Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween in Irish Folklore

Some superstitions and festivities which once surrounded Halloween in Ireland. Spooky!!

Halloween Apples!!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

WOW!!!! WE Were the FIRST to See!!!

Yesterday my group of students did our final lessons at the Saskatchewan Provincial Archives, and again we had sooooooooooo many successes!!!! Most notably my long time, dear friend Rob Dilts, excitedly shared his numerous findings with us about the 'questionnaires to early settlers' of this province that have been housed at SAB, and are now being microfilmed by the GSU!! His, and his assistant Lisa's excitement, was palpable. As they shared some of their findings with my group we were immediately drawn in and 'got' the heart felt stories. And several of my incredible students shared stories from their own families that added personal dimension. These are not just stories. These are true facts saved on paper by thoughtful immigrants from all over the World who settled in this mighty Province of Saskatchewan. Might there be some of your ancestors stories here? Who knows?

I am sooooo happy to have had my group of students be the FIRST to share in these incredible new stories that will soon become a new record group!! My students will always remember this - me too. We were the FIRST!! Best of wishes to all who search this new database as it grows. And THANKS to those doing the microfilming that will make these awesome records available to all of us!! That would be the LDS [aka Mormons]. Here's the beginnings

I love organizing my classes, and teaching!!

The HUGE Genealogy Mistake We All Need to Stop Making Now!

Here is the first few lines of an article EVERY genealogist should read!!

"Whether you’re just starting out on your genealogy journey, or have been at it for years, you have likely made (many) mistakes. Unless you’ve been professionally trained in research techniques and etiquette (and even if you have) mistakes are part of the process and offer an opportunity to learn and grow as a researcher.

But sometimes mistakes become habits, ones that are very hard to break. And when one person persists in repeating a mistake, others are likely to follow."

Continue to read the full article ... plus the comments below the article are VERY telling!!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Soldiers of the Queen

I'm not a military researcher, but this site might be of great interest to many of you. It's from the Victorian era, but if you scroll down ... on the right there are links to numerous countries including Canada. Best of luck


Finding FREE Genealogy Sites

I've only played with this for a short time, but it's all free so nothing to lose! It's from Family History Daily and says

"Looking for a simple way to search millions of records from dozens of genealogy websites in one place? This free genealogy search allows you to quickly locate documents for your family tree on a wide variety of large research sites, in state and regional archives and on government record pages.

You will find access to birth, death, marriage and immigration records, archived newspapers, national archives, biographies and much more. We have made every effort to make sure that the sites searched by this engine are 100% free. However, some may ask you to sign up for free access and others may link to additional resources that cost a fee. Please keep that in mind when searching."

Give doGenealogy a try


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Happy Halloween, Bram Stoker, & Dracula

Thanks again to Mr. Mike Collins, author of A Letter from Ireland Vol. 1 & 2 available here

Next week sees the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced Sow-en - Sow as in pig) - more commonly called Halloween these days. Where's the year going? Let's now look at a Samhain/Halloween-related story instead - a time of the year when the dead and the living traditionally come closer to one another.

Now to catch up with Charlotte ...


Charlotte Blake Thornley was born in Sligo town in 1818. While she was still a young girl, a cholera epidemic hit Sligo with a huge force in 1832. And this followed on from two successive years of a failure in the potato crop. The bodies mounted up all around her - and local carpenters could not source enough wood to keep up with the required coffins for burials. It must have been a horrific place to live each, to see those corpses line the streets of your home town - and wondering which of your families and friends might be next. Also, some of these supposed "corpses" were still living, too weak to pull themselves back to the living - a horrific thought for a a young girl to endure.

Charlotte came from two of the most illustrious families of Ireland - the Blakes of Galway (one of the Tribes of Galway), and the O'Donnells of Tirconnell. She later married and left Sligo for Dublin, and it is said that she was always a prodigious story-teller - remembering many of the folk tales that had been passed down through her Irish families.

Her third child remained sick for an extended period of time, and he later recalled how she would pass on many of these stories to keep them entertained on the long days spent together. This son went on to write one of the most widely-read books in the world. His name was Abraham - "Bram" - Stoker, and he was the writer who provided us with Dracula. Have you ever read the original book? I do remember staying up late to watch an old Dracula movie as a youngster - eventually ending up watching from behind the sofa, one hand over my eyes. It took less to scare us back in those days!

