Monday, October 20, 2014

Canadian Week in Review - 20 October 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.

History Week in Canada (October 14 – October 20, 2014) 

In 1937, public schools in Toronto opened after a six-week delay caused by a polio epidemic which claimed 150 lives.

To read more about the polio epidemic, go to
In 1923, Canada’s “Bluenose” defeated the “Columbia” in an international boat race.

To view a Heritage Minute video of the Bluenose, go to
In 1967, Expo 67, which opened in Montreal on April 27, closed with a final attendance total of more than 50 million.

To read about Expo ’67, go to

Social Media

(Video) Maritime artist Canada's iconic Heritage Minutes into works of art
Christopher Hemsworth says he is such a big fan of the Heritage Minutes vignettes that his friend bought him the complete set of commercials on DVD.
Researching Relatives - A Genealogy Blog about Searching for Ancestors

Joanne Cowden, a new blogger, has ancestors in various US states, Canada, France, and Germany, and now she is starting to share these ancestors with follow genealogists.

Nova Scotia

Memorial planned for Nova Scotia woman murdered in domestic violence case a century ago
More than 100 years ago, the name of Theresa (Balsor) McAuley Robinson was on the lips of many Kings County residents. Her husband, William S. Robinson, was judged guilty of her murder and sentenced to death. He was the last person publicly hung in Kings County.

Legacy of local Springhill Veterans preserved
Scott Armstrong, Member of Parliament for Cumberland–Colchester–Musquodoboit Valley, today announced Government of Canada funding for the restoration of the Springhill Soldiers' Monument, which honours the achievements and sacrifices of Veterans from within the community.

Libraries: Presenting history in a different way
Discover history can be approached in a new ways at Nova Scotia libraries, such as storytelling and writing your own history.

Vandals can’t stop work on Black Loyalist Heritage Centre
What promises to be one of Nova Scotia’s star attractions in 2015 is nearing completion in Shelburne County, despite a setback caused by vandalism.
During the 1780s, Birchtown had the largest population of free blacks outside Africa, when some 3,500 arrived there after the American Revolution.

Hundreds attend Halifax powwow, celebrate Mi’kmaq History Month
Hundreds of aboriginal people and non-natives celebrated First Nations heritage and culture on Saturday at an indoor powwow in Halifax.

History: Hantsport was flourishing 98 years ago
When a New Brunswick-based magazine published a feature on the  Annapolis Valley in 1916, Hantsport was one of the towns profiled.

Prince Edward Island

Bonavista honoured with Prince of Wales prize
Heritage Canada award recognizes town for preservation of building.

New Brunswick

Historic Edmundston church will soon be rebuilt
Anglican St. John the Baptist Church was destroyed in a suspicious fire on September 20th.


The First World War: Excerpts from the diary of Woodman Leonard
Follow Lt. Col. Leonard during the weeks he travelled from battleground to battleground.

Quiz: Can you pass this Canadian citizenship test?
About 140 students from across the country were put to the Citizenship Challenge on Wednesday when they played a bingo-style game at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa.

The Musées de la Civilisation de Québec to be honoured in Ottawa for their exhibition dedicated to Aboriginal peoples
Inaugurated in November 2013, This Is Our Story: First Nations and Inuit in the 21st Century, is the latest addition to the Musées de la Civilisation de Québec's (MCQ) permanent exhibits. This ambitious project offers a contemporary vision of the cultural diversity and Aboriginal realities within Quebec.


Stuart Stuart Murray out as head of Canadian human rights museum
tuart Murray, a former Manitoba Progressive Conservative leader who oversaw the construction of the museum in Winnipeg since 2009, is leaving on November 1st, and another chief executive officer is being sought, the board of trustees said Wednesday.


The First World War: Excerpts from the diary of Woodman Leonard
Follow Lt. Col. Leonard during the weeks he travelled from battleground to battleground.

City recognized for efforts in historic preservation
The City of Medicine Hat is gaining new recognition for a program to protect its history.

British Columbia

Touring BC's 'Hidden' History Shared by Chinese and Indigenous People
Every year for the last five years, Bill Chu has conducted treks along the Fraser Canyon, up to Lytton, Lillooet, and Mount Currie. His purpose: to educate Canadians about the "real" shared history of Indigenous and Chinese people in British Columbia.

Story of the Week

Credit: Library and Archives Canada / C-029399

The Great Depression 

Starting in 1929, the Great Depression swept over the world, and it affected Canada greatly because of our dependence on exporting natural goods to countries that no longer needed them since their own industrial capacity was reduced because of the Depression.

Between 1929 and 1939, the gross national product dropped 40% (compared to 37% in the US). Unemployment reached 27% at the depth of the Depression in 1933! Many businesses closed, as corporate profits of $398 million in 1929 turned into losses of $98 million, due to falling prices.

It was a terrible time for our country.

When I was a child, I can remembers stories that my family use to tell of how they coped with the Depression, and of how my father took “to the rails” as a young man looking for work on the farms in Ontario . He found work on the fruit farms in the Niagara region of Ontario.

