Thursday, 17 August 2017

Ancestry adds further Nova Scotia BMD Updates

Following up on yesterday's post, Ancestry has now extended their coverage of Nova Scotia BMDs forward in time

Nova Scotia, Canada, Births, 1840-1915, 330,053 records
Nova Scotia, Canada, Marriages, 1763-1940, 503,931 records
Nova Scotia, Canada, Deaths, 1864-1877, 1890-1965, 466,982

An additional year for all three sets is available at Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics.

Appreciate Ottawa: Lowertown

As part of its program of Heritage Walking Tours, at 2 pm on Sunday 20 August Heritage Ottawa is conducting a tour of Lowertown East. The guide is Nancy Miller Chenier, a long-time resident of the area.
Meet at 501 Old St Patrick Street (LaSalle Academy).  $5 fee for non Heritage Ottawa members, $10 for others. All welcome.

Definitely not Metric Measurement Quiz

A challenge!

1. An area of land of a chain by a furlong is known as ...
2. How many farthings in a groat?
3. If there are 25 sheets of paper in a quire, how many are there in a ream?
4. What was the traditional use of a silver sixpence?
5. In nautical terminology, how many watches in 24 hours?
6. What was traditionally measured by the cran?
7. In measuring British ale or beer how many gallons in a firkin?
8. At a speed of one knot how long would it take to travel directly from the equator to the pole?
9. One horsepower, the power required to lift 33,000 pounds by one foot in one minute, equals how many watts?
10. How many guineas are required to make an even number of pounds?

Answers tomorrow.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Updates to Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics on Ancestry

Ancestry updated these records, likely corrections, on Monday: 

Nova Scotia, Canada, Births, 1836-1910,
Nova Scotia, Canada, Marriages, 1763-1935,
Nova Scotia, Canada, Deaths, 1864-1877, 1890-1960.

Search indexes for a few extra years at Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics: births to 1916, marriages to 1941, deaths to 1966. 

Pinhey's Point Foundation 2017 Archeology Dig

The following is an announcement from the Pinhey's Point Foundation

Fri/Sat/Sun  August 18-19-20, 2017  9am-5pm

With the City of Ottawa as our partner, the Pinhey's Point Foundation presents our 3rd annual dig as part of Archeology Month in Ottawa. Join us in a family-friendly event, and get your hands dirty when you participate!  Our archeologist will provide the tools and guide you in this weekend adventure.  Help uncover forgotten buildings and landscape features.  What else might you find?  Everyone is welcome!

Admission is free

Pinhey’s Point Historic site
270 Pinhey’s Point Road
Dunrobin, Ontario

Thanks to Bruce Elliott for the tip.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

CEF August Update from Library and Archives Canada

As of today, 15 August 2017,  476,752 (461,575 last month) of 640,000 Personnel Records of the First World War files are available online in the LAC database.

Latest box digitized is 8101 (7834 last month) and last name Rasmess (Pilkey). At the past month's rate of progress the project will be complete in August 2018.

Note that the LAC blog is commemorating the Canadian Corps and the Battle of Hill 70 with an overview post ,and posts for each of the Victoria Crosses awarded during the battle. From 15–25 August 2,230 of the Canadian Corps were fatalities in that battle. LAC notes that it is overshadowed in popular memory by the Battle of Vimy Ridge. At the time it was also overshadowed by the 5,090 British losses at the Battle of Langemarck from 16–18 August 1917.

The Chesterville Record

Chesterville, south of Ottawa in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry county is served by The Chesterville Record, a weekly newspaper published by Etcetera Publications Inc. out of offices shared with the Eastern Ontario Agri-News on King St. in Chesterville.

According to Brian Gilchrist's 1987 Inventory of Ontario Newspapers it was first published in 1894. According to McKim's Canadian Newspaper Directory of 1919 each issue was 8 pages in five column format.

As best as can be determined from the library catalog Library and Archives Canada has a full run on microfilm. Their separate microfilm list suggests holdings are more limited.
The Ontario Archives lists a few hardcopy holdings and microfilm for 26 Oct 1984 to 1931.
The newspaper office informed a complete microfilm copy is held by the Chesterville and District Historical Society. Society President Jillian Metcalfe confirmed the Society has the microfilm from 1898-1978.

There is no indication that any legacy issues have been digitized.

This is the second of an occasional series examining availability of newspapers of Eastern Ontario. Further information and updates welcome.

