Friday, 12 January 2018

Finding Your Ancestors in the Yukon, NWT and Nunavut

Genealogy in Canada's North is not for the faint of heart. Please note that I have done my best to uncover the resources via the internet and the only real roadblocks that I encountered were to identify genealogists who are actually living in each of these territories. Something to keep in mind is that a portion of the Northwest Territories was divided into Nunavut in 1999. Therefore, any records relating to Nunavut will be found in the Northwest Territories before that time.

If you have an interest in the Yukon, Northwest Territories or Nunavut, I would recommend starting at the Archives and the Library webpages as the staff will more than likely be aware of those individuals who have local knowledge.

On Twitter I follow  @CBCNorth  ;  @CBCNunavut  ;  @CBCMinogue  ;  @YukonMorin  and it is possible to glean interesting resources via their 'on the ground' reporting.

Brief History

When one thinks of the Yukon, the Klondike Gold Rush certainly comes to mind. But what about the people who were there before the rush for gold? The Tagish of the Tlingit Nation were and are First Nation Peoples who live in the Carcross area. There are six clans in the Tlingit nation and the Teslin people regularly traversed the Chilkoot Trail to trade with other communities. Later the miners would use this same trail to find their pot of gold. The Hudson's Bay Company, the North West Mounted Police and explorers such as Samuel Hearne, Alexander Mackezie, Sir John Franklin and Roald Amundsen amongst others were a part of the exploration of the territories and the North.

Yukon Communities  - a listing of communities in the Yukon and their events and happenings

To support the miners and the economic opportunities in the area led by the discovery of gold in 1896 by George Carmack, Skookum Jim and Dawson Charlie, the railroad, known as the White Pass & Yukon Route was developed in 1898.  As well, the arrival of the first party of North West Mounted Police in Yukon was in 1894. An important tragedy, one that is not often highlighted, was a horrible maritime disaster, the sinking of the Sophia Oct. 1918 with a loss of 354 lives. Burials took place in Juneau and gravestones in the cities of Vancouver and Victoria carry their names. (Morrison, p.124)

For Genealogists

These free websites should be your first stopping ground for Yukon genealogy.
Cangenealogy Yukon  is a website created by Dave Obee with links to explore Canadian genealogy.  Library & Archives Canada - Yukon  the Government of Canada's British Columbia Genealogy Page. Family Search Yukon  is the Family Search wiki.

Genealogy Resources Yukon and Alaska

Main Page of the Yukon Archives

Resources available through this site have been compiled by two of the Yukon's largest repositories of historical information, the Dawson City Museum & Historical Society Archives and the Yukon Archives. Since the holdings in these facilities are different, each institution has a separate searchable database accessible through

Candice has provided a thorough overview of the Yukon site provided by the Yukon Archives staff.

Yukon E-Resources

Explore North - A Watery Grave - Drownings in the Yukon & Alaska - this does sound a bit gruesome, but truth of the matter is that many explorers in the north met their end by drowning. Alphabetical Lists.

Murray Lundberg has done an awful lot of work collecting information about cemeteries in the Pioneer Cemetery now known as the Gold Rush Cemetery - a list of names of the burials.

Print Resources

Women of the Klondike and Children of the Klondike by Frances Backhouse

History Hunting in the Yukon by Michael Gates - historical accounts of adventurers in the North.

**Biographies of Alaska-Yukon Pioneers 1850-1950, Volumes 1 to 5 by Ed Ferrell

From Norway to the Klondike: The Adventurous and Independent Life of Georgine B. Sonsteby by Georgine B. Sonsteby and Kathy A. Lewis

The Story of Henry Isaacs and his Daughter, Hortie by Ric Newman

People of the Lakes: Stories of Our Van Tat Gwich'in Elders/Googwandak Nakhwach'anjoo Van Tat Gwich'in by Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation  and  Shirleen Smith - oral accounts that the Elders have been recording for 50 years translated from Gwich'in.

Klondike: The Last Great Gold Rush, 1896-1899 and The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush by Pierre Berton

Non Fiction books for understanding Canada - included in this list are some titles about Northern matters of interest.

Yukon Genealogists' Blogs

Not specifically genealogists' but nevertheless, I was astounded at the amount of information I uncovered - but I'm sure you will find much more.

Explore is a valiant effort by Murray Lundberg to document, gather photos and content of historical sites in the Yukon. Very impressive!  Contact:  yukonalaska @ 

Explore North - Harriet Pullen, Skagway, Alaska - well known entrepreneurial woman of the North who was passionate about retaining the history of the area.

Family History Research at Yukon Archives ca.2004 - even though this site is old, old, old, it does contain some worthwhile resources. Don't be disheartened by the broken links.

How to Find Your Gold Rush Relative: Sources on the Klondike and Alaska gold rushes, 1896-1914. Compiled by R. Bruce Parham, May 1997 (Updated April 2001)

SOS Disasters - articles about the Gold Rush - particularly the Chilkoot Trail. (Archived content from Library and Archives Canada.)

The Horror of the White Pass Trail - this is an account by Michael Gates, a local historian who hiked the trail in 1973.

An article about the Gold Rush in British Columbia and the Yukon. A collaboration by Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and the University of Western Ontario’s MA Public History Program.     Forgotten Stories about the Klondike Gold Rush     Unique facts about Canada Klondike Gold Rush

The Real Characters of the Klondike   - One of the main inspirations for the content on this website is the story of Micí MacGabhann’s search for gold in the Yukon as described in Rotha Mór an tSaoil (The Great Wheel of Life). MacGabhann’s work was later translated into English and republished under the title The Hard Road to the Klondike. 

