Saturday, 25 March 2017

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

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

BCGS Canada 150 Seminar

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

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

Find out more here.

Findmypast adds Manitoba Probate Browse

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

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

Home Child Presentation in Arnprior

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

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

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

Friday, 24 March 2017

MyHeritage: Twice the Value

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

OPL Event: Ken McKinlay on Managing Your Genealogy Research Projec

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

Thursday, 23 March 2017

LAC to replace AMICUS

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

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

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

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

Satisfaction with Library and Archives Canada Services

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

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

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

What do you think?

OGS Ottawa Branch March Meeting

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

OGS Conference: Wall of Ancestors

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

YouTube: Secrets to Successful Irish Family Research

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about it at

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

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Alberta Civil Registration Indexes online

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

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

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

Ancestry's Genetic Communities

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

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

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

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

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

YouTube: Manuscript Collections of the Genealogical Office of Ireland

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

Monday, 20 March 2017

Ancestry Updates Wigan and West Yorkshire BMD Collections

Here are the latest English record updates from Ancestry

Wigan, England, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1926, 261,782 records
Wigan, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1911, 658,125 records
Wigan, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1580-1812, 269,180 records
Wigan, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1979, 133,28 5 records 

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Confirmations, 1859-1875, 1901-1915, 503 records
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985, 1,331,307 records
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935, 4,130,806 records
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910, 6,264,569 records
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1512-1812, 4,965,100 records

Library and Archives Canada: Departmental Plan 2017–18

"Steady as she goes" is the message of the plan set out in this new document, part of the annual parliamentary budget process. When Guy Berthiaume stepped in to the role of Librarian and Archivist of Canada he set a direction which, 30 months later, is well underway.

Here's the bottom line for LAC. Spending of $124,388,866 drops to $115,219,215 for the fiscal year starting in a few days time. It drops further the following year and then increases with the construction of a new archival facility in Gatineau.

As a client and genealogist I'll focus here on the Access to Documentary Heritage component of the plan. That's not to downplay the vital "behind the curtains" parts of the mandate that are essential if there is to be something to access now and for the future.

Access is the focus of the Minister's opening message:
"LAC will continue its digitization activities and will unite all of its partners around the National Heritage Digitization Strategy to increase the online presence of our documentary heritage. In addition, because nothing can replace the emotion of being in the presence of original documents, LAC will showcase the treasures from its collection by displaying them in its own facilities as well as those of other institutions across the country."
 Key activities planned for 2017–18 are:
  • Contribute to celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation through thematic exhibitions and online content
  • Enhance the visibility of the collection by offering dynamic public programming and by loaning items to other organizations for display
  • Establish partnerships to provide access to original documents to a broader public
  • Increase the amount of content accessible online by continuing digitization initiatives
  • Digitize the Canadian Expeditionary Force service files
  • Respond to Access to Information requests
  • Contribute to Canada's Action Plan on Open Government by making federal government documents available
  • Continue to disseminate content on social networks, to reach as many clients as possible and to make the collection more visible
  • Continue the Supporting the Documentary Heritage Communities Program, intended to enable private documentary heritage organizations to preserve and showcase their collections
  • While there is one mention of genealogy (genealogists) there is no mention of newspapers or newspaper digitization. Why the neglect?
  • Projected funding for access to documentary heritage increases marginally, 0.45%,  over the period to 2019–20. There are six mentions of the National Heritage Digital Strategy but no significant additional funding. 
  • One of the performance benchmarks is Amount of digital material downloaded by clients on LAC's website. In 2015-16 it was 11 million files, for 2017-18 it is 10 million files. A decrease!
Anther performance benchmark is Percentage of Documentary Heritage Communities Program recipients that have met their objectives. There is no current measure of this performance; for 2017-18 the target is 85%. However, there is no indication of the criteria that will be used to make the assessment. Will the claims made in final reports will be audited?
  • It is not apparent how a commitment to Move forward with the renewal of the AMICUS database, a catalogue that contains the information resources of hundreds of libraries across Canada squares with negotiations that were supposed to be concluded by the end of 2016-17 with OCLC/WorldCat.
  • Has LAC abandoned any attempt at comprehensive Canadian website archiving, or even just for the federal government? There is a commitment that Federal government websites will be archived so that Canadians have sustainable access to information on the commemoration of Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation. 
  • Two access initiatives are highlighted:
Implementing a digitization lab at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa to enable visitors to make their own digital copies of collection content that interests them;
I hope to have the opportunity to trial this in the near future. Watch for a blog post.
Developing a web platform for citizen participation so the public can help to transcribe and describe LAC's collection.
A trial last fall was considered very successful as it was completed well ahead of schedule. Many other organizations harness citizen participation. Why has LAC has dithered?
  • LAC has an agreement with the City of Ottawa regarding a shared facility at a new city central library. It is contingent on federal funding which is not secured so does not appear in this plan.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

OPL Event: Forensic Genealogy and Adoption

Mags Gaulden, of Grandma’s Genes, will give a 90 minute presentation this Monday for adoptees looking for their birth family or those seeking long-lost relatives or friends.
In Forensic Genealogy and Adoption: Tracking Down Your Living Limbs you will learn the specialized research techniques, both traditional and DNA-based, including social media searches, newspapers, courthouse sources, and genealogy programs.

