Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Roots Tech London 2019 – a Canadian’s perspective

At a genealogy conference you expect to see a lot of enthusiastic and interested researchers in all things family history. What you don’t expect to see are popular comic characters looking through the windows at the exhibition hall. 

The 3 day odyssey that was the inaugural event in London for Roots Tech (and my own first Roots Tech) was an amazing experience. It was definitely an international gathering, with many presenters and attendees from North America, Europe and countries around the world. Fabulous talks and networking opportunities, selfies with social media friends and a meet up with Canadians who travelled from Ontario.

Canadians at Roots Tech London
One of the most satisfying things I did over the 3 days was volunteering with the Society of Genealogists on their ‘Ask the Expert’ stand. The society provides this service for free for everyone with any kind of genealogy question. I talked to a lot of North American visitors who wanted to understand how to find British and Irish resources. 

It was great to see Comicon as our neigbours, I like to think that the 'characters' who stopped to look at the exhibition hall may be inspired to think about their own family’s story. Most of the Roots Tech attendees embraced this group and felt that they added a certain vibe.
The event that will stay with me as my first experience of Roots Tech was not the venue, not the family history stands, not the talks, but an encounter with two young fellas who genuinely showed an interest in searching their roots.

Comicon groupees
On Friday evening I was quite prepared to go home and collapse, however I was enticed along to a pub by fellow genealogists that I hang out with virtually on Twitter – (plug: Ancestry Hour Tuesday nights at 7pm GMT). What a trip, what an experience!

The pub was heaving with everyone from Comicon (so it seemed) - it was very loud, very flashy with many elaborate and homemade costumes everywhere but we had such a blast. We headed to the back of the pub – ‘the garden’ – and were invited to take an empty table by Sean and Adam whom we chatted with about family history and they shared the finer details about Comicon. I think our group really made an impact on these guys and I certainly hope that they will go on and share their family stories. (Comments on David Dobie’s twitter feed.) I even managed to take a few turns on the dance floor with someone’s teenaged son! What a lot of fun!

Saturday was busy, as many that I talked to at the SoG stand only came to Roots Tech for the day. It was a fairly relaxed day and Donny Osmond's talk at the keynote at 11 a.m. was amazing. All through the reminiscing (for both of us) I was completely astonished that he has a genuine interest in family history. I tried to concentrate but I just couldn't stop thinking about the fact that he is a grandpa! Where did the years go? Here is a brief video on GenieAus's You Tube page of his wrap up points.
Food for thought.

The Society of Genealogists made a very good decision to open their doors on Monday the 28th October, a day when they are usually closed to visitors. I hope that the results were positive enough to entice them to do the same in 2020! They were also offering a 50% discount on membership for the 2 weeks following Roots Tech.

Here's a few others' reflections of Roots Tech -

John D. Reid's posts : Review of Roots Tech
Research and Roots Tech London Tour - Ontario Ancestors
Steve Atcherley - Roots Tech London 2019
RootsTech London 2019 show report
Aussies at Rootstech London
Dick Eastman's Review - Roots Tech London is a roaring success!
The History Interpreter - Janet Few - Day 3 Roots Tech London
Recover Your Roots - RootsTech London

A genealogist from Oregon displaying
her family tree!
Story Graffiti Wall

For my Canadian readers, also pertinent to anyone....... 
Else Churchill of the Society of Genealogists presented : 
- a 43 min video provided by RootsTechLondon. 

Hopefully we will find out soon whether or not there will be another RootsTech in London next year. Hope to see you there!

Ancestry Hour folks

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Western Canadian Genealogy Meetings & Conferences 2019-20

Many family history societies schedule workshops around their monthly meetings. These talks are often presented after the business of the society. Those who are new to genealogy and are interested in the topic are welcome to attend.

Please check the links for meeting times and the place of the venue as they may change due to weather (prairie snow-storms!) or unforeseen issues.

This information has been compiled from the society websites, & it is evident that more descriptions are needed in order to attract genealogists to attend!


