Statue of Dominion Archivist Sir Arthur Doughty to be moved from Library and Archives Canada’s building in Ottawa to Gatineau

If you were thinking about looking at the statue of Sir Arthur Doughty, the Dominion Archivist from 1904 to 1935, located behind Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) building at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa, you won’t find it.

The statue has been removed to undergo a restoration process before it will be relocated to its new permanent location, across the Ottawa River, at LAC’s Preservation Campus in Gatineau, Quebec.

Both sides of the statue of Dominion Archivist Sir Arthur Doughty feature a quote from a work of his: “Of all national assets, archives are the most precious: they are the gift of one generation to another and the extent of our care of them marks the extent of our civilization.”
Photo: Library and Archives Canada’s Facebook page.

No word on when the restored statue will be installed in its new location.

Learn more about Sir Arthur Doughty, who played a key role in the history of Canada’s archives, on LAC’s Discover Blog.

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Findmypast to digitize Guernsey’s birth, marriage, death, and German Occupation records

Insights into births, deaths, marriages, and other family events in Guernsey’s history are
being digitized by Findmypast, following the signing of a contract between a group of
Guernsey organizations and the UK-based genealogy company.

The substantial project will see millions of Greffe records, parish church registers,
Occupation identity cards and conveyances digitized over the coming months and made
available to the public online on Findmypast’s website.

Guernsey is the second-largest island in the English Channel with a population today of about 64,000. It is not part of the UK, but its head of state is the British monarch. During the Second World War, Guernsey was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany. 

A Steering Group comprising key stakeholders from the Priaulx Library, Island Archives, the Church of England, La Société Guernesiaise, and the Greffe was created to oversee the
project and select a digitization partner. The contract was signed with Findmypast after a
tender process held throughout 2023.

Island Archivist Vikki Hart said, “Guernsey has previously fallen behind other jurisdictions in digitizing its records, and this opportunity is an excellent chance for us to catch up. These are popular records for viewing and are therefore handled frequently, so digitization will help us to preserve the original records and make decisions around conservation.”

Findmypast will be sending two full-time staff to the island, but will also be looking to recruit Islanders to support with the work. They aim to create a team of six people to help carry out the project with work set to start in the coming months.

The main focus of the work will be the key records for family history research: births,
marriages and deaths recorded at the Greffe, and baptisms, marriages and burials recorded in parish church registers. Other complimentary records will also be digitized, including documents from the German Occupation and conveyancing documents. Data protection considerations will limit this to records created a certain number of years ago.

All of the scanning work will be carried out on-island at the Priaulx Library, Island Archives and Greffe.

The original records will continue to be preserved at the various archives.

Mary McKee, UK Archives Manager at Findmypast, said, “We’re looking for some local support to help with the digitization process, so please do get in touch if you have a passion for the island’s history and broadening public access.”

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Ontario Ancestors’ virtual presentations this week

The following virtual presentations are hosted by Ontario Ancestors’ branches. They are free and open to the public.

The times are in Eastern time.

Wednesday, February 21, 7:00 p.m. — Thunder Bay District Branch
More Thrilling Stories from New France by Carol Ufford and Dawn Kelly

Carol Ufford and Dawn Kelly return with more fascinating stories from New France — unusual deaths, illegitimate children, and of course a little witchcraft and murder. As they tell the stories, Carol and Dawn will show some of the resources they used to trace their family histories. Register to watch online.

Thursday, February 22, 7:00 p.m. — Waterloo Region Branch
William Dickson’s Settlement Scheme: Finding Ancestors in Dumfries Township 1820s-1840s by Dianne Brydon

In 1816 William Dickson purchased over 90,000 acres in the area between Galt and Brantford, east and west of the Grand River, and hset about settling his surveyed lots with fellow countrymen from the Borders area in Scotland. Over the following decades he, and his son after him, allocated land to hundreds of immigrants who took up his offer in what he named Dumfries Township (later North and South Dumfries Township, Counties of Waterloo and Brant). Although little has been written about this settlement scheme, records abound with rich detail about each immigrant family’s experience. The full picture is difficult to piece together as the records are distributed among archives and among collections within archives. This lecture will briefly describe William Dickson’s settlement scheme; use examples to show the types of land records he kept and the information they contain; show where to find the records; offer tips for searching within the collections; showcase useful ancillary records; and highlight gems found in historical secondary sources. Register to watch online.

