Friday, May 27, 2016

Find My Past now has HINTS!

Find My Past has been promoting its very new Beta family tree hints recently with a contest. #treechallenge Some, like myself, found uploading a GEDCOM file (from my phone-built tree at another company) to Find My Past a chore as, perhaps due to increased demand, the upload failed. I was able to upload another file pretty quickly though.

I was more concerned to be told afterwards that the hoped for hints wouldn't appear unless I added or edited individuals. This seemed not to be the case for those promoting the service. However, I will say that at some point hints on my tree - over 700 of them - were apparently turned on - without my doing anything.

And, because of the uploading difficulties, Find My Past offered me and others a research chat with staff. This is one of the many things I appreciate about Find My Past. The company does reward loyal customers and usually offers a 'sweetener' when there is an obvious problem.

Chat staff were quick to respond to research questions with suggestions but there were comments about the new hint service too and I thought some might be interested in these.

- The number of trees a customer can have is unlimited. This is good for me as I keep separate trees for family and I have a one-name study (SAGGERS)

- Hints at the moment are from records of census and births, marriages and deaths, including registration of births, marriages and deaths and parish records. In my case, I see death hints include Canadian references to Billion Graves. (More about this below.)

- I asked if there would be newspaper hints. Love the access to those old newspapers! Sounds as if this is unlikely, or at least far away, for technical reasons, but I did suggest Find My Past offer newspaper research hints, letting people know that newspapers for their trees' places and time of interest are available to search.

- One person asked if we can look at other members' trees or contact tree owners. No, at least not yet, but if you can contact the owner, they can make their tree 'public' and send the URL so you can view it.  Later there may be viewing of public trees and matches and hints from trees. I don't always find hints from trees elsewhere useful -  except as clues - but new clues are always good!

Check the Find My Past FAQ if you are interested in uploading a tree to Find My Past. There is a free offer good till May 30th - and if you upload a tree and share an amazing find you may win really great prizes.

Now a quibble.

One of my few ongoing issues with Find My Past is that when the company began promotions in North America, I was 'promised' there'd be Canadian records. Alas, not much yet. Although Find My Past does have the Archive CD Books collection which can be very useful and  extremely handy to have in my subscription.

I was interested to see that at least a few Canadians in my tree had hints. But! so unhappy to see their description.

These are all hints from Billion Graves with Find My Past describing the person's grave as in the United States thus:

"We found John William Rogers in 1970 in United States in the Canada Billion Graves Cemetery Index record set."

My curmudgeonly great uncle would be horrified! This needs fixing. I can't understand how a British company made this mistake. Perhaps colonial history lessons are in order.

Chat staff suggested I send this on to support which I have done.

My favourite find so far from a hint was an abstract (labelled a transcription) of a record of my parents' marriage which I thought was impressive given how basic the information in my tree is, how common the names, and how far from home they were married (District of Columbia, USA, 1946). It was a bit of a dance to figure how what this hint was based on - it turned out to be a FamilySearch (film).

I do think this was an excellent hint. Hope you find one as good. Remember the hashtag #treechallenge if you want to win and share. Read the Terms and Conditions and the official offer. (I think it's unclear as it says somewhere that just uploading or starting a tree gets you in the contest.)

But if a hint turns into a real find that will be the best #genealogy prize.


(P. S. Can you spot the newpaper's mistake? )

Monday, May 09, 2016

Books, books, books - my souvenirs

I still have information and photos to process from my research trip to England. This will take a while.

In the meantime, at least I do have lots to read because I brought so many bools back with me. :-) Many I bought at Who Do You Think You Are Live! 2016 in Birmingham. Bargains!

My current favourites here are Rebecca Probert's books on marriage written for family historians - Marriage Law for Genealogists: The Definitive Guide ...what everyone tracing their family history needs to know about where, when, who and how their English and Welsh ancestors married and 
Divorced, Bigamist, Bereaved?: The family historian's guide to marital breakdown, separation, widowhood, and remarriage: from 1600 to the 1970s.