October 2019 (see details at the end of this post)

Fri. Oct. 18th - 7:00 pm - General Meeting
SK - Saskatchewan Genealogy Society - Saskatoon Branch

Mon. Oct. 28th - 7:00 pm - Female Ancestors presented by Kelly Southworth at the MGS Resource Centre

November 2019  (see details at the end of this post)

Sat. Nov. 2nd 2019 - 7:00-9:00 pm - Identifying military uniforms in old photographs presented by Keith Holden

Wed. Nov. 13th, 2019 - 7:30 - 9:00 pm Meeting – Speaker – Colin MacGregor Stevens - Remembrance Day Theme
BC - British Columbia Genealogical Society 

Fri. Nov. 15th, 2019 - 7:00 pm - General Meeting
SK - Saskatchewan Genealogy Society - Saskatoon Branch

Sat. Nov. 16th, 2019 - Analyzing Historical Photographs presented by Diane Rogers

Tues. Nov. 19th 2019 - 7:00-9:00pm 
University of Calgary's Military Museum - Research in the Collections - Archivist Jason Nisenson from the U of Cs Military Museum
AB - Alberta Family History Society 

Tues. Nov. 19th 2019 - regular monthly meeting
AB - Grande Prairie & District Genealogical Society 

Sat. Nov. 23rd 2019 – Beginning Scottish Research - presenter: Heather Shave

Tues. Nov. 26th 2019 - time?
In Search of Military Ancestors: Learn about what is available online and elsewhere for your Canadian, American and UK soldier ancestors. 

Sat. Nov. 30th 2019 – Double Webinar: "Photo Editing & Retouching for Genealogists" and "Digitize Your Family History" 

December 2019  (see details at the end of this post)

[no date] Christmas Potluck Social
SK - Saskatchewan Genealogy Society - Saskatoon Branch

Sat. Dec.7th 2019 - Navigating Find My Past
BC - Victoria Genealogical Society

Mon. Dec. 9th 2019
Monthly Meeting 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Village - A Christmas Party!
AB - Alberta Family History Society

Sat. Dec. 14th 2019 - Navigating Arkidigital: The comprehensive way to discover Your Swedish Ancestors
BC - Victoria Genealogical Society


Kelowna & District Genealogical Society
Meet the KDGS team at the Okanagan Regional Library for Ancestry Meetup (help with Ancestry) every Wed. 1-3pm & Thurs. 5-7pm.
Online: KDGS local history and genealogy books are now freely available online!

Victoria Genealogical Society Victoria, B.C.
Online: Burial & Cemetery Indexes - Southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, BC, Canada

SK - Saskatchewan Genealogical Society - SGS has 14 branches throughout the province.
Saskatchewan Genealogy Society - Saskatoon Branch
The SBSGS holds 10 General Meetings per year. Meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month, September through June

MB - Manitoba Genealogical Society
Online: Manitoba Name Index.

2020 Genealogy Conferences

© Penny Allen
April 2020 (Tentative)
Alberta Family History Society
Calgary, Alberta

Fri., Sat., Sun. 17-19 April 2020
“2020 Vision: Seeking Ancestors Using DNA and Digital Tools”
The Saskatchewan Genealogical Society Conference 2020
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

Fri., Sat., Sun. 12-14 June 2020
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Do you have a genealogy related conference or workshop coming up? Would you like to reach the genealogy community?  Please email me and I will be happy to post it. 

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Genealogy in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Archives

The Cariboo-Chilcotin area in British Columbia is well known as ranching country, with undulating hills and valleys between the mountains, many, many acres of grazing for cattle. Prime cowboy country.

► Some place names in the Cariboo-Chilcotin : Horsefly, Keithley, Lac La Hache, Likely, McLeese Lake (taken from Cariboo-Chilcotin: Pioneer People and Places by Irene Stangoe) (Google Books)
► Cattle ranching and the Gold Rush figure predominately in the history of the area
► Williams Lake and Quesnel are two major cities in this area
► The Museum of Cariboo Chilcotin in Williams Lake, B.C. is also home of the B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame and has the largest saddle collection in western Canada.

© Penny Allen
I'm always curious to see what local archives have in their collections and from the list below, there are treasures to be found! 

The archives of Cariboo-Chilcotin are only one of many that I found on Memory B.C.

Their website describes their reach: " is a portal where you can access descriptions of archival materials preserved in repositories throughout the province."  
Check out the British Columbia Golf Museum, Haida Gwaii Museum and Sandon Archives (Sandon is now a ghost town, but was once a thriving silver mining community).

Many of these archives contain collections of families in the community and therefore hold the 'memories' of the past.