BIFHSGO Conference Speaker Paul Milner

The days are trickling down to a precious few for you to get in on the discount registration for the BIFHSGO conference.
British born Paul Milner was a hit last time he spoke at the conference, that was in 2014, the last time England was a theme. Attendees remarked on Paul's easy interaction with the audience. So with England one of the themes this year he is a natural to be back.
Paul's presentations this year are:

Buried Treasures: The Parish Chest
Paul will discuss all the Church of England records created when the church operates in its civil capacity, taking care of the local people, and explain how to access these records. These are the sources needed to solve many dead ends in English research, solving problems of population movement, illegitimacy, and occupation. They include settlement and removal records, overseer’s accounts, bastardy records, apprenticeship records, and such miscellaneous sources as vestry minutes, churchwarden accounts and militia registers.

Occupational, Guild and Freedmen Records
Paul will examine sources for identifying your ancestors’ occupations: trade directories, apprenticeship and guild records, and freedmen registers. He will also look specifically at sources for information about the occupations or trades and will conclude with some resources to help put your ancestors into context.

Finding Your Pre-WW I Soldier
Different records are created for officers and enlisted men in the British Army. Paul will use case studies to trace the involvement of officers and enlisted men in different military theatres around the world, during different periods, including the War of 1812. Putting the soldier into a British and global perspective, he will explain the structure and development of the British Army and also show what original records and supporting materials are available online, at The National Archives in London and at other repositories.

The English Probate System
This talk will deal with how the probate system operated in England and Wales (pre- and post-1858) and how you can identify in which court an ancestor's estate may have been probated. Covering both pre-1858 and post-1858 records, Paul will discuss some new online indexes and document imaging systems and also explain what probate documents may be available on film or as originals and how to access them.

and the closing plenary

My God, Nobody Told Me
This talk will motivate and encourage you to reflect upon what messages your ancestors left behind and, just as importantly, to get you thinking about what you are leaving behind for your descendants. Will your descendants be saying, “My God, nobody told me!”?

Read about Paul at his web page and about other presentations and events at the BIFHSGO conference here. Then follow the links for registration. Save by registering by 18 August.

Monday, 14 August 2017

MyHeritage opens census records for 1 week

MyHeritage is making all their major census collections from the U.S., U.K. and Ireland, Canada, and Nordic countries free for everybody, for one week!

Starting today, August 14, until August 20, no data subscription will be required to access these documents, searching is free. That’s 94 collections, containing over 1 billion census records available to users of MyHeritage as well as people who have never used MyHeritage before.

The earliest census records available date as far back as 1657, and the latest ones extending until 1940.

More information can be found on the MyHeritage blog post at:

This information is summarized from an email sent by Daniel Horowitz.

Writing a Successful Documentary Heritage Communities Program Proposal

It's shocking. One of the lessons I learned as a PhD student is that major effort goes into writing persuasive project proposals. That's something most of those submitting proposals for Documentary Heritage Communities Program funding have yet to learn.
Library and Archives Canada announced the successful proposals in the third round of the DHCP in June. $1.5 million was allocated to 48 projects, 18 in Quebec, 17 in Western Canada, 8 in Ontario, and 5 in Atlantic Canada. Those included 12 projects continued from previous rounds and 36 newly funded projects.
No information was made available about unfunded projects. Through an access to information request I was able to review copies of all third round proposals, funded and unfunded. Much information, including all personal and location information for those unfunded was redacted; it was not possible to evaluate the intrinsic merit of the proposals.
132 new proposals requesting a total of $5.8 million were submitted. 36 were funded (23 in English, 13 in French), 98 remained unfunded (67 in English, 27 in French). The success rate was one in four for the English language proposals, one in three for those in French.
The median amount requested across all new projects was $21.8K, for those funded it was $19.6K, for the unfunded $25K.
The most significant difference between funded and unfunded projects was the amount of detail provided as reflected by the number of pages in the proposal file. Each project proposal file I received included at least two pages not part of the original submission, but the number of pages is nevertheless indicative.
Funded project files averaged 16.5 pages, unfunded 5.7 pages. French language proposals were longer than the English, by 3 pages in the case of the funded projects. The longest unfunded project proposal was 15 pages, the shortest funded proposal 10 pages.
Proposals that provide substantial detail indicate a well thought-out project to the evaluators. Bare minimum proposals waste the time and effort for both proponent and evaluator.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Legacies of British Slave-ownership

On Saturday I stumbled across Britain's Forgotten Slave-owners, an award winning documentary on rerun on BBC World. It relies heavily on research at University College London.
At the project website is a search tool where you can check whether names in your family history were associated with slavery. You can also check geographically in the UK to find people and organizations associated with slavery.
The program makes the point that much of the money paid by the British government to slave-owner for loss of their "property", derived from taxation, came back to be invested in the UK.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Catalogue of Irish State Paper Updated

Claire Santry blogs about a major update to the online catalogue of the Chief Secretary of Ireland's Office Registered Papers (CSORP). The newly-available catalogue entries cover 1823-1830, and join those for 1818-1822.
Included are subcategories for State of the Country and Outrage reports. While viewing the original document requires a visit to Dublin the searchable detailed catalogue content, as in the example below, is exemplary.

