch and saw a copy on the rack. I wondered if it had changed in nearly two years.

Here are the contents, and a few comments.

When Your Ancestors from “Over Here” Went “Over There”.
David A Norris offers tips for tracing your US World War I ancestor .
This would appeal to the magazine's large US readership. As I have no US World War I ancestors it's an example of good content of no interest for my family history. There is a very basic half page three item Guide to Canadian WW1 Online Resources appended ,which has nothing I didn't know.

Review: Persons of Pinterest.
Lisa A Alzo discusses how to use Pinterest to create a visual timeline for your ancestor.
Early in the article Lisa writes "The downside of Pinterest is that it can be the ultimate "rabbit hole" that often distracts me from my from my work or research goals." There's already more than enough in social media to distract me!

Don’t Go It Alone.
Ed Storey shares how he utilizes a variety of online strategies to research his family history.

Scanning for JOY!
Lisa A Alzo reviews JoyFLIPS.
Interesting. An iOS app, with Android app promised, that allows you to scan photos and other images in video mode. Not clear from the article how this works. Also a website. Reading further on the company website I learned "Our platform is powered by the world’s largest best-of-breed services: Google’s FIREBASE for user data, Amazon’s EC2 for media file storage, web services and IBM’s Watson AI service." The service appears to be free, so how do they fund operations and development? 

The Remarkable Life of an Australian Doctor .
Gabrielle Morgan discovers that there’s more to an obituary than meets the eye.

Review: Pic Scanner Gold.
Tony Bandy looks at the latest version of a popular mobile scanning app for iOS devices.
An update of a previous review of an earlier version. A comparison of various scanner apps would be more interesting.

Benefit of Clergy.
David A Norris explains the origin of a phrase you may encounter while researching old laws and court reports.
An archaic term, not what I thought.

Better Charm Than Incantation.
Sue Lisk offers seven tips to help you be more effective in your online communications with other family historians.

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

The Back Page.
Dave Obee suggests tracing forward has its benefits.
Dave is always worth reading, or listening to as at OGS Conference 2017.

Bottom line, although there are a couple of articles of interest to me in this issue it's not enough for me to subscribe - maybe read it at the library.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Great DNA Deals at #OGSConf2017

When you attend a conference you expect deals. The Ontario Genealogical Society Conference, 16-19 June will be no exception. Expect fantastic deals on DNA tests.

Ancestry have announced that throughout the conference, and including Using Ancestry Day with Crista Cowan on Monday 19 June, the

AncestryDNA test will be available to attendees at $69 Cdn! 

That includes shipping. I've never seen a lower price -- lower than the Father's Day special currently being advertised by Ancestry. Stock up.

No word yet on specials from Family Tree DNA, Living DNA and MyHeritage, also at the conference.

SCGS Jamboree 2017 Streamed Sessions

Friday through Sunday you have the opportunity to watch webinars from the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree 2017.  Diamond Sponsor Ancestry makes it possible to offer 14 one-hour presentations absolutely free. There's even a Canadian presenter, Christine Woodcock.

Register here.
The live-streamed sessions are listed below with times converted to EDT.

Friday, June 9

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.             FR009 Facebook: A Tool for Genealogy Research
                                      Presented by Thomas MacEntee

5:30 - 6:30 p.m.             FR018 Genealogical Proof for the Novice Genealogist
                                      Presented by Annette Burke Lyttle

7:00 - 8:00 p.m.             FR027 Treasures in Township Records 
                                      Presented by Peggy Clements Lauritzen, AG®

8:30 - 9:30 p.m.             FR035  From Famine to Plenty - Finding My Immigrant Ancestors' Stories 
                                      Presented by Tessa Keough

Saturday, June 10

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. SA009 Descendancy Research: Another Pathway to Genealogy
                                      Presented by Michael L. Strauss, AG®

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.            SA018 Wives, Girlfriends, Widows, Exes and Mistresses: 
                                      Documenting Women
                                      Presented by Gena Philibert-Ortega, MA, MAR

2:30 - 3:30 p.m.             SA027 Sources of Genealogical Research for Armenians in the Caucasus
                                       Presented by Camille Andrus

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.              SA036 Your Ancestor's FAN Club: Using Cluster Research
                                       Presented by Drew Smith, MLS

6:30 - 7:30 p.m.              SA045 Technology Resources for Deciphering Foreign Language Records
                                       Presented by Randy Whited
8:00 - 9:00 p.m.              SA052 DNA vs. Irish Annals
                                       Presented by Brad Larkin, MBS, MCSE

Sunday, June 11

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.  SU009 Researching Your Irish Ancestors Online
                                       Presented by Donna M. Moughty

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.              SU018 Underused Databases for Scottish Genealogy
                                       Presented by Christine Woodcock

3:30 - 4:30 p.m.            SU027 What's New in Eastern European Genealogy?
                                       Presented by Lisa Alzo, MFA

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.              SU036 Using the Bureau of Land Management Tract Books
                                       Michael John Neill

Interview with D. Joshua Taylor

Will you be at the OGS Conference 2017 banquet? Then you may want to check out Janine Adams's Organize Your Family History blog for an interview with banquet speaker Josh Taylor. He gives information on some of the techniques and resources he uses in his own genealogy work.

