NHDS: trying for success … again

The National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) was established in 2016 as a national plan to ensure the long-term preservation of documentary heritage records by encouraging quality, standards-based efforts.

In the subsequent five years what has been accomplished?

In winter 2017, with $25K funding from the Salamander Foundation, issues of four indigenous newspapers were digitized — Windspeaker (1986-2015),  Ha-Shilth-Sa (1974-2017), Turtle Island News (2001-2013) and Nunatsiaq News (1976-78).

Scan the NHDS website and you’ll find surveys and planning. If any other digitization actually occurred it’s not apparent. You’d think any other successes attributable to the NHDS would be shouted from the rooftops.

We are only what we do, not what we say we are.
Isadore Sharp

Now NHDS is embarking on strategic planning. The aim is to identify short-term and long-term projects and initiatives to be undertaken by the NHDS, understand community-driven priorities, and assist in shaping the organizational structure of NHDS going forward.

To that end, a survey that should take approximately 20 minutes to complete is at https://form.simplesurvey.com/f/l/nhds-strategic-planning-survey/.

Responses are due by Monday, 9 August 2021.

Is it worth responding?

In addition, NHDS will be holding a variety of engagement opportunities throughout the year, including an open community call planned for fall 2021.  For more information visit: https://nhds.ca/nhds-strategic-planning-process-2021/.

Will ultimate clients, like researchers (academic, business and independent) and most archives’ largest client group, genealogists, be specifically invited.

The Society of Genealogists New Website

There’s something in the air. Website designs are changing. The OGS site changed recently. The BIFHSGO site will change soon. And the UK Society of Genealogists site just changed.

This is the first stage in the website transformation and in the coming weeks we will continue to build up further content about our collections and services that you will hopefully find interesting and useful. We will also be expanding the members-only content for you to enjoy this summer. and will continue under development.

The web address is unchanged —  sog.org.uk/.

It takes a while to get familiar with a new design and to know where to find the items you use most often. Expect a learning curve.

Ancestry now also has Staffordshire BMBs

Ancestry now has Staffordshire transcription records for the Church of England. These are transcriptions, no images of the original.

Births and Baptisms, 1813-1900:  3,500,466 records
Marriages and Banns, 1754-1900:  1,688,029 records
Deaths and Burials, 1813-1900: 740,349 records

Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812: 3,100,307 records

Ancestry makes no reference to a source other than the Staffordshire Record Office.

This is Ancestry playing catch-up. Findmypast and FamilySearch had a cooperative project filming and indexing those Church of England parish records some years ago.

FamilySearch already has them in its 4,850,444 item collection England, Staffordshire, Church Records, 1538-1944 which appeared in 2017.  Images are linked but available only on a restricted basis at Family History Centres and affiliate libraries.

Findmypast has both transcripts and linked images in a collection that was built up starting in 2014:
Banns, 1653 and 1900: 297,663 records
Baptisms, 1538 – 1900: 1,949,460 records
Marriages, 1538-1900:  984,978 records
Burials, 1538-1900:  1,246,084 records

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. Assume registration in advance is required; check so you’re not disappointed.

Tuesday 13 July, 2 pm:  Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library. https://ottawa.ogs.on.ca/events/.

Tuesday 13 July 2:30 pm: Using Facebook for Genealogy, by Rhonda Stoffer. for Allen Country Public Library Genealogy Center. https://acpl.libnet.info/event/5324621

Wednesday 14 July, 8 pm: Comparing Jewish Resources on the Giant Genealogy Websites, by Ellen Kowitt for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar_details.php?webinar_id=1635

Thursday 15 July. 4 pm: Family Tree Maker. by Mark Olson for Toronto Branch OGS. Free for Toronto Branch members; $5 fee for non-members.

Thursday 15 July, 6:30 pm: Become the Family Historian,
Before You Become Family History!, by Ken Burgener for Allen Country Public Library Genealogy Center. https://acpl.libnet.info/event/5324600

Friday 16 July 2 pm: Using Irish newspapers and other printed material, by Natalie Bodle for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. https://familytreewebinars.com/webinar_details.php?webinar_id=1667


Tuesday 20 July, 8 pm: The Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Historical Context, by Alison Hare for Legacy Family Tree Webinars and BCG.

19 – 26 September 2021: BIFHSGO Conference. Irish Lines and Female Finds: Exploring Irish records, female ancestors and genetic genealogy. www.bifhsgo2021.ca/.