It's thought that Charlotte filled Bram's head with old Irish stories, and her first-hand accounts of the horrors she witnessed during the Sligo cholera epidemic. She also told him of myths such as the blood-drinking dwarf of Ulster called the "Leacht Abhartach (evil dwarf), whom was killed and buried, but kept on coming back to life. In the end, it was only a sword made of Yew wood that killed him for good.

Or maybe she told young Bram of the "fear an drach fhola", meaning "man of bad blood". Interesting that the last two words "drach fhola" are pronounced "Drawk-ola".

So, although Bram Stoker may have left Ireland for London in 1878, it seems that he brought a large part of his mother's stories and imagination with him. He published his novel, Dracula, in 1897 - and the nightmarish characters and adventures he detailed took up residence in the imagination of millions of people across the world.

It was a gothic horror novel informed by the stories and first hand accounts of famine and epidemic by his west of Ireland mother, Charlotte Blake Thornley.

So, how do you celebrate Samhain/Halloween in your part of the world? Will any of your children, or grandchildren, go trick-or-treating dressed up as Dracula?

Wishing you and all you family a very happy Samhain/Halloween - and may you feel a little closer to your ancestors over the time!

Slán for this week,
Mike and Carina : )

Halloween Apples?!

More than One Irish Famine

Most people have heard of the potatoe Famine in Ireland from 1845 to 1852. I suppose that's because many of us cannot get further in our Irish research than about those dates. The Great Hunger or the Great Famine or the Irish Potatoe Famine was also well known because at this time about 2/3 of the Irish population depended almost solely on this cheap crop. So during the famine, approximately one million people died. Another million left the island.

In 1851, the Census of Ireland Commissioners recorded 24 failures of the potato crop going back to 1728, of varying severity. General crop failures, through disease or frost, were recorded in 1739, 1740, 1770, 1800, and 1807. In 1821 and 1822, the potato crop failed in Munster and Connaught. In 1830 and 1831, Mayo, Donegal, and Galway suffered likewise. The following year, 1832, saw a Cholera epidemic sweep across Ireland and much of Britain. In 1832, 1833, 1834, and 1836, dry rot and curl caused serious losses, and in 1835 the potato failed in Ulster. Widespread failures throughout Ireland occurred in 1836, 1837, 1839, 1841, and 1844. According to Woodham-Smith, "the unreliability of the potato was an accepted fact in Ireland". Things were relentlessly tough through the century for many of our ancestors, both before and after the Great Famine of the 1840s.

The following is from Mr. Mike Collins author of A Letter From Ireland Volume 1 and 2.


Charlotte Blake Thornley was born in Sligo town in 1818. While she was still a young girl, a cholera epidemic hit Sligo with a huge force in 1832. And this followed on from two successive years of a failure in the potato crop. The bodies mounted up all around her - and local carpenters could not source enough wood to keep up with the required coffins for burials. It must have been a horrific place to live each, to see those corpses line the streets of your home town - and wondering which of your families and friends might be next. Also, some of these supposed "corpses" were still living, too weak to pull themselves back to the living - a horrific thought for a a young girl to endure.

I'll carry on with Charlotte's story in my next post titled - Samhain/Halloween (pronounced Sow-en - Sow as in pig)


DNA: Are our friends actually family?

An enticing article from MyHeritage copied below with source at bottom of article.

Many of us are lucky to have close friends, who feel like family, in our lives. In recent years, genetic research has supported the theory that friends are more likely to share certain similarities in their genetic makeup.

When I was growing up, Uncle Max was always hanging around our house, chatting with my parents. He helped steer my father right with his do-it-yourself home projects, he told jokes at the dinner table, and he always came bearing little treats for my siblings and me. He visited so often that he was considered a member of the family.

I had always assumed that he was a second cousin or somehow distantly related to us. It was only when I was a teenager that I discovered that "Uncle" Max was not my uncle, but a very close friend of my parents. He had shared several stages of life with them and had essentially become family. Growing up, we were closer with Max than we were to many of our other aunts and uncles.

Even today, Max's family and ours share a strong connection. We continue to have holiday meals together, and my children play with Max's grandchildren. It is a friendship full of shared experiences and happy memories that will endure for generations to come.

When the bond of friendship is so strong, it's easy to wonder if there is more than just common interests and "chemistry" that draws close friends together.

