Saturday, 28 February 2015

OGS Toronto Branch Call for Speakers - Irish Genealogy

Do you have a story or other presentation of Irish interest? Toronto Branch of OGS is planning a one-day workshop on 19 September 2015 on Irish genealogy and family history with a specific focus on Ulster.
Historian Dr. William Roulston and genealogist Chris Paton have agreed to lead this workshop as keynote presenters, and we are now seeking other speakers with Irish expertise who would like to be part of the team.
The Branch invites proposals for presentations at either a beginner or more advanced level aimed at family historians researching ancestors in the nine counties in the historic province of Ulster. You’ll find the detailed call for presentations at
The deadline to submit a proposal for this workshop is Saturday, 18 April 2015.

Findmypast adds British Union Records

There are 257 unindexed volumes on the new Britain, Trade Union Membership Registers collection at Findmypast.

They include records for the Amalgamated Society Of Carpenters & Joiners, Amalgamated Society Of Carpenters, Cabinetmakers & Joiners, Amalgamated Society Of Lithographic Artists, Designers, Engravers & Process Workers, Amalgamated Society Of Lithographic Printers, Amalgamated Society Of Paper Makers, Amalgamated Society Of Railway Servants, Amalgamated Society Of Watermen, Lightermen & Bargemen, Amalgamated Society Of Woodworkers, Association Of Correctors Of The Press, General Union Of Carpenters & Joiners, Incorporated Association Of Assistant Masters In Secondary School, Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, Liverpool Victoria Employees' Union, London Society Of Compositors, National Association Of Local Government Officers, National Society Of Operative Printers & Assistants, National Union Of Printing & Paper Workers, National Union Of Railwaymen, National Union Of Teachers, Northern Association Of Publishers' Educational Representatives, Operative Bricklayers' Society, Printing Machine Managers' Trade Society, Typographical Association, Union Of Engravers To Calico Printers & Paper Stainers, United Society Of Boilermakers & Iron ShipbuildersWorkers' Union

Records can be found as early as the 1870 and as late as the 1940s. The bulk are for the years of and around the First World War. Some I scanned were recorded those who served with the military during the war with special mention of those who died or received special recognition.

A separate indexed database of 55,482 results is Britain, Trade Union Members, Service & Casualties 1914-1918 which contains the details of members from 18 different unions. The records are a collection of union documents from the war years and do not solely feature individuals who participated in the First World War. The records include daily trade union news and business and frequently acknowledge members who have left for war or joined the services.  Many include pages of the union’s Roll of Honour and some include photographs of the members or feature short profiles about specific members.  The most extraordinary of the records is the Workers’ Union Record, which regularly features full pages of photographs of service men.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Missing Sub-Districts in the Canadian Censuses

Ken McKinlay has added a useful post on his Family Tree Knots blog suggesting that "Before you go insane looking for (Canadian census) records that may not exist become familiar with what records have survived."
You do that on the Library and Archives Canada website, you won't find it on Ancestry or FamilySearch, starting at the About pages for each census. Check out Ken's blog post for full instructions.

OGS Ottawa Branch February Meeting

On Saturday February 28, 1pm – 3pm, the presentation at the Ottawa City Archives is The First World War Beyond the Western Front, to be given by Mike More.

The First World War was truly a global war with a great deal of fighting outside of France. British Empire soldiers were involved in all theatres, along with many other nations. Mike More will provide a summary of the various fighting fronts.

This meeting will be simulcast for members who can't join in person.

The meeting is preceded by a morning beginner session that sees Heather Oakley speaking on "Are you a trust me genealogist." That starts at 10:30 am.

The Computer SIG will convene immediately following the afternoon meeting.

Two Nottingham Cemeteries added at Deceased Online

You won't find the historic Robin Hood, the closest is Robert, one of  43 Hood records of burials in historic Nottingham cemeteries' records now available on Deceased Online. There are also 38 Tucks, none indicated to be Friars!
Two new additions are Rock (aka Church) Cemetery, opened 1856, and Basford Cemetery, opened 1870. That makes a total of approximately 430,000 records available online at Deceased Online for five cemeteries and the crematorium managed by Nottingham City Council.

The records now available comprise:

digital scans of original burial and grave registers
details of all grave occupants In each cemetery
maps indicating the section in each cemetery for all graves
Records for one more historic Nottingham City cemetery are pending.

