The British Newspaper Archive Bias

Overall, for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, the British Newspaper Archive has available 7.3 pages per 100 population.

There’s a Northern bias. For Scotland and Northern Ireland, it’s 10.5 per 100 population. For England 5.1 and Wales 6.0.

That even shows within England. Northumberland (17.4), Cumberland (13.6) and Westmorland (11.1) punch above their weight. That’s except for London, the count is skewed as it’s where the national journals are assigned.

The Scottish origins of Dundee-based DC Thomson, operational partner for the BNA, show.

Debbie Kennett on Living DNA

I can only describe Debbie Kennett’s article LivingDNA review in WDYTYA magazine as kind.

At £99 ($158 Cdn), the Living DNA test is substantially more costly than the competition.

For the price, in addition to an autosomal DNA test, it does provide basic paternal (males only) and maternal lines haplogroup reports. But there is no capability to use those to find matches, and as the autosomal database has 300,000 people, compared with 21 million at AncestryDNA, you are 70 times more likely to see an autosomal match with Ancestry.

LivingDNA breaks British Isles ancestry down into 21 regions, although none of those are for Ireland. There is also no Jewish category. Debbie comments that “the reports have generally matched my known ancestry reasonably well.” That is not my experience. LivingDNA suggests; that after Ireland (much less than other companies), North and South Yorkshire are my top regions, but I don’t have known ancestry in either of those!

If you have a test from another company there’s another option. You can upload your basic data to Living DNA for free.  It will be included in the matching database, and you will receive a basic continental-level ancestry breakdown (something you;ll have from the company youi tested with.) You can get Living DNA’s more detailed analysis for £29 ($46 Cdn.)

Debbie claims, without giving details, that as the only major genetic genealogy company that keeps all of your data in Europe, Living DNA better protects privacy and data security.

The review points out the various cons of the Living DNA test; after six years in business, it’s hard to recommend the company test compared to the competition, something Debbie’s article does not say explicitly.

Findmypast adds Wiltshire records

Baptisms, asylum registers, WW1 hospital records, and tithe awards are included in the 350,000 new Wiltshire records this week from Findmypast via the Wiltshire FHS.

Wiltshire Baptisms Index 1530-1917 are transcriptions from parish registers and bishop’s transcripts.  The 70,000 new records come from nine parishes. The whole collection is 2,956,437 records.

Wiltshire Asylum Registers, 1789-1921 adds 27,761 transcript records from six institutions. Expect to find the name,  admission date, and age. Occupation, marital condition, place of residence, status – i.e. private, pauper, criminal, discharge date (or date of death, if death occurred at the institution).

Wiltshire WW1 Hospital Records has 6,279 records from three hospitals in Wiltshire – the Old Sarum Isolation Hospital, the Harnham Red Cross Hospital, and the Salisbury Infirmary. Expect to find: name, rank, service number and unit, age, length of service, admission date, where admitted, and details of injury or disease. There appear to be no Canadians included.

Wiltshire Tithe Award Register 1813-1882  includes 257,246 transcript entries showing the name of occupier, name of the owner, description of the property, including size and land use, and date of the survey.

New on Ancestry

Edinburgh, Scotland, Lord Provost Passports, 1845-1916, sourced from the Edinburgh City Archives, is a collection of 17,112 handwritten records.
Passports from Scotland before 1916 are rare.

Records, typically for  business travellers or the wealthy,  may include the following information:

  • Person’s name
  • Residence
  • Date of residence
  • Spouse’s name
  • Names of next of kin (or reference)
  • Relationships to next of kin (or reference
  • Destination (often just “continent”)

There’ also a browse option in nine books.

Co-Lab Updates for May

Of Library and Archives Canada’s Co-Lab Challenges progress is reported on two, including one new since last month.

Summiting Mount Logan in 1925: Fred Lambart’s personal account of the treacherous climb and descent of the highest peak in Canada is new and 5% complete.

Travel posters in the Marc Choko collection is 52% complete, 41% last month.

Women in the War remains 0% complete.

First World War Posters, with 140 images, remains 99% complete.

Arthur Lismer’s Children’s Art Classes remains 0% complete.

John Freemont Smith remains 93% complete.

Canadian National Land Settlement Association remains 98% complete.

Molly Lamb Bobak with 226 images remains 91% complete.

Diary of François-Hyacinthe Séguin remains 99% complete.

George Mully: moments in Indigenous communities remains 0% complete.

Correspondence regarding First Nations veterans returning after the First World War remains 99% complete.

Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 remains 96% complete.

Legendary Train Robber and Prison Escapee Bill Miner remains 99% complete.

Japanese-Canadians: Second World War remains 0% complete.

The Call to Duty: Canada’s Nursing Sisters remains 92% complete.

Projects that remain 100% complete are no longer reported here.

Other unidentified Co-Lab activities not part of the Challenges may have happened.

IQ Inheritance

It’s undeniable that intelligence has a hereditary component. Is the half of our DNA we inherit from each parent the higher or lower IQ part? It’s chance. Recall the story of George Bernard Shaw and the glamorous dancer Isadora Duncan on the topic of producing a child together. Duncan stated that Shaw had a magnificent brain and she had a glorious beauty; the combination would yield a remarkable child. Shaw replied with regret that he feared the result would embody his beauty and her brains.

IQ tests over the population at large have a normal distribution with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation (SD) of 15.

