Saturday, 16 December 2017

Findmypast weekly update

60,000 new records in the 1939 Register for England and Wales have been opened up and are now available to search and explore. They become available as people die, reach the age of 100, or entries erroneously closed are corrected.

The new Jersey Wills 1564-2000 database contains 14,342 entries giving name, place, date, and original text which is a cryptic one line transcript.

The remaining additions this week are four databases for Portsmouth, New Hampshire and about 10,000 additions of US marriages.

Music and Meyhem from Fife

Two recent Ancestry databases are from the Scottish county, or Kingdom, of Fife.

Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, Carnegie Music Institution Registers, 1910-1920 has 13,699 entries from the Fife Archives. For each individual found within the collection, you may be able to find name, year and term of attendance, residence, subject, teacher, fee and occasional remarks. Follow someone through their study at the School of Music.

Fife, Scotland, Asylum Registers, 1866-1937 has 9,523 entries. Each entry includes name, birth year, admission date, discharge date and a link to the original record image. That gives more details including occupation, medical details, and often under Observations information on relatives.

Friday, 15 December 2017

CEF Service Files December Update

As of today, 15 December 2017,  532,447 (518,124 last month) of 640,000 files are now available online in the LAC Personnel Records of the First World War database. That's according to a LAC Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Service blog post.

The latest box digitized is 9059 (8803) and last name Smith (Sharp).

If my calculations are correct at last month's rate, which is the same as the previous month, the project will be finished by July 2018.

A tip of the hat and season's greetings to the folks in the digitization team who have made such good progress this year.

YouTube: Strangers in a Strange Land? Challenges of Adjustment in the Experiences of Scottish Emigrants and Immigrants in the Twentieth Century.

A lecture by Professor Marjory Harper explores issues raised by migration for those moving from and to Scotland. She mentions early on that the Scottish experience is not vastly different from that of others except in details.
The first section is based on records of the Scots in an asylum in British Columbia. What wasn't explored was how factors used to explain why they came to be institutionalized were different for who adjusted well, and those of a similar cohort who remained in Scotland.
This YouTube version was placed online on December 13.

DNA testing companies and fabricated African ancestry

How reliable are DNA test results?
Snopes investigated whether DNA testing companies deliberately fabricated African ancestry to "screw with" racist customers as claimed by "a number of less than reputable web sites" pointing to DNA testing companies such as and 23AndMe.
It found the claim was "mostly false" and that "DNA testing companies strongly denied any such practice. The claim was traced to "one anonymous worker and published on a humor site; even the worker indicated purported meddling was unusual."
Suspicion of results is understandable. My AncestryDNA shows 19% Great Britain which is a best estimate with a range of  0%—47%. One of my brothers might have 0%, another 45% and all would be entirely consistent.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Hunting for lost cousins

AncestryDNA identities that I have 87 fourth cousin matches, none closer. Presumably some of those are removes, others from further back as many of the names are Jewish.

Back in June 2015 an Ancestry study in the UK, reported in the Mirror, was that a typical Brit had five first cousins, 28 second, 78 third, 1,570 fourth, 17,300 fifth and 174,000 sixth cousins. I'm nowhere near that. I had two first cousins, only one is living.

Yesterday morning checking my database I found six second cousins, one third cousin, five fourth cousins, two fifth cousins and no sixth cousins. So I decided to go cousin hunting on Ancestry, Findmypast, FamilySearch and a few others concentrating on closer cousins likely to be a DNA match. After several hours work I now list four additional second cousins and three more third cousins.

A more conventional way than DNA matching of making contact with cousins is through Peter Calver's LostCousins website. In his latest newsletter Peter mentions that while searching for cousins is always free to initiate contact with a new cousin normally requires a LostCousins subscription. He is relaxing the need for a subscription between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve and suggests completing or updating your My Ancestors page on the site in advance.

Ottawa Branch OGS December Meeting

This Saturday, 16 December 2017

At 10:30 Genealogy: Back to Basics - DNA Analysis Tools
Jason Porteus will discuss some DNA analysis tools including those available at DNA testing sites like Family Tree DNA.  Many people do the tests and can't make heads or tails of their results.  He will provide a short refresher DNA presentation then a demo on some of the different DNA test platforms (FTDNA and Ancestry), then demo on how to work with specific analysis tools. 

