Military Monday: Names in the landscape

With ‘The Passchendaele Archives Database’ the Passchendaele Museum aims at adding a face and a story to those who gave their lives during the Great War Battle of Passchendaele.

In its latest initiative, the Passchendaele Museum is attempting to give as many as possible of the 6,928 Canadian whose names are inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial and have no known grave a tangible place in the landscape.

Drawing on records of the Commonwealth War Grave Commission and Library and Archives Canada, the Passchendaele Archives is developing a map of the places where those men were born, lived, enlisted and died.

Use the map at, in to zoom in on a place of interest, zoom out for a perspective of the origins of these fatalities.

Also use the Advanced Search to find detailed individual information by selecting First name, Surname, Place of death, Place of birth, Profession. Unit, Rank, Date of death, as available.

Canadian content in UK genealogy shows

Penny Allen, Canadian librarian/genealogist/blogger living in England who posts at the UK to Canada Genealogy, recently added  Whither thou art: ye Canadian speakers at UK Family History Shows.

Penny asks: WHY do virtual Genealogy shows in the UK seem to have little Canadian content?

Penny points out that THE Genealogy Show does have a few Canadian speakers. Andrea Lister, Prison and Court Records; Lianne Kruger, Vlogging Your Family History; Wayne Shepheard, Using Parish and Other Records To Determine How Natural Phenomena Affected People and Communities.

Let’s have a stab at Penny’s question.

Is it true that the UK genealogy shows have little Canadian content?

When the show organizers look at what their potential audience wants, how much Canadian content is appropriate? Could it be that the present level meets the demand?  Shows and conferences may only have room for a fraction of possible presentations, possibly less than one-third of proposals.

Then again, some may only invite presentations from speakers the organizers know, leaving those from outside their domestic ambit and newcomers out of consideration.

We need to remember that most people in the UK (and elsewhere) start out wanting to research their genealogy and their origins, which for most will be predominantly in their home country. Later they will move on to the life and times of their UK ancestors. Perhaps, after that, they become interested in collateral lines. They might get curious, even obsessed, about why someone two, three or more generations back disappears from domestic records. These days, with so many large databases available, they may easily stumble across a relative who strayed overseas, including to Canada.

Folks have other ways, aside from UK shows, to find out about Canadian genealogical resources. UK genealogy magazines often have Canadian content. I’ve had two articles in the past year, including one appearing in Family Tree magazine’s July 2022 issue. Wayne Shepheard is a frequent UK magazine contributor and a conference speaker.

Finally, there are many opportunities to attend events organized by Canadian societies in these days of virtual presentations. Many are free. There are also virtual conferences, like the Ontario Genealogical Society/Ontario Ancestors conference coming later this month. Admittedly, it’s more of a challenge for UK residents to find out about those than their domestic conferences. UK magazines could help with that.


Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Did you ever see something like this? It’s a list of issues of the publication Zephyr at Seemingly a script runs to change 1981 to nineteen eighty one on some of my computers. Strange.

Internet Archive additions for May

Ancestry adds Edinburgh, Scotland, Extent Rolls, 1580-1847
Extent rolls were tax documents comprising information about rental owners’ properties. 714,184 records.

How do you pronounce scone?

From the Ottawa Journal, Oct 1966

0 TB of data online.

From the LAC website, 3 June 2022
Open to the public Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm —Reservations, assigned for morning or afternoon blocks required two weeks in advance, the rush for seats starts at 10 am ET on Mondays.

Masses of data online, only a few percent of holdings.

Royal Hospital Chelsea, by Dan Cruickshank
The story of the Royal Hospital, one of the architectural wonders of London and home of the much-revered, scarlet-coated Chelsea Pensioners. 2006 publication. Comment by BT: Terrific book! Terrific photography too.

See also 

A reminder that the Annual General Meeting of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa is next Saturday, 11 June, at 9 am,  followed at 10 am by a Great Moments session. The Ontario Genealogical Society AGM will be held from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm. Both are through Zoom

Thanks to this week’s contributors. Anonymous, Brenda Turner, Elizabeth Vincent, Gail B., Glenn Wright, Ken McLeod, Linda Reid, Mary Burns, Patti Mordasewicz, Teresa, Toni, Unknown.

Findmypast adds British military records

This week the additions are over 200,000 military records covering the British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Marines and more.

British Army, Recommendations For Military Honours and Awards 1935-1990
80,000 transcript records sourced from The National Archives include British Army personnel and some dominions armies’ personnel. They also contain some recommendations for members of the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, and Royal Marines. Reasons for recommendations vary, including gallantry in the face of the enemy, ‘meritorious service’ (not in the face of the enemy), or distinguished service.

