Monday, 28 March 2016

Galt Museum & Archives - Lethbridge Alberta

Overlooking dramatic views of the coulees and prairie, the Galt Museum and Archives holds records that relate to the building and settlement of this area of Southern Alberta in the late 1800s. The museum also partners with the local Kainai native Indian band to present a historical account of the First Peoples. 
Many individuals were attracted to the area by the availability of inexpensive land. Land for farming and ranching was bought up by speculators and sold to settlers from the United States, eastern Canada, as well as other European communities. It is an area that was also developed by the discovery of coal. Miners from the north of England were enticed to move here looking for a better life. Please note that the 'Crowsnest Pass' communities of Blairmore and Coleman are also well known as large mining centres.  

Here are some free online databases for this area:

Alberta Genealogical Society - The Homestead Index 1870-1930

Alberta Genealogical Society - Lethbridge & District branch

Alberta Family Histories Society - a database of workers in the Turner Valley Oilfields
over 2,000 records, taken from obituaries
Turner Valley Oilfields Death Index

As well, many public libraries in the Chinook Arch Library System hold material related to genealogical research in their specific Southern Alberta community. Often, the libraries are aware of whom in the community is well known for family history and local knowledge. 
Libraries in Southern Alberta

Personally, I know the Librarians at Lethbridge Library are very helpful. @LethLib

Maritime Libraries in the UK - East India Company

The Maritime Libraries post seems popular, so I've asked for permission to add content from the book. Keep an eye out for future posts that highlight various archives around the UK.
Disclaimer: as this material was published in 2004, I have tried to update the websites (2016), but internet addresses often change.

The title is:
Maritime Information : a guide to libraries and sources of information in the United Kingdom. by Fenton, Briody and Macdonald. 2004. 1901703452

British Library - Oriental and India Office Collections
Special Collections: East India Company, 1600-1858; Government of India, 1858-1947.

British Library of Political and Economic Science, London School of Economics
Special Collections: Papers of Charles Booth, Liverpool shipowner, relating to his social investigations in London; Shipping register of J. Byrn, c. 1809; Ship account book of John S.P. Mills, master of steamers Striver, Runnelstone, and Charlwood 1920-1926; Report on shipping control in First World War and subsequent correspondence of Sir K.S. Anderson, manager of Orient Steam Navigation Co.; Papers of the Inland Waterways Association, 1917-1983; Papers relating to political and foreign affairs interests of Edmund D. Morel, 1873-1924, shipowner; Business documents of Robert Newman and Co. of Dartmouth, traders with Newfoundland, 1774-1955.

National Army Museum
Special Collections: Hodson card index includes biographical and service details of officers of the Indian Navy and ship's officers of the East India Company's fleet up to 1861.

National Maritime Museum
Search their archive catalogue for East India Company records. Also some material in library collection.

Society of Genealogists
Special Collections: GRO indexes to marine births and deaths, 1837-1965; Navy List, 1756-1990s and East India Company naval personnel, c. 1760-1833; Trinity House Petitions, 1750-1890; Apprentices of Great Britain, 1710-1774 ; PCC (Prerogative Court of Canterbury) will indexes to 1800 (containing wills of those dying at sea).

See also:
Maritime Libraries in the UK :

Aberdeen,  Cumbria,  East India Company,  Liverpool,  ShipwrecksWales

“Reproduced by kind permission of the Maritime Information Association”

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Books about UK genealogy

The British Overseas Guildhall Library Research Guide No.2 1995 ISBN: 9780900422394
    Very useful for finding resources for tracing British born subjects in any country before 1945. Examples of 'any country' : Bermuda, Borneo, Italy, Lebanon, Poland, U.S.A.

