Monday, August 31, 2009

Latest Issue of "Ottawa Branch News"

This will be the second-to-last newsletter that will be in its current format.

Starting with the January-February 2010 issue, things are going to change.

It will be in a new 8.5 x 11 format, and the name will change to - "The Ottawa Genealogist. A publication of the Ottawa Branch, Ontario Genealogical Society".

A sample of the new name and format has been passed to the board, and by all accounts, it has been a success.

Included in this issue of the newsletter are "Research at the Archives of Ontario", "Early Residents of Ottawa's Sandy Hill Neighbourhood", and "Memorial No. 2 Carleton County Copy Book".

They have an interesting section at the back of the newsletter under "Departments", especially the "Interesting Web Sites" in which Heather Oakley goes through the websites she has found over the past month or so.

I read her notes every issue to see if there is something I might have missed - and you should do the same. I'm always impressed by what she digs up.

In the "Old-Time Stuff" is a special mention of Stittsville. It is now 101 years old!

In the "Historic Plaques and Monuments" section, they took a picture of the Commissariat Building (1827), the oldest stone building in Ottawa.

It was a storehouse, office, and treasury during the building of the Rideau Canal from 1826-1832.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back from Stirling

What a whirlwind trip!

Friday morning, we took off to Trenton (in the rain), with stops in Smith's Falls and Perth, and got to Trenton in the afternoon after going down Route 62.

In Trenton, we stayed at the Yukon Lodge (a hotel for members of the Canadian Forces), and got everything ready for Saturday.

I went over the names of the people I wanted to meet, as well as the businesses and societies in the marketplace, plus the "talks" - just to familiarize myself again with the schedule because I hadn't done it in a while.

Saturday morning came early. We were supposes to be there at 8:30, so it was 'rush-around time' to get ready and then out in the rain - once again!

But we got on the road at the right time. It stopped raining, and we headed north to Stirling on Route 39. (That was sort of true, because we lost our way and couldn't find the map, but we eventually made it back to Route 39. It was a lovely drive just the same, although having that "lost feeling" all the way there was a bit unsettling, to say the least).

It started to clear of rain, and the countryside was beautiful. There was a slight ground fog that made the trees and the water look so pastoral - but the sun was out and it was becoming hot by the time we had reached the high school where the genealogy fair was held.

We went inside and met the people who were there, got registered, and immediately recognized acquaintances from past events, like Nancy Trimble, Vice-President of the Ontario Genealogical Society, Mr. Woodrow from the Kingston Chapter of the OGS, and Sandra and Rick Roberts from Global Genealogy).

The first speaker was Dr. David R. Elliott of Kinfolk Finders <> from southwestern Ontario. He gave an insightful talk about his work in indexing and transcribing the cemeteries of Ireland.

He started out in the Fermanagh area of Ireland, looking for the gravestones of his relatives (which he has yet to find), and has ended up going every summer to the different cemeteries in the area.

It is quite a process to especially the older stones — to take pictures of all of them, draw a map to show where each one is, and then to transcribe them (some of the stones are in terrible shape) — but it is fascinating work.

After a very nice lunch of homemade egg and salmon sandwiches (they were oh so nice!), homemade cookies, and juice (which we ate outside in the cool shade), we were ready to hear Fawne Stratford-Devai speak on leaving Ontario, and what resources are available for tracking Ontario migrants to places like Michigan, the Dakotas, and Oregon.

There were thousands upon thousands of Ontarians who went there in the 1800s and early 1900s to homestead, work on the farms and in the lumber industry, and to look for gold.

The rest of the afternoon, we spent in the Marketplace.

I had to get information from the people at the Campbellford-Seymour area for a client whose great-grandfather was a lawyer in Campbellford in the early 1900s, and my husband ran into some people who knew relatives of his, leading to a long discussion about those people.

We then said our good-byes and headed off to Campbellford on Route 8.

It was among the most beautiful farmland we have ever seen. It is truly the heartland of Ontario, with the rolling hills, acres and acres of wheat and corn, and oodles of cows and sheep happily munching away on fields of green. What a glorious sight!

We made it to Campbellford in time for supper, and stopped at Music Fest at Ferris Provincial Park to have a bite to eat and listen to the music, and then take off to take pictures around the town to send to the fellow who is looking for his g-grandfather.

We then followed the Trent River back to Trenton, along Route 30.