Nottinghamshire history interest? Then you may enjoy the community history website

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Chris Paton's new podcast

If you've heard Scottish-Irish genealogist Chris Paton talk you'll know he has an engaging manner as well as being knowledgeable. Both those attributes are to the fore in a new podcast initiative he's just started. There's information of relevance for the whole of the UK, with an emphasis on Scotland. Recommended.

Your Genealogy Today

The March/April issue of this magazine from Moorshead Magazines, evolved from Family Chronicle, is out. What's changed? As editor Ed Zapletal writes "Our content will not undergo dramatic changes at this time." That's my impression, it's more a makeover than a new magazine.

The only real clue to the direction being taken is the launching of three new regular columns, each a single page: “Genealogy Tourism”, “DNA & Your Genealogy”, and “Advice from the Pros” to be authored on a rotational basis by contributors who are "experts in their respective fields."

In this premiere issue Advice from the Pros is written by Gena Philibert-Ortega who offers the revolutionary advice to adopt a balanced approach between offline and online sources. Genealogy Tourism is written by Lisa Alzo who, you'll be astonished to read, recommends you plan, prepare and pack. Colleen Fitzpatrick authors the first column on DNA and Genealogy by reviewing the three kinds of DNA used in genetic genealogy.

Other content includes:

The Old Dead Folks Club
Robbie Gorr, from the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogy Group, admits that transcribing headstones is a solitary past-time, but also relaxing and pleasant, not to forget a valuable hobby. 

Searching for Ancestors in the British Department of State
The reference to the British Department of State, brazened across the cover, threw me.  As far as I know that was no such entity. The content refers to material from the British Foreign Office and the Colonial Office, and that's interesting and well described. The author, Ed Storey, lives in Colorado and must be thinking in terms of the US equivalent the Department of State. File this one under editorial blunder.

Stuck in a Rut? Recharge Your Research!
Lisa A. Alzo seems to have been in an alliterative mood. While the ps were her watchwords in the tourism column in this it's es, for evaluate, estimate, execute. Is the use of rs in the title, rut, recharge and research, deliberate?

"Why Guernsey?"
Most of us don't have genealogical interest in the charming island of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, yet George Matheson recounting of how he became enthralled by the island's culture and history, as well as offering practical travel advice, makes for good reading.

Pick a Card... Any Card!
David A. Norris looks at what you can learn about your ancestors from collections of old cards in various forms

Go Paperless
Carol Richey looks at five easy steps to reduce the paper clutter for family historians

Pompey Russell: Revolutionary War Patriot
Merrylyn Sawyer researches the life of a New Hampshire patriot of the Revolutionary War

Journaling a Genealogical Journey — Creating a “Vital Record”
Joe Grandinetti shows you how to create a valuable record of your ancestral travels

Will the Middle Initial Disappear?
David A. Norris wonders what the implications would be for future family historians if the middle initial faded into obscurity

DNA: Unraveling a Pomeranian Mystery
Lori Alexander shows how she used DNA testing to back up her genealogy research for her Pomeranian ancestors.

Read more about the magazine at

BIFHSGO DNA Special Interest Group Meeting this Saturday

A special BIFHSGO DNA Special Interest Group meeting will be held next Saturday, 28 Feb. commencing at 9:30 am at the City Archives at 100 Tallwood Drive.

Bill Arthurs will open the meeting with a half-hour presentation of basic “DNA 101” of interest to newer members and those still trying to grasp the basics.

At 10 am David Pike of Memorial University will be giving an internet Skype presentation on autosomal DNA analysis. Here's the summary:
Phasing of a person’s autosomal DNA data entails partitioning the data so that the portions inherited from the person’s two parents are separately identified. Once this is done, it can greatly assist with determining whether genetic matches with the person are on the father’s side, the mother’s side, both, or neither (as may be the case with false matches that can sometimes arise when comparing unphased data). Phasing can also assist with mapping blocks of autosomal DNA to particular ancestors and in situations where DNA results are available from several family members, it may even be possible to reconstruct DNA results of deceased family members. This presentation will provide an introduction to phasing and some of the techniques and online utilities that can be used to help accomplish it.
Find out more about David's DNA interest at

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

3% reduction to LAC Funding in Main Estimates 2015/16

The Main Estimates tabled in Parliament show total budgetary funding for Library and Archives Canada falling from $95,864,788 in 2014/15 to $93,011,489 in 2015/16.

LAC continues to be treated at poor man of the Heritage Portfolio. Minister Shelly Glover awards substantial increases to the Canadian Museum of History, the Museum of Science and Technology, for the construction of the National Holocaust Monument and the Victims of Communism Monument.