Combining two random draws over a large sample to produce a child will lead to a normal distribution with a mean of 100 and SD of 21.2 if the two random draws are uncorrelated.  If you want the gory details check here. The standard deviation would be less if there is a correlation but always greater than the original standard deviation of 15.

As the population at large has a normal distribution with an SD of 15, there must be another influence that returns the child population’s average SD to 15.  The environment acts to increase numbers of near average IQ and reduce IQ extremes.

The environment is important.

LAC goes the extra mile to support indigenous documentary heritage projects

The results of the 2022-23 round of funding under the Documentary Heritage Community Program are posted. The list of the 38 projects receiving $1.5 million is here.

Judging by the titles, 12 projects, about one-third,  relate directly to indigenous peoples. As this funding is in addition to various Indigenous documentary heritage initiatives, LAC is bending over backward to support indigenous heritage initiatives.

Is that at the expense of others? DHCP is only supporting one project from the four Atlantic Provinces this year. Regardless of whether there is any linkage, it’s unfortunate there are no other Atlantic Canada projects.  LAC should recognize the imbalance and go the extra mile to encourage quality proposals from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

This Week’s Online Genealogy Events

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 17 May. 2 pm: Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library.

Tuesday 17 May. 2:30 pm: I Came, I Saw, I Captured: Photography Skills for Beginners, by Louis N. Hodges for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Tuesday 17 May. 7 pm: J T Crellin, by Karen Armstrong for Oxford County Branch OGS.

Tuesday 17 May. 8 pm: Five Wives & A Feather Bed: Using Indirect and Negative Evidence to Resolve Conflicting Claims, by  Mark A. Wentling for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Wednesday 18 May. 2 pm: Indirect Evidence – A Case Study, by Pauline C. Merrick for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Wednesday 18 May. 7 pm: The History of the Trent Severn Waterway, by Charlie Ellins for Orillia Museum of Art & History.

Friday 20 May. 7 pm: Reimagining The Brown Homestead, by Andrew Humeniuk for Niagara Penninsula Branch OGS.

Saturday 21 May. 10 am: Genealogical Implications of Cemetery Disruptions: A Study of St. Thomas’ Church Burial Ground, by Jane Simpson for Kingston Branch OGS.

Saturday 21 May. 1 pm: Researching the Canadian Fallen: WWII, by Ken McKinlay for Quinte Branch OGS.


Family Tree Magazine June 2022

Wayne Shepherd, a speaker at the OGS annual conference 2022, has the issue’s lead article Mother Nature’s impact on family migration and relocation.
It takes us back across the Millennia to look at why our ancestors moved; the focus in the second part is the US.

In Sorting Your Virtual Reference Library Allison Spring recommends a collection of indispensable works categorized as Family History Reference, Archives, Maps and Gazetteers, Newspapers, Dictionaries, Obsolete Things, Historical City and Trade Directories, Built Heritage, General History, Image Libraries, Moving Image Collections, Case Study, Tech Tools, Palaeography, National Libraries, How to Videos.

Along the same lines is Genealogy Gadgets and Apps for all Occasions by magazine editor Helen Tovey. It covers Online Family Trees, Family History Software, ToDo Lists, Diary Planning, Organizing and Itinerary, Mind Mapping, Scanning, Photography, Videos and Recording. More is promised in coming issues.

There’s much more … I just hit some highlights.

Military Monday: Documenting Canadian Military Personnel Who Were Prisoners of War During World War One or World War Two

The following is a review by Glenn Wright.

Canadian soldiers and airmen suffered great physical and emotional trauma as POWs. Telling the story of our ancestors who experienced these challenges is worth the time and effort to explore the many resources available to us.

The author of this slim volume, Ken Cox, has published several books on researching military ancestors including A Call to the Colours, an overview of Canadian military records, as well as books on the War of 1812 and the rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada.

Cox has now turned his attention to Canadians who were prisoners of war in the First and Second World wars. He provides a general overview of the number of POWs in each conflict, information about the camps in Germany and elsewhere, a brief description of the conditions faced by those incarcerated by the enemy and efforts from the home front to provide POWs with additional food and comforts.

For family historians and genealogists, Cox outlines the sources of information that document several thousand Canadians who found themselves in the hands of the enemy. Aside from the obvious sources, i.e., military service files, Cox shows that there are additional sources of information relevant to both wars at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), the UK National Archives (TNA) and the International Red Cross.

The list of sources is by no means exhaustive, some are not relevant and others are incomplete. If researching a Canadian POW, in either war, one would be advised to take a closer look at LAC holdings on the topic through “Collections Search”.

One of the most interesting and overlooked sources for First World War POWs are the published reports on the Maltreatment of Prisioners of War (McDougall Commission). The reports are available online, but not on as suggested.

For Second World War personnel, it would have been useful to include advice on how one might access the service records of an ancestor who was a POW during the war using Access to Information.

Illustrations consisting of photographs and documents are interesting. While some of the suggested website and record sources need clarification, this is a good first step in any research on Canadian POWs in either of the world wars.

Documenting Canadian Military Personnel Who Were Prisoners of War During World War One or World War Two, by Ken Cox is published by and available from Global Heritage Press at


A large part of the book is a reproduction of a list of Second World War Canadian POWs, in alphabetical order by surname, sourced from TNA. The same information is in a searchable database at Findmypast.