Friday, 13 September 2019

Not all newspaper sites are equal

I have been scouring newspaper sites for many years, hoping to find word of my ancestors. To help you search and pick out words and names from the billions of pages the providers use an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) program to scan the pages looking for your keywords. The problem is not always which program they use, but the condition of the newspaper and the quality of the scan. 

I was frustrated recently looking for a 1990 death notice in the Times Colonist for Vancouver Island. The whole of the issue I needed, and a few others in the same month, were not scanned properly and the bottom third (including the index and the family notice sections) are so blurry they are unreadable. I told support of this, they acknowledged my concerns but I haven't heard anything else yet. I'm hoping it gets fixed before my subscription runs out.

And other times it just well may be the program. For my British ancestors I have used the newspaper section at Find My Past and Using filters (place, date, etc) help to narrow the search, but sometimes I still get no results. Then I try British Newspaper Archives, which is free to search. If I get what seems to be a good hit, I make note of the newspaper issue, date and page then browse to that issue and page in another site. may have only one newspaper for Liverpool, as opposed to six at FMP and five at BNA, but after years of searching for an exact date or cause of death for my 2x great grandfather, that's where I found it. 

You can read about the tragic death of George Singleton here

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Bulletin des Recherches Historiques - Quebec Historical Society

For those researching Quebec Ancestors this publication may be helpful. It was put out by the Société des Etudes Historiques, (or Literary and Historical Society of Quebec), a bilingual society which was founded in 1824, and was the seed of Library and Archives Canada. 

Like the Scottish Antiquary I wrote about recently, the Bulletin contained many interesting historical facts, transcriptions of historic documents and registers, as well as questions from readers and replies.  

One example is this entry for George Harding of New Brunswick in 1797 selling a negro boy to his son John Harding...

Another is the exact burial place of Jacques Nolin Fugere

1659- 10 April: Jacques Nolin dit la Fougere was buried near his pew, on the right side, as walking into the church. His wife's name was Marie Gachet. It seems they had no descendants. 

Then there's the divorce of Sieur Michel Hotier in 1787...

For browsing I like to use Internet Archives, but to see them in order and search within the whole series I try Canadiana online first. They can also be fund at BAnQ Numerique.

The Transactions of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec are mostly in English and contain names of members of the society

Following are links to some of the interesting entries I found.

Relevant links

Thursday, 22 August 2019

The Scottish Antiquary

... or Northern Notes & Queries (and Replies)

The Scottish Antiquary was a magazine that began in 1886, and was modeled after the English Notes & Queries, and intended for archeologists (including genealogists and historical societies). It published many interesting historical facts, transcriptions of parish registers (often continued from one volume to the next), names of Watchmakers, Glassmakers, Merchants Company members, and many other lists of names. There are also replies to queries from subscribers. Some volumes have pedigrees or portraits...

In Vol III I found three mentions of my Tait ancestors... 
~ the marriage of my 10th ggf George Tait to Janet Bryden in the Perth register 1571
~ an apprentice of goldsmith James Tait passes his assay
James Tait witness to a runaway marriage

Runaway marriages are elopements. Like Gretna Green, the Holy Trinity Church in Haddington in East Lothian was a destination for those wanting to elope and the Reverend there had three volumes titled Runaway Registers. The marriage parties are from all over Scotland and England (I even spotted a groom from Virginia!). Use the search box to see if any of your ancestors are mentioned as a bride, groom or witness. Bartholomew Bower must have been a clerk of the church, as he is witness to many of the marriages.

Following are links to a few of the gems I discovered in these pages. Check the Contents at the beginning and the indexes at the back of the volumes to find hidden gems. Also use the search box for family surnames.

Relevant links

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

What will it take?

Everyone has stories worth telling. 

I grew up hearing stories from my grandparents and parents about incidents in their lives. I even find myself telling my children and grandchildren about stories of my childhood and my life. I also tell stories of my brother's life because he is not here to tell them.

My Dad had an accident with his hand and that gave him the time to write the stories his grandchildren were always interested in hearing. 

