Sunday, 19 February 2017

Glasgow Cemeteries Online

Glasgow is the UK's fourth, and Scotland's most populous community.

The best resource found for Glasgow, and many other Scottish burials is
It includes index listings for Carlton, Glasgow Cathedral, Janefield, Lambhill, Necropolis, Ramshorn, Riddrie Park, Sandymount, Shettleston Old Churchyard, Sighthill, Southern Necropolis, Strathblane Churchyard, St. Andrews by the Green Churchyard, St. Kentigern’s, St. Peter’s (Dalbeth), Tollcross and, Western Necropolis.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has Glasgow burials at: Riddrie Park,  St. Kentigern's RC,  St. Peter's RC,  Craigton,  Lambhill,  Cardonald,  Sandymount, Eastwood (Old and New),  Sighthill,  Glenduffhill Jewish, Linn (and crematorium),  Garnethill, Hebrew Congregational, Daldowie (crematorium).

ScotlandsPeople has records for St. Peter’s Dalbeth Cemetery.

The Scotland Billion Graves Index, through Findmypast, has just 899 Glasgow burials.

Neither Ancestry nor Deceased Online have Glasgow cemetery records

Glasgow Jewish cemeteries are included in the listings at

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Findmypast adds Norfolk Electoral Registers and Bishop's Transcripts

Findmypast now has a large collection or printed Norfolk Electoral Registers 1832-1915, indexed with 4,557,906 entries. You can follow year by year the type of property and if owned or rented land or property (such as a freehold, a farm, or a house). For example, my ancestor in Deopham owned a mill which was initially rented out.

Photo credit: milesmilob via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA
The collection of Bishop's Transcripts for Nelson's county, with images of the original linked, includes:

Baptisms 1685-1941: 647,395 records
Marriages 1685-1941:157,290 records
Burials 1685-1941: 434,357 records

There are a few records for adjacent Suffolk parishes in the Diocese of Norwich included.

Friday, 17 February 2017

UK and Irish records from free this weekend

From now until Monday 20 February you should be able to access UK and Ireland records on without a subscription.  You will need a free registration.

This is an opportunity to search the collections newly added this year:

Web: Moray, Scotland, Local Heritage Index, 1632-2014
Jersey, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1540-1812
Jersey, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915
Jersey, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1940
Jersey, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1940
London, England, Stock Exchange Membership Applications, 1802-1924
London, England, Gamekeepers' Licences, 1727-1839
London, England, TS Exmouth Training Ship Records, 1876-1918

as well as the updated collections

Scotland and Northern Ireland, Death Index, 1989-2015
England and Wales, Death Index, 2007-2015
Beddington, Surrey, England, Royal Female Orphanage List of Children, 1890-1913
Somerset, England, Gaol Registers, 1807-1879
Dorset, England, Bastardy Records, 1725-1853
Gloucestershire, England, Prison Records, 1728-1914
England & Wales, Christening Index, 1530-1980
England & Wales Marriages, 1538-1988
London, England, Stock Exchange Membership Applications, 1802-1924
London, England, Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1930

Change at Living DNA

My last blog post about Living DNA showed my autosomal results described as "your DNA mix in the last 4-5 generations." Several bloggers have commented that their results have not matched their expectation in that timeframe.

While the numbers haven't changed they are now described as showing "the areas of the world where you share genetic ancestry in recent times (10 generations)." Ten generations leaves a lot more scope for uncertainty on the far side of known paper-based genealogy.

Change is good. I'd hope the company would be open about providing an explanation of why this change.

Thanks to Wendy Croome for alerting me to the change.

Library and Archives Canada Transcribes Finding Aids

A blog post from LAC announces transcription of some paper-based finding aids that were previously available only in the Reference Room at 395 Wellington Street. Chances are they won't be of interest unless your ancestor was somehow involved with the organisation, but just in case they are:

  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Administrative Records
  • Supreme Court Case Files
  • Canadian Hydrographic Service

Read the blog post here,

If you're unsure about how finding aids can help try the LAC post Discover Finding Aids!

Ancestry adds records of Unemployment Relief for Canadian Settlers, 1932-1939

Mention the 1930s in Canada and depression and drought are the words that spring to mind.
This collection documents Canadian settlers who received assistance from the federal government during the period.

"Each sheet contains the name of the settler, where he is settled (Quebec and westward), the date he settled there, what he received, and when he received it. The assistance received may vary from train tickets to groceries to clothing items. There are often multiple sheets for each settler. Some of these records were written in French."

There are 5,610 records in the collection which originates from holdings at Library and Archives Canada, apparently from Department of Labour fonds (R224-0-4-E).

Thursday, 16 February 2017

An East End Murder & A West End Grave

London was a gruesome place in the 1830s, witness murders to provide bodies for dissection by medical students.
An East End Murder & A West End Grave, the latest post on the Spitalfields Life blog tells the story of the Italian Boy, the connection to Charles Dickens and an effort to save another piece of London history from the developer.

Leeds Cemeteries Online

Leeds is the UK's third most populous city, home to nearly three-quarters of a million residents.

Find a list of 24 area cemeteries under the care of Leeds City Council at 16 date from the 19th century.

Ancestry has a database for Beckett Street Cemetery, 1845-1987 with 187,851 entries.

Records for the Leeds General Cemetery, at St George's Fields near Woodhouse Moor, which operated from 1835 to 1969 with 97,146 burials, now converted to a park, are at

Findmypast carries a database for 10,270 burials at Holbeck cemetery, 1895-1921.

Deceased Online has a small database for Bagley Lane Burial Ground taken from the records of removal of graves and tombstones from disused and closed burial grounds and cemeteries, RG37, transcribed from TNA.

Information on 4,727 burials at Lawnswood Cemetery is at

The Yorkshire Indexers have some Leeds and District monumental inscription transcriptions at

Don't overlook the 151,579 entries for Leeds in the National Burial Index, available through Findmypast.