According to a study published a few years ago in PNAS, the Journal of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, good friends - who are particularly close and feel like family - often share genes. According to James Fowler, professor of medical genetics and political science at UC San Diego, we may have more genetically in common with our good friends than with others:

Looking across the whole genome, we find that, on average, we are genetically similar to our friends. We have more DNA in common with the people we pick as friends than we do with strangers in the same population

Yale and University of California researchers examined 1.5 million genetic markers of 1,932 people, using data from earlier studies that had collected both genetic information and data on friendships. Investigators compared the genetic codes of friends with those of strangers. Results revealed that individuals who carry a particular genetic marker for a gene called DRD2, a dopamine receptor associated with alcoholism (among other traits), tend to make friends with other DRD2-positive people. Conversely, those who lacked the gene tended to form friendships with people who were also DRD2-negative.

We have long known that our genes determine much of our physical makeup and many other characteristics. Ever since DNA was first identified in the late 1860s, the conclusion has been that traits are inherited from generation to generation. It is now a popular belief that more than 50% of our traits are inherited, including obedience to authority, vulnerability to stress and risk-seeking.

Researchers suggest that many of our choices about life issues, such as politics and religion, are more determined by our genes than we would think. The idea that the people we spend time with - and the choice of our social environment - can actually be linked to specific genes is revolutionary. It helps explain why we enjoy spending time in the company of specific people whom we choose as friends.

So, the next time a dear friend comes to visit, remember that you may be more than just good friends who share interests — you may actually share common genes!

Does your family have close friends who have become like members of the family? Let us know below!
Posted by Esther on October 25th, 2015 - 12:24

Thursday, October 22, 2015

FUN & Learning

Yesterday my current group of students, and I, had our first working visit at the Saskatchewan Provincial Archives in Regina. There were so many successes I wouldn't even know where to begin! Now isn't THAT a good thing? After having looked at hundreds and hundreds of land records on microfilm I thought I'd seen it all. Turns out that is not the case! Not one, but TWO of my brilliant students found ancestral files that I doubt many have ever seen before. It's one of the reasons I love teaching 'cause I get to share in their finds ... which also makes me a better teacher. There is NO substitute for experience. Can't wait to get back there next week and begin working with dozens of new record types!! Some days life is just soooooooooooooo good. :-)

AND then I heard again from a long-time student [one who has taken many courses from me, and has stayed in touch, sharing her successes and challenges over the years - which I LOVE]. She has just completed my course Unpuzzling Your Past for the THIRD time!! And she is becoming an excellent researcher! Her list of accomplishments makes my heart swell with pride. WAY to go Donna!! You are having so much fun; sharing so much unknown family information with your Mom [don't we all wish we could do this?]; using all you've learned to advance your research skills; AND making your old 'teacher' so bloody proud ... I'm just smiling with happy tears in my eyes. Love ya girl and keep going!! I seriously hope to continue to develop more 'Donna's'

Cheers Everyone,

Monday, October 19, 2015

Viking Surnames

According to John Grenham [one of the top Irish genealogists] there is no such thing as a Viking surname! Interesting reading as always over at

Always something to learn in this crazy 'hobby' of ours? Oh yes!! haha

WHAT a gorgeous day, AGAIN!! I'm going out to VOTE. Hope you are too.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

For the Progressive Genealogist

Here is a timely article from a well respected, and knowledgeable, Canadian genealogist John Reid at

In case this article disappears following is the article in it's short entirety.

"This is not about family history, it's about the history Canadians will collectively be making on Monday.

If like me you're fed up with rampant abuses of power I urge you to vote, and vote wisely to strengthen and preserve our Canadian democracy and values.

Restore a Canada where there is no second class citizenship for those with dual nationality or a right to dual nationality. A Canada where evidence-based legislation gets timely and thorough deliberation in the Commons and the Senate by unmuzzled members exercising their own best judgement. Where we restore the legacy of peacemaking. Where we are not afraid to enquire into social issues like missing and murdered indigenous women. And where we do our part to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.

Don't sell your birthright for a mess of potage - the largest boutique tax credits.

Vote strategically if necessary. The reasons you vote are yours. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If polls show a clear winner in your area vote your choice. Some of Canada's most progressive governments have been minorities. I'd be most happy with a minority government that reaches across party lines - not that I have great expectations of any party keeping all their promises while avoiding corruption and scandal."

There are sooooooooooooo many of us experienced genealogists who love our country who all feel exactly the same, please think and VOTE, but VOTE with knowledge!!


Divided, Canada stands to lose what makes it great! A MUST read

I hope you can dedicate five minutes for your country and read this article. Can you do 3 Things for Canada?

This is probably the very best article I have ever, ever, ever read. It was written by the Mayor of Calgary - voted as the most popular Mayor in the whole world, and I can see why. I have copied the article below in case the link disappears.