My Dad had never been one to sit around. He liked to keep busy and active. Even in his mid 80s he was playing golf and tennis, working out at the gym and taking walks in the beach. He scoffed at some of his friends who sat at their computers all day. Doing what, he didn't know. The scope of his technology was programming their TV box and wiring up the stereo throughout the house.

Then one day he was in the workshop and ran his fingers through the saw with the wood. Two were just nicked but one tip was cut off. At the hospital they were able to put it back with a thin rod sticking through and up to hold it together. No more golf, tennis or gym! 

My cousin's husband gave him his first computer, showed him how to use it, and that was the beginning of a 180 page biography of his life with family and friends.

He did it all on Word, with help from family from time to time to show him how to add images and fix something he messed up because of worsening glaucoma. He then had copies made and spiral bound at Staples.

For me it was a Christmas gift from my daughter of Storyworth that started me on that journey. I answered a year of questions and added photos to make books for my children, which they got the next Christmas.

What will it take for you to write YOUR stories?


Friday, 2 August 2019

Never Give Up!

You may remember I posted a couple of years ago about finding out that the grave rights of an ancestor relative in Adelaide, Australia, were let lapse and the grave taken over by another burial. I had written to the Cemeteries Authority and they explained their policy of reusing a plot when the interment rights are not renewed. 

That was the end of that. 
...or so I thought!

A few days ago I mentioned this scenario on a Gould Genealogy Facebook post about Australian burials and another reader told me that, having ancestors in Australia, she and her husband have researched this. Then the kicker... that it's possible the Cemetery Authority took photos before dismantling. Hope springs eternal!

I went to the Cemetery Authority website and emailed, asking if they took photos. I was hoping for a reply in days, at the most weeks. I received a reply within the hour with four beautiful photos attached! A photo of the whole plot and area...

... and a close up of the main stone and the two little ones...

The whole family is listed there! 

After another query about what happens to the headstones, I was told that families are encouraged to claim headstones of unrenewed leases. When they are not claimed "the headstones are reduced to small gravel pieces with the material reused by the cemetery."

So I am eternally grateful to the reader that commented on my comment and gave me another path to follow, and to the Cemetery Authority for having the foresight to take the photos before redevelopment of expired grave sites in 2006. 

Never give up on your quest!

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Civil Engineers and Contractors

There was a magazine titled The Canadian Engineer. It was a weekly paper for Civil Engineers and Contractors published from 1893-1939.

There are different kinds of engineers, so as population and readership grew, the magazine changed and it split... 
  • Canadian Engineer Roads and Bridges (later changed to Roads and          Construction)
  • Canadian Engineer Water and Sewer (later changed to Water and Sanitation)

Another is The Contract Record. This publication was published 1889-1908. There are ads and articles about construction, price lists of materials and a section called "Contracts Department", with news of upcoming projects, looking for contractors for specific jobs, and which companies were already awarded contracts. 

My New Brunswick cousins, George and Leslie Mavor were engineering contractors and in 1923 were paid $14,482.74 for their work on the Green River Bridge.

1923 Record of Public Accounts

Brothers John, George and Francis Mavor were on the list of those who worked on the roads at Lower Kintore, New Brunswick in 1874.

Relevant Links

The Canadian Engineer

Canadian Engineer, some volumes at Internet Archive

The Canadian Contract Record

Engineering and Contract Record at Internet Archive

Thursday, 18 July 2019

The Blackouts - RCAF Entertainment Group

The July/August 2019 issue of the Canadian Legion Magazine had an interesting article about an RCAF entertainment group of the Second World War called The Blackouts. The group was the brainchild of Wing Commander David Edward MacKell, a veteran of the RCAF of the First World War. The group started with a show in Ottawa, then toured remote Canadian bases in Western Canada. On 25 November 1943 the group sailed on a troopship from Halifax and took their show overseas to perform for Canadian, British and American troops. 

There is a bit about them at The Canadian War Museum with images of posters.

The names of members are listed on the CWM website.

