Ancestry adds Canadian soldier homestead grant registers has added a new Canadian set of records, but I have yet to find much detail in them that would prove useful to my research. Then again, it could be because I only searched for common names, such as Smith, Jones, and Green, and almost none of my ancestors settled in Western Canada. It also appears that only records for British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba exist, which makes sense for homesteading during that time period.

The database is called Canada, Soldier Homestead Grant Registers, 1918-1931. Ancestry tells us these are single-line register entries. Apparently, some of the entries contain more than name, date, and lot, but I could not find any after a fairly quick search.

Nevertheless, it is always worth entering family names in any new database, because we never know what may appear.

This is Ancestry’s description of the database:

With the end of the First World War and the troops that would be returning from Europe in mind, Canada’s 1917 Soldier Settlement Act, and its 1919 revision, made land grants and loans available to soldiers. A person who had been in active service during the First World War and who was eligible for a free homestead entry under the Soldier Settlement Act was known as a Soldier Settler.

These records consist of single-line register entries noting applications for grants. Entries list name, homestead number, date of application, date of grant, land description, area (acreage), fee, application number, district number, list number, and remarks.

The early books also contain reference to the date of first occupancy, the expiry of term, folio general register, and patent reference number.

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United Empire Loyalist book talks in Gananoque next weekend

All About Books in Gananoque, Ontario will host two events recounting the history connecting the American Revolution to some of the earliest settlers along the St. Lawrence River – the United Empire Loyalists.

Shadows-in-the-TreeOn Saturday, November 8, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., author and Loyalist descendant Jennifer DeBruin will take the audience on a multimedia journey following the exodus of a Loyalist family from the frontier of the Mohawk Valley in New York to the shores of the St. Lawrence River, the basis of her second novel, Shadows in the Tree. Ms. DeBruin will share the true events and human stories that inspire her research and writing. Only 20 suites are available at this free event.

On Sunday, November 9, 2014, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., award-winning author Peter C. Newman will share insight into his upcoming book about the United Empire Loyalists. Mr. Newman has written 25 books on some of Canada’s most compelling historic events. This is also a free event.

Both events take place at All About Books Internet Café, 126 King Street East, Gananoque. Contact Debra Savoy to reserve and for more information at 613-876-5729 or

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Quebec highway renamed to honour United Empire Loyalist

A stretch of Autoroute 143 has been re-named Route Gilbert Hyatt.

A stretch of Autoroute 143 has been re-named Route Gilbert Hyatt.

The Record in Sherbrooke, Quebec reported that representatives of the Little Forks Branch of the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada unveiled new street signs at the corner of Chemin Mcdonald and Autoroute 143, south of Lennoxville, that commemorate Gilbert Hyatt, the man credited with the surveying and development of Ascot Township.

The stretch of Autoroute 143 (and, it seems, part of 108), from the Herring Bridge, south of Lennoxville to Val-Estrie Road in Waterville, has been named Route Gilbert Hyatt. In 1992, the provincial highway already had that name, but lost the official designation in 2005 after municipal mergers.

Read more in The Record.

Google Map location.

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Finding a 1957 Betty Crocker cook book brings back childhood memories

A distant cousin’s comment on Facebook about finding a 1957 Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls online piqued my interest.

It was heartwarming to read on Facebook how seeing the old cook book brought back memories of my cousin’s childhood in the 1960s. She remembers an aunt giving her sister a later edition and how the book’s recipes and pictures became part of her youth. She wrote, “I love the drawings of the ‘food testers,’ who were supposedly real children who tried out the recipes.”

Betty CrockerThe Betty Crocker cook book was scanned and posted online on Open Library with all the cooking stains still visible.

My cousin found the mulligan stew recipe her mother used for “my entire life.” She wrote at the end of her Facebook comment, “We’re going to make it on the weekend, enjoy it with gusto, and remember.

You can see Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls here and find the cook book and many other books on Open Library, although not all of the books are available online.

Open Library is a project of the non-profit Internet Archive. Think of it as a catalogue of books that are available online, in libraries, and in stores.

