Saturday, 28 November 2015

Remains of 204 people re-buried in Quebec City after extensive research

An interesting item from Gail Dever's Genealogy à la carte blog

"Earlier this month, a special ceremony took place at Mount Hermon Cemetery in Quebec City when 80 small caskets were buried. The caskets contained the remains of 204 unknown people, likely British immigrants or first-generation Canadians, who died between 1772 and 1848."
Gail's blog post summarises an article in French Dernier repos, in the Laval university’s journal on the research which has been conducted on the remains over the past decade.

There's a free session at Laval on 4 December which will describe some to the research.

Friday, 27 November 2015

50% off Find My Past

Until the end of 30 November get 50% off subscriptions to Find My Past. The discount code BLACKFRIDAY15 should be valid at any of their sites including and

LAC temporary change in hours

If planning a visit to 395 Wellington between December 2 and 9 check out a temporary change in opening hours to facilitate renovations by Public Works and Government Services Canada. Different areas of the 2nd and 3rd floors are involved at various times so check out the situation for the area you want to visit here.
There's no official word but I suspect this may involve replacing carpets in which case you may not want to visit if you're sensitive to fumes outgassed.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

London, Watermen's records added at Findmypast

This week's additions at Findmypast are:

London, Watermen's petition for the King Charles I, 1648, a transcript for each of the 2,000 signees that lists their name, gender, the date they signed.

London, Watermen, birth register of contracted men, 1865-1921, a list of over 1,400 apprentices of the Worshipful Company of Waterman and Lighterman.

London, Watermen, Admiralty muster of the Port of London, 1628 is a register of employees of the Watermen Company who were considered for impressment into the Royal Navy recording the individual's name, age, number of naval voyages completed up to that time, residence and in some cases additional notes. There are 2,393 entries.

London, Watermen in Royal Navy, 1803-1809 consists of transcripts created from two nineteenth century documents held at the London Metropolitan Archives. 'Alphabetical list of Watermen in the Navy with the names of the ships on which they were serving when last heard of by their relatives' includes the names of 525 watermen, the names of the ships they served on and how many guns were on each vessel. Some entries include a waterman's rank and date of arrival on the ship. 'Alphabetical list of 105 members of the company killed in action in the Navy, or invalided in that service, naming their ships' lists the names of watermen who were discharged invalided, taken prisoner in France or killed in action.

London, Watermen, list of free watermen, 1827 is a 'mini census' of watermen that lists individuals' names and ages. The term 'free waterman' referred to members of the Worshipful Company of Waterman and Lighterman who had completed their apprenticeship and had been awarded "Freedom of the Company". More than 5,400 names are recorded on individual transcripts including the Freeman's name, birth year, age, the year they were added to the list and any additional notes.

More over-hyped Welsh genetic genealogy

In a post in May this year, Is Genetic Genealogy Being Over-hyped? I made reference to respected British genetic genealogist Debbie Kennett's critique of a TV programme Who are the Welsh broadcast on the Welsh language TV station S4C.
The station has now broadcast a second program which Debbie characterises as "a misleading mix of serious science and genetic astrology. You can read her blog post "My review of DNA Cymru Part 2 - the controversy continues:" Unfortunately for those of us outside the UK who would like to make our own assessment the program itself is only available on the BBC iPlayer.
Debbie's blog post contains interesting comments on phylogeography, the process of matching a genealogical lineage with its present-day geographical distribution.

US Thanksgiving

In Canada celebration of Thanksgiving is long gone. That doesn't stop me benefitting from the occasion of US Thanksgiving to give thanks to some favourite dedicated US genealogy bloggers.

The Legal Genealogist
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
Genealogy's Star
Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems
Genealogy Insider

There are many more, and not just US, at GeneaBloggers and Cindi's List blog category here,

Poverty in the East End

Annie Macpherson & The Gutter Children is a post on the Spitalfields Life blog drawn to my attending by Jane MacNamara. Macpherson may not be well known in the UK but certainly is in the Home Child research community of Canada.

I was unaware that the emigration of Home Children which started in 1869 could be linked to London’s 1866 cholera epidemic.

By coincidence Ancestry has just updated the database London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1698-1930 covering the Poor Law unions of Bethnal Green, Hackney, Poplar, Shoreditch, and Stepney. It now has 469,314 records, up from 290,134 when I last mentioned it in March 2014. 69,884 records are for Examinations, 240,968 for Orders of Removal and 158,457 for Settlement Papers.

Clicking on the browse facility there's an indication we may in the future be able to find records for Apprenticeship Papers and Poor Law School History Sheets for Bethnal Green; and Register of Lunatics for Hackney.

OGS Ottawa Branch November Meeting

The feature presentation on Saturday 28 November is Documenting the History of Rural Schools in Lanark County 
"After working for over 8 years to collect the stories, photos and records of the rural schools of Lanark County, the volunteers at Archives Lanark compiled and published books on 5 townships in 2010-2011. Their interest was renewed when they were successful in winning a legacy grant of $2500 in 2014 from the Ottawa Branch of the OGS to produce 3 more books within the next year.
The coordinators - Marilyn Snedden, Irene Spence and George Stewart - will described the problems and successes in producing their books on Ramsay, Drummond and Packenham as they fulfilled their mandate of the grant application."
The meeting will be simulcast  at

The presentation is live at the City of Ottawa Archives, Tallwood Drive, at 1:30 pm preceded by networking and refreshments at 1 pm.