Researchers Located in Yukon

Murray Lundberg - is not so much a specialist in genealogy, but he is interested in the history of the region - see

Brief History
According to William Morrison, (True North: the Yukon and Northwest Territories the difference between the Yukon and the NWT - 'might as well have been on different continents'. The Yukon Territories was a part of the economic structure of Canada while the North-West Territories '[...] had hardly been touched at all by the world developments of the nineteenth century, let alone of the early twentieth. The non-native population of that huge region consisted of a handful of fur traders and missionaries.'
    In 1870 Canada acquired  the continental part of the NWT with the transfer of Rupert's Land from the Hudson's Bay Company and in 1880 Britain transferred the islands of the Arctic archipelago to Canada. (Morrison, p.110)
    Morrison also indicates that as of 1900 there were many Inuit in central NWT, and no-one knew the exact population as the government [Ottawa] was not in regular contact with the people. (Morrison, p.105) After the Second World War, the land was measured to be 3.38 ml. km squared or 34% (per cent) of Canada. To compare, the land mass of the Yukon was just under 5% (per cent). During this time, more attention was paid to gathering statistics and recording the number of residents.

For Genealogists

These free websites should be your first stopping ground for Northwest Territories genealogy.
Cangenealogy Northwest Territories is a website created by Dave Obee with links to explore Canadian genealogy.  Library & Archives Canada - Northwest Territories the Government of Canada's British Columbia Genealogy Page. Family Search Northwest Territories is the Family Search wiki.

Northwest Territories E-Resources

NWT Place Names Database 

Online collections at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre include some fabulous photographic collections.

James Jerome : Through a Gwich'in Lens the first photo on the page is of Laura Firth.

Henry Busse professional photographer - online collection

Print Resources

NWT Public Library Services
Jijuu Who are my grandparents? Where are they from? by Gwich'in Enrolment Board. 
(accessed on the NWT Public Library catalogue)      Reviewed by Carmen McCullough, on her family history website researching her ancestor, John Firth who moved to Fort Macpherson, NWT from the Orkney Islands in 1853.

Sharing Our Stories - Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre  - Two titles of interest to family historians: Ełexègots’edo and Nahe Gondıé Goghánídle both published in 2013. Includes discussions of local artifacts and interviews with elders.

True North : the Yukon and Northwest Territories by William R. Morrison - a modern general history of the North. The author acknowledges help from northern archives: the Yukon Territorial Archives in Whitehorse, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife.  Oxford University Press publication.

Northwest Territories Genealogists' Blogs

Access Genealogy List - addresses of First Nations societies and residential offices.

Candice McDonald is not a resident of the Northwest Territories, but has two articles which would prove useful in your research. These were written while visiting Yellowknife and give a feel of being there in person. Exploring Canada: The NWT Legislative Building  and 
Focus on an Archive: Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, NWT

Researchers Located in Northwest Territories
    Difficult to pinpoint, I would suggest sending an email to the archives in the first instance.
If you know of someone to list here, please put a note in the comments. Thank you!

Two Copper Inlet girls dressed in caribou clothing.
Bernard Harbour N.W.T. [Nunavut] 1916
MIKAN 3232522 Library & Archives Canada
Brief History
The Territory of Nunavut was created on 1 April 1999 after negotiations over the redevelopment of  boundaries of the North West Territories. One of Morrison's points is that in 1957 the population of the North was 32,000 people with 5,000 Government employees. (Morrison, p.159)

History of Nunavut  |   History of Iqaluit, formerly Frobisher Bay  - Iqaluit is the captial of Nunavut - this page has a good timeline of the area.  Genealogists will need to be patient as well as creative in their searches.

For Genealogists

These free websites should be your first stopping ground for Nunavut genealogy.
Cangenealogy Nunavut is a website created by Dave Obee with links to explore Canadian genealogy.  Library & Archives Canada - Nunavut the Government of Canada's British Columbia Genealogy Page. Family Search Nunavut is the Family Search wiki.

Government of Nunavut - Archives page

Nunavut E-Resources

The Family Search website has links to the standard e-resources for Nunavut, but specialist and digitized resources are slowly being developed. Many histories of the Inuit people are shared in the oral tradition and the Archives are collecting and recording them, as can been seen on the Archives page.

Library and Archives Canada have been collecting information on identifying the photos of people in the Arctic - please see Project Naming This project is well represented on social media groups - Facebook and Twitter for example.

A unique online photo collection - Nick Newbery Photo Archives

Inhabit Media is a collection of books for children, young adult and adult highlighting Inuit writers and topics.

Print Resources

There were 21 results for genealogy in the Nunavut Public Library System catalogue centred in Iqaluit. Out of the 21, I believe these titles have a family history 'ring' to them.

Swan River : memoir of a family mystery by David Reynolds.

North Pole legacy : black, white and Eskimo by S. Allen Counter. Transcribed---Account of the lives of Anaukaq Henson and Kali Peary. The American-Eskimo sons of Matthew A. Henson and Robert Peary respectively, and their families in the village of Moriussaq, northern Greenland.

A Negro Explorer in the North Pole by Matthew Alexander Henson - the appendix contains a list of Smith Sound Esquimos.   transcription: Matthew A. Henson had been Rear-Admiral Peary's body-servant for twenty-one years and his companion in every Arctic venture since 1891, before he attained the distinction of being with Peary the only man from civilization to reach the Pole. Mr. Henson's little book is a narrative of personal impressions, told for the most part in straightforward style BL

Welcome to Johnny's Place : the Coronation Restaurant in Bowmanville : a Chinese Canadian family business in pictures / by Janice Seto ; all photos courtesy of Johnny Seto and Janice Seto.  (I'm curious as to why this book is in a library in Nunavut!? Was it donated or perhaps a member of the family lives in Iqaluit?) This link gives a review of the book and a little history of the family. 

