Friday, 23 March 2018

Now we are 37 million?

On Thursday Statistics Canada posted that Canada's population on 1 January 2018 was 36,963,854. With the latest growth rate we should now be at 37 million—not as easy to celebrate in song as the 20 million Bobby Gimby used in 1967. 
There will be adjustments as Stats Can used the 2011 census as the baseline, not the 2016 census.
People are living longer, the birth rate is shrinking and net migration is 220,000. It could easily be higher.
 According to Worldometer Canada's population <> declined from 38th globally in 1955 to 38th today and is projected at 46th in 2050.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Two genetic genealogy success story videos

Genetic genealogy success stories are coming thick and fast.
Maurice Gleeson has posted the presentation Breaking down Brick Walls using Triangulation he gave at Genetic Genealogy Ireland (Belfast), sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA. He discusses his experience of "Messy Triangulation", working with shared autosomal matches which opened up a connection to Welsh nobility and British royalty.
If you use MyHeritage DNA have a look at the Legacy Family Tree webinar Hands-On with MyHeritage DNA by Geoff Rasmussen and Ran Snir, with an assist from Geoff's cousin, yet another story of connections made through DNA testing. And if you've autosomal test results from another company MyHeritage is still accepting uploads of results and the ability of make matches for free. The free bit may not last!

TheGenealogist adds Meritorious Service Medal Roll.

The roll of names for 29,000 individuals who were decorated with the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) British honour in the First World War have been released by TheGenealogist.
According to the release note the medal was first awarded in 1845 to non-commissioned officers in the British Army who had a record of long service in the forces. The First World War saw it awarded to those who performed acts of non-combatant gallantry in the performance of their military duty, not necessarily while the serviceman was on active service and may have been in the saving or attempted saving of the life of an officer or an enlisted soldier.

Honouring Sir Arthur Doughty

22 March 2018 is the 158th anniversary of the birth of Sir Arthur George Doughty in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England.
Arriving in Canada in 1886 he was the longest serving Dominion Archivist and Keeper of the Public Records of Canada, from 1904 until 1935. He died in December 1936 and is buried with his second wife in Ottawa's Notre Dame Cemetery.
Sadly the Dictionary of Canadian Biography has yet to publish his biography. There are short articles in Wikipedia and The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Researchers live in hope that as ever more documents are digitized facts behind mysteries of Doughty's life might be revealed. A January 1881 newspaper from Berkshire reports that Mr Arthur Doughty was responsible for decorating the National School Room on the occasion of a meeting of the Juvenile Branch of the Maidenhead Church of England Temperance Society. Not everything that comes to light will be enlightening!

OGS Ottawa Branch March Meeting

This Saturday, 24 March at 1:30 pm Fraser Dunford will be in Ottawa speaking to OGS Ottawa Branch on Municipal Records.
Ontario’s municipal history is complex.  Finding municipal records is even more complex, yet they contain significant genealogical and historical information. 
Fraser Dunford is a retired professional engineer and university administrator, and former OGS Executive Director. He is author of several books and articles before and in life as a genealogist including Municipal Records in Ontario, covering the history and growth of Ontario municipalities, the sorts of records municipalities kept, and where you may find these records.

In the morning Back to Basics session, starting at 10:30 am, Heather Oakley will discuss Citing Your Sources.

The Computer special interest group is scheduled to meet following the main event in the afternoon, nominally at 3 pm.

All events are at the Ottawa City Archives, 100 Tallwood in Nepean.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

TNA tests handwriting recognition in PROB 11 will collection

A post on The (UK) National Archive's blog Machines reading the archive: handwritten text recognition software reports encouraging results on a pilot project assessing the feasibility of using the handwritten text recognition facility Transkribus on TNA's collection of PROB 11 wills.
Transkribus requires an original collection in a fairly uniform hand and a good sample of human transcribed material to train the recognition process. Training on roughly 37,000 words produced a transcription with a word error rate of 28% and character error rate of 14%.
Although no statistics are given the error rate for proper names (capitalized) appears to be much greater. If they occur a number of times in the document the chances of finding a name at least once is improved. This will be especially useful where the name of interest occurs not as the deceased, already indexed for PROB 11, but an executor, beneficiary or witness.

HSO March Meeting

The Historical Society of Ottawa meets on Friday 23 March, 2018 at 1 pm for a presentation by Dan Mackay -- Lillian Freiman: The Poppy Lady

Lillian Bilsky Freiman (1885-1940) nicknamed “The Poppy Lady”, was designated a Person of National Historic Significance by the Canadian Government. During the First World War, Lillian worked tirelessly for the benefit of our soldiers overseas by setting up sewing circles which would become a Disraeli Chapter of the Daughters of the Empire. She also co-founded The Great War Veterans Association which would become the Royal Canadian Legion. Lillian crafted the first Canadian poppies in her living room in 1921. This presentation will look at this fascinating woman.

