Family Tree Magazine : May 2024

Here are the major articles I browsed in the new issue.

Discover how more specialist records can add context to a
family history, enabling you to research the locations your ancestors once lived and worked, with Chris Paton,

Chris uses his Scottish weaver ancestors as a case study. The article concludes with a nine-step guide to systematically learning about the locality and community in which your ancestors once lived.

All families have mysteries, secrets and even scandals, but how do we deal with them. Charlotte Soares reflects on this sensitive subject detailing some of the circumstances that were kepy secret. She concludes that time turns what was once a shuddering scandal to gold dust for more removed generations of family historians.

Fiona Brooker explores how Artificial Intelligence is being used in family history. In five pages gives a nice summary. Toward the end she recommends joining the Facebook Genealogy and Artificial Intelligence group (https:// to see how genealogists are using the tools.

Richard Morgan makes a cool appraisal of the historic
record of heraldry and the enduring popularity of bogus coats of arms

Karen Evans guides us through the pros and cons of the autosomal DNA tests currently on the market. There’s good advice, including wait for the sales. With DNA day coming yo later this month the sales are already being advertised.

David Annal responds to a reader query about a man who had at least five children, but left little in the way of baptism records, or proof of marriage.


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, 16 April

12 noon: French Emigrants: They Were Not All Huguenots, or Nobles, or from Alsace-Lorraine, by Anne Morddel for Legacy Family Tree Webinars and BCG.

2:30 pm: Researching Immigration via Steamship, by Heather Pouliot Kisilywicz for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

7 pm: Tips and Tricks by Ann Smith for OGS Nipissing Branch.

Wednesday, 17 April

2 pm: Comparing Plats of Land With Deeds and Grants, by J. Mark Lowe for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

7 pm: The Identification of a Long-Ignored Indigenous Cultural Landscape in the National Capital Region, and the Road that Leads Us Here, by Jean-Luc Pilon for Heritage Ottawa.

7 pm: My Ancestors in the Hudson’s Bay Fur Trade, by Janice Nickerson for OGS Thunder Bay Branch.

Thursday, 18 April

6:30 pm: PERSI Explorer: Tracing Your Roots using the – Periodical Source Index, by Allison DePrey Singleton for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Friday, 19 April

2 pm: Tools to Research Your French Canadian Ancestors, by Johanne Gervais for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

7 pm: University Websites for Genealogists, by Janice Nickerson for OGS Niagara Peninsula Branch.

Saturday, 20 April

10 am: ron Lungs and Wax Faces: A Journey Through the Museum of Health Care at Kingston. by Rowena McGowan for OGS Kingston Branch.

1 pm: Restorations of Biblical Proportions, a presentation, by Kyla Ubbink for OGS Ottawa Branch.

1 pm: Shades of Allegiance: Hidden Loyalties of the Gerow Family in the American Revolution, by Jane Simpson for OGS Qunite Branch.


TheGenealogist adds more directories from the UK and Ireland

The latest release from TheGenealogist contains over 10 million new individuals recorded in directories from the first two decades of the 20th Century. This virtual bookshelf stacked with volumes from the early 1900s to 1929 includes publications from all over the United Kingdom and Ireland. It includes more than 70 London directories, 42 from 1900 to 1940.

There’s a list of all the directories available from TheGenealogist at

Military Monday: United Kingdom, Battle of Jutland Crew Lists, 1916

The Battle of Jutland, which took place on 31 May 1916, changed the course of the war because it diminished the German naval fleet’s capabilities to such an extent that they couldn’t fight at sea again, That’s despite a major imbalance in casualties; the UK had over 6,000 killed,  Germany had over 2,500 killed.
Ancestry has added 61,495 records for the battle which may include:

Birth date and place
Service dates
Military occupation
Military service number

These records are based on a secondary historical source by

For those who died there’s more information at The Battle of Jutland Casualty Database and the Commonweakth War Graves Commission.


