Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Find historical Canadian newspaper links at The Ancestor Hunt

Kenneth R Marks' website The Ancestor Hunt has a recently updated page Canada Online Historical Newspaper Links. It covers both free and subscriber based online historical newspapers. Each province has a dedicated links page (the territories are grouped). With over 250 newspaper titles it must be the most comprehensive collection, well worth bookmarking, and not just for the Canadian newspaper content.

British Newspaper Archives additions for May

The British Newspaper Archive now has 14,436,425 (14,171,331 last month) pages from 632 (615) titles online. The full list of additions this month is:

Monday, 30 May 2016

Ottawa Public Library genealogy events in June

Genealogy events at the Ottawa Public Library are winding down for the summer. Just two events, both drop-in sessions, no need to register, are advertised for June.

There's a Genealogy Drop-In at the Cumberland Branch on Wednesday, 1 June, 2016 at 2:45pm  

Another Genealogy Drop-In will be at the Main Branch on Wednesday, 8 June, 2016 at 2:00pm  

How many British Home Child descendants in Canada?

This is continuing the exploration, thinking outside the box, of the claim that "ten percent of the current Canadian population is descended from the up to 120,000 British children sent to Canada . . ." A previous post explored the generous definition of childhood that underlies the claim.

In 1941, according to Statistics Canada historical statistics, the population of Canada was 11.51 million.

The same source shows that between 1861 and 1941, the period during which the vast majority of home child immigration occurred, there were 5.84 million immigrants to Canada. The ratio of the two figures above, 11.51/5.84, is 1.97.

Applying that same ratio to the number of home child immigrants, taken as 120,000, gives an estimate of the population of home child descendants of 236,000. That's about 2% of the population in 1941. Taking a more frequently quoted figure of 100,000 child immigrants they and their descendants would account for an estimated 1.7% of the population in 1941.

Since that time the number of people coming to Canada has ballooned while the natural increase due to births in Canada has declined. One would expect the present day percent to be substantially less.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Research at Salt Lake City in September

Jane MacNamara emailed to tell me about a trip to "the amazing Family History Library" — on September 4, just before Labour Day for one or two weeks.

Would you like to join the party, including some returning members, taking advantage of the organization and experience Jane has after her more than 20 trips?

Find prices and more details about the trip at http://wherethestorytakesme.ca/slc-in-september/.

While at the site take the opportunity to look around at Jane's blog posts. You can also catch three talks Jane will be giving this coming weekend at OGS Conference 2016 , you'd be welcome to register as a walk-in, and read about her presentation The Search for Alban Leaf to OGS Toronto Branch on Monday, 27 June at 7:30 pm.

User Priorities, Impressions and Ideas for Library and Archives Canada

Back last summer, just before the election, I was one of 28 people consulted by Nanos Research for Library and Archives Canada, 19 in focus groups, 9 by telephone consultation. Genealogists accounted for 11 of those involved, the others were described as walk-ins.

The purpose of the qualitative research was to gain insight from clients concerning the products and services offered by LAC, as well as clients’ impressions and recommendations, to aid in the organization’s future planning.

All involved were clients of LAC who use the facility at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. Another much more extensive online survey addressed the views of the larger community of users.

The bottom line, as summarized by Nanos, was:

Satisfaction – The qualitative research suggests that users were satisfied with the overall quality of their recent interactions with LAC. Regarding LAC services, the research suggests that they met or exceeded users’ expectations.

LAC’s Primary Responsibilities - Users believe that LAC’s primary responsibility should be to acquire new materials, followed by ensuring access to collections (ranked second and third place).

New Fonds Priorities - In terms of priorities for future funding to acquire and preserve new fonds to add to the collection, users believe that fonds relating to Aboriginal Peoples (ranked first and second place) are the top priority followed by fonds relating to Atlantic, Western, and Northern Canada.

Digitization Priorities - Finding aids were users top priority when it comes to future digitization efforts by LAC, followed by military information, and genealogical information.


In addition Nanos choose to highlight the following individual comments:
“I am very satisfied; however, there is some work to be done in terms of teaching individuals outside of Ottawa about LAC. Given the current funding of the services offered, I think it is normal to have the quality of services we have.”
 “The LAC charges the same to a multimillion dollar company as it does for civilians. I know the LAC is all about access; however publishers can afford to pay more.”
and the following as top user comments

  • LAC should make digitization a top priority (4 of 22)
  • There should be better parking and access to the facility (3 of 22)
  • Awareness of LAC services, especially outside Ottawa, is a priority (3 of 22)
  • Make things simpler for researchers to quickly access materials (2 of 22)
  • Collaborate with other libraries and archives (2 of 22)
It's worth remembering that these are based on a small sample of those who use the facilities at 395 Wellington. I understand the results of the later and larger cross-Canada survey should appear soon.