Family Tree Magazine: August 2021

Editor Helen Tovey comments in her lead column about an article in this issue on whether to prune your family tree. “Now I think we can agree that pruning a family tree is a terrible idea.” “So I would say definitely don’t even think about pruning …”

Rather than the analogy of a tree why not a garden. It has a variety of plants  —shrubs, bushes, flowers of different colours that appear at different seasons, big ones, small ones (some as big as your head!), vegetables and herbs.

You may want just direct line ancestors, maybe for DNA purposes. Perhaps divide by paternal and maternal sides. Perhaps one associated with a prominent ancestor, or a brick-wall ancestor.

The garden analogy is good because you do need to weed out the speculative connections that turn out to be errors, we all make them along the way.

Here is an almost complete table of contents.

Family History News
Key 20th Century Scottish Resources
Dear Paul
20 Things You Need to Know About FamilySearch
The Life, Times and Mysterious Death of Josiah Henry Harris
Trade Directories
What We Learned at DNA Bootcamp
Family Tree Acadamy: 19th C Naval Records
The Online Genealogical Index
DNA Workshop
Family Tree Generator
Diary Dates
Your Questions
Diary Dates
Thoughts On

A reminder Family Tree Magazine may well be available free through Overdrive through your Public Library.



Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Mythologies: Voices from the past (video)

The Man Who Went to War With Canada

Canada has an access-to-information system in name only

The art of digitising war
How the Imperial War Museum updates, stores and protects records of past conflicts.

This Week from Nature Communications

Different environmental variables predict body and brain size evolution in Homo

Ten-year panel data confirm generation gap but climate beliefs increase at similar rates across ages

Thanks to this week’s contributors:  Anonymous, Gail Benjafield, Glenn Wright, Helen Billing, Judith H., Unknown.

CEF Beechwood: Harry Ballard

Born in Brockley, Kent, England on 25 January 1884, Harry Ballard was educated at Mercers School, London, and London University.  He became a teacher at Williston High School, Clerk’s College, London, and Skerry’s College, London, the last specializing in preparing for the English Civil Service.

A few months before war was declared he came to Canada and was briefly an instructor at St George’s Residential School at Lytton, BC. He enlisted at Kamloops, BC, in June 1915, in the 102nd, later known as the 54th Battalion, Kootenay Regiment. He proceeded to England in November 1915 and as Lance-Sergeant married Dorothy Maud Gellen on 6 January 1916 in Stoke Newington, London.  Crossing to France in August he was evacuated to a hospital in England in December 1916 suffering from trench foot.

When he recovered he was transferred to the Canadian Army Pay Corps Milbank, London, and engaged in investigation work serving as Sergeant. He returned to Canada and was discharged in Victoria BC on July 7th, 1919. Employed by the information and service branch of the department of soldiers’ civil reestablishment in Victoria, in September 1919 he successfully passed the Examination for Junior Examiner of the Civil Service Commission of Canada, coming to Ottawa in January 1920.

He died age 38 of ulcers on 11 July 1921 leaving his wife and two small children, Maurice and Jean, residing at 90 Charlotte Street, and is buried in military section 29. 13-14 at Beechwood Cemetery.

England United

I’m not a football fan, but notice that Team England will be playing Team Italy on Sunday. It seems to be a big deal!

English Heritage brings together over 32,000 surnames on the England flag online and flying over some of their properties, including Stokesay Castle, one to which I have a real if very tenuous connection!

To view the flag and search for your ancestral names visit https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/england-united/.

Are there any players on the England team with a surname collection to your ancestry? Here is the squad announced:

Goalkeepers: Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton),

Defenders: Ben White (Brighton), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City, Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Declan Rice (West Ham)

Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Man City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Man City)



Findmypast Additions

This week FMP expands the collection for those with interests in India or the Caribbean islands of St Kitts & Nevis.

British Army Embarkation Lists, 1871-1889 to India

Transcriptions from original embarkation returns, with over 100,000 entries, are catalogued in the British Library’s India Office Collection IOR-L-MIL-15 series.

The records usually include:
Age (in year and months)
Approximate birth year
Regimental number
Enlistment date
Embarkation date
Ship name
British Library India Office reference.

Many records only give the first initial. Are you up to the challenge of determining which of the 569 J Smith’s included is yours?

St Kitts & Nevis Baptisms 1716-1881
With an area of 269 square km and a population today just over 50,000 it’s unsurprising this collection has just 8,730 records. Of those 899 indicate “slave,” ending in 1834. Most of the records are for the later part of the period.