FamilySearch Updated Collections for England

Mostly, FamilySearch has been concentrating on its South and Central American collections of late. For the record, earlier this month, several English databases were updated

England, Devon, Parish Registers (Devon Record Office), 1529-1974
5 April 2024
England, Essex Parish Registers, 1538-1997
5 April 2024
England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
4 April 2024
England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991
4 April 2024
England Marriages, 1538–1973
4 April 2024
England, Bedfordshire Parish Registers, 1538-1983
4 April 2024
England, Manchester, Miscellaneous Records, 1700-1916
3 April 2024
England, Manchester, Parish Registers, 1603-1910
3 April 2024

Sunday Sundries

This week, Sunday Sundries looks at recent posts on Atlas Obscura, a global community of explorers, who have together created a comprehensive database of the world’s most wondrous places and foods

The Ancient Female Alchemist Whose Name Is in Your Kitchen

The Rare, Sweet Bread That Brings Road-Trippers to a Small Georgian Village

How to Be a Food Bank Influencer

Gastro Obscura’s Essential Places to Eat and Drink in Istanbul

Next Time, Travel to Another Beautiful Country to See the Future Eclipse

My Life in Three Places with Rick Steves (podcast)

Thanks to this week’s contributors:  Anonymous,  Brenda Turner, Bryan Cook, Doug C., gail benjafield, Teresa, Sunday Thompson, Unknown.

Two BIFHSGO member speakers on Monday: Research in Your Pajamas and A Russian Revelation

At 7 pm on Monday, you can catch the latest update of  Ken McKinlay’s presentation, Doing Family Tree Research in Your Pajamas.

“The overarching focus of this presentation is to examine various online resources for finding information on your family’s history. The talk starts by discussing how one might organize the material (paper or electronic) and mentions various software before diving into online resources and key types of records.”

It;s a Zoom-only presentation from OGS Sudbury District Branch, register at


Marianne Rasmus, BIFHSGO Program Director, is the guest speaker presenting A Russian Revelation, A family shaped by significant historical events for a Nanaimo Family History Society meeting on Monday, 15 April, starting at 10 pm ET.

“We have all hit our fair share of brick walls while doing family history research, but how about an ‘Iron Curtain’?  When Marianne Rasmus began exploring her family history, little was known about her maternal grandmother’s ancestry. Her grandmother had died before Marianne knew to ask her about her childhood, her emigration from Communist Russia in 1926, or how she adjusted to life in Canada. Starting with a handful of names, Marianne will reveal the process and sources used to discover a deep maternal heritage about which she knew little, and the circumstances which made it challenging to learn.

Marianne will share how historical events in both Canada and Europe affected her grandmother in a life-altering fashion, and how perseverance and a little DNA shed light on long-unanswered questions.”

Register to attend by Zoom by clicking on Add to Calendar at

Ancestry adds Aberdeenshire Records

Title Records
Aberdeenshire, Scotland, School Admission Registers, 1852-1927 711,807
Aberdeenshire, Scotland, World War II Related Records, 1940-1945 9,398
Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Police Records, 1818-1948


The Aberdeenshire, Scotland, School Admission Registers, 1856-1928 collection contains images of school admission registers produced  between 1856 and 1928. The registers are arranged in a ledger format with printed column headings and handwritten information about students. Important dates for each student and information about their family were recorded. The registers included an index of students arranged alphabetically by surname.

The index provides the page number where each student can be found in the register. For schools closed before 1975, the collection is divided into geographic groups.

Aberdeenshire, Scotland, World War II Related Records, 1940-1945 

This is a real mixture. The item below is from one John Reid
in 1941, part of the Aberdeen Town Council Education Committee – English Examination Papers.

Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Police Records, 1818-1948

Another mixed bag. Here’s an example for a John Reid.

I suspect Ancestry has used handwriting recognition technology in processing these collections. HRT opens up these collections it’s doubtful one would ever search, or know about!

MyHeritage Library Edition

The Ottawa Public Library featured in a recent Legacy Family Tree webinar by Daniel Horowitz. It showcased the ease with which OPL cardholders can access MyHeritage Library Edition, free and right from home.

He emphasized the site’s multi-language support, 42 different languages,  and international databases with more than 20 billion historical records and growing. The latest are New York City Births, 1866-1909 (7,560,069 records), Marriages, 1866-1949 (20,912,651 records), and Deaths, 1866-1948 (8,893,688 records), all with image originals.

Canada has 177 collections with 120,009,673 records, including all the decennial censuses with images.


