Monday, November 17, 2014

Canadian Week in Review - 17 November 2014

I have come across the following Canadian websites, social media websites, and newspaper articles this past week that were of interest to me, and I thought you might be interested in them, too.


11 November 1813 -  The Americans were defeated at Crysler’s Farm in the War of 1812.

11 November 1872 - The Intercolonial Railway was completed between Halifax, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick.

12 November 1856 – The Grand Trunk Railway was opened from Quebec City, Quebec to Toronto, Ontario.

16 November 1885 - Louis Riel was hanged after the Northwest Rebellion.

For further reading, go to

Social Media

(Photos) They served so that men could fly
   “You never hear about these women. It’s a chunk of history that’s just not there,” said local author Glad Bryce. “They were trailblazers. They showed what women could do.”


Danny Williams hopes documentary teaches people about province
   A new documentary from the National Film Board of Canada looks back on former premier Danny Williams and his political career, and will be shown on 10 screens across Newfoundland and Labrador next week.

Nova Scotia

ED COLEMAN HISTORY: A school arithmetic book from 1840 
   Documents relating to school exercise books used here in the 1840s. The books were recently donated to the museum.

Black Loyalist Heritage Society president receives honorary degree
   Elizabeth Cromwell, president and founder of the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, was presented with an honourary degree from Mount Saint Vincent University on November 2nd for her work with preserving the black history and culture of Nova Scotia.


The White Hurricane: The worst storm in Great Lakes history
   Over 250 lives lost. At least 12 ships sunk. Thirty other ships crippled. The worst natural disaster in Great Lakes history.

Ontario's WWII PoW camp casualty of neglect
   The Second World War was fought on many far-flung fronts, but one is much closer than you'd think, and that is PoW Camp 30 in Ontario.


Remembering Canada’s veterans
   Remembering Our Veterans is a limited-edition book to be published this fall. The brainchild of Beverley Anderson of MacGregor, it is a compilation of material she has collected, with the help of other members of an ad hoc group from the local area.


Saskatchewan newspapers printed during WWI now online
   When Saskatchewan soldiers went off to fight in the First World War, their stories and the reactions at home were reported in newspapers across the province. Now, everyone can read those headlines online. Newspaper were written in English, German, French, and Ukrainian.


Counting the rings on your family tree
   Clarissa Giese and Annemarie Sarango have done this every spring and fall, both on their own, and with the help of a genealogy program offered at the Multicultural Heritage Centre.

British Columbia

Stanley Park's secret military history
   Stanley Park may seem like a quiet place among the trees to many Vancouverites, but the large park also has a storied military history.

What’s in a name? Time to move beyond “British”
   The discussion revolved around the question of whether it is time to consider a new name for British Columbia, and if so, what could that be?

Story of the Week
Is the long-form census form on its way back?

The long-form census form was stopped in June of 2010 , and was replaced by the National Household Survey (NHS), which is a voluntary survey, and has been the focus of much controversy since then.

The NHS was intended to be sent to about 4.5 million households. Remember when then-Industry Minister Tony Clement said that the change had been made because of privacy-related complaints, but when asked about this, he said that the decision had been made after consulting organizations and governments that worked closely with Statistics Canada.

In 2013, criticism reared its head again with the National Household Survey when the first set of results were released from the survey.

And this is when Liberal MP Ted Hsu stepped in and introduced a private member's bill, “Bill-626, An Act to amend the Statistics Act”, with the intention appointing a Chief Statistician and reinstatement of the long-form census in Canada.

So this is where it stands right at the moment.

On Saturday evening, I received an email from Mike More, former chair of the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, and former vice-president of the Ontario Genealogical Society, who said that fellow Ottawa blogger, John D. Reid, on his Anglo- Celtic Connections blog, has a piece on the private member's bill, and was asking members of the genealogical community for their support.

The blog says -

“Ted Hsu, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands has a new private member's bill to bring back the mandatory long-form census. Debate on this bill began last week in Parliament. Your help is sought to build momentum leading up to the vote expected in February.

Debate on this bill began last week in Parliament. Your help is sought to build momentum leading up to the vote expected in February.

The government replaced the 2011 long-form census with a voluntary National Household Survey (NHS). Unsurprisingly, the NHS data is of poor quality and can't be compared with previous census data. Experts who rely on this data, and the continuity of these data sets, call the NHS data worthless.

Bill C-626 is a private member's bill that will reinstate the mandatory long-form census and expand the authority of the Chief Statistician.

Throughout this debate, and leading up to the eventual vote on Bill C-626, you are asked to please:

1) Write or speak to your MP to encourage them to support the bill and reinstate the mandatory long-form census

2) Write a letter or op-ed for your local paper explaining the value of the census and the need to pass Bill C-626

3) Share this information with your friends, family and colleagues

It's not too late to fight for the census! If you wish to contact MP Ted Hsu, please email”

If you would like to keep informed about the bill as it makes its way through committees, go to

Reminder: Check the Canadian Week in Review next Monday for the latest in Genealogy, Heritage, and History news in Canada. It’s the ONLY news blog of its kind in country!

