Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Accentuate the Positive!

Once again, Jill Ball, Australian genealogist, in her blog,, has invited genealogists around the world to write about their highlights in 2014.

There are two things I remember which were fundamental in helping me sharpen  my research technique.

The first one was a genealogy workshop I attended in April this past year in Toronto with fellow APGers from the Ontario Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (OCAPG), for a full-day workshop with Dr. Thomas Jones, the author of Mastering Genealogical Proof.

The scheduled four presentations turned into a day full of discussions, questions, and socializing, ending with a supper at a nearby restaurant for about 30 of us.

If you ever want to learn from the best on how to do ‘proper’ research, write concise citations and reports, and learn how to do genealogy research correctly, then his presentations should not be missed.

As the editor of Families, the journal of the Ontario Genealogical Society (the largest society in Canada), I often receive books to review, and one such book was Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques by George G. Morgan and Drew Smith (The Genealogy Guys). I consider this book to be rightfully placed up there with works from Dr. Jones and Elizabeth Shown Mills as a resource which teaches, as well as informs.

Their book, filled with case studies, fully examines the FAN Club principle, as explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills in her various writings. I consider the FAN (Friends, Associates, and Neighbours) method as an essential part of genealogical research – especially when it comes to dealing with ‘brick walls’.

There were lots of other “little” highs this year, including the continued publication of my Canadian Week in Review (CWR) postings at my blog every Monday morning, and my Canada Day contest on July 1st, asking readers to send in their ‘brick walls’, and then provide them with free research tips and detailed Consultation Reports through my website,

There are plans in the works for the release of e-books on Canadian genealogy in 2015, and with the continuation of my courses through the National Institute for Genealogical Studies so that I can get my Professional Development Certificate in 2016, and onwards towards my certification as a CG.

So my husband, Mario, and myself wish everyone a Happy New Year, and good hunting for your ancestors in 2015!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Canadian Week in Review - 29 December 2014

I have come across the following Canadian websites, social media websites, and newspaper articles this past week that were of interest to me, and I thought you might be interested in them, too.


Portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh was born in Turkey in 1908. He came to Canada in 1924, choosing Ottawa as his home. Who can forget his iconic portraits of Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, and Ernest Hemingway? He died July 13, 2002.
   Read about his dramatic life on Wikipedia at

In 1936, a Canadian medical doctor, Norman Bethune, began administering blood transfusions to injured people in the Spanish Civil War out of a station wagon. This was the first mobile blood unit of its kind in medical history.
   Read about Dr. Bethune at

In 1966, the Royal Canadian Mint announced that dimes, quarters, and 50-cent pieces would be struck from nickel instead of silver.
   Read about the history of silver coinage in Canada at

In 1795, plans for building Toronto's Yonge Street were first proposed. The 48-kilometre road, from York (now Toronto), and north to Lake Simcoe, was one of the earliest highways in Canada, and is still one of the most important roads in Ontario. It was named for Sir George Yonge, and was completed in April, 1796.
   Is going on the full length of Yonge Street on your bucket list? Read about it at

In 1841, street lights in Toronto were lit by gas for the first time.
   Read about the history of street lighting in Toronto at

Social Media

(VIDEO) Newfoundland Railway model displayed in St. John's home
   There is a little piece of Newfoundland next to a Christmas tree in one St. John's home this year, and it's modelled after a piece of history of the province - the Newfoundland Railway.


Nova Scotia

Voyage of the Araguaya: A hospital ship sails from Halifax
   Read this stirring story of the Araguaya - one of five hospital ships used to repatriate injured soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force from the First World War in Europe back to Canada.

Simply the Best: Our Arts & Life honour roll for 2014
   The Chronicle Herald's Arts & Life department offers up their picks for 2014 Honour Roll.

Parishioners celebrate Christmas, mourn loss of historic church,-mourn-loss-of-historic-church/1
   Members of St. Mary's Polish Church attend Christmas mass at nearby church after their church is closed.


Canada Science and Technology Museum asked for roof funding in 2010
   The museum is currently closed after leaks in the roof led to mould within the museum.
   On November 17th, the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation received $80.5 million to modernize and refurbish the Canada Science and Technology Museum building and upgrade the exhibit space.

