Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Daily Mirror, England, January 23, 1923

Nuclear war would be more devastating for Earth’s climate than cold war predictions – even with fewer weapons.

Five must-read summer non-fiction books
From The Conversation (UK).

Frome Society for Local Study
Currently highlighting a new publication — 1813 Cruse Map of Frome Selwood – a unique limited edition historical atlas now available to order.

Unlocking our Hidden Collections
A British Library initiative to clear cataloguing backlogs, process donated material, and upgrade existing bibliographic records, making the material ‘visible’ again. LAC please read!

According to Irish Genealogy Newsnine new titles will be joining the IrishNewsArchive database during August, and digitization is starting soon on two Belfast papers: The Irish News (1891-to-current), and Andersonstown News (1972-to-current.) 

Lost Cousins
The latest issue of Peter Calver’s always interesting newsletter.

Thanks to this week’s contributors: Ann Burns, Anonymous, Brenda Turner, Bryan Cook, Dianne Brydon, Ed Chadwick, gail benjafield, Lois Logan, Nick Mcdonald, Robert Ross Halfyard, Sunday Thompson, Teresa, Unknown.

FamilySearch Updates

Here’s a tabulation of the FamilySearch titles that have seen updates in the past month. All, except for the London Electoral Registers, are name indexed and most have linked images of the original.

Collection Title Records Last Updated
Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1740-1900 3,695,883 2 August 2023
England, London Electoral Registers, 1847-1913 Browse Images 27 July 2023
England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 45,763,557 27 July 2023
England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991 14,518,428 27 July 2023
England Marriages, 1538–1973 11,805,479 27 July 2023
England, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988 2,010,432 27 July 2023
England, Surrey Marriages Bonds and Licenses, 1536-1992 5,422 27 July 2023
England, Surrey Parish Registers, 1536-1992 1,834,524 27 July 2023
England, Hampshire Parish Registers, 1538-1980 1,853,815 14 July 2023
England, Hampshire, Portsmouth, Baptisms, 1538-1940 537,320 14 July 2023
England, Hampshire, Portsmouth, Burials, 1538-1926 313,412 14 July 2023
England, Hampshire, Portsmouth, Cemetery Records, 1881-1918 129,284 14 July 2023
England, Hampshire, Portsmouth, Hospital Records, 1878-1918 71,376 14 July 2023
England, Hampshire, Portsmouth, Marriages, 1537-1930 393,770 14 July 2023
England, Hampshire, Portsmouth, Police Staff Records, 1908-1924 313 14 July 2023
England, Hampshire, Portsmouth, Military Tribunals, 1916-1919 14,141 14 July 2023
England, Hampshire, Portsmouth, Workhouse Registers, 1879-1919 60,953 14 July 2023
England, Cumberland Parish Registers, 1538-1990 524,813 7 July 2023

Findmypast Weekly Update

The FMP record collection grew by 14,479 records this week as they come out of embargo.

For Devon, baptisms are augmented with 2,111 new records, transcripts and the original record images from 1923. The marriage and banns collection has 2,609 new records, and there are 380 new burial records. Parishes with additions include Lydford, Cornwood, and Eggbuckland.

For Leicestershire, there are now 5,240 baptisms added from the year 1923, both transcriptions and images. Also 1,546 marriages along with 2,424 banns from 1938, and 169 burials from 1998.

Also announced this week is the availability of over 400,000 new pages from The Scotsman for 1951 to 2002. That means 48,799 issues, 786,514 pages of The Scotsman for 1817-2002 are now available through the British Newspaper Archive and Findmypast.

Update on LAC Website

Copied below, buried in the LAC blog, is a useful update for those of us who’ve been curious about progress since the new LAC website was introduced a year ago. It explains changes that have been made in response to user feedback.
Notable is that about one-third of the visits, through the “Help with your research” page, were for genealogy and family history. Another 25% were for military history, likely also related to searching an individual.

Toward the end of the blog reveals the comments they are working on now:
– What is or isn’t available at LAC, especially in terms of modern records
– How to access obituaries on the LAC website
– How to find some of our smaller databases (like Second World War Service Files – War Dead, 1939 to 1947)

If you have comments on changes to the site that would help with your interest, be it about the user experience or content, be it family history, military or any other, LAC would welcome your feedback at

Improving your online experience: Analytics, feedback, improvements, user experience and changes to come on our new website

Ancestry Augments 1931 Census Transcriptions

We now know that in 1931 Lester Pearson lived in a rented home and didn’t own a radio.

When Ancestry posted its partial transcriptions of the 1931 Census of Canada on Friday, 9 June, the fields available were Name, Gender, Marital Status, Age, Estimated Birth Year, Residence date, Home in 1931, Relation to Head, Enumeration District and Sub-District.

Only two months after the LAC release, additional fields have been transcribed. They are: Can Speak English, Can Speak French, Can Read and Write, Class of Worker, Home Ownership, Materials of Construction, Owned Radio.

