Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Premiere: New Acquisitions at Library and Archives Canada

This new exhibition which opened on Tuesday evening is well worth the detour if you're in the vicinity of Library and Archives Canada at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa.

The eclectic collection of items new to LAC include a design for a never-produced prototype of the ill-fated Avro Arrow airplane (sorry about the reflections in the image), and a book printed in Quebec from the 1700s dealing with a mysterious (at the time) illness now thought to have been a form of syphilis with suggestions for treatment.

There's a manuscript of a play by writer Jane Urquhart when she was a child, a student of Dora Mavor Moore, and one of the oldest books in the collection making its first public appearance: Mivachar Ha-Peninim (Choice of Pearls) by Solomon Ibn Gabirol, published in 1484 appropriately advising that treasures are to be shared.

And much more.

The free exhibition, expected to run until December, is in the salon at the end of the corridor to the right as you enter the building (it's good to see LAC taking back more of the ground floor space).

Ancestry updates U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1960

There are now 5,395,724 records sourced from NARA, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85. This used to be known as the St. Albans records even though that's just one of the ports of entry included.
The database generally includes:
Birth date
Names of individuals accompanied by
Name of nearest relative or friend in former country
Name of nearest relative or friend at destination

HSO April Meeting

Friday 27 April, 2018 - Randy Boswell -- Ottawa's Original Renaissance Man: Dr. Edward Van Cortlandt

Details: For more than 40 years during Ottawa's transformation from backwoods Bytown to burgeoning capital of a new Dominion, the pioneer physician, naturalist and polymathic public intellectual Dr. Edward Van Cortlandt helped shape the city, its founding institutions and coalescing civic culture. Recent research has revealed the remarkable depth and range of Van Cortlandt's contributions to early Ottawa and illuminated his enduring imprint on the history of the capital and the country.

Biography: Randy Boswell is a professor at Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication, where he conducts historical research while continuing to work as a freelance writer and editor. During a long and varied career as a journalist with the Ottawa Citizen and Postmedia News, Boswell developed a unique national history beat that pushed edgy stories about Canada's past onto front pages across the country. Among his recent writings were an Ottawa Citizen front-page feature on the history of the marble cornerstone of the Parliament Buildings — which kicked off the newspaper's special coverage of the Canada 150 anniversary — a scholarly article revealing the origins of the 19th-century sawdust pollution controversy on the Ottawa River, published by the academic journal Histoire Sociale/Social History, and a magazine piece that solved the mystery behind Elvis Presley's 1956 mega-hit "Heartbreak Hotel", published by Rolling Stone.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Two Billionth Image Added at FamilySearch

A news release from FamilySearch announced a milestone "The genealogy giant’s free online databases of digitized historical documents have now surpassed 2 billion images of genealogy records with millions more being added weekly from countries around the world."

"FamilySearch currently adds over 300 million new images a year online from its microfilm to digital and field operations efforts."

"A host of online volunteers (See FamilySearch Indexing), partners, and emerging technologies help to eventually create searchable name indexes to the images ..."

As much as FamilySearch is to be congratulated I was a bit surprised at the mention of Indexing. There are no projects going on for Canada, and haven't been for a long while -- I've been checking.

Where is the effort going? 11 indexing projects for Italy, 8 for the USA, 4 for Germany Brazil, and 3 each for France, Peru, South Africa, Sweden, UK and Venezuela. 

For the UK two are for England and one military:

  • UK, England, Lincolnshire—Parish Registers, 1538–1990 [Part B]
  • UK, England—Bedfordshire Parish Registers, 1754–1983
  • UK—War Office Registers, Enlistment Rolls 1772–1935 [Part B].
There are no projects for Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Family Tree May 2018

Here's the comprehensive table of contents for the May 2018 issue of Family Tree including sections I generally don't list.

