Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Ancestry adds Manchester Non-Conformist records

There are nearly 400,000 records for more than 100 places in three new Manchester databases just added to
The databases are:
Manchester, England, Non-Conformist Births and Baptisms, 1758-1912 has 197,227 records
Manchester, England, Non-Conformist Marriages, 1758-1937
103,637 records,
Manchester, England, Non-Conformist Deaths and Burials, 1758-1987 has 97,860 records

Ancestry informs that the records include those for  Methodist, Quaker, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, URC, Congregationalist, Baptist, Unitarian, and Jewish congregations. I didn't find any Jewish records.

You can search or browse by place and congregation and view images of the originals.

They are sourced from the Greater Manchester County Record Office / Manchester Archives and Local Studies. Tameside Local Studies and Archives, Oldham Archives and Local Studies, Wigan Archives Services, Bury Archives Service, Stockport Archive Service.

Today only, free access to Irish Newspaper Archive

Claire Santry mentions this very limited time offer, ending at 11am Irish time on Thursday. Read more at

Also, just added to the site, The Connaught Telegraph 1830-1899 and The Dundalk Democrat 1849-1913.

Newly Digitized Microfilms on the Héritage Portal

The following, from a post on the LAC blog, is a list of digitized microfilms that have been recently added to the Héritage website. The records are in the language of origin.

  • Amherst Papers 
  • Canada. Department of the Interior: Letters patent 
  • Canadian Home Economics Association fonds 
  • Department of Canadian Heritage, Canadian Parks Service: Park/subject classification system 
  • Department of Indian Affairs, Edmonton Agency: General operational records 
  • Department of Indian Affairs, Manitoba Regional Office: Central registry files 
  • Dominion Lands Branch registry 
  • France, Archives Nationales. Contrôle général des finances. Sous-série G7 [French National Archives fonds, finances records, sub-series G7] 
  • Frank Wright fonds 
  • Henry Elvins Spencer fonds 
  • Henry Pringle fonds 
  • Immigration Program: Headquarters central registry files 
  • Indian and Inuit Affairs Program: Modified duplex numeric system 
  • Ministry of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada: Courts martial records, 1914-1919 
  • Parish registers: Manitoba 
  • Registrar of Shipping New Carlisle [Quebec], 1856-1902, and Quebec City [Québec], 1787-1965 
  • Radnik fonds 
  • Roderick K. Finlayson fonds 
  • Sir Henry James Warre fonds 
  • William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth fonds 
  • William Osgoode fonds

The First World War: Disease, The Only Victor

An instructive presentation given on 10 March by Professor Francis Cox, online from Gresham College, focuses on the history of disease in WW1 and placed in a larger context.

He examines the division between combat and disease deaths in various wars, contends that a reduced fraction of military deaths in WW1 should be attributed to the greater effectiveness of weapons and not so much improved medical services.

He also argues that if influenza deaths are included, as they should be as the disease entered the war zone from the US as their soldiers arrived, disease once again become the major cause of military deaths.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

WW1 at Beechwood: William Wallace Louttit

According to his attestation paper William Wallace Louttit (3320737) was born at Castleford, Ontario on 12 July 1891. He was single, son of William Louttit, occupation accountant (Assigned Pay Branch of the Militia Dept) and residence 86 Elm Street in Ottawa which was his father's address.
He was called up on 25 March 1918 in Ottawa, quartered at Lansdowne Park while attached as a Gunner to the 74th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. Admitted to St Luke's Hospital on April 9 he died of pneumonia on this date. April 15, 1918. His father was a ticket agent for the CPR with paternal origin in the Orkney Islands of Scotland.

Note: Posted a day early by mistake.

Original Irish Catholic registers are rotting

John Grenham comments on Irish Catholic parish records in his latest Irish Roots column pointing out that "no organization on the island is concerned with preserving them: there is no archival programme to ensure their survival."

Many Canadian Anglican records remain even more vulnerable as there are no copies.