The East End Nobody Knows by Andrew Davies 1990. ISBN: 9780333474549
    Came across this intriguing book about the East End of London in my local library. It includes histories of the local areas (Whitechapel, Almshouses in the East End, The Battle of Cable Street, etc.); how places got their names (Isle of Dogs, Bethnal Green, etc.); and character highlights (Matchgirls and Dockers, Joseph Merceron, an East End Boxing Champion, etc.). The book covers very early times to 1980s in a condensed fashion. The part I like the best is at the back where a number of East End historic walks are included (the author used to take tourists on 'off the beaten track' walks).

Greater London Cemeteries & Crematoria by Cliff Webb 2013 ISBN: 9781859517048
    This is a Society of Genealogists publication and is organized by geographic areas, non-denominational, restricted (Military, Catholic, Jewish). Headings are: Name and Address of Cemetery, Location of Burial Registers, Date Registers Begin, Can You Research Yourself.

A guide to the Lloyd's Marine Collection and related marine sources at Guildhall Library. Declan Barriskill. £4.95 ISBN: 9780900422553
    This little guide is invaluable to anyone researching marine ancestors. Although it seems to highlight the marine sources at the Guildhall, much of the content applies to any library that holds Lloyds collections. For example, it is useful for definitions and coverage of the Lloyd's Register, Lloyd's List and Lloyd's Captain's Registers. You can order it via the Guildhall Library website.
Their blog article is useful as well: 

Red Serge and Polar Bear Pants

Reading an interesting account of the life of Harry Stallworthy an RCMP officer in Canada's North. Born in Gloucestershire, he came to Canada in 1913 to visit his brothers who lived in Jenner, Southern Alberta. 

He also joined up for WWI in the CEF. After returning to Canada, he resumed his duties with the RNWMP (RNWMP was later formed as the RCMP) where he was eventually posted to Calgary, which he found to be lacking in excitement. An application resulted in appointment to the Yukon and from there his adventures began. This book is a great introduction to anyone with RCMP ancestors who worked in the north, as it gives a vivid picture of the rough life, the relationship with the local people, Inuit and the landscape.

The material for this biography was gathered from letters Harry wrote to his brother Bill in Gloucestershire in addition to resources on the north. The letters were donated to the AINA institute at the University of Calgary. AINA is an important resource for Northern Canada research. 

Life Statistics:
B. 20 Jan.1895 Winson, Gloucestershire NE of Cirencester. Attended Cirencester Grammar School 
D. 25 Dec. 1976 Comox, Ontario
Father: William James Webb Stallworthy, Mother: Florence Fanny Cole. Brothers: William and Archie

Red Serge and Polar Bear Pants by William Barr, 2004, ISBN: 0888644337

Canadian Regiment in Aldershot WWI and WWII

I met John Pask at the West Surrey Family History (UK) event last year who asked for help in locating a connection to Sgt. W.H. May, M.M. & Bar. 

Holy Trinity Church in Aldershot was used by various Canadian  regiments for church services during WW2 and they have a 'Canadian garden' which is a memorial to these men.

John is wondering if anyone has a connection to this soldier and if they would be interested in getting in touch. 

9940 Sgt. William Henry May b. 14 Jan. 1896 d.1st Oct.1914 buried. Etaples Military Cemetery, France.

A small history on this project and about Sgt. May is provided on the attached pdf.

Contact: John Pask

Thank you.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Alberta Family History Society

The Alberta Family History Society, located in Calgary, Alberta is a very active and involved genealogy group. The location of the library is quite central to downtown with good parking.

If you have an interest in Calgary and area history and genealogy, there are very friendly volunteers on hand to help you during the open hours. However, the library holds much material about all of Alberta as well as the world. Their collection of  worldwide Family History Journals is simply impressive!

If you aren't able to visit, they do provide a look up service and research help. 

Online Databases available via their website:

BMD Database -  38,000+ records

Cemetery Database - 197,000 records

Online Data Projects - transcription projects which include: Barr Colonists, Members' Surname Interests, Turner Valley Oilfields Death Index, and Calgary Crematorium records 1937-1979

Newspaper announcements page - transcriptions of Births, Marriages and Deaths from local newspapers, and is linked to the above BMD Database.