In the archives of Cariboo-Chilcotin are the following personal/family collections:


The collections contain documents such as diaries, cashbooks (these perhaps note customer details?), land information and even family history memoirs!

There is also a collection of letters of Sir James Douglas, Governor of the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia (1851-1864). 

ALLEN, W. - (covers 1860-1883) -  rancher, owner of a 'stopping' house and surveyor of 100 Mile House.

BELL Ranch - (covers 1920-1950) - owned by Mr. Blenkinsop - consists of a cash book

BOWE family - (covers ?) - a well known ranching family in the Cariboo. Contains notes on the Bowe family and plans of the lots which became the Alkali Lake Ranch (n.d.)

CASTILLON, Henry - (covers 1950-1961) - judge and historian in Williams Lake - contains court cases he presided over

COPLEY, George (covers 1879-1976) - botanist and surveyor - contains cashbook and surveying diaries 

FALCONER, David (covers 1930-1998) - initiated the Likely Cemetery Society and the Quesnel Forks Burial Ground. Contains correspondence.

HANCE family -  (covers 1898-1901) -O.T. Hance - this family was one of the first settlers in the area. Contains a cash book and diary describing life in Hanceville B.C.

HARVEY, BAILEY and Company  (est. 1886) - general merchandising company. Ashcroft and Enderby, B.C. Contains correspondence from customers to the company.
See also - Ashcroft Creek Journal - A stroll through Ashcroft in 1906. 

LEE family - (covers 1888-1970) -  ranchers, store keepers, and fur traders at Hanceville and Alexis Creek, B.C. Collection contains a daybook and cashbook of a ranch owned by the Lee family, handwritten memoirs, and a diary kept by Norman Lee. Also includes records of Edward Penrose and Thomas Lee.

LYNE, William - (covers 1886-1890) - store owner, blacksmith and rancher at Deep Creek. Collection consists of a cash book.

McMURRAY, John  (covers 1844-1863) - a sergeant in the Royal Engineers during the 1860s. Collection consists of a diary, army account-wages book, discharge papers and other items.

PINCHBECK, William and family (covers 1867-1941) lived in Chimney Creek. Collections consists of birth and baptism records, school attendance books, correspondence and a cash book.

PLATT and LYNE - not much personal biographical detail other than that this company operated out of Cedar Creek and Quesnel Lake. The collection consists of an order book

ROBERTS, John A.  - (covers 1999) Dr. Roberts is the archivist at the Cariboo Chilcotin Archives and this collection contains drafts of his book "Cariboo" a history of the Cariboo region from ca. 1860 to 1900.

STOTT, W.  (covers 1922-1939)  Collection consists of a scrapbook which includes transcripts of interviews relating to early mining activities in the Cariboo, obituaries of Cariboo pioneers, and anecdotes of fur traders.

SUTTON, Frederick Nassau (1927-1945) - a police officer and rancher, collection consists of a cashbook which describes supplying firewood to the town.

WALL, John (possibly covers 198-?) ; a harness maker in the Cariboo-Chilcotin area. Collection consists of letters about his work.

WRIGHT, Gustavius Blin (covers 1832-1878) - contractor who built the Cariboo Wagon Road. Collection consists of correspondence with various Royal Engineers and the Colonial Secretary.

This is not a comprehensive list, many other collections make up the Cariboo-Chilcotin Archives, including business archives such as: Cariboo Trading Company, Empire Valley Ranch and Seven Mile General Store.

Please contact the staff at the Cariboo-Chilcotin Archives for more information about these records. It looks like most of these records have not been digitised, so ask if it's possible to get copies of the items you are interested in.

More B.C. Genealogy Resources found in:   Finding Your Ancestors in B.C.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Free Online Saskatchewan Genealogy Resources

A quick reference guide to online genealogy resources in Saskatchewan.
 A more detailed list can be found here:

Regina Parliament buildings

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

BMDs / 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.

The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society has 6 publications that are extracts of Births, Marriages and Deaths from the Regina Leader. 
Each is a separate index and are available for purchase from their 'SGS Marketplace'.  Years covered, 1883-1889; 1890-1899; 1900-1905; 1906-1910; 1911-1913; 1914-1916 (Sold Out).   

There are quite a few cemetery listings available on Rootsweb. This page is up to date and is manned entirely by volunteers... well done!      Saskatchewan Cemeteries Project

Census Records
1906 and 1911 Census Records for Saskatchewan are available on Ancestry, click on the Search tab, scroll down to Card Catalogue and search for Canadian Census.