The juggler's children : a journey into family, legend and the genes that bind us. By Carolyn Abraham.

Nunavut Genealogists' Blogs

Researchers Located in Nunavut - TBD - To Be Determined

This is the last article in the Finding Your Ancestors in Canada Series
but I will continue to monitor resources and add to these pages.
Please stay tuned and stay in touch.   
I hope you find these pages useful to refer back to time and again.

Finding Your Ancestors in Canada Series - BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, 
Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Maritimes

Finding Your Military Ancestors in Canada  |  Finding Your Ancestor in Canadian Directories 

Monday, 8 January 2018

Canadian towns -Genealogy in Maple Ridge & Hammond, B.C.

My genealogy interest in the Lower Mainland (area of Vancouver, B.C.) is multi-faceted. Members of our family were estate gardeners, fruit farmers, longshoremen and yet others were involved in the building of the Second Narrows Bridge.

View across the Fraser River from Port Hammond
From the Image Library- Library and Archives Canada
MIKAN 2878650
It was this last occupation which led me on a journey to find any pictures of the crew who built the Second Narrows Bridge. Unexpectedly, I came across a fabulous photo of the crew of the Hammond Cedar Mill. Hammond is one of the communities in the Maple Ridge area. Maple Ridge is outside the Greater Vancouver area, GVA, but it is a community that has been incorporated since 1874.

I have always known Maple Ridge as Haney, nowadays the city centre is referred to as Haney. But I digress. Below for your genealogy pleasure are some of the sites that I came across during this segway journey into a bit of my family history.

Each of the pictures on the Hammond Cedar Mill page are 'clickable' but they take a very long time to load.
      One of the pictures is of a group of men and the label reads: Accident Free Sep.18 1951 to Sep.18 1952. Not very many names are listed unfortunately.
      Tip: to close the picture hit the Esc key very top extreme left key on your keyboard. That will cancel the loading of the pictures.

This short newsletter from the Maple Ridge Historical Society (a pdf document 2013) has a few historical pictures of events in Maple Ridge - pgs 5 to 6 have a few pictures of the mill.

Fred Braches is a well known historian in this area- his name pops up again and again. This is his contribution to the History of the Hammond Cedar Mill.

Other Maple Ridge Genealogy Resources

Enumeration: Maple Ridge 1917 : An extraordinary 1917 census of the people, horses, cattle, sheeps, hogs. poultry and bees.

ArchiveCenter in Maple Ridge - not to be confused with Maple Ridge Museum and Archives, this is an online archives of documents relating to the business of the City of Maple Ridge. Of interest to a genealogist: Maple Ridge this month - a monthly newsletter for the community and Heritage Newsletters.

The Maple Ridge Museum and Archives has some very useful resources. My favourites are Pioneering Families and the Our Cemeteries, of course! both are under Discover Our Stories.

Haney House Museum - built in 1883 by local pioneer Thomas Haney.  It was occupied by various members of the family until 1979. 

Port Haney is named for Thomas Haney who purchased the land and developed a brickyard which lasted for only a few years. Thomas then moved on to other businesses with his brother in law.

History of Maple Ridge Slideshow - very cool slideshow to explain the history of Maple Ridge, Port Haney, Port Hammond, Webster's Corner, Whonnock, Ruskin and other communities. Slide 44 of 50 provides a list of the communities that mail was delivered to. It rolls through quite quickly, so do let it roll and rewind to catch up on what you missed.

The Maple Ridge Archives are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Flickr. Genealogy à la Carte has a list of Facebook pages for Genealogy here

Fred Braches also wrote - Whonnock and Ruskin Archives and History and contributes to the Whonnock History Blog  -  Whonnock is a community very close to the Maple Ridge boundaries.

Also do check with the public library in Maple Ridge for any local history information that I've overlooked. The only information about digital or online collections I could find via their webpages are access to electronic databases and Ancestry Library Edition. Points to the Past: an access point to many Gale products, 18th Century newspapers, British Newspapers 1600-1900, Times Digital Archives 1785-2008 to name a few. Accessible only by B.C. residents and I assume this means with a B.C. library card.

Other Resources 

M. Diane Rogers is a genealogist in Vancouver, B.C. and has written extensively on genealogy resources for the area as well as British Columbia in general. Diane's list of Lower Mainland Genealogy Resources.

BC Genealogical Society

Friday, 8 December 2017

Finding Your Ancestors in BC and Alberta



Brief History

As early as 1847, British Columbia (B.C.) was 'granted' by the British government to the Hudson's Bay Company for settlement purposes. Some of the aboriginal communities affected by this influx of European settlers are the Haida, Coast Salish, Kwakwaka'wakw and Gitxsan people. In 1871 British Columbia became the sixth province of Canada with the seat of provincial government as Victoria, even though the City of Vancouver was developing as the centre of commerce. This most western province of Canada, B.C. was the last to be explored as it was a difficult terrain to traverse and up until 1885 when the railway was completed, travel was mostly by cart and portage(Compiled from the Canadian Encyclopedia)

In size B.C. is Canada’s third-largest province, it's main industries are forestry, fishing, mining as well as farming. The 'mainland' consists of the City of Vancouver with its suburbs of Burnaby, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam and a number of others. The 'Coast' can be said to include the city of Victoria on Vancouver Island as well as many of the inner islands and communities along the coast. Then there are the 'Interior', the 'Caribou' and the 'Kootenays'. Try the gazeteer to pinpoint your ancestor's town.  A few bits of trivia: Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway is found in Dawson Creek; Ucluelet ("people of the safe harbour" in the Nuu-chah-nulth language) is a beautiful place close to the Pacific Rim National Park. Emily Carr, well-known artist and friend to the indigenous peoples of B.C. is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria - her epitaph is taken from a Longhouse Birdhouse poem; 'Dear Mother Earth'.  

