Showing posts with label Show all posts
Showing posts with label Show all posts

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Podcasts at BIFHSGO

As I get in the car this morning to go to the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) monthly meeting at 9:00 am at the Library and Archives Canada, I am reminded of the number of podcasts that are now online on their website.

For example, there is a two-part podcast with Gary Schroder, president of the Quebec Family History Society. He talks about the Cadastral Numbering System, and how they hold the key to the land records in Quebec. Gary calls it ‘the hidden history of Quebec”.

The website is at

There are also interviews with four founding members of BIFHSGO - Fern Small, Gary Bagley, Alan Rayburn, and Bob Campbell.

There are interviews with Malcolm Moody, Canadian Archive CD Books from Ottawa, Ed Zapletal, Moorshead Magazines, and Lesley Anderson from and Ottawa, who talks about her experiences at "Who Do You Think You Are?". The interview was recorded live in London with Lesley.

There are over 30 interviews to listen to, all of them enlightening. I think BIFHSGO is the only society in Canada which has adopted this method of doing interviews at such a prolific pace.

A big “Thank You” goes out to John D. Reid (who tells us in an interview why he blogs), Brian Glenn, and Brooke Broadbent for conducting the interviews.

So have fun listening to the podcats.

I have a feeling that BIFHSGO will be doing a lot more podcasts in the future. Another example of how social media is changing the genealogy world!

The BIFHSGO webite is online at

Thursday, June 28, 2012 is FREE!

To celebrate Canada Day on July 1st, is offering FREE access to more than 40 million historical records that is available now to July the 2nd.
Free access includes -
 Canadian Passenger Lists and Ocean Arrivals - outlining the masses of people who arrived by ship -- the only form of international travel available to people at the time -- at port cities across Canada
The 1871 Census of Canada - the first Census Canada conducted as a nation, which gives a snapshot of the life of the people living at the time, including who they lived with, their ages, their jobs, the birthplaces of their parents, their neighbours and more
Vital records (i.e. birth, marriage and death records) from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia - outlining the significant moments in the people’s lives like children born, marriages and deaths.
Visit to search all of the records being made available for free this weekend.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Genealogy Corner

I have started writing a genealogy column called "The Genealogy Corner" in The Review – a weekly newspaper in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. The column is geared towards beginning genealogists, but I think anyone can gain a new insight in the views that I have put forward in the column.

The column appears every two weeks in print, but unfortunately, doesn't appear on the website, so if you are interested, you will have to buy the paper or get an online subscription. The website is

The columns that have been printed so far this year are -
  • March 14 - Finding Your Canadian Roots
  • March 28 - A Genealogical Society Is Not Just Another Society
  • April 11 - It's Time to go Back to School – Year Round
  • April 25 - It’s Time to Start Your Research!
  • May 9 - The Year Genealogy Was Reborn In Canada
 The next column on May 23 will be all the changes that are taking place at

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Good news everyone - announced on May 1st that they will have FREE access to Canada's Immigration Records over the May 21st holiday!

This weekend is known in Canada as Victoria Day Weekend (when we celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday as well as Queen Elizabeth's official birthday), there will be free access to passenger arrival records, naturalization records, border crossings, emigration records, passports, and convict transportation records.

Good luck in researching your ancestors!

Thursday, February 16, 2012 Offers FREE Access to Records

I just received this press release from In part, it says -

“Did you know that almost 40 per cent of Ontarians can’t trace their ancestry back more than 100 years, and 40 per cent don’t know when their family first arrived in Canada? Even more surprising, almost 35 per cent don’t know the maiden names of either of their grandmothers.

Family Day is an ideal time to spend with loved ones discovering the ancestors that came before you. With schools and shops closed, not to mention the chilly winter temperatures, there’s no better time to stay indoors and close to the ones you love, and to start to learn about your genealogy.

Lesley Anderson, genealogist for, is available to discuss:

· Why Family Day is the perfect time of year to begin your family research
· Tips on getting started and gathering information
.  How to use historic records available on to find your ancestors
· How to get family members – including your kids – involved in your family history project
. How to incorporate memories from this year’s Family Day into your family tree

In honour of Family Day, ( is providing free access to more than 28 million records. Those wishing to discover their family history this week will be able to explore all Canadian birth, marriage and death records free of charge until Monday, February 20th".

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Paul McGrath Memorial Lecture

Last week, the Toronto Family History Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society released information on an upcoming evening event in memory of the late Paul McGrath, a remarkable, accomplished and greatly-missed local and family historian. The inaugural Toronto History Lecture in Paul’s memory will feature a colourful and controversial figure from the city’s past.

The speaker will be local writer and historian Chris Raible, as he presents “Rebel Remembered: The Legacy of William Lyon Mackenzie, 150 Years After His Death”. Chris is an expert in Upper Canadian history with a particular focus on the career of Toronto’s first mayor. He is the author of four books – two on Mackenzie – and has spoken and conducted seminars for many heritage organizations.