The next post will be on 24 November 2014.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

FamilySearch Update: Nova Scotia Probate Records (1760-1993).


The FamilySearch site has added more records to their Nova Scotia Probate Records (1760-1993). 

This site includes “records of probate proceedings from Nova Scotia. The records include estate files, inventories, wills, administrations and other records related to probate. Most of the records are dated from 1800-1940, but coverage varies by area.” 

They have the counties of Annapolis, Antigonish, Barrington District, Cape Breton, Colchester, Cumberland, Guysborough District, Hants, and Inverness. 

I just briefly looked at the records on the Barrington Distract area since I have family there (the descendants of Henry Blades), and found that the records are of faint quality, but with patience and years of reading these type of records, I was able to pick out probates of interest. 

So give it a try. Remember that they are not indexed, so you will have to skim through them until you find the desired record.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Norfolk County Branch of the OGS Moves to Inactive Status

Alan Campbell, the president of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS), wishes to let everybody know that the Norfolk Genealogical Society has transferred all of its work that it has done on local records will "remain in the community via the loan of the Branch Library collection to a local repository. " 

Campbell goes on to say that "Although this is a sad occasion, I must celebrate the numerous volunteer hours put in by Norfolk County Branch volunteers which have resulted in this permanent legacy for present and future researchers. Also, consider the number of hours Norfolk County Branch volunteers must have spent in helping local and distance researchers with their family history research. Thank you Norfolk County Branch volunteers!"

You can still visit their two websites - 

Their Charlotteville, Houghton, Middleton, Townsend, North Walsingham, South Walsinsham, and Windham Township publications are still on the website under the heading of Published Resources. 

Apparently, they will be available from the provincial office of the OGS at

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Canadian War Museum to webcast the illumination in Memorial Hall

For the fourth year in a row, the Canadian War Museum is webcasting the illumination of the headstone representing Canada's Unknown Soldier. 

To view the illumination, go to

While you are at the site, listen to Tim Cook, Canadian War Museum historian, talk about the lasting impact of the First World War on Canada.

CBC will live broadcast the event from the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Canadian Week in Review - 10 November 2014

I have come across the following Canadian websites, social media websites, and newspaper articles this past week that were of interest to me, and I thought you might be interested in them, too.

Social Media

(Blog) 120th birthday of William George Barker, Canadian flying ace and Victoria Cross recipient
   November 3rd marked the 120th anniversary of the birth of William George Barker, Canadian First World War flying ace and Victoria Cross recipient.
(Photos) From trenches and beyond: Six books illuminate Canadian military history
   Six books have been released by Canadian authors detailing Canada’s role in military conflicts from the War of 1812 to the First World War.
(Video) WATCH: Former Canadian senator donates piece of WWI history to Okanagan Military Museum
   It was a momentous day for the Okanagan Military Museum Thursday as they welcomed a new piece of history into their collection.
   Just days before Remembrance Day, Senator Ross Fitzpatrick and his family donated a set of World War I medals to the museum.
(Photos) Letters from First World War soldiers posted online through U of M project
   One Manitoba soldier named Fred Baragar was particularly prolific in his writing. He had studied English at the University of Manitoba, and wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages to home, most addressed “from the somewhere.”


Author traces Newfoundland regiment's path 100 years later
   Michael Winter takes us along the winding path the men of the Newfoundland Regiment followed during the First World War. Winter's book, Into the Blizzard: Walking with the Newfoundland Dead, is part history, part travelogue, and part author's musings on how our modern minds contemplate the past.


Half of Canadians learned 'a lot' about WW2 in high school: poll 
   The results of the Leger survey contradict longstanding concerns that we've largely forgotten our military history.


Conservatives support NDP bill to make Remembrance Day a national holiday
   The Conservative government is throwing its support behind an NDP private member’s bill that would make Remembrance Day a national statutory holiday, as Canadians mourn the death of two Canadian soldiers killed in separate attacks on home soil.

Fighting in Flanders - Gas. Mud. Memory: New exhibition explores Canadian experience in Belgium during First World War
   This exhibition examines the challenges Canadian soldiers encountered while serving in the last region of Belgium still in Allied hands. It also delves into the memories that remain and highlights the iconic poem In Flanders Fields.

Untold 'story of ‘bravery': Heritage Minute chronicles Winnipeg Falcons, torn apart by WWI and reunited in pursuit of Olympic gold 
   Heritage Minute has created more than 70 short films on moments and characters taken from history. Many vignettes have become ingrained in memory — either from their content or from the frequency with which they run on Canadian television — and have emerged as a sort of national history teacher.