For Genealogists

These free websites should be your first stopping ground for British Columbia genealogy.
Cangenealogy British Columbia is a website created by Dave Obee with links to explore Canadian genealogy.  Library & Archives Canada - British Columbia the Government of Canada's British Columbia Genealogy Page. Family Search British Columbia is the Family Search wiki.

The Victoria Genealogical Society  recently celebrated their 40th anniversary and appear to be very busy. See their Events page for news about workshops. For example - Dec. 2 2017 -a workshop on English Poor Law & Workhouses. There is also a conference in March 2018. 

The B.C. Genealogical Society The BCGS Walter Draycott Library has free access (on-site) to the Family History Library's (Salt Lake, UT) collections. The BCGS is also a member of the British Columbia Historical Federation

The Okanagan Regional District Library  Every Thursday evening the Genealogist in Residence from the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society and a Reference Librarian from the Kelowna Branch will help with your Ancestry questions.

Family History - Cloverdale Library in Surrey, B.C.   They have some pretty awesome Provincial Genealogy Research Guides, free to download. Known as the biggest Library Genealogical Service in Western Canada. Very friendly approachable staff. 

British Columbia E-Resources:

Vancouver Public Library has a Local History Collections page.  Online features include: BC Saturday Sunset 1907-1915; British Columbia City Directories; British Columbia Historical Newspapers; British Columbia Index; Explore This Vancouver; Historical Photographs of B.C. and the Yukon; How to Find Your Vancouver House; This Vancouver.

Major Matthew's Early Vancouver  - Vancouver's first archivist shares history of the city.

City of Vancouver Archives : Search their collections

B.C. Archives Naturalization Index, 1859 Description: Victoria court records which contain Oaths of Allegiance signed in 1859.

1901 BC Census Search - an index of the 1901 census specifically for B.C. - amassed by volunteers

BCGS School Photo Identification Project - photos are published in the society's journal: The British Columbia Genealogist

Kelowna and District Genealogical Society - although many of their resources are in print only, they have done a fabulous amount of work on cemetery listings. These publications not only include photos of gravestones, but interviews with local residents and local history information. For an Index of Names in the Central Okanagan; see their Burials page.

West Kootenay Family Historians Society -this website is from 2014 but it does have some interesting articles about West Kootenay family history research. Includes Castlegar, Trail and Nelson.

Trail History - Links to Resources in the Area

Greg Nesteroff article about Lost Kootenays Facebook page

UK Cdn Genealogy article about the West Kootenays

Archives Association of British Columbia Historical Photographs - amazing list of Online Photograph Databases and Online Photographic Galleries 

Print Resources

Imperial Vancouver Island Who Was Who, 1850-1950  J.F. Bosher

At Home With History : The Untold Secrets of Greater Vancouver's Heritage Homes by Eve Lazarus

Old Winfield Cemetery. Publisher: Kelowna and District Genealogical Society, 2012. I believe this is a transcription.

The search for a family history : how a search was conducted for ancestors in the early Northwest by Miranda Goodrie Willoughby. published 1972 About the Goodrie and Beaudry family. (Vancouver Public Library catalogue)

Genealogy and history of the Norfolk McCall family and associate descendants, 1796-1946 by D.T. McCall. pub.approx. 1946. (Vancouver Public Library catalogue)

Cumberland Cemetery, Cumberland B.C. Courtenay, B.C. : Comox Valley Family History Research Group, c2002 (Vancouver Public Library catalogue)

If your ancestors are from B.C. I would recommend searching the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for a family name. Amazing resource!

Okanagan Regional Libraries Genealogy Research Guide
Newspapers which are available on Microfilm at Okanagan Regional Libraries
Kelowna Daily Courier and predecessors (1904 - current), at the Kelowna Branch
Salmon Arm Observer (1907-2008), at the Salmon Arm Branch
 Canadian Genealogical Resources A Guide To The Material Held At Cloverdale Library

British Columbia Genealogists' Blogs

M Diane Rogers - Jane's Your Aunt  One Place Study-Newdale, Manitoba  One Name Study-SAGGERS

Andrea Eidinger  - Unwritten Histories - not particularly genealogically focused, but lots of great news about the history of B.C.

Eve Lazarus - Even though Eve does not offer genealogy research her history articles are really helpful : Every Place has a Story [esp where Vancouver is concerned]

Researchers Located in British Columbia

Su from Quesnel  I follow Su on Twitter and she is a researcher in the BC Interior

Candice McDonald - Fort St. John - Candice is not new to genealogy research, but is undertaking courses for accreditation and will soon be able to provide professional services

M. Diane Rogers  - Diane is very active in the BC Genealogical Society - Vancouver

Xenia Stanford - I met Xenia when we were members of the Alberta Family History Society. Her genealogical knowledge is astounding

GEN-FIND Research Associates, Inc. - included in this list because their address is Nanaimo, B.C. They have 'certified and accredited genealogists' to provide hourly and daily research for family history clients.

Brief History

Some information about the history of Alberta taken from - For hundreds of centuries, the area in western Canada now known as Alberta was inhabited by numerous First Nations peoples. They include: Blackfoot, Cree; Chipewyan, Dene; Sarcee; and Stoney. The Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Company, competitors for control in the west, opened the area by building forts or trading posts along the three largest rivers, the Athabasca, North Saskatchewan and the Peace Rivers. Eventually named the North West Territories, the area formed with the Dominion of Canada in 1870. 