Before the lecture, be sure to find out more about the Archives and its spectacular collection of records – including 12 million photographs, more than 3000 maps, and records from the townships, villages and boroughs that form Toronto today.

Free admission but reservations required

Thursday, 4 August 2011

7:30 pm sharp (refreshments 6:30–7:30)

City of Toronto Archives, 255 Spadina Road, Toronto

For more information about this special event and to reserve a seat, visit

The Toronto History Lecture is organized and supported by an informal group of friends and associates of Paul McGrath and the following organizations:

City of Toronto Archives

Ontario Genealogical Society

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 is FREE for Royal Visit

From June 30th through to July 8th, 2011 when the Royal Couple are in Canada, will be offering free access.

To explore the free records and to sign up for a free 14 day trial, please visit

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Canada Day (July 1) is a Free Day!

Be sure to catch's Free Day on July 1st - Canada Day.

Actually, it's free until July 3rd.

The only catch is that the immigration records are the only records which are free - but check them out anyway.

They cover Immigration Records from 1865 to 1935.

This is the press release I received -
"Happy Canada Day Elizabeth!

Canada Day is not only a great day to spend with family - it's the perfect time to get together and learn more about how your family came to be Canadian.

For the first time ever, is making available The Canadian Passenger Lists Collection, 1865 to 1935, FREE* until July 3rd, 2009.

Don't miss this great opportunity to discover your Canadian story in The Canadian Passenger Lists today."
Happy Hunting!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Canadian Civil Servants List (1872-1900) has made the announcement that they have put on the fully-indexed Canadian Civil Servants List (1872-1900) "which features more than 78,000 records of those employed in departments of the Canadian Government during the country's early days of Confederation."

The press release says that this database gives the "family researcher a unique opportunity to find out how an ancestor's career might have progressed and how much they earned, as well as offer personal individual information such as birth date, age, date of first appointment, years at post, promotion to present rank, creed or religion and nationality of origin."

There are 22 government departments in the database including the Post Office Department, Department of Finance, and the Department of Public Printing and Stationary.

Karen Peterson, Marketing Director for, comments that "Collections such as the Canadian Civil Servants, which includes information on occupation, salary and career development, are vital as they enable family history enthusiasts to better understand how their ancestors lived by providing historical, factual context to their lives."

The Canadian Civil Servants Lists, 1872-1900 is available to Canada and World Deluxe members, and through a free 14-day trial at

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Canadian Census - 2006

There has been talk the last couple days in the media about the 2006 Canadian Census not counting nearly a million people that they should have counted.

It's true! If you check Wikipedia <>, you will see that the population count in 2006 was 31,612,897 and that was lower than actual count in 2006 - 32,623,490 people.

That is over a million short - someone didn't fill out their census return!

This is made even more odd by the fact that this was the first year that the form were offered online and you could fill it there. It will be interesting to see what Census Canada does with this problem!

Meanwhile, Question 53 is still up in the air and hasn't been resolved, according to genealogists. Statistics Canada agrees to release the Census information after 92 years, but it will only be information by those people who have checked the box.

The statistics show that there was a "yes" reponse by 55.50% of the population - the highest being in PEI, with 64.50%.

If you have't read the blog of Nov 16th where I talk about and FamilySearch partnering on indexing and digitizing the census from 1851 to 1916, go to the blog <> and take a look - it's interesting.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

FamilySearch Looking for Volunteers!

FamilySearch International is going to make the indexes to the 1861, 1871, and 1916 census available online for free with the help of online volunteer indexers, and an agreement with

The press release says that "Online volunteers are needed to help transcribe select information from digital images of the historical documents into easily searchable indexes."

The completed indexes will be available for free at <>.

If you want to become a volunteer, you can start right away by registering online at <>, by downloading the free indexing software, and selecting the 1916 Canada Census project.

It will take about 30 minutes to finish one page of the census, and the volunteer has one week to finish it, if need be.

"The 1916 census was selected first because it is the most recent and smallest of the three census targeted in the first place. It included three of the western provinces (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta), and has about 1.7-million names - so it will not take long to complete," said Stephen Young, FamilySearch Project Manager.

It is interesting that they have picked three personalities known to people, that is; Arthur Gordon Kelly (Art Linkletter), Sir William Samuel Stephenson (real-life inspiration for James Bond), and Elvina Fay Wray (Fay Wray) who appeared in the 1916 census as example of people you can meet along the way to indexing the census - to make it more interesting to transcribe, I suppose.

The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) owns, and is providing the digital images for, the Canada Census Project.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Joint Initiative Provides Online Access to Canadian Censuses and FamilySearch International made an announcement on Nov 11th that they will partner on the digitized and indexing of the Canadian census.

The press release says that the "joint initiative will allow the organizations to improve online access to a comprehensive collection of Canadian censuses".

