Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Celebrating 1 July

A century ago the celebration of what was then known as Dominion Day was subdued.

The list of activities published in the Ottawa Journal of 30 June seems tame by 2015 standards.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Manitoba First World War Casualties

The Archives of Manitoba has launched a new searchable index of Manitoba World War 1 casualties at

According to an announcement from the Archives "the index was created from index cards that make up  a series entitled "Index cards identifying soldiers killed in World War I".  These cards, created by the Government of Manitoba just after World War 1 (we believe to populate the Cenotaph on Memorial Boulevard just to the west of the Manitoba Archives building),  identify a Manitoban soldier killed in the First World War.. Some of the entries have a fair bit of detail, and others are quite limited.  We have titled the index "partial" because we know that not all Manitoba casualties were recorded in it - for instance, Manitoban George Battershill was fatally wounded at Vimy (we have his letters) and there is no card for him."

There are 1092 soldiers represented in the index which is fully keyword searchable.

If you go down to LAC today ...

... you're sure of a big surprise ... if you expect to find the lobby at 395 Wellington displaying gems from the LAC collection.

What you will find is a display put on by the Canada Science and Technology Museum: Harvesting Sunlight, in collaboration with SunCentral, and Underwater Imaging, in collaboration with 2G Robotics.

While the genealogist in me would prefer to see exhibits related to the LAC mandate it's still better to have the space used rather than remain empty in the forlorn hope ...

Read about the exhibit at

Monday, 29 June 2015

Findmypast adds 1.9 million historic criminal records from TNA

Just posted.  See info from findmypast at and TNA at

Names of victims and witnesses as well as criminals are included. To be updated.

Paul Milner reviews Down and Out in Scotland researching ancestral crisis.

The take home messages from Paul Milner's review of Chris Paton's Book Down and Out in Scotland researching ancestral crisis are:

  • This is definitely not a book to begin your Scottish research with. 
  • There is much in this volume that I have not seen in other Scottish guide or reference books, so is highly recommended for those wanting new avenues to explore.
Read the full review on Paul's blog at

via Gail Dever at Genealogy à la carte

Surprise, surprise: Eugenie Bouchard related to royalty

The latest press release tells those in extreme desperation for celebrity news that Canadian tennis player, Wimbledon finalist in 2014, Eugenie Bouchard is half 11th cousin, twice removed from The Duchess of Cornwall through her father’s side of the family, a Quebec line.

In a world with three children per couple everyone would have 725.6 million 11th cousins.  That's a reasonable historical estimate as more than two children surviving to have children of their own are needed for there to have been any natural growth in population, The figure is based on the equation for the number of  nth cousins 2^(n+1)*c^n where c is the constant number of children per couple.

Estimates are there are 360 million people speaking English as their first language, and 80 million French speakers, in total much less than 725.6 million. With those odds the surprise would be if Bouchard were not related to royalty, and the same for us all.

What's more unusual in Bouchard's case is the ability to find the records thanks to those of Quebec and the British nobility having better survival than for the average British ag lab. Lesley Anderson discusses the records in an Ancestry blog post at

OGS Ottawa Branch AGM

On Saturday afternoon Chair Doug Grey got through the agenda of the OGS Ottawa Branch AGM in under 20 minutes - admirable.

Despite a major loss suffered on Gene-O-Rama in 2014, due to a major snowstorm on the day, and a 9% reduction in membership fee revenue, the Branch came in with a less than $1,000 loss for the year.

The Branch was able to fill all board positions for the coming year. A new editor for The Ottawa Genealogist is needed for January when Ed Kipp steps down.

Gene-O-Rama 2016 is scheduled for 1-2 April.

The AGM was followed by an excellent Home Children presentation by Gloria Tubman.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

July 8 confirmed as date NLI Catholic records go online

"The National Library of Ireland’s complete collection of Catholic parish register microfilms is to be made available online for free later this year.

On 8 July, the NLI will launch a dedicated website with over 390,000 digital images of the microfilm reels on which the parish registers are recorded."

That's the start of an article by Grainne Rothery from Business and Leadership found at

via a tweet from Kyle Betit.

Your Genealogy Today: July/August 2015 issue

When I started out reading this issue it seemed there'd be nothing much for me -- all US genealogy.  Up until page 39 there's just one page, on DNA & Genealogy which appealed.

Here's that part of the table of contents:

Historic Amusement Parks: Your Family & America’s Playgrounds
Sandy Hack looks at how vacation photos and clippings can add color to your family history research

DNA & Genealogy
Diahan Southard asks: In an ever-changing DNA world, is mtDNA testing still an important tool for family historians?