Searching in Open Library is way for genealogists to find new and old books about topics of interest. I searched for “Picton” to find books about that town in Ontario where my Irish Dever ancestors settled in 1862. I found a couple of books I can read online, including one about the cemetery where they are buried, and others that I can purchase or perhaps borrow from a library. In the right-hand column, you can narrow down your search by time period. To find out if it is available online, click on Accessible under Subject.

The goal of Open Library is to provide a page on the web for every book ever published. The website has more than 20 million edition records online, provides access to 1.7 million scanned versions of books, and links to external sources, such as WorldCat and Amazon. You can learn more here.

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Opportunity this Sunday to hear Kirsty Gray deliver two lectures in Ottawa

If you live within driving distance of Ottawa, you may want to hop in your car to take advantage of a super opportunity on Sunday, November 2, when British genealogist Kirsty Gray will deliver two lectures: Searching for Names: Challenges, Pitfalls and the Downright Ridiculous and Solving Problems Through Family Reconstruction.

Incredibly, the cost is only $10 per person at the door.

The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) and the Ontario Genealogical Society Ottawa Branch will host this event at Woodroffe United Church, 207 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

More information on BIFHSGO’s website.

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Looking for descendants of seigneurs

Are you descended from a seigneur or know someone who is?

Benoit Grenier and Michel Morrissette of the University of Sherbrooke’s history department would like to meet people descended from seigneurial families and/or those who still live on an old seigneurie on Sunday, November 2, at 1:30 p.m. at the Société généalogique canadienne-française (SGCF).

Messrs Grenier and Morrissette are working on a research project about the history of seigneuries that is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

On Sunday, Messrs Grenier and Morrissette will make a presentation and hold a discussion about the seigneurial regime of New France, the oldest institution in Quebec’s history that was abolished in 1854. After this, the seigneurs were compensated with property for their loss of rights, and some people still had to continue paying them rent. It was only in 1935 that the government of Quebec adopted a law that abolished all seigneurial rents, and by the 1970s all remnants of this regime had disappeared. What has remained, however, is the memory and stories of this regime, and capturing this history is the purpose of the project.

The SGCF is located at 3440 Davidson in Montreal.

If unable to attend on Sunday, you may contact Professor Grenier by email at

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Montreal’s 375th anniversary projects to celebrate history

375MTL logoOn Monday, the mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre kicked off the organization of the city’s 375th anniversary celebrations. The festivities will take place throughout 2017.

Mayor Codere said many of the anniversary projects will celebrate the city’s history, identity, and quality of life. The mayor referred to them as “legacy projects” that will be used by Montrealers on a daily basis. He wants to give many historical parts of the city a makeover as part of his plan to revitalize Montreal.

Maison Saint-Gabriel
One of the anniversary projects will be to expand the Maison Saint-Gabriel museum to include the history of native women. The historic building in the Point-St-Charles neighbourhood was purchased in 1668 by Marguerite Bourgeoys to house the Filles du Roi, the 800 French girls who came to Quebec between 1663 and 1673.

Another project will highlight the role of the mountain and the river in Montreal’s history and explore what went on between the two landmarks. A pedestrian link wil be built from the St. Lawrence River to Mount Royal. Along the way, residents and tourists will be able to discover important landmarks and learn about the role the river and the mountain played in Montreal’s development.

Place Jacques Cartier
The city also plans to renovate Place Jacques Cartier in the heart of Old Montreal. Mayor Coderre said he wants to showcase the square’s history and make it “less plastic.”

Other projects
Other projects include the Cité mémoire de Montréal en Histoires and the second expansion phase of the Pointe-à-Callière museum.

France Chrétien Desmarais is the president of the Society for the Celebration of Montreal’s 375th Anniversary.

The year 2017 also marks the 150th anniversay of Canada and the 50th anniversay of Expo 67 that took place in Montreal.

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Acadian Museum of PEI receives heritage award

This month, the Acadian Museum of Prince Edward Island was awarded the Acadian History and Heritage Award of Recognition. The award is presented annually by the Réseau acadien — histoire et patrimoine, a network composed of Acadian history societies and museums from Eastern Canada.