Carlingwood Library, Monday March 20, 2017 at 6:30pm

More information at

Wikipedia: William Pittman Lett

Bryan D. Cook, has produced a spin-off from his book Introducing William Pittman Lett: Ottawa First City Clerk and Bard 1819-1892 as a Wikipedia article.
It's a welcome step in Bryan's campaign to wrestle Lett's contributions to the development of Ottawa out of relative obscurity. A recent Ottawa Citizen article helped.
What next? An entry in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography?

Breakfast with Family History Webinars from TNA

Advance Notice

The (UK) National Archives in London (TNA) is running a week of free of charge introductory family history webinars. They will run from 1pm to 2pm (UK time), that's 8 am EDT if both countries have made the switch to summer time, on the dates listed below. Pre booked via the eventbrite website. The programme is as follows:

Using census records, 3 April
Discover how to use the census and overcome the challenge of difficult to find ancestors, exploring the census and what it can offer the family historian, bridging the gap between birth, marriage and death records.

Using the Discovery catalogue, 4 April
Learn how to use TNA's Discovery catalogue, using both simple and advanced searches to find material both at TNA and in 2,500 other archive repositories around the UK.

Tracing criminal ancestors, 5 April
How to use 19th and 20th century criminal records, including records of trials, incarcerations and executions. Passenger lists, passports and assisted passages are also included.

Emigration records, 6 April
Find out how to trace ancestors who emigrated overseas.

First World War ancestors, 7 April
Finding out more about ancestors who served in the Great War, including how to trace wartime ancestors using online resources.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Ancestry adds Swansea area records

Three interesting new databases for Swansea and the surrounding areas of Wales sourced from the West Glamorgan Archive Service are now on Ancestry.

Electoral Registers, 1839-1966 has 5,779,593 records
These annual electoral registers for 10 sub-areas within Swansea typically provide a name and place of abode. Older registers may include a description of property and qualifications to vote. Registers were compiled at a local level, with names appearing alphabetically within wards/districts. Many of the registers in this database have been indexed electronically from the printed registers, which allows you to search them by name. The street address can be searched in the Location field.

Poor Law Union Records, 1836-1916 has 148,073 records
The types of records found in this collection include

Creed registers
Admission and discharge registers
Registers of births
Registers of deaths
List of paupers and abstract of accounts
Master's report and journal
Registers of young persons
School attendance books
Workhouse punishment book
Lunatic registers
These records are for the Gower, Neath, Portardawe and Swansea Poor Law Unions and can be browsed and searched.

Gaol Records, 1877-1922 has 102,110 records
Each record image has typically eight cases per page and will include the following information:
Prisoner's name (and aliases used)
Date that the sentence commenced or the date that the prisoner was received into custody
Names of the Officials involved
The collection also includes Nominal Gaol Registers for the years 1877-1922 for Swansea, Brecon and Carmarthen prisons, as well as a handful of photo albums of prisoners.

National Heritage Digitization Strategy Update

The following is especially for the attention of directors of genealogical/family history societies across Canada.

On 16 March an update was posted by Sandra Singh, Chair, on behalf of the NHDS Steering Committee.
The strategy was launched at a foundation assembly last October. The steering committee has produced a draft action plan now open for comment.
The update includes "we appreciate the patience demonstrated by our colleagues across the country" which suggests stakeholders are anxious for something beyond organizational process.

A reminder, from the strategy document, that the following goals could be achievable over the next ten years.

90% of all published heritage before 1917 and 50% of all monographs published before 1940;
Focusing on published heritage leverages the roles of generations of editors and cataloguers. It allows for efficient collection management practices such as last copy approaches. Most works published over a century ago are in the public domain; this allows their dissemination through union catalogues or simple web portals. A broad and collective approach to works published prior to 1953 would also help secure the social objectives of legal deposit before it was created in Canada. These objectives also build on past investments made by the library community through Canadiana and its parent institutions.

All scientific journals published by and theses accepted by Canadian universities before 2000;
Preservation and access to collections of scientific publications and scholarly journals is broadly distributed in Canada. This objective would consolidate them and respond to growing demand as the knowledge-based economy expands.

All microfilm from memory institutions;
Microfilm and microfiche digitization maximizes digital output and minimizes costs by leveraging access and preservation investments made over the past 60 years. This will also free up dedicated reading room space, shift printing costs, and reduce consultation equipment.

Selected audio and audio-visual recordings;
A significant portion of our audio and audio-visual recordings are on obsolete analog carriers. Digitizing the most significant ones will reduce the amount of material at risk.
Aboriginal oral histories recorded on analog audio carriers are particularly at risk of disappearing.

Selected archival fonds and finding aids;
Digitization of high-interest archival fonds that are split between various institutions, as well as finding aids, will help plan and/or reduce travel expenses for researchers.

All historical maps;
Historical maps are among the most fragile, precious and significant holdings. Digitizing them is as much a preservation measure as an access one.

All archival material of genealogical interest.
Genealogical resources are the most popular holdings and, therefore, the most likely to interest a private partner.

Directors of genealogical societies, as well as individuals, can help ensure materials of genealogical interest are given appropriate priority by providing comment on the draft action plan as requested by the Steering Committee.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Findmypast celebrates St Patrick's Day

Ireland, Directories 1636 - 1799 Browse has over 20,000 records taken from 85 volumes of Irish directories and almanacs published during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Ireland, Legal Administration contains over 1,600 records that will allow you to discover about those put on trial or who worked in Ireland's court system. Explore publications related to the law and courts including prison studies, Assizes records, lists of judges and a guide book for Civil Service clerks produced by Bram Stoker.

