Friday, 25 July 2014
Did you receive an email that 1 million newspaper pages have been added to The British Newspaper Archive in 2014? That's an average 4,878 pages a day, seven days a week. At that rate 1.78 million pages will be added each year.
There are currently 8.37 million pages in the database so to get to the project goal, "to digitise up to 40 million pages" will take more than another 17 years at the present rate. The initial project goal was to achieve that in 10 years. Perhaps they're looking at technological improvements to increase the pace.
Each page added increases the value. I do wish they'd add some Great Yarmouth newspapers. Norfolk is looking rather neglected.
Over half a million baptism record transcriptions for the English county of Wiltshire dating back to 1530 are now available on findmypast. There are about 200 parishes in the collection with 17 indicated as NEW, Bishopstrow, Britford, Calstone Wellington, Cherhill, Codford St Mary, Codford St Peter, Compton Bassett, Enford, Great Bedwyn, Hilmarton, Huish, Lydiard Tregoze, Lyneham, Pewsey, Potterne, Sevenhampton, and Sopworth.
The period of record is typically from around 1600 to 1837 and the start of civil registration. These are transcriptions from the Wiltshire Family History Society; no images of originals are available.
Thursday, 24 July 2014
Looking for a genealogy break?
According to an article in the New York Times, The New Yorker is overhauling its website and making all the articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months before introducing a paywall for online subscribers.
Did your father, grandfather wear a hat? It used to be said "If you want to get ahead, get a hat." Look at films of street scenes from the early 1900s and everyone is wearing one.
Continuing to catch up with Gresham College lectures, Timothy Long, Curator of Fashion & Decorative Arts at the Museum of London, explores the history of the bowler hat. You can read the transcript, which is not complete, but I recommend taking the time to view the presentation which has interesting extra information. Both are at http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/the-history-of-the-bowler-hat.
The earliest newspaper reference to a bowler hat that I could find was in The Times in 1856, a court case in Taunton "They had on their heads "bowler" hats fastened under the chin."
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
Ancestry have added this dataset from FamilySearch as a browse collection, 7,521 records. Hopefully Ancestry will soon be name indexing it. Note there is one sub-set from Suffolk, for Pakefield comprising just three Quaker burials from the 1860s.
Updated on Ancestry are records from the London Metropolitan Archives. London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980 now has 2,616,957 (2,616,941) records; Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906 has 6,240,093 (6,240,709) records; Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 has 7,549,807 (7,549,376) records and, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 has 8,844,994 (8,841,248 ) records.
On Tuesday Chris Paton posted Comparing the UK's three national archives on his British GENES blog. Chris compared the National Archives at Kew (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk), the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (www.proni.gov.uk), and the archive facility at the National Records of Scotland (www.nas.gov.uk) along 11 dimensions: Coverage/responsibility; Centralised location; Convenient opening hours; Wifi access; Cafe facilities; Ordering documents; Digitisation programme; Cataloguing; Can you take photos; Social media use; User base engagement.
Benchmarking an organization service against those provided by peers is a standard management practice. Let's look at how Library and Archives Canada performs.
Coverage/responsibility: Unlike the UK institutions LAC integrates the functions of the national archives and library. LAC has a legislated mandate and operates within a national reality, summarized by Mackenzie King as too much geography and not enough history. Provinces and territories, and municipalities have archival functions and LAC has a mandate to "facilitate in Canada co-operation" but no role in providing strategic direction. In recent years LAC has been criticized for neglecting its mandate to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada choosing instead to focus on its role as an archives for federal government records.
LACs public face is at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa on the ceremonial route. The location is less than one kilometre from the Parliament buildings, half a kilometre from a major public transit corridor and with limited three-hour pay-parking on-site and close to other pay parking.
Convenient opening hours
LAC offers full service from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each weekday with some services available from as early as 9 a.m. and as late as 5 p.m. depending on the day and facility. However, see the comment below re ordering documents. The facilities are open for consultation of self-service items and items ordered in, previously retrieved, and stored in lockers, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m each weekday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Yes, freely available throughout the building.
Vending machines on ground floor.
Very little original archival material is available in the building, it has to be brought from off-site involving significant delay. Those accustomed to waiting for less than an hour between ordering and delivery at other archives are shocked to discover delays of several days to a week are common at LAC depending on where material is stored. This is not prominently disclosed on the LAC website. Much material is available on microfilm and, increasingly, online.
Key parts of LAC's holdings are digitized, either through partnerships, notably with Ancestry and more recently Canadiana.ca's Héritage project. LAC is currently digitizing complete WW1 service files. Much of the recently digitized material is neither name indexed nor well covered in finding aids.
Is this something LAC has forgotten how to do? Legacy catalog available.
Can you take photos?
Yes, requires permission and depends on material and equipment.
Social media use
LAC makes substantial use of Twitter, Facebook, a blog and occasional podcasts. LAC provides no means to speak directly to an information service; you access a series of pre-recorded messages or leave a voice-mail.
User base engagement
Essentially none. No stakeholder group. No volunteer programs. This lack of any meaningful user engagement is a telling indicator of client-orientation at LAC.
With the exception of the hours when the facility is open for consultation of self-service items there are no aspects of LAC service that excel compared to that provided by the three other archives Chris reviewed. The delay in obtaining ordered materials means LAC service lags substantially in this respect.
Tuesday, 22 July 2014
If a London hospital played a part in your ancestor's life, or death, you may find it's one of the many that have closed since the National Health Service came into being in 1948. Lost hospitals of London provides an alphabetical list of hospitals with a potted history for each, much the same for London hospitals as Peter Higgenbotham has done for workhouses.
I had the privilege of attending and speaking last year and enjoyed it. Unfortunately there's a conflict with another conference I'll be attending this year.
- Jim Ison, a manager at FamilySearch for the past eight years, currently serving as Northeast Area Manager for the Family History Department.
- Harry van Bommel, author of over 50 books and founder of the Canada 150: Canada's Untold Stories project.
The location is 10062 Bramalea Rd., Brampton, Ontario with proceedings getting underway at 9 a.m.
Further information at http://www.oneworldonefamily-theevent.com/
Monday, 21 July 2014
Professor A Jane Caplan introduces a series of four lectures from Gresham College
You may know who you are, but how do I know that you really are who you say you are? How are you going to prove to me, a sceptical stranger or a suspicious official, that you are telling me the truth? How, in other words, can you be identified as an individual, and how are you going to prove this identity? The answer to these questions has a long history, and that history is the subject of this series of four lectures. These days we are bombarded by information and warnings about identity documents and identity theft: scarcely a week goes past without some lurid story in the press or blogosphere. But these news stories are not so good at telling us why we should be more concerned now than we were in the past: they usually lack any historical perspective. In these lectures, I hope to persuade you that learning what identification meant and how it was recorded in the past will give you a better understanding of what it means in the present. And rest assured that I am not just going to tell you the history of the passport – even if some of us think that is quite interesting enough. No, I am going to talk to you about your name, your signature and your tattoos, and why they have mattered.
1. Identity and Identification - http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/identity-and-identification
2. What's in a Name? More than You Might Think - http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/whats-in-a-name-more-than-you-might-think
3. Your Hand: Signatures and Handwriting - http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/your-hand-signatures-and-handwriting
4. "Speaking Scars" - The Tattoo - http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/speaking-scars-the-tattoo