Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is celebrating the Chinese New Year with a collaboration of the information and databases they have compiled over the past years
in an exhibit entitled "The Early Chinese Canadians, 1858-1947" at

They have divided the site into five different areas of interest to genealogists, and they are -

- The history of Canada's early Chinese immigrants - explores why and how they came to Canada.

- Photos, government documents and letters that have been collected by the LAC

- Head Tax Records - You can search the General Registers of Chinese Registers online from 1885 to 1949.

- Chinese Canadian literature and historical research

- Coming soon will be educational resources for classroom study for secondary school teachers.

By the LAC's own admission, the General Registers of Chinese Immigration is the most important part of the history because it represents the payments made by the Chinese when they came to Canada. The Chinese were the only ones who paid the head tax when they came into the country.

Over 95,000 immigrants are recorded on these rolls.

There is also personal essays on the site, as well as family histories and suggested websites.

I have written about the Chinese-Canadian immigration in an article entitled "Uncovering Chinese-Canadian Records" in the January 2009 edition of Internet Genealogy, pages 20-21.

For an interesting look at the Chinese New Year, please visit

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

OGS announces Trillium Grant

The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) is pleased to announce a Trillium Grant as a starter fund for a project with the OGS to help Ontario to help Ontario heritage organizations digitize parts of their collections.

The funds — granted over two years — will enable OGS to hire a technician, obtain equipment, and travel to the heritage organizations to scan the material.

The project will:
  • provide a digitized version of one-of-a-kind records, increasing security
  • allow small organizations access to digitizing they otherwise could not afford
  • increase the exposure of small organizations
  • increase access to records significant to Ontario's heritage
  • allow an income stream to heritage organizations if they wish so that it can provide a Canadian not-for-profit portal as an alternative to foreign commercial portals
The OGS is working with Ristech Company Inc., a Burlington, Ontario company that specializes in scanning equipment.

OGS President, Don Hinchley, said, "I believe this grant will give many more genealogists throughout Ontario and the world access to materials without the necessity of travelling to the museum or local archive."

This project will help protect the culture and heritage of Ontario, some of which is in delicate condition and could be lost if it is not copied.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 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: <>
Phone: 416-694-7907 or 1-800-725-9982.
Fax: 416-690-0819

Monday, September 1, 2008

Canada has baseball genealogy, too!!!

Today, I was out to the final baseball game of the season for the Ottawa Rapidz of the Can-Am League. Unfortunately, the team lost their last game of the 2008 season, but there were over 5,000 people present, who thought it was just about the best game they had seen all season.

So, to celebrate all people who like baseball, I direct you to an article I wrote this summer for "Canadian Connections" on the website called "Play Ball", and published in May, 2008. The link is <>.

For those interested in stats, their win/loss record is 31-62, not bad for their first year. They replaced the Ottawa Lynx, a Triple-A team.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Canada Genealogy Centre is 5 Years Old!

It's hard to believe, but the Canada Genealogy Centre (GCG) is already five years old!

It was on March 29, 2003——a cold windy Saturday——that I bundled up and went out to Nepean (now Ottawa) to see the launch of a new genealogy site at the Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

The first site was 93 pages long, and by June 5, 2004, the number of pages had increased to over 300 pages.

Today, there are 20 databases online, the two newest being the Chinese Immigration List and the 1881 Census.

In fact, it is so popular that it is the second-leading website among the federal government sites - a close second to the weather website!

The top four databases, in terms of hits, are Immigration (1925-1935), Western Land Grants, the Soldiers of the First World War, and the 1871 Census.

They also have online "That's My Family", developed in partnership with the Bibliotheque et Archives nationales du Quebec and Ancester Search.

According to John Reid's blog, the hardcopy of the 1916 Census for the Western Provinces has just arrived at the LAC, and is now in the CGC Microfilm Consultation Room. The index of the census is being done by

These days, 60 percent of visits to the LAC are to the CGC.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - From a Canadian Point of View

Every since the Internet has become like a second skin for the genealogy public, one site has become essential for research: <>.

