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Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig – everyone

The Library and Archives Canada blog had a post called “Newly digitized microfilms on the Héritage portal.” There is a long list of fonds and records that have been added to the Héritage website.

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They have already got 255 records on the website. Some of these records may seem unrelated to family history but go in and play with the website and see what you can find. I did a search for a town and found a lot of references to diamond wedding anniversaries and requests from the King for acknowledgement letters.

You can do a search for a term or word and when the results come up you don’t have to go into each collection. You can click on the image number and be taken directly to the image.

They have five featured collections which include: Genealogy; Aboriginal History; Government Documents; Military History and Landmark Papers.

There are 65 results in the Genealogy Collection; 30 in the Military History; 11 in Aboriginal History; 108 in Government Documents and 123 in Landmark Papers.

They have a Catalogue page and it provides you with some information. The most important note is that the number of films in the complete collection is more than 35,000 but the number of films described in the catalogue is 19,941.

It has each of the collections in the featured collections listed. Under Genealogy Collection it provides you with a description of the record, the number of films, the number of pages by the 1000s (if 15 is listed then it is 15,000 pages), whether or not it has significant genealogical content and Mikan number. It would be nice if they had the titles hyperlinked so that they would be easier to find.

There are 41 different parish registers listed including a few Catholic ones from the United States. One of the new parish registers listed in the LAC blog post is “Parish registers: Newfoundland, Labrador and Nova Scotia.” A search was done for “Parish Register” and there were five results with only one that was for an actual register. A search for “Parish Registers” provided nine results, two of which had Parish registers in the title.

One of the results was for “Ste-Anne de Restigouche P.Q. Parish register” but it is under the title “Parish Registers Nova Scotia: C-1449.” Now Ste-Anne is in Quebec and not Nova Scotia and the About Section does not clear this up. I went into the digital images and the cover page says Registre de la pariosse Ste-Anne de Restigouche, 1759-95” and it has “N.S. Church Records – Acadia – Divers Registres 1755-1799” so this is where Nova Scotia came from.

In the About Section it says that there are 177 pages for Ste-Anne and on the cover page of the microfilm it says that Ste-Anne has 158 pages and N.S. Church Records has 174 pages. The very first page of the registers is for Ste-Anne and the last page (page 177) is for N.S. Church Records, so they must all be included. The images are double pages. Why is N.S. Church Records in the title and not in the About Section of the record description? Don’t just rely on the record descriptions go into the microfilm and see for yourself what may be on it.

One of the parish records collections was “General Index to the Public Archives of Canada: H-1317” and here you get an index card to a parish register of Lochwinnoch Presbyterian Church in Ontario. This can be very useful in determining what is available for your area of research.

In a way this is a mix of old research and online research. You have to search the microfilm to find out what is on it but you can do it on your computer at home.

©2014 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

National Genealogical Society Announces Release of Mobile Conference App 2014 Family History Conference
Richmond, Virginia 7 May 2014

ARLINGTON, VA, 20 February 2014: The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the release of the Mobile Conference App for the NGS 2014 Family History Conference, which will be held 7-10 May 2014, in Richmond, Virginia. Download the free NGS Conference App.

The NGS Conference App is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and web-enabled devices. Search your app store for NGS 2014.

New this year is a five-minute video that reviews highlights of the app and explains how to use the key features. The video can be found on the NGS conference website, then click on the App Video Tutorial.

Some of the convenient features on the app:
• The Dashboard keeps you organized with up-to-the-minute information.
• About This Show keeps all conference information in one place.
• Alerts allow attendees to receive important real-time communications from NGS.
• The built-in Twitter feed allows you to follow and join in on the conference chatter. The Twitter hashtag is #NGS2014GEN.
• Sync your schedule across multiple devices.
• Attendees can locate exhibitors they plan to visit.
• Connect, message, and share schedules with your colleagues through the Friends feature.
• Link to syllabus material for each lecture, which will be available about 22 April 2014.