Further information at

Ottawa Genetic Genealogy Group Meeting

Saynine / / CC BY-NC-ND
Saturday 28 November at the Ottawa City Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Room 226,  at 9:30 am. will feature a presentation by Arthur Owen on use of autosomal DNA results.
"An autosomal DNA test can help you find distant cousins who may be able to assist you in extending your pedigree, breaking brick walls or finding you are researching the wrong family. However, sorting through
hundred of matches with thousands of matching DNA segments can be daunting for even the most dedicated genealogist.  While all three testing companies provide tools to assist you in your analysis, they are either incomplete or do not allow comparison with kits from other companies. This talk will provide an overview of third party tools that can assist you in taming the autosomal DNA data monster, in accessing tests from other companies that the owner has shared or in providing better analysis of your DNA matches and shared segments. While some of the tools are unique to tests from certain testing companies, the major ones can work with tests from any of the three autosomal testing companies in the United States."
The meeting will also discuss the future of our group regarding frequency of meetings and how to meet the requirements of both the new member segment and those who have acquired more experience in genetic genealogy.

All welcome.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

LAC images on Flickr

Since 2008 Library and Archives Canada has been adding photos to a collection on Flickr. There are now 4,343 photos in 147 categories. Here's the direct link to the LAC collection.The most viewed are:

Collection Views
Opening of the New Nitrate Film Preservation Facility 8,332
The Shamrock and the Maple Leaf 7,650
Sir John A Macdonald 6,100
Canada and the Second World War 6,014
Halifax Explosion 1917  5,797
Grosse Île 4,746
Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie 3,926
Vimy Ridge April 9, 1917  3,865
Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King 3,617
Kodachrome colour images of D-Day and Normandy 3,606
Canadian Women and the Peace Movement 3,450
D-Day 3,192
Trans-Canada Highway 3,028

This is a source for royalty free images so go ahead and use to illustrate your family history, but do credit the source.

Explore Flickr for many other sources, Canadian and otherwise, for creative commons licensed and no-cost images. For instance, the National Library of New Zealand just added 4,304 photos to The Commons.

HSO November Meeting: Alexander Mackenzie - Clear Grit

For November the Historical Society of Ottawa meeting welcomes John Morgan on the topic Alexander Mackenzie - Clear Grit
"If Sir John A. Macdonald helped define “what” we are, Alexander Mackenzie, Canada’s stonemason prime minister, helped define “who” we are. Drawing on family, archival and other records, John Morgan will shed some light on the character and accomplishments of Mackenzie, along with the influences that propelled him from his humble beginnings to the highest position in the land. This will begin with his early childhood in Scotland; immigration to Canada with his sweetheart; tragedies and triumphs as a young husband and stonemason in Upper Canada West; early political activities; time as prime minister; and later political years in opposition. In many respects, Alexander Mackenzie was the antithesis of Macdonald. Known for his utmost honesty, integrity and hard work, Mackenzie sought no recognition or reward for himself. A devout Baptist, he fought passionately for equality, democracy, the rule of law, and, honesty in government. A champion of Canada’s rights as a nation, Mackenzie declined three offers of knighthood, and almost came to blows with the Queen’s representative to Canada. Described at the time as “one of the truest and strongest characters to be met within Canadian history” and “the best debater the House of Commons has ever known”, his is a compelling story of duty and honour."
The date is 27 November at 1pm. As usual, the location is the Routhier Community Centre, 172 Gigues Ave, Ottawa. Further information at Everyone welcome. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Call for Presentation Proposals - BIFHSGO Conference 2016

BIFHSGO's 22nd Annual Family History Conference is tentatively scheduled for September 9 - 11, 2016, to be held at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa. Possible alternate dates of September 30 - October 2 will be confirmed by January 4, 2016.

The Conference committee is seeking presentation proposals for the conference which will focus on two main topics:

• Ireland — family history

• DNA in genealogy

Proposals on other topics relevant to British family history are also welcome. For more information about submitting proposals, please read the submission details. Deadline is January 31, 2016.

LAC launches online database, Carleton Papers―Loyalists and British Soldiers, 1772–1784.

This online database from Library and Archives Canada allows access to more than 54,000 references to names of Loyalists and British soldiers. Names were taken from the British Headquarters Papers, New York―also known as the Carleton Papers―which include a variety of documents about Loyalist soldiers, civilian refugees, as well as British and German soldiers who settled in Canada after the American Revolution (1776–1783).
The search form has fields for by Keyword, Given name(s), Surname, Rank, Regiment.
Results returned are Given Names(s), Surname, Rank, Regiment, Gender, Type of Document, Date (yyyy/mm/dd), Additional Information, Place where the Document was Created, Document Page Number, Fonds, Microfilm Number, Reference, Item Number.

Tony Robinson on Freemasonry

In connection with Ancestry's release of Freemason membership records Sir Tony Robinson takes us inside the United Grand Lodge of England in London to explore myth and fact of Freemasonry.

Unlocking the Past 2016 at Qualicom Beach

The Qualicum Beach Family History Society is out with an announcement of a one day event on Saturday, April 23, 2016.

Featured speakers are Colleen Fitzpatrick and Chris Paton.

Check out the details at


I'm Canadian.  Canada is mad about hockey. Therefore I'm mad about hockey.

The fallacy is obvious, especially to anyone who knows me.

In family history we often try to fill in gaps in our family stories by looking at what was typical in the larger community.

Robert went to the Yukon in the early 1900s. He must have been a miner exploiting the spoils of the Gold Rush. Right?


Robert Service was a bank clerk, newspaperman and poet.

It helps avoid such errors if you think in terms of the Venn diagram and probabilities.

Don't get fooled by stereotypes.