Looking at changes in emphasis within LAC, reflected in changes to expenditures by strategic outcome, gives a indication of the priorities of Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume.

Increases go to Access to documentary heritage where funding goes from $28,589,912 to $29,762,349, a 4% increase reversing the previous year cut. Funding for Internal Services rises from $19,927,061 to $25,948,930, a 30% increase!

UPDATE: Guy Berthiaume informs that "Central agencies issued a new guide on how to allocate central services expenditure, which simplify our work and standardise practices across departments. As a result,  funds that were previously associated with the programs on a pro-rata basis are now considered internal services, especially in the area of communication and IT."

There are decreases for Stewardship of documentary heritage from $23,377,784 to $16,742,862 (29%), likely mainly due to the completion of a facility project; for documentation of Canadian society from $12,902,706 to $11,591,441 (7.4%); for Collaboration in the management of government records from $7,595,563 to $6,212,732 (18.3%) and; for Development of regulatory instruments and recordkeeping tools $3,471,762 to $2,753,175 (18.7%).

BCG Webinar: F Warren Bittner CG

On Tuesday evening F. Warren Bittner, a Trustee of the (US) Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), gave a well presented webinar "Complex Evidence: What it is, How it Works, Why it Matters." The major part was a case study showing how putting together diverse sources built a case for who the parents were for the person of interest (known as Minnie - with substantial name variations in the different sources.) There was no one smoking gun document.

As Bittner pointed out piecing together evidence is something that most experienced genealogists do although perhaps not deliberately following the formality of the genealogical proof standard. The case built seemed convincing in demonstrating the affinity between child and parents.

I found the last two questions posed after the talk interesting.

One was on DNA evidence. Bittner had not apparently pursued or considered whether such evidence might be available for this case study or would be necessary for a reasonably exhaustive search. His answer was a general one, that DNA evidence could either confirm the conclusion or perhaps blow it out of the water.

The second question posed related to quantifying the degree of certainty in the conclusion. Bittner dismissed the idea saying that it moved back toward the preponderance of evidence approach which BCG abandoned in 1998. He said several times that genealogy is more an art than a science.

Has BCG thinking advanced since 1998?

FreeBMD February Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 19 February 2015 and to contain 244,807,530 distinct records. Years with major updates, more than 5,000 entries since the January update, are: for births 1940, 1943, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1971, 1973-4; for marriages 1952, 1965-6, 1968, 1971-5; for deaths 1971-4.

Christine Jackson presentation at The Historical Society of Ottawa

The Historical Society of Ottawa meeting on Friday will feature BIFHSGO member Christine Jackson speaking on "The Ottawa Valley's Pioneering Cowley Family."

Daniel Keyworth Cowley, a pioneering Ottawa Valley riverboat captain, was the patriarch of a family which produced significant contributors to the area’s history and economic development. These included another riverboat captain, an educator­-cum-­land developer who founded the Ottawa subdivision now known as Champlain Park, several medical doctors—and an NHL Hall of Famer.
Christine will touch on the Cowley family’s English origins, trace the 19th century Ottawa Valley history of ‘Captain Dan’ and his connection with Champlain’s iconic lost astrolabe, and look at the family’s role in developing Ottawa, as well as their great contribution to Canada’s national winter game. And what, she wonders, would Captain Dan have made of that?!

The meeting starts at 1:00 pm this Friday, 27 February, in the lounge of the Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues Street at Cumberland. There's no cost to attend monthly meetings and all are welcome.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

TNA Podcast: Antonia Fraser

Antonia Fraser is the prize-winning author of many widely acclaimed historical works which have been international bestsellers including Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant, The Six Wives Of Henry VIII, Perilous Question: The Drama of the Great Reform Bill 1832, Mary Queen Of Scots, The Gunpowder Plot: Terror And Faith In 1605. She was made DBE in 2011 for services to literature.

Antonia Fraser’s memoir My History: A Memoir of Growing Up describes her life in the 1930s and 1940s but its real concern is with her growing love of History. The fascination began as a child – and developed into an enduring passion; as she writes, ‘for me, the study of History has always been an essential part of the enjoyment of life’.

This podcast was recorded live on 25 January 2015.

Save on GENE-O-RAMA Registration

You can save $5 if you register for GENE-O-RAMA online or by mail on or before Friday, February 27, 2015.

Janice Nickerson will be giving three presentations including the Pat Horan Memorial Lecture "Castlecomer to Montague: A Case Study in Irish Protestant Immigration to Upper Canada."

See the event brochure and registration form at