The Research Aids page is worth a gander as the content is good food for thought. For example, looking for a US phone number is very helpful. European History Interactive Map is fun too. Please note that some links may be a bit out of date.



WWII Soldier from Alliston Ontario

In the fall of 2015, I attended the West Surrey Family History Society event providing help to people seeking Canadian genealogy information.

Mike came to my table with a story to tell. He's not particularly a genealogist, but he has an item of interest to anyone who can claim a connection to a soldier he met in World War Two in South Ascot, Berkshire.

The story:
As a young lad he came upon a number of military ambulances with wounded soldiers who were waiting to be sent to hospital. Mike helped to give water and comfort to the soldiers and one gave him his army book that has three ladies' names inscribed in it.

He has a clear recollection that the soldiers were transported from Dieppe and a very exact date - 17 August 1942.

Mike would dearly love to give the book to whomever can make a connection to the family. Unfortunately, he doesn't know the name of the soldier.

The ladies' names:
Miss Lorraine Nevalles, Alliston, Ontario
Miss Freda Gallagher, Alliston, Ontario
Miss Myrtal Smalley, Alliston, Ontario

My suspicion is that these ladies may have inscribed the book during an event in Alliston, perhaps a sending off party to the soldiers before they left for the front. There may not be any connection, but it is worth a try on the www. He would be happy to hear from a local history museum.

Mike Herman

Vulcan and District Historical Society, Vulcan, Alberta

The Vulcan and District Historical Society are an enthusiastic and very focussed group of local historians concerned with the care of the archives of the county of Vulcan and area. The archives has recently relocated into an expanded section of the museum.

Address: 232 Centre Street, Vulcan, Alberta T0L 2B0

Projects and special collections they have undertaken:

- John Ware - a former slave who moved to Alberta to become a cowboy - see more about John Ware and the geographical places named after him on the Alberta Historic Places blog. Johns' daughter Nettie Ware was a well known community presence in Vulcan.

- local newspapers - Vulcan Advocate from 1912 to the present - not available online, however, they will do look-ups for a charge. The newspaper office website: Vulcan Advocate.

- photos of the cemetery were undertaken in 2011 and 2012 and these photos have now been posted on the Find a Grave website

- Nine in a Line Grain Elevators - Vulcan is well known in the agricultural community as the town with the most grain elevators. An interesting post is on the Vulcan History blog.

Historical School Sites in Vulcan County - these sites have been marked with a special school house designed signpost, the link has a very interesting account of the history and decision to mark these school sites

- Vulcan County History page has numerous audio interviews with residents of Vulcan of days gone by...

Communities in Vulcan County: Town of Vulcan; Villages: Arrowwood, Carmangay, Champion, Lomond, Milo; Hamlets: Brant, Ensign, Herronton, Kirkaldy, Mossleigh, Queenstown, Shouldice and Travers.

More information about Vulcan County Rural Schools 

Friday, 18 March 2016

Maritime Libraries in the UK - index

From the Introduction of Maritime Information:

  'The object of this Guide is to list UK libraries, record offices, archives, museums, institutions, associations and other bodies that have, or can make available, information on maritime matters.'

   It provides a subject index, listing collections such as fishing, wrecks, pilot's records, harbour account books, shipping registers to name a very few.     In the transcription I have included the name of the organisation, the address and email address where possible, including a webpage. Subject Coverage and Special Collections are included.
This book is useful for finding maritime resources in libraries around the UK.
East Coast of UK
© Penny Allen

The title:
Maritime Information : a guide to libraries and sources of information in the United Kingdom. by Fenton, Briody and Macdonald. 2004. 1901703452



East India Company


Portsmouth and Gosport




This information is reproduced with permission from the publishers.
Disclaimer: as this book was published in 2004, I have tried to update the websites (2016), but internet addresses often change and some organisations may not have survived.

Maritime Libraries in the UK - Aberdeen

The Maritime Libraries post seems to be popular, so I've asked permission to add content from the book. Keep an eye out for future posts that highlight various archives around the UK.
Disclaimer: as this material was published in 2004, the website addresses may have changed.