WW I soldiers' files being digitized by Library and Archives Canada
   The LAC, earlier this year, began the painstaking process of getting its most-requested items online by digitizing its First World War files.
   I noted that Guy Berthiaume, the new Librarian and Archivist of Canada, says that he expects to see fifteen per cent of the total collection digitized and put online.

Canada's Peace Tower carillon bells mark 1914 Christmas truce
   Did you know that there had been a Christmas truce in 1914 during the First World War? It was perhaps fitting then that on Christmas Eve this year, the carillon was among 99 instruments in 11 countries that commemorated the 1914 Christmas truce.
   The truce was a spontaneous laying down of arms in various places along the western front by German, Belgian, and British soldiers that first year of the war, although Canadians had not yet joined them in combat.

Piece of Ontario history donated to LaSalle
   Known as the Speaker’s Chair, this piece of Canadian history has travelled from Toronto’s Queen’s Park to Windsor and now take its place in LaSalle City Council.

Canadian chef celebrates local food with his own stories
   Canadian chef Jamie Kennedy made a name for himself in Canada's culinary world through his poetically simple approach to cuisine. Now, a new cookbook finds the chef reflecting on four decades of cooking, and the re-birth of local food culture.


Strange ideas that never came to be: Five 'big ideas' never completed
   Read about the 'big ideas' that have come across the desks of Saskatoon city council.

British Columbia

BC Province: Looking forward to another successful tourism year
   British Columbia's tourism sector had a very successful year in 2014 as they prepare to welcome visitors from around the globe in 2015.

Stories of the Week
The country of Canada will celebrate it's first prime minister—Sir John Alexander Macdonald—in 2015.
   Sir John A. Macdonald came to Kingston, Ontario with his parents in 1820, and studied law with a lawyer in the city, before he himself became a lawyer.
   He seemed bound for greatness.
   As a militia private in the Rebellion of 1837, he took part in the attack on the rebels at Montgomery's Tavern in Toronto. As a lawyer, he later defended accused rebels, including Nils von Schoultz, leader of an attack on Prescott.
   Later, he took part in municipal politics in Kingston, and from 1843 to 1846, was an alderman. In 1844, at the of 29, he would be the elected to the Legislative Assembly of the province of Canada as the member from Kingston.
   His first cabinet post was as Receiver General in 1847, and he received numerous posts afterwards.
   During this time, he developed hid 'political sense' in which he preferred a country as a highly-structured one, based on a central, unitary form of government.
   Canada was formed on 01 July 1867, and Sir John A. Macdonald became its first prime minister.
   To see what is planned for his birthday, go to and download the pamphlet of events.
   There is also a Facebook page at

The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) will be presenting a full-day workshop on DNA testing in June.
   The workshop will deal with the main types of DNA testing used by genealogists as well as how the results from genetic testing are used in conducting or supporting genealogical research.
   They are also looking for speakers who would like to be take part.
   You’ll find their detailed call for presentations at
   The deadline to submit a proposal for the workshop is Saturday, 17 January 2015.

A number of new monuments will be unveiled in Canada.
   On May 12 this year, the federal government announced the design team for the new National Holocaust Monument, and on December 11, the design team for the National Memorial to Victims of Communism was announced

So both Mario and myself wish your and your family the best for 2015! We are looking forward to more developments in our genealogy world next year, and hope that you will be able to join us in the wonderful venture. Stay tuned!

Reminder: Check the Canadian Week in Review next Monday for the latest in Genealogy, Heritage, and History news in Canada. It’s the ONLY news blog of its kind in country!

The next post will be on 05 January 2015.

Saturday, December 27, 2014 is offering FREE access is offering FREE access to their site at They are offering FREE access to the best collections of 2014.

This offer ends at 11:59pm ET on December 29th, so don't wait.

Happy researching!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Canadian Week in Review - 22 December 2014

I have come across the following Canadian websites, social media websites, and newspaper articles this past week that were of interest to me, and I thought you might be interested in them, too.