13:00 Networking

13:30 Ottawa Branch Presentation: Carleton University Library’s Ottawa Resource Room
Monica Ferguson & Maureen Leslie will present on researching the history of a specific location in this city which can present unique challenges.  The Carleton Library’s Ottawa Resource Collection bundles a variety of  materials including government documents, historical maps, GIS support, rare books, archival collections and ephemera, helping to bring the puzzle pieces a little closer together.   

15:00 Computer Special Interest Group

The venue is the City of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive. Free parking.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Storify is closing

I hope none of my readers is caught by the end of the social media aggregation platform Storify. If you are please go to your account and review how you can export the content. There's an explanation of the steps you need to take. You have until May next year; better to do so sooner rather than later.
It's a reminder yet again of the risk of investing time and effort in cloud-based facilities which are liable to fail. Small start-ups are especially vulnerable but even big companies like Yahoo close unprofitable lines -- remember Geocities.

Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2018 Belfast

Now that the sun is setting later and snow on the ground makes things seem brighter it's not too soon to think about travel plans.
My first trip will be to Ireland. Having enjoyed Genetic Genealogy Ireland 2016 in Dublin the Belfast version looks like a good bet, especially as I can pair it with a few days stay in the Republic beforehand.
Maurice Gleeson has posted the program and other details of the event, 16-17 February 2018 at the Titanic Centre here.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

BIFHSGO Conference 2018: call for presentation proposals

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa is soliciting proposals for presentations at its 24th annual conference to be held in Ottawa, Ontario in September 2018
(dates to be announced in January).

Main conference sessions take place on Saturday and Sunday, with workshops or seminars on Friday.

This conference will focus on two main themes, plus other areas of interest:

• Scottish family history
• Genetic genealogy

• Family history-related topics, such as military, immigration, technology, photographs.

BIFHSGO seeks proposals on these topics for lectures on Saturday and Sunday, as well as for workshops or seminars Friday.

A lecture is expected to be about 60 minutes in length, followed by a 10 to 15-minute question period. A workshop or seminar should last three hours.

Please send proposals to before January 31, 2018.

Each proposal must be submitted using the conference proposal form that includes:

  • Your full name, postal address, telephone number, and email address;
  • Format of the proposed presentation:
    - a lecture (or several lectures) during the conference on Saturday and Sunday. 
    - a seminar or hands-on workshop on Friday.
  • Presentation title (nine-word maximum);
  • An abstract of up to 200 words describing the presentation;
  • A 50-word description of your presentation for the conference brochure;
  • A 100-150 word biography;
  • Whether your presentation would be aimed at genealogists working at the beginner,
     intermediate, or advanced (specialist) level;
  • Your audiovisual requirements.

Comment: Over the years BIFHSGO has presented top genealogists at its conferences. This year will be no exception. In past years, when I've been on the program committee, proposals from members and others locally have been especially welcome.

FamilySearch adds Devon and Hampshire Bishop's Transcripts

England, Devon Bishop's Transcripts, 1558-1887; 379,189 records from 524 parishes. See the coverage table.

England, Hampshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1680-1892; 849,707 records. There is no coverage table for this collection. A list of all parishes in Hampshire is at

These are further collections where you can see the transcribed record freely, but need to be a LDS Church member, or go to a Family History Centre or an accredited library to see the image of the original.

A reminder that both Devon and Hampshire have OPCs. What's that you ask? An Online Parish Clerk, an unpaid volunteer willing to help others with their genealogical research. They collect, collate and transcribe records for various parishes within their respective areas. Find a list at

Monday, 11 December 2017

Ancestry's UK, Electoral Registers, 2003-2010

Tracing relatives down to (almost) the present day is less of a challenge if you have a phone book or electoral register. So Ancestry's database, new and updated, with 65,219,361 records from UK electoral registers is welcome. One-namers and those seeking DNA matches will find it particularly valuable.
You can search by names, approximate birth year, location and keyword, which could include street name. When searching by location I suggest choosing from the drop-down list as you type as the search seems sensitive to the format.
There are no images, likely the original is digital. To find all the electors in a household search for a known person then use the address to find the others.