We encourage you to begin using the app now so you can improve your conference experience in Richmond.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

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Today is the launch of the new Blair Archival Research website design and you may notice a few things have changed.

You will find pages with links for genealogy websites to help you with your research in Canada, Ireland and Scotland.

If you want to know where I will be speaking you can check out the News tab for my Events page.

Blair Archival Research can help you with your family history research. Send an email with details of the family you are interested in or give us a call to discuss your project.

©2014 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

"Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

“Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

Today is the Passionate Genealogist’s 4th birthday! Thank you to all my readers for their support over the last four years.

I am not the only one celebrating today.

The Still More Genealogy blog is celebrating five years today. The Gendocs: Family Research and Legacy blog is celebrating three years and the All Roads Led to London blog is celebrating two years. Congratulations to all my fellow bloggers on their milestones.

©2014 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Merry Christmas

Joyeux Noël

Nollaig Shona

Nollaig Chridheil

Last night was the premiere episode of the US version of the “Genealogy Roadshow.” This is a program that originated in Ireland on RTÉ. The format follows that of the “Antiques Roadshow” a long time BBC production. You can certainly see that format with the presenter and the enquirer at the same table and the crowd surrounding them listening to the evaluation. The crowd around the table provides an extra component to the proceedings as they react to what they are hearing and seeing. The new element is the screen and digital images.

I am a huge fan of the “Antiques Roadshow” and the “Genealogy Roadshow” didn’t disappoint. It would have been nice if we could have found out a little more about some of the documents. I would like to have learned more about who wrote the Austin Peay letter, why it was written and where it came from. The presentation of some of the documents on screen was so fast you could hardly read them.

This show was all about the family stories of everyday people. This is something that a lot of viewers have been looking for according to comments I have heard about the program “Who Do You Think You Are?” and its use of celebrities. What we need to remember is they are only celebrities because they are in the public eye and we are aware of what they do for a living. If they were teachers or firefighters their story would be the same and it would be considered the story of an everyday person.

The main difference for me between the two programs is that you get more of a history lesson on “Who Do You Think You Are?” than you do on “Genealogy Roadshow.” “Who Do You Think You Are?” is all about the story. On “Genealogy Roadshow” they are proving or disproving a family story or they may prove that it is actually a little different than the family thought.

“Genealogy Roadshow” is a fast paced production which fits in with the instant need to know, get the story and move on of most of today’s viewers. As researchers we know this isn’t the way researching your family history works. If it gets more people interested in their family history, in particular young people, then I’m all for it.

How many of us actually knew what we were in for when we first started researching our family history? As researchers we follow good research practices but that is not going to be shown on genealogy based programs. The research is the behind the scenes hard work that makes the program come to life. What I love most about family history based programing is the story. These programs present the stories found in the history of a family.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Mark Anthony Toomey was born in Dublin in 1844 to Mark Toomey and Jane Kelly. He married Julia Adelaide Bourne in 1868 at St. Peter’s church in Dublin. She was from a respected legal family. When his daughter was born in 1875 he was a wine merchant.

Mark Anthony was very active in Freemasonry and was initiated in Commercial Lodge No. 245 in 1871 in Dublin. In 1878 he was installed as Worshipful Master of this Lodge. He was also a Life Governor of both the male and female Masonic Orphan Schools in Ireland.

There were six children in the family: Mark born 1869 and died in 1871; Louisa Alice born 1871; Mark born 1873; Jane born 1875; Walter Bourne born 1878 and Richard Fenton born 1880. The children were all born in Dublin.

Mark Anthony Toomey got into what was described as “financial trouble” over a debt he had guaranteed and could not pay. This was an offence you could go to prison for and two of his Bourne brother in laws suggested he went to Australia. According to family lore he left for Sydney in 1883. There is a letter dated 2 March 1880 that suggests it may have been closer to 1880. If this is the case then the reason Julia and family did not go with him at the time could have been because she was carrying their son Richard.

When Mark Anthony arrived in Sydney he hired a Chinese girl to look after the house and then Julia and family joined him.