1856 - Street Lights in Ottawa
   The city of Ottawa has had an interesting history of street lighting. In 1856, the first gas street lights were turned on at Sparks, Rideau, Sussex, York, and Nicholas Streets in Ottawa, They still had to be lit by a lamplighter each night. Streets were first lit by whale oil lamps, and electric arc lights were established in 1885.

1883 - Bridge over Niagara Falls
   In 1883, a cantilever bridge was opened between the United States and Canada at Niagara Falls. The 150-metre bridge was the first to be called a cantilever.

Social Media

(Tweet) Winter on Hollis Street, Halifax, ca. 1947

(Blog) Elgin County Virtual Tour Link - Thomas Talbot
   Go to and read about Colonel Thomas Talbot.

(Video) Historic Pinkston forge moved to new location in Brigus
   A 125-year-old building took a short trip in Brigus on Monday.
   The Pinkston forge was recently donated to the local heritage society by the family that owned it.



From Newfoundland and Labrador to Beaumont-Hamel

   The 774 Air Cadet Squadron will visit the site where Newfoundland Regiment’s somber engagement at Beaumont-Hamel took place on July 1, 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. It will mark the 100th anniversary of the battle.
Saint John's oldest church up for sale for $134,900
   St. George's Anglican Church, built in 1821, has been put on the market for $134,900, including its hall and three city lots.

Nova Scotia

Pictou paintings offer a glimpse into its industrial history
   Stephanie Robertson has a 20-painting exhibition at Stone Soup Cafe and Catering on Water Street in her hometown of Pictou. About half the show is about the railroad, only a memory in today's world.

Ottawa to fund $35.7-million in Quebec City historical projects
   Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced $35.7-million in funding for historical and archeological projects in Quebec City, while opening the door to further federal funding for a tall-ships regatta that will stop in the city in 2017.


Royal Ontario Museum to host exhibits from Franklin expedition
   This fall a team made up of specialists with Parks Canada and National Defence found a wreck submerged in 11 metres of water complete with a bell will all the identifying markers of the Erebus - and it has been found, and now is the centre of a exhabit at the Royal Ontario Museum.
Blackwell & Beddoe Lawrence: The maple leaf has symbolized Canada for 50 years, but its origins are still misunderstood
   When a committee began lobbying to have the city of Brockville designated as "the birthplace of the Canadian flag" and John Matheson, their MP in the 1960s, as "the father of the flag." Both claims are unfounded, and have recently ignited heated controversy.

Tour for Humantiy aims to make the connection: Lessons of past can apply to today, Westland students learn
   Grade 9 and 10 students at Westlane Secondary School were the first in Niagara to witness a mobile presentation at the Friends for the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies Tour for Humanity. The tour was invited to the school by Westlane’s Me to We Club.


Royal Proclamation to 'kitchen accord;' Canada's history on display in Winnipeg
   The collection of 11 documents, on loan from Library and Archives Canada, includes some of the most important original records in the country's history, spanning The Royal Proclamation of 1763 to more recent Constitution Act of 1982 created on made-in-Manitoba flax paper.

Unravelling the Riel family’s history
   Of all the historic figures in Manitoba, the most convoluted stories surround Louis Riel, the man who steered Manitoba in Confederation.

Genealogy Stories of the Week

Some stories which have passed over this desk this past week -

The Government of Canada has announced that they want young Canadians to be involved in developing a logo for the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. If you have a creative spirit and would like to make history, this logo design contest is for you!
   The contest is open to Canadian citizens residing in Canada or permanent residents living in Canada, 18 years and older, registered at a Canadian post-secondary institution in December 2014 and/or January 2015.
   You can submit your design online at Click on sections below for more details on the contest and how to enter. The contest will end at 11:59 p.m. EST on January 23, 2015.

