Saturday, February 28, 2009

My "Genealogical" Schedule - Part I

I just finished doing my "genealogical" schedule for March, and here is the first part of it - maybe you will be able to join me in some of the events I will attend or read some of the happenings that I will write about.

e-Newsleaf - The e-NewsLeaf celebrates its first anniversary this month!

It is a publication of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) for which I am the editor. It is sent out to the members by email for the months that the print edition, NewsLeaf, is not published. This means that it is sent to OGS members every month except February, May, August, and October.

It usually comes out on the 15th of the month in which it is published. This month, the topics include:

• Establishment of Irish Special Interest Group at the OGS

• Simcoe 25th Anniversary

• Online Obituary Index

• Other news items - This is the first month that I will appear on the blog with two articles.

The first one will be about tracking down surnames that have a different spelling in the 1891 Canadian Census, and how I solved a problem of my own.

March 14th - This will be the meeting of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO), and will feature speaker Sharon Moor. It will start at 10:00 a.m. at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.

She will talk about all the different resources that helped her crash through three (3) walls in different branches of her family history.

I am excited already! Sounds like an interesting topic!

March 17th - St. Patrick's Day! In honour of this day, I will attend a meeting of the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society to hear Larry Cotton's talk, "Whiskey & Wickedness".

Larry, a retired teacher, is going to tell us stories about the Temperance Movement and the licensing of taverns in the Ottawa Valley.

The talk starts at 7:30 p.m. in Room 156 of the Library and Archives Canada.

I will be back with Part II tomorrow.

Friday, February 27, 2009 Posts 1916 Canadian Census Online really surprised me by releasing the 1916 Census for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

More than 1.7-million names and over 38,000 images are in this census, and is well worth the look if you suspect, or know of, anyone there in 1916.

From 1906 to 1950, a separate census was taken of the Prairie Provinces five years after every national census, and according to the law, 92 years had to pass before the census would be released.

If you look at the census, you will find the name of the person, their gender, and marital status.

You will also find their age, birthdate, and place where that person was born.

The place of residence will be given as it was in 1916, and also provide a list of members of the family.

You can also see the image of the actual census return. I learned that a person I had been following from New Brunswick to Manitoba, and to Alberta, listed his wife as being from Manitoba.

But when I checked, her father — who now lived with them — was originally from New Brunswick, as was her husband, the head of the household. Question - answered!

The 1916 Census is free with a 14-day trial from for those who wish to take a look at it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009 and the World Archives Project let us know yesterday that the World Archives Project has already started in Canada with the soon to be released "Ontario, Canada Marriage Registers by Clergy, 1896-1948."

If you go on, a mnetion is made that the project is 80% done already, so I guess they are trying to make sure that people know about it and will help them make it over the top.

They have said that it will be free when completed, and will include approximately 24,000 names as registered by the clergy under the Resignation Act of 1896.

No where do they say that this is already available at the Ontario Archives by microfilm (it is) and is also available by the Mormons - but it will be available on the Internet for the first time when it is completed by

You can go to the site to access the download page and for instructions on how to use the indexing tool.

As Karen Peterson, Marketing Director of says, "Historical record preservation and access go hand-in-hand so it is important that institutions, business and individuals all play an active role to ensure that as many Canadian records are preserved for future generations as possible."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Quebec Family History Spring Meetings

I just received an email from Jackie Billingham of the Quebec Family History Society telling me about the free spring programe of events to be held at St. Andrew's United Church, 75-15th Avenue in Lachine (near Montreal), Quebec.

The meetings will be held every second Saturday of the month at 10:30 a.m., with the first one on March 14th when QFHS members will host "Show & Tell: Photos", and will give themselves an opportunity to display and talk about their genealogical research collection.

At the second meeting on April 18th, QFHS members will host "Show & Tell: Items of Interest" and discuss what they have collected in their genealogical research.

And finally, the last meeting in their spring series, entitled "Meet the Experts Panel", will be held on May 9th, where you will be able to question them about your own research.

Anyone wishing to participate in either of these events, contact Raye Fraser at

Monday, February 23, 2009

Some Blogs that Elizabeth Follows ...

Since Diane named my blog for the Kreativ Blogger Award, I have agreed to list some of my favorite blogs. They are on my list to read every morning to see "what's what" and who has been doing what genealogical things since I last checked the day before.

As Diane knows, I can't let anything pass without a comment. I have put my comments beside the blogs I have picked here, too. Some, but not all, of the blogs have Canadian content as the main focus, and aren't in any particular order.

(In the December 2008 article on, I wrote an article on Canadian genealogy blogs called "All-Canadian Blogs of 2008")

1. Dick Eastman's Blog ( - This was the first blog that I had followed, and I think (although I am not sure) he was the first to change from an electronic newsletter to a blog.

It has posting of genealogical significance from all over the world, and I do find Canadian information on there most of the time. I even wrote an article for him many moons ago.

He was at Conference '08 (for the Ontario Genealogy Society) and I had a sit-down interview with him. I found that he was a very nice man, and knew his genealogical "stuff" to the letter.

