Free webinar — Canadian copyright for family historians

Tonight’s Ontario Genealogical Society monthly webinar will be open to OGS members — as well as the general public.

Kathryn Lake Hogan will present Canadian Copyright for Family Historians at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time.

What you don’t know about copyright might hurt you. Learn about intellectual property rights and how the Copyright Act of Canada affects you as a family history researcher.

Up to 100 people can access this webinar at one time. The room will open 10 minutes before the session is scheduled to start. It is not necessary to register.

Access will be available here.

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Savoir faire — Providing a peak behind the Members Only wall

I like the approach Essex County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society has taken to attract new members, especially those who live outside the area.

Essex County BranchWhat the Essex County Branch has done is not unique, but it reminded me of how simple this is to do.

What the branch has done is share a list of what is available in the Members Only section of their website. After all, these are the prized resources that are often the reason people join a society.

To share what is available to members only, the Essex County Branch has posted a link to an Excel spreadsheet that provides a list of topics that members and non-members can easily review. Clicking on a topic, such as BMD, Church Records, School Records, or Obits, will lead to a detailed list of what is available. Once you have clicked on a topic, the links appear along the bottom of the Excel spreadsheet.

If you post a list of Members Only resources on your website, remember to tell people you have made the list available. The Essex County Branch promoted theirs on Facebook.

You will find the link to the Essex County Branch table of contents on the Members Only Site. Scroll down past the log in tutorial to find the Excel link. I would suggest the society also add a link to this Excel list on the Membership page, so that people exploring membership benefits will see the list.

Nice one, Essex County.

If your society shares the Members Only resources another way, I would like to learn how your society does it.

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Montreal doesn’t need more digging, except for this dig

When you drive on the island of Montreal, you can all too easily become extremely frustrated at the tremendous amount of road construction. It is impossible to travel anywhere in the city without seeing orange construction cones and detour signs. Even my own quiet street has been a major construction site this summer.

Since most of the streets in the city seem to be dug up, why not dig up more? Seriously, a dig planned for this fall interests me.

Last week, the city of Montreal issued a request for proposal for an archaeological dig at Place Vauquelin, next to city hall on the west side.

The city hopes the dig will uncover hidden treasures, such as artifacts from an old Jesuit convent and an 18th-century prison whose ruins are buried under city hall.

The convent was confiscated by the British after the conquest of New France in 1763. Five years later, the convent was turned into a prison.

Montreal City Hall. (Note the orange cones in front.) The archaelogical dig will take place in Place Vauquelin, next to City Hall, on the left in this photo. Source: GoogleMaps.

Montreal City Hall. (Note the orange cones in front.) The archaelogical dig will take place in Place Vauquelin, next to City Hall, on the left in this photo. Source: GoogleMaps.

Valérie De Gagné, spokesperson for the city, told La Presse archaeologists are expected to break ground this fall. They will look for traces of the convent whose construction dates back to 1692. The architectural structures included a chapel, church, residence for the Jesuits, courtyard, and vegetable garden.

You can read more about this story in the La Presse article.

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Are you descended from Patrick Thomas Brown from Donegal?

Recently, Kathryn Lake Hogan, Dominion Genealogist of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada, tweeted:

Are you a descendant of Patrick Thomas BROWN of Donegal, Ireland who came to Canada in 1839?

Since my Dever ancestors came from Donegal, Ms. Hogan’s tweet grabbed my attention and I read what was in the link she provided. Here is what I learned.

Patrick Thomas Brown was born in County Donegal, Ireland in 1784. He and his family left Ireland and immigrated to Canada in 1839. Many of Patrick’s children then migrated to Clay County, South Dakota, beginning in about 1874.

On Saturday, August 1, Jeanine Ashmore of Sioux City, Iowa, presented to the Clay County Historical Society in nearby Vermillion, South Dakota her Brown Family History.

Ms. Ashmore’s manuscript includes biographical information and pictures of historic, as well as contemporary, descendants of Patrick Thomas Brown.

Ms. Ashmore’s husband is a descendant of the William Brown family, a son of Patrick.

You can read more in the Vermillion Plain Talk article, ‘Brown Family History’ To Be Presented.

Thank you for sharing, Kathryn Lake Hogan.

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Criminals on your family tree?

Do you have criminals among your ancestors? If so, Aoife O’Connor invites you to complete an online survey for her PhD research about “The Impact of Digital Resources in the History of Crime” at the University of Sheffield in England.

Judy G. Russell writes on her blog, The Legal Genealogist, that Ms. O’Connor is an “accomplished historian (her master’s thesis was about children in Ireland’s prisons), and she works at Findmypast.”

On her website, A Criminal Record, Ms. O Connor writes about her research: “My PhD will explore the impact of digitisation on the study of the history of crime, drawing on the experiences of genealogists, historians, students, writers and teachers.” She is interested in hearing from anyone who has “utilised online resources to further their understanding of the history of crime: genealogists, student, teachers, authors, playwrights, historians etc.”

