Findmypast highlights “Home Children”

Findmypast is using RootsTech to profile a new cooperative project “Bringing to light British Home Children’s stories.” Read the release here.

The sub-head is “Between the 1860s and 1970s, over 130,000 children were sent to live in overseas dominions by the British government. Known as British Home Children, many of their stories have been lost to history.”

Where does the number 130,000 come from? Does it include those past school leaving age who should be termed juveniles, NOT children?

What is the basis for the claim that “Around four million people around the world are descended from a British Home Child?”

What is the basis for claiming the British government sent them?

Many were termed orphaned at the time as they had lost one parent. Losing both parents, which we think of as orphaned today, was not the definition at the time. Many youngsters found themselves unwanted when the surviving parent remarried. Many others where abused and neglected and found refuge with the organizations that subsequently arranged their move and settlement in Canada and elsewhere.

Those who call for an apology from the Government of Canada for its involvement should reflect of the young immigrants fate if they had not been helped and emigrated. My own grandfather lost both parents by the time he was age 10, and after leaving the London orphanage at age 14 is found as a coal miner (hewer) in South Wales where those as young as 14 are recorded doing the same work in the 1911 census. Would he have been better off on a Canadian farm? There’s no guarantee. Aside from death and taxes, very little is guaranteed in this life.

Perhaps the descendants, instead of seeking an apology, should acknowledge the circumstances at the time and thank the Canadian government for having provided a refuge, just as many of today’s refugees do.


British Newspaper Archive Update for February

The collection added to 120 newspapers in February, compared to 41 last month. That includes seven new titles. The earliest date is 1833; most are well into the 20th century.

The collection now totals 74,399,999 pages, up from 73,465,208 in the January update. Those with more than 10,000 pages added are:

Newspaper Title Years Added
Kent Evening Post
1970-1972, 1974-1980, 1985-1989, 1991-1992, 1995-1997
Maidstone Telegraph
1970-1974, 1977, 1979-1980, 1985-1989, 1992, 1999
Melton Mowbray Times and Vale of Belvoir Gazette
1894-1896, 1898-1910, 1912-1917, 1919-1942, 1963-1965, 1969, 1971-1981, 1985-1989, 1991, 1995
Wolverhampton Express and Star
1965, 1969-1970, 1976, 1979-1983
Sunday Post
1951-1971, 1973-1985
Banbury Guardian
1929-1945, 1964-1977

Updating RootsTech Specials

Add your DNA result to MyHeritage for FREE

For each new DNA file uploaded this week (i.e. one that hasn’t been uploaded to MyHeritage in the past), the uploader will receive free access to all advanced DNA features, saving them the usual $29 unlock fee per file. This rare offer is valid for the next few days only, until 4 March 2024 at 11:59 p.m.

MyHeritage has 7.9 million DNA profiles in its database with a broad geographic coverage. You will continue to enjoy all MyHeritage DNA features for free, forever!

RootsMagic Offer

Save up to 50% on RootsMagic 9, Personal Historian, and Family Atlas.

RootsMagic is discounted to $20 US with the same conference discount as at the show online by visiting

This offer is only available through Monday, 4 March at 11:59 pm MST.

As previously posted


Legacy FamilyTree Webinars

New members can get 50% off a Legacy Family Tree Webinar membership through Saturday ( 29  February  – 2 March 2024).

Also, Legacy software is available for $20 US (usually $34.95 US) through Saturday (February 29 – March 2, 2024).

I understand the discounts may already be available.




This Week’s Online Genealogy Events

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. Find out about many more mainly US events at Conference Keeper at

Tuesday 27 February

2 pm: Boosting Your Family History Discoveries with MyHeritage DNA, by Gal Zrihen for MyHeritage and Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Wednesday 28 February

2:30 pm: Women’s Work: Lives in Stitches, by Naomi Tarrant for the Guild of One-Name Studies.

Thursday 29 February

RootsTech Day 1

6:30 pm: Identification of the Romanov Russian Royal Family, by Suni M. Edson for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Friday 1 March

RootsTech Day 2

2 pm: Telling Your Family’s Story with MyHeritage’s AI Features, by Janna Helshtein for MyHeritage and Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Saturday 2 March

RootsTech Day 3

FreeBMD February Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday, 22 February 2024, to contain 290,239,705 unique entries, up from 290,006,167 on 22 January.

The years with more than 10,000 new entries are 1992-1995 for births, 1992 – 1994 for marriages, and 1993 – 1995 for deaths.

Military Monday: War Bride Survivor and Descendant Estimates

The brides of Second World War Canadian servicemen who came to Canada, mainly in 1946, numbered 43,454. Reading their obituaries, you are impressed with how they became a significant part of Canada’s postwar landscape, shaping our social and cultural fabric. Sadly, their era is coming to a close.

This post is an update and extension of one in March 2020
where I estimated the median age of war brides as 24 when they arrived. A few were much older, some younger.

In 2016, I estimated 5,500 survivors. In 2020 , a range of 1,000 to 1,800 living war brides with media age 98.