Find information on Jewish burials at

Quinte Branch OGS, February Meeting

"Tales of the Script: Learning the Alphabet" is the Branch February presentation by Carol St Clair.

Learn about old handwriting styles from the 19th century and using that knowledge to navigate handwritten records of the 1800s.
Carol stumbled across graphology in high school and set out to debunk it by taking Handwriting Analysis courses. Ultimately, she became a Certified Master Graphologist and Document Examiner, with an interest in her family history after discovering the handwriting of her great-great grandfather. She has extensive training in bringing old handwriting to life and an addiction to genealogy.

Everyone welcome, bring a friend.  Saturday 18 February, 1-3 pm at Quinte West Public Library.

More at

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Who do you think is being featured in WDYTYA on TLC?

Cable channel TLC announces the new season of the US version of Who Do You Think You Are?

Featured are:
Jessica Biel makes surprising discoveries that change what she thought knew about her heritage.
Julie Bowen uncovers the story of two relatives whose moral codes are from opposite ends of the spectrum.
Courteney Cox traces her maternal line back seven centuries to the Medieval times to discover royalty in her lineage and an unbelievable tale of family drama.
Jennifer Grey uncovers new information about the grandfather she thought she knew, learning how he survived adversity to become a beacon of his community.
Smokey Robinson searches for answers behind the mystery of why his grandfather disappeared from his children’s lives and finds a man tangled in a swirl of controversy.
John Stamos digs into the mystery of how his grandfather became an orphan, and learns of tensions between families that led to a horrible crime.
Liv Tyler learns that her family is tied into the complicated racial narrative of America.
Noah Wyle unravels the mystery of his maternal line, uncovering an ancestor who survived one of America’s bloodiest battles.

The season gets underway on Sunday, 5 March at 10 EST.

via a blog post from Thomas MacEntee.

CEF Service Files Digitization: February 2017 Update

As of 15 February 2017,  404,164 (387,710 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 6831 (6526 last month) and last name McGee (Murray). Library and Archives Canada is digitizing the service files systematically, from box 1 to box 10686, which roughly corresponds to alphabetical order.

16,454 (9,481) files were digitized in the last month. At that rate the project would be complete by May 2018.

Birmingham Cemeteries Online

Birmingham is the UK's second most populous city, over one million inhabitants.

Warstone Lane Cemetery CatacombsThe City Council, has responsibility for cemeteries and crematoria at Brandwood End, Handsworth, Key Hill, Kings Norton, Lodge Hill, Quinton, Sutton Coldfield, Sutton New Hall, Warstone Lane, Witton and Yardley. They are listed at Don't be deceived by the statement "Browse records within Cemeteries and crematoria", it provides basic information on the facility, not those interred.

Key Hill (from 1836) and Warstone Lane (from 1848) were the first cemeteries. In October 2011 I blogged about the Jewellery Quarter Research Group (JQRG) putting online over 11,000 memorial inscriptions for Birmingham's Key Hill Cemetery. In the intervening years the group has been active. The website now has searchable databases of burials and memorial inscriptions for Warstone Lane in addition to Key Hill.

The Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry has an index to four cemeteries
Handsworth Cemetery (1909 – 2010) 73,982 names
Key Hill Cemetery (1836 – 2006) 60,069 names
Warstone Lane Cemetery (1848 – 2007) 91,707 names
Witton Cemetery (1863 – 2011) 467,659 names.

If you find someone of interest the Society offers a look-up service.

If you're looking for earlier burials try the National Burial Index, available through Findmypast, with 195,413 entries for Birmingham.

Also try the records of removal of graves and tombstones from disused and closed burial grounds and cemeteries, RG37, transcribed from TNA by Deceased Online. They are for Brandwood End Cemetery, Handsworth Cemetery, Lodge Hill Cemetery, Mayers Green Congregational Church (West Bromwich),  Sandwell Road (West Bromwich), Society of Friends Burial Ground, St Mary's Burial Ground, St Thomas Churchyard, Witton Cemetery,and Yardley Cemetery

For more recent burials try wirh coverage since the mid 1990s and some earlier/

Find information on Jewish cemeteries at

Kingston Branch OGS February Meeting

The Kingston Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will meet at the Kingston Seniors Centre, 56 Francis Street in Kingston, on Saturday, 18 February at 10 a.m.  Annual General Meeting plus Joanne Stanbridge , Local History and Genealogy Librarian at Kingston Frontenac Public Library will speak on "Back to Basics: My Favourite Tips and Strategies."

Visitors welcome.  Further details at

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Gazettes

Either it changed recently or I`m way behind the times. The collection of the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes that used to be at Gazettes Onone is now at The Gazette.
All the same information is still there, back 350 years, but you select London, Edinburgh or Belfast through a filter on the results.
There are a few short explanatory videos, with recognition that genealogists are a major client, at
The Republic of Ireland has its own gazette Iris Oifigiúil published since January 1922, but the online archive only goes back to 2002.
According to information at at the website of the Oireachtas Library you can download pdf copies of the predecessor Dublin Gazette from 1750 to 1809.  Each download covers a decade of the publication, which can then be searched for any term you are looking for.

Society Journal Dsitribution

With postage costs rising, concern for the environment and pervasive use of the web for genealogy, the trend is to switch distribution of genealogical and family history society quarterly or triannual (three-times-a-year) publications to electronic means. The table below shows the situation for some major anglophone societies across Canada. The information is gleaned from the society websites which in some cases is ambiguous. Corrections welcome. Digital includes both email distribution of a pdf and availability through a website. Some "digital" societies make allowance for legacy members who do not have web access.