Ireland Memorial Inscriptions contains over 1,400 records. The collection consist of explore eight publications of indexes to memorial inscriptions found in 58 cemeteries across Dublin, Meath, Louth, and Wicklow.

Ireland Surnames & Family Histories is supplemented with over 800 records, It is described as a rich and varied collection consisting of 10 historic family and local history publications with over 7,000 pdf images of assorted documents.

Ireland, Histories & References has over 14,000 records added. Four 19th century Irish histories and reference guides; the Album of Ireland, A Little Tour of Ireland, Ireland in Pictures and The Tourist's Picturesque Guide to Ireland.

Ireland, Society of Friends (Quaker) births has over 302,000 new birth records from all over Ireland with date, place of birth and parents' names.

Ireland, Society of Friends (Quaker) marriages has 20,000 additions. Discover when, where and to whom was married as well as occupation, parents' names and who attended the ceremony.

Ireland, Society of Friends (Quaker) deaths adds over 24,000  dating back to 1654. Discover when they died, where they were buried and the names of those they left behind.

Ireland, Society of Friends (Quaker) congregational records has an additional 250,000 Irish congregational records with details of the meetings attended and the activities engaged in.

Ireland, Society of Friends (Quaker) school records has over 9,000 new records added to the collection which now contains over 53,000 records and covers six different schools.

OGS Kingston Branch March Meeting

Dynamic duo Lesley Anderson and Glenn Wright will give a talk about Creating Ontario: Immigration to Upper Canada and Canada West, 1791-1867 on 18 March, 2017.

The meeting is at the Seniors Centre, 56 Francis Street, Kingston beginning at 10:00 a.m with a one hour social period before.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

OGS Conference Speaker named Mover and Shaker Educator

Library Journal announces that D. Joshua Taylor has been named as one of nine Mover & Shaker Educators for 2017.
At the OGS conference Josh will give a Friday workshop, presentations and the Saturday evening banquet talk Family History in Prime Time.
Read more about Josh and the award at

GRO Pilot 3: PDF copies of non-digitised records

Now underway until at 4pm on 12 April, or when 40,000 PDF's have been ordered, the (UK) General Register Office is trialling a service to provide PDF copies of non-digitised records. Records will be emailed as a PDF. They will not be immediately viewable.

England and Wales records which are available as PDF's in pilot 3 include:

Births: 1935-2006
Deaths: 1958-2006
Marriages: 1837-2010

Applications for each PDF which cost £8, must be made online and include a GRO index reference.

Note: A PDF is not a certificate and has no value for services where a certificate is required e.g. a Passport or Driving Licence application, or Notice of Marriage

Order from

NYPL 708,450, OPL 0

Do you recognize this view? Can you date it? It's one of 63 hits when you search for Ottawa in a free digital collection from the New York Public Library. Not all are for Ottawa, Ontario.

Compare that to the number of items digitized by the Ottawa Public Library. None. Why so much of a laggard?

Ancestry Updates Surrey Records

Surrey parish records were first added to Ancestry in May 2013. An update as of 14 March is in the card catalog. Here are the details, check it out if you looked before and didn't find something you'd hoped for.

Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1937, 1,128,310 records
Surrey, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1987, 519,990 records
Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912, 2,262,611 records
Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812, 1,864,596 records

An Invitation to Share Your Living DNA Results

For the Ottawa DNA group in May I'm giving a presentation on the Living DNA service to  Compiling a table of results from the Family Ancestry part of the test is part of the preparation. So far I have 11 results collected from web posts and local people. The partial spreadsheet image below is an extract. I'd like to get results from 30 or more tests, people with more than half their ancestry from the British Isles.
One objective is to find out if there are areas that are over or under predicted. At present results for Cornwall look suspicious, but the sample is small.
If you can help please send results, along with the expected sub-regions from which ancestry is expected, to johndreid at gmail dot com. Anonymous results welcome.
Living DNA is a major sponsor for the Ontario Genealogical Society conference in Ottawa this June.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

CEF Service Files Digitization: March Update

As of 15 March 2017,  416,749 (404,164 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 7059 (6831 last month) and last name McLelland (McGee). Library and Archives Canada is digitizing the service files systematically, from box 1 to box 10686, which roughly corresponds to alphabetical order.

12,585 (16,454) files were digitized in the last month. At that rate the project would be complete by August 2018.

Ancestry adds Ireland, City and Regional Directories, 1850-1946

You can search a total of 6,171,447 records and browse Ancestry`s collection of Thom`s Directories starting with the seventh annual edition in 1850.
Up until 1922 the directory is for the United Kingdom and Ireland with a focus on Dublin. It doubled in size up to 1922, then drops to its original size with the UK omitted, growing back to the 1922 size by the end of the series.
The focus is on the great, the good, businesses and almanac type information. Nevertheless, it may be useful in lieu of census records prior to 1901 and after 1911.
Missing are the volumes for 1860-62, 1873, 1895, 1900, 1905, 1920, 1923, and 1927.
Findmypast has volumes from 1844 to 1900.

OGS Quinte Branch March Meeting

The Quinte Branch meeting on 18 March, 2017 is a digital presentation "What shape is your DNA?" by Diahan Southard.  It covers the latest methods of analysis and interpretation for the non-scientist genetic genealogist.
The video in the Legacy Family Tree Webinar series was presented to a live webinar audience on June 29, 2016.
Everyone welcome, bring a friend.  Quinte West Public Library, 1-3 pm.

