Saturday, 29 April 2017

Findmypast adds Kent transcript parish records

Looking for ancestors in the Kent parishes of Bapchild, Brompton, Chatham, Kildown, New Gillingham, Tenterden, Wingham, and Wittersham?

Look for help in this week's transcript additions to Findmypast.

- over 18,000 baptisms
- 3,000 banns
- 312,000 marriages
- 18,000 burials

Also in North West Kent there are transcript additions of 23,000 baptisms, making more than 50,000 baptismal records for Bexley, Chelsfield, Crayford, North Cray, Westerham, Stone, Darenth, Longfield, Meopham, Southfleet and Greenwich; and an addition of 15,000 burials at St Mary in Bexley, St Martin of Tours in Chelsfield, St Margaret in Lee and St John the Baptist in Meopham.

Advance Notice: Voices from the Dust 2017

Friday, 28 April 2017

BCGS Conference: 9-11 June 2017

The British Columbia Genealogical Society's Canada 150 Seminar is June 9-11, 2017 in Coquitlam, BC, Canada.

The theme: Celebrating Our Canadian Ancestors.

Speakers include Dave Obee, Claire Smith-Burns, Mary Read, Xenia Stanford and Susanne Sulzberger.

Central, accessible location: Best Western Plus Coquitlam Inn Convention Centre, 319 North Road, Coquitlam, BC V3K 3V8

Tickets available on-line or by e-mail, phone or mail.

See the BC Genealogical Society website for details.

Thanks to Diane M. Rogers for the information.

Prepare for OGS Conference add-ons

It surprised me, but probably shouldn't have, that several people I spoke to at the Alberta Genealogical Society conference last weekend were planning to attend the Ontario Genealogical Society conference in Ottawa in June. Many people in Alberta have ancestors who came from Ontario, or stayed there a while before heading west.
If you're coming from away don't stop with the conference.

Important for any Canadian researcher, genealogical or historical, is Library and Archives Canada.
A flood of researchers is expected at LAC. If you plan on being part of it preparation is essential.

Some hints.

1. You will need a reader card which can be ordered using an online form, see the procedure at

2. Get advice before your trip from an LAC expert. see

3. Material not available on open shelves needs to be brought to the building from another location. That can take a day or even a week so ordering in advance is essential.

4. Public transit is a good option for getting to and from the LAC building at 395 Wellington Street which is at the north end of Bay Street from the Algonquin College conference site. Take advantage of the travel planner at or on Google maps.

5. There is no restaurant or cafe in the LAC building. On the ground floor there are food and drink vending machines near the lockers and a few places to sit.

6. Check out the amazing collection of city directories on open shelves on the 2nd floor, through the doors to the left as you exit the elevators. Also on the 2nd floor is the reader registration area and consultation for non-genealogical queries..

7. On the 3rd floor, to the right off the elevators, is the genealogy consultation area; to the left is the document consultation area.

Finally, don't overlook Using Ancestry Day being held at the Algonquin College site on the Monday after the conference with well known Ancestry expert speaker Crista Cowan and Ancestry’s DNA product manager Anna Swayne.

BTW. If you've not made plans yet, and don't have family or a friend to stay with, I'm told accommodation is still available at the residence at the Algonquin College conference site.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Many Findmypast records free this weekend

It's a long weekend in the UK and Findmypast have made all of their birth, marriage, death and census records free with registration until 1 May. If you're not a subscriber don't miss the opportunity to search records exclusive online to Findmypast.

Ancestry's World Archives Project Update

Ancestry has published an update on its volunteer-powered indexing World Archives Project covering the last year.
In 2016 405,134 image sets were indexed for a total of 15,234,403 records
So far in 2017 80,180 image sets have been indexed for a total of 3,882,024 records.

Find a list of completed projects at,_Live_Projects

Selected active indexing projects, all considered to be of average difficulty and of likely interest to readers of this blog, are:

Bedfordshire, England, Workhouse and Poor Law Records
Belfast, Northern Ireland, The Belfast Newsletter (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1738-1925 (Part 3)
Ontario, Canada, The Ottawa Journal (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1885-1980
UK, Absent Voters Lists (Part 1).

There's also a UK, Historical Photographs project assessed as easy.