AGSRelatively SpeakingPublication under review
BCGSThe British Columbia GenealogistHardcopy
BIFHSGOAnglo-Celtic RootsDigital option
FHSNLNewfoundland AncestorDigital only
GANSThe Nova Scotia GenealogistDigital only?
MGSGenerationsDigital option
OGSFamiliesDigital only
SGSBulletinDigital option
VGSJournalDigital option

Perth and District Historical Society February Meeting

The society meeting of February 16, 2017, will explore what the well-dressed woman wore at thw time of Confederation, 150 years ago.

Loree Tannett, who has already made a name for herself in Perth in the realm of period dress and costume, will bring a light-hearted presentation of the whys and wherefores of 1860s dress, demonstrating the lengths that the genteel woman went through in the course of dressing for her daily activities.  To aid in this, Loree will clothe a very animated, and perhaps talkative, mannequin.

Clothing in Canadian towns at the time of Confederation was generally similar to that found in Britain and also the United States during its Civil War period, although fashions in Canada were somewhat behind by about 20 years.  Fashion for towns people was continually transitioning during the 1800s, and the 1860s was no exception.   On the other hand, clothing in the rural areas tended to be more functional and less likely to reflect changing fashions, staying relatively constant over the years.

Loree has had a lifelong interest in costume and design.  She has experience with making costumes for live theatre and film, dancing and skating, historical events, and clothing for weddings and other special occasions.  In addition, she enjoys researching and experimenting with various fibers and techniques for using fibers artistically.

Loree and her husband, Jack, moved to Perth from Calgary three years ago, looking for a small town with a thriving arts community.  Since arriving in Perth, Loree has immersed herself in Perth life, serving on the Perth 200th committee, producing clothing of the 1816s era for re-enactments, judging at the Town Criers competition, making costumes for some Studio Theatre productions; she is also a members of the Perth Fair Board for the home crafts,

The meeting, at 7:30 pm, is at Perth's Royal Canadian Legion, home of the Hall of Remembrance, 26 Beckwith Street E., Perth, at 7:30pm (Toonie donation).
For more information, call 613-264 8362 or 613-264 0094 or visit our website at .
To contact us by e-mail or to unsubscribe from our mailings, kindly address your e-mail to:

Monday, 13 February 2017

Who Do You Think They Are?

What do these men have in uniquely common? What's the significance of the colours? Post your answer as a comment. Bragging rights!

Leverage the OGS Conference

If you plan on attending the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Ottawa, 16-18 June 2017, an event to remember, why not plan on staying a few extra days to follow up on some loose ends in your family history, or help celebrate the sesquicentennial.

Unless you registered already you're too late to participate in the conference's conducted tour of Library and Archives Canada. But you won't be too late to visit the building at 395 Wellington Street, on the Ceremonial Route, to do your own research.
You will need a reader card and, just as with any research visit, need to prepare. Read the advice at the LAC website. In particular, be aware that much of the archival material is stored offsite. It can take days for delivery so order well in advance.
For advice on genealogy resources look to the staff in the Genealogy Room on the 3rd floor at 395 Wellington.
For those with Ottawa ancestors the City Archives is a 15 minute walk from the conference site at Algonquin College.

The National Gallery, War Museum, and Canadian Museum of History (formerly Museum of Civilization) are not to be missed. Take a stroll to Parliament Hill and to the nearby Bytown Museum by the flight of locks between the Rideau Canada and Ottawa River.

Go to 150 reasons to be in Ottawa in 2017, and that doesn't even include the OGS conference.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Back to RootsTech

If like me you had other things to do than watch presentations streamed live from Rootstech you can watch recordings of many talks at your own convenience -- for free. Go to and scroll down to Did You Miss a Session?

Some BIFHSGO colleagues mentioned these talks from Thursday and Friday:

Diahan Southard, Your DNA Guide: DNA: The Glue that Holds Families Together

Judy G. Russell: Mothers, Daughters, Wives: Tracing Female Lines
Sunny Morton: Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, findmypast, FamilySearch and MyHeritage
Jen Baldwin: Cross the Atlantic with Religious Records

It was too early to hear comments on Saturday's presentations.

How LAC Implemented Trump's Agenda

In Canada we're accustomed to seeing news reports showing Canada ranking a bit behind Scandinavian but ahead of most G7 countries on measures of social development.
Nicka Smith, a genealogist and photographer,
wrote a blog post Why Genealogists Should Care About Trump’s Agenda pointing out that during the election campaign the now president proposed closure of two critical departments in the federal government, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH).  It would cut funds for the operation of the National Digital Newspaper Program, and  Chronicling America, which offers over 11 million pages digitized and searchable online.
That would send the US back to where Canada is today, no national program for newspaper digitization. There is a patchwork of newspaper digitization: some excellent free local initiatives, such as for Victoria's British Colonist; some newspapers, like the Ottawa Journal, on pay sites; and some digitized as images only with no search capability.
Is Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian federal department that has lead responsibility in preserving and making available Canada's documentary heritage, proud to have implemented Donald Trump's agenda years before he came on the political scene?

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Longevity and Migration

There has been a flood of articles from the academic community in the past few days using genealogical and genetic genealogical big data. They are aimed at the academic community, replete with technological terminology so that I doubt one in a hundred genealogists can critically evaluated the articles' methodology and results. I count myself in the 99%.

Quantitative analysis of population-scale family trees using millions of relatives, available as a preprint, not yet peer reviewed, is one the layman stands a bit more of a chance of understanding.

The study draws on data for 86 million individuals contributed by more than 3 million genealogists to, a division of MyHeritage. Quality control to eliminate obvious errors yielded a database of 5.3 million separate family trees the largest of which contained 13 million individuals and spanned 11 generations. About 30% came from North America, 50% from Western Europe and Scandinavia, 5% from the British Isles, and the remainder more than 100 other countries.

Testing these trees against a small DNA database showed a non-paternity rate of 1.9% and non-maternity rate of 0.3% per generation (meiosis).

