Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Signature Quilts - a Canadian Family History record

 Especially cool!  Imagine seeing your ancestor's name along with many of
their friends and neighbours on a bed throw or quilt. 

My daughter's first quilting attempt
This intriguing story about a PEI Signature Quilt discovered in Reading, Wiltshire, UK appeared in my social media feed. Even though I don't have any ancestors in PEI that I know of, I was given a very special quilt that my grandmother made, so I just had to investigate this genealogical story.

Mark Golden, of Reading, U.K., reported (CBC article) that his mom bought the PEI quilt in the 1960s from a charity shop. ​ Some of the names on the quilt: Lois MacINNIS St. Lawrence, P.E.I.; Robert MacINNIS St. Lawrence, P.E.I.; Sandra MacINNIS St. Lawrence, P.E.I.; Loretta VAIL, Ch'town, P.E.I.; Bill RIX, Ch'town, (Charlottetown) P.E.I.

Linda Berko, the curator of collections and conservator at the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation explained the purpose of signature quilts. Names were embroidered into squares, later sewn into a quilt and were auctioned off to raise money for a special cause, often a church event.

There were lots of results on the internet when I used these terms: Autograph Quilts; Signature Quilts; Friendship Quilts. When doing this kind of research, remember to concentrate your research on women as they most likely organized and stitched these events!

This post provides links to other sites about signature quilts, Canadian, U.S. and United Kingdom.

Freetown United Church - P.E.I. - displayed a signature quilt on one Sunday in November 2017. It is owned by the DEWAR family and was created in 1928 to raise funds for a mission group within the church.

Uxbridge Historical Centre - Ontario -this leads to an events page

Mary Grahams Redwork Signature Quilt - Ontario - Mary Grahams was a Nursing Sister who served in the First World War. The Elmvale Womens Institute sent her this quilt.

Elgin County Museum Signature Quilts Ontario - quilts from all time periods, various areas in Elgin County :  Dutton Methodist Church Quilt, 1890 ; Minnie Williams Quilt, 1917; St. Thomas Central United Church Quilt, 1919; St. Thomas First United Church Quilt, 1925-30; Frome United Church Quilt, 1969.

Rural Women Studies Friendship Quilt - the Braemar Women’s Institute Autograph Quilt and the Wolverton Red Cross Quilt - Ontario 
Women's Institute Quilt - Ontario - Women's Institute of Niagara created in support of the First World War. It was completed in 1917 and raised $150 for the Red Cross. From the website: "Cotton squares measuring 8 by 8 inches were sold for $16, and a maximum of 16 people signed their names on each one. Members of the Women’s Institute then sewed over the signatures in red thread. There are 80 squares on the quilt with 69 signatures.

University of Alberta Home Economics department are creating a Signature Quilt to celebrate 100 years 1918-2018. Sign your square and donate before May 10, 2018 in order to make it ready for the event in September 2018.

Edmonton & District Historical Society - Threads of Life - the 1917 Waskatenau Signature Quilt - only an announcement about a meeting in 2015 - but would be nice to hear the story! 

United States
America's Quilting History   - a page about quilting with a history of Friendship Quilting

Flexner Family Names on a Signature Quilt - Iowa - a genealogical story

Master Builder of Quilted Trees - a quilter and a genealogist - perfect combination!

Quilt Index

Welsh Heritage Project  -  a quilt with hundreds of names! (society: Welsh pioneers on the prairies of the U.S.)

Josephine's Journal - Friendship Quilt - literally hundreds more names! Josephine's Journal has an interesting story which you will find on the main page. It is a newspaper column from the Overton County News in Livingston, Tennessee. What is even more amazing is that each article is reproduced on these pages without credit to the author and without dates! However, a fabulous snapshot into the stories of people who live in this community.

United Kingdom
York Press article about the York Museum signature quilts - "Exhibition highlights include the 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet which is the oldest signed and dated patchwork in Britain."

Quilt Museum, York - made in 2013 ; made as a fundraiser for the Quilt Museum, during their exhibition 'It's all in the Making'. A current piece of family history!

A Pinterest Quilting page
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

The Hidden Half of the Family: A Sourcebook for Women's Genealogy by Christina K. Schaefer. pub. 1999 Genealogical Pub. Co. - a resource for researching Women's Genealogy

Remember Me: Women and Their Friendship Quilts - a book written by Linda Otto Lipsett.