Census records are also available online via Library & Archives Canada -

Automated Genealogy
 (Free) census information for Canada 1851, 1891, 1901, 1911 names are inter-linked

1926 Prairie Census 
Louis Kessler- genealogist in Winnipeg, Manitoba answered  questions about the 1926 census on Genealogy Stack Exchange.  This is applicable to the census for Saskatchewan. Louis Kessler's web page - web page  and his genealogy blog

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

Family History Books online - Saskatchewan  (see Local Histories on this article)
Search results for Saskatchewan -    University of Calgary Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections

Immigration, Passenger & Border Entry Records
Most of the  records mentioned on the Regina Public Library Prairie History Resources page for Immigration and Passenger records are listed as on microfilm, but then do check Ancestry and other online databases for these.

Prairie History Resources page includes: Census; Directories & Phone Books; Vital Records; Immigration; Passenger & Border Entry Records; Local History Resources; Maps, Atlases and Place Names; Newspapers; Aboriginal & Métis Genealogy.

Cemetery Index - a bit confusing to use, but basically is an index to the names of cemeteries in Saskatchewan. *Not an index to burials*  Helpful to look up municipality first. 

See cemeteries section above for a list of transcribed gravesites. Also has photos, though not a comprehensive list. 
Another version: Cemeteries Saskatchewan Genealogy

RCMP Obituary Index - PDF  -  The Obituary Index is found in the RCMP QUARTERLY magazine & starts with the first issue : Volume 1, No. 1, July 1933 up to and including Volume 54, No. 4, October 1989. For those personnel whose death notices were published in the Quarterly. This is not an official record, however a good starting point.

The Saskatchewan Archives page on Land Grants

History and Background of Land Records in Saskatchewan

Weyburn Public Library - Saskatchewan Homestead Map of Patent (Print copies) (A collection of all RM Maps in Saskatchewan showing the original homestead names and the date of patent) 

!!  Kevin Melle of Weyburn and Denis Riviere of Trossachs created a CD-ROM resource (circa 2005)  called the Historical Ownership Mapping Endeavour, or HOME, which plots the names of some 300,000 original homesteaders on a clickable map of the province. 
See this article (date: 2005) for more information. 
            **As of June 2019, the CDs are for sale for $20.00 from the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society.    Postage and Handling is $3.00 CDN, $4.00 US, $6.00 Overseas
Marketplace (Buy Here)

Information Services Corporation of Saskatchewan (ISC)

CD also includes University of Saskatchewan-written book, "Understanding Western Canada's Dominion Land Survey System."

Libraries & Archives
Regina Public Library provides this list of resources. The library recommends you check their FAQs to enquire about their look up service. Frequently Asked Questions

Saskatchewan Archives - Saskatchewan History Magazine  and Index Saskatchewan History Magazine - PDF (Featured articles : Table of Contents from 1948)

Other collections at the Saskatchewan Archives 

Local Histories - **valuable for histories of families and temporary residents** who settled in smaller / rural communities
Saskatchewan Local History books - PDF  - titles of books that were written about various 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 :  Our Roots/Our Future Our Past Collections migration 

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 Regina Library, search their catalogue, and also try searching on WorldCat for copies in other libraries.
👏  Check out this genealogy map  -  A very neat method of highlighting the various places in Regina to find genealogy resources. - Found via Regina Public Library

On Microfilm:   Morning Leader/Leader Post; Regina Standard 1891 - 1906; Regina Daily Post 1928 - 1930; Western Producer 1924 - 2000 (may be available via Inter-Library Loan)

Saskatchewan Historic Newspapers Online  1878 to mid-1960  Many of the online newspapers are only from 1914-1918, but this is the first phase of digitization.

The Saskatchewan News Index contains historical news stories published in Saskatchewan newspapers from 1884 to 2004.  120 years worth of stories!
Does not include information about BMD notices.

Other Resources
Clayton McLain Memorial Museum, Cutknife, Saskatchewan - Links to Saskatchewan resources

Family Histories via the University of Saskatchewan Library

Pioneer Prairie Interviews
Canadian Prairie Pioneer Questionnaires - this is an amazing genealogy resource.
In the early 1950s the archives embarked on a survey of those individuals and characters who pioneered in the rural districts of Saskatchewan.