The heat map has colours corresponding to the fraction of deaths reported at a certain age per year. Notice the decrease in infant and child mortality since the 19th century.

Regarding longevity the study found a tendency for longer-lived parents to have longer-lived children but less so than in previous studies. There was a slightly increased tendency for men to live longer if their father did and the same for women and their mother. However, hereditary was much less of a factor than environment overall.

On migration it was found that females migrated more but over shorter distances than males in Western societies. That’s consistent with women moving to the husband’s workplace on marriage. Men showed a greater tendency for longer range migration as shown by his children being born in a different country than the father, but not so much for the mother.

Couples born in adjacent locations are more likely to be genetically related - 4th cousins before 1850. Later society became more mobile and couples were more likely to be born further apart (greater marital distance). For every 70Km increase in marital distance the genetic distance relationship increased by one meiosis.

There's much more in the article, which also includes information on how to access the anonymised database, at

As I was writing this item the news arrived that Yaniv Erlich, corresponding author of the study, has been appointed Chief Scientist at MyHeritage.

Online from RootsTech: Saturday

Here's today's schedule of streamed presentations from RootsTech with EST timing.

10:30 a.m.–noon | RootsTech General Session
Speakers: Cece Moore, Buddy Valastro

1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. | Journaling Principles That Work
Speaker: Steve Reed

3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. | Don’t Just Be a Searcher, Be a Researcher
Speaker: Crista Cowan

5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. | Creating Google Alerts for Your Genealogy
Speaker: Katherine R. Wilson10:30 a.m.–noon | RootsTech General Session
Speakers: Levar Burton, Special Guest Panel

Find the stream at

OPL Lecture: Researching British Home Children

Saturday, 18 February at 10 am Gloria Tubman will give a two hour presentation on British Home Children at Nepean Centrepointe, 101 Centrepointe.Room 1B
The British Child Emigration Movement brought some 100,000 children to Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Considered “waifs and strays”, these children were sent overseas to escape the harsh realities of Industrial-era Britain. When they arrived in Canada, they were placed in foster homes, usually farms, where it was thought that fresh air, education, and hard work in the Canadian countryside would lead to healthier and better lives for them.  In some cases this was true; in others it most definitely was not.  While some home children were welcomed into their new Canadian homes with love, others were considered no more than free labour or domestic servants.
Today, a million Canadians can trace their ancestry to a Home Child, whether they realize it or not.  Since 2010, the Year of the British Home Child in Canada, resources for genealogical and historical research on home children have steadily increased.  
Log in and register for this experience at

Friday, 10 February 2017

English Roman Catholic records now at Findmypast

Findmypast have reached an agreement with the Roman Catholic Birmingham Archdiocesan Archives and Westminster Archdiocesan Archives to make available sacramental records older than 110 years.

The project, known as The Catholic Heritage Archive, starts online with 488,505 baptisms, 94,717 marriages, 49,880 burials, and 160,393 congregational records.

Baptismal records may include: Birth date, Baptism date, Church, Parish, Father’s name, Mother’s name, Godparents, Priest

Marriages list Marriage date, Church, Parish. Spouse’s name, Spouse’s parish, Father’s name, Spouse’s father’s name, Witnesses’ names, Priest

Burials give Age, Death date, Burial date, Church

Congregational documents include anniversary books, confirmation lists, congregational lists, lists of benefactors and converts, parish diaries, and more. Most records will list the individual’s name, date or year of the event, and contain additional remarks related to the event.

Many records are in Latin.

Online from RootsTech: Friday

Here's today's schedule of streamed presentations from RootsTech with EST timing.

10:30 a.m.–noon | RootsTech General Session
Speakers: Levar Burton, Special Guest Panel

12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m. | RootsTech Innovator Showdown Finals

2:15 p.m.–3:15 p.m. | Mothers, Daughters, Wives: tracing Female Lines
Speaker: Judy Russell

3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. | Censational Census Strategies
Speaker: Mary Kircher Roddy

5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. | Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, findmypast, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage
Speaker: Sunny Morton

6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. | Cross the Atlantic with Religious Records
Speaker: Jen Baldwin

Find the stream at

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Ancestry updates England and Wales, Death Index, 2007-2013

Some companies may know more about us than we do ourselves. While there's no database of anyone who ever used Google, and most companies keep what they know about us under wraps, here's information, via Ancestry, one company has collected about recent deaths in England and Wales.

Ancestry offers original data from GreyPower Deceased Data. compiled by Wilmington Millennium, an index that covers approximately 55% of the total deaths that occurred from 2007 - 2013.
The index provides name, gender, date of birth or age at death, date of death, and residence place at death.

UPDATE:  Now added, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Death Index, 1989-2015

Online from RootsTech: Thursday

Here's the Thursday schedule of presentations streamed from RootsTech with EST timing

10:30 a.m.-noon | RootsTech General Session
Speakers: Steve Rockwood, Jonathan and Drew Scott

1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. | Getting Started in Genealogy
Speaker: Kelli Bergheimer

2:15 p.m.–3:15 p.m. | DNA: The Glue That Holds Families Together
Speaker: Diahan Southard

3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. | DNA Matching on MyHeritage
Speaker: Dana Drutman

5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. | Jewish Genealogy: Where to Look and What’s Available
Speaker: Lara Diamond

6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. | Family History Is Anything but Boring
Speakers: Crystal Farish and Rhonna Farrer

Find the stream at

Wolfe's Battle Orders

A newspaper report from 84 years ago today tells of finding General Wolfe's original battle orders in preparation for the attack on Quebec in 1759.
The article reports the document was to be deposited at the National Archives. Did that happen? Has the document been displayed?

The article is in a newspaper digitized by the National Library of Singapore. It's in The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, 9 February 1933.

