Call for Speakers: The Ontario Ancestors’ 2022 Webinar Series

Kim Barnsdale, OGS’s amazing Webinar Coordinator, drew this presentation opportunity, or rather opportunities, to my attention.

Ontario Ancestors is currently accepting proposals for our monthly 2022 Webinar Series. Our live webinars take place the first Thursday of the month at 7pm ET using the Zoom platform.

In addition, Ontario Ancestors is also looking for guest speakers who are interested in presenting for our new online quarterly mini-conference learning opportunities in 2022.

All submissions will be considered for both unless otherwise indicated on the submission.

Find further information and the form for sending proposals at

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 30 September 2021 at 11:59 pm.

This Week’s Online Genealogy Events

This is BIFHSGO Conference week. See the schedule at

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

Tuesday 21 Sept, 7 pm: Discovering Sudbury District, for Sudbury Branch OGS.

Wednesday, 22 Sept, 7 pm: The Alexander Bridge: its construction. its significance, its future, by David Jeanes and John Zvonar for Heritage Ottawa.

Wednesday, 22 Sept, 8 pm: Cluster Research: Using Groups of People to Find Your People, by Robyn Smith for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Thursday 23 Sept, 6:30 pm: Fireside Chat: The Importance of Social History in Genealogy, by Allison Singleton and Elizabeth Hodges for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Friday 24 Sept, 8 am: Continuation of Webtember from Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Looking Ahead

Monday 27 September, 3 pm: The Canadian Corps in the Hundred Days, by Tim Cook and Bill Stewart for the Western Front Association

Military Monday: In From The Cold Project

This post is delayed.

The In From The Cold Project exists to research and identify all servicemen and women missing from the official Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) list of casualties from the First and Second World Wars.

As of 4 September, 6,569 cases had. been submitted and accepted for commemoration by CWGC. They include 18 Canadian Merchant Navy, 9 Canadian Infantry, and one each for the Canadian Engineers,  Canadian Mounted Rifles, Canadian Pioneers, and Royal Canadian Naval Air Service.

The most recent cases accepted by the CWGC are at

A further 1,205 cases had been submitted and awaiting determination.

BIFHSGO Membership Incentive

First, I hope you enjoyed Sunday’s three presentations on the first day of the BIFHSGO conference as much as I did. I’m glad there’s a chance to view them again as some of the information came quickly.

Today, Monday, the presentations are:

16:00 – 17:30 Towards a Genetic-genealogy-driven Irish Reference Genome with Gerard Corcoran

18:00 – 19:30 Finding Molly Johnson: The Search for Irish Famine Orphans in Canada, 1847-1848 with Mark McGowan

20:00 – 21:30 Working Wildflowers: How Three Generations of Women Turned CP Traill’s Field Notes into a Best Seller with Kyla Ubbink.

Maybe the hosts of the sessions, as well as reading the list of things attendees can’t, do might be allowed to mention things they can, like smoking, bringing in food and drink, and keeping cellphone ringers active. Style of dress is optional!

Now for the incentive.

BIFHSGO is offering 10% off for new 2022 memberships and for membership renewals during the conference.  If you choose the $50 option that saves $5 (higher math!).

Going further with the math, the Society gets your money 3 months early so, if you count your pennies, you could earn interest of 13 cents (at 1% per annum) meaning you actually save $4.87. To earn interest of that amount in 3 months on $50 would require an annual interest rate of nearly 40% – tax-free! If you know of another legal way to earn that interest rate please let me know!

BIFHSGO has announced it will no longer accept membership payments by cheque as it imposes too much of an administrative burden on volunteers, directors and others. That may mean a loss of a few members of long-standing who choose not to make payments online.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

An audio version of the original BBC TV WDYTYA episodes for Bill Oddie, Colin Jackson, Jeremy Clarkson, Clare Balding, Sheila Hancock, Stephen Fry, Davina McCall, Alexander Armstrong.
via Chris Paton’s Scottish GENES blog

Ancestry has made the monthly update to Find a Grave.