One of the imitative which brought my father back to Nova Scotia was the paving of roads that I wrote about in the post Nova Scotia Paving Programme in 1934 the government undertook, and eventually the breakout of the Second World War.

If you have the occasion to research a person who was trying to come to Canada during the Depression years from the United states, for instance, do not be surprised if you find they were denied entry, unless they could prove that they wouldn’t take jobs away from Canadians.

If you want to learn more about the Great Depression, read this article -

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 27 October 2014.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New Digitized Ontario Patent Plans

We now have more than 4,100 recently digitized patent plans on the Archives of Ontario’s Visual Database. 

The images are fully accessible and in high-resolution in a zoomable format that allows you to view fine details – and some of the details are very fine detail indeed! 

Most, but not all of the Patent Plans are available, although looking through them, I would say that most of them are available. You can check to see if the AO have an original plan at the Archives Descriptive Database. 

You can read more about the Patent Plans at, and it gives the list of township or town that are available to view. I was looking for Elzivir Township and I found it. It was a list of names, showing where they were located in the township at the time. 

Just another tool that you can use to find out exactly where your ancestor was located!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Oxford County Branch is now on Facebook!

Another Ontario Genealogical Society Branch has joined Facebook and it’s the Oxford County Branch in Southwestern Ontario. 

And it’s looks like they are of to a rousing start! 

They have lots of events to attend, and on their website, there are lots of information, for instance, there are wills, directories, and there is an index to obituaries online. So check them out! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

LAC Update: Digitized Canadian Expeditionary Force personnel service files are starting to go online

Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-28-826

We have just received this notice from Library and Archives Canada(LAC) that they are finally putting digitized Canadian Expeditionary Force personnel service files on their site.

Here is the notice -

"In January 2014, we announced a project to digitize 640,000 Canadian Expeditionary Force personnel service files as part of the First World War commemoration activities of the Government of Canada. The goal of this project is to provide free access to high-quality digital copies of all service files in PDF format, anytime and anywhere.

Close to 100 years old, these personnel files are quite brittle. Additionally, over the years, service files have been consulted many times, so they are extremely fragile. It was time to take concrete steps to ensure their preservation for future generations.

To achieve this goal, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will have to close portions of this collection as they undergo preparation, conservation, and digitization. The entire process is complex because each file must be examined: staples, paper clips and glue must be removed, and in some cases, the files must be treated for mould. After this preparation is completed, digitization is next, starting with box No. 1 and going up. Once digitized, the service files will be stored in a permanent, safe environment. We estimate that 32,000,000 pages will be available online once digitization is finished.

We are happy to inform you that we have started posting the digitized files online. They are accessible via our Soldiers of the First World War: 1914–1918 data base. As of today, 76,330 files are available online. Regular uploads of about 5,000 files will take place every two weeks. All digitized files are searchable by name, regimental number and rank. We will inform you as more digitized files are added to the database.'

So the website is at 

Two “brick walls” meetings in Canada in November

Two genealogical societies at opposite ends of the county are going to tackle Brick Walls - the British Columbia Genealogical Society (BCGS)  in Vancouver and the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia (GANS) in Halifax in the month of November! 

The first meeting Brick Walls Seminar 2 – Sharing Strategies on Tough Genealogy Problems by the British Columbia Genealogical Society (BCGS) will be Saturday, November 1, 1:00 – 5:00 pm.  

The panel members - M. Diane Rogers, Brenda L. Smith, and Peter Whitlock will then meet with attendees who have submitted questions in advance for 1-on-1 fifteen minute consultations. While this is happening special guest speaker Eunice Robinson will give a talk on planning a trip to Salt Lake City.

A delicious light meal and refreshments will be provided. And there are great door prizes for lucky participants, including a year’s subscription to and a year’s membership in the BC Genealogical Society!

There will be an end-of-the-day wrap-up plus lots of opportunities to ask questions and share experiences!

The fee will be $20.00 (includes food), and an additional charge of $10 for 1-on-1 meeting with an Expert.

Contact the BCGS for details and tickets: or call Susan Snalam at 604 273 8209. Pay at a meeting in person or through PayPal. We will ask for your phone number and an e-mail address, if applicable. These will only be used in case we need to contact you about this Seminar.

The website is at

The Genealogical Association of Novaa Scotia (GANS) will hold the second brick wall meeting on Tuesday, November 25, and it will be the 5th Annual Brick Wall Busters (Monthly Meeting) from .7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. It will be held at the Nova Scotia Archives, Akins Room, 6016 University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Ginny Clark, CG(C), Dr. Allan Marble, CG(C) and Doug Cochrane CG(C) will provide information found on submitted brick wall questions. The deadline for receiving questions will be midnight October 25th, 2014.

Please include all pertinent available information such as surname and given name, approximate dates, area of Nova Scotia, the piece of information you would like to find, sources you have already checked, and your contact information. You should a present a specific question in which you require an answer or are most interested. We must receive adequate information in order to properly assist you with your query otherwise it may not be accepted.

Eight queries will be selected to be addressed at our lecture on November 25, 2014: four from local members who will be attending the meeting and four from members outside of the Halifax Regional Municipality who are not able to attend the meeting.