My grandmother made a special quilt, now very fragile, with hand stitched squares made from pieces of clothing worn by members of the family. Unfortunately I don't know if this was made specifically as a memento or as a bed cover but it's still a family treasure.

Is there a signature quilt in your family?

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Finding Your Ancestors in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Finding Your Ancestors Series - Genealogy resources to each province in Canada

Long before I became infatuated with genealogy, our family made the trek from B.C. to Newfoundland, where we visited numerous sites including Cabot Tower in the capital, St. John's. It is a beautiful part of the country with very rocky shores and gorgeous stands of trees. Standing in that very famous cove, one could imagine the early settlers arriving and tenaciously carving out their future.

I don't profess to being an expert in each Canadian province, but I have tried to find researchers who live in the local area or write articles about Newfoundland and Labrador. Please do explore and settle in for a good read, 'cos there's a lot of detail!

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland is a beautiful piece of Canada.  Fondly called 'The Rock', it's geographic makeup is predominately rock and more rock with trees.  Also, Labrador is a separate land mass to Newfoundland, but the two are recognized as 'one' province.
© credit: DHurt
Distance between St. John's and Toronto by air 1311 miles, 2109 km.
3087 km. by car - may also include a ferry ride 😊

Brief History
Originally a self-governing dominion, Newfoundland was incorporated as a province of Canada in March 1949. St. John's is the capital city, not to be confused with St. John in the province of New Brunswick. A comprehensive history of Newfoundland.  Many families emigrated from Poole, Dorset to Newfoundland in the 1700s and 1800s and it all has to do with cod. Please see the end of this page for the links to the articles I wrote about my visit to Poole, U.K.

Abandoned Battle Island Newfoundland - Abandoned Battle Island Newfoundland. Preserved as a National Historic Site. Declined with cod fishery & a fire in the 1930s.  History of Battle Harbour

For Genealogists
These free websites should be your first stopping ground for Newfoundland and Labrador genealogy. 
Cangenealogy Newfoundland is a website created by Dave Obee with genealogy links to explore.
Library & Archives Canada - Newfoundland is the Government of Canada's Genealogy page for Newfoundland and Labrador.  
Family Search Newfoundland and Labrador is the Family Search wiki. 
Olive Tree Genealogy Newfoundland page (TIP: Ctrl and + keys for larger text.)  

Next stop - the Libraries in Newfoundland and Labrador  ;  Links to Genealogy on the Memorial University Library page. 

Bay St. George Genealogy Society St. George's Bay, Baie St-George on the west coast of Newfoundland, one of the largest bays in Newfoundland

Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador and the active Families & Surnames Forum 

Newfoundland Public Library Genealogy Guide and Awesome! Newfoundland Public Library Postcard collection of scenes around Newfoundland, 19th and early 20th century. They are arranged thematically or an index is available onsite in the library. Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association - search for libraries in the province.

Maritime History Archive, in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Memorial University in St. John's. This archive holds many unique records, especially maritime related: Crew Lists for UK registered ships; the term 'fisheries' found 793 records in their Photo Collection; Resettlement Photo Collection.  Finding Your Canadian Story article : Newfoundland and Labrador Ancestors: The Maritime History Archive Part 1

Newfoundland Grand Banks - Genealogical and historical data for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.    This is Finding Your Canadian Story's article Newfoundland Ancestors: Newfoundland's Grand Banks

Newfoundland and Labrador in the Great War  - provided by the Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador and Memorial University

The Rooms : Archives, Art and Museum - there is a genealogy section on their website under Collections and Research. The collections cover Sport, Died in Service, Still Images, Government Archives, Manuscripts, Cartographic, Architectural Archives and Museum Notes.  

Newfoundland and Labrador E-Resources:

A database of surnames from Newfoundland Newspapers - described on the Maritime History Archive website: 'The surnames in these pages are taken from the Births, Deaths and Marriages in Newfoundland Newspapers, 1810 - 1890 CD which contains more than 40,000 entries for births, deaths and marriages transcribed from 43 Newfoundland newspapers published between 1810 and 1890.'

Newfoundland War Brides created by Jackie Sheppard Alcock - truly a labour of love! Over 600 war brides are listed on these pages.

Old Gander Genealogical Project - Robert Pelley, originally from Gander, Newfoundland, now lives in Quebec, invites former residents to get in touch to share stories.