As apart of the agreement, will provide images and index to for censuses 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1916, and will provide images and index to for the 1851, 1891, 1901, and 1906 Census.

Notice that nowhere is the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) mentioned. The LAC originally held the census records on microfilm (being transferred to them by StatsCan), but through agreements with and, they seemed to have lost control over them in how they are used.

And it looks like the "free" search on is about to come to an end. The press release says that the images "will be free to all qualified (those people who have done transcription work for FamilySearch members and at all FamilySearch family history centers".

Thursday, November 13, 2008 and the Library and Archives Canada

This is a story that's turning into a soap opera of sorts - it's becoming "the continuing story of LAC and".

In 2007, a partnership was drawn up between the LAC and, and it was announced at the 2007 Ontario Genealogical Society Seminar. I was there to hear it as well as were about 500 other people. It was as if the air had been sucked out the room - people were astounded by the news! "We didn't know that this was going on" - was the complaint of the people. It had come as a complete surprise! said at that time that the release of the Quebec City Immigration Records was Number One on its list of things to do, and that they would make it available online at as well as the free LAC website. It is not on the LAC site - yet.

Then the Passenger Lists (Canada's Immigration Lists) from 1865 to 1935 was made public the first part of September on That sort of caught me by surprise because I was expecting it to be released early in 2009 - but there it was - much to everyone's surprise. And it was not released at the LAC in Ottawa - but at headquarters in Toronto. It is supposed to be on the LAC site - but so far, it hasn't appeared.

And now, another press release in which Josh Hanna, a Senior VP of Ancestry International, and Ian Wilson, Chief Librarian and Archivist of Canada, are saying that will "digitize and index microfilm and original records (my italics) held by LAC and make these available to members." It goes on to say that "all of the digitized records will eventually be available free of charge to users of the LAC website". Notice that they say "digitized" records, and not "indexed" records.

Mr. Hanna says that "This is a win-win relationship for Ancestry to offer a wide range of Canadian collections to its members and in turn LAC will receive the expertise, experience and person hours that are required for imaging and indexing these records."

We all know that the LAC, being a government department, doesn't have the money to hire people (as the National Archives of Ireland has found out in its transcription of the 1901 and 1911 Irish census, and now has put it out to transcription companies to bid on it - they have said that they have chosen the company - but wouldn't say who it is at the Irish Symposium in Ottawa in November).

But I believe that this is the crux of the matter - the LAC simply does not have the money. So it has turned to to do the digitization and indexing of the microfilm and original records - and the LAC will take whatever it has agreed to put onsite. We will see what that is as time goes by.

In the meantime, were you as surprised as I when you opened the Globe and Mail newspaper yesterday morning, and read where had made a major mistake by putting a German soldier where there should have been a Canadian soldier in its Remembrance Day advertisement in the paper the previous day? issued an apology and it said it will never happen again.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Virtual War Memorials

With news this weekend that they have found the remains of another unknown solider in Europe—and that he has been buried at a Remembrance Day Ceremony at Vimy this past weekend—brought home the fact that the wars in which they have fought will never die. It is our duty to remember them.

Canada now has 5,890 Vitual War Memorials that you can visit online on the Canada's Veteran Affairs website. Go to <>.

On a personal note, Mario Lapointe, my husband and a full-time reservist in the Air Force, will be in the Remembrance Day Parade tomorrow at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

I will be there, too, and afterwards we will go to a reception at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel to mingle with the veterans and with fellow sailors, soldiers, and airmen/airwomen who marched in the ceremony that morning.

There also won't be a blog on Wednesday because it will be Mario's birthday! I've got a full day and evening of activities planned for him, so I won't be home at all on that day.

If you wish, you can go to the Juno Beach Parade article that both of us wrote for that day five years ago <>.

So I'll see you Thursday when I will talk about the "partnership" between the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Attestation Papers of Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF)

In 1996, the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) started working on the transcription of the Attestation Papers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) of the First World War. There were 600,000 Canadians who signed up for service in the war, which lasted from 1914 to 1918.

The LAC hired students from Renfrew, Ontario over the summer of 1996 to start work by scanning and processing the images. The Gatineau Preservation Centre Team worked on the project from 1997-1998, and the LAC team worked on it from 1999 to 2000.

You can find the person in the online database at <>, and by putting the name in the search feature, and it will give you the soldier's rank, reference number, the date of birth, and the digitized copy of the Attestation Paper itself, which contains even more information.

Also, one can find chaplains and nurses online in this database.

On the other hand, I see where has issued the Attestation Papers!

They say that the papers were issued to mark Remembrance Day in Canada - but if the Attestation Papers and other information are already on the Canada Genealogy Centre's website - isn't this duplication of effort?

By the way, the "other information" which is available from the CGC is the record of service, casualty form, discharge certificate, war service gratuity, hospital cards, medical history sheet, body temperature chart, last pay certificate, dental history chart, and medical examination upon leaving the service.

You can get this information by simply filing out the form contained online at <>.