The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) has announced that Families (their journal) will be delivered to its members electronically, starting with the February 2015 issue.
   They give the following reasons - 
  • Ability to click on any URLs and immediately check out the websites noted
  • No need to find storage space for a paper copy; instead, you will have easy storage on your computer hard drive, in the cloud, or on your mobile device
  • Ability to read Families on your tablet
  • Having the luxury of a backup copy in the Members-Only section of the OGS website
  • Helping OGS to go green
   Members with email addresses will automatically be placed on our list for the new version, while members without email addresses will continue to receive paper copies.
   Members wanting to receive a paper copy of Families must let Marsha Brown, Membership Coordinator, know by Jan. 9, 2015. Contact Marsha at 416-489-0734 or

Library and Archives Canada has the William Lyon Mackenzie King collection and has digitized his personal diary. The full text search offers unparalleled access to the document, one of the most remarkable sources of information on Canadian political history in the first half of the 20th century.
   Their Internet partner,, recently added more digitized microfilms to the site called Héritage , and they have recently released more Digitized Copies of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Personnel Service Files on their site at

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS), based in Ontario, is celebrating 15 Years of Online Genealogy Education.
   With hundreds of courses being offered today, it all started with a single course called 'Methodology-Part 1: Getting Started'.
   With hundreds of courses being offered today, they are giving away presents!
   Now's the time to sign-up for those courses you always wanted to take. Go to and sign up today. As a student in the Professional Development Certificate Program (I am halfway through), I can attest that the courses are current and challenging, and are a great test of your genealogy knowledge.

After a week of making calls and hard work, the Quebec Family History Society (QFHS) has their modem working again, and you can go back on the Member's only site once again.
   December 19th was the last day the library was open before the Christmas recess. It will stay closed until Monday, January 5th, 2015.

And talk about Christmas and the holiday season, may I wish each and everyone of you, my loyal readers, the best for the holiday season, and my thanks for making this blog popular and successful.
   As genealogy waits for no man (or woman), I will be working on my research projects this week, and like most good genealogists, I'll be too busy to see Santa drop down my chimney, eat the cookies, drink all the milk (and leave the fridge door open) before I realize he was here and left me something (nice, I hope)!

Reminder: Check the Canadian Week in Review next Monday for the latest in Genealogy, Heritage, and History news in Canada. It’s the ONLY news blog of its kind in country!

The next post will be on 29 December 2014. 
(These links were accessed 21 December 2014)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Canadian Week in Review - 15 December 2014

I have come across the following Canadian websites, social media websites, and newspaper articles this past week that were of interest to me, and I thought you might be interested in them, too.

1869 - T. Eaton Co. Limited
   In 1869, Timothy Eaton opened a small dry-goods store at the corner of Yonge and Queen streets in Toronto. He offered a new twist to department store selling - satisfaction guaranteed, or money refunded. His store became the largest department store chain in Canada. In September 1999, Sears Canada announced that it would buy the outstanding common shares of the insolvent Eaton’s.'s

Social Media

Newfoundland and Canada genealogy
   This blog is to provide resources for people researching family genealogy in Newfoundland, Canada.

(Photos) Hockey Life
   Library and Archives Canada has photos on their Flickr page of the history of hockey.

(Photos) Opinicon Resort on Rideau Canal up for auction starting at $500K
   For four generations, the same family ran the Opinicon Resort on the Rideau Canal, about an hour and half south of Ottawa - and now it's for auction.

(Video) 100 years of Manitoba hockey celebrated in new exhibit
   As part of the 100th anniversary of Hockey Manitoba, the organization and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame is celebrating those moments, and more, with a new exhibit that showcases the success of Manitobans in hockey.

(Video) Confederation gets its due in Museum of History show
   In early 2012, Museum of History curator Jean-Francois Lozier got a special assignment, his very first big exhibition - Confederation.

(Facebook) New - The Halton-Peel Branch Group
   The Halton-Peel Branch of the OGS is excited to announce the move from a Page to a Group. The address of the Facebook Group is


Nova Scotia

EDITORIAL: Order of Nova Scotia honours our own
   This fall, five new names joined the pantheon of those named to the Order of Nova Scotia since the honour’s inception in 2001. Four were invested at Province House Wednesday, a fifth will be invested later.

NS: Local history buff documents Maritime Building demolition
   Philip MacKenzie already has 43 hours of video and more than 500 photos documenting the demolition of the Maritime Building, and it’s not over yet.