David Pike Family History -  PIKE family from: Bonavista Bay, Trinity Bay, Conception Bay as well as Somerset and Devon, UK. I have to say I haven't seen a website built purely for family history purposes and so chock full of stuff in a long time! Very basic design and reminds me of early websites built purely on html. Really could be registered as a GOONS effort! It is updated regularly. Well done David!

Stone Pics - the aim of this group is to photograph and index page every cemetery, headstone, and monument in Newfoundland. Last updated 2012

Stone Pics Czech Republic - the main Stone Pics group are also keen to photograph and index cemeteries in the Czech Republic. Last updated 2014

A connection between Poole, Dorset and Newfoundland. 

Print Resources (to get you started)
Library & Archives Canada Catalogue

- Family names of the island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary
- Officers and men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment 1795-1802 & Royal Newfoundland Regiment of Fencible Infantry, 1803-1816 by Rodney T. Lee
- A long way from Tipperary : a Halley family history, 1600-2000 by Irene Collins
- Finding your ancestors in Newfoundland & Labrador by Bill Crant (Heritage Productions)

Newfoundland and Labrador Genealogists' Blogs

Search for Newfoundland family names on Rootsweb

Noel or Newell family connections in the UK.  - Check the Links page for research about Newfoundland as well as DNA research in Newfoundland.

This blog is particularly about: Buttery, Kettle, Lomond, Nebucett and Scott family names

Heather Matthews Island Genealogy - located in Paradise, Newfoundland  Facebook Island Genealogy

Researchers Located in Newfoundland and Labrador

My research on various pages did not result in specific people researching in Newfoundland or offering only research in Newfoundland or based in Newfoundland. I would suggest checking out the Nfld-Labrador mailing list on Rootsweb and / or contacting the Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador as a starting point. 

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Six Chinese Men who survived Titanic

Lloyd's registers are online

photo taken by PAllen
There's a great story circulating in genealogy circles which will be highlighted in a documentary later this year. Arthur Jones is a British filmmaker and was intrigued by the story of eight Chinese passengers on the R.M.S. Titanic. In 2012 he began pursuing the history of how these men happened to be on this vessel, how they survived and what happened to them after they arrived in New York.

A little known fact is that of the eight Chinese men who were passengers (or seamen depending on the account) on the Titanic, six survived. Their names were Lee Bing, Fang Lang, Chang Chip, Ah Lam, Chung Foo and Ling Hee. Sadly two men from their group who died are believed to be Lee Ling and Len Lam.

The story of trying to find these men proved difficult, and as genealogists know, names were wrongly transcribed on passenger lists and were often written down as they were heard. As well, when these men arrived in New York they were deported within 24 hours because of the 'Chinese Exclusion Act' and virtually disappeared.

Mr. Jones says in the documentary that the Titanic is the beginning of the story and at one point in the video clip a lady mentions the 'Paper Sons' and that "people carried to their grave the secret of their true identity". Now that makes the genealogy research just a little bit more challenging! The video clip about the documentary is viewable on either of the following articles.

There is more information about the story on the Next Shark website -


Mr. Jones also launched a very simple website-  Who Are The Six -to reach out to the social media community to help track down the descendants of The Six.

There is an account on Encyclopedia Titanica which provides a transcript from the inquiry where some of the survivors recount finding Chinese men, or mistaken as Filipinos. 

Join their Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/thesixdocumentary/   and Megan Smolenyak made a comment on Twitter: "I need to see the genealogy done for this."

Please also see: Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC

I hope there will be details in how they traced the families as that would be fascinating, what a fabulous piece of work and effort to connect these men's names to the history of the Titanic story.

Unfortunately for me, the film will probably be televised in the U.S.
Let me know what you think of it!

A postscript: My article about Canadians on the Titanic

UKCdnGenealogy Index Page

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Finding Your Ancestors in Quebec

The Finding Your Ancestors Series - resources to each province in Canada

I don't profess to being an expert in each Canadian province, but I have tried to find researchers who live in the local area.  Please do explore and settle in for a good read, 'cos there's a lot of detail!

In my teens our family did visit both Quebec and Newfoundland briefly. We visited the Quebec Parliament where I attempted to interpret the debates using my high school French. The Plains of Abraham and La Citadelle were fascinating, as well as Chateau Frontenac. 

