Multimedia Digital Archive of Rural and Northern Ontario Stories

The People’s Archive of Rural Ontario (PARO) officially launched on Wednesday with stories told by everyday people in video, audio, photographic or text formats.

As explained here

“People have different ways of sharing their stories. We want to be an archive that genuinely provides a space for people’s stories, and so we have to be open to the different media people use to tell their own stories in the way they think those stories should be told and presented, in the medium that suits them and their stories.”

Organizers expect the archive to become an educational resource for students from elementary to post-secondary, and for anyone interested in studying rural Ontario, including policymakers and academics.

A team of U of G graduate research assistants is now collecting stories from rural storytellers across Ontario. They hope people will contact the group to share their stories.

“There is great importance to documenting stories in people’s own words,” said Wittmer. “Being featured in a space where their voices are seen, heard and appreciated by broader audiences has great value. People have been very excited about presenting their stories and sharing them with their families, friends and communities.”

The site has a search capability so it’s easy to see if there’s anything of significance for your family history.


Historic Environment Scotland’s annual report 2020-21

Chris Paton posted a summary of this annual report on his Scottish GENES blog . Key statistics from the organization for the year are:

Invested over £13 million through the HES grants programme, helping communities to restore their built heritage and improve their understanding of the past, including the launch of the Historic Environment Recovery Fund.
Commercial income during this period was hit by the impact of COVID-19 and fell [87%] to £8.2 million.
HES welcomed 246,000 visitors to the staffed sites which were able to reopen in 2020- 2021.
A total of £25.3 million, inclusive of staff costs, was invested in conservation, maintenance and management of the PiCs.
More than 80,000 digitised items were added to Canmore, our online archive site, bringing the total available to 1.1 million.
We continued to make a positive contribution to net zero, with carbon emissions reduced by 34.8%, bringing the total reduction over 2014 – 2021 to 54.6%.
Around £16.1 million generated into the Scottish economy from heritage tourism.

Is the mention of carbon emissions reduction something we can hope to see more of from other organizations?



RootsIreland Savings

RootsIreland offers a unique database of more than 22 million Irish records. It contains data from 34 county genealogy centres on the island of Ireland. The main sources on the site are Irish Catholic and other church records of baptisms, marriages and deaths,  important sources for tracing Irish ancestry.

The offer is good until Friday 10 December. Find out terms at

TNA Catalogue Week

Quite a few years ago I was fortunate to be in Kew and attended most of The National Archives Catalogue Day presentations.

This year Catalogue Day has become Catalogue Week with 17 recorded presentations and blog posts to mark the 21st year.

There’s a summary of what’s on each day here. 

Thursday’s program looks to be of particular interest;

“First and Second World Wars. Laura Robson-Mainwaring discusses cataloguing First World War medical diaries, while Michael McGrady looks at the challenges presented by abbreviations and identification in cataloguing Second World War diaries. James Cronan continues the Second World War theme focusing on civilian honours, and our final blog release for the day highlights the case of Leonard Orpin, a British civilian interned during war time.”

It appears TNA is posting day-by-day links at



This Week’s Online Genealogy Ecents

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 23 Nov. 10 am: Introduction to the UK Web Archive for research use, by Jason Webber for the National Library of Scotland.

Tuesday 23 Nov. 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library.

Tuesday 23 Nov. 2:30 pm: Mayflower Research, by John Beatty for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Tuesday 23 Nov. 7 pm: Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy, by Fraser Dunford for Kawartha Branch OGS,

Tuesday 23 Nov. 7 pm: The Old Iron Bridge, by Bob McEachern for Wellington County Branch OGS/

Wednesday 24 Nov. 10 am: Maps for family and local history, from the National Library of Scotland.

Wednesday 24 Nov. 7 pm:  Upheaval across Canada’s Landscape of Commemoration, by Randy Boswell for Historical Society of Ottawa,,17,19,21/upheaval-across-canada-s-landscape-of-commemoration

Friday 26 Nov. 9 am: Spanish flu and Covid-19: Pandemics and the Roaring Twenties, by Catharine Arnold for the UK National Archives.

Saturday 27 Nov. 11 am: Sharing Shetland Conference, with Wendy Wickwire, Jon Sandison, Laughton Johnston and Jim Wilson for the Shetland Family History Society

Saturday 27 Nov. 1 pm: Capital Chronicles: Abigail Wright-First-Lady of the Capital Area, by Rick Henderson for OGS Ottawa Branch,


Seasonal Savings

Is your email inbox inundated by “Black Friday” savings? Here are some that flooded into mine.

MyHeritage DNA kits for the lowest price ever  — $55 Cdn ($39 US) with free shipping when you order 2 or more kits; offer ends 26 November —

Findmypast offers 25% off 1 or 12-month access, offer ends 28 November —

AncestryDNA for $79 Cdn plus tax and shipping until 24 November —

Family Tree DNA offers the 37 marker Y-DNA test for $79 US, the Family Finder (autosomal) test for $39 US, and the Maternal Ancestry (Mt-DNA) for $139 US, all plus shipping.

I’m hoping for at least one more. Stay tuned!

Military Monday: Arnprior War Memorial

The Arnprior McNab Braeside Archives recently launched a digital War Memorial at .

At present, the project has identified and gathered the information for all names on the Arnprior Cenotaph. It also gathered names listed on local memorials, honour rolls and in books of remembrance.

Information for each individual is available by contacting the Archives and includes a record of where and when they were born, the names of their parents, some information about their lives when available, details of their military involvement, in addition to a record of when and where they were killed and buried in the service of their country. For more information about how the War Memorial was compiled, please see the project summary or contact the Archives.

There is also information on some forgotten soldiers. Information is being sought Emile Chambleau and Albert Wilson (World War One); Keith Laugheed and Thomas Mosley (World War Two).

Thanks to AMBA Archivist Kristen Mercier.


FreeBMD November Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Saturday 20 November 2021 to contain 282,788,464 unique entries, increased from 281,999,667 at the previous update.

Years with changes of more than 10,000 records since the last update are: for births 1986-87, 1990-92; for marriages 1987, 1989-91; for deaths 1987-91.

BBC History Magazine: December 2021

Feature articles for the December issue.

Alexander’s afterlife
The Macedonian leader conquered swathes of the ancient world – but, as Edmund Richardson. Reveals, his reach extended farther still after death.

Lessons from Afghanistan
Can revisiting misrepresented or untold aspects of history help us better understand the situation today? An expert panel debates key topics.

A people’s princess
Long before Diana, the British public adored another ill-fated princess. Tracy Borman tells the tragic tale of the prince Regent’s daughter Charlotte.

Hereward the Wake
Matt Lewis teases fact from myth in the story of the outlaw who defied William the Conqueror.

Ireland divided
Charles Townsend identifies the key episodes that led to the partition of Ireland into north and south.

Making melancholy fashionable
Mary and Lund discusses how the condition captured the imagination of Renaissance Britain.

Queen of spades
Rebecca Wragg Sykes introduces the groundbreaking female archaeologists of the 1930s who dug for success in the face of sexism .