The BIFHSGO Match the Picture Challenge

A fun part of the BIFHSGO meeting on Saturday, before the Great Moments presentations, was the challenge of matching each of eight director's photographs to that of an ancestor or blood relative.
About 160 people were at the meeting and something like half participated. Nobody got all 8 right, nor 7, 6, 5, nor 4. Three people got three correct. If they were just guessing how many would be expected to guess three correctly?

Using the binomial distribution the bar chart shows with random guessing you'd expect on average one out of the 80 participants to get three correct. On average there's only a 10% chance of anyone of the 80 guessing four or more correctly.

Perhaps three people with three correct answers rather than the one expected shows skill. Or perhaps this is an example of a 5 per cent chance of there being three correct guesses among 80 people. The audience reaction suggested to me that one of the matches was easier to discern than the others.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Farewell Bytown or Bust

On Sunday, 10 December Al Lewis posted the following message on his Facebook group.

"Good morning, all: After 52 years of working, I have decided it is time to retire. I will not be doing any further historical or genealogical research but will still be monitoring this Facebook group. In general, I need a rest and a change from working and need to spend some time pursuing other, less time-consuming interests. This group expanded rapidly and I did not anticipate how many posts and e-mails it would generate - between my website at and this present facebook group, there is simply too much work. The web site will still be available for researchers of history and genealogy in the Ottawa, Canada area, but it will not be updated any longer. It has been a pleasure to work with you all and I will still be around but will not be posting new material here.  ... Allan Lewis, Ottawa, Canada."

Thank you Al for the tremendous contribution you have made to the local historical and genealogical community. Your contributions will be missed. Thank you also for ensuring the website will continue to be available.

Shane Wilson adds more useful Irish tools and content

Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News points to updates at Shane Wilson's website at Recent additions are census and BMD browse tools and a scanned booklet of Telephone Subscribers of Ireland 1900-1901.
Check out Claire's blog post.

Genealogists’ Magazine: December 2017

The December issue of Genealogists’ Magazine from the Society of Genealogists, dropped in my mailbox earlier this week.
As usual, after reading the Chairman's message I turned first to the list of books newly acquired by the SOG library, a couple are also the subject of book reviews in the issue.
Family First: tracing relationships in the past, by Symes, Ruth A.
The secret world of the Victorian lodging house, by O’Neill, Joseph.
I noticed one of the articles by Malcolm Noble, a crime writer mentioned earlier this year. In Why was Hannah Bowyer guilty? he writes "By studying one murder case in detail, this essay will demonstrate the strength and depth of the value of genealogy. Secondly, it will suggest a new line of enquiry which the Victorian sleuths might have followed in this case. Thirdly, it will show how laying the genealogy across the facts of a case can provide an insight to the social and criminal culture of a community."

I also read Anthony Camp's article George Gair (or Sutherland) a case showing why why Burke's genealogies should not be relied upon.

The other articles I've yet to delve into are:
Scandal, slander and seduction: Judy Kimber
John Wood, Master of the Peregrine: Michael M. Wood
The Burt Family of St Kitts and Nevis: Chris Birch
The Bailey Brothers: Benefactors of Bells: Adrial Walton

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Fine-scale Irish Genetic Genealogy

Two articles on Irish genetic genealogy in one day!

The first, heralded by news release from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, marks the publication of The Irish DNA Atlas: Revealing Fine-Scale Population Structure and History within Ireland. This is the peer reviewed article of material previously presented by lead author Edmund Gilbert in genetic genealogy sessions at Back to Our Past (Dublin) and Who Do you Think You Are? Live (Birmingham).

Based on data collected from 194 Irish individuals with four generations of ancestry linked to specific regions in Ireland, and complementary data from the UK and continental Europe,
"We show that the Irish population can be divided in 10 distinct geographically stratified genetic clusters; seven of ‘Gaelic’ Irish ancestry (surprisingly faithful to the historical boundaries of Irish Provinces and kingdoms), and three of shared Irish-British ancestry. In addition we observe a major genetic barrier to the north of Ireland in Ulster. Using a reference of 6,760 European individuals and two ancient Irish genomes, we demonstrate high levels of North-West French-like and West Norwegian-like ancestry within Ireland. We show that that our ‘Gaelic’ Irish clusters present homogenous levels of ancient Irish ancestries. We additionally detect admixture events that provide evidence of Norse-Viking gene flow into Ireland, and reflect the Ulster Plantations."
The second article comes as a yet unreviewed preprint Insular Celtic population structure and genomic footprints of migration. 991 Irish individuals DNA was available from a health database, they were not selected to limit geographic origins which was available for 544 of the samples in the form of donor home address. 23 discrete genetic clusters were found which segregate with geographical provenance.