No need to ask why Singapore.  Library and Archives Canada
continues to ignore newspapers, and still has no newspaper digitization program. It's yet another illustration that ambition is wanting at both the political and public service level, in digitizing Canada's heritage, well voiced by Micheal Geist in this article.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Online from RootsTech

For those who would like to catch some highlights of RootsTech streamed, here is the schedule for today, Wednesday, with EST timing.

11:00 a.m.–noon | Keynote— Summit General Session
Speakers: Steve Rockwood, Liz Wiseman

12:15 p.m.–1:15 p.m. | Industry Trends and Outlook
Speakers: Craig Bott and Guest Panel

1:30 p.m.–2:00 p.m. | Innovation—Best Practices and Applications
Speaker: Cydni Tetro

Find the stream at

FamilySearch adds British Newspaper Archives, Obituaries

The British Newspaper Archives, a collaborative project between Findmypast and the British Library, has made available to FamilySearch a collection of indexes of  obituaries covering the period 1800-1900.

You can search by name and, optionally, birth, marriage and death places and dates. The image shows an example of the information returned.

You can view the original newspaper article, or browse newspapers, at an LDS Family History Centre or as a signed-in member of supporting organizations (usually means an LDS member.)

BIFHSGO February Meeting

The main event at 10 am this Saturday, 11 January, is a presentation The Queen’s Coachman — Our Only Claim to Fame, by Christine Jackson

Coming as she did from generations of agricultural labourers, Christine Jackson was happy to find that her Sussex-born great-grandmother’s brother provided her working class family with its only known claim to fame. For, so the story went, a certain Edwin Miller had been Queen Victoria's coachman! This nugget of information, backed up by some fading and undated photocopies of newspaper clippings, was all she had to begin illuminating the life of a man whose retirement was significant enough to be reported in newspapers around the world. Christine will relate how she used newspaper reports, census returns, parish and civil registrations, probate records, the royal archives and the Internet to piece together the story of a man whose life parallels the reign of Queen Victoria and proudly reflects the transportation business from a long-gone era.

The 9 am Education Talk will be Introduction to WikiTree presented by Leanne Cooper who will discuss how and why she uses WikiTree to document her genealogy research and give tips on its use.

It's all happening at The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario
Saturday, February 11, 2017.

Further information at, and don't forget about Global Genealogy's huge used book sale happening in the atrium.

These are free events. All welcome. Free parking.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

New Parish and War Memorial Records from The Genealogist

The following is from a news release from TheGenealogist.

TheGenealogist Launches over 282,000 Parish Records, plus 43,000 New War Memorial Records

The Genealogist​ has added to the millions of its UK Parish Records collection with over 282,000 new records from Essex, Cumberland and Norfolk​ making it easier to find your ancestors’ baptisms, marriages and burials in these fully searchable​ records covering ancient parishes. Some of the records go back as far as 1672.

The new release of War Memorial records means there are now over 350,000 searchable records.
This latest release includes war memorials from London, ​along with further English counties including ​Cumbria, Berkshire, Warwickshire and Suffolk​. The collection also stretches across the globe to encompass new War Memorials situated in Perth, Australia​ and the Province of Saskatchewan in Canada​.

Read the complete release here.

Ancestry pays up will pay $12.5 million to Kanata-based DNA Genotek to settle a dispute regarding patent inflingement. DNA Genotek is a subsidiary of OraSure Technologies as a result of a takeover in 2011.

DNA Genotek has granted a royalty-bearing, non-exclusive, worldwide license to certain of its intellectual property related to the collection of DNA from human saliva for use in its genetic testing services and products. The license is limited to saliva DNA collection kits sold or used as part of Ancestry's genetic testing service. has also provided a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to patents covering its existing saliva DNA collection kit to DNA Genotek.

Read the details até.

Monday, 6 February 2017

How to Write Your Personal or Family History

There's no lack of encouragement and advice on writing your family history. Google writing family history and a zillion results are returned. Most major conferences have one or more presentations on the topic. The OGS Conference in June has a half-day workshop Plot a Family History Story to be given by Lynn Palermo.

Check a bookseller inventory and find offerings like How to Write Your Family History: A Guide to Creating, Planning, Editing and Publishing Family Stories, by Noeline Kyle. Like most publications by Unlock the Past it's a slim volume, 32 pages, 5 x 8", staple bound and selling for $14.50 Cdn.

If you're looking for something more substantive consider How to Write Your Personal or Family History: (If You Don't Do It, Who Will?). The author, Katie Funk Wiebe, grew up in northern Saskatchewan, the daughter of Russian-German (Ukrainian) immigrants. She is professor emeritus of Tabor College, a Mennonite liberal arts college in Hillsboro, Kansas, who retired in 1990 after teaching English and journalism for 24 years.

I've not read the book. The publicity blurb describes it as "a practical—and encouraging—how-to book  . .  . a serious but accessible resource for undertaking your personal or family history writing."
If interested take a look inside at the table of contents and first chapter from here.

The new edition of the book, originally published in 2009, becomes available on Tuesday on Kindle, text to speech enabled, at $10.94 Cdn or as a paperback, 241 pages, 6 x 10" at $16.99 Cdn plus shipping.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Financial Health of Canadian Genealogical Societies 2015

Each year organizations federally registered as charities in Canada for tax purposes are required to file returns with the Canada Revenue Agency. Part, including financial information, is available on the Revenue Canada website. You can search for individual society reports at

This is being posted much later than in previous years as the report for BIFHSGO was very late in appearing online. The report for OGS is still not online although OGS assures it was submitted well in advance. See the comment posted from OGS below.

Of 10 societies with information currently available for 2015 three had a surplus of revenue over expenditure. Most others had a deficit well covered by assets.

Below is a summary of reports for 2015 with comparative figures for 2014, 2013 and 2012 in parentheses where available.