Findmypast updates: Billion Graves

The Billion Graves databases on Findmypast providing GPS-tagged headstone and burial records continue to grow.

New Zealand48,831178,863

Other additions this week are:

Middlesex Monumental Inscriptions 1485-2014 adds 2,674 records for the Churchyard of All Saints, Fulham for a total of 45,831 records.

North West Kent Burials adds 6,159 records for Sidcup Cemetery (formerly Kent, now London Borough of Bexley) for a total of 187,829 records.

Friday, 11 August 2017

The Internet Archive 78 RPM Records Archive

A nice find by Dick Eastman.

"Want to listen to the music of your parents or grandparents? You can now do so, thanks to the Internet Archive. The Great 78 Project is a new project by the Internet Archive to preserve 78 rpm records that has released about 26,000 records as of today. One new digitized 78 rpm record is being added to the online collection every 10 minutes. More than 200,000 records are expected to be available online when the project is completed. In fact, you can even add your collection of 78 RPM records as well."
Go to Use the “Search this Collection” box on that page to quickly find what you are looking for.

Try the Maple Leaf Rag.

Advance notice: Ottawa Valley Weather Ways, 15 November

TheGenealogist adds 650,000 Nottinghamshire transcript parish records

The following is from a press release from TheGenealogist.

TheGenealogist has extended its UK Parish Records collection with a new and exclusive release of 650,000 parish records for Nottinghamshire.  These records can be used to find your ancestors’ baptisms, marriages and burials in these fully searchable records that cover parishes from this important East Midland county of England. With records that reach back to 1633, this release includes the records of 56 parishes, including:
369,100 individuals in Baptisms, 168,000 individuals in Marriages and 112,800 individuals in Burials

You can use these transcripts to find the names of ancestors, parents’ forenames (in the case of baptisms), father’s occupation (where noted), abode or parish, parish that the event took place in, the date of the event, and in the case of marriage records the bride’s maiden name and the witnesses’ names.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Ancestry adds Sydney, Australia, Anglican Parish Registers, 1818-2011

Looking for adventurous cousins who migrated to Australia?

Ancestry now has 1.8 million birth, marriage and death records, 1818 - 2011, from more than 130 parishes of the Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney. There are images of the original record linked to indexes.

Contents vary, look for:
date of birth
father name
father occupation
mother name
mother occupation
baptism parish
baptism date

date of birth
confirmation parish
confirmation date

marriage age
birth date
father name
mother name
spouse's name
spouse's marriage age
spouse's birth date
spouse's father name
spouse's mother name
marriage parish
marriage date

death date
burial parish
burial date

LAC Lady Macdonald's Diary Crowdsourcing

All 91 pages of this diary of Sir John A. Macdonald's second wife, Lady Susan Agnes Macdonald, have been transcribed and 75 pages have been reviewed. The remaining 16 pages remain to be reviewed. If you can spare a little time to help finish off the project find it at and click Get started where you can choose the page to work on.

What's New in Genealogy Books at English Public Libraries

The following genealogy books published in 2017, available at a selection of  public libraries in England, are listed in order of number of libraries in which they are to be found  or are on order (in parenthesis). Libraries of which the catalogues were consulted are Birmingham, Cornwall, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Norfolk, and North Yorkshire. Liverpool and Shropshire were without any 2017 genealogy publications listed in their catalogues.

(6) Tracing your pre-Victorian ancestors : a guide to research methods for family historians
Wintrip, John
Barnsley, South Yorkshire : Pen & Sword Family History, 2017.

( 4) A dictionary of family history : the genealogists' ABC / 2017.
Scott, Jonathan

(3) Tracing your army ancestors : a guide for family historians
Fowler, Simon
Third edition.
Barnsley, South Yorkshire : Pen & Sword Family History, 2017

(2) My European family : the first 54,000 years
Bojs, Karin
London : Bloomsbury Sigma, 2017.

(2 )Tracing your ancestors' lives: a guide to social history for family historians/ 2017.
Starmans, Barbara J.

(2) Tracing villains and their victims : a guide to criminal ancestors for family historians
Oates, Jonathan
Barnsley, South Yorkshire : Pen & Sword Family History, 2017.

(2) A woven silence
By Hayes-McCoy, Felicity, author
Large print. English. Published Oxford: ISIS, 2017

(1) Tracing your Church of England ancestors / 2017.
Raymond, Stuart A., 1945-

(1) The Ellis family in Cornwall
By MacKenzie, Charlotte
Book. English. Published Truro: Cornwall history, 2017

(1) The bad-ass librarians of Timbuktu and their race to save the world's most precious manuscripts
By Hammer, Joshua, 1957- author
Book. English. Published New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2017

BONUS: Find a list of the most borrowed books, none non- fiction, from UK public libraries for the first half of 2017 at

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

John Grenham: Irish genealogy not complicated, weird.