The studies differ in where they place Orkney results, the first with the Irish group, the second with the British. Also the second study shows South Munster separating much sooner from the Irish group than the first study.

These results provide more geographic granularity in Ireland than presently available from the commercial DNA test companies. LivingDNA has an Ireland group and one bridging Ulster and Scotland. Their own Ireland project is ongoing. AncestryDNA recognize three broad clusters, Ulster, Connacht, and Munster sub-divided into 16 genetic communities the definition of which depends on more than DNA. FamilyTreeDNA has a single group for the UK and Ireland. MyHeritage has a single Irish, Scottish, and Welsh group.

Findmypast weekly update

British Army, Imperial War Museum Bond Of Sacrifice 1914-1918, has 18,105 results, many with links to images such as this of Captain Edward Kenelm Digby DSO MC of the Coldstream Guards.
Commissioned Officers predominate with 7,176 Lieutenants and 2nd Lieutenants, 3,328 Captains and 1,346 Majors. There are 819 NCOs and about 2,800 Privates, Sappers, Gunners and similar.
Although the database title is British Army 1,029 served with Canadian forces, 1,492 the Australian.

The largest single addition this week is over 49,000 new probate index cards to the Kent Wills & Probate Indexes 1328-1890. The contents consists of records from seven different ecclesiastical Church of England courts across the county and was compiled from the West Kent Probate index 1750-1890, West Kent Probate Index 1440-1857, Kent Inventories 1571-1842 and Kent Will Abstracts 1328-1691.

Other additions for Kent are over 13,000 baptism records and over 10,000 burial records for the parishes of Meopham, Luddesdown, Cobham, Nurstead and Ifield. There also more than 3,000 new marriage records and 400 new banns records.

TheGenealogist adds Outbound Passenger Lists for the 1930s

The following is a press release from TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist has just released over 2.7 million BT27 records for the 1930s. These Outbound Passenger Lists are part of an expanding immigration and emigration record set on TheGenealogist that feature the historical records of passengers who sailed out of United Kingdom ports in the years between 1930 and 1939. With the release of this decade of records, the already strong Immigration, Emigration, Naturalisation and passenger list resources on TheGenealogist have been expanded again. 

The fully searchable BT27 records from The National Archives released today will allow researchers to:

      Discover potential family members travelling together using TheGenealogist’s SmartSearch. This unique system is able to recognise family members together on the same voyage. In this situation it will display a family icon which allows you to view the entire family with one click.
      Find people travelling to America, Canada, India, New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere in the Passenger lists of people departing by sea from the United Kingdom.
      View images of the original passenger list documents that had been kept by the Board of Trade's Commercial and Statistical Department and its successors.
      Discover the ages, last address and where the passenger intended to make their permanent residence.
      These fully indexed records allow family historians to search by name, year, country of departure, country of arrival, port of embarkation and port of destination.

Those with ancestors who sailed from Britain in the 1930’s will welcome this fascinating new release from TheGenealogist, which adds to their current Emigration records, now totalling over 19 million and dating back to 1896. 

Findmypast has Passenger Lists Leaving UK 1890-1960 with 24,113,155 records.
Ancestry has UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 with 23,768,544 records.
MyHeritage has a collection British & Irish Passenger Lists 1890 with abstracts of all passenger lists for sailings in 1890 from British & Irish ports with US and Canadian destinations, 193,995 records.
FamilySearch has no corresponding collection.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Ancestry adds Huntingdonshire, England, Extracted Church of England Parish Records, 1559-1836

Huntingdonshire, England, Extracted Church of England Parish Records, 1559-1836 is a small collection by Ancestry standards, just 10,118 records.
It appears to only contain marriage records, typically transcripts of name, gender, marriage date, marriage place and spouse name. There is no image of the original; these may be available through FamilySearch.

Registration for OGS conference 2018 now open

You can read all about and register for the next Ontario Genealogical Society conference, 1-2 June 2018, in Guelph here. There are a variety of affordable accommodation options. It's always wise to book early to secure your preference.