Chateau Frontenac
Credit: CCO public domain https://pixabay.com/en/frontenac

Although most official records for Quebec are in French, you will find English is well represented. To give a perspective of space for our European genealogy colleagues: the distance between Montreal and Toronto is 542 km or 336 miles. The province is predominantly French speaking. 

Message to new genealogists researching their Quebec ancestors: although the ship manifest may state Montreal or Quebec as a destination, your ancestor may have settled there initially but moved into Ontario or points westward. As well, it is worthwhile to use the term 'French-Canadian' in your online research arsenal.

Brief History
The first recorded explorer in Quebec is Jacques Cartier. After his arrival in 1535 he visited an Iroquoian villiage called Hochelaga. This is now the site of  the city of Montreal. Another explorer, Samuel de Champlain was instrumental in the founding of 'New France' which was later known as Lower Canada. This entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia provides quite a lot of history and overall facts about the province.

Mothers of New France (Quebec) :  Filles du Roi - women sent to the New World in 1663 by King Louis XIV of France to ensure that the population increased and to secure his claim to the new land. Canadian Museum of History Fille du Roi. Millions of descendants in Canada, the U.S. and worldwide can claim their lineage from these 770 women!

For Genealogists
This page from the PRDH Programme de recherche en dĂ©mographie historique (PRDH, Research Programme in Historical Demography) at the UniversitĂ© de MontrĂ©al  gives a background on the emigration of people from France and outlines family names of first settlers - in the province. The PRDH does have a searchable database - requires registration and eventually a credit card.

These free websites should be your first stopping ground for Quebec genealogy. Cangenealogy Quebec is Dave Obee's site. Library & Archives Canada Quebec is the Government of Canada's Genealogy page for Quebec. Family Search - Quebec. Also Olive Tree Genealogy is a great list of resources for Quebec Genealogy (TIP: Ctrl and + keys for larger text).

Your next stop the family history society website Quebec Family History Society

as well as the Libraries and Archives in Quebec. BAnQ - BibliothĂšque et Archives nationales du QuĂ©bec (Library, Archive & Museum), Libraries Association of QuebecL’Association des archivistes du QuĂ©bec (AAQ)  - en français.

The Genealogical Site of French America - this site allows  you to search so many different types of data. In order to conduct searches, you will need to register with a username and password. It is a very large and powerful site, and eventually will need to provide payment. 

Acadian and French Canadian Ancestral Home  Acadian genealogy is described as the research of families who are descended from French citizens in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI.  Best links for Acadian research.  Irish Ancestors in Quebec City - provides links to a number of resources and databases - Catholic records   Grosse Isle and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site

Quebec E-Resources

Print Resources (only a few)

Books and Resources to purchase for Quebec genealogy

King’s Daughters and Founding Mothers: the Filles du Roi, 1663 -1673 GagnĂ©, Peter J. Pawtucket R.I.: Quintin Publications

Les Passengers Du Saint-Andre. Montreal: Societe Genealogique Canadienne-Francaise, No. 5. 1964.

Montreal Directory 1868-69: containing an Alphabetical Directory of the Citizens and a Street Directory. Lovell, John. Milton, Ontario: Global Heritage Press, 2000. See Quebec E-Resources.

French-Canadian Sources: A Guide for Genealogists by Patricia Keeney Geyh, Joyce Soltis Banachowski, Linda Boyea.

Quebec Genealogists' Blogs or articles about Quebec
Seminaire de Quebec

Researchers Located in Quebec 

    Thursday, 5 April 2018

    5 Steps to Plan Your (Overseas) Genealogy Research Trip

    A fair few years ago, I was at the National Archives (London) and spied a fellow Canadian in the bookshop. We had a wee chat about the weather and the genealogy resources on offer and I eagerly asked: 'Did you enjoy your visit to Kew? Did you find what you were looking for?'
    With great disgust, she said 'It was a wasted trip and I didn't find anything'.

    ©ErinSpinney with Thanks!
    To not find anything at Kew was shocking, as there is everything at Kew. But in a way I was not surprised as it turns out that she did not prepare before she came to England. From the little that we shared, she had done all her research online and did not pursue any print resources or search in any family history society libraries in her own province. Big Mistake!