The Acadian Museum, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, was commended for its impressive contribution to the preservation of the Island’s Acadian heritage and for the many activities it has organized over the years to promote and disseminate Acadian history and culture.

You can read more about the presentation of the award in the article, Special award goes to P.E.I.’s Acadian Museum.

The Acadian Museum of Prince Edward Island was founded in 1964. You can visit the museum’s bilingual website here that was created to mark the 50th anniversary. From this website, you can visit the Acadian Research Centre of Prince Edward Island that holds genealogical resources.

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Canada’s First World War lecture series begins Thursday in Toronto, Heritage Toronto and the Toronto Public Library announced their Fall 2014 History Matters lecture series in Toronto libraries, and the first lecture takes place Thursday, October 30.

The following information appeared in the announcement:

This season’s series focuses on the theme of Canada’s First World War. The talks pay specific attention to local responses and how we remember the conflict.

Hometown Horizons: Local Responses to Canada’s Great War
Robert Rutherdale
Historian Robert Rutherdale (Algoma University) draws from his 2004 book to look at how people and communities experienced World War I at home, from farmers in Alberta and shopkeepers in Ontario, to civic workers in Quebec. Rutherdale looks at many of the big debates in social and cultural history, including demonization of enemy aliens, gendered fields of wartime philanthropy and state authority and citizenship.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
North York Central Library Concourse

Remembering For Peace: Canada’s Great War Centenary
Jamie Swift
Canada’s famous war memorial at Vimy Ridge features the statue “Breaking of the Sword.” How has this dramatic message of peace been eclipsed by a glorious, birth-of-a-nation war story? How can we commemorate the tragedy of World War I by emphasizing peace? With Jamie Swift, journalist and co-author of Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Bloor/Gladstone Branch

The Toronto Anti-Greek Riot of 1918: War, Intolerance and Identity
Chris Grafos
The August 1918 anti-Greek riot, led by returning war veterans, was one of the largest instances of violence in Toronto’s history. This presentation by Chris Grafos (York University) charts the lasting legacy and broader consequences of intolerance towards Canada’s immigrants.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Danforth/Coxwell Branch

1914-2014, Toronto Remembers the Great War
Jonathan Vance
Author of Death So Noble: Memory, Meaning, and the First World War, Professor Jonathan Vance (University of Western Ontario), considers the challenges of remembering this catastrophic event, and how those challenges have changed as the centenary approaches. When we are encouraged to remember the First World War, what exactly are we being encouraged to remember?
Thursday, November 27, 2014
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Runnymede Branch Program Room

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SGCF’s new book contains 18th-century BMDs for Fort Detroit

At the end of an all-day series of informative lectures about French forts in North America this past Sunday, the Société généalogique canadienne-française (SGCF) launched its latest book, La population des forts français d’Amérique, Volume III. This 572-page book contains the birth, marriages, and deaths for the parishes at Fort Detroit in Michigan during the 18th century. The parishes are Ste-Anne, L’Assomption (de Sandwich), and Missions des Hurons.

Fort de DetroitJudging by the line-up of people buying the hefty volume at the launch, this book looks like good one for anyone researching their early French-Canadian roots. A friend bought a copy for her genealogy society.

The births, marriages, and deaths were transcribed and compiled from microfilm images by Marthe Faribault-Beauregard, and several other dedicated SGCF members worked on the project.

The book is available from SGCF for $60 plus $3 tax. Shipping costs are extra. For more information, contact SGCF by email at

The French erected Fort Detroit on the Detroit River to try to keep the British from moving west of New England and to monopolize the fur trade in North America. It was established by French officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac in 1701. The location of this fort, today in the city of Detroit, is in an area bounded by Larned Street, Griswold Street, and the Civic Center (now occupied by office towers).

During the launch, we were told that work on a fourth volume is already well underway. As for the first two volumes about forts in Quebec that were published in the 1980s, we learned that they are out of print. Plans are in place, however, for publisher Mots en toile to reprint them, possibly next year.

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