Alberta Genealogical Society
Total assets of $595,845 ($558,845, $606,312, $540,282), and liabilities of  $ 251,116 ($213,134, $257,883, $200,592). The total revenue was $294,466 ($208,033, $229,344, $254,380). Expenditures totaled $295,448 ($210,752, $250,276, $218,231). The individual annual membership fee remains at $50.

British Columbia Genealogical Society
Total assets of  $209,347 ($206,451, $203,542, $203,016) and liabilities of  $7,600 ($7,810, $9,268, $10,085). Total revenue was $34,030 ($33,923, $27,625, $24,783). Expenditures totaled $30,925    ($29,555, $24,991, $22,502). The individual annual membership fee remains at $45.

British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa 
Total assets of $98,897 ($121,878, $104,683, $90,374) and liabilities of $14,120, ($20,170, $32,716, $30,607). Total revenue was $59,872, ($71,443, $70,738, $54,675). Expenditures totaled $66,583, ($63,844, $55,000, $50,366). 91% of expenditures were categorized as "Other".The individual annual membership fee is increased $5 to $45 for 2017.

Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador Inc
Total assets were $25,523 ($29,166, $43,130) and liabilities $14,098 ($16,072, $15,867).  Total revenue was $ 34,368 ($29,729, $35,226) and expenditure $36,037 ($44,364, $32,525). The individual membership fee is $42.

Manitoba Genealogical Society
Total assets of  $47,734 ($37,118, $55,341, $50,743) and liabilities of  $7,927 ($7,208, $19,157, $22,458). Total revenue was $41,899 ($47,388, $47,727, $60,780). Expenditures totaled $32,060  ( $49,679, $48,942, $59,162). The individual annual membership fee remains $50.

New Brunswick Genealogical Society 
No report for 2015 is yet posted. The figures for 2014 were total assets were$177,857 (182,016, $194,048) and liabilities of $13,844 ($13,224, $21,542). Total revenue was $37,517 ($33,846, $37,121). Expenditures totaled $43,588 ($39,396, $36,974). The individual annual membership fee remains $35.

Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia
GANS had total assets of $281,182 ($307,796, $303,274) and liabilities of $1,553 ($0, $0). Total revenue was $42,800 ($45,693, $32,549). Total expenditures were $69,858 ($44,703, $30,717). The Association's annual membership fee is increased to $39.

Ontario Genealogical Society
No report for 2015 is yet posted as of 6 February 2017. Information from OGS is that it was submitted well in advance but not posted by CRA. See comment below.

Québec Family History Society
Total assets of $ 48,701 ($50,072, $53,800, $65,742)  Liabilities totaled $8,529 ($7,304, $5,111, $7,899). Total revenue was $42,468 ($42,545, $44,095, $60,623). Expenditures totaled $45,064 ($49,054, $50,878, $47,420). The annual fee remains at $75.

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society
Total assets of $ 114,170 ($86,875, $106,334, $46,921). Liabilities totaled $ 135,921 ($127,116, $125,662, $65,054). Total revenue was $237,391 ($239,577, $256,667, $261,767). Expenditures were $252,436 ($260,490, $268,140, $262,316) Basic annual membership remains $50.

Société généalogique canadienne-française
Total assets of $363,189 ($373,417, $339,405  $347,834). Liabilities totaled  $63,648 ($67,351, $39,685, $68,013). Total revenue was $231,117 ($202,946, $215,399  $248,240). Expenditures were $195,137 ($202,782, $201,759, $220,556.) Basic annual membership is increased $5 to $50.

Victoria Genealogical Society
Total assets of NA(NA,  NA, $24,786) and liabilities NA (NA, NA, 0). Total revenue was $ 34,048  ($40,412, NA). Expenditures totaled $44,502 ($42,629, $35,790). Individual annual membership remains $50.

The Quebec Family History Society continues with the highest annual membership fee ($75), the New Brunswick Genealogical Society the lowest ($35).

Huge Used Book Sale

Take pity on the servants. Don't plan on coming to next Saturday's BIFHSGO meeting by sedan chair if you'll be returning with a lot of books.
Global Genealogy will be bringing "a huge number" of used books for sale at reduced prices.
That's next Saturday, 11 February 2017 at Ben Franklin Place, Nepean Centrepointe.
That's the icing on the cake of another promising BIFHSGO monthly meeting program. Details later in the week.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

23andMe Sale, but not in Canada

Until Valentine's Day, 23andMe have reduced prices on both their Ancestry and Health + Ancestry tests. The prices quoted are for the US service.
The Canada service didn't show a sale when I checked, and only offers the combined test at $249 Cdn. There's likely shipping on top of that.
Unless you're interested in the health results the best reason for testing with 23andMe is to extend the number of people with whom you might find a genetic

Ancestry adds Web: Moray, Scotland, Local Heritage Index, 1632-2014 is now providing a search capability linking to 583,776 items in the People Search section of Local Heritage Services in Moray - Scotland.

The Web links provide direct access from Ancestry. It's also worth going to the original site where there's often additional information and other databases.

John Grenham on Why do you love genealogy?

John Grenham wrote:

“Why do you love genealogy?” 
As a leading question, this ranks close to “When did you stop beating your wife?” For years I’ve dodged it by mumbling about coincidence and the need to make a living. Recently, though, I had to answer in public, and found myself coming out with some truths.
 Read Grenham's three reasons here.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Genealogy on YouTube : Researching Scottish Inmate Ancestors

Christine Woodcock has posted a YouTube version of a talk "Criminals, Lunatics and Paupers: Finding Your Inmate Ancestors in the Scottish Records." It's a 58 minute presentation which you can find at

With no known Scottish ancestry I found the presentation educational, lots of resources mentioned, but routine until about the 40 minute mark. That's when Christine turned to the Poor Law and became engaged recommending a BBC series, also available on YouTube, on Victorian Slums. Find the first episode in that series at

Christine is booked to speak at RootsTech, the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree, 8-11 June 2017, and the second edition of the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit, 13-15 October, 2017 in Halifax, NS.