Julia and the children joined Mark Anthony in 1890. They left London on 5 February 1890 and arrived in Sydney on 27 March 1890. They were on the Coromandel which originated in Greenock Scotland. Julia could not settle in Australia and did not like the Chinese help so she went back to Dublin. She left her son Mark behind. Julia wanted to leave Jane in Australia because Jane wanted to stay but Mark Anthony said no girls.

Walter Bourne Toomey returned to Australia via Canada. He arrived in Montreal in 1907 and arrived in Sydney in 1909. It is believed that Richard returned to Australia in 1911. The female lines were the only ones to remain in Ireland.

On arrival in New South Wales Mark Anthony joined the Freemasons. In 1885 he helped to form Lodge Hiram No. 41 and was elected Secretary. In 1887 he was made Grand Secretary and also held the position of Deputy Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales. He was a member of the Leinster Marine Royal Arch Chapter No. 266.

Mark Anthony Toomey died in Sydney on 29 March 1916. He died at the home of his son Mark Toomey at Rubyville, Church Street, Chatswood. The funeral was at the Church of England Cemetery Gore Hill.

Julia lived in the home of her daughter Jane and her family. She retired to her bed to die when she was 60 and did not die until she was 91. She died in 1932 in Rathmines Co. Dublin.

Julia Adelaide Bourne Toomey is buried in St. Nahi’s Cemetery in Dundrum Co. Dublin. The headstone reads: In Loving Memory of our parents Mark Toomey who died 21st March 1916 aged 72 and his wife Julia Adalaide (daughter of the late Walter Bourne of Taney House in this Parish) who died 9th April 1932 aged 91 “Peace Perfect Peace”with loved ones far away. This must have been put up by their daughter’s as the sons were all in Australia at this time. Mark Anthony Toomey is actually buried in Sydney Australia.

Mark Anthony and Julia Adelaide only lived together for about 14 years. They spent more than double that living apart from each other. If Julia had not returned to Ireland then I might not be here writing their story.

© 2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Here are my favourite blog posts from the last few weeks.

The Archives Blog had a post called “Use Your Ancestor’s Social History to Your Advantage.” To understand the life of your ancestor you need to understand the times in which they lived. This is where understanding the various forms of social history can be helpful.

The Genealogy Canada blog has a post entitled “Some land records are being digitized.” This is good news and is part of the Canadiana.org Heritage Project. One of the first projects is the “Heir and Devisee Commission of the Upper Canada (Ontario) Land Records.” You can access an index to the Second Heir and Devisee records on the Archives of Ontario website.

The National Library of Ireland blog has a post called “Looking after your Family Archives – prevention is better than cure…” This post provides some very useful information on preserving the paper in your family archives.

The Ontario Genealogical Society blog has a post called “Profile: Current OGS Projects: Cemeteries” which looks at the cemetery project being done by the OGS and its branches over the last 30 years. There are links here to help you access the information.

The Ancestry Insider blog has a post entitled “Lessons Learned from WDYTYA at #FGS2013” This post is about the FGS breakfast hosted by Ancestry.com on Saturday morning. It looks at how the program “Who Do You Think You Are?” can be used to help engage people in family history. It is very interesting reading.

John Grenham’s Irish Times post called “The Cowboy and the Farmer should be friends” first made me think of the Rodgers and Hammerstein production of Oklahoma. But reading further it should read “The Historian and the Genealogist should be friends” and how the availability of records may help.

The Genealogy Insider has a post entitled “PBS Series “Genealogy Roadshow” Explores Roots of Everyday Americans.” This post provides more information on the upcoming show and a short clip. I am glad that PBS picked up this RTÉ program. They are already in their second season.

Irish Genealogy News has a post called “Guide to Genealogy Resources in Donegal.” You can download the 32 page booklet by following the link in their post.

Anglo-Celtic Connection has a post called “LAC’s 2007 blunder.” Is there any way of protecting our history from LAC?