    Not realizing that fabulous resources exist in an archive close to home is a newbie genealogists badge of honour. Although archives and libraries often shout from the rooftops about their resources, someone who is using only Ancestry or Google to do their research may not realize that to advance to the next step is to pursue records close to home.

    Genealogy Research Trip Produced Amazing Find Lisa Louise Cooke writes about her experience on a research trip as a newbie genealogist. Humourous!

    One of the biggest hurdles anyone faces when deciding on a research trip to the UK or crossing the pond in the other direction is the expense. Many find the cost exorbitant and perhaps if this is your only trip of a lifetime, so you really do need to ensure you get your money's worth. 
    Read on for a few tips to make your trip a success.

    1. Do as much research as you can at home first.  How many times have you spent money to make a special visit to an archive or library (even in your country) to look at a specific document or collection and think, I've seen that before! Let's face it, you want to get the best value for the money you've spent on air travel and accommodation. Nowadays many genealogists start their research online and then when they are ready to head for the archive they don't know where to start. Try these suggestions:
    How to Plan Your Next Genealogy Trip
    It can't be repeated enough: Consult records in your local archive, 
    library or family history centre First.
    How to Get Organized

    2. Check archive, library, family history society websites for their open hours and other particulars.  What are the unique collections that these places hold?  Check their websites, catalogues and help guides thoroughly and even send an email to double check that they have what you want to research. Check the hours. Holidays in the UK do not coincide with holidays in the US or Canada. What identification do you need to bring to register? Don't be disappointed!

    Have reasonable expectations. Undoubtedly there will be a few disappointments, but mark them down and perhaps hire someone to do further in-depth research for you later. Unless you can stay in the UK for a month or two, your visit will only allow you to delve into the records briefly. How much time you plan for each archive is really important. A couple of hours will allow you to zoom through your orders and take pictures only. All day at one place is better, but most times 2 days per archive is ideal.
    Another tip: research how long it takes to travel between archives, I promise, you will be surprised.

    For example, if you're going to spend the morning at the National Archives, getting to the British Library could take an hour or an hour and a half. Plan extra time for even longer sojourns outside of central London, such as Greenwich or the local Boroughs.   Transport for London -buses and Tube travel in London.

    3. Costs of travel and accommodation.
    Let's face it, it's expensive to travel to Europe even if it's specifically for a quick genealogy trip. Take advantage of the cheap seats and the 'non-peak' times to travel. Summer is the most expensive and although the archives are somewhat quiet as everyone is on holiday, consider January or February. The transportation systems are quite amazing even though it's still kind of winter so it's not difficult to get around.   Most winters (other than the recent 'Beast from the East' in February and March 2018!) are snow free especially in London.  Budget airlines are just that - no frills, however Air Transat prices are easy on the budget.   National Rail (U.K.)  Bus system for across the U.K.- National Express

    Accommodation: If you're not a fussy traveler, consider staying in hostels which are numerous in the UK and Europe. Many nowadays offer single rooms with en-suites. Note: many budget hotels call themselves hostels. Not the same in my opinion. Budget Hostels    A step above hostels are university accommodation some of which will only have  availability outside of university term times. I have stayed in both types in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Milan, Zurich and even St. Petersburg! Do you really need to spend extra $$ or ££ when you're spending all of your time in the archives (or at tourist sites) and only sleeping there?

    4. Prepare, Prepare and Prepare some more
    Each of the sites below require pre-registration and the 
    correct identification to get a 'reader's ticket'. 

    Register: I'd also like to mention that most places in the UK require two separate pieces of identification for registration. One with an address and one with a signature. Most USA and Canadian passports don't have addresses, but your driving license does.

    National Archives UK  - (Kew) - Planning a Visit to the National Archives - holds a lot of records pertaining to all of the UK, and all types. Military, Poorhouse, Church Records, Passenger lists, Business Records, Maps, etc. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/  Please don't forget that there is a Library at the National Archives. Covers a lot of subjects and county specific material. http://tna.koha-ptfs.co.uk/ For example, tucked away in the back I found an entire series of the Scottish Record Society journals.

