Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Nova Scotia Genealogist - New Issue

Their newsletter just came in this past weekend in its new large format, and it looks good.

There are three articles of interest this edition and they are -
  • "The Death of William Ackhurst" by K. Lamb
  • "A Note on the Family of Robert Westcott of Warwick and North Kingston, Rhode Island and Newport and Falmouth, Nova Scotia" by B. Owen
  • "Ferdinand Traunweizer, an Itinerant Jeweller from Poland to Texas, Part I" by S. Lomas.
In their 'Sources of Research' section, they have published the database put together by Earle Ripley of Saskatoon of the "His Majesty's Nova Scotia Regiment of Fencible Infantry, Part II".

If you want to contact Earle, he can be reached at condomble@shaw.ca.

Also, there is a list of surnames found at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum on page 135 of the newsletter.

The site of the Dartmouth Heritage Museum is at www.dartmouthheritagemuseum.ns.ca, and their email is museum@bellaliant.com

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, our faithful readers!

So, here are some links for the same festive greetings in different languages or as listed by country.

Merry Christmas (in over 75 languages) - www.ethnicharvest.org/ideas/christmas.htm

Merry Christmas (by country) - www.myuniversalfacts.com/2005/12/how-to-say-merry-christmas-in.html

Happy New Year (by language) - www.myuniversalfacts.com/2005/12/how-to-say-happy-new-year-in-different.html

I have my hopes on some nice things for my genealogy research, although I was lucky enough to solve a brickwall this past year, which in turn, was a solved brickwall from the previous couple of years - my Aunt Annie Louisa Barclay, whom I had heard about, but couldn't find. Well, long story short (I will write abut this later in detail), I discovered a new branch of the family, and made contact with a few distant "cousins" along the way.

So may Santa fulfill all your genealogy wishes!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Genealogy Season is Stirring!

Every spring, the genealogy season in Canada starts to stir as the weather changes from cold and snow, to warm and sunshine. It's also a good time for the Ottawa Branch of the OGS to take advantage of the change in seasons, as it hosts its 27th Annual Gene-O-Rama on March 26 and 27 at the Library and Archives Canada.

The theme, "Researching Female Ancestors", will feature Lisa Alzo as guest speaker Friday evening, speaking on "Silent Voices: Telling the Stories of Your Female Immigrant Ancestors".

Saturday seems to be quite full of interesting topics such as "Using Library and Archives Canada Databases and Resources to Trace Females Ancestors" to "DNA Testing for Genealogy: Not Just for Men".

In the evening is the banquet, to be held at Algonquin College. The guest speaker, Glenn Wright, will give a talk on "Sex, Lies and Archives: Behind Closed Doors at the Public Archives of Canada, 1900-1950".

The lecture on Friday evening is free to the public, and the cost for Saturday's banquet is very reasonable, at $35.00 for an individual OGS member, or $40.00 for a non-member.

For more information, visit their website, or contact them at conference@ogsottawa.on.ca.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Arcalife Nets Deal

Vancouver's Arcalife, and a British company, Firebird Media Ltd., have signed a deal which will bring the two companies closer together in archiving personal history on the Internet.

Arcalife will use Firebird Media's Memorybank to offer its customers a "people's archive", including sources of local history as well as their own personal history.

Arcalife CEO Paul Taylor says, "This is significant opportunity for both organizations. Many of our operational needs are similar and our services are complimentary, so it makes perfect sense".

I met Paul in Ottawa about a month ago while I was covering a meeting for the Canada 150 Project. At that time, he was busy getting his company out of the starting blocks in Canada, and was looking forward to a bright future.

It looks like he has struck his stride with this partnership.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yukon Genealogy

Did any of your ancestors go to the Yukon to look for gold in the Klondike Gold Rush, or once lived in Dawson City? If so, then the Yukon Genealogy website is the place you should look.

They have many databases onsite, such as the Dawson City Museum "Pan for Gold" Database, for example.

This database contains records of people travelling in the Klondike, death records, and people involved in the placer mining applications.

Other databases include the Yukon Residents Database (1894-1958); Pioneer Cemetery (1900-1965); Grey Mountain Cemetery (1960-1976); Yukon News Obituary Index (1966-2000); Deaths and Burials of the Yukon River Basin (1887-2007); Francophone Yukoners; Sourdough Air Display, 1971-2006; and Yukon Barristers Roll.

To gain access to all of these databases, go to www.yukongenealogy.com/content/ykgen_db.htm.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nepean Neighbourhoods

The City of Nepean — before it was annexed in 2001 by the City of Ottawa — was once made up of 57 neighbourhoods such as Fallowfield, Pinecrest, and the Skead's Mills section of Westboro.

The Nepean Museum in Ottawa is doing something special next year - they are putting on a display of the former city's neighbourhoods, and they need your help.

If you have any stories or photographs of these neighbourhoods, you are asked to send them to Emily Bracewell, Collections Manager at the Nepean Museum at collections@nepeanmuseum.ca, or to contact her by phone at 613.723.7936.

She says on the website that they are looking for "pictures and stories of significant events, people, buildings, or landmarks in your neighbourhood".

The following are the neigbourhoods, and the date listed beside each one is the year up to which they need information:

Arlington Woods - 2000
Barrhaven/Jockvale/Fraservale/Knollsbrook - 2000
Bayshore - 2000
Bayswater - 1907
Bell's Corners/Lynwood Village/Arbeatha Park - 2000
Borden Farm - 2000
Briargreen - 2000
Bridlewood - 1978
Britannia - 1950
Bytown - 1850
Carlington - 1950
Cedarhill Estates - 2000
Centrepointe - 2000
Cityview - 2000
Country Place - 2000
Craig Henry - 2000
Crystal Beach - 2000
Davidson Heights - 2000
Fallowfield - 2000
Fisher Glen - 2000
Fisher Heights - 2000
Graham Park - 2000
Grenfell Glen - 2000
Hampton Park - 1950
Heart's Desire - 2000
Hintonburg - 1907
Leslie Park -2000
Longfields -2000
Manordale -2000
McKellar Townsite - 1950
Meadowlands - 2000
Mechanicsville - 1907
Merivale District - 2000
Mount Sherwood/Orangeville - 1889
Orchard Estates - 2000
Ottawa East (Archville) - 1907
Ottawa South - 1907
Ottawa West - 1950
Parkwood Hills -2000
Pinecrest - 1950
Pineglen - 2000
Qualicum - 2000
Rideau Glen -2 000
Rideauville - 1907
Rochesterville - 1889
Rocky Point - 2000
Ryan Farm - 2000
Shirley's Bay - 2000
Skyline - 2000
Stewarton - 1889
Tanglewood - 2000
The Glebe - 1889
The Veteran's Housing Project - 1947
Trend Village - 2000
Twin Elm - 2000
Westboro (Skead's Mills) - 1950
Westcliffe Estates - 2000

You have until the end of February to get your information to the museum, which is located online at www.nepeanmuseum.ca.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Atlantic-Canadian Irish on Facebook

Word comes from Michael Brophy's Irish Genealogy Blog that David Allen Lambert, the "Online Genealogist" and staff member of NEHGS in Boston, has started a Facebook page devoted to the Irish called the "Atlantic-Canadian Irish Genealogical Interest Group".

David and the group will discuss the topic of the "two boat" Irish people — the Irish who came to Canada first and then went to the United States, or first to the United States and then to Canada — before and after the Great Famine.

The link is http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=198333073033&ref=ts

David can be reached at dalresearch@comcast.net

FYI, I just recently interviewed David for Moorshead Magazines as one in a series of genealogists of note. The interview will appear in a future issue.

e-NewsLeaf - Dec 2009

The December issue of e-NewsLeaf (the e-newsletter of the OGS) was published the other day, and it contains -

- A report on the AGM and Fall Workshop of the Brant County Branch. Mary Gladwin, the Oxford County Archivist, talked on "Identifying Photographs".

- A story about the London-Middlesex Branch. Author Cheryl MacDonald talked about a book she has written on women murderers.

- An update on the upcoming OGS Conference in Toronto http://torontofamilyhistory.org/2010.

- A short article on the Strays Project on the OGS website at www.ogs.on.ca, of which I received a reply advising of a stray named Cecil Shortt from Margaret Gordon. The information can be found at http://publish.uwo.ca/~bgordon/JamesShortPC.html.

On a personal note, I had written a short piece about my search for HALEY relatives (originally from Nova Scotia) who had gone to California as my editorial for the newsletter.