My next read will be Criminal Ancestors: A Guide to Historical Criminal Records in England and Wales by David Hawkings.




I'll be adding most of these books to my LibraryThing catalogs. Look for me there as eicuthbertson.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

May in Canada

Today Australian genealogy blogger Lonetester has an interesting list of things that happened in her country in May.

In Canada, May has for many years included a number of activities. May 1st is now a political day, especially for labour. Then there's Mother's Day, more commercial now, and the 24th of May, a holiday weekend, the Queen's official birthday in Canada, (nowadays whichever Monday is closest), also known as Commonwealth Day and celebrated as National Patriotes Day, Journée nationale des patriotes in Quebec. The 24th was Queen Victoria's birthday; Canadians have long memories. 



May Day Queen and her court, c. 1887, photographer S. J. Thompson. 
Photograph courtesy New Westminster Public Library, Accession 2728. A list of May Queens is here on New Westminster Heritage.


In a few areas, notably in New Westminster, May is the month for folk festivals and yes, May pole dancing. 


May is also the time to really get working in the vegetable garden and towards the end of the month, time to think about bedding plants and, when my parents were young, after cleaning up, to put on your white shoes and attend a garden tea party or two in a new (or perhaps refurbished) spring hat.



Spring hats, Gordon Drysdale Ltd., Vancouver, 1917.
Spring hat sale, Gordon Drysdale Ltd., Vancouver, 1917. Vancouver Daily World, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, May 11, 1917, page 5.  Clipped at Newspapers.com, 3 May 2016. I love Newspapers.com  Look for me there as MDiane_Rogers.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dewey's Readathon today - halfway and some

Hooray! I'm more than half way through Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon - 24 hours of #reading pleasure. Last time I could only cheer others as I had commitments, but this time I'm in.

If you are interested, catch up with me and all the #readathon readers on Twitter. Lots of good conversation there. Many of us can talk, text and read! Hashtag #readathon

The four main books I chose are:

READ - The Anatomy of Murder by Imogen Robertson - a mystery set in London, England in 1781. Having just been to modern London, this was an easy choice. And a very good read!

READ - Marriage Law for Genealogists: the definitive guide by Rebecca Probert. Of course, there's always some #genealogy. This is a book I brought home from my trip. Recommend it if you are doing English or Welsh research.

READING NOW - The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

TBR - Cultural Memories and Imagined Futures: The Art of Jane Ash Poitras by Pamela McCallum


Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: http://www.24hourreadathon.com/

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Images of Canadian History - Your Choices?

The Canadian Museum of History is due to open its Canadian History Hall on 1 July, 2017. As part of this process, the Museum has been asking for suggestions for images for the area leading to the Hall - the History Hall Gateway.

You can still submit ideas - the deadline is April 29th, 2016.

Of course, being a westerner, I'd like to see that the Gateway (and the Hall) reflects all of Canada, especially the west and the north. The criteria seem to make that a little difficult, but use your imagination and knowledge of Canada and submit your ideas now.


Here are the criteria:

"LANDMARKS
Landmarks are visually recognizable places or locations in Canada still standing today that speak to events of the past. Examples: Citadel Hill in Halifax or Habitat 67 in Montréal. Please do not include landmarks that no longer exist or historical photographs.

SYMBOLS
Symbols represent aspects of Canadian life or identity. For example: the beaver on the nickel (as opposed to a picture of a beaver in a lake) or the maple leaf from the flag. Keep in mind this category is not about geography or natural history as such (it therefore excludes images of natural landscapes such as Niagara Falls or Banff). Nor is it about commercial logos or trademarks.

CANADIANS
In this category we’re looking for images of Canadians doing activities typically associated with Canada. For example: kids playing hockey or pow wow dancers. This category does not include Canadian personalities or represent any recognizable individual. It could however include monuments erected in memory of specific individuals, such as the Terry Fox monument in Thunder Bay."

Why would I quibble about the criteria?