Do you agree with Grenham that

"One of Irish genealogy’s dirty little secrets is that it’s all very simple."?
Experts like Grenham do tend to under-appreciate the knowledge they have. It's the old story about the bill for service of $1,000, $1 for tapping in the right place, $999 for knowing where the right place is.

Read that blog post at

Last week I missed Grenham's very nice appreciation of Claire Santry's new book The Bee’s Knees and The Cat’s Pyjamas.

BIFHSGO Conference Speaker James F. S. Thomson: Maps, Shakespeare and Newspapers

BIFHSGO conference speaker James F. S. Thomson reminds me of the saying "Still waters run deep". Without fuss and eschewing the limelight, he delivers content-rich professional presentations. He's also someone I turn to for advice.
He has designed and taught over a dozen advanced and expert-level family history courses. For these courses and in his articles and presentations at conferences and workshops, as well as in his capacity as a University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies instructor, James draws on over thirty years of experience in family and local history research. He has spoken at two BIFHSGO monthly meetings and given an all-day workshop to BIFHSGO members on Maps and Mapping for Twenty-First Century Genealogists.

For BIFHSGO conference James will give a pre-conference half-day seminar:
Maps and Mapping
Explores sophisticated ways in which maps and mapping tools can contribute to family history research, analysis and writing. James will describe a new generation of map portals and interactive sites, before moving on to concentrate on explaining how a variety of mapping and other tools can be used creatively and effectively in your own genealogical projects, as research aids or in communicating project outcomes. The resources and examples used will be chosen with English and Welsh research in mind, although the principles and techniques described will be independent of geography.

During the conference he presents:
Genealogy and the Age of Shakespeare
Four hundred years after the death of Shakespeare we stand to be the beneficiaries of many substantial improvements in access to sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century records of great interest to family historians. As well as giving a solid review of new and important developments, James will cover recommended resources for mastering secretary hand and discuss what implications the new generation of cutting-edge SNP-based Y-DNA tests, and even advances in the field of population genetics, may come to have for researching inhabitants of England and Wales in the age of Shakespeare.

Historical Newspapers
Having noticed that all his recent personal breakthroughs, some retiring decades-old brick-walls, have newly digitized historical newspapers in common, James will describe what makes newspapers peerlessly exciting resources for genealogists; check in with the British Newspaper Archive and other digitization projects; suggest how to identify and access non-digitized titles and issues; promote some surprisingly useful but under-appreciated titles; and offer search tips and strategies for taking advantage of this spectacular new dawn of historical newspaper research.

Read more about these and the other presentations and events at the BIFHSGO conference here. Then follow the links for registration. Save by registering before 18 August.

Later in October during a full day workshop for OGS Toronto Branch, Researching Scottish Family History from the GTA: New Directions, on October 28, James will be giving four of the five presentations. He is also working on his first online course for the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies; called Researching Canadian Local History. It is scheduled for May / June 2018.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

For a long life join the Legion

Legion Magazine lists 870 deaths of Legion members during 2017 in its Last Post database. 806 of them died older than age 59.
The median age of their death is just over 90 years, the mode (most likely) is 94.
Compare that to the average age at death for men who achieve the age of 65 of 83 years.

AncestryDNA marches on

In January Ancestry announced they had completed three million AncestryDNA test. By May it was four million.
This month, August, they announced five million.
Will it be seven million by the end of the year?

Monday, 7 August 2017

What's New in Genealogy Books at the Toronto Public Library

Here's a list of genealogy books published this year available or on order at the Toronto Public Library.

Digital humanities : knowledge and critique in a digital age
Book, 2017. 248 pages
1 hold / 2 copies

Map guide to Swiss parish registers : with full index of included towns
Hansen, Kevan M., 1962- author.
Reference only

Edith Craig and the theatres of art
Cockin, Katharine, 1963- author.
Reference only

The registers of St James, Church Kirk, 1747-1812
Reference only

The War of 1812 in British North America, searching for your ancestor's elusive war records
Cox, Kenneth G, author.
1 hold / 2 copies

Fictitious capital : how finance is appropriating our future
Durand, Cédric, author.
0 holds / 5 copies

My European family : the first 54,000 years
Bojs, Karin, author.
0 holds / 9 copies

The screen media reader : culture, theory, practice
0 holds / 2 copies

The Lowells of Massachusetts : an American family
Sankovitch, Nina, author.
2 holds / 5 copies

Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, 1715-1940, comté de Kamouraska
Reference only

Genealogy online for dummies
Helm, Matthew.
0 holds / 11 copies

Genealogy of the Pagan Gods.
Boccaccio, Giovanni
0 holds / 0 copies (copies on order)

The anthropology of Catholicism : a reader
Reference only

Genealogy for dummies
Helm, Matthew, author.
Access Online
4 holds / 1 copy

What's New in Genealogy Books at the Ottawa Public Library

Here's a list of genealogy books published this year  available or on order at the Ottawa Public Library.

