Advance Notice: The story of Canada’s famous Hudson’s Bay Company

On Monday 28 June, at 6 pm, American Ancestors (the New England Historic Genealogical Society) is hosting a presentation in the American Inspiration author series.

Just before Canada Day, join us for a spirited evening featuring scholar Stephen Bown and his compelling narrative history of Canada’s famous Hudson’s Bay Company. Follow its rise from a small 1670 trading business backed by Royal Charter through its intersections as a political and economic force working with indigenous people as well as French, and American settlers on both sides of the 49th parallel and beyond. The Company became the single biggest political and economic force in North America, influencing the lives of people from Hudson’s Bay to the Pacific Ocean.

See Bown’s illustrated presentation and insights on this rich and peopled history; and his discussion of Canada, then and now, with fellow countryman Jeff Breithaupt.

Register at

New on Ancestry: Ireland, Casey Collection Indexes, 1545-1960

There are over 1 million index records, 1,037,567 according to the catalogue entry, in this newly available collection.

Taken from a 16-volume series, commonly known as the Casey Collection, it is a compilation of Irish genealogical and historical records from parts of counties Cork and Kerry — Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, and Quaker birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial records transcribed from parish and civil registers.

“You can search the database using the indexed fields or browse by volume. The information contained within this collection includes the following:

Event type (birth, marriage, death, and burial)
Date range
Event barony
Event county
Event parish
Event date
Marital status
Age at time of event
Death district
Father’s name
Mother’s name
Next of kin’s name

More genealogical and historical information can be found by viewing the images.”

Anglo-Celtic Roots: Summer 2021

For those who lead an impoverished life,  not being members of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, here are the contents of the latest Anglo-Celtic Roots issue. The feature articles, in bold, continue with stories of war brides from the previous issue.

From the Editor.
From the President.
Ida Naylor Bancroft Cooke, War Bride (Brenda Turner).
Our Journey to Canada: Nancy (Nan) Archibald, née Chester, 1921–2021 (Nan Archibald and Margaret Amoroso).
A Tale of Three War Brides (Lynne Willoughby).
The Cream of the Crop (John D. Reid).
Membership Report (Ann Burns).

The present very generous practice is to make a pdf of the issue available to all after a year.

Internet Genealogy June/July 2021

This is an especially rich Internet Genealogy issue for those of us who research in England.

The lead article Researching English Criminal Ancestors, by Australian Michelle Dennis, presents the evidence used to reveal the life and fate of her criminal ancestor. The five-page article is brimming with resources and links illustrated by the case of a relative, Mary Ann Stow, born in Greenwich in 1844. Canadians can only salivate at the mention of “the fabulously free on-line historical newspaper and record resource Trove, the National Library of Australia’s collection of online newspapers, gazettes, images, maps, diaries, letters and so much more at”

Exploring City Directories Online in England and Wales, by Ed Storey covers how to use directories and supplemental material you might use. The focus is the University of Leicester special collection of directories that includes at least one directory from every county in England and Wales.

For the magazine’s US readers there are articles on Florida and North Carolina family history. David A. Norris looks at online sources for locating gravestone inscriptions for ancestors who served with the US military.

For us all my favourite regular contributor, Sue Lisk, looks at online collections of oral histories and why they can be valuable to family historians, and also online sites that help understand how general stores played a role in our ancestors’ lives. Sue includes Canadian content in both articles.

Another regular columnist, Tony Bandy, reviews MobileFamilyTree, available exclusively on iPhone and iPad devices utilizing iOS 11.4 and up.

A second article by David A. Norris, Deciphering Elusive Surnames, looks at coping with troublesome handwriting and smudged letters. That’s a nice complement to Dave Obee’s back page article on Perils of Deciphering Old Handwriting.

Find a snippet of the longer articles and subscribe at

Annoyances Fixed

It appears issues with the blog and delivery have been dealt with. Writing that is to tempt fate!

The daily update email should now show as coming from Anglo-Celtic Connections.
It should arrive in your mailbox more reliably around 7 am.
The initial snippet is shorter, 4-5 lines of text.
On the website, the links list to my choice from the top (almost) daily genealogy blogs is restored, plus links to BIFHSGO and OGS Ottawa Branch.

The old blog remains available from a link in the side column for legacy items. With more than 15 years archived it’s a resource I turn to frequently.

