Sunday, 14 February 2016

BIFHSGO February Meeting - review

BIFHSGO members are a hardy lot. Despite an extreme cold warning, a temperature of -28.8C at 8 am with wind 33 Kph gusting to 44, about 100 people were gathered in the Chamber at Ben Franklin Place, Nepean by 9 am, to hear Rick Roberts speak on Family Tree Maker (FTM) is NOT Defunct! What do I do now?
His message was "don't panic."  You have plenty of time to decide on an alternate if it's needed. The decision by Software MacKiev to purchase FTM and continue to sell it was welcome although Rick had to field numerous question and comments from those concerned about the prospects. Mine was about the possibility that FTM might again become available through retailers, such as Global Genealogy, in much the same way that Microsoft Office 2013 has been sold through retailers. That would give purchasers a local resource for people sceptical about purchasing from a Ukraine-based company. There are already several Ontario-based retailers for other products of the company.
After the regular 30 minute break there were announcements by BIFHSGO President Barbara Tose including the news that the Maps and Mapping for 21st-Century Genealogists Workshop to be given by James F S Thomson is sold out.
The numbers has swelled considerably for the main presentation A Scandal in Battersea given by S Gail Roger. I always enjoy and learn from Gail's presentations as she researches her own family following every lead through a variety of well known and less-well-known resources. This time they included a search in the Black Sheep Index through the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. She gave a generous shout out to lessons learned from Chris Paton's courses at Pharos Teaching and Tutoring. Judging by the audience size, the enthusiastic reception and applause after the presentation I am not Gail's only fan.

Heritage Day 2016 in Ottawa

The City of Ottawa invites everyone to celebrate Heritage Day this Tuesday 16 February at Jean-Pigott Hall starting at 11:30 am.

BIFHSGO will be there with Mary-Lou Simac leading a team of Anne Sterling and one John Reid at the stand. Stop by and say hello.

Lots of other organization to get to know, including the nascent Kitchissippi Museum. Will there be free scones from Scone Witch again this year?

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Additional British Merchant Seaman Records from Findmypast

The are now 1,192,601 records in the Britain, Merchant Seamen, 1918-1941 at Findmypast. That's over 240,000 additions. The database now includes 4,143 born in Canada. 4,836 in Australia, 2,896 in Norfolk (the geographic specification is finer in the UK)

Information given includes Name, Age, Birth date, Birth place, Birth county.  In some cases there are photographs.

Featured ar Gene-O-Rama 2016

Gene-O-Rama 2016 1-2 April

Lesley Anderson’s 45-year passion for genealogy extends to teaching classes, speaking at seminars and conferences and consulting. Well-known in the genealogical community, she works for

Robert Grandmaître is currently Director of Reference Services Division at Library and Archives Canada (LAC). He is responsible for reference services, including genealogy and the consultation and reproduction of documentary heritage. He has served for over 30 years in various management positions at LAC.

Romaine Honey is a librarian with Ottawa Public Library’s Local History and Genealogy Services. She holds a Masters Degree in Library Science from Western University and has been with OPL for 15 years.

Shirley-Ann Pyefinch has served as the FHC Director for the Ottawa Ontario Stake Family History Centre since 2005. She has spoken at various family history conferences and genealogical societies throughout Ontario.

Rick Roberts family history addiction began during summer vacations on his grandparents’ farm. That early spark grew into a passion for genealogy and history that eventually led to the founding of Global Genealogy in the summer of 1992.

Louise St. Denis is a bilingual international speaker; publisher of the HERITAGE BOOK SERIES
(; and authored 10 books. As Managing Director of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, Louise established an educational program offering comprehensive Certificate programs in Genealogical Studies completed entirely online (

Nicole Watier is a Genealogy Consultant at Library and Archives Canada. She started working at the National Library of Canada in the year 2000 before joining the Genealogy staff. After assisting LAC clients break through genealogical brick walls, in her free time, she can be found creating away in her art studio.

Glenn Wright had a public service career that spanned more than 30 years. Glenn was employed as an archivist, historical research officer and, for many years, assistant historian with the RCMP. Retired since 2006, he is a frequent speaker at family history and genealogical events throughout Ontario, his special interest being research on Canadian men and women who served in the Great War. He has also been associated with television programs such as “Who Do You Think You Are?”, “Ancestors in the Attic”, and “Engraved on a Nation”.

Details on the 32nd Gene-O-Rama are now available at

Friday, 12 February 2016

Free Ancestry access for Canadians this weekend

Until February 15, with registration, Canadians will have free access to all of Ancestry's Canadian records in additional to Global Immigration Records – more than 230 million records.