Sunday, February 25, 2:00 p.m. — Halton-Peel Branch
Getting the Most from Online Newspaper Collections in OurDigitalWorld by Jess Posgate

Online newspaper collections vary a lot depending on the original material, the date range, and how well the content has been processed or indexed for searching. This session will walk you through how to find your best search results and what’s available via OurDigitalWorld’s newspaper collections. It will include search tips, capturing your results, and how to contribute to local history collections for everyone’s benefit. Register to watch online.

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This week’s crème de la crème — February 17, 2024

Some of the bijoux I discovered this week.

Crème de la crème of genealogy blogs

Blog posts
Rolling years of civil BMD records added to by Claire Santry on Irish Genealogy News.

NLS adds high resolution Irish maps by John D. Reid on Anglo-Celtic Connections.

A Gotcha When Searching the LAFRANCE Collection by Ken McKinlay on Family Tree Knots.

Who Was Adelaide Springett? by Paul Chiddicks on The Chiddicks Family Tree.

François “dit Lavaranne” Girouard (1616/1621-1686/1690) – Guns, Farms & Dikes: Pioneering Acadia by Roberta Estes on DNAeXplained.

I Grew Up Without a Bathtub by Joy Neal Kidney on Joy Neal Kidney.

Transnational Tales of the Civil War, Part II by Patrick Lacroix on Query the Past.

Historians say collection of hundreds of WW II love letters offers glimpse into ‘human sides of history’ by Moira Wyton, CBC News, Saskatchewan.

Winnipeg blogger looking for relatives of fallen WWII soldier by Kayla Rosen, CTV News, Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Update: A nephew of John Day White who lives in Winnipeg has been put him in touch with the group.)

300,000 farm records going online, thanks to grant from Lund Trust, National Archives, Washington, DC.

West and East Suffolk districts set to lose Bury St Edmunds archives despite SuffolkNews campaign by Joao Santos, Suffolk News, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England.

How a Family Secret About His White Ancestor Paved the Way for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s Finding Your Roots by JP Mangalindan, People Magazine, New York, New York.

For more gems like these throughout the week, join the Genealogy à la carte Facebook group. When you submit your request to join, you will be asked to answer two quick questions about your family history research.

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Nova Scotia museum to launch local newspaper database

The Antigonish Heritage Museum in Nova Scotia will officially launch a free newspaper database at 2:00 p.m. Atlantic time on Heritage Day, February 19.

In a release, museum curator and St. Francis Xavier University instructor Dr. Barry Mackenzie says historical issues of the community newspaper, The Casket — founded in 1852 — are mostly available on microfilm.

The newspaper database will be launched at an event at the Antigonish Heritage Museum.
Photo: Antigonish Heritage Museum Facebook page.

According to radio station 101.5 The Hawk, it has taken about three years to upload and index more than 50 years’ worth of the newspaper, so it will be months before the entire collection is digitized. However, the museum wants to make it available to researchers around the world right away.

Eventually, this digital resource will make available more than a century of local news.

The Casket was first published in 1852, and it is still published weekly as part of the SaltWire Network.

This newspaper digitization project was made possible by funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Tourism Digital Assistance Program from the Province of Nova Scotia.

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Free access to’s entire collection until Monday

Access to’s entire collection is now free until Monday, February 19, 11:59 p.m. Mountain time, using this link. You must start your search from the Free Access page.

It doesn’t appear that you need to set up an account to search, clip, and save. is the largest online newspaper archive. If curious to see which newspapers are available on the site, visit the Papers page and select the country and location that interests you. Or click on the Search tab to Browse what is available location by location.

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NEHGS hosts hybrid presentation this Thursday on records and resources at Library and Archives Canada 

The New England Historic Genealogical Society will host a free hybrid presentation on Records and Resources at Library and Archives Canada, delivered by Rhonda McClure, on Thursday, February 15, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. It will be held online and onsite in Boston.

