Blog about CEF’s18th Battalion a good starting point for WWI researchers

When Eric Andrew’s daughter asked him for help her with a speech for Remembrance Day, he had no idea he would soon write a blog about the 18th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World World — and provide a go-to website for genealogists researching their WWI ancestors.

Now, several years later, Mr. Andrew’s has published more than 1,000 blog posts about his grandfather William Robb Dewar’s battalion and stories about about many of the men who served in it.

Mr. Andrew’s blog, War Diary of the 18th Battalion CEF: A Journey of One Man’s War by Researching Many, is a good resource for anyone researching their Canadian ancestor who served during WWI, especially the 18th Battalion.

18 Battalion Canadian Expeditionary ForceMr. Andrew’s goal is “to list every soldier that is mentioned in the war diary and any subsequent soldiers that ongoing research finds.”

While he does not intend to be the authoratative source about the 18th Battalion, Mr. Andrews does want his blog to be a “starting point for people interested in Canadian history and matters specific to the 18th Battalion.”

In addition to writing about each soldier’s military service, he writes about the lives they lived before and after the war. The stories are illustrated with images of attestation papers, photos of the men, their homes, and headstones, and newspaper clippings.

Genealogists will empathize with how easily Mr. Andrews becomes distracted in other areas when conducting his research. While transcribing the 1915 diaries, one of his “problems” is that there are “references to places, people, and other things that I want to research.”

Tabs provide additional info
The tabs across the top of the blog include headings, such as 18th Battalion Unit Action & Battles, Honour Roll of the 18th Battalion, Soldiers Found from Other Sources, Soldiers from other Battalions with Relationship to the 18th, and The Dewar Family.

Links to other WWI resources
Even if your ancestors did not serve with the 18th, there is plenty of information about researching WWI ancestors. )I was pleased to see a link to a website about my grandfather’s 19th Battalion.)

Make sure you look at the links to WWI resources in the side margin.

Here is just the beginning of the list of links: British Artillery Fire Control, British Home Children of Canada, British Home Children Who Died in the First World War, British Red Cross Volunteers of World War 1, Bruce in Khaki, Canada’s First World War Experience, Canadian Courts Martial of the First World War, Canadian Letters and Images Project.

If you missed the link above to the blog, you can also visit it here.

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Recognize this Canadian Forestry Corps soldier?

Please take a look at the photo in the Doing Our Bit blog to see if you recognize the soldier who served with the Canadian Forestry Corps during WWI.

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Franco-American life in Manchester, New Hampshire

Book_Franco-American Life and Culture in ManchesterMillions of Americans claim to have French Canadians among their ancestors, and for that reason alone there should be a fair amount of interest in Robert Perreault’s new book, Franco-American Life & Culture in Manchester New Hampshire: Vivre la Différence.

Mr. Perreault, who is a Franco-American historian, has written his latest book as a tribute to his hometown, Manchester, New Hampshire, which was one of several mill towns that attracted immigrants from Quebec during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

About 900,000 French Canadians left Canada between 1840 and 1930, most of them looking for work and settling in New England.

In a review of Mr. Perreault’s book, journalist and genealogist Juliana L’Heureux writes in the Portland Press, “It’s a well written history with photographs giving tribute to his hometown of Manchester. In so doing, he also provided another interesting chapter about the Franco-American immigration and cultural assimilation experience.”

Ms. L’Heureux also explains Manchester’s importance to Franco-American culture, “Manchester enjoyed a friendly ethnic and cultural rivalry with the cities of Lewiston, Maine, Lowell Massachusetts and Woonsocket, Rhode Island, for the unofficial title of the French-speaking capital of New England.”

Read Ms. L’Heureux’s book review, Franco-American writer Robert Perreault, in its entirety here.

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Eastern Townships online archives to continue growing

The Eastern Townships Resource Centre (ETRC) plans to continue adding items to its online archives, the Eastern Townships Archives Portal, that was launched almost two weeks ago.

Future plans
In reply to my enquiry about immediate plans for the Archive Portal, archvist Jody Robinson said they expect to add new digitized material almost every week, although sometimes it may be only a few items at a time.

