Sunday, 26 February 2012

Scottish Genealogy Workshop

We had a great day in Hamilton yesterday with a jam packed day of Researching Scottish Ancestry. For those that missed the talk, I will be in Kitchener at the Kitchener Public Library (Country Hills Branch) on March 19th starting at 6:30 pm.

The session is free. However, you are encouraged to call the library to reserve a spot (519-743-3558).

Computer Basics for Genealogy

Join us on Sunday March 25th from 2- 4 pm when I will be giving a talk on Computer Basics for Genealogy. Topics will include:
  • Using/Comparing Genealogy Software
  • Creating and Uploading GEDCOM files
  • Mocavo Search Engine for genealogy
  • Genealogy In Time search engine, blog reader, twitter buzz and toolbar
  • Subscribing to RSS feeds
  • Keyboard short-cuts
Feel free to bring your questions so we can help make using a computer for genealogy easier for you.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Ordering Newpaper Microfilms from LAC Through Your Local Library

Library and Archives Canada has a blog post today on using the inter-library loan system to get newspapers on microfilm. Your local library MUST have a microfilm reader. Here are the steps from their blog:

Go to our Microform Holdings section [] that lists localities by province. Then, select the city where the newspaper was published []

Record the information provided for that daily newspaper.

Go to your local library and consult a librarian to order the newspaper for a specific date. He or she will need the information you recorded earlier to retrieve your newspaper.
Title: (of the newspaper)
Place of publication: City
AMICUS Number: (from the LAC website)
Dates you need: (dates of the newspaper you want to read)

The following information is not needed:

Microfilm reel number (only required for archival material on microfilm, not newspapers)
Shelf number
Entire date span

Did you know?
The loan period is four weeks (eight weeks for Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and outside Canada), including travel time.
Each person can borrow 12 reels at a time per title.
If your date range is covered on more than 12 reels, you must order those for the remaining dates once the first set of reels has been returned and checked-in.
There are no renewals.
If you are searching a wide range of dates, start by requesting six reels, then ordering another six a couple of weeks later. This will give you enough time to access the reels you have on hand while others are on the way.

Happy Searching!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Are You Researching Nova Scotia Ancestors?

John Reid, blog author of Anglo-Celtic Connections, noted yesterday that Ancestry has added to their Nova Scotia database. The specific records are Births (1836-1910), Marriages (1763-1935) and Deaths (1864-1877).  

Elizabeth Lapointe, blog author of Genealogy Canada, noted yesterday that FamilySearch has added Nova Scotia Church records to their database. These include Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian and United Church records.

If you have ancestors from Cape Breton, you may wish to have a look at the Archives from Cape Breton University.

Happy Searching!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Ancestry's Generosity Continues

Apparently Ancestry's $400 million profit for 2011 has them feeling extra generous this weekend. In addition to free access to the Canadian Vital Records and the 1930 US Census, they are offering free access to their "entire database of Internment Camp Documents". Ancestry says that this is to honour the 70th anniversary of the Internment of 100,000 Japanese Americans. Here's the list of databases:

Topaz Internment Camp, Central Utah
•Colorado River (Poston) Internment Camp, Arizona
Gila River Internment Camp, Phoenix, Arizona
Granada (Amache) Internment Camp, Colorado
Heart Mountain Internment Camp, Wyoming
•Jerome Internment Camp, Arkansas
•Manzanar Internment Camp, California
•Minidoka Internment Camp, Idaho
•Rohwer Internment Camp, Arkansas
Tule Lake Internment Camp, California

 Records and documents contained in this collection are:
•Local newspapers
•High school newspapers
•Legal reports
•Press bulletins
•Church reports
•Employment reports
•Community activities
•Financial reports
•Meeting minutes
•Education reports
•Project reports

The other two offers run until Monday, Feb 20th. This one runs until Thursday, February 23rd.

Happy searching this weekend!

More Free Searching Opportunities from Ancestry

This weekend, in addition to free access to the Canadian Vital Records, Ancestry is offering free access to the US 1930 census. This is a pre-cursor to the release of the 1940 census on April 2 of this year.

As always, happy searching!

Free Access to Ancestry's Canadian Records Until Feb 20

As a lead up to Family Day and in an attempt to get families talking about their family history, Ancestry is offering free access to their Canadian Vital Records (births, marriages, deaths). This free offer does not appear to be extended to the census records, but I am happy to be proven wrong if people are able to access these records and add to their family history research.

Happy Searching!!

1891 Census for Scotland Now on FindMyPast

Word from FindMyPast this morning that the 1891 Scottish Census is now available through their site. Here is the blog post with the details:

Happy Searching!

Friday, 10 February 2012

New English Records on

Ancestry UK has added the Bastardy Orders and Certificates for Warwickshire (1813-1869). The Bastardy Bonds are part of the Poor Law Records. The Parish was essentially responsible for the poor and needy of the Parish, but with the number of claimants on the rise, the church sought to have the fathers of illegitimate children found and named, making them financially responsible for the children they produced. These records are helpful in identifying fathers who might not otherwise be named on a birth or baptism record.