Ontario Women’s Activism at the Archives

On Thursday February 25, 2016 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Archives of Ontario in Toronto will host a panel discussion organized by HerstoriesCafé, focusing on narratives of women’s activism in Ontario and the roles played by women in shaping communities throughout the province.

HerstoriesCafe bridges women’s history with local history. "We start conversations between history enthusiasts, historians, archivists, museum practitioners, history teachers, and students."

Following the panel discussion, visitors will be invited to view records from the Archives which illustrate the ongoing work of women's activism throughout Ontario's history.

Light refreshments will be offered prior to the talk.

Seating is limited, so please RSVP by emailing – for more information about this event, please visit the HerstoriesCafé website.

This is a free event.

RootsTech: too much of a good thing

My first trip, and last, to RootsTech was in 2013 and although enjoyable it was rather overwhelming. That's also the word John Grenham used in reporting on his trip just ended.

What's the problem?

The cost and hassle of getting to and returning from Salt Lake City,
The largely US orientation of the opening keynote sessions
Choosing one of the 15+ parallel session presentations to attend;
Fighting the crowds, 25,000 in attendance, to make your way to a presentation room, if you can find it before it fills up;
The  US/LDS orientation of much of the content
The hype

The pluses for me were:

Some of the more technical sessions, which were not well publicized.
One on one sessions with some other attendees, and with a few of the marketplace exhibitors.

As for presentations, I'll be happy instead with webinars and local opportunities.

So this year I've saved US dollars and will do my spending in UK pounds at WDYTYA? Live which is a more manageable scale, and one I can combine with a family visit.

Ancestry adds Crusheen, County Clare, Ireland, Catholic Records

Ancestry is going full tilt on Irish records. The latest addition is modest, unless you have interest in the parish of Causheen in County Claire in which case these detailed records will be most interesting.

Crusheen, County Clare, Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1860-2014, 15,726 records
Crusheen, County Clare, Ireland, Catholic School Records, 1862-1919, 23,433 records

These are indexed with links to original page images.

BIFHSGO Workshop: Maps and Mapping for 21st Century Genealogists

A reminder about registration this BIFHSGO workshop with James F.S. Thomson. Seats are limited with only 22 places left.  Registration closes March 1st. Do it now to avoid disappointment.

Registration is only available online through the members only section of the BIFHSGO website,

There will be no facilities to register at the meeting this Saturday and no registrations will be accepted by hand. However, if you have already registered and want to pay by cheque, Saturday's meeting provides an easy opportunity to hand your payment to Susan McKenzie at the BIFHSGO table in the lobby.

Here's the detail.

BIFHSGO Workshop: Maps and Mapping for 21st Century Genealogists
    5 March 2016 with James F.S. Thomson
This full day workshop will explore sophisticated ways in which maps and mapping tools can contribute to family history research, analysis and writing. Participants first will learn about a new generation of remarkable online sites permitting the integration of maps and other data. The majority of the workshop will concentrate on learning, through demonstrations and hands-on exercises, how a variety of mapping and other tools can be used creatively and effectively in genealogical projects. The workshop will enable participants to create unique maps, tailored to the needs of the compiler and incorporating data derived from different sources. Above all, this workshop will demonstrate that the current generation of genealogists has no need to limit themselves to the use of static maps created by others, either as research aids or in communicating project outcomes. Resources and examples used in the workshop will be chosen with British Isles research in mind, although the principles and techniques described will be independent of geography.
This workshop is designed for intermediate and advanced-level genealogists who are comfortable using computers and navigating the internet. Having a Google account would be an advantage with respect to part of the workshop, but is not a prerequisite.
Instructor: James F.S. Thomson
James F. S. Thomson has designed and taught over a dozen advanced and expert-level family history courses co-sponsored by Toronto Branch OGS and the Toronto Public Library, including three sold-out runs of the four-session course Maps and Mapping for 21st Century Genealogists. For these courses and in his articles and presentations at conferences and workshops (including workshops on maps and mapping at the 2014 and 2015 OGS conferences), as well as in his capacity as a University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies instructor, James draws on over thirty years of experience of family and local history research.
This workshop will be held at Algonquin College from 9:30 a.m. til 5:00 p.m. on Saturday the 5th of March and will cost $60, including breaks and lunch.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Just a few more hours .. OGS Conference 2017 presentation proposals

Jane Down, Program Chair OGS Conference 2017 has asked that I remind blog readers about the 15 February deadline for presentation proposals.

In case you missed it here's the call.

Our Canada - Your Family: Building a Nation

Call for Presentations OGS Conference 2017

The annual Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2017 will be held in Ottawa on June 16-18, 2017 at Algonquin College. The theme of the conference is Our Canada – Your Family: Building a Nation. As 2017 will be the 150th anniversary of the birth of Canada, Ottawa Branch OGS will host the annual OGS conference and give the Conference a national flair, bringing together genealogists and family historians from all over Canada. We are looking for speakers and talks of interest to genealogists from all provinces.