Family history news
Latest news with Karen Clare, including the online launch of the IWM’s War Memorials Register and one of the largest church festivals in Europe marking two major anniversaries of interest to family historians.
Walking ancestral homelands
Join David Venner as he walks in the footsteps of his forebears along a 50-mile riverside trail in Somerset and discovers family connections to the countryside and towns back to the 16th century.
Dear Tom
Get your monthly fix of genealogical gems and funnies with Tom Wood.
Comment: The article includes mention of the first name Singular. FreeBMD has 1 birth, 2 marriages and 3 deaths by that name. Ancestry's collection has about 30 BMD mentions  and 11 census mentions in the US. In Canada there are 2 BMD mentions and 2 in censuses.
Get your hands on history
Delve into a wealth of genealogical treasures with Helen Tovey as we explore some of the nation’s key archives and their websites and show ways we can use them to find clues about our family history.
Comment: A helpful overview of the National Archives, National Records of Scotland, National Archives or Ireland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, British Library, National Library of Wales, National Library or Scotland, National Library of Ireland.
3 questions my mother left unanswered
Bernard Barker grew up in a respectable home where curiosity was encouraged, but after his mother died, questions formed in his mind about the past.
The feel of fashion: 1880s & 1890s
Learn about the clothing worn by your late-Victorian ancestors with dress historian Jayne Shrimpton.
Building a better future
The housing crisis is nothing new, reports Amanda Randall as she explores the history of purpose-built towns created to improve the lives of our ancestors, right back to the 1700s.
A breaking point survived
Keith Gregson investigates the Spring Offensive of 1918, a series of attacks by the Germans along the Western Front towards the end of the brutal Great War. Many of our ancestors would have been seen action, been taken prisoner or lost their lives.
The lunch-hour genealogist
Squeeze just 60 minutes of family history into your daily routine and you'll soon see your tree start to blossom. Get cracking with Rachel Bellerby’s suggested projects and genealogical crossword fun.
Family Tree Academy
Improve your family history research skills with our Family Tree Academy, which has case studies to research, old documents to decipher and answers to last issue’s challenges. Tutor David Annal takes you through your genealogical paces.
Banished from Britain
The Irish poor Discover the Irish paupers who found themselves forced home from England, Scotland and Wales. Chris Paton finds rich pickings for genealogists in lesser-known records of poverty-stricken families.
Enjoy some of the latest genealogical reads with Karen Clare, including a Q&A with author Steve Ward about his new book on the life of Britain's founder of the modern circus.
Great War memorials project
Simon Wills finds out about a project that is proving to be a wonderful digital resource for family historians researching Warwickshire men killed in WW1.
Family Tree Subscriber Club
Don’t miss this issue’s exclusive competitions and discounts for subscribers to Family Tree.
The men who said no
This issue in her monthly website spotlight, Julie Goucher delves into a thought-provoking resource recording the history of conscientious objectors during the Great War.
Comment: Interesting database at
Techy tips for family historians
Make the most of digital devices, websites, apps and gadgets, with genealogical web guru Paul Carter.
Spotlight on Bedfordshire Family History Society
Geoff Sewell and Mary Wooldridge introduce a family history society that has been helping people explore their ancestry for more than 40 years.
Latest exploits from our tree-tracing diarist Gill Shaw.
A taste of home
Learn all about the work of the unsung heroes and heroines of the NAAFI, who dished up a taste of home to thousands of members of the Armed services during WW2, with John Leete.
Coming next in Family Tree
Your Q&As: advice
Get top family history help with Mary Evans, Jayne Shrimpton, David Frost, Tim Lovering & guests.
Diary Dates
Find family history exhibitions, courses and events for your calendar this May.
Your entertaining and informative letters and Keith Gregson’s Snippets of War, plus crossword answers.
Comment. Includes Calgary genealogist Wayne Shepheard's recommendation of the book A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe’s Encounter with North America (Harvard University Press, 2017) by Sam White. 
Your adverts
Thoughts on...
Diane Lindsay is haunted by the story of a beautiful and tragic great-aunt who died in childbirth.

Did you know Family Tree is on Facebook <> and on Twitter <@familytreemaguk/>.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Findmypast adds Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, and Somerset Registers & Records

For Northumberland you can now explore:
Early Deeds Relating to Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1100-1600;
records of baptisms, marriages, banns and burials in:
Parish Registers of Alnham, Ceadnell, Chatton & Ilderton, 1688-1812;
and baptisms, marriages and burials in
Parish Registers of Edlingham, 1658-1812
Parish Registers of Halton, 1654-1812
Parish Registers of Ingram, 1682-1812.

For Nottinghamshire five publications covering parish registers from the parishes of Gedling and Warsop, Archdeaconry Court Marriage Licenses and Parish Register Transcripts from the Peculiar of Southwell, the history of the county and its highways and byways.

Records for Rutland are augmented by Registers of North Luffenham, 1565-1832 containing baptisms, marriages, burials and monumental inscriptions.

Somerset adds material from volumes of the publication Dwelly's Parish Records;
Bishop’s Transcripts from Wells Diocesan Registry, Parish Registers from Chipstable, Raddington, Kittisford, Pitcombe and Wilton, as well as Wells Cathedral Monumental Inscriptions and Heraldry.

All are transcriptions sourced from the collection of the Anguline Research Archives which is well worth browsing, especially for your English counties of interest.

Celebrate St George's Day

Join me in celebrating English heritage with these tributes to ancient and beloved traditions.

