MyHeritage Opens Censuses & Voter Lists

From 1-8 September 2021, free access to the Census & Voter Lists category on MyHeritage. Over 1.3 billion records, including census records from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Scandinavia, and Canada as well as electoral rolls and other records from Australia, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Armenia, Greece, and much more.

This 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 or recommended

Assume registration in advance is required; check so you’re not disappointed.


Tuesday 31 August, 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library.

Tuesday, 31 August, 7:30 pm: Discussion with Terry Fallis about his latest book, Operation Angus. Organized by the Ottawa Public Library and Ottawa Writers Festival.

Wednesday  1 September, 11 am: History of the Railways in Britain, by Ellie Jones and Mike Esbester for Findmypast.

Wednesday  1 September, 2 pm: Your DNA Questions Answered Live with Diahan Southard for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Wednesday 1 September, 6:30 pm: Deconstructing the UK Censuses 1801 to present, by Penny Walters for Huron Branch OGS.

Thursday 2 September, 6:30 pm: Surprised by Your Ethnicity Estimate? by Sara Allen for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Thursday 2 September, 7 pm: I Found them on the Census: Now What? by Tara Shymanski for OGS.

Friday, 3 September, 9 am: Recovery from the Black Death in late-medieval Britain and Ireland, by Paul Dryburgh, TNA Principal Records Specialist (Medieval Records).

Friday 3 September, 10 am: Start of Webtember presentations from Legacy Family Tree Webinars. See the full program at

Saturday 4 September, 2 pm: Google is your friend, by Robin Bellamy for Simcoe Branch OGS.


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



British Newspaper Archive August Additions

The British Newspaper Archive now has a total of 44,623,934 pages online (44,125,390 last month).

This month 110 papers had pages added (163 in the previous month). There were 44 (73) new titles. Dates range from 1800 to 1992

Those with more than 10,000 pages added were:

Boxing World and Mirror of Life 1894-1904, 1907-1924
Bury Free Press 1982-1986
Eastbourne Chronicle 1865-1895, 1897-1907, 1950
Liverpool Journal of Commerce 1870, 1872, 1874-1877, 1879-1882, 1884-1885, 1910-1940
London Chronicle 1800-1807, 1810-1811, 1813, 1816-1817, 1819-1822
London Mercury 1828, 1847-1848
Newmarket Journal 1882-1896, 1898-1911, 1913-1917, 1982-1984
Sheerness Times Guardian 1884-1887, 1889-1893, 1895, 1897, 1899-1900, 1902-1910, 1912-1915, 1922-1939, 1981, 1987
Suffolk and Essex Free Press 1982-1986
Week’s News (London) 1871-1879

Military Monday: RCAF in the Battle of Britain

File: Pilots of No. 1 Squadron RCAF with one of their Hawker Hurricanes at Prestwick, Scotland, 30 October 1940. CH1733.jpg IWM

When Winston Churchill said of the Battle of Britain “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” it wasn’t only the RAF in the skies.

No 1 Squadron of the RCAF, redesignated No 401 Squadron in Britain to avoid confusion, was part of the Battle, active on this date and for 53 days from 24 August 1940.

In 1,694 sorties (1,569 operational hours and 1,201 non-operational), three pilots were killed, thirteen wounded, and 17 aircraft lost.  The squadron claimed 30 enemy aircraft destroyed, eight probably destroyed and 35 damaged. 

There’s a brief history in Among Canada’s “Few”: The RCAF’s No. 1 Squadron in the Battle of Britain. has a memorial page for the first Canadian pilot killed — Robert Lesley Edwards.

It takes more than the pilots to make a functioning fighter squadron. The contributions of the ground crew who kept the aircraft flying is described in The Unsung Heroes: The Ground Crew of No. 1 (RCAF) Squadron. Several are mentioned by name. Trades such as clerks, cooks, motor mechanics, batmen, waiters and general-duties airmen should not be overlooked — pilots who are unfed and poorly supported don’t perform well!

All their names are in the passenger list for the Duchess of Atholl, on which they travelled from Halifax to Liverpool, arriving 20 June 1940. It’s available on microfilm C-5610 at Canadiana Heritage.

The officers, travelling first-class, are listed on images 18 and 19; also 66.

The NCOs travelling second-class, are listed on images 22 and 23..

A nominal roll with number, rank and trade as well as surname and initials of NCOs and other ranks starts at image 67 (surnames A-C), continuing with images 68 (C-G), 69 (G-L), 70 (M-R), and 71 (R-Y).



LAC: Two Years into the Mandate

I’d like to be positive.

