Tuesday, September 2, 2008

WorldVitalRecords.com Partners with Canada's Dundurn Press

WorldVitalRecords has just announced that they have partnered with Dundurn Press and will start to post over 400 genealogical and historical books online.

This was an unexpected announcement, as the press had been in existence since 1972, but WorldVitalRecords says that it will bring more publicity to the press and people will know more about it.

Some of the titles that will be put online will be 100 Canadian Heroines, Strangers at our Gates: Canadian Immigration Policy, 1540-2006, and Maps for Family and Local History.

Just by coincidence, June Coxon, also a writer from Ottawa like myself, attended the Conference '08 of the Ontario Genealogical Society in London, and while there, she interviewed some people in the marketplace, and one of the interviews was with Barry Penhale of Dundurn Press.

Barry was with Heritage Books before, and since 2007, has been with Dundurn Press.

A New Role For Natural Heritage Books and Barry Penhale
June Coxon

You couldn't miss seeing Barry Penhale if you visited the marketplace during this year's OGS conference, in London, Ontario. His was the first table in the first aisle as you entered the room.

But the large banner sign behind him read 'Dundurn Press' and most people likely associate him or at least his name with Natural Heritage Books, a company specializing in publishing books about Canadian heritage, natural history, and biography. Penhale and his wife, Jane Gibson, established that company in 1983. But since January 2007, it has been a member of the Dundurn Press Group, and Penhale now calls himself publisher emeritus. Obviously, that does not mean he has left the publishing world completely. He's been in the business for some 40 years and is not likely to leave it behind any time soon.

As for his company's new association with Dundurn Press, some people might be leery about the decision to join forces with another publishing company, but not Penhale. "The president of Dundurn, Kirk Howard, has a great appreciation for history," said Penhale. "In fact, he's been a genealogist for years. Also, Dundurn started primarily as a small publisher of Canadian history, military history, politics, current affairs, and biography," he noted. "So becoming part of the Dundurn Group was a good fit for us, especially since I've been assured that my company's signature name will continue to be used in conjunction with that of Dundurn's."

Natural Heritage has published over 200 books, of which approximately 100 are still in print. But Dundurn has more funding and therefore more books (Since it started 1972, Dundurn Press and its associated imprints have published over 1,450 books, of which 650 are still in print They publish about 75 to 80 new titles a year ). "The move we made last year will enable our book selection to strengthen and expand," Penhale said. Both Natural Heritage Books and Dundurn are located in Toronto.

Some of the most popular and successful books published by Natural Heritage Books include the series of eight written by Ottawa-born Dr. Lucille Campey about Scottish immigration to Canada. For those unfamiliar with her books, the one she published in 2005, The Scottish Pioneers of Upper Canada, 1784-1855: Glengarry and Beyond, is 397 pages full of tantalizing information for genealogists like charts, maps, and passenger lists. This book also contains descriptive information about the progress of Scottish settlement in Upper Canada, with details about the 550 ships that made over 900 crossings and carried almost 100,000 emigrant Scots to Canada.

"Dr. Campey's last book, An Unstoppable Force, was on sale at the BIFHSGO conference in Ottawa this year and every one was sold," Pehale pointed out. But he also told me that Dr. Campey has written her last book about Scottish immigration to Canada. Deciding to turn her research and writing to a different part of the British Isles, Campey has signed a contract to write three more books for Natural Heritage Books. But they will be about people who immigrated from England to Canada. Like her last two books, these will bear the joint imprint of Dundurn and Natural Heritage. Her first book in this next series is scheduled for publication in 2010.

Barry Penhale and his books are a familiar site at conferences and fairs. He has been displaying and selling his books at conferences like the one in London for many years. "From a vendor's point of view, it's always a great experience because of the many interesting people I meet as well as the new contacts and connections made at such fairs," he concluded.


Natural Heritage Books,The Dundurn Group, P.O. Box 95, Station O, Toronto, Ontario M4A 2M8, Canada.
E-mail: <natherbooks@bellnet.ca>
Phone: 416-694-7907 or 1-800-725-9982.
Fax: 416-690-0819