After this process the area began to be inhabited by ranchers, some of whom immigrated from the United States. This influx of settlers harmed the First Nations very seriously first by disease then by decimating the thousands of buffalo which were their livelihood. Soon after, the North West Mounted Police (the N.W.M.P.) arrived to manage the ongoing relationships between the residents of this vast area. (Later renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.) The province was formerly introduced as the province of Alberta in 1905.

Alberta is well known for mining, oil production and farming or agricultural industry. There are many forests in the northern portion of the province and a good number of communities are situated along the border with the United States. Banff and Jasper are in Alberta, as are most of the Rocky Mountain ranges. Dinosaur remains are abundantly found in the Drumheller to Red Deer area also known as the Badlands. The Royal Tyrrell Museum is a well known repository of original dinosaur fossils of many types. Capital City: Edmonton. 

For Genealogists

These free websites should be your first stopping ground for Alberta genealogy.
Cangenealogy Alberta is a website created by Dave Obee with links to explore Canadian genealogy.  Library & Archives Canada - Alberta is the Government of Canada's Genealogy page.  Family Search Alberta is the Family Search wiki.

Search Your Ancestors at the Provincial Archives of Alberta

Cyndis List - loads of links for Alberta genealogy

Alberta Family History Society - resources available: Calgary Heritage; National Society Daughters of the American Revolution; Historical Society of Alberta; Calgary Branch United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada.
     I thought this was an interesting service offered by the AFHS: 'An overhead scanner and a scanner that can scan slides and negatives are also available at the library for member use. Contact to set up an appointment.'

Alberta Genealogical Society
Branches of the AGS: The Grande Prairie Branch are a very pro-active group of genealogists. They have a large collection of resources for Central and Northern Alberta resources.  The Lethbridge Branch is very helpful and knowledgeable about Southern Alberta genealogy resources. New website for Fort McMurray branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society

Genealogy at Edmonton Public Library

Banff Centre - Library and Archives - Digitized Photo Collection

The Heritage Triangle - resources available in Calgary - a partnership between The City of Calgary Archives, The Glenbow Library & Archives and The Calgary Public Library

Alberta E-Resources

Our Future Our Past  - Local History Books, Art, Calgary Stampede, Kainai Plants & Culture amongst many topics.    Candice Macdonald reviews Our Future Our Past quite thoroughly.

Alberta Family History Society - WWI Returned Soldier database from the Calgary Herald. Nov 1918 – Jun 1919, over 13,000 records

Edmonton Public Library - Search Edmonton Obituaries  Years covered - 1950 -1982

Edmonton Public Library - interviews conducted by EPL staff with old-timers and residents of Edmonton - EPL Canada150: Edmonton Stories -  includes: From Ukraine to Canada; Rutherford Seniors compilation and Gray's B&B. These are short videos/interviews posted on Vimeo.
Well done EPL!

Glenbow Archives, Calgary Alberta holds fabulous resources on Alberta history and genealogy, but especially on Metis genealogy, my personal favourite -the Charles Denney collection (41.3 m of textual records; approx. 3,800 photographs; 61 microfilm reels). This is a collection I have used numerous times to research my Red River ancestors - also particularly rich in Metis records.

University of Calgary Archives       Library - University of Calgary

Print Resources

Alberta Local History Books! The best genealogy resource ever! An alphabetical list/index can be found on this Lethbridge Genealogy Society page. The digitized books are found on the Our Future Our Past website. Print copies often found in libraries, especially copies written about the area. See Candice's article about Our Future Our Past under Alberta E-Resources on this page.

Alberta (formerly the Northwest Territories) : Index to registration of births, marriages & deaths 1870-1905, vol. 1 : Author Alberta Genealogical Society, Edmonton Branch. Published Edmonton, AB (Canada) 1985.

Peel's Bibliography of the Canadian Prairie to 1953 -

Pioneer Albertans 1912 : an index to the biographies of over 500 pioneer Albertans with cross references to 950 spouses & mothers. Compiled from "History of Alberta" by Archibald Oswald MacRae, Ph.D Published Nanaimo British Columbia : Nanaimo FHS, 1988

Town Life: Main Street and the Evolution of Small Town Alberta, 1880-1947 By Donald Grant Wetherell, Irene Kmet

Alberta Genealogists' Blogs

Wayne Shepheard - his blog - Discover Genealogy

Sir Leprechaun Rabbit His blog of the same name  - particularly about cemeteries and gravestones - contains an interesting article about the Innisfail Cemetery in Alberta @leprchaunrabbit  This is his genealogy blog  Your Roots Are Showing Dearie

Researchers Located in Alberta

Wendy M. Anctil  Who's Your Grandaddy  Contact Wendy

Shannon Cherkowski - Alberta Genealogy Research   alberta.research2@gmail. com
An article about the service Shannon offers to genealogists.

Patricia Greber   My Genealogy Life   @treesrch

Lyn Meehan - has a genealogy research business, but I also met her at the Edmonton Public Library

Colleen Murray Alberta Researcher  - -  'Everyone has a story'- - Edmonton genealogist unearths hidden histories - 'If you just dig deep enough, you'll find something'

Hello! I hope you have been making use of the various resources in these articles. The last in this series will be a review of Canada's North, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut. If you have any comments or would like to see a vital resource added to this page, please do let me know. 

I have enjoyed compiling these pages and it has been interesting to try to ferret out information from a variety of sources. Not especially easy as quite a bit of the information is buried a little deeper in webpages on library and society websites. 

Many thanks for your endurance - getting to the bottom of this page!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Margaret Elizabeth Wilcox- are you related?

