Monday, 29 May 2017

Digitized Historical Directories for Waterloo County Going Online!

With the support of the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation and the Waterloo Region Branch - The Ontario Genealogical Society, and volunteers, the Kitchener Public Library recently completed the digitization of Kitchener-Waterloo city and Waterloo County directories from 1864 to 1940. They are for private research and study only.

So far seven directories are available as searchable pdfs

1864County of Waterloo Gazetteer and Directory32 MB
1867County of Waterloo Gazetteer and Directory26 MB
1878County of Waterloo Gazetteer and Directory31 MB
1884-85County of Waterloo Gazetteer and Directory48 MB
1885-86Union Publishing Farmers and Business Directory:89 MB
Counties of Brant, Halton, Norfolk, Waterloo and Wellington
1888-89Union Publishing Farmers and Business Directory:67 MB
Counties of Perth, Waterloo and Wellington
1896Union Publishing Farmers and Business Directory:68 MB
Counties of Halton, Waterloo and Wellington

Find them at Additional volumes will be added as they are proofed and optimized.

Thanks to Melissa J Ellis of for the tip.

The History of Canada's National Flag

Well in time for for the celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary comes the publication "Controversy, Compromise and Celebration: The History of Canada's National Flag."
It's the latest, number 101, in the Bytown Pamphlet Series of the Ottawa Historical Society and available from the Society. Launched last Friday on the occasion of the society AGM, the author is historian, archivist, genealogist and vexillogist Glenn Wright. It's an updating and extension of the study he did at Library and Archives Canada and still available as a pdf -- First Flags: A Report on Research Undertaken to Identify and Locate Canada's First Maple Leaf Flags.
We can be happy that some of the designs proposed fell by the wayside.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Shocking DNA Results! Really?

Check out this YouTube video of someone revealing their AncestryDNA test results. I was going to ignore it until she mentioned she was born in Canada.

It's unfortunate that she didn't take the time to look at the uncertainty bars for her "shocking" 12% Iberian. She'd see the range of uncertainty includes 0%. Clearly the uncertainty is too well hidden for this client, and I suspect for many others. Is that deliberate?

WW2 British Child Evacuees to Canada

Those who didn't get to my talk at OGS Ottawa Branch on Saturday may be interested to view the National Film Board (Canada) video shown at the end of the presentation.
It's Second World War propaganda, everything wasn't as rosy in Canada as portrayed, but allowing for that tells the story from the perspective of 1940. You will likely recognize the narrator.

View it at

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Ancestry adds Canada, Fenian Raids Bounty Applications, 1866-1871

This database consists of bounty applications, 40,012 in total, for militia veterans having served during the Fenian Raids of 1866 to 1871 in Canada. It includes both successful and unsuccessful applications and consists of lists of names, applications (2 sided), both allowed and disallowed, for the bounty as well as some records relating to pensions for those who were wounded, taken ill or killed while on active duty. Application details available may include:

Name of Veteran
Muster Date
Muster Place
Discharge Date
and in the images information on the applicant role in the conflict.
According to Ancestry's description the Militia were called out in both Ontario and Quebec on several occasions, often for only a few days at a time. There are 9,463 application identified as from Ontario, and 5,797 from Quebec. New Brunswick saw a raid at Campobello Island, and there are 685 applications. The Nova Scotia Militia was also called out although no raid took place there. Nevertheless the most applications, 22,736 are from that province in this Ancestry database.

Findmypast adds Surrey institutional records 1788-1939

A search finds 179,446 total records in this new Findmypast database. It's a compilation of transcriptions of records from 16 institutions held at the Surrey History Centre:

Chertsey Poor Law Union Admission and Discharge Books 1894-1910
Cobham, Reed's School Annual Reports 1818-1901
Dorking Poor Law Union Application and Report Books 1837-1847
Farnham Board Of Guardians Minute Books 1872-1910
Godstone Poor Law Union Application and Report Books 1869-1915
Guildford Infirmary Deaths 1933-1939
Guildford Workhouse Births 1866-1910
Guildford Workhouse Deaths 1887-1914
Hambledon Board Of Guardians Minute Books 1836-1910
Mayford Industrial School Admissions 1895-1907
Princess Mary Village Homes Pupils 1870-1890s
Redhill, Royal Philanthropic School Admission Registers 1788-1906
Richmond Poor Law Union Application and Report Books 1870-1911
Surrey County Gaol Deaths 1798-1878
Warlingham Military Hospital Chaplain's Department Baptisms, Confirmations and Deaths 1917-1919
Woking, St Peter's Memorial Home Patients 1885-1908

The largest database is for the Richmond Poor Law Union Application and Report Books 1870-1911, 103,396 results, followed by the Godstone Poor Law Union Application and Report Books 1869-1915, 33,670 results.
The longest period of record is for the Redhill, Royal Philanthropic School with admission registers from 1788 to 1906.  Those admitted were children of criminals or those who had been convicted of crimes themselves, 7,242 of them. The school had moved to Redhill in 1849.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Canada’s Secret Archives

This is a follow up on yesterday's Free the Records post article. Canada’s Secret Archives is an article at written by Dennis Molinaro, who teaches history at Trent University, and the driving force behind the parliamentary petition.

As he writes

"The archives are not just a place for historians. They are a place for all academics to do research, a place for the public and the country to learn and discover themselves – warts and all. They are reflective of what the country has been and is today. What has happened with all this hoarding is a perversion of that, and of the laws that are supposed to exist to protect citizen access to government documents and preserve the country’s history."
Canada's 150th anniversary is the perfect occasion to put the records in their proper place.

Ancestry adds two new Irish databases

Ireland, School Masters and Mistresses, 1826; 13,265 records

Indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project (WAP) contributors, for each Master or Mistress found within the report, you may be able to find:

  • Their Name
  • The County in which they taught
  • The Parish in which they taught
  • The location of the school in which they were employed

Ireland, Poor Law Union Removals From England, 1859-1860; 1,898 records

A small printed volume, indexed by the WAP, records the names of the poor persons involved, the parish from which they were removed, date of the removal warrant, number in the family being removed and the parish to which they were to be removed.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Free the Records

From the CBC "Government accused of hoarding Canadian history in 'secret' archives"

If you're in a position of authority in a genealogical organization consider having them support the petition to transfer hordes of records in federal departments to Library and Archives Canada.

Also sign on your own behalf.

Ottawa Branch OGS May Meeting

Friends, Romans and Countrymen. Here's one I especially hope you'll attend.

Come to the Ottawa City Archives, 100 Tallwood, at 1pm on Saturday 27 May when I'll be speaking about "Researching Second World War British Child Evacuees to Canada"

If your children were in danger how far would you go to protect them?
That was a question faced by parents in England, Scotland and Wales in June 1940 when the opportunity came to have children in vulnerable areas evacuated overseas, away from bombling and likely invasion. What was the impact on the children, and on Canada?

If unable to attend in person you may be able to attend via webinar. Check out the details here.

Make a day of it.
The Scottish interest group will get together at 10am when Pam Cooper will speak on Scottish City resources, concentrating on Glasgow
At 10:30 am in the educational Back to Basics session Gloria Tubman will speak on "Quebec Records."
The Computer interest group will meet at about 3 pm.