2. John Reid's Anglo-Celtic Connections ( John is a fellow Ottawa blogger (he has been at it longer than I) , although he blogs mostly about Anglo-Celtic genealogical news, with news about the Library and Archives Canada thrown in for good measure.

3. Leland Meitzler Genealogy Blog ( I have followed Leland's blog since he first started it a few years ago.

I write on a annual basis for Everton's Genealogical Helper (Leland is the editor) and I'm always interested in what he has found on a daily basis.

He was off of the blogs for a couple of months, but is now back on, and I always check his writings because he always has a personal take on things genealogical.

4. Jane's Your Aunt ( I consider Diane a friend. I read her blog every day and although I do not blog as much as she does, we do our best to cover Canada (she on the West Coast and me in the middle of the country), and I think we do a pretty good job.

I met Diane last summer and we had a lovely time together. We went out one Friday night and showed her some of Ottawa's treasures.

5. Dear Myrtle ( I did a radio interview with her about five years ago, and have kept up with her genealogical happenings ever since.

I listen to what she says, as she has been doing this for a long time and know her genealogy to a "T".

6. Olive Tree Genealogy ( - Like many others, Laura started her blog after she had been on the Internet for a number of years.

She has a great interest in Loyalist, Canadian, and Palatine history, and you can find it on her site.

7. Randy's Genealogical Musings ( - I like Randy's blog for two reasons - one, I've got relatives in the San Francisco area of California (and Randy lives in Chula Vista, California), and second - he writes about going on genealogy cruises/conferences and about his own genealogical club, which I love to read.

8. And the last one is a blog that I will write twice a month for, starting March 1st.

The blog will cover things I have discovered in doing my own blog or from what people have asked me in my genealogical career that now covers 15 years.

The first blog will appear March 1st.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Honours! A Kreativ Blogger Award!!

I received a very surprising — and very pleasant — comment from M. Diane Rogers, of "Jane's Your Aunt" fame, advising me that I was a proud recipient of the Kreativ Blogger Award, and that she was the nominator!

Thank you, Diane, for this honour!

For a list of the other lucky winners, please visit Diane's site at

And since I'm eighth on the list, I'd also like to thank her Na for giving Diane that great piece of advice -

"I have chosen to nominate 8 - one extra for good measure as my Na always said to do:"

Come back soon to see the blogs I will nominate - so many choices ... (now I know what a judge at the Oscars goes through!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

LAC Reports Major System Interruption

The Library and Archives Canada is reporting a serious system interruption today (Friday) which has affected all LAC internal and external websites, as well as all email services.

Take note that the system will be down from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. due to maintenance on the system.

It means that no databases can be accessed during this time, and you cannot send an email to them. Wait until the system is back up at noontime.

They have also said that the system will be down on the following dates:

Saturday, March 21st, 2009
Saturday, April 18th, 2009
Saturday, May 23rd, 2009
Saturday, June 20th, 2009
Saturday, July 18th, 2009
Saturday, August 15th, 2009
Saturday, September 19th, 2009
Saturday, October 17th, 2009
Saturday, November 21st, 2009
Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wiki for Chinese-Canadian Roots

I first heard about this last year when I attended a conference at the Library and Archives Canada, and subsequently wrote an article about Chinese-Canadian immigration for Internet Genealogy Magazine last fall.

At that time, Janet Tomkins, Genealogy Librarian of the Vancouver Public Library, said that the wiki which was under development at that time — — would soon be added to the page on which had been set-up by the library she works for, with the Library and Archives Canada

According to a press release, "The goal of the wiki is to create a portrait of the early Chinese-Canadian community by collecting and sharing the stories of individuals of Chinese origin who were born in Canada in the 19th century."

If you go to the wiki, you will see that already there are 461 indiduals in the database, with a separate profile on each one.

It is hoped that people whose ancestor inmmigrated to Canada can now go to the wiki where they can register for free and contribute to the profiles by adding biographical details, photographs, and document images.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentines for Vets

Although it is too late for this year's Valentine's Day, how about next year - making Valentines for Vets?

Started 20 years ago by the late American newspaper advice columnist, Ann Landers, it was officially adopted by Veterans Affairs Canada in 1996, They have been collecting and distributing Valentines across Canada for the past 13 years.

On the Veterans Affairs Canada website at, one can view Valentines going back to 2002, and the cards that have been sent to the veterans.

On the website, there is a special meaning giving to the word "Valentine" -

V is for Valentine for Vets

A is for All of Canada's brave Veterans

L is for Living in freedom

E is for your heroic Efforts

N is for the New Veterans Charter

T is for Teaching youth

I is for students, organizations and Individuals sending valentine tributes

N is for the Numerous ways we appreciate you

E is for thanks for Everything

S is for your valiant Sacrifices

For next year, please send your Valentine to: Valentines for Vets, Veterans Affairs Canada, Communications Division, P.O. Box 7700, Charlottetown, PE C1A 8M9

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Celebrates Black History Month

"In honour of Black History Month, historical records allow almost 800,000 black Canadians enhanced opportunity to uncover their heritage," says the first sentence of their press release, which was issued the 4th of February.