Much to be gained by student participation in heritage and science fairs
   Every year, schools in Nova Scotia and across Canada participate in heritage and science fairs.

Volta Labs wants the old Library
   As the Halifax Central Library finally gets set to open its doors this weekend, the fate of the former Memorial Library across the street is still being decided.

New Glasgow to celebrate 200th anniversary of birth of Canada’s first PM
   The 200th anniversary of Sir John A. Macdonald birthday (11 January 1815), and his visit to New Glasgow will be celebrated on 08 January 2015 with an reenactment of the speech he gave on the 25 August 1888.

New Brunswick

Faculty, students create digital history of New Brunswick
   “Mapping New Brunswick Memories” uses oral histories from interviews of New Brunswick residents to create five virtual tours of the city on the website,


No license personalized plates in Quebec
   The project was cancelled due to concerns among government officials that some citizens would use English words or vulgar phrases.


Do the archiving here in Hamilton
   Library and Archives Canada doesn't know which departmental records should be disposed of or archived. And there is a backlog of 98,000 boxes of material waiting to be archived, some of it dating back to 1890, but no plan for how to deal with it.

Ontario heritage has its own day
   Hunting, trapping and fishing now has its own day - National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day on the third Saturday of September.

Natalie Bull: When governments invest funds in historic places, the returns are always impressive
   Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced $5.8 billion in infrastructure funding for federally owned historic sites, museums, national parks and other tourist attractions across Canada.


Regina Beach historical society wants you to share your memories
   Submissions will be accepted until the end of this year by mail to Box 102, Regina Beach, SK S0G 4C0, or by email as a Word or PDF file to Those who would like some help writing their stories can call 306-729-4906, or write

British Columbia

Got $10M? The West End’s historic Gabriola House is for sale
   One of Vancover's oldest buildings and the last of its kind in the West End, is up for sale. The historic Gabriola House, also known as the Rogers Sugar mansion, is on the market for $10 million.

A one hundred year journey
   The 100 Year Journey Gala on Saturday, November 29, 2014 presented by the publisher of Mehfil Magazine, Rana Vig, celebrated the past, present, and future of the South Asian community.

Genealogy Stories of the Week

Some stories which have passed over this desk this past week -

The Canada Aviation and Space Museum Foundation is asking people to support The Legacy Project – the Museum’s first crowdfunding campaign.
   As the site says, 'The Legacy Project is a documentary being created by Canadian film students and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Through first person accounts from Canadian Veterans—airmen and women who served in the RCAF, RAF, WAAF, and the Polish Air Force—as well as from former European civilians, the documentary will showcase the people and stories of the Second World War through the lens of aviation'.
   To find out more about the campaign, go to

Starting in January 2015, Ottawa Branch OGS will present a genealogical education session prior to the monthly program. Genealogy: Back To Basics will include a short lecture on a genealogical topic, followed by a Question and Answer session with Ottawa Branch members. If you are new to family history research or need a refresher, come out and join us.
   The first session will be Saturday 24 January 2015 at 10:30 a.m. in Room 115 of the City of Ottawa Central Archives. The presentation should last about 45 minutes and will be followed by a general Q&A session on genealogical topics until noon. Coffee and tea will be available throughout the morning.
   There is no charge for the session, and all are invited to return at 1:00 p.m. for the monthly presentation with Elizabeth Kipp and her talk on One Name Studies.
   The following is the current schedule for Genealogy B2B. For updates, check their website at

The Genealogical Society of Nova Scotia (GANS) will be offering an eight-week Genealogy 101 course beginning on February 2, 2015.
   The cost is $195 for non-members and $160 for members. For more details and to register, please go to

The members of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) were informed this week that the OGS has taken the step of issuing Families (their journal) in electronic format, starting with the February 2015 issue, although there will be an option to receive the paper version, if preferred.
   As the editor of Families, I find several advantages to the new format - in addition to resizing the text for viewing comfort, members will now be able to store and read Families online; click on live hyperlinks; and view the photographs, diagrams, and maps in full colour.

Reminder: Check the Canadian Week in Review next Monday for the latest in Genealogy, Heritage, and History news in Canada. It’s the ONLY news blog of its kind in country!

