Findmypast Weekly Update

This week, FMP adds Roman Catholic baptisms, marriages, burials and confirmation records for the Diocese of Northampton. That’s over 13,000 new records.

Baptisms from 1775 to 1913 are augmented with transcripts and original record images, often in Latin. There are now a total of 9,090 records in the set for parishes in Bedfordshire, Buckingham, and Northamptonshire.

Also added this week are 1,288 marriage, 1,547 burial, and 2,737 confirmation records for the Diocese of Northampton.

BTW, Did you know that Northamptonshire has more adjoining counties than any other.

You may be able to find previously elusive records with this week’s improved transcripts that identify names previously missed out — over 19,000 records within the existing over 3 million entry Irish Roman Catholic Parish Marriage collection.


Christ’s Hospital School Records

ArtefactsI had one of my best family history days of the year recently when I received information about boys in my tree who attended Christ’s Hospital, the charitable school with records from the 16th century. The earliest was my two-times-great-grandfather, who attended from 1849 to 1855, and the latest my uncle, there from 1923 to 1929. In between was a first cousin three times removed who, when he left the school, moved to Saskatchewan.

Among earlier records are those of Edward Roberts, who surveyed the northwest coast with George Vancouver in the late 18th century. Other boys joined the Hudson’s Bay Company,

The original records are at the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), which I went to in September to research, Access was on microfilm. The information this week came directly from the Museum of Christ’s Hospital. The museum team can access these records, and often more, and is pleased to answer enquiries, especially those relating to family history. Records available often include copies of birth and parent’s marriage certificates, which were included with petitions for entry.

While there is no charge for this service, donations are invited for detailed reports. I considered how long and at what expense in travel and time it would have taken me to research at the LMA, then donated. There are data protection rules which restrict information being given about recent “Old Blues.” Contact with any request.



Another Ottawa Genealogy Double Header

Or is it?

On Saturday, from 9: 00 am — 10:00 am: BIFHSGO members are invited to join others for the annual Christmas social.

from 10:00 am to 11:30 am, the renowned Great Moments in Genealogy session will see four speakers sharing highlights from their family history research.

Veronica Scrimger – Purleigh’s Brick Walls: Discovering the Brotherhood Colony in Purleigh, Essex
Beth Adams – A Bible Hunt, with another stone house at the end!
Nancy Higgins – It Could Have Been a Movie: Charles Roper & His Fiddle
Carol Annett – A Connection to Scotland in Italy.

Check the Events page of the BIGHSGO website, HERE for further information. Attend the meeting in person at Knox Presbyterian Church or register HERE to attend online.

At 12:00 noonthe Ottawa Branch OGS  will hold the annual Christmas Social and Dessert Potluck at the City Archives building, 100 Tallwood. Bring your lunch and a dessert to share with others. Coffee and tea, milk, sugar, etc will be provided. This will be Live Only, no Zoom, no lecture.

As mentioned at the Public Library Board meeting last Tuesday, on this occasion the Branch will be presenting an OGS award of recognition to the Ottawa Public Library.




MyHeritage Profiles Scottish Criminals

Scotland, Prison RegistersThere’s an update to the Scotland, Prison Registers Collection on MyHeritage. Now it has 501,793 prisoner records from various prisons in Scotland, between the years 1791 and 1965. Records typically include the name of the prisoner, year and place of birth, residence, and the year and place of imprisonment.

MyHeritage is providing an index entry. The full original record, containing much more detail, can be ordered for £5.00 at

Sometimes words have two meanings. A person skilled in sewing and constructing garment was not the first thing that came to mind when I saw Occupation Sewer in the record for Mary Jones or Henney.

Giving up rights to 23andMe?

23andMe HomeIf you’re a 23andMe client you have likely received an email informing you of changes to the terms of service. Here’s what I received on Tuesday.

On November 30, 2023, we launched updates to our Terms of Service.

Important updates were made to the Dispute Resolution and Arbitration section to include procedures that will encourage a prompt resolution of any disputes and to streamline arbitration proceedings where multiple similar claims are filed. These updates will go into effect for customers 30 days from the date this email is received.

We encourage you to read the new terms in full. Please notify us within 30 days of receiving this email if you do not agree to the terms, in which case you will remain subject to the current Terms of Service. If you do not notify us within 30 days, you will be deemed to have agreed to the new terms.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

A 30 November notice from 23andMe reads


What’s the motivation behind the move to “encourage a prompt resolution of any disputes and to streamline arbitration proceedings?”