A Dictionary of Family History: The Genealogists' Abc
By Scott, Jonathan
Holds: 17 on 2 copies

The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide: How to Trace your Ancestors in Ireland
By Santry, Claire
Holds: 7 on 6 copies

Family Tree Italian Genealogy Guide : How to Trace Your Family Tree in Italy
By Holtz, Melanie D.
Holds: 4 on 1 copy

Les Filles du Roy pionnières de Montréal
Holds: 1 on 1 copy

French Canadian Roots : Discovering Your Family Tree and French Canadian Genealogy
By Compagna, Lawrence
Holds: 19 on 1 copy

Genealogy for Dummies
By Helm
Holds: 18 on 1 copy
For Later

Genealogy, Psychology, and Identity: Tales From A Family Tree
By Nicolson, Paula
Holds: 4 on 2 copies

How to Write your Personal or Family History(if You Don't Do It, Who Will?)
By Wiebe, Katie Funk
Holds: 10 on 5 copies

Kids and Family History: Fun Ways to Spark Their Interest
By Niggemeyer, Vicki Korn

Paper and Spit : Family Found: How DNA and Genealogy Revealed My First Parents' Identity
By Anderson, Don
Holds: 10 on 1 copy

Tracing your Ancestors' Lives: A Guide to Social History for Family Historians
By Starmans, Barbara J.
Holds: 9 on 8 copies

Tracing your Army Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians
By Fowler, Simon

Tracing your Nonconformist Ancestors: A Guide for Family and Local Historians
By Raymond, Stuart A.
Holds: 4 on 4 copies

Tracing your Pre-Victorian Ancestors: A Guide to Research Methods for Family Historians
By Wintrip, John
Holds: 22 on 2 copies

The War of 1812 in British North America, Searching for your Ancestor's Elusive War Records
By Cox, Kenneth G
In-library use only at this time

Sunday, 6 August 2017

BIFHSGO Conference Speaker Celia Heritage on Ordering GRO Certificates

On her website Celia Heritage describes herself.
I started to research my own ancestry in my early teens, and went on to make my passion my career, establishing Kent-based Celia Heritage Family History in 2008.

Since then I have helped hundreds of people discover more about their families. For me, research is not just about recording names and dates but is about really getting under the skins of our ancestors; learning more about the past and how it affected them. My special interests are death records, surnames and exploring history on the ground.

I am a regular contributor to national family history magazines such as Family Tree Magazine, Your Family History Magazine, Discover Your Ancestors and Who Do You Think You Are Magazine. I also write a popular column, entitled Heritage Corner, for the Kent Family History Society Journal.

One of my recent articles was an assessment of online genealogy source citations for Relatively Speaking, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Genealogical Society.
This short video is an example of Celia's clear presentations.

That's a video from Celia's newly developing YouTube Channel. There's also a video How to Start Your Family History about her Family History e-Course with a bonus if you watch to the end.

For BIFHSGO Celia will give two two pre-conference half-day seminars:
  • The Manorial System and How to Use Manorial Records
  • Pedigree, Provenance and Place
During the conference she presents the opening plenary
  • Beyond All Reasonable Doubt
and lectures
  • Researching in English and Welsh Records Offices
  • Using Death Records to Break Down Brick Walls 
  • I’ve Lost My Ancestor Before 1837
Read more about these and the other presentations and events at the BIFHSGO conference here. Then follow the links for registration. Save by registering before 18 August.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Update Notes

FamilySearch updated the England and Wales Census, 1911 on 3 August to contain 36,354,828 records with links to Findmypast images ($).

Ancestry updated the England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 on 4 August to contain 49,722,470 records.

The British Newspaper Archive in the last week added
Alcester Chronicle
1869-1872, 1874-1887, 1894-1896, 1898-1899, 1903-1904, 1908, 1910
Eastern Evening News
Eastern Daily Press
Brighton Gazette
1871, 1873-1875, 1878-1888, 1890-1894, 1896, 1899-1903, 1905
Abergavenny Chronicle
1871-1888, 1893, 1896-1899
Shields Daily News
1939-1941, 1947-1949, 1952, 1955-1956
Tenby Observer
1876, 1884-1886

Findmypast adds Linlithgowshire Records

While Findmypast is promoting the addition of 4.3 million Nevada and California marriage records this week pickings for the UK are slim.