Diahan Southard is the featured speaker at the Alberta Genealogical Society conference , Ye Olde Genealogy Faire, this April.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Legacy Webinar: Why are Irish records so weird?

If you have Irish genealogy interest don`t miss the opportunity of a webinar on Wednesday, 15 March at 2 pm EDT by John Grenham.
Not all Irish records were destroyed in 1922, but the burning of the Public Record Office in that year did leave an immense gap. As a result, Irish genealogical research has to deal with idiosyncratic, fragmentary and sometimes marginally relevant records in ways that can seem very strange to those used to British, US or Australian sources. In addition, Ireland came late to digitization and has done it unsystematically. To be polite. This talk unravels the ways in which marginal records have become essential for Irish research, and the peculiarities in using them online.
 Register from

Elizabeth Lapointe R.I.P.

Sad news. Elizabeth Lapointe, a longstanding member of the Ottawa and Ontario genealogical community passed away on Monday, 13 March 2017.
A genealogy blogger, professional researcher. writer, journalist, author, editor of the Ontario Genealogical Society journal Families and proud Nova Scotian, Elizabeth had many talents and abilities.
Regrets to Elizabeth`s many friends and long-time partner Mario who informs me that plans for a memorial service are in progress for the coming weeks.


The following appreciation was sent to members by Patti Mordasewicz, President of The Ontario Genealogical Society

Obituary – Elizabeth Lapointe

The Ontario Genealogical Society regrets to announce the sudden passing of our Families editor, Elizabeth Lapointe.  Elizabeth had just completed the spring 2017 issue, which will be available in the next week, and it will stand as her last issue.  Elizabeth became Editor of Newsleaf with the November issue of 2006, and continued in that role until April of 2011.  During her tenure as editor of Newsleaf, she expanded the publication to include an e-Newsleaf edition, which began in March of 2008, and was issued in months in which the longer print edition was not published.

In August of 2010 Elizabeth stepped in as the Guest Editor of Families, taking over from an ailing editor and working with volunteers and OGS staff to complete the August edition.  Her first complete edition as Editor occurred with the November 2010 edition, and she has faithfully produced four issues per year since then, culminating in her 26th issue, the Spring edition about to be released.

Throughout her tenure with The Ontario Genealogical Society, Elizabeth set the bar high in terms of editorials, content and standards for publication.  She was always willing to work with content, copy and layout editors to produce both publications which were respected and well-read in genealogical communities far beyond OGS.

In addition to her outstanding contributions to OGS, Elizabeth’s Genealogy Canada blog was widely read and had a large and loyal following of genealogists and those interested in Canadian family history.  As a professional genealogist, Elizabeth helped others in their quest for family history knowledge.

Our sincere condolences go out to J. Mario Lapointe, Elizabeth’s husband and helpmate, on this sudden and profound loss, from the entire OGS family.

Ye Olde Genealogy Faire

Come to the Alberta Genealogical Society conference, themed as Ye Olde Genealogy Faire, and I'll show you how to research a knotty problem Mary Smith, and about researching a Canadian first, both Edmonton residents. That's in my presentation "Researching Early 20th Century British Immigrants to Canada."

With five parallel streams you'll be sure to find something of interest from the "Notable authors, historians and specialists (who) will enlighten the audience with presentations on Canadian, Quebec, British, Irish, Scottish, East European, Czech genealogy, DNA technology, FamilySearch, WDYTYA, WWI, Social Media and more.

Act now. Wednesday, 15 March is the deadline for early bird registration at

Library Elf

Today is the anniversary of the first post on this blog.
On 14 March 2006 I wrote about Library Elf -- a free service that reminds you when your library materials are becoming due. It's still going strong, still recommended.

Monday, 13 March 2017

St. Patrick Savings 💚

You're in luck with St. Patrick Day promotions, if you love to save on items you'd buy anyway

Global Genealogy has 20% off all in-stock items until 17 March.

AncestryDNA is $20 off in Canada, that's $109 (plus shipping), down from $129 until 19 March.

Irish Newspaper Archive has a 20% discount on purchase of a monthly or annual subscription to INA's entire database. Donegal001 in the coupon code box until 18 March. (via Claire Santry's blog)

Free is the ultimate in saving.

Findmypast is making access to its Irish records free through Friday.

Canadian Newspapers Online for Genealogists

In the past few days one of the go-to sites for finding digitized Canadian newspapers has been updating content, province by province.
Since the start of the month Ontario, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia all have been updated on Kenneth R. Marks site The Ancestor Hunt.
Given the disarray in central organization for Canadian newspaper digitization, a black mark for Library and Archives Canada, The Ancestor Hunt, along with the Historical Canadian Newspapers Online from Bowling Green State University are the best resources for Canadian newspaper researchers.
While at The Ancestor Hunt check out the tutorial videos on the YouTube Channel for Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario.

Sir Guy Carleton Branch, UELAC Spring Social/AGM

Saturday April 22, 2017 : 11:30am - All are welcome!