Living DNA Results

A pleasant surprise awaited me on Tuesday morning, my results from Living DNA. For my sample, which was sent in October, I was initially told to expect results by February 7. Just before Christmas I got notification of a problem will a low call rate on the first sample and to expect a three week delay in getting the results. The results came even ahead of the initial expected date with a note that updates are to be expected. Wow!

The test has paternal (Fatherline), maternal (Motherline) and autosomal (Family Ancestry) components. As I'd already done the BigY and full mitochondrial sequence test with Family Tree DNA I was told not to expect anything different. Those two LivingDNA's results were fully consistent with the previous tests.

With the random nature of DNA inheritance, you never know which half of a parent's autosomal DNA a person is going to inherit and what part will drop out. It's possible if highly unlikely, that the autosomal DNA of a grandparent could be entirely missing, or could account for one-third of a person's DNA. Who knows about the origins of those on the far side of the earliest identified ancestors. As the LivingDNA tweet said . . . you may have ancestors in places you never imagined. So true!

The results are described as "your DNA mix in the last 4-5 generations."

The overview of my result was 82.4% Europe, 7.7% Near East, 3.7% East Asia, 3.4% South Asia,  1.2% African and 1.6% unassigned. With one Jewish grandparent, I was prepared for a non-European component. I was not expecting the diversity as my Jewish line is in Europe for five generations. Repeating "you may have ancestors in places you never imagined."

Subdividing the 82.4%, European component to the regional level the result is 68.8% Great Britain and Ireland, 5% Europe (North and Western) and 8.6% unassigned. The GB&I percentage is within the range of the estimates from the other companies: Family Tree DNA 71%, AncestryDNA 49%, and 23andMe (Speculative) 57%.

For the  British Isles ancestry LivingDNA results are provided at a sub-regional level which aggregates counties. The assignment of counties to sub-regions was provided to me by the company with the caveat that it "approximates what counties (as per currently known borders) fall within our regions and as such, there will likely be much overlap:"

Sub-regionApproximate counties
AberdeenshireAberdeenshire, Angus, Fife, Moray areas
Central EnglandWarwickshire/Bedfordshire/Leicestershire/Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire, Northamptonshire/ Staffordshire areas
CumbriaCumbria, Dumfries and Galloway areas
East AngliaNorfolk/Suffolk/Cambrigeshire/Essex areas
LincolnshireLincolnshire/Nottinghamshire areas
North WalesPowys/Ceredigion/Gwynedd/Conwy/Anglesey/Wrexham areas
North YorkshireNorth Yorkshire/East Riding of Yorkshire areas
Northwest EnglandLancashire/Merseyside/Cheshire/Staffordshire areas
Northwest ScotlandHighland/Argyll and Bute/Stirling/Perth and Kinross areas
NorthumbriaNorthumberland/Tyne and Wear/Durham/Scottish Borders/Fife areas
Orkney Islands
South Central EnglandSomerset/Wiltshire/Oxfordshire/Berkshire/Gloucestershire/Warwickshire areas
Southeast EnglandSurrey/Sussex/Kent/London/Hertfordshire/Essex
South EnglandDorset/Wiltshire/Hampshire and surrounding areas
SW Scotland and Nrn IrelandNorthern Ireland/Dumfries and Galloway/Ayrshire/Lanarkshire and surrounding areas
South Wales BorderHerefordshire/Worcestershire/Shropshire/W Midlands and surrounding areas
South WalesPembrokeshire/Carmarthenshire/South Powys/Swansea/Glamorgan/Monmouthshire areas
South YorkshireSouth Yorkshire/West Yorkshire areas

The table below shows the 21 sub-regions with the percentage of my whole DNA I expect to be from the different GB&I sub-regions based on genealogy and my percentage according to LivingDNA.

Aberdeenshire - -
Central England14.73.10
Cornwall -1.40
Cumbria4.9 -
Devon -8.50
East Anglia12.3 -
Lincolnshire -12.20
North Wales 2.5 -
North Yorkshire - -
Northwest England7.4 -
Northwest Scotland -3
Northumbria - -
Orkney - -
South Central England -7.20
Southeast England 12.38.70
South England - -
Southwest Scotland and Northern Ireland-1.20
South Wales Border4.95.90
South Wales - -
South Yorkshire -5.60

For 10 of the 21 sub-regions the results are somewhat consistent, either a percentage where I expected to have some ancestry or none where I expected none. The test showed ancestry in four of the eight sub-regions I expected. The largest percent from genetics, 12.2% in Lincolnshire, was not a matching sub-region.

Seven of the sub-regions where the LivingDNA test indicates I have ancestry do not occur in my genealogical records back to the fifth generation -- remember the coverage description as "your DNA mix in the last 4-5 generations.". It could that there are NPEs, or massive surprises on the other side of my brick wall great-grandfather. More likely the 4-5 generations is statistical. If all your ancestors were from China until 6 generations ago, then all moved to Aberdeenshire you wouldn't expect your genetics to come out as 100% Aberdeenshire.

There are four sub-regions where I have ancestry according to the genealogy but none according to the LivingDNA test. That can happen by chance when half of DNA from the previous generation gets discarded.  However, I'm rather surprised that would happened with the East Anglian ancestry which accounts for five of my 3xgreat-grandparents, all ancestors of my paternal grandfather.

There's more than I've covered here. LivingDNA will be at RootsTech, Feb 8-11 as well as at WDYTYA Live in Birmingham. They'd be glad to explain their service.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Backup nag

The monthly reminder that you hard disk won't last forever. When it happens it's no fun.

Back up before its too late.