WW1 dead at Beechwood:

Yesterday, in error, I posted a short item about William Wallace Louttit, a WW1 soldier. He was one of two soldiers, the other was George Milton Atchison, buried at Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery who died on this day in 1918.
Some WW1 soldiers never went "over the top," never went to Europe, and died of causes unrelated to military service. Some who did serve in battle lingered with their wounds dying just a few days or months after the cut-off date for recognition as a war casualty. Some lived and suffered for years with their wounds.
The CWGC database, and other compilations of war dead, records rough justice. Some who are deserving of recognition don't receive it and some less worthy are included. In the next months I'll look at all those recorded as WW1 war dead at Beechwood and at the circumstances of their death.
George Milton Atchison, son of Joseph and Adelaide, born 31 March 1878, died on this day in 1918 and is buried in a military grave at Beechwood Cemetery.
He is listed as Hon Captain on his Circumstances of Death record. Working for the Auditor General's Department his civil death registration records him as a civil servant residing at 30 Euclid Avenue in the Old Ottawa South district of Ottawa. The cause of death is given as "Epidemic cerebro-spinal meningites"
He had served in the Canadian Contingent during the war in South Africa. His wife Laura Maud Atchison survived him.
According to his attestation paper William Wallace Louttit (3320737) was born at Castleford, Ontario on 12 July 1891. He was single, son of William Louttit, occupation accountant (Assigned Pay Branch of the Militia Dept) and residence 86 Elm Street in Ottawa which was his father's address.
He was called up on 25 March 1918 in Ottawa, quartered at Lansdowne Park while attached as a Gunner to the 74th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery. Admitted to St Luke's Hospital on April 9 he died of pneumonia on this date. April 15, 1918. His father was a ticket agent for the CPR with paternal origin in the Orkney Islands of Scotland.

WW1 will be the topic for the annual Beechwood Cemetery historical walking tour, this year on Sunday June 8 at 2 pm which will include war-time Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, nurse Minnie Gallagher and Lt Alexis Helmer, whose death inspired John McCrae’s famous poem, ‘In Flanders Fields.’

Monday, 14 April 2014

Guy Berthiaume appointed as Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Shelly Glover today announced the appointment of Guy Berthiaume as Librarian and Archivist of Canada for a term of five years, effective June 23, 2014.
Quick Facts
  • Dr. Berthiaume has been President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec since 2009. Before this, he spent thirty years as a senior university administrator.
  • He has published a number of articles and has served on the boards and committees of numerous organizations.
  • A recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Dr. Berthiaume holds a doctorate in history from the École pratique des hautes études and the Université de Paris VIII, a Master of Arts degree from the Université Laval in Québec City and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Université du Québec à Montréal.
  • Library and Archives Canada is an innovative knowledge institution responsible for acquiring and preserving Canada's documentary heritage in all its forms and for providing all Canadians with easy, one-stop access to the texts, photographs, and other documents that reflect their cultural, social, and political development.
"Having a person of Dr. Berthiaume's calibre leading Library and Archives Canada will be a solid asset to the organization. His extensive experience in the management of large cultural organizations and his strong leadership are important qualifications for this position."
- Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Guild of One Name Studies Conference Online

The proceedings of the Guild annual conference held this past weekend, starting with the annual general meeting, are now shared online.

The society is growing in membership and activity and new people move in to replace those retiring. The retiring Treasurer commented that he encouraged the society to do more things, and saw it as his job to find the funds.

View the full meeting video, learn about the benefits of membership and watch the presentations, including from Dick Eastman, at for day 1 for day 2

Style over substance at Findmypast

Let's not sugar-coat it, the introduction of a new site at has caused uproar among subscribers. They are cancelling or threatening to cancel subscriptions in droves.

To their credit the company has a forum where clients can express their views. It has attracted lots of adverse comment. "Improve features to bring in line with the old site" was showing 2,524 votes and 1,884 comments, many of them very pointed, when I wrote this. "Improve census 'household' view"  got 953 votes and 163 comments followed by "Broader selection of BMD, parish records, including images."