Well, talk about providence! Almost immediately after e-NewsLeaf was posted, I received a note from Joyce M., a cousin in Kingston (Ontario) that I didn't realize that I had, explaining the family connection as well as the news that some of "our" relatives are buried in Springfield Cemetery, Oxford County, Ontario.

Also, her son lives in San Francisco, and the next time she visits, she will look up the "homestead" in the Centreville-Newark area, located nearby.

This all goes to show you how powerful the Internet can be in connecting people together!

If you've been this lucky with your searches, drop me a note at genealogycanada@aol.com and tell me your story - I'd love to hear it.

The next e-NewsLeaf will be out at the beginning of next month.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Halifax Explosion

Although I have no ancestors who died in the Halifax Explosion (December 6, 1917), I have heard enough people talk about it over the years to know what a horrible time it was for the city.

I lived in the North End at one time, and I used to go for walks in Fort Needham Park in which the bells are located (from a church that was destroyed in the explosion), and in doing so, passed the famous Hydrostone houses that were just down the street from me - http://wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hydrostone.

Born a Haligonian, I was made very much aware of what had happened in Halifax on that fateful day in 92 years ago.

If you would like to visit Halifax through the Internet, go to www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/virtual/explosion/explosion.asp. There, you will find the list of those who died, a film about the explosion, personal narratives, and other interesting items all related to the explosion.

One more point of note is that the City of Boston in Massachusetts receives a Christmas tree from the citizens of Nova Scotia for all the help they provided in the aftermath of that catastrophe. Please visit www.gov.ns.ca/natr/extension/Christmastrees/bostontree.htm and
for more on this special relationship.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Petworth Emigration Project

Brenda Dougall Merriman, my friend and fellow genealogy blogger at brendadougallmerriman.blogspot.com, has sent the latest news on the Petworth Emigrants.

Be sure to drop by her blog because she has good and interesting reports on there - from cemeteries, to burial practices in India, to camels in Egypt.

Well-worth the read, even if your don't have ancestors in those areas.


Colonel George Wyndham, the son of the third Earl of Egremont, was instrumental in the large Petworth Emigration of 1832-1837 to Canada from southeast England.

Wyndham also sponsored emigrations from his estates in Ireland, but only the first was conducted under similar care and conditions as those of his father.

Now, historian Wendy Cameron has uncovered a list of that first group sent from Ireland in 1839 on the ship Waterloo. The list includes names, ages, family members, and their locations in January 1840. The names of most towns and townships are in the old Newcastle District of Upper Canada, but some went on to the United States.

For more information, please visit our Petworth Emigrations website at www.petworthemigrations.com.

We also have a group presence on Facebook called "Petworth Emigrants" at www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49248715727

Brenda Dougall Merriman, CG

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Overland Immigration Records

Before 1908, people were free to move back and forth over the border with the United States.

Beginning in 1908, entry ports were set up along the border in established towns and villages, and records were beginning to be kept. Please remember that there are no records for people whose parents were either born in Canada or had previously resided in Canada - they were considered to be "returning Canadians".

The entry form used was called Form 30 (as opposed to Form 30A, which were Ocean Arrivals), and it was used from 1919 to 1924 for each person crossing the border.

There is one reel of microfilm for people who were rejected entry into Canada: Reel T-15345.

Form 30 was discontinued in 1935, and the large passenger form was reinstated.

Usually the following information was filled out in them -

- Port and Date of Entry

- Name

- Age

- Occupation

- Birthplace

- Race

- Citizenship

- Religion

- Last Permanent Address

- Destination

The records can be browsed online at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/microform-digitization/006003-110.02-e.php?&q2=1&interval=30&sk=0&&PHPSESSID=ul87it31netclt1vokqiu1i4p5

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ocean Arrivals

Some of you may remember when Ancestry.ca became a partner with the Library and Archives Canada back in 2007, and at the time, they said they would tackle the Canadian Passenger Lists first.

They have done that over the past two years, and the last bit of the puzzle—the Ocean Arrivals (1919-1924)—have now been added to the database.

The Ocean Arrivals is Form 30A, which took the place of those huge passenger lists that we were in various states of "hard-to-use" microfilm at the LAC. And now, they are all online at http://landing.ancestry.ca/intl/canada/passenger/lists.aspx.

So I took a look at the Ocean Arrivals.

First of all, they are individual passenger lists rather than ships' manifests, as the passenger lists were before 1919.

Since they were individual passenger manifests, they are in a semi-alphabteical order, and the following information is included on the form -

- the name of the ship

- the name of port of departure. The most popular ports of departure were Liverpool, England; London, England; Glasgow, Scotland; Antwerp, Belgium; and Southampton, England.

- arrival date in Canada

- the name of port of arrival in Canada. The five most popular ports were Quebec City, Quebec; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Vancouver, British COlumbia; and Victoria, British Columbia

- the name of the passenger

- his or her age at the time of arrival

- gender

- name of the birthplace

- marital status

- present occupation

- intended occupation

- race

- citizenship

- religion

- object of going to Canada

- whether intend to live permanently in Canada

- destination

- name of the nearest relative in the country from which they came

- passport information

These original records are from the Library and Archives Canada, where the microfilm is kept.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Conference 2010 - Everything is Going Green!

Not to be left out in the cold—technologically-speaking—Toronto Branch has just added something new to their blog: the syllabus of the 2010 Conference. And it is going green!

Instead of rushing around and not having time to pick what I want to attend in advance, I will now be able to choose at home what lecture I want to hear, and I will be able to print out just those ones. Nifty!

But if you don’t have the time (it’s always a question of time, isn’t it?), you can arrange to buy the printed variety at $15.00 a copy when you get to the conference itself.

I am interested to see how this works because it will be the first year for the Internet-based syllabus.

The syllabus can be viewed online at http://torontofamilyhistory.org/2010/conference-2010-syllabus

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Saskatchewan Cemeteries

The Saskatchewan Minister of Justice has appointed Al Dwyer, the former Registrar of Cemeteries, to look into the matter of there are any cemeteries not being recorded, or left abandoned.

In a recent interview, Linda Dunsmore-Porter, President of the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, said that “We were approached by the Minister of Justice, Consumer Protection Branch, Registrar of Cemeteries, and were asked if a program could be developed, would SGS be willing to take on the administration of it. We agreed”.

In 1975, the SGS started to record the cemeteries in the province and, so far, has located 3,428 cemeteries and burial grounds, and have recorded 2,439 of them.

Linda says that they have already spent about two hours with Dwyer when he made his first stop.

“Al’s first stop was SGS, where we spent approximately two hours discussing the issue, how SGS could help, and various ideas about the process”.

Dwyer says that groups, individuals, and organizations interested in the working group can leave their contact information for him at 1.877.880.5550.

You can check out the SGS cemetery website at <www.saskgenealogy.com/general/Cemetery_Webpage.htm>.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

FamilySearch.org Releases Indexing Update

FamilySearch.org has been actively indexing Canadian records for a number of years. They have currently completed two projects, and have recently started another three projects.

The ones they have just completed are the British Columbia Deaths (1872-1986) and Marriages (1859-1932).

The new ones that they have just taken on is the Deaths (1872-1986) Part 2 of British Columbia, and the Indexing of the Trust Cemeteries (1826-1935) of Toronto.

There was a piece about the Toronto Trust Cemeteries in the November 2009 issue of the OGS' newsletter, NewsLeaf, on page 70 under "News Briefs" in which the project was described, and the cemeteries named which are included in the project. It is 1% complete.

Another project which they have recently started is Registres Paroissaux of Montreal (1800-1900) which is 8% complete. It is in French.

You can help by volunteering to help at FamilySearchIndexing.org and the completed projects and digital image collections can be searched for free at Pilot.FamilySearch.org.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ontario Marriage Registers by Clergy (1896-1948)

This fall, Ancestry.ca released the Ontario Marriage Registers by the Clergy database. It houses information on 12,000 marriages listed under the Registration Act of 1896.

Most of the marriages are by Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian ministers.

The ministers had to report the marriages within 30 days of when they took place.

There were pre-printed forms that the ministers had to fill out, and the spaces covered such items as name, age, residence, whether bachelor/spinster or widow/widower, occupation for the groom only, religious denomination, and names of parents.

The record also contained both signatures of the people being married, and the names and addresses of the witnesses.

The database can be found at Ancestry.ca.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Online Access to Tweedsmuir Histories

Since 1920, the Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario has been gathering local history and has been preserving the histories in book form. *

On Nov 19th — in conjunction with the Ontario Genealogical Society — they issued a press release to say that they are partnering with the OGS to digitize 989 local histories and put them in OGS' e-Library.