This past summer, I took my mother and my sister’s family, and we all went to Tanzania. Our little group ranged in age from 6 to 75, and we were exploring our roots. We saw the house my mum grew up in and the hospital where my sister was born. We saw lots of elephants. I also stood on the shores of Lake Victoria, in Mwanza, and gazed across the water. Had my parents been born on the other side of the lake, instead of being immigrants from Tanzania in 1971, they would have been refugees from Uganda the following year – pushed out by the bloody purges of Idi Amin.

In 1970, my father was working at a hotel in the city of Arusha. Then, as now, Arusha hosted many UN conferences and other international meetings. My dad met some Canadians working for the Canadian International Development Agency, who, impressively enough, got The Toronto Star delivered every week.

A voracious reader, my dad would ask for the newspaper when the CIDA workers were done with it. An article about the new city hall in Toronto captured his imagination. How do you build such a tall building, he wondered, and make it round? He resolved to one day visit it.

The following year, he got his chance. My father had saved up to go to his sister’s wedding in London, England. He figured that, since he was in London, he might as well make a side trip to Toronto, Canada. Just before leaving, they discovered my mum was pregnant. They went anyway, leaving my three-year-old sister with relatives.

Once in Toronto, my parents fell in love with the city (it was summer). They felt a certain freedom, both for themselves and, they anticipated, for their children, and so they decided to stay.

There were only about six Ismaili families in Toronto in 1971. Prayer services were held in the basement of a home. On Fridays, my mother would strip her only bedsheets, wash them by hand, hang them to dry, and hope they would be done in time to fold. She would then take them, on the subway, to evening services. Decent cloth was needed to cover the small tables and lend the proceedings dignity.

Only a few months later, this little group found itself having to look after hundreds of Ismaili families – refugees from Uganda – and to show them how to survive in a strange new place. They never once begrudged this responsibility. Even though they had so little, these beleaguered new arrivals had less. Even though my parents barely knew how to navigate Canada, the newcomers had no idea how to. So they got to work.

When I was 1, we packed up a Dodge Dart and moved to Calgary. Sometimes we were very poor. Sometimes we were only mostly poor. But what we lacked in money, we gained in opportunity.

In Calgary I went to amazing public schools. I spent Saturday afternoons at the public library. I learned to swim, kind of, at a public pool. I explored the city on public transit. And through it all, I was nurtured by a community that wanted me to succeed, that had a stake in me and cared about my well-being.

And in 2010, 20 months before he died, my dad, who had loved Toronto City Hall, got to sit in another city hall and watch his son be sworn in as mayor.

While that personal story may seem extraordinary in its details, what’s extraordinary is just how ordinary it is. It’s a very Canadian story of struggle, service, sweat and, ultimately, success. Many Canadians have such an origin story. With each telling, we share in the story of who we are. These stories tell us about when Canada works. And when Canada works, it works better than anywhere.

At our best, we’ve figured out a simple truth: We’re in this together. Our neighbour’s strength is our strength. The success of any one of us is the success of every one of us. More importantly, any one failure is all our failure, too.

When Canada works, it is because of that tolerance and respect for pluralism, that generous sharing of opportunity with everyone. It is because of that innate sense that every one of us, regardless of where we come from, what we look like, how we worship or whom we love, deserves the chance right here, right now, to live a great Canadian life.

That Canada, however, is incredibly fragile, and must be protected from the voices of intolerance, divisiveness and small-mindedness. That Canada must be protected from the voices of hatred.

Let’s talk about Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, which allows Ottawa to strip Canadian-born citizens of their citizenship if they’ve been convicted of treason, spying or terrorism, if those Canadians have citizenship in another country or are considered able to claim citizenship in another country through a parent. The government can do so even if the conviction takes places in another country – even one that lacks the rule of law.

One of the highlights of being mayor of Calgary is that I get to attend citizenship ceremonies. Every time I do, I cry with joy to be with so many people who have worked so hard to become Canadian and have chosen to take on the great responsibility of citizenship. Sharing in that moment with new citizens, I always talk about how, growing up, I wondered why my father, mother and sister had these fancy citizenship certificates, while all I had was a lousy birth certificate. Only later did I appreciate two things about those pieces of paper: They were the most valuable possessions we had, and they were really the same document.

No longer.

How is it that those individuals I get to watch saying their oath should somehow be less Canadian than others? How is it that we should allow it to be easier for our government to strip them of the privilege and responsibility of citizenship? How is it that I, born at Saint Mike’s in downtown Toronto, could also have my citizenship revoked? One Canadian citizen committing the same crime should be treated the same as any other. They should not be subjected to a different sort of justice.