The title is:
Maritime Information : a guide to libraries and sources of information in the United Kingdom. by Fenton, Briody and Macdonald. 2004. 1901703452

Aberdeen City Archives

Special Collections: Old Aberdeen House Office - Harbour records for ports in Aberdeenshire, notably Peterhead and Stonehaven in 19th and 20th centuries.

Special Collections: Town House office - Business records of A. Hall and Co./Hall, Russell Ltd. ; Aberdeen shipbuilders, 19th and 20th century; Aberdeen shipping registers 1824-1927; Aberdeen outport Customs and Excise records, 19th and 20th centuries; Aberdeen harbour records, 1808-1935

Aberdeen City Council Central Library, Business and Technology Department
Special Collections: Oil and Gas - Aberdeen ; Aberdeen company information; European and community information; business; Fishing News Vol. 1 1913 onwards; Lloyd's Register of Shipping; British Standards

Aberdeen Maritime Museum
Museum website  -   Special Collections - shipyard plans and records; North Sea oil and gas collections

Aberdeen University Library - Historic collections - Special Collections
Special Collections - David Cardno diary, Arctic ocean whaler 1866-1917; Walker Henderson diary, ship's surgeon, Greenland 1853; George Kerr diary, surgeon northern whale fishery 1791; Davis Straits diary, unidentified surgeon 1831; Aberdeen Steam Navigation Co. 1836-1925; Crew lists and indentures of Aberdeen trawlers 1891-1971; Records of Aberdeen trawlers 1891-1913; Aberdeen Shipmasters' Society 1630-1965; National Union of Dock Labourers 1912-27; National Union of Seamen 1926-59; Ship Constructors and Shipwrights Association 1916-65; Steamfishing Vessels, Engineers' and Firemen's Union 1906-57; Aberdeen Fish Curers' & Merchants Association 1888-1947; United Society of Boilermakers, Shipbuilders and Structural Workers 1936, 1955-8

Aberdeen University Library - Queen Mother Library
**It appears this library has been replaced by the Special Collections link above**
Special Collections:  G.W. Wilson collection of early photographs, 1856-1910, covering England, Scotland, Australia, South Africa, Gibraltar, Spain and Morocco

See also:
Maritime Libraries in the UK :

Aberdeen,  Cumbria,  East India Company,  Liverpool,  ShipwrecksWales
“Reproduced by kind permission of the Maritime Information Association”

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Saskatchewan Resources

Regina Public Library provides this list of resources. The library recommends you check their FAQs to enquire about their look up service.


Aboriginal & Métis Genealogy - Native genealogy includes searching the 1901 census and Métis scrip records from Library and Archives Canada (microfilm) Information is available on the website.

Births, Marriages and Deaths see Vital Records

Census Records
1906 and 1911 Census Records for Saskatchewan are available on microfilm in the library. However, these are also available via Ancestry.

Directories & Phone Books
Some copies of directories have been digitized and Dave Obee's page outlines what is available.

Immigration, Passenger & Border Entry Records
Most of these records mentioned on the Regina Public Library website are in print, however, check Ancestry first.

Local Histories - valuable for histories of families who settled in smaller communities
Saskatchewan Local History Directory, volumes 1 & 2 (in-house finding aid for Saskatchewan local histories - updated continuously)
Some local histories have been digitized and are available on :

Maps, Atlases & Place Names
Gazeteers and definitions of places names. Useful for towns and communities that no longer exist. These are resources available in the library only.

On Microfilm:   Morning Leader/Leader Post; Regina Standard 1891 - 1906; Regina Daily Post 1928 - 1930; Western Producer 1924 - 2000

An index to Saskatchewan Newspapers is available online -    Does not include information about BMD notices.

