More Maps Online from the National Library of Scotland

Three new sets of maps covering Scotland and Great Britain during the 20th century at the regional or medium scale are highlighted in the April NLS Newsletter.

NLS comments that these are particularly useful for showing the development of reservoirs and forestry, as well as new roads, railways and airports. Some were specifically made for air navigation by civilians or the Royal Air Force, and another set was captured by the Germans and re-issued for the Luftwaffe in 1939-40.

Maps website updates
OS Half-inch, Scotland, Outline Edition, 1942
OS Quarter-inch, Scotland, 1901-1960

OS One-inch, Great Britain, 1952-1970

Findmypast adds Cambridgeshire, Licensed Victuallers: Pub Names

Red Lion signAccording to the information from Findmypast there are 52,044 records in this collection for Cambridgeshire covering 1764-1828 giving the name and abode of the victualler, the name of the alehouse, tavern or inn, and the name and abode of the person providing surety. These are sourced from the Cambridgeshire Archives in Ely, they were photographed and transcribed by members of the Cambridgeshire & Huntingdonshire Family History Society. Most are for the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Not advertised and not fully searchable are entries as late as 1956.

Pub names are fascinating. For 400 post-WW2 entries, 40 were for establishments starting White — White Cock, White Hart, White Horse, White Lion, and White Swan. 9 started with Black — Black Bull, Black Horse and Black Swan. Others with colours were the Golden Lion, Green Man, and Red Lion. While no pubs had signs starting with One or Two, there were entries for Three Blackbirds, Three Fishes and Three Horse Shoes.

Duke, King, Maid, Nag and Queen were all paired with Head; Bricklayer, Carpenter and Queen had Arm appended.

The most unusual — Dog In A Doublet and Hero Of Aliwal.

FreeBMD April Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 8 April 2021 to contain 279,663,246 unique records (279,220,849 at the previous update.) Years with major additions, greater than 5,000 records are: for births 1986-90; for marriages 1969, 1986-89; for deaths 1986, 1988-90.

The database now contains 117,156,058 unique births, 85,770,686 marriages and 76,736,502 deaths.

The decline in the number of births per marriage event is evident from four up to the late 19th century to around two after 1930.

FreeBMD April Update

The FreeBMD Database was updated on Thursday 8 April 2021 to contain 279,663,246 unique records (279,220,849 at the previous update.) Years with major additions, greater than 5,000 records are: for births 1986-90; for marriages 1969, 1986-89; for deaths 1986, 1988-90.

The database now contains 117,156,058 unique births, 85,770,686 marriages and 76,736,502 deaths.

The decline in the number of births per marriage event is evident from four up to the late 19th century to around two after 1930.

BIFHSGO April Meeting: 10 April

Saturday, 10 April 2021

How to Tell a Compelling Family History Story (Education Talk, 9 a.m.)

Ruth Stewart Verger grew up in a storytelling family and weaves tales from family histories and from much time spent in archives and university libraries researching Canadian historical figures. A resident of Ottawa, Ruth is a member of Storytellers of Canada.

The War Brides 75 Years: 1946–2021 (Feature Talk, 10.30 a.m.)

Melynda Jarratt marks the 75th anniversary of “Operation Daddy” – the organized transport to Canada of nearly 45,000 war brides and their children following the end of the Second World War.

For more information, see Meetings & Activities. April 10

South Wales Records Added at Ancestry

Index records that just appeared on Ancestry.

Glamorganshire, Wales, Glamorgan County Asylum Records, 1845-1920, 26,387 records

Original data: Cardiff, Wales: Glamorgan Archives: Archifau Morgannwg. Glamorgan Asylum Indexes to case notes pre-1920 Glamorgan Asylum Register of Burials 1866-1958 Vernon House Asylum Admission and Discharge Registers 1845-1897.

Cardiff, Wales, Index to Police Constabulary Registers, 1904-1920, 6,327 records

Original data: Cardiff Borough Police Force Fingerprint and Photographic Registers. Cardiff, Wales: Glamorgan Archives.

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 Canadianbolded if local to Ottawa. Assume registration in advance is required. Check so you’re not disappointed.

