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.

Authors of Scholarly Articles

One of the largest collections on MyHeritage was recently updated.  It’s now 276,247,687 records. Here’s how MyHeritage describes the collection.

This collection includes the names of authors of millions of scholarly articles. Authors’ names are collected from over 50,000 journals and open-access repositories from all over the world. Records typically include the given name and surname of authors and co-authors, the article’s title and date, the name of the journal, and the name of its publisher. For some of the articles, a link is provided to view the article online.

The articles are Open Access content. They originate from legitimate sources including repositories run by universities, governments, and scholarly societies, as well as open content hosted by publishers themselves.

Giving it a try, I found a few 19th-century articles for my distant relative T Fairman Ordish. In a sea of John D Reids, there were also a few of my articles, nothing genealogical.

This collection complements the contents of library catalogues, like WorldCat., for books, and  PERSI, which focuses on genealogical publications but does not index the names of the author(s) of articles.

Sunday Sundries

Miscellaneous items I found of interest during the week.

Five things that economists know, but sound wrong to most other people

A lal-long population map of the world

Sweetness and Power: The place of sugar in modern history
Wayne Shepheard’s review of this 1985 book.

Who’s afraid of genetic ancestry?

The World’s Blackest Black

Update to 1939 Register of England and Wales
MyHeritage updated its version on 11 May, now with 34,414,430 entries. Ancestry’s version has 45,915,013 entries, and Findmypast’s, which has a reputation as the most up-to-date, has 35,223,608 entries. The population at the time was an estimated 41 million.

Thanks to this week’s contributors. Anonymous, Brenda Turner, Glenn W., Jane MacNamara, Laurie Dougherty, Teresa, Unknown.

Welsh Maps Annual Symposium: Friday 20 May 2022

Mapping in Megabytes
This year’s symposium will look at how computer-generated mapping is changing the way maps are produced, used and preserved and what this means for those who hold this information and make it available to the public.


10:30 Dadgoloneiddio Mapiau Cymru (Decolonising Welsh mapping) – Jason Evans (Open Data Manager, The National Library of Wales) [Welsh]
11:30 Born Again: Creating Interactive Digital Data from Historic Mapping – Jon Dollery (Mapping Officer, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales)
2:30 Map-collecting in the Digital Age: The Legal Deposit Libraries’ Map Viewer – Dr. Gethin Rees (Lead Curator, Digital Mapping, British Library)
3:30 Preserving digital maps: one bit at a time – Sally MacInnes (Head of Unique and Contemporary Content, The National Library of Wales) & Dr. Sarah Higgins (Lecturer, Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University)

An event held by the National Library of Wales and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

**A Welsh and English language event – simultaneous translation will be provided for presentations in Welsh**

Last Minute: BIFHSGO Monthly Meeting

Today, Saturday 14 May at 10 am, Anne Coulter will present  The Diary Project

An old diary that begins in 1862, is passed down through three generations and sparks a scavenger hunt. Who wrote the diary and why was it a cherished family heirloom? How do you read the handwriting? Without living family members or any context, how do you tackle such a project?

This talk will show how decoding the contents of a diary reveals a family’s history, provides colourful context and a glimpse into life in 1860s Toronto. Due to the pandemic, all the research was done from home and it is surprising what you can discover!

Register at

At 9 am Bob Butler’s presentation is Selection of Genealogy Programs and Services.

OGS/Ontario Ancestors AGM

You may have been wondering when the Society AGM, usually held as part of the annual conference, will be.

This year it’s separate from the conference. The Society Office informs members should be online at 11 am on Saturday 11 June. The documentation will be mailed to those without an email address next Friday, which is when the agenda and supporting materials are expected to be posted on the Society website.

Members of BIFHSGO who are also OGS members will have an opportunity for an AGM double-header. BIFHSGO’s AGM will be at 9 am the same day followed by a Great Moments session.

Findmypast adds huge Oldham Workhouse collection

Over 150,000 records, from 1867 to 1917, are in the Oldham, Lancashire, Workhouse collection of admission and discharge registers. There are three times as many entries in the last decade of the period as the first.

Transcripts provide standard biographical information and the admission or event date. The original image may show details such as notes on the state on arrival (including health conditions and financial situation), whether they were on a regular diet or ‘infirm’ diet, religious persuasion, or reason for discharge.

Starting in the late 19th century, Oldham grew to be the world’s manufacturing centre for cotton spinning.  Sadly, this collection starts too late for the 1861-65 period of the US Civil War when the industry went into a steep decline owing to limitation of raw cotton supply.

Competition from overseas saw Oldham industry decline in the 20th century.



Canadiana Serials Update

On Wednesday, CKRN – Canadiana served a fresh smorgasbord of historical documents, most from the late 19th century.

Among the annual reports, directories, proceedings, and statements are delicacies like “Den Skandinaviske Canadiensaren” from 1887 to 1895 and “Svenska Canada-tidningen” from 1907 to 1931.

If you are interested in Kingston (ON) in 1867 and are lucky, there’s a directory where you may find an ancestor mentioned with occupation and address.

The listing of “What’s New in the Canadiana Collections” has detail on the more than 40 items added, preceded by a teaser of the eclectic content coming soon.

Bon appetit.


DNA—How It Can Help Your Research

I’ve commented several times on how standard 50-minute plus 10 for questions presentations are becoming passé. TED talks are 18 minutes. The average YouTube video is 11.7 minutes, lower than I thought, as music videos average 6.8 minutes. Even gaming videos on YouTube, the longest, are 24.7 minutes.

Another indication, today, I attended an online session from the Canadian War Museum where four excellent speakers gave 10- minute presentations.

There’s an interesting initiative from the Toronto Branch of OGS following the trend —  DNA—How It Can Help Your Research.

In four parts between 18  and 26 May, starting at 7:30 pm, each evening will include several presentations of between 10 and 20 minutes.

The sessions will be recorded and available to paid registrants until about 26 June.

It looks like a deal at $20 for OGS members and $25 for non-members. Judge for yourself at

Automated Newspaper Searches

With and The British Newspaper Archive going full tilt on adding pages to their collections how can you ensure you keep up with additions relevant to you?

The way they describe it, makes it easy with Search Alert. You save your searches and receive an email when new newspaper pages are added that contain matches for your saved searches. It sounds as if it works like the Google alerts service.

As far as I can see The British Newspaper Archive has no such facility. It was suggested back in 2015 but seems to be too much of an engineering challenge for the BNA.

Change Coming in Ottawa

The retirement of Ottawa Public Library CEO Danielle McDonald was announced on Tuesday. A search firm has been retained and preliminary work is underway.

Over at Library and Archives Canada applications for five Director General positions are open until 29 May.

In the Collections Sector they are Government Record, Preservation & Digitization, and Published Heritage & Private Archives

In the User Experience and Engagement Sector they are Research and Access, and Communications and Policy.

Nine Ottawa City Councillors have announced they will not be running for their present seats in the election next November. There will also be a new Mayor as Jim Watson announced before Christmas he will not seek a further term.