Most distressingly, the bill allows the minister of citizenship and immigration to exile people from Canada without any Canadian court being involved. That is a degree of power no individual should possess.

How did we allow this to happen?

I am deeply troubled by the language of divisiveness in Ottawa these days. The label of “terrorist” is thrown around with deliberate regularity. It is targeted language that nearly always describes an act of violence done by someone who shares my own faith, that ties violent action to individuals in a religious group here in Canada – many of whom are citizens. It does little to understand the causes of individual acts of violence or the potential solutions. Instead, it encourages fear and division; that’s the opposite of the country we aspire to build and nurture.

Our government likes to warn us of the radicalization of Muslim youth in our communities. But law-enforcement officers and community activists explain that the deeper cause of this radicalization is alienation and isolation – that the kids being radicalized are the same ones who’d often otherwise join gangs. In other words, according to individuals on the ground, the issue is not about religion. It’s about inclusion. Understanding this, we must work hard to make these kids feel part of the community.

But then the government, seeking to appeal to a certain segment of society, picks a fight on a completely irrelevant issue – wearing the niqab to a ceremony. It will appeal two court decisions and spend millions in taxpayer dollars to prevent one woman, Zunera Ishaq, from voting?

And what about those kids – the ones we’re trying to convince that there’s a place for them in our society? Bill C-24 warns them that, no matter what, they can never be truly Canadian. That their faith is incompatible with our values.

All that good work on deradicalization? Undermined.

When we act like this, whether the issue is addressing the extraordinary human suffering of refugees fleeing conflict or the social problems of our own youth, we are failing ourselves, our nation, and the world.

Let it be said: Such failures to become the Canada we hope for aren’t only recent. Far from it. After all, we are the nation that turned back Indian Sikh refugees on the ship Komagata Maru in 1914, the nation of the Chinese head tax, the nation of Japanese internment camps and the “None is too many” policy. We are the nation of provincial eugenics programs and generations of residential schools.

These, sadly, are also our origin stories. Many of us feel a deep, dark discomfort when confronted with them. The truth is not easy. It wasn’t easy for the victims of residential schools to tell their stories to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and it wasn’t easy for Canadians to bear witness to those truths. But it is important that we did then, and that we are doing so with the dark truths we see now.

The real answer to crafting the Canada we aspire to build lies in engaging muscularly with both the past and the future. It means undertaking a thousand simple acts of service and a million tiny acts of heroism. It means acting at the community level: on our streets, in our neighbourhoods, and in our schools. It means refusing to accept the politics of fear.

And then it means exporting the very best of Canada, that ideal and real Canada, to the rest of the world. Yes, I’m naive to believe we still have something special to share. In my city, we have a program, 3 Things for Calgary, that challenges every citizen to take at least three actions, large or small, using their own passions and resources, to make their community better. Let us start 3 Things for Canada and dare each other to take actions that will build our local, national, and global communities with our true, aspirational Canadian values.

One final story. I had the chance a couple of years ago to visit a school in Calgary on its 100th anniversary. It’s called Connaught School, named after the Duke of Connaught – the governor-general of Canada, a son of Queen Victoria. Because it is right downtown, Connaught School is often the first point of arrival for newcomers. In all, 240 students are enrolled; they come from 61 countries and speak 42 languages at home.

I chatted with some of those kids and their parents. Many of the things I heard were horrible: stories of war, of poverty, of degradation. I heard stories of violence so horrific I could not imagine one human being doing that to another, let alone in front of a child.

Then I looked out at those kids, sitting on the floor in the gym, wearing their matching T-shirts. And I looked at their parents, in hijabs and kanga cloth, in Tim Hortons uniforms and bus-driver caps, in designer suits and pumps.

All at once, I knew something to be true above all else. Regardless of what these kids had been through, of how little they have or had, of what wrath some vengeful God had visited on them and their families, they’d had one burst of extraordinary good fortune – they ended up in Canada, in Calgary, at the Connaught School. They ended up in a community that wants them to succeed, that has a stake in them – that cares about them, and will make sure they don’t fail.

And I knew that those kids would have a chance to live great lives. That’s the promise of Canada.

Adapted from an address given at the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s 13th LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium, in Stratford, Ont. in September.


Friday, October 16, 2015

1492 - WRONG!!