In keeping with this theme, we invite proposals for presentations on: family history from every region and territory of Canada (e.g. Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and British Columbia); migration to and from Canada and also within Canada and how this helped to not only build our families, but also Canada; pre- and post-1867 research in Upper Canada; religious associations; military connections; the latest updates on computer, social media and genealogy database technology; the ever growing use of DNA testing for genealogy; and skill-building for family historians (e.g. use of the genealogy proof standard, getting more out of online resources).  Speakers from other related disciplines are welcome! Statisticians, demographers, archaeologists, researchers, archivists, librarians, geographers, cartographers, scientists, theologians, doctors, PhD candidates, software gurus, internet intellectuals, social media mavens, and historians of all kinds have information of interest to family historians and we would like to hear from you!  

Most sessions will be one hour long. Sessions may be streamed in or out of the Conference venue. Topics for interactive, hands-on workshops are also welcome (typically half-day sessions). Speakers will receive an honorarium, plus appropriate expenses and complimentary Conference registration. In early 2017, speakers will submit content for inclusion in a syllabus. 

Please submit your proposals by e-mail. Include your full name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, website address (if applicable) and biographical information including recent speaking credits. For each proposal, please provide a unique title, a summary of your presentation (250 words maximum), the intended audience (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and your A/V requirements. Multiple proposals are encouraged. 


To submit proposals or ask questions, please contact the Conference 2017 Program Committee at: 

For more information about OGS or Ottawa Branch respectively, please visit: or

Comment:  I have no idea why OGS considers it necessary to have such an early deadline for a conference which is more than 15 months away. I'm led to understand it's dictated by OGS HQ, a deadline the folks organizing the Toronto conference this June have ignored with, seemingly, excellent results.

FamilySearch adds England, Durham Diocese, Marriage Bonds & Allegations, 1692-1900

This is a browse file organized chronologically, a file for each year, of marriage bonds and allegations for Durham and Northumberland. In browsing a few for 1749 I noticed one for Cumberland.

Contents are names of the marriage partners, marital statuses (whether single or widowed), parish of residence and sometime ages, occupations and other information on the marriage partners,

There is no name index so you need a marriage date to search around to home in on which of the 108,720 images is of interest, if any. The source is Durham University Library,

Start browsing from

BIFHSGO February Meeting

There's a forecast high temperature of -21C on Saturday the 13th, likely the coldest day of winter 2015-16 in Ottawa. That's the coldest since 22 January 2005, colder than ever recorded in Ireland, although not as cold as record low temperatures recorded in England, Scotland, Wales -- or Battersea.

It will be even colder as the temperature rises mid-morning from the overnight low forecast of -27C, Sun is promised as people gather for the BIFHSGO monthly meeting.
The main event is A Scandal in Battersea presented by Gail Roger.
By the time he was 41, Gail Roger's great-grandfather had lost his five siblings to tuberculosis, drowning, laudanum, and cirrhosis of the liver. With a couple of nods to Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper, Gail will share the tale of a scandal that took place in Battersea.
Come for 9:00 a.m. to hear the Before BIFHSGO Education Talk — Family Tree Maker is Defunct Family Tree Maker NOT is Defunct - What do I do now! by Rick Roberts. I'm wondering with the announcement that FTM will continue under new ownership how that will be presented.
At 9:30 a.m. browse the Discovery Tables — Learn what Global Genealogy and the Ontario Genealogical Society Ottawa Branch have to offer.
The meeting is open to members and visitors. Free admission and parking. The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa. More information about this meeting is available at in the Meetings section.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

TNA blog post: ‘Maimed and not fit for manual labour’?

TNA looks at the situation of maimed British ex-servicemen after the First World War through the eyes of double amputee Thomas Kelly, a private in the Gordon Highlanders. Many men showed resilience in dealing with the bureaucracy of rehabilitation.
Read the blog post at

Ancestry adds two Irish military web databases

Do you have relatives who served in the military with Ireland around the time to Independence? If so these two web databases may hold information of interest.

Web: Ireland, Military Service Pension Index, 1916 - 1923 has 4,417 records is from Defense Forces Ireland. The index gives name, birth date, death date and Easter Rising location. Click through for additional information including a detailed description of the circumstances related to the application for a pension under Subject Information.

Web: Ireland, National Army Census, 1922 Military  with 33,460 records links through to an image of the original census form with location at time of census, rank, corps, name, age, home address, number on paybook, date and place of attestation, single of married, relation to next of kin and name and address of next of kin. The information is from Ireland's Military Archives.