    The National Army Museum Library or the Imperial War Museum Collections are considered specialist archives and they have fabulous libraries. Check their collection policy document - where there is one. It will describe the kinds of material they collect to support their specialist subject area.   
    British Library - Your expectations that this is the UK's biggest public library is correct. However, on my first visit I was surprised by the structure of access. When you register for a 'reader's ticket' they will ask if you have ordered anything or know what it is that you want to look at. Their collections (books) are not on the shelves, many are in the 'stores' which then need to be brought to the reading room by staff. The exception is the Newspaper room and the East India collection (in the Asian & African Studies Reading Room), although again not all the resources are on the shelves. Important: you can't enter a reading room unless you have a ticket (card) as there are security checks at the door. https://www.bl.uk/ (Tip: the BL has loads of Canadian research material!)

    London Metropolitan Archives/Guildhall Library - these collections are both provided by the City of London - lots and lots of documents pertaining to London ancestry. Thoroughly check their holdings. Their catalogue is a bit tedious, but the 'stuff' is amazing! Make sure you check Ancestry for LMA collections before coming, as on one of my visits they plunked me down in front of a computer when I wanted to look at microfilm. Geez! A fee for taking pictures.
    Guildhall Library is particularly strong in directories (Kelly's Directories) for London, practically every year, with very few gaps although most are on microfilm in order to protect the condition of the originals (there are also some of these directories at the National Archives).
    London Metropolitan Archives they also have a library collection 
    Guildhall Library Catalogue

    Society of Genealogists - registration applies here too, they have a day charge though if you don't want to sign up as a member for one year. Lots of county material; genealogy tracts (printed family histories); newspaper clippings; great collection of monumental inscriptions for most all the counties in the UK; in-house databases: SOGNET; free access to The Genealogist; Find My Past; British History Online and lots of others! A fee for taking pictures.  http://www.sog.org.uk/  If you don't have time to go to the county archives, start here!

    5. Heritage Tourism
    A buzz word in the genealogy world these days is Heritage Tourism which is offered in a variety of guises: a combination of genealogy and sightseeing or visits to archives. Check out the one that's best for you. Here are some blog articles that will give even more points for planning a trip. 
    The ones marked with a  are my top picks.

    Christine Woodcock leads genealogy tours to Scotland from Canada and the U.S. with time spent in the archives and one-to-one help as well. @genealogytours

    Before You Cross the Pond: Five Places to Find Your Ancestors in America  Germans to America

     Genealogists Packing List for Your Genealogy Research Trip  - also provides a great little guide to plan a Genealogy Research Trip

    Genealogy.com's article : a checklist for your genealogy vacation - particularly U.S. focussed, but great tips

     Tracing Your Ancestors - Heritage Travel : Tips, Tricks and Strategies  this is a magazine published by those who publish Internet Genealogy. Co-authored by Christine Woodcock and Liza Alzo.

    In September I have volunteered to escort a group of enthusiastic genealogists (they call themselves the 'London Trippers') from the Alberta Genealogical Society during their visit to London archives. Watch this space for a report!

    A few last words - How are you going to transport / carry your research? Paper is heavy! I have seen various styles of note books - one I liked was a card index on a ring, but that's old school :)  Some archives do not allow portable scanners like the FlipPal -check what they do allow. Please don't take original documents or photos with you!

    Some tips from fellow genealogists on AncestryHour : 'Check cost of copies of documents & photography - take cash' - also for lockers  ;;A personal success story: Briefly list your surname interests in visitor books in local churches, archives and provide an email address  ;;know the reference numbers you want to order   ;;prepare a shopping list to focus research in local archives  ;;some of the collections you will want to order are held at out-stores and require an advance request sometimes of a week or more!.

    The story of the lady's disappointment - I think she was from Toronto - does not end here. I continued the conversation and suggested she get in touch with the Ontario Genealogical Society, the Ontario Archives and various other repositories in Ontario.
    Hopefully if I was able to point her in the right direction perhaps I'll see her again at Kew!

    UK to Canada Genealogy Index Page
    Finding Canadian Ancestors Series

    Friday, 23 March 2018

    First Nations WWI Veterans

    Canadian Patriotic Indian Chiefs 1915
    Library & Archives Canada MIKAN 3192644
    Working on the article for my Canadian Corner blog post, I was intrigued by the results of the research of Private Michel Nepin as his attestation paper indicated "Indian Draft". 

    NEPIN, Michel Private 2497982 Canadian Forestry Corps "Indian Draft"
    dob: June 1897 d. 25 Dec 1917
    Find A Grave: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/114523745/m-nepin
    Son of Sophia Nepin. Attawapiskat, James Bay, Ontario. Occupation : Hunting.

