Sunday, 25 June 2017

Langevin and Residential Schools

When Guy Berthiaume mentioned that architect is not a good term to use in Ottawa these days during his speech at the opening session of the OGS Conference the reference eluded me.

A week later and the title of a blog post on Active History makes it clear --  "Sir Hector-Louis Langevin, “Architect” of Residential Schools?"

In it Matthew Hayday, points out that if anyone was the architect it was Sir John A. who reserved Indian Affairs as a post he held in addition to Prime Minister. He has historical precedence having given a speech two weeks before Langevin's using very much the same words.

Should everything named after Macdonald be renamed, just as the former Langevin block?

In a comment to that blog post Jason Ellis points out that people engaged in naming debates don’t care about good history; they care about the present. We've certainly seen that in Ottawa where political (and Political) have outweighed historical considerations in naming.

Worth reading at

Additions to Findmypast Scottish Records

Scotland, Post Office Directories

Over 180,000 new records have been added to the collection of Scottish Post Office Directories. The new additions cover Aberdeenshire, Ayrshire, Bute, Midlothian, Forfarshire, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Perth and Inverness-shire.

Scotland Monumental Inscriptions Index

Over 32,000 new additions covering burial grounds in Berwickshire and East Lothian have been added to the Scotland Monumental Inscriptions Index.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Medway, Kent, England, Methodist BMB records

The latest Ancestry addition of British records is 35,111 Medway, Kent, England, Methodist Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1798-1932. The largest communities included are Chatham and Gillingham, with additional records from Gravesend, Sheerness, Lower Rainham. Rochester and Strood.
Baptisms are by far the predominant record type.

The records are sourced from Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, in Chatham. The new Medway Archives Centre will open on Tuesday, 4 July 2017 at 32 Bryant Road in Strood.

New Norfolk Browse Records from Findmypast

Three new Norfolk browse titles appear this week from Findmypast:

Norfolk Marriage Bonds 1557-1915 Browse
444 volumes of marriage bonds, over 147,000 records kept by the courts of the Archdeaconry of Norfolk, the Archdeaconry of Norwich, the Dean & Chapter of Norwich and the Diocese of Norwich Consistory Court.

Norfolk Poor Law Union Records 1796-1900 Image Browse
Over 55 volumes of Poor Law records covering 20 unions: Aylsham, Blofield, Depwade, Docking, East and West Flegg, Forehoe, Guiltcross, Henstead, King's Lynn, Loddon and Clavering, Mitford and Launditch, Norwich, Smallburgh, Swaffham, Thetford, and Wayland.
There are a wide variety of record types including births & baptisms, relief lists, admission & discharge books, rate books, report books, minute books and more.

Norfolk Non-Conformist Records 1613-1901 Image Browse
More than 7,000 records, 11 registers covering various denominations including Methodist, Quaker, and Baptist in the parishes of Attleborough, Aylsham, Kenninghall, Norwich, Tasburgh, Walsingham, and Wymondham.

Summarizing the Norfolk titles in Findmypast
Norfolk Electoral Registers 1832-19154,466,609
Norfolk Baptisms1,785,807
Norfolk Burials1,422,549
Norfolk Marriages905,752
Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts Baptisms634,077
Norfolk Banns451,484
Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts Burials412,336
Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts Marriages157,290
Mid Norfolk Monumental Inscriptions9,652
Mid Norfolk Baptisms1,257
Norfolk Marriage Bonds 1557-1915 Image Browse444
Norfolk, Bishop's Transcripts 1687-1901 Image Browse125
Norfolk Poor Law Union Records 1796-1900 Image Browse55
Norfolk Archdeacon's Transcripts 1600-1812 Image Browse51
Norfolk Non-Conformist Records 1613-1901 Image Browse11

LDS Church History Conference in Brampton

This conference will take place on 8 July 2017 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Brampton Stake Centre.
Brother Richard Turley from Utah will be the keynote speaker. Brother Turley is the former Assistant Church Historian for the whole Church. Currently, he is the Managing Director for Public Affairs for the entire Church.
An excellent speaker, he is a direct descendant of Brother Theodore Turley who joined the Church in the 1830's while living in Churchville, Peel County, Ontario.
With presentations and displays the conference will focus on the remarkable history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ontario.
More information and registration at
Thanks to Malcolm and Helen Warner for the tip while at #OGSConf2017

Friday, 23 June 2017

UK Who Do You Think You Are? 2017 celebrities

How many of these names mean something to you? Who do you think they are?