Once "home", we spent a relaxing evening watching a movie on TV, checking our email, and slowly getting ready for our trip back home.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Off to Stirling on Friday!

This weekend, I am going to Stirling (a village a few kms north of Trenton) for a Genealogy Fair.

Friday, we are taking the 4-hour trip down there from Ottawa on Rte 7, and will go through the towns of Carleton Place, Perth, and then turn off at Madoc. We will continue down Rte 62 to the town of Belleville, and then on to Trenton, where we will stay for the weekend.

We will attend the Stirling-Rawdon Genealogy Fair on Saturday, then go to Campbellford Saturday evening, where I'm going to take photos for a fellow genealogist whose grandfather came from Scotland and was there in 1911.

Sunday, we will come back to Ottawa on Rte 2 and will stop in at Kingston, Gananoque, and Brockville - and then arrive back home Sunday evening.

Carleton Place and Perth are located in Lanark County, and you will find Church Records, Land and Property Records, Pioneer Families, and Township Records in <>.

Madoc, Belleville, and Trenton are covered by the Bay of Quinte GenWeb Project <>, and the project manager is Concette Phillipps.

She has put together quite a collection of papers for you to wander through - the Quakers of Prince Edward County, Pioneers of Price Edward County, the 1798 Hallowell Township Assessment Roll, and the Prince Edward Historical Atlas - to name but a few.

So I will be back with news about the Stirling-Rawdon Genealogical Fair next week.

BTW, there are two pages of links on the site from "Irish Talks", John Grenham's recent lecture in Ottawa.

They make a great companion piece to go along with the notes that were being scribbled madly during his talks!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cumberland County, Nova Scotia is 250 Years Old!

On August 17, 1759, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia was created. It will be celebrating this event by holding a Genealogy Weekend at the Wandlyn Inn in Amherst from August 14th to the 16th.

Some of the biggest names in Nova Scotia genealogy will be there. Terry Punch will be there talking about Pre-Famine Irish immigration to Nova Scotia; Bill Hamilton will talk about Cumberland Loyalists; Ronnie-Gilles LeBlanc will speak about Acadian Families of Cumberland County; and David Lambert, a genealogist with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, has roots in Cumberland County (Lambert and Clarks families) and he will talk about the use of DNA in genealogy.

On Sunday, there will be a number of tours around the Amherst area on Sunday including a tour of Parrsboro and Joggins, a tour around Nothumberland Shore, and one to the southern part of New Brunswick, which was part of Cumberland County when it was formed in 1759.

These tours will let you see where all the history happened that you have learned about during the lectures. Each tour will be accompanied by genealogists and historians.

You can get in touch with them at <> or visit the website at <>.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Surname Maps

There are a number of surname maps on the Internet, and while I know where everyone related to me lives/lived, I still will look at them to see if there isn't anything new, or something of which I am not aware.

So when published its maps of Canada, I had to look for the four family names - Barclay, Blades, Lapointe, and Jobin.

Barclay, my paternal family name, appears in nine provinces, and it is the 1,499th most popular surname in Canada. There are approximately 3,252 people with that surname in Canada, and the three most popular places with the most Barclays are the provinces of Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Blades, my maternal family name, is even less popular in that there are only 842 people with that surname.

Dynastree says that it is the 4,779th most frequent name in Canada.

They don't have a map for England and Scotland yet where Blades and Barclay are from, but it should be coming soon.

Meanwhile, my husband's paternal family name is Lapointe, and there approximately 31,443 people with that surname in Canada. Most of them are located in Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

It is the 64th most frequent surname in the country -but all Lapointes can trace their name back to Nicolas Audet, when the French first came to Canada. The surname eventually became Audet dit Lapointe - then Lapointe - so one has to take that into account as a genealogist.

His maternal surname is Jobin, and it is the 724th most popular surname in Canada. There are approximately 6,508 people with that surname.

There is a map of France on the site, so I checked the Jobin surname and it showed them in Western France, which is where they came from in the 1600s.

Overall, this site, and others like it, are not only a lot of fun to use, but are handy tools for research.

Enjoy your trek!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Great Potato Famine

Vanessa Currie, an Agriculture Technician at the University of Guelph in Southern Ontario, is growing the potato that led to the Great Potato Famine in Ireland.

The potato variety—called the Lumper—was the one most likely grown in Ireland. It will be on display at the Potato Day Show on Wednesday, August 12th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the university's Elora Research Station.