About a half-million pages of history will be digitized.

"The books include a history of the local settlers in the area, the agricultural practices and industries that formed the basis of the local economy, the social institutions such as churches, schools and community centres, and local personalities," says the press release.

The project will take at least three years, and the project will "identify, conserve, preserve, and digitize all available Ontario Tweedsmuir Histories."

* Background information on the Treedsmuir Histories can be read in its entirely at the OGS website by clicking on "News" on the left-hand side of the webpage.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Publications This Fall

I have been quite successful in having a number of articles published this fall -

1. Canadian Funeral News - "Canadian Cemeteries are being saved by the Internet". November 2009. Pages 14-17.

This was an interesting piece to write. I sort of went "outside the box", so to speak, and had fun contacting everyone for the article, which was delivered on a very short timeline - but I'm used to deadlines!

It contains interviews with Sherri Pettit, the Director of the OntGenWeb Project, about the Canadian GenWeb Cemetery Project, and she led me to Debra Mann, who singlehandedly is saving cemeteries (Sherri calls her a "cemetery hopper") in Western Ontario, to Graveyard Rabbits in Canada, to Jim McKane, who has started CanadianHeadstones.com - where you can transcribe tombstones on to his site.

If, by chance, you do take a look at the article, the first picture is one of the headstone of my great-great-great uncle, James BARCLAY, and his wife, Catharine BINGAY, from Shelburne, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

2. Discovering Family History - "Discovering Your Family History Center!". November/December 2009.

This article looked at the Family History Centres around the world to see why they have been so successful.

There are over 4,500 in the world now, and I took a look at the one in Ottawa on Prince of Wales Drive, and interviewed Shirley-Ann Pyefinch, its Director.

I asked her what she liked about working for the FHC, and how it has changed since she became its director three years ago.

3. Family Tree Magazine - "Follow your ancestors to Canada", November 2009. Pages 66-68.

This article focusses mainly on the Canadian Genealogy Center of the Library and Archives Canada.

I put the article out there for people to read because I don't think enough has been written about it yet, and what a great resource it is to the world.

I talk about the many databases that have been put online, and how the centre has coped with putting these databases online since its inception in 2003.

4. e-NewsLeaf - If you belong to the Ontario Genealogical Society, you already know about it.

But if you don't know about it, e-NewsLeaf it is an electronic newsletter that is issued in January, March, April, June, July, September, October, and December, and it contains short articles about what the different branches have been doing, bringing members up-to-date on the latest OGS news.

It's headed toward its second year as an added bonus to the members of the OGS, and I quite enjoy doing it.

I have a number of articles coming in the winter - an interview with Glenn Wright, a genealogist from Ottawa and an expert in Canadian military matters; one about Youth Genealogy, which is really taking off in the United States, and a few other pokers in the fire—so to speak—which I hope to have confirmed shortly.

I would say that I have a busy winter to look forward to - and come to think of it - a busy spring, too!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nov-Dec 2009 "Ottawa Branch News"

A profile of 102-year old Elizabeth Stevens SMART is the lead story in the November-December 2009 issue of Ottawa Branch News. She is the oldest living member of the Ottawa Branch, and she goes right back to when it was formed in 1972. She has membership number 18!

Written by George NEVILLE, an Ottawa member, the article is based on a four-hour interview with Elizabeth taken in 2002, and covers her school history from Grade Primary right up to her Teacher Training.

The story will be continued in the next edition of the newsletter.

Elizabeth and Edward KIPP went on another research trip, and this time, they visited the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They also attended the RATHUN reunion.

Overall, they gave good marks to the library, explaining the available resources and points to note. I would recommend reading this material before going there to do research.

In this issue, Robert SERRE talks about William CROSS, Hugh DAVIS, and Thomas FORAN in his ongoing series, "Early Residents of Ottawa's Sandy Hill Neighbourhood", and Mike MORE talks about the things he has found on the Internet under the title of "Electronic Notebook".

The "Historic Plaques and Monuments" in this issue showcases the Canadian Heritage Rivers System - The Rideau Waterway. Included in the article is a lovely picture of the plaque, and a brief history of the waterway.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2 Minutes to Remember

The Historica-Dominion Institute <www.historica-dominion.ca> combined forces in the fall of this year, and their new website is now up-and-running, so I decided to take a look.

I found, basically, the same site as before (they have just combined the content), but they have added a new wrinkle this Remembrance Day - and that is "2 Minutes To Remember" on November 11 at 11 o'clock.

You can sign up on the site (so far, relatively few Canadians have done so). It is a good thing to do if you cannot go out to Remembrance Day ceremonies, and wish to pay respects at home, work, or school.

They still have "The Memory Project: Stories of the Second World War", where you can browse the stories or submit a story. They walk you through the process.

And in the "Ontario Veteran Community Archive", I see where they have plans to visit towns and cities in Ontario this winter in order to hold digitization workshops for the stories.

Monday, November 9, 2009


A new website has recently come to my attention: it is CanadianLetters.ca. It contains copies of many letters written during the wars Canadians have fought.

Started by the History Department of Vancouver University and The University of Western Ontario, it's objective is to "let Canadians tell their own story in their own words and images by creating a permenent online archives which preserves Canada's wartime correspondence, photographs, and other personal material materials, from the battlefront and the home front".

Currently, they have letters from the Pre-1914 Era, First and Second World Wars, the Korea Collection, Post-Korea Collections, and an area called "Special Collections' which has interviews and newspapers like the Cobourg World, which published letters written home from the front in the First World War.

The project is ongoing, and as the website says, "It is continually seeking and adding new materials to the project site".

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Battle of the Atlantic

At the Battle of the Atlantic parade held this past May 3rd in Ottawa, the following piece was written about the battle -

"On the 3rd of September 1939, the Athania* was sunk off the coast on Northern Ireland. One week later, Canada was officially at war.

The Royal Canadian Navy lost over 2,000 personnel and 24 warships. More than 900 RCAF and Canadian Army personnel were killed in this battle.

Between 1939 and 1945, over 1,700 Merchant Navy personnel lost their lives due to enemy action. Over 70 Canadian Merchant ships were sunk, most of them in the Battle of the Altering.

Approximately 350 aircraft were lost, and more than 900 aircrew were killed during the Battle of the Atlantic.

The RCN and the Merchant Navy made nearly 26,000 safe crossings, carrying over 181,000 million tons of supplies to Great Britain.

With victory in the Atlantic secured, victory in Europe was assured."

* The Athania was headed for Canada, carrying many Irish immigrants.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Heroes Remembered

As many of us are aware, war veterans—in general—do not wish to talk about their wartime experiences. Available to you, however, are now over 1,600 hours of video and audio conservations with 75 veterans from the 20th century wars with which Canada has been involved.

These interviews, along with pictures of the veterans and their stories, are available online at <www.vac-acc.gc.ca>.

You can also search the database to find out about the conflicts, the geographic location of the conflicts, the campaign, the branches of the Canadian Forces, and the regiments which fought in the campaigns.

There is also a section devoted to the Chinese-Canadians who took part in the Second World War, and stories from Canadians who flew the Spitfire - the plane used at the beginning of the Second World War.

There are diaries, letters, poems, popular songs from the Second World War that you can listen to, art, and Remembrance Day posters from previous years.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How Will You Remember?

The theme of this year's Veterans Week (Nov 5th to Nov 11th) is "How will you remember?"

The Library and Archives Canada has put on their website "Welcome to Canada at War: a Guide to Library and Archives Canada Recalling the Canadian War Experience".

This year marks the 65th anniversary of both D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, and the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War.

For information on the role that the Canadian military played during the Second World War, please go to the virtual exhibit called Faces of War at <www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/faces-of-war/index-e.html>.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Grosse Île Quarantine Station - Thematic Guide

The Thematic Guide to Sources Relating to the Grosse Île Quarantine Station was published on the Library and Archives Canada website Friday.

Some of these records contain genealogical information — e.g. Immigrants at Grosse Île (1885-1937) — about people who passed through or died at Grosse Île.

Go to <www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/the-public/005-1142.08-e.html>.

If you are planning a trip to the LAC in the near future, please check with them first to see if they are open.

They are presently closed due to a lack of heat and water caused by the shutdown last week of a heating plant caused by a boiler explosion in which one worker died, and several others were seriously injured.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Disease & Distress!" Workshop

On Saturday, 28 November, the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the Canadiana Department of the North York Central Library have joined together to sponsor "Disease & Distress!", an all-day workshop on how our ancestors handled adversity.