The next post will be on 22 December 2014.

(These links were accessed 13 December 2014)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Canadian Week in Review - 01 December 2014

I have come across the following Canadian websites, social media websites, and newspaper articles this past week that were of interest to me, and I thought you might be interested in them, too.


1837 - Rebellion in Upper Canada breaks out as Mackenzie's Rebels march on Toronto

   To read more, go to

1775 - December 5 - American Revolutionary War - Richard Montgomery begins American siege of Québec with aid of Benedict Arnold; will try to capture fortress before onset of winter. Québec, Québec.
   For more information on the Invasion of Canada (1775), go to

1890 - December 5 - Weightlifting - Québec strongman Louis Cyr lifts 534 lbs with one finger; working with the P.T. Barnum circus. USA
   For more information, go to

Social Media

(Pinterest) Nova Scotia and her ships - keepers of the Great Atlantic!

(Pinterest) Nova Scotia
   Pins about Nova Scotia hand-picked by Pinner Dianne Snider.

Genealogy Ensemble
A group of people get together in Montreal meet on a regular basis to discuss their genealogy, and now they have a blog. They say "Our ancestors came from Canada, the British Isles, France, Scandinavia, the United States, Italy, and many other countries."


Nova Scotia

'It’s beyond shocking': Historic church in Nova Scotia destroyed by massive fire
   The historic St. Mary’s Polish Parish is gone after a blaze gutted the Sydney-area place of worship on Saturday afternoon.


Denis Lebel confirms new span will keep Champlain Bridge name
   The name of the new bridge will be the same as the old bridge is called now - the Champlain Bridge.


Royal Canadian Mint's $5 coin features work of Cree artist Tim Whiskeychan
   Limited edition collector coin depicts traditional Cree goose hunt.

History to come alive in a fun, thought-provoking way during Macdonald Week
   The events of Macdonald Week—which will be held from January 6 to the 11th, and is timed to mark the first prime minister’s 200th birthday on 11 January. 11—are intended to kick off an entire year of events in Kingston, Ontario.

British Columbia

Pioneers tell tales of B.C.’s history
   Old-timers provide insight into the past, based on radio journalist Imbert Orchard's interviews—totalling 2,700 hours' worth, taped from 1959 to 1966—with some of British Columbia’s most inspiring pioneers. 

Story of the Week

There have been snippets of genealogy news this week in Canada.

The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) has now made available the index to Families, the journal of the Society, at However, a membership to the OGS is still required to view the full articles.
   Note that I am the current editor of Families.

he Manitoba Genealogical Society (MGS) is planning a possible Group Trip to Salt Lake City from May 17th to the 24th 2015.
   Send an email to if you are interested, or if you have any questions.
    Their website is

The Alberta Genealogical Society (AGS) has a new website at
   It is much cleaner than the former site, and is very professionally done. Great job!

I hear that the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia (GANS) is all settled in their new headquarters, and they held an open house this past Saturday to celebrate their new facility.
website is

The Quebec Family History Society (QFHS) is well into their 2014/15 season, with an upcoming meeting on Saturday, 13 December at 10:30 a.m. at the Briarwood Presbyterian Church Hall, 70 Beaconsfield Boulevard in Beaconsfield.
   The topic will be "Death of 6000 Irish Men, Women and Children", and the speaker will be Fergus Keyes, a Director of the Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation.

   And don't forget, they are planning a convention in 2015. So stay tuned for details.
   Their website is

The Surname Society, a new surname study group, has started international operations, and the Society has two Canadians on its board - Ottawa's own Elizabeth Kipp, their Newsletter Editor, and Linda Hauley, their Treasurer from the Toronto area.
   Their new website is at
   I know Elizabeth and Linda, both
personally and professionally, and offer them my most heartfelt congratulations on their new positions!

And that has been this week in Canadian genealogy.

Reminder: Check the Canadian Week in Review next Monday for the latest in Genealogy, Heritage, and History news in Canada. It’s the ONLY news blog of its kind in country!

The next post will be on 08 December 2014.