Tuesday, 26 September 2017

StatsCan: Using historical censuses to research Canadian families

An article in the most recent, 25 September, issue of the Statistics Canada monthly blog, Connecting Stats, Stories and People includes an interview article Using historical censuses to research Canadian families with Lisa Dillon from the Université de Montréal.

Having missed her conference presentation in Ottawa last week I was particularly interested to read about her own research:

"Ms. Dillon has used the census as a primary tool in her own research, including on the living arrangements of the elderly in her 2008 book The Shady Side of Fifty: Age and Old Age in Late Victorian Canada and the United States. Using the census and drawing from diaries and letters, she researched, documented and highlighted how shifts in living arrangements, the advent of retirement, and an empty nest free of adult children changed the trajectory of old age during the late 1800s.
In collaboration with L’Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Ms. Dillon used the census to look at the residential autonomy of single persons in early twentieth century Canada, a topic of interest this year as the percentage of one-person households is at an all-time high in Canada’s 150-year history. And, in a project to link censuses from 1871 to 1881, she found some interesting conclusions on youth leaving home for the first time.
“I found this interesting pattern where young women were more likely to leave home early if they grew up in a household dominated by brothers rather than by sisters. This may have occurred because sisters had to act as the servant of the household, whereas with sisters, they could share the workload. This evidence suggests that young women were motivated to leave because of these gendered challenges.”
Comment:  It's encouraging to see Statistics Canada give some profile to the use of the census for historical studies. Too often we've heard that historical studies are not the purpose of the census and the questions asked are limited as a result.

What would the census look like if questions on the historical and genealogical wish list were incorporated? How about the collection of DNA? In Iceland at least one third of the population have given a DNA sample.

Top five free websites for Church of England ancestors:

From FamilyTree, the UK genealogy magazine, and genealogist Stuart Raymond comes a top five list of free of charge websites for finding Church of England ancestors, particularly those who lived before Civil Registration.
1. Family Search
2. Internet Archive
3. National Library of Wales: Wills
4. Cause Papers in the Diocesan Courts of the Archbishopric of York 1300-1858
5. CCEd: The Clergy of the Church of England database.
Find details and links at https://www.family-tree.co.uk/how-to-guides/family-history-tips-advice/find-your-church-of-england-ancestors-top-five-free-genealogy-websites/.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Last Minute: Keeping the Past: Storing and Preserving Family Archives and Memorabilia

This evening Kyla Ubbink travels for a presentation to the Arnprior Family History Group in her continuing outreach to help us preserve family treasures.

IGRS Updates Early Irish Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes

The Irish Genealogical Research Society announce the addition of 5,000 records to the Society’s Early Irish Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes, bringing the total number of names to almost 260,000.
There are now 24,500 births (noting 47,800 names), 83,600 marriages (186,800 names) and 16,800 deaths (24,500 names) in the collection.