With expert speakers from Ontario and the United States, this event will offer a window on our ancestors' struggles with hardships and devastation - from the "white plague" to life on the WWI home front - and the footprints they left behind.

The workshop will be held in the Auditorium of the North York Central Library, 5120 Yonge Street, at the North York Centre subway station.

For program and registration details, visit <www.torontofamilyhistory.org>. To check availability, call 416-733-2608 (voice mail) or e-mail <info@torontofamilyhistory.org>.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ryan Taylor Memorial Lecture

Due to the closure of Library and Archives Canada facilities until at least Sunday, the Ryan Taylor Memorial Lecture scheduled for this Saturday, October 24th has been cancelled.

Mike More
Chair, Ottawa Branch OGS

Monday, October 19, 2009

Helpful Tips....

Some helpful research tips were in the fall edition of the Quebec Family History Society's newsletter, Connections, which I received the other day.

The first one was Quebec Newspapers Search on page 11, where you can check for BMDs in selected newspapers.

You are required to have a membership to the Bibliotheque at Archives nationales du Quebec <www.banq.qc.ca>, and then you can search online.

The membership is free, but you have to register.

The membership is only open to Quebec residents at present. The newspapers to check are the Montreal Gazette, The Quebec City Chronicle Telegraph, the Sherbrooke Record and the Stanstead Journal.

The second place to check is the online catalogue with the QFHS.

They have a system whereby you can borrow three books and/or five periodicals for up to three weeks, and the copy says "all members can borrow books from the library, no matter where you live."

You may not be aware but the QFHS has been putting names into a database - so much so that there are now over 1-million records in the database as of 1 January, 2009.

If you are a member, do not forget to check this fast growing database - it's invaluable in doing Quebec research.

Pennie Redmile is doing a notary database in Quebec.

Notaries handled various contacts of the day including wills, marriage contacts, land transactions etc and the Quebec archives hold their records up to c1899.

If you have a specific name, you can asked that it be looked up for free, but if want the accompanying documents, a fee of $10.00 will be charged to cover such costs as photocopies and postage.

You can contact Pennie at <predile@total.net>.

You do not have be a member to take advantage of this service.

The QFHS also offers a number of search features to the members, For example, you can ask that they look up a certain surname per cementery for $5.00, and they can also do in-depth research for you for $20.00 an hour.

Of course, you can enter the name you are looking for in their Ancestral Surname List and you can always go to their library at 173 Cartier Avenue, Point Claire (Montreal) Quebec to search on your own.

Go to their website <www.qfhs.ca> for more information.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Long Point Settlers

R. Robert Mutrie has made the Long Point Settlers of Norfolk County his life story.

As his website points out, "he is quite simply, 'Mr. Long Point Settler'".

Over the years, he has gathered information on over 600 Norfolk County pioneers which he has put together in a book called, The Long Point Settlers.

Now he has put a representation of his work at <http://sites.google.com/site/longpointsettlers> in which he gives a brief summary of each of the genealogies online.

If you want to learn more, you can place an order in the on-demand access site for the complete genealogy.

The Long Point Settlers were pioneers who settled in Norfolk County in southwestern Ontario from 1795 to around 1815.

Norfolk County is comprised of the townships of Walsingham, Charlotteville, Woodhouse, Townsend, Windham, Middleton, and Houghton.

From 1994 to 2000, he also published The Long Point Settllers Journals, of which a number of issues are still available.

He may be contacted at <rmutrie@becon.org>.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

FamilySearch.org Canadian Projects - Update

The people at FamilySearch.org published their latest press release yesterday, and they have three Canadian projects that are being indexed.

In British Columbia, they have completed 43%% of the Death Vital Registers, and 71% of the Marriage Registers.

A new one — Registres Paroissiaux (the Parish Registers) (1800-1900) — is just underway, only having completed 2% so far, and it will be in French.

By coincidence, I have an article coming out in the November/December issue of Discovering Family History Magazine entitled, "Discovering Your Family History Center"!

It talks about Family History Centers around the world (did you know that there are 4,500 centers in 88 countries?), and their impact on the local genealogical community.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

BIFHSGO Conference - Walkabout

I am resting up from my three-day stint of going around at the BIFHSGO Conference, which held from Sept 18th to 20th at the Library and Archives Canada.

Saturday morning, I spent time visiting the different vendors, and can report that the Quebec Family History Society has cancelled its 2010 conference.

With Formula 1 auto racing returning to Montreal in June of 2010, and the tying up of all the hotels and conference rooms by the race teams and fans, it was decided to postpone the conference until 2011.

The second part of the marketplace was in Salons A & B on the main floor. When we were there, we saw lots of people buying such genealogical things asCDs and magazines.

What caught my eye was the huge "For Free" table, right in the middle of the room. It had tourist information (maps, books, pamphlets) on it from Scotland, Ireland, England, and Wales. It was a joy to pick up everything about Scotland - my ancestral home!

We visited with Ed Zapletal from Moorshead Magazines, and he reported very good sales, as did other vendors. Here he is with co-owner, Rick Cree (left).

The next day, I took a minute to visit the Canadian Council of Archives to see how everyone was, and they told me that have a conference coming up in November called the "Archives & You".

That should be fun to attend since it is just down the road from where we live, and on the second day, we will be visiting all sorts of archives in the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau (Quebec).

Their website is <www.archivesconference.ca>.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BIFHSGO Conference - LAC Comments

Friday evenings, at the start of the BIFHSGO conference's opening ceremonies, they have someone from the LAC give a talk about what is going on at the facility (followed by the guest speaker for the Don Whiteside Memorial Lecture).

For the past two years, it has been Doug Rimmer, LAC Assistant Deputy Minister (Programs & Services). This time, he gave us a rundown of the programs which are underway at the Library and Archives Canada.

He stated that the LAC is considered the world leader in digitization. Although some may disagree with that statement (newspapers aren't being done, for example), he pointed out that many things have been, and continue to be, digitized.

Coming soon, for example, is the digitization-on-demand of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Papers <www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022-909.006-e.html>.

You will be able to order the papers (for which a file can have up to 25 pieces of paper, such as pay slips, history of injuries, and discharge papers), have them digitized, and then they will be put into the general digitized papers file and made available to everyone.

It will take some time to do all 600,000 files - but they will be done.

He went over some of the physical changes that have been made to the LAC building. For example, you can apply online for a research pass, there is improved signage which makes the facility more user-friendly, and you can now order material online.

Furthermore, you can now take your digital camera and photograph documents directly from the microfilm, or you can download the images to a CD-ROM or USB key (also known as a jump, or thumb, drive) at no cost.

On Friday afternoon, I was up on the third floor, hoping to download pages of The Maple Leaf newspaper (1907-1941)*, and found out that I couldn't (assuming it was because of copyright issues).

So a word to the wise - always check before you go there. In this case, the pages (because they were less than one hundred years old) cost 20 cents a copy! Anything else older than that was free to download.

The Maple Leaf newspaper kept Canadian ex-patriots in California informed about the news back home in the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

* I was researching my great-aunt Annie Louisa Barclay, who married Caleb Scott Haley in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and then settled in Newark, Alameda County, California.

Monday, September 21, 2009

BIFHSGO Conference - Panel Discussion

On Sunday afternoon, at the closing of the BIFHSGO conference, a spirited panel discussion entitled, "Future Trends in Family History and Genealogical Research", was chaired by Glenn Wright.

L to R: Glenn Wright, Moderator, with panelists John D. Reid, Colleen Fitzpatrick, and Bryan D. Cook

Colleen brought up two points - you can't stop technology, and that the people who don't get with the program (newer technology) will eventually die out because this is where it is all heading.

Bryan said he see changes in four areas of genealogy -

He thinks that data will continue to go online as free and pay-per-view, that fee-based services will continue to increase and the market expand, that DNA testing will pick-up even more, and that people will go on telling the stories of their ancestors, but worries about who, or what service, will be available to safeguard the stories for the telling.

John said that he sees the next big thing on the horizon as the machine-read digitization of newspapers.

"If civil registration and census online was wonderful progress, digitized newspapers are, or will be, a revolution," he said.

You can read the full text of his remarks on his blog, <http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2009/09/future-of-family-history.html>.

He noted that none of the local newspapers have been digitized - those held by the Library and Archives Canada - but there is always hope!

There were about 150 attendees taking part, and when question time came, there were lots of questions.