The National Archives blog has a post entitled “The gloves are off” where they say that in some cases wearing the white cotton gloves can damage documents.

The Olive Tree Genealogy blog has a post called “All Our Relations on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.” This is a new family history series being shown in Canada.

What were your favourite blog posts? Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

Genealogy Insider – Genealogy News Corral

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

This year’s FGS Conference was very successful. I heard there were about 1500 people attending and sometimes in the library it seemed like a lot more.

My friend Nancy and I traveled down to Fort Wayne on August 15th. We had research we wanted to do in the ACPL. My research plan was over 40 pages long. We spent all day Friday and Saturday in the library. We went to O’Donnell’s Irish Pub for dinner on Thursday and Saturday night and found a lovely pizza place on Friday night. The first two mornings we got a free breakfast buffet at the hotel.

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Sunday was a bit of a down day as the library was closed. Still we made good use of it. It was a late start to the day and we had breakfast at Cindy’s Diner. This is a tiny place with only about 15 stools. We started the day with “Garbage Eggs” which had eggs, ham, cheese, onion and potato. This big breakfast meant we didn’t really need to stop for lunch. The people at Cindy’s were so friendly and the food was great.

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Then it was off to the shops. We visited a couple of malls and Walmart where we picked up some things to use for breakfast in the hotel not to mention a few other items. We went back to the room to work on our research plans for the next day and had a quiet evening.

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Monday was spent in the library doing research. Tuesday was the FGS Librarian’s Day conference and it was held in the Allen County Public Library. We took a little time off on Tuesday to go and do a tour of DeBrand Chocolates. They are a local business and provide tours of their chocolate factory. It was delicious and I left with a purchase or two.

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Tuesday night I attended the FamilySearch bloggers dinner. I love this event as I get to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Wednesday is Society day and I attended two lectures. I spent a little more time in the library but it was starting to get very busy. At the end of the day I had finished my research plan so I was pleased.

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Starting Wednesday night the library was open until midnight for three days. It was very full and they had started adding extra tables and chairs on Tuesday. The librarians and volunteers were fantastic with the patrons and how they kept up with reshelving all those books I don’t know. Wednesday finished with the Opening Social.

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There were long lines and it felt a little slow at times but we chatted to everyone in line and that made the time go quickly. The band at the social were “The Jug Huffers.” They were very entertaining.

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The Opening Social was held in the botanical conservatory and you could wander around the outdoor gardens.

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Thursday was the official start of the conference with the Opening Plenary. I will never listen to early rock and roll in the same way again. Marketplace opened at 9:30 and was open until 7:30 pm.

“The War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Files in the National Archives are being digitized and placed online for free.” This is a project being done by FGS in conjunction with Fold3, Ancestry.com and the National Archives. They had a goal to raise $20,000 in donations from the conference registrations and selling raffle tickets. The FGS would double what was raised and then Ancestry.com would double that number. After all the counting was done they had raised $23,000 by the end of the conference. FGS doubled that to $46,000 and Ancestry.com doubled that to $92,000.

In the Conference Guide they say that to digitize two images costs one dollar. So if my math is right that means they should be able to digitize about 184,000 images. I hope the pension file you are looking for is part of that group. These images can be viewed for free on Fold3.

The FGS Ambassadors got together to have a picture taken. It was taken by Tina Lyons who worked tirelessly and I hope got a good rest on Sunday. Linda McCauley was the official photographer and she has shared this photograph with the FGS Ambassadors.

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I really enjoy genealogy conferences. I would attend all of them if my time and budget allowed. It is great to meet new people and catch up with friends. At every conference I learn something new. This year I attended the NGS and FGS conferences in the United States and this allowed me to do research in the top two genealogy libraries in North America. I also attended the Ontario Genealogical Society conference this year. OGS is my local conference and fun to attend. This year I presented three lectures at the conference.

Next year the FGS Conference is being held in San Antonio Texas. I would love to go as I’ve never been to Texas and have heard San Antonio is a lovely city.

See you all there.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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