Can the online images be enlarged?
As for my question about whether the images on the website can be enlarged, the answer is “no.” If website visitors would like information on obtaining a copy of a photo to identify people or for other purposes, the ETRC encourages them to contact the society that holds the original. Ms. Robinson said, “Because each society has different policies and procedures for this, it was necessary for us to organize the database with this approach.”

Read more about the Eastern Townships Archive Portal in Archives for Quebec’s Eastern Townships now online.

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Online BC Sessional Papers a goldmine for genealogists

Although the name, BC Sessional Papers, sounds like a collection of extremely dry and boring documents, you should explore this online resource if your ancestors lived in British Columbia. Doing so could help you learn about the town where your family once lived — and even what the weather was like.

These sessional papers are provincial legislative documents that have been digitized, from 1878 to 1931, and made available on the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) website. They capture the economical, historical, political, and cultural atmosphere of British Columbia history.

This summer, UBC will begin to digitize the sessional papers from 1933 to 1952. This phase will include fold-out maps and charts.

Voters' lists like this one for Kootenay District in 1881 are a treasure trove for genealogists. Source: BC Sessional Papers :

Voters’ lists like this one for Kootenay District in 1881 are a treasure trove for genealogists. Source: BC Sessional Papers :

Some of the items you may find in sessional papers include birth, marriage and death registries, reports, graphs, maps, and photographs related immigration, mining, fisheries, famers’ institutes, education, voters’ lists, school reports, and the Canadian Pacific Railway.

On UBC’s website, the collection is described as the following: “The Sessional Papers include official committee reports, orders of the day, petitions and papers presented, records of land sales, correspondence, budgetary estimates, proclamations, maps, voters lists by district, and departmental annual reports.”

Search for town names and other keywords
You can search by name, town, district, or other keyword.

Searching for “Bella Coola Valley” will uncover the names of a number of settlers who lived there on December 31, 1895. (There were 64.)

A search for “weather” leads to an annual report from the Department of Agriculture where you can read about “Grasshopper Outbreaks” in the Okanagan Valley in 1924.

Filter by date
When you enter a keyword in the Search box and click on the magnifying glass next to it, a series of filters in the left margin, next to the results, appears. The best filter for genealogists is probably the date filter that allows you to narrow down the results to the period when your  ancestors lived in the province or a particular town or district.

Finding electoral lists
One of my favourite finds was the List of Persons Entitled to Vote in the Vancouver City Electoral District. 8th June 1894. Similar lists are available for other years and for other towns, such as New Westminister, Nanimo, Kootenay, Lillooet, and Chilliwack.

To find electoral lists for Chilliwack, for example, use quotation marks and the following words in the search box:

“list of persons entitled to vote” “chilliwack”

Once you open an electoral list — or any sessional paper, you can narrow down your search even further by name, street, or occupation. Of course, since women could not vote at the time, only men are listed.

Optimal character recognition
Be aware that your search results are only as good as the OCR — Optimal Character Recognition. In one case, PROVINCE was interpreted as PROVINCC.

You can start your search of the British Columbia Sessional Papers here. Even if you don’t find any of your ancestors, you’ll be pleased you looked.

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20% off Ancestry World Deluxe subscription

A little birdie told me on the Genealogy à la carte Facebook group that Ancestry is offering a 20 percent discount on the World Deluxe subscription until May 5. Some people received an email from Ancestry about the discount. I did not receive any message.

I called the Canadian number yesterday — even though my subscription had automatically renewed Friday — and they gave me the discount. Friendly service. Their phone numbers are here. Thanks, Ancestry!

Meanwhile, I owe my new best friend, Margaret, a chilled glass of Chardonnay for sharing the tip.

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March and April additions to CanadianHeadstones

These cemeteries were added to the CanadianHeadstones website in March and April.

St. Hedwig’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Barry’s Bay, Refrew County. Ontario. 2,293 name entries. 900 photos.

St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Plantagenet, United Counties of Prescott and Russell, Ontario. 2,590 name entries. 650 photos.

St. Eugene Roman Catholic Cemetery, St. Eugene, United Counties of Prescott and Russell, Ontario. 2,310 name entries. 482 photos.

St. John the Baptist Anglican Cemetery, Iroquois, United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Ontario. 928 name entries. 350 photos.

St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Morrisburg, United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Ontario. 1,021 name entries. 410 photos.