© Penny Allen

Transcription: Margaret Elizabeth Wilcox late of Albany United States 
grand daughter of the late Mr. Richard Wilcox - Market Gardener of Fulham
who died of consumption whilst on a visit to this country April 9th 1859 aged 24 years 
Beloved and deeply mourned by her sincere friends this tablet is erected in affectionate remembrance

On a recent break in central London, I was wandering around one of my favourite areas, Earl's Court, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. I came across Brompton Cemetery, by chance, not by plan.

According to the Royal Parks website, it is one of London's Magnificent Seven and is inhabited by many famous people, including Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and cricket champion John Wisden. Beatrix Potter was apparently so inspired by the names from the tombstones that she used them in her books.  The burial records are provided by Deceased Online.

I was intrigued by this woman's grave. She is from the United States, her grandfather was deceased, and when she died she was a visitor to the city. Why did she come to London and when did she arrive? Was her grandfather still living when she came to visit? What were her plans while visiting in London? Who were the 'sincere friends' - obviously they had a bit of money between them to put a gravestone on her grave. 

Using her birth date as approximately 1834, I searched the New York Census. Ancestry shows a possible match in the 1850 United States Federal Census. Name: Margaret Wilcox Age 18 born about 1832 in New York Home in 1850: Albany Ward 4, Albany, New York, USA. Gender: Female. Family Number: 196 with a Rebecca Wilcox aged 50 born in England, Frances Wilcox aged 22 born in New York and Margaret Wilcox born in New York.

At first I was misled by the transcription on the gravestone. I thought I read daughter of Richard. So off I went on a search for a Richard Wilcox as her father.

In the 1851 England Census on Ancestry, I found Richd Wilcox age 43 est birth year about 1808, relation Visitor, Gender Male, where born Fulham Middlesex England, Civil Parish: St. George Hanover Square, Registration District: St George Hanover Square, Sub Registration District: Belgrave - in a household with: Willm White aged 31 Head occupation Teacher of Music; Elizabeth White aged 64 Mother occupation Housekeeper; Charles White aged 33 Brother occupation Manufacturer in 'Line'?; Richd Wilcox 43 shows occupation as Landholder. Address 25 Upr Belgrave Place.

Once I realized my error, I tried looking for an obituary, from which gives a little more detail, a place of residence, her father's name is possibly George.

Times Newspaper Archive database
The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Apr 12, 1859; pg. 1; Issue 23278.

In the Ancestry database: UK, City and County Directories, 1766 – 1946 -Richard Wilcox is shown in 1826 in Parson’s Green as carpenter.

Also on Ancestry's passenger lists:

Curiously, there is a passenger list record for an M. Wilcox shown as born 1832, aged 26, female and American leaving Aspinwall, Panama to New York in 1858 on the vessel Star of the West. Could this be the same Margaret? She does seem like an adventurous soul.

I'm not sure if I may ever find out the details behind Margaret's demise, as this research exercise was to somewhat satisfy my curiosity about a woman who travelled at 24 or 26 years of age. After all in the culture of the day, this was a spinster who appeared to be very independent. 

It would be a good line of research to next order her death certificate which may note an 'informant' and a few more details, ie: her parents' names. I did a quick search on the UK census for Richard with his son George, but no results were found. Perhaps the 'Friends of Brompton Cemetery' have more details around the burial and purchase of a headstone by Margaret's friends.

I hope that through my feeble efforts, Margaret may soon find her family.

Another of my articles about Kensall Green Cemetery, one of the 'Magnificent Seven' is A London cemetery: BLUMBERG, O'BRIEN and PERRY Families. I highlighted the work being undertaken by the heritage conservation team on some of the mausoleums. The organization is asking for help from relatives and there is a possible Canadian connection to Vancouver, B.C.

UK to Canada Genealogy Index Page

Friday, 10 November 2017

Orpington UK, WW1 Cemetery, Canadian Corner

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission site notes that there
 are 88 First World War Canadian soldiers buried in All Saints Orpington. 
All Saints Orpington, Kent
© Penny Allen
The soldier's names were very easily found on the CWGC website. 458 records exist for Australia, Indian, New Zealand, Non Commonwealth, South African, United Kingdom.

Here are some of the names of the 88 Canadian soldiers buried in All Saints Orpington. Canadian Corner.
         Under each soldier's name I have provided a link to a photo on the Find A Grave website and his service record on the Library and Archive Canada's WW1 database is hyperlinked on his service number.
         A couple of intriguing records - Harold Fergusson GRAY used an alias, Angus HOWARD. Michel NEPIN's attestation page is noted as "Indian Draft" and he states his occupation as "hunting".

Library and Archives Canada: please note: John BEAUCHENE's record on the LAC website is out by one digit. His regimental number is listed on the website as 183901 and on the scan of the document it is noted as 183981.

UPDATE: Thanks to the librarians at Bromley Library & Archives who pointed out that John Pateman has written a fabulous account of Canadian Corner. It is very detailed, gives a history of the Hospital where some of these men died and what they died of, as well as names of nursing sisters. A must for your World War Library! Canadian Corner by John Pateman 9781291024463 Mr. Pateman has written similar books about Orpington and area during the First World War.

At the end of this article is a 'come by chance' reference to a Frances (DOUGHTY) COX / BATEMAN whose first husband Ernest COX emigrated to Canada, but returned in order to marry her. He did not return to Canada.

BEAUCHENE, John  183981  Machine Gun Corps
dob:  8 Nov 1897      d. 20 Nov 1918
Find A Grave:

COTE, N. Private 33342
dob:   10 July 1891  Smith Falls, Quebec   d. 08 June 1916
Find A Grave:

DUFFY, DeWitt Talmage 1030705
dob: 27 Nov 1876   d. 9 Oct 1918
All Saints Orpington, Kent
© Penny Allen
Find A Grave:
Son of Mrs. S. C. Duffy, of Sunny Brae, New Brunswick.