Ancestral Homes

At the Ottawa Branch OGS meeting on Saturday I ran into Phil Donnelly who filled me in on progress on a heritage project titled: "These Old Walls - The Homes of Our Ottawa Valley Great-Grandparents"  (also known as the “Ancestral Homes” or “Old Walls” project).

There is now a Ancestral Homes app (AH app), a custom designed website, database, and app for android-based mobile devices to record and archive the "heritage reference" for a property of interest. The AH app has been designed and developed by four (4) teams of Algonquin College students in computer engineering & interactive media design over a period of 4 academic semesters in 2014 – 2015 under contracts for research and innovation with Philip Donnelly. The principal sponsors for the AH app were:
DonnellyCanada (Philip Donnelly) ($2,000 contribution);
Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society ($2,500 grant);
Algonquin College Applied Research & Innovation
The Irish Society of the NCR 

The next phase in the implementation of the Ancestral Homes/Old Walls project is to populate the database with a significant number of records of the physical remains, and the memories, of “ancestral homes” in the Ottawa Valley. The Irish Society of the NCR is considering a collaboration with a like-minded partner, such as Heritage Ottawa, for purposes of implementing that next phase.

Find out more and find a link for downloading the app at http://ancestral-homes.azurewebsites.net/

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Forces War Records opens some records until 31 May

Below are the collections you’ll be able to view at no cost from Forces War Records from 28-31 May

Click on any of the links to take you directly to the collection.

English dialects: there's an app for that

Got a smartphone? If so find out if your accent is regionally characteristic with the English Dialects App (free for Android and iOS). I tried it and found that, Norfolk born and bred, I have an accent characteristic of 180 Km to the south-southwest. That's what 50 years away will do for you.

Read about it and find the link at http://phys.org/news/2016-05-app-decline-regional-diversity-english.html

Friday, 27 May 2016

Genealogy specials

Here are a few discounts currently on offer.

AncestryDNA has a Father's Day special at 20% off. That's $119 rather than $149 until June 19. I'm told if you purchase at the OGS conference you'll also save on shipping.

Ancestry will also offer 20% off the regular price for new and renewing subscribers at the OGS conference.

UK database TheGenealogist are currently offering 15 Months for the price of 12 on their Diamond package, along with a free Discover Your Ancestors Periodical subscription! That's a 15 month subscription for £119.45. The company announce 37,450 individuals in Worcestershire Parish Records have been added to the two million plus that are already online at TheGenealogist. As of 1 June there will be a new release of the 1907 Post Office National  (UK) Telephone Directory.

Not to be left out, but ending today 28 May, Findmypast.co.uk is offering 50% off a 1 Month World subscription using the code TREE50. They also have 20% off a 12 Month subscription with offer code TREE20.

Findmypast adds Battle of Jutland collection

To mark the centenary of the Battle of Jutland (31 May and 1st June 1916) Findmypast has compiled the names of British Royal Navy & Royal Marines who participated.
This new collection which has 38,931 records has been specially created from various service records from The National Archives. The largest part, 29,865 records, is from series ADM 188. Find details about those TNA records at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1897 Other series used are ADM 159: Royal Marines, service records, ADM 196: Royal Navy officers, service records, ADM 240: Royal Naval Reserve officers, service records and, ADM 377: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, ratings’ service records. The collection also uses transcripts created by Naval and Military Press.

Also new this week, of Irish interest, are 5,000 additions to the Ireland, Poverty Relief Funds 1821-1874 collection, and Irish micro-credit scheme which now totals 690,724 records as well as additions to the Irish newspaper collection.



OGS Conference 2016 in perspective

A week's time will see hundreds of genealogists and family historians gathering at the International Plaza Hotel, near Toronto International Airport, for the Ontario Genealogical Society annual conference. What will they hear? I've taken the titles and summaries of all the presentation and submitted them to word and phrase analysis.

Omitting stop words here are the most frequently appearing words in the titles and in summaries, with number of mentions:

RankTitle WordsRankSummary Words
1genealogy (16)1family (56)
2new (12)2records (45)
3research (9)3research (43)
3family (9)4genealogy (43)
5dna (8)5dna (33)
6history (6)6history (29)
7records (5)7online (23)
8tools (4)8genealogists (20)
8genetic (4)9resources (17)
8digital (4)9information (17)
9genealogical (17)


Here are the most mentioned two word phrases in the titles and summaries:

RankTitle PhrasesRankSummary Phrases
1what's new (9)1family history (22)
2family history (6)2genetic genealogy (10)
3new at (5)3social media (7)
4your family (4)3autosomal dna (7)
4new in (4)

Notice the prominence of DNA and genetic genealogy, along with the word new, in keeping with the theme of genealogy at the cutting edge. The lack of the words Ontario or Canada, is surprising even though a large majority of the presenters are Canadians, including many Ontarians.