Monday, 26 January 2015

A Visit to 395 Wellington

On Friday I took the opportunity of a warmer less brutally cold day to follow up on some research at Library and Archives Canada.
Since BIFHSGO was forced to move its monthly meetings from the building, when the rental fee became excessive, I've had less occasion to visit.
I took the opportunity to see what's changed. On the second floor south, an area that used to house the National Library open shelf reference collection, the shelving has been removed and the carpet replaced. I hope management has plans for better use of this prime space which has been underused for many years.

At the far end of the room above, under the mural, is a set of double door leading to a little, or at least lesser known reference materials area. It too has had attention, the shelves seem less cramped than I remember them being. I was pleased to find the Ayres' and McKim's newspaper directories had been retained.
Some of the space is occupied by old library card catalogues. Judging by this notice they have not been updated since 1980. Is 35 years long enough for a decision to now be made that they should no longer be occupying prime downtown real estate. Perhaps they could be moved to the Canadian Museum of History as another element of inter-organizational cooperation.

Here's another space in the same area which has had some attention but is ripe to reevaluation of its use.

I found LAC staff as helpful as ever and quickly completed my research. Wandering over to the genealogy area where there is a display of recent magazines from Canadian societies and publishers I noticed the selection didn't correspond to the notice posted that these were the latest issues. The Spring 2014 issue of Anglo-Celtic Roots was the last available. Are later issues stuck on a staff member's desk?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

A Successful Day for OGS Ottawa Branch

Ottawa Branch organizers were unsure how many people to expect for their Back to Basics - Getting Started session given by Mike More on Saturday morning at Ottawa`s City Archives. When 45 people showed up it was sure they were meeting a demand and that the publicity by Stephanie Dean had been effective. Others in the room also answered attendees questions after the presentation, Gloria Tubman handling home child queries. Dealing with questions on Armenian family history proved more of a challenge -- always a danger with open genealogy sessions.

The afternoon saw about 35 people in the room for the regular branch monthly meeting. Elizabeth Kipp related her experiences, benefits and contributions, as a member of the Guild of One Name Studies (Alexa rank 329,264), the new Surname Society (Alexa rank 963,721) and the Society of One Place Studies (Alexa rank 2,077,107). What's the difference between the Guild and the Surname Society? With the Guild you register to research a surname wherever it occurs and undertake to respond reasonably promptly to queries. You become the world expert. The Surname Society allows members to register their interest in as many names as they care to mention and hope to make connections.
All three societies are making use of social media. Searching on YouTube will bring up recordings of hangouts and other events from each organization.
In addition to these contributions Elizabeth mentioned she is on line parish clerk for Bishops Nympton and Winterbourne Clenstone.
About ten people stayed after the monthly meeting for the Computer Special Interest Group. Doug Grey demonstrated accessing the archives of the Ottawa Journal from the City Archives. Doug also commented how glad he is that Global Genealogy is now making publications available as pdfs mentioning particularly two volumes of The Ontario Photographers List. I had to leave the group early but not before asking about experience with Fences for Windows and receiving advice and a positive recommendation regarding

Toronto Neighbourhood History Online

Toronto Public Library staff have created an interactive map to assist users in discovering resources in the Library’s collections for 107 neighbourhoods.

Included are historical pictures, maps and atlases, ephemera (posters, flyers, etc.) and e-books in the Library’s Digital Archive as well as catalogue records for print books and in other formats. Links to external sites that library staff recommends are also provided from the map.

Find out more at the blog post Find the history (and cool historical images) of your neighbourhood!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Mallorytown presentation Shadows in the Tree

On Sunday Jan.25, 2015 at 2 pm, the 1000 Islands River Heritage Society in partnership with the Front of Yonge Library presents Jennifer Debruin who will be discussing her latest book, Shadows in the Tree, the tale of a United Empire Loyalist and her journey to what is now Canada.

A lifelong resident of Eastern Ontario, Jennifer is interested in exploring the human story within the rich history of the region and writes fact-based fiction that engages readers in “discovering the humanity in the history.”

The event is at the Mallorytown Community Centre, 76 County Rd. 5 Mallorytown, Ontario. This is the first in a series of planned presentations to be given over the next few months. The following presentation is on Sunday February 22, 2015 when BIFHSGO member Gloria Tubman will speak on Researching British Home Children.