GALLAGHER, John Henry 300319 Gunner
dob: 03 Apr 1892 or 1893   d. 06 Oct 1917
Find A Grave:
Son of Mrs. Patrick Gallagher, Trenton, Ontario

GRAY, Harold Fergusson  773108 
dob: 08 Aug 1888   d. 15 Mar 1919
Find A Grave:
     Notes from the Find A Grave site:
"Canadian Forestry Corps who died age 28 on 15 March 1919
Son of Jean W. Case (formerly GRAY), of 440, Riverside Drive, New York City, and the late John B. Gray. Harold Ferguson Gray, using the alias 'Angus Howard', enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 9 June 1916 in Paris, Ontario, Canada. Residing in Paris, he stated that he was a farm labourer by trade and that he was born on 8 August 1888 in Ingersoll, Ontario."

LeBLANC, W. 121136, 22nd Bn., Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment)
dob:  03 Aug 1894   d. 10 Sep 1918
Find A Grave:
Son of Arcade LeBlanc, of 964 Dorchester West, Montreal.

MACGILLIVARY, John Angus (a picture of John MacGillivary is provided)  488356, 87th Bn., Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment)
dob: 08 Jul 1895     d. age 23,  17 Dec 1918
Son of Ronald and Catherine MacGillivary, of Rear Doctor's Brook, Antigonish Co., Nova Scotia.Find A Grave:

NEPIN, Michel  Private 2497982 Canadian Forestry Corps "Indian Draft"
dob: June 1897     d. 25 Dec 1917
Find A Grave:
Son of Sophia Nepin. Attawapiskat, James Bay, Ontario. Occupation : Hunting.

RIVERS, Lawrence Louis (a picture of Lawrence Rivers is provided)  177812, 23rd (Reserve) Bn., Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment)
dob: 30 Oct 1895   d. age 23, 19 Jun 1918
Son of Hannah Rivers, of Massey, Ontario, and the late James Rivers.
Find A Grave:

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Britains Unmarked Canadian War Graves

Canadian soldiers who fought in the First and Second World War are buried across England in unknown graves. Many of these men and women were born in Britain and signed up with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, linking them to both the UK and Canada.

Orpington Cemetery UK - 'Canadian Corner'
© Penny Allen
The search for them is being carried out by a number of people and organizations, but here are two to tell you about.

Diana Beaupre and her partner Adrian Watkinson have a few stories of helping families discover where their loved ones are. It began when Diana discovered that her unknown father was a Canadian soldier in the Second World War. Although at first she did not know the details, Diana was able to gather information from pictures her mother had secreted away and through DNA testing confirmed a link to relatives in Quebec. After the hunt for her father's family, the next plan was to try to find where he was buried. This journey took her along a road of remembrance for many other Canadian soldiers buried in the UK.

Since that beginning, Diana and her partner Adrian Watkinson have spent almost 10 years searching for Canadian men and women who served in the First World War and are resting in the UK. Their website reaches out to the public and here they provide the data that they have gathered with anyone who gets in touch. The website also provides an index to names of the soldiers. There are almost 4,000 burials and they hope to complete this project in time for the centenary in 2018.

These articles picked up by the Canadian media provide more information about their efforts.   Global News - July 22, 2016 - British couple takes on personal mission to identify unmarked war graves   and  National Post - Apr. 5, 2017 - The grave hunters

Orpington Cemetery - 'Canadian Corner'
© Penny Allen
Much more information is available on their website, Far From Home. They also have a Facebook page Canadians Far From Home and are on twitter as Canada War Graves.

There are many 'helpers' who, like Diana and Adrian, are looking for these soldiers. They volunteer on a project called 'In From the Cold' founded by Terry Denham and John Hartley. Their statement: 'Ensuring that the sacrifice of British and Commonwealth servicemen in two world wars is not forgotten.'  Much more information is available on their pages as well as links to other websites where similar projects are underway.

Both of these groups partner with the CWGC Commonwealth War Graves Commission and have been able to obtain commemoration for these brave soldiers, whether they died from wounds, disease or loneliness.

Finally, thanks to the efforts of these hearty volunteers, these Canadian soldiers resting places will be identified and recognized by the countries for whom they served.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Find Canadian Genealogy Articles

Although journal articles may be considered as only for use by academics to support their research, they are also a fabulous resource for genealogists.This exercise will look at how genealogy societies provide access to their well researched articles.

Further in this article is a brief look at two commercial providers of journal articles that are reaching out to the genealogical community providing research at a specialist level. These articles will provide context to the community that your family was a part of and give an understanding of the history of the places where they lived.

Of interest to the genealogist are online resources via your local library such as Academic Search Elite, JSTOR, Newspaper Source Plus, and my favourite, PressReader, formerly PressDisplay. More information below.

Family History Society Indexes

Many family history societies in Canada provide an index to their complete journal issues on their website. Although the indexes are available, the digitized copies of their journals are usually provided via membership requiring you to sign in to access the articles. This is a hidden resource of rich genealogical research as many articles are by family historians writing a detailed account of their research into their family! Can you find that on Ancestry?

OGS publication Families

Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia - their journal - The Nova Scotia Genealogist provide access to electronic editions via Find My Past. Members have access to years 1972-1982. They also provide free access to articles of historical interest, including: Vital Statistics (BMDs) from Kings County newspapers 1866-1899 and those killed in the Halifax explosion on Dec.6 1917.

Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador provides access to the Table of Contents of their journal the Newfoundland Ancestor.