Val-Jalbert Cemetery, Saguenay Lac-St-Jean, Quebec. 587 name entries. Catholic. Francophone. 205 burials of which 140 were children under the age of seven years. This cemetery is located in an abandoned village that you can visit.

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Dates announced for Quebec’s National Genealogy Week 2016

The Quebec Federation of Genealogy Societies (La Fédération québécoises des sociétés de généalogie – FQSG) has announced that La Semaine nationale de la généalogie 2016 — National Genealogy Week — will take place November 19 to 26.

This year’s theme is La généalogie, ça s’apprend! (Direct translation: Genealogy — it can be learned.)

Semaine nationale de la genealogie_logoOrganizations that want to participate must hold an activity following these criteria:

  • Open and free to the general public.
  • Created specifically for the Semaine nationale de la généalogie.
  • Take place during the Semaine nationale de la généalogie during the last week of November.

Suggested activities listed on the website are:

  • Open house.
  • Guided tour.
  • Genealogy lecture for beginners.
  • School visit.
  • Special celebration, such as a society’s anniversary.

The FQSG is a non-profit organisation, representing local and regional genealogy societies in Quebec. Currently, 70 societies are FQSG members, and about 25,000 genealogists are members of those societies.

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South Peace Soldier Memorial now includes more than 2,000 WWII soldiers

Only two weeks ago, the South Peace Regional Archives in Alberta announced they were building an online memorial to remember all soldiers from the area who had served our country.

When the memorial was first launched, the archives said they were starting with soldiers who had served during WWI, and they had listed more than 900 soldiers. The plan was to add soldiers from other conflicts later.

Well, they have made tremendous progress within a very short period of time. Already, they have more than tripled the number of soldiers listed on the memorial.

On Friday, the South Peace Regional Archives tweeted that their memorial includes more than 2,000 soldiers who served during the Second World War.

The plan is to list and write the biography of every soldier from the region, and they still need volunteers to help research and write these biographies.

Volunteer opportunity
Members of the general public may volunteer to contribute to the project from their home. All you have to do is select a soldier’s name from the list, download the form to complete, and research the soldier’s service. Links to local and national, such as service files at Library and Archives Canada, are provided on the South Peace Regional Archives’ website to help you.

You can visit the site here.

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This week’s crème de la crème — April 30, 2016

Some of the bijoux I discovered this week.

Alberta Online Historical Newspapers Summary, and New Brunswick Online Historical Newspapers Summary and Prince Edward Island Online Historical Newspapers Summary by Kenneth R. Marks on The Ancestor Hunt.

The British Colonist adds 30 years of digitized newspapers by Steve Clifford on Doing Our Bit.

FamilySearch adds New Brunswick, Saint John…Burial Permits, 1889-1919 by John D. Reid on Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections.

The “Jumping Frenchmen of Maine” Offer Lessons in Medical History, Human Behavior by James Myall on Parlez-Vous American?

“Do You Know Your Winnipeg?” Whither the City Archives? by Tom Nesmith on The Office Blog of Heritage Winnipeg.

A new Irish records database by Jean Maguire on Vita Brevis.

Trove: Australia Digitized Newspapers and More by Lisa Louisa Cooke on Genealogy Gems.

Israel State Archives Putting Collection Online by Diane L. Richard on Upfront with NGS.

Step Three: Evaluate the Evidence and Is Blogging Dying? by Barbara J. Starmans on Out of My Tree Genealogy News.

4 Easy Ways to Label Family Photos by Denise May Levenick on the Ancestry Blog.

Top 10 Resources for Dating Old Photographs by Lisa Lisson on Lisa Lisson.

Genealogy: Going Social? Or Losing It? by Jacqui Stevens on A Family Tapestry.

CamScanner will Turn Your Phone or Tablet into a Scanner for Many Purposes by Dick Eastman on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.

French-Canadian Genetic Diseases-Part 1 with Sandra Goodwin on Maple Stars and Stripes.

Digitized issues of Daily Colonist now cover Depression, war years by Louise Dickson, Times Colonist (Victoria, British Columbia).

History comes home with return of original Town documents to Whitby archives by Parvaneh Pessian, (Ontario).

How the Scots built: Canada, The Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland).

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