The answers reflect the period the people arrived in the community, often the late 1890s. Sometimes they provided a birthplace, parents' names, the name of the town they settled in, their address at the time of the survey as well as the address they came from. These surveys were mailed and over 3,500 replies were sent back to the Saskatoon Archives office.

Probate - scroll down the page to find Saskatchewan - an article written by Candice McDonald

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society
Their website - Saskatchewan Genealogical Society 

Public Databases on the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society  website:
!! The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society provides this database :
Changes of Name 
Your ancestor may have changed their name for many reasons: to hide for whatever reason; because of discrimination; for easier access to government assistance etc. 
Transcribed from the Saskatchewan Gazette 1917-1950
This database is in a PDF format which is Free

From the Website: "These Change of Names were transcribed from the Saskatchewan Gazette 1917 to 1950. Regulations: Anyone over 21 yrs of age, no married women whose husband was still alive. People who applied stated their on the application, their place of residence and possibly the full name of his wife and children. Then it was published in the Gazette and any local newspaper." 

   They note on the PDF : "This index will, we feel, be a useful genealogical tool for those who have lost contact with relatives moving into the province, where the name changed subsequent to the move, and for those who, not realizing there has been a change of name, are trying to trace the origins of their families."  
Indeed!  ❤  

** Please note : there is a members only section on the Saskatchewan Genealogy Society website. It provides much more in the way of transcriptions and name rich records.These databases include: Burial Index; Cummins Rural Directory; Obituary Index; Saskatchewan Resident Index; War Claims; DNA Bootcamp. 

Monday, 16 September 2019

Historical Canadian newspapers

Often, I turn to Gail Dever's page - Genealogy à la carte for Canadian Newspaper links and while I was surprised to find this fantastic reference through my own research, l wasn't surprised to find that Gail also has a link on her page.

Librarian Maureen Barry at Bowling Green State University in Ohio created this fabulous page of links to Canadian Historical Newspapers and most I have surveyed lead to Google News Archive which is their historical newspapers section.

However, this note from Ms. Barry indicated that she will no longer be updating this page....
As of June 1, 2019 this LibGuide is no longer being updated because I'm retiring at the end of June. The Ancestor Hunt is an excellent site that's being kept updated. 
Librarian Maureen Barry
This article is not meant to rehash others' pages for newspaper resources, however, I'm always keen to find out where I can access newspapers - especially for free!

The British Library - Canadian Newspapers

As a Canadian genealogist living in the UK, I need to use creative thinking skills when it comes to finding Canadian resources. As I do not subscribe to the well known commercial online collections, I include the British Library as one of my 'go-to' places.

Although their catalogue search is a little daunting (and to be honest, way old school), it's an amazing resource for Canadian genealogy related items. One reason they have a great Canadian collection is that it is included in their North American collection, which covers the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. 

BL Research Guide - Canadian Collections - includes newspapers, books, journals, Canadian government publications, magazines, photographs 1895-1923, First Nations material, British and French colonial history, Anglophone and Francophone literature. There are relevant maps as well, from King George IIIs collection.

I have found many books published in Canada, written by Canadian authors, (by Desmond Morton and my UofC professor Max Foran!) on topics such as history, immigration and even Chinese residents in Vancouver!

Well, that's great you say, but I don't live anywhere close to London. Did you know that the British Library has a location in Boston Spa, Yorkshire? And that it has a fabulous reading room? And you can order material to look at there? Speaking from personal experience, it's a great service.

Newspapers - Here is a sample of the Canadian newspapers I have found (and used) at the British Library.   Please note: the dates of coverage that are shown can be a bit misleading as not every issue is available. Holdings Notes: indicate the range of dates available at the BL. Also important: see the Later Title - as this is often a continuation of the newspaper with subsequent years.  

Title: The Montreal Herald
Earlier Title: Herald 31 Oct.1896 - 18 Nov.1899
Later Title: Montreal Herald, and The Daily Telegraph 28 Jan.-18 May, 5 Sept.1914-28 March 1919
Notes: From 1894 to 10 Aug.1912 this set consists mainly of Saturday editions only.
Creation Date: 1899
Holdings Notes: (the range of dates available at the BL) 25 Nov.1899 - 10 Aug.1912; 12 Sept.1913- 27 Jan.1914.
Penny's Notes: Be aware that even though this record states 12 Sept.1913 - 27 Jan.1914, I found there were some gaps / missing issues.

