Saturday, 21 September 2013

At the BIFHSGO Conference in Ottawa

The focus of this year's conference of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa is Ireland. I am very happy to be well enough to attend the conference. Two years ago, I left the BIFHSGO conference on the Saturday afternoon convinced I was having a gall bladder attack. I was too ill to return for the conference's final day. The next month I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.  Now, equipped with my trusty walker -- a combination crutch and pack mule -- I am back.

The conference started last night with a thought-provoking talk by Philip Donnelly who is promoting a project to correlate available genealogical records with pictures of ruined Irish farmhouses. Think of it as a Billion Graves app for ruins instead of tombs.

This morning started with an introduction to Irish genealogical research by Eileen O Duill. While I'm not a beginner, I found it an interesting presentation. Later, Lisa Louise Cooke, the voice of Genealogy Gems, talked about tracking down living relatives. When you consider how much pain medication I am on, it is a testament to these speakers that I haven't nodded off once!

Lunch is nearly over. I am looking forward to more presentations about Irish genealogical records and brick wall strategies. Tomorrow I'll hear about how to trace my roots with my beloved iPad, and genealogical cold cases. Most of the time, two lectures are offered in each time slot and it is very difficult to choose which to attend. If only I was here with a friend I could swap notes with!

Before things start up again, I'm going to have another look at the marketplace. How many more books will I buy? Or CDs? There seem to be fewer vendors in the marketplace than in past years, but the availability of information and products is still good. I tell you, I'm tempted to pick up a Flip Pal portable scanner. I love gadgets.

There are people to meet as well. I wish I knew more of the regulars, but it has been hard for me to get to many monthly BIFHSGO meetings on Saturday mornings. Now that the puppy is waking me early I will come to more. I would like to meet more of my local geneaddicts. I'm the middle aged lady with the walker, sitting in the front row. Please introduce yourselves. I am glad to be with you.

Monday, 12 August 2013

1921 Canadian Census, Finally

Forgive me for being slow on the uptake. It has been so long since Library and Archives Canada took possession of the 1921 Census that I had stopped looking for updates. I've been behind in reading other blogs. Only today did the Ottawa Citizen publish an article saying that the census was finally been made public late last week. Ancestry.ca is making public the digital images of the 1921 Canadian Census. It has not yet been indexed by name. I understand that it is possible to search by location, if you have a good idea of where your people lived in 1921, and you're willing to scroll for a while. I will give it a try now.

For an excellent compilation of information and perspectives on the census release, please go to the Genealogy Canada blog here.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A Census Conspiracy?

There is news! Today, I saw this post on Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter regarding the release of the 1921 Canadian Census.  He points to this post by Elizabeth Lapointe of Genealogy Canada where Elizabeth claims that LAC sources told her the census has been fully digitized and its release is being held up by the Minister's Office.

I say claimed because I try to be skeptical of everything I read on the Internet. However, I don't disbelieve Elizabeth's post in the slightest. Unfortunately, it has become clear that every federal government announcement is strictly controlled by the Prime Minister's Office. I would like to think that Elizabeth's advice that we write to the responsible Minister would make a difference. It won't.

I am confident that the 1921 Census will be released in the coming weeks. It just won't be on the timetable of any genealogist or archivist.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

1921 Canadian Census Update

Today I learned that Library and Archives Canada has issued a news release regarding the 1921 Census:
Library and Archives Canada is committed to making the 1921 Census’ rich and complex information accessible and available to all Canadians, no matter where they live, in the next few weeks. Further details on the 1921 Census’ availability will be shared once they are available.
A few weeks, they say. What they don't say is how the census will be available. I'm sure we would all like to be able to view the census online, indexed and free. I don't see that happening in a few weeks.  Perhaps a paper copy will be available downtown at the LAC building, but that doesn't satisfy the criteria of availability to all Canadians.  Really, what is the point of speculating?

I will be on the lookout over "the next few weeks" and will let you know what LAC does with our Census.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

I Know I've Been Out of It, But What Is LAC's Excuse: the 1921 Canadian Census

As you know, for most of the last 18 months, I have been preoccupied with my new hobby, "having cancer." While I am technically off chemo, I still take cancer-fighting medication daily and get regular IV treatment. I am still spending an awful lot of time at the hospital. Over the next two weeks, I'll be there for a pain-relieving epidural, an echocardiogram, blood tests and my IV treatment. There hasn't been much time for genealogy.