The IGRS Press Release adds
This particular update draws from a range of material: surviving 19th century census records; marriage licence indexes; pre-1922 abstracts from exchequer and chancery court records; memorial inscriptions; biographical notices from newspapers; a large number of long forgotten published works on particular families and places; and memorials from Ireland's Registry of Deeds.
One of the rare books from which data is drawn is the Memoirs of the Fultons of Lisburn, published in 1903, which includes references not only to folk called Fulton, but many other associated families from the area. With reference to the quality and usefulness of this material, project coordinator Roz McCutcheon said "As an example, the Fulton Memoirs provide great detail, allowing long dead people to be easily identified. Take Richard Fulton of Lisburn, as an example. We can conclude he was dead by April 1823, having outlived his wife, Elizabeth, whose maiden surname was Shanks, and who had died before him in July 1812 aged 60, and thus born about 1752."
"In addition to the publications,"
Roz continued "this particular update draws heavily from Registry of Deeds memorials, access to which is now much easier since FamilySearch uploaded images of the old 1950s microfilms at the beginning of this year. Contrary to popular belief, the memorials make reference to all sorts of types and classes of people. A deed of 1808 allowed us to flesh out an entry in the death index to a widowed shopkeeper called Jane Rooney, noting her address as South Great George's, Dublin and her maiden surname as Kirk. It also linked her to her married sister, Matilda McDonnell. Another deed, from 1795, named the late Robert Dempsey of Co. Wexford, noting his widow as Catherine, with a maiden surname of Cardiff."
The census data includes both original material - that which survived the conflagration of 1922 - and transcripts of that which did not. Counties Fermanagh. Kilkenny, Tipperary and Waterford are particularly represented. The return for the Greene family from Clonmel, Co. Tipperary in the 1841 census – data entered into the Death Index - was particularly poignant. It noted George Greene, a publican, and then lists the members of his household who had predeceased him. These were his first wife, Margaret, who died in 1828, and four of his children: Michael, Patrick, James and Margaret, who died in 1833, 1837, 1831 and 1833 respectively, aged from 3 months to 10 years.
Stop press - We hope to have an exciting, additional update of BMD data later in the year, so keep checking the IGRS website for more news! 
Search the databases here:
Marriage Index        - Free to all
Birth Index              - Name search only for non-members
Death Index             - Name search only for non-members
Thanks to Steven Smyrl for the tip.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Austin Comerton interviews Celia Heritage and Paul Milner

Irish Radio Canada is the new online version of what used to be on-air as The Gaelic Hour.
As a good and long-time friend of BIFHSGO Austin Comerton has frequently interviewed major speakers coming to the BIFHSGO conference.
2017 is no exception. You'll find interviews with Celia Heritage and Paul Milner speaking about their presentations at the conference linked from
http://irishradio.ca/Archives-2017.php. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, click on the link to either Celia or Paul and download the file to play on your system.

Heritage Forum: 30 September

If I were not attending the BIFHSGO Conference I'd be tempted by Heritage Ottawa's Heritage Forum. Held at Kars with the Rideau Township Historical Society, the day's events are:

 Giulio Maffini, an architect with over 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, will discuss Manotick's experience with the City Design Guidelines for Rural Villages with a focus on the Falls House in Manotick Village.

 City of Ottawa Heritage Planner Anne Fitzpatrick will explain heritage policies with an emphasis on the Heritage Register and Designation.

 A City of Ottawa Archivist will share information on the resources available for researching the buildings, events and people who tell the stories of our rural communities.

 A brief history of Kars will be followed by a guided walking tour of the picturesque village by local resident Cameron Minor.

 Jim Mountain, Director of Regeneration Projects at the National Trust for Canada, will share his years of experience training and coaching communities on how to regen-
erate their Main Streets.

 A closing Bus Tour with commentary by Owen Cooke will take participants on a drive through beautiful Rideau Township, stopping at heritage sites along the way including such landmarks as St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, the Thomson Barn, the Rideau Archives, and more.

 Lunch and refreshment breaks will be provided.

The day begins at the Kars RA located at 1604 Old Wellington Street at 9:30 am and continues to 4:00 pm. Doors open at 9:00 am.
Pre-registration is required. The registration fee of $20 per person includes lunch, refreshments, and access to all events.
You can pre-register on the Heritage Ottawa website ( by making a $20 donation and entering "Heritage Forum" in the commemorative donation field.

Renewed GRO PDF Trial Coming

According to Peter Calver's Lost Cousins Newsletter of 22 September the General Register Office for England and Wales will be running another trial of PDF delivery of historic birth and death entries (births from 1837 to 1916 and deaths from 1837 to 1957).
This would be a longer than the three week trial last November.
No word on when it will start. You might want to hold off ordering certificates for this period as there will be a considerable saving, as long as your need is for the information, not an official certificate, and you can wait for the trial.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Ottawa War Bride Couple Death

The death of English war bride Jean (Tubbs) Spear and her Canadian husband of 72 years George Spear a week ago made news on the BBC and CBC as well as in the Ottawa Citizen. They died less than six hours apart.
Jean had arrived in Ottawa on 21 December 1944, one of eight (?) war brides and six children who arrived on the same train at the Union Station. The Ottawa Journal reported their arrival under the headline British Brides Arrive in Snow Storm, Get Warm Welcome.
Weather records show that storm dumped 9.4 cm of snow.