Ireland during World War II

Spending $50 to Collect $5. Canada’s Absurd Access to Information Rules

TNA essential website maintenance
On Friday TNA posted about “migrating our website to new servers” and alerted users that “It is possible that some things may not look or work exactly the same as they did before.”  Notice they don’t anticipate the site being unavailable for hours on end. LAC please note.

Thanks to this week’s contributors. Anonymous, Barbara Di Mambro, Barbara Tose, Carolyn Lumsden, Judith Hilliker, Lynne W., Lesley Anderson, Margaret Anne Sterling, Michael More, rob bennie, Sheila, Unknown.

LAC Co-Lab updates for September

Here’s a report on progress with Library and Archives Canada’s Co-Lab Challenges since last month. One project was completed, two others reported progress.

Arthur Lismer’s Children’s Art Classes,  remains 0% complete.

John Freemont Smith is 92% complete (89% complete last month.)

War Diaries of the First World War: No. 2 Construction Battalion is 100% complete (99% complete last month.)

Canadian National Land Settlement Association remains 98% complete.

Molly Lamb Bobak remains 88% complete.

Diary of François-Hyacinthe Séguin remains 98% complete.

George Mully: moments in Indigenous communities remains 0% complete.

Correspondence regarding First Nations veterans returning after the First World War remains 99% complete.

Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 is 96% complete (95% complete last month.)

Legendary Train Robber and Prison Escapee Bill Miner remains 99% complete.

Japanese-Canadians: Second World War, remains 3% complete.

The Call to Duty: Canada’s Nursing Sisters is 92% complete (93% complete last month.)

Projects that remain 100% complete are no longer reported here.

Other Co-Lab activities not part of the Challenges may have happened; seemingly we’ll never know.

Book Notice: Treaties and Treacheries

Global Heritage Press has just released the latest book from Gavin K Watts.

The publisher’s blurb is:

Watt’s previous works have concentrated on the events of the American Revolutionary War in lower Quebec, upstate New York and Vermont. In this new book, he ventures west and south to examine the conflict out of Detroit across western Pennsylvania and the Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky territories that was hugely complicated by the colonists’ incessant encroachment onto First Nations’ lands.

Treaties & Treacheries examines the war’s first four years when political control of the northwest region remained uncertain. Thereafter, the United States dominated, as Britain abandoned attempts to rule the region and withdrew support of her many Indigenous allies. At war’s end, many of the region’s anglo-loyalists settled in western Ontario, while the Indigenous inhabitants and the majority of the Canadiens — many of whom had supported the Crown – accepted United States’ ascendancy and remained in their pre-war settlements.

More book description and Index etc for Treaties and Treacheries – The Early Years of the Revolutionary War on America’s Western Frontiers, 1775-1778 are at:

Advance Notice: DPLA Genealogy Webinar

On Tuesday 19 October at 3 pm ET, The Digital Public Library of America invites you to “Join us for a one-hour informational genealogy webinar using DPLA resources, presented by the Outreach and Accessibility working group and Allison Ryall, Genealogy Specialist for the Orange County Library System. The webinar will cover some DPLA basics, such as search techniques and a metadata overview, as well as genealogy tips and tricks. Allison will provide several case studies using DPLA resources and highlighting how to navigate DPLA’s collection and use available primary source sets. Attendees will become familiar with the various DPLA resources that are relevant to genealogy research and will gain insight in genealogical search strategies.”

DPLA is not to be overlooked for information on some Canadians, even though not the focus.

Ancestry announces appointments and promotion

Ancestry®, has named former Amazon and Facebook executives to its leadership team.

Brian Donnelly, formerly head of Diagnostics and Genomics at Amazon, has been named Senior Vice President and General Manager of AncestryDNA.

Ashish Nayyar, Facebook’s Senior Director of Data Science, has been appointed Chief Data Officer.