Are Perceptions Reality?

The Ipsos' Perils of Perception 2017 Survey looks at the gap between people's perception and the reality in 38 countries, and examines why people around the world are so wrong about basic facts about their population.
In general we’re often unduly pessimistic.
Our brains process negative information differently - it sticks with us and affects how we see realities. A few high profile examples bias our perception of the true situation.
The survey indicates 55% of people perceive people's health as good or very good, but actually 74% say their health is good or very good, a gap of 19% worse. In Canada the gap in the survey is 28% worse in perception than reality.
This negative bias is likely the basis of the opinions of the well meaning folks who perceive, on the basis of a few horrific cases, that many home children were ill treated. The perception, if repeated often enough, becomes the reality for many.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Jim Lynn: RIP

Sad to learn of the death of Jim Lynn. He was a early member of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa serving as an associate editor and writing for Anglo-Celtic Roots. For many years Jim supported BIFHSGO by running the Irish Discovery Table loaded with Irish sources at society monthly meetings. I always found Jim kind, very knowledgeable and ready to help with sound advice.

LAC Signatures: Fall/Winter 2017

The new issue of Signatures offers an “impressionistic overview” of how digitization figures meaningfully in the day-to-day workings at Library and Archives Canada.

Some of the things  I learned:

The LAC Digital Archive contains approximately 5 petabytes of digital content, equivalent to 1,338 metres (4,390 feet) of DVDs, a fragment of the total digital holdings of documentary heritage requiring preservation treatment.

The team digitizing the CEF service files can now produce more than 7 million digital images per year. When the project is concluded in the latter part of 2018 approximately 30 million images will have been digitized. (To put that in perspective, the British Newspaper Archive digitized and OCRd 6.1 million newspaper pages in the past year.)

LAC digitized over 10,200 photographs from Expo 67, including just over 9,300 colour slides.

During its first months of operation the LAC DigiLab supported the digitization of over 24,000 pages of textual material and more than 1,000 photographs by researchers from outside LAC.

LAC acknowledged it still has much to learn in digitization by stating "Canada is fortunate in that it can draw on these experiences" (of other peer organizations internationally.)

There's much more.

Read the Fall/Winter issue of Signatures at

BIFHSGO December Meeting

Great Moments in Genealogy is BIFHSGO's ever popular December session. I wouldn't miss it, this month it looks like another winner. 

In lieu of the regular Before BIFHSGO mini-education session, this month will feature holiday shopping and jolly social time. From 9am-10am there will be coffee, tea, a few holiday treats and an opportunity to shop for family history-related gifts with Global Genealogy (contact them ahead of time if you have any special requests) and Ubbink Book and Paper Conservation. We are also having a "Whose Ancestor Is This?" quiz. Photos of ancestors will be posted along with photos of our Board members and our members get to match them up. Look forward to a surprise quiz, maybe more, and cash-shopping opportunities too!

Starting at 10 am on Saturday, 9 December 2017.

In Killin
In October 2016 Brenda Turner traveled to Killin, in Perthshire, firstly, to finally see the highlands, and secondly, to do some family history research for a distant cousin whose family had come to Canada from there. Intending to stay only perhaps just overnight, she stayed for several days, and had great fun and success in her researches. Her cousin was delighted to receive her evidence of her research. But then, back in Canada, several months later, she had new reasons to research what had been going on in Killin in about 1815.

About the speaker
Brenda Turner is a retired former public servant with a long history of family history research. She has been visiting the UK for many years pursuing her family’s stories.

The Skeleton in my Closet
Dr. Robert George Clements was a cousin of John McConkey’s grandfather. Bertie (as he was known) seemed to be a successful physician, having started his career in Belfast and later moving to England. Bertie had several wives – sadly each of them became severely ill and died before their time. None of these deaths were regarded as unusual – except for that of his 4th (and final) wife who died in May 1947. The events following her death created sensational headlines in British newspapers. John’s talk tells the story – it has a surprising finale!