The audience seemed generally affected by the discussion, and were concerned by the not being able to attract new members to the societies, and what they would do with their work of family histories after they had finished with them.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

2009 - Year of the Home Child

Did you know that 2009 is the Year of the Home Child?

I found out about it by reading the "Ottawa Branch News", which arrived in the mail recently. It was a short notice included under "Interesting Web Sites".

There is a British website <http://www.britishhomechildren.org/> dedicated to the Descendants of the British Home Children (BHC). They have appeared to have declared 2009 as the Year of the Home Child.

Between 1869 and 1948, over 100,000 children were sent to Canada from the UK.

They have had quite a few events (some of them are listed for Canada), but I was more interested in links they had to other organizations, of which one caught my attention because it is in Canada. They also have "Images From Our Past", which provides photos of Home Children.

Locally, there is the BIFHSGO Home Children Index at <www.bifhsgo.ca/home_children.htm>.

Dave and Kay Lorente—BIFHSGO Hall of Fame members—started researching Home Children in 1991, and later signed a memorandum of understanding with BIFHSGO to let them take over the researching for Home Children.

Today, when you go to the website, you will see their work in a free, searchable database.

So far, they have put on children who immigrated to Canada between 1869 and 1948, and the indexing of the Middlemore Home Children who arrived between 1873 and 1933.

Fellow Hall of Famer (2009) and blogger, John D. Reid, has written a book entitled, Researching Canada's Home Children, published in association with BIFHSGO.

These are great resources for one's Home Children research.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

BIFHSGO - Session on Writing

At this year's BIFHSGO conference—starting tomorrow on Friday, September 18th—there is going to be "The Next Steps in Genealogy" course, at which BIFHSGO will give a session on "How do I Start Writing?".

They will follow this up with an all-day session on Saturday, November 28th in Room 156 at the Library and Archives Canada Building, 365 Wellington Street, Ottawa.

They will discuss what to write about, turning records into an interesting narrative with an historical context, and working with diaries and letters.

It will cost $10.00 for BIFHSGO members, and $15.00 for non-members.

If you are interested, visit <www.bifhsgo.ca> or contact Margaret Burwell at <burwellm@rogers.com>.

There will also be another "The Next First Steps in Genealogy" course on Saturday, March 20th, 2010, again at the LAC.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ottawa Branch, OGS - September Meeting

The next meeting of the Ottawa Branch, OGS will be held on Tuesday, September 15th at 7:30 p.m. in Room 156 of the Library and Archives Canada building at 395 Wellington Street.

Coreen Atkins-Sheldrick will speak on her new book, "In Our Defence: The Veterans & Military Heritage of Historic Osgoode Township", about the military history of Osgoode Township, Carleton County.

She is going to talk about the stories she learned while working on this book.

I see where she has another book called, "The Yorke Families of Historic Osgoode Township, Carleton County", written in 2003.

For more information, please visit <www.ogsottawa.on.ca>.

Other Genealogy Writings

In addition to this blog, I write articles for various newsletters, magazines, and websites, and am also the editor of the Ontario Genealogical Society's newsletter, NewsLeaf, and its sister email newsletter, e-NewsLeaf. It makes for a very busy genealogical life!

In addition to what is listed below, I have a number of other articles in the works for this coming fall and winter.

This summer, I have had a number of articles published that you may wish to take a look at -

Irish Connections Canada is a new magazine in Canada, published by Eammon O'Loghlin from Toronto, and is of particular interest to the Irish in Canada and Ireland.

In the Summer 2009 issue of the magazine, I wrote "Discovering your Irish-Canadian Roots". It is also on the magazine's website at <www.irishcanadamag.com>.

Besides my article, I was amazed at what I found in this 98-page publication, and Eammon is certainly to be praised for starting a publication in such hard economic times.

I have had three articles published in my online Canadian Connections column on the GenealogyToday.com website <www.GenealogyToday.com/ca/connect>, and they are -

"Census of Canadian Prairie Provinces - 1916", "Canadian Genealogy by the Book", and "Researching Canadian First World War Files".

Discovering Family History (July/Aug 2009) has just published two of my articles, "Exploring Newfoundland and Labrador Genealogy", and "Oh Canada! Canadian Immigration Records" <www.discoveringfamilyhistory.com>.

As their International Director/Director-at-Large, I am a regular contributor to Columns, the newsletter of ISFHWE, the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors. Please visit the website at <www.isfhwe.org>.

And I mustn't let it go by without saying a few words about the OGS' NewsLeaf.

I took over the editorship in November 2006, so this year marks the third anniversary for me, and I must say that I have enjoyed it very much, and continue to do so.

With the last issue, and in future issues, you will see a lot more genealogical news about Ontario, and starting in November, a feature story will appear on the front page for the first time in the print version of NewsLeaf.

As for the e-NewsLeaf, it continues to chug along with eight issues a year - and holds the news that the print NewsLeaf cannot possibly handle.

Visit the OGS website at <www.ogs.on.ca>.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fall Meeting of BIFHSGO - 2009

The fall genealogy season is here, with the first meeting of BIFHSGO being held this coming Saturday morning at Library and Archives Canada!

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa is in its 15th year, and it will start off its fall programme at 10:30 a.m. with a lecture by Brian Glenn, "Circling the Wagons Around Jack Fraser".

His talk will be an update on his maternal grandfather - a topic he first spoke on in a Great Moments talk in 2004.

If you get there at 9:30, there will be the usual Discovery Tables on England, Ireland, and Scotland, hosted by knowledgeable volunteers ready to answer your questions.

Later this week, I will give a rundown of the BIFHSGO conference to be held from September 18th to the 20th.

Visit their website at <www.bifhsgo.ca>.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Halifax Public Library

I lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia from 1970 until the summer of 1988, when I came to Ottawa.

There are two things that I miss about Halifax - the Atlantic Ocean and the genealogy of the province, neither of which are available in Ottawa. However, the Ottawa River substitutes for the ocean, and the Canadian Genealogy Center is great for the wandering genealogist to spend a few hours a week researching one's East Coast roots.

However, putting that aside, I see where the Halifax Public Library is again offering their ever-popular course, Genealogy 101.

If you aren't in Halifax, you should go to their site <http://www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/research/topics/local-history-genealogy.html> and see all the wonderful genealogical stuff they have on their webpage, "Roots to the Past: Local History & Genealogy".

They have "Suggested Reading Lists", "Digital Collections", "Helpful Hints", and a part entitled, "Getting Started".

I went to the "Getting Started" page, and clicked on "Donations". They have over twenty things you can donate to the library - including biographies, Halifax County magazines and newspapers, 19th and 20th century maps of Halifax and Nova Scotia, and songbooks.

Have you sent your published Nova Scotia genealogy there? I must admit that I haven't got mine printed - but it is one of the things I have promised myself to do over the Christmas holidays.

Right now, it is in a number of boxes in my office (horrors!), but this will be the year that it is finally published (online and off).

In case you ask, I am researching both sides of the family, all United Empire Loyalists, who founded Shelburne (Port Roseway back then), and surrounding areas within the South Shore. Names include Barclay, Blades, Bingay, and Noah Webster (he of dictionary fame).

Monday, August 31, 2009

Latest Issue of "Ottawa Branch News"

This will be the second-to-last newsletter that will be in its current format.

Starting with the January-February 2010 issue, things are going to change.

It will be in a new 8.5 x 11 format, and the name will change to - "The Ottawa Genealogist. A publication of the Ottawa Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society".

A sample of the new name and format has been passed to the board, and by all accounts, it has been a success.

Included in this issue of the newsletter are "Research at the Archives of Ontario", "Early Residents of Ottawa's Sandy Hill Neighbourhood", and "Memorial No. 2 Carleton County Copy Book".

They have an interesting section at the back of the newsletter under "Departments", especially the "Interesting Web Sites" in which Heather Oakley goes through the websites she has found over the past month or so.

I read her notes every issue to see if there is something I might have missed - and you should do the same. I'm always impressed by what she digs up.

In the "Old-Time Stuff" is a special mention of Stittsville. It is now 101 years old!

In the "Historic Plaques and Monuments" section, they took a picture of the Commissariat Building (1827), the oldest stone building in Ottawa.

It was a storehouse, office, and treasury during the building of the Rideau Canal from 1826-1832.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back from Stirling

What a whirlwind trip!

Friday morning, we took off to Trenton (in the rain), with stops in Smith's Falls and Perth, and got to Trenton in the afternoon after going down Route 62.