Tuesday 6 April, 2 pm:  Virtual Genealogy Drop-In, from Ottawa Branch of OGS and The Ottawa Public Library.

Tuesday 6 April, 2:30 pm: French-Canadian Migrations Out of Quebec: Francophones in North America, by Judy Muhn for Allen County Public Library Genealogy Centre.

Tuesday 6 April, 7:30 pm: Portable Genealogy – You Can Take It With You…, by Bob Dawes for Durham Region Branch OGS.

Wednesday 7 April, 11 am: Beyond Family Announcements in Newspapers, by Mary McKee for Findmypast.

Thursday & Friday 8-9 April: MyHeritage 24 hour genealogy webinar marathon. The stars come out!

Saturday 10 April: Family History Federation Really Useful Family History Show ($).

Saturday 10 April 9 am: How to Tell a Compelling Family History Story, by Ruth Stewart Verger for BIFHSGO.

Saturday 10 April 10:30 am: The War Brides 75 Years: 1946–2021, by Melynda Jarratt for BIFHSGO.


4 — 6 June 2021: OGS Conference. (registration opens 1 April) 

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

Library and Archives Canada: Jan to 1 April 2021

As of the start of the month LAC had posted 20 items in the news section in the left-hand column of its home page this year. They can be roughly categorized into four groups: Operations, Policy, Acquisitions and Outputs. Here’s the list ordered by group then date.

Date Topic Group
27-Jan-2021 Rare book from 1943 acquired by Library and Archives Canada—was one of first sources to sound global alarm about Holocaust in progress Acq
15-Mar-2021 Library and Archives Canada Foundation funds purchase of unique centuries-old Canadian legal heritage documents Acq
5-Jan-2021 Exhibition: Hiding in Plain Sight: Discovering the Métis Nation in the Archival Records of Library and Archives Canada Ops
8-Jan-2021 Temporary suspension of digital copy services Ops
8-Feb-2021 Ottawa Public Library-Library and Archives Canada joint facility: A landmark cultural infrastructure project pointing the way to a greener future Ops
11-Feb-2021 Interruption of computing services on Saturday, February 13, 2021 Ops
16-Feb-2021 February 22 – Resumption of copy services and on-site consultations in Ottawa Ops
16-Feb-2021 Reopening – Winnipeg public service point now open by reservation Ops
26-Feb-2021 OPL-LAC joint facility: Inviting Indigenous artists! Ops
2-Mar-2021 Technical difficulties (update): Collection Search Ops
10-Mar-2021 Reopening: Limited access to microform collection in Ottawa Ops
10-Mar-2021 Interruption of computing services on March 13, 2021 Ops
1-Apr-2021 LAC Ottawa: Public service point closed and temporary suspension of copy services Ops
9-Feb-2021 Launch of third edition of Lingua Franca e-book Out
22-Feb-2021 A new Google map to search for Indigenous-related collection items Out
2-Feb-2021 LAC’s Vision 2030: We want your input Pol
3-Mar-2021 Taking steps toward reconciliation at Library and Archives Canada Pol
9-Mar-2021 The Francophone Name Authority Program: Progress for the Francophone Library Sector Pol
19-Mar-2021 Policy on Maintaining the Canadian National Union Catalogue Pol
1-Apr-2021 Update on Theses Canada for universities and students Pol


11 of the 20, more than half, relate to operations. Most are short-term – interruptions of service or closing and opening of physical facilities. Two relate to the LAC-OPL joint facility under development and one is a new location for a travelling exhibition.
Five relate to policy, two to acquisitions and two to outputs — Launch of third edition of Lingua Franca e-book and A new Google map to search for Indigenous-related collection items.
A surprising omission is The Library and Archives Canada Scholar Awards “created to recognize remarkable Canadians who have made an outstanding contribution to the creation and promotion of our country’s culture, literary heritage and historical knowledge.” Those being honoured on Wednesday 21 April at 7 pm online are:
Margaret Atwood, poet, novelist, literary critic and essayist
Roch Carrier, novelist and author
Charlotte Gray, historian, author and biographer
Serge Joyal, former senator, art collector and philanthropist
Terry O’Reilly, broadcast producer and radio personality.