About the speaker
John McConkey was born in the UK - on the Isle of Wight. He earned his B.Sc. at King's College London and worked for International Computers Ltd for 5 years. In 1971 he and his wife immigrated to Canada, with the intention of spending 2 years seeing the country and getting to know relatives - but that 2 year period got extended! They both found computer work in Montreal and then moved the family to Ottawa in 1982 when John received an offer from Nortel. He stayed with Nortel for 17 years and then ran a small network consulting business for 10 years. Now retired, he (and his wife) spend a considerable amount of their time engaged in family history research. John has visited Northern Ireland 3 times and has had significant success with ancestral discoveries there. He organizes reunions for Canadian and British family, transcribes for Ancestry and the North of Ireland Family History Society and is volunteer technical coordinator at BIFHSGO meetings and conferences.

A Young Soldier
Follow the lives of the Thomas Moor family and in particular the life of his eldest son, young Tom Moor. Follow their story, as told by Sharon and Jeff Moor, from London, England to Montreal, Canada, and eventually to Toronto, after periods of time in Detroit and Brantford.  At the age 18, young Tom Moor would make a decision in his young life that would have an impact on his parent’s lives and leave his own mark on Canadian History during the North West Rebellion.

About the speakers
Sharon Moor is a 14-year member of BIFHSGO and a past membership director. She has researched her family tree and her husband’s family tree across Canada, US, England, and Scotland.

Jeff Moor is the son of Sharon Moor. Jeff is a 27-year veteran of the federal public service. His own roots started as a child in Saskatchewan. He has taken an interest in how his family roots link to key Canadian historical events.

Einstein, eBay and the Red Cross – How I Found Fame and Fortune Using my Genealogical Superpowers
When Matthew Harding was going through a box of old books one day, he made an unexpected discovery. Learn how years of genealogy Conferences, workshops and courses paid off as he set out researching an unusual inscription, and instead went on a fascinating voyage into history.

About the speaker
Matthew Harding first joined BIFHSGO in 1995, way back before the Internet was even popular, when doing genealogical research meant becoming an expert at threading filmstrips into the !@#@#!@#@! Microfilm reader. Born in Essex, England, he has lived all around the world but is proud to call Ottawa his home. Matthew runs an IT Consulting firm called The KTL Group. He also happens to be married to BIFHSGO’s new Program Director, and was made to promise not to embarrass her during this talk (good luck). Please don’t ask him about his genealogical tattoo.

As usual it's all in The Chamber, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Scotland: General Register of Lunatics in Asylum

Old Scottish Genealogy and Family History have indexed the first 14 volumes of the General Register of Lunatics in Asylum.
From the National Records of Scotland series MC7, the volumes in the series open are for 1858 to 1915,  The register includes every patient admitted to an asylum in Scotland in this period as well as nearly 4000 patients in asylums on 1 January 1858. It covers 180,731 admissions to asylums, involving 115,900 individual patients. 955 of them have last name Reid -- if only there were DNA test results!
The free index browsable by surname is fairly detailed. You can order an image of the original for a fee.

via a retweet from Helen V Smith

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Today marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 female engineering students at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. Horrific act -- committed by a deranged man.

In an opinion piece in The Conversation Yasmin Jiwani, Professor of Communication Studies, Concordia University, points out that it's not just one event, violence against women continues to take a toll, a woman is killed every six days by her intimate partner.

Repulsive as the behaviour of some powerful men, like Weinstein, Moore, Trump and others is, it in no way justifies demonizing men as a whole.

Another opinion piece in the same issue of The Conversation by Alan Sears, Professor of Education, University of New Brunswick, quotes Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago:

“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

OGS December Webinar: Kirsty Gray

Researching your Ancestors before Civil Registration in England & Wales

With increased digitization of genealogical records in England and Wales, documents relating to your ancestors are far more readily available but how are the records structured? Where are they located? And what information can be gleaned from these primary sources?

Taking you through the basics by examining various record sets in the parish chest, Kirsty Gray highlights the online and offline resources available to today’s genealogist when researching before 1837 in England and Wales.

Steve Fulton confirms it is Thursday 7 December, 2017, 7:00 pm, not the 8th as was advertized on the OGS site. Thanks to Steve for the clarification. Register from

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Ancestry's Canadian Bonanza: New Brunswick

After a long quiet period the flood gates have burst with 16 new Canadian databases now accessible on Ancestry for Alberta, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

For New Brunswick the three databases, sourced from the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, are:

Births and Late Registrations, 1810-1906475,211
Marriages, 1789-19501,335,265
Deaths, 1888-1938377,372

The information provided is a fairly comprehensive transcription and images of the originals via FamilySearch.