The Legion Magazine has a few photos. You may find more photos in books about troop entertainment of WWII at your library.

Relevant Links

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

A Newfoundland Discovery in Devon

I haven't been posting lately because I'm finally getting around to starting on those projects I've had in my head for a long time.

One of the two projects I'm going back and forth with is going through all the BMD registers for the little village where my King ancestors lived. The first register starts in 1559, and of course is in tiny neat-ish fading writing, and in Latin. 

I think the second entry "might" be one of mine, it was spelled Kinge or Kynge early on.

So saving all these early ones for another day, I started on the second book (starting 1653 by the old calendarand it's a little easier on the eyes. Plus it's in English. I'm transcribing all the King names onto a spreadsheet. I only have to do baptisms before 1740, marriages before 1693 and burial before 1699. The ones after those dates were already transcribed, in alphabetic order, and I can just copy and paste the blocks of King names into my spreadsheets. If I find one I need I always check it in the register to be sure it was transcribed correctly. This helps me straighten out who's who with all the Thomas, John and Mary names.

So I'm looking at baptisms for the village of Loddiswell in Devon, England. I've recorded from 1653 and I'm up to 1696. The writing on this page is erratic, from tiny to big, faded to clear, and I came across this clear entry...

Nov 30 was baptized Thomas Robings being then about nine years old who was born in New Found Land Poor (?)
I don't know if there's family that stayed in Canada or they all went back to England, but there you go... a gem for someone to find someday. 

Thursday, 30 May 2019

The Nile Voyageurs - First Canadian Contingent to Serve Overseas

The British were in Egypt and the Sudan because of the Suez Canal. British general Charles Gordon was in the service of the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan in 1873 and later became the Governor General of Sudan. He returned to England in 1880. 

A major revolt broke out in Sudan, led by a Muslim religious Mahdi. In early 1884 General Gordon was sent to Khartoum to evacuate and accompany loyal soldiers and civilians. After evacuating about 2500 people, he disobeyed orders and kept a small band of soldiers and non-military men and they became besieged by the Mahdi's forces.

A rescue mission was planned and General Garnet Wolseley was put in charge. Besides seeing action in Crimea and Africa, he was involved in the Red River Rebellion, leading British soldiers and Canadian militia. Wolseley recruited Canadians, not so much because they could fight, but because they were skilled at navigating dangerous river waters. Perfect for traveling up the Nile to reach Khartoum. 

In a matter of just 24 days Wolseley recruited guides, boatmen and lumbermen from all across Canada... English and Scottish, French, Métis and Aboriginals ...and were named the Nile Voyageurs. Their monthly wages were about $40 for boatmen and $75 for foremen. 

There is a book called Records of the Nile Voyageurs 1884-1885 with more complete info, some images and lists of men, at Internet Archive. It is only available to borrow for 2 weeks (online or download) and you must register for free and login.  Some *men re-enlisted, see page 176 for contract. *Note that the book is still under copyright.

They gathered in Montreal from whence they sailed 14 September 1884, bound for Egypt, arriving on October 7th.

The expedition did not make it in time to save General Gordon, and were themselves attacked. There is a  beside names of those men that died. Money was sent to their families. If deceased left a widow or widowed mother special grants were made.

Relevant Links

List of Officers and Men of Nile Voyageurs, Dominion Annual Register and Review 1884

Records of the Nile Voyageurs, 1884-1885 (borrow)

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Canadian Military Ancestors

I have gathered all the resources for Canadian Military from previous posts in one file.

It is available under the Resource tab above.

Relevant Link

War Time Newsreels

Updated from Dec 2015

Those with ancestors that were in one of the World Wars may be interested in watching some Canadian Army Newsreels that are being uploaded to Library and Archives Canada's YouTube channel.

Our ancestors that were at home during the wars would have watched the newsreels in the movie theaters. 

The Canadian Army Newsreels were 10 minute films made by the Canadian Film and Photo Unit who were trained in combat the same as all soldiers. The films were distributed each week to the Canadian troops, the National Film Board and Canadian, British and American newsreel companies.

