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, 9 April

2 pm: RootsTech Recap, by Daniel Horowitz for MyHeritage and Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

2:30 pm: Providing a Sense of Place: Enhancing Your Family History with the National Monuments Record of Wales, by Adam Coward for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

6:30 pm: Adding Social History to your Tree Story, by Penny Walters for OGS Lambton County Branch.

7 pm:  Genealogical Research Using Religious Repositories,on Zoom, by Dez Nacario for OGS Essex County & Kent County Branches.

Wednesday, 10 April

2:30 pm: An Introduction to Irish Family History Research, by Natalie Bodle for the Guild of One-Name Studies.

7 pm: Paupers, Peddlers, Purveyors & Parishioners, by David C. Martin for the Historical Society of Ottawa.,17,19,21/paupers-peddlers-purveyors-parishioners

Thursday, 11 April

5 pm: The Start of the 24 hours Genealogy Webinar Marathon from Legacy Family Tree Weninars

6:30 pm: Growing Little Leaves: Children and Genealogy, by Emily Kowalski Schroeder for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

Friday, 12 April

Saturday, 13 April

9 am: Back to Basics: Church Records, by Ken McKinlay for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.
10 am: Vimy: Exploring the Battle and the Legend, byTim Cook for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.

Which social media platforms to use

If you’re part of a family history society executive, you might want to glance at these results from a survey conducted for the Ottawa Public Library. Library users were asked which social media platforms they used, and they are likely to include family historians.

Does your society waste resources on Mastodeon, Twitch, Threads and Snapchat? I hope not. Does it focus its social media efforts on YouTube and Facebook?  Does it post regularly, daily or weekly?

Military Monday

Tuesday, 9 April is the anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

The latest issue of the Gloucester Historical Society newsletter contains the first installment of a series about the soldiers whose names are inscribed on a scroll previously at Ottawa’s Billings Bridge Orange Lodge.

My eye was attracted to this memorial plaque.

19 year old Robert John Hyndman, born in Fitzroy Harbour, was killed on 11 January 1917, That’s several months before the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Canadian troops had been stationed, and were dying, in the vicinity of the ridge well before the battle.

A reminder that Saturday’s BIFHSGO monthly meeting will be addressed by leading Canadian military historian Tim Cook.  Catch him on Vimy: Exploring the Battle and the Legend. Attend in person if you can, or online via the link at

MyHeritage adds Cheshire School Registers, 1796-1909

722,357 index records of students from various schools in Cheshire, England, between the years 1796 and 1909. Records typically include the name of the individual, date of birth, residence, attendance years and place of school, and the names of the parents.
The unattributed collection appears to be via the FamilySearch collection,  Cheshire, School Records, 1796-1950, sourced from the Record Office, Chester.

Eclipse Weather Forecast

It will be touch and go as to how good the weather conditions will be for eclipse viewing on Monday afternoon.

QUICK UPDATE: As of Sunday morning, forecasts are less optimistic for eclipse viewing. 

As of Saturday evening the Environment Canada forecast for Monday is: Niagara Falls – sun and clouds; Toronto and Belleville – cloudy; Kingston, Brockville, Cornwall, and Ottawa – a mix of sun and clouds; and Montreal – sunny.

The Weather Network is less optimistic.
“across eastern Ontario, with mostly cloudy skies with occasional sunny breaks. It’s not an ideal location to take in the eclipse if you’re looking for an unobstructed view of totality, but it’s still possible a break could emerge during that time.”

The US Weather Bureau forecast for Ogdensburg is mainly sunny.

Looking at the various forecast models the predictions are mixed. We’re looking at a warm front approaching heralded by a shield of cirrus cloud. Eclipse viewing will depend on how quickly the cloud arrives, Even if it’s cloudy expect the darkening to be impressive.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

From 2007, with a well respected Ontario genealogist. Lots of ads!

Industrial Revolution began in 17th not 18th century

Ancestry updated Hampshire, England, Wills and Probates, 1398-1858 to hold 95,240 records

OCR PDFs and Images Directly in your Browser

On Kahneman and Complexity: Reality is complicated. Our thinking should reflect that, by Dan Gardner

Thanks to this week’s contributors:  Anonymous,  Barbara May Di Mambro, Bonnie, Brenda Turner, Bryan Cook, Friday’s Family History Finds, gail benjafield, Irene, Ken McKinlay, M.C. Moran, Teresa, Unknown.



Ancestry 1890 London Maps Online – disappointing

The 24 London, England, Stanfords London Maps, 1890, Ancestry has made available are informative and colourful; they were originally six inches to the mile.

Good luck finding a place of interest. The individual maps are shown on a film strip. It’s as if the collection was dumped online. There is no index, no indication of the order, and not even a linked overview map. Ancestry can do much better.

Why so many William Henry’s?

If you look at your genealogy database for given names in England and Wales during the 19th century, you’ll notice that Mary, John, and William were the most common names. Mary was the most popular girl’s name. John was overtaken by William in 1840, as shown in table 3 in A New Account of Personalization and Effective Communication.

According to the FreeBMD compilation of 1840 birth registrations, the top ten names for boys were William, John, Thomas, James, George, Henry, Joseph, Charles, Robert, Edward, and Richard. I find it intriguing that my two-times-great-grandfather, William Henry Northwood, born in 1840, had a two-given name combination that often appeared during that time. I wondered if it was just an illusion.