Here's the link to Ancestry's Bastardy Orders for Warwickshire

Happy Searching!

While this information was made available to me through Ancestry, I first learned about it on Mick Southwick's Bi-Gen blog.

QR Codes for Genealogy Societies

I was at a meeting at the Branch on Wednesday night and someone mentioned a cemetery that has QR codes on some of the headstones. That got me to thinking.
QR codes are a relatively new phenomenon in North America. They have been around in Japan for quite some time. It has taken longer for the Western World to catch on. But then, some of us still don't really understand Barcodes either.
QR stands for Quick Response. Simple enough. The QR looks like this

You've seen them, right? And really didn't understand them, so walked away. Fair enough. But for those with Smartphones, this is a great way to get quick access to information. All of the smartphones (Android, Apple, Blackberry) have free apps for scanning and reading QR codes. Check your app store or marketplace. Once the app is downloaded, you open the app, and it automatically opens your phone or tablet's camera. You hold the camera over the QR code and you are provided with more information. It may be a website link, a YouTube video, a photograph or a text document. A whole library of possibilities right in the palm of your hand.

For instance, you may see a QR code on a restaurant door. Scan it and you find out the opening hours, menu, or whatever else the owner wants you to know. Think of the possibilities for Genealogy Societies.

Two common concerns for local genealogy societies is a.) getting people to come in to see what is available and b.) selling their publications. So, why not use QR codes to help make that happen?

Here's how it works. Generate a QR code ( Have the QR code take the consumer to your website, your publications listings, or your shop. Then place the QR code where it will be seen and where someone who sees it will want to know more.

Here's an example. Your branch volunteers have spent HOURS combing cemeteries. A group or committee has transcribed the Monumental Inscriptions. You may have a book with corresponding obits or a CD with the inscriptions and photos of the grave markers. Generate a QR code that will provide a link to your Societies publication listings, or shop. Place the code on a corresponding headstone. When a family history addict goes to find aunt Martha's headstone, she can not only take a photo for herself, but she can scan the QR code and learn where she can find a copy of the Obit for aunt Martha as well. Once she finds your website, she will get an idea of what other resources are available. Maybe aunt Martha's marriage announcement or aunt Martha in the census records. This could generate more sales, a query or two or even a visit to the Society!

Technology is an amazing thing. Finding ways to make the technology work for our local Genealogy Societies is even more amazing.

What are you waiting for?? Start generating!!

Friday, 3 February 2012

In Search of your Scottish Ancestry Workshop

For those interested in learning more about researching their Scottish Ancestry, I will be providing a full day workshop on Saturday, February 25th at Mohawk College, main campus. The workshop runs from 10 - 4. The topics for the day include:

  • How to Get Started
  • Effectively Using Census Records
  • Statutory Records: 1855 onward
  • Old Parish Registers: Baptisms, Marriages, Burials
  • Irregular Marriages
  • Other Resources
  • Online Resources to Improve Your Search Success
  • Getting Connected to Others who are Researching for your Ancestors
You can register online or by phone (1-888-385-4295)

Happy Learning!

Charlotte Taylor, Woman Pioneer

I have just finished a wonderful book called The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor. It is about the first woman pioneer of New Brunswick.

Charlotte was born in England to a general and his wife. She left the comfort of her home and ended up, in a circuitous way, in what is now known as New Brunswick, but at the time was Nova Scotia. Her first stop was Baie de Chaleur where she befriended the Mi'qmak. Charlotte married and moved to what is now Newcastle New Brunswick on the banks of the Mirimachi River. The story is one of undaunting spirit and resilience. It gives a wonderful insight into the lives of the early settlers of our country - at the time prior to the American Revolution, on past the War of 1812.

The book is written by Sally Armstrong, gt gt gt granddaughter of Charlotte. It is a fictionalized work based on the author's research into her gt gt gt grandmother's life. There are over 2,000 descendants of Charlotte today and every five years, they meet up in her town to celebrate her life and their connection to her.

This book is available from Chapters or Amazon in soft cover for about $17. It is a book you will struggle to put down and I guarantee after reading it, you will want to claim Charlotte as your ancestor!

Happy searching reading!

Lost Heirlooms - Photos of Women from Brantford 1940s

We have received some photos and have been asked to see if we can find the families that these treasures belong to. They were all taken in the 1940s. Here they are:

This is Daisy Wilcox, taken on a park bench.

 This is Hilda Daniels.Hilda looks like she is down at Table Rock at Niagara Falls in this picture.

This is Iris Renwick

Miss Dorothy Hussey

Miss Norma Miache (Maich?). Again this looks to have been taken at Niagara Falls

If you know any of these women, or know of people who may be related to them, please contact me so that I can make sure the photos get back to the family where they belong.