Please help make the blog more useful by sending news items using the Contact utility at the top of the blog page.

The Week’s Online Genealogy Events

Choose from free online events in the next five days. All times are ET except as noted. Those in red are Canadian, bolded if local to Ottawa. Assume registration in advance is required; check so you’re not disappointed.

Tuesday 15 June, 2 pm:  Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library.

Tuesday 15 June, 2:30 pm: Bringing History to Life, by Chelsea Johnson for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Wednesday 16 June, 2 pm: New England’s ‘Seventh State’: Life along the coast, by B.J. Jamieson for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Wednesday 16 June, 7 pm: The Discovery of Insulin and the Importance of Place, by Grant Maltman for OGS Middlesex Branch.

Friday 18 June, 2 pm: Online Sources for Scottish Genealogy Research, by Christine Woodcock for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Friday 18 June, 7 pm: Your Digital Genealogy Plan, by Steve Fulton for OGS Niagara Branch,

Saturday 19 June, 10 am: Murder and Mayhem / Settlers and Sinners / Colonists and Criminals – More Thrilling Stories from New France, by Dawn Kelly and Carol Ufford for OGS Kingston Branch.

Saturday 19 June, 1 pm: UK Censuses 1801 to the Present Day, by Penny Walters for OGS Quinte Branch.


19 – 26 September 2021: BIFHSGO Conference. Irish Lines and Female Finds: Exploring Irish records, female ancestors and genetic genealogy.

FamilySearch Adds 1871 Census of Canada, Schedule 2

Most of us look to census data for information on ancestors living at the time. For the 1871 census of Canada, the first after Confederation, that is Schedule 1 – Nominal return of the living. There are eight other schedules:

  • Schedule 2, Nominal return of the deaths
  • Schedule 3, Return of public institutions, real and personal estate
  • Schedule 4, Return of cultivated land and products
  • Schedule 5, Livestock, animal products, home-made fabrics and furs
  • Schedule 6, Return of industrial establishments
  • Schedule 7, Return of products of the forest
  • Schedule 8, Return of shipping and fisheries
  • Schedule 9, Return of mineral products

Schedule 2, with details of those who died in the 12 months prior to the census, has been available indexed on Ancestry since November 2017 with 45,371 entries. FamilySearch now also has the indexed transcription cited as having been added on 8 June 2021.

Neither Ancestry nor FamilySearch has images of the original record linked, but with the information from search, and with some effort, it may be viewed at the Library and Archives Canada website using directions in the Finding Aid section at 

Schedule 2 is not on Findmypast or MyHeritage.


CEF Beechwood Burial: Alexander P. Menzies

On 14 June 1921 Alexander Pratt Menzies, age 24, was found drowned at Britannia Bay on the Ottawa River. There’s little additional information on his death certificate except birth 2-10-1897 in England. Newspaper reports were that he’d been in Ottawa for 3 weeks looking for work and staying at the Union Mission.

His CWGC record indicates “Son of William Menzies, of 34, Summerfield Avenue, Queen’s Park, Kilburn, London, England, and the late Emily Menzies”.

There is a civil registration of birth index entry giving his mother’s maiden name Powell. A baptism on 1 January 1899 at St Mary Magdalene, Hollowell Road, Islington gives parents William James and Emily Elizabeth.

The 1906 and 1911 censuses show the family living in Winnipeg having emigrated in 1900. His father is the manager of a hardware store in 1911 earning $1,500 annually. His mother died in January 1912 in Winnipeg and a brother in August 1913 following which his father returned to England.

Alexander had enlisted in Winnipeg in April 1916 giving his date of birth 2 October 1898. His personnel file shows he served with the Young Soldiers Battalion, enlisted with the 207th, the 18th Reserve and the 44th Battalions. He had served in England and France, received a gunshot wound and was discharged in May 1919 with defective vision.

A second attestation paper dated September 1919 gives his sister Margaret of Wildwood, Manitoba as his next of kin and his address as YMCA, Main Street, Winnipeg. He was demobilized in December that year.

His service file indicated he has suffered from epilepsy. Perhaps he had a seizure while swimming?

He is buried in Sec. 29. Lots 13 and 14. West. 23 at Beechwood Cemetery, the fourth Ottawa River drowning victim among the 99 First World War CEF burials in the cemetery.