Still, it's on my mind. I've been preparing to make an introductory genealogy presentation to my daughter's class. In the last few days I've been reading more genealogy blogs. That's where I saw the news: the 1921 Canadian Census has been released (that is given to LAC for public access)! It was news to me. There's been nothing in the paper. Not long ago, the lead up to the release of the 1940 US Census was overwhelming, even impossible to avoid. Not so this year.

These two blogs about the 1921 Census, by esteemed Canadian geneabloggers really caught my attention, and I recommend you read them:
What is going on at LAC, Library and Archives Canada? The organization has been having a tough time of late. Budget cuts. Service cuts. Criticism on a wide scale. Recently, the embattled head of LAC resigned. John Reid reports that LAC has indicated it will make the 1921 census available as soon as possible. You wouldn't know if you visited LAC's website. Of the measly four news releases issued this year (yes, only four), none pertains to the Census.

You know, I've been looking forward to this census. My grandfather. Luigi Bertolo and his family came to Canada in 1913, not long after the previous was taken. The 1921 Census would be the first where I'd find my ancestors. I'd be happy to spend as much time indexing this census as I did on the 1940 US Census. I'd be happy and I'd be proud to index it. I would find the time.

LAC, I know I've been busy. What's your excuse?


I'd be pleased to have you subscribe to my other blog about my life with Stage IV breast cancer, Kate Has Cancer, or follow me on Twitter @KateHasCancer.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Thank You for 10,000 Hits

I don't think I really thought this day would come, but I just checked the stats for my Jim's Girl Family History Blog and was surprised to see that I'd passed 10,000 page views in the last few days.

Thank you to all my readers, particularly since I've taken a break from genealogy blogging since I was diagnosed with cancer.

For some reason, over 1,600 of the hits are on my "M is for Munster" post.  When I was doing the A to Z Challenge in 2011, I had planned to do an M is for Moynihan post, but I didn't have the time to do justice to the derivation and history of my surname.  "M is for Munster" was the quick substitute.  As it turns out, the photo map of the Munster province has proved exceedingly popular. 

Many of you are also coming to get my grandmother's recipe for genetti cookies.  Thanks for coming.  You can send me a batch any time!  (Yes, Cousin Sam, you already did and they were delicious!)

I am glad that so many of you have come to the blog for the "B is for Bannia" site.  I have had so many emails and comments from folks with roots in the frazione of Bannia.  This post has put me in touch with some really lovely people, including a second cousin I didn't know.  There are so many of us in Canada and the U.S., that it's hard to beleive there is anyone left in Bannia -- but I know they're still there and I hope they are visiting too. 

"O is for Oro alla Patria" is another popular post.  I hope I have helped others solve the mystery of their oro alla patria rings.

One of my favourite posts to write was "F is for Frank's First Marriage" about my dear Zio Frank and his mysterious first wife Annie.  I'm glad you readers seem to have enjoyed that post too.

Now that I am feeling much better, though still not ready to go back to work, I have restarted my genealogical research.  I hope to have the energy to blog more about my family and that of my Sweetheart.  10,000 page views may be just the accomplishment to push me to post more.
Thank you again.

Monday, 30 April 2012

It's Time to Give Back to the Genealogy Community

Now that I'm feeling better, I've had the time and energy to get back to some genealogy work.  I had been reading about the release of the 1940 U.S. Census at the beginning of April.  Only the census images have been released.  So, you can only find your relatives if you know exactly where they lived, or browse a community page by page.  The reason is that the census images have not yet been indexed.

What is indexing?  Well, if you started your genealogy in the last decade and went straight to Ancestry or Family Search or some other site and entered your surname in the search box, you were benefiting from the indexing efforts done by others.  Volunteers are indexing the 1940 census for Family Search, viewing each page and typing the names, ages and birthplaces into special software.  Once the indexing is complete, which involves several sets of eyes on each indexed page, the census images for that state will be searchable on Familysearch.org.

I know the thrill of finding my ancestors, with the click of a button, in an indexed census.  It's time for me to give back, and index someone else's people.  So far, I have indexed census pages from New York, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Louisiana.

If you are interested in contributing to the 1940 Census project, click here and then click the button "Get Started."  You will have to download the indexing software onto your computer.  And it's easy.  Well, not all the census enumerators had exemplary handwriting.  A few times, I've had to ask my husband and daughter to see if they could figure out some names.  We all stared at one woman's name for several minutes and were unable to figure it out.  The indexing arbitrators ruled that it was "Sue."  I never guessed!

Have you given back to the genealogy community?  Why not start today?