Would it really have been that much more expensive to keep the option of using the old site while adding new resources to the new one only, so weaning subscribers over while also improving the operation of the new site? Improvements are now underway or promised. I doesn't take a marketing genius to appreciate that when you're forced to change you have a negative attitude compared to when change is voluntary.

Could it be that the background of the new CEO, who has no previous experience in the family history business, has something to do with it? How did she take account of the fact that clientele is weighted to older folks who often adapt less readily to change?

Annelies van den Belt has been CEO of Findmypast for less than a year. A 31 August 2013 article in The Guardian summarized her background:

Van den Belt has spent the last five years heading Sup, the Russian online publisher that bought blog network LiveJournal, which earlier this year merged with rival Rambler. 
Van den Belt, who has held a string of senior digital roles at media companies including Telegraph Media Group, will join DC Thomson's digital division Brightsolid. 
Brightsolid is being split into two subsidiaries with van den Belt taking the role of chief executive of the online publishing business, BSOP, home to genealogy websites including and
I currently subscribe to, but if it were not for the access to newspaper collection I would be hard pressed to justify the subscription. I might be tempted to subscribe to if it were nothing but a front. Go there and  you'll find the default search is for Ireland. None of the major Canadian databases are available.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Publication news from OGS Ottawa Branch

The following information was received from OGS Ottawa Branch Publications Director John Patton

The Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the launch of its latest publication as well as a new direction for its publishing endeavours.

The new publication is Renfrew County United Churches, formerly Methodist and Presbyterian: Baptisms 1841-1899; Marriages 1851-1899 [Pub No. 14-01], the second volume in the new “Places of Worship” cooperative project of the United Church of Canada Archives and the Ontario Genealogical Society to be published by the Ottawa Branch. The first volume, Lanark County United Churches, formerly Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian [Pub No. 13-01] was released last year.  The new publication contains a transcription of the baptismal (1841-1899) and marriage (1851-1899) records of former Methodist and Presbyterian churches in Renfrew County. The relevant fonds are for the current Trinity United Church in the Town of Renfrew, Melville United Church in Eganville and the Admaston Pastoral Charge. The publication includes baptisms and marriages in Horton-MacNab, Beachburg, Eganville, Admaston, White Lake, Douglas, Haleys Station, Renfrew and Rockingham. The publication is fully indexed and each entry references the archival fonds and location. Both volumes are available for $30.00 on the Branch Publications List at, which has been significantly redesigned for ease of access.

To mark the occasion, the Branch has re-published the five volumes of the Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Registers Project, for Carleton, Lanark, Prescott, Renfrew and Russell Counties. These were originally published in 2001. They are also available on the Branch Publications List.

The new direction is the move to place all of our publications, current and past, on the OGS Store. This means that over the next while the great majority of our publications will be available simply by accessing our Branch Publications List at and clicking on the “BUY NOW” button which connects directly to the OGS store order form and procedure where the publication may be purchased in whatever form it was produced—CD or hard copy. This is not only a more efficient means of obtaining a publication but it also ensures that it is never out of stock. In the meantime, publications which are still in stock will be available by mail order as in the past.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

OGS Update

The mission of The Ontario Genealogical Society is to encourage, bring together and assist those interested in the pursuit of family history and to preserve our Ontario genealogical heritage. How are they doing?
The society annual report for 2013 has recently been posted as a pdf for all to view, part of the society initiative to increase transparency, well demonstrated by this extract.

OGS President Shirley Sturdevant highlights several other changes being implemented to revitalise the society including a switch from regional representation on the society Board to six directors at large selected for their personal talents. Hopefully these initiatives will reverse the continuing loss of members, with membership dues revenue declining by 2.3% from 2012 to 2013.

A new OGS Cemeteries Locator database has recently appeared, presently highlighted by an entry on the right-hand menu from the main society webpage. It's one of several entries at and appears to be hosted by Our