Monday, 2 March 2015

Major Photographic Acquisition by Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada announce the acquisition of a major addition to the Malak Karsh fonds on the occasion of the centenary of his birth. This provides tangible proof that LAC will not restrict itself to collecting only materials from government sources or through legal deposition.

The acquisition includes approximately 200,000 photographic transparencies and negatives, ca. 1968-2001, as well as 13 exhibition prints and textual records.
Malak's portrayal of Canada's geographical and cultural diversity has been very influential in shaping how Canadians view their own country and its visual identity.
Malak's images have been used on at least 11 Canadian stamps, and his iconic photograph of the log drive below Parliament Hill appeared on the $1 note (1974-1989).

Read the press release at

Local BMD Updates in February

The following are February's Local BMD additions to the UKBMD records for the counties of Cheshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Wiltshire, Yorkshire


3,465 for Hazel Grove, registers at Stockport (1960-1969) 
1,007 for Stockport, registers at Stockport (1967-1968)
500 for Altrincham, registers at Trafford (1959-1960)
1,004 for Urmston, registers at Trafford (1957-1957)

505 for Bidston, St Oswald, registers at Wirral (1947-1958)
501 for Tranmere, St Catherine, registers at Wirral (1946-1953)
506 for Tranmere, St Paul, registers at Wirral (1949-1958)
506 for Bebington, St Andrew, registers at Wirral (1948-1959)
251 for Bromborough, St Barnabas, registers at Wirral (1947-1954)
251 for Higher Bebington, Christ Church, registers at Wirral (1947-1954)
260 for Hoylake, St Hildeburgh, registers at Wirral (1950-1976)
254 for Port Sunlight, Christ Church, registers at Wirral (1951-1958)

2,542 for Altrincham, registers at Trafford (1950-1954)
1,505 for Urmston, registers at Trafford (1958-1960)


4,655 for West Lancashire (Ormskirk) RD comprising: Ormskirk (1948-1964)

27,169 for Manchester RD comprising: Manchester Register Office or Registrar Attended (1990-2011)


513 for London Road (City General Hospital), registers at Stoke-On-Trent (1928-1942)
5,618 for Longton, registers at Stoke-On-Trent (1899-1951)
345 for Burton-on-Trent, registers at Newcastle-Under-Lyme (1983-1983)
13,501 for Cannock (old Penkridge Rural District), registers at Newcastle-Under-Lyme (1893-1905)

24 for Essington, St John, registers at Newcastle-Under-Lyme (2011-2014)
16 for Hednesford, Cannock, Salvation Army, Anglesey St, registers at Newcastle-Under-Lyme (1982-2008)
11 for Raunsley (Hednesford), St Michael, registers at Newcastle-Under-Lyme (1991-2002)


4,999 for Tisbury, registers at History Centre (1837-1892)


605 for Arkengarthdale, St Mary, registers at Harrogate (1837-1992)
43 for St James, Scarborough, registers at Harrogate (1991-2008)
268 for St Stephen, Snainton, registers at Harrogate (1869-1990)
43 for St Leonard, Speeton, registers at Harrogate (1864-1970)
71 for St John, Staintondale, registers at Harrogate (1930-2001)
375 for All Saints, Wykeham, registers at Harrogate (1837-1987)
584 for Holy Trinity, Scarborough, registers at Harrogate (1882-1989)

4,968 for Barnburgh, registers at Doncaster (1837-1878) 

Americans in the CEF

In February Active History posted at article by Chris Dickon  "An American Legion in the CEF? Crossing Borders during “Canada’s” First World War."
Just as more than 60,000 Canadians fought in the American Civil War, 35,612 American citizens by birth, and many more US residents of Canadian or British birth, enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Benchmarks Update for February

15 sites in the survey improved in rank during the month, 12 declined. E
As for the previous month every site ranking better than 40,000, except which dropped 6%, saw improved ranking. In terms of percentage the largest rank gainer was and largest loser

Alexa Rank.

