In Their Own Write: The Testimony of the Victorian English and Welsh Poor

Years ago at TNA I was lucky to be able to attend a memourable talk by Paul Carter. So when I saw he was giving an online talk on Friday I made sure not to miss it.  He used letters to the Poor Law Commissioners in London, archived in series MH 12 at TNA, to illustrate paupers concerns of being denied any relief, the breakup of home and family, medical care, and workhouse conditions.

Paul pointed out that the study is only possible as all material, including incoming letters from the poor, were in bound volumes, otherwise the letters would likely have been discarded as ephemera — just as happened in Canada with letters in First World War military files.

The talk, and the equally informative question period, is to be made available on TNA’s website.

There’s another opportunity to hear Paul on the Victorian Poor: In Their Own Write: Punishing the Victorian Pauper Complainer, on Friday 13 August at 9 am ET. Book tickets at

Paul mentioned a forthcoming book, In Their Own Write, to be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press next year (with luck).

The following TNA research guides are of interest:

Poverty and Poor Laws:

Workhouse inmates and staff


Ancestry Updates Welsh Anglican BMBs

Anglican Baptisms, Marriages and Burials records,  provided in association with Archifrau Cymru: Archives Wales, are updated for:

Merionethshire, Wales,  1568-1994, now with  510,239 records
Monmouthshire, Wales, 1551-1994, now with  1,805,836 records
Montgomeryshire, Wales, 1569-1994, now with  1,205,155 records

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Climate and mountains shaped human ancestral genetic lineages

LAC Podcast Episode 67 – LAC is a gold mine!
An apt analogy!

The Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Historical Context
A reminder that if you don’t have a Legacy Family Tree Webinars subscription you have until the 27th to view Alison Hare’s presentation for free.

Finding on the Ground: Then and Now in Ontario
The latest blog post from Ken McKinlay explaining the use of Ontario land records, this post for an urban area.

Thanks to this week’s contributors: Anonymous, Family History Finds Judith H., Unknown.

Findmypast’s Weekly Update adds Scottish, Australian and Nova Scotia Records

Scotland, Modern and Civil Deaths & Burials 1855-2021
Over 62,000 additions to discover the details of death, burial, residence, occupation and next of kin in this growing national collection. It now contains 3,382,827 records.

This is a compilation from “a number of sources, including local government burial indexes held by various councils and archives, volunteer & local family history society transcriptions, modern records of funeral homes and civil registers.”

However, many entries have no name/ Lots of anomalous transcriptions may be found with no original image. If you are looking for an elusive ancestor with first name Han Ary Redd or Hee Ee Be and no last name check out the listings for Perthshire!

Australia, Inward, Outward & Coastal Passenger Lists 1826-1972
Over 25,000 additions to a collection of passenger lists and migration records that contain movement to, from and around the country appear this week. Each record includes a transcript and many also include an image of the original record. The content varies.

Canada, Black Nova Scotians 1784-1837
With 8,254 entries, find individuals who escaped slavery in South Carolina and Virginia, but also the slaves of British Loyalists. You will find those who merely passed through, living their lives for a few years before moving on elsewhere. FMP is vague about the sources.

Also added this week is a large number of newspapers, many just single years. They include The Lowestoft Journal for 1914, the first East Coast East Anglian addition in many weeks,

CEF Beechwood: Capt Percy Ronald White

Born in Islington, London, England on 17 August 1882, son of  Ernest Percy Montague White and Lizzie nee Hayden, Percy Ronald White was baptized on 5 August 1883 at Islington St Mary.

The family came to Canada in 1890. He married Florence G Plumb on 12 September 1905 giving his occupation as clerk. From April 1907 he worked as a clerk with the Department of Marine and Fisheries and served 4 years with the Governor General’s Foot Guards.

He attested on 17 March 1915 enlisted with the 39th Batallion proceeding to England in June that year. He suffered a leg injury in a motorcycle accident and subsequently transferred to the Royal Flying Corps.  While flying over German lines in May 1918 he was shot in the arm, forced to land and became a POW.  The image is from his file from the ICRC.

He died in hospital in Toronto on 24 Juy 1921 of intestinal cancer and is interred in Section 29 at Beechwood Cemetery.

Ottawa City Archives News

I was at the Archives to research on Thursday morning,  At present, you need an appointment. Having an appointment has advantages.  Olga knew what I wanted and had the volumes I needed to hand with a generously distanced workspace set up.

Encountering City Archvisit Paul Henry on leaving he mentioned that the next stage of opening up is anticipated for 7 September. Partner library volunteers will be able to work again. Lessons have been learned during the pandemic and it won’t be business as before COVID.

Paul even suggested that they’re thinking about opening the meeting space although not immediately after the 7th.