On 30 August 2019 Leslie Weir assumed the role of Librarian and Archivist of Canada. Faced with the extraordinary challenge of COVID-19 for most of that period, something nobody anticipated, it would hardly be surprising if things she set out to achieve were not accomplished.

What was achieved? Based on the LAC news items posted, the key items are:

    1. LAC/OPL building
    2. COVID-19
    3. Indigenous

The negotiation and agreement on the joint building took place while Guy Berthiaume was Librarian and Archivist. The design was already underway two years ago. It has proceeded. The major improvement, to make the building net carbon neutral, should likely be most credited to two environmentally concerned Cabinet Ministers.

COVID-19 was a challenge. Did LAC make adjustments and maintain productivity? Did employees work from home, with appropriate altered objectives where necessary, in the same way as at peer institutions internationally? In a year when one would expect clients to turn more to online resources visitors to the LAC website were down 3% in 2020-21 compared to the previous year. There is now a major backlog of ATIP requests, well beyond legislated timelines for response. Staff are stretched beyond reason. Delays for other requests extend beyond a year.

LAC received special funding in order to respond to demands regarding Indigenous languages and cultures. In 2020–2021, 27 of the 28 commitments in LAC’s Indigenous Heritage Action Plan made “significant progress and are
on the way to being completed.” However, LAC failed to seize the opportunity of the discovery of residential school graves to inform Canadians about the relevant resources held by the institution.

There are rumours of problems of mismanagement, inappropriate hiring and plummeting morale. While I can’t verify them if true they should be a concern.

I’d like to be positive. Projects, like the new storage facility, have moved forward as previously planned. For the coming months, as we all learn to live with COVID, staff will be returning to their duties and the public should once again be able to avail themselves of all the resources LAC has to offer.  Will there be an effort to reduce backlogs, reach out to provide the user community (including genealogists — mostly ignored although the largest user group) with new access and service as much as possible in the new normal?

Now two years into the mandate, compared to your expectations, what letter grade would you give Leslie Weir for her leadership achievements at Library and Archives Canada?

Advance Notice: Webtember from Legacy Family Tree Webinars

Each Friday in September: 30 live and pre-recorded webinars in all free to view through the end of the month.

Register here for the live presentations. The pre-recorded presentations will be available at

Date Time (ET) Live/Pre-recorded Speaker Title
3 Sep  10:00am Live Geoff Rasmussen FAN Club in Action: a Simple Case Study
11:00am Live Roberta Estes Paint Your Way Up Your Tree with MyHeritage and DNAPainter
12:30pm Live Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG America’s Turnpikes, Rivers, and Canals
2:00pm Live here Anita Wills Notes and Documents of Free Persons of Color
Pre-recorded Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of German Military Records
Pre-recorded Dr. Bruce Durie How Can I Get a Legal Coat of Arms in Scotland?
Pre-recorded Denise May Levenick Seventeen Secrets to Successful Scanning
Pre-recorded Mary Kircher Roddy, CG Finding Jane Graham’s Parents: Using Clusters and Records in Three Countries
10 Sep 8:00am Live Carol Baxter British and Irish Given Names – Part 1
9:30am Live Daniel Horowitz Don’t Believe Everything You Read
11:00am Live Craig R. Scott, MA, CG, FUGA The Loyalists That Stayed Behind: The Reintegration
12:30pm Live DearMYRTLE and Russ Worthington NEVER GIVE UP: 5 Strategies for Overcoming Genealogical Angst
Pre-recorded Carol Baxter British and Irish Given Names – Part 2
Pre-recorded Debra Renard What are the Odds? Finding Answers Using DNA Painter’s WATO Tool
Pre-recorded Schelly Talalay Dardashti Did your Abuelita…? Seeking Jewish Heritage
Pre-recorded Melissa Barker Diaries, Journals and Calendars: Preserving and Document Your Ancestor’s Day-to-Day Life
17 Sep  9:30am Live James Tanner Researching Immigrants to New England in the Great Migration, 1620-1640
11:00am Live Janice Lovelace, PhD Afro-LatinX in the Old West
12:30pm Live Daniel Horowitz Genealogy on the Go with the MyHeritage Mobile App
2:00pm Live here Lianne Kruger A Toboggan Ride Through Canadian Records, eh!
Pre-recorded Rebecca Koford, CG, CGL Out of the Ballot Box: Voter Registrations & Records
Pre-recorded Marie Cappart Beneluxury archives! How to get the best out of belgian, dutch and lux archives online
Pre-recorded Fiona Brooker A Step Through Time(lines)
24 Sep 8:00am Live Michelle Leonard Inferred Matching Explained
9:30am Live Thomas MacEntee The Mysterious Death of Anna T. McPhillips
11:00am Live Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL “Twelve Good and Lawful Men”: Jury Lists in Genealogy
12:30pm Live Paul Woodbury Where Did That Come From?! Tracing the Origins of Unique Ethnicity Admixture
Pre-recorded Michael L. Strauss, AG Roosevelt’s Tree Army: Researching the Civilian Conservation Corps
Pre-recorded Lisa Toth Salinas Beginning Hungarian Genealogy
Pre-recorded Cathie Sherwood One family, many connections: Using the FAN club in one Australian locality


Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

A Colorful Animated Short About the Inevitable Isolation That Comes With Digital Addiction

Derelict London Tours
Not what I’d think of as a tourist attraction

The Internet Archive has been fighting for 25 years to keep what’s on the web from disappearing and you can help

Ancestry Updates US  Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current, now with 163,896,145 records.

BC Marriage and Death Registration Update
Now available, marriage registrations from 1945 and death registrations from 2000.

Canadian university libraries shine during pandemic
Could the same be said for Library and Archives Canada?

Have you been enjoying the LAC website this weekend?
The site was unreachable for most of Saturday and early Sunday – back now.

Thanks to this week’s contributors.

FreeBMD August Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 26 August to contain 281,618,901  unique records (280,862,829 at the previous update). Years with major additions of more than 10,000 records are, for births 1986-87 and 1990-91, for marriages 1986-90 and for deaths 1986-90. 

Continual adjustments are made to earlier entries. For years before 1986 in the latest update, 477 births were added and 1706 deleted; for marriages, 442 added and 475 deleted; for deaths, 821 added and 983 deleted.

Ancestry Updates Saskatchewan Records

This time its Ancestry playing catchup with a record set that’s also on Findmypast.

Web: Saskatchewan, Canada, Death Index, 1889-1949,  66,164 records

Web: Saskatchewan, Canada, Birth Index, 1875-1919,  785,477 records

The leading Web indicates basic information from free web records and provides links to the original sites where you can view the full record, including any associated images. 

Expert Genealogy Podcasts from AGRA

The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) has announced a new series of family history podcasts.

While I was unable to find information on the AGRA website, WDYTYA magazine has the first episode, entitled Commissioning Effective Research, being released on 1 September.

Five further episodes, to be launched on the first of each month, will examine legal and Chancery records, Welsh ancestors, manorial and estate records, Liverpool ancestors and the Poor Law, The podcast will be available on and various podcast services.

Findmypast adds Claire and Waterford Poor Law Unions Board of Guardians Minute Books

For County Claire, the additions are over 21,000 transcript and image records from Kilrush Union covering 1848 and 1870. There are now over 400,000 records for Claire Poor Law.

For County Waterford, Kilmacthomas and Dungarvan, it’s over 158,000 transcript and image records added from 1845-1921. The Waterford collection is over 420,000 records.

Some of the reasons for mention in the minutes include:

A member of staff or a guardian
Received outdoor relief for work such as breaking stones
Paid or collected the poor rates
Assistance to take on a pauper apprentice
A request for assistance with emigration
Marriage announcements of inmates
Orphaned or deserted child
An inmate of the workhouse with special circumstances


WDYTYA Magazine September 2021

Feature articles this issue are:

Expert Tips from the best genealogy tutors in the UK — busting brick walls and growing your tree. Who are the best tutors?  Susan Moore, Janet Few, Simon Fowler, Linda Newey, Chris Paton, Ian Waller, Tahita McCabe,  Karen Cummings, Dave Annal,  Mia (Amelia) Bennett, Else Churchill, Caroline Gurney, Les Mitchinson, Ann Ballard, Lucy Brown, John Cleary, Judith Batchelor, Lorna E Kinnaird, Ian C MacDonald, and Judith Russell. That’s a long list to keep to hand if you’re organizing a conference or looking for speakers.

Family Names. Harry Parkin, the editor of a new dictionary of British surnames explains their history.

Helping Germans. How Quakers reached out to Britain’s persecuted German community during the First World War, by Janet Sacks.

Also, learn about the best Welsh websites, the life of a Victorian governess, sources for relations in the Victorian merchant navy, and adding a timeline to your family tree.

A couple of reader’s letters tell war bride stories, following on my article in the July issue.

And there’s lots more. Read it free through Press Reader online at the Ottawa Public Library (and many others in Canada) magazines section.