Saturday, 31 December 2016

Looking Back... 2016

Looking back, here are some highlights of 2016.

In January I wrote a post titled "Making it in Alberta", explaining how you can freely find your ancestors' Alberta Land Records.

It was the most popular post of the past year.  I was honoured to have this article published in the Vernon BC History Society quarterly Journal .." Splitting Heirs".

April brought the A-Z Challenge and I decided to participate this year.  I started a new blog to do genealogy challenges and it was a fun experience. It was interesting... not just thinking up what to write for each letter, but meeting other genealogy bloggers and seeing the differences in what we come up with.

Over the summer my "Cigar Box" series was a big hit.

Here I chronicled the WWII contents of a cigar box I found among my fathers things. Since WWII is in the not-so-distant past there are not many personal posts about that time.

I also had the pleasure of being interviewed by the Wonderful Wendy Mathias for the Geneabloggers "May I Introduce to You.." series. 

The questions she asked made me reflect on how I got interested in genealogy and the reasons why I write my blog.

Other popular posts are the ones talking about government or sessional papers series. Although most of my samples are from Canadian papers, the same steps can be taken to find ancestors in the government papers of most countries. 

I added new PDFs to the Resources page, which is also a very popular part of my blog. I hope everyone is downloading and sharing these sets of free resources.

Another popular post of the past year, believe it or not since my following is global, was a Serendipity Sunday post titled "Toronto Landmarks and Homes". The popularity was most likely due to fellow Canadian genealogist Gail Dever featuring this post in her "Crème de la crème" post that week. Thanks Gail! 

The most popular article of all time is still "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World!" which I posted in August 2014.

That is a phrase I have heard a lot in 2016, let's hope 2017 is a better year!

I wish you all a very Happy New Year 🎇

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 6

Original post date: 30 Dec 2016

"The sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
six geese a laying..."

Canada Geese are migratory, heading south in the winter and north in the summer.

So are many Canadians!  I have some ancestors that went to either California or Florida in the winter months. Even though your ancestor may have lived all their life in Canada, you may have to look to the United States for a death record.

My gift to you this sixth day of Christmas is...

        .... northern summer resorts and southern winter getaways!

Do you have ancestors that headed to warmer climates in the cold months, or had a favourite summer getaway?

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 7

Original post date: 31 Dec 2016

"The seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me
seven swans a swimming..."

My gift to you this seventh day of Christmas is...

          ...about swimming and public baths

Thursday, 29 December 2016

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 9

Original post date: 2 Jan 2017

"The ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
nine drummers drumming..."

Nine drummers drumming - beginning of the

Drumming has been used by animals to show social dominance, by peoples as a means of communication, as an expression of art, and in the military to keep troops moving and motivated.

My gift to you this ninth day of Christmas is....

      ... where to find names of military drummer ancestors

Rolls of the soldiers in the Revolutionary War - open volume and search keyword Drummer

Muster Rolls - open volume and search keyword Drummer

At Find my Past - in box for Optional Keywords type Drummer. You should see a list of names without having to register. Can also use filters on left. 

Bands and drummer boys of the Civil War

Carleton Papers - Loyalists and British Soldiers 1772-1784 - type Keyword Drummer

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 11

Original post date: 4 Jan 2017

"The eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me
eleven ladies dancing..."

Ladies Dancing

There are many forms of dancing, like artistic dance, cultural dance and social dance.  

My gift to you this eleventh day of Christmas is...

       ...dancing and dancers.

Also check newspapers for names of students at dance schools, like this one at Trove..

Do you have an ancestor who was a dancer?

Sunday, 25 December 2016

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Epiphany

Original post date: 6 Jan 2017

The Twelve Days of Christmas ends with Epiphany. I stick to my family's tradition of reflecting on my beliefs this day, and taking down my Christmas decorations tomorrow, ending the holiday season.

This series has been months in the making... ever since I had the idea last year around this time.  It was fun, and sometimes frustrating, trying to find groups of records and publications that would go with each day.

I hope you all enjoyed the twelve day journey, and perhaps had a genealogical epiphany?

Here for you to download and share is the list of links in its entirety...

The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Voting Scandal

Oh boy!  My Nichols ancestors are in trouble again. My great-great-grandmother's brother, Stephen Nichols was accused of bribing the good people of Totnes to vote for John Pender in the election of 1863.

 In this part of the testimony Henry Crawford testifies that his brother-in-law Stephen Nichols bribed him with £60 to vote for John Pender.

In this part it is Mrs Crawford (Sarah Nichols), the sister of Stephen Nichols that testifies that she did indeed receive £60 from her brother to vote for John Pender.

The committee reported that they found John Pender guilty of bribery in the 1863 elections of Totnes.

In this publication there is a list of fictitious voters in the Scotland elections of 1837

You will find evidence of election rigging in government papers of most countries.

Relevant Links

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

What is in Provincial / State Sessional Papers?

Besides the Canada Sessional Papers and the Journals of the Assembly, there are Sessional Papers and Journals for the provinces.