Find it at

Thanks to Jane Down, one of the most organized people I know, for the tip.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Just because it can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true

This week, in his eloquent Irish way, John Grenham hits the nail on the head.

His post this Monday, Proof, No Pudding, is food for thought for disciples of the Genealogical Proof Standard.

To be honest GPS advocates do point out that all conclusions arrived at are "best available" and subject change as new evidence becomes available. So just because it can be "proved" doesn’t mean it’s true.

I noted particularly he mentioned that the best researcher should "assess probabilities". Unfortunately there's no standard terminology for probabilities within the genealogical profession. Without a standard a probability assessment is little more than the whim of the assessor.

Could the title to this have been "Just because it isn't true doesn’t mean it can't be proved"?

Wall of Ancestors at #OGSConf2017

According to the organizers "The Wall of Ancestors provides an opportunity for registrants to display some of the families that they are researching in the hope of making contact with others looking for the same family."
There are 391 entries, perhaps a few more by the time you read this, on the virtual Wall of Ancestors for OGS Conference 2017.
Contributed by 71 people, there are 312 unique surnames. In fact there are not.  Some entered variants. A couple have the given name entered were the last name should be, and some folks entered more than the last name.  Examples are Clemence (adopted name?), Dutrisac or Hubert-Dutrisac, Gaynor,married Joseph Burgoyne, and Hoddevik / Wicks / Wick.
The Wall of Names has been a feature of all OGS conferences I've attended. I'm wondering if anyone did ever make a real contact at the conference through it, as opposed to a coincidence of surname.  Is the effort worthwhile?
You can check the Wall of Ancestors at

Monday, 5 June 2017

YouTube: The Science of Admixture Percentages

The first video from the genetic genealogy sessions at Who Do You Think You Are? Live event in Birmingham is now on YouTube. This presentation The Science of Admixture Percentages by Garrett Hellenthal was given on 6 April 2017.
The first almost 19 minutes are a summary of DNA, autosomal inheritance and matching. Using results from Debbie Kennett and family the video emphasizes the importance of the reference databases. Admixture results refer to best matches to people in the sample, not necessarily where your ancestors are from. More samples will improve results.

DNA Fast Trax Sessions at #OGSConf2017

I didn't know. There are many more Fast Trax, 15 to 20 minute mini information sessions than I'd thought. Maybe more have been added, the program is subject to change without notice.  They're a no extra cost benefit offered by exhibitors in Marketplace of the OGS Conference 2017.

You can view the full schedule here, here are those with DNA content:

Saturday 8:30 to 8:50   Lesley Anderson, Ancestry: “Ancestry DNA”
With AncestryDNA you can add a whole new dimension to your family history experience. Uncover your ethnic mix, connect with distant relatives and find new, unique details. Come by and learn more!

Saturday 11:35 to 11:55   Peggy Homans Chapman, Guild of One-Name Studies: “DNA and One-Name Studies: A Perfect Match”
Peggy will provide an overview of how many one-name/surname studies use DNA as a core part of their family history research. The Guild can arrange the setup of a DNA project on Family Tree DNA and provide advice and guidance on its progress. Currently, both Y-DNA and autosomal DNA tests are supported by the Guild.

Saturday 12:00 to 12:30   David Nicholson, LivingDNA: “High Definition Ancestry DNA Testing by Living DNA”
Go behind the scenes with Living DNA and discover the journey your sample goes on, including the ultra-high definition methods that allow us to not only pinpoint your ancestry into 21 regions of the UK, but also lets you explore your ancestry at different points in history. Discover how each wave of migration has affected your ancestors and understand how this is proving incredibly useful for family history research. During the talk we will also address the important issue of privacy and security of your genetic information.

Sunday 12:00 to 12:30   David Nicholson, LivingDNA: “High Definition Ancestry DNA Testing by Living DNA”

Sunday 12:30 to 1:00   Daniel Horowitz, Genealogy Expert, MyHeritage: “DNA Matching: A New Frontier in Genealogy”
MyHeritage’s affordable, easy-to-use DNA home testing kit can reveal valuable information about your family history and tell you more about your geographical origins. MyHeritage DNA provides two main features: 1) a DNA Matching service allows you to enjoy MyHeritage’s exceptional matching capabilities; 2) a detailed ethnicity estimate that shows you what percentage of your DNA comes from various regions around the world.

Archives Canada

In the new round of the Documentary Heritage Communities Program there is an award of $43,023 in each of two years to the Canadian Council of Archives for its ARCHIVESCANADA Digital Preservation Service (ACDPS). That follows an award of $99,776 last year.

According to the Canadian Council of Archives website Archives Canada is directed at teachers, researchers, genealogists and the general public. It provides "a wealth of information to our collective memory. Search more than 50,000 descriptions of archival records from the holdings of all provinces and territories, or discover our Canadian heritage through Virtual Exhibits - online stories told with the use of original archival material."

Through you can:

  • Search archival holdings across Canada.
  • Access Provincial and Territorial Archival Networks.
  • View digitized photographs, maps and other documents about Canada's history.
  • Browse digital projects produced through the Archival Community Digitization Program.
  • Find contact information for repositories where these resources are held.

While I was aware of it's not been top of mind for me and was not bookmarked. - it is now. Searching a couple of topics I've been researching lately I found material not online that was new to me. Knowing that, I'm now in a position to evaluate the cost and benefit of access.