Dick Eastman has a very compelling article ... at least I thoroughly enjoyed it ... regarding Christopher Columbus NOT being the discoverer of North America. Have a read

Makes me wonder what else we were taught in school that is now known to be inaccurate? Or what else was hidden from us, like residential schools! History is open to interpretation by those who write the school books. And who guides the writers? Politicians? Lord help us!!

Beautiful day out there so think I'll go for a nice walk. Happy weekend everyone.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Genealogy in the Park - Edmonton Nov. 7, 2015

Now here is an opportunity not to be missed!! Featured guest speaker is the one and only, world renown genealogist Dave OBEE. Dave has four exciting topics and the program runs from 9:30am until 3:30pm. Information at GREAT program and awesome opportunity organized by by my dear friend and colleague Shannon Cherkowski. Trust me, if you can go you will LOVE it!!


US Canadian Border Crossing Records

Recently I spoke about border crossing records to ........... here lies the problem! I can't remember where I was!! haha I've spoken at numerous conferences this Fall, as well as to my own students during two courses. So I thought this was the best way to get the word out - to everyone!!

And don't tune out when you read this first title [Vermont, St. Albans Canadian Border Crossings, 1895 - 1954].

BACKGROUND [from familysearch wiki]

From 1895 through 1954, records were kept of many people who crossed the border from Canada into the United States. The records are mostly for people who:

Were immigrating into the United States.
Were visiting the country.
Were United States citizens returning to the United States.

The border crossings records from Canada to the United States began in 1895. They include people coming in ships and trains through Canada to the United States either for a visit or to stay. People who crossed the border in any other way, such as by horse or car, are not in the records.

Lists of passengers crossing the Canadian border to the United States were collected into this record: Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont District. In spite of the title, this collection includes records from all over Canada and the northern United States (not just St. Albans). These are the records of U.S. immigration officials who inspected travelers at the following places:

From 1895 to 1914, at all Canadian seaports and train arrival stations from Washington state to Maine (including major interior cities such as Quebec, Winnipeg, etc.). Officials used shipping company passenger lists (manifests) to determine passengers bound for the United States via Canada.

From 1915 to 1954, border crossing records were only kept at train arrival stations along the northern borders of New York and Vermont.

The information you find varies from record to record. These records may include:

Port or station of entry.
Date of entry.
Last residence.
Name of nearest relative at last residence.
Previous visits to United States.
Place of birth.

Search the index For those with subscriptions to Ancestry, they also have these records on a database. I would certainly search both as there could be differences.

Border Crossing Records - from US into Canada - 1908 to 1935 are also on a database at Ancestry.
Historical Background: [from Ancestry]

In April 1908, the Canadian government began recording the names of immigrants crossing into the country from the U.S. These records are the official immigration records for Canada as no other immigration records exist.

From 1908-1918, the government used border entry lists to record information about individuals coming into the country. From 1919-1924, Form 30 (individual form) was used in place of the border entry lists to record similar information. In 1925 border entry lists came into use again.

Not all immigrants coming into Canada were registered. Some people may have entered the country through non-port cities or when ports were closed. Also, if at least one parent in a family was born in Canada or previously resided there, then the whole family was considered as returning citizens instead of immigrants, and were therefore not recorded.

I love to hear of your successes. Email me or post to 'Comments' directly below this post.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rootsireland Improving

John Grenham, one of the world's leading genealogists on all things Irish, has some interesting comments [and articles] over at It would be totally, incredibly awesome if Rootsireland really IS improving!! We need all the help we can get! Have a look for yourself


OS Irish Maps

Having just completed a couple Map sessions - one in Saskatoon and one in Moose Jaw - here is a great site that will help Irish researchers 'see' their Ordnance Survey locations in GREAT detail as you zoom in.,578432,756724,0,10

Too bad there is not an actual tutorial, but click on the Help button!!


Upper Canada Sundries

Never heard of them? EXACTLY!!!!

The Upper Canada Sundries are an invaluable genealogical resource for those seeking an ancestor in early Ontario, Canada, but many researchers have never used them. Here's how


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

LAC - Ethnic Groups

For any of you folks who participated in my LAC session in Saskatoon recently, here is an awesome link ... in case you missed it


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

VERY Sad Thanksgiving

Driving home after teaching a class in the city last night we could see a long string of stationary yellow, blue and red lights on the highway in front of us. All were headlights so we knew whatever was happening was on the other side of the #1 divided highway, and we began to feel apprehension. There must be an accident. STARS helicopter was lifting off the highway just as we were passing. We heard this morning that a lady in her 40s (a nurse, and the Mother of four children) had been driving east towards Indian Head, lost control, crossed through the median/ditch, travelled across the westbound lanes [thankfully hitting no one], and then her car rolled several times and she died. OMG. I'm shaken. Please be careful everyone. Life can end, or change forever, for everyone you love, in the blink of an eye.