In Trenton, we stayed at the Yukon Lodge (a hotel for members of the Canadian Forces), and got everything ready for Saturday.

I went over the names of the people I wanted to meet, as well as the businesses and societies in the marketplace, plus the "talks" - just to familiarize myself again with the schedule because I hadn't done it in a while.

Saturday morning came early. We were supposes to be there at 8:30, so it was 'rush-around time' to get ready and then out in the rain - once again!

But we got on the road at the right time. It stopped raining, and we headed north to Stirling on Route 39. (That was sort of true, because we lost our way and couldn't find the map, but we eventually made it back to Route 39. It was a lovely drive just the same, although having that "lost feeling" all the way there was a bit unsettling, to say the least).

It started to clear of rain, and the countryside was beautiful. There was a slight ground fog that made the trees and the water look so pastoral - but the sun was out and it was becoming hot by the time we had reached the high school where the genealogy fair was held.

We went inside and met the people who were there, got registered, and immediately recognized acquaintances from past events, like Nancy Trimble, Vice-President of the Ontario Genealogical Society, Mr. Woodrow from the Kingston Chapter of the OGS, and Sandra and Rick Roberts from Global Genealogy).

The first speaker was Dr. David R. Elliott of Kinfolk Finders <www.kinfolkfinders.com> from southwestern Ontario. He gave an insightful talk about his work in indexing and transcribing the cemeteries of Ireland.

He started out in the Fermanagh area of Ireland, looking for the gravestones of his relatives (which he has yet to find), and has ended up going every summer to the different cemeteries in the area.

It is quite a process to especially the older stones — to take pictures of all of them, draw a map to show where each one is, and then to transcribe them (some of the stones are in terrible shape) — but it is fascinating work.

After a very nice lunch of homemade egg and salmon sandwiches (they were oh so nice!), homemade cookies, and juice (which we ate outside in the cool shade), we were ready to hear Fawne Stratford-Devai speak on leaving Ontario, and what resources are available for tracking Ontario migrants to places like Michigan, the Dakotas, and Oregon.

There were thousands upon thousands of Ontarians who went there in the 1800s and early 1900s to homestead, work on the farms and in the lumber industry, and to look for gold.

The rest of the afternoon, we spent in the Marketplace.

I had to get information from the people at the Campbellford-Seymour area for a client whose great-grandfather was a lawyer in Campbellford in the early 1900s, and my husband ran into some people who knew relatives of his, leading to a long discussion about those people.

We then said our good-byes and headed off to Campbellford on Route 8.

It was among the most beautiful farmland we have ever seen. It is truly the heartland of Ontario, with the rolling hills, acres and acres of wheat and corn, and oodles of cows and sheep happily munching away on fields of green. What a glorious sight!

We made it to Campbellford in time for supper, and stopped at Music Fest at Ferris Provincial Park to have a bite to eat and listen to the music, and then take off to take pictures around the town to send to the fellow who is looking for his g-grandfather.

We then followed the Trent River back to Trenton, along Route 30.

Once "home", we spent a relaxing evening watching a movie on TV, checking our email, and slowly getting ready for our trip back home.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Off to Stirling on Friday!

This weekend, I am going to Stirling (a village a few kms north of Trenton) for a Genealogy Fair.

Friday, we are taking the 4-hour trip down there from Ottawa on Rte 7, and will go through the towns of Carleton Place, Perth, and then turn off at Madoc. We will continue down Rte 62 to the town of Belleville, and then on to Trenton, where we will stay for the weekend.

We will attend the Stirling-Rawdon Genealogy Fair on Saturday, then go to Campbellford Saturday evening, where I'm going to take photos for a fellow genealogist whose grandfather came from Scotland and was there in 1911.

Sunday, we will come back to Ottawa on Rte 2 and will stop in at Kingston, Gananoque, and Brockville - and then arrive back home Sunday evening.

Carleton Place and Perth are located in Lanark County, and you will find Church Records, Land and Property Records, Pioneer Families, and Township Records in <www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onlanark>.

Madoc, Belleville, and Trenton are covered by the Bay of Quinte GenWeb Project <www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onprince>, and the project manager is Concette Phillipps.

She has put together quite a collection of papers for you to wander through - the Quakers of Prince Edward County, Pioneers of Price Edward County, the 1798 Hallowell Township Assessment Roll, and the Prince Edward Historical Atlas - to name but a few.

So I will be back with news about the Stirling-Rawdon Genealogical Fair next week.

BTW, there are two pages of links on the BIFHSGO.ca site from "Irish Talks", John Grenham's recent lecture in Ottawa.

They make a great companion piece to go along with the notes that were being scribbled madly during his talks!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cumberland County, Nova Scotia is 250 Years Old!

On August 17, 1759, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia was created. It will be celebrating this event by holding a Genealogy Weekend at the Wandlyn Inn in Amherst from August 14th to the 16th.

Some of the biggest names in Nova Scotia genealogy will be there. Terry Punch will be there talking about Pre-Famine Irish immigration to Nova Scotia; Bill Hamilton will talk about Cumberland Loyalists; Ronnie-Gilles LeBlanc will speak about Acadian Families of Cumberland County; and David Lambert, a genealogist with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, has roots in Cumberland County (Lambert and Clarks families) and he will talk about the use of DNA in genealogy.

On Sunday, there will be a number of tours around the Amherst area on Sunday including a tour of Parrsboro and Joggins, a tour around Nothumberland Shore, and one to the southern part of New Brunswick, which was part of Cumberland County when it was formed in 1759.

These tours will let you see where all the history happened that you have learned about during the lectures. Each tour will be accompanied by genealogists and historians.

You can get in touch with them at <ccgs@auracom.com> or visit the website at <www.cumberland250.ednet.ns.ca>.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Surname Maps

There are a number of surname maps on the Internet, and while I know where everyone related to me lives/lived, I still will look at them to see if there isn't anything new, or something of which I am not aware.

So when www.dynastree.ca published its maps of Canada, I had to look for the four family names - Barclay, Blades, Lapointe, and Jobin.

Barclay, my paternal family name, appears in nine provinces, and it is the 1,499th most popular surname in Canada. There are approximately 3,252 people with that surname in Canada, and the three most popular places with the most Barclays are the provinces of Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Blades, my maternal family name, is even less popular in that there are only 842 people with that surname.

Dynastree says that it is the 4,779th most frequent name in Canada.

They don't have a map for England and Scotland yet where Blades and Barclay are from, but it should be coming soon.

Meanwhile, my husband's paternal family name is Lapointe, and there approximately 31,443 people with that surname in Canada. Most of them are located in Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

It is the 64th most frequent surname in the country -but all Lapointes can trace their name back to Nicolas Audet, when the French first came to Canada. The surname eventually became Audet dit Lapointe - then Lapointe - so one has to take that into account as a genealogist.

His maternal surname is Jobin, and it is the 724th most popular surname in Canada. There are approximately 6,508 people with that surname.

There is a map of France on the site, so I checked the Jobin surname and it showed them in Western France, which is where they came from in the 1600s.

Overall, this site, and others like it, are not only a lot of fun to use, but are handy tools for research.

Enjoy your trek!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Great Potato Famine

Vanessa Currie, an Agriculture Technician at the University of Guelph in Southern Ontario, is growing the potato that led to the Great Potato Famine in Ireland.

The potato variety—called the Lumper—was the one most likely grown in Ireland. It will be on display at the Potato Day Show on Wednesday, August 12th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the university's Elora Research Station.

Known as a "historical specialty", the growing of the Lumper variety of potato most likely led to the blight which caused massive immigration to Canada in the mid-1800s.

Currie says that the potato looks as healthy as the others in the fields this summer, so she is anxious to harvest them. She plans to dig out a few for tomorrow's display and then harvest the rest in September.

She is going to evaluate the variety for its taste, cooking, and storage to see how it does.

Canadian farmers likely grew the Lumper variety in the early 1800's, but she doesn't know if they grew them after the Irish Famine.

She got the seed from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada potato gene bank in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Monday, August 10, 2009

John Grenham's Irish Lectures

As John Reid noted in his blog <http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2009/08/capacity-crowd-for-john-grenham-in.html>, it was a sellout crowd at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa to hear John Grenham speak on Irish records. He is a well-known genealogist in Ireland, and is the author of books and of the website, <IrishTimes.com>.

I always try to come away with one piece of information, and I hit the jackpot again yesterday.

My husband is a French-Canadian from Quebec, and his great-great-grandfather married an Irish girl—Sarah Conroy—whose father was a major in the British Army in Quebec City.

