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: <>.