Heather Friedland, who joined Ancestry in 2019 and most recently served as Senior Vice President, New Products & Growth, has been promoted to Chief Product Officer.

Find the press release here.

Website Maintenance

From the British Library
We’re making some updates to our network, which means you won’t be able to use our website on Sunday 19 September between 08:00 and 11:00.

From The National Archives (TNA)
“migrating our website to new servers”, “It is possible that some things may not look or work exactly the same as they did before.”

LAC please note, neither anticipates the site being unavailable for days. The Brits leave that to rail service!

BIFHSGO’s website: before and after

An old friend is gone. Like us all, it wasn’t perfect. We learnt to live with imperfections and valued what the old BIFHSGO website offered. Like good friends it offered a lot.

Below, the new site with its colourful image of a row of houses grabs your attention. You need to explore around to find out where items you knew where to find previously now reside.

There’s an issue with the way the menu bar, the second one down, is structured for a regular or laptop computer. It’s like a person standing with arms akimbo, reaching out well beyond the body, leaving white space on either side and meaning the text in the main body is too small – for those of us whose vision isn’t what it used to be. You can enlarge the text, but then have to scroll down, for me that was five screens worth, to see the rest of the front page.

That wasn’t an issue for viewing on a smartphone, but the reformatting for the smaller screen meant “British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa” appearing twice and grabbing too much of the small screen. As with smartphones, you need to scroll down more to see all the front page content, nearly 8 screens, something you get accustomed to as you can scroll more easily on the small screen.

What about content? The site can’t be just a pretty face! Five of the eight top menu items are drop-down showing further options.

Under News, you find BIFHSGO News and News from the Genealogy World.  The latter appears to be part of an effort to reach out more broadly. I doubt a Connecticut Society of Genealogists event would have been noted previously. Is that a signal about BIFHSGO’s ambitions?

Name Index provides a way to search a consolidated database of BIFHSGO’s individual databases. It’s not yet quite as advertised; it doesn’t include the Ottawa Sharpshooters.

There is a nice collection under Resources: guides, a library list, online resource links and the archive of Anglo-Celtic Roots. It notes that over the next few years, BIFHSGO will move to keep the most recent five years of the journal available only to members. Earlier issues will be available to the public in the “Shared ACR Journals” tab. Issues had previously become open access after one year. One thing lost on the present site is a page with the contents for all issues back to Vol 1 No 1 which could be searched. My wish list goes beyond that, making the corpus of ACR back issues full-test word searchable.

There’s a link to the separate 2021 Conference page.

Under Membership find out about Becoming a Member, Renew Your Membership, Donations and, Members’ Area. I delayed writing this post until information on the new access credentials for members was made available. Once the new sign-in was completed, it went smoothly as per the email received, I was able to access the last two years of Anglo-Celtic Roots, conference and monthly meeting material as far back in some cases as 2011, a few exchange journals and information on volunteer opportunities for members.

An issue with pdfs, in which Anglo-Celtic Roots and much of the other material is presented, is reading it on a small screen. Not an issue just for BIFHSGO, as smartphone use increases, and the Society encourages members to receive its quarterly chronicle online, it is something the Society will inevitably have to address.

Overall, the site has the potential to become our new old friend.


Findmypast Friday Additions: small islands, small dataset

You could fit these islands 13 times into Prince Edward Island, and more than twice into Ontario’s Prince Edward County. Some organizations have difficulty distinguishing PEI and PEC, but not the smaller islands that yield this week’s additions to Findmypast:

16,900 births & baptisms, 1792-1934
4,800 marriages, 1799-1940
6,400 deaths & burials, 1804-1947.

It has been suggested The Turks & Caicos, a British Overseas Territory in the West Indies, would make a good addition to Canada, especially for the winter months.

These rare resources have been published in partnership with the British Library’s Endangered Archives Project. Browse that site for other rare resources, like Grenada’s”St George Register of Baptisms, marriages and burials [1765-1785]” available as images of the original.