Why was he there, I wondered at the time. And why did he send for his family from Ireland? It didn't make sense to me -

This had only become apparent to me in May while we were up to Quebec City on a visit, and my husband's aunt showed me a family chart she had had done by a fellow in Montreal not that long ago.

And when I checked <ancestry.ca> after getting back home, there was the marriage record of where they had been married, and that she was the daughter of a Major Conroy from Ireland.

The reason—as I learned yesterday—was that the British Army at that time was made up of Irish to a large degree - fully one-third of them were Irish!

So I got that question answered!

I also learned that there aren't many records intact back beyond 1922 because the storeroom of the archives building (the Four Corners Complex in Dublin) had been overtaken by rebels and eventually blown up, and not one piece of paper had been saved. (Papers in use in the Reading Room were saved, however.)

If you get a chance to hear him talk, and you do have Irish in your ancestry, please take a minute to listen, because he gives very good lectures, and the questions asked by the audience were fabulous.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Canadian Family

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault has a site on the Internet <http://acanadianfamily.com> full of family history.

Evelyn's family came from a diverse background of the Luces from the Channel Islands; the Theriaults - Acadians from Poitou, France; and Mignier dit Lagaces from Quebec.

In addition, she has added some early French-Canadian Pioneers of Quebec, and BMDs of some of these people.

She says that one of her goals in setting up this website was to bring the importance of postcards in the study of family history, in addition to photos.

She takes part in a blog carnival (a virtual magazine, if you will) celebrating postcards entitled, "A Festival of Postcards", which was originally started by the Footnotemaven <www.footnotemaven.com>.

The deadline for the next one is Aug. 20th, and will be entitled "Water".

Evelyn has postcards from previous festivals of "Wheels" and "Main Street" for you to look at on her site, as well as postcards of Quebec and New Brunswick.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Empress of Ireland

On August 6, 2009, the Honourable Jim Prentice—Canada's Environment Minister and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada—marked the historic significance of the Wreck of the Empress of Ireland by naming it as a National Historic Site of Canada.

The Empress of Ireland went down in the St. Lawrence River in the summer of 1914 after colliding with another ship named the Storstad during heavy fog.

She as on her way to Liverpool, England from Quebec City with 1,477 people on board - only 462 people were saved.

It is the worst sea tragedy that Canada has ever experienced, and it has "marked an entire generation, and we have to make sure that it is not forgotten," said Minister Prentice at the ceremony on Thursday.

You can read the history of the Empress of Ireland and see who her passengers and crew were on the that day by visiting <http://www.sea-viewdiving.com/shipwreck_info/empress_of_ireland1.htm>.
On this website, you will find a history of the tragedy as well as a video of the ship.

There were 87 passengers in the First Cabin, with 51 lost at sea; 253 in the Second Cabin, with 205 people lost at sea; 717 people in the Third Cabin, with 584 people lost at sea; and of the 420 crew members, 175 were lost at sea.

In addition to having the names listed, one will also find out where the passengers and crew were from, whether they were lost or rescued, and what happened to them — if they went back home (e.g. Toronto), if they sailed on another ship at a later date, or if they were lost, what happened to the body.

There were over 100,000 immigrants who came to Canada on the Empress of Ireland during her lifetime, and these days, close to a million Canadians can trace their ancestry back to being on the ocean liner.

The structure of the ship is still intact as it lays at the bottom of the river near Point-au-Pere, and today it is a world-renowned diving site.

The wreck is supervised by Parks Canada.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ontario Archives Reduces Hours

It was a sellout crowd that went to the Ontario Archives tour this year at Conference '09 - but how many knew that they had already reduced the research hours to Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.? It is not open on Saturday.

The old hours were Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and on Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m..

How on earth does one do research on the weekends when there are no hours on Saturday??

But you can help change that.

Here is an email I received from Kathie Orr in June ...


Re Restricted Archives of Ontario Hours

The Archives of Ontario has moved to a wonderful new state of the art archives building. We now have the proper facilities to access and research our history but many people are unaware that with the move we now have restricted hours of operation.

We need your help.
  • At the present time the hours of operation of the Archives of Ontario are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • In effect this means that any Ontario taxpayer and visitor from outside the province who works fulltime and or lives at a distance not longer have access to their records.
  • If we want to have evening and weekend hours we have to make our concerns known.
  • We will not get the old hours of 8:15 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday back. A good compromise might be 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The benefit is that those who will visit during the extended hours will have archival staff on hand to advise and assist you them.
Why do we need your help?
  • Not all records are available online or will be for the foreseeable future.
  • To access the full range of records to research your family you do need to visit archives for such records as estate files, Crown land records, Private Property land records, education records, divorce files, maps, and private papers such as the T. Eaton Co.
What can you and or your group do?
  • Sign our petition
  • Have your group and any other interested parties sign our petition.
  • and click on Feedback (left side of page half way down). They ask you to “Please take a few moments to send us your comments by filling in the form below.” Politely request that you would like extended hours back. You fill in your email address and you will in time get a personal reply. We want to flood the Archives with requests so they can show the government the need for the extended hours.
  • Contact your local MPP
  • When contacting your MPP please emphasis your use of the Archives of Ontario, its importance to the province and that these are our records and it is our right to have access to them.
  • And encourage others to do the same.
We are counting on YOU to help make the Archives of Ontario a place where all can go to use the documented heritage of our province.

Send completed petitions to

c/o Ruth Burkholder
Ste 103 -12140 Ninth Line
Stouffville ON L4A 1L2


c/o Kathie Orr
405 – 100 Maitland St
Toronto ON M4Y 1E2

As many people do not like to open emails with an attachment until they know what it is all about a second email will be sent to you with the petition attached.

Thank you

Kathie Orr


Katharine G. Orr
405 - 100 Maitland St
Toronto ON M4Y 1E2
416-944-1794 kathie.orr@sympatico.ca
stay in touch with your past to ensure your future


Editor's Note: The follow-up email I received from Kathie Orr includes a copy of the petition for printing. However, since I am unable to attach it to the blog, please contact Kathie for a copy <kathie.orr@sympatico.ca>.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Canadian War Children of World War Two

Someone has finally done it!

Chris Vowles from West Sussex, in the United Kingdom, has started a website to help Canadian fathers or a relative trace a child in the UK, or help a child or a relative trace a father or family in Canada.


There are approximately 22,000 Canadian War Children born between December, 1939 and the early part of 1946 - so he has a gigantic job ahead of him.

But, he already has people in his database, and he has two forms that you can download from the website to fill in the information that you are looking for either in the UK or in Canada.

He has also provided a bit of history on Canadians who were stationed in the UK during World War II, and of the Canadian Regiments in the UK.

So if you have any information that you might think is helpful, email Chris at <info@canadianrootsuk.org> or check out his website at <www.canadianrootsuk.org>.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Treasuring Memories in Rolla, British Columbia

The British Columbia Genealogist started their summer edition with a 14-page story by Burt McCalab Bryan, a Texan who moved to Edmonton and later to Rolla, BC at the turn of the 20th century.

He later returned to Texas.

But his story while he lived in Canada's Western Provinces is interesting indeed.

He tells about starting his homestead in Rolla, and of working on helping to build the Canadian Telegraph Line from Grand Prairie, Alberta to Hudson Hope, British Columbia.

The family names he mentions in his story are BRYAN, CLAY, FINNS, TAYLOR, TREMBLEY, and WILLIAMS.

In this issue, they also have a story of the Reverend Arthur Browning entitled, "Cornwall to Canada".

His great-grandchild, Colin Lyne, came across a story that the Genealogist recently did on Reverend E. W. White, a Methodist minister who came over in the mid-19th century, along with Reverend Browning.

The family names are BROWNING, DYER, EVANS, GODWARD, LYNE, ORCHARD, and WHITE. Colin is looking for LYNE and BROWNING relatives.

The third story they have in this publication is about a name - UDELL - the spelling that has changed at least a least two dozen times since the 12th century.

The most common spellings have been UDALL and UDELL, and this started in the 16th century.

It is an interesting history of the changes in the spelling of a name, and one that deserves a close reading, for you may have changed in your surname, too - and changes that you may not be aware of - so check.

And the BCGS Cemetery Committee is busy doing the recordings from the monuments of the Fraser Cemetery in New Westminster.

They are taking digital photographs of all the monuments, and there will be a story in the September issue of this newsletter.