Honouring heroes with a history 
   The Montreal native and Brockville resident has a basement full of books and other information, scores of photographs and other memorabilia, documenting the Second World War and Korean War. 
   He is currently assisting in providing information for a revised history for his Second World War regiment, the Royal Regiment of Canada.

The Alton Mill’s contribution to Canada's efforts during the Second World War 
   During the Second World War, Canada contributed nearly $10 billion in manufactured goods towards the Allied effort.

It’s really a hometown story': John McCrae honoured in Guelph 
   Every year on Nov. 11, Lt. Col. John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields” is recited as Canadians remember those lost in the line of duty and honour those who continue to serve. 
   The poem continues to resonate in Canada and Britain on Remembrance Day. On Thursday, a ceremony took place to honour McCrae in his hometown of Guelph, Ontario.


Manitoba soldier’s remains identified 96 years after WWI death
   Private Sidney Halliday, who lived on a farm near Minto, Manitoba before shipping off, has been identified as one of the soldiers whose remains were found in Hallu, France, in 2006.


Saskatoon to unveil war memorial honouring WWI soldiers 
   On Thursday at the City Archives, Saskatoon Mayor Donald Atchison will be unveiling a World War Book of Remembrance that documents every solider from Saskatoon and student at the University of Saskatchewan who enlisted and died while engaged in combat from 1914 to 1918.


Flags of Remembrance fly in central Alberta 
   In the brisk October air of early morning on a dark highway in central Alberta, a quiet group of men and women stood sentinel alongside 116 Canadian flags waving in the breeze in remembrance of 116,000 Canadian war dead from 1900 to 2014.

11 Days of Remembrance: A salute to the history of salutes 
   Showing the public your palm in a salute goes all the way back to knights.
   “It started with knights raising their visor and saying ‘I have no weapons in my hand’,” said Capt. (retired) Jason Watt, South Alberta Light Horse regiment.

11 Days of Remembrance: Citizens of Burdett fought hard in First World War
   When the call came to fight for King and Country, small rural communities in Alberta were on side, perhaps accounting for proportionately more soldiers than larger towns and cities, because of their close ties to Britain, says a historian.

Story of the Week

The Archives of Ontario is offering a New WWI Speakers Series

The first speaker, Jane E. MacNamara from the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS), will talk about Inheritance Interrupted: WWI reflected in Ontario Estate Files. The date of her talk will be Thursday, November 13, 2014.

The Great War cut short many lives and disrupted the expected passing of property and goods to the next generation. Laws were changed, society changed, the world changed. Drawing from estate files from across the province; this presentation will show examples of these changes and demonstrate how reading between the lines and understanding the process and implications of inheritance records can enhance family and local history—in any era.

The second speaker will be Stewart Boden, Outreach Officer & Exhibit Curator, Archives of Ontario, and the title of the talk will be Curating Dear Sadie: Love, Lives and Remembrance from Ontario’s First World War, from the current AO's onsite exhibit of the same name, which he researched and curated.

 The date of the talk will be Thursday, February 5, 2015, 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm.

Through Stewart’s presentation, the audience will hear about challenges that came from researching the Archives records, and taking different paths while curating the exhibit.

The series will be held in the George Spragge Classroom at the Archives of Ontario.

Admission is free, and a tour will be given of the new exhibit.

You can register online at

Reminder: Check the Canadian Week in Review next Monday for the latest in Genealogy, Heritage, and History news in Canada. It’s the ONLY news blog of its kind in the country!

The next post will be on 17 November 2014.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Part I: The Canadian War Record Office

The Canadian Light Horse going into action at Vimy Ridge, April 1917
Reference Number: IKAN 3194785, 3624863
Credit: William Ivor Castle. Canada. Department of National Defence. Library and Archives Canada, PA-001111

The Library and Archives Canada recently sent out this press release, stating that its people have been busy cleaning up some famous photos taken of the First World War, for instance, the two most famous one photos that we all know as “Going over the Top” and the “29th Battalion advancing over No Man’s Land during the Battle of Vimy Ridge.”
“They have been made more accessible to Canadians by enhancing their descriptions through thematic organization in the online database. This has been part of a much larger project to organize and describe the entire Department of National Defence’s photograph collection at LAC to ensure that the records are accurate, complete and accessible to the public. When the war began in 1914, most photographers and journalists were ordered away from the front. The First Canadian Division entered the European war theatre the following year. Finally, in 1916, millionaire press baron Max Aitken was granted permission to start the Canadian War Records Office (CWRO) and it became Canada’s ‘eyewitness to war’ sending reports home from the front. Soon, these reports were also accompanied by photographs and paintings.”
To see LAC’s Flickr photo set entitled “Canada and the First World War”, go to