In Canada some departments come under the federal government's power, other departments are under provincial power, and some are shared. We have looked at some under the federal jurisdiction - military, navigation and lighthouses, fisheries, borders agents, banking, post office, penitentiaries, patents and Indian Affairs to name a few.

The provincial government looks after prisons, public provincial lands, hospitals and education. They share power over agriculture, immigration and pensions. You can see the whole list here.

So let's take a look at what we can find in the provincial papers.
The following are from the Sessional Papers of the Quebec Legislature for 1895.

The next are from the Ontario Sessional Papers for 1874...

I've heard of "Killed in attempting to escape"... but "Killed in attempting to elope"??? 
Do you recognize anyone by their initials?

These two are from the papers of Prince Edward Island - 1913

In the United States search using keywords: "[state] state journal archives", "[state] state senate journal archives", journal of the senate of the sate of [state], legislative journals of [state], etc - many states have copies of their assembly journals online.

Each state of Australia also has sessional papers. In Western Australia civil servants, are mentioned in the Blue Book.

Relevant Links

Statement of students of Quebec Government School of Navigation 1894

Quebec Lists of crown lands sold or conceded by free grant 1894

Quebec teachers who received a pension

Ontario teachers exams, school inspectors and retired teachers 1874

Ontario Rockwood Asylum persons discharged during the year 1874

Sessional Papers of Quebec Legislature (Internet Archive)

Sessional Papers of Quebec Legislature (HathTrust)

Journals of the Legislative Assembly of Quebec (HathiTrust)

Sessional Papers of Ontario Legislative Assembly (HathiTrust)

Journals of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (Internet Archive)

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Serendipity Sunday - Generations of Birthdays

Update: 13 Dec 2016

Mom has passed now and is with her mother and grandmother looking down on me as I celebrate yet another birthday. My Mom always made birthdays special, not just for us but even for strangers I would bring home that had no family close by. That is a gift I gave to my children as they are doing now for theirs!

I came across some old birthday books, and it just happens to be my birthday!

I love birthdays! They are always a celebration in our family, as they were in my parents', grandparents' and great-grandparents' families!

Mom getting kisses from her great grandchildren on her 90th birthday, 2015

Granny getting kisses from her great-grandchildren on her 90th birthday, 1984

My great-grandmother with her grown children on her 75th birthday, 1942

I sure hope I am around to get kisses from my great-grandchildren on my 90th birthday!

I have one daughter that was born Christmas Day.  I made sure her birthday was separate from Christmas, with a celebration at lunch with balloons and birthday-paper-wrapped gifts.  She liked having a Christmas birthday, just don't ever send her a Christmas/Birthday card (which we all did for her 30th hehehe!).

My grandmother never forgot an anniversary or a birthday.  She always bought her greeting cards ahead of time and kept them in her Birthday Organizer.  It was a book of envelopes in which she could place the cards for each month and write on the line for the right day the names of people having birthdays or anniversaries.
Something like this....

Every year I got a greeting card from my Granny and Grampa in the mail, and when I was young the card always had $2 tuck in it. When we went to my grandparents' for their birthday, my Granny always made a birthday cake with waxed-paper-wrapped money baked in it. Some nickles and dimes and one quarter. That was fun for us kids! Who would get the quarter?

In the 1800's to early 1900's it was popular to give someone a Birthday Book.  Some of these books had sayings or poems from famous writers, some had birthdays of famous people entered. There were lines to add the birthdays of family and friends.

From Astrological Birthday Book, 1915

I guess I am old enough to have seen some of the movies made by the actors in the Actor Birthday Book. Or, I just like old movies.

How do you celebrate birthdays differently, or the same, as your ancestors?

Relevant Links

Actor Birthday Book, 1908

Past and Present Birthday Book, 1899

The Comic Birthday Book, c1900's

The Canadian Birthday Book, English and French, 1887

Astrological Birthday Book, 1915

Related post:  The Day Granny King Turned 75

Friday, 9 December 2016

Join the Genealogy Community

There are still many people researching their family tree who are missing out on a great resource!  People who actually live in the places you are researching.  Where do you find these people?  On Facebook.  Oh no.... don't shut me down yet.  Read on!

Some of the Groups I belong to

You don't have to put your life on Facebook, just start a profile with minimum information (some people give false info, not that I condone this, but just saying..) That's all¹. You don't even have to post anything. Then you can join any of the thousands of Groups that cater to genealogy research and learning. You can leave and receive private messages with people in groups. Thousands of people all over the world are ready to answer your questions, help you find out where to look next for records, go walking in their local cemetery, look up something in the archives, check out old newspapers, and do the happy dance with you as you make new discoveries. It is a great community of genealogy helpers and well-wishers!

Who knows, you may even make friends with fellow family genealogists or find long lost cousins!

Katherine Willson has compiled a list of Genealogy Groups on Facebook, which she updates from time to time. You can download the latest version of the list in PDF at her website. Besides the ones specific to my areas of research I like to ask for help at "Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness".  There is a group that is USA specific and an International group. All fabulous and friendly people!

Once you sign up here....