In the records, you could find your ancestor’s name, unit, rank, home address, and perhaps a description of the action that warrants an award.

South Africa, Local Armed Forces Nominal Rolls, 1899-1902
Over 53,000 records, sourced from from The National Archives, detailing some of the British Army units raised locally in South Africa during the Second Boer War consisting mainly of British men who had emigrated to South Africa before the war.

The record transcripts reveal names, ranks, army units, and in many cases, enrolment and discharge dates, all useful information for fleshing out the military branches of your family tree.

Britain, Campaign, Gallantry & Long Service Medals & Awards
Over 51,000 records added to this collection, which details those that showed strength and courage in the face of war. Specifically, these latest additions cover recipients of:

Long Service Good Conduct Medal
India General Service Medal Pegu (Army) 1852-53
India General Service Medal Pegu (Navy) 1852-53

Collated from multiple sources, you’ll usually find a combination of regiment and rank, the reason for the award, any other known medals, discharge date, and more.

British Royal Navy & Royal Marines Service and Pension Records, 1704-1919
The addition of over 19,000 records to this collection, now more than one million entries, includes a shore list of men who joined the Royal Marines in 1810.

The records may reveal the rank and division of seafarersr, as well as the date they joined and any remarks made by their superior.

OPL responds to questions on resources at the new Ādisōke facility

The Ottawa Public Library team has responded to the questions I posed

Q: Will the full range of materials now in the Ottawa Room be available at the new facility? Will there be any deletions, additions, or format changes, such as digitization?

A (OPL): The Ottawa Room at OPL’s Main branch will transform into a new space at Ādisōke called ‘Living Ottawa’. Living Ottawa on the second floor of OPL will feature collections, seating, study spaces, exhibits and programs that celebrate Ottawa’s past, present and future. As we transition to this new space, a collection analysis of the Ottawa Room will be undertaken to understand any duplication with LAC’s collection and potential for digitization. Additionally, users of the Ottawa Room will be surveyed to understand how they are currently using the collection and how we can support them as we move towards Living Ottawa. With a balance of collections, seating, resources and programs, Living Ottawa will emphasize the preservation and creation of historical materials, as well as the recognition and celebration of what is happening today as the history of tomorrow.

Q: Given the wide range of genealogy resources at LAC, what will happen to the present OPL genealogy resources at Main?

A (OPL):  Similarly, OPL’s Genealogy holdings will benefit from a collection analysis to better understand any duplication with LAC collections. We anticipate bringing over to Ādisōke all OPL’s non-duplicated Genealogy collection from the Main branch for a combined collection of approximately 19,700 items. OPL’s Genealogy Collection includes a wide selection of circulating and non-circulating references, indexes, books, e-books, and DVDs as well as access to many great online resources. Ādisōke’s Genealogy Centre will invite clients to be active participants in research and discovery in a world-class research centre, combining OPL and LAC’s extensive genealogical services and collections.

As a supplemental, I’ve asked about the fate of duplicate material, hoping it might find a home in a suburban branch, such as Centrepointe, which already has a substantial local history and genealogy collection, which is more convenient than travelling downtown.

For reference, here at the responses to the questions posed to LAC.

LAC responds to questions on resources at the new Ādisōke facility

WDYTYA Magazine: July 2022

Not even waiting for June; the July issue came online on 31 May!

Feature contents for July:

FIND FAMILY FOR FREE Sarah Williams reveals how you can save your pennies and grow your tree with the Best Free Genealogy Websites. Most are familiar to the experienced genealogist. Some, like, you may have forgotten. New to me was said to rival the FamilySearch Wiki for UK topics.

In “What Lies Beneath” Celia Heritage explains how churchyard archaeology can help us research our ancestor’s life and death.

Claire Vaughan meets the WDYTYA? production team.

In “Pride and Prejudice,” Harry Verity investigates the hidden lives of our LGBT relations who lived in 18th-and 19th-century Britain.

One of Editor Sarah Williams’s Top Tips in her Best Free Genealogy Websites article is that your local library will give you access to various digital resources.  In Canada, that includes accessing a copy of this magazine available through PressReader.

What’s coming on Ancestry?

Here are new UK databases to look forward to from Ancestry.