Known as a "historical specialty", the growing of the Lumper variety of potato most likely led to the blight which caused massive immigration to Canada in the mid-1800s.

Currie says that the potato looks as healthy as the others in the fields this summer, so she is anxious to harvest them. She plans to dig out a few for tomorrow's display and then harvest the rest in September.

She is going to evaluate the variety for its taste, cooking, and storage to see how it does.

Canadian farmers likely grew the Lumper variety in the early 1800's, but she doesn't know if they grew them after the Irish Famine.

She got the seed from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada potato gene bank in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Monday, August 10, 2009

John Grenham's Irish Lectures

As John Reid noted in his blog <>, it was a sellout crowd at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa to hear John Grenham speak on Irish records. He is a well-known genealogist in Ireland, and is the author of books and of the website, <>.

I always try to come away with one piece of information, and I hit the jackpot again yesterday.

My husband is a French-Canadian from Quebec, and his great-great-grandfather married an Irish girl—Sarah Conroy—whose father was a major in the British Army in Quebec City.

Why was he there, I wondered at the time. And why did he send for his family from Ireland? It didn't make sense to me -

This had only become apparent to me in May while we were up to Quebec City on a visit, and my husband's aunt showed me a family chart she had had done by a fellow in Montreal not that long ago.

And when I checked <> after getting back home, there was the marriage record of where they had been married, and that she was the daughter of a Major Conroy from Ireland.

The reason—as I learned yesterday—was that the British Army at that time was made up of Irish to a large degree - fully one-third of them were Irish!

So I got that question answered!

I also learned that there aren't many records intact back beyond 1922 because the storeroom of the archives building (the Four Corners Complex in Dublin) had been overtaken by rebels and eventually blown up, and not one piece of paper had been saved. (Papers in use in the Reading Room were saved, however.)

If you get a chance to hear him talk, and you do have Irish in your ancestry, please take a minute to listen, because he gives very good lectures, and the questions asked by the audience were fabulous.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Canadian Family

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault has a site on the Internet <> full of family history.

Evelyn's family came from a diverse background of the Luces from the Channel Islands; the Theriaults - Acadians from Poitou, France; and Mignier dit Lagaces from Quebec.

In addition, she has added some early French-Canadian Pioneers of Quebec, and BMDs of some of these people.

She says that one of her goals in setting up this website was to bring the importance of postcards in the study of family history, in addition to photos.

She takes part in a blog carnival (a virtual magazine, if you will) celebrating postcards entitled, "A Festival of Postcards", which was originally started by the Footnotemaven <>.

The deadline for the next one is Aug. 20th, and will be entitled "Water".

Evelyn has postcards from previous festivals of "Wheels" and "Main Street" for you to look at on her site, as well as postcards of Quebec and New Brunswick.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Empress of Ireland

On August 6, 2009, the Honourable Jim Prentice—Canada's Environment Minister and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada—marked the historic significance of the Wreck of the Empress of Ireland by naming it as a National Historic Site of Canada.

The Empress of Ireland went down in the St. Lawrence River in the summer of 1914 after colliding with another ship named the Storstad during heavy fog.

She as on her way to Liverpool, England from Quebec City with 1,477 people on board - only 462 people were saved.

It is the worst sea tragedy that Canada has ever experienced, and it has "marked an entire generation, and we have to make sure that it is not forgotten," said Minister Prentice at the ceremony on Thursday.

You can read the history of the Empress of Ireland and see who her passengers and crew were on the that day by visiting <>.
On this website, you will find a history of the tragedy as well as a video of the ship.

There were 87 passengers in the First Cabin, with 51 lost at sea; 253 in the Second Cabin, with 205 people lost at sea; 717 people in the Third Cabin, with 584 people lost at sea; and of the 420 crew members, 175 were lost at sea.

In addition to having the names listed, one will also find out where the passengers and crew were from, whether they were lost or rescued, and what happened to them — if they went back home (e.g. Toronto), if they sailed on another ship at a later date, or if they were lost, what happened to the body.

There were over 100,000 immigrants who came to Canada on the Empress of Ireland during her lifetime, and these days, close to a million Canadians can trace their ancestry back to being on the ocean liner.

The structure of the ship is still intact as it lays at the bottom of the river near Point-au-Pere, and today it is a world-renowned diving site.

The wreck is supervised by Parks Canada.