Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Views on I4GG

There's little point to writing my own review of the first Institute for Genetic Genealogy conference I attended last weekend. Just read the posts Recap: I4GG by Judy Russell and I4GG's First International Conference on Genetic Genealogy by Maurice Gleeson.

As expected the plenary presentation by National Geographic Explorer in Residence Spencer Wells was a highlight. He pointed out that the past year had seen the same number of tests taken as in all previous years combined, and that the existing companies in the field had a lock-hold on the business.

The fastest growth is in autosomal DNA testing. 23andMe claimed to have 750,000 clients tested and AncestryDNA 500,000. Family Tree DNA didn't give a figure but one estimate shown was less than 100,000 autosomal test clients. Gedmatch, which permits testers at any of those three to upload their results for comparison with the other company uploaded data, has 25,000 records.

Maurice Gleeson's presentations were extremely well received, you can see the major one at

It was good to see a solid attendance from the genealogy establishment - from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. It would be helpful if BCG would make it clear that they regard DNA evidence to be as essential as that from any conventional record type in meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard.

38th Ottawa Battalion to WW1

Pinhey's Point Foundation is hosting a lecture by Dr Duncan McDowall of Queen's University,"From the heaven of Bermuda to the hell of the Somme: Ottawa's 38th Battalion enters the Great War".
Many Ottawans are descended from members of this locally-raised regiment (now the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa).

Pinhey's Point Historic Site
Friday, August 22, 2014, 7pm
Refreshments follow

Monday, 18 August 2014

Loyalist Descendants in Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa 14 Sept, 2014

In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada the Sir Guy Carleton Branch will conduct a tour of Beechwood Cemetery featuring the lives of some Loyalists and their descendants who are buried there.

Sunday, 14 September 2014, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Beechwood Cemetery, 280 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa ; meet in front of the Main Office by 12:50pm

Light refreshments will be served after the tour. All are welcome

To book your place on the tour please by Sept. 4, 2014

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Illustrated London News First World War Online

Illustrated London News Ltd (ILN) has launched a website featuring 1914-1918 archive material from the Illustrated London News, the world’s first illustrated magazine, and seven other titles in its collection.
ILN was awarded £96,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in April 2014 to create a free-to-access website, which will host the digitised wartime magazine pages of the magazine archives and rare pictorial material.
The project means that for the first time in 100 years, the public will be able to browse the wartime pages of The Illustrated London News and its sister titles; discover paintings, illustrations and sketches by war artists; and read articles, many of which have not been seen since they were first published.
The first-phase website includes the digitised pages from the Illustrated London News 1914-1918; a wealth of editorial features providing rich context for the source material; a timeline; a range of topical insights from "Animals and War" and "Trench Life" to "Sport and the War"; and a blog written by young historians appointed for the project.
In the coming months, 70,000 digitised pages of ILN’s sister publications, including The Illustrated War News, The Sphere, The Sketch, The Tatler, The Bystander, The Graphic and The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News will be added to the website.
Browse the Illustrated London News First World War Online Archive at

Grace' s Guide

Chances are that while your British ancestor didn't own a business he or she did work in industrial Britain.
Grace's Guide proclaims itself "the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 102,175 pages of information and 143,314 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them. Additions are being made to the information daily. Sources include:The Engineer 1856-1960; Engineering 1866- ;Institution of Mechanical Engineers 1847-1930 Obituaries and Works Visits etc.; Institution of Civil Engineers 1820-1930 Obituaries."
That's a huge amount of information.
I checked Duple Coach where my grandfather worked and found enough company history to contribute an extra paragraph next time I update his bio.

Via a tweet from 1PlaceStudtRegister.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

I4gg conference

Two Hertfordshire cemeteries added to Deceased Online

Deceased Online has added all 14,500 individual records for two cemeteries.

Hatfield Hyde Cemetery (Hollybush Lane, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 4JU) is the older and larger cemetery with most records dating from 1923 to 2010; there are a few earlier records and one from 1842.

Welwyn Hatfield Lawn Cemetery (Southway, Hatfield, AL10 8HS) is a relatively new cemetery, opened in 1984 and our records go from then until 2010.

The records available comprise:

  • digital scans of burial registers until 2004; thereafter, electronic records
  • grave details indicating all burials in each grave
  • cemetery section maps indicating the section location of each grave.

Other records for the county on Deceased Online include Dacorum (Hemel Hempstead) Council; Broxbourne Council (around the Cheshunt area); and headstone removal records from The National Archives for the closed cemeteries of Beechen Grove Baptist Burial Ground, Watford (from 1801) and Boxmoor Baptist Church, Boxmoor (records from 1840.

Animals in history

The 2014 Shannon Lectures at Carleton University will be focused on animals in history. What role did an animal play in your family history? My great grandfather clergyman was fined for keeping a dog without a license ... that's as good as it gets. Please leave a comment if an animal story comes to mind in your family story.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Gail Dever survey discovers why genealogists leave societies

With more than 300 people having answered Gail Dever's recent survey family history society management should pay attention to her finding that "the top reason people decide not to renew their membership has less to do with networking with people and learning from other genealogists and more to do with what they receive for the cost of their membership."
That leaves lots of room for interpretation and her further analysis helps. A member's perception of the value proposition in their membership depends on what they want, which will depend in turn on their experience and approach - are they scrap-bookers, authors, looking to extend a lifetime of work experience for societal benefit, to get completely away from the area they worked in, looking to access others experience or hard to find resources, or maybe just comradeship around a common interest? There's more. A challenge for society boards is to find something for them all, or to deliberately decide what areas not to cater to.
Read the results of Gail's survey at

WDYTYA UK: Brian Blessed

The second subject in the new series of the BBC Who Do You Think You Are? was British actor and TV personality Brian Blessed.
Being able to watch without the annoyance of advertising continues to give pleasure.
This was the story of his paternal Blessed line and the descent of a journeyman bookbinder in London in the early 19th century who took a gamble moving to Portsmouth and being unfortunate enough to do so as the market for his services collapsed after the defeat of Napolean. Four family members ended up dying in the workhouse, two sons surviving but separated. The episode ended showing that the brothers, who both established themselves in businesses, were reunited.
Brian Blessed, a very much a larger than life character, has an imagination that enables him to build up an optimistic scenario for how things will develop, only to have it blown out of the water by the evidence, and then to bounce back again with another favourable scenario.

Institute for Genetic Genealogy

I'm on my way to the Institute for Genetic Genealogy conference in Chevy Chase, Maryland and looking forward to meeting some folks I only know through the Internet. Don't be surprised if posts are curtailed for the next few days.