Tuesday, 9 February 2016

John Grenham's Final Irish Times Column

Here is the text of John Grenham's final column for the Irish Times.

The “Irish Roots” column began on February 28th, 2009, almost exactly seven years ago. This is the last one.
Looking back over that period, the blink of a gnat’s eye in genealogical terms, there is no doubt that a revolution in access to records has taken place, one that in Ireland is quite peculiar. Back then, genealogy in other English-speaking countries – Australia, the US, the UK – was already becoming web-centric, researchers having long realised what a marriage made in heaven existed between family history data and computers. In those places, genealogy was already commercial and quickly underwent the same process of globalising merger and acquisition that the internet seems to force on all businesses. Giant global oligopolies are the result: MyHeritage, FindMyPast, Ancestry.
Here in Ireland we did things differently. The first attempt to harness genealogy for tourism was a complete organisational dog’s dinner, with heritage centres, county libraries, local community groups and many others yoked together in a project that was part-genealogy, part-community employment, part parish-pump political stroke. But it produced a result: rootsireland.ie, still the only essential Irish genealogy website.
Ad-haughery [sic] like this became the main feature of most Irish online record projects. One individual or institution would take on a project and carry it over the finish line: the National Archives census site; the Library Council’s Griffith’s site; the National Library’s parish registers site; Arts, Tourism and the Gaeltacht’s church and civil records site.
All (including rootsireland) were motivated by a straightforward desire to serve the Irish public, which in later years also came to mean all those worldwide who claimed Irish roots. The result is that Irish research is now less commercial, more open, a bit messier but, above all, much easier than in any of those places that started before us.
It’s a very un-Irish thing to say, but we’ve been lucky. And we’ll meet again down the road, with a little more luck.

I'll continue to follow John at johngrenham.com.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Thanks to the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives

On Saturday it was my pleasure to be the invited speaker at the AGM of The Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives.
It was my first trip to Arnprior in several years with the opportunity to visit the compact downtown. The Arnprior Book Shop is a traditional small town independent that doesn't overwhelm you like the major chains. It's connected inside to a gift store and a coffee shop which provided a delicious coffee cake to accompany my coffee.
The AGM started on time and was short with no issues and reelection of the volunteer board members.
My talk "Blowin’ in the Wind: Ottawa Valley Weather Events and People" solicited lots of questions, notably about microclimate and the impact of local geography.
That was followed by snacks, opportunity to make a donation for those so inclined, and a tour of the archives which impressed me with the evident organization.
The Archives receives financial support for being the repository of the official records of the communities of Arnprior and of McNab/Braeside, so performing a function required for any Ontario municipality. There is a valuable collection of land records, newspapers, and the Handford Studio Collection of local portrait photographs, many of them glass plate negatives.
I'd like to thank President Julie Hartwick for her kind introduction. Thanks also to archivist Laurie Dougherty for her help before and during the event and for the tour. She will have her hands full completing the work for the Documentary Heritage Communities Program Grant received late last year to upgrade the online database and improve the website as well as with the digitization projects which will follow if a second award of a DCP Grant is made.

Findmypast announces indexed Irish Catholic records coming

RootsTech, just ended, was the occasion for Findmypast to announce the imminent release of 10 million Irish Catholic parish records.
The March release will cover over 200 years of history, from 1671-1900, over 1,000 parishes transcribed from 3,500 baptism and marriage registers from the National Library of Ireland (NLI).
This is a transcript for images placed online my the NLI last July.
As mentioned in my post at that time the quality of the originals leaves much to be desired. There are missing and illegible pages so even though they are Catholic records don't expect miracles.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Kitchissippi Heritage & History Group

Posted on the website of The Kitchissippi Museum is an invitation to an initial meeting of The Kitchissippi Heritage & History Group . It's scheduled for Sunday February 28th, 1-3 p.m. Read all about it and RSVP (appreciated) to the email address given if interested in attending.

LAC Departmental Performance Report 2014-2015

Every year Canadian federal departments have tabled in Parliament a performance report, an overview of how the organization is doing in meeting its mandate and objectives.
The report for 2014 - 2015 was tabled at the end of January.
After introductory material by the Minister and the Librarian and Archivist the content is in four sections
Section I: Organizational Expenditure Overview
Section II: Analysis of Programs by Strategic Outcomes
Section III: Supplementary Information (mainly financial)
Section IV: Organizational Contact Information

Program 2.3: Access to documentary heritage is of most interest for genealogy.
It's an activity in which LAC spent 16% more and employed 10% more staff than originally planned.
LAC met or exceeded all of its performance targets in this area.