Scotland, Linlithgowshire (West Lothian), Poorhouse Records 1859-1912
15,187 transcription records of admissions, deaths, discharges and sick rolls from 49 places.

Scotland, Linlithgowshire (West Lothian), Burials 1860-1975
87,466 transcription records with name, date of their burial, location of grave, occupation, residence, death date and names of additional family members. Cemeteries included are: Bathgate Boghead, Bathgate Glasgow Road, Bathgate Glasgow Road Extension, Bathgate Glasgow Road Johnston, Bathgate Glasgow Road Paulville, East Calder, East Calder Churchyard, Ecclesmachan, Fauldhouse, Kirknewton Churchyard, Linlithgow, Livingstone, Mid Calder Cemetery, Uphall, West Calder, West Calder Churchyard, Whitburn, Winchburgh and Niddry, and Woodbank (Torphichen).

Friday, 4 August 2017

Ottawa Genealogy Meetup

You're invited to join me this Sunday, noon at Westboro Beach Cafe, with a few genealogy friends.

The forecast is "A mix of sun and cloud. High 23."

BIFHSGO Conference Early Bird Deadline Approaching

Perhaps like me you felt conferenced out after the June OGS event in Ottawa. Understandable. I thought it might be better to give the volunteer organizers a break this year. The decision was made to continue, but ensure different speakers from those at OGS.

Headline speakers this year are:
Celia Heritage, based in the UK, a professional genealogy researcher, instructor, lecturer and author of several books, including Tracing Your Ancestors Through Death Records, and Researching and Locating Your Ancestors.
Paul Milner, a native of England based in Chicago, IL. Returning after receiving rave reviews the last time he spoke here, Paul has been designing workshops, writing books, and lecturing on genealogy for over 35 years. He specializes in research on the British Isles, migration to North America and research methodology.
James F. S. Thomson, another BIFHSGO favourite, is based in Toronto. He teaches advanced family history courses, drawing on over 30 years of experience of family and local history research.
To see the full program take a look at the brochure (pdf). Register before 18 August to receive the early bird discount at the BIFHSGO website; members need to sign in to receive the additional member discount.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

MyHeritage Acquires Legacy

Late Thursday afternoon press releases announcing the acquisition of Legacy (Millenium Corporation and FamilyTreeWebinars) by MyHeritage arrived.

The first announcement contains a time-limited half-price offer from Legacy. I've recommended FamilyTreeWebinars before. Half price for an annual subscription is a deal. See the links below.

Further comment below the press releases.

Legacy Announcement
We are proud to share with you the biggest step forward we have ever made with our Legacy Family Tree software and our webinar series. We have entered into an acquisition agreement with MyHeritage, a leading global destination for family history and DNA with 91 million users in 196 countries. The acquisition will provide the resources and cutting edge technologies to advance and expand both our #1 rated software and our #1 rated webinar series. Think Legacy is good now? Watch out future – here we come!

How will all this affect you? Entirely positively. Here’s a flavor of what you can expect in the future:

• A host of new features in Legacy software – we will be developing future versions of Legacy together. We have already started working on the new Tree Sync feature (to optionally have your Legacy file in a private or collaborative tree at MyHeritage)
Improved webinar platform to surpass the 1,000-virtual seat limitation we currently have
Significant discounts on MyHeritage services and DNA kits for Legacy users and webinar viewers not available anywhere else
Most importantly, you can expect the same high-quality support and service that you have come to expect from us. The entire Legacy and webinar teams will continue on at MyHeritage in our existing roles.

“The more I’ve learned about and experimented with MyHeritage, the more I have felt we need to partner together,” said Geoff Rasmussen, founder of the webinar series and “the face” of Legacy Family Tree software. “The technology behind their online trees and historical records is incredible – second to none. MyHeritage has positioned itself to become the leader of the future of the genealogy industry and we can be a part of it. It’s the perfect match – our software and webinars combined with their resources, technologies, and international reach will help both of us accomplish our mission – to help the world find their ancestors.”

We have published a separate article on our blog that addresses more of the details and has answers to questions you might have. Just as we are excited to contribute to the success of our new owners at MyHeritage, they, too, are anxious to elevate our Legacy software and webinar series to levels that have been beyond our reach.

To celebrate the acquisition, we are offering a limited time, never-offered-before discount on Legacy 9 software and annual webinar memberships. Through Sunday, August 13 (Geoff’s birthday), take 50% off:

- Legacy 9 software – from $34.95 $17.48
- 1 year webinar membership (or extension) – $49.95 $24.98

Click here to get Legacy software or webinar membership at 50% off.

Thank you all for your continuing support as we enter this exciting new chapter in the Millennia story.