At the event, the local members will read their queries for the benefit of other attendees. A member of the GANS Executive will read the queries from the members from “away”.

To get details of the meeting, go to

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Goenovium Conference updates

Last month, we first heard about the Goenovium Conference which was to take place on October 7 in Leiden, Netherlands. Their blog is at

The conference took place, and one of the participants was Winnipeg’s and Canada’s own Louis Kessler, and his talk was on Reading wrong GEDCOM right.

He has posted his thought of the conference on his Behold Genealogy blog at, and the slides of his talk is at

He also has Tweets from the conference, plus lots of pictures.
You can also hear about the conference from Sue Adams, a British genealogist, on Dear Myrt’s My Tube channel called Mondays with Myrt at
She was on the panel discussion at the end of the day which was called Panel Discussion: Current & Future Genealogical Exchange Standards. 
They had an interesting discussion on the role of GEDCOM, GEDCOM X, FHISO, FamilySearch, Genealogy APIs, Sync and Market Forces. 
This is of particular interest to me because of the role that FHISO can play in this. I think it goes beyond GEDCOM and GEDCOM X to the heart of having a standard by which information is synced between the different platforms.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Canadian Week in Review - 13 October 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.

History Week in Canada (October 7 – October 13, 2014) 

In 1668, Canada's first institution of higher education, The Quebec Seminary, later called Laval University, was founded by Bishop François de Laval. 

François de Laval was made a Saint by Pope Francis in April 2014.

In 1811, Sir Isaac Brock became president and administrator of the government of Upper Canada. 

For the biography of Sir Isaac Brock, go to 
In 1877, the first steam locomotive on the Prairies, the "Countess of Dufferin," arrived in Winnipeg by barge down the Red River.

The history of the “Countess of Dufferin” is at  

Social Media

(Video) Editorial: Naming bridge worth effort 
Read about the effort to name a bridge in Saskatoon
(Video) Moncton's Castle Manor to be converted into high-end condos 
The new owners of Moncton's Castle Manor plan to convert the historic landmark into high-end condos.


Locals included in oral history collection project
Some Grand Falls-Windsor residents got to share their reflections of home today as part of a national project.

Nova Scotia

Home for Colored Children apology: N.S. says sorry to ex-residents 
The province has formally apologized to former residents who faced years of abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, a former Halifax orphanage.

Digby municipality accepts Bear River, Point Prim and Boars Head lighthouses
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) formally and officially offered the Bear River lighthouse, the Point Prim lighthouse, and the Boar’s Head lighthouse properties to the Municipality of the District of Digby in September.

Prince Edward Island

Winners of the 2014 National Heritage Awards announced
The recipients of the Prince of Wales Prize, the Leadership Awards, and the Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Awards were formally nominated by Canadians from across the country.

A man who left his mark on our Island
Capt. Holland was ordered by the Crown to survey British North America, including P.E.I. He and his determined crew, who arrived on the survey ship Canceaux, spent a year surveying what was then called St. John’s Island.


A group pressing to have images of famous women included in the next set of banknotes learned that their petitions and letters have apparently fallen on deaf ears.

The First World War: Excerpts from the diary of Woodman Leonard
The excerpts from Lt. Col. Woodman Leonard's diary of November 1916.

Canadian War Museum launches national Supply Line program for schools
Supply Line, an educational program, is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

Canadian War Museum earns TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award
The Canadian War Museum has just won a 2014 Travelers’ Choice Award from TripAdvisor in the category of Top Museums.

A Queen And Her Country
The 60-year reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has paralleled Canada’s development as a modern, diverse country. Through her numerous visits, she has kept our British heritage and traditions alive.

Editorial of the Week

Is it time we have a Family History Month in Canada? 

Australia had their very successful Family History Month in September, and the United States is now celebrating their Family History Month this month (October), but where is Canada’s Family History Month?

The closest we come to this designation is having Family Day in February in some of the provinces (which may or may not feature genealogy), but what about a month-long celebration of this country’s family history? 

Are there enough people who would be interested in doing this? Could we keep it interesting year after year? Do you think we need a Family History Month in Canada?

All the genealogical societies would have to come together year after year to make this a success, and are we capable of making this happen? With social media so prevalent these days, it should be easier now than it was even a few years ago.

Leave a comment (below), and let me know what you think. Do you think we should start a conversation about this, or is it too much for Canadian genealogists to take seriously?

Now, word has filtered up to Ottawa that there are some people who are thinking of having a national genealogy conference in Halifax next year. Notice the proposed word ‘national’ in the title of the convention. Will this be the beginning of a new convention in Canada?

They have national Canadian speakers who are interested in attending, and maybe this could become a viable thing to start in Canada. Maybe it could be the crowning glory to a month-long genealogy Family History Month.

There are lots of ways this could be approached, but I think it’s time that we start a national conversation about this. If not, we are being left behind again. We complain when other people seem to overlook us because we don’t celebrate our own genealogists and websites, but what do we do to promote our own people?

What do you think of this idea?

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 20 October 2014.