This article from TechCrunch likely reveals what’s behind it.

23andMe confirms hackers stole ancestry data on 6.9 million users

Is 23andMe asking you, by default, to agree to the terms that deprive you of rights you already have without giving anything back of equal value? I’m hoping someone with legal credentials, that’s not me, will give an opinion. Please let me know or leave a comment and I’ll include in a future blog post. 



WDYTYA Magazine Christmas Issue

For those of us with London ancestry, there’s a present under the tree — this just-released Christmas issue of Why Who Do You Think You Are? magazine.

London ancestors, Our complete guide to tracing your family history in the capital includes obscure resources like the recently digitised and catalogued photographic collections at the website BoroughPhotos (  There’s news of serveral physical archives on the move as well as a directory of contacts for all the local archives and family history societies in London.

Also in the issue:

12 Christmas projects. 12 fun ways to build your family tree over the Christmas period.

Christmas quiz. Try out these family history brainteasers.

Reader story Mary Jones’ seven-year-old relative was arrested for stealing coal.

The history of Christmas dinner, What did our ancestors eat at a festive feast?

Old newspapers. How to use newspapers in family history research.

In Ottawa, and likely anywhere else in Canada with online public library cardholder access to PressReader, read all the issue for free – what a Christmas present!

TNA Online Events for January 2024

Here’s a listing of some interesting-looking online presentations coming soon from The National Archives (UK). Most are of genealogical interest. Reserve fast as the most popular fill up quickly. Unless you’re an early bird and don’t mind a 5:30 am ET start, or in Australia welcoming some in the evening hours, most are timed well for North America.

Secrets of The National Archives: Censuses
Friday 12 January 2024, 14:00 (GMT)

Family History: Using First World War Army Records (presented by Will Butler)
Saturday 13 January 2024, 10:30 (GMT)

Family History: Using Civilian Internee Records (presented by Roger Kershaw)
Saturday 20 January 2024, 10:30 (GMT)

The Forgers: The Story of the Holocaust’s Most Audacious Rescue Operation
Wednesday 24 January 2024, 19:30 (GMT)

Poverty, Language and the New Poor Law in Wales, 1834–1871 (presented by Paul Carter)
Friday 26 January 2024, 14:00 (GMT)

Family History: Using Prisoner of War Records (presented by Roger Kershaw)
Saturday 27 January 2024, 10:30 (GMT)

Family History: Using Second World War Army Records (presented by Will Butler)
Saturday (34 January) 3 February 2024, 10:30 (GMT)

See the complete list and book tickets via Eventbrite at

This Week’s Online Genealogy Events

Choose from selected free online events in the next five days. All times are ET except as noted. Assume registration in advance is required; check so you’re not disappointed. Are you looking for more options? Additional mainly US events are listed at

Tuesday 5 December

2:15 am: East Galway to Clay Cross: The Story of and East Midlands Famine Diaspora, by Natalia Prior & Robyn Collins ‘Australia’ for Chesterfield And District Family History Society.

1 pm: New Historical Records on MyHeritage, by Mike Mansfield and Myko Clelland for MyHeritage.

2:30 pm: Demystifying DAR Applications – Best Practices for Your Best Shot, by Kelley Conner Lear for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

8:30 pm: Leaving a Legacy, by Thomas Allen Harris, Host and Executive Producer of the TV Show Family Pictures USA

Wednesday 6 December

7 pm: Technology to the Rescue: Tools Every Genealogist Needs in Their Tool Box, by Linda Debe for Waterloo Region, Wellington, Hamilton and Haldimand-Norfolk Branches.

Thursday 7 December

6:30 pm: Which DNA Test Should I Order? by Sara Allen for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

7 pm: One-Place Study, by Lianne Kruger for the Ontario Genealogical Society.

Friday 8 December

Saturday 9 December

10 am: Great Moments in Genealogy, by Veronica Scrimger, Beth Adams, Nancy Higgins, and Carol Annett for the British Isles Familt History Society of Greater Ottawa. Prceeded at 9 am by a Christmas social hour.

Just what I wanted … but wait, there’s more!

The post Just what I wanted, but attracted more than usual attention after being mentioned in the OGS eWeekly.