Feeling very sad,

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - the business side

The following is not the kind of data I usually post, but I found this interesting and thought some of you might too. IF you learn nothing more than this one sentence "Germany is the largest source of US immigrants"!!!!! Shocked? hahaha I then looked up the Stock Market quotes and found each Ancestry share sells for $13.50 [I suppose that's USA dollars, so several hundred loonies - just kidding.]

From the Ancestry Insider: at Banking Conference – Part 1
Posted: 06 Oct 2015 08:00 AM PDT

On 30 September 2015’s Howard Hochhauser gave a presentation at the Deutsche Bank Leveraged Finance Conference. I took extensive notes, approaching a full transcription. I’ve reordered and gathered the material into subjects and left out most of the financial information. I’ve divided my report into two. This is the first part. The second part will come next week.

Howard Hochhauser is the company’s chief operating officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO). As COO he runs the company under the leadership of the chief executive officer (CEO), Tim Sullivan. Howard has been with the company for about three years now. Their mission is to help everybody discover, preserve, and share their family history. While he feels like they’re not very good yet with the share part, they are working on it. Ancestry created and leads the family history category.

They have 2.2 million subscribers. Over the holiday weekend alone they acquired 10 thousand new customers. Customers pay, on average, between $19 and $20 a month. More than half of the subscribers have subscription lengths of 6 months or longer. Ancestry’s lifetime revenue from subscribers is about $250. A third of the people that come to the service have previously been with them.

Demographics are biased towards female. In the US, more than 60% of subscribers are female and that continues to grow. The average age is over 55.

The business is somewhat seasonal. Over the summer people tend to tune out. That gets worse in the 4th quarter as people focus on the holidays. That’s the slowest time of year. It’s not unusual for their total number of subscribers to go down during December. Right after Christmas there is a massive uptake, which continues through the winter. TV shows and marketing efforts tend to move that around a bit. They sponsor four of them, most notably Who Do You Think You Are. That has made August a great month.

Roughly 50% of those that try out the 14 day free subscription continue as a paid subscriber. (That’s called bill-through.) Retention rates among the higher costing subscriptions are not materially different.

Revenues are $644 million. EBIITDA margins approach 40% (which most of you are not familiar with nor care about). This is a very high margin business. Compounded annual growth rate is mid- to high-teens with expanding EBITDA margins.

Marketing costs are roughly $150 million a year. They feel like they’ve made some marketing missteps this year that affected revenues. (He didn’t share what those were.)
They recently posted a dividend. Since being private they have paid out over $260 million to shareholders. Tim and Howard own upwards of 10% of the company. (You do the math.)

They do about 30% of their business internationally. The UK is about half of that, generating roughly $70 million in revenue. The rest is Canada, Australia, and the rest of the world. (I wish I could have seen the slides, so I would know the shares for those last components.)

Mexico and Germany are the next two markets they are going to enter. (I see that and websites are already live.) Ancestry launched the Germany product on 1 October 2015, Unification Day. The launch into Mexico and Germany is mostly to appeal to those new markets and partly to benefit existing markets. Germany is the largest source of US immigrants. Over time, they predict that the size of their business in Germany should mirror that of the UK. They’d love to create another $50 to 70 million business.
Next week I’ll present part 2. Stay tuned.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Legacy Quick Tips

For those of you using Legacy genealogy software [there is a FREE download here

There are also 25 Quick Tips FREE and lots of other goodies here

The Quick Tips include 25 different topics of varying lengths. Maybe you're not even using Legacy, or any genealogy software, pick a topic or two that interests you to see what these things can do for you. I am interested in creating a calendar that will show special dates for my ancestors - like showing on my calendar all my ancestors who shared the same birthday, or perhaps wedding dates. There is a 3 min 20 second video that shows me how to do this! And it's FREE!!! You cannot break anything. It will cost you no money. Don't be afraid. I encourage you to just try. Have FUN everyone!!

I should also mention that I have no affiliation with Legacy, and receive no remuneration from them. They are just a company that I really like!


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Have You Met This Person?

Thank You Moose Jaw 2015

And Happy 45th Birthday!!