No matter what province your Canadian ancestors are from, the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa holds a goldmine of records for family historians—both online and onsite. Join Senior Genealogist Rhonda R. McClure for an introduction to what records are available, how to use the online catalog and online research guides, and how to plan a research visit to the repository.

Register here.

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Free access to marriage records on MyHeritage includes a collection unique to Quebec

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, MyHeritage is offering free access to its collection of marriage records until February 17.

Access to these records usually requires a Complete or Data subscription, but for five days, they’re completely free to search. Simply register for a free MyHeritage account to begin.

Quebec collection worth exploring
One of my favourite collections available on MyHeritage is Quebec Marriage Returns, 1926-1997. These are not marriage registrations, but records created for statistical purposes by the provincial health department.

These statistical returns (forms), numbering almost eight million, are unique to Quebec. They were completed by members of the clergy or officiants who conducted a marriage in order for the government to compile statistics.

From 1926 to 1997, the provincial government of Quebec introduced four or five different statistical return forms, each with its own set of questions. Some years, more information was required than others.

The information provided included the bride and groom’s date and location of birth, place of residence before and after marriage, occupation and employer’s name, religion, citizenship, racial origin, father’s location of birth, and where the marriage took place. Some forms also include the names of the witnesses and whether or not the bridal couple could read or write.

Quebec collection — Search tip
Sometimes names are misspelled in the indexing, so try variations and also try searching by only the surname or first name. And remember not every officiant submitted a form for every marriage performed.

Quebec collection — Researcher beware
As with a number of records genealogists research, the information in these statistical returns is only as accurate as what the informant provided. In the case of my brother-in-law’s marriage return, he indicated his father was born in Hearst, Ontario. While his father did move to Hearst with his parents and siblings when he was about five years old, he was born in Montreal.

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Ontario Ancestors’ free virtual presentations this week

There’s a good collection of virtual presentations this week from Ontario Ancestors. As usual, all are open to the public and, with the exception of a two-part workshop noted at the end of this blog post, they are free.

The following times are in Eastern time.

Monday, February 12, 7:00 p.m. — Oxford County Branch
Hunting for Hidden History: How Slavery Came to the Town of York by Hilary Dawson

How do you find out about people who had no rights, rarely appear in the public record and for the most part were illiterate? Where do you look for information about the disadvantaged who did not receive direct payment for their work, and who had little control over their own lives? How can we uncover the stories of indentured servants and enslaved Africans?

Hilary Dawson will explain where she found personal papers and other manuscripts, and show how she used them to piece together the stories of the Pompadour family, Henry Prince and others who were regarded as “property” by York slaveholders like Peter Russell and William Jarvis. Register to watch online.

Tuesday, February 13, 7:00 p.m. — Essex County Branch
We Were Here: The McDougall Street Corridor by Willow Key

Though only a few traces of this once vibrant, bustling downtown Black neighbourhood remain, the community’s legacy remains strong. The story of the McDougall Street Corridor showcases this city’s rich Black history but also demonstrates the devastating impacts of city planning and urban renewal efforts on a historic neighbourhood. We Were Here offers a collection of essays, images, maps, artifacts, and documents that depict this community, and invites you to learn more about a vital chapter in Canadian history.

Willow Key will discuss Windsor’s little-known rich Black history of this historic neighbourhood. Register to watch online.

Tuesday, February 13, 6:30 p.m. — Lambton County Branch
Common problems; possible solutions by Kirsty Gray

Researching into the past often feels like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes the picture is created quickly, and the pieces fall into place with consummate ease but, more often than not, there are various and numerous challenges. Do you have a stand-out name in your ancestry which should be simple to locate in the records but is not? Or maybe you have a common surname or two in your history which makes your forebear difficult to pin down with any degree of certainty? Or worse still, an individual or family who changes their surname without warning or record? Then this talk is a must as it will provide many possible solutions based on first-hand experience from over three decades of Kirsty’s world of being The People-Finding Magician. Register to watch online.

Wednesday, February 14, 1:00 p.m. — Kawartha Branch
Archives of Ontario by Emma Robinson

Emma will share information to assist with understanding the basics of archival research and how to locate and access the records in the Archives of Ontario’s collections. Register online with the Peterborough Public Library.