Program for the National Genealogy Conference in Canada

Now available at is the full three-day program for this conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 17-19 July 2015. There's further information under the More option in the black top right hand menu bar.

Thanks to Heidi Wilker for the tip.

Friday, 23 January 2015

FreeBMD January Update

The FreeBMD Database was last updated on Thursday 22 January 2015 to contain 244,124,784 (243,519,549) distinct records. Years with major updates since December are: for births 1943, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1971, 1973-74; for marriages 1952, 1965-66, 1968-69, 1971-75; for deaths 1971-74.

Family Tree: February 2015 issue

The Sherlock Holmes silhouette on the front cover for the February issue of Family Tree highlights an article by Roy Stackdill "Inside a Researcher's Casebook."  A veteran researcher and former journalist who enjoys researching celebrity family trees, in theis article he draws lessons from research on Charlie Chaplin, Colin Dexter (creator of Inspector Morse), Josephine Tewson (who played Elizabeth, neighbour and victim in Keeping Up Appearances) Dame Judi Dench and more, each a tricky investigation.

In other major articles in the issue you can read about tracing WW1 merchant sailors; reckoning old weights, measures and money, finding graves online; reading Scottish wills and testaments, WW1 fashions, and death duties. Shorter articles include those by regular columnists and What Makes a Must Read Family History Blog (thanks to magazine editor Helen Tovey for the mention of Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections).

Ancestry adds recent British Death Indexes

When the British government ended availability of recent civil registration indexes an opportunity opened up for the private sector. One of the companies that stepped in to the breach is Wilmington Millennium providing a service to help keep company customer databases up to date and avoid fraud by people using a deceased's identity.

Now Ancestry has made some of that data available on two databases:

England and Wales, Death Index, 2007-2013, with 1,492,728 records
Scotland and Northern Ireland, Death Index, 1989-2013, with 413,518 records

I wondered if the data for England and Wales was a copy of the probate index, also on Ancestry. A small sample showed a little overlap. Some deaths I know occurred are missing.

While all the examples I checked used data from Wilmington Millennium the overall sources for the Ancestry database is given as "British Death Indexes. Various sources." Perhaps there are others.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Irish Family History Day Webinar - researching your Irish ancestors

On the 23rd January, Findmypast is celebrating Irish Family History Day and as part of this family historian Brian Donovan will provide his expertise on Irish records in a webinar.

Streaming starts at 5:00pm GMT, that's noon EST

Register in advance at

Irish records are the feature additions for this week's Findmypast Friday. Details at and in Peter Calver's Lost Cousins Newsletter for 22 January.

Historic British Weather Information

The February issue of Family Tree Magazine (UK version) is out. Scanning the contents my eye was drawn to an article by David Norris, a frequent contributor to Internet Genealogy, Whatever the Weather. He mentions sources for weather data for various counties, for Britain it's pdf copies of the Monthly Weather Report from 1884 to 1993 at It's interesting, a one page summary of conditions for the month, but I wanted more.

I lucked out at, a work in progress. For the years of the two world wars they have data recorded at weather observing stations scattered across the country. Only 15 km from my birthplace and on that day there were observations at 6 hourly intervals of atmospheric pressure, pressure trend, temperature, dew point, predominant weather, visibility, cloud information, etc. There are also weather maps.

If your period of interest isn't online you can contact the Met Office library at .

OGS Ottawa Branch January Meeting

Saturday, 24 January, 13:00 – 15:00
Where: City of Ottawa Archives (Room 115)
1:00-1:30:  Networking & Refreshments
1:30-3:00:  One Name Studies

This month the presentation is by Elizabeth Kipp who will be examining several different sites for surname studies and discuss how to choose the best. She intends covering both one name and one place studies and how they are of value to one's genealogical studies.
Elizabeth writes on her blog that this will be her "last lecture as I find it just too time consuming to do lectures."

You can make a day of it with a Back to Basics - Getting Started talk at 10:30 am for 90 minutes given by Mike More, also at the City Archives. And, the computer special interest group will convene in the afternoon after the main meeting.