What the Widow Got
George G. Morgan looks at how your female ancestor may have been affected by property laws

Beginning Your World War II Research
Jennifer Holik explores the offline resources for researching your WWII military ancesto

Book Reviews
Lisa A. Alzo reviews two books by Jennifer Holik: The Tiger’s Widow, and Stories from the Battlefield

Finding Grandad at the Canal!
Isabelle Kettner Addis explores her grandfather's contribution to building the Panama Canal through Internet searches and family lore

Two articles from regular contributor David Norris helped save the issue for me.

The Unwritten Records of Pens and Pencils
David A. Norris jots down some thoughts about writing instruments that may have contributed to family history

Bringing Foreign Letters and Symbols Into Your Writing
David A. Norris offers tips for adding that little extra to your documents

This four page article gave a surprising number of options for inserting non-English alphabet characters into texts including my favourite, which he calls a stopgap measure of cutting and pasting for an existing document which I find using a Google search.

Additional articles are:

Advice from the Pros
Amanda Epperson reveals 10 ways to improve client reports

Research Trip 10
Carol Richey collects some valuable tips from key staff at the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library

Genealogy Tourism
Christine Woodcock examines the resources available to genealogists interested in researching their roots in Scotland

The Back Page
Dave Obee questions the future of genealogy on television after Ben Affleck

Preserve your family history for thousands of years

Fahrenheit 2451 is a Kickstarter project that claims to preserve your data in a sapphire disk that resists fire, water and time and can be read with nothing more exotic than a magnifying glass.

Documents are shrunk 30,000 times (that is over 170 times in each direction) and engraved between two thin sapphire wafers using high-precision photolithography technology.

Read about it at

Note: This is for information, it is not an endorsement.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

FamilySearch adds Nova Scotia Vitals

The following browse images sourced from the Nova Scotia Archives have appeared at FamilySearch

Nova Scotia Deaths, 1864-1877
27,717 images organized by county (Annapolis, Antigonish, Cape Breton, Colchester, Cumberland, Digby, Guysborough, Halifax, Hants, Inverness, Kings, Lunenburg, Pictou, Queens, Richmond, Shelburne, Victoria, Yarmouth) and year range.

Nova Scotia Marriages, 1864-1918
21,950 images organized in the same way as above.

Nova Scotia Births, 1864-1877
35,025 images organized in the same way.

The records are name indexed at

Findmypast weekly update

Additions for England this week by Findmypast are:

The parish of Southfleet in North West Kent has added nearly 2,000 baptism, 500 marriage and 1,500 burial records, transcripts and images.

Over 2.8 million new searchable articles have been added to our collection of historic British Newspapers. The latest additions include 3 brand new titles, the Cornish Times, Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, Tadcaster Post, and the General Advertiser for Grimstone, as well as substantial updates to 37 existing titles.

For Ireland:
Sligo workhouse registers 1848-1859 contains over 9,000 records, a transcript and image of the original document listing the names of new arrivals and details including their age, occupation, religion, any illnesses or infirmities, family members, local parish, their condition on arrival (usually describing clothes or cleanliness) and when they were discharged or died.
Clare Board of Guardian Books has 63,918 records for the 1840s to the 1880s from the Kilrush and Ennistymon unions, minute books recording weekly reports on the number of inmates, new arrivals, births, deaths and discharges. Included is administrative information on the day-to-day running of the workhouses, disciplinary matters concerning both staff and inmates, individual case histories, foundling children’s fostering and upkeep and the hiring of foster mothers and wet nurses.
Historic Irish Newspapers have been enhanced with over 308,000 articles including substantial additions to Saunder’s News-Letter.

For Australia, New South Wales there are transcripts and images of:
Australia Convict ships 1786-1849 contains over 188,000 records dating back to the ships of  First Fleet and include the details of some of the earliest convict settlers;
Australia Convict Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1791-1867 has almost 27,000 records with details of  convicts who built new lives in the state;
New South Wales Registers Of Convicts’ Applications To Marry 1825-1851 contains over 26,000 records;
Almost 27,000 records in the Australia Convict Conditional and Absolute Pardons 1791-1867.

For Australia, Victoria there are additions of 7,000 records to Victoria Prison Registers 1855-1948 taken from the Central Register of Female Prisoners, held by the Public Record Office Victoria, of prisoners that passed through Pentridge prison in Coburg, Victoria.