Saturday, February 17, 10:30 a.m. — Kingston Branch
Scotland: Genealogical & Historical Resources and Records by Amy Gilpin

If you have Scottish roots, join me for an in depth review of Scottish resources. This presentation focuses on online resources for your Scottish research, including Scotland’s People, Scotland’s Places, and Internet Archives. This presentation will be preceded by the branch’s AGM at 10:00 a.m. Register here to watch this presentation online.

Saturday, February 17, 1:00 p.m. — Ottawa Branch
Analyzing Census Records Using Spreadsheets by Tara Shymanski

Spreadsheets make analyzing census records easier. Learn to create a spreadsheet and manipulate data to reveal actual and implied information from census records. Register to watch online.

Saturday, February 17, 1:00 p.m. — Quinte Branch
What’s in a Name — A Cultural Perspective by Paula Crooks

A name is usually the first gift a child is given. It marks the beginning of the paper trail that will document the child’s life. Understanding how and why a child was named can unlock clues not only about the life of that child, but also about the lives of his or her ancestors.

This seminar presents a cross-cultural perspective of naming traditions and discusses how knowing your culture’s naming customs can help you in your genealogical research. Topics will include cultural naming traditions, family and clan names, individual and first names, traditional naming patterns, anglicization of names, nicknames, and name changes. You will also learn how to use name clues to help break down brick walls. Register to watch online.

The Toronto Branch will host the two-part course, Tips and Tricks for Reading Old Handwriting, led by Diane C. Loosle, on February 15 and 22. The fee is $20 for members and $25 for non-members.

A two-part online course looking at how to solve the problems genealogists encounter when trying to read handwriting in old documents. The course will focus on handwriting in English from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The course leader will assign practice readings for the second class—yes, homework!

Once you are registered, you will have the opportunity to submit a hard-to-decipher document from your own research for expert help. Register and submit early to be considered. 

The two sessions, including discussion, will be recorded and archived for a limited time for those who can’t participate in the live Zoom sessions. Register here.

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This week’s crème de la crème — February 10, 2024

Some of the bijoux I discovered this week.

Crème de la crème of genealogy blogs

Blog posts
How to navigate Order-in-Council records, part one: real life at LAC by Linda Yip on Past Presence.

Finding on the Ground: Northern Ontario Districts by Ken McKinlay on Family Tree Knots.

Broadening Access to Canada’s National Registration File of 1940 by John Reid on Anglo-Celtic Connections.

Dutch Genealogy News for February 2024 by Yvette Hoitink on Dutch Genealogy.

Find Out How Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce are Distantly Related by Christopher C. Child on Vita Brevis.

Genealogy Records Off the Beaten Path by Melissa Barker on A Genealogist In The Archive.

Comparing Bite-Sized Family History Photo Books and Donating the Hermit Club Book by Marian Burk Wood on Climbing My Family Tree.

Gemini – Google’s AI Now Available in Canada by Ken McKinlay on Family Tree Knots.

Can Artificial Intelligence Read Russian Handwriting? by Louis Kessler on Behold Genealogy.

Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) For Genealogy (Part Three) by Ellen Thompson-Jennings on Hound on the Hunt.

Ancestry’s ThruLines and Shared Matches Now Require a Subscription by Roberta Estes on DNAeXplained.

What are the Odds v3 sneak peak by Jonny Perl on DNA Painter Blog.

Mystery solved: Owner of Campbell River wallpaper family tree found by Dean Stoltz, CHEK News, Victoria, British Columbia.

Familial DNA searches come with risks, rewards in solving MMIWG cold cases by Ozten Shebahkeget, CBC News, Manitoba.

NIAGARA GENEALOGY: Our ancestors were part of history by Carol DiPirro-Stipkovits, Union-Sun & Journal, Lockport, New York.

23andMe is low on cash and its stock is worth pennies. The CEO wants another chance by Nicole Goodkind, CNN, New York, New York.

Giuliana Letard Ciantar collection to be digitised in agreement between Ancestry, National Archives, Independant, Malta.

For more gems like these throughout the week, join the Genealogy à la carte Facebook group. When you submit your request to join, you will be asked to answer two quick questions about your family history research.

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