Given the limited vocabulary for a response, mostly Yes/No, I’d expect the automated transcription result to be quite accurate. However, Ancestry informs they still need to pass complete internal quality control.

So far, there has yet to be an update to the search form to accommodate these added fields.

Thanks to Allison Lau and Rob Burt from Ancestry for clarifying information.

Ancestry adds UK and Allied Countries, World War II Liberated Prisoner of War Questionnaires, 1945-1946

This new database on Ancestry, based on interviews with liberated prisoners, is from original data at WO 344 and has 83,560 entries. The transcribed information is shown in this example.

Name: Victor Charles Sparrow
Rank: Supper
Birth Date: 14 Jan 1917
Enlistment Date: 8 Sep 1939
Capture Date: 19 Aug 1942
Capture Place: Dieppe
Imprisonment Force: Germany
Service Number: B25215
Unit: 2nd Field Company Royal Canadian Engineers

Sparrow is one of approximately 9,000 Canadians who were captured and held as prisoners of war during the Second World War. Nearly 1,700 were held in Asia.

The collection includes 798 POWs who, like Sparrow, were captured in the raid on Dieppe on 19 August 1942, all serving with Canadian forces.

The linked image is a three-page questionnaire, filled out by the liberated POW by handwriting, with much of the same information as found on an attestation paper (as withheld by LAC) as well as their POW experience.

The collection includes 1,335 who were captured in Hong Kong including POWs from the Royal Rifles of Canada and Winnipeg Grenadiers.


Internet Archive Texts — source for unlikely finds

On the hunt for background on the Ottawa Sharpshooters, who served in the 1885 NorthWest Field Force, I didn’t anticipate finding relevant information in Text Archive in the Internet Archive. Text Archive has over 38 million items, many full books and all full-text searchable. That includes over 839,000 items in Canadian Libraries.

The unexpected hit I got was in a poem in the book Selections from Scottish Canadian poets : being a collection of the best poetry written by Scotsmen and their descendants in the Dominion of Canada, published in 1900. What are the chances you’d read through that for mention of the Ottawa Sharpshooters?

Margaret Beatrice Burgess, penned IN MEMORIAM: Battle of Cut Knife Creek, 2nd May, 1885. Private John Rogers, Ottawa Sharpshooters, born in the island of Barbadoes, West Indies, 6th May, 1858; killed in battle 2nd of May, 1885 ; aged 27 years less 4 days.

Of its time, read the poem with a good helping of poetic licence.

Each poet of the 37, including eight women, listed below, is introduced by a short biography. There are also 30 portraits.

Anderson, Rev. R S. G.
Boyd, Robert.
Brack, Mrs. Jessie Wanless.
Bruce, Rev. G., D.D.
Burgess, Mrs. Margaret Beatrice.
Clark, Dr. Daniel.
Graham, Miss H. Isabel.
Harper, Dr. John Murdock.
Imrie, John.
Laidlaw, Thomas.
Lockhart, Rev. A. J.
McCaig, Donald.
McLachlan, Alexander .
MacColl, Evan.
MacCormack, Malcolm.
Macfarlane, John.
Mackay, Mrs. Isabelle Ecclestone .
MacKeracher, W. M.
Macnab, Rev. Andrew.
Maitland, Mrs. Mary A.
Marshall, Mrs. J. R.
Mortimer, John.
Muir, Alexander.
Murdock, William.
Murray, William.
Nelson, Edwin G.
Newhall, Mrs. Georgina Fraser.
Pirie, George.
Reid, Robert.
Ross, Allan.
Simpson, John.
Smith, Rev. William Wye.
Steele, John.
Telford, William.
Tytler, Agnes.
Wanless, Andrew.
Wingfield, Alexander H.

Like John Rogers, Margaret Beatrice Burgess is buried at Ottawa’s Beechwood Cemetery.

This Week’s Online Genealogy Events

We continue in the summer slump for webinars — quantity, not quality. Choose from selected free online events in the next five days. All times are ET except as noted. Assume registration in advance is required; check so you’re not disappointed. Looking for more options? Additional mainly US events are listed at

Tuesday 1 August

2:30 pm: Sharing the Stories of Your Ancestors, by EvaAnne Johnson for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

10 pm: Six Top Sites for Queensland Research, by Helen V. Smith for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Wednesday 2 August

2 pm: How and When Did Our European Ancestors Get to Europe? by David Dowell for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

7:30 pm: How did they get here? – based on the Diary of George Laird, byDeb & Bill McAuslan for OGS Huron County Branch.

Thursday 3 August

6:30 pm: Mitochondrial DNA: An Overview & Testing Strategies, by Kathleen Carter for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

7 pm: Old MacDonald Had a Farm, byTina Beaird for the Ontario Genealogical Society.

Friday 4 August

2 pm: Loyalists, Freedmen and Frauds in the Southern Claims Commission, by Sharon Batiste Gillins for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Saturday 5 August