A sample of 50 obits published in Canadian newspapers as late as 2023 confirms the median birth year remains 1922.

The number of survivors depends strongly on the age distribution of the initial cohort, particularly those who were the youngest.  That has never been released. Based on a Canadian life table for females born in 1921, my estimate is there are no more than two hundred war bride survivors in 2024.

The median number of children born to each war bride mentioned in the 50 obits is three, ranging from zero to seven.

The median number of grandchildren is six, ranging from zero to 15. Six of the war brides had ten or more grandchildren. On average each war bride child had two children, about the same as the population at large.

The median number of great-grandchildren mentioned is nine, they are still being born.

This post estimated the number of their descendants “in round figures, 2%, probably less, of Canada’s population in 2020 are WW2 war brides and their descendants.” Given that immigrants now outnumber births in Canada, and the calculation does not account for those who do not live in Canada, 2% remains a reasonable estimate, certainly not ten percent as was at one time claimed.

Monday Evening Webinars: Your Choice

On Monday, 26 February, you have the luxury (or challenge) of choice.

At 7 pm, Sudbury District Branch invites everyone to well-known speaker Dave Obee‘s presentation Canadiana’s genealogical treasures.
Dave explains it this way, “The Canadiana website has a vast amount of material for family historians, but not many use it or even know about it. Canadiana’s rich genealogy and local history collection includes local and family histories, telling of pioneering, settlement, and local government in early Canada. The focus on individuals and communities makes the collection an ideal genealogical resource, helping people explore the experiences of previous generations and leaving clues about their wider social and cultural background. Related documents include voters lists, eulogies, directories and gazettes, biographies, civil service lists, published diaries, church magazines and pamphlets, militia lists, publications from professional and trade societies, school publications, and more. This talk is your guide to mining the 40 million pages of primary-source documents.”

At 7:30 pm, popular presenter Thomas MacEntee will be returning to OGS Toronto Branch with his presentation Building a Genealogy Research Toolbox. You’ll learn about some of the most important online resources for genealogical research and how to organize them into an easy-to-access and portable virtual toolbox.
After Thomas’ talk Branch member Beth Adams will share her husband’s grandfather’s story and how it was discovered that he had been a British Home Child in the presentation Grandpa’s Secret.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Pam Ayres
Audio (18 minutes)

Microsoft Copilot Necessitates Some Tough Conversations
Food for thought for the organizers of the BIFHSGO Writing Competition that require you to affirm that “I declare that my entry is not the work of an AI “natural language” tool (like ChatGPT).”

Discovering the neighbourhoods of our ancestors in 1861
Using Charles Dickens to illustrate the addition of the 1861 census records for England to their Map Explorer™ tool.

Ancestry and Enhanced Images
Yet another helpful tip from Ken MacKinlay on his FamilyTreeKnots blog. Scroll down in the left rand column to subscribe in the “Get new posts by email” box.

Thanks to this week’s contributors: Ann Burns, Anonymous,  Brenda Turner, Chuck Buckley, Dianne Brydon, gail benjafield, K. Perry, Kim Barnsdale, Nick Mcdonald, Sunday Thompson, Teresa,  Unknown.



RootsTech Day 3 Recommendations: 2 March 2024

RootsTech offers 16 sessions classified as intermediate/
advanced/professional. Here’s my selection for Saturday, 2 March.

3:30 pm ET: From The Ashes: The 1922 Irish Public Record Office Fire

David Ryan
The destruction of the Public Records Office in June 1922 at the outset of the Irish Civil War has cast a long shadow over Irish genealogical research. Anyone who has sought their Irish ancestors has likely encountered frustration at the gaps in available records caused by this disaster. But how much do we really know about the events that caused the fire and were all our records really lost? This talk will explore the background to the Public Record Office fire and address some of the myths that have grown up around it. It will also examine how recent advances in conservation techniques and modern technology are allowing the recovery of some records previously believed lost.

5 pm ET: What’s in a name? DNA, surnames and one-name studies

Debbie Kennett
Surnames provide a fascinating insight into the past, and each surname has its own story to tell. In this talk you will get hints and tips on using techniques such as surname mapping to pinpoint the possible geographical origin of your surname and learn how DNA testing can help your surname research. The whole-surname approach can sometimes provide breakthroughs that would not be possible by restricting your research to your own family tree. A one-name study provides a unique opportunity for a family historian to become the worldwide expert on his or her chosen surname. Participants should have a good understanding of basic genealogical research before attending this session.

To put it another way: —

Irish flames, a tragic pyre,
Ryan seeks whispers from the fire.
Ashes hold truths, yet to unbind,
Record fragments, lost with time.

Surnames sing with whispered past,
Kennett unravels secrets fast.
Mapping tales, where bloodlines start,
DNA entwines forgotten art.

RootsTech’s lore, a guiding gleam,
From fiery loss, new branches teem.
Through names and fragments, spirits soar,
The past reborn, forevermore.

If you haven’t registered for the free online attendance, start at .

In case you’re wondering, this verse, and the previous ones, are from Gemini.