Every blog post I write is posted to my Facebook group page here.  By joining my group page you get extra information I post from time to time.  Also under the File tab on the group page menu I have uploaded pages of every list of links from all my articles (except for Serendipity Sunday or the few articles that have only a couple of links.) These files are free to download and share!

So give yourself a gift this holiday season and join the Genealogy Community on Facebook.

¹PS: with so many spammers leaving unwanted ads and such these days, with some groups you may have to private message the administrator to tell them you are legitimate.

*Note: I am not promoting Facebook per se, just the wonderful people on Facebook who give of their time and expertise through this social media platform to help others in the Genealogy World every day!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Audio or Video?

Are you auditory or visual?

I am definitely a visual person.  I learn better when I can see what's what. If you just try to tell me how to do something I am lost from the get go and my mind starts to wander. But show me how to do something and I pick it up right away. I learned in the parent meetings of my daughter's pre-school that usually if one parent is visual the other will be auditory (as in opposites attract?) and that if your first child is auditory the next will be visual, the next auditory, etc. I found this to be pretty true, at least in my family.

I also find that being a visual person I am much better at writing than I am at speaking. That is why I like to write this blog.  Although one of these days I might like to try making a podcast or a video.  Maybe I can do it if I have lots of visual aids in front of me.. haha!

Whether you are an auditory or visual learner there is something for everyone in genealogy. Many genealogy enthusiasts and professionals have gone to lots of trouble to make podcasts (like radio shows) or videos... or both... to give you more dimension to your genealogy learning experience.

Here attached is a list of Podcast Channels made for genealogy, and a list of Video Channels for genealogy at YouTube. Download it and pass it around!

Then there is kinesthetic learning, where you learn by doing. So don't just listen to us or watch us talk about genealogy - get out there and do it!!

Relevant Links

Podcasts and Videos

Related page: Webinars

Monday, 5 December 2016

What You May Find in Government Papers and Journals

Government publications are a vastly underused resource to find our ancestors. We have visited the Sessional Papers a few times in this blog, and today we will explore some other types of publications. Most of my examples are from Canadian works, but you may find the same types of records in your country of research. Below I have links for the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

In the journals, as in the sessional papers, some years you will find lists of names and other years just statistical numbers by county. There is an index in the front to guide you to possibilities.

This page from the Public Accounts for the Province of Canada¹, 1851 shows an example of both... numbers of licenses issued to Auctioneers by district or port, and a nominal return of ferry operators.

Looking further, in 1880 there was a case in the Court of Chancery involving the ferry at Ameliasburgh, though by then there was a different ferryman... (looking to see where Ameliasburgh is I got curious and distracted haha).

The Dominion Annual Register and Review is a political paper, but don't let that fool you! In the 1879 issue there is a Militia section with names of men who joined Cadets, and those who won matches at Wimbleton! A rifle match that is. Team Canada sailed to Liverpool to compete against the British.

According to the website of the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association...
"Canadian Teams had been attending the Annual Matches in England since 1870, the first Team being sent by the Ontario Rifle Association. The first DCRA Team went to Wimbledon in 1873 and continued to do so each year until the matches moved to Bisley in 1889."

In 1986 my husband was a member of the DCRA and the vice president of the Alberta Rifle Association. He was invited to Ottawa to try out for the Commonwealth Games, but sadly he didn't make it.

In these papers you will also find appointments and promotions of public servants, obituaries of notable (not necessarily well known) people, and some newsworthy trials. In the section titled Remarkable Occurrences you will find suicides and accidental deaths. This section was included from the years 1878 to 1886. In the back of the publication there is an index of all names mentioned in the paper.

Speaking of Militia, if you have a military ancestor you will want to take a look at the Reports of the Department of Militia and Defense (made for the Sessional Papers). Here you will find names of those who passed exams or were awarded prizes at the Military College as well as general workings of the military.

In the Journal of the House of Assembly, Lower Canada 1793 you will find names of those chosen to serve in the House of Assembly, and other names throughout.  This publication is in English and French.

I had one ancestor who passed the Preliminary Exam for entering Civil Service, but he did not pass the Qualifying Exam.  I found that out, plus more about the exams and the examiners by looking at the Report of the Board of Civil Service Examiners.

The Proceedings of the Parliament publications are another to check out for ancestors. This one for South Australia has  list of fire calls in Adelaide in 1886.

At British History Online  there is an excellent online searchable collection of parliamentary papers, including the Journals of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Put keywords of names and places in the search box and pick your filters on the main search page. I typed in Loddiswell (where my ancestors lived in Devon) and I got 60 results. Then I typed in the name Tait and since this is a family of Scottish Border reivers it did not surprise me to find five instances where my Middle March Tait's were trespassing at the Borders in 1523.

To find out more about the provinces of Canada you can also do a search at Internet Archive for "Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of..."

¹Province of Canada was formed by the Act of Union of 1840, merging Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Province of Canada ceased to exist with Confederation in 1867.  

Relevant Links

Public Accounts for the Province of Canada

Cases adjudged in the Court of Chancery of Upper Canada Vol 27 (Ameliasburgh) 1880

Related posts:  Sessional Papers

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