One of the interesting things to note is the First World War's Second Construction Battalion, the first and only all-black military battalion in Canada's history.

When the First World War began, black men who tried to enlist were turned away from recruiting stations. After lobbying the government, 605 men from across Canada formed the first segregated unit in Canada, at Pictou, Nova Scotia, on July 5, 1916. Their attestation papers can be found in the Canadian Soldiers of World war I Collection.

Karen Peterson, Marketing Director of, says that "Historical records such as attestation papers, censuses and marriage records, to name a few, are surviving documents that paint a picture of accomplishments of black Canadians and the important role they played in this country." reminds researchers that records through the African American Research Center,, are available for the Freedman's Bank Records (1865-1874); Slave Schedules (1850 & 1860); Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy (1718-1820); and Slave Narratives.

Ancestry is also offering visitors a free 14-day trial at

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Canadian Census of 1891

The 1891 Canadian Census is fully online now at the Library and Archives Canada (LAC)

The 1891 Census was taken in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories (which, at the time, covered modern-day Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northern Manitoba, Northern Ontario, Northern Quebec, Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut).

The census was taken on April 5th, 1891, and very little change was made to the collection of the data from previous censuses. Information was gathered for 4,833,329 individuals in 1891.

Unfortunately, only Schedule I remains (a nominal list of the people in the country) - all of the other schedules (there were 8) were destroyed - and only Schedule I was microfilmed.

There are 25 columns, and you can read their definitions and explanations at

There are three things which struck me about this census, and I think they are really good - it's free; you get to view the complete image of Schedule I; and you can add a comment, if you wish.

Congratulations and "Thank yous" go out to the LAC and to for this much-anticipated release.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Journal of the Quebec Family History Society Arrives!

Full of good articles, as usual, the Winter 2009 issue of "Connections" was in my mailbox the other day.

The first article was about the "Hochelaga School Fire". The school was situated just north of St. Catherine's Street, hosted 170 children.

There is a picture of the school,and the text gives a full description as to the condition of the school and the fire, which took place in 1907. The names of the teacher and sixteen pupils who perished is also published.

Another story is one that is told first-hand - "A Child's Wartime Journey" by Jane Atkinson.

It tells the story of her and her sister coming to Canada in 1940 and staying at Cobourg, Ontario, and spending her school holiday as a War Guest at the home of head girl Dagmar Hertzberg in Kingston.

And the last two articles — "Lower Canada in the 1790's and Early 1800's" and "Montreal Demography: An Historical Summary to 1900" — are ones you should not miss, especially if you are new to Quebec research.

The first article gives a summary of the original counties in Quebec. The second one gives a summary of Montreal and discusses the Lachine Canal; Railways and Bridges; the American Revolution & American Invasion; the Cession of French Canada to Britain; and in 1790s: "The French" Revolution, among other topics.

The society has a number of "Genealogy Days" this winter and spring, such as "A Genealogical Day in the British and Canadian Armies, 1660-1945" and "A Genealogical Day in Ireland", and so on. They run the full day from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and are $30.00 each.

Copies of "Connections" from 1977 to 2005 have been scanned and are now available on CD from the Society.

Theie website is

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ottawa Branch News is here!

The Jan/Feb 2009 newsletter arrived on my desk the other day, and as usual, it is full of news about the Branch, news about the spring and summer convention season, and some articles onfamilies within the Ottawa area.

"The Joseph Lanthier Family" is covered, as is "Early Residents of Ottawa's Sandy Hill Neighbourhood (Henry James Friel and Felix Charbonneau)", "Documentary Evidence of a Catholic Cemetery in Cumberland Village in the 1860s and 1870s", and a "Genealogy Disaster Plan: A Precaution Worth Taking".

There is information concerning the Beginners Course in Genealogy to be held March 21st and on Gene-O-Rama 2009, to be held March 28th and 29th in Ottawa.

There is the "Electronic Notebook", "Interesting Web Sites", "Gleaning from Newsletters in the Ottawa Branch Library" and "Historic Plaques and Monuments" to fill out the edition.

There is also a notice in this edition that all issues of the Ottawa Branch News from 1970 to 2008 have been digitized and will be made available on a CD early in 2009.

The address of the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) is: <>.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

LAC Launches Black History Month

The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) launched Black History Month today (Sunday, February 1st), and they are calling it "The Courage to Make a Difference."

As Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada says, "I invite researchers, historians, educators, genealogists and students to delve into our vast array of material and resources to learn more about the rich heritage of Black Canadians."

This year, the LAC is paying special notice to Abraham Doras Shadd, who played a major role in the Underground Railroad, and to Rosemary Brown, the first Black woman to be elected as a member of a Provincial Legislative Assembly in Canada. The website is

You can go online to to read about the Anti-Slavery Movement in Canada at An article about this will be in the February issue of the Ontario Genealogical Society's newsletter, NewsLeaf.

The Port Roseway Associates Database at gives access to a listing of 1,498 Black Loyalists Refugees who settled in Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

As stated on the website at, "Under a Northern Star presents seven unique collections held at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) that document the diverse historical experience of African Canadians."

There are other resources to check, including Achievements and Contributions, Literature, Music, and Sports.