Best regards,
Dave, Ken, Geoff, and everyone at the Legacy Family Tree / Millennia team

MyHeritage Announcement

TEL AVIV, Israel & SURPRISE, Arizona, August 3, 2017 — MyHeritage, the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing, announced today its acquisition of Millennia Corporation, makers of the popular genealogy desktop software Legacy Family Tree and genealogy webinar platform, Legacy Family Tree Webinars. This is MyHeritage's ninth acquisition to date.

With hundreds of thousands of devoted users since 1997, Legacy Family Tree consistently ranks among the top three most popular and highly rated genealogy software products in the industry. The Legacy Family Tree Webinar platform — which has amassed a large and dedicated fan base since 2010 — draws speakers who are leaders in their field and covers a wide variety of topics, including genealogical research methodology, DNA, and historical records, representing a full array of educational genealogy content.

MyHeritage, which has developed a world-class, global mobile and Web platform for family trees, historical records and DNA testing, used by more than 90 million users worldwide, will now offer its services to Legacy's users.

Legacy Family Tree will retain its full staff and continue developing its software and webinar platform, backed by MyHeritage's resources. Millennia Corporation and MyHeritage have started joint work on a new version of the Legacy Family Tree software — version 10 — which will include the optional capability to sync family trees to MyHeritage’s website and use the free MyHeritage mobile app to make remote updates to their family trees on the Legacy software. Legacy Family Tree version 9 has already integrated matching to MyHeritage's 40 million family trees and to its historical records collection — which surpassed 8 billion records this week.

Legacy Family Tree Webinars will continue to feature diverse and informative content, and will be promoted to the millions of MyHeritage users, to increase the webinars' audience. The webinar platform will also enjoy infrastructure upgrades to support increased concurrent viewership.

“We are very happy with the Legacy Family Tree acquisition as it gives us valuable assets that are highly complementary to our own, and a solid team.” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “We look forward to providing Legacy's software and webinar platform with useful upgrades, and to welcoming Legacy’s huge user base of experienced genealogists to enhance their genealogical explorations through MyHeritage's services.”

“The more I’ve learned about and experimented with MyHeritage, the more I have felt we need to partner together,” said Geoff Rasmussen, founder of Legacy Family Tree Webinars. “The technology behind their online trees and historical records is incredible — second to none. MyHeritage has positioned itself to become the leader of the future of the genealogy industry and we can be a part of it. It’s the perfect match: our software and webinars combined with their resources, technologies, and international reach will help both of us accomplish our mission — to help the world find their ancestors.”

“I’m excited for us to join forces with MyHeritage,” said Dave Berdan, President of Millennia Corporation. “MyHeritage clearly cares for genealogists and continues to invest in desktop genealogy software, in contrast to one of its major rivals that has done the opposite, shutting down its desktop genealogy software and then selling it off. As we’re passionate about genealogy, our team is happy to have found in MyHeritage kindred spirits and we’re excited about the value that we can create together to benefit millions of genealogists worldwide.”

Comment: MyHeritage continues on a growth and acquisition path befitting a major commercial genealogy player. The companies are a good fit. The acquisition will strengthen MyHeritage's place, especially in the major US market, and provide new support to Legacy. While MyHeritage (Alexa rank about 6,000) is well back of Ancestry (Alexa rank 1,000) nad FamilySearch the company is moving ahead fast.

Did your ancestor experience a total solar eclipse?

At any given point it's likely a total solar eclipse (TSE), such as that coming on 21 August over much of the US, will not be experienced in a lifetime. Cloud conditions make the possibility of actually viewing the event even more unlikely.

According to Wikipedia no TSE was visible from the United Kingdom between 1724 and 1925. There were TSEs on 3 May 1715 and 22 May 1724.
A TSE on 29 June 1927 was largely obscured by cloud. I recall viewing the eclipse on 30 June 1954 as partial from school through smoked glass. It was total at Unst in the Shetland Islands.
Several partial solar eclipses have occurred since including that on 20 March 2015 which I experienced while at the Genealogy in the Sunshine event in Portugal.
The next TSE in the UK is 23 September 2090.

Canada (Ottawa)

While missing a TSE on 31 August 1932 as the zone of totality passed just to the east, Ottawans were fortunate that clouds cleared in the early afternoon just in time to view more than 90% totality.
The path of the TSE of 20 July 1963 was another near miss for Ottawa. Spotty cloud cover made for intermittent viewing of the late afternoon event.
The 7 March 1970 TSE was observed along the US Atlantic coast. You could view it in Canada by flying "your Lear jet to Nova Scotia to see the Total Eclipse of the Sun." In Ottawa it was an 80% event.
The 75% eclipse of 26 February 1979 was completely cloud obscured in Ottawa.
The 21 August event in Ottawa this year will see about 75% of the sun obscured by the moon, who knows how much by cloud?
The predicted path of the 8 April 2024 eclipse puts totality south of Ottawa, with Montreal and Toronto just on the edge of the zone.