Artificial Intelligence & Family History: An Introduction. 

Did you listen to any Legacy Family Tree/MyHeritage presentations during the 24-hour marathon? I’ve only managed to view two, both in real-time.

If you are interested in AI and family history, and even if you aren’t, I highly recommend you watch Andrew Redfern’s presentation, Artificial Intelligence & Family History: An Introduction.

It was pitched at a level any reasonably sane genealogist, are there any other types(!), should appreciate. Andrew’s background as a primary school teacher makes his explanations clear and easy to follow. In particular, he demonstrated the use of ChatGPT 3.5 (free) in real-time. You’re bound to be impressed.

It’s avaiable free on-demand for the next few days at

Findmypast Weekly Update

This week, continues last week’s focus on Coventry in Warwickshire.

  1. Coventry Bomb Damage Schedules 1940-1941 and Coventry Blitz, German Air Raids 1940-1941: This update includes 74,615 new and updated records that detail the bomb damage suffered by Coventry, a major industrial base of war-related production, during the German Air Raids of 1940 and 1941. The new set, Warwickshire, Coventry, Bomb Damage Schedules, comprises 73,811 images and transcriptions from 1940 and 1941. Additionally, 804 new transcriptions and images have been added to the existing Warwickshire, Coventry Blitz, German Air Raids 1940-1941 record set.
  2. Coventry Workhouse Admission and Discharge Registers, 1853-1946: If your ancestor was in one of Coventry’s workhouses between 1853 and 1946, you might find their name in this new collection. There are 70,437 new workhouse records available for discovery. Read more about Coventry workhouses from Peter Higginbotham’s
  3. Warwickshire Burials, 1847-1896: This week also saw the addition of 37,963 burial records from Coventry’s London Road Cemetery, covering the years 1847 to 1896. More background information on the cemetery is available from the Historic Coventry Trust.

Also added this week are digitized pages of the Coventry Graphic newspaper from 1912 to 1921.

BIFHSGO April Monthly Meeting

Join in person at Knox Presbyterian Church (Lisgar & Elgin) in Geneva Hall, or online by registering here

Back to Basics: Church Records / 9 a.m. EDT

Presenter: Ken McKinlay

Prior to the establishment of civil birth, marriage, and death registrations, there were parish registers. This Back to Basics session will be looking at various registers and where to find those sometimes elusive records.

Ken McKinlay is a genealogy researcher with over 20 years of trial and error experience in researching his own family’s history in Canada, United States of America, England, Scotland and Ireland.

A member of British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (AKA BIFHSGO), and former Board member, and the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Ancestors (AKA Ontario Genealogical Society),  his speciality is methodologies for researching family history and also how to use technology to assist with doing the research.

Vimy: Exploring the Battle and the Legend / 10 a.m. EDT

Presenter: Dr. Tim Cook

Vimy is more than a battle from the First World War. It is common to hear that Vimy marks the “birth of a nation,” a claim repeated in school textbooks, by politicians, and in the news. Yet what is meant by this phrase? Do Canadians actually believe that Canada was born at Vimy, 50 years after Confederation? How did the four-day battle of Vimy in April 1917 transform into an origin story?

This was no militarist plot. While not all Canadians believed in Vimy’s importance, enough did, and the idea of Vimy was invigorated with the building of Walter Allward’s monument on the ridge. The monument’s unveiling in 1936 by King Edward VIII was attended by more than 6,000 Canadian veterans who crossed the Atlantic. Since then, Vimy has been incorporated into Canadian history, although its meaning has changed with each generation.

Based on his award-winning book, Vimy: The Battle and the Legend, Dr. Tim Cook will explore the emergence of the Vimy idea, its changing meaning, and its endurance as a symbol of Canadian service and sacrifice.

Tim Cook is the Chief Historian and Director of Research at the Canadian War Museum. He was the curator for the First World War permanent gallery at the CWM, and has curated additional temporary, travelling, and digital exhibitions. He is the author of sixteen books and over a hundred academic articles and book chapters. In 2012, he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for his contributions to Canadian history and in 2013 he received the Governor General’s History Award. He is a Director of Canada’s History Society, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a member of the Order of Canada.