Charles Dance
Craig Revel Horwood
Clare Balding
Adil Ray
Emma Willis
Lisa Hammond
Sir Ian McKellen
Noel Clarke
Fearne Cotton
Ruby Wax

See their claim to celebrity here

Paper of Record and JSTOR at LAC

For months, perhaps years, I've been pointing out to the folks in the Genealogy Room at 395 Wellington that the link on their computers to Paper of Record has not worked. For almost as long I've been told it would be fixed.
This week I received an email from Julie Roy, Manager of Reference Services, who finally made it happen. I went to the building to check it out - joy of joys - success. Thank you Julie.
Julie also mentioned that links to three other databases: JSTOR, LLMC and MUSE have also been fixed.
hile on the 3rd floorI tried JSTOR which Marian Press mentioned at the end of her presentation at #OGSConf2017. US-based JSTOR is an online database of more than 2,000 full text searchable scholarly journals and some books providing an opportunity to put ancestors in historical and local context. Some of the older journals do provide lists of names.
If you missed Marian's presentation there's a  free webinar on How to Use JSTOR at which ends with an explanation of the various ways you can gain access including the limited free individual subscription at

Third anniversary: Dr Guy Berthiaume

Today, 23 June 2017 is the third anniversary of Dr Guy Berthiaume assuming the role of Librarian and Archivist of Canada.
Congratulations are due on having established partnerships, raised both the profile of LAC and the morale of the staff.
There is progress, and significantly more work to be done, in digitization and making collection materials available online for all wherever they live.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Findmypast free long weekend

Just as well it wasn't last weekend and #OGSConf2017!

Findmypast offers 5 days of FREE access to over 1.1 billion of their records for British and Irish research. FMP says that includes:

  • The world’s most comprehensive collection of British and Irish parish records
  • Double the Irish family history records of our closest competitor
  • More British military service and pension records than anywhere else online.
You will need a free registration for access.

It will not include the 1939 National Registration nor newspapers.

Those of us with subscriptions benefit too from a three day extension to our membership.

Many Families, Issue No. 3

Tad and Terry Findley's annual family history magazine Many Families, number 3, features the Wickham, Durham and Rotton families.
Wickham is found mostly in the south of England. It's Tad's maiden name so unsurprisingly, and given that information is available on seven generations, is the subject of about half this issue. I challenge you to start reading "Look Where You Step" and not be drawn into the Wickham family story which takes us to British Guiana and Trinidad, with journeys back to the UK, and eventually to Canada.
Rotton and Durham are families that married into the Wickhams.

In reviewing the previous volume I posed the question "Why buy a magazine for someone else's family?" The No. 3 issue again illustrates the truth of the answer given last time.
The articles are a model of research and writing;
The thrill of discovery is shared;
The layout is superb, an inspiration;
The content is an education, more than just about the families.
If you need more information, or to order a copy, email manyfamilies (at)

OGS Ottawa Branch June Meeting

The main event on Saturday, 24 June is a presentation "Osgoode Township Museum Resources" by Robin Cushnie.
"Robin will give an overview of the wealth of information and artefacts available at the Osgoode Township Museum. Resources include transcribed oral histories, census records, church, school, and tax records, maps, biographies and local histories. Many of these documents and publications are not available anywhere else and are not to be missed!"
Announcements and the presentation start at 1:30 pm. Socialize with drinks and cookies from 1 pm

Also on Saturday at 10 am  the Scottish Genealogy Group will meet, at 10:30 am Genealogy: Back to Basics offers "Evaluating Your Evidence" and following the main presentation the Computer Special Interest Group will meet.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Intelligent Searching

When Marian Press, a retired librarian and active genealogist gave her first presentation, Are You Really Finding It All When You Search?: Mining Databases for Every Nugget of Information, at #OGSCong2017 it was my pleasure to chair the session.

Marian started out covering the basics, Boolean  search operators: AND, OR and NOT. Whichever database you search they are the foundation of intelligent searching.

In thanking Marian I summarized what I saw as the key points:

1. Read the help screen. Each database has its idiosyncrasies. Time invested in understanding them will be time you won't thrash about with unproductive searches.
2. Start by taking time to formulate a specific search, then gradually broaden it for more results. Marian acknowledged that many people advise starting broad and refining.
3. Look beyond the first page. You may not be lucky on the first page of hits.


4. Specifically for FamilySearch, log on with a free account to get additional results and capabilities.

The Summer Solstice

The City of Ottawa Archives holds three scrapbooks with ads from R J Devlin, an Ottawa clothing retailer. They were recently transferred to the archives from the Ottawa Historical Society (OHS).

Today at 12:24 AM EDT the sun attained its most northerly point, the Tropic of Cancer.

The solstice was the topic of one of many humorous advertisements in volume one of Devlin's scrapbooks which are weather related. I've been looking at them as part of preparation for my talk on Ottawa weather history to the OHS in October.

The reference to the Scott Act is explained at