Best Western Plus Ottawa City Centre, 1274 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario
Speaker: Romaine Honey

Topic: "Ottawa Public Library: Hidden and not-so-hidden Treasures for Genealogists"

Romaine Honey is a Local History and Genealogy Librarian and Program Development at the Ottawa Public Library. She holds a Masters' Degree in Library Science from Western University and has experience in government libraries as well as in various positions at OPL for the past 15 years.
As a genealogy librarian, she enjoys both researching her own family tree and helping others in their research.

Cash Bar after 11:30 a.m.; Lunch at 12:15; Cafe 1274
Meal includes: Garden Salad with buns and butter
Entree, your choice of:
- Roast beef au jus with potatoes and vegetables
- Chicken breast with white wine sauce with potatoes and vegetables
- Poached salmon with dill sauce and rice Dessert, with coffee or tea

The price is $30 per person. Please specify your choice of entree. Send your cheque to Bob Adair, 34 Briardale Crescent, Nepean ON, K2E 1C2
Phone number is 613-274-3331.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Ancestry interview with Diahan Southard

Diahan Southard, featured speaker at the Alberta Genealogical Society's Ye Olde Genealogy Faire, 22-23 April in Edmonton, answers Ancestry's questions on genetic genealogy. Asked about tools she would like to see she diplomatically avoids mentioning a chromosome browser from Ancestry!
I like her closing statement that a DNA test is now a standard part of researching your family history, just as much as looking at the census.

New Canadian Militia 1907 Database from BIFHSGO

Announced at Saturday's BIFHSGO meeting, and in my column in the society Spring Anglo-Celtic Roots quarterly chronicle, this new database is an alphabetical index to a list of 1,991 Canadian militia personnel in the permanent or volunteer force in 1907 who were not born in Canada. Most were of British origin.
The information has been hidden away in plain sight in a place most of us don't think to search, a Sessional Paper, since 1908.
The index contains surname and forenames or initials, rank, age, country of origin, military division, page on which the name is found, and a link to the image of the original table. You don't need to be a BIFHSGO member; it's open for all to view, search and retrieve the information at

There's also background information at

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Findmypast weekly additions and updates

The spotlight is on Australia with the addition of one major database, over 1.3 million records in Victoria Wills & Probate.

Victoria Divorce Cause Books 1861-1938 is over 39,000 records; New South Wales, Tea Gardens cemetery inscriptions 1898-2008 over 524 records; New South Wales, Stroud Baptismal Register 1892-1925 235 records and there are 408 additions to Australian Capital Territory Marriages.

In addition to newspaper updates, mainly Irish, there are over 3,00 records of the Derbyshire, Chesterfield union workhouse death index 1838-1904 and 55 records for British Army, Plovdiv (Bulgaria) Military Cemetery Burials.

Surprises through the Canadian Federal Science Library Portal

If you've ever been surprised at something useful you've come across browsing library shelves you could be equally surprised at resources you uncover searching this new gateway to Canadian Federal Science Libraries. I was when I found an entry for a 1913 book The Newspaper by G. Binney Dibblee with this image as frontispiece.

From the 6 March press release:
The Federal Science Library is a one-stop, self-serve web portal that makes government research and resources visible to all Canadians by connecting them with the collections of seven departmental libraries. The portal allows users to view or request items from a vast collection of publications in science, technology, engineering and health and other related economic, policy and program information. Wherever possible, departmental publications, reports, data sets and other content are freely available for anyone to access or download. It also gives users the option to expand their search beyond the holdings of the seven federal science libraries to include millions of publications from around the globe.
The Federal Science Library partners are:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Health Canada
  • National Research Council Canada
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada

Explore the new Federal Science Library.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Genealogy Courses in Toronto

Registration is now open for the following courses being offered in May and June by Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.

  • Using the iPad and iPhone for Genealogy: A hands-on course on three consecutive Thursday afternoons in April and May on putting mobile devices to work for family history – to capture data, pictures, records and audio; organize and enhance research findings; and share them with others. Instructor: Carol Nichols.
  • Designing Genealogy Posters: A two-session workshop series on Tuesday evenings in May and June exploring new, engaging and low-cost ways to display research findings and tell family stories. Instructor: Ellen Maki.
  • Creating Genealogy Videos with Adobe Spark: A two-session workshop series on Tuesday evenings in May and June on using a free graphic design program to produce videos from family history materials. Instructor: Jaclyn Gunton.
In addition, there are still a few spaces left in the final winter 2017 course:
  • Introduction to Genetic Genealogy: An intensive fast-paced one-day course on Saturday 25 March introducing essential records and techniques for family history research. Instructor: Linda Reid.
For further information, please visit our Branch website at

Thanks to Gwyneth Pearce for the tip.

Family History stored in stone: Granite Mountain

Every so often we get a glimpse of Granite Mountain, the FamilySearch record storage facility outside Salt Lake City, in WDYTYA segments and other genealogy TV programs. A new video takes a more in-depth look at this amazing facility.

A Code of Conduct for Genealogy Conferences?

A newsgroup I follow is having a spirited discussion on a code of conduct for conferences. One participant wrote they won't attend a conference that lacks a code of conduct.

I was unaware of such codes, or the need, assuming that the normal law of the land sufficed. Although I've always felt safe at conferences I acknowledge that may not be the case for everyone.

The following is an extract from the Ontario Library Association Superconference code based on the Code4Lib Creative Commons Conference Code.