I did that back in 1995 when I started my family history. There were three genealogies which had been done - but there were no supporting documents. So I am grateful that <> was there and that I was able to use them for free. But that might be changing in the near future.

In a recent press release from them, the word "free" is more clearly defined.

"Where possible, FamilySearch will seek to provide free public access to digital images of original images of original records. Due to affiliate obligations, free access to some images may be available only to FamilySearch members (volunteers and indexers who meet basic contribution requirements each quarter, patrons at Family History Centers, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who's contributions supply FamilySearch's operations)."

So what does this mean to you?

To me, it sounds like you will have to pay for access unless you fall into one of those categories. Will you be willing to go the local Family History library to do your research rather than turning on your home computer? Are you willing to index so much material per quarter in lieu of paying for access?

They are going to have the software by next year to verify that you are a member of FamilySearch so that you will be able to access future home use.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Nation's Chronicle: The Canada Gazette

The Canada Gazette has been published in Canada for more than 160 years. It is the known as "the official newspaper of the Government of Canada", for it has "informed Canadians of the operations of government and encouraged them to participate in the legislature process."

In other words, in it are published new statutes and regulations, proposed regulations, decisions of administrative boards, and an assortment of government notices.

The Canada Gazette (from 1841 to 1997) will, over the next few years, be made available online. You will be able to "keyword' search of all the content of the Canada Gazette.

Right now, the database is of 30% (300,000) of the pages in Canada Gazette and by 2009 all of the pages will be on the Internet.

It is divided into three parts -

Part I - 1983-1997 - Contains all public notices, appointments and proposed Regulations from the government, and it is published every Saturday.

Part II - 1950-1976 - It contains all proclamations and order-in-council. It is published every other Wednesday.

Part III - 1983-1997 - This section contains all Acts of Parliament, and it is published as soon as possible after the act is given Royal Assent.

Issues of the Canada Gazette after 1997 are available online at the website of the Canada Gazette Directorate at <>.

The Canada Gazette is a project funded by the Canadian Culture Online program of the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Gazette Directorate.

It is available at <www.collectionscanada.gc.on/canada-gazette>.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Nova Scotia Celebrates Loyalists

Nova Scotia celebrates the 225th anniversary of the arrival of Loyalists this summer. The majority came from other cities and areas to the city of New York, and then left in the spring and summer of 1783 to settle in such places as Shelburne, Digby, and Guysborough. They were given the choice of going or staying in the U.S., but many found it difficult because they supported the British Crown during the American Revolution.

I just received the newsletter from the Shelburne County Archives & Genealogical Society Newsletter <>
The newsletter reports that people at the Society has written two books which will be of interest to Loyalists. They are "Founders of Shelburne Nova Scotia Who Came, 1783-1793", and "Remarks and Rough Memorandums: Captains William Both Royal Corps of Engineers, Shelburne, Nova Scotia 1785, 1787, 1789".

In this newsletter, from page 4 to page 5, is the preface to the first book mentioned in the above paragraph, and it is very interesting. Did you know that at the beginnings of the town, it was the fourth largest city in North America!

On page 6 to page 7 are excerpts from the Shelburne Budget from 10 January, 1901 to 15 September, 1901.

Not only is it my hometown, but I am Loyalist on both sides of my family (Barclay & Blades), as is true of a lot of people from Shelburne and area.

Although I was unable to go to Shelburne myself to help with the celebrations, I encourage you to go to their website and see what is available. They have oodles of resource materials, and the centre of the town is a heritage section where you can see the town as it looked in 1783.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Spring/Summer Journal Arrives from QFHS

My copy of "Connections" — the Journal of the Quebec Family History Society (QFHS) — arrived last week. The 28 page journal has a picture of the world-famous Quebec City hotel, the Chateau Frontenac, on the front page. Taken in 1943, it is an impressive invitation to the index on the inside of the journal.

One of the articles includes "New Kid On The Block: St. James United Church" (Robert N. Wilkins, p.6), a piece about a Methodist church hidden from view in Montreal by shops built in front of it! Now on public view once more, it was one of the largest churches of the Methodist faith built in the world. It seats 2,000 people!

