Saturday, 20 January 2018

Findmypast adds England, Greater Manchester Baptisms 1571-1910

Numerically the largest addition to the Findmypast this week, 811,408 records, is a collection of baptism and christening records from 145 named parishes in the Diocese of Manchester.
You will perhaps recall that the corresponding records for marriages and burials were released on Findmypast in December. All were sourced from FamilySearch and many images of originals are linked to the index/transcripts.
There are now over 12 million records in the 20 Findmypast databases with Manchester in the title. By far the largest, over 9 million entries, is Manchester Rate Books 1706-1900.

OPL updates local history content online

The local history page on Ottawa Public Library’s website is being improved.
Librarian Romaine Honey tells me it’s a work in progress, now including an explanation of OPL local history collections; lists of community organizations and local history blogs; and a link to Recommended Resources catalogue lists.
There's a “Digital Ottawa” section which includes links to Internet Archive digital versions of titles held in the Ottawa Room (something I've been advocating for a long time). At the moment there are only 49 digital titles listed with more being added monthly. I hope they take a look at the rare volumes in the glass front cabinet in the Ottawa Room and add those as many are also already digitized.
“Digital Ottawa” has links to digitized community newspapers and the Ottawa Digital Archive on the Toronto Public Library’s Virtual Reference Library too.
This is a significant step forward. Maybe one day we'll see OPL contributing by digitizing some of their unique material.

Friday, 19 January 2018

World War II POW Collection

The (UK) National Archives has an estimated 190,000 records of individuals captured in German occupied territory during the Second World War. Held in series WO 416 these consist mostly of one or two cards for each individual for allied service men (including Canadians, South Africans, Australians and New Zealanders) but also several hundred British and Allied civilians and a few nurses.
The series also includes several thousand records relating to deceased allied airmen, whose bodies were found by or near to their downed aircraft.
The collection is closed as it can contain sensitive information about living individuals. Work is underway to catalogue the entire series with the aim of opening records for those born more than 100 years ago or where there is proof of death.
There's much more information in the TNA blog post Opening up our prisoner of war collection by Roger Kershaw.

Presenting at the Secret Lives Conference

I've been waiting for the official announcement to blog that I'm presenting at the Secret Lives conference in Leicestershire at the end of August.
With four leading genealogical organisations coming together to host this will be THE major family history conference in the UK this year. They are the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), The Guild of One Name Studies, the Halsted Trust and the Society of Genealogists.
From Friday 31st August to Sunday 2nd September 2018 conference lectures will be "aimed at family historians interested in tracing ancestors who may be less represented in mainstream records, whose voices are difficult to hear or who might be overlooked or indeed elusive."
See the list of speakers announced so far at
If you're interested in attending there's an early bird discount. I know of at least one other Ottawa area family historian planning to attend.

Lloyd's List

Do you have an interesting in shipping, perhaps to fill out an ancestor's story? Then you need Lloyd's List, a newspaper reporting shipping movements and casualties, maritime news and other commercial information which is being digitized by the folks at the British Newspaper Archive.

They are presently working on adding issues from 1889, 1904, 1906-1909, filling in gaps in the run of those previously available 1801-1884, 1888-1889, 1893-1894, 1896-1897, 1906, 1910.

Issues for 1741 to 1826, with gaps, are also available at

If you're looking for a particular ship be aware than names weren't unique. Also you're more likely to find something useful if you can limit the search to a year or two. Fortunately the BNA allows an approach where you can start broad and then filter the results.

Ontario and Manitoba Vital Records Updates for 2018

Ancestry quietly added to these records on 10 January.

DatabaseTotal Records
Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1826-19367,480,585
Ontario, Canada, Deaths and Deaths Overseas, 1869-19463,241,953
Web: Manitoba, Canada, Birth Index, 1870-1917563,649
Web: Manitoba, Marriage Index, 1881-1937382,854
Web: Manitoba, Death Index, 1871-1947553,034

An additional year, 1936 for marriage records and 1946 for deaths are added for Ontario.

Note that you can search the Manitoba index records with no subscription required at

Thursday, 18 January 2018

FreeBMD January Update

The FreeBMD database was updated on Wednesday 17 January 2018 to contain 265,866,842 distinct records, 265,463,493 at previous update. That's 403,349 added, 17,537 per day.

Years with updates of more than 5,000 records are, for birth 1963-64, 1978-82; for marriages 1966, 1979-80, 1982-83; deaths 1979, 1981-82.

Forthcoming Canadian Family History Events

The following list of Canadian conferences, one-day and longer seminars compiled from various sources including links to some where further details are yet to be posted. Please let me know of any similar events I didn't find.