  • Title: 
    The Times. (not too helpful unless you look at the place name where it shows this newspaper is from Medicine Hat, Alberta)
  • MFM.MC22
  • Subjects: Alberta -- NewspapersCanada -- NewspapersMedicine Hat (Alta.) -- Newspapers;
    Dewey: 071.1234
  • Place Name: Canada Alberta Medicine Hat.
  • Identifier: System number 013913378
  • Notes: Very imperfect. (I think this means not complete- that they don't have all the issues)
  • Creation Date: 1904
  • Holdings Notes: (the range of dates available at the BL) Newspapers, etc (29 Nov.1904 - 26 May 1909; 7 Sept. 1909 - 15 Feb.1910)
  • Shelfmark(s): General Reference Collection Microform. MFM.MC22
  • UIN: BLL01013913378
  • Penny's Notes: Not available on Peel's Praire Provinces - Newspapers  - also don't assume that they have every issue between 7 Sept. 1909 - 15 Feb. 1910)

  • Title: 
    Canadian Western Standard Illustrated.
  • MFM.MC7 1918
  • Subjects: Alberta -- NewspapersCalgary (Alta.) -- NewspapersCanada -- Newspapers;
    Dewey: 071.12338
  • Place Name: Canada Alberta Calgary.
  • Identifier: System number 013913295
  • Notes: Imperfect.
  • Creation Date: 1918
  • Holdings Notes: (the range of dates available at the BL) Newspapers (18 May - 20 July 1918)
  • Shelfmark(s): General Reference Collection Microform. MFM.MC7
  • UIN: BLL01013913295
Penny's Notes: Not available on Peel's Praire Provinces - Newspapers 

To conduct a search for these newspapers at the British Library, I found it easiest to search by the name of the province and then limit on the left side for newspapers (Material Type: Newspapers). What is particularly good is that most of the titles in the results give the years of coverage and also the name of the city or area. You then need to click on Details to get the kind of information I've shown you above.

Of course, these newspapers are on the whole only available on Microfilm and you will need to visit the British Library. If you don't have a reader's card see this page for information on registering (necessary for Boston Spa as well).

If you have tried various online newspaper collections, and are willing to be a little adventurous - why not check out the British Library catalogue for more Canadian Newspapers, books, journals and maps!

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Relocation of Calgary's Glenbow Archives

© Penny Allen 
It's been a while since I've researched in person at the Glenbow Archives, but I was a little surprised not to have been aware of this important event. (In retrospect, I should have signed up to the newsfeed. 😄)  The last time I visited (quite a few years ago), there were rumblings even then about the future of the archives.

Recently I participated in a Twitter chat about Alberta genealogy and suggested the Glenbow Archives as a major source of research.

The Glenbow Archives holds fabulous resources on Alberta history and genealogy, but my personal favourite is 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 ancestors who were Lord Selkirk's Red River settlers who emigrated to Manitoba from Scotland in 1815.

Why then, you may ask, are there resources in Alberta for this group of settlers? You would think they should be in Manitoba. Charles Denney, mentioned above, was an active historian (from Edmonton) and he traced many families who had Scottish as well as Mètis ancestry.

After the Twitter chat, I felt it was prudent to review the links on my blog article - Finding Your Ancestors in Alberta. That's when I discovered about the move.

Here's the news: 
In November 2018, an announcement was made that a large portion of the Glenbow Archives will be moved to the University of Calgary

© Penny Allen
(the red building in front is the performing 
arts centre and the building in the back
with four rectangle shaped vents is
 the Glenbow Museum.)
This means the space formerly used by the Glenbow Archives will now be used for highlighting western Canadian art collections, including art history and artists histories, which they are planning to digitize. The majority of the existing archive collections will be integrated with the University of Calgary collections but held in a separate physical location. A focus of the project is to contribute to the research streams at the university such as: Arctic studies, veterinary medicine, western history, business, immigration and military history.  Glenbow Blog article about the move & Calgary Herald article about the move. 

On March 11th they started the hard work of moving collections into the Taylor Family Digital Library March 13th 2019 -  University of Calgary article about the move.  There's so much stuff - books, photographs, maps, photographs, audio recordings as well as 4,000 videos and films. This collection will now be available from the newly constructed Western Glenbow Research Centre and the opening date is sometime in September 2019. A matter of days!!