FamilySearch adds Ontario Births 1912

As of 1 February FamilySearch is advertizing their Ontario Births database from the Archives of Ontario covers 1912. There are an additional 60,637 birth registration for that year.
Entries were loaded on Wednesday. The camera icon indicating availability of original images was displayed for many results but they were not available. Perhaps they'll be there by the time you read this.

Distant Reading

What's distant reading? Only done by those with hypermetropia?
Distant reading is understanding not by studying particular texts, but by aggregating and analyzing massive amounts of textual data from a corpus.
Distant reading has evident limitations for genealogy where you need to pick through to find something particular, say, an obit of your great-grandmother. That's called, unsurprisingly, close reading.
What distant reading can do for the family historian is provide context. Your great grandmother died of influenza and you'd like to know if it was a year when the disease was prevalent.

You may be familiar with Google Ngram where you can explore how frequently a word or phrase has been used in a corpus of books over time. This example shows the profile for cholera in red and influenza in blue. There's a huge spike for cholera in 1884 and upticks for both in 1942. While there is an uptick for influenza in 1918/19 for the pandemic that killed more than 20 million, perhaps as many as 50 million, the Ngram peak is not as significant at in 1905. The problem for genealogy is the book corpus relates to the publication date which may not bear any relationship to current events. It is good for long term trends - try cigarette, aircraft, newspaper, radio, television.
Recent months have seen several articles published on distant reading using newspaper databases as the corpus. The British Newspaper Archive, Chronicling America and a Dutch newspaper database have all been explored. While newspapers cover current events there are still issues of representativeness as discussed in the article Bridging the gap between quantitative and qualitative research in digital newspaper archives.

The studies using the British Newspaper Archive have been conducted by a group from the
University of Bristol led by Professor Nello Cristianini. A recent article, Content analysis of 150 years of British periodicals includes a diagram reproduced here with the bottom panels showing the difference between the frequencies through the years for cholera, influenza, smallpox and plague from newspapers (left) and books (right). Note the more prominent peak for influenza in the newspaper corpus in 1918.
That same article also gives a link where you can download a huge file giving the year-by-year frequency of occurrence of different Ngrams from the newspapers. It's a computer challenge. not for those unprepared to wrangle large data files.
I've been experimenting with it. A graph produced for cholera, influenza and cancer is appended.
More later if and when time permits.

It should not go unremarked that there is no possibility of performing a similar analysis on Canadian newspapers lacking any national newspaper digitization program.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Ancestry updates Beddington, Surrey, England, Royal Female Orphanage List of Children, 1890-1913

There are only 598 records of girls training for domestic service in this database. It gives the name, date of birth, date of entering and leaving, positions held after leaving until contact was lost, often in the 1920s, or they married. A few emigrated to Canada and elsewhere.

British Newspaper Archives additions for January

The British Newspaper Archive now has 17,932,171 pages (17,567,270 pages last month) from     717 (709) titles online.
There are good runs of the Suffolk and Essex Free Press, Durham County Advertiser, Herts Advertiser, South London Press, Shipley Times and Express, Shields Daily News, Kildare Observer and Eastern Counties Advertiser, Longford Journal, Wicklow News-Letter and County Advertiser, and Wicklow People. The full list of additions this month is:

Sporting Life1880-1909
Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette1890
Bolton Evening News1910
Athletic News1901-1907, 1909, 1913
Wexford Independent1873
Belfast News-Letter1951, 1954
Suffolk and Essex Free Press1912-1927, 1943-1949
Dartmouth & South Hams chronicle1898
Stonehaven Journal1873, 1880-1902, 1904-1911
Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian1946-1955
Bournemouth Daily Echo1900-1905
Inverness Courier1895-1901
Newcastle Journal1873
Durham County Advertiser1872-1875, 1877-1887, 1889-1892, 1905-1908
Herts Advertiser1866-1878, 1894-1895, 1898-1903, 1905-1907
Bradford Observer1877-1880
Northants Evening Telegraph1957
Hastings and St Leonards Observer1957
Sligo Champion1910
Sheffield Daily Telegraph1906-1907
Kendal Mercury1873
Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail1957
Sussex Agricultural Express1957
Oban Times, and Argyllshire Advertiser1873
Kentish Gazette1873
Hamilton Advertiser1873
Belfast Telegraph1910
South London Press1878-1909
Hampshire Advertiser1914-1923
Barnsley Chronicle, etc.1910
The Halesworth Times and East Suffolk Advertiser.1873
Kings County Chronicle1873
Tyrone Constitution1873
Whitehaven News1873
Cumberland and Westmorland Advertiser, and Penrith Literary Chronicle1873
Cornish & Devon Post1910
Shipley Times and Express1913-1943, 1945-1949, 1951-1957
Walsall Free Press and General Advertiser1873
Shields Daily News1881-1884, 1902-1910, 1912-1925, 1927, 1931-1933
Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette1873
Sidmouth Journal and Directory1873
Shepton Mallet Journal1897
Irish Times1859-1860, 1864-1865, 1875, 1878, 1897
Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal1912
Kildare Observer and Eastern Counties Advertiser1881-1894, 1897-1912, 1914-1929, 1931-1934
Western Morning News1895
West Somerset Free Press1903-1904
Evening Star1893-1896, 1898-1904
Weekly Freeman's Journal1910
Longford Journal1850-1868, 1870-1874, 1876-1880, 1882-1883, 1899-1914
Bradford Daily Telegraph1876-1877, 1886
Donegal Independent1886-1889, 1891-1893, 1896-1898, 1900-1906, 1909-1914, 1917-1919
Leinster Leader1884-1887, 1889, 1891-1894, 1925-1949, 1951-1955
Ballyshannon Herald1851-1863, 1866-1870
Wicklow News-Letter and County Advertiser1860-1872, 1877-1878, 1885, 1897-1913, 1915-1919
Wicklow People1891-1910

Appended below is a list of all the newspapers digitized by Library and Archives Canada in January.