We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Harassment is understood as any behaviour that
threatens another person or group, or produces an unsafe environment. It includes offensive verbal
comments or non-verbal expressions related to gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual
orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religious beliefs, sexual or
discriminatory images in public spaces (including online), deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Each OLA event will have a designated Code of Conduct Committee consisting of no less than two
OLA member volunteers involved in the event and an OLA staff person. The committee members will be identified in advance and at the event should a delegate need to contact them.

If at any time, a presenter, guest, delegate or visitor feels that they have been harassed or that this
code of conduct has been breached, it is important that this person report it to a member of the Code
of Conduct Committee.

Do any genealogy conferences have such a code? Are they needed?

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Biographical Index of British and Irish Botanists

I was lucky to be able to watch live the final episode of the current BBC series of WDYTYA featuring BBC News presenter Sophie Raworth. In the final minutes she found several relatives in a book originally published as Biographical Index of British and Irish Botanists in 1898. As explained in the episode the senior botanist/gardiner was a respected member of staff of a stately home on a par with the butler. The garden was a hallmark of status.
There's a more recent version of that book available in limited view on Google books. The original publication digitized is at and elsewhere.
Don't expect to find ordinary gardeners. Charles Darwin and Edmund Halley (Halley's Comet) are included.

BIFHSGO March Meeting

The main event this Saturday, 11 March at 10 am is a presentation
From Famine to Prosperity to the Longue Pointe Asylum: the Varied Life of John Patrick Cuddy, given by Gillian Leitch.
John Patrick Cuddy immigrated to Canada from Swinford, Ireland, during the Famine migration of 1847-1851. Once in Montreal, he was able to create for himself a very successful business and a large family. The presentation covers his life in Swinford, his migration, the network of family and friends in Montreal, his business, his wife and children, and the last months of his life which were marked with an arrest, committal, court case, and the ensuing unusual judgement. 
Gillian Leitch’s PhD thesis about Montreal’s British population, “The Importance of Being English?: Identity and Social Organisation in British Montreal, 1800-1850,” was completed in 2007 at the Université de Montréal. After a year as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh, she joined CDCI Research in Ottawa as a historical researcher. In addition to her work and publishing on Canadian history, she has also published three academic books on popular culture (science fiction: time travel and Doctor Who).At 9 am

At 9:00 a.m. Ken McKinlay will present the Before BIFHSGO Education Talk — Searching Findmypast's Newspaper Archives.

Open to members and visitors. Free admission and parking. The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Trolley Women

The Spittlefields Life blog has a way of turning the spotlight on the seemingly mundane. A good example for IWD is Tuesday's post Stephen Gill’s Trolley Women.

Take the paragraph below. The words may even seem like parody, but when paired with the photos (go to the blog) exquisitely express the dignity of an overlooked aspect of everyday.
"Observe the hauteur of these noble women, how they grasp the handles of their trolleys with such a firm grip, indicating the strength of their connection to the world. Like eighteenth century aristocrats painted by Gainsborough, these women claim their right to existence and take possession of the place they inhabit with unquestionable authority. Monumental in stature, sentinels wheeling their trolleys through our streets, they are the spiritual guardians of the territory."

International Women's Day: Books by Women for the Genealogist

It's International Women's Day. Let's recognize it by profiling a short list of books of genealogical interest by female authors, one published each year since 2012 and a forthcoming book.

Genealogy: Essential Research Methods, by Helen Osborn
" . . . advice and inspiration on methods and problem-solving and helps the amateur family historian understand what successful professionals do to get results, and why we should copy them."
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Robert Hale (Dec 1 2012)
ISBN-10: 0709091974

See my review at

Tracing Your Ancestors Through Death Records, by Celia Heritage
. . . expert advice, going above and beyond in helping you through the details of finding and examining your ancestors' death records.

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Pen and Sword (April 19, 2013)
ISBN-10: 184884784X

Celia Heritage will be a plenary speaker at the BIFHSGO Conference 2017.

The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy: Trace Your Roots, Share Your History, and Create Your Family Tree, by Kimberly Powell
The 3rd Edition, helps you:
  • Effectively search various websites
  • Decipher census data and other online records
  • Choose the best way to share data with family members
  • Connect with other genealogists through social media
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Everything; 3 edition (Jan. 8 2014)
ISBN-10: 144057068X

How to Use Evernote for Genealogy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize Your Research and Boost Your Genealogy Productivity, by Kerry Scott
Evernote tips and strategies, with real-life examples
Step-by-step instructions for managing different types of genealogy information.

  • Tricks for using Evernote to speed up research tasks.
  • Search-optimize Evernote data so your information is easy to find
  • Ideas for enhancing Evernote with external apps
  • Tips to protect your data and troubleshoot issues, and more.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Family Tree Books (Nov. 16 2015)
ISBN-10: 1440343837

Atlantic Canada's Irish Immigrants: A Fish and Timber Story, by Lucille Campey
While I could have chosen any of Ottawa-born, English resident Lucille Campey's books on Scottish and English immigration to Canada her most recent explains why the "Irish immigration saga is not solely about what happened during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s; it began a century earlier."
Paperback: 424 pages
Publisher: Dundurn (August 2016)
ISBN 978-1-45973-023-6

The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Ancestors in Ireland, by Claire Santry
Not yet published, but advertised as becoming available in May

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher F&W Media, Incorporated, 2017
ISBN 1440348804, 9781440348808

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Late Breaking OGS Conference News

Just announced, Living DNA will be the Banquet Sponsor for OGS Conference 2017 in Ottawa.

That's Saturday 17 June 2017 with Banquet Speaker Josh Taylor. Not to be missed.