Website          28-Feb           31-Jan 3,237 3,445 668 698 4,978 5,079 17,808 18,586 5,132 5,649 18,566 17,594           64,309           64,259 358,344 376,722 20,253 21,345 8,696 10,022 60,884 59,159 38,961 41,444 56,969 55,761 189,964 160,251 77,869 80,168 16,415 17,767 42,327 40,848           61,318           64,967 429,177 402,008 555,257 674,668 3,692,134 2,980,096 6,337,916 5,469,547         386,445         412,460 312,791 367,827 134,296 128,051 1,274,648 1,213,653 555,009 729,188
anglo-celtic-connections 340,733 302,127

Saturday, 28 February 2015

OGS Toronto Branch Call for Speakers - Irish Genealogy

Do you have a story or other presentation of Irish interest? Toronto Branch of OGS is planning a one-day workshop on 19 September 2015 on Irish genealogy and family history with a specific focus on Ulster.
Historian Dr. William Roulston and genealogist Chris Paton have agreed to lead this workshop as keynote presenters, and we are now seeking other speakers with Irish expertise who would like to be part of the team.
The Branch invites proposals for presentations at either a beginner or more advanced level aimed at family historians researching ancestors in the nine counties in the historic province of Ulster. You’ll find the detailed call for presentations at
The deadline to submit a proposal for this workshop is Saturday, 18 April 2015.

Findmypast adds British Union Records

There are 257 unindexed volumes on the new Britain, Trade Union Membership Registers collection at Findmypast.

They include records for the Amalgamated Society Of Carpenters & Joiners, Amalgamated Society Of Carpenters, Cabinetmakers & Joiners, Amalgamated Society Of Lithographic Artists, Designers, Engravers & Process Workers, Amalgamated Society Of Lithographic Printers, Amalgamated Society Of Paper Makers, Amalgamated Society Of Railway Servants, Amalgamated Society Of Watermen, Lightermen & Bargemen, Amalgamated Society Of Woodworkers, Association Of Correctors Of The Press, General Union Of Carpenters & Joiners, Incorporated Association Of Assistant Masters In Secondary School, Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, Liverpool Victoria Employees' Union, London Society Of Compositors, National Association Of Local Government Officers, National Society Of Operative Printers & Assistants, National Union Of Printing & Paper Workers, National Union Of Railwaymen, National Union Of Teachers, Northern Association Of Publishers' Educational Representatives, Operative Bricklayers' Society, Printing Machine Managers' Trade Society, Typographical Association, Union Of Engravers To Calico Printers & Paper Stainers, United Society Of Boilermakers & Iron ShipbuildersWorkers' Union

Records can be found as early as the 1870 and as late as the 1940s. The bulk are for the years of and around the First World War. Some I scanned were recorded those who served with the military during the war with special mention of those who died or received special recognition.

A separate indexed database of 55,482 results is Britain, Trade Union Members, Service & Casualties 1914-1918 which contains the details of members from 18 different unions. The records are a collection of union documents from the war years and do not solely feature individuals who participated in the First World War. The records include daily trade union news and business and frequently acknowledge members who have left for war or joined the services.  Many include pages of the union’s Roll of Honour and some include photographs of the members or feature short profiles about specific members.  The most extraordinary of the records is the Workers’ Union Record, which regularly features full pages of photographs of service men.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Missing Sub-Districts in the Canadian Censuses

Ken McKinlay has added a useful post on his Family Tree Knots blog suggesting that "Before you go insane looking for (Canadian census) records that may not exist become familiar with what records have survived."
You do that on the Library and Archives Canada website, you won't find it on Ancestry or FamilySearch, starting at the About pages for each census. Check out Ken's blog post for full instructions.

OGS Ottawa Branch February Meeting

On Saturday February 28, 1pm – 3pm, the presentation at the Ottawa City Archives is The First World War Beyond the Western Front, to be given by Mike More.

The First World War was truly a global war with a great deal of fighting outside of France. British Empire soldiers were involved in all theatres, along with many other nations. Mike More will provide a summary of the various fighting fronts.

This meeting will be simulcast for members who can't join in person.

The meeting is preceded by a morning beginner session that sees Heather Oakley speaking on "Are you a trust me genealogist." That starts at 10:30 am.

The Computer SIG will convene immediately following the afternoon meeting.

Two Nottingham Cemeteries added at Deceased Online

You won't find the historic Robin Hood, the closest is Robert, one of  43 Hood records of burials in historic Nottingham cemeteries' records now available on Deceased Online. There are also 38 Tucks, none indicated to be Friars!
Two new additions are Rock (aka Church) Cemetery, opened 1856, and Basford Cemetery, opened 1870. That makes a total of approximately 430,000 records available online at Deceased Online for five cemeteries and the crematorium managed by Nottingham City Council.