Ancestry's Canadian Bonanza: Newfoundland

After a long quiet period the flood gates have burst with 16 new Canadian databases now accessible on Ancestry for Alberta, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
The Newfoundland databases now on Ancestry are:

Census, 1945328,362
Census, 1935296,231
Census, 1921218,865
Church Records, 1793-1899232,261
Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1757-1901539,158
Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1850-1949667,480

The 20th century census databases are sourced from the Newfoundland. Department Of Tourism, Culture, And Recreation. Note the warning about the unusual order of images in the 1945 census. Also note the 1935 census includes the parent's birthplace.
The Church Records are mainly but not exclusively Catholic, and include Church of Ireland. St. Patrick's Church (Waterford)1756-1770.
The two Births, Marriages, and Deaths data-sets are from collections of the Provincial government.

Ancestry's Canadian Bonanza: Nova Scotia

After a long quiet period the flood gates have burst with 16 new Canadian databases now accessible on Ancestry for Alberta, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Nova Scotia is already well served on Ancestry with records from the Provincial Archives. The addition is:
Nova Scotia, Canada, Antigonish Catholic Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1823-1905, with 273,570 records.

The records are sourced from the Catholic Diocese Of Antigonish and images are via FamilySearch. Earlier registers are written in familiar paragraph format, while later registers are typically pre-printed forms with information filled in by hand.

Ancestry's Canadian Bonanza: Prince Edward Island

After a long quiet period the flood gates have burst with 16 new Canadian databases now accessible on Ancestry for Alberta, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

For Prince Edward Island the three databases, from a variety of sources detailed, are:

Baptisms, Marriages, Burials, 1780-1983320,239
Marriage Registers, 1832-188840,524
Death Card Index, 1810-191316,686

The baptisms, marriages and burials sourced from various churches

include images of the originals records from FamilySearch.

The Prince Edward Island Library and Archives is the source for the marriage register, with images, and death card index which is handwritten with information from various sources including newspapers.

Ancestry's Canadian Bonanza: Alberta

After a long quiet period the flood gates have burst with 16 new Canadian databases now accessible on Ancestry for Alberta, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

For Alberta the three databases, sourced from the Provincial Archives of Alberta, are:

Births Index, 1870-18966,667
Marriages Index,1898-1942384,033
Deaths Index, 1870-1966567,480

Births gives name, place, year, and registration number.
Marriages provide name, gender, date (year), place, spouse name and registration number.
Deaths include name, gender, date, place and registration number.

Apply for a full official record using the information from the index entry from

LAC Call for Documentary Heritage Communities Program Proposals

The following is from Library and Archives Canada.

December 4, 2017 – Gatineau, Quebec

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to announce the launch of the 2018–2019 funding cycle for its Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP).

For a fourth year, LAC will invest $1.5 million through the DHCP.

The contributions support the development of Canada’s archival, library and museum communities, and the professional associations that represent them, by increasing their capacity to preserve, provide access to and promote documentary heritage. Since 2015–2016, LAC has contributed $4.5 million to support 140 projects in Canada.

LAC invites all eligible organizations to submit their applications as soon as possible. The deadline for the 2018–2019 funding cycle is February 7, 2018, at 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

Interested groups can find the 2018-2019 guidelines, FAQs and a link to the Program’s new online application portal on the LAC website<>. This site also includes more information on the DHCP, including eligibility criteria for organizations and initiatives. If they have any questions, applicants may contact LAC at 819-997-0893 or 1-844-757-8035, or by email at, before submitting a funding application under the DHCP.

Comment: Genealogical and family history societies qualify to received funding. Note that the project assessment criteria have been revised. Although these are not as demanding for projects requesting less than $15,000, analysis of previous year submissions indicates that proposals that are not well thought out demonstrating ability to complete the project stand little chance of success.

#AskTheLAC Twitter chat transcript

If you missed the LAC Twitter chat at #AskTheLAC here is the stream, in reverse chronological order (with the most recent just below).