The west and the north have few 'old' built landmarks, But I'm thinking right now of  Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park and the Alaska Highway, and Nanaimo's Bastion though it was an HBC (commercial) building. First, it represents British Columbia's fur trading and mining beginnings, but also, in 1909 it served as a symbol of BC at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and could symbolize BC's historical place in the Pacific Northwest of North American and then and now in the world's Pacific area.

And as for symbols, for instance, why think of Canada's history without the Hudson's Bay Company? The HBC seal seems an obvious choice to me, but it is commercial.  So would be an HBC blanket, I suppose.

And Canadians doing Canadian things- well, there's lots of hockey in the west - and soccer too, what else, skiing, fishing, whale researching, still some lumbering, mining, no maple syruping but lots of growing grapes and drinking wine though!

And walking on the Seawall where I live. Maybe choose Vancouver's Girl in a Wetsuit?

And as for monuments to people, my first choices would be something to do with the Northwest Rebellions and the Pauline Johnson Memorial in Stanley Park. (Surely Stanley Park itself should qualify as a landmark.)  And please! there are Terry Fox monuments in Canada, but none like this one in Vancouver.



Saturday, April 09, 2016

Who Do You Think You Are Live! 2016 - Day 2

Favourite displays at Who Do You Think You Are Live 2016?









Everyone attending must have ideas on this, but for me the outstanding one has to be Forces War Records.

Knowledgeable, entertaining, bold, and a Spitfire!


Friday, April 08, 2016

What am I reading in England?



As I was packing someone asked me which books I was taking to read. I laughed and said I was taking half a dozen to last me on the immediate journey at least, but in my luggage I had a hundred more, the new ones mostly a mix of mystery, genealogy and steampunk. For someone like me, who can't imagine a day without a book, this is grand.

Of course, the hundred more aren't so heavy as the six. They're all in my Kindle account and as long as it's cloudy, so to speak, I won't run out of books to read. 

This trip has not been without challenges, mostly small, thankfully, but still. Reading helps. Two people recommended I read The Martian by Andy Weir and that was one of the paper books I brought along. Loved it! And what a good companion Mark Watney is - an unfailing sense of humour and the ability to fix almost anything (and explain mostly how he does it). OK, occasionally he blows something up or electrocutes it accidentally, but still, what a guy - he always bounces back. 

As an example of how handy Kindle is to me, after I left home, I had a note from David (D.J) Wiseman. I read his first genealogy mystery some time ago and now he's finished another. I was able to buy that via Amazon.ca, download and start reading in under 4 minutes. Can't complain about that! If you're into genealogy, you'll like this mystery, The Death Of Tommy Quick And Other Lies (Askance Publishing, 2016), featuring genealogist Lydia Silverstream, in a sequel to A Habit Of Dying (2012). It is available both as a paper or digital book.




Who Do You Think You Are Live! 2016 - Day 1


Guild of One Name Studies stand, WDYTYALive 2016.

Today was the second day of Who Do You Think You Are Live 2016 in Birmingham, England (or very near it). I've had no trouble getting there from Birmingham. Nice buses! Although not as cheap as at home. (And a little drizzle to remind me of the wet coast of British Columbia.)

Yesterday I had a quick go round (honest, I only bought a couple of light books and CDs) and after that I was helping at the Guild of One Name Studies stand. It was a busy day, but overall not as crowded as I expected.

Happily, the Guild had lots of visitors though and we were kept on our toes answering questions, and looking up surnames to check if they were available to register or not. And two members manned the computers to show visitors the spread of their names in the 1881 UK census, and give them a copy of the map generated with Archive Software's Surname Atlas.

Many had heard of the Guild but wanted to know more; some were determined already to begin their own surname study. Great to hear! One interesting question that came up twice to me was about specific surname studies begun by someone who had had to abandon them for some reason, perhaps illness. This is one reason I joined the Guild - to have somewhere to 'deposit' my Saggers surname study material so it's not lost 'after I'm gone'.