It was the typical outstanding conference organized by the Moose Jaw Branch of SGS. They always put together a very professional, but 'homey' conference felt by all whom attended. They came from near and far - I cannot remember all the places [sorry], but Swift Current, Regina, and Weyburn were all represented! So nice to see y'all again!!

Thanks to Marge for her exceptional organizational skills. She and I have worked together for eons [hahaha] and almost a full year of planning and communicating with presenters paid off in dividends for us all. She was even on the street at 8:30am to advise me on parking, and then helped to drag all my 'stuff' up stairs. Thanks Marge, and thanks Wendy, and thanks to the entire 'crew' as no one person can do it all.

Thanks to Moose Jaw for not tearing down their beautiful old library - or fixing it up to the point it loses all it's fantastic charming features! I have always loved that building and spent many happy hours in it with my children when they were little people. My son became infatuated with Curious George books. We would return Curious George on Wednesday, and borrow another Curious George to be returned Saturday. Every week!! Ahhhhh The Memories. sigh

Always so nice to have a visit with Dave, who continues to be a wealth of experience, and sharing. And Ilene who brought some lovely ladies with her! Ilene works hard at being an excellent researcher, and she is succeeding beautifully! Chris I'm sorry I was unable to stay and hear your presentation, but I'm sure you did an excellent job and it was nice to manage a short visit during lunch. Oh yes, speaking of lunch thanks to the caterers [of course I've forgotten the name], but lovely hot soup, sandwiches, and desserts really hit the spot. I'm not much of a sweet eater, but when there's Nanaimo bars ... oh baby I'm there! Great choice folks.

And unlike two years ago, I did not manage to catch a rock with my windshield on the drive home. I did however, manage to drive into some detoured areas in Regina which cost me an additional 45 mins to get out of! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. But eventually I had my Thanksgiving turkey, and fixins' in the car and headed towards home ... only partially soaked because I left my raincoat in the car. Of. Course. hahaha No problem. I don't melt anymore. LOL

Thanks again Moose Jaw! Always nice to come home. Happy Searching Everyone!!


Citing Sources and Jelly Beans

All Genealogists Are NOT Created Equal!!

Knowledgeable genealogists understand, or are attempting to understand, the importance of documentation. Documentation that backs-up entries on your Pedigree Charts and Family Unit Sheets. Remember, without documentation your genealogy is nothing more than mythology. It's a story. It may be a nice story you've concocted or have received, but it's nothing more a story. Where's the evidence????????


Ms. Mills has a wonderful website where you can learn tons. It is
Check out the Quick Lessons and Quick Tips [right side of page].

Here's a link to a story many of us have heard and how evidence documentation sorted fact from fiction

Even if you don't follow the exact format of documentation, DO make a good attempt at showing where you found your information so you, or someone else could repeat your research ... maybe there will be more information available next week, next decade, or next century! Wouldn't you hate for all your hard work to end up in the burning barrel simply because it is nothing more than mythology? And if you're just getting started, do it right in the beginning!


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Find a Grave 17 Oct. 2015

Some of my current students brought this up in class, which made me think there might be others with the same concerns ... which are that every time they attempt to get into Find A Grave they appear to be getting Ancestry advertising. So here is the clarification

It is a fantastic website, and one that if you have not been using it, you should be!! Here's an opportunity to help. Perhaps, like me, it will be a pay-it-forward day. There are some requests for photos in a cemetery very close to where I live.

Thanks to the 'Ancestry Insider' for the following announcement.

Find A Grave’s Community Day 17 October 2015

The Find a Grave Community Day is 17 October has announced that this year’s Find A Grave Community Day is scheduled for 17 October 2015. Ancestry’s Jessica Murray said “Last year was an amazing success thanks to you, our incredible volunteers, who visited over 100 cemeteries and contributed more than 250,000 photos on the days leading up to, and on, Find A Grave Community Day 2014.” They hope to break that record this year.

If you wish to participate, check the Find A Grave event list on Facebook for something near you. If you find one that interests you, click the Join button.

If you wish to organize an effort to photograph a cemetery, Ancestry reminds you to get permission from the cemetery first. Once you have permission, register your event. Once a day Ancestry will take the new cemeteries and create corresponding Facebook events. As you make plans, keep an eye open for unfulfilled photo requests for nearby cemeteries.

Ancestry has created a page of resources for you to consult. See

I was doing some research the other day and came across a book of transcriptions of cemetery markers. It gave me the marker I needed, but it was only a transcription. I immediately pulled up Find A Grave, just like any of you would. And I immediately found a photograph of the marker I needed. Find a Grave just keeps getting better and better.