If any of you live handy to the cemetery and would like to help, email Valerie Hooper at <Vjhooper@aol.com>. The website of the British Columbia Genealogical Society is <www.bcgs.ca>.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stirling-Rawdon Genealogy Fair 2009

Are you ready to track your ancestors?

It's time for another genealogy fair!

This time. I'm going to the fair which will be held Saturday, August 22nd in Stirling-Rawdon (near Trenton and Peterborough in Ontario) at the Stirling Senior School on St. James Street.

I knew that the fair was quite old and had been held a number of summers in this quaint little village, but this will be the first year that I am going.

It is an all-day affair, and will feature Fawne-Stratford Devai (who works on the television series, “Ancestors in the Attic”) and her talk entitled, “Leaving Ontario: Resources of Tracking Ontario Migrants”, as well as Dr. David R. Elliott’s two lectures, “Digital Techniques for Reading Difficult Tombstones” and “Treasure in the Family Bible: Methodologies for Discovering Family History”.

I can’t wait to hear both of them because I have a few questions of my own that I would be love to get answers to.

The fee is very reasonable, and you can register online before August 1st by downloading the registration form at <www.stirling-rawdon.com/2009_files/genealogy_fair_form09.pdf> or you can register at the door on the day of the conference. But be there early because doors open at 8:30!

Also, visit <www.stirling-rawdon.com/stirling_rawdon_genealogy.html> and take a look at their historical society, where they keep a genealogy room.

The contact person to get in touch with, if you wish to register, is Pat Marshall of Stirling. Her email address is <oldcrone@sympatico.ca>.

If you come to the fair, please take a moment to say “Hi!” - I would love to meet you.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Canadian Naturalization Database

Back in 2002, a partnership between the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and both the Ottawa and Montreal Jewish Genealogical Societies <http://jgs-montreal.org> resulted in the LAC's very first database. It was the 1915 to 1932 Canadian Naturalization Database.

Now, seven years later, they have added names to the database so that there are now 206,731 individuals who applied for, and received, status as naturalized Canadians from 1915 to 1932.

This database is one of the few Canadian genealogical resources specifically designed to benefit those researchers with roots outside of the British Commonwealth.

You can request the actual record from the Registrar of Canadian Citizenship, P.O. Box 7000, Sydney, Nova Scotia, B1P 6V6. (There is a fee involved.)

The database was made possible by the staff and volunteers of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Ottawa <www.jgso.org> and the staff of the LAC.

The database is available at <www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/naturalization-1915-1932/index-e.html>.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

United Church Archives Now Online!

I received a press release this morning from the United Church Archives, advising that their archives and graphics databases are now online.

If you go to the archives database at <http://archives.united-church.ca/dbtw-wpd/textbase/ucc%20archives/archives.htm>, you will see a search engine where you can put in the record that you are searching for in the Bay of Quinte, Hamilton, London, Manitou, and Toronto Conferences.

The United Church of Canada Archives is located on the ground floor for the General Council Office of the United Church, Suite 300, 3250 Bloor Street West in Toronto.

They are offering tours from August 4th to August 6th at 2:00 p.m..

The hours are Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m..

Their phone number is 416.231.7680 ext. 3123, or toll-free 1.800.268.3103 ext. 3123.

Their email address is <archives@united-church.ca>.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Genealogy Week in Ottawa

For those who don't know, July 19th to the 24th is the first-ever Genealogy Week in Ottawa. It's sort of like a boot camp for genealogy enthusiasts.

Mike More, the Chairman of the Ottawa Branch <www.ogsottawa.on.ca> of the Ontario Genealogical Society put the programme together and enlisted the help of several city resources such as the Canadian Genealogy Centre <www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/index-e.html>, the Ottawa Public Library <www.biblioottawalibrary.ca/index_e.html>, the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa Archives <www.ottawa.anglican.ca/Archives.html>, Le Centre de l'Outaouais of BAnQ <www.banq.qc.ca/portal/dt/genealogie/ressources_documentaires_salle/centre_archive/centre_outaouais.jsp>, the City of Ottawa Archives <www.ottawa.ca/residents/heritage/archives/index_en.html>, the United Church Archives <www.united-church.ca/local/archives/mo/ottawa>, the Sir Guy Carleton Branch, United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada <www.carletonuel.ca>, and the Société de généalogie de l'Outaouais .

All this week, the people are going to the diverse venues to take lectures from the various people at these places. In addition, they have an hour or two of research time on their own to delve into the records.

Group shot of Genealogy Week participants, speakers, organizers, and members of supporting organizations.

I spent some time with them Sunday evening at the welcoming ceremonies to see what they would be researching, what family names were of interest to them, and what they hoped to accomplish in the week that they have available to them.

(There will be more about Ottawa Genealogy Week in the November issue of NewsLeaf).

Meanwhile, on Monday evening, my husband and I rushed over to Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau to hear Marie Careau, Karine Maisonneuve, and Marc Saint-Jacques of La Société de généalogie de l’Outaouais <www.genealogieoutaouais.com> speak on the history of the communities of Aylmer, Hull, Gatineau, Templeton, Ange-Gardien, Buckingham, Cantley, and Chelsea in the Outaouais region of Quebec.

There were about 50 people there (the crowd was so large, the overflow sat in a room in the back, or sat outside and listened through open windows) at the meeting in the historic Maison Charron, located right inside the park, which itself is found next to the Museum of Civilization, across the river from Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

They gave a very informative talk on the history of the area, and how it was transformed from an English settlement to a French settlement in the late 1800s, including immigration patterns and politics.

One of the results was the many 'mixed marriages' between the French- and English-speaking residents during this time, and it is not unusual to hear many people with an English first name and a French family name, even today.

They also talked about the industries that were once there—lumber, mining, and manufacturing, for example-but today, a lot of the people work in government offices in Gatineau and Ottawa.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lennox & Addington County Archives

The Archives' Reading Room is now open to the public on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in addition to being open from Tuesday to Friday, at the same hours.

The building, located on Thomas Street in Napanee in Ontario (to the west of Kingston), was—until 1971—a county jail.

Now, you can go to the restored building and research their genealogical holdings, which include reference works, microfilm sources, card indices, and family files.

They also have an historical collection which includes newspapers (microfilmed up to 1977) such as the Napanee Standard, Napanee Express, Napanee Beaver, and The Heritage. As well, they carry municipal papers from the County of Lennox and Addington, the old town of Napanee, the villages of Newburgh and Bath, and the townships within the County.

They also have a photograph collection of over 10,000 original images, with close to 5,000 of them indexed by subject matter or sitter.

The Archives are online at <www.lennox-addington.on.ca/government/Info/arch.html>.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Eastern Ontario Countryside

About noontime, we arrived in the town of Hawkesbury.

Celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2009, this town of 10,000 is situated right on the Ottawa River.

This is the Long-Sault Bridge, which we crossed over between Grenville, Quebec and Hawkesbury.

But the main site I wanted to see on this trip was the Higginson Observation Tower at Vankleek Hill.

The tower was originally built be Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Higginson, an Irishman who settled in Vankleek Hill in 1829.

The tower was first built by him as a windmill about 1830 so that he could grind wheat and corn, but it failed due to inconsistent wind power.

He then turned it into the first private observatory in Eastern Ontario.

In 2003, it was decided by the business people of Vankleek Hill to restore the tower to its former glory, and now you can visit it by walking up the stairs inside to the top of the tower, and take in the wonderful view of the village and the hills of Quebec to the north.

To the right of the tower is the Anglican Church, and in the back of the tower is the home of William Higginson, the son of Thomas, the builder of the tower.

At the foot of the tower, going all around it in a circle, are bricks of stone with the businesses and people who contributed to the restoration of the tower.

After spending an hour there, we took old Highway 17 back to Ottawa and passed through the villages of Alfred, L'Orignal, Plantagenet, Riceville, Treadville, and Wendover.

We stopped in at L'Orignal to take the Jailhouse Tour, but it was raining, and since there was a tour underway, we decided not to wait. Instead, we took a tour around town, and took pictures of various buildings, including this one of the land office.

Hawkesbury and the subsequent villages we visited on our way back to Ottawa are located in Prescott County, and they have an excellent genealogy site at <www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onpresco>.

Here, you will find Prescott County Families; Maps; Cemetery and Vital Records; and Lovell's Canadian Directory.

After an enjoyable ride through this part of Ontario, we stopped into Orleans (Ottawa East) for a lovely supper, took a ride into downtown Ottawa, and then went home.

Facing west, here is a picture of Ottawa's skyline at dusk (taken several miles away).