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 <>.

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 <>.

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, <>.

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 <> 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 <>.

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 <> or contact Margaret Burwell at <>.

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 <>.

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 <>.

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 website <>, 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" <>.

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 <>.

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 <>.