Based on the 1840 FreeBMD birth compilation, here’s the top of the order of those more frequent boys’ names in combination:

Given Names, Count
– William Henry, 2111
– John William, 811
– William John, 650
– John Thomas, 634
– John Henry, 600
– George Henry, 563
– William Thomas, 542
– George William, 524
– William James, 513
– Thomas William, 421

While William is the top first name, Henry tops the second name list. It’s not surprising that William Henry ranked highly.

It wasn’t just in 1840; William Henry peaked as a combination in 1876 with 6,772 births registered, outranking William John and John William.

What made William Henry a popular choice? I don’t know and would love to hear your ideas.


Findmypast Weekly Update

This week, there are some out-of-the-ordinary additions to the FMP collection that are particularly interesting for those with 20th-century Coventry ancestry and, surprisingly, beyond.

Warwickshire, Coventry, Vehicle Registrations 1921-1944
Through these records, a  search produces first name(s), last name, year, place, and vehicle registration plate. There’s information later than 1944. The linked images give the complete address, which may be far from Coventry, and information about the vehicle. Scroll side to side to ensure you found all the information.
FMP profiles the story of Sir William Lyons, co-founder of the Swallow Sidecar Company, whose brand transformed into Jaguar after the Second World War.

Warwickshire, Coventry, Company Directories and Publications 1908-1966
Over 20,000 pages from seven publication titles that can help you discover what it was like to live and work in Coventry. The two major ones are:
The Loudspeaker, 15 volumes, 1924-1966: 1924-1961
The works magazine of the Peel-Conner/G.E.C. Telephone Factories, Coventry. Includes biographical studies of staff, sports and social events, appointments and retirements, a Ladies Page, jokes, Children’s Corner, cartoons, organizational reviews, letters, trade adverts, staff weddings etc etc.,
Standard Car Review, 12 volumes, 1931-1950: 1908-1920
The works magazine of Rudge-Whitworth, Coventry, bicycle and motorcycle manufacturers. The origins of Rudge go back as far as 1869 at Wolverhampton, removing to Coventry some ten years later. These volumes include company history, staff interviews, presentations and long service awards, social events, and incredible coverage of the Rudge staff who served in the Great War.

I was interested to read a report of a 1910 works outing to Great Yarmouth, a long day starting out by train at 5:50 am, arriving back in Coventry at 2 am. It includes photos of women in long dresses on the beach.


British Placename Mapper

Try this  website, which plots British (England, Scotland, and Wales) place names that match certain search terms on a map.
Developed by Robin Wilson, it’s based on OS Open Names.
This map is trying my LUCK – found anywhere in the name. Only three places include BALLY, common in Ireland, and several where the only locations in Wales are in Pembrokeshire, little England beyond Wales.
Canada is found in two places.

“I am none the wiser, but I am much better informed.”

A metre of snow in April

There’s precedent.

1885 saw a major April snow event in Ottawa. 30.5 cm reported on the 2nd, 30.6 cm on the 3rd and another 30.5 cm on the 4th. Over 1 metre in total in 52 hours. It tapered off to 6.4 cm the following day, and 50.8 mm of rain on the 6th.

Sparks Street, 6 April 1885, Samuel J. Jarvis/Library and Archives Canada, C-002186

There’s remarkably little coverage in the Ottawa Citizen. Easter Sunday was 5 April and newspapers were preoccupied with the Riel uprising. There was mention of employing extra staff to clear roofs at Lansdowne Park and cancellation of events as guests could not get into the city.

The Ottawa Citizen ran this poem referring to astrometeorologist Ezekiel Stone Wiggins.

(For The Citizen.)

Heavy storm began at Ottawa 9 am. April 2; still raging, 6 pm, Apnl 3; snowfall, 24 Inches ; by far the greatest of the year.

N.B.—No warning from Wiggine.

O Wiggins, O! delusive prophet Wiggins !
Though your very dubious fame has spread
The behaviour of the weather in those diggins (sic)
Plainly tells us your pretensions are a fraud.

That rude March would have his equinoctial bluster
It was safe for any almanac to say ;
But if special storm predictions would pass muster,
They must specify the place and name the day.

Scaring honest peorle living by the ocean,
Threatening tempests which neglected to appear ;
You malcted (?) sailors, chiefly Nova Scotia,
A badly needed fortnight’s wage last year.

And now, Wiggins, what on earth have you been doing,
Say where’s your vaunted skill in Zadkeil lore,
While ‘neath your very nose a storm was brewing,
The like of which we’ve rarely seen betore.

Yet not a whisper from our Mahdi prophet!
Our oracle of Ottawa was dumb!
If still you stride the tripod, pray get off it —
Collapse, subside, come down, ah, Wiggins, come.

We railway travellers had from you no warning.
Driifts bar our progress, engines shrick in vain ;
Here we must shiver tiil to-morrow morning—
sweet our revenge if you were on our train.

Too long imposed on women of both sexes,
ln time the errant humbug to explode,
Which reasonable people often vexes.
You gales foretell— Pshaw, Wiggins, you “be blowed “!

Two feet of snow-fall! Wild nor’-easter blowing ! .
The third of April. Storms defy all rule.
No hint from Wiggins. Needs there further  showing : ;
That weather wisdom makes its April fools?

Note:  Significantly less snow was recorded on those April 1885 days at the Experimental Farm station. Snowfall is notoriously difficult to quantify.