Military Monday: CEF Infantry Battalions

I wish I’d known about this before I started blogging about CEF burials at Beechwood Cemetery.
At the Library and Archives Canada website follow links Military Heritage > First World War> Sources Relating to Units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Scroll down to find a list of 31 pdf files, typically less than 200 KB.
There’s one very large file, Infantry Battalions (PDF 3,020 KB). It has a numerically ordered list of the CEF battalions, 1 to 260 plus two named battalions.

For each there’s a boxed section Background Information, the example is for the 28th Battalion in which my great uncle served. Then there’s an extensive list of sources from RG9 and RG24 at LAC. None have links.

Knowing about this obscure resource earlier would have simplified writing the CEF Beechwood posts.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.
The Shipping Forecast is quite possibly the most British thing ever

More than the sound of Big Ben or The Pips!

The Human Genome Is — Finally!—Complete

Fashion for pointy shoes unleashed a wave of bunions in medieval England

From the great plague to the 1918 flu, history shows that disease outbreaks make inequality worse

Tombstone Tourists: The Growth of Cemetery Tourism
The most recent episode of Under the Influence podcast.

Thanks to this week’s contributors: Anonymous, Brenda Turner, Gail B.., Unknown 


An Annual General Meeting can often run smoothly, sometimes there are surprises. On Saturday the 23rd AGM for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa ran smoothly, all motions passed with unanimous support and there were pleasant surprises.

Newly inducted into the BIFHSGO Hall of Fame is Andrea Harding for her innovative contributions to BIFHSGO’s education program and communications activities, which her ideas, enthusiasm and communications skills have done much to promote.

Best Feature Talk presentation by a member, as voted by members, went to Marianne Rasmus for “A Russian Revelation: A Family Shaped by Significant Events.”

The award for best article in Anglo-Celtic Roots went to Bette Smith for her article “Emily Charts a New Course”.

Certificates of Recognition went to members of the team working on the No 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station project: Sheila Duhoo Faure, Heather Carmondy, Marcia Clement, Lynda Gibson, Jean Kitchen, Nigel Lloyd, and Lynne Willoughby.

The new and re-elected Directors are:

Lynne Baxter joined BIFHSGO in 2018 and has worked on her family history since her retirement. She wants to give back to the society and is interested in working on education activities.
Jennifer Hill is the current registrar for the BIFHSGO 2021 Conference. She started researching her family about 20 years ago and joined BIFHSGO two years ago. She was treasurer for the Ottawa Knitting Guild for 4 years and, when asked, agreed to take over this role from Marianne Rasmus.
Ken McKinlay is known to many as a speaker, blogger and the man with the answers. Over the years, he has volunteered in many roles with genealogical societies and the NAC. His keen interest in resources is a good fit for the Research and Projects Director.
Sue Dawes arrived in Ottawa from the UK in 1977, began family research in 2006 and joined BIFHSGO in 2014. She admires BIFHSGO’s work and wants to make her own contribution to its future.
Dianne Brydon will be known to most as the current program director and host of our monthly meetings. Though she has other demanding commitments in the coming year, she wants to “keep her hand in” with BIFHSGO by serving as a director-at-large.
Gillian Leitch has served as the society’s secretary for the past 6 years. She will be continuing as secretary for her final two-year term.

Those continuing their terms are Duncan Monkhouse (President), Marianne Rasmus (moving from Treasurer to Program), Ann Burns (Membership) and Barbara Tose (Past President).

Many thanks to John McConkey who ends his terms having made his mark as Director, Research and Projects, especially lately regarding war brides.

The AGM was followed at 10 am by Great Moments talks from three members; Jill Thompson, Lynne Baxter and Dena Palamedes.

Can we be even handed?

“Nellie L. McClung (1873-1951) is English Canada’s best-known first-wave feminist.”

“Alongside the other Famous Five, including close friend Emily Murphy,  McClung was an advocate of eugenics and campaigned for the sterilization of the feebleminded.”

Those statements are from her profile in

There are many others at the site who were advocates for eugenics, and some missed such as Tommy Douglas.

Will those tearing down statues, renaming buildings and rewriting the biographies of those whose record in the history of  Canada is problematic, to say the least, be even-handed when it comes to the eugenicists?