A project to catalogue 30,000 items — only vaguely labelled boxes — like “legal” written on the outside — has just started with the first 100 boxes done. 

Did you know the current Archives Building has now been in operation for 10 years!

Forthcoming UK and Ireland Genealogy Releases

Here, from are genealogy books expected to be released later this year.

British Census, The, by Simon Smith
Shire Publications
This title will be released on July 27, 2021.
Kindle Edition
$9.99 $15.20

Tracing your Ancestors using the UK Historical Timeline: A Guide for Family Historians
by Angela Smith and Neil Bertram
Pen and Sword
This title will be released on August 18, 2021.

Place-names and the Local Historian, by Nollaig O Muraile
Four Courts Press
This title will be released on November 29, 2021.

Identifying Cap Badges: A Family Historian’s Guide
by Graham Bandy
Pen and Sword
This title will be released on December 7, 2021.

Secret Ealing

On The London Historians’ Blog, Alan Fortune reviews a new book Secret Ealing by Paul Howard Lang & Dr Jonathan Oates.

He comments “it provides some valuable nuggets of information to supplement the contents of works on Ealing’s history already in existence, as well as stories with which tour guides, for example, could amuse and entertain their audiences.”

Other comments: “illustrated by excellent photographs”, “some chapters are rather dry and factual; others are livelier and more discursive”, “the book has no bibliography or index.”

Read the review at

New Genealogy Books at the Public Library

Now that public libraries are opened up, albeit with COVID precautions and reduced service, here’s a tabulation of the 2021 published non-fiction genealogy books available in the Ottawa and Toronto systems.

Library Title Author
Ottawa The Psychology of Family History : Exploring Our Genealogy Moore, Susan
Ottawa Sharing your Family History Online : A Guide for Family Historians Paton, Chris
Ottawa The Stitt Family of Stittsville ON : Tracing Some Descendants of James Stitt, 1773-1844 & Elizabeth Steele, 1783-1848… Brown, Gerald R.
Ottawa You Have A Match Lord, Emma
Toronto An infinite history : the story of a family in France over three centuries Rothschild, Emma
Toronto Sharing your Family History Online : A Guide for Family Historians Paton, Chris
Toronto A most interesting problem : what Darwin’s Descent of man got right and wrong about human evolution Compilation
Toronto Ancestors: a project of the Boston Review Arts in Society Program Compilation
Toronto La famille Darveau du Lac-Saint-Jean, de père en fils : (1903-1998) Darveau, Aldéi

The list does not include family history-themed fiction and videos. They include Little Pieces of Me, by Alison Hammer in the Ottawa and Toronto systems:

Summary/Review: Investigating DNA revelations that say her father is a man she never met, Paige learns about her mother’s past as a straitlaced university student who had a one-night stand with the campus golden boy.

In the Toronto system, The summer of lost letters, by Hannah Reynolds

Summary/Review: The discovery of a packet of old letters sends seventeen-year-old Abby Schoenberg to Nantucket to unravel a family mystery about her grandmother’s past, but things get complicated when Abby meets the cute grandson of a prominent family who wants to stop her from investigating.

CEF Beechwood: John Sallaway

Born on 15 May 1895 in Arnprior (or Allumette Island), John Sallaway (40539) gave his occupation as car checker (at the Chateau Laurier), grey eyes, red hair, 5ft 8in tall when he enlisted on 22 September 1914. He left for the UK on 4 October and served with the 1st Brigade of the Canadian Field Artillery.

On 27 June 1916 at Ypres, he received a severe shrapnel wound to the upper part of the right thigh which kept him in various hospitals until discharged the following February. He was granted permission to marry Bessie Emily Rummery in late 1917 and returned to Canada on 8 February 1919. He had a son George (1919-1995). 

On return, he worked for the Ottawa Fire Department, died of tuberculous on 21 July 1921 and was interred in section 19, lot 134 NW at Beechwood Cemetery.  The commemorative stake with firefighter symbols is nearby his grave

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 20 July, 2 pm:  Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library.

Tuesday 20 July, 8 pm: The Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Historical Context, by Alison Hare for Legacy Family Tree Webinars and BCG.

Tuesday 20 July 2:30 pm: Sharing: Non-Traditional Family History Books, by Betsy Thal Gephart for Allen Country Public Library Genealogy Center.

Wednesday 21 July, 11 am: Prisoners of War in ICRC Records. by Paul Nixon for Findmypast.

Wednesday 21 July, 2 pm: That Scoundrel George, by Judy Russell for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Thursday 22 July, 6:30 pm: Finding Your Ancestor’s Five Senses:
Using Manuscript Collections to Build Context, by Maire Gurevitz for Allen Country Public Library Genealogy Center.

Friday 23 July, 9 am: In Their Own Write: The Testimony of the Victorian English and Welsh Poor, by Paul Carter for TNA.


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