    Using Private Nepin's service number, I wondered if there were any other First Nation boys who enlisted at the same time. So I entered his number into the WWI database on Library and Archives Canada, changing the number for each search.
    The results are as follows (a small sample) with a link to the CEF digital file:

    FARIES, JAMES WALTER (2497959) Canadian Indian
    Numerous posts on Twitter highlighted one soldier, John Shiwak, an Inuit Sniper. Nunatsiaq News:  Kenn Harper's John Shiwak: A Day in Arctic History;    Steve Clifford points us to Shiwak's digitized files;    Bruce MacDonald tweeted a CBC article about John Shiwak

    Aboriginal Peoples Television Network  (APTN)  provided a little history on the Aboriginal History Month page.  John Shiwak was a hunter and trapper from Rigolet, a remote Inuit community in Labrador.

    Dan Hill History via Twitter provided a picture of the grave of Private Joseph Standing Buffalo CWGC Bucquoy Road Cemetery in Ficheaux, France. His grandfather was Tatanka Lyotate better known as Sitting Bull. 2413310 28th Battalion Canadian Infantry Wondering why I didn't see a link to a digitized file.

    Please see further in this article for a link to 
    an index to the names of First Nations Soldiers. 

    Research into the book: For King and Kanata: Canadian Indians and the First World War by Timothy C. Winegard ISBN 9780887557286 explains that approximately 4,000 Indians served in World War One. There was a feeling of patriotism to the King (not to Canada) and many also felt that in fighting in the war, they were protecting their own people.
    Review of For King and Kanata: Canadian Indians and the First World War

    A quote from the introduction:
          "At the outbreak of war in 1914, many Indian nations, or communities, felt a stronger allegiance to the crown, under which treaties were signed and previous military alliances fostered, than to Canada, and they readily offered support of men and money directly to the king. Canadian Indians shared equally in the burdens of the war, both on the battlefields and on the home front, and voluntarily aided the empire in its time of need. As an Assiniboine elder remarked to his young men at the outbreak of war, “Don’t die a woman’s death in bed. Die the warrior’s death at the end of the warpath trail, where a coup-feather awaits the brave.”
    The research in the book also indicates that the Indian women formed Red Cross societies on their reserves and were active in supporting their brave sons.

    A few excerpts from the book:
    “Unlike blacks, both French Canadians (aside from the 22nd “Van Doos” Battalion) and Indians were scattered across CEF units to promote assimilation or – as Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Currie argued – equality with their peers."

    "Death of the first Canadian Indian in the First World War, Private Angus Laforce, a Mohawk from Kahnawake, Quebec went missing evening of Apr. 22nd 1915. The following day Lieutenant Cameron D. Brant of the Six Nations of the Grand River, great-great-grandson of Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea). Their bodies were never recovered although their names are on the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium."

    p.58 Photo:
    "Cree Recruits from File Hills, Saskatchewan October 1915: David Bird, Joe McKay, Leonard McKay, Leonard Creely, Jack Walker, Harry Stonefield." (Glenbow Museum Archives NA-3454-41)

    "In addition to serving as snipers and scouts, Canadian Indians were employed in every other branch of the combat arms and auxiliary formations except for the Royal Tank Corps."

    p.121 Photo:
    "Blood recruits of 191st Battalion Fort Macleod, Alberta." (Glenbow Museum Archives NA-2164-1)

    **My online research found this amazing page listing hundreds of names of Indians who signed up.
    From this fabulous piece of work, there were hundreds of First Nations Metis and Inuit men who signed up for service in the First World War. This page is authored by Jeff Schlingloff and sponsored by the Vancouver Community Network.  Long may it continue.

    The British Library has a page with many pictures from Canada - also includes references to pictures of Native Americans. Picturing Canada. 

    Other books: 
    Pegahmagabow: Legendary Warrior, Forgotten Hero by Adrian Hayes and Native Soldiers, Foreign Battlefields by Janice Summerby

    World War Two - A brief mention of World War Two resources: 

    Honoring First Nations Veterans video and interviews - Nishnawbe Aski Nation posted on You Tube in 2010.

    Indigenous People in the Second World War  - Veterans Affairs Canada's Historical Sheets 

    So much more to discover and honour a little known, but proud contingent of soldiers, original citizens of the country of Canada.