Tongue in cheek.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

A Blast from the Past - Ottawa’s Weather at its Worst

My next talk is for the Gloucester Historical Society on Sunday, 29 April following a brief Society AGM.
Society President Glenn Clark arranged for some publicity with Erin McCracken, reporter for the local paper, Community Voice of 12 April, 2018.
Here, with permission from Erin, is the text of the article.
There’s something about extreme weather that gets people talking.
“Its something they’ve got experience with. Weather means things to people. It affects their lives,” said John D. Reid, a retired weather expert, author and local historian. “And it keeps on delivering.”
The long-time Hunt Club resident will share his research on some of Ottawa’s extreme weather events during a presentation hosted by the Gloucester Historical Society.
During his upcoming talk at the Greenboro Community Centre on April 29, at 2 p.m., called A Blast from the Past - Ottawa’s Weather at its Worst,’ Reid will delve into:
the ice storm of 1998-99,
the snow storm of 1970-71,
the deadly hurricane-force winds of 1888 that wrought damage across the city and blew down the Roman Catholic Church in Billings Bridge, and 
• the Great Fire of 1870 that devastated the Ottawa Valley and parts of Gloucester Township. “This had almost died down by the time it got to Gloucester and then a big wind storm came up,” Reid said. “It fanned the flames.” 
Reid has been blending his passion for historical research with aspects of his former career as a weather forecaster, then as an atmospheric research scientist before eventually serving as director of policy and international affairs for the Meteorological Service of Canada.
In his upcoming presentation, he will go back as far as the days
of Samuel de Champlain to talk of the first mention of weather in the Ottawa Valley, as well as share the warmest and coldest recorded days in Ottawa and photos of major events, such as the ice storm of 1942.
One key source of historical weather information was William Upton, whose farm is where the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club is today in the Hunt Club community. He kept diaries, which included weather and temperatures.
Late in the winter of 1869, Upton described extreme snowfalls and impassable roads.
“He talks about having to dig a trench to get his cow in the bam,” Reid said, adding there was flooding when milder weather finally arrived in late April and the snow melted.
Glenn Clark, a Blossom Park resident and president of the Gloucester Historical Society, which has its headquarters in Leitrim, said his own family was impacted by some of Ottawa’s most severe weather events.
His great grandfather, Timothy Cutts, was moving his family in 1869 from Ottawa to Gloucester Township. That winter, the area was hammered by blizzard after blizzard.
Cutts got caught up in one especially severe snow storm and had to find shelter in a home at Bank Street and Hunt Club Road.
“That’s part of our family lore,” Clark said. “He got stopped in his tracks by this horrendous blizzard.”
In 1888, a storm with hurricane-force winds whipped across much of Ottawa and the township. The former Ellwood school was damaged and some of the schoolchildren sought refuge at the Cutts’ home, half a block away in what is today the Banff-Ledbury area.
“One of my earliest memories is weather-related,” Clark recalled of a bad storm that hit in June 1958.
His mother got Clark and his brother ready to flee their Blossom Park home when a barn across the street was struck by lightning and caught fire.
“There was hay in the loft and it was blowing across Bank Street onto the roof of our house,” he said, adding his father and uncle were on the roofs of their homes with hoses to douse any hot spots.
Weather events unique to each generation offer a deeper connection to community, said Reid.
“As you live here and start researching things, you realize there’s some interesting history here,” he said.
His free presentation, which begins with the historical society’s annual general meeting, takes place at the Greenboro Community Centre, located at 363 Lorry Greenberg Dr.

The weather predicted for the 29th is far from its worst with temperatures a bit below seasonal.

Ottawa Electors' Lists

Tucked away in a corner of the Ottawa Public Library's Ottawa Room are a series of oversize bound volumes of municipal electors' lists. According to the OPL catalogue they are for 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1988, and 1991. The books, organized by ward, poll, street and house number, give first and last name.
A more limited selection of lists for Kanata are at the Beaverbook library.
These nicely compliment the collection Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980 provided by where the lists for 1979 and 1980 are in most cases unusable owing to text bleed-through on the image.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Sale Prices for DNA Day

The week of DNA Day, 25 April, is one of the best times of the year to buy a test for genetic genealogy. Check your preferred service provider. Prices are in USD and shipping is extra.

Family Tree DNA





Advance Notice: Toronto and Montreal Welcome the Great Famine Voices Roadshow

The Great Famine Voices Roadshow is a series of open house events in the United States and Canada that bring together Irish emigrants, their descendants, and members of their communities to share family memories and stories of coming from Ireland to North America, especially during the period of the Great Hunger and afterwards.
the event will be in Toronto on 22 May and Montreal on 27 May. Find our more at