In this church in 1906, Booker T. Washington gave a speech on anti-slaverly. Another time, Harriet Beecher Stowe gave a similar speech on that topic, too.

At the end of page 3 is "Researching Your Family Lineage in France" in which the QFHS is offering to "... carry out detailed family searches of your French-Canadian Family Lineage(s) from Quebec to France".

They will do detailed searches for $50.00 per search and a search will take, on average three to four hours to complete - an average of $15 - $20 per hour. Where else can you find research, that experience, yet done with a knowledge only available at the QFHS?

One other article to note is their two-part series on "The Land Register of Quebec: Part I - The System" by Sharon Callaghan (p. 17) in which she says " ... that there is now an on-line, searchable database in which you can trace the history of any property in Quebec".

Part II of the article will appear in the fall issue of "Connections". She will take you on a tour of the website, and will review the search venue at <>.

There are also two articles on Montreal: "The City of Old" and "Phoebe David (1736/37-1785)" on pages 20 and 21. These should not be missed, as they provide great reading.

If you have never thought about joining QFHS, maybe it's time to consider doing so. I have been aware of Derek Hopkins and the gang since 1994, and they have done wonders with the English part of Quebec family history.

To see what else is avaible, go to their website at <>, or send them a note at <>.

LAC Releases Marriage Bonds

On June 26th, the Library and Archives released the marriage bonds for Lower Canada (Ontario) and Upper Canada (Quebec) called "I Do: Love and Marriage in 19th Century Canada" <>.

There is a nominal database with more than 10,000 Upper and Lower Canada marriage bonds. Bonds issued in Upper Canada are for the years 1803 to 1865, and the bonds issued in Lower Canada cover the period from 1779 to 1858.

I put in my maiden name, Barclay, and discovered 5 results - four from the Lower Canada Marriage Bonds, and one result from the Upper Canada Marriage Bonds.

If you click on a name, you will be taken to the webpage which gives you such information as the residence, the name of the future husband/wife, his/her residence, the date the bond was signed, the reference number, the volumes, the bond number, and the microfilm reel number.

Besides the search results, there is also a online exhibition of the letters and journal entries of Mary Westcott and Louis-Joseph-Amedee Papineau.

One should note here that the Nova Scotia Archives also has their marriage bonds (1763-1864) online. They have over 12,000 records, and they have been on since October, 2007.

They are available at <>.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More Canadian Content Coming to

In May of 2007, the Library and Archives of Canada (LAC) and The Generations Network signed an agreement in which would index the Canadian Passenger Lists (1865-1935) in the future on the Now it looks like they will publish it next year - 2009.

If you cannot wait that long and have a need to know right now, the LAC has the microfilm records in the building on Wellington Street in Ottawa. Go to the Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 in the Canadian Genealogy Centre . They explain that the passenger lists were actually the immigration list for those years. There are no immigration applications or files.

The list from 1865 to 1935 are arranged by port and date of arrival, and if you do not know the name of the ship, you must search the unindexed lists by year.

If you go to Nanaimo Genealogical Society page, certain parts of the passenger list has been indexed by the NGS.

Arrivals at the Quebec ports for the periods of the 29 of May, 1907 to 13 October, 1910 and they are starting a list from 1907, working backward to 1900. They have indexed nearly 500,000 records, so it is worth looking there to see if you can find the people you are looking for who came to Canada.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

WorldVitalRecords Releases Canadian Jewish Data

Jewish Data has partnered with WorldVitalRecords to release over 500,000 records (including tombstones, school yearbook pages, and Citizen Declarations) from hundreds of Jewish cemeteries across the United States, Canada, Germany, and Israel.

In Montreal, the Back River Cemetery (1876-1934), Berri Street entrance; Back River Cemetery (1901-1934), South Denis entrance; Shearit Israel - Spanish and Portuguese Jews (1825-1999); and a portion of Baron De Hirsch Cemetery on Rue de Savane have been transcribed.

There are 23,000 records listed. You can search by the last name and can receive the last name, the first name, the civil year of record, and the location of the record. There is also a picture of the tombstone.