If interested in completing the survey and learning more about this research, read Ms. Russell’s blog post, Criminal ancestors?

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This week’s crème de la crème — August 1, 2015

Some of the bijoux I discovered this hot, humid week.

Interpreting Old Documents: 10 Strategies for Reading Historical Handwriting by Marisa Parker on The Family Archivist’s Notebook.

The Learning Curve – Learn about Genealogy by Christine Woodcock on Geneosity.

Attention Genealogists: You Might be Missing Out by Annie Bowser Tennant on My Kith N Kin.

Reactions to the National Library’s parish registers site by John Grenham on Irish Roots.

I Wish I Had a Time Machine by Ellen Thompson-Jennings on Hound on the Hunt.

It Was Right Under My Nose by Cyndi Freed on Genealogy Circle.

Opting out by Judy G. Russell on The Legal Genealogist.

Organizing your search(es) by Mark Rabideau on ManyRoads.

Returning to Genealogy Research with New Tracking Tools by Melanie J. Rice on Grandma’s Genes.

Genealogy Opportunities 2015: What Do You Mean It Isn’t Free? by Thomas MacEntee on GenBiz Solutions. Partnership Agreement for public comment by Onaona Guay on NARAtions.

Money in New France by Sandra Goodwin on Mape Stars and Stripes.

Author and former mayor rediscover the grave of Bootjack Mary, The Independent (Petrolia, Ontario).

Tiny Township cottager finds connection to Samuel de Champlain by Jenni Dunning, Midland (Ontario) Mirror.

Manitoulin Genealogy Club book takes new tack on Remembrance by Michael Erskine, Manitoulin (Ontario) Expositor.

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Highland Games weekend begins today

If you live in the Montreal-Eastern Ontario area and enjoy listening to bagpipe bands, watching highland dancers and athletes, and eating Scottish food, this is your weekend.

Starting today, July 31, is the two-day Glengarry Highland Games in Maxwell, Ontario, close to the Quebec border and 30 minutes from the US border.

This afternoon starts with a mix of local celtic dancers, fiddlers, and gaelic singers. The Tattoo takes place in the evening. Saturday is described as “wall-to wall Glengarry music,” ending with a performance of the Massed Bands.

On Sunday, it’s the Montreal Highland Games at Arthur-Therrien Park in Verdun. The day will feature pipe bands, highland dance, and heavy weight competitions, including the caber toss, sheaf toss, hammer throw and putting the stone. For the first time, kids will have their own mini games and Highland costumes to try on.

Information is available on the Glengarry Highland Games and Montreal Highland Games websites.

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Free Old Montreal walking tour app now available

My days of giving guided walking tours to family members-who-would-rather-not-listen are over. The free historical walking tour of Old Montreal app, produced by Montréal en Histoire, is now available.

The app enables users to enjoy twelve augmented reality experiences and to visit fifty points of interest. (I must say I am curious to know what an “augumented reality experience” actually is. Does it include a stop to sip chilled Chardonnay? My tours do.) With a tablet or a smartphone, users discover the characters and important places that have forged Montreal through time.

The Montréal en Histoire app is available in four languages: French, English, Spanish, and Mandarin. It is recommended you use a set of headphones.

Learn more about what you will see on your walking tour in the video here.

Here is where you can download the mobile app for smartphones and tables:
App store:
Google Play:

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WDYTYA? features JK Rowling and a trip to France

This week on Who Do You Think You Are?, author JK Rowling will set off on a journey to uncover her maternal French roots. She will finally solve a family mystery, uncover a harrowing tale of wartime heroism, and discover a surprising connection to a bold woman.

Part of Rowling’s journey will take her to the Archives nationales in Paris and the military archives outside the French capital.

The program airs Sunday, August 2, on TLC. It was originally broadcast on the BBC network in the U.K. in 2011. Here’s a short video clip.

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Expansion of Google Translate app makes travelling in foreign countries easier

Travelling in countries to do family history research where you do not understand the language just became easier.

Google announced yesterday it has updated its Google Translate app to expand instant visual translation to 20 more languages, for a total of 27.

Google started with seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

As of yesterday, Google Translate can also translate to and from English and Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish, and Ukrainian.

Google explains how the app works: “Just open the app, click on the camera, and point it at the text you need to translate — a street sign, ingredient list, instruction manual, dials on a washing machine. You’ll see the text transform live on your screen into the other language. No Internet connection or cell phone data needed.”

You can also take a photo of the text you would like translated. Google has 37 languages in camera mode.

To try out the new languages, go to the Google Translate app, set “English” along with the language you’d like to translate, and click the camera button. You will be prompted to download a small (~2 MB) language pack for each.

Read the Google announcement here.

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