Vital Records
Births, Marriages & Obituaries Indexes from the Leader-Post newspaper (print) - 1883 to 1913.
or check the Birth Marriage Death Records page on this blog for ordering a Birth, Marriage or Death certificate.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Books about Canadian genealogy

Without a doubt, one of the best books for Canadian genealogy is 'Finding Your Canadian Ancestors' by Sherry Irvine and Dave Obee, published 2007.
   This introduction to Canadian genealogy gives a lot of tips of where to find records in government archives, tips on specific areas of interest, ie: Metis or German ancestors who emigrated to Canada. The book also specifically outlines resources in each province. If it isn't in your local library, or family history society library, it should be!

As well, Dave Obee's page for books on family history is very good and he also provides FREE Downloads of articles relating to specific research. For example:
Back to the Land: A Genealogical Guide to Finding Farms on the Canadian Prairies
Family History Books

'Tools of the trade for Canadian genealogy : a guide for family historians researching in Canada' by Althea Douglas, published in 2004 is also a very well known book for finding important Canadian resources.

A very early publication that I personally started out with is:
'The Canadian genealogical handbook : a comprehensive guide to finding your ancestors in Canada'  published in 1978 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Although quite outdated, it has some very common sense answers to the most basic of questions. Look for it on a second hand book site such as Abe Books. A favourite.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Anglo-Celtic Roots

I'm doing an unofficial survey of family history journals available at the Society of Genealogists (SOG) in London.

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGOis located in Ontario, Canada. Their journal, Anglo-Celtic Roots has been sending their journal to SOG since the early 1990s. It's so nice to see this reciprocating sharing of family history journals between societies, it seems to be an unwritten law that has been honoured for many decades.

What is so amazing, and something that is so valuable to researchers, is that the society provides archived copies of the journal for free on their website. For example, 2015 issues are accessed by members only, but the rest of the issues are available on their website!

In  vol 19_No 1_Spring 2013  a couple of articles caught my eye about the American Revolution and the search for the 'Magnet' passenger list in 1812. As well, Peter Reid talks about the 'Ottawa Journal 1885-1980' indexed on Ancestry, but also provides other resources for this newspaper.

An index to each of the journal articles and hyperlinks to archived pdfs of the issues: 

Well done, BIFHSGO!

Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative - DAI

Had so much fun on the Digital Archives Initiative page of Memorial University, Newfoundland. Particularly like the way resources are laid out. Tabs are intuitive and user friendly.

Special Collections:  Historical Photographs, Mercantile Navy List, Newfoundland Quarterly, Daily News 1955-1963, and digital maps!

Check out the New! tab.  Wow, tons of online research material here.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Maritime Libraries in the UK

One of my favourite reference books for maritime research in the UK was compiled by a number of librarians and archivists who work in this specialist field.

Although it was last published in 2004, it contains a list of 138 pages of contact information and most importantly, what types of special collections they hold. The headings for each library and archive is listed as: facilities, subject coverage, special collections, and publications.

An example of the coverage:

Cumbria Archive Service - Whitehaven
Cumbria Archives 
Special collections: Registers of ships and crew lists, etc. Whitehaven and Workington, 1786-20th century. Whitehaven Town and Harbour Trustees records, 1812-1894. Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, 1924-1956. (registers of cargo vessels)

The Cumbria Archive Service covers: Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle and Whitehaven.

The title is:
Maritime Information : a guide to libraries and sources of information in the United Kingdom. by Fenton, Briody and Macdonald. 2004. 1901703452

See also:
Maritime Libraries in the UK :

Aberdeen,  Cumbria,  East India Company,  Liverpool,  ShipwrecksWales

From the Other Side of the Desk

Last year I wrote an article about providing genealogy services 'from the other side of the desk'. In it I describe what it's like to work in a specialist library and the types of enquiries we receive, what projects we work on and an overview of the library services. I hope you would be able to find a copy, perhaps in a library near you!

From the Other Side of the Desk
Chinook (Winter, January 2015, Volume 35, Number 2) Page 10
(The Chinook is published by the Alberta Family History Society)