The following extract is of most interest for the genealogical community.
"Performance Analysis and Lessons Learned
In 2014–15, LAC contributed to many initiatives aimed at improving client access to the collection. In addition to digitizing the collection and making it available online, LAC also organized and participated in a number of thematic public events, loaned remarkable documents from its collection to other institutions, and continued to promote the use of social media.
The majority of users who accessed LAC collections and services in 2014–15 did so via the website, which saw over 22 million visits. To better serve the interests of its vast clientele, LAC undertook an online survey which revealed that the two main subjects of interest to users are genealogy and military records. The survey reaffirmed the importance of the digitization and online posting of 640,000 Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) service records.
These records, which are among the most frequently requested documents in LAC’s collection, allow Canadians to find their ancestors and learn more about their movements, their injuries, their pay records and their stories. This initiative was LAC’s primary contribution to commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War. As of March 31, 2015, 21% of the CEF records had been added to the Soldiers of the First World War database and 19% of the 32 million images in the collection had been made available online.
LAC also continued its participation in digitization projects in collaboration with Canadiana.org and Ancestry.ca. As of March 31, 2015, 35 million (out of 40 million) images had been digitized by LAC and Canadiana.org, and 22 million images had been made available online at the Canadiana.ca website. Canadians now benefit from better access to the archives of several prominent Canadians, to historical Government of Canada documents, and to various documents concerning immigration and the history of First Nations. In the project being undertaken with Ancestry.ca that aims to digitize 1.3 million images. 10 of the 11 collections included in this project were digitized in 2014–15, and will be made available online in 2015–16."
Read the whole LAC Department Performance Report 2014-2015 here.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

RootsTech Streamed Presentations: Saturday

A reminder and more detail about the RootsTech sessions being live-streamed today, Saturday 6 February. To view go to https://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

First up, at 10:30: a.m EST is the Saturday General Session, a plenary held in a huge room. Appearing are:
Michael O. Leavitt, former Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency and Secretary of Health and Human Services and as a three-time elected governor of Utah., is the founder and chairman of Leavitt Partners, where he helps clients navigate the future as they transition to new and better models of care.
Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize–winning author. She is the author of six critically acclaimed and New York Times best-selling books, including her most recent, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (November 2013).

At 1 p.m. Jens Nielsen owner of the premier camera store / photographic company in the Intermountain West speaks on Photos—Emerging Technologies in Photography

At 3:30 p.m. Anne Mitchell, Product Manager, Ancestry/Fold3/Newspapers/Ancestry Academy presents  Become a Master Searcher on Ancestry

At 5 p.m. Peggy Lauritzen, co-Director of the Mansfield, Ohio Family History Center presents Homespun and Calico: Researching our Foremothers

Finally, at 6:30 p.m. James Ison, Accredited Genealogist and Certified Genealogist, speaks on Using the Genealogical Proof Standard for Success

Next year RootsTech is scheduled for February 8 - 11.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Norfolk Baptisms, Banns, Marriages and Burials new on Findmypast

Over 4.6 million baptism, banns, marriage and burial records from Nelson's English county of Norfolk are new at Findmypast. The indexes are linked to images of the originals.

The 1,833,772 Baptism records, from 546 parishes including a few in Suffolk, are as early as 1501 and as late as 1915.  You may want to browse through adjacent records on the image, I unexpectedly found a relative born in London but returned to Norfolk for baptism in the mother's"home" family church.

953,616 Marriage records, including more than 183,000 from Norwich, are from 1650 to 1931.

1,444,275 Burial records include a few odd names: 2 Men & A Boy; 3 Russian Soldiers; 5 Russian Soldiers; a Man Child; and many with partial names. They date from 1475 to 1990.

There are only a few Banns.

RootsTech Streamed Presentations: Friday

A reminder and more detail about the RootsTech sessions being live-streamed today, Friday 5 February. To view go to https://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

First up, at 10:30: a.m EST is the Friday General Session, a plenary held in a huge room. Appearing are:
Josh and Naomi Davis (Love Taza) whose "blog has become a digital destination viewed by millions around the world that come to find a feeling of inspiration and wanderlust and a guide for finding the joy in their everyday experiences."
David Isay, author, broadcaster, and founder of StoryCorps, "an award-winning organization that provides people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve their life stories."

At 12:30 p.m EST RootsTech Innovator Showdown Finals.

At 3:30 p.m EST Lisa Louise Cooke, who needs no introduction, speaks on Proven Methodology for Using Google for Genealogy

At 5 p.m. EST Robert Kehrer, Senior Product Manager, FamilySearch.org presents Finding Elusive Records on FamilySearch.org

At 6:30 p.m. EST Myko Clelland, Partnership & Outreach Manager, Findmypast speaks on My Ancestors Are from Britain—What Do I Do Next?

Carleton University Library Officially Opens the Ottawa Resource Room

Thursday afternoon saw a gathering of the usual Ottawa heritage suspects together with Roseann O'Reilly Runte, President and Vice-Chancellor of Carleton University; Wayne Jones, CU Librarian (seen at the podium); David Chernushenko, City Councillor for the ward which includes the university and, other dignitaries. It marked the official opening of a new section of the MacOdrum Library, the Ottawa Resource Room.

Located on the 1st floor, adjacent to a tunnel, it is filled with Ottawa resources for the university and wider community. There are lots of maps, mapping resources, and of course books galore. Check out what's available online at https://library.carleton.ca/research/collection/ottawa-resource-room/.

It's good to see a local-oriented special library being developed, as opposed to the Ottawa Public Library Ottawa Room which is losing out on resources as it's being allowed to languish by the neglect of the OPL CEO and her senior manager colleagues.