Avraham Laber, President of Jewish Data, said, "Our goal is to provide a home for Jewish records in order to help people study Jewish history and genealogy. Here we have thousands of hours of research already done for people, and it only takes them a few seconds to access the records. If they would search for the same records on their own, it would cost them much more money and time."

I was at a recent convention where David Lifferth, the president of, was giving a talk on "Innovative Family Tools to Connect Families", and "The Fastest Growing Genealogy Resource on the Web!"

He used to be the president of, so he should know what he is talking about, and it seems that he does, with more than 500,000 monthly visits and over 25,000 subscribers.

WorldVitalRecords was founded in 2006.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 Releases 1891 Canadian Census

I remember it well (because I was there at the 2007 Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Ottawa) when Tom Sullivan from My and the people from the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) said that they had just formed a partnership to share information.

I waited to see what they would put on, and late last year, the Drouin Collection appeared, and then some of the U.S./Canada Border Crossings came on board, and now the (searchable) 1891 Canadian Census has been published online.

Taken on April 6th, 1891, the 1891 census contains 4.5 million searchable names and 90,000 images of the original census pages.

Some of the information (online) of each person in the household is -
  • name of each person in family or household on April 6, 1891
  • relation to head of family or head of household
  • sex
  • age
  • martial status (single, married, widowed, or divorced)
  • country or province of birth
The areas covered in Canada in 1891 are British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and the Territories.

The census itself was handed over to the LAC in 1985. If you want to find out more about it, you can go to the Canadian Genealogy Centre or pay a visit to the Centre itself and view microfim numbers T-6290 to T-6427 to see it for yourself.

The 1891 Census of Canada is available to subscribers, or through a 14-day free trial.

Monday, July 21, 2008

British Columbia Celebrates 150th Anniversary

I received the June, 2008 newsletter, "The British Columbia Genealogist" (Vol 37, No. 2) from the British Columbia Genealogical Society the other day. They are celebrating their province's 150th anniversary by producing a very lengthy and detailed journal.

Edited by the extremely capable Diane Rogers, it has stories of "Discovery in a Trunk - HAYASHI, UJIMOTO", "59 Mile House, Account Ledger 1911-1913 - RYDER", and "Marine Workers, Vancouver, 1926".

Also, it has two interesting stories called "the most improved genealogies".

One is named "A Sailor Takes A Trip" and the other is "Mary Is A Bad Luck Name". They tell about a recent discovery the writer has made which has made their genealogy more exciting than it was before the "find".

You can contact Eunice Robinson <> if you wish to put in your story into next year's "Most Improved Genealogist Contest".

They also have the latest news about their society, the trips they have planned, a family research week at the local library, and queries.

You can go to their site at <>, or if you would like to contribute an article to the journal, the email is <>.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Who is Elizabeth?

I started writing about Canadian genealogy in 1989. A newspaper reporter at that time, I re-discovered genealogy one day as I was going through some family research I had done before and putting my notes together. I was hooked!

I have been on the Internet for fourteen years with various interests in genealogy, but in 2004, I started a website, <>, as a gathering place for genealogists who had a particular spot in their heart for the latest in Canadian genealogy, history, heritage news, and endeavouring to fulfill that niche.

In 2005, I had a diabetic stroke which left my right side paralyzed, and I had to decide what I should do for the rest of my life. I decided to continue writing (I can't stop now) and today, here I am, writing for genealogy and history magazines (e.g. Everton's), websites (, and am editor of the Ontario Genealogical Society's newsletters, NewsLeaf and its Internet sibling, e-NewsLeaf <>.

So, now I have returned to the Internet once again - this time with a blog <>.

If you have a meeting, event, website, or project that you would like publicized, I would love to hear from you!

Until then,

Happy Hunting!


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Welcome to the Genealogy Canada blog!

Genealogy Canada now has a blog, effective Jan 1, 2008.

It still keeps the style and name of, and will present the news of Canadian genealogy, history, and heritage in a quicker, more up-to-date fashion. will still remain the same - but the news posted here will be more current.

We can still be contacted at our regular email address of <>.

Thank you for visiting us, and we hope you will continue to enjoy what we have to offer.

May we wish you and yours a Happy new Year, and a successful 2008!