Saturday 10 March
BIFHSGO - Tracing Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors

Saturday 7 April
OGS Toronto Branch - Art of Genetic Genealogy Investigation with Blaine Bettinger

Friday 13 April through Saturday 14 April
OGS Ottawa Branch  - Gene-O-Rama

Friday 20 April through Saturday 21 April
Qualicum Beach FHS - Unlocking the Past

Friday 20 April through 22 April
Saskatchewan Genealogical Society - Your Family History: Finding
and Assembling the Pieces - Saskatoon

Friday 18 May through Sunday 20 May
Quebec FHS - Roots 2018

Friday 1 June through Sunday 3 June
OGS - Annual Conference -  Guelph

Monday 4 June through Friday 8 June
OGS Toronto Branch - Genealogy Summer Camp

Friday 28 September through Sunday 30 September
BIFHSGO - 24th Annual Family History Conference

Friday 28 September through Sunday 30 September
Kelowna & District Genealogical Society - Harvest Your Family Tree Conference 2018

Quinte Branch OGS January Meeting

Bob Dawes is the presenter for the 2018  Crouse Wanamaker Lecture“Making English Connections: Using Free & Pay Websites to Find your English Ancestors". Bob will use a case study to demonstrate the limits of tracing your English ancestry on the internet.
Bob is a retired tech industry executive and management consultant, and a long-time member of Quinte Branch.
This presentation takes place at 1 PM, Saturday, Jan 20, 2018 at the Quinte West Public Library
7 Creswell Drive, Trenton, ON

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

30% Discount on British Newspaper Archive Annual Subscription

I've only seen it at Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News, so you'll need to go there and click on the image to get the discount. You'll find the promotion code is already entered when you arrive at the subscription page.

The discount gives one year unlimited access for £55.97 (about $96 Cdn) for the year. The offer expires at 11:59pm on Sunday 28 January.

Genealogical Miracles

Miraculous things found in compiled family trees.

  • Time travelers: Children born before their mother, or after their mother died.
  • Mis-conception: Alive in records before birth.
  • The man who never was: Dying before birth.
  • The well preserved: Aging less than 10 years per decade.
  • The Keener: Women having children in their 60s, and older.
  • Resurrection: Alive in records after death.
  • Scratching on the coffin lid: Buried before death.
  • The Methuselah Effect: Dying at an extremely old age.

Kingston Branch OGS January Meeting

It's an early start on Saturday, 20 January for one of my favourite Canadian genealogist-presenters, Marian Press will give two talks to OGS Kingston Branch:

Are You Really Finding it All When You Search?: Mining Databases For Every Nugget of Information,
Do not just search for information with simple keywords or a relatively random choice of words. Get the information buried deep in a database or help a search engine really find what you want by knowing both the general principles of online searching, as well as database-specific methodologies. Concepts such as Boolean operators, truncation, wildcards, synonym searching, word order and simple versus advanced search will be explained.
Putting Your Family Tree Online: Making Use of Modern Technology to Share What You Know.
There are now many choices for how to put your family information online for others to find, well beyond what was available in the early years of the Internet. This presentation covers the various options available for family historians to choose from: the use of major genealogy sites like, Ancestry or MyHeritage; wiki sites, such as WikiTree; blogs; or building your own web site. The simpler and free options will be emphasized, along with the huge benefits family historians can reap from sharing their research. There will also be discussion of what will happen to your family information online when you die and the planning you should do now for this eventuality.

Marian Press, MLS, MA, is a retired academic librarian in Toronto. Born in New Zealand, she has been researching her Scottish, English, Irish and Portuguese roots for over 35 years, sharing the results online and in articles in family history journals. Much of this research involves travel to the places where her ancestors lived and worked. She is a frequent speaker at genealogical workshops and conferences and a writer on family history topics. She teaches courses on various aspects of the use of online resources for genealogy for the Toronto Branch of OGS. In 2011, Dundurn/OGS published her book Education and Ontario Family History: A Guide to the Resources for Genealogists and Historians, the result of her years at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. SHARP at the Kingston Seniors Centre, 56 Francis St.
Visitors always welcome.
Further details at

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

William E Browne: CEF Beechwood

According to his military file Quartermaster Sergeant William Egbert Browne, was born in August 1871 in Newport, Wales. A saddler by occupation he enlisted on 13 August 1915 joining the 32nd Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, Service No: 300023, and shipped to England. He was listed as gassed and returned to Canada in October 1917 and the Mowat Sanitarium in Kingston where he died on this date, age 47 years.
He was buried on 18 January with full military honours at Beechwood Cemetery in military lot 13, West part. 14. Plot 29. The Beechwood Cemetery register gives his birthplace as Barbadoes.
Newspaper reports of the funeral, which list his middle name as Edward, are that he had service in South Africa and the Northwest Frontier of India. Four children, Ada Minto, Herbert Archibald, Aileen Eleanor and Leslie Harold are named.

On the war service gratuity form in his service file Mrs Mary E. Browne is listed as widow at 430 Clarence St., Ottawa.  of 21, Adelaide St., Ottawa.
Her death notice in the Ottawa Journal of 5 October 1971 under surname Browne lists her as Mary Ellen Dwyer, widow of W. E. Browne with four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Civil records for the family before his death and in the 1921 census are elusive.