The catalogue for the Glenbow Archives collection is now available via the University of Calgary Archives page. I tried to search the archive catalogue via the Glenbow Archives website and it appears that these collections are no longer available via that page.

University of Calgary Archives & Special Collections

Western Glenbow Research Centre - it doesn't appear to have it's own pages on the University of Calgary website - possibly a work in progress. The link leads to the 'Glenbow Archives at the University of Calgary'.

Library Collections - University of Calgary there are also a lot well used materials in the library collection appropriate for family history research - good collections of newspapers (on microfilm), rate books, local history resources, personal accounts and much much more. I believe the University was gifted (in the distant past) a number of items from the personal collections of local historians.

Glenbow Archives at the University of Calgary 

Glenbow Museum Art Collections - "The Collections Search is a new and growing online collection of high-quality, digital documentation of works of art and objects." ----  "The move will enable Glenbow to focus on its role as a public art museum. It will retain artist files as well as books and archival materials related to the visual arts to complement its impressive collection of more than 33,000 works of art, the largest in western Canada."

I know this move is upsetting for some of the 'frequent customers' but think of the positives! Better collection care, room to acquire more stuff (Yay!), longer hours of access, just as good public transportation links, parking and the best ever - plans to digitize. Yay!! Besides-- the UofC campus is my alma mater!

I think Mr. Denney would be well pleased to know his personal archives and research will be used by so many more researchers. I hope the scanning team picks this collection first!!

UK to Canada Genealogy Index Page

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

British Man deserts wife in Canada 1913

Thursday, October 2, 1913
WIFE FAINTED - Husband Who Deserted Her Sentenced at Montreal

Montreal Oct 1 - Two months in jail and to be deported was the sentence given Percy Lowe, who was chased by his wife 9,000 miles from Manchester, England to Winnipeg, Man., and thence back to Montreal only to find him living with "the other woman" in the case. A dramatic scene followed the condemnation of Lowe. "I want my husband back." cried Mrs. Lowe from the witness stand. Then she fell in a faint.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
I have talked to many family historians in the UK who are puzzled by ancestors who 'disappear' or go to Canada and are never heard from again.

This article popped out at me when I was looking into articles about my family in Manitoba and I wanted to research it further. It sounds just like the problems a researcher would face when searching for their elusive ancestor in Canada. But it is a difficult 'row to hoe'.

Even though the article provides a name and a date, there weren't many options to search. I used a combination of free online resources as well as Ancestry and Find My Past.

Seeing that he was living with 'the other woman' in Montreal, I searched the 1913  Montreal directories for a Percy Lowe. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ).

This result looked the most promising:
A Percy Lowe - clerk - living at 510 Green Av and a Art Lowe, foreman, living at 510 Green Av.
No Mrs. Lowe though. Both these men are still at this address in the 1914 directory.

I also searched the Personnel Records of the First World War in the Library & Archives Canada collection as it is a key resource for British men born in the period of 1880-1899. This Percy Lowe has recorded in his attestation document that he was born in Montreal and his father is Arthur Lowe at the same address. Regimental Number 3083570
So not a match. Darn.

There are 3 other Percy Lowes in the Personnel Records of the First World War and only one has a birthplace in England - Oxfordshire and as well, there is a mother's name and a wife's initials which I don't have knowledge of to verify.

His wife travelled from Manchester, England - so possibly search for a Mrs. Lowe in the passenger records leaving the UK?
  • Looked for Mrs Lowe leaving the UK to go to Canada to look for her husband using Ancestry: UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

No result - I then re-concentrated my efforts in Lancashire - Manchester more specifically as that is all that I can ascertain from the article.
  • Try to find a marriage for Mr. & Mrs. Percy Lowe, perhaps in Manchester before 1913 
Using Find My Past, I found 5 Percy Lowes in Lancashire. <accessed: 28/06/2019>

Were these Mr. Percy Lowe marrying for the first time?
Lowe Percy Edward; Torrinton Vol. 5 B. 951 Jul, Aug Sep 1909
Lowe, Percy Tom; Barton I. (Barton upon Irwell, Lancashire, England) Vol. 8 c. 1133 Jul, Aug Sep 1909

