Friday, December 11, 2009

Ocean Arrivals

Some of you may remember when became a partner with the Library and Archives Canada back in 2007, and at the time, they said they would tackle the Canadian Passenger Lists first.

They have done that over the past two years, and the last bit of the puzzle—the Ocean Arrivals (1919-1924)—have now been added to the database.

The Ocean Arrivals is Form 30A, which took the place of those huge passenger lists that we were in various states of "hard-to-use" microfilm at the LAC. And now, they are all online at

So I took a look at the Ocean Arrivals.

First of all, they are individual passenger lists rather than ships' manifests, as the passenger lists were before 1919.

Since they were individual passenger manifests, they are in a semi-alphabteical order, and the following information is included on the form -

- the name of the ship

- the name of port of departure. The most popular ports of departure were Liverpool, England; London, England; Glasgow, Scotland; Antwerp, Belgium; and Southampton, England.

- arrival date in Canada

- the name of port of arrival in Canada. The five most popular ports were Quebec City, Quebec; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Vancouver, British COlumbia; and Victoria, British Columbia

- the name of the passenger

- his or her age at the time of arrival

- gender

- name of the birthplace

- marital status

- present occupation

- intended occupation

- race

- citizenship

- religion

- object of going to Canada

- whether intend to live permanently in Canada

- destination

- name of the nearest relative in the country from which they came

- passport information

These original records are from the Library and Archives Canada, where the microfilm is kept.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Conference 2010 - Everything is Going Green!

Not to be left out in the cold—technologically-speaking—Toronto Branch has just added something new to their blog: the syllabus of the 2010 Conference. And it is going green!

Instead of rushing around and not having time to pick what I want to attend in advance, I will now be able to choose at home what lecture I want to hear, and I will be able to print out just those ones. Nifty!

But if you don’t have the time (it’s always a question of time, isn’t it?), you can arrange to buy the printed variety at $15.00 a copy when you get to the conference itself.

I am interested to see how this works because it will be the first year for the Internet-based syllabus.

The syllabus can be viewed online at

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Saskatchewan Cemeteries

The Saskatchewan Minister of Justice has appointed Al Dwyer, the former Registrar of Cemeteries, to look into the matter of there are any cemeteries not being recorded, or left abandoned.

In a recent interview, Linda Dunsmore-Porter, President of the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, said that “We were approached by the Minister of Justice, Consumer Protection Branch, Registrar of Cemeteries, and were asked if a program could be developed, would SGS be willing to take on the administration of it. We agreed”.

In 1975, the SGS started to record the cemeteries in the province and, so far, has located 3,428 cemeteries and burial grounds, and have recorded 2,439 of them.

Linda says that they have already spent about two hours with Dwyer when he made his first stop.

“Al’s first stop was SGS, where we spent approximately two hours discussing the issue, how SGS could help, and various ideas about the process”.

Dwyer says that groups, individuals, and organizations interested in the working group can leave their contact information for him at 1.877.880.5550.

You can check out the SGS cemetery website at <>.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 Releases Indexing Update has been actively indexing Canadian records for a number of years. They have currently completed two projects, and have recently started another three projects.

The ones they have just completed are the British Columbia Deaths (1872-1986) and Marriages (1859-1932).

The new ones that they have just taken on is the Deaths (1872-1986) Part 2 of British Columbia, and the Indexing of the Trust Cemeteries (1826-1935) of Toronto.

There was a piece about the Toronto Trust Cemeteries in the November 2009 issue of the OGS' newsletter, NewsLeaf, on page 70 under "News Briefs" in which the project was described, and the cemeteries named which are included in the project. It is 1% complete.

Another project which they have recently started is Registres Paroissaux of Montreal (1800-1900) which is 8% complete. It is in French.

You can help by volunteering to help at and the completed projects and digital image collections can be searched for free at

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ontario Marriage Registers by Clergy (1896-1948)

This fall, released the Ontario Marriage Registers by the Clergy database. It houses information on 12,000 marriages listed under the Registration Act of 1896.

Most of the marriages are by Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian ministers.

The ministers had to report the marriages within 30 days of when they took place.

There were pre-printed forms that the ministers had to fill out, and the spaces covered such items as name, age, residence, whether bachelor/spinster or widow/widower, occupation for the groom only, religious denomination, and names of parents.

The record also contained both signatures of the people being married, and the names and addresses of the witnesses.

The database can be found at

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Online Access to Tweedsmuir Histories

Since 1920, the Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario has been gathering local history and has been preserving the histories in book form. *

On Nov 19th — in conjunction with the Ontario Genealogical Society — they issued a press release to say that they are partnering with the OGS to digitize 989 local histories and put them in OGS' e-Library.

About a half-million pages of history will be digitized.

"The books include a history of the local settlers in the area, the agricultural practices and industries that formed the basis of the local economy, the social institutions such as churches, schools and community centres, and local personalities," says the press release.

The project will take at least three years, and the project will "identify, conserve, preserve, and digitize all available Ontario Tweedsmuir Histories."

* Background information on the Treedsmuir Histories can be read in its entirely at the OGS website by clicking on "News" on the left-hand side of the webpage.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Publications This Fall

I have been quite successful in having a number of articles published this fall -

1. Canadian Funeral News - "Canadian Cemeteries are being saved by the Internet". November 2009. Pages 14-17.

This was an interesting piece to write. I sort of went "outside the box", so to speak, and had fun contacting everyone for the article, which was delivered on a very short timeline - but I'm used to deadlines!

It contains interviews with Sherri Pettit, the Director of the OntGenWeb Project, about the Canadian GenWeb Cemetery Project, and she led me to Debra Mann, who singlehandedly is saving cemeteries (Sherri calls her a "cemetery hopper") in Western Ontario, to Graveyard Rabbits in Canada, to Jim McKane, who has started - where you can transcribe tombstones on to his site.

If, by chance, you do take a look at the article, the first picture is one of the headstone of my great-great-great uncle, James BARCLAY, and his wife, Catharine BINGAY, from Shelburne, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

2. Discovering Family History - "Discovering Your Family History Center!". November/December 2009.

This article looked at the Family History Centres around the world to see why they have been so successful.

There are over 4,500 in the world now, and I took a look at the one in Ottawa on Prince of Wales Drive, and interviewed Shirley-Ann Pyefinch, its Director.

I asked her what she liked about working for the FHC, and how it has changed since she became its director three years ago.

3. Family Tree Magazine - "Follow your ancestors to Canada", November 2009. Pages 66-68.

This article focusses mainly on the Canadian Genealogy Center of the Library and Archives Canada.

I put the article out there for people to read because I don't think enough has been written about it yet, and what a great resource it is to the world.

I talk about the many databases that have been put online, and how the centre has coped with putting these databases online since its inception in 2003.

4. e-NewsLeaf - If you belong to the Ontario Genealogical Society, you already know about it.

But if you don't know about it, e-NewsLeaf it is an electronic newsletter that is issued in January, March, April, June, July, September, October, and December, and it contains short articles about what the different branches have been doing, bringing members up-to-date on the latest OGS news.

It's headed toward its second year as an added bonus to the members of the OGS, and I quite enjoy doing it.

I have a number of articles coming in the winter - an interview with Glenn Wright, a genealogist from Ottawa and an expert in Canadian military matters; one about Youth Genealogy, which is really taking off in the United States, and a few other pokers in the fire—so to speak—which I hope to have confirmed shortly.

I would say that I have a busy winter to look forward to - and come to think of it - a busy spring, too!