    Monday, 19 March 2018

    Explore the Past - Worcestershire County Council & Archives

    Explore the Past - Worcestershire County Council
    Archives and libraries struggle to reach their customers in an effective way with enough information that describes their holdings while not being altogether overwhelming.

    Preparing to visit an archive or library can be an arduous task. There are so many things to consider: open times, how to register, how to get there, where to park, where to eat or where to stay. This review ties in to my future article '5 Steps to Plan Your (Overseas) Genealogy Research Trip' Coming Soon!

    To help plan your visit to the UK, the Worcestershire County Council have gone one step further, creating a comprehensive tool / information kit, especially for those from a distance. They have produced a small booklet which goes into quite a bit of detail about their collections which includes offering a limited research service for a fee. The content in the guide also gives a glimpse into how to use this information for a visit to any other archive - in the UK or elsewhere.

         'This guide is intended primarily as a resource for those unable to make the long journey to visit us, outlining the various services we offer to help get the resources to you.'

    Their research library holds over 20,000 books, 12 miles of collections that cover the 12th century to the 21st century. The collections include specific histories of Worcestershire the place, and it's people.

    The booklet has 14 sections including: Maps and Plans; Local Studies; Evidence of Archaeology and Historic Buildings and standard genealogical tools such as trade directories, electoral registers, census and newspapers. In addition to Church of England records there is a collection of School Records and Electoral Registers. One collection that stands out is Records of the Court of the Quarter Session, Personally I'm curious about Section 7: Photographs, prints and engravings.

    The publication is well laid out and visually appealing.  Although the booklet showed 73 pages when viewed on my phone, it is important to mention that the pages are not packed with text but well balanced with images and large enough font size for comfortable reading.

    The headings are large and each section is divided by a single title page. Also, I think they have done a great job with the non-technical jargon which sometimes confuses those of us who don't work in the heritage industry.

    Thoughtful use of images and content, obvious collaboration between the archives staff and publisher. Even though it seems a massive publication it is a very easy read and comprehensive.

    I used my mobile phone to go through the pages and it would be really useful to have the ability to jump to a particular section that I want to investigate instead of having to endlessly scroll.

    A section that can often be overlooked (but is quite important) is an explanation of copyright and how it affects your research. Personally I felt that more could have been said with an emphasis on the legal responsibility of the user and how some collections have a caveat that the material is for research purposes only.

    Where's the online content? Although I understand that this guide is meant to open up access to records that are not online, it is a well known fact that many genealogists nowadays want to see online content. Are there any specific Worcestershire records on Ancestry, for example? Are there any special indexing projects or a special emphasis on unique collections? What are their future plans for digitisation?

    Any connections to the local community? Have any efforts been made to work with the local family history society or a special interest group? The website highlights 'Community Engagement and Advice' but I did not see a specific mention of either of my above points.

    Perhaps a little thing that I forgot to mention is that there is a charge to download the publication, but £6.00 is not really a formidable cost, and I would like to think that spending this amount is going back into the archives somehow and not into a great big council pot.

    Last page says simply 'Thank You' which is a nice touch, but adding a little more of an invitation would be more welcoming. Perhaps something like 'looking forward to meeting you' or a similar positive message.

    It is highly recommended that any plan to visit an archive should first involve taking a look at the archive help pages, guides to collections and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). How many times have you showed up to an archive and there is a sign on the door that says they are closed? Frustrating.

    This publication is very helpful as it does complement the information found on the website. Navigating to find various help guides on archive websites can be very tedious, as it seems there is no standardization from county to county, or indeed archive to archive, so this is a great introduction to the collections at the Worcestershire County Council Archives. It is obvious that a lot of work and thoughtful discussions have taken place between the archives, marketing team and the county council.

    One of the things that surprised me is that Worcestershire offers a 'commercial' service to other archives including:  Cataloguing; Digitisation; Conservation; Archive Storage and Deposit services. This effort definitely shows support for the continuance and long term preservation of records in local collections. Is this the way of the future of archives management?

    Lastly, I would hope that archives and county administration would take a serious look at the efforts by Worcestershire to provide the genealogy public another valuable resource to enhance their research. Do take a look!

    Some archives mentioned in my blog posts:
    Maritime Archives and Libraries in the UK such as: Gosport + Portsmouth, Liverpool
    Hudson's Bay Company Archives - mentioned in : Hudson's Bay Company Family History