The Ontario Genealogical Society's journal - Families Index 1962-2007  - this is a 306 page PDF, which would be best used as a reference tool. Use Ctrl+F (find) to find articles of the subject you are interested in.  Don't forget that the The Ontario Name Index - TONI - provided by the Ontario Genealogical Society - is a fabulous resource.

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) has made available on its website more than 20 years of its journal, Anglo-Celtic Roots. Journal issues published within the last 12 months are accessed only if you have a membership. Some of the articles: 'The Aftermath of the Christmas Blitz (Story of the Morton family) and 'We Shall Remember Them' (Sapper William Victor Demery).'

The Manitoba Genealogical Society provides access to it's journal Generations to members. They are indexed in the 'MANI' database. They also provide a sample copy of a very early copy of Generations on this page. Volume 5, Number 1  An extra resource:  Manitoba Name Index

The Saskatchewan Genealogical Society - Saskatchewan Genealogical Society Index to the Bulletin 1970-2013

The Alberta Genealogical Society's publication, Relatively Speaking,  is also indexed by title on their website.

The BC Genealogical Society's journal - British Columbia Genealogist - indexes are available online.

Of course, there are many, many other journals available via : 

PERSI - Periodical Source Index - If you don't know about PERSI, it is an online index which provides access to thousands of articles in Canadian Family History Journals. It is available now through Find My Past. An article about PERSI via Encyclopedia of Genealogy

This index is manually created by the staff at Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne, Indiana.The Genealogy department at ACPL is a large, well-respected team of librarians some of whom are also genealogists. In the early days, you definitely needed to know exactly which article you wanted to find, whereas today, there is a straight forward search box on Find My Past.

Chinook journal of the
Alberta Family History Society
An explanation from the Find My Past page: "The Periodical Source Index is compiled quarterly by the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and will be simultaneously updated on Find My Past. Along with these updates, Find My Past is also working to provide access to the same articles indexed in PERSI through our site. Images from PERSI-indexed articles are regularly added every month."

Commercial Offers

JSTOR and Gale Cengage, two of the largest electronic subscription companies provide access to a unique product for genealogy researchers. Their target market are particularly university libraries and specialist archives, such as Library and Archives Canada, and the subscription is comparable to the other costly online reference resources such as the Oxford Reference suite or Academic Search Elite. Of course, this is an economic move for the vendors, but it can be a boon for the genealogist, and they must be accessed onsite at a library in your area. Later in this article is a brief investigation into some of the major public libraries in Canada.

Geneanet for Premium Members only. Geneanet explains it's goals as 'helping family history researchers to share their data'. A Map For The Genealogy Society Indexes - the members of Geneanet share information about 400 million individuals. They also offer access in several different languages. Their 'About Us' page has much more information. Although they state they hold genealogy society indexes, it seems from the TandCs that the headquarters is in Paris, France.

JSTOR- offers the database JSTOR for Genealogists. JSTOR Pass is a pay-as-you-go subscription option. An online magazine, JSTOR Daily, highlights articles in an eight-part series: The Genealogy Factor column written by respected genealogist D. Joshua Taylor.  Introduction to the use of JSTOR by Alicia Williams, one of the staff of the NEHGS on their blog, Vita Brevis.

John Reid, a well known Ottawa genealogist, has provided a number of thought provoking articles about the benefits of JSTOR for genealogy in Canada, including discussion around LAC's offer of electronic resources.

GALE CengageGale Genealogy Connect
Listed below are a few results from my investigations into the online resources offered by larger public libraries across Canada.
It would be interesting to hear from family history societies, libraries or archives if they currently provide either of these databases for their genealogy users.
  • NEHGS - New England Historic Genealogical Society provides a discount to JSTOR to members
  • Ontario Genealogical Society offers JSTOR Pass to it's members.
  • Toronto Public Library provide access to JSTOR and Gale Cengage, but I didn't find Gale Genealogy Connect or JSTOR Pass. TPLs link Articles & Online Research
  • Ottawa Public Library requires a sign in to get access to their A-Z list of online resources. 
  • Vancouver Public Library provides access to 4 Gale products but not JSTOR. 
  • Winnipeg Public Library has EbscoHost but not GaleCengage or JSTOR.
  • Interestingly, Edmonton Public Library has Heritage Quest Online and a few Gale products but not JSTOR.
  • It was not apparent if access to Gale products includes access to Gale Genealogy Connect.
  • If you live in a rural area, you don't need to make an arduous trip into the city, as your local library will have access to various online resources via the larger library 'consortium', ie: Chinook Arch Library System (Alberta) or Regional Library District. Most of these resources you can access from home with your membership details. Ask your librarian for help.

Other Online Resources
Of course, don't overlook the electronic resources that your local library or archive provides, such as: Academic Search Elite, Gale Primary Resources, MasterFILE Premier and Newspaper Source Plus, Southern Alberta Newspaper Collection and Explora Canada (as found on Marigold and Chinook Arch Library Systems in Alberta). 

One of my favourites is Pressreader (access with your library membership) which provides access to the entire issues of current newspapers (including international newspapers) online. Available in select libraries. Great for looking up long lost cousins! 

These electronic resources are normally available with your membership number and can be accessed from home. However, you must access these resources via the library's webpage. Some libraries also provide links to free online resources such as Dictionary of Canadian Biography. As well, specialty local information that has been digitized is provided online by libraries, particularly larger city libraries or university libraries. Ask your librarian for help.

Be Proactive!

If we as genealogists want access to these types of resources we must make sure that we describe our needs to our local librarians and emphasize that this online information is valuable to our research. Their decision to subscribe to these resources is a result of consultations, budget and critical analysis. Often they are not aware that these types of resources are of value to the genealogist, so we must be vocal and present a strong case! Consider it a valuable exercise for the common genealogical good!