  1. That’s all, folks! Thanks, !
  2. Replying to  
    GB: Check out this blog post: If you have more questions, our genealogy experts can help:
  3. GB: 81% of CEF files have been digitized. We will be done by November 11, 2018, exactly 100 years after the . Updates posted monthly on our
  4. how do I research my Quebecois ancestry when they use "dit" names, please? Even genealogists have not been able to trace my family back to France - au secours s.v.p.!
  5. GB: We have over 5 petabytes of digital material.
  6. Replying to   and 
    GB: Yes, for a number of years we have proactively opened millions of pages of government documents. We also welcome requests under ATIP
  7. GB: We digitize as much as we can & share our collection via social media. We support local institutions to give access. And, of course, we also have service centres in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Halifax.
  8. Thank you for your responses. .
  9. GB: In last 10 years, records are increasingly born digital. In next 10 years, we expect an explosion in social media and new ways to share archival material. is an example.
  10. Replying to 
    GB: Great idea! No planned service changes. We try to notify users of short-term service interruptions ASAP. We also have informal consultations w onsite clients twice a year, + hold quarterly meetings w our Services Consultation Committee.
  11. Replying to 
    GB: Gatineau 2 will house textual records primarily. We are still acquiring records from 20-30 years ago, so there is still a need for analogue storage
  12. How will the Gatineau 2 Preservation Facility differ from the original now that acquisitions are moving to digital? .
  13. GB: The Proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982 required an extremely specialized container to prevent the ink from fading when exposed to light:
  14. What was the hardest thing you had to physically archive?
  15. Will LAC schedule sessions to inform on-site researchers about planned service changes and receive community feedback? .
  16. GB: If you’re getting papercuts, you’re using Twitter all wrong ;)
  17. GB: I answered too fast. One of the oldest items is the “bulle de Nicolas V” from 1453!
  18. GB: Hi! We don’t have cats at LAC, but we know cats who love books!

  19. GB: There’s no typical day safeguarding Canada’s history. My time is spent meeting colleagues, stakeholders, and government officials.
  20. GB: The Parliament of Canada website is an excellent resource to learn more about how our system works:
  21. Replying to 
    GB: it's a serigraph by Warhol of Wayne Gretzky! Coming from , I did not expect to find such a rich collection of portraits at
  22. Replying to   and 
    GB: Rules on the disclosure of sensitive records are based on why those records are restricted. We’re bound by the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act. Both contain exemptions and exceptions. You can find details here:
  23. Replying to 
    All relevant federal government departments are working together to ensure that a decision is made in the coming few months.
  24. GB: The Guide lists records relating to many units of the Signal Service, Canadian Engineers, including divisional companies, cable section and wireless section. You can browse this guide to find records related to signals. 2of3
  25. GB: The Guide to Sources Relating to Units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force is available online here: 1of3
  26. Thank you
  27. What is the state of deliberations on federal funding for the proposed joint Ottawa Public Library / LAC facility? .
  28. Replying to  
    GB: Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I will look into it, and will get back to you in a few days.
  29. Replying to 
    GB: We are embarking on the digitization of an unprecedented amount of material relevant to the initiative Hear our Voices
  30. Replying to 
    - what is the most surprising thing you've found in the archives?
  31. My Q is: Will you look at my Finding Aid for those 10 incorrect films & speak to me about correcting the online content descriptions? The URL for my Finding Aid is at Thank you for your time. 4/4
  32. I wrote to Canadiana offering to provide them with my correct content descriptions for the films. After many non-responses I was told all descriptions came from LAC & I would have to write LAC. I wrote to LAC with no response over a year ago. 3/4
  33. I wrote to Canadiana with no response so I went through every digitized image on every film to create a Finding Aid. I provide the correct Volume numbers found on each film as well as note what image number starts each volume. 2/4
  34. In 2013 I found that of 21 microfilms for the Heir & Devisee Commission provided by LAC & on 10 are incorrectly identified as to volume numbers & content contained. Example H 1150 which they says holds V 87-89 contains V 90-98 ¼
  35. I have a 4 part question for your Tried to condense it as much as possible. Here goes!
  36. Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume (GB) is here to answer your questions until 1 pm EST.
  37. When the CEF service files project ends what major digitization project, or projects, will LAC pursue?
  38. Got a question for the Librarian and Archivist of Canada? He will answer it today (Dec. 4), 11:30AM-1PM (EST)!