Dan Mackay has had an extensive career in the military, and is now a Friend of the Canadian War Museum, and as a volunteer, is guardian and custodian of the military artifacts in the Museum. He has been deeply engaged in conserving the history of our Armed Forces holding such positions as Army Heritage Officer at NDHQ; Deputy Director, Directorate of History and Heritage at NDHQ and, in earlier days, served in senior positions as a geographer and cartographer with Energy, Mines and Resources and on secondment to the Department of External Affairs.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

MyHeritage DNA features in two of three Legacy webinars this week

Confused about results of genetic genealogy testing?
On Wednesday at 2 pm ET Ran Snir, Product Manager of MyHeritage DNA will give Legacy Family Tree Webinars' Geoff Rasmussen a guided tour through his personal ethnicity estimates, DNA matches and more. Free registration here.
On Friday at 2 pm ET Mike Mansfield, Director of Content Operations at MyHeritage, will give  a brief refresher of human genetics and review the different types of DNA tests available, with a focus on autosomal DNA tests. and look at genealogical problems solving with DNA results. Free registration here.
The focus in both will be on the MyHeritage product which is gaining ground in the the competitive genetic genealogy field, a tribute to rapidly advancing capability and marketing.
An example of the marketing, facilitated for MyHeritage DNA by the company acquisition of Legacy, is the webinar True Stories of Families Reunited Thanks to Genetic Genealogy telling the stories of favorite heartwarming reunions.
If these don't quite match your needs a search for genetic genealogy on YouTube returns 142 items posted just in the past month.

Canadian Centre for the Great War

The Montreal-based Canadian Centre for the Great War exists to preserve and protect artifacts and archives related to the Canadian experience of the First World War, and inform Canadians of the same.
Although the physical centre has limited opening hours, Fridays and Saturdays, there is a website that may prove useful in exploring the likely experiences of your Great War warrior.
Look under Special Presentations, Exhibitions, and Centennial Stories for items of possible interest. The Catalogue leads to various photos and other images, conveying the dreariness of the situation, any one of which could be pertinent to your Canadian Great War soldier.

Irish Origins on YouTube

Irish Origins: Archaeology, Genetics and Linguistics, by James Mallory, Emeritus Professor at Queen's University Belfast, is the most recent presentation posted on YouTube from Genetic Genealogy Ireland, Belfast, last month.
It looks back to times well before those of interest to most genealogists, well before surnames. Did you know Newgrange was not built by the Irish (meaning Irish speakers)?
This longue durée approach  may be an interesting diversion toward understanding Irish heritage

Monday, 19 March 2018

Birmingham Burial Records

There's a new website for Birmingham burials since last mentioned here in February 2017.
Burial records are for Brandwood End Cemetery, Handsworth Cemetery, Key Hill Cemetery, Kings Norton Cemetery, Lodge Hill Cemetery, Lodge Hill Crematorium, Quinton Cemetery, Sutton Coldfield Cemetery, Sutton Coldfield Crematorium, Sutton New Hall Cemetery ,Warstone Lane Cemetery, Witton Cemetery, Yardley Cemetery and Yardley Crematorium.
Search from
The site, from the Birmingham City Council, includes burials from 1836 with a free search returning name (first and last), cemetery, month and year of burial; about 1.5 million entries.
The 490 results returned for the last name Reid included 45 were Reid was part of the name, such as Goodreid, 14 with no first name indicated as stillborn, and 5 with an unknown first name. The earliest was in 1841, the latest 2016.
Wilton Cemetery, followed by Handsworth Cemetery and Lodge Hill Crematorium had the most Reid burials.
For £5 you can download and image of the page from the burial register which  may (although not always) show:

Number of Entry (Burial/Cremation Number)
Description of person buried/interred
Rank or profession (occupation)
Marital Status
Late residence/place where death occurred
Date of burial/cremation
Date of death
By whom the ceremony/service was performed (Officiating Minister; Sometimes including Funeral Director)
Registrars signature
By whom the certificate was given (persons signing certificates)
Grant or reference number
Place of Burial/Cremation (Section/Class within the Cemetery)
Number of Grave (Plot number within the Section/Class within the Cemetery)
Whether the deceased is in consecrated or unconsecrated ground (occasionally including Special, Free Church and Roman Catholic ground)
Description of grave and charges (occasionally including grave depth)
If Pauper – The Union
Receipt Number
Method of disposal of ashes

Help determine priorities of the National Heritage Digitization Strategy

It's an easy seven step process. Please take five minutes to help ensure the genealogy community voice is heard. Complete a short anonymous National Heritage Digitization Strategy survey to help set its priorities.
Here's how and my recommended responses for those with genealogical interests.

Step 1: Open the survey form here.
Step 2: For the first question, on PUBLISHED MATERIAL, select Newspapers as the highest priority. Fill in the remainder as you wish.
Step 3: For the second question on ARCHIVAL MATERIAL, select Archival material of genealogical interest as the highest priority. Fill in the remainder as you wish.
Step 4: For the third question on FORMATS, select Textual documents as the highest priority followed by At-risk material, then Microfilm and microfiche. Fill in the remainder as you wish.
Step 5: In response to Why would you prioritize this material and these formats? respond Of most interest to my community.
Step 6: In response to the request for comments respond Give priority to material of widest interest.
Step 7: Compete the survey by selecting your role from the list given and click Submit.

The survey is open until April 6th, 2018 but don't hesitate - do it now. Thank you.

Gilbert Ross Slack: CEF Beechwood

Signaller Gilbert Ross Slack of the 32nd Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, died on 19 March 1918 of a shrapnel wound which had severed his spine. He was buried at Beechwood Cemetery the following day.
A 57 page service file shows he was in France for about a year. The wound was received while serving as a cyclist at the Somme, France, on 25 March 1917. Paralyzed below the wound he spent time in hospitals in France and England before being returned to Canada on the Hospital Ship Llandovery Castle.
His family subsequent took him to New York for consultation with a specialist, but he could not help. He was reported to have maintained a cheerful disposition.
The second son of John Henry Slack and Jennett Baxter Slack he was born 8 October 1895.