The records now available comprise:

digital scans of original burial and grave registers
details of all grave occupants In each cemetery
maps indicating the section in each cemetery for all graves
Records for one more historic Nottingham City cemetery are pending.

Nottinghamshire history interest? Then you may enjoy the community history website

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Chris Paton's new podcast

If you've heard Scottish-Irish genealogist Chris Paton talk you'll know he has an engaging manner as well as being knowledgeable. Both those attributes are to the fore in a new podcast initiative he's just started. There's information of relevance for the whole of the UK, with an emphasis on Scotland. Recommended.

Your Genealogy Today

The March/April issue of this magazine from Moorshead Magazines, evolved from Family Chronicle, is out. What's changed? As editor Ed Zapletal writes "Our content will not undergo dramatic changes at this time." That's my impression, it's more a makeover than a new magazine.

The only real clue to the direction being taken is the launching of three new regular columns, each a single page: “Genealogy Tourism”, “DNA & Your Genealogy”, and “Advice from the Pros” to be authored on a rotational basis by contributors who are "experts in their respective fields."

In this premiere issue Advice from the Pros is written by Gena Philibert-Ortega who offers the revolutionary advice to adopt a balanced approach between offline and online sources. Genealogy Tourism is written by Lisa Alzo who, you'll be astonished to read, recommends you plan, prepare and pack. Colleen Fitzpatrick authors the first column on DNA and Genealogy by reviewing the three kinds of DNA used in genetic genealogy.

Other content includes:

The Old Dead Folks Club
Robbie Gorr, from the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogy Group, admits that transcribing headstones is a solitary past-time, but also relaxing and pleasant, not to forget a valuable hobby. 

Searching for Ancestors in the British Department of State
The reference to the British Department of State, brazened across the cover, threw me.  As far as I know that was no such entity. The content refers to material from the British Foreign Office and the Colonial Office, and that's interesting and well described. The author, Ed Storey, lives in Colorado and must be thinking in terms of the US equivalent the Department of State. File this one under editorial blunder.

Stuck in a Rut? Recharge Your Research!
Lisa A. Alzo seems to have been in an alliterative mood. While the ps were her watchwords in the tourism column in this it's es, for evaluate, estimate, execute. Is the use of rs in the title, rut, recharge and research, deliberate?

"Why Guernsey?"
Most of us don't have genealogical interest in the charming island of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, yet George Matheson recounting of how he became enthralled by the island's culture and history, as well as offering practical travel advice, makes for good reading.

Pick a Card... Any Card!
David A. Norris looks at what you can learn about your ancestors from collections of old cards in various forms

Go Paperless
Carol Richey looks at five easy steps to reduce the paper clutter for family historians

Pompey Russell: Revolutionary War Patriot
Merrylyn Sawyer researches the life of a New Hampshire patriot of the Revolutionary War

Journaling a Genealogical Journey — Creating a “Vital Record”
Joe Grandinetti shows you how to create a valuable record of your ancestral travels

Will the Middle Initial Disappear?
David A. Norris wonders what the implications would be for future family historians if the middle initial faded into obscurity

DNA: Unraveling a Pomeranian Mystery
Lori Alexander shows how she used DNA testing to back up her genealogy research for her Pomeranian ancestors.

Read more about the magazine at

BIFHSGO DNA Special Interest Group Meeting this Saturday

A special BIFHSGO DNA Special Interest Group meeting will be held next Saturday, 28 Feb. commencing at 9:30 am at the City Archives at 100 Tallwood Drive.

Bill Arthurs will open the meeting with a half-hour presentation of basic “DNA 101” of interest to newer members and those still trying to grasp the basics.

At 10 am David Pike of Memorial University will be giving an internet Skype presentation on autosomal DNA analysis. Here's the summary:
Phasing of a person’s autosomal DNA data entails partitioning the data so that the portions inherited from the person’s two parents are separately identified. Once this is done, it can greatly assist with determining whether genetic matches with the person are on the father’s side, the mother’s side, both, or neither (as may be the case with false matches that can sometimes arise when comparing unphased data). Phasing can also assist with mapping blocks of autosomal DNA to particular ancestors and in situations where DNA results are available from several family members, it may even be possible to reconstruct DNA results of deceased family members. This presentation will provide an introduction to phasing and some of the techniques and online utilities that can be used to help accomplish it.
Find out more about David's DNA interest at