Does anyone know the story of the other war brides arriving on that train:

Margaret I. Coller
Patricia Dudman, with daughter Barbara
Joan Fee
Ethel Large, and daughter Jennifer Street
Joyce Ryan, and son Patrick
Phyllis Mahoney, and son John
and two children of Major S. G Gamble, Margaret and Jean (mother deceased).

Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire and Sussex additions at Findmypast

Gloucestershire, Bristol Baptism Index
With the addition of over 139,000 records the Gloucestershire, Bristol Baptism Index now has 551,100 records covering 116 Bristol parishes.

The earliest is from 1518, the latest 1914.

The database was created using original records held at the Bristol Archives and transcripts from FamilySearch's International Genealogical Index (IGI).

Each transcript includes a combination of baptism date, baptism place, parents' names and a reference number.

Gloucestershire, Bristol Marriage Index
More than 80,000 additional Bristol Marriage Index records are now available to search. The earliest records are four marriages in 1518 from Bitton, St Mary, the latest from 1939. This transcript collection includes both parish and non-conformist registers and now contains a total of 354,787 records.

Gloucestershire, Bristol Burial Index
An additional 96,000 records expands this index to 273,182 transcript records covering more than 70 parishes.

Records usually reveal age at death, birth year, burial year, father's name, residence and provide you with a Bristol Archives reference number.

Hertfordshire Baptisms
Over 6,000 records covering the town of Cheshunt have been added to Findmypast's collection of Hertfordshire baptisms bringing the total for the county to 831,117.

Each record includes a digitised image of the original record book and a transcript for the individual entry. That makes it easy to check for transcription errors such as baptisms 100 years before birth. It's a reminder not to entirely trust transcription records.

Sussex Monumental Inscriptions
Over 1,800 additional records covering churchyards in Chiddingly and East Dean have been added to FMP's Sussex Monumental Inscriptions collection which now totals 23,102 records from 1513 to 2007.
Each includes a transcript that lists the deceased's birth year, age at death, death year, burial location, the number of individuals buried in that plot, details of the inscription on their headstone or memorial and a reference number.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Findmypast adds Dublin Electoral Rolls

Findmypast just made available electoral rolls, over 427,000 records, with the names of those eligible to vote between 1908 and 1915 in Dublin.

Voting eligibility for local elections was restricted to men over the age of 21 and women over the age of 30 who either resided in the city or owned property there.

The original electoral registers are held by the Dublin City Library & Archives.

Act today:Sign the Petition to Update Crown Copyright

Canadians paid for it. We should have access.

Royal Commissions, Parliamentary reports, statistical publications…are the raw materials of good journalism and history in a democratic country. As it is these publications can be changed or removed without warning, especially if the content is not supportive of government policy or otherwise embarrassing.

If they’re deleted, you might still be able to find them via web harvesters like the Wayback Machine. Or they might be gone forever. It’s hit and miss.

The solution is to address Section 12 of the Copyright Act legal scholars have labelled a “legislative monstrosity” and called for its abolishment. It dates from 1911 and British legislation which has long since been superceded -- but not in Canada.

Open up the material we paid for.

Act now. Sign the petition to bring Canadian legislation in line with other democracies .

The online petition closes on September 23 so act now. Sign it at www.FixCrownCopyright.ca

WDYTYA UK on YouTube

Several episodes from the most recent British TV series of Who Do You Think You Are? are new on YouTube.

They are supported by advertizing.

Noel Clarke
Fearne Cotton
Charles Dance
Lisa Hammond
Ian McKellen