1775 Dublin Directory Database

The following is an extract from a press release from the Irish Genealogical Research Society.

The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) is pleased to announce the launch of another online resource. It is a database index to Wilson's Dublin Directory, forming part of the 1775 edition of The Treble Almanac, which was published from 1787 to 1837.

As the name suggests, The Treble Almanac is comprised of three separate directories:

·         The first is John Watson Stewart's Almanac, which notes a wide variety of information relating to Ireland, encompassing details about mail and stage coach timetables, establishment lists for the army and navy, schools etc;

·         The second is the English Court Registry, listing royalty, nobility, parliamentarians, military and naval lists, the civil establishment and judiciary lists etc;

·         The third, and by far the most useful to genealogists, is Wilson's Dublin Directory. It includes a very comprehensive list of Dublin's barristers, attorneys, medical practitioners, merchants, pawnbrokers, grocers, shoemakers, tanners, upholsters, auctioneers, brewers, painters, ironmongers, drapers, butchers, bakers, tailors etc. It also includes a list of the capital city's streets, lanes and alleyways.

In the new online database, entries include the name of the person, their occupation and street address, and provides a link to a map taken from the Statistical Survey of the County Dublin, (Dublin, 1802). There are just over 3,600 entries available to search.

This edition of the Almanac is dated just a year before the American Declaration of Independence in 1776; interestingly the list of attorneys and barristers notes several who had qualified in Ireland but then migrated to the North American colonies. Among them are barristers Thomas Knox Gordon, who qualified in 1755 and by 1775 was the Chief Justice of North Carolina, and Edward Savage, who qualified in 1760 and subsequently became the Second Justice of North Carolina. There are also references to Canada, for instance barrister Jonathan Belcher qualified in Michaelmas term 1741 and by 1775 was the Chief Justice of Nova Scotia.

Everyone can access the free-to-all database, which includes each resident’s surname, occupation and address. However, only members can see first names. Here is a link to the search page:

Thanks to Steven Smyrl of IGRS for the tip.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Save on FTDNA tests in August

Save $30 on a Y-37 test, (now $139 US)
Save $20 on a Family Finder Test (now $69 US)
Save $40 on a mtFull Sequence Test (now $159 US)

Save more on bundles.

Find them all at

Debbie Kennett is listing discounted prices for upgrades, which will likely only appear once you're logged in to your account, including the Big Y test for $395 US.

August Backup Nag

If you didn't do so yesterday it's time for the start of the month backup.

While backup in the cloud is a good idea restoring can be a pain. Consider keeping an occasional copy offsite, at a friend's or bank, to protect against a disaster at home.

HSO dates for your calendar

Here's the line-up of presentations to the Historical Society of Ottawa, 2017-18

September 29, 2017 - Al Uhryniw -- Ottawa's Pioneer Radio
October 27, 2017 - John D. Reid -- Ottawa's Weather History
November 24, 2017 - Ian McKercher -- 1930s Ottawa & Birth of the Bank of Canada
January 26, 2018 - Dave Allston -- Death, Illness & Squalor: Cave Creek & Primitive West Ottawa
February 23, 2018 - J. Andrew Ross -- The Story of How the First Ottawa Senators Went South
March 30, 2018 - Anna Bilsky -- Jewish Heritage in Ottawa
April 27, 2018 - Randy Boswell -- Ottawa's Original Renaissance Man: Dr. Edward Van Cortlandt.

Find a paragraph summary of each presentation at

Meetings are usually held at 1:00 pm  in the lounge of the Routhier Community Centre, 172 Guigues Street at Cumberland.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017


Two episodes in the current series of the BBC TV show Who Do You Think You Are? are available on YouTube.

The subjects are actor Charles Dance whose journey takes him to South Africa.

And sports journalist Claire Balding who finds herself in New York.

Webinar: Tracing Your West Country Ancestors

The next in the continuing free Legacy Family Tree webinar series, on Wednesday, 2 August at 2 pm EDT,  will be “Tracing Your West Country Ancestors.”

Introducing the identity of ‘The West Country’, its geography and history over the centuries, this class guides the family historian through the wealth of historical records available both online and in archives and libraries to add the ‘flesh to the bones’ of the names of ancestors on your family trees, including some fascinating details that can be uncovered about the places they lived, their occupations and the distinctive features, identity and character of the West Country. Case studies of some notable individuals from the counties are provided as well as some records of those individuals who never hit the headlines.
The presenter is Kirsty Gray. Register at