Edinburgh, Scotland, Extent Rolls, 1748-1829
Edinburgh, Scotland, Cemetery Registers, 1771-1935
Scotland, High Court Criminal Indexes, 1790-1919

Lancashire, England, Index of Wills and Probates Proved at Richmond and Chester, 1600-1858
Worcestershire Bishop Transcripts.

Here are UK and Ireland updates coming soon.

UK, Imperial Yeomanry Records, 1899-1902 UK Obituaries UK Marriages
England and Wales, Death Index, 1989-2021
Scotland and Northern Ireland, Death Index, 1989-2021


Sixty-nine years ago

Are you old enough to remember where you were on 2 June 1953?
The Coronation of Elizabeth II took place at Westminster Abbey in London on that date. My family travelled to London, not to be invited into the Abbey but to watch the ceremony on my grandparent’s new television. Then later that day, or perhaps the next, I was taken to The Mall to see distant figures waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. I missed the street party at home.

The Anti-Bullseye Name Search

This site formulates and conducts a Google name in reverse order (Lastname Firstname), specifically excluding the most common expression of firstname lastname.

It claims to reveal many more legal- and data-based results by eliminating big sites like Pinterest, eBay, Amazon, LinkedIn, Facebook, and AbeBooks.

There’s also a keywords field where you can enter a few single-word modifiers that describe the person broadly to further refine the hits.

Archives150: origins of LAC

Today, 1 June 2022, marks a special anniversary worth celebrating.

Source: Library and Archives Canada/MIKAN 3923820

One hundred and fifty years ago today, Douglas Brymner – one-time coal merchant, farmer and journalist – took up his appointment as a clerk in the federal Department of Agriculture with instructions to investigate the extent and nature of archives in Canada.

On a salary of $50 per month, Brymner accepted the challenge that would occupy him for the next thirty years. He was almost forty-nine years of age, a husband and father of seven, and he was now making a fresh start in a new career, in an enterprise that was neither understood nor defined, with a mandate that was simply vague. The beginnings of this significant national undertaking were modest indeed.

With the British military withdrawal from Canada in 1871, Brymner argued that the records should remain in Canada. It was his first major acquisition. He next turned his attention to copying by hand relevant records in England and France, an enterprise that would continue for the next century. Brymner died in 1902, but his successor, Arthur G. Doughty, took inspiration from his achievements, established the Public Archives of Canada in 1912 and created in Ottawa, a mecca for research that attracted scholars from across Canada and beyond.

On 1 June 1872, Brymner’s work began in the basement of the West Block on Parliament Hill, in three empty rooms, with no staff or assistance of any kind and not a single document in his custody. It was, he observed, “a task of more than ordinary difficulty.”

At 150, our national archives, now an integral part of Library and Archives Canada, is a venerable institution. Brymner, Doughty and all those who followed in their footsteps have been dedicated to acquiring, preserving and making available our documentary heritage.

Today, we salute those who have created and continue to create an archive that is essential not only to our own personal research but a national resource that is the foundation for understanding Canada and the full diversity and complexity of its people and its history.

Researched and written by Glenn Wright


Internet Genealogy: June/July 2022

The June/July2022 issue will be available June 8, 2022. Here’s the table of contents.

COVER: Get the Most From Family History Conversations
Sue Lisk looks at effective ways to have those family history conversations

Ten Ways to Share Your Genealogy at a Family Reunion
Lisa A. Alzo offers tips for planning your next family gathering with genealogy in mind

Circuses and Family History
David A. Norris looks at records left by the once-popular form of entertainment

Dying Wishes and Final Thoughts
Robb Gorr looks at wills and testaments and what they can tell you about your ancestors

Early American Sources
Diane L. Richard examines a website encompassing archives and other sources for the Americas

1950 U.S. Census Explained
Karen L. Newman looks at what you might find in the 1950 U.S. Census

An Unsung Hero of the Great War
Colleen Callahan Gilbert remembers her late father-in-law through his personal papers

Logging and Our Ancestors
Sue Lisk looks at several websites devoted to the history of the logging industry in North America

Dog Collars: Clerical and Canine
Michelle Dennis looks at the resources for researching Devon and Cornwall ancestors

Permanent Legacy Foundation
Diane L. Richard looks at living archives for personal, family or community applications

Review: Photoshop Elements 2022
Lisa A. Alzo reviews a popular photo editing software program

Photos and Genealogy
How do capture other peoples’ stories?

Internet Genealogy looks at websites and related news that are sure to be of interest

Stories Lead to Family History
Getting children involved in family history conversations

Back Page:
What will the future hold for genealogy research in Ukraine?

Click an underlined heading to preview the first page of an article!