Timely death statistics

Every month I get a press release from the Office for National Statistics in the UK  like this one received on 25 April. 
The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales in March 2017 was 48,615; this represents an increase of 889 deaths in comparison with the previous month and a decrease of 25 deaths in comparison with the same month in 2016.
Weekly statistics are issued. This week it's
The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 14 April 2017 (week 15) was 8,493; this represents a decrease of 1,446 deaths registered in comparison with the previous week (week 14).
The average number of deaths for the corresponding week over the previous 5 years was 10,624.The decrease in the deaths registered in the week ending 14 April 2017 is likely to be due to the closure of register offices over the Easter period. This pattern is similar to previous years.
Timely issue of death statistics goes back to bills of mortality, weekly mortality statistics in London, designed to monitor burials from 1592 to 1595 and then continuously from 1603.

I was curious as to why we don't get similar statistics in Canada.

Recognizing health is a provincial jurisdiction I enquired of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care with the specific query "Does your ministry keep track of current (weekly or monthly) death statistics?" 

The initial reply gave contact information on various other government organizations but did not answer the specific question. A follow-up asking for a specific answer was rewarded by the reply that "The MOHLTC does not keep track of death statistics."

Apparently not only do we not get current mortality information but the Ontario ministry responsible for health has no idea as to the current status. In an information age we are less informed than they were in London in the 16th century!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Advance Notice: Secret Lives – Hidden Voices of our Ancestors

There's a major conference planned for late summer 2018 in England which you may want to plan on attending..
Four major genealogical organisations, the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), The Guild of One Name Studies, the Halsted Trust and the Society of Genealogists are cooperating to host a major family history conference to be held from Friday 31st August to Sunday 2nd September 2018 in Hinckley, Leicestershire.

The theme is Secret Lives – Hidden Voices of our Ancestors. Some potential topics are:

Bigamy, Divorce, Marriage breakdown from 18th-20th centuries; LGBTQIA Lives, social history, records and current research; Criminal under class; Bagnios and Bawdy Houses. Prostitution in18th Century London; Fallen Women -Victorian Prostitution and Reform; Victorian Detectives, Police and Crime; Transportation; Social deprivation in London and other urban areas; Social deprivation and life in rural areas; Researching Women ancestors; Ecclesiastical or Bawdy Courts cases; Litigation and civil and equity court  records case studies; Migrant communities – Jewish Manchester, Irish Liverpool 
Workhouses and other institutions inmates; School and institutions for poor children; A poor person’s death- Funeral Clubs and Friendly Societies;
There a call out for presentation proposals at 

Historical Society of Ottawa: April meeting

Friday 28 April 2017: 1 pm
Routhier Community Centre
172 Guigues Street

Thomas Ahearn - The Electrification of Ottawa, presented by Kelly Ray

Abstract: Thomas Ahearn, born in Lebreton Flats to Irish immigrant parents, was an early adapter of new technology. He brought innovation to Ottawa by introducing electricity to the city. He provided lighting, powered his streetcars, and developed a number of electrical devices such as irons, stoves and heaters. He was the first person to prepare a meal on an electric stove, among other things. Hear about his technological and political achievements that helped shape the city of Ottawa and see documents and artifacts from this Canadian inventor and businessman.

Profile: Kelly Ray works in public affairs for the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Holding degrees in anthropology and public relations, it is quite fitting that as a great, great grand niece of Thomas Ahearn, she makes a career of sharing stories of innovation and Canadian technology. She has worked for over a decade in the cultural and tourism sectors at the Calgary Zoo as well as multiple museums here in Ottawa.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Footnote in Canadian Military History

Harry B. Little's grave is the only one with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone in the Lutheran Cemetery at Czar, Alberta. 

Little died 10 days after the start of the First World War, the first man serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force to die. While the circumstances were not militarily glorious, he died of a heart attack in the train heading east having left Edmonton just a few hours earlier, he gets the same dignified recognition as all other casualties.

Both his father and grandfather had seen service in Canada with the British Army.

The headstone is set apart, about 20 yards north of the hilltop entrance to the cemetery, no longer the main entrance as stated in the CWGC report.

Little was one of the many British immigrants who joined up early with the CEF. Born in Stroud, on the edge of the scenic Cotswolds, his grave site has a certain Prairie charm.