Living DNA are part of the community. They were at Back to Our Past Ireland last October and RootsTech in February. The company will be at WDYTYA in Birmingham, the SCGS Jamboree and now the OGS Conference.

I'll be giving my own presentation on the Living DNA test at the next meeting of the Ottawa DNA Special Interest Group on Saturday 6 May.

TNA Webinar - Hidden treasures

This webinar on Monday 20 March 2017 16:00 – 17:00 GMT will explain how to access Treasury correspondence for the years 1777-1920. Through practical exercises, relating to topics such as the First World War and workhouses, you will become confident in finding letters to the Treasury. You will then be able to use your new-found skills to further your own research.
Find out more and register at

Fee Increases and Other Changes at TNA

The headline on the announcement from The (UK) National Archives is Our fees are changing from 1 April 2017. Why not be up front about it  - - most fees are INCREASING!

Most likely to impact those of us using TNA remotely is the price for a digital download going from £3.45 to £3.50. I won't get upset about that.

While a few prices are not changing, including do it yourself copying, many are increasing. For example: To make a copy of a Naturalisation Certificate, and providing the necessary authentication for that Certificate, cost per certificate, increases from £25.95 to £27.40.

The increasesgo into effect on 1 April 2017.

There are changes underway at TNA in the physical layout on the 1st floor too. Read the announcement, especially if you plan on visiting prior to mid-May, at

Monday, 6 March 2017

Findmypast new records

This is catching up with the new records posted by (or last week.

Scotland Post Office Directories
382,782 entries from a long list of directories.

For instance, for Glasgow:

  • Glasgow Directory, 1799, 1801, 1803-1805, 1807, 1809-1813, 1815, 1818, 1824-1826, 1828
  • Glasgow Post Office Annual Directory, 1828-1836, 1838-1856, 1910-1911, 1918-1919, 1922-1929
  • Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1838-1839, 1859-1863, 1865-1869, 1872-1892, 1894-1897, 1899-1900, 1907-1909, 1911-1912, 1931-1938, 1940-1942
The volumes were OCR indexed so expect errors and omissions when searching. You can also browse the directories.

Lower Canada Census 1842
46,467 entries in this early 19th census. The linked images identify them as copyright and served from FamilySearch. 

Britain, Russian Orthodox Church in London
Browse 189 volumes with over 13,000 records of birth, marriage, and death records from the Russian Orthodox Church in London, and also correspondences, congregational records, and church documents. The records are sourced from the (UK) National Archives in the RG 8 collection.

Anglo-Boer War Records 1899-1902
A major addition of 295,204 transcript records drawn from more than 470 sources giving unit served with and any medals, honors, or awards they won. The register also contains a completely revised casualty list of 59,000 casualty records. Includes Canadian units such as Strathcona's Horse.

Also additions to Yorkshire Memorial Inscriptions (7,258 new records) and Britain, Knights of the Realm & Commonwealth index (352 additions).

Legacy Family Tree Webinar: 50 Websites Every Genealogist Should Know

This Wednesday 8 March at 8 pm EST Gena Philibert-Ortega will reveal her choice genealogist's websites, beyond Ancestry and FamilySearch.
Find the link for free registration, and view other webinars scheduled in the series, at

Gena Philibert-Ortega is the Saturday Keynote Speaker at the Alberta Genealogical Society Ye Olde Genealogy Faire, 22-23 April 2017 in Edmonton.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

YouTube: AncestryDNA in Australia

AncestryDNA tested Bondi Beach apartment block residents in an online series ‘It’s a Small World’ for a DNA journey of discovery. Four 5 minute soft advertorial segments.

OPL Genealogy Events in March

Two events with guest speakers are being offered by the Ottawa Public Library in March.

1. Forensic Genealogy and Adoption: Tracking Down Your Living Limbs
Looking for living people can be one of the most difficult genealogy problems! Adoptees tracing their birth family and those looking for long-lost relatives or friends face a daunting task. Learn how to find the “living limbs” in your family tree, using both traditional and genetic genealogy resources, including social media searches, newspapers, courthouse sources, and genealogy programs. Presented by Mags Gaulden, Grandma’s Genes..

 Monday Mar 20, 2017 at 6:30pm

2. Keeping the Past for the Present and the Future: Preservation Techniques for the Home Archive
Stop the deterioration of your family's photographs and other memorabilia. Learn how to avoid damage, find out about safe handling and storage practices, and explore digitization options. In this special 3-hour workshop, Kyla Ubbink of UBBINK Book and Paper Conservation will offer demonstrations and hands-on activities for simple and practical techniques to give you the skills to start saving your family archives now.

 Saturday Mar 25, 2017 at 1:00pm

Registration in advance is required through the OPL website.

More Quebec Notorial Records on Ancestry

On Friday Ancestry made additions to the collection Quebec, Canada, Notarial Records, 1626-1935 which debuted last October. There are now 16,529,462 records. See the October blog post and comments about the collection here.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

GCGS announces speakers for October 2017

The Great Canadian Genealogy Summit, a national conference that showcases the knowledge and skills of Canadian genealogists, released its roster of speakers for 2017 on 1 March.
Three of the 11 presenters, gender balanced, are Ottawa-area based, Mags Gaulden, Brian Laurie-Beaumont and Patricia Robert-Pichette.
Read the press release with the bios at
The GCGS is being held at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 13-15 October, 2017.
Watch for registration opening in April.