I prompted the Google AI app Bard You are an expert on the history of 19th century Liverpool, England. Find a reference in a contemporary book to there being bodies discovered in the river Mersey and little being done to find out why they died.

Bard’s response was a massive hallucination, including non-existent quotations from a book and references to other non-existent books. The rest of the response failed to provide an objective rsponse.

How would other AI apps perform? I posted the same prompt to ChatGPT3.5. The response:

I don’t have access to real-time data or the ability to search for specific references in contemporary books. However, I can provide you with some information on the general history of 19th-century Liverpool, including the challenges faced by the city during that time.

During the 19th century, Liverpool experienced rapid industrialization, population growth, and social changes. The city’s economy thrived on maritime trade, particularly with the Americas and the West Indies. However, this period also brought about significant social issues, including poverty, poor living conditions, and public health challenges.

Instances of bodies being discovered in the River Mersey during the 19th century might be related to various factors such as industrial accidents, suicides, or criminal activities. Unfortunately, the historical records of such incidents might not be easily accessible, and specific references in contemporary books would require targeted research.

To explore this further, you may want to consult local newspapers, official records, or historical accounts from that time. Libraries, archives, or historical societies in Liverpool could be valuable resources for finding relevant information on incidents involving bodies discovered in the River Mersey during the 19th century.

Not very helpful, so I followed up with the prompt Suggest books on the Internet Archives to consult.

The ChatGPT3.5 response:

While I can’t directly browse or search the internet for you, I can suggest general categories and topics related to 19th-century Liverpool that you might explore on the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive is a vast digital library offering free access to a wide range of materials, including books, newspapers, and documents. Here are some general suggestions for categories and keywords you might use:

Local Histories: Look for books that specifically focus on the history of Liverpool during the 19th century. Titles like “A History of Liverpool” or similar might contain relevant information.

Newspapers: Search for digitized newspapers from 19th-century Liverpool. Local newspapers often reported on significant events, including incidents in the city and along the River Mersey.

Official Reports: Explore any official reports or documents related to public health, safety, or incidents along the River Mersey. Government reports may shed light on the response to such events.

Crime and Policing: Investigate books or documents related to crime and policing in 19th-century Liverpool. This might provide insights into how authorities handled incidents like bodies discovered in the river.

Social Conditions: Books discussing the social conditions of Liverpool during the 19th century may touch upon issues related to public health and safety.

To search for these topics, you can visit the Internet Archive’s website ( and use their search function. Enter relevant keywords and explore the available materials.

Keep in mind that specific references to bodies being discovered in the River Mersey might require a bit of detective work, as historical records may not always explicitly detail such incidents. If you’re unable to find a direct reference, consider reaching out to local historical societies, archives, or libraries in Liverpool for assistance. They may have curated collections or be able to guide you to additional resources.

While it’s solid advice, it doesn’t give the specific title or titles I was looking for.

I moved on to trying Bing, the Microsoft IA app that uses a sub-set of ChatGPT4.0, with the same prompt. One of the advantages of version 4.0 over 3.5 is that it has access to later information.  It may not be an advantage in practice! Bing’s response included the false information previously delivered by Bard, but sourced from my previous “Just what I wanted, but” blog post.

In the same way that false genealogical  information gets propagated by people blindly copying from other’s trees, similar errors happen at amazing speed in the AI world.

Military Monday

Can I get away with including this item from the Ottawa Citizen about the RCMP in Military Monday? Many in the RCMP also served at one time or another in the military.

Andrew Duffy’s article is about ‘Buffalo Joe’ Healy’s tireless search for the RCMP’s buried and lost: How a retired RCMP superintendent obsessively tracked and documented the burial places of more than 80,000 people who have ever donned the red serge dating back to 1873.

Healy’s website,, “boasts files on everyone who has ever donned the red serge since 1873: more than 80,000 people in the RCMP and its predecessors, the North-West Mounted Police and Royal NWMP.” You do have to register to access the database.

FamilySearch Update for November

152 collection titles received updates during November at FamilySearch. The collection goes from strength to strength.

There are over 600 million total records in those titles; how many are new isn’t specified. Find A Grave accounts for over 235 million of those.

The most active places for additions are Brazil (11), Argentina (7) and Guatemala (7). On the other end of the action, there are no additions for Canada, England or Scotland. Titles with additions for Ireland and Wales during November are.