Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Year's Day

The names of the months of the year are Latin in origin, which is logical since the calendar we use started in Rome. Following is my condensed version of the evolution of our calendars to explain some early BMD records and also the origin of New Year's Day.

The early Roman Calendar was based on the cycles of the moon. The year started with March 1st and had only 10 months. The last six months were named for Latin words for numbers - quinque (5), sex (6), septem (7), octo (8), novem (9) and decem (10).  That is why you will find that many old BMD records, including in Quebec, have dates with the month written as 7br, 8br, 9br and 10br. January and February were added later as 11th and 12th months, until about 450 BC when they became the first and second months, making January 1st the first day of the new year. 

The Julian Calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC and later the months Quintilis (5th) and Sextilis (6th) were renamed Iulius (the month of Julius Caesar's birth - there was no letter J at that time) and Augustus (founder and first emperor of the Roman Empire).

March 25th was Feast of the Annunciation, the day the angel told Mary she would be the mother of Jesus, and is still celebrated as such in some religions. In AD 525 the monk Dionysius Exiguus introduced the calendar system of Anno Domini (AD - the year of our Lord), with the year 1 AD (and counting forward) following the year 1 BC (and counting backwards). Dionysius declared the day Jesus was "conceived", March 25th, to be New Year's Day.

When the Gregorian Calendar (introduced by Pope Gregory in 1502) was adopted by the British Empire in September 1752 it was decreed that January 1st was to be New Year's Day. So.....

Happy New Year!

Timeline of Calendars 0001-1972

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Serendipity Sunday - Calendars and Webinars

Every year at Christmas I get a Calendar for the next year printed with photos of my grandchildren.  All their birthdays are marked on it as well as holidays and important events. I love it!

You may have a themed paper calendar with squares for writing in, and/or a virtual one. While you are adding in all the important dates to your new calendar for 2015, don't forget the free genealogy Webinars.

Many genealogy societies have now published their schedule of free webinars for 2015. There may be some you don't want to miss, for example....

Using Google Earth for Genealogy

Techniques for Differentiating Two People with the Same Name

Researching your Female Lines        

My list of favourite societies that give free webinars is here.

I use Google products for virtually everything (and everything virtual) and I have my Calendar synced on my laptop with my ipad and my phone. I add to it all the Webinars I want to see in the coming year as events and set the alert function to remind me, perhaps the day before, then reset it for 1 hour before the event so I can login. The alert pops up on my IPad or phone and stays until I see it.

Here are some tips for scheduling with the 3 major virtual calendars, Google, Microsoft and iCal.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Merry Christmas

I am taking a couple of weeks off for the holidays. I will be back in January with more articles which may lead to mention of your ancestors, or about how they lived. In the meantime I leave you with a few interesting tidbits.
Thank you for tuning in each week - I wish for you a very happy holiday season and finding lots of ancestors in the new year.
Ancient English Christmas Carols 1400-1700 (in back is Latin to English Glossary)

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Millionaire's Club

This year one of the movies premiering at Christmas time is a remake of "Annie", the classic story of Orphan Annie who gets adopted by billionaire Daddy Warbucks. When Christmas time is upon us, don't we all wish we were wealthy like Daddy Warbucks so we could really spoil the ones we love, getting them everything on their wish list??

In the 1800's a $Million would probably be worth a least a $Billion today. Even the people that had a net worth of $10,000 - $100,000 would be millionaires by today's standards.

I have found for you some lists of people and their worth, or the worth of their property. Also a couple of lists and bios of leading men of the city.

Here is an Inflation Calculator to help you find the values of the 1800's for today. Just choose the year from the drop-down menu and enter the value.

Relevant Links:

American Millionaires : the Tribune's list of persons reputed to be worth a million or more. Lines of business in which the fortunes were made - 1892

Boston - Our first men: a calendar of wealth, fashion and gentility: containing a list of those persons taxed in the city of Boston, credibly reported to be worth one hundred thousand dollars, with biographical notices of the principal persons - 1846

The wealthy men and women of Brooklyn an Williamsburgh 1847 - embracing a complete list of all those estimated possessions (in real and personal property) amount to the sum of ten thousand dollars and upwards, together with biographical sketches.

Wealth and Pedigree of the wealthy citizens of New York City and worth - 1800's

Present value of real estate in New York City (by wards) compared with that of 1842 and a list of the wealthy citizens of NYC forty odd - 1884

Memoirs and auto-biography of some of the wealthy citizens of Philadelphia, with a fair estimate of their estates - 1846

The industries of Dublin - historical, statistical, biographical. An Account of the leading business men, wealth and growth - 1887

Dear of Greene County; embracing facts and figures. Portraits and sketches of leading men who will live in her history - 1915

Griffith's list of men and women born in Maine who have risen to distinction - 1905

Queensland - A narrative of her past; with biographies of her leading men - 1900

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Serendipity Sunday - BMD Exchange


At Christmas time people all over the world have gift exchanges, whether for family, at the office, or within a group. 

Well, I discovered that the Genealogy world also has exchanges of a sort - there are many sites that host Certificate Exchanges. If you buy a BMD certificate by mistake, that is not relevant to your family, you can offer it to someone else. These sites are just hosts - you have to contact the certificate holder directly, or leave a contact email for people to contact you if you are offering.

You may find more links that are perhaps more local rather than national by doing a search using keywords: certificate exchange bmd. You can also add "~genealogy" to narrow the search.

I didn't find one specifically for the USA, if anyone knows of one I will add it to the list.

Check these sites before you buy BMD certificates.