OGS Conference 2017: British Pub Night

I'm told there's no more room at the British Pub Night being organized by BIFHSGO at the OGS Conference. Sad; there are limits imposed by fire regulations. Maybe you'll find a scalper prepared to sell you their place!
It pays to be early to ensure you can enjoy the conference to the utmost so act soon and take advantage of early bird pricing which ends at the end of March.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Newly updated British collections from Ancestry

Ancestry make updates to existing collections which often go without much publicity. For example

Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1940
Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812
Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985
Sutton, Surrey, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915

Also, now with 42,741,627 entries

UK, City and County Directories, 1766 - 1946.

The index was created using text recognition software, not transcribed, so expect to find peculiarities such the first name as that of a place. They're easy to spot.

University of Ottawa Archives turns 50

An article in the University of Ottawa Gazette contains a few images that may be of interest to those with a U of O connection. The university itself traces back to the first College of Bytown (1848).
Congratulations to the Archives and Michel Prévost, the university Chief Archivist, a valued member of the local heritage community who will be helping celebrate March as Francophonie month.

These days the university is in the midst of construction of Ottawa's LRT system which will improve accessibility when completed in 2018.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Kyla Ubbink at #OGSConf2017

On Thursday I had the chance to interview Kyla Ubbink who will be giving a Friday morning workshop, A Snap in Time, A Shot for the Future: History of Photographic Process and Preserving Your Photograph at the OGS conference.

I brought along a couple of items for her to examine, she knew items were coming but didn't know what they were. Listen to her describe what she sees and her ideas on how best to conserve and store the artifacts - what you can do yourself and what might warrant professional expertize. The images are from the two items.
We also discussed another workshop Kyla will be giving in Ottawa later this month, Keeping the Past for the Present and the Future: Preservation Techniques for the Home Archive.

Listen to the interview at

The intro music is Just Be from music by longzijun.

March backup nag

Did you remember your monthly hard disk backup on the 1st? If not this is your 2nd chance. Do it now.

BIFHSGO colleague Ken McKinlay has his own advice on backing up at

Ottawa DNA Group Meets this Saturday

How many people will brave the cold of next Saturday morning for a presentation by Errol Collins on "The Big Y,"  a Y-chromosome direct paternal lineage test designed to explore deep ancestry?
Big Y is a SNP test offered by Family Tree DNA using Next Generation Sequencing. It helps place men more precisely on our common paternal tree than is possible with STR testing and is increasingly being used in surname studies.
I'm hoping Errol will also discuss the additional analysis of the test results available at extra cost through YFull including an extended range of STR results.
The meeting starts at 9:30 at the Ottawa City Archives, 100 Tallwood.
The January group meeting was standing room only. As this is a more advanced presentation it may not be quite as crowded but consider arriving early to reserve a seat and take advantage of the time to network.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

St David's Day

1 March is St David's Day, patron saint of Wales.

Family Tree Magazine marks the occasion with a blog post Top free websites to trace your Welsh ancestors.

The BIFHSGO conference, 29 September  – 1 October, 2017 will include material of special relevance for those researching Welsh ancestry. Stay tuned for news on the programme coming soon,

Registry of Deeds, Ireland

When both Claire Santry and John Grenham write about an Irish resource you know something interesting is happening.
Claire writes about the 21 February update to the Registry of Deeds index project with 225,142 index entries from 25,551 memorials of deeds.
John Grenham celebrates the availability of microfilm image files through FamilySearch.
Claire points to a helpful guide to using the virtual microfilms of Registry of Deeds books.
I've not had a chance to test these on my elusive John Marmon, or more likely his father Peter (maybe), in County Down. It's likely my last hope.

Is it true there's no such thing as race?

The Historical Society of Ottawa meeting on Friday saw Rev. Dr. Anthony Bailey speaking on Ottawa's Black History. Along the way he stated that there is no such thing as race.

As a member of the human race I was surprised.

Rev. Bailey mentioned a 1950 UNESCO Statement on Race (starts on page 30 at

The Oxford English Dictionary has the following primary definition of race

A group of people, animals, or plants, connected by common descent or origin.
In its widest sense the term includes all descendants from an original stock, but may also be limited to a single line of descent or to the group as it exists at a particular period.

Oxford Reference says of race:

A classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations. Race is not to be confused with ethnicity; the answer to the question ‘does race exist?’ is, biologically no, socially yes.

The same source says of ethnicity:

A highly elastic concept applied to groups who say they share or are perceived to share some combination of cultural, historical, racial, religious, or linguistic features. Ethnicity also often implies shared ancestral origins; thus there is thematic overlap with the older concept of peoples and some modern notions of race.

So race is "not to be confused" with the "highly elastic concept" of ethnicity which includes racial features in its definition!

At the end of his presentation I asked Rev Bailey whether he had any concern that DNA tests offered for genealogy risked exacerbating racial divisions. He appeared not to think so citing the difference between concepts of ethnicity and race.

Is there a reluctance to acknowledge the existence of race due to abhorrence of racism? The OED defines racism as:
A belief that one’s own racial or ethnic group is superior, or that other such groups represent a threat to one's cultural identity, racial integrity, or economic well-being.

Notice race and ethic are used considered equivalent.

Would we deny the existence of capital if we abhorred capitalism?

Following my question colleague Bryan Cook commented that DNA shows we are all "out of Africa."