What coud LAC do to better serve Canadian Genealogists?

Surveys over the years show that genealogists are the largest client group for Library and Archives Canada. Many I connect with are not happy with the service provided. What could be done better? Here are three things.

1. Improve on slow response or lack of response. That applies to the website and response to requests for documents.

Website response can be extraordinarily slow. It’s frustrating when you’re up against a deadline for preparing a presentation, demonstrating a search live during a presentation or helping someone. Slow response isn’t the case all the time but more so at the LAC site than at others.

For Access to Information requests, which cost $5 by law “a response is required within 30 calendar days of the date the request was received.” These days we just receive a notice that they’re backlogged. Then you wait weeks. Requests through the regular request for documents can take a year and more. What action is LAC management taking to meet legal obligations and provide timely responses to ordinary requests?

The last time I did receive a response it came on a CD, a format that is no longer supported by newer computers.

2. Improve access to online materials. LAC did a great job in digitizing a range of materials, notably Great War service files, something management has been dining out on for years. The pace is now much slower as much less effort is being applied to digitization.

I read in Chris Paton’s blog that the National Library of Scotland has a new agreement to extend access to licensed digital collections for everyone in Scotland. The library edition of FindmyPast is newly available giving access to many of the site’s UK holdings, as well as its digitized newspapers, at no cost for residents of Scotland. The NLS has existing licensed digital collections – access to the 19th-century newspaper collection, The Times, The Scotsman Digital Archive 1817-1950, JSTOR, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, SCRAN, Who’s Who & Who Was Who, the UK Parliamentary Papers site, and much more.

When will LAC offer a similar Canadian-focussed service? It would be a way to compensate for the lack of newspaper digitization at LAC. For instance, with its existing relationship with Ancestry why not negotiate national online access to the Canadian newspapers at which is an Ancestry service?

3. Provide access as a FamilySearch affiliate library. Those of us able to use the facilities at 395 Wellington wonder why it is not an affiliate library already which would give broader FamilySearch access. Again there is an existing relationship and many libraries, including all branches of the Toronto Public Library, have such a relationship for visitors to branches. As a national institution that should be possible notwithstanding any passé local objections.

Are there other things Library and Archives Canada could do, particularly things peer organizations already do, to better serve its largest client group?

The Dictionary of Irish Biography

Now online for free, an authoritative reference work of nearly 11,000 lives for scholars of Irish history, society and culture.

Although it’s unlikely you’ll find your relative there will almost certainly be somebody from a place of interest to be found using the full-text advanced search.

Check out locations in your family history. Bunclody where I stayed for a vacation has seven mentions, Kilkeel where I may have ancestry has 13. Look further afield too. There are 44 entries mentioning Ottawa.

Kirk Session Records on ScotlandsPeople

News from ScotlandsPeople on long-awaited kirk session records.
Around 6,000 unindexed volumes have just been released. Others are promised. They’re free to view, cost 2 credits to download.

Thousands of volumes of historical records from the collections of National Records of Scotland (NRS) are now available online for the first time.

Images of more than a million pages from the kirk session and other court records of the Church of Scotland can now be viewed and downloaded on ScotlandsPeople. These records contain details of key events in communities across the country between 1559 and 1900 and are one of the most important sources for Scottish historical research.

The kirk session – the local court of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland – comprised the minister, the elders and a session clerk. The records they created offer remarkable insights into the everyday lives of ordinary Scots, capturing important moments such as births, marriages and deaths. The church court also adjudicated on the paternity of children, awarded relief to the poor and needy and provided basic education, as well as disciplining parishioners for what could be called anti-social behaviour – drunkenness, cursing and breaking the Sabbath. The most commonly known punishment was public repentance or penance. 

The newly added records document how people dealt with exceptional historical events such as wars, epidemics, crop failures and extreme weather.

They are not simple to use. The best way in is via the Virtual Volumes portal at Read the full announcement at and take advantage of the other extensive information on these records on the site.