Relevant Links

Canada BMD Exchange - at olive Tree

Benelux - Belgium / Netherlands / Luxemburg - Certificate Exchange

Certificate Exchange - UK

Scotland BMD Exchange

Australia BMD Exchange

BMD Share UK

Ireland Certificate Exchange

Monday, 8 December 2014

Temperance & Prohibition

I have mentioned that my grandfather, Herbert Mavor's family were Salvation Army. The Salvation Army was founded in London c1864 to help the working class, and came to Canada in 1882. They believed strongly in abstinence from alcohol. My grandfather adhered to this until he returned from the war in 1919, much to his mother's dismay.

The Temperance movement started before that, in the beginning of the 1800's, and quickly spread in England, Australia, New Zealand, America.  Temperance means moderation, but around the 1830's the movement soon started preaching total abstinence.


Temperance led to Prohibition. There are websites about both temperance and prohibition in Canada, the United States and in Europe. There are also many books to be found on the subject at Internet Archive by typing these keywords: temperance, intemperance, and Christian Temperance [Union].

Look in local newspapers. Some published a list of names of people picked up for being "dunk and disorderly".

I have listed a few links here, some with members lists that may contain names of your ancestors.

This holiday season... stay alive, don't drink and drive!

Relevant Links:

North of England Temperance League Register and Almanac for 1859

The Northern temperance year book for workers in the North of England 1894

Handbook to temperance Hotels UK 1888

History of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Grinnell, Iowa 1924

World Book of Temperance; 1908

Journal of proceedings of the semi-annual session of the Grand Division of the Sons of Temperance, of Canada West, held at Brantford 1855

Directory of the Sons of Temperance of North America; 1868

Conference of the Anti-Saloon League of America - Toronto 1912

Jubilee history of the Ontario Woman's Christian Temperance Union; 1877-1927

Offenses under "The Liquor License Act" R.S.O. 1897: & a list of decided cases; Toronto

It helps business and is a blessing : what leading business en, bankers, farmers, laborers and others say about prohibition in Charlotte, NC 1908

Dominion Prohibitory Liquor Law Convention held in Montreal 1875 (w/list of members)

History of the Womans' Christian Temperance Union of Oklahoma 1925

Independent Order of the Rechabites, a temperance group of Queensland, and their involvement in WWI; w/ Honour Roll

List of municipalities in Quebec and their standing on liquor licensing 1914

Countries that had/have Alcohol Prohibition

US Identification Card Files of Prohibition Agents in the US ($ Ancestry)(National Archives)

(See example of some IDs on Flicker)

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Serendipity Sunday - Behind the Scenes

While you are running around doing your holiday and Christmas shopping (actually or virtually) - think of the people who have been busy working all year long behind the scenes to make our Christmas wishes come true.

And I don't mean the elves!

This week I happened upon this book -

A Visit to Sear's Roebuck and Co - 1914

It shows all the departments of people that worked at the factory and got things ready to go out on the floor of the stores, and includes the printing building where they put together all the catalogues and mailers.

Of course when I discover something like this I have to find more, and I did, listed below.

Relevant Links:

An Artist's Impression on a Visit to a Great Store - T. Eaton Co, 1910

The Scruggs-Vandervoort-Barney Drygoods Co of St Louis

"I've Seen the Largest Store in the World!" - Macys 1939

The W. E. Miller Co's store; a photographic panorama of its departments and people 1902

Cox Brothers Limited (Tasmania and Adelaide) 1925

Monday, 1 December 2014

Sessional Papers of Dominion of Canada

The Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada are an often overlooked source for research in Canada. Probably because they are not indexed by names.  But it is not difficult to search through them. I found the easiest want to search is at Internet Archive in search box write "Sessional Papers of Dominion of Canada" + the year. Pick any one and look in the  "Contents" (after the index) at the beginning of each year. No 1 is usually the Auditor General Report, and that contains names and wages of civil employees by department, including post office employees. Note that each Content number will tell you if it is printed or not. Some university libraries hold copies of unprinted reports. Do the same for the Provincial Papers. At Internet Archive there are also some in French.
There are plenty of lists of names throughout - including various Military lists. This one for the year 1887 the Military section starts at Appendix 15.  The next page gives the Index, and you will see lists of men who received certificates, professors and graduates at the Royal Military College, medical officers, retired officers...etc 

There are not just names for military. The "Expenditures" section gives salaries of various people. Keep turning pages, they note payments to individuals or companies for goods and services (furniture, candles, carpentry work, etc). In different years you see there are a reports to do with canals and railroads including goods carried, earnings and summary of accidents. Remember some department reports were not printed.

Here are some other examples of what you will find:

Steamboat Engineers Certificates and Examinations (Names + lots info) 1874

CPR Railroad accidents - lists name, place and cause.

Names of lessees of grazing land in Manitoba and Northwest Territories.

Persons issued Timber Licenses. (and turn pages)

Shareholders of Chartered Banks

Letters that never arrived that contained money that were mailed in Canada - 1874.  Lists name of sender, addressee and place. FRENCH

Dominion Steamers expenditures (names of crew, service people) - 1874


Using keywords "sessional papers" you get various years of the English editions.

Using keywords "Canada. Parliament" you get various years of the English editions.

Using keywords "Canada.Parlement" you get various years of mostly the French editions

Following are some Provinces that have some of their sessional papers online.

Sessional Papers for the Province of Ontario (Also try Legislative Assembly)

Sessional Papers of the Quebec Legislature

Sessional Papers of Manitoba Legislature

Sessional Papers of British Columbia Legislature 

It doesn't take long to look through for mention of your ancestor, you can flip pages until you come to lists of names that are often in alphabetical order.

Check your country archives to see what is available regarding their Parliamentary Papers.

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