Were these Mr. Percy Lowe marrying the 'other woman' after being deported?.....
-Lowe, Percy E.; Hulse (spouse surname?) District Stockport - Vol. 8a Page 32, Jan, Feb, Mar 1916
-Lowe, Percy; Kanion Manion? (spouse surname?) Chorlton District - Vol. 8 c Page 1333 Jul Aug Sep 1916
-Lowe, Percy; Webb (spouse surname?) Rotherham - Vol. 9 c page 1224 Jul, Aug Sep 1916

Even if I order these marriage certificates for Percy Lowe, I still wouldn't be able to certainly ascertain who Mrs. Percy Lowe is.  

Did Percy marry his 2nd wife in Manitoba?

As we know from the article, that Percy Lowe was living in Winnipeg pre 1913, perhaps he decided to move back there after his sentence. 
Having had success searching the free Manitoba vital statistics pages in previous research, I quickly did a couple of searches, just in case.
Births more than 100 years ago; Marriages more than 80 years ago; Deaths more than 70 years ago

DATE OF MARRIAGE: 28/02/1916
DATE OF MARRIAGE: 25/10/1922

Interestingly, there are two marriages listed, seemingly for the same Percy John Lowe in the same place, Roblin, Manitoba - 7 years apart.
Roblin is approximately 400 kilometres north of Winnipeg. Certainly out in the wilds of Canada, perhaps a good place to hide?
There were no deaths listed in Manitoba Vital Stats for a Percy Lowe or a P Lowe.

I think the most successful search will be to undertake a search for the court record/trial of Percy Lowe being deported, this will determine the names of the parties involved, namely the wife(ves).
The following information from the wiki page for Court Records describes these records in Quebec.
Court records date from about 1651 and will give the names and residence of persons who engaged in litigation in the courts: Registres du baillage (Bailiff’s Court),Plaidoyers communs (Court of Common Pleas), and Conseil Supérieur (Superior Court).
The ANQ at Montréal has published two guides: Guide des archives judiciaires, District de Montréal, Vol. 1, Cour du banc du roi 1795-1849 et Cour superieur 1850 - 1932, and Guide des archives judiciaires, District de Montréal, Vol. 2, Cour de circuit 1849-1953. Cour superieur records should include probates.
Quebec - Bibliotheque and Archives ANQ page for the two guides mentioned above
But if he is noted as living in Montreal as in the clipping above .........and then deported ........ but was he really deported? Or did he escape?

What about Montreal newspapers? 
After writing this article I decided to search newspapers for more information about the trial. Did you know the British Library has microfilm of Canadian newspapers? Yeah! And...

I found the article in the Montreal Herald Oct. 3rd 1913.
It reveals quite a few little tidbits. Percy and his wife 'Nancy' (!) was quite surprised by his unfaithfulness.  She was convinced they had a happy marriage until the 'other woman' came along. She also stated that her husband and his mistress abused her in the lead up to their departure to Canada. Mr Lowe was a successful business man, owning 2 candy stores in Manchester but gave them all up for this new woman in his life. After his conviction, the mistress, Mrs. Sunne, apparently fled to Toronto. Mrs. Nancy (Percy) Lowe was found by the newspaper reporter to be living at 31 Metcalfe Street in Montreal and was gainfully employed.

Now that we have a few more details, the next steps would be to go back and search for Mr. Percy Lowe masquerading as Mr. Sunne in Manitoba's vital statistics and Montreal Directories. Also could search for Mrs. Nancy Lowe at the address provided, as well, did she remarry? A few more clues to chase up!

More than likely you're wondering why on earth I didn't search the newspapers in the first place. That would have eliminated a fair bit of my research as outlined above. However, I don't subscribe to a lot of the online newspapers and the free ones did not have the information I wanted. So off to the British Library I went.

More holdings information about the Montreal Herald at the British Library
  • Notes: From 1894 to 10 Aug.1912 this set consists mainly of Saturday editions only. Microfilm.    Creation Date: 1899 
  • Holdings Notes: 25 Nov.1899 - 10 Aug.1912; 12 Sept.1913- 27 Jan.1914. 
  • Penny's Notes:  Be aware that even though this record states 12 Sept.1913 - 27 Jan.1914, I found there were some gaps / missing issues. 

Great resources at the British Library!

UK to Canada Genealogy Index Page