Canadian Army Newsreel No 1 (1942)

At Internet Archive there are 266 newsreels of different countries, including Britain, America, Australia, Japan and Italy.  Use the index on the right to find the ones you want.

Will you see your ancestor in one of these films?

Relevant Links

Canadian Army SWW Newsreels

Canadian Army FWW Newsreels

British War Reels

German WWII Newsreels

WWII Newsreels at Internet Archive

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Serendipity Sunday - Men of New Jersey in Wars

Well... look what popped up while I was researching booze! 
Can you guess why?

Records of Officers and Men of New Jersey in Wars 1791-1815

These are the wars covered...  
  • Expedition against the Indians in 1791
  • Pennsylvania Insurrection in 1794
  • Naval War with France, 1798-1801
  • Naval War with Tripoli, Africa, 1801-1805
  • War with Great Britain, 1812-1815
  • Naval War with Algiers, Africa in 1815

For each War the soldiers are listed by company with name, rank, date entered service, length of service, date left service and remarks (killed, promoted, missing, etc). There is also an alphabetic index at end of each chapter.

At the beginning of each war chapter there is a summary of why the war was being fought.

Relevant links

Related post: Two Wars of the 1700s

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Celebrating Nurses

National Nursing Week is May 6-12, 2019

Just as we are for military veterans, we should be thankful for the service of our nurses. They do not have an easy job, and at times it can be downright dangerous, yet they work tirelessly for the people in their communities.

I have cousins and ancestor relatives that are and were nurses and I applaud them all!

Not enough doctors in your area? Ask about a Nurse Practioner, they are not as restricted as doctors are and have the same access to specialists. I have a NP as my primary and I get the best of care. 

This and previous related posts will give you resources to find and celebrate your nursing ancestors.

Marriage announcement of Nurse Kathleen King, my 1st cousin 2x removed

Relevant links

Directory of Trained Nurses of Philadelphia, New York and Brooklyn 1895

Related Posts: Nurses

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Ploughing Match

Ploughing Matches were contests between local farmers to see who was the best ploughman. Whether pulled by oxen, horse, steam or tractor, the matches have been a much anticipated event for centuries. 

They were usually held on a lucky local farmer's field. Notices of the matches for the upcoming season were posted in papers and agricultural journals.

The rules are listed on the next page.

In 1871 the Stalmine Ploughing Association held their annual match on Grange Farm occupied by my 3x great uncle James Singleton.

Ploughing Match, Stalmine Lancashire, 1871

Results of ploughing matches were posted in the local newspapers, agricutural journals, state board of agriculture reports, or even sessional papers. Points were awarded for straightness and neatness. 

My Carter and Singleton ancestors often placed in the Lancashire matches, as did my Bruce ancestors in the Aberdeenshire matches. Robert Bruce, son of my 3x great grandfather of Upper Knaven, Fyvie attended the match in Methlic and came in 4th.

Aberdeen Journal, 14 Jan 1852

Ploughing matches have today gone international and become big exhibitions including other events. There are classes for horse-drawn and tractor pulled ploughs.

Local jewelers, silversmiths or goldsmiths were given the task of making medals to give to the prize winners. 

Relevant links

Lower Canada Agriculturist

Manitoba ploughing match prize winners 1915

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Five Years of Blogging

It is my Fifth Anniversary of Blogging!

I appreciate all of you who have been following, commenting, encouraging and sharing.

Five years ago I was inspired and encouraged by Gail Dever at Genealogy à la Carte to write a blog. I had many lists of resources from doing research into my family and friends' families and I wanted to share it all with others. I wavered between making a website, of which there were many, or writing a blog, of which there were not many like mine. The reason I went with the blog was because it gave me a chance to tell family stories related to the information I was passing on.

I sometimes like to challenge myself and do a series or participate in a challenge. This past year I attempted the "Twelve Days of Ancestors", related to the "Twelve Days of Christmas" series I did the year before